Build a Fence of Dharma

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) urges us to abide by Dharma at all costs. But, what is Dharma taught by Guru Nanak? What we see out there are organized or man-made religions with their individual antagonistic adherents etc. All organized or man-made religions are Mazhab (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ), NOT Dharma. Mazhab (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) can NOT be Dharma! Dharma is only ONE in the universe — the universal Dharma of divine Virtues Guru Nanak teaches the entire humanity.

That being said, the Guru Shabad (Upadesh-Message…) urges us to build the fence of Dharma around. In fact, the Gurbani calls this earth ‘Dharam Saalਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ’ (the place for Jeeva to practice Dharma).

  • ਪੰਚ ਮਨਾਏ ਪੰਚ ਰੁਸਾਏ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਵਸਾਏ ਪੰਚ ਗਵਾਏ ॥੧॥ ਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਗਰੁ ਵੁਠਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਦੁਰਤੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਚ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਫਰਹੇ ਮੁਹਕਮ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੨॥ : (By internalizing the Enlightening Message of the Guru Shabad) when the five Virtues (truth, contentment, compassion, Dharma and patience) were reconciled and the five vices/Bikaar (i.e. lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride) estranged, then I enshrined five Virtues within myself and cast out five vices/Bikaar from within myself. ||1|| O my brothers, in this way, his body-village became inhabited with Virtues. (As a result) vices departed, when the Guru spiritual Wisdom got implanted (in the mind). ||1||Pause|| He has thus built the fence of true Dharma (of Virtues) around (his body-village). By reflecting on the Guru’s Wisdom he has made his physical senses so strong, as if he has installed firm gates (to block the entry of vices in the mind). ||2|| (sggs 430).
  • ਮਨੁ ਹਾਲੀ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੀ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਰਮੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਤਨੁ ਖੇਤੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਬੀਜੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੁਹਾਗਾ ਰਖੁ ਗਰੀਬੀ ਵੇਸੁ ॥ : Make your mind the hard working farmer, your good deeds the farmer, your body the farm and your hard work the water for your crops. Let divine Naam be the seed, contentment the leveler (Suhaagaa) and your humility the protective fence. (sggs 595).

The word ‘Dharma’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Dhri’, which means ‘to hold’.

Therefore, ‘Dharma’ refers to that innate characteristic or Eternal Nature (Original Nature …) which constantly exists with a particular object. To put it otherwise, Dharma refers to that Natural Law which cannot be changed. Accordingly, the term Dharma is the Eternal function or Original Nature of all beings in relationship with the One Creator.

For example, the mind’s Original Nature is Jot Saroop. Also, heat is the natural Dharma of fire; liquidity is the natural Dharma of water; and so on. Hence, the word Dharma refers to the Eternal Virtue (ਗੁਣ) of all beings, which can not be taken away from them. It expresses the vital or Essential Nature of men, animals, all other creatures, metals, and so on. Dharma, therefore, is a comprehensive term that refers to the Immutable and Changeless Cosmic Order (Hukam…), that pervades every particle of the Cosmos, and runs the entire Universe and all beings. Thus, in the broader sense, Dharma is what upholds the Universe.

  • ਆਪੇ ਤਖਤੁ ਰਚਾਇਓਨੁ ਆਕਾਸ ਪਤਾਲਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਜੀਅਨੁ ਸਚੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲਾ ॥: The Creator has established this entire Universe in between the sky and the nether world as His throne. By His Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature) the Creator created the earth, a true place to practice Dharma. (sggs 785).
  • ਰਾਤੀ ਰੁਤੀ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਪਵਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ॥ : The nights, seasons, lunar days, week days, wind, water, fire and the nether regions; in the midst of all these, the Creator established the earth as a stage for humans to live Dharma for their spiritual growth. (sggs 7).

In short, Dharma is eternally integral with everything in this Universe. It can not be taken away just as the heat cannot be taken away from fire; just as liquidity cannot be taken away from the water; just as energy cannot be taken away from the electricity; and so on.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੋਤਿ ॥ ਗੁਹਜ ਰਤਨ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੁਕਿ ਰਹੇ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਕਢੈ ਖੋਤਿ ॥: This body (or human life) is Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature); Within it is the Creator’sJot‘ (Light-Conscience) is within it. Hidden or embedded within (this ‘Jot‘ or Conscience) are the Jewels (of Godly Virtues, Wisdom etc.); a ‘rare‘ person digs them out from the depth of Conscience through the Message of the Shabad by becoming ‘Sevak’ (Sikh: learner, seeker, Gurmukh, Daas, Jan etc.). (sggs 309).

