ਤੈਸੇ ਮੁਖ ਮਧ ਬਾਣੀ ਬਸਤ ਨ ਕੋਊ ਲਖੈ, ਬੋਲੀਐ ਬਿਚਾਰ, ਗੁਰਮਤਿ, ਗੁਨ ਗਾਥ ਜੀ ॥630॥
taisse mukh madh baannee basth na ko-oo lakhai
boleeai bichaar, gurmat, gun gaathh jee ||630||
"So long as our thoughts remain within our mind or mouth, they are fine but once our thoughts come out in form of words, they cant be controlled, so speak after thinking, speak according to Gurmat and speak only good qualities (of others)."
(Bhai Gurdas Ji)
Growing up, most people are surrounded by people at school who swear, use bad language and use slang. Even though some may try to avoid speaking such profanity, the words their ears are exposed to sadly stick in one's mind. From a young age I have always found swear words as disgusting, and swearing with Guru's kirpaa was not part of my daily language.
When I was younger and not yet an Amritdhari, I thought it was unthinkable for an Amritdhari to swear or use bad language. Why? Because they love Guru Ji and those that love Guru Ji try to behave in the way Guru Ji showed and expects from us. However, alarmingly I am seeing more and more Amritdharis use very lowly language like "sh*t", "f**k", "p*ss", "tw*t" etc. It makes you wonder, does this reflect the language and speech of a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh Ji?
Bad language, regardless of the level of rudeness or insult, is a product of Maya. A lack of patience, poor coping skills, constant complaining, not thinking before speaking, attachments to dialogue in movies or dramas, and copying negative behaviour of friends or people on the streets can make people swear. People can use bad language either in anger (krodh) or ego (hankaar). Gurbani says:
ਸਲੋਕ ਮ: ੩ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍ੀ ਓਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥
ਥਾਉ ਕੁਥਾਉ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥
ਦਰਗਹ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਓਥੈ ਹੋਹਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥
ਆਪੇ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਈਅਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਆਪਿ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥੧॥
"Salok, Third Nanak: The self-willed manmukhs do not even know how to speak. They are filled with sexual desire, anger and egotism. They do not know the difference between good and bad; they constantly think of corruption. In the Vaheguru's Court, they are called to account, and they are judged to be false. He Himself creates the Universe. He Himself contemplates it. O Nanak, whom should we tell? The True Lord is permeating and pervading all. ||1||"
(Saarang M:3, 1248)
Gurbani clearly states that speaking foul language and negatively, will have an effect on one's mind and body. When we speak, we let out vibrations. According to the words we speak and the tone we speak we let out negative or positive vibrations. It is a fact that those who swear, use bad language or speak negatively let out negative vibrations in the environment surrounding them. The negativity and anger they speak effects the tranquillity and harmony of their mind, which then entails negative effects caused on the physical body as a result of stress and tension.
ਅਸੀ ਬੋਲਵਿਗਾੜ ਵਿਗਾੜਹ ਬੋਲ ||
asee bolvigaarr vigaarreh bol ||
"We are foul-mouthed; we spoil everything with our foul words."
(Siree M:1, 25)
ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਵਣੀ ਬਹੁ ਵਧਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ਰਾਮ ||
koorr bol bikh khaavanee bahu vadhhehi vikaaraa raam ||
"Speaking falsehood, one eats poison, and the evil within increases greatly."
(Vaddhans M:3, 570)
ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਇ ||
ਫਿਕੋ ਫਿਕਾ ਸਦੀਐ ਫਿਕੇ ਫਿਕੀ ਸੋਇ ||
ਫਿਕਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਸਟੀਐ ਮੁਹਿ ਥੁਕਾ ਫਿਕੇ ਪਾਇ ||
ਫਿਕਾ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਪਾਣਾ ਲਹੈ ਸਜਾਇ ||੧||
naanak fikkai boliai than man fikkaa hoe ||
fikko fikkaa sadheeai fikke fikkee soe ||
fikaa dargeh satteeai muhi thhukaa fikke paae ||
fikaa moorakh aakheeai paanaa lehai sajaae ||1||
"O Nanak, speaking insipid words, the body and mind become insipid. He is called the most insipid of the insipid; the most insipid of the insipid is his reputation. The insipid person is discarded in the Court of the Lord, and the insipid one's face is spat upon. The insipid one is called a fool; he is beaten with shoes in punishment. ||1||"
(Aasa M:1, 473)
As a Sikh we aim to base our behaviour and actions on the perfect role model behaviour shown by the Gurus. If we take the example of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, his two elder sons were martyred in the battlefield fighting against the Mughal tyranny, and his two younger sons were cold-heartedly bricked alive by the Mughal regime. However, Guru Ji didn't swear or curse Aurangzeb. Guru Gobind Singh Ji didn't get angry or hot-headed. Instead of cursing, swearing and getting angry, Guru Ji wrote the 'Zafarnaama', literally meaning, the 'Letter of Victory'. Guru Ji expressed the truth of the situation in the letter and the horrific crimes that Aurangzeb had committed, however the letter had a tone of triumph, truth, and honour. For this reason, when Aurangzeb heard the letter, he died of shock.
Our language reflects our mind. If we want to change our foul language and vulgar use of words, then in accordance to Gurbani, we have to connect back to the Guru. When we give the Guru space in ourselves, then those words will come out that are willed by the Guru. Gurbani says:
ਸਚੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਜਾ ਸਚਿ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ ||
sach baanee sach shabad hai jaa sach dhharre piaar ||
"When you love the Truth, your words are true; they reflect the True Word of the Shabad."
(Siree Raag M:3, 33)
Gurbani says that words are so powerful. Words have the power to make or break relationships. The Word (Shabad) can take us to Sachkhand, and words (spoken in ego) can take us to Hell (separated from Vaheguru). By beginning to speak like Guru Ji would speak, will surely build love between us and Guru Ji, and hopefully change our mind to become Guru-centred. Gurbani says:
ਗੰਢੁ ਪਰੀਤੀ ਮਿਠੇ ਬੋਲ||
gandd(h) pareethee mitthe bol ||
"There is a bond between love and words of sweetness."
(Maajh M:1, 143)
ਬਈਅਰਿ ਬੋਲੈ ਮੀਠੁਲੀ ਭਾਈ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਪਿਰ ਭਾਇ ||
be-eear bolai meet(h)ulee bhaaee saach kehai pir bhaae ||
"O brothers! That soul-bride, who talks sweetly and speaks the Truth, becomes pleasing to her Lord-Husband."
(Soratth M:1, 637)