Truthful Living is the Highest Form of Living

Guru Nanak stood up for the truth to the clergy of his time, the political tyrants and social oppressors. He taught that ‘Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is truthful living’. Gurmat or Sikhi of Guru Nanak stresses truthful living so much so that the Creator is called Truth (ਸਚ-sach) in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • ਮਨਹਠ ਬੁਧੀ ਕੇਤੀਆ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੇਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ ॥ ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਊਚਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਨੀਚੁ ਨ ਦੀਸੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਇਕਨੈ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਸਾਜਿਐ ਇਕੁ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਤਿਹੁ ਲੋਇ ॥ ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਧੁਰਿ ਬਖਸ ਨ ਮੇਟੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੬॥ : There are so many stubborn minded (self-centered) people who perform austerities and so many who deliberate on the Vedas to obtain liberation. They create so many obstacles and entanglements for themselves whereas a Gurmukh (Enlightened being…) obtains liberation. Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is truthful living. ॥5॥ Regard everyone high for none is lowly. The One Creator has fashioned all alike, and His Light pervades all creation. It is the immutable Hukam (Cosmic Law) that one realizes the Creator through one’s deeds only. ॥6॥ (sggs 62).

Pursuit of Spiritual Giyan-Wisdom must lead to truthful living (Sachiaaraa). Therefore, unless the divine Giyan-Wisdom changes one’s life in the direction of Truth (ਸਚ-sach) — man’s essential state — it’s useless. One can spend all his life hearing about Truth; reading loads of books about Truth; contemplating day and night on Truth; teaching or preaching Truth; writing volumes about Truth; giving sermons on Truth; following all religions, paths or cults of the world; but none of these will help Living in harmony with the Ultimate Truth (Realization of the Divine Presence within) unless one lives a truthful life in the Here and Now.

In Sikhi or Gurmat of Guru Nanak, to live truthfully simply means honesty in speech, actions, and intentions with the outside world of objects, sphere of emotions, and the realm of thoughts.

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥ : 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). (sggs 141).

That being said, in Sikhi of Guru Nanak or SGGS, realization of the ONE Creator WITHIN comes through the process of acquisition or developing partnership with divine Virtues in daily life and then living them truthfully when transacting with the outside world of objects, sphere of emotions, and the realm of thoughts.

The realm of Truth is pathless. Inward divine Realization is complete only when we come to assert and actually live as ‘Sachiaaraa’. Without such positive assertion, the seeker may reach only the dull void which in itself is not the fulfillment of man’s inward Realization of the Reality. For instance, removing thirst is not the fulfillment of drinking water, but it must provide to the drinker the positive joy of fullness and comfort. Therefore, as indicated in the Gurbani, the stress should be laid on practice (ਅਮਲ – implementation, living the Truth …). Above all religions is this One Religion of Truth.

Living truthfully means living righteously. This is Dharma — nondogmatic and nonsectarian. The practice of this Dharma is Light: Love, Shabad-Surt Naam-consciousness or, God realization, practical Spirituality, Enlightened or Gurmukh mindset, Harmony with Hukam, Peace, Spiritual Beauty and Power, divine Giyan-Wisdom, Forgiveness, Objectivity, Timelessness, Detachment, Selflessness, Bibek Budh, Stillness, Oneness, Fearlessness, Freedom from vices/Bikaar, living liberation, and so on.

To the contrary, performing untruthfully or un-righteously is falsity or Adharma: false  ego-sense (Haumai), ignorance, materiality, divided consciousness (Doojaa Bhaav or duality), fanaticism, hatred, fear, revenge, sense-slavery, reaction, ‘I, me, mine, you’, time and space, names and forms, prejudices, differences, conflicts, divisiveness, bondage, perverted understanding, possessiveness, hurt, clouded judgment, corruption, crookedness, misery, pain and suffering, inner restlessness, acquisition and rejection, and so on.

  • ਹਿਰਦੈ ਸਚੁ ਏਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੋਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਪਾਖੰਡੁ ਪੂਜ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥੬॥ : Realize the Creator within Heart, make this your sole aim. Otherwise all else is falsity (Pakhand) and the worship of falsity as such. ||6|| (sggs 1343).
  • 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).

At present, all organized religions are dogmatic and sectarian. Why? Because they are mixture of Divine ‘truth’ and human ‘error’. It is the human ‘error’ that makes the religion a business (ਧੰਧਾਂ), dogmatic and sectarian. Once the human ‘error’ — all nonessentials — from a religion is completely removed, Divine ‘truth’ remains over. And then the religion becomes what it is meant to be.

