HUKAM

Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam.
O Nanak! One who understands Hukam, does not speak in
ego (i.e., that person does not live in Haumai or ego) (sggs 1).
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In simplistic terms, "Hukam"  simply means Divine Command, Divine Will, Eternal Law, Cosmic Order, Divine Dandaa (or Danda) etc. The Gurbani also indicates that the Divine Hukam is all prevailing. Therefore, we are urged to recognize (know, realize, understand, " ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ", "ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ", etc.) Divine Hukam through the Gurbani (Shabad-Vichaar) and live it. But how can one do the Divine Hukam or Will ("Bhaanaa Mannanaa" )? To be abided in "Hukam" is accepting life as it presents to oneself. It is simply saying "Yes, I accept". In other words, it is just accepting one's all joy and suffering as the Divine Hukam or Bhaanaa.

  • ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Hukamai andar sabhu ko baahar hukam na koi. Nanak hukamai je bujhai ta houmai kehai na koi: Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam. O Nanak! One who understands Hukam, does not speak in ego (i.e., that person does not live in Haumai or ego) (sggs 1).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥੫॥੯॥: Says Nanak! One who recognizes the Hukam, knows the secrets of Prabh (Mool, Source ...). ||5||9|| (sggs 885).
  • ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਪਛਾਤਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਰੋਵਣਾ ॥: (sggs 523).
  • ਜਿਨਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ਹਰੀ ਕੇਰਾ ਸੋਈ ਸਰਬ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਵਏ ॥ (sggs 440).
  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਸੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨੈ ਬੰਦਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥: (sggs 1350).
  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਾਂ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣੈ ॥੩॥: (sggs 1176).
  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਈ ॥: (sggs 292).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੮॥: (sggs 233).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥੧॥: (sggs 904).
  • ਜੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਖਸਮ ਕਾ ਸੋਈ ਨਰੁ ਕਚਾ ॥: (sggs 1094).

The thought of "Hukam" (Divine Order, Command, Will, Eternal Law...) is very essential part of the teachings of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) or Gurmat. Accordingly, Baabaa Nanak made it very clear in the outset of the SGGS (see the first verse above) that everything and everybody is subject to this Divine "Hukam". And whosoever understands this Truth will be freed from the false ego-sense (Haume).

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Haumai vichi bhagati n hovaee hukamu n bujhiaa jaayi: In egotism, devotional service can not be performed, and the Hukam (Will or Command) cannot be understood (sggs 560)
  • >ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: Hukamu n jaanahi bapure bhoolahi phirahi gavaar ...: The wretched fools do not know God's Hukam or Will; they wander around making mistakes. (sggs 560).

During "Sidh Gosti" (also spelt Sidh Gost etc.), Sidhas posed many questions to Baabaa Nanak (ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ਸਿਧ ਗੋਸਟਿ, 938-946). Specifically, he was asked "Who are you?". His answer was, "I came from the Celestial Lord; I go wherever He orders me to go. I am Nanak, forever under His Will."

  • ਸਹਜੇ ਆਏ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਸਿਧਾਏ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਦਾ ਰਜਾਏ ॥: Sahaje aaye hukami sidhaaye Nanak sadaa rajaaye: (I) came in (Hukam); I go wherever Hukam orders me to go. (Thus, I) forever remain under His Will (sggs 938).

The Divine "Hukam" prevails all equally and It is driven by one's own thinking (ਸੋਚ, which dictates one's actions) regardless of one's social position in life. "As we sow, so we reap", says the Gurbani. We cannot blame anybody else for our predicaments in life. If each one of us has turned out to be differently, it is because of our individual thinking (ਸੋਚ, which dictates one's actions). The Lord shows an equal love, care and concern towards all of us who are His children. Per Gurbani, there is no doubt that Divine Hukam controls the world and human beings as well. One is tempted to raise the following doubt that if everything happens because of His "Hukam", what is the role of human beings who are endowed with free will and are capable of exercising restraint or choosing to act according to their whims and fancies? Sincere efforts (Shabad-Vichaar) is our responsibility.

  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: Jehee surti tehaa tin raahu: As is (beings') awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).
  • ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Jo mai keeaa so mai paaiaa dosu na deejai avar janaa: Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I don't blame anyone else (sggs 433).
  • ਏਕ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਊਪਰਿ ਜੇਹਾ ਭਾਉ ਤੇਹਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: Ek nadar kar vekhai sabh oopar jehaa bhaaou tehaa phal paaeeai: (The Satguru lovingly) looks alike upon all, but we receive the fruits according to our own motives (ਭਾਵਨਾ - ਨੀਅਤ, etc.) (sggs 602).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਮਨਸਾ ਕਰਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਤੇਹਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਏ ॥: Jehee mansaa kari laagai tehaa phalu paae : As are the desires (ਮਨ ਦੀ ਕਾਮਨਾ ) one harbors (when he serves the Satguru), so are the rewards one receives (as is the aspiration, so is the reward) (sggs 116).
  • ਜੈਸੀ ਪਿਆਸ ਹੋਇ ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤੈਸੋ ਜਲੁ ਦੇਵਹਿ ਪਰਕਾਰ ॥: Jaisee piyas hoyi mann antar tiaso jalu devahi parkaar: As is the thirst (desires or cravings) within their minds, so is the water which You give to them (sggs 504).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮੀ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: Haumai karai nihakarmee na hovai: Those who act in ego do not go beyond Karma (sggs 128).

