Trisna: Fire of Desire for Maya

Guru Nanak Sahib defines Trisna as an emotional condition in one’s life that is produced while enticing desires for Maya. Once trapped by Trisna, one cannot see the reality:-

– ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਘਰ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ (Sri Raag M.1, GGS. 61-9).
The enticing desire for Maya leads people to become emotionally attached to their children, relatives, households and spouses.

– ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਰਾਚਿ ਤਤੁ ਨਹੀ ਬੀਨਾ ॥੩॥ (Raag Gauri M. 1, GGS. 225-18).
Trapped by desire, they cannot see reality. ||3||

Guru Angad Dev Ji adds that the whole world is deceived by Trisna of Maya and the only rescue is by contemplating on Gurmat Sabd:-

– ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਠਗਿਓ ਠਗਿ ਆਈਐ ਜਾਈਐ ॥ ਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੁਝਾਈਐ ॥੧੯॥ (Raag Maajh M. 2, GGS. 147-9).
The whole world is deceived by deception, coming and going in reincarnation. Within the body is the fire of desire; through the Word of the Shabad, it is quenched. ||19||

Guru Amar Das Ji characterizes Trisna as a terrible mental disease caused by the desire of Maya, which makes us to forget about death and Naam. He further adds that the disease of Trisna cuts across all ages of human-beings and it results in ‘Duality’. However, It can be erased by becoming a Gurmukh on contemplating on Gurbani, which helps one to lose self conceit (EGO) leading to ‘Liv and Sehaj Avastha’:-

– ਏਹ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਲਗਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਮਨਹੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ॥ ਵੇਦਾ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਤਮੁ ਸੋ ਸੁਣਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ॥ (Raag Raamkali M. 3, GGS. 919-14).
They contract this terrible disease of desire, and in their minds, they forget about dying. In the Vedas, the ultimate objective is the Naam, the Name of the Lord; but they do not hear this, and they wander around like demons.

– ਕਿਆ ਗਭਰੂ ਕਿਆ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੇ ਰਤਿਆ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਹੋਏ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ (Raag Sorath M. 3, GGS. 649-18).
Whether he is young or old, the self-willed manmukh cannot escape hunger and thirst. The Gurmukhs are imbued with the Word of the Shabad; they are at peace, having lost their self-conceit.

ਅੰਦਰੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਸੰਤੋਖਿਆ ਫਿਰਿ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਆਇ ॥
They are satisfied and satiated within; they never feel hungry again.

– ਇਹੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਮਿਟੀ ਕਾ ਪੁਤਲਾ ਜੋਗੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ (Raag Raamkali M. 3, GGS. 909-2).
This world is a puppet of clay, Yogi; the terrible disease, the desire for Maya is in it.

ਅਨੇਕ ਜਤਨ ਭੇਖ ਕਰੇ ਜੋਗੀ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥੯॥
By taking all sorts of efforts, and wearing religious robes, Yogi, this disease cannot be cured. ||9||

ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਉਖਧੁ ਹੈ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਬੂਝੈ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸੋ ਪਾਏ ॥੧੦॥
The Name of the Lord is the medicine, Yogi; the Lord enshrines it in the mind.

– ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ (Raag Raamkali M. 3, GGS. 921-4).
This is Maya, by which the Lord is forgotten; emotional attachment and love of duality well up.

ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਨੀ ਵਿਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨੯॥
Says Nanak, by Guru’s Grace, those who enshrine love for the Lord find Him, in the midst of Maya. ||29||

Guru Arjan Dev Ji Cautions the kings an landlords about their burning entanglement with Trisna of Maya. In the end only Divine Union can help:-

ਭੂਮੀਆ ਭੂਮਿ ਊਪਰਿ ਨਿਤ ਲੁਝੈ ॥ ਛੋਡਿ ਚਲੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਨਹੀ ਬੁਝੈ ॥੨॥ (Raag Gauri M. 5, GGS, 188-14).
The landlord fights over his land each day. He shall have to leave it in the end, and yet his desire is still not satisfied. ||2||

ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਨਾਹੀ ਛੁਟਕਾਰਾ ॥੩॥੪੪॥੧੧੩॥
Says Nanak, this is the essence of Truth: His Love brings eternal peace;

