Among the authors of the Sikh scripture, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the ninth Sikh prophet Guru Tegh Bahadur is credited with writing over a hundred verses, and a dozen hymns directly addressing the problems of the human mind, and the mind’s impact on human destiny. These verses and hymns constitute more than 20% of all of his writings included in 16 of 32 raags of the Granth. A search in the Srigranth.org comes up with one hundred and twenty two citations of Guru Tegh Bahadur to contain directly the term mann, the term, which he interchangeably used for mind. Further, almost all of the couplets or sloks of Guru Tegh Bahadur that were written to conclude the Sikh scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, are addressed to mann (the human mind).
Some examples of the verses and hymns written by Guru Tegh Bahadur will be explicated in appropriate sections of this paper. However, here a statement that Guru Tegh Bahadur regarded the undisciplined mann to comprise the human mind may sum up the Guru’s concern. In this role, it was considered a vital, though unreliable instrument to influence the human insights and intellectual processes both at the time on hand as well as during their earlier development. Further, mann’s overwhelming allegiance is to animal genes and to human sensory inputs. They carry information of human cultures and environment that engender countless layers of intellectual smog on the nature of consciousness associated with mann. Both, the genetic slavery and the limitation of sensory information, often predispose the human mind, and human consciousness, into overlooking the spiritual realities. This fact alone could become a limiting factor in the progress of human evolution as well as to arouse concern of the holy men in their efforts to liberate the human mind.
Mann as substrate of future evolution
Many theologians and human psychologists regard human evolution as the greatest advancement in the history of planet earth. Human evolution accomplished the unprecedented human development in the life of our planet.
The major instruments of human evolution in the past were the environments and their effects on the animal and human genes. However, it is questionable whether the changing environments will continue to be instrumental in causing future evolution of any significance. According to contemporary research on evolution, the role of changing environments is considered to be diminishing in engendering the future evolution. This is because of the growing magnitude of human power in changing the environments to suite human comforts and survival needs. It is not difficult to understand why human mind may be the new driving force in the evolution of humankind. Surely, humans need not evolve in future or any specific physical trait, such as superior speed or agility; these have been taken up by the cultural developments in the modern society. Rather, the greatest human ability would appear to be their abilities with their information processing skills and skills to take them to new mental heights and consciousness. Minds, endowed with spiritual characteristics, might guide this path of evolution in order to create super humans of gods.
Today, researchers of human evolution recognize the human culture and the human mind, as the two basic substrates of the future human evolution. Acceptance of this belief among the psychologists, philosophers and anthropologists alike has increased their concerns on human mind and its environment. Therefore, both in the East and in the West, people are becoming increasingly concerned with the factors that influence human mind and its development; the mind being the substrate of the next stage of human evolution.
To respond to the evolutionary challenges of the future world, Western scientists are engaged in investigating mostly external world such as skies, stars, and cyber spaces. They search central principles of the outside world to gain power that can maneuver the environment to the human advantage.
In a stark contrast to the orientation of Western science, Eastern faiths particularly Sikhism begins with a premise that the human mind is central to understanding and maneuvering the natural world and their own evolution as a whole. Mind is a primary source of both human joy and human misery. Therefore, it is the state and the working of mind that will be instrumental in the future human evolution. Further, the objective of future evolution will not be as much the human body as the human mind. Instead, in the future it will be the human mind that will be the major concern of the human development.
The fifth Sikh Guru and the major author of the Sikh scripture Guru Arjan voiced the above concern when he elaborated all other phenomena necessarily preceding the human mind. He wrote that one needed to grasps the mind before all other phenomena might be satisfied.
pRQmy mnu prboDY Apnw pwCY Avr rIJwvY ]
First, you must grasp your mann (mind), then you may satisfy your other urges.
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p, 281.
The founder of Sikh faith, Guru Nanak, paraphrased it in this way to alert human beings.
kwieAw kwgdu mnu prvwxw ] isr ky lyK n pVY ieAwxw ]
Human mind serves as the inscription continually being written on the inscription paper of human body. The ignorant person is the one who does not read into these inscriptions.:
Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 662.
Thus, the Sikh tradition considers human mind (mann) and human consciousness (surt) as the primary targets of introspective evolution of human beings.
The Mann concept
There is no unanimity on any one term in English language to adequately define the Punjabi term mann. However, the Gurbani exegetes have been using the term “mind” for years to explain the concept of mann written in The Guru Granth Sahib. Their consensus to date has been to equate the faculty of mind with mann.
More recently a more functional term, menome, was suggested to define mann (Lal, H, 2005) as it was felt that the linguistic concept of mind, although is adequate to define mind, it is still not sufficient for scientists and researchers to comprehend the entity of mind. The present paper will use the term “mind” interchangeably with mann or menome. The latter term was coined to relate to a more contemporary meaning of mann, as understood by modern biological and psychological sciences.
In the new terminology, the mann is described as the menome, meaning that it is a complete set of memes. The term “meme” is derived from the Greek word mimesis, which means imitation. British biologist Richard Dawkins introduced this term to describe simply as a unit of intellectual or cultural information that is perceived by human beings, and which survives long enough to be recognized as such.
Memes are formed, when the human nervous system, which is already amply endowed with a storehouse of evolutionary instincts, reacts to a new experience. The resulting mental activity, then codes the new experience in a form that can be stored and further, communicated to others. A complete set of memes in combination with past instincts, then becomes a human faculty that we termed as “menome,” to explain the concept of mann in the Guru Granth vocabulary (H. Lal, 2005).
Memes are coded units that can pass from menome to menome or from one human mind to another, and thus impact on human thinking process. It is comparable in its effects on society to those of the chemically coded instructions imprinted on the human gene that pass the genetic information from one generation to other.
In understanding mann in terms of the newly proposed terminology, it is important to accept the fact that the smallest building brick of mann is a meme. The meme is a unit of stored cultural information for any human being, and is comparable to the gene, which is unit of the stored chemical information forming the evolutionary human history.
Mimetic information passes from one human being to another and from one generation to the next. It also passes from one society to another society. It is this aspect of the memes that make them instrument of the future human evolution. Instinctive yokes from Pre-natal history To understand the instinctive mann, one must search into prenatal human biography. We must reach far back in time for sequences, from the lives of our human and animal ancestors, with whom we share the genetic connections.
