Gursikhi in the
light of Gurmat, Guru's Wisdom, which is same as Divine
Wisdom, is a vast subject. It is the faith in the revealed
Word or Gurbani from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh and the
present Eternal Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. All along the
emphasis has been on the Word Guru and not the person of a
Guru. That is how all the successor Gurus were called
'Nanak', as the same spirit permeated and worked all along.
'Ika Bani Ik Gur Iko Shabad Vichar' [P. 646].
religion of almost five and a quarter century was born in
the land of five rivers, Punjab with Guru Nanak Dev Ji as
the founder Guru (1469 - 1539). Guru Nanak appointed his own
successor, Guru Angad Dev Ji to carry on his mission to
spread the Divine message in those days of chaotic religious
and socio-political conditions, to provide solace to the
general masses. This continued up to the tenth Guru, Guru
Gobind Singh Ji, who appointed Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the
living spirit of the ten Gurus, as the Eternal Guru at the
time of his jyoti jot in 1708.
The Gurus not
only preached the revealed Bani, but also lived every word
of it for almost two and half centuries. The teachings were
recorded by the Gurus and handed down to the progeny as the
holy scripture in its most authentic form. The religion
provided a whole life system to a new sovereign nation to
enjoy freedom of spirit, with its own religious centre, a
political headquarters, holy scripture and the national
flag. This brought about a revolution for the rebirth of man
as a saint-soldier.
IS A SIKH ?
founder Guru is known as Gur-Parmesar, deriving his light
and wisdom form Parbrahm-Parmesar, his followers are known
as Sikhs. Jagt-Guru and Supreme God became one and the same
in spirit and Guru Nanak became the mouth-piece of God to
spread His Divine Word. In the light of Guru's wisdom, his
followers became seekers of Truth, Scholars of divinity,
charged with the goal of self-realisation or God-realisation.
It is a
rebirth to become a Sikh.
Presently, for our purpose we may state, that a Sikh is one:
who believes in the teachings of the ten Gurus, embodied in
the Eternal Guru Granth Sahib, to the exclusion of other
religious teachings and has accepted Sikh baptism.
who adheres to the Sikh tenets and sikh rites alone to
observe all ceremonies like birth, death, marriage, etc.
who does not commit the forbidden acts, that pollute a Sikh
and make him an apostate.
have been given special identity since Baisakhi day of 1699,
when they were first baptised by the Tenth Nanak, Guru
Gobind Singh Ji. This is external uniform of the Five K's.
Instead of finding other justifications for the kakkars, it
should suffice to say, that these are the gifts of our
Father Guru and give us a sense of belonging to him.
of values and distortion of the original image of a Sikh has
led others to question whether there is a Sikh identity at
all. This has led to court cases in Canada and Sikhs being
disgraced by Canadian legions, which became a public
controversy. There have been suggestions, that Sikhs may be
smokers too. Let us try and arrest this downward fall in
standards to check the speculation whether Sikhs will be
able to retain a separate identity of their own or get
swallowed in the 'main stream'.
Our pride in
our identity has to be like that of a good soldier in his
uniform, who would die for upholding the honour of his
regimental flag. Even the Olympics derive much of the gusto
and enthusiasm of the participant to win honors for their
National flag. Such is value of identity in the matter of
individual and national high spirits.
Bani is the
revealed word of God through the Gurus. It gives the
complete life system of a gursikh and serves as spiritual
food. In seed form Guru Nanak's Bani gives all the basic
thoughts. However the rest of the Bani in Sri Guru Granth
sahib expounds it further to confirm and clear a thought.
All the Bani commands same respect, including Bhagat Bani
and is venerable.
expression of greatness of the Lord beyond measure as the
creator and working of the Divine Will in a perfect system.
He also pervades and permeates all beings and everywhere. In
fact the beings are measure instruments of His Will. He
watches His Own Play with delight and compassion. Thus
creation is only an extension of the creator and yet He is
of Gurbani leads one to contemplate on the virtues of God,
establish a relationship with Him as the source of all life
and the mission of human life, as the highest form of
evolution in God's creation. Like a stream running its
course to join the ocean, individual soul yearns to realize
and merge in the source Spirit, God. Gurbani lays lot of
emphasis on God rememberance or Nam meditation as the means
to God realisation, yet Bani and Nam meditation are both
complementary to each other and essential components. NAM
Nam or Name
of God is the Guru Mantar, that a Sikh receives from the
five Beloved Ones, acting on behalf of the Guru. Five banis
are recited during the ceremony of preparing Amrit for
baptism. These banis form part of the daily recitation.
