Maan neeva maat uchi
Maan neeva maat uchi (Punjabi: ਮਨ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਮੱਤ ਉੱਚੀ) is a quotation from the third part of the Sikh Ardas; The phrase is in two parts - "Maan Neeva" and "Maat Uchi"; the words 'neeva' and 'uchi' are opposites. "Neeva" means "low" and "Ucha" means "high". The words "Maan" and "Maat" are related closely to the mind.
This phrase underlines an underlying and highly important concept in Sikhism; the first term "Maan Neeva" literally means "mind low" and highlights the concept of living ones life in humility and in subservience to the Almighty God; a Sikh must discard his or her ego and live a life of humbleness without vanity and snobbishness.
The second term "Maat Uchi" means "morality high"; this second term highlights the concept of living a life which adheres to high moral values and high spiritual principles. So here, the Sikh is asked to live a life of high moral standards with discipline, self-control and virtues endowed; refraining from lowly deeds and keeping away from sinful actions and thoughts.
The actual line from the Ardas is:
|ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਦਾ ਮਨ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਮੱਤ ਉੱਚੀ, ਮੱਤ ਦਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਅਕਾਲ ਪਰਖ ਵਾਹਿਗਰੂ ॥|
|Sikhaan’ dah maaNN neevaan’, maTT ouchee, maTT dah raakhaa Akaal-Purakh Vaaheguroo|
|May your Sikhs (learner/students) live in humility, but with high moral values; the Almighty, Waheguru endowing these virtues on them;|
What exactly does this mean? What kind of behaviour or stand is one expected to adhere to?
Guru Nanak gave a religion of practice, which has potential to heal the perverted mind and transform it to God oriented. He emphasised on unity of God, meditation, universal brotherhood, humility, service of mankind and humanitarianism. Guru Nanak and his successor Sikh Gurus laid stress on having true understanding or intellect because degenerated mind or intellect is a hindrance in the way of attainment of higher consciousness.
The Sikh scriptures and traditions give a message to develop "God oriented reason" and "rising above narrow concerns". In Sikh Congregational prayer (Ardas), the Sikh recites “Sikhan da mann nevan mat uchi” It implies, may the Khalsa be humble in mind and exalted in understanding. or "May the passions in the hearts of the Sikhs remain calm and their reason flow clear, and may the reason always be guided by the light of God". In other words, “May the Sikhs always remain in humility, sublime intelligence.”
What does Gurbani say
Baba Farid said, “Farid, make thou thy mind a plain and even up its hollows and heaps.”  It implies that one should make an attempt to eschew the sense of superior and inferior because as long as the feeling higher and lower and mine and thine exists individual will not be in position to interact freely with others in the true sense.
Guru Nanak said, “He, who restrains his restive mind and slays his five evil passions. He in whose mind the True Name arrives at Lord’s mansion.” Sikh Gurus envisage a religious path for their devotees to seek salvation through higher consciousness. To Guru Nanak, truthful living and good moral conduct are tools to attain superior understanding which is above social, racial, class, gender, regional and parochial sectarian concerns.
Truthful living is supreme
Guru Nanak said, “(As) everything is underneath Truth, the living with the Truth is superior to all.” Guru Nanak gave advice to Bhai Phirna and Jodh that it is essential to hold transcendent intellect to follow the ‘Sikhi’ (Sikh way of life).
Once Bhai Chur from Luckhnow asked Guru Hargobind Sahib what are the basic postulates of Sikhism? Guru Hargobind Sahib in reply of his answer stressed on sublime mind as one of the basis of Sikhism. The Sikh scriptures established close relationship between true understanding, truthful living and self-righteousness.
My best relations
The founder Guru, Nanak said, “I make wisdom my mother, contentment my father, and truthfulness my brother. These are my best relations.” Here true knowledge is a symbol of mother which not only gives birth but also guides the child at every step, contentment symbolise the role of father which plays a role of vanguard to restrict ego which stems out of wisdom and truthful way of life is like a brother which remains helpful to follow the path of God centric understanding and keeping away from evil passions.
Guru Nanak said, “Where the deeds are virtuous, there is the perfect understanding.” He said, “The perverse men read, but know not the way.” Self or ego driven person, i.e., manmukh believes in reading the scripture and ignores the practical aspect of religious teachings. This deviation from the virtuous path leads to hallucination of mind. To Guru Nanak, “They, who practise truth obtain honour and become acceptable.”
