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The Dead Cat And The Contaminated Well

Haume is treated through Naam and Gurbani vichaar.

Once a cat fell in a well and died in there. As a result of the decomposition of cat's dead body, the well water got contaminated and smelled bad. The residents using the well went to a wise person to ask how to treat the well water.

The wise man told them to remove the cat's dead body and take out 1000 buckets of water out of the well. The residents came back and took out 1000 buckets of contaminated water but forgot about the dead cat.

After taking out 1000 buckets they noticed that the water was still smelly and contaminated. They went back to the wise person and told him about the problem still persisting. The wise man told them to take out another 1000 buckets. The residents did just that but the water still remained contaminated.

Finally the wise man asked the residents if they had taken out the dead cat. The residents responded by saying no. The wise man told them to remove the dead cat and then remove another 1000 buckets of water. The residents did just that and their well was functioning again.

Our situation is very much like this well. Our insides are contaminated and we try to clean them through paath, naam and good deeds but since we don't let go our bad deeds and haume, we don't get full benefit of doing bhagti.

In Sri Asa Di Vaar we read:

Bhaao Bhagat Kar Neech Sadaaye||
Tau Nanak, Mokhantar Paaye||

(If a Sikh does bhagti and stays humble, then alone a Sikh can achieve release from this Bhavsaagar i.e. terrible ocean).

It is correct that ultimately the vices are eliminated (or permanently subdued) from the inside through intense Naam Abhyaas but even when they are not eliminated, we ought to try to subdue them. We can't just sit there and let them govern us. If anger or lust attacks us we are not supposed to be slaved by it but we have to resist it. One of the Bajjar Kurehit is done under the influence of Kaam. If we were supposed to not fight Kaam, how are we going to avoid committing this Bajjar Kurehit?

Gurbani has made it clear that ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ In other words, without having basic Gurmat Shubh Gunn (Gurmat qualities) one cannot do Bhagti. Same way Guru Sahib has instructed us to keep ourselves humble while doing Bhagti (Naam Abhyaas) and has declared that only then we would see the door of salvation:

ਭਾਉ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨੀਚੁ ਸਦਾਏ ॥ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੋਖੰਤਰੁ ਪਾਏ ॥੨॥
(Consider yourself lowly while doing devotional Bhagti; then alone you can achieve salvation)

The five cardinal vices are eliminated or subdued only after intense Naam Abhyaas but this does not mean that from the beginning stages of spirituality, we should not try to control Kaam or Krodh. Using the power of Gurbani Vichaar we ought to fight these vices but these vices come under total control only after intense Naam Abhyaas. Then one has to no longer struggle to control them. They are subdued and don't bother the seeker any longer. Till we reach that state, we have to use our will-power and intelligence that are illuminated by Gurbani, to subdue these vices.

Kulbir Singh

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