High morale or high spirits is opposite of low morale or depression. Gurbani has a simple practical message on how to remain satisfied and free of anxiety to be in high spirits. This covers both the mundane and spiritual aspects of life.

ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਵਦਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭੁੰਚੁ ॥ ਧਿਆਇਦਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਮਿਲੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਤਰੀ ਚਿੰਤ ॥੧॥

Uḏam kareḏi▫ā jī▫o ṯūʼn kamāvḏi▫ā sukẖ bẖuncẖ 

Ḏẖi▫ā▫iḏi▫āṯūʼn parabẖū mil Nānak uṯrī cẖinṯ ||1|| M: 5, p 522

O human being, you should (udam-u kareydia = making effort) work (jeeo = live) for livelihood, (kamaavdia) earn to (bhunch-u) enjoy (sukh-u) comfort.

(Dhiaaiadia) pay attention to Divine commands for (too’n) you to (mil-u = meet) unite with (prabhoo) the Master; your (chint) anxiety - about what may happen, shall (utree = removed) end. 1.

Conformance to Naam/natural laws is to stick to rules. Here is what happens when one conforms to Naam/Divine commands.

ਸਾਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਭੁਖਾ ਸਭਿ ਗਵਾਈਆ ॥

Sācẖ nām aḏẖār merā jin bẖukẖā sabẖ gavā▫ī▫ā. 

M:3, p 917 (Anand Sahib Pauuri 4).

It is making (naam-u) commands of (saachaa) the Eternal as (meyra) my (aadhaaro) mainstay - the sustenance for life, (jin-i) which has (gavaaeeaa = lost) enabled to be rid of (sabh-i) all (bhukhaa) hunger, i.e. has fulfilled all aspirations.

ਕਰਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਸੁਖ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ਵਸਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਛਾ ਸਭਿ ਪੁਜਾਈਆ ॥ 

Kar sāʼnṯ sukẖ man ā▫e vasi▫ā jin icẖẖā sabẖ pujā▫ī▫ā.  Saḏā kurbāṇ kīṯā gurū vitahu jis ḏī▫ā ehi vaḏi▫ā▫ī▫ā.  

It is conformance to Naam (jin-i) which (pujaaeeaa) fulfilled (sabh-i) all (ichhaa) wishes; – with the guru’s grace/guidance – awareness of Naam has (kar-i) created (saant-i) peace and (sukh) comfort to (aaey) come and (vasiaa) abide (man-i) in the mind.

Major contributory factors for high morale are both personal and interpersonal. Let us take Gurbani guidance on them.

Personal Factors

1. Good health - by regular life-routine, balanced food and exercise.

The fourth Guru says:

ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਭਜੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭਿ ਅਰਥਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਬਿਰਥਾ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Mere man bẖaj rām nām sabẖ arthā.  Gur pūrai har nām driṛ▫ā▫i▫ā bin nāvai jīvan birthā. Rahā▫o.  M: 4, p 696.

O (meyrey) my (man) mind, (bhaj-u) invoke (naam-u) Naam/Divine commands, i.e. natural laws of (raam) the all-pervasive Master; this applies for (sabh-i) all (artha) purposes, i.e. everything is smoothly accomplished if one goes by the rules.

(Poorai) the perfect (gur) guru (drirraaia) creates firm understanding of, and commitment to, Naam; otherwise (jeevan-u) human birth is (birtha) wasted, i.e. by not doing what one is required to – but engaging in pursuit of short term gains/pleasures or in rituals and different forms of worship.

Japji Paurri 34 says:

ਰਾਤੀ ਰੁਤੀ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਪਵਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ॥

Rāṯī ruṯī thiṯī vār.   Pavaṇ pāṇī agnī pāṯāl.   Ŧis vicẖ ḏẖarṯī thāp rakẖī ḏẖaram sāl.  

The Creator has created day, (raati) night, (ruti) seasons, (thitee) phases of the moon and (vaar) days of the week.

The Creator created (pavan) air, (paani) water, (agni) fire and (paataal) lower regions – which are governed by Divine commands/the cosmic laws

(Vich-i) in (tis-u) that set up the Creator has (thaap-i = installed, rakhi = kept) nominated (dharti = earth) the world as (saal) place for (dharam) performing duties of their roles by the creatures.

ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਭਈ ਸਚੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਖਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਰਸਨਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ॥੧॥

Ŧaripaṯ bẖaī sacẖ bẖojan kẖāiā.  Man ṯan rasnā nām ḏẖiaiā. ||1|| M: 5, p 684

The body (bhaee) is (tripat-i) satiated by (khaaiaa) eating (sach-u = true) the right (bhojan-u) food.

The need of the soul is satisfied by (dhiaaiaa) paying attention to (naam-u) Divine virtues and commands and to practice them (man-i = in mind) in thought, (tan-i = body) in deed and in (rasna = tongue) speech/word. 1.

We should lead our lives in harmony with the system in nature made by the Creator. This will leave no time to be at a loss to know what to do. Examples of regular nature are the sun, moon, days, nights, seasons and rains. The air, water and fire ever work to support life. Day, night and seasons guide activities. Therefore, the first principle is to be regular. This helps in all spheres including good health. The saying "Early to bed and early to rise; make a man healthy, wealthy and wise" is based on this.

2. Economic wellbeing using fair means to earn and save, but without obsession with amassing wealth.

ਜਿਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਤਿਸੈ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਚਿੰਤਾ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਥੋਰੀ ਸੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਭ੍ਰਮੰਤਾ ॥ ਦੁਹੂ ਬਿਵਸਥਾ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਸੋਈ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਭਾਲੀਐ ॥੧॥

Jis garihi bahuṯ ṯisai garihi cẖinṯā.  Jis garihi thorī so firai bẖarmanṯā.  Ḏuhū bivasthā ṯe jo mukṯā so▫ī suhelā bẖālī▫ai. ||1||  

 M: 5, p 1019.

One (jis-u = whose, grih-i = house) who has (bahut-u) excessive wealth, (tisai) that person has (chinta) anxiety – for having still more while fearing for its safety - in (grih-i = house) mind. One who has (thoree) little wealth (s-u) that person (phirai = goes about) keeps (bhramantaa = on the move) running around for livelihood.

One who is (mukta) free (tey) from (duhoo) these two (bivastha) states is (suheyla) in comfort/peace; we should (bhaaleeai = search) look for company of (soee) such a person. 1.

For those who earn using unfair means:

ਲੈਦਾ ਬਦ ਦੁਆਇ ਤੂੰ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਇਕਤ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਤੂੰ ਪਤੀਆਇਦਾ ਸੋ ਸਣੁ ਤੁਝੈ ਅਨਿਤ ॥ 

Laiḏā baḏ ḏu▫ā▫e ṯūʼn mā▫i▫ā karahi ikaṯ   Jis no ṯūʼn paṯī▫ā▫iḏā so saṇ ṯujẖai aniṯ. M: 5, p 42.

(Too) you (laida) get (bad = negative, duaaey = prayer) curses of people for (karah-i = make, ikat = amass) amassing (maaiaa) wealth by unfair means.

However, those (jis no) whom, i.e. the family, (too) you try to (pateeaaida) please, are (anit = impermanent) perishable (san-u) along-with (tujh) you, i.e. you and they will die leaving all these behind.

3. Contentment is being satisfied. Some people criticize it as submitting to anything. No, it means putting in best methodical effort, and not exult on success or be sorrowful on failure. The results should cause one learn and improve. Leave the results to God, Kabir Ji says:

ਬੰਦੇ ਬੰਦਗੀ ਇਕਤੀਆਰ ॥   ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਰੋਸੁ ਧਰਉ ਕਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥  

Banḏe banḏagī ikṯī▫ār.   Sāhib ros ḏẖara▫o kė pi▫ār. ||1|| rahā▫o.

Kabir, p 338.

O (bandey) servant of the Almighty, in your (iktiaar) control is only (bandagi) to worship/obey.

Do not worry whether (sahib) the Master will (ros dharau) be annoyed or (piaar-u = love) pleased i.e. obey Divine commands without thinking of its fruits. 1.

(Rahaau) dwell on this and contemplate.