For a Sikh, God is the sole custodian of self esteem of an individual. One may become liberated-in-life by meditating on God in loving devotion. One becomes a mukta (liberated) in the world through the instruction of the Guru (gur-updes). In a state of liberation one is devoid of haumai (pride, ego), affection and attachment. As long as durmat (anti-Gurmat, negative influence) lasts there is no scope of attaining parm-pad (domain of the Lord). In order to recognise God one has to die-in-life. One can die-in-life and cross the ocean of fear through God’s grace.
Understand the functioning of the "mind"
It is imperative to understand the functioning of mind through analysis of role of its components. It would help us to explore the place of ‘mann’ in relation to ‘mat’ in the light of teachings of Guru Granth Sahib. For this purpose there is a need to discuss the meaning of Indriyas, Antahkarana, Mann, Budhi, Chitta, Ahankar and Soul.
Indriyas are sense organs. There are two types of Indriyas (sense organs) viz. ‘Gyan indriyas’ (gyan means knowledge) and ‘Karam indriyas’ (karam means action, deed or work). The five organs of ‘gyan indriyas’ to develop perception are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the skin, the tongue and the mouth. The five karam organs of movement are the hands, the feet, the anus and the genitals.
The mind functions
These indriyas together constitute Antahkaran. Antahkarana is composed of four elements viz. Manas (Lower emotional mind), Buddhi (Higher discriminative mind), Ahankar (Ego) and Chitta (feeling or memory) together constitute the Antahkarana.
Guru Ram Das, the fourth Nanak, gave a solution to control sense organs to seek liberation through submission to omnipresent Supreme truth. He said, “There are ten organs and all the ten continue qualities, too, remain not stable even for a moment. Pleasing the True Guru man overpowers them and he attains deliverance and emancipation.”
In Guru Granth Sahib, the "Mann" (mind) has been discussed in various ways. Man is mind, heart and soul. It is the faculty with which one thinks, decides, and feels, the source of all good and evil, and that one indestructible attribute which must be released from the body and merged in the being of God.
Guru Nanak said, “The mind is in the power of evil passions, evil intent, and duality.” Guru Nanak said, “False is mind’s will. They, who the duality, are all ruined.” Guru Nanak said, “False is the wisdom of the mind and its deeds give rise to useless strife.”
Mind in Guru Granth Sahib is very powerful agency, it is one who has conveniently established its rule on total body system. It has the power that can sway and direct the total or partial functioning of human frame. It is impossible to control it, but God can make it possible. In Guru Granth Sahib four stages of mind have been analysed as ‘ਜਾਗਰਤ’ (Conscious mind) ‘ਸਪਨ’ (sub conscious mind) ‘ਸਖੋਪਤੀ’ (Unconscious mind) ‘ਤਰੀਆ’(Blissful state of mind or Higher Consciousness).
The Moon and Sun of the Mind
In ancient Indian philosophy, moon reflects speculative faculty of mind and sun represents objectiveness of mind. Rig Veda (Rig Veda, 10. 90.13) declares that, “the moon took birth in the mind and sun in the eyes (of the cosmic Man).”
The metaphysical correlation and occult equivalence of ‘moon’ then is ‘mind’ and of ‘sun’, the percipience, the facts revealed through perception.
Chandra is the moon, ruler of emotion. The Moon represents our subconscious or unconscious state of mind, emotions and feelings. Surya is the sun, ruler of intellect, source of truth. . The Sun represents our ego, will and our conscious nature.
To Guru Angad Dev this division of faculties of mind is of no use. Without the grace of God speculative faculty and objectivity of mind, man cannot understand the Divine Truth. He in his divine hymn says, “If hundred moons arise and a thousand suns appear, even with such light, there would be pitch darkness without the Guru.”
"Buddhi", ability to decipher, good from bad
Buddhi gives us the power to know, decide, judge, and discriminate between what is beneficial for us and what is not. Buddhi influences the way we understand and interprets our experiences and judgements, develop bias and prejudices, control our lives, behaviour, relationships, expression etc. The buddhi has an inclination to be influenced by the sense organs and endless lust to satisfy the self of individual.
