Gurmat And Social Change

Gurmat (Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani) would like us to bring about real change in life — positive change in one’s Budhi (intellect), thinking, attitudes, vision, mindset, entire outlook, deeds, understanding, and so on! Such positive change in each individual will result in changing (transformation) the whole society for good!

Gurmat says suffering is universal

SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) says that suffering is universal. This is not an overstatement. There is no doubt every individual or a society is inflicted with problems. These problems may be self-created, created by others, or created by nature, and so on. Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਖੀਆ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: O Nanak! The whole world is suffering (sggs 954).
Gurmat says Naam is the panacea

To eradicate universal suffering, remedy also has to be universal. In many other Shabads, Baabaa Nanak says that Naam is the panacea for all human problems. For example:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਖੀਆ ਜੁਗ ਚਾਰੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੇ ॥੪॥: O Nanak! People are miserable throughout the four Yuga, if Hari Naam does not abide in the mind. ||4|| (sggs 1110).

Clearly, Dharma is supposed to have knowledge or observation of what’s happening around it; do all it can to alleviate human suffering — be panacea for all human troubles …

Gurmat does all of this and much more! Undoubtedly, the Wisdom of the Gurbani is a panacea for human troubles. How so? If truly understood and lived in daily life, it can change human mindset, conduct, and character. Thereby changing lives of individuals in the society; thus changing the whole society in the process…

Hunger for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), Haumai (false ego-sense), sinful life (the biggest sin being resistance of the Divine Hukam), Bikaar (lust …), etc., causes disparities.

  • ਜੋ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਦੇ ਸੇ ਛੋਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਰੋਇ ॥: Jo Maya … (sggs 81).
  • ਪਾਪੀ ਕਉ ਲਾਗਾ ਸੰਤਾਪੁ ॥੧॥: Paapee kaou laagaa santaapu (sggs 91).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Haumai rogu vadaa sansaari (sggs 1278).
  • ਮਹਾ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਘੋਰ ਦੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਗਲਤੁ ਪਇਆ ॥: Mahaa bikaar ghor dukh … (sggs 826).
Gurmat demands equality of treatment for all

Gurmat demands all disparities be eradicated from the society. Accordingly, Gurmat time and again asks us to transcend Maya, live by the Divine Hukam (Bhaanaa …), remove Haumai or negativity (lust, anger, etc), and so on.

Gurmat demands equality, justice, peace, prosperity, etc., for all regardless of religion, race, color of skin, creed, social status, or on any other ground. Despite all physical differences, Gurmat Preaches Oneness.

  • ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥: Sabhu Gobindu hai sabhu Gobindu hai … (sggs 485).
  • ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: Ek noor te sabh jagu upjiaa … (sggs 1349).
Gurmat Teaches a basic Unity – Oneness

Simply put: Gurmat Teaches there is but One Absolute Reality. This one Supreme Essence is the substratum (support or “Aadhaar“) of all. It is this Infinite Reality, the Homogeneous Oneness, the highest plane of Pure Consciousness, which runs in and through all beings.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਜਿ ਸਭਸੈ ਦੇ ਆਧਾਰੁ ॥: Nanak so saalaaheeyai ji sabhsai de aadhaar (sggs 791).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Jo deesai so taeraa roop (sggs724).

Thus, the purpose of spirituality or what we call “religion” is mainly to understand Oneness of all beings and live the life of harmony. In fact if we look at the glorious lives of all Spiritual Giants, they taught us to look for opportunities for giving unconditional Love. In fact that’s all they had — selfless Love! Therefore, if we truly want to honor and spread the message of all such Great Spiritual Giants then we should not look for Love or truth, deliver It! In true religion or spirituality, therefore, there is no competition with others; only cooperation in Love!

If a religion or a Path is just content with merely preaching this ideal then it is self-defeating. It must also inspire action (a life of practice, implementation, Karanee, Amal-ਅਮਲ) to make the Oneness real. Because action (practice, implementation, Karanee, Amal-ਅਮਲ) is needed to fulfill the intention of Teaching. Gurmat inspires such life — the Gurmukh Lifestyle.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmat maaniaa karanee saar (sggs 833).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਭਉ ਊਪਜੈ ਭਾਈ ਭਉ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmatee bhaou oopajai bhaaee bhaou karanee … (sggs 638).

To uphold the ideals Gurmat Preaches, it does not hesitate intervening in the affairs of even State (rulers, leaders …). For example, consider a few verses as follows:

  • ਤਖਤਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਸੋ ਬਹੈ ਜਿ ਤਖਤੈ ਲਾਇਕ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਿਨੀ ਸਚੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਰਾਜੇ ਸੇਈ ॥ ਏਹਿ ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Takhati raajaa so bahe ji takhtai laaik hoee … (sggs 1088).
  • ਕਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਰਾਜੇ ਕਾਸਾਈ ਧਰਮੁ ਪੰਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਡਰਿਆ ॥: Kali kaatee raaje kaasaayee dharmu pankh … (sggs 145).
  • ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਰੰਗ ਰਾਇ ਸੰਚਹਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Bhoopati raaje rang raai sanchahi bikhu maya (sggs 1245).
  • ਬਿਪਰੀਤ ਬੁਧ੍ਹੰ ਮਾਰਤ ਲੋਕਹ ਨਾਨਕ ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਦੁਖ ਭੋਗਤੇ ॥: Bipareet budhham maarat lokah Nanak … (sggs 1356).
  • ਜਿਤਨੇ ਸਾਹ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ਉਮਰਾਵ ਸਿਕਦਾਰ ਚਉਧਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਝੂਠੁ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Jitne sah paatisah umraav sikadaar chaudharee sabhi mithiaa jhoothu bhaau doojaa jaanu (sggs 861).
Gurmat asks each person change

Therefore, the Gurbani’s edict is that the most wonderful miracle would be to change one’s own mind (a revolution within) — uproot it from Mayaic consciousness and root it back to its Source (Mool, Joti-Svaroopa …).