Christian theology interprets the human pre-natal history, as the doctrine of original sin, when it believes that we are born with a sinful mind. The Eastern religions invoke the law of karma [H. Lal, 1995] to define the development of animalistic human mind. The modern science considers our mind to be the sum total of animal and human evolution completed to date.
Whichever way you may interpret, it is for sure that our prenatal biography has impacted our mind today, and that has happened throughout the history of the animal world. During the preceding life cycles, we have passed through numerous forms of life that ranged from unicellular organisms, to primitive humanoids. The Sikh theology supports the evolutionary doctrine when it says,
psu pMKI ibrK AsQwvr bhu ibiD join BRimE Aiq BwrI ]
I wandered a great deal in so many incarnations of species including mountains, trees, birds, and beasts-.
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 1366.
What is important is that such a history has permanently placed filters of animalistic instincts, within human minds, to view the present world with their detrimentally biased eye. For example, whereas the evolutionary traits were evolved as great mechanisms to ward against any physical danger, they were made equally powerful in placing obstacles in the way of apprehending true reality, of any new consciousness.
The eternal Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, paraphrases the animalistic nature of humanoid traits in this way.
krqUiq psU kI mwns jwiq ]
Even though human beings belong to the homo-sapien class, their traits are of the animals.
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 267.
mwxs mUriq nwnku nwmu ] krxI kuqw dir Purmwn
Says Nanak, they are human beings in form and name only; by their deeds they are dogs (animals) who wait at the door of his master (mann) for orders.
Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 330.
psU mwxs cMim plyty AMdrhu kwilAw
The humans are nothing more than animals wrapped up in human skin; they are blackened-hearted within.
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 1284.
Eie mwxs jUin n AwKIAin psU For gwvwr
Do not call them human beings; they are just animals and unintelligent beasts.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Amar Das, P 1418.
psu pMKI Aink join ijMd
Humans within are beasts, birds and the many varieties of beings and creatures.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Arjan, P 237.
Our seers tell us that our mind is comprised of instincts, beliefs and attitudes that are remnants of a long evolutionary history, which left behind overwhelming animalistic imprints. Therefore, prevalent nature of our beliefs, attitudes and practices are all expressions or reflections, of the understanding we derive from those imprints.
Simply put, the modern biology defines, and the religious theology accepts, a definite relationship of evolutionary inheritance to our present mind in this specific way.
More specifically, the evolutionary experiences were chemically encoded in the genes that were passed on to us at the time of birth. Written in the genes were the experiences, and instructions developed thereof. They were passed on more or less unchanged, for many millions of years from ancestor to ancestor, and down to our parents and finally to us.
Complicity of Post-natal experience The second influence on the making of our mann or mind is that of memes of our present culture, to which our mind is exposed after birth, i.e., mind’s post-natal biography.
The present manifests itself in the environments in which we are born, and in which we grow. These environments include the fashions in living styles, as well as the moral, cultural or institutionalized religious systems around us. They are imposed upon us under a variety of pretensions. In reality, all of them are evolved, mostly as the result of historical accidents or arbitrary and willful mystifications invented by those in power. The purpose of these is the regimentation of life in a certain pattern.
After birth, our mann is progressively fashioned through the mimetic environments. In order to increase their acceptance among populations, our mimetic environments are variously glorified, through the use of many prestigious designations such as culture, tradition, or societal norms. The present continuously broadcasts memes to our brain. These memes are formed into our menomes or mann, when the human nervous system reacts to any experience, and codes it in a form that can be communicated to others. At the moment of its creation, the meme becomes part of a conscious process, intentionally directed by the human mind. However, immediately after a meme has come into existence, it begins to react routinely with, and transform the menome of which it becomes a part.
For example, once the discovery of electricity forms a meme, it begins to suggest hundreds of new applications, which are interactive with other memes. In this way, it ensures a continuous replication and a long life for itself. Similarly every information we digest has a life of its own, although its existence is sometimes symbiotic, and sometimes parasitic, relative to our lives. A meme makes its own opportunities for replication, and manifests its own phenotypic effects or concrete effects. The memes have been described, as the “viruses of the brain,” because a meme requires only minds to feed on, and it will replicate images of itself in our minds non-stop.
ibrQw khau kaun isau mn kI ] loiB gRisE ds hU ids Dwvq Awsw lwigE Dn kI ]1] rhwau ] suK kY hyiq bhuqu duKu pwvq syv krq jn jn kI ] duAwrih duAwir suAwn ijau folq nh suD rwm Bjn kI ] mwns jnm AkwrQ Kovq lwj n lok hsn kI ]
Who should I tell the condition of the mind? Engrossed in greed, running around in the ten directions, you hold to your hopes of wealth. ||1||Pause to contemplate|| For the sake of pleasure, you suffer such great pain, and you have to serve each and every person. ||1|| You lose this human life in vain, and You are not even ashamed when others laugh at you.
Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 411.
Further, Guru Amar Das points out the helplessness of human mind in proceedings toward its goal.
mn ky AiDk qrMg ikau dir swihb CutIA
The mind is churning with so many waves of thoughts. How can one with such a mind be emancipated in the Court of the Divine?
Guru Amar Das, In: Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1088.
In today’s world, memes are created jointly by society, religion and contemporary technology. Cultures are irrepressible springs of memes. All interactions between an environment and psychic energy form memes. The cultural memes give rise to distinctive mann or menomes, which take over the control of human behaviors. Art, literature, religion, customs, gestures, traditions, symbols, language, myths, technology etc. are all forms of culture. All of them give birth first to memes, which then modify the mann.
For example, a person who spends a lot of time in painting and decorating his house, polishing and re-arranging furniture, and talking about it to his friends and neighbors, gradually includes his house in his brain first as a meme, and then as a part of his menome. When the backyard garden sprouts, his mann makes him feel proud and happy, a freeze on the plants becomes very distressing, and a new home in the neighborhood may cause gut-wrenching jealousy. In other words, ownership of a home, which is only an environmental object for our comforts, becomes part of mann when we pay attention to it in a cultural way. It palpably affects our feelings, beyond the realm of home ownership.