– ਵਡੇ ਵਡੇ ਰਾਜਨ ਅਰੁ ਭੂਮਨ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਨ ਬੂਝੀ ॥ ਲਪਟਿ ਰਹੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਰੰਗ ਮਾਤੇ ਲੋਚਨ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਸੂਝੀ ॥੧॥ (Raag Dhanaasree M. 5, GGS. 672-3).
The desires of the greatest of the great kings and landlords cannot be satisfied. They remain engrossed in Maya, intoxicated with the pleasures of their wealth; their eyes see nothing else at all. ||1||

ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਨ ਹੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਵਕੁ ਈਧਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਧ੍ਰਾਪੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਹਾ ਅਘਾਈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
No one has ever found satisfaction in sin and corruption. The flame is not satisfied by more fuel; how can one be satisfied without the Lord? ||Pause||

ਦਿਨੁ ਦਿਨੁ ਕਰਤ ਭੋਜਨ ਬਹੁ ਬਿੰਜਨ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭੂਖਾ ॥ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੈ ਸੁਆਨ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਟਾ ਘੋਖਾ ॥੨॥
Day after day, he eats his meals with many different foods, but his hunger is not eradicated. He runs around like a dog, searching in the four directions. ||2||

ਕਾਮਵੰਤ ਕਾਮੀ ਬਹੁ ਨਾਰੀ ਪਰ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਜੋਹ ਨ ਚੂਕੈ ॥ ਦਿਨ ਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਕਰੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਪੈ ਸੋਗ ਲੋਭ ਮਹਿ ਸੂਕੈ ॥੩॥
The lustful, lecherous man desires many women, and he never stops peeking into the homes of others. Day after day, he commits adultery again and again, and then he regrets his actions; he wastes away in misery and greed. ||3||

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਪਾਰ ਅਮੋਲਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਨਿਧਾਨਾ ॥ ਸੂਖੁ ਸਹਜੁ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਸੰਤਨ ਕੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੪॥੬॥
The Name of the Lord, Har, Har, is incomparable and priceless; it is the treasure of Ambrosial Nectar. The Saints abide in peace, poise and bliss; O Nanak, through the Guru, this is known. ||4||6||

Kabir Ji says that the thirst for Trisna produces hunger for all kinds of doubts about Waheguru:-

– ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਖਾ ਭੂਖ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਨਾਹਿ ਬੀਚਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ॥ (Raag Gauri Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 335-15).
The thirst of desire and the hunger of doubt afflict you; you do not contemplate the Lord in your heart.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji teaches us that by taking human form gives us a chance to meet with Waheguru (i. e. the “Gobind Millan” is the goal of life). Guru Ji stresses that there is no gain in squandering the life in loving pursuits of Maya.Guru Ji further tells that nothing else will work in achieving the goal of life except the contemplation on Naam. :-

– ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ (Raag Asa M. 5, GGS. 12-6).
This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet the Lord of the Universe.

ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥
Nothing else will work. Join the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; vibrate and meditate on the Jewel of the Naam. ||1||

ਸਰੰਜਾਮਿ ਲਾਗੁ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਨ ਕੈ ॥ ਜਨਮੁ ਬ੍ਰਿਥਾ ਜਾਤ ਰੰਗਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Make every effort to cross over this terrifying world-ocean. You are squandering this life uselessly in the love of Maya. ||1||Pause||

– ਲਾਖ ਕੋਟਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਕੇ ਬਿੰਜਨ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਨ ਬੂਝੀ ॥ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਕੋਟਿ ਉਜੀਆਰਾ ਬਸਤੁ ਅਗੋਚਰ ਸੂਝੀ ॥੩॥ (Raag Goojree M. 5, GGS. 497-5).
Through corruption, one may obtain thousands and millions of enjoyments, but even so, his desires are not satisfied through them. Remembering the Naam, the Name of the Lord, millions of lights appear, and the incomprehensible is understood. ||3||

Guru Teg Bahadur Ji characterises Trishna as a bondage that leads one in to delusion causing loss of ‘Spiritual Wisdom’ which derives him/her away from Waheguru. Only Virle overcome this menace and draw closer to Waheguru:-

