Sikhi: a Way of Life

Guru Nanak did not start a religion for religions divide people whereas Guru Nanak was a Uniter. He devoted his entire life to make mankind realize that humanity is One.

To realize the massive importance of the above verse in Sikhi of Guru Nanak, consider the entire Shabad reproduced below:

  • ਵਰਤ ਨ ਰਹਉ ਨ ਮਹ ਰਮਦਾਨਾ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਜੋ ਰਖੈ ਨਿਦਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਏਕੁ ਗੁਸਾਈ ਅਲਹੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਦੁਹਾਂ ਨੇਬੇਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਹਜ ਕਾਬੈ ਜਾਉ ਨ ਤੀਰਥ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਏਕੋ ਸੇਵੀ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੨॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਉ ਨ ਨਿਵਾਜ ਗੁਜਾਰਉ ॥ ਏਕ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਲੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਮਸਕਾਰਉ ॥੩॥ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਰਾਨ ॥੪॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਕੀਆ ਵਖਾਨਾ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪੀਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਖੁਦਿ ਖਸਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੫॥੩॥ : I do not practice the fasts (of Hindus), nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan (the Roza of Muslims). I serve only the One, who protects all till the end of life. ||1|| My God is only One, Who is called Gosain (by the Hindus) and Allah (by the Muslims). I have separated myself from (religious practices) of them both, the Hindus and the Muslims (I don’t follow whatever they have written: their explanations, commentaries, customs, injunctions, etc.). ||1|| Pause || I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu shrines. I serve no other than the Only One Formless. ||2|| I do not perform Hindu worship, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers. I have understood in my mind and pay my obeisance to the One, the Formless. ||3||  We are not Hindus, nor are we Muslims (i.e. for the guidance of spiritual life, we do not depend on them). My body and breath of life belong to (whom Muslims call) Allah and to (whom Hindus call) Raam. ||4|| O Kabeer! This is what I say: That the one-self can realize God through Guru – Pir (Spiritual Teacher). ||5||3|| (sggs 1136).

Truth is that Guru Nanak rejected the existing Semitic religions and Indian religions of his time and their Gods and Goddesses in no uncertain terms. Having said that, he was not about to start a yet another religion to add to them. What he preached to the Hindus, Muslims and Yogis etc. was the daily conduct that will make them better human beings. He preached how to live, and use one’s ‘Bibek Buddh’ (discerning intellect), to guide their daily activity instead of a list of dos and don’ts prepared by the self-serving Pujaaree clique (clergy). No Ten Commandments, nor the Sharia Law, nor the Brahminical rituals, nor the Yogic lifestyle for him.

Thus, although Guru Nanak was born into a Hindu household but with that faith his Sikhi shares almost nothing, not even the concept of God. The Unique Sikhi of Guru Nanak is a Way of life based on reason (logic, Bibek, ਤਰਕ). The difference between Nanak’s Sikhi and man-made organized religions (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) is that religions are based on blind faith (Andh Vishvaas-ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ), BUT SIKHI OF GURU NANAK IS BASED ON REASON! Because of his Unique and Revolutionary ‘Soch’ (Gurmat), Guru Nanak had to face opposition, controversy, condemnation, jealousy, and so on.

The word ‘Sikh’ derivatively means a student or a learner. Those who accepted Guru Nanak’s creed described themselves as Sikhs — lifelong learners or students. Hence, Sikhs by definition are lifelong learners or students of the Gurmat Way of life.

As the following verse teaches, Sikhi is a spiritual journey to the realization of ONE Creator (i.e. Nirankar: without bodily manifestations) Within by becoming Enlightened with the grace/blessing of internalization of the spiritual Message embedded within the Shabad.