One should not expect to achieve anything without hard work. Sycophancy or using unfair means by pulling down competition is both demeaning and causes a guilty conscience. This lowers morale.

4. Not using unfair means to defeat competition or accept gratification.

ਹਕੁ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਉਸੁ ਸੂਅਰ ਉਸੁ ਗਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੀਰੁ ਹਾਮਾ ਤਾ ਭਰੇ ਜਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ਨ ਖਾਇ ॥

Hak parā▫i▫ā nānkā us sū▫ar us gā▫e.   Gur pīr hāmā ṯā bẖare jā murḏār na kẖā▫e. 

M: 1, p 141

(Naanka) O Nanak: Appropriating (praaiaa) others (hak-u) right is like (sooar) swine meat for (us-u = that) the Muslim and (gaaey) cow’s meat for (us-u = that) the Hindu - which are forbidden for them. The Hindu’s (gur) guru and the Muslim’s (peer) guru (bharey haama) vouches/approves (ta) only then (ja) if one (na khaaey = do not eat, murdaar-u = meat of dead animal which is unfit for eating) does not receive illegal gratification or misappropriates.

5. Not violating rules to remain free of anxiety. 

ਜਿਨਾ ਭਉ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਨਾਹਿ ਭਉ ਮੁਚੁ ਭਉ ਨਿਭਵਿਆਹ ॥ 

Jinā bẖa▫o ṯinĥ nāhi bẖa▫o mucẖ bẖa▫o nibẖvi▫āh.  M: 2, p 788.

Those (jinaa) who (bhau = fear) obey Divine commands – and laws of the land - (tinh) they (naah-i) have no (bhau) fear; but those (nibhviaah = without fear/respect) who do not obey Divine commands and laws of the land, have (much-u) much (bhau) fear, i.e. those who defy Divine commands are always apprehensive of consequences. They cannot be in high spirits.

Examples of these are defying traffic rules, making false statements, hiding income for tax, cheating, stealing and so on.

Guru Nanak says:

ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥

One reaps what one sows. Japji Paurri 20.

Examples of these are: Work hard to succeed. Respect and look after your parents so that your children learn to look after you in old age.

Do not be overambitious. This is one of the major causes for depression. One should work hard but not be psychologically affected by success or failure.

ਜੇ ਕੋਊ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਓਟ ਸਮਾਰੈ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਬਿਤੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ਵਰਤੈ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਬਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਹਾਰੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Je ko▫ū apunī ot samārai.  Jaisā biṯ ṯaisā ho▫e varṯai apunā bal nahī hārai. ||1|| M: 5, p 679 

(Jey) if (ko-oo) someone (samaarai) keeps in mind (apunee = own) his/her (ott = protection) strength.

S/he (hoey vartai = conducts) acts (taisa) according to (jaisa = as) what (bit-u = finances) resources s/he has; s/he does not (haarai) fail if s/he acts according to his/her (bal) strength.

5. Jealousy causes one's own suffering; one keeps burning in its fire and no one can help.

ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤਾਤਿ ਪਰਾਈ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਭਲਾ ॥ ਓਸ ਦੈ ਆਖਿਐ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਨਿਤ ਓਜਾੜੀ ਪੂਕਾਰੇ ਖਲਾ ॥
Jis anḏar ṯāṯ parā▫ī hovai ṯis ḏā kaḏe na hovī bẖalā. Os ḏai ākẖi▫ai ko▫ī na lagai niṯ ojāṛī pūkāre kẖalā. M: 4, p 308

(Jis-u) one whose (andar - inside) mind (hovai) has (taat-i) jealousy (paraai) for another, (bhalaa) good (kadey na) never (hovi) happens (da) for (tis) that person - the Creator and other people see him/her as vicious and do not help.

(Koee na) no one (lagai) acts according to what (os) that person (aakhiai) says) and s/he (nit) ever keeps (pookaarai) calling for help (khalaa) standing (ojaari) in wilderness i.e. no one keeps company with him/her. Such situations lower morale.

