ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥ (sggs 62).

Pursuit of knowledge must lead to truthful living. Therefore, unless knowledge changes one's life in the direction of Truth — man's essential state — it's useless. One can spend all his life hearing about Truth; reading loads of books about Truth; contemplating day and night on Truth; teaching or preaching Truth; writing volumes about Truth; giving sermons on Truth; following all religions, paths or cults of the world; but none of these will help Realize the Divine Presence unless one lives a truthful life in the "now" and "here". This is but Baabaa Nanak means in the following verse:

  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu orai sabh kayu upari sach aachaar ||5||: Everything is underneath Truth (lower than, ਉਰ੍ਹੇ, …); the truthful living (living with Truth) is the highest (i.e., the superior form of living, ਸਭ ਤੇ ਉੱਪਰ …) ||5|| (sggs 62).
  • ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Tab lag mahal na paaeeai jab lag saach n cheeti: As long as the Truth does not enter into the consciousness, the Divine Presence is not realized (sggs 58).

Thus the realm of Truth is pathless. Inward Divine Realization is complete only when we come to assert and actually live the Truth. Without such positive assertion, the seeker may reach only the dull void which in itself is not the fulfillment of man's inward Realization of the Eternal Reality. For instance, removing thirst is not the fulfillment of drinking water, but it must provide to the drinker the positive joy of fullness and comfort. This is why Baabaa Nanak says, "Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living." Therefore, as indicated in the Gurbani, the stress should be laid on practice ("Karanee") rather than faith. Above all religions is this One Religion of Truth.

Living truthfully means living righteously. This is Dharma or True Religion — nondogmatic and nonsectarian. The practice of this Religion of truthfulness or righteousness is Light: Love, Naam-consciousness or Shabad-Surti, God-consciousness, Spirituality, Divine Life, Harmony, Peace, Spiritual Beauty and Power, Knowledge, Forgiveness, Objectivity, Timelessness, Pure Being, Oneness, Detachment, Viveka, Selflessness, Fearlessness, Freedom, Stillness, and so on.

To the contrary, performing untruthfully or un righteously is irreligiousness or Adharma: egoism, ignorance, materiality, divided consciousness (Doojaa Bhaav or duality), fanaticism, fear, hatred, revenge, sense-slavery, reaction, "I, me, mine, you", time and space, names and forms, prejudices, differences, conflicts, divisiveness, bondage, perverted understanding, possessiveness, hurt, clouded judgment, falsehood, corruption, crookedness, misery, pain and suffering, inner restlessness, acquisition and rejection, and so on.

At present, all organized religions are dogmatic and sectarian. Why? Because they are mixture of Divine "truth" and human "error". Hence, they are not true Dharma. It is the human "error" that makes the religions dogmatic and sectarian. Once the human "error" — all nonessentials — from religion is completely removed, only Divine "truth" remains over. And then religion becomes what it is meant to be: it becomes Dharma or True Religion.

  • ਕੂੜਹੁ ਕਰੇ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ਧਰਮੇ ਤਗੀਐ ॥: Koorhahu karae vinaas dharamae tageeai: Spiritually, one is destroyed through falsehood; through Dharma, one prospers (sggs 518).
  • ਨਹ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਧਰਮੰ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਪਾਪੰ ॥: Nah bilanb dharamam bilamb paapam: Do not delay in practicing Dharma; delay in committing sins (sggs 1354).
  • But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Bible, Mat 6:33).
  • Of the falsehood there is no endurance; and of the Truth there is no change (Gita 2:16).
  • But the raiment of righteousness- that is the best (Quran 7:26). Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour (Quran 5:2).
  • Lead others, not by violence, but by righteousness and equity ....Righteousness can be practised only when we have freed our mind from passions of egotism (The Gospel Of Buddha, compiled by Carus) ....But one in whom truth and righteousness exist --such a one is pure and is a holy person (Buddha, Dhammapada:393).

How simple the Truth or Spiritual Life is! Because Divine Principle is Very Simple. But our deluded mind does not like simplicity. It looks for cause for everything; thus making simple things complicated because it will read complex and far-fetched meanings in simple truth. People with such deluded mind want complexity because they are not contented with simplicity. This is why so many religions and sects have come into existence with their own complex adherents and antagonists, and have converted the world into living hell.

  • ਜਿਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਸਰਮਿੰਦਾ ਇਹਾ ਕਮਾਨੀ ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਕੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸਾਕਤ ਕੀ ਪੂਜਾ ਐਸੀ ਦ੍ਰਿੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਬਿਪਰੀਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਭੂਲੋ ਅਵਰੈ ਹੀਤ ॥: Jih karanee hovahi saramindaa ihaa kamaanee reet. Sant kee nindaa saakat kee poojaa aisee drirraee bipareet. Maya moh bhoolo avarai heet: O man, You have made it your habit to practice those deeds which will bring you shame. You slander the Spiritual beings, and you worship the material beings; such are the corrupt ways you have adopted. Deluded by your emotional attachment to worldliness (Maya-illusion), you love other things (sggs 673).
  • ਤਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਜਲੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Tisnaa agni jalai sansaaraa: The world is burning in the fire of desire (sggs 120).

Dharma — truthfulness, righteousness, goodness, purity... — is the essence of all religions. It is the underlying unity in all religions. This is what all prophets, masters, sages or men of light come to preach us. But man's restless mind corrupts their pure and simple teaching by mixing it with nonessentials; because man's corrupt consciousness detests simplicity. Unless we become Spiritually Awakened and mature within, we cannot grasp the Simple Truth in all its nakedness.

  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥: Sacahahu orai...: Everything is underneath (lower than) Truth; living with Truth is the highest (form of living). ||5|| (sggs 62).

Both Truth (or Love) and falsehood (or worldly attachment) cannot coexist. Why? Because, attachment (or falsehood) is born of egoism, and Truth (or pure Love) is born of intuitive understanding; attachment binds, and Truth liberates; attachment feeds egoism, and Truth dissolves it; attachment breads fear and hatred, and Truth promotes courage and sacrifice; attachment is possessiveness, and Truth is freedom or Nirvana; attachment controls other person, and Truth sets that person free to grow; attachment is hurt, and Truth is forgiveness and compassion; attachment is churning ignorance or stupidity, and Truth is churning learning in wisdom; attachment is ugliness, and Truth is Spiritual beauty; attachment is inner filth or impurity, and Truth is Purity; attachment is weakness, and Truth is Spiritual power; attachment is birth-death cycle, and Truth is Immortality; attachment clouds our judgment, and Truth helps us to be objective; in attachment we pamper the other person when his actions gratify our egoism, but in Truth we are alert enough to caution the other person against unhealthy habits; in attachment there is the noise of gain and loss, and in Truth there is Spiritual silence; attachment breeds personal misery and disappointment, and Truth knows the reality of suffering; attachment is body-consciousness ("I. me, mine, you") or selfishness, and Truth is Pure Awareness or Immaculate Self; attachment is desire and craving, and Truth is desirelessness and detachment; attachment is sense gratification, and Truth is Higher Taste; attachment is evil, and Truth is Divinity; attachment is restlessness, and Truth is equanimity; Attachment is differences, and Truth is unity; attachment is exploitation, and Truth is cooperation; attachment is fanaticism and bigotry and prejudices, and Truth is Oneness; attachment is "taking", and Truth is "giving"; attachment is darkness, and Truth is broad-mindedness; attachment is time and space or causation, Truth is Timelessness; Attachment is Spiritual annihilation or going Backward, and Truth is Spiritual progress or going Forward; and so on. Therefore, complete eradication of falsehood or selfish attachment to the worldliness (Maya or illusion) is the key for awakening Truth or righteousness within.

