Friday, October 26, 2007



The followers of all religions are prone to indulge in the luxury of eclecticism. By a universal law they adhere to the dogmas most suitable for themselves, and reject what they deem the least important or the least practicable enjoined by the founders of their faiths. The way we live in a ritualistic society with wordy advice is neither the way to spiritual progress nor following the teachings of Sabd Guru. The correct way is to look inside oneself for wisdom and not be drawn into the world for advice. In this way, one does not preach to the others, nor does one indulge in Narcissism.
ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਪੜਤਾ ਟੀਕਾ ਸਹਿਤ ॥
ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਨਹੀ ਪੂਰਨ ਰਹਤ ॥
ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਵੈ
ਅਪਨਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ
Mukẖ ṯe paṛ▫ṯā tīkā sahiṯ.Hirḏai rām nahī pūran rahaṯ Upḏės karė kar lok ḏariṛ­āvai, Apnā kahi­ā āp na kamāvai.

You read the scriptures, and the commentaries, but the Perfect God does not dwell in your heart. You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach.-----Guru Arjun, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 887-18


Sikhism declares that every one is equal and there are no exceptions about truth say Guru Nanak in Sri Raag;

ਮਨਹਠ ਬੁਧੀ ਕੇਤੀਆ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੇਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ

ਕੇਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ

ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ

ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਊਚਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਨੀਚੁ ਨ ਦੀਸੈ ਕੋਇ

Manhaṯẖ buḏẖī keṯī▫ā keṯe beḏ bīcẖār. Kėṯė banḏẖan jī­a kė gurmukẖ mokẖ ḏu­ār, Sacẖahu orai sabẖ ko upar sacẖ ācẖār, Sabẖ ko ūcẖā ākẖī­ai nīcẖ na ḏīsai ko­ė.

There are so many stubborn-minded intelligent people, and so many who contemplate the Vedas. There are so many entanglements for the Conscience. Only as Guru oriented do we find the Gate of Liberation. Truth is above all and above Truth is Truthful conduct. Call everyone exalted; no one seems lowly.-----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 62-11

The dialects and languages of the Gurus are now largely forgotten. There are no readable or trustworthy commentaries or translations of their compositions in any language, and the Sikhs find it difficult or impossible to understand them. One needs to create firm personal boundaries so one has the opportunity to know his own mind, beliefs and values. If one ignores the various fundamentalist attitudes about the spiritual life, such as attachment to rituals, religious symbols, literal interpretations of the hymns of AGGS, and becomes a member of a community in which individual thinking is not prized, then many different ways of being spiritual open up.

To sum up the moral and political merits of the Sikh religion: It prohibits idolatry, hypocrisy, caste exclusiveness, the concremation of widows, the immurement of women, the use of wine and other intoxicants, tobacco-smoking, infanticide, slander, pilgrimages to the sacred rivers and tanks of the Hindus; and it inculcates loyalty, gratitude for all favors received, philanthropy, justice, impartiality, truth, honesty, and all the moral and domestic virtues known to the holiest citizens of any country. Notwithstanding the Sikh Gurus' powerful denunciation of Brahmans, secular Sikhs now rarely do anything without their assistance. Brahmans help them to be born, help them to wed, help them to die, and help their souls after death to obtain a state of bliss.

Sikh faith stresses replacing the individual ego (ਹਉਮੈ) with humility as the former is for who is right but the later values what is right.  Absence of humility is the cause of most the daily arguments. Leading a humble, honest, truthful life of pious deeds and remembrance of Naam is the pious rosary and the only beneficial thing in this life and here after says Guru Ram Das in Raag Bhairo;

ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ
ਹਿਰਦੈ ਫੇਰਿ ਚਲੈ ਤੁਧੁ ਨਾਲੀ
Sukariṯ karṇī sār japmālī, Hirḏai fėr cẖalai ṯuḏẖ nālī.

The doing of the pious deeds is the sublime rosary. Chant on the beads within your heart, and it shall go along with you.-----Guru Ram Das, Raag Bhario, AGGS, Page, 1134-9

Sikhism is about Truth and Sikhism is Truth. That is how Guru Nanak defined God. It was Truth before time came into being, true now and will be true forever.

Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered to be the supreme reality that has ultimate meaning and value in existence. The study of Truth is part of philosophy, particularly epistemology.  Everyone talks about the truth routinely, but to live in truth is a Herculean task.  A few months ago, this author suggested to his wife that they both live a truthful life. Fifteen minutes later the telephone rang.  The caller ID appeared on the phone.  The author being busy, without much thought blurted out to his wife, “Please tell him I am not home.”  A determination to live truthfully ended in about fifteen minutes. We practice truth only till the telephone rings—and then we tell our members of family to say that we are not at home. The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.