Attention to one’s car, office, place of social gatherings or worship, relatives and friends are other examples of the cultural memes, that form the bases of mann. The same can happen with the relationship of a person with images in their surroundings, or the objects people wear on their bodies, and the way the body externals are carved. The red ‘power tie’, tinted hair, plastic surgery, jewelry, fashion clothing, blue and red or other gaudy turbans, are among many such examples. Guru Granth lists many such examples. Etiology of Mann Numerous memes form a menome or mann. In the light of new sciences of mind and the modern psychology, first this mann is inherited at birth as an instinct. In the later part of the human development, it acquires a different mode of growth or development. It grows through mimetic mode of transmission. This transmission is further explained, later in this paper. In the following sections, we explain the genetic history and mimetic history of mann.
Mann as etiology of human misery
Pre-Natal Instincts as Causes of Human Agony and Sufferings A basic cause of contemporary unhappiness is the incompatibility of animalistic tendencies of human mann, with our spiritual aspirations. This leads to unexplained anxieties, and diverse forms of mental anguish.
Inexplicably tied in the cycle of birth and death, human beings spend considerable time in passing through the life roles of plants, birds, animals and other subhuman species. Since the life roles played in the times past left a very deep impression on our mind, they influence our mental and intellectual development a great deal, at every moment of our life today. They have smudged our consciousness black, because of the dark environments in which they were nourished, and under the perverted motivations that continuously strengthened their perpetuation. In the Guru’s words, they left a layer of filth on our mann.
jnm jnm kI iesu mn kau mlu lwgI kwlw hoAw isAwh
This mind is blackened with filth accumulated over many cycles of birth and death.
Guru Amar Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 651.
In the course of our evolutionary history, the principle of the survival of the fittest, was erroneously assumed to be the sole determining force for our development and intellectual growth. “Survival of the fittest” and its impersonal assertions for survival produced many attitudes that were selfish, shortsighted and suitable only for animals, or other pre-human species. Many of them are illustrated thus in the scripture:
miq buiD BvI n buJeI AMqir loB ivkwru ] lK caurwsIh Brmdy BRim BRim hoie KuAwru
People just don’t understand that their intellect and understanding are perverted;. They are filled with greed and corruption. Through millions of incarnations they wandered as lost and confused; they were ruined through this wandering around.
Guru Amar Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 27.
To emphasize the perverted nature of our instincts the Guru narrates each one of the many motivations acquired in the past life cycles.
bYr ibroD kwm kRoD moh ] JUT ibkwr mhw loB DRoh ] ieAwhU jugiq ibhwny keI jnm ] nwnk rwiK lyhu Awpn kir krm
Hate, conflict, sensual desire, anger, emotional attachment, falsehood, corruption, immense greed and deceit: so many lifetimes are spent in these ways. Prays Nanak: uplift those minds, show your mercy!
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 267.
A study of prenatal history of the evolutionary experiences tells us, that the principle of survival was the only experience practiced for many life cycles. Those principles as imprinted on human minds, guided our primitive human ancestors in the selection of behavioral strategies that were considered the best for their physical survival in their periods of evolutionary history. The strategies developed by our ancestors for their own survival, may not be suitable for living today.
The problems that our ancestors were conditioned to solve, were at very different level than they are today. They learnt to spend most of their time in searching and fighting for food when hungry. They had to develop physical skills and mental anger to fight to death in self-defense, if, either a danger was perceived, or a challenge of attack was imminent. They courted members of the opposite sex for purpose of procreation, and preservation of the gene. In other words, their needs were of sub-human type, and their acquired skills were animalistic at best, when compared to the needs of today.
Now that we have achieved the fully developed human format in body and brain, and our need of survival and emancipation are significantly elevated, there is a need to erase and replace the imprints of sub-human psyche. However, they are still very much alive in our mental apparatus as Guru said,
psU Bey nhI imtY nIswnw
You have been a beast and the imprints of the beast mind are not erased.
Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 903.
psu pryq aust grDB Aink jonI lyt ]
The mind is consigned to countless forms of reincarnation into beasts, ghosts, camels and donkeys.
Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 1224.
Although the imprints of sub-human psyche are very alive in us, they are the lessons from our sub-human history and, therefore, are of little advantage in the ever- developing new world. Rather, they are there to impede our spiritual progress, for which we were born. Further, their expression in our present life is a cause of many unhappy moments.
Meme-centered culture as substrates of pain and sufferings As it is discussed above, human mind or mann is nothing more, than a menome of memes and genes. The role of genes has been described in the above sections. Let us consider cultural memes in this section.
As defined earlier, memes are artifacts of the interaction of today’s culture that strengthen the imprints of selfish genes. The memes are selfish, because they are the ideas or experiences of others, capable of replicating and co-evolving with great indifference to their impact on host humans. They infect the mind, so that the real purpose of life is forgotten. This is horribly discomforting, disconcerting, and degenerating. Guru Teg Bahadure describes it in this way.
BUilE mnu mwieAw aurJwieE ] jo jo krm kIE lwlc lig iqh iqh Awpu bMDwieE ]
My mind is deluded, entangled in Maya. Whatever I do, while engaged in greed, only serves to bind me down.
Guru Tegh Bahadur, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.702.
Let me capture this horror graphically.
Imagine your brain as a sort of dung heap, in which the larvae of other people’s ideas are housed. These larvae continuously use the previously stored food, and are continually dividing to renew themselves. Then they send out overwhelming number of copies of themselves, to other similar dung heaps. In reality, cultural meme spread these copies through cultural messages.
One thing they are sure to do, is to rob your mind of its meaning as both a master, and a user of pleasures. They will take charge to make life very unpleasant, and disgusting. This is the disgust that we are forced to live by our new master, mann.
sgl jnm Brm hI Brm KoieE nh AsiQru miq pweI ] ibiKAwskq rihE ins bwsur nh CUtI ADmweI ] Deluded by doubt, I have wasted my whole life; I have not obtained a stable intellect. I remain under the influence of corrupting sins, night and day, and I have not renounced wickedness. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.632.