– ਪੂਤ ਮੀਤ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਮਤਾ ਸਿਉ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਆਪੁ ਬੰਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਝੂਠੋ ਇਹੁ ਜਗ ਦੇਖਿ ਤਾਸਿ ਉਠਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥੧॥ (Raag Gauri M. 9, GGS. 219-9).
In this way, they bind themselves to children, friends, Maya and possessiveness.Like the deer’s delusion, this world is false; and yet, beholding it, they chase after it. ||1||

ਭੁਗਤਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਾ ਕਾਰਨੁ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਮੂੜ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਿਸਰਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੋਟਨ ਮੈ ਕੋਊ ਭਜਨੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥੩॥
Our Lord and Master is the source of pleasures and liberation; and yet, the fool forgets Him. O servant Nanak, among millions, there is scarcely anyone who attains the Lord’s meditation. ||2||3||
ਸਾਧੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਗਹਿਓ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਚੰਚਲ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਯਾ ਤੇ ਥਿਰੁ ਨ ਰਹਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (Raag Gauri M. 9, GGS. 219-11).
Holy Saadhus: this mind cannot be restrained. Fickle desires dwell with it, and so it cannot remain steady. ||1||Pause||

ਕਠਨ ਕਰੋਧ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਕੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜਿਹ ਸੁਧਿ ਸਭ ਬਿਸਰਾਈ ॥ ਰਤਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੀਨਾ ਤਾ ਸਿਉ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਬਸਾਈ ॥੧॥
The heart is filled with anger and violence, which cause all sense to be forgotten. The jewel of spiritual wisdom has been taken away from everyone; nothing can withstand it. ||1||

The Various Sikh Gurus are unanimous that an Absence of Trisna draws one closer to Divinity:-

1. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਰੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਚੂਕਾ ਚਿਤਵਤ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮਾ ॥੩॥ (Raag Kaydaaraa: Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1123-5).
Thirst and desire for Maya and doubt depart, remembering the Lord, the Supreme Soul. ||3||

2. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਥਕੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥ (Raag Maaroo M. 1, 1091-9).
Desire is exhausted, O Nanak, only when the mind is imbued with the Name.

3. . ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ (Raag Sarang M. 3, GGS. 1250-2).
There is no thirst or desire at all, when the Naam comes to dwell in the mind.

4. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਬੁਝੀ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਪਾਈ ਹਰਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਇਬਾ ॥੨॥ (Raag Jaitsri M. 4, GGS. 697-11).
The fire of desire within them is quenched, and they find peace; they sing the Glorious Praises of the Immaculate Lord. ||2||

5. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬੁਝੀ ਪੂਰਨ ਸਭ ਆਸਾ ਚੂਕੇ ਸੋਗ ਸੰਤਾਪ ॥ (Raag Sarang M. 5, GGS. 1223-15).
My thirst is quenched, and my hopes have all been fulfilled; my sorrows and sufferings are over.

6. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਸਕਲ ਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਨਿਜ ਸੁਖ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ (Raag Basant M. 9, GGS. 1186-16).
My mind was rid of all its desires, and I was absorbed in the peace of my own inner being. ||2||

The Gurmat way out in getting rid of Trisna as suggested by Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Arjan Dev Ji is: 1. Contemplation on Gur-Sabd; and 2. Naam Japna as given below:-

1. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥ (Raag Gauri Guaarayree M. 1, GGS. 222-14).
The fire of desire is quenched by the Word of the Shabad.

2. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਰਾਚਿ ਨ ਪਰ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਵਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਨਾਮਿ ਬੁਝਾਈ ॥ (Raag Sorath M. 1, GGS. 634-8).
I do not enter the houses of strangers, engrossed in desire. The Naam, the Name of the Lord, has satisfied my desires.

3. ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬੁਝੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਮਿ ॥ (Raag Dhanaasree M. 5, GGS. 682-19).
Desire is quenched, through the Lord’s Name.

Above all the fire of Trisna is quenched by the grace/nadr/kirpa of Waheguru when one draws closer to sanctuary of Waheguru.

ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਧਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਰਣਾਈ ॥੫॥੧॥੫੫॥ (Raag Dhanaasree M. 5, GGS. 684-3).
God Himself quenches the fires of desire. O Nanak, in God’s Sanctuary, one is saved. ||5||1||55||


Kirpal Singh

Wellington, New Zealand

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