Who is the thief? What is it to cut off his hands? || Acharya Prashant,on Guru Granth Sahib(2019)

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जे मोहाका घरु मुहै घरु मुहि पितरी देइ ॥
Je mohākā gẖar muhai gẖar muhi piṯrī ḏee.
The thief robs a house, and offers the stolen goods to his ancestors.

अगै वसतु सिञाणीऐ पितरी चोर करेइ ॥
Agai vasaṯ siñāṇīai piṯrī cẖor karei.
In the world hereafter, this is recognized, and his ancestors are considered thieves as well.

वढीअहि हथ दलाल के मुसफी एह करेइ ॥
vadẖīah hath ḏalāl ke musfī eh karei.
The hands of the go-between are cut off; this is the Lord’s justice.

~Asa di Vaar (Guru Granth Sahib, Page 472)

Question: Dear Acharya Ji Pranaam! In these verses I find it difficult to understand that why it is being said that hands of the go-between are cut-off by the Lord? ‘Go-between’ as the negotiator.

I feel connected with this word simply because I have myself used this skill many a times while operating in the world. I have used this skill to bridge the communication gap, establish Peace, fairness, transparency, justice among people. I think of several noble purposes to use this skill for. I have never found anything wrong in it.

Kindly help me understand the totality as the negotiator, because my eyes cannot see any evil here, as I don’t use this skill unless I feel the pull to help in a situation.

Forever grateful for your blessings and guidance.

Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s an intriguing and a beautiful verse. We must understand this.

Je mohākā gẖar muhai gẖar muhi piṯrī ḏee.
The thief robs a house, and offers the stolen goods to his ancestors.

Agai vasaṯ siñāṇīai piṯrī cẖor karei.
In the world hereafter, this is recognized, and his ancestors are considered thieves.

Who is the thief? The mind. What does the mind live in, feel related with, deal with, find itself surrounded with? The world. Who are these ancestors being talked of? The Source of the mind – the place that the mind thinks itself coming from.

Now what does the mind do? Mind picks up ideas from the world and devotes those ideas to it’s Source. Understand this.

It is being said here:

Je mohākā gẖar muhai gẖar muhi piṯrī ḏee.
The thief robs a house, and offers the stolen goods to his ancestors.

Agai vasaṯ siñāṇīai piṯrī cẖor karei.
In the world hereafter, this is recognized, and his ancestors are considered thieves.

Does the mind really know who his real ancestors are? The mind’s ancestor is the Source, the Truth, the Lord, the God, but the mind does not know that. The mind comes from the Father, but does not know of the Father.

So what does the mind do? The mind collects ideas and stories from the world, and uses them to create an image of it’s Father.

It is said that the mind robs the world, and offers the robbed things to his ancestors. So something worldly is being taken, and is being attributed to the Source, the ancestor. What does the word ‘ancestor’ mean? The one who precedes you. The one who is there before you, the Source that is.

So, the mind does not know the Father, but using the world, it creates an image of the Father. How does the mind use the world? By gathering stuff from the world? What does the mind gather from the world? Stories, ideas, myths. And what does it do with those stories, and myths, and ideas? It creates an image of it’s ancestors, it creates an image of the Source, the Father. But that image will be very-very worldly. Why? Because it is coming from the world.

And if the image is worldly, the world will destroy it, time will destroy it. Does the world spare anything worldly? Does time spare anything worldly? So time will destroy even the image of the Father, in that sense time has dishonoured the ancestors of the thief. That which is destroyed, is being dishonored. It’s a poetic expression, you must understand it.

So when you create a worldly God, then the fate of that worldly God is the same as all things worldly.

What is the fate of all things worldly?

They are destroyed by time.

Similarly your worldly God is also destroyed by time.

That is the punishment of those who do not know the one Truth, the one Reality, the one God.

They create fake images of God, and those images only bring them dissatisfaction and dishonour.

Now we come to the question of the middleman.

vadẖīah hath ḏalāl ke musfī eh karei.
The hands of the go-between are cut off; this is the Lord’s justice.

Who is this ‘go-between’?

By talking of the go-between, Guru Sahib is referring to the tendency of the mind to acknowledge God, and yet think of God in it’s own terms.

The is ‘go-between’.

The mind could have gone in two extremes. First extreme is – acknowledge the Real God. The second extreme is, say, “There is no God at all.” The ego could have said, “Truth does not exist, I am everything.” Or the ego could have honestly and innocently acknowledged that – “Truth and God do exist and I will surrender to them.”

Do you see these two extremes?

First extreme is – “They do exist, I will surrender to them.” And the other extreme is – “There is no God and there is no surrender needed. I am all that there is, and I am okay.” The ego is the ‘go-between’.

The ego says, “Well, yes it is true that God does exist.” And why is the ego forced to admit this? Because the ego is experiencing suffering everyday. The fact of it’s own suffering is so evident that it becomes undeniable.

If the ego says, “God does not exist,” then de-facto ego is saying, “I am God.” And if ego is God, then why is it suffering so much? So the ego has to admit that God is, and ego is not God. So the ego is forced to admit that existence of a God outside of itself.

Fine.

But the ego does not go the full distance. Instead, it remains a go-between. What does it do? Acknowledging God, it invents a God of it’s own convenience and desire. Do we not do that? While we admit that God exists, but what do we do? We create images of God. We say, “God exists, and this is God.God exists, and this is God.”

This is the go-between thing.

Ego does not have the courage to say, “I am God,” and ego does not have the honesty either to acknowledge and Surrender to the Real God.

If the ego says, “I am God,” even that would be great because that would put a lot of responsibility on the ego. Having said, “I am God,” you cannot now invest yourself in petty things. Or can you?

So the ego will not say, “I am God,” the ego will say, “I am the little ego.” And where is the God? the God is in the Temple. But who made the temple? The ego made the temple. That’s the in-between behaviour that Guru Sahib is talking of. Neither are we atheists, nor are we theists. We are some go-betweens.

Pure naastikta (Atheism), Total Atheism is wonderful. Because if you just say, “No God exists,” what you are saying is, “No God exists outside of you.” Pure Atheism is the equivalent of saying – “I am Brahmasmi’.” And that is great, because now the ego will be forced to be it’s own God. Wonderful.

We are not pure atheists, we have Gods. Even the atheist believes in some power outside of himself. He may not believe in the church or in the temple, but he believes in the judiciary, he believes in the police, he believes in the ideas, he believes in this and that. He does believe in something outside of himself. Right? So he does have a God. But he would refuse to have a Real god.

“I won’t go that far away, but I will go some distance.”

Real Atheism would be Spirituality, non-dual.

Real Atheism would be Advait.

And Real Theism would be Bhakti, devotional duality.

Neither do we live in Non-duality, now do we live in Bhakti. We are the in-betweeners. Therefore Guru Sahib says,

vadẖīah hath ḏalāl ke musfī eh karei.
The hands of the go-between are cut off; this is the Lord’s justice.

The two extremes are both saved, the in-betweeners are punished. Unfortunately, most of us are just in-betweeners.

Is it clear?

———————————————————————————————————

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Who is the thief? What is it to cut off his hands? || Acharya Prashant,on Guru Granth Sahib(2019)

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