  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਲਘਾਏ ਪਾਰਿ ॥ : Sikhi is contemplation on Guru’s teaching (Instructions, Wisdom, Counsel, Guide, Upadesh, Giyan, Bibek) and acting on it. Being blessed by the Grace of the Guru’s teaching one then crosses the ocean of worldly temptations and their corrupting influences (Bhav Saagar). (sggs 465).
  • ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ॥ : True learning induces in the mind service to humanity. (sggs 356).

However, Sikhi as it is seen or practiced throughout world today is no longer the Sikhi that was given to us by our Gurus. Instead, it is a Sikhi or spirituality that stands distorted, corrupted and tainted by the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) and their trained self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.).

The self-serving Pujaaree has reduced Guru Nanak’s Unique (‘Nirmal‘) and Revolutionary spirituality to religiosity — blind worship, rituals (Karamkaand), fake stories (ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ), religious paraphernalia, religious robes, pilgrim (Teerath Yatra), Pakhand, ritual bathing (Ishnaan), Pujaaree-Vaad, chanting etc. that have been rejected and discarded by Guru Nanak in no uncertain terms.

  • ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿਕਾ ਜਗਤ੍ਰਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇਆ । : In the world of spirituality, the Panth of Nanak has its Trademark in its Uniqueness as being ‘Nirmal‘-uncontaminated (by existing pre-1469 beliefs). (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar1, Pauree 45).

The Gurbani counsels us that God or the Creator in Sikhi of Guru Nanak or SGGS is the God of Virtues.

Therefore, Sikhi is a spirituality of divine Virtues Realized Within through the spiritual Message of the God-Connecting Guru Shabad (Enlightenment.).

In a nutshell, Sikhi is a process of acquiring divine Virtues/ Wisdom and then applying that to daily life – BECOMIG THE GURBANI.

  • ਸਤਿ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਦਯਾ ਧਰਮ, ਨਾਮ ਦਾਨ ਇਸਨਾਨ ਦਿੜਾਯਾ। ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਲੈ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖ ਸਦਾਯਾ। : A Sikh is a person who possesses Divine Virtues learning from a Guru. (Bhai Gurdas Ji).

SGGS defines the ‘Sikh’

Guru Sahibs give us this fantastic word ‘Sikh’. In Sanskrit language it means student. In Pali language it means the one who is on the Path. Having said that, the Guru of Sikhs is the SGGS and a Sikh who follows the Way of the Guru is a Sikh (i.e. teachings of the SGGS). That being said, a Sikh is a learner or Sikhiaarthee (ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) of the Way of the Guru (i.e. teachings of the SGGS).

  • ਜਿਸ ਜਲ ਨਿਧਿ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਤੁਮ ਜਗ ਆਏ ਹੋ ਸੋ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਵੇਸੁ ਭੇਖ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਇਹੁ ਫਲੁ ਨਾਹੀਂ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥ : The treasure of Amrit (-Naam: Wisdom / Virtues) for which you have come into this world, that Amrit (-Naam) is received from the Guru (i.e. SGGS). Renounce your robes and disguises and clever tricks (because) this fruit of Amrit (-Naam) is NOT realized by remaining attached to duality. ||1|| (sggs 598).
  • ਜੈਸੇ ਪਤਿਬ੍ਰਤਾ ਪਰਪੁਰਖੈ ਨ ਦੇਖਯੋ ਚਾਹੈ, ਪੂਰਨ ਪਤੀ ਬਰਤਾ ਕੋ ਪਤਿ ਹੀ ਮੈ ਧਯਾਨ ਹੈ। …ਤੇਸੇ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖ ਆਨ ਦੇਵ ਸੇਵ ਰਹਿਤ, ਪੈ ਸਹਿਜ ਸੁਭਾਵ ਨ, ਅਵਗਯਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ। : A true Gursikh does not rely on anyone other than the Guru just as a married woman does not rely on any man other than her husband. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Kabit).

Aptly, Guru Nanak Counsels entire humanity to keep learning as long as there is a breath of life.

