Gurmat (Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani) would like us to bring about real change in life — positive change in one’s Budhi (intellect), thinking, actions, attitudes, vision, mindset, entire outlook, understanding, and so on! Such positive change in each individual will result in changing (transformation) the whole society for good!
First off, who is responsible for the ills of the society, deterioration of the society, inequality and injustice in the society, Madness of Jaap Paat in the society, nonsense rituals (Karamkaand), and so on?
- 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).
Gurmat demands equality 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.
The Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) 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॥: Gobind (Universal Energy) is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere), Gobind is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere); without Gobind, there is nothing at all. (sggs 485).
- ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: From this One Light, the entire universe has welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (sggs 1349).
Gurmat Teaches a basic Unity – Oneness
Simply put: Gurmat Teaches there is but One Reality (Universal Energy). 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 love and 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.
- ਜੋਗੀ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰੈ ॥ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਕਾ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੩॥੧੧॥: The Yogi (forgetting the Divine) repeats Gorakh, Gorakh. The Hindu utters the Name of Raam (i.e., Hindu thinks his God is only in the idol of Raam). (Similarly) the Muslim considers only the Khudaa (as their God, somewhere up there in 7th sky). (However) Kabeer’s Divine is that which is pervading all over (ਫੈਲਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ, ਤੇ ਸਭ ਦਾ ਸਾਂਝਾ – the same one in all beings and everywhere) ||4||3||11|| (sggs 1160).
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 ॥ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਜਾਦੇ ਬਿਲਮ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਸਚਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: That king (ruler, leader etc.) should sit upon the throne (occupy office, etc.), who is worthy of it. Those who have realized the Truth, they alone are the true rulers. These mere earthly rulers are not to be called rulers; because they are in the love of duality (Maya etc.), and thus already suffering. Permanent ruler is only Truth, one who as a Gurmukh understands this also becomes steady (sggs 1088).
- ਮੈਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡਾਇ ਕੈ ਈਸ ॥: The rulers of kingdoms are corrupt (sggs 1158).
- ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਰੰਗ ਰਾਇ ਸੰਚਹਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Kings, rulers and monarchs enjoy sense pleasures and gather the poison of Maya (sggs 1245).
Gurmat says suffering is universal
SGGS says 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
- 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 …
The 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…
- ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
- ਸਭੇ ਦੁਖ ਸੰਤਾਪ ਜਾਂ ਤੁਧਹੁ ਭੁਲੀਐ ॥: All suffering and sorrows cling (to mind) upon forgetting (the Divine Naam = Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad…). (sggs 964).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਖਿ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਰੋਇ ॥: The love of Maya is total pain; in pain they perish, and in pain they cry out (sggs 316).
- ਮੁੰਧੇ ਗੁਣਹੀਣੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਕੇਹਿ ॥: (O soul-bride)! Being Virtueless, there can no happiness. (sggs 56).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵੇ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਜੁਗ ਚਾਰੇ ਭਰਮਾਈ ॥: Without living daily life with the Satgur’s Wisdom (Virtues…), the mortal suffers immense Dukh all the time. (sggs 603).
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, Jot Saroop…).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਏਹਾ ਸਿਧਿ ਏਹਾ ਕਰਮਾਤਿ ॥੨॥: Nanak Gurmukh Har naamu mani vasai ehaa sidhi ehaa karamaat ||2|| O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukh, abide in the Lord’s Name; this is Spirituality (True Understanding, ਸੂਝ, Aatmic-Giaan, etc.), and this is the miracule. ||2|| (sggs 650).
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.
- ਸਭਸੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੋਰ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਉ ਨ ਸਗਲੀ ਛਾਰੁ ॥੨॥: Reflection on the Gur-Shabad is above all (other notions, speculations, calculations…). I don’t care for anything else, for all else (i.e., other than the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad) is just worthless. ||2|| (sggs 904).
There is much more to the Gurmat and social change. We will stop here to keep this post short and sweet, and may try covering more in separate posts.