Dharma has to do with Truth (Sach-ਸੱਚ).
That’s why the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) time and again equate “Dharma” with Truth.
Ironically, in this world, the biggest lies (ਝੂਠ) are told in the name of Dharma, specially by those who have made Dharma their business (ਧੰਧਾ, ਦੁਕਾਨਦਾਰੀ…)!
The biggest gossip (ਗੱਪ – a false story, tattle, prattle, rumor, hearsay, chit-chat, etc.) goes in the name of Dharma.
- ਓਹੁ ਗਲ ਫਰੋਸੀ ਕਰੇ ਬਹੁਤੇਰੀ ਓਸ ਦਾ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਭਾਇਆ ॥: He (i.e., the prattler, Manmukh) babbles on and on (ਗੱਲਾਂ ਵੇਚਣੀਆਂ, ਗੱਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਖੱਟੀ ਖਾਣੀ, etc.), but the words he speaks please no one (sggs 303).
The SGGS also tells us that the Truth or Rabb (Universal Energy) is One and the same.
Since Rabb is One, the true Dharma must also be One — the Universal Dharma of ‘Sach-ਸਚ-Truth’ or Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun). Suitable for all times, it was established as soon as humanity came into existence.
Rest are just man-made religions — ‘Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ’. The Sikh Gurus did not use or accept the term religion or Mazhab. Religion is a Judaeo-Christian term and the term ‘Mazahb’ is from Abrahamic traditions. The Sikh Gurus used the term Dharam, which is entirely distinct from religion. Dharma is devoid of Karamkaand (ritualism), robes, religious paraphernalia, mythology, etc.; it is simply a Way of life to connect with one’s Mool or True Nature (Jot Saroop) while living a happy and healthy life.
However, these institutionalized or organized religions have hijacked the True Dharma, a great tragedy of the humankind.
Also called ‘Srest-ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ-Best’ Dharma in the Gurbani, this Universal Dharma is observed at the level of the mind (Surat, consciousness). It’s so because this true Dharma is the Eternal function or Original Nature (Inner Nature) of all beings in relationship with ‘Sach-Truth’ or Virtues (Pure or ‘Nirmal Karma’, Wisdom…). It asks us to Awaken the eternal truthfulness within so that the human narcissism is replaced, and one seeks companionship of divine Virtues or Wisdom (Gurmukh Lifestyle).
- ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: If some one grasps this – there is but one Dharma of Truth. (sggs 1188).
- ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਕਰਮੁ ॥: Of all Dharma, the best Dharma is “Naam(u) Japi” (understand the Gurbani and obtain Giaan or Wisdom, Virtue…) and do Pure Karma (ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਆਚਰਣ, conduct…). (sggs 266).
The word Dharma comes from the Sanskrit root “Dhri”, which means “to hold”. Therefore, Dharma refers to that innate characteristic or Eternal Nature which constantly exists with a particular object — the Eternal function or True Nature of all beings.
For example, heat is the natural Dharma of fire, liquidity is the natural Dharma of water, light is the natural Dharma of sun, to produce plants is the natural Dharma of a seed, energy is the natural Dharma of electricity, and so on. Hence, the word Dharma referrers to and 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 Law of Nature (Hukam…).
In nutshell, for a heat or water or wind to become “Without Dharma” is to forget or give up their Inherited Qualities (ਗੁਣ-Virtues), or duty (ਫਰਜ).
At the human level, similarly, for a person to become ‘Without Dharma’ (become A-Dharmee, ਅਧਰਮੀ) is to forget or give up one’s Inherited Qualities (ਗੁਣ-Virtues), duty or responsibility (ਫਰਜ, ਜਿੰਮੇਵਾਰੀ).
Hence, Dharma = Purpose in life, Truth seeking, living Virtues (Sach or Truth, contentment, mercy, patience, Sahaj, Wisdom, etc.)…
Accordingly, the Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that a person without Virtues (ਗੁਣ) is as useless as a cow without milk; a bird without wings; vegetation or crop without water; an emperor without respect, etc.
- ਦੁਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਧੇਨੁ ਪੰਖ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਕਾਮਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਸਲਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਅੰਧੀ ਕੋਠੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੧॥: A cow without milk; a bird without wings; vegetation without water – totally useless! What is an emperor, without respect? The chamber of the soul is so dark, without the Naam (i.e., ਗੁਣ, Virtues, Wisdom, Truth…. ||1|| (sggs 354).
