Illustration by Gurpreet Kaur @birkidy

From a Sikhi perspective, the people that we come into contact within our lives are our Sanjogees, souls that we are preordained to be within this human life.

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ
Mother, father, spouse, children, relatives, lovers, friends and siblings meet, having been associated in previous lives

The people closest to us, our spouse and children, parents and siblings form our dream team;the team that was supposed to come together to win the game of life; to merge back with Vaheguru the Creator, while we are living.

In this Game of Life there is an opposing team too, and this team has other ideas. The team of the punj chor (5 thieves) reside in our body. They cause conflict within our minds and families to distract us from our True purpose.

ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਵਸਹਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥
The mind is the king of the city of the body; the five sources of knowledge dwell within it. ||9||

The punj chor capture our Mind, who was supposed to be the king of the city of the body.

ਕਾਇਆ ਨਗਰੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਪੰਚ ਵਸਹਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੯॥
The mind is the king of the city of the body; the five sources of knowledge dwell within it. ||9||

And they intoxicate him and put him to sleep so that he has no awareness of what is happening in his kingdom. He cannot take care of his affairs.

The punj chor take over the duties of the kingdom. As long as the king of the body, the mind, is asleep he has no control over what takes place in his kingdom.

His advisors’ desire, anger, greed, attachment and ego take over the running of the kingdomand in doing so cause the mind to pass its days in the trade of falsehood…

When two individuals meet each other, and both their minds are asleep, who is it that is speaking to one another? Who is it that is responding? If the mind were awake it could take guidance from the aatma, our soul, that is like a river of compassion, wisdom, truth, courage…

But the mind being asleep has no choice but to let the punj chor take over the ruling of ourkingdom…and under their rule, there is nothing but enmity, hatred, slander, jealousy, and ultimately..conflict.

Gurbani explains that when we experience conflict, the conflict is not between our true selves(i.e our aatmas) but between our punj chor.

ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਪੰਚ ਕੋ ਝਗਰਾ ਝਗਰਤ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥
Says Kabeer, the five passions argue,
and in these arguments life is wasting away.

We get caught up in arguments within one another. We try to fight our corner, we try to prove that we are in the right and the other is in the wrong. We try to show that our point of view is superior. We struggle to make room for a point of view that is different from ours. This is how the punj chor lead us to show up in the world.

In this way the dream team, getting caught up in conflict, is not able to experience a harmonious relationship and fails to unite to achieve its True purpose.

If we can awaken our minds, everything changes

ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗਾਈ ॥੨੩॥
simar simar simar gur apunaa soiaa man jaagaiee ||23||
Remembering, remembering, remembering my Guru in meditation,my sleeping mind is awakened. ||23||

In this way the dream team, getting caught up in conflict, is not able to experience a harmonious relationship and fails to unite to achieve its True purpose.

An awakened mind sees the punj chor for what they are. A mind that comes to be awakened can patiently and compassionately ride the waves of anger, of greed and of ego that come, and radiate the qualities of truth, contentment and kindness, even when the sanjogee in front of them has a different point of view.

ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਏਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰ ॥
Practice truth, contentment and kindness;
this is the most excellent way of life.

If the Sanjogees can come together and learn to play the game of life, in such a way that they practice awakening their minds, then they can learn to live in harmony with each other and win the game of life.

ਹੋਇ ਇਕਤ੍ਰ ਮਿਲਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥
hoi ikatr milahu mere bhaiee dhubidhaa dhoor karahu liv lai ||
Come and join together, O my Siblings of Destiny; dispel your sense of duality and let yourselves be lovingly absorbed in the Lord.

ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਕੇ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਜੋੜੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੈਸਹੁ ਸਫਾ ਵਿਛਾਇ ॥੧॥
har naamai ke hovahu joRee gurmukh baisahu safaa vichhai ||1||
Let yourselves be joined to the Name of the Lord; become Gurmukh, spread out your mat, and sit down. ||1||

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਅੰਤ ਕਾਲਿ ਨਹ ਲਾਗੈ ਪੀਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
gurmukh naam japahu dhin raatee a(n)t kaal neh laagai peer ||1||rahaau ||
As Gurmukh, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, day and night. At the very last moment, you shall not have to suffer in pain. ||1||Pause||

ਇਨੑ ਬਿਧਿ ਪਾਸਾ ਢਾਲਹੁ ਬੀਰ ॥
ein(h) bidh paasaa ddaalahu beer ||
In this way, throw the dice, O brothers.

ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਤੁਮੑ ਚਉਪੜਿ ਸਾਜਹੁ ਸਤੁ ਕਰਹੁ ਤੁਮੑ ਸਾਰੀ ॥
karam dharam tum(h) chaupaR saajahu sat karahu tum(h) saaree||
Let righteous actions be your gameboard, and let the truth be your dice.

ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਜੀਤਹੁ ਐਸੀ ਖੇਲ ਹਰਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥੨॥
kaam karodh lobh moh jeetahu aaisee khel har piaaree ||2||
Conquer sexual desire, anger, greed and worldly attachment; only such a game as this is dear to the Lord. ||2||