Guru Amar Das Ji on page 919 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) provides us very clear definition of a ‘Sikh‘ as follows:

  • ਜੇ ਕੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਹੋਵੈ ਤ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਧਿਆਏ ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹੈ ਪਰਣੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਏ ॥ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਏ ॥੨੧॥ : If any ‘Sikh’ (learner-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ of the SGGS) wants to become truly faithful turn to the Guru (Shabad); then that Sikh must follow the Gur (i.e. Giyan-Wisdom. That Sikh should contemplate on the Guru’s spiritual Giyan-Wisdom and enshrine it in the mind. Renouncing self-conceit, he/she always contemplate on the Guru (Shabad), and does not consider anyone else except the Guru as spiritual Guide. Nanak says, listen, O seekers: such a ‘Sikh‘ has his/her mind always connected to the Guru (ShabadGiyan-Wisdom). ||21|| (sggs 919).

Furthermore, as made clear by Guru Nanak, it is the mind or Conscience (Surat–ਸੁਰਤ) that has to become a ‘Sikh‘ (i.e. learner or student of the SGGS), NOT the physical body-frame.

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The SHABAD is my GURU, and my consciousness (Surat) is the disciple (of this SHABAD GURU). (sggs 943).

In short, Sikhi is learning and internalizing the Giyan-Wisdom of the Shabad Guru through Shabad-Vichaar, and then living that Wisdom in daily life (i.e. Enlightened or Gurmukh mindset).

  • ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਜਿ ਦਿਤਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਸਿਖੀ ਕੰਨੇ ॥ : The Message of the Shabad (Upadesh) provided by the Satguru is listen to by the Sikhs (learners) with attention and focus (so that we can understand the Message of the Shabad Guru). (sggs 314).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : The Guru has instructed (Upadesh) me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giyan – ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).
  • ਸਫਲ ਜਨਮੁ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਗੁਰ ਕੀਨਾ ॥ : The Guru’s Giyan or Wisdom has made my (entire) life successful. (sggs 857).

The moment a Sikh stops learning, his/her mind becomes like stagnant water and start accumulating demerits (ਅਵਗਣ) instead of Virtues in life.

  • ਲੋਕੁ ਅਵਗਣਾ ਕੀ ਬੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਗੰਠੜੀ ਗੁਣ ਨ ਵਿਹਾਝੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਕਾ ਗਾਹਕੁ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਇ ॥ : People keep accumulating bundles of demerits; but no one tries to acquire/earn Virtues. O Nanak! Only a very Rare person is the seeker of Virtues. (sggs 1092).
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਰਹੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਛੁ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥ : Nanak, as long as we are in this world, we must keep learning from others and teaching others. (sggs 661).
  • ਆਪਿ ਜਪਹੁ ਅਵਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਸੁਨਤ ਕਹਤ ਰਹਤ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵਹੁ ॥ : Realize the Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) yourself and inspire others to Realize it. By learning, teaching and living it (practice-ਅਮਲ), one becomes Enlightened. (sggs 289).

Nevertheless, the Message of the Shabad is the Essence of Sikh spirituality. Therefore, the Grace or Blessing of the Shabad is Enlightenment!

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਸਦ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਜਿਨ ਏਕ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੪॥੯॥ : Nank I am forever a sacrifice to one realizes the MESSAGE OF THE SHABAD pertaining to the One Creator. ॥4॥9॥ (sggs 879).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੋਲਾ। : listening to the Gur-Giyan (Wisdom, Upadesh..), Gur-Sikh become Wise within and simple (innocent) without. (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 17).

Aptly, there is tremendous emphasis on Shabad-Vichaarchurning the Gurbani and dying in the Shabad.

  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥ : The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad – Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
  • ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਕਾ ਸੋ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ : The one who gets imbued with God’s love by reflecting on the Shabad becomes Godly. (sggs 243).

However, instead of the mind (Surat-Conscience), the emphasis seems to be on stamping the gross body-frame with Sikhi! However, the SGGS teaches us that brandishing religious paraphernalia or religious robes on one’s ephemeral body-frame is not a Sikhi of Guru Nanak or the SGGS:

  • ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥ : I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth (the Creator) ||1|| (sggs 843).