  • ਮਮਤਾ ਕੀ ਮਲੁ ਉਤਰੈ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mamataa kee malu utarai ih manu hashaa hoi: When the filth of attachment and possessiveness departs, the mind becomes pure (sggs 558).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).
  • ਮੋਹ ਮਿਥਨ ਦੁਰੰਤ ਆਸਾ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥: Moh mithan durant aasaa baasanaa bikaar: Emotional attachment is false, desire is filthy, and longing is corrupt (sggs 508).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਭੋ ਜਗੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਇਹੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਜਾਈ ॥: In emotional attachment to Maya (worldliness or illusion), the whole world is asleep. Tell me, how can this doubt be dispelled? (sggs 205).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਤੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਚਾਲੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ ॥: Ih moh Maya terai sang na chhallai jhoothee pareet lagaayee: This emotional attachment to Maya will not go with you; falls is to fall in love with it (sggs 78).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥: Maya mohu agiaan gubaar: Attachment to Maya (worldliness or illusion) leads to the darkness of ignorance (sggs 1262).
  • By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth Allah knoweth it well (Quran 3:92).
  • Who is free from attachment-fear-anger, is called a sage of steady mind (Gita 2:56).
  • Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Bible Mat. 6:19).

Truthful or righteous living — the essence of True Religion or Dharma — is only meant to be applied, otherwise it has no meaning. If a person is ill, his mere reading of the medicine's label without taking the medicine will not cure him. In order to be cured of the illness and related pain and suffering, one has to take the medicine and stop mere reading its label. As there are different illnesses, there are different medicines. Similarly, since there are different types of people (mental dispositions) in the world, there are different religions or procedures. But the spirit of all religions is the same — Truth.

Although people have different mental dispositions (illnesses), but the source of all types of mental ailments (mental dispositions, habits or inclinations) is one and the same — false ego-sense (Haumai). This physical ego is also known to be false "I-ness", false self, body-identity, deluded consciousness, spiritual ignorance, and so on. The religion (Truth) is like a medicine. Until it (Truth) is applied to the mind, the religious labels or paths will not have any effect on the Spiritual Evolution. As a married life to an eunuch is empty, similarly, once religious life is empty unless he practices the essence of religion — truthful or righteous living (Dharma). One can appease his hunger only by taking food. If he does not make effort to take food, or if he just sits there on account of his fate, he is sure to die of starvation! Similarly, if we desire to remove the root of our mental illnesses, the ego illusion, we must apply the medicine of Truth.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak gurmukh sach kamaavai manmukh aavai jaai: O Nanak, the Spiritual beings (Gurmukhs) practice Truth, while the material beings (Manmukhs) suffer repeatedly (sggs 87).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਤ ਏਕੋ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਇਦਾ ॥: Haumai jaayi taa eko boojhai so Gurmukh sahaj samaayidaa: When egotism is silenced, then one comes to know the One God. Such a Spiritual being intuitively merges in Him (sggs1076).
  • ਬਹਲੇ ਭੇਖ ਭਵਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥: Bahale bhekh bhavahi din raatee houmai rog n jaaee: Trying on all sorts of (religious) robes, those who wander around day and night, (this way) the disease of their egotism is not cured (sggs 1131).

Thus, in reality, Self-realization is not produced by religions, rather, it's the product of one's own self-efforts (Shabad-Vichaar...). But, unfortunately, sincere willingness is very rare, earnestness is very rare, true faith is very rare, right living is very rare, correct practice of devotion is very rare, clarity of vision is very rare, sincerity and goodwill is very rare, and, ultimately, truthful or righteous conduct is very rare. As a consequence of such faulty consciousness, man creates havoc, destruction, fear, wars and calamities.

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਅਚੰਭਉ ਦੇਖਿਓ ਹੀਰਾ ਹਾਟ ਬਿਕਾਇ ॥ ਬਨਜਨਹਾਰੇ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਕਉਡੀ ਬਦਲੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Kabeer ek achanbhau dekhio heeraa haat bikaai. Banajanahaare baaharaa kaudee badalai jaai: Kabeer, I saw a strange thing (in this word). A jewel (Truth) was being sold in a store. Because there was no buyer, it was going in exchange for a shell (agga 1332)!
  • ਕਲਿ ਹੋਈ ਕੁਤੇ ਮੁਹੀ ਖਾਜੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਬੋਲਿ ਭਉਕਣਾ ਚੂਕਾ ਧਰਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਜੀਵੰਦਿਆ ਪਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਮੁਇਆ ਮੰਦੀ ਸੋਇ ॥: In Kali (the mind's state of wickedness, ill-thinking...), people have faces like dogs (i.e. greedy), and carrion (i.e., greed...) is their food. They tell lies and thus bark (like dog); all thought of Dharma has left them. Such people have no honor while alive, and have an evil reputation after they die (sggs 1242).
  • And I will say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (Bible, Luke 12:19-20).