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਏਹਾ ਸਿਧਿ ਏਹਾ ਕਰਮਾਤਿ ॥੨॥: Nanak Gurmukhi Hari naamu mani vasai ehaa sidhi ehaa karamaati ||2|| (sggs 650).
Gurmat isn’t just a declaration of intentions. We are asked to live it to fulfill those intentions

The Gurbani demands elimination of all evil practices from the society. For example, evil of dowry (Daaj or Dahej), Satee Prathaa (practice of a woman burning herself alive on her husband’s pyre), caste-system (ਜਾਤ-ਪਾਤ: Jaat-Paat; divisions of society based on caste, race tribe, family, etc.), oppression of people (“ਜੋਰ ਜੁਲਮ”), ignorance, corruption (religious, political …), and so on.

  • ਹੋਰਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦਾਜੁ ਜਿ ਰਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਲਹਿ ਸੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਚੁ ਪਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਮੈ ਦਾਜੋ ॥੪॥: Hor Manmukh daaju ji rakhi dikhaalahi … (sggs 78).
  • ਸਤੀਆ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਜੋ ਮੜਿਆ ਲਗਿ ਜਲੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤੀਆ ਜਾਣੀਅਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਜਿ ਬਿਰਹੇ ਚੋਟ ਮਰੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥੧॥: Sateeaa ehi na aakheean jo marriaa lag jalannih … (sggs 787).
  • ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਜਾਤੀ ਕਹ ਕਰਉ ਪਾਤੀ ॥: Kahaa karaou jaatee kah karaou paatee (sggs 485).
  • ਜੋਰ ਜੁਲਮ ਫੂਲਹਿ ਘਨੋ ਕਾਚੀ ਦੇਹ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥: Jor julam phoolahi ghano kaachee deh bikaar (sggs 255).

There is much more to Gurmat and social change. We will stop here to keep this post short and sweet, and may try covering more in separate posts.

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22 Comments Leave a comment

  1. H Singh

    ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਖਰਚੁ ਲੈ ਜਾਈਐ ॥੧੯॥
    Khalsa Jeeo, this pangati seems very clear to me, that Hari Hari is his Naam.
    Would you agree that we are to do ‘Jaap’ of this supreme naam? Here, the outcome of the Jaap has also been given.

    • The Gurbani time and again teaches us, for example:
      • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਦੇਇ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇ ॥ (sggs 759).
      • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਰਸਿ ਰਸਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 831).
      • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਬਦਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ॥ (sggs 361).

      The Gurbai also teaches us, for example:
      • ਮੁਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੮॥੨॥ (sggs 565).
      • ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਕਹਿਐ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥1॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਮਨਿ ਚੀਤਿ ॥ (sggs 491).
      • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਚਾਕਰ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 728).

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio and welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

  2. Prakash s Bagga

    From within Gurbaanee one should understand that ABINAASEE PRABHu is to be known as
    EKANKAARu and is described as WAHGuROO thru its NAAMu as HARi.HARi

  3. prakash s bagga

    I refer to a message from Verr Ravinder Ji as
    “Gurmat tells us that the Hukam is beyond description
    What about this Quote from SGGS ji,
    “KAHu NANAK JINI HUKAMu PACHCHATAA,PRABH SAHIB KA TINI BHED JATAA”
    It is clear that HUKAMU needs to be recognised now without any description how one can do so.Thus in Gurmat HUKAMu is well described but one is required to understand and accept that description given by GuRu ji.

    • sukhwant singh

      Yes, Gurbani has answer of everything, but it is our fault that we are unable to understand .because …
      ਮੇਰੀ ਮਤਿ ਥੋਰੀ ਰਾਮ.
      We have to demand Gurmat from GURU as…ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥
      if we take ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ then & only then we can understand HUKHUM of God. because only GURU can tell us about God & his Hukhum.
      Ontime peoples asked from Guru Arjun Dev Ji that has he ever seen GOD ? if yes tell us about GOD ?
      Guruji said ..
      ਮੈ ਪੇਖਿਓ ਰੀ ਊਚਾ ਮੋਹਨੁ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਚਾ ॥
      So Guru knows about God & his Hukhum and we have to take Gurmat to know the Hukhum of God.
      Bhul-Chuk Maff Karni

  4. ravinder singh

    Gurmat tells us that the Hukam is beyond description.It teaches the mind to live according to the laws of the Hukam.

  5. ravinder singh

    Gurmat is fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind.It is about a fair social order.

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