The truth is that all organizations – including the organized religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) – are political in nature.

This politicization of religion by rulers, governments, politicians, and clergy (priests, Pujaaree, …) gives rise to corruption (fraud, abuse, rituals (Karamkaand), degradation, trickery, misinterpretations of scriptures. Pakhand, etc.).

  • ਛੋਡਹੁ ਵੇਸੁ ਭੇਖ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਇਹੁ ਫਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥ : Renounce your robes, disguises, and clever tricks (because) this fruit (of Amrit) is not obtained by remaining attached to duality. ||1||(sggs 598).

No organized religions can claim to be free from such corruption. In fact older the religion greater the corruption.

History tells us that from time to time transformational personalities have emerged and challenge this corruption.

Most notable were the ten Sikh Gurus, many Bhagats etc. who truly hit hard on this corruption in the society.

‘Neither a Hindu Nor a Musalman’

Often misunderstood, Sikhi is not a combination or offshoot of any other religion (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ). It’s a UNIQUE and REVOLUTIOMARY ‘Soch‘ (thinking) of all 35 writers whose Baanee (ਬਾਣੀ) or hymns are present in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

In this context, many misinterpret the following verse of the Gurbani: ‘Na Hum Hindu Na Musalman’ to mean Sikhs are separate from Hindu ands Muslims. Since appeal of the SGGS is UNIVERSAL, such narrow interpretation goes against the very spirit of the Sikhi or Gurmat, hence could not be further from truth. The Sikhi or Gurmat of Guru Nanak addresses ALL human beings as men and women and not as followers, ‘flock, ‘believers’ ’sect’, ‘this or that religion’ etc. Since the ONE CREATOR is the common Father or Mother equally of ALL humans, the ENTIRE HUMANITY is seen as one and therefore no human is considered alien or ‘the other’.

Guru Nanak debunked the priests (Pujaaree) and Qazis for misleading and fleecing the gullible. That being said, the Sikhi or Gurmat of Guru Nanak teaches humanity that we humans are neither Hindus nor Muslims nor people of or affiliated with any other man-made religion or any other sect. Instead, we humans are people of the same One God!

Simply put — the meaning of the Guru’s Message is that we do not get stuck in a code (ਮਰਿਯਾਦਾ) like the Hindus, and also we do not get stuck in a Sharia code like the Muslims (Semitic religious codes). The direct relationship of ALL humans is with the ONE CREATOR, with the ONE HUKAM (Omnipresent Energy).

Let’s share this Universal Message of the Gurbani’s commitment to the all inclusive Universal Family.

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥ : ALL that the Pandit and Mullah Clergy have prescribed or presented to us, I have DISCARDED (while walking on the Path of Spirituality). I DISCARD IT ALL and have ACCEPTED NOTHING at all. ||3|| (sggs 1159).

In fact, Sikhi is a distinct Way of life based on the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) — a full-time, persistent, unabating or incessant Way of life of selfless Love, Universal Brotherhood, gender equality, Harmony etc.

This unique and new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi expounded by Guru Nanak and then the Teaching/Guidance was subsequently carried forward by 9 more Sikh Gurus.

Our Gurus, and Bhagat Sahibaan questioned every cultural, religious or political tradition and proclamations and redefined / changed as situation demanded.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is a 1430 pages compilation of hymns praising the Creator and His Hukam enshrines the Bani of not only the Sikh Gurus but also 30 other Hindu and Muslim Bhaktas, drawn from across the length and breadth of India.