Sikhi has to be grounded in rigorous honesty.  This ingredient of life is missing generally in the present times. This means that we lie, cheat, or may purposely provide only partial information, and play other mind games with ourselves. It means our wishful faith remains one purely of promise and not of proof and performance.  It may remain biased and selfish because we fear that truth is bitter and may produce unwanted consequences. Truthful living is lived only with the Grace of the God.

The hymns of the Bhagats will in some cases be found different from those preserved in the Hindi and Marathi collections of the saints' compositions in other parts of India. They were taken down by Guru Arjan from the lips of wandering minstrels or followers of the saints.

ਸਾਚੇ ਲਾਏ ਤਉ ਸਚ ਲਾਗੇ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ
ਸਾਚੀ ਬਸਤੁ ਕੇ ਭਾਰ ਚਲਾਏ ਪਹੁਚੇ ਜਾਇ ਭੰਡਾਰੀ
Sācẖė lā­ė ṯa­o sacẖ lāgė sācẖė kė bi­uhārī., Sācẖī basaṯ kė bẖār cẖalā­ė pahucẖė jā­ė bẖandārī.

When the True Master attaches one to the Truth then only one becomes the true trader of the Truth. I have loaded the commodity of Truth; and it has reached the Treasurer God.-----Kabir, Raag Kedara, AGGS, Page, 1123-9

Many wish to become devout but few wish to be humble and truthful. It is easy to make statements but hard to live by them.  Truth and rigorous honesty are the only tonics to invigorate the mind towards right thought. Truth is discovered, recognized and then lived and realized by the mind. Truth is the only source of all Cosmic as well as mundane riches. Truth is its own reward. It builds him, who builds on it. Hence, every individual needs a well-educated mind, trained in Truth, focused on truthful living and self-realization.

For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary, but for those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient. It seems expedient to skip work and then make up a story as an excuse.  It seems more convenient to extend our deductions for the tax purposes in April. We do all this knowing full well that lying or not giving the whole or truthful information is wrong.  We are aware that a universal moral code has condemned such conduct all through the ages.

ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ
ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ
Kabīr man jānai sabẖ bāṯ jānaṯ hī a­ugan karai, Kāhė kī kuslāṯ hāth ḏīp kū­ė parai.

Kabir, the mortal knows every thing, and knowing, he still makes mistakes.   What good is a lamp in one’s hand, if he falls in to well?-----Kabir Sloke, 216, AGGS, Page, 1376-4

Torah declares, “Thou shall not bear false witness.”----Exodus 20:16

However some rabbinic commentaries permit a lie to promote peace or to prevent harm in cases where honesty might result in harm to the innocent as per Talmud.

Bible admonishes, “Rid yourself of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” -----1 Peter 2:1

However some early church leaders argued that lying is permissible in extreme circumstances to protect the life of the innocent.

Islam asserts in Qur’an, Qur'an (16:106) - Establishes that there are circumstances that can "compel" a Muslim to tell a lie. “There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, Taqiyya and Kitman.  These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam - in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them. But Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals,” However some lying is permissible when a person is faced with two evils and must choose one.

Bhai Gurdas writes that when Guru Nanak was asked which religion is better? He responded that morality was of utmost importance.  Modern day Sikhs seem to have placed morality on the back burner.
ਪੁਛਨਿ ਫੋਲ ਕਤਾਬ ਨੂੰ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਵਡਾ ਕਿ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨੋਈ ? 
ਬਾਬਾ ਆਖੇ ਹਾਜੀਆ ਸੁਭ ਅਮਲਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਦੋਨੋ ਰੋਈ  
Puchan Foal Ktaab Noon Hindu Vaddaa Kay Musalmano-ee, Baba Akhay Haajee-aa Subh Amlaa Baajhoh Dono Ro-ee.

They asked Baba Nanak whether in his book a Hindu or a Muslim is purer.  Baba replied to the pilgrim Hajis that without good moral deeds both will have to weep and wail.-----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 1, Pauri, 33

You never find yourself until you face the truth. When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. Any faith which lies or distorts the Truth, in any way, diminishes the trust of all. Lack of truth is a defect in character, and can eventually lead to the collapse of a faith or society. The danger to the Sikh faith and philosophy lies in the degeneration of morals. They becloud human mental horizons and cause human moral and spiritual nature to atrophy. Individuals put their vested interest first, and the truths and their ideals go begging. Moral life cannot be lived in isolation. Morality is the nurse of spirituality. All the present problems are self-inflicted in ignorance. Ignorance of reality is no excuse. The only cure is self-knowledge.  An individual needs to become conscious of his infinite worth and fulfill his potential through spirituality growth towards God.