To put it otherwise, the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS teaches us the principle of basic unity (Oneness) and equality and how to build a peaceful, loving, harmonious, just, truthful, successful, purposeful, positive society and life. If people cannot treasure these universal Virtues, then that’s people’s problem, NOT Gurmat’s problem (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਵਧੀਆ ਸਮਾਜ ਤੇ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਵਧੀਆ ਇਨਸਾਨ ਬਣਾਂਉਦੀ ਹੈ).
- ਜੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਧਰਮ ਨਾਉ ਹੋਵੈ ਪਾਪਿ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਪਾਪੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥: He, who lives Dharma (lives daily life of Truth, Virtues, Wisdom) is a Dhaarmic person (Virtuous…), and if he acts contrary to Dharma is known a “Paapee”. (sggs 138).
- ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਤਮ ਇਹੁ ਕਰਮੁ ॥ ਸਗਲ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥: This (i.e., to live Virtues in life, Naam…) is the most exalted Karma. Of all Dharma, this is the most sublime and excellent Dharma. (sggs 895).
To the contrary, all man-made religions are mostly observed at the level of the physical body-frame (Karamkaand or rituals, etc.). The Gurbani’s Dharma is not a religion!
Hence, they are brain washing systems for social control. They are about tribal survival and conquest. Each claims exclusively true, and all others evil. They use violence if you don’t agree with their exclusive claims. Ask Prof. Giordano Bruno who was burned alive for saying “Earth goes around the sun”, contrary to the Church teaching!
Accordingly, there is the Pujaaree group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾ) in Sikhi; there is the Hindu Pujaaree Group; there is the Muslim Pujaaree Group; there is the Christian Pujaaree Group, and so on. And this Pujaaree group is greedy, corrupt, crafty, illiterate…
No Dharma without Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun)
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that there can be no true Dharma without Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun). Opposite of Virtues (“Gun”) is demerits (“Avgun” or “Aougun”, defects, faults, flaws…). The Gurbani calls defects (“Avgun”) as chains or noose around one’s neck (“Janjeer”, “Phaahaa”), human enemies, thieves that steal human Goodness, etc.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਜੇਤੜੇ ਤੇਤੇ ਗਲੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਨਿ ਤ ਕਟੀਅਨਿ ਸੇ ਭਾਈ ਸੇ ਵੀਰ ॥: O Nanak! As many as are the demerits (Bikaar…), so many are the chains (bonds, Bandhan…) around (one’s) neck. If (one) possesses the Divine Virtues, then the chains are cut away; (hence Virtues) are (one’s) true brothers and mates. (sggs 595).
Therefore, the SGGS teaches the entire mankind — including ALL Sikhs (learners or students of the SGGS, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) — to follow the Dharma of Virtues.
- ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: (One who) contemplates the Divine Virtues is spiritually Wise. Spiritual Wisdom is obtained through the Divine Virtues (sggs 931).
- ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
Hence, in nutshell, clearly, the Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) wants us to awaken the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within in order to be a true Dhaarmic person!
No wonder the SGGS asks all to share in the Divine Virtues!
For a Sikh can awaken within the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) by remaining a good Sikh; a Hindu can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Hindu; a Muslim can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Muslim; a Bodhi can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Bodhi; a Christian can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Christian; a Jew can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Jew; and so on.
However, the crafty Pujaaree systems of all these organized religions will NOT let it happen! Instead, they will make sure the people remain divided, ignorant, without the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ)…
Understandably, the SGGS breaks the corrupt Pujaaree system. They have turned their man-made religions into a Mayaic or mundane business (ਧੰਧਾ)!
- ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਜੋ ਦੀਸਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਜਮੁ ਜਾਗਾਤੀ ਲੂਟੈ ॥: Whosoever perform show off Draarmic rituals (like bathing at Teerath, etc.) and hypocrisies, are plundered by the “Jam(u)” (Doubt, Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride…), the tax collector (sggs 747).
Accordingly, for the betterment of the human society, all contributors of the SGGS tried their best to break the corrupt and stagnant Pujaaree systems. They knew that without breaking these corrupt Pujaaree systems, people cannot be steered away from the lifestyle of “Bhangaar” they propagate.
Gurbani’s Universal Dharma of “Sach” – Truth
Where there is corruption, there can be no Dharma. Hence, the Gurbani rejects all man-made religions, for they promote corruption. The truth is falsehood cannot propagate Truth.
- ਸਰਮੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦੁਇ ਛਪਿ ਖਲੋਏ ਕੂੜੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ ॥: Modesty (ਹਯਾ, shame, etc.) and Dharma both have vanished, and falsehood moves about as the chief (Pardhaanu-ਚੌਧਰੀ). (sggs 722).
- ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: Telling lies, the Qazi eats filth (of taking what pertains to others, bribe, corruption…). The Brahmin kills (inflicts pain to people by misguiding them: ਆਤਮ-ਘਾਤੀ..), and then takes (cleansing, ਤੀਰਥ-ਇਸਨਾਨ) baths. The Yogi is (mentally or spiritually) blind, and does not know the way (of life). These three are the cause of destruction (of the society, people, spiritual life…). ||2||(sggs 662).
The Universal Dharma of Sach (Truth) the SGGS reminds the entire humankind of is for the good of the entire mankind.
- ਬੋਲੀਐ ਸਚੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲੀਐ ॥: Speak the “Sachu” Dharma (i.e. to speak Truth is Dharma), and do not speak falsehood (sggs 488).
The Gurbani’s Universal Dharma wants the entire humanity to escape from Bhav Saggar to Sukh Saagar and awaken the Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun) or Giaan (Wisdom) within.
A Brahmin can do that; a Muslim can do that; a Yogi can do that, a Sikh can do that; a Khalsa can do that, list goes on and on.
Let’s take a few examples from the Gurbani:
For example, a person who identifies himself as a Sikh or Khalsa can awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:
- ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: O Kabeer! Those persons become “Khaalsae” (ਖਾਲਸੇ) who have realized the Prem Bhagti (ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦਾ ਪੂਰਾ ਗਿਆਨ; Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Giaan, or Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…). (sggs 655).
- ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥: O brother! He alone is a Sikh, a friend, and a relative, who walks in the Way of the Gur-Bhaanaa (Divine Hukam, Gurmat, the Gurbani’s Giaan or Wisdom…). (sggs 601).
A person who identifies himself Brahmin can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:
- ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨ ਇਸਨਾਨੀ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪੂਜੇ ਪਾਤੀ ॥: He alone is a Brahmin, who takes his cleansing bath in the Brahm-Giann (spiritual wisdom), and whose leaf-offerings in worship are the Divine Virtues. (sggs 992).
A person who identifies himself Muslim can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:
- ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥: There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names. Let the first be truthfulness (truth in thoughts, speech, deeds…). Let the second be earning honest living (Imaandaree Dee Kirat). Let the third be good will for all (Sarbatt Daa Bhalaa Karanaa). Let the fourth be the pure mind and intentions (Neeyat or motives…). And, let the fifth be the Divine Praise (i.e., continually living and sharing the Divine Wisdom and Virtues in life). (With these five Namaaj, elevate your conduct – ਕਰਣੀ) repeat the creed of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a (true) Muslim. (sggs 141).
A person who identifies himself Yogi can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:
- ਮੁੰਦਾ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰਮੁ ਪਤੁ ਝੋਲੀ ਧਿਆਨ ਕੀ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ॥ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੁਆਰੀ ਕਾਇਆ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ॥ ਆਈ ਪੰਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਮਾਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Make contentment your ear-rings, humility your begging bowl, and meditation the ashes you apply to your body. Let (the remembrance) of death be the patched coat you wear, let the body free of Bikaar be your skill in the world, and let knowledge (conviction, confidence, faith) be your walking stick. See the brotherhood of all mankind as the highest order of Yogis; if you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world. (sggs 6).
If all this happens, then, regardless of what worldly religion a person identifies with, everybody will have the same Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun) — Oneness, Sameness, universal Love, universal Brotherhood, universal Citizenship…
The Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) build a fence of Dharma around a person. As a result, there will be more love, less hatered and bloodshed in the name of religion or god.
However, the Gurbani’s this universal Dharma of Virtues requires people to change.
- ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਦੀਆ ਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਨਿਹਾਲਿਆ ॥: He taught me and given me the healing eyedrops of spiritual Wisdom so that with my spiritual eyes, I visualize the world (sggs 470).
That’s where the problem is — people don’t want to change or mend their thinking. Since the organized religions see no material gain in teaching their followers to change, they stick to their antagonistic adherents and engage in foolish acts in the name of their religion and god.