A meme-focused vision of culture and mind is not mere random effluvia of the human experience, but powerful control mechanisms that impose a largely invisible controlling structure on a wide range of complex phenomena – language, scientific thinking, political behavior, religion, philosophical systems, even history itself. Then they all become tools of our imprisonment into never ending misery. The phenomena seemingly created for our comforts in reality, become the prisons of misery for us. Perhaps, this is what compelled Guru Arjan to describe the meme created by our popular cultures and mythology as related to psychological bondage. They constitute the omnipresent environment that we live in today.
ibAwpq hrK sog ibsQwr ] ibAwpq surg nrk Avqwr ] ibAwpq Dn inrDn pyiK soBw ] mUlu ibAwDI ibAwpis loBw ] 1 ] mwieAw ibAwpq bhu prkwrI ] sMq jIvih pRB Et qumwrI ] 1 ] rhwau ] ibAwpq AhMbuiD kw mwqw ] ibAwpq puqR klqR sMig rwqw ] ibAwpq hsiq GoVy Aru bsqw ] ibAwpq rUp jobn md msqw ] 2 ] ibAwpq BUim rMk Aru rMgw ] ibAwpq gIq nwd suix sMgw ] ibAwpq syj mhl sIgwr ] pMc dUq ibAwpq AMiDAwr ] 3 ] ibAwpq krm krY hau Pwsw ] ibAwpiq igrsq ibAwpq audwsw ] Awcwr ibauhwr ibAwpq ieh jwiq ] sB ikCu ibAwpq ibnu hir rMg rwq ] 4 ] sMqn ky bMDn kwty hir rwie ] qw kau khw ibAwpY mwie ] khu nwnk ijin DUir sMq pweI ] qw kY inkit n AwvY mweI Resident within us are the expression of pleasure and pain. They afflict us through the heavens, the hell, and the gods. They afflict the rich and the poor alike through desire for glory. Through the basic malady of greed, it afflicts us in many many ways. The saints alone live under almighty’s protection. It afflicts us through intoxication with intellectual pride. It afflicts us through the love of children and spouse. It afflicts us through material possessions such as elephants, horses and beautiful clothes. It afflicts us through the intoxication of the wine of beauty and youth. It afflicts landlords, paupers and lovers of pleasure. It afflicts us through the sweet sounds of music and parties. It afflicts us through beautiful beds, palaces and decorations. It afflicts us through the darkness of the five wicked passions. It envelops those who act while entangled in ego. It afflicts us through household affairs, and it afflicts us in renunciation. It afflicts us through character, lifestyle and social status. It afflicts us through everything, except for those who are imbued with the Love of God. Exception is that God cuts away the mimetic bonds of His saints. How can these mimetic illusions cling to him? Says Nanak, illusory memes do not draw near to one who has obtained the dust of the feet of the saints. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Arjan, P 181.
Aspects of Mann specifically commented by Guru Teg Bahadure Concerns on human mind, or mann in the writings of Guru Teg Bahadure may be classified as follows. First of all Guru Teg Bahadure exhibits a great deal of concern on the animalistic habits of mann as they are the basic roots of our unhappiness, and they are the cause of failure in our achieving the prescribed life goals. He then recounted many ways designed by religious and faith leaders as well as by leaders in the mind sciences for seeking freedom from troubling tendencies of mind. He considered most of them as futile.
Finally, Guru Teg Bahadure resorts to seeking help from the Infinite Wisdom to show the way. The help he sought was to restrain or channelize the mental energies. For those, he expresses his gratitude. He recounts the eternal contentment one would derive from achieving the goals of diverting mann from animalistic tendencies towards its longing for spiritual enlightenment.
Animalistic habits retarding spiritual progress Guru Teg Bahadure was troubled by many behavioral tendencies that are instigated by mann. These include unsteadiness of mind, greed, discontentment, and pursuits of materialistic goals in neglect of spiritual pursuits. Other behaviors to which our Gurus drew our particular attention include; restlessness of mind, fear and paranoia, selfishness and deceit, fanaticism, prejudice and xenophobia, attitudes of fundamental divisions, animosity among units of creation, indifference to spiritual advancements.
Thus, numerous human traits are causes of many problems of dissatisfaction, conflict and misery today. In this paper, we will learn about Guru’s concern only on one of these issues, i.e., restlessness of human mind. As the Guru clarifies, the animalistic nature of mann, was seen to present serious incompatibilities with our spiritual aspirations. He targeted restlessness of mind, as the most troubling among animalistic tendencies. A study of this fiendish habit of mind will reveal, why its effects disturbed the Guru.
Still-less-ness of Mann
Still- less- ness of the mind has been a subject of research by psychologists and mind researchers for years. The Sikh concerns on mind’s ceaseless wanderings were discussed earlier (H. Lal, 2001).
Besides psychologists, the still-less-ness is also of a great concern to the seekers of spirituality and the faith leaders like Guru Teg Bahadure. It is because a fickle mind is a great hindrance on the path of spirituality. The goal of spirituality is gravely betrayed when the mind wanders away from the domain of the soul.
Guru Teg Bahadure showed a great concern about the agitation of the mind, and our helplessness in controlling it. He expressed his anguish in this way.
swDo iehu mnu gihE n jweI ] cMcl iqRsnw sMig bsqu hY Xw qy iQru n rhweI O people engaged in spiritual endavours to bring your mind under control, this mind is difficult be restrain. Fickle tendencies dwell within it. As a result, it cannot remain unwavering. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
One of the most troubling characteristics of our mind that attracted attention of Guru Teg Bahadure is that human mann is unstable, that it is almost impossible to coast it to ever stand still. This was a major concern of Guru Teg Bahadure. He put it in this way.
cMcl mnu dh idis kau Dwvq Acl jwih Thrwn The restless mind wanders in all ten directions. It becomes aimless either to pacify it or restrain it. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 685.
Guru Teg Bahadure’s great ancestor, Guru Arjan, voiced his concern the same way when he wrote the following verse.
Brmy BUlw dh idis DwvY ] inmK mwih cwir kuMt iPir AwvY ] Deluded by doubt, the mind wanders around in the ten directions. In an instant, these minds go around four Corners of the world and come back again and again. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 277.
