SIKHI IS NOT A PART-TIME JOB

ਤਿਨਾ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਕੰਉ ਹਉ ਵਾਰਿਆ ਜੋ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹਿ ॥:
Tinaa gurasikhaa kanou haou vaariaa jo bahadiaa uthadiaa hari
naamu dhhiaavahi: I am a sacrifice to those Gursikhs who, sitting and
standing (ਭਾਵ, ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ-all the time), meditate on the Hari Naam(sggs 590).
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Dharma or Truth, which relates to the Soul, is the very Essence of our practical life — if we do not practice it, we would not understand it. Therefore, one cannot become Dhaarmic just by saying "I am a Dhaarmic person". One has to practice it all the times, seven days and twenty-four hours a day. Hence, when it comes to Dharma there is no midway, that is, either we Are or we don't.

In other words, to be a Dhaarmic person is a full-time job.

To that end, one cannot be a part-time Sikh for Sikhi is Dharma in action.

So also, one cannot be a part-time Hindu, a part-time Buddhist, a part-time Jain, part-time Christian, part-time Muslim, and so on. Additionally, to be established in Dharma means to live a Gurmukh Lifestyle (Divine Life). For that reason, if a person's conduct or actions are not all-divine, then he is not Dhaarmic, at least yet. He may be many other things to himself and to the material world, but certainly he is not a Dhaarmic person. Because, to practice Dharma — which is Eternal in nature — is not a part-time business or occupation. It's instinctually and constantly abiding in the Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...). As the Gurbani says "Aath Pahar": seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day, full-time, undivided, uninterrupted, persistent, unbroken, perpetual.

  • ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਾਪਾਰੋ ॥: Aath pahar raam naamu vaapaaro: Twenty-four hours a day, deal in the Raam Naam (sggs 107).
  • ਤਿਨਾ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਕੰਉ ਹਉ ਵਾਰਿਆ ਜੋ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹਿ ॥: Tinaa gurasikhaa kanou haou vaariaa jo bahadiaa uthadiaa hari naamu dhhiaavahi: I am a sacrifice to those Gursikhs who, sitting and standing (ਭਾਵ, ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ-all the time), meditate on the Hari Naam (sggs 590).

In some western religions such as Islam and Christianity, the clergy has earmarked a particular day of the week for temple worship. Due to centuries of slavery under the adherents of these two proselytizing religions, apparently this practice also got rubbed off on Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhist, Jains and others as well.

Can the sun be made hot on Sundays or Fridays and cold on other days? If the answer is "no", then how can a man be made divine on Sundays or Fridays and devilish on all other days? Does it mean that we only abstain from corruption or ungodly activities during the day that is earmarked for worship by the wily clergy, and then set aside rest of the days for our evil passions to go on rampant? Does it mean God wants us to practice truthful living for a few minutes or a few hours on certain days and that it's all right to practice falsehood or frauds on all other days? Does it mean a particular day of the week is holy, and that all other days are unholy? Does it mean only certain days are important to practice devotion, and that all other days are unimportant? Does it mean that the Lord showers His Grace only during certain days and that he does not care for His creation during rest of the days? Does it mean the Lord only care what we do on certain days and that He does not care what we do on all other days? Does the Lord keep limited supplies of Knowledge and Teaching which are only available during certain days and after that He runs out of everything? Does it mean the Lord want us to be only partially religious: a part-time stint? The Gurbani tells us otherwise!

Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle or Sikhi) is a full-time experience of the Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...) — seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. This is why in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) there is no particular day of the week, time or place earmarked for worship. Because Sikhi is not a part-time job!

The same is true for Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other "ism" for that matter. It's a fallacy and ignorance to think that a man can be made divine on Sundays or Fridays, and that it's all right for him to roam around devilishly all other days. In fact, the Gurbani expects us to be fully attuned to the Divine within even while we are asleep, let alone all other days! The Gurbani roars from the top of it's voice as follows:

  • ਉਠਦਿਆ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਸੁਤਿਆ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਹੀਐ ॥: Uthadiaa bahadiaa sutiaa sadaa sadaa hari naamu dhiaaeeai jan Nanak gurmukh hari laheeai: While standing, sitting, and sleeping, forever and ever, meditate on the Hari Naam; O servant Nanak, by becoming a Gurmukh, you will attain the Lord (sggs 594).
  • ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥: Jo saasi giraasi dhiaae meraa hari hari so gurasikh guroo mani bhaavai: One who meditates on the Divine with every breath and every morsel of food - that GurSikh becomes pleasing to the Guroo's Mind (sggs 305).

