n this article, we will delve into Article #9 of the Sikha Di Bhagat Maala, Sikher (Seeker) series to understand the characteristics of a Manmukh.

The Story of Bhagat Ohri and Japunvansi

ਭਗਤੁ ਜੋ ਭਗਤਾ ਓਹਰੀ ਜਾਪੂਵੰਸੀ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥

A devotee named Bhagta of the Ohari caste and a Bhagat of the Japuvansi family were two Sikhs that served the Guru.

Bhagta Ohari and Japuvansi were from the Khatri caste. They had a longing to have Darshan (blessed vision) of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. When they came to Guru Nanak Dev Ji, they made a plea to Guru Sahib Ji.

They said, “Guru Sahib Ji, the Brahmins are allowed to read the Vedaas, so they can be saved and liberated through learning the knowledge and wisdom of the scriptures. But as members of the Khatri caste, we are not allowed to read or even listen to the knowledge of the scriptures. Firstly, we are not allowed to learn due to our caste; and secondly, it is also difficult to understand this knowledge. So, how will we be saved from this world? How will we connect to Vaheguru?"

Who are you facing?

Guru Sahib Ji said, anyone can swim across this world ocean. It only depends on who you are facing. Gurmukhs (those who face the Guru i.e, focus on the Guru) swim across, while Manmukhs (those who face their own minds i.e, listen to their own minds) lose the game. If you forsake the actions committed by the Manmukhs (those who follow their mind and not the Guru’s command), and serve the Gursikhs, you can be saved. The Sikhs requested Guru Sahib Ji to explain what actions a Manmukh commits.  

Four Characteristics of a Manmukh

Guru Sahib Ji explained, “There are four types of Karam (actions) that a Manmukh does. Due to these actions, he is known to be a Manmukh.”

1. Jealousy: A Manmukh is jealous of others’ achievements and praises. This person badmouths others and speaks badly of their success or wealth. The Manmukh only wants everything for himself. He is unhappy to see the success or happiness of others, and often sees others as his enemies.

2. Ego: The second characteristic of a Manmukh is to be egoistic. The Manmukh does not share knowledge with those who do not know, in fear that others should not succeed more than them. Instead, the Manmukh looks at them and laughs, claiming to be the best. 

A Gurmukh on the other hand, shares his virtues with others. As Guru Nanak Dev Ji says, 

ਗੁਣਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਵਾਸੁਲਾ ਕਢਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਲਈਜੈ ॥

One who has a basket of fragrant virtues, should enjoy its fragrance.

ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਨਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥

If my friends have virtues, I will share them.

ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥

Let us form a partnership, and share our virtues; let us abandon our faults, and walk on the Path.

3. Slander/Gossip: The third characteristic of a Manmukh is slandering. If someone comes to them and praises another person, the Manmukh cannot stand this. He will instead slander the person and claim to be a better judge of people’s character than the rest. The Manmukh tries to prove that they are better than the rest by spreading inaccurate information about others.

Guru Amar Das Ji says, 

ਨਿੰਦਾ ਭਲੀ ਕਿਸੈ ਕੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਰੰਨਿ ॥

It is not good to slander anyone, but the foolish, self-willed Manmukhs still do it.

4. Stubbornness: The fourth is being stubborn. A Manmukh who is stubborn never listens to what others have to say, instead they force people to listen to them. They can never accept that others are right and they are wrong. Guru Amar Das Ji says, 

ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਹੋਹਿ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥

They go about their business stubborn-mindedly; they are disgraced forever and ever.

Serving the Gursikhs

Guru Sahib Ji explained to the Sikhs that one who forsakes the characteristics of a Manmukh and serves the Sikhs with the belief that they are the form of Guru, attains oneness with Vaheguru. Guru Sahib Ji also asked the Sikhs to earn an honest living, lovingly worship Vaheguru and share their earnings with others. 

ਗੁਰੂ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਏਕੋ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਚਲਾਏ ॥

The Guru's Sikh, and the Sikh's Guru, are one and the same; both spread the Guru's Teachings.

Through Guru Sahib Ji’s teachings, Bhai Bhagta Ohari and Japuvansi were saved from the cycle of reincarnation.  

We learn through this Saakhi that there is not one but many ways to attain the happiness of the Guru. Different Sikhs who come to Guru Sahib Ji are blessed with different learnings such as doing Seva, Simran or Sangat, and through these different paths, they reach the common destination, which is oneness with Vaheguru.

-The end of Sakhi Bhai Bhagta Ohari and Japuvansi, Sikhs of Guru Nanak Dev Ji-

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