Hence it is relevant even more today. By healing individuals, it heals the world torn by strife and misery. In nutshell, the true Sikhi expounded by the SGGS:

  • teaches oneness; one god (Universal Energy…) that lives within the creation (‘ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੋ ਪਸਰਿਆ’), NOT separate from man but equally present in all,
  • shuns negativity and hatred. It embraces all of humanity irrespective of gender, faith, color, creed, status, wealth etc. It teaches universal brotherhood, compassion, love, responsibility, respect for all of creation and to see the divine in all beings,
  • doesn’t discriminate or divide humanity into ‘us versus them’, it does not teach to be hostile to what is different nor does it discriminate between one individual or type and the other being,
  • embraces all of existence,
  • respects and celebrates life,
  • recognizes that Creation is Infinite Energy beyond description,
  • emphasis on practical spirituality,
  • accepts the contradictions of our existence, good and bad, night and day, evil and good, flowers and thorns etc.,
  • alike science, it encourages questioning, it helps the questioner/seeker/learner (i.e. the Sikh) to Awaken so as to find his or her own answers,
  • extols nobility and integrity in thought, speech and deeds (ਮਨ, ਬਚਨ, ਕਰਮ) ,
  • emphasizes self-efforts to improve ownself, persuade ownself, change ownself, search ownself, instruct own mind etc. — hence, each person’s competition is with his ownself; try to be better than yourself!, accountability of one’s own deeds etc.
  • emphasizes hard and honest work (Kirat Karo), responsibility etc.,
  • encourages sharing Knowledge (ਗਿਆਨ), helping the needy etc. (Vand Chhako),
  • insists on taking Wisdom or Giyan (‘Naam Japo); developing keen Understanding and discerning intelligence (Bibek Budh – and reasoning),
  • teaches to practice tolerance, respect, universal brotherhood, accepting all mankind without any preconditions or compulsions for there are no enemies but friends, social justice and equality,
  • teaches all the days, months, seasons (i.e. all times) are auspicious,
  • focuses on the Here and Now, NOT ‘afterlife‘,
  • teaches world is good and we are inherently divine (Jot Saroop); live a Wise, friendlier, happier and optimistic life (‘Charh Di Kalaa‘) of love and joy — live a divine life (Gurmukh Lifestyle),
  • shuns casteism (Jaat Paat, bigotry, class barriers etc.),
  • teaches to serve (Sevaa-ਸੇਵਾ) the fellow human beings, help and support the poor and unfortunate (‘Sarbatt Daa Bhalaa‘),
  • teaches respect women as equals and give them same rights and privileges as men,
  • asks us to awaken bit by bit each day Virtues within — Truth, honesty, contentment, mercy, patience, Sahaj (Natural State of Being), Wisdom, humility, sweet speech etc. and imbibe them,,
  • asks us to lead a responsible and successful worldly life as a householder and a contributing member of the society,
  • rejects the corrupt and crafty clergy or priests system (‘ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ’),
  • rejects rituals (Karamkaand), superstitions, ‘Bhekh’ (religious paraphernalia), dogmas, external ablutions, external pilgrimage (Teerath Yatra), stubborn mindedness, blind faith, middlemen etc.,
  • teaches respecting the ENVIRONMEMT (creation, Kudrat: ‘ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਵਸਿਆ’), and so on.

In order to fulfill these intentions of the Gurmat, clearly, Sikhi can NOT be a part-time job — hauling one’s physical body to gurdwara one-hour a week or so on Sundays! Instead, the Gurmat Wisdom asserts it’s a perpetual or ‘Nirantar Bhagti‘, ‘Nij Bhagati, living Gurmukh-Lifestyle 24/7.

  • ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਦੁਇ ਪਖ ਹੀਨੀ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਹ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਨੀ ॥ : That Jeev remains miserable like a discarded bribe, who is NOT engaged in persistent or ‘Nirantari Bhagti-ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ’). (sggs 793).
  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥ : With (all) breaths (i.e, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ-continually…), take care of the Naam through the Gurmat (i.e., unceasingly maintain the Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – through the Gurbani’s Instruction). (sggs 980).

In short, instead of making one hour or so of life ‘Saphal-ਸਫਲ’ (fruitful, successful, rewarding, gainful, fruitful, prolific etc.) on Sundays, the Gurbani asks its learners (i.e. Sikhs) to make the WHOLE life fruitful or successful!

  • ਸਭੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਸਫਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਭੁਖਾ ॥ : Their whole life has been successful for those who have the hunger for the divine Naam in their mind (meaning, ‘Naam‘ becomes the support of their life). (sggs 588).
  • ਸਫਲ ਜਨਮੁ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਸਾਚਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ : That person who has come into this world has a successful life, who naturally abides in the True Naam. ||1|| (sggs 1174).
  • ਸਫਲ ਸਫਲ ਭਈ ਸਫਲ ਜਾਤ੍ਰਾ ॥ : (Imbibing the Guru’s Wisdom) the journey of (entire) human life is successful. (sggs 687).

Furthermore, the Gurbani asks this life should be made fruitful or successful (‘Saphal-ਸਫਲ’) HERE AND NOW, not after death. Because, once dead — regardless if cremated or buried — ultimately this body will mingle with dust, and grass will grow on top of it!

Hence Sikhi is not to be lived part-time. Rather it’s to be lived full-time (persistent, unabating, incessant etc.) early on in life and free of Pakhand, formalities or Karamkaand and so on!

  • ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥ : A Sikh of the Satgur (Spiritual Wisdom of the Shabad: SGGS), starts early in life (i.e. here and now) to enduringly Awakens towards internalizing the divine Naam (Giyan-Wisdom / Virtues). (A Sikh of the spiritual Messages of the Shabad) puts forth self-efforts early on in life and cleanse the mind of vices in the pool of Amrit (-Naam). The Shabad Guides in eliminating the anguish of my vices towards becoming realized of the Omnipresent Creator within. Spiritual Life then dawns with the internalization of Gurbani (SGGS) and the inculcation of Divine Naam Permanently. The Sikh who considers the inculcation of the Omnipresent Creator as the Source and Sustenance of Spiritual Life accepts the Messages of the Shabad Guru Within the Mind. The one who is graced by my Creator Master is the Sikh of the Shabad’s spiritual Message; and who brings one’s Self to internalize the Guidance of the Shabad. Nanak, my devotion is humbled by the Sikh of the Shabad’s spiritual Message who realizes the Self and brings about realization of the Creator within the Self.  ||2|| (sggs 305).

Since the Gurbani is a Way of understanding, it is meant to be understood and applied.

Although an uphill climb, nonetheless it is the real Bhagati in Sikhi.

Hence, NO time limit or price tag can be put on Sikhi. Also, one cannot make a Sikh to an order or give Sikhi or Aatam-Giyan (Spiritual Knowledge) to someone in a ready-made package! In nutshell, one cannot bribe or buy someone into the Sikh fold. Because:

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਸਿਖੀ ਦਾ ਸਮਝਣਾ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਜਗਾਵਣਹਾਰਾ। : To understand Sikhi is to have the ‘Joti’ (mind, consciousness, Surat-ਸੁਰਤ…) Awakened to ‘Joti’ (Mool, True Nature, Antar-Aatmaa, Wisdom or Gur-Giyan…). (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 28).

Since Sikhi is Shabad-Consciousness NOT body-consciousness, one’s own mind has to become a Sikh, through earnest spiritual efforts or Uddam (i.e., Shabad-Vichaar or churning the Gurbani). Nobody else can do it for anybody! Since the mind is nothing but thoughts-stuff (Phurne-ਫੁਰਨੇ), a Sikh’s thinking (Soch) must change with the Gur-Giyan (Gur-Wisdom). Transformed thinking translates into transformed mind or thoughts, speech and actions (Karma).