Generally human beings consider their capacity to differentiate as final. Infact, judgement of individual is not final. It is the grace of God that makes possible for persons to make distinction between binary relations in the true sense. Guru Gobind Singh in Dasamgranth 33 Swayyiyas said that with Divine light fully ablaze in his heart he is awakened to discriminate between real and unreal. Chitta is sum total of past experiences, ideas feelings and emotions. In the context of modern psychology chitta is the subconscious mind.
Ahankar - Pride and Ego
The word ‘Ahankar’ is equivalent to excessive pride. It can be explained in terms of unreasonable and inordinate self esteem. It has two fold dimensions. One is sense of superiority on the one side and contempt and hatred for others on the other side.
It is one of the great five evils which are regarded as obstacles in the way of spiritual journey of an individual. In Sankh Shastra ‘Ahankar’ is regarded as a fluid which comes out of buddhi and gives birth to proud goddess of indriyas. Guru Arjan Dev said, “O’ proud Man! Thou takes pride and art engrossed in thy mind’s intellect”.
Sikhism considers Soul (atma) as an embodiment of Supreme Soul, which is God (Parmatma). To Guru Nanak, the ultimate aim of an individual is to strive for reunion of atma with Parmatma. Individual will remain incomplete, if he is departed from Ultimate Soul. A Sikh can find perfection and completeness through meditation and service of the humanity. He can achieve this higher objective if he follows the path as suggested in Sikh scripture, i.e., Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Nanak said, “The soul is God which is obtained by you pondering over the Name.” He said, “The Lord abides in the soul and the soul in the Lord. Through the Guru’s wisdom, I have realised this.”
He further said “His soul, he makes one with the Supreme soul. His mind’s duality is re-absorbed in the mind.” Guru Amar Das said, “My soul, thou art the embodiment (image) of Divine light, so know thy source.” Reunion of individual soul with supreme soul is in itself a realisation of higher consciousness.
The wall of selfishness or egoism stands between soul and the God. According to Guru Nanak salvation or deliverance from the transmigration can be attained through good deeds and by the grace of the personal, absolute God. Grace could be invoked by Nam Simran or worship of God with love and devotion.
In Indian religious traditions, sense organs and mind is regarded as one of root causes of sin. It creates sense of ‘I’ which restrains individual from merging with ‘He’, i.e., God. In Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna said, “Freeing himself from passion and dis-passion, keeping the senses that are acting on the sense objects under firm control, and by following the dictates of the inner soul, he can gain the mercy of God.” (2.64).
Therefore, says the Bhagavad-Gita, a yogi should firmly establish his intelligence by controlling his senses from all directions (2.68). Lord Buddha said, “Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one-mind.”
Check your passions, senses and emotions
Guru Granth Sahib teaches Sikhs to hold passions, sensations and emotions under control to avoid situation in which individual becomes slave of unrestrained selfish desires. Sikh Gurus put forward a new way of life which enables Sikhs to seek triumph over his mind. Guru Nanak said, “Make the brother hood with all, the highest sect of yogic order and deem the conquering of self the conquest of the world.”
Guru Amar Das, the third Nanak said, inconformity with the views of Guru Nanak, “The mortal, who by Guru’s instructions conquers his mind, obtains salvation and deliverance in his own home.” Guru Arjan Dev said, “Forsake thou thy mind’s cleverness and hearken to the Guru’s gospel.”
Bhagat Kabir said, “Conquering his mind, man conquers the world, whereby he is detached from the sins.” In the light of above quoted divine hymns from Guru Granth Sahib mann i.e. mind is required to put under control through ‘Nam Simran’. Guru Arjan Dev, fifth Nanak also prays for such true understanding through which he always remains close to God. He Said, “Bless me with such an understanding, O my Lord, that ever and ever I may meditate on Thee.” Guru Arjan Dev said, “That alone is intelligence and that the intellect and wisdom, which makes man not forget his Lord, even for an instant.”
Perceive the essence of the Divine Light
Man can attain such true understanding through sense of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind which is the essence of eternal and supreme truth. The elementary characteristic of God oriented intellect is that it never permits individual to lose the righteous path. To come out of duality and to seek quintessence of the Supreme truth, one has to realise the presence of God in every human being.