  • ਕੂੜਹੁ ਕਰੇ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ਧਰਮੇ ਤਗੀਐ ॥ : Spiritually, one is destroyed through falsehood; through Dharma, one prospers (sggs 518).
  • ਨਹ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਧਰਮੰ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਪਾਪੰ ॥ : Do not delay in practicing Dharma; delay in committing sins (sggs 1354).

Babba Nanak teaches us in the outset of the SGGS to become ‘Sachiaaraa’ (ਸਚਿਆਰਾ). In short, to become ‘Sachiaaraa’ (ਸਚਿਆਰਾ) is  being truthful in and out and live in harmony with the Hukam (i.e. Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤ ਦਾ ਨਿਯਮ) — a person with divine Qualities/Virtues, Enlightened or God-Realized. This is the spiritual Goal of every Sikh:

  • ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥ : How then can I become God-Realized being within (‘Sachiaaraa‘)? How can I remove the obstacle of my non-realized state within? O Nanak! (The way to realize Creator within is to) remain within the confines of His Hukam (the System or Law of Nature…) and abide in Sahaj , as (Creator and His Hukam) is contained with us. ||1|| (sggs 1).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ਸਿਨਾਖਤੁ ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ॥੮॥ : Nanak, the True One (God) is a great benefactor. He is revealed through His All-powerful Creative Nature. ॥8॥ (sggs 141).

The Gurbani’s edict is that one’s bond is established with Truth when one lives a truthful life (as a Gurmukh, Enlightened, Sachiaaraa-ਸਚਿਆਰਾ…).

  • ਬੇਦਾ ਗੰਢੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ : The benefit of reading Veda (i.e. religious books) is only if the Truth and high morals revealed from them are also revealed in one’s life. (sggs 143).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਜੂਠਾ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੀ ਧੋਵੈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋਇ ॥ : If (someone) is impure within, (he) cannot become pure (without washing the mind with Shabad. How rare is the person who washes (his mind) with the Shabad (Wisdom, Upadesh, Sikhiaa, Naam…). (sggs 1344).

Hence, Truth is not an acquisition that has to be sought. It is a realization and an Awakening Within.

  • ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਚੀਤਿ ॥ : As long as Truth does not enter into the consciousness, the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence is not found.
  • ਸਾਚ ਬਿਨਾ ਕਹ ਹੋਵਤ ਸੂਚਾ ॥ : Without the Truth, how can anyone be pure? (sggs 269).
  • ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥ : If you are pure (within), then you will obtain Truth ||2|| (sggs 472).
  • ਸਚੀ ਕਾਰੈ ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪਲੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸੋ ਨਰੁ ਜੰਮੈ ਨਾ ਮਰੈ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਿ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ਸੋ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਪੈਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੪॥੧੪॥ : Let man do honest and true work. Then understand that he has come to understand the TruthGurmat has settled in his mind. Such a person will not waver. He will not die a spiritual death (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) because of repeated good and bad thoughts. Wearing this Siropa (of the Gurmat), that person lives as a ‘Pardhaan‘ (supreme, distinguished, eminent etc.) in this universal ‘Dargah’. ||4||14|| (sggs 19).

Guru Nanak highlights the importance of spiritual Wisdom (Giyan-ਗਿਆਨ) for developing a deep connection with Truth:

  • ਭੁਗਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਦਇਆ ਭੰਡਾਰਣਿ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਵਾਜਹਿ ਨਾਦ ॥ : (O Yogi!) May the divine Giaan or Knowledge be your food or sustenance for your mind (i.e. guide in life); may Kindness be the attendant or steward of this (storage of Knowledge); identify the (One) Universal Energy in every being. (sggs 6).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਕਥਿ ਕਥਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥ : A person without spiritual Wisdom talks meaninglessly and thus keeps arguing. (sggs 466).

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10 comments

  1. Dear H.S. Matharu ji, thanks for taking time to comment on this post.

    “Hanji…..we must not forget that we are ‘ghar ghristy kalyug jeev’…..so do as much as is possible in your daily routine…..”

    Kabeer Sahib says:
    •ਕਬੀਰ ਜਉ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਤ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਤ ਕਰੁ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥: Kabeer jaou grihu karahi ta dharamu karu naahee ta karu bairaagu. (sggs 1377).