By becoming a Wise person (i.e. Gurmukh Mindset), the Gurbani asserts it’s possible for everyone to make one’s entire life or human birth ‘Saphal-ਸਫਲ’ (fruitful, successful, rewarding, gainful, prolific etc.).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਤ ਸਰਧਾ ਪੂਰੀਐ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਝੂਰੀਐ ॥ : The human being with Grace of the True Wisdom (ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) is firmly entrusted. Because of this True Wisdom, he never complains (in the face of adversity). (sggs 149).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਦੇਖਿ ਜੀਵਾ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਧੋਇ ਧੋਇ ਪੀਵਾ ॥੧॥ : As I understand and live (i.e. implementaion-ਅਮਲ) by the Gur- Giyan or Wisdom, I get spiritual life (divine or Gurmukh Life). As I wash the Guru’s feet (i.e. as I engage in Shabad Vichaar or churning the Gurbani) I get (the spiritual life-giver) Naam (Jal) to drink. ||1|| (sgg 239).

In other words, the Gurbani tells us only the Wise persons are truly alive. The rest are just passing or killing the time or the time is killing them!

  • ਆਖਾ ਜੀਵਾ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਉ ॥ : I come alive (Aatmak Jeevan-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) as I am in a Realized State. The Un-Realized State Brings Spiritual Death (Aatmak Mout-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 9 – 349).

SGGS teaches us ‘Chaj-ਚਜੁ’ — a Way of life

Hence the Giyan-Wisdom of the SGGS teaches us ‘Chaj-ਚਜੁ’ of life — Way of proper living, proper behavior and manners in life, ability to live pious life, ability to live a virtuous and truthful life, proper Work ethic, Enlightened or Gurmukh lifestyle, proper skill of living, proper method of living, proper understanding and discerning intellect, ਸਮਝ, ਅਕਲ, ਜੀਵਨ-ਜਾਚ, ਚੰਗਾ ਚਲਨ, ਚੰਗੀ ਸੋਚ-ਕਰਮ …

Hence the SGGS asks us to learn the proper skill of life by learning the Wisdom (Giyan) of the Guru.

  • ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਚਜੁ ਅਚਾਰੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਤੁਧੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਦੁਖੁ ॥੩॥ : Meeting the Gur (-Giyan, Wisdom…), learn skill (of life) and good conduct, then sorrow will never affect you. ||3|| (sggs 50).

If we don’t learn ‘Chaj-ਚਜੁ’ of life by reading to the SGGS, then what’s the use?

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਉ ਜਾਣਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਈ ਕਿਆ ਤਿਸੁ ਚਜੁ ਅਚਾਰੁ ॥ : A person who deliberately does not learn and practice the Guru’s (Giyan-Wisdom), then the method or style of his whole life is NOT right. (sggs 19).

The Gurbani in SGGS asks its Sikhs to acquire the ability to discern right from wrong and the commitment to doing good.

  • ਅਦਲੁ ਕਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ : One must administer justice by being absorbed in the spiritual Wisdom of the Guru (Shabad). (sggs 1040).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ॥ ਸੀਘਰ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Keep the Divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues…) Within. (Thus) You can quickly resolve your Life’s affairs (Purpose). ((sggs 176).
  • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਬਹੁ ਪਰਕਾਰੇ ਸਰਬ ਅਰਥ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਪਰਮ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਇਆ ਰਚਿ ਬੰਧਿ ਹਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ : Continuously engaging in research in all possible manners, I have rationalized every opinion (before accepting that); by remaining in the company of the Guru, one attains the highest spiritual state, and by falling into the bonds of Maya (infatuation) one loses (the bet of human birth). ॥1॥ (sggs 714).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥ : As Guru-Oriented (Gurmukh, Enlightened one), look upon all with the single eye of equality; the Divine Light (the One Creator) is present Within all. (sggs 599).
  • ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਦੁਖ ਮੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ ਸੁਖ ਸਨੇਹੁ ਅਰੁ ਭੈ ਨਹੀ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਕੰਚਨ ਮਾਟੀ ਮਾਨੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਹ ਨਿੰਦਿਆ ਨਹ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਤੇ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਆਰਉ ਨਾਹਿ ਮਾਨ ਅਪਮਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਆਸਾ ਮਨਸਾ ਸਗਲ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਜਗ ਤੇ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਸਾ ॥ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜਿਹ ਪਰਸੈ ਨਾਹਨਿ ਤਿਹ ਘਟਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਿਵਾਸਾ ॥੨॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਜਿਹ ਨਰ ਕਉ ਕੀਨੀ ਤਿਹ ਇਹ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਪਛਾਨੀ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੀਨ ਭਇਓ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਪਾਨੀ ॥੩॥੧੧॥ : Jo nar dukh mai dulh nahee maanai … (sggs 633).