6. Accord between precept and practice, between word and deed. One who has this quality is ever at peace. On the other hand, discord between thought and word causes conflict situation and restlessness. This results in low morale. Examples are breach of trust, pretention, hypocrisy, friendship only for benefit. Farid Ji says:

ਦਿਲਹੁ ਮੁਹਬਤਿ ਜਿੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਸੇਈ ਸਚਿਆ ॥ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮਨਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਸਿ ਕਾਂਢੇ ਕਚਿਆ ॥੧॥

Ḏilahu muhabaṯ jinĥ se▫ī sacẖi▫ā Jinĥ man hor mukẖ hor sė kāʼndẖe kacẖi▫ā ||1|| Farid, p 488

(Seyee) only those (jinnh) who (muhabat-i) love (dilah-u) from the heart are (sachia = true) genuine in love.

(Jinh) those who have (hor-u = something else) one thing (man-i) in mind and (mukh-i = from mouth) say (hor-u) something else (s-i) they (kaaddhey = called) are known (kachia = raw, useless) false/counterfeit. 1.

7. Maintain physical fitness. Guru Nanak says:

ਫਿਟੁ ਇਵੇਹਾ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਇ ਵਧਾਇਆ ਪੇਟੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਭੋ ਦੁਸਮਨੁ ਹੇਤੁ ॥੨॥

Fit ivehā jīvi▫ā jiṯ kẖā▫e vaḏẖā▫i▫ā pet.  Nānak sacẖe nām viṇ sabẖo ḏusman heṯ. ||2|| 

M: 1, p 790.

(Phitt-u) accursed is (iveyha) such (jeeviaa) life (jit-u) wherein one (khaaey) eats and (vadhaaiaa) enlarges (peytt-u) the stomach, i.e. develops a potbelly spoiling health.

Says Guru Nanak: (Heyt-u) love of (sabho) all other things (vin-u) without practice of (naam) virtues and commands (sachey) of the Eternal, becomes enemy, i.e. cause of suffering. 2.

Interpersonal Harmony

Most interpersonal issues arise because of vanity. One does not examine the self but finds faults with others

ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਮੂੜਾ ਅਵਰਾ ਆਖਿ ਦੁਖਾਏ ॥ ਮੁੰਢੈ ਦੀ ਖਸਲਤਿ ਨ ਗਈਆ ਅੰਧੇ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਏ ॥

Mėhlā 3.  Āpṇā āp na pacẖẖāṇai mūṛā avrā ākẖ ḏukẖā▫e.  

Mundẖai ḏī kẖaslaṯ na ga▫ī▫ā anḏẖe vicẖẖuṛ cẖotā kẖā▫e.  

 M: 3, p 549.

A (moorraa = foolish) self-willed person – who does not follow the guru to obey God - cannot (pachaanai = recognize) understand (aapna aap-u) the self, i.e. does not recognize his/her own shortcomings but (dukhaaey) hurts (avra) others (aakh-i = by saying) by his/her comments.

His/her (munddhai di = of roots) innate (khaslat = quality) nature formed by past deeds and experiences (na gaeeaa) does not leave him/her. Such a person (andhey = blind) is blinded by temptations of the world-play and remains (vichhurr-i) separated from, i.e. does not attain union with, the Almighty; his/her soul (chotta khaaey = receives hits) is punished – by denial of union with the Creator and being sent for reincarnation. This is the cause of restless-ness and suffering.

Guru Nanak says:

ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਫਿਕੋ ਫਿਕਾ ਸਦੀਐ ਫਿਕੇ ਫਿਕੀ ਸੋਇ ॥

Nānak fikai boli▫ai ṯan man fikā ho▫e Fiko fikā saḏī▫ai fike fikī so▫e. M: 1, p 473.

(Slok M: 1) prologue by the first Guru Nanak tells himself, and every one: (Boleeai) by speaking (phikai) arrogantly, both (tan-u) the body and (man-u) mind (hoey) become (phika) insipid, i.e. thoughts and deeds become devoid of goodness.