Guru Granth sahib is concerned with the commotion of the mind, and after effects of that commotion. Prominent among these are the wandering mind and the lack of its concentration in the spiritual domain.
iqRBvx DwvY qw ikCU n bUJY ] The mind that wanders through the three worlds comprehends nothing of spirituality. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1078.
mnUAw folY dh ids DwvY ibnu rq Awqm igAwnw The minds waver and wander in ten directions, devoid of any direction towards devotion or enlightenment of the soul. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1013.
Sikh gurus alert us to the futility of this tendency in many ways. For example, Guru Arjan says,
jb iehu DwvY mwieAw ArQI ] nh iqRpqwvY nh iqs lwQI ] When one runs around for the sake of material riches, one is not satisfied, and one’s desires are not quenched. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 235.
According to the Guru Granth, the inability to hold the thought in appropriate direction may be the greatest hindrance to the realization of spirituality.
cMclu cIqu n pwvY pwrw ] The fickle mind cannot comprehend the Divine frontiers. Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1189.
AMD ibauhwr bMD mnu DwvY ] krxYhwru n jIA mih AwvY ] When the mind wavers and wanders bound to blind worldly affairs, then the Creator does not come to reside in it. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1143.
In fact, it is said, that in the company of the restless mind, we may erase the effectiveness of any practice of good deeds, or religious disciplines. The reason is that the evil impulses take charge, and corrupt those well- meaning impulses, that urge us for undertaking those activities. The scripture testifies this notion as:
krm Drm sMjm suc nymw cMcl sMig sgl ibiD hwrI The good deeds, righteousness, and practice of religion or Dharma, self-discipline, purity, religious vows and all cleansing ways are a loss in the company of the fickle mind. Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1388.
mnmuK cMcl miq hY AMqir bhuqu cqurweI ] kIqw kriqAw ibrQw gieAw ieku iqlu Qwie n pweI ] The self-oriented person possesses fickle intellect that is tricky and clever. Whatever this person has done, and all that this person does, goes waste. Not even an iota of it finds an acceptable place. Guru Amar Das Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1414.
Origination in past lives and nurturing in present environments Rest-less-ness of mann is a habit first imposed upon us by our evolutionary history, and then it is strengthened, by the cultural memes.
In our evolutionary history, the animal world learns to constantly take in information from its surroundings, and muscle its reflexes to fight or flight at every opportunity, and every challenge. Have you ever seen a cat or a rodent sit still without a wandering mind? Children, who wish to catch a fish, frog or a bird, or kill a cockroach, know well the speed, and efficiency of these animals. These animals exhibit unimaginable ability, to sense any change in their surrounding. Animals at all levels of evolution are always scanning their surroundings for any danger to life, or to their possessions. They also scan for any opportunity for food, or for other life necessities. To them the instincts of ceaseless attention to outside distractions would be very valuable, for the survival of the species. It is for these reasons, that the still-less-ness was practiced and preserved very diligently, during each form of life that we have gone through, until this habit was thoroughly perfected, and selected to be well embedded in our genetic codes.
To begin with, our genes have endowed our mind with instincts always to help it loiter, and to be constantly alert, in order to improve our chances of worldly survival. These instincts tell us continuously, that if our mind is not alert, someone will attack or else will take the advantage in some other way. Our culture also teaches us always to strive for more, just to stay even.
These evolutionary traits of the animal world, continued to build the earlier forms of human life. They ensured that we would always be on the alert, and on the lookout for any danger or any opportunities. The purpose was that this trait would help us obtain more things, and to organize more energy, for our benefit. It should make our offspring and us more viable. This is the actual intention of human cultures.
The seeds of rest-less-ness and discontentment were sowed, during the life in the jungle. The fertilization of this seed continues to take place during the advanced human life, in the current civilization. The mode of this fertilization lies in the influence of human culture on human minds, towards creating today’s mann. If you examine this philosophy deeply, you will reach the conclusion that the cultural rules practiced in our society now in essence, are similar to the law of the jungle, where a built in paranoia was considered valuable, and indispensable. Further, to the cultural rules based on the laws of jungle, is added the influence of the accelerated tempo of modern living (H. Lal, 1996). Guru Granth explains the mental evolution of unrest, and distraction in life of a modern human being, as follows. An infant is born with animal instincts of a wandering mind, and then is presented a surrounding of rattles, soon after his/her birth. They continue to distract the child’s attention from Karta Purakh, the creative consciousness. Saint Kabir says in Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
join Cwif jau jg mih AwieE ] lwgq pvn Ksmu ibsrwieE ] A baby is born into this word after leaving the cycle of previous lives. As soon as the infant leaves the womb, it comes into the human civilization, and its culture begins to touch the new comer, the Creative Soul, is forgotten. Bhagat Kabir, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 337.
Thus, the exposure to contemporary cultures does not end with birth. As soon as this infant outgrows the first rattle, he/she is given another toy, and this process continues for all of those early years of development. The entire attention from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood remains occupied with rattles. These rattles are designed, programmed, and meticulously imposed, as an indispensable part of human culture. The scriptures describe some of these toys as:
pihlY ipAwir lgw Qx duiD ] dUjY mwie bwp kI suiD ] qIjY BXw BwBI byb ] cauQY ipAwir aupMnI Kyf ] pMjvY Kwx pIAx kI Dwqu ] iCvY kwmu n puCY jwiq ] sqvY sMij kIAw Gr vwsu ] ATvY kRoDu hoAw qn nwsu ] nwvY Dauly auBy swh ] dsvY dDw hoAw suAwh ] gey isgIq pukwrI Dwh ] auifAw hMsu dswey rwh ] In the very first part of the human life, the baby learns to love mother’s milk; second, s/he learns of his/er mother and father; third, his/er brothers, sisters-in-law and sisters; fourth, the love of numerous games in the life awakens. Fifth, s/he does runs after oral satisfactions and intoxicating drinks; sixth, in his/er sensual desire, s/he does not respect disriminations. Seventh, s/he gathers and indulges in wealth and property ownership; eighth, s/he becomes a slave to sensory outbursts such as anger and jealousy; and his/er body is consumed. Ninth, s/he turns grey, and his/er problems of senescence become overwhelming: tenth, s/he is creamated, and turns to ashes. His/er companions send him/er off, crying out and lamenting. The swan of the soul takes flight, and asks which way to go. Guru Nanak Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 137.