Other Banis like Sukhmani, Asa-Di-Var, Bara Maha, Shabad
Hazare and others could be included, depending upon the
individual zeal, for daily recitation.
A Sikh is
advised to get up early morning, take full bath to clean the
body and then take a dip in the inner spiritual tank for
bathing of the spirit with Nam-meditation. Daily joining the
holy congregation for singing and hearing Divine Praises and
reading or hearing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib are recommended
practices for spiritual progress.
only two ways in major classification to lead a human life.
One is God-love or 'LIV' through Nam Simran and Bani and the
other is pursuit of worldliness with insatiable desires or 'Dhaat'.
While the first one is the Sikh way of life towards God-realisation,
the second one is pathway of all misery and sufferings
towards cycles of transmigration of repeated births and
deaths in lower varieties of life.
basic teaching comprised of Nam, Dan and Ishnan i.e. Nam
meditation, willingness to share with a spirit of compassion
and sacrifice and purity of body and mind. He demonstrated
this in his life as earning through honest, hard labour,
running free kitchen for all without distinction and daily
practice of prayers in the morning, evening and at night
instinct to be of service, extends to the use of Deg and Teg.
Institution of running free kitchens has been perpetuated in
Sikh Gurdwaras and even homes. Use of arms and force has
also the religious sanctions to uphold personal safety and
in protection of the weak and poor. Sikhism does not
compromise with discrimination, injustice and tyranny. The
two salient examples if this are Babar Vani of Guru Nanak
and Zaffar Nama of Guru Gobind Singh. The daily Sikh prayer
pays homages to the nation's countless martyrs. Here again
the example has been set by the Fifth and Nineth Gurus
followed by the Tenth Guru, who sacrificed his all.
A Sikh living
according to Gurmat observes the following tenets of Sikh
(a) Believes in One God alone to the exclusion of other gods
(b) Believes in teachings of the ten Gurus and the present
Eternal Guru Granth Sahib.
(c) Believes in continuation of the same spirit, working in
all the ten Gurus for a common mission.
(d) Does not believe in the caste system, untouchability, or
the rites of other faiths, or appease evil spirits for
personal gain or harm one's enemies, paying homage to places
of worship other than Sikh shrines, putting faith in
scriptures of other faiths.
(e) Keeps a separate, distinct identity of Sikh faith
without hurting the feelings of person of other faiths.
(f) Invokes Divine help for a new venture.
(g) Must learn Gurmukhi script in addition to other
(h) It is parental duty to teach Gurmukhi to children.
(j ) Should keep unshorn hair of the children and name them
according to the Sikh naming ceremony.
(k) Does not use alcohol, drugs or any intoxicants.
(l ) Sikh men or ladies are prohibited from piercing nose or
ear for wearing ornaments.
(m)Does not believe in female infanticide and refuses to
have any social contacts with persons, who believe in this.
(n) Should live on honest labour.
(o) Believes in feeding the poor as ordained by the Guru and
(p) Does not believe in a auspicious day for ceremonies like
(q) Does not believe in vulgar showmanship during a marriage
ceremony, but in its simplest form according to the Sikh
practice of Aanand Karaj.
(r) A person of any other faith cannot be married by the
ceremony of Aanand Karaj.
(s) Does not believe in dowry.
(t) Widow/widower remarriage is allowed.
(u) Second marriage is generally not permissible, while the
first spouse is still alive.
(v) Does not indulge in stealing, gambling or adultery.
(w) Sikh men and women are bound to be faithful to each
other in marriage.
(x) Should live all his life according to Sikh tenets.
(y) A sikh should greet another sikh with Sikh Salutation.
(z) Veil system is prohibited for Sikh ladies.
takes rebirth during baptism, when he accepts a sikh faith.
Living the life of God-love under Guru's wisdom, enunciated
in Gurbani and practising the tenets, he acquires the godly
virtues of righteousness, compassion, contentment, humility
and high moral character. He is constantly immersed in God-rememberance
and keeps in touch with Gurbani.
A life of
perseverance in pursuing the goal of God-realisation or
Divine Knowledge may win the Divine Grace to bestow this
rare gift. The effort is always worth it, because even
during this toil one enjoys inner satisfaction and bliss.
close with an extract of Bhagat Ravidas Ji's shabad:
rivdAs jIoU cI Gr 2 ..
fl cArn f igaAn> cArn crm aiBaAsU .. igaAn BieaA V crmh
vegetation flowers forth for the acquisition of the fruit.
When the fruit appears, the preceding flower fades away.
Likewise the daily pursuit was for the sake of Divine
Knowledge and when the desired objective of Divine Knowledge
is acquired through Divine Grace, one gets merged in God and
is liberated of all bondage.