Dharma revealed by the SGGS is universal
First off, Dharma of the Gurmat is Dharma of GIAAN (Divine Wisdom or Knowledge, Virtues…). It’s NOT a Dharma of AGIAANEE (ignorant, unvirtuous, corrupt thinking…)! The Gurbani claims that every action performed in the Light of the Gur-Wisdom becomes Dharma. On the other hand, every deed done contrary to the Gur-Wisdom is Paap (corrupt thinking, demerits, Bikaar, ਬੁਰੀ ਸੋਚ, ਭੇੜੇ ਵਿਚਾਰ, ਅਉਗਣ…).
- 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).
The Giaan or spiritual Knowledge of the SGGS is meant to raise conditioned consciousness to the level of Immortal Consciousness. Thus the the SGGS puts the entire mankind back on the path (Panth) of living the True Dharma (Virtues, Wisdom). Its Divine Guidance and Universal Message is for the improvement and welfare of the whole mankind.
- ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈ ਊਤਮ ਧਰਮਾ ॥: Obtain the Divine Naam (Spiritual Knowledge, Virtue…), this is the Highest Dharma (sggs 834).
- ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਗਾਈਐ ਆਤਮ ਰੰਗਿ ॥: Live by the Divine (Virtues, Wisdom, Hukam or Law of Nature…) with the complete involvement of the Soul (mind – ਮੰਨ ਕਰਕੇ). (sggs 680).
However, the members of the Gurdwara committees and the illiterate and crafty Pujaaree-Vaad (Raagees, Bhais, Kathaakaar, preachers, Deraavaad Baabaa, etc.) have shamelessly hijacked and tortured the real Gurmat and its Supreme Message with concocted Karamkaand (rituals), plundering masses in the process. The wicked Pujaaree system has connected people to mere body-consciousness (Maya) instead of the Gur-Giaan (spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani…) or Naam.
Regardless of which institutionalized religion, the Pujaaree system of every religion wants to close people’s minds shut and contained, as a chick in a eggshell! Also, they make people emotional so they don’t think logically. As a result, people believe whatever the Pujaaree-Vaad tattles (ਗੱਪ) in the name of dharma and god.
The result is – as Baabaa Kabeer says:
- ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ਦਿਵਾਨੇ ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ॥ ਪੇਟੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਪਸੂਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੋਇਓ ਮਨੁਖੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਾਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਬਹੂ ਨਹੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਰਚਿਓ ਧੰਧੈ ਝੂਠ ॥ ਸੁਆਨ ਸੂਕਰ ਬਾਇਸ ਜਿਵੈ ਭਟਕਤੁ ਚਾਲਿਓ ਊਠਿ ॥੧॥: O madman! You have forgotten your Dharma; you have forgotten your Dharma (of Virtues). Like animals, you fill your belly and sleep; you have wasted and lost this human life. ||1||Pause|| You never join “Saadhsangati” (Gur-Giaan-Wisdom, Truth…). You are engrossed in false pursuits (of mind’s Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.). Wandering like a dog, a pig, a crow you will depart (from this world). ||1|| (sggs 1105).
What a tragedy! To reverse this situation in Sikhi, we must read the Gurbani ourselves, churn it through Shabad-Vichaar to understand its true meanings, and then apply it in daily life. Baabaa Nanak’s precious words:
- ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਗੁਰਿਆ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਮੁਹਿ ਫੇਰਿਐ ਮੁਹੁ ਜੂਠਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Who are without Giaan (Wisdom, Truth…) have no Divine Virtues. Defilement within comes from by turning away (from Giaan, Wisdom, Truth…). (sggs 1240).
- ਅਸਮਾਨ ਮ੍ਯ੍ਯਿਾਨੇ ਲਹੰਗ ਦਰੀਆ ਗੁਸਲ ਕਰਦਨ ਬੂਦ ॥: In the mind, a stream flows (i.e., the stream of Wisdom, Virtues, Amrit, Truth, Universal Energy…); take your bath in it. (sggs 727).
- ਸਜਣ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਲਿ ਮੈ ਚਲਦਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਚਲੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਿਥੈ ਖੜੇ ਦਿਸੰਨਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Virtues – ਗੁਣ) alone are my friends, who (always) travel along with me; and where the accounts are called for (i.e., wherever I’m in trouble, my Virtues) appear standing with me. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 729).