Culture is actually meant to be a human response engineered to create protective mechanisms, for human existence. It is there outwardly, to minimize the impacts of undue competition, and unexpected dangers. The make-up of these mechanisms, in the form of a still-less mind, should permit us to temporarily feel safe, and relax our guard. Instead, the background of the strong impulses that were built-in as the genetic instructions take over, and misguide the interpretation of the protective mechanisms. As a result, there is a further amplification of the animalistic influences, which are continuously exerted, by the cultural rattles. This way, we end up with a mind that is always accelerating in its tendencies to be restless, self-oriented, and wandering. The wandering nature of a civilized mind is depicted in the scripture as:
mnmuK cMcl miq hY AMqir bhuqu cqurweI ] The intellect of the self-oriented person of today, manmukh, is fickle; it is full of tricks and cunnings. Guru Amar Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1414.
In conclusion, with the cultural imprisonment continuing, the minds of most people learn to keep wandering, and never have any opportunity to learn, how to calm down, and be still. Our genes have programmed us to be such, and then our culture has taken over the process from the genes. The culture focuses our attention on the things of the world in such a way, that we never gain the capacity either to sit quietly or to ponder on any single thought.
The restlessness of mind has become so mighty in today’s life, that we are helplessly assenting to its might and, in the process, giving up every control on ourselves. We call the situation as ‘out of control.’ Guru Teg Bahadure again warned us about this helplessness as:
pwpI hIAY mY kwmu bswie ]mnu cMclu Xw qy gihE n jwie ] Numerous unfulfilled desires are promoted to reside in the mind of a sinner, so that the sinner’s mind becomes very fickle, and the fickle consciousness constantly wavers; it cannot be brought under control. Guru Teg Bahadur, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1186.
Many approaches of little avail
Guru Teg Bahadure shows his concerns on the animalistic tendencies of mann, by exhibiting a great deal of desperation with human inability to control them. He described how one might ask for help from a variety of places, but get no help from any source. In the following verse, he calls for any one who might teach his mann that has drifted away from its path.
koaU mweI BUilE mnu smJwvY ] Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
Towards his goal of receiving help, he related the outcome of those who traveled to distant places, in order to seek pilgrimage. These too, he rejects as an approach, to subdue the mental instincts and tendencies.
qIrQ krY bRq Puin rwKY nh mnUAw bis jw ko ] People bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and adhere to fasts, but they acquire no control over mind. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 831.
Disappointed from the places of pilgrimages, he seeks help from scriptures. He finds that even the wisdom of scriptures is of no avail. Similar to efforts at pilgrimages, he discards them as unsuitable solutions to his mental turbulence. For example, he writes,
byd purwn swD ibrQw khau kaun isau mn kI ] Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 411.
While describing the futility of many approaches and paths that he attempted, he wrote that most of these approaches were not only futile, but to the contrary, they further led the mind into the grip of tendencies, that diverted the mind away from the original goal.
jqn bhuqu mY kir rihE imitE n mn ko mwnu ] durmiq isau nwnk PiDE rwiK lyhu Bgvwn I have tried so many things, but the pride of my mind has not been dispelled. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1428.
inhPl Drmu qwih qum mwnhu swcu khq mY Xw kau ] Know that such religion is useless to him. I speak the Truth for his sake. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 831.
mn ry gihE n gur aupdysu ] khw BieE jau mUfu mufwieE Bgvau kIno Bys O mann, you have not accepted the Guru’s Teachings. What is the use of shaving your head, and wearing saffron robes? Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 633.
gurmiq suin kCu igAwnu n aupijE psu ijau audru Brau ] I listened to the Guru’s Teachings, but spiritual wisdom did not well up within me; like a beast, I fill my belly. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 685.
Besides, religious approaches to please the mann, Guru Teg Bahadure enumerates many worldly pursuits, that also failed to harness the mann. The Guru considered it futile to run after wealth and possession, as they only appease the further conquests, that human mind desires. loiB gRisE ds hU ids Dwvq Awsw lwigE Dn kI ] Engrossed in greed, running around in the ten directions, you hold to your hopes of wealth. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 411.
Like Guru Teg Bahadure, other contributors to the Sikh scriptures voiced similar concerns. For example, Guru Nanak says,
BuiKAw BuK n auqrI jy bMnw purIAw Bwr ] The insatiable lust is not appeased even with world-loads of wealth and possessions being available. Guru Nanak, In: Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1.
Similarly, Guru Arjan say,
shs Kty lK kau auiT DwvY ] iqRpiq n AwvY mwieAw pwCY pwvY ] After earning a thousand, a person runs after a hundred thousand. Satisfaction is not obtained by chasing after illusions and mirage. Guru Arjan, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 278.
Guru Teg Bahadure developed a pointed argument to illustrate our primitive sensibilities. He actually enumerated many of our behaviors of primitive development, in order to warn us of their limitations. In general, what our primitive instincts tell us to do is, to follow the strategy that our primitive ancestors were able to develop, many lives ago. For example, our instincts first tell us to give up pursuit of peace and instead nourish crooked vigilance, and still-less-ness of mind.
Further, our mann should help us devise our life goals, primarily to feed ourselves, defend our borders and ranks, and pursue sensual interests in members of the opposite sex for procreation. Guru Teg Bahadure illustrated in detail those traits of human mann that were derived from the past history, that could not be harnessed, in order to warn us against their deceptive powers. For example, he enumerates conditions of human mann in the following hymn.
swDo iehu mnu gihE n jweI ] cMcl iqRsnw sMig bsqu hY Xw qy iQru n rhweI ]1] rhwau ] kTn kroD Gt hI ky BIqir ijh suiD sB ibsrweI ] rqnu igAwnu sB ko ihir lInw qw isau kCu n bsweI ]1] jogI jqn krq siB hwry gunI rhy gun gweI ] jn nwnk hir Bey dieAwlw qau sB ibiD bin AweI ]2]4] Those who are making efforts to harness their mind, pay attention to this ! You are often unable to restrain your mind. Vacillating desires dwell in your mind, and so it cannot remain steady. ||1||Pause to contemplate||. The heart is filled with anger and violence, which causes all good sense to be forgotten. The jewel of spiritual wisdom has been taken away; making every mental faculty helpless. Nothing can withstand it. ||1|| The Yogis have tried everything, and given up; the virtuous have been attempting to control the mind by singing God’s glories, and have grown weary. Nanak in divine obedience realizes that, when one seeks the grace of the Infinite Wisdom, only then these efforts will begin to succeed. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
From these behavioral tendencies backed up by the human mann, it is clear that we are loaded with many perverted traits, derived from millions of years of evolutionary development, and our evolutionary exposure to human cultures.