Gurmat Way of life is the ‘PANTH-ਪੰਥੁ’

Not based on ‘Fool-o-Sophy’ of the political leaders and others, but based on the Sikhi of Guru Nanak, the Gurmat Way of life is the definition of ‘PANTH-ਪੰਥੁ‘.

The word ‘Panth‘ is mentioned many times in the Gurbani of the SGGS, and nowhere does ‘Panth‘ mean ‘group’ of people. It only mean the WAY. Let us know through Gurbani of the SGGS as to what the PANTH-ਪੰਥੁ’ really is:

  • ਗੁਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦਾਤੈ ਪੰਥੁ ਬਤਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਆਇ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਰੀ ॥ : Satguru, the bestower (of Giyan-Wisdom), showed me the WAY to realize God within. (sggs 170).
  • ਮੇਰੈ ਹੀਅਰੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਕੀ ਗੁਰਿ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਪੰਥੁ ਬਤਾਇਆ ॥ : My Heart is filled with the Love of God, and the Guru has shown me the WAY to realize God. (sggs 172).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਪੰਥੁ ਨ ਸੂਝਈ ਕਿਤੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਿਰਬਹੀਐ ॥੨॥ : Without the Guru (Giyan-Wisdom), the spiritually blind cannot determine the right WAY of life. How can anyone proceed? ॥2॥ (sggs 229).

Thus, one becomes a ‘Panthak‘ by following the ‘Panth‘ or WAY  shown by the Guru.

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4 comments

  1. Many appreciative thanks Brother T. Singh ji, for this very wide-ranging and cogent essay which is practically a “manifesto” of the precious Wisdom of Sikhi. Although the world is inherently good and we are inherently divine, the traps of Maya can make it all seem like total insanity. Our only remedy is clinging to Gur-Giaan 24/7! “Baar viddaanarhai hummas dhummas kookaa paeeaa raahee. Tau sah setee lagarhee ddoree naanak anad setee ban gaahee.” (In this wondrous forest of the world, there is chaos and confusion; shrieks emanate from the highways. I am in love with You, O my Husband Lord; O Nanak, I cross the jungle joyfully.) — SGGS 520. Thanks again! Your essays always make me feel connected to Sikhi and Gurbani in amazing ways!

  2. Thank you Bhai Sahib Kirpal Singh Ji for taking the time reply.
    Sorry, I’m not sure if I understand your question.
    However, I’m pretty sure you are familiar with this declaration of Baabaa Nanak in the Gurbani:
    – ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥: Ghaal Khaai Kichh(u) Hathhu Daei. Nanak Raah(u) Pachhaanhi Saei ||1|| (sggs 1245).
    In which:
    ‘ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ-Ghaal Khaai‘ –> Do hard work, do honest work, do Kirat-ਨੇਕ ਕਮਾਈ…
    ‘ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ-Kichh(u) Hathhu Daei‘ –> Share some (with needy), help the needy…
    Nanak Raah(u) Pachhaanhi Saei‘ –> O Nanak! Such people know the true Way of life…

    As far as Naam Jap is concerned, the entire Gubani is about Naam Jap!!!!!!!
    – ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਦਾ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪਿ ॥: Hari Hari Naam(u) Sadaa jap(u) Jaapi(sggs 1143).

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