In essence, the spirit of religion is man's attitude of Higher Consciousness. Hence the idea behind religion is living a Divine Life by becoming a Spiritual Being. Simply put: the essence of religion asks man to dive deep within and awaken the Divine Virtues of one's own True Self — love, purity, intuitive understanding, oneness, omniscience, omnipotence, freedom from attachments, unlimited grace, boundless Bliss, self-dependence, selflessness, compassion, and so on.

The generality of men follow their leaders. To have real peace in the world, therefore, the religious leaders must first have peace within themselves and within their respective denomination. Thus, at the societal level, religious leaders who have assumed the custodianship of their respective religion have to first look within themselves and discover the Truth. Then, they must devise ways for their followers to practice the ideals taught by the masters, otherwise the ideals have no meaning. Similarly, the wisdom is useless unless it transforms one into a Spiritual Person. We should always remember that the common theme of all religions is to teach a Divine or Eternal Life to their followers. This is only possible if one holds tight to the Truth within. Which, in turn, must translate into truthful or righteous living. The followers of the Truth walk on the path of Spiritual Life — love, light, wisdom, knowledge, oneness, spiritual beauty and power.

  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • ਬੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕੀਆ ॥: Bandhan karam dharma hayu keeyaa: Acting in false ego, people are entangled with religious rituals, and religious faith (sggs 416).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Pandit mulaan jo likhi deeaa. Chhaadi cale ham kachhoo n leeaa ||3||: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan has written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
  • ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Hamaraa jhagaraa rahaa na ko-oo. Pandit mulaan shaade do-oo ||1|| Rahaaou ||: (Now) I have no quarrel with anyone anymore; because I have abandoned both the Pandit and the Mullaan (ਦੋਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਰਸਤੇ ਨਾਲ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ - the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1158).

Truth is Universal. Truth is revelation. Truth is the ultimate Self-knowledge. All religions speak of this Universal Principle, hence it is imperative that the scriptures of the various religions must be read and interpreted with this perspective. The problem arises when they are read and interpreted in selfish attachment instead of Truth. As a result, one religion tries to prevail over another; giving rise to conflicts. All religions must learn by now that sowing seeds of dissension only conflicts can be reaped.

Time has come for the religions to recognize their past follies and sins and, by completely removing the "error", be accommodative member of the Universal family in the interest of the world peace and harmony. Love is natural to the Human heart, not ill-will. Thus, it is possible to have a real peace in the world if every individual in the world develops Love or compassion within and then with everyone else.

  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥: Naa ko bairee nahee bigaanaa sagal sa(n)g ham kayu ban aaee: No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me. I get along with everyone (sggs 1299).

One sees only what one seeks. For example, if we seek Truth within, we will see the same One Truth in every creation. Thus Truth — followed by truthful living in righteous thoughts, speech and actions — is considered by the ancients as "supreme wealth"; the source of true peace, harmony and all prosperity.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਵਰਤਾਏ ॥ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਛਪੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਰਖੈ ਛਪਾਏ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਏ ॥੫॥: Antar saach baahar saach vartaae. Saach na shapai je ko rakhai shapaae. Giaanee boojhahi sahaj subhaae||5||: (that person) who has Truth pervading within and without (ਅੰਦਰ ਬਾਹਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦਾ ਪਰਕਾਸ), even if he tries to hide the Truth, he cannot hide it. The Giaanee understands this (Reality or Truth) intuitively (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ) ||5|| (sggs 232).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੂਖਾ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੂਖਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਿ ਮਲਨ ਭਏ ਦੁਸਟਾਰੀ ॥: Antar sookhaa baahar sookhaa har jap malan bhaye dusataaree: One who has peace pervading within, radiates peace outwardly as well; meditating on the Divine, evil tendencies are crushed (sggs 916).

— T. Singh