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Haumai (Punjabi: ਹਉਮੈ) is the concept of self-centeredness (egoism or Ahankar) in Sikhism.[1] This concept was taught by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, as the source of five evils: lust, covetousness, wrath, pride and attachment.[2] According to Sikh Gurus teachings, it is Haumai that leads to endless cycles of transmigration (rebirth), and makes a person "manmukh".[1][3] They state that one must turn away from Haumai, become a "gurmukh" and follow the path of the Guru to receive God's grace.[1][4]

In Sikhism, the Haumai can only be overcome through meditation on God’s name (Naam), Simran and Sewa. It is a combination of the words Hau (ਹਉ) meaning "I" and Mai (ਮੈ) meaning "me".

The opposite of Haumai is humility (or Nimrata), which is considered a virtue in Sikhism. Selfless service called Seva, and complete submission to Waheguru, or God is the Sikh path to liberation.[1]

Related concepts[edit]

The concept of destructive self-centeredness and covetous attachment, similar to Haumai in Sikhism, is important in other Indian religions. In Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it is referred to as "Ahankar (अहङ्कार), Ahammana (अहम्मान), Ahammati (अहम्मति), Mamatta (ममता) and Maminkāra.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d W. Owen Cole; Piara Singh Sambhi (2005). A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism: Sikh Religion and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-135-79760-7. 
  2. ^ Michael L. Hadley (2001). The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice. State University of New York Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-7914-4851-9. 
  3. ^ W.O. Cole; Piara Singh Sambhi (2016). Sikhism and Christianity: A Comparative Study. Springer. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-1-349-23049-5. 
  4. ^ W.H. McLeod (2004). Sikhs and Sikhism: Comprising Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, Early Sikh Tradition, The Evolution of the Sikh Community, Who is a Sikh?. Oxford University Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-19-566892-6. 
  5. ^ Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7. 
  6. ^ Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1990). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford University Press.