Build a Fence of Dharma Around

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) urges us to abide by Dharma at all costs. Through the Guru’s Shabad (Upadesh-Message), the Gurbani (SGGS) urges us to build the fence of Dharma around. In fact, the Gurbani calls this earth ‘Dharam Saal-ਧਰਮ 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॥: (through the Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom) one who reconciled with five Virtues (truth, contentment, compassion, faith and patience), and antagonized five Bikaar (i.e. lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride). And thus enshrined five virtues within him and driven out the five Bikaar ||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).
  • 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).

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 Supreme Truth.

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 take us either closer or farther away from Truth – our Mool (ਮੂਲ) etc.

  • 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 Truth 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…).

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

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥: O Kabeer! (Within a person, if) there is Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Aatm–Giaan…) there is Dharma; (if within him) there is falsehood, there is sin (corrupt thinking). (sggs 1372).
  • ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: If some one grasps this – there is but one Dharma of Truth. (sggs 1188).

Dharma makes one Bhagat (Daas, Jan, Gurmukh …), not Sansaaree (worldly or Mayaic person). The Gurbani assures us once inside the fence (ਕਾਰ, ਵਾੜ …) of Dharma, we will not be plundered.

  • 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).