We cannot escape actions in life. For every situation calls for action from individual beings. And every act produces some results or effects, which takes one either closer or farther away from her/her Mool (ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Jot).

  • ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੇ ਨੇੜੈ ਕੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: According to own deeds, some get closer and some drift farther away (from Creator /Hukam). Those who diligently and arduously Realized (acquired / practiced) Naam (spiritual Wisdom, divine Virtue), they, O Nanak, Realize God (become ‘Sachiaaraa-ਸਚਿਆਰਾ’ in their spiritual Journey) by overcoming / freeing themselves from the primary affliction (of Koorh-ਕੂੜ). ॥1॥ (sggs 8).

Dharma is present when one is aligned with the divine Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ…) in one’s thought, word and deed (‘ਮਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ਇਕੁ’). Furthermore, Dharma has no equivalent synonym. It implies the laws and disciplines pertaining to the Truth (accepting the divine Hukam) and is relevant to all times, all places and all peoples. Additionally, the effects of Dharma manifest in the way we lead our lives.

  • ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਅਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਛੁਟਿਓ ਬਿਖੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: He who has made God as the only support for his mind, words and deeds, has gotten rid of the poisonous worldly bonds of Maya ||3|| (sggs 197).
  • ਇਕੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਏਕਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਾਰਾ ॥: The divine Hukam alone prevails throughout the world and there is only one authority (Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature) over every one. (sggs 425).
  • ਮੰਨੈ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਠਾਕ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਮੰਨੈ ਮਗੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਪੰਥੁ ॥ ਮੰਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਬੰਧੁ ॥ : The spiritual State of BECOMING (Naam, Shabad, Gurbani, Enlightened, Virtues, Wisdom etc.) removed obstacles from the path of Realization of the Creator. The Spiritual State of BECOMING precludes traversing prescribed Path. The spiritual State of BECOMING is a State of Association with His Hukam (sggs 3).

The Gurbani’s Wisdom (Gurmat …) is the very Essence of Dharma. The Gurbani makes it very clear that without the true Wisdom there can be no real Dharma (i.e. there can be no living a life of true Dharma-ਧਰਮ…).

Absence of Dharma in life constitutes falsehood, and falsehood leads to corruption (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree mindsets that opposes the Hukam – ਹੁਕਮ ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ…).

  • ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਡੂਮਣੀ ਕੁਦਇਆ ਕਸਾਇਣਿ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਘਟ ਚੂਹੜੀ ਮੁਠੀ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਚੰਡਾਲਿ ॥ ਕਾਰੀ ਕਢੀ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾਂ ਚਾਰੇ ਬੈਠੀਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ : Evil intent, cruelty, habit of slandering others, and anger are the vices which pollute the mind. When these four vices are in the mind, then what good are the ceremonial lines drawn around the cooking area. (sggs 91).

In essence, Dharma is just an another name for Giyan-Wisdom.

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥ : O Kabeer, where there is Giyan (Spiritual Wisdom) there is Dharma; where there is falsehood, there is sin. (sggs 1372).
  • ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪੂਰਾ ਜੁਗਿ ਜੁਗਿ ਸੋਈ ॥ : One who firmly internalizes the ONE Dharma or Truth (Sach-Creator, Virtues), through the Guru’s teachings he spiritually becomes stable against vices forever. (sggs 1188).

Dharma makes oneGod-Oriented (Bhagat, Daas, Jan, Gurmukh …), not Sansaaree (worldly or Mayaic person). The Gurbani assures us once inside the fence (ਕਾਰ, ਵਾੜ …) of Dharma, none can plunder us.

  • ਤੈ ਸਹਿ ਦਿਤੀ ਵਾੜਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਖੇਤੁ ਨ ਛਿਜਈ ॥੨॥: O God, You have put up the fence (of divine Naam: Wisdom / Virtues); Nanak, my fields (of my spiritual efforts) shall not be plundered again. ||2|| (sggs 521).

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