 (Phikey) an arrogant person gets (phiki) adverse (soey) reputation and is (sadeeai = called) looked at as (phiko phika = arrogant) not despicable, by


Fidelity in marriage

ਪਲਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲੋ ਆਕ ਨੀਮ ਕੋ ਤੂੰਮਰੁ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਸੰਗੁ ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਸਿਉ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੀ ਇਹੁ ਪਰ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ॥੨॥

Palak ḏarisat ḏekẖ bẖūlo āk nīm ko ṯūʼnmar.Jaisā sang bisīar sio hai re ṯaiso hī ih par garihu. ||2|| M: 5, p 403

One is (bhoolo) misled/attracted by (palak dristt-i) a momentary look at objects of temptation, like (aak) milkweed, Neem and (too’nmar) Tumma fruits look attractive, but they are bitter.

Similarly (jaisa hai) as is (sang-u) the company (siau) with (biseear) a snake, (taiso hi) so is it with (par) another’s (grih-u = house) wife – both are poisonous. 2.

 Harmony in married life

ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥

Ḏẖan pir ehi na ākẖī▫an bahan ikṯẖe ho▫e.  Ėk joṯ ḏu▫e mūrṯī ḏẖan pir kahī▫ai so▫e. ||3|| M: 3, p 788.

(Ih-i = these) a couple cannot be (aakheeai) called (dhan) wife and (pir-u) husband if they just (bahan-i = sit) live (ikatthey hoey) together.

 (Soey) only those (kaheeai) can be called (dhan) wife and (pir-u) husband who having (duey-i) two (moorti = forms) bodies have (eyk) one (jot-i) spirit, i.e. only that person can be called a devotee who identifies the self with virtues and commands of the Almighty. 3.

Sukhmani Sahib says:

ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ 

Jab ḏẖārai ko▫ū bairī mīṯ. Ŧab lag nihcẖal nāhī cẖīṯ.  M: 5, p 278.

(Jab) when a person (dhaarai) makes (ko-oo) some as friends and others (bairi) enemies, i.e. becomes part of conflicts.

(Tab lag-u) until then his/her (cheet-u) mind cannot be (nihchal-u = unshakable) at peace.

Prescription for interpersonal harmony

ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਜੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਨੀਚਾ ॥ਸੋਊ ਗਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਚਾ ॥
Āpas ka▫o jo jāṇai nīcẖā. So▫ū ganī▫ai sabẖ ṯe ūcẖā.

One who (jaanai) considers (aapas kau) him/her-self to be (neecha) lowly,
(so-oo) that person (ganeeai) is counted (oocha) higher (sabh tey) than all.

ਜਾ ਕਾ ਮਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਸਗਲ ਕੀ ਰੀਨਾ ॥ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਤਿਨਿ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਚੀਨਾ ॥
Jā kā man ho▫e sagal kī rīnā. Har har nām ṯin gẖat gẖat cẖīnā.

(Ja ka) one whose (man) mind (hoey) is (reena) the dust of the feet (sagal ki) of all, i.e. who is humble.
(Tin-i) that person conforms to (har-i = dispels evil) the purifying and (har-i = greens) rejuvenating (naam-u) Divine commands and (cheena = recognizes) sees God (ghatt-i ghatt-iin everyone i.e. such a person looks at all as manifestation of the Creator and shows respect to them.

ਮਨ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਤੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਮਿਟਾਨਾ ॥ਪੇਖੈ ਸਗਲ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ॥

Man apune ṯe burā mitānā. Pekẖai sagal sarisat sājnā. M: 5, p 26

One who (mittaana) removes (buraa) evil (tey) from (apney = own) from his/her (man) mind, s/he (peykhai) sees (sagal) the whole (sristt-i = universe) world as (saajna) friends and no adversaries. 

Here is final message from the fifth Guru:

ਚਿਤਿ ਜਿ ਚਿਤਵਿਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਸੁਖ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥੪॥

Cẖiṯ jė cẖiṯvi▫ā so mai pā▫i▫ā.  Nānak nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e sukẖ sabā▫i▫ā. ||4||  

M: 5, p 705.

(Slok-u) prologue.  (Ji) whatever I (chitviaa) think of (chit-i) in my mind, (mai) I (paaiaa) obtain fulfilment of (so) that.

This state of (sabaaia = all, sukh = peace) fulfilment of all wishes and perfect peace is attained (dhiaaey) by paying attention to (naam-u) Divine virtues and commands, says fifth Nanak. 4.

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