There are two types of people indicated in the Gurbani: Gurmukhs and Manmukhs. Belonging to the Gurmukh category are the rare Spiritual Beings. In the Manmukh category are those who do not sincere about Spiritual Life or Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan) unless they are overwhelmed by troubles such as financial and legal problems, serious bodily diseases, frustrations and difficulties of the material life, and so on. After the trouble is gone, they forsake Spiritual life again. Also, included in the Manmukh category are people who outwardly feign to assert as if they are very religious, but in reality they are not. As indicated in the Gurbani, the majority of us (over 99.99 percent) live the way of a Manmukh devilish, mammon worshippers, material beings, Pakhandee or hypocrites. So living, we wishfully think we can circumvent the system.

Seemingly, as we can witness at the organized religious places nowadays, the Spirituality has been reduced to a mere concert or a club type activity, nothing more than a mundane business! For example, we spend the entire week, particularly the weekends in worldly nonsense, but on Sundays some can be seen in full religious gear sitting in front of congregations, like "storks" with their eyes closed pretending to meditate! Also, either primarily to please the host or for other ulterior motives, sometime we go to people's homes to attend Kirtan or Paath-Poojaa there! In fact, often many of us show up in congregations just at the time of "Prasaad" or "Langar" (free food)! As we are repeatedly reminded in the Gurbani, since devotion is neither a religious recreation nor a part-time job, attending of an external congregation here and there at mere physical or material level will be unavailing. Because, so doing we cannot expect to realize our Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...) — the ultimate goal of human life. The Gurbani warns us against devotion performed in such hypocrisy; for it will not bear positive fruits.

  • ਬਧਾ ਚਟੀ ਜੋ ਭਰੇ ਨਾ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੇਤੀ ਖੁਸੀ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Badhaa chattee jo bhare naa gun naa upkaar. Sethee khusee savaareeai Nanak kaaraj saar ||3||: Paying a fine under pressure ( ਜੋ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਕੋਈ ਕੰਮ ਬੱਧਾ ਰੁੱਧਾ ਕਰੇ - doing something under preassure such as performing for the sake of making money or living, etc.,) does not bring either merit or goodness (to oneself or to others). That alone is a good deed, O Nanak, which is done happily (ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਨਾਲ). ||3|| (sggs 787).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Paakhand bhagti na hovayee parbrahm na paaiaa jaai: Through hypocrisy, devotion does not come, and God is not found (sggs 849).
  • ਇਕਿ ਅਪਣੈ ਸੁਆਇ ਆਇ ਬਹਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਜਿਉ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਈਐ ॥: Iki apunai suaai aai bahahi gur aagai jiou bagul samaadhi lagaaeeai: Some come for their selfish purposes, and sit before the Guru; they pretend to be in Samaadhi, like storks with their eyes closed (sggs 881).

So, what's needed is constant practice — perseverant truthful living, unceasing Company of Truth within, unbroken Shabad-Vichaar, etc. In other words, divert the impure mind to its Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...) by persistent self-effort (Shabad-Vichaar, Naam-Simran, Bhagati). Such persistent self-effort, based on the Spiritual Knowledge (Aatam Giaan) brings an inner awakening in the intelligence, which leads mind to make Pure decisions.

With this arises a question: "why it's necessary to be steadfast in purification of the mind, constantly?" Because we are constantly, twenty-four hours a day, robbed by the "highway robbers" such as lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, false pride, envy and stubborn mindedness (and their innumerable variations). It's not that these inner thieves show up only on Sundays or Fridays by the noon time, and then on all other days or times they leave us alone. In reality, they are our constant companions. They never let up even for a moment. That's the reason the mind needs to be constantly Awake and Alert.

  • ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਸੰਗੀ ਬਟਵਾਰੇ ॥: Aath pahar sangee batavaare: Twenty-four hours a day, the highway robbers — lust, anger, etc. — are my companions (sggs 196).
  • ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ॥: Aath pahar prabh simarahu praanee: Twenty-four hours a day, O mortal, meditate on God (sggs 191).

The Gur-Shabad advised us to recognize our real enemies — lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, false pride, envy, stubborn mindedness, and their innumerable variations. Knowing these enemies of our weak mind will enable us to discard them ruthlessly.