So the Gurbani's emphasis is to obey the Divine "Hukam" - "Bhaanaa Mannanaa". To get out of the cycle of repeated suffering, the baggage of faulty thinking has to be shed. This is Mukti or liberation that the soul has to aspire for. The Gurbani says that the whole creation exists and functions due to the Divine "Hukam". But we human beings forget this Truth in our day-to-day lives. Only when one's plans go awry does he start doing self-introspection and learn a lesson from bitter experience. The Lord is ever eager to help the suffering beings who wish to be liberated from the miseries of the mundane world.

  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਰੋਵੈ ॥: Hukamu n jaanai bahutaa rovai: One who does not know God's Will (Hukam or Eternal Law) cries out in terrible pain and suffering (sggs 85).
  • ਸੋਈ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਸੋ ਪਤਿਵੰਤਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਲਗੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਜੀਉ ॥: Soee siaanaa so pativantaa hukamu lagai jis meethaa jeeou: Only that person is wise and honorable, unto whom the Hukam seems sweet (sggs108).
  • ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੀਠਾ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਤਿਨਿ ਜਨਿ ਡੀਠਾ ॥ ਥਾਨਿ ਥਨੰਤਰਿ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਇਕੋ ਇਕੁ ਵਰਤਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Teraa keetaa jisu laagai meethaa. Ghati ghati paarabraham tini jan deethaa. Thaani thanantari toonhai toonhai iko iku varataavaniaa: That person, unto whom Your Eternal Law (Bhaanaa, Hukam, Will, Commad or Divine-doing) seems sweet, he comes to see You in each and every heart. You exist in all places and interspaces. You are the One and Only One, pervading everywhere (sggs 131).
  • ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਾਂਗੈ ॥: Teraa keeaa meethaa laagai. Har naamu padaarathu Nanaku maangai: O Lord, Your actions seem so sweet to me. Nanak begs for the treasure of Your Divine Name (sggs 394).
  • World is passing away and so is its desire, but he that dose the Will of God remains forever (Bible, 1John 2:17).

The Gurbani says that the man leaves wearing two robes: Dukha (pain and suffering) and Sukha (comfort or happiness). And also the Lord knows completely the condition of each and every mind; and therefore, "who else could we go to tell of it?" He is the Great Giver of everything. Therefore, since "the whole world is suffering", only the Lord's support is said to be the eternal, not a mortal's support.

  • ਦੂਖ ਤਿਸੈ ਪਹਿ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਸੂਖ ਜਿਸੈ ਹੀ ਪਾਸਿ ॥: Dookh tisai pahi aakheeahi sookh jisai hee paas: Tell your troubles to the One who is the Source of all comfort (sggs 16).
  • ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕੀ ਟੇਕ ਬ੍ਰਿਥੀ ਸਭ ਜਾਨੁ ॥: Maanukh kee tek brithee sabh jaanu: Reliance on mortals is in vain - know this well (sggs 281).
  • ਜਾਣਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਸਭਾ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਹੋਰੁ ਕਿਸੁ ਪਹਿ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਈਐ ॥: Jaanahi birathaa sabhaa mann kee horu kisu pahi aakh sunaaeeai: You know completely the condition of my mind; who else could I go to tell of it? (sggs 382).

In the midst of worldly activities, it is not easy to maintain equanimity. Then what are we supposed to do? When we are sick, to lessen the pain, we see a doctor and take medicine as he prescribes. Similarly, we can lessen the pain of human suffering by becoming Gurmukhs. The Gurbani-Doctor shows us the way out. But first we must admit we are sick. Our disease is egoism (Haume), which is described in the Gurbani as "great" and "chronic" sickness. By Becoming the True and Wise ones (Gurmukhs), we can learn the Truth without undergoing the trouble of suffering from such setbacks in life by Naam-Simran, diligent study of the Gurbani that bestows Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) upon us, etc. With the Self-knowledge and Naam-Simran comes an end to instinctive mind and fruitive or reactionary Karma.

  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: Giaan bhaiaa tah karmah naas ||3||: With the Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚੇ-ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ) ends the deeds (Mayaic efforts) ||3|| (sggs 1167).
  • ਸਚਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਣਿਆ ॥: Sachaa taeraa hukam Gurmukh jaaniaa: True is the Divine Hukam, and it is known to the Gurmukh (sggs 144).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਅਗਨਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੀ ॥: Guramukh houmai agan nivaaree: As a Gurmukh put out the fire of egotism (sggs 943).
  • ਬਾਵਰੇ ਤੈ ਗਿਆਨ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Baavare tai giaan beechaaru na paaiaa. birathaa janamu gavaaiaa ||1|| Rahaaou ||: O mad man! You have not obtained Spiritual Wisdom (Giaan) and Vichaar (Shabad-Vichaar...). You have lost this birth in vain ||1||Pause|| (sggs 793).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org