Gur Teg Bahadure reaches the conclusion, that he was helpless in his efforts of bringing mann under control. He explicitly states that he made numerous efforts to overcome tendencies of mann, before reaching the conclusion, that he ought to seek the grace of the “Infinite Wisdom.” He prays for saving human beings from the grips of mann. The following hymn of Guru Teg Bahadure is an illustration. Xh mnu nYk n kihE krY ] sIK isKwie rihE ApnI sI durmiq qy n trY ] mid mwieAw kY BieE bwvro hir jsu nih aucrY ] kir prpMcu jgq kau fhkY Apno audru BrY ] suAwn pUC ijau hoie n sUDo kihE n kwn DrY ] khu nwnk Bju rwm nwm inq jw qy kwju srY ] This mind does not follow my advice one tiny bit. I am so tired of giving it instructions – it will not refrain from its evil-mindedness. It has gone insane with the intoxication of Maya; it does not chant the Creator’s Praise. Practicing deception, it tries to cheat the world, and so it fills its belly. Like a dog’s tail, it cannot be straightened; it will not listen to what I tell it. Says Nanak, enumerate forever the Name of the One, and all your affairs shall be adjusted. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.536.
suAwn pUC ijau BieE n sUDau bhuqu jqnu mY kInau ] Like a dog’s tail, which will never straighten out, the mind will not change, no matter how many things are tried. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.633.
Hurdle to achieve goals of life
It is well established by Western scientists, that unavailability of instruments beyond unaided human vision, is a hurdle towards examining our outside world such as the moon, planets and stars. Western scientists invest a great deal of resources in devising other physical tools to investigate their world. Similarly and in the same sense, Guru Teg Bahadure, and other authors of the Guru Granth refined many spiritual techniques for stabilizing, and refining the human mental processes. They used these processes in new ways to observe the creation, and its connection to the creator or Infinite Wisdom (Vaheguru); This Wisdom is considered responsible for the creation and maintenance of our universe. In the Western history of science, it may be considered similar to Galileo’s efforts of improving, and perfecting the telescope for observing the heavens.
Guru Teg Bahadure brought to our attention a fundamental damage that our memes and their storehouse, mann causes to our life goals. As the mann is essentially under the control of genes and the memes, genetic instructions and then mimetic lessons provide rather generic wisdom. They apply only to physical and environmental situations. They prompt us to act in ways that generally tended to be useful in the past for similar situations. For example, human beings might be genetically equipped to avoid a snake or other dangerous animal, but incapable of avoiding unscrupulous salesmen, clerics, saints, and many materialistic role models, who may be more poisonous for our consciousness and spiritual ambitions. Thus, they are miss-matched to our needs of enlightenment.
These mismatches are the cause for many of the mental, as well as socio-political tribulations of today. Guru Granth writings alerted in favor of many human tendencies that should be nourished, to weaken the animalistic tendencies. They include seeking of divine guidance, divine grace, spiritual wisdom and mindfulness of divinity.
Guru Teg Bahadur puts it in this way. pRwnI kau hir jsu min nhI AwvY ] Aihinis mgnu rhY mwieAw mY khu kYsy gun gwvY ]1] rhwau ] pUq mIq mwieAw mmqw isau ieh ibiD Awpu bMDwvY ] imRg iqRsnw ijau JUTo iehu jg dyiK qwis auiT DwvY ]1] Bugiq mukiq kw kwrnu suAwmI mUV qwih ibsrwvY ] jn nwnk kotn mY koaU Bjnu rwm ko pwvY ]2]3] The human beings do not let in their minds the knowledge of the creator and sustainer. Day and night, they remain engrossed in illusionary input. Then how can they sing glories of the Infinite Wisdom? Rather, they hand-cuff themselves to illusionary relationships with children, friends, and other worldly possessions. Like the deer’s delusion, this world is transit; and yet, every one beholds it and chases after it. The real source of pleasure and liberation is the master of creation. Only the dim-witted forget this. Says Nanak, among millions, there is scarcely anyone who attains the divine meditation. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219. Guru Teg Bahadure warns that our precious opportunity in life will pass away without fullfilling our desires to reach our goals. Instead we will succumb to the god of death.
mn kI mn hI mwih rhI ] nw hir Bjy n qIrQ syvy cotI kwil ghI ] That of the the mind remains in the mind. He does not meditate on the ONE, nor does he perform service at sacred shrines, and so death seizes him by the hair at the appointed hour. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.631.
mn bc k®m hir gun nhI gwey Xh jIA soc Drau ] In thought, word and deed, I have not sung the Divine’s Praises; this thought worries my mind. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 685.
mnu mwieAw mY rim rihE inksq nwihn mIq ] nwnk mUriq icqR ijau Cwifq nwihn BIiq ] The mind is absorbed in Maya – it cannot escape it, my friend. Nanak, it is like a picture painted on the wall – it cannot leave it. ||37|| Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1428.
jogI jqn krq siB hwry gunI rhy gun gweI ] jn nwnk hir Bey dieAwlw qau sB ibiD bin AweI ] The Yogis have tried everything and failed; the virtuous have grown weary of singing God’s Glories. O servant Nanak, when the Sustainer becomes merciful, then every effort is successful. ||2||4|| Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
The Sikh theology describes sophisticated and elaborate doctrines on the origin, and nature of mann (mind), and its interaction with the faculty of higher consciousness or surt. The mind in term of mann, and consciousness in term of surt has been the primary subjects of introspective exploration since the birth of the Sikh tradition. Further, Sikh doctrines formulated active role of these faculties in communicating with divine, the higher wisdom.
It is because of those reasons, that our gurus wrote a great deal towards defining mann and educating their followers about it. They claimed it as their effort towards the goal of promoting appropriate human evolution for humans to becoming gods.