Accordingly, the Gurbani urges us to take steps to continue the persistent purification of the mind at all days of the week and at all times of the day, at home, at work, at shopping, on the road, at walking or standing or sleeping. Counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ), or counting prayers and ablution will not bring about Purity of the mind — Sahaj, stillness, desirelessness or egolessness. Also, as time and again indicated in the Gurbani, any amount of unmeaning rituals and religious wearing will not do the trick either; for they, being in the dimension of physicality, only thicken the false ego, besetting more confusion and sorrows. The Reality is said to be beyond all physicality and descriptions.

  • ਤੂੰ ਗਣਤੈ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਚੇ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥: No one has attained You by clever calculations, O True, Unseen and Infinite Being (sggs 140).
  • ਬੇਸੁਮਾਰ ਅਥਾਹ ਅਗਨਤ ਅਤੋਲੈ ॥: (The Lord) is beyond calculation, beyond measure, uncountable and unfathomable (sggs 292).

What we consistently cultivate in our mind determines our character-formation. By consistently cultivating Gurmat (Aatam Giaan...), we can change the character-formation in us. This is why it is said that the entire destiny of one's life is, in fact, in his own hands. Remembering our Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...) twenty-four hours does not mean one has to abandon his family life or renounce the world. It simply means to have the mind constantly linked to the real Mool within, our Unconditioned Nature (Joti-Svaroopa), while the hands are busy performing their duty, truthfully. But, is it possible to live like that? If it is, then how? In the following hymn, the Gurbani shows us the way through several real-life examples.

  • ਆਨੀਲੇ ਕਾਗਦੁ ਕਾਟੀਲੇ ਗੂਡੀ ਆਕਾਸ ਮਧੇ ਭਰਮੀਅਲੇ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਜਨਾ ਸਿਉ ਬਾਤ ਬਤਊਆ ਚੀਤੁ ਸੁ ਡੋਰੀ ਰਾਖੀਅਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਬੇਧੀਅਲੇ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਕਨਿਕ ਕਲਾ ਚਿਤੁ ਮਾਂਡੀਅਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਆਨੀਲੇ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਭਰਾਈਲੇ ਊਦਕ ਰਾਜ ਕੁਆਰਿ ਪੁਰੰਦਰੀਏ ॥ ਹਸਤ ਬਿਨੋਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ਕਰਤੀ ਹੈ ਚੀਤੁ ਸੁ ਗਾਗਰਿ ਰਾਖੀਅਲੇ ॥੨॥ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਦੁਆਰ ਦਸ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਗਊ ਚਰਾਵਨ ਛਾਡੀਅਲੇ ॥ ਪਾਂਚ ਕੋਸ ਪਰ ਗਊ ਚਰਾਵਤ ਚੀਤੁ ਸੁ ਬਛਰਾ ਰਾਖੀਅਲੇ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਤਿਲੋਚਨ ਬਾਲਕੁ ਪਾਲਨ ਪਉਢੀਅਲੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਬਿਰੂਧੀ ਚੀਤੁ ਸੁ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਰਾਖੀਅਲੇ ॥੪॥੧॥: Aaneele kaagad kaateele goodee aakaas madhe bharameeale ...: The boy takes paper, cuts it and makes a kite, and flies it in the sky. Talking with his friends, he still keeps his attention on the kite string. ||1|| My mind has been pierced by the Raam Naam, like the goldsmith, whose attention is held by his work. ||1||Pause|| The young girl in the city takes a pitcher, and fills it with water. She laughs, and plays, and talks with her friends, but she keeps her attention focused on the pitcher of water. ||2|| The cow is let loose, out of the mansion of the ten gates, to graze in the field. It grazes up to five miles away, but keeps its attention focused on its calf. ||3|| Says Naam Dayv, listen, O Trilochan: the child is laid down in the cradle. Its mother is at work, inside and outside, but she holds her child in her thoughts ||4||1|| (sggs 972).

A Spiritual aspirant or seeker (Sikh) embarking on studying the Truth has to constantly evolve through three stages. The first involves diligent reading (including listening to the exposition or discourses) of the Gurbani. Next, reflecting or contemplating on the teachings contained therein so that conviction results in the mind. Then, meditating on the teachings and living those values keeping the mind constantly fixed on the Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...).

Hence Sikhi is not a part-time task or effort! According to the Gurbani, to be a True Sikh (or Khalsa) is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, sectarian religion or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of Mool-realization! This change in perspective is a permanent transformation and attainment which exists beyond mind, time, space and form. Khaalas - or khalas - simply means pure. Therefore, Sikhi cannot be a part-time pursuit or assignment.

  • ਸੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਸੁ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: O Brother! He is the Guroo and he is the Sikh, who has merged his light in the Light (i.e., who has become one with his Mool…). (sggs 602).
  • ਪੂਰਨ ਜੋਤ ਜਗੈ ਘਟ ਮੈ ਤਬ ਖਾਲਸ ਤਾਹਿ ਨਖਾਲਸ ਜਾਨੋ ॥: Pooran jot jagai ghat main tab Khaalas taahi Nakhaalas jaano: One becomes Pure (i.e, Khalsa…) only when he realizes Complete Light of the Lord within; otherwise know him to be an impure one (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, Dasam Granth, 1350).
  • ਆਤਮ ਰਸ ਜਿ ਜਾਨਹੀ ਸੋ ਹੈ ਖਾਲਸ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਹਿ, ਮੋ ਮਹਿ, ਤਾਸ ਮਹਿ, ਰੰਚਕ ਨਾਹਨ ਭੇਵ ॥: Aatam ras ji jaanahee so hai khaalas dev. Prabh mahi mo mahi taas mahi ranchak naahan bhed: He who has realized the True Nature or Subtle Essence of the Soul (i.e., Joti-svaroopa, Pure Consciousness, Lord's Sublime Essence, Joy of the Soul, etc.) within is alone the godly Khalsa - Pure Being (Sarab Loh Granth).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: Kahu Kabeer jan bhaye Khaalse prem bhagti jih jaanee: O Kabeer! Those persons become ਖਾਲਸੇ (Khaalse) who have realized the Prema Bhagti (Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gurbani, or Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 655).
  • ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਪਿਖਿ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖਹ ॥: Japu tapu satu santokhu pikhi darsanu gur sikhah: Beholding the Gur Darshan (Mool-realization, Aatam Giaan...), the Gursikh is blessed with Jap, Tap, Sat Santokh (sggs 1395).

From a practical standpoint, to be a full-time Sikh means to remain linked the Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...) all the times. Such person is a Giaanee (man of True Knowledge) or the Gurmukh who lives a Divine Life, sees the One Lord in each and everyone while living in the body (living liberated or Jeevanmukta); for what happens after death is immaterial. Instead, if one practices selfishness, greed, corruption, deceit and fraud, then his claiming of being full-time "this" or "that" will be totally meaningless.

This is why the Gurbani boldly makes the claim that hardly one out of millions and millions knows the Truth. Obviously, the depth of Truth or Sikhi is not for cowards and dumb (Manmukhs and uninquiring). Because, due to their noncommitment to "full-time" living by the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan) or Dharma, the unworthy or unintelligent cannot progress in Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle).

Dharma or Eternal Religion is for the most levelheaded, coolheaded, psychologically sound people; for they are Awake and Alert in mind, with a deep yearning for the Mool within (ਮੂਲ-Source, Origin, Jot...). Only such thirsty, full-blossomed Beings who live a full-time Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) can come to real detachment from Mayaic efforts, selflessness, Sat Santokh (True contentment), Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan), discrimination (Bibek Budhi), correct Understanding of the Gurbani...

  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਕਾਇਰੁ ਕਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਕੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: Munmukh kaair karoop hai bin naavai naku naahi: The Manmukh is cowardly and ugly (impure within); lacking the Divine Naam, his is akin to a person whose nose is cut off in disgrace (sggs 591).
  • ਕੋਟਨ ਮੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੋਊ ਨਾਰਾਇਨੁ ਜਿਹ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Kotan mai Nanak kou narain jih cheet: Rare is the one amongst millions, who enshrines Divine in his mind, O Nanak (sggs 1427).
  • ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥: Jaou taou prem khelan kaa chaaou. Siru dhari talee galee meree aaou. Itu maaragi pairu dhareejai. Siru deejai kaani na keejai ||20||: If you desire to play this game of Divine Love with Me, then step onto My Path with your head in hand (after shedding false ego-sense - ਹਉਮੈ ਦੂਰ ਕਰ ਕੇ, etc.). When you place your feet on this Path, give Me your head (false ego-sense), and don't pay any attention to public opinion (i.e., ਬਿਨਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਝਿਜਕ ਦੇ ਲੋਕ-ਲਾਜ ਅਤੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਛੱਡ ਕੇ) ||20||. (sggs 1412).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org