Guru Nanak said, “Know that the good perceive the Divine light and the perverse fools remain in spiritual darkness. He, who perceives God’s light within every heart, comes to understand the essence of Guru’s teaching”.
Through transformation of intellect, dignity and prosperity will remain perpetual. Guru Nanak said, “Wisdom honour and wealth in the lap of those in whose mind God remains permeated.”
Individual can protect and promote his self respect and dignity only if he liberates his mind from evil passions with the grace of God. If human being is overwhelmed with uncontrolled passion then he endures endless pain in dichotomous classification on the basis of class, caste, creed etc. The ultimate fate of such ego centred person is self destruction.
How can the Supreme truth be realised?
Here a question arises: How can one acquire higher consciousness or realisation of the Supreme truth? Guru Arjan Dev gave the answer to this question, He said, “By meeting saintly company, one's understanding becomes refined.”
Interaction with God-oriented person, i.e., Guru Sikh is essential to modify ideas or thoughts of any individual. Guru Nanak said, “Meeting with the True Guru, man’s intellect becomes sublime, his mind is rendered immaculate and his ego is washed off.”
It appears that the lone individual is not sufficiently potent to search out ultimate truth alone. Therefore, Guru Nanak had established the institutions of Sangat-Pangat and Dharmsal where man and woman both can meditate collectively and also take part in spiritual interaction. At the conclusion of the Sikh prayer (Ardas, the) Sikhs recite that, ‘Seyee piyaarey mel jinha mileyaan tera Naam chitt aavey’, i.e. grant us the association of those dear ones, on meeting whom one is reminded of Your Name. Guru Granth Sahib advocates the search for those who are God-ward directed.
The Ardas in Sikhism is not merely for the welfare of the individual salvation but also for collective salvation. Sikh is a cosmopolitan individual and he cannot remain confined to the well being of himself alone rather he is expected to stand for the welfare of all by rising above sectarian consideration.
So, when a Sikh wishes for ‘mann nevan mat uchi, in fact, he wishes for transformation of a degenerated mind which gives birth to evil, petty and contemptible worldly concerns. The future of mankind can be made more sure, safe and sound through meditation of the ‘shabad’ because if mann (mind) continues to seize the man, he is bound to be engrossed in petty and unfair behaviour: racial, religious, regional and violent conflicts, etc. Thus through developing true understanding, submission to higher consciousness and realisation of eternal truth the individual can hope for a promising future.
- This article with thanks to sikhinstitute based on article "Sikhan Da Mann Nevan Mat Uchi" by Arvinder Singh}.
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- Singh, Baba Surain & Singh, Baba Naranjan (2004). The Miracle of Ardaas. Mighty Minds Publishing Pte Ltd. ISBN 9812500804. - To obtain a free copy of this book click: Sikhnation
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- ^ ਫਰੀਦਾ, ਮਨ ਮੈਦਾਨ ਕਰਿ; ਟੋਝ ਟਿਬੇ ਲਾਹਿ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1381
- ^ ਚੰਚਲ ਮਤਿ ਤਿੳਾਗੈ, ਪੰਚ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ॥3॥ ੳੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚ ਸਹਜ ਘਰਿ ੳਾਵਹਿ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 226
- ^ ਸਚਹ ਓਰੈ ਸਭ ਕੋ; ਅਪਰਿ ਸਚ ੳਾਚਾਰ ॥5 ॥, ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗ, ਮਃ 1, Guru Granth Sahib, p. 62.
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- ^ ਪੜਹਿ ਮਨਮਖ, ਪਰ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਨਾ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1032
- ^ ਸਾਚੀ ਕਰਣੀ ਪਤਿ ਪਰਵਾਣ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1188
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- ^ Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Mahankosh, Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala, 1974, p. 113.
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- ^ W. H. McLeod, Guru Nanak And The Sikh Religion, OUP, New Delhi, 2001.p. 180.
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- ^ ਝੂਠੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ; ਕਰਂੀ ਬਾਦਿ ਬਿਬਾਦ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1343
- ^ Darshan Singh, Darshan, Key Words In Guru Granth Sahib, The Sikh University Press, Waremme, 2009, p. 80.
- ^ Sirdar Kapur Singh, Sikhism for Modern Man, GNDU, Amritsar, 2006, p. 132.