The objective of this paper was to outline some of the views of Sikh theology on the origin, development and more importantly, the purpose of the faculty of mann. A treatment of the related mental faculty, surt, has been presented in elsewhere (H. Lal, 2003; H. Lal, 2005). The ninth Guru, Teg Bahadure, made a major contribution in articulating the theology of mann. He examined traditional techniques for probing the mind first-hand. In doing so, he outlined many endeavors to train the attention of the mind so that it could be diverted towards spirituality and to experience divinity that we describe as naam simran. Through naam simran we may obtain the quiescence of mann and achieve bliss of ultimate salvation.
cMcl mnu dh idis kau Dwvq Acl jwih Thrwno ] khu nwnk ieh ibiD ko jo nru mukiq qwih qum mwno ] The restless mind wanders in the ten directions – it needs to be pacified and restrained. Says Nanak, whoever knows this technique is judged to be liberated. Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 684.
Just as science found unaided human vision to be an inadequate instrument for examining the moon, planets, and stars, Saint Kabir, a contributor to the Guru Granth, regarded the undisciplined mind as a blind mind, and an unreliable instrument for nurturing the consciousness and ultimate spirituality. If someone tries to do so, one is merely selling knowledge for money and one is wasting the precious lifetime by doing so.
mn ky AMDy Awip n bUJhu kwih buJwvhu BweI ] mwieAw kwrn ibidAw bychu jnmu AibrQw jweI You are blind in your mind, and do not understand your own self; how can you make others understand, O brother? For the sake of material gains, you are selling false knowledge; your life is totally wasted. Bhagat Kabir, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, P 1103.
In this manuscript, an effort was made to construct a science of the mann in a manner that the Gurbani concepts are described in the new terminology of biological and behavioral sciences. Mann is defined in terms of memes and their menome. The hold over mann is described as mimetic engineering. This mimetic engineering is analogous to the discipline of genetic engineering of mine. It leads us to define mann in the contemporary idiom, and helps us connect to “surt” or consciousness. The conversion of mann, assists us to transform the human body and its actions into the spiritual concepts. Guru Granth illustrates this relationship with a metaphor very common in Indian folk lore.
mnu kir bYlu suriq kir pYfw igAwn goin Bir fwrI ] Make your mind the bull, and surt the road to travel. Then, prepare packs full of spiritual wisdom to load them on the bull. Prepare this way to take your life journey. . Bhagat Kabir, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1123.
Guru Amar Das wrote about the relationship between mann, and the spiritual tendencies of the seekers in the following metaphor.
mnu kuMcru pIlku gurU igAwnu kuMfw jh iKMcy qh jwie ] nwnk hsqI kuMfy bwhrw iPir iPir auJiV pwie ] The mind is the elephant, the Guru is the elephant-driver, and the Guru given knowledge is the whip. Wherever the Guru drives the mind, it goes. Says Nanak, without the whip, the elephant wanders into the wilderness, again and again. Guru Amar Dass, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 516.
Our gurus refined faith techniques for stabilizing the mental attention, and educating and refining mann, to use new ways to insure bliss and peace, much as Galileo improved and utilized the telescope for observing the heavens.
Guru Granth’s paradigm and the science behind it, allows us to manipulate complex patterns of replicating memes into spirituality that have consistent and predictable manifestations in the form of precisely altered cultural phenotypes. This paradigm takes the control of human behavior away from the materialistic cultures, and hands them over to the inner faculties of human consciousness, which is a pure bliss. There is no pain in that state. Guru Teg Bahadure illustrates this paradigm in the following manner:
swDo mn kw mwnu iqAwgau ] kwmu k®oDu sMgiq durjn kI qw qy Aihinis Bwgau ]1] rhwau ] suKu duKu dono sm kir jwnY Aauru mwnu Apmwnw ] hrK sog qy rhY AqIqw iqin jig qqu pCwnw ]1 ausqiq inMdw doaU iqAwgY KojY pdu inrbwnw ] jn nwnk iehu Kylu kTnu hY iknhUM gurmuiK jwnw ] Holy Saadhus: forsake the pride of your mind. Sexual desire, anger and the company of evil people – run away from them, day and night. ||1||Pause to contemplate|| One who knows that pain and pleasure are both the same, and honor and dishonor as well, who remains detached from joy and sorrow, realizes the true essence in the world. ||1|| Renounce both praise and blame; seek instead the state of Nirvaanaa. Says respectful Nanak, this is such a difficult game; only a few Guru Oriented Gurmukhs understand it! Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
mweI mY Dnu pwieE hir nwmu ] mnu myro Dwvn qy CUitE kir bYTo ibsrwmu ]1] rhwau ] mwieAw mmqw qn qy BwgI aupijE inrml igAwnu ] loB moh eyh pris n swkY ghI Bgiq Bgvwn ]1] jnm jnm kw sMsw cUkw rqnu nwmu jb pwieAw ] iqRsnw skl ibnwsI mn qy inj suK mwih smwieAw ]2] jw kau hoq dieAwlu ikrpw iniD so goibMd gun gwvY ] khu nwnk ieh ibiD kI sMpY koaU gurmuiK pwvY ]3]3]
O mother, I have gathered the wealth of the Craetor’s Name. My mind has stopped its wanderings, and now, it has come to rest. ||1||Pause to contemplate|| Attachment to Maya has run away from my body, and immaculate spiritual wisdom has welled up within me. Greed and attachment cannot even touch me; I have grasped hold of devotional worship of the Divine. ||1|| The cynicism of countless lifetimes has been eradicated, since I obtained the jewel of the Naam, the Name of the Divine. My mind was rid of all its desires, and I was absorbed in the peace of my own inner being. ||2|| That person, unto whom the Merciful ONE shows compassion, sings the Glorious Praises of the Craetor of the Universe. Says Nanak, this wealth is gathered only by the Gurmukh. ||3||3||
Guru Teg Bahadure, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 219.
One may quote the following verse of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, to conclude this essay on mann. Guru Nanak advocated harnessing of mann to be the highest spiritual path. Joining this path, in his words, ensures a triumph over the materialistic world.
AweI pMQI sgl jmwqI min jIqY jgu jIqu
Let the highest and best path be the path suitable for all people. Conquer your mind to conquer the world.
Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang. 6.