  2. Hanji…..we must not forget that we are ‘ghar ghristy kalyug jeev’…..so do as much as is possible in your daily routine…..also a link from my science teacher from 20 years ago comes to mind here…..if you look at the ideal gas equation PV = nRT it says that there is no such thing as an ideal gas….however some gases tend towards ideality …ie where Pressure times Volume does indeed equal a constant (n) multipled by R times Temperature (I forget what R stands for at the moment)…..so we have a situation where I can relate this to real life ie some of us are leaning towards a spiritual life and striving to get closer and closer but it is only god and god alone who is perfect….the ideal gas…..I hope this helps.

  3. I think we should consider some practical scenarios to decide what is truth and what is not…because often we say that we should be living truthfully but fail in practical sense ( at-least I do fail)……
    Some of the examples…
    1. I try to keep a very spiritual atmosphere at home but when my father comes or some of my very close relatives..they like to take alcohol (in reasonable quantity…they are not heavy drinkers or something)……what can I do …he is my father and friends and relatives…….also some of my friends ( who are very nice people otherwise)…expect to be served with alcohol when they visit you for dinner party…what will be the truth in this case…be blunt and ask them not to take drinks when at my place….

    2)…my wife is religious but just does not want to keep hair of our children…I want my children to keep hair but on the other hand I can’t force my wife to look after my children’s hair…( i did it one time and it failed)…after all I go to work and she is the one who has to maintain the hair of the children…

    I have many more examples in which it becomes very confusing ( at-least for me)….I can share if the sangat of this forum can help me in distinguishing between what is the absolute right thing to do…

    WGJKKWJKF….

    Regards,
    Navpreet

  4. The Gurbani tells us that the Truth (ਸਚ-Sach…) never gets old – ageless.

    ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੀਤਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਪਾਟੈ ॥: Sach puraanaa hovai naahee seetaa kade n paatai (sggs 956).
    ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਨਾ ਥੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Sachu puraanaa naa theeai naamu n mailaa hoi (sggs 1248).

    That is, the Truth (ਸਚ-Sach…) ever remains ageless – remains changeless in the past, present, future…

    Hence, according to the Gurbani, if the Truth (ਸਚ-Sach…) changes “as a matter of convenience”, then it’s not the Truth (ਸਚ-Sach…) – it’s the Mayaic consciousness (lie, false, untruth, ਝੂਠ-Jhooth…)!

  5. Rather than hearing discourses on spiritual readings I like to hear some real life examples from whosoever will dare to tell the truth.

    How often do you lie on little things as a matter of convenience and don’t even think it’s a lie – when you tell your kids – that you are not home – avoiding to see or meet with an unpleasant visitor. When you tell the ticket agent that your child is not yet 2 or 12, to get a free ride? or when a teenager says that he is 18 or 21, when he is not. How often has someone travelled or gotten admitted to a place without buying a ticket? Or you have refused to give free ride to someone, saying that you were in big rush ; whereas you were not and had all the time in the whole world. How often did you pass by a poor person who needed help to say to yourself that – someone else could look after that filthy looking guy, I do not want to soil my clothes or catch an unthinkable disease by getting too close to him?

    Oh I am just a plain clothesman thinker and do not have the time to venture into the real world.

  6. Sri Prabjoth T Singh Ji,

    You are a Jnani yourself. May You attain Brahmajnaan in this very life, if you already have not.

    Sincerly,
    Muralidhar

  7. Babaji says that Truth is higher than everything but Truthful life is higher than Truth meaning bring the flow of truth in your life. Don’t just study and build understanding of the concept of Truth. And once you get there than you will be the Truth and other will bring the Truth in their life and they will become the Truth and cycle goes on as only Truth can merge in the Truth. If you try to get Lie to merge into th Truth than Lie will not stay full lie and Truth will not stay the full Truth. As supreme is the Truth than you must become the Truth to acheive the Oneness.

  8. Divine Truth is not found through rational knowledge; it is not subject to reason, logic or images. Spiritual knowledge – “Gnosis” (Greek), “da`at” (Hebrew), “jnana” (Sanskrit), “ma`rifa” (Arabic), or “panna” (Pali) – is suprarational. Truthful Living, i.e. living in awareness of divine Truth, is the greatest achievement in life.

  9. Dear T Singh Ji, like the blog, and also quotes from other sources to complement Gurbani.

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