- ^ ਜੇ ਸਅ ਚੰਦਾ ਅਗਵਹਿ ਸੂਰਜ ਚੜਹਿ ਹਜਾਰ ॥ ਝਤੇ ਚਾਨਂ ਹੋਦਿੳਾ; ਗਰ ਬਿਨ ਘੋਰ ੳੰਧਾਰ ॥2॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 463
- ^ ਪੂਰਨ ਜੋਤਿ ਜਗੈ ਘਟ ਮੈ ਤਬ ਖਾਲਸ ਤਾਹਿ ਨਖਾਲਸ ਜਾਨੈ , Dasamgranth. 33. Swayyiyas cited by Sirdar Kapur Singh, Parasharprasna, Hind Publisher Ltd, Jullundhar, 1959, pp. 282-283
- ^ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ ਕਰਹਿ ੳਹੰਕਾਰੀੳਾ; ਵਿੳਾਪਿੳਾ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ॥ - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 42
- ^ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮ, ਰਾਮ ਹੈ ੳਾਤਮ; ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈੳੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥7॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1030
- ^ ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮ, ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ੳਾਤਮ; ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ - (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1153
- ^ ਆਤਮਾ ਪਰਾਤਮਾ, ਝਕੋ ਕਰੈ ॥ ੳੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਦਬਿਧਾ, ੳੰਤਰਿ ਮਰੈ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 661
- ^ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪ ਹੈ ੳਾਪਂਾ ਮੂਲ ਪਛਾਂ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 441
- ^ Hari Ram Gupta, History of Sikh Gurus, U. C. Kapur & Sons, New Delhi, 1973, p.63-64.
- ^ ਯੋ ਸਹਜ਼ਸਮ ਸਹਜ਼ਸੇਨਾ ਸੰਗਾਮੇ ਮਾਨਸੇ ਜਿਨੇ । ਝਕਮ ਚ ਜਜ਼ਯਾ ੳਜ਼ਤਾਨਮ ਸਾ ਵੇ ਸੰਗਾਮਜਜ਼ਤਮੋ ॥ 46,‘Dhampad’ cited by Sirdar Kapur Singh, Pundreek, Bhai Chatar Singh Jivan Singh, Amritsar, 2001, p. 192.
- ^ ਆਈ ਪੰਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਮਾਤੀ; ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗ ਜੀਤ ॥ - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 6
- ^ ਗਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਨ ਜੀਤਿੳਾ ਗਤਿ ਮਕਤਿ ਘਰੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 26
- ^ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤਿੳਾਗੀੳੈ ਸਂੀੳੈ ਅਪਦੇਸ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਅ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 814
- ^ ਮਨ ਜੀਤੇ ਜਗ ਜੀਤਿੳਾ ਜਾਂ ਤੇ ਬਿਖਿੳਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਅਦਾਸ ॥2॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1103
- ^ ਝਸੀ ਮਤਿ ਦੀਜੈ ਮੇਰੇ ਠਾਕਰ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਤਧ ਧਿੳਾਈ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਅ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 673
- ^ ਸਾਈ ਮਤਿ, ਸਾਈ ਬਧਿ ਸਿੳਾਨਪ; ਜਿਤ ਨਿਮਖ ਨ ਪਰਭ ਬਿਸਰਾਵੈ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 978
- ^ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰੀ; ਬੂਝੈ ਗਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਰ ॥4॥ - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 20
- ^ ਗਰਮਖਿ ਚਾਨਂ ਜਾਂੀੳੈ; ਮਨਮਖਿ ਮਗਧ ਗਬਾਰ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰੀ; ਬੂਝੈ ਗਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਰ ॥4॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 20
- ^ ਤਿਨ ਮਤਿ, ਤਿਨ ਪਤਿ, ਤਿਨ ਧਨ ਪਲੈ; ਜਿਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਹਿੳਾ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 15
- ^ ਤਿਨ ਮਤਿ ਅੂਤਮ ਤਿਨ ਪਤਿ ਅੂਤਮ ਜਿਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਿੳਾ ਬਨਵਾਰੀ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1135
- ^ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ, ਬਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥3॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 377
- ^ ਸਤਿਗਰ ਮਿਲਿੳੈ, ਮਤਿ ਅੂਤਮ ਹੋਇ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1188