MANMUKH, the ego guided person, as opposed to gurmukh`who is Guru guided. The gurmukhmanmukh bipolarity represents the personality typology employed in the Sikh sacred literature. Basically it opposes and contrasts the ocentric and egocentric personality types. The word manmukh is compounded of man (mind, lower self) and mukh (face): thus one who has his face towards his own mind or ego is egocentric.
`The gurmukh keeps his face towards the Guru for guidance while the manmukh turns away from himgurmukhi sanmukhu manmukhi vemukhid” (GG, l3l).Thus is a manmukh characterised in another verse: “This is of the nature of a manmukh that he cherishes not (the Lord`s) Name and reflects not on (His) Word” (GG, 509). While the gurmukh ever lives in the presence of God, the manmukh remains oblivious of Him. “The manmukh depends upon his own intelligence and calculations (not realizing that) whatever happens is by God`s Will manmukhi ganat ganavam karatd kare su hoi” (GG,60).
His own calculations put him into kannic bondage, for he becomes a slave to his own impulses. Anger and avarice, lust and delusion, arrogance and passion tighten their grip on him. He obeys his own impulses refusing to reckon any law outside of himself. He never cares to listen to the word of the Guru or the advice of the holy.”He is lost in the wilderness of his own delusions and passions manmukhi bharami bhavai bebani” (GG, 941). Forgetting the Giver, that is God, he chases material goods all the time. The longer he remains under the sway of his baser self (man), the farther he drifts from God`s grace.
The manmukh is compared to a stone which, even if kept in water for long, remains unsoaked at heart: “manmukh patharu sailu hai dhrigu jivanu phika. jal mahi keta rakhiai abh antari suka” (GG, 419). He allows his senses to be ruled by his passions: his egoity stands between him and the Lord. Guru Nanak applied the term manmukh to those persons who were egoridden materialistic, and hypocritical. They pose to be religious, but are in reality proud and evilminded.His successor Gurus, besides the above typology, applied the term to persons who calumniated the Guru, opposed his teachings and doctrines and kept away from the sangat (fellowship of the holy).
Bhai Gurdas had the Gurus` calumniators in mind when he discoursed on manmukhs in his Vars. After the institution of the Khalsa, those kesadharis who did not receive pahul were, in a sense, considered to be manmukhs like those who took pahul but then did not abide by stipulated conduct. Apart from this latter day usage, the term in its original conceptual signification refers to one who believes in duality (dvaitbhava) and who led by his self will refuses the Guru`s guidance and wantonly indulges his impulses. He loves the gifts but forgets the Giver.
1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
2. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
3. Ishar Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Delhi, 1985
4. Jagjit Singh, Perspectives on Sikh Studies. Delhi, 1985
5. Khazan Singh, History and Philosophy of Sikh Religion. Patiala, 1964
6. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990
7. Avtar Singh, Ethics of the Sikhs. Paliala, 1970