The second character defect we face in our daily life is arrogance.  This may show in our rudeness to the others. It may express verbally or in writing. In the former the tongue can be the worst weapon. Both types hurt the feelings of the others. Result is an unresolved grief.  If one finds it difficult to accept, he can become heartbroken. Farid describes it in his Slokes, in the following terms:

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਲੇਖ
ਆਪਨੜੇ ਗਿਰੀਵਾਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੁ
Farīḏā jė ṯū akal laṯīf kālė likẖ na lėkẖ, Āpnaṛė girīvān meh sir nīʼnvāʼn kar ḏėkẖ.
Farid, if you have a keen understanding, then do not write black marks against anyone else. Look underneath your own collar instead.-----Farid Sloke # 6, AGGS, Page, 1378
ਸਭਨਾ ਮਨ ਮਾਣਿਕ ਠਾਹਣੁ ਮੂਲਿ ਮਚਾਂਗਵਾ
ਜੇ ਤਉ ਪਿਰੀਆ ਦੀ ਸਿਕ ਹਿਆਉ ਨ ਠਾਹੇ ਕਹੀ ਦਾ
Sabẖnā man māṇik ṯẖāhaṇ mūl macẖāʼngvā, Jė ṯa­o pirī­ā ḏī sik hi­ā­o na ṯẖāhė kahī ḏā.

It is not good and advisable to injure the feelings of the others, as their minds are as precious as emeralds and rubies. Moreover if you desire the Beloved, distress no one’s heart.-----Farid Sloke # 130, AGGS, Page, 1384

There is a Persian expression attributed to God by Muslims:

"I can allow you to destroy a temple or a mosque, but to break another’s heart is an act that cannot be sanctioned. The temple and the mosque may be repaired or renewed, but not the broken heart".

ਇਕੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਨ ਗਾਲਾਇ ਸਭਨਾ ਮੈ ਸਚਾ ਧਣੀ
ਹਿਆਉ ਨ ਕੈਹੀ ਠਾਹਿ ਮਾਣਕ ਸਭ ਅਮੋਲਵੇ
Ik fikā na gālā­ė sabẖnā mai sacẖā ḏẖaṇī, Hi­ā­o na kaihī ṯẖāhi māṇak sabẖ amolvė.

Do not utter even a single harsh word.  The True God abides in all. Do not break anyone's heart; these are all priceless jewels. -----Sheikh Farid Sloke #129, AGGS, Page, 1384-17

We are so incredibly well trained to notice what is wrong in any given debates, discussions, work situations or a business experience that it is very easy to overlook what is right.   Our entire education system seems geared to training us to notice flaws and mistakes of the others rather of self.  Perhaps we should spend similar amount of time and energy in noticing and appreciating the other persons’ gifts, talents, beauty and strengths as we do in exposing their weaknesses and flaws.  Each of us is under three circles of influence –ourselves, the others and the reality.  As explained by Parmanand, in Raag Sarang, it may be more fruitful for us to carefully consider, understand and appreciate the points of view of the others rather than forcing our own egotistical personal opinion.

ਕਾਮੁ ਨ ਬਿਸਰਿਓ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਨ ਬਿਸਰਿਓ ਲੋਭੁ ਨ ਛੂਟਿਓ ਦੇਵਾ
ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਛੂਟੀ ਨਿਫਲ ਭਈ ਸਭ ਸੇਵਾ
Kām na bisri­o kroḏẖ na bisri­o lobẖ na cẖẖūti­o ḏėvā,Par ninḏā mukẖ ṯė nahī cẖẖūtī nifal bẖa­ī sabẖ sėvā.

You have not forgotten sexual desire, and you have not forgotten anger; greed has not left you either. Slander of the others has not left thy lips making all the service fruitless.-----Parmanand, Raag Sarang, AGGS, Page, 1253-6

Differences in opinion or other conflicts may be resolved by allowing and respecting each one’s own understanding of his Higher Power, Spirituality or God. Again this does not imply that all believe in the same Higher Power or that they should.  Believe as you wish to believe. We can always agree to disagree civilly. Spiritual awakening comes to one, who sacrifices his personal life to the great cause of compassion, and who purifies his heart from all the dross of passions. He should free his mind from all delusions of vanity and prejudice. Such awakening enables one to discern the right path in life, and to distinguish the true from the false.

Hatred is not destroyed by hatred any time soon.  Love may extinguish it better.  This is an Eternal Law. The descent of the spirit into the matter led to the fall of man. Through the sacrifice of one’s the lower self, one dies to his desires and passions, and rises to the higher life of the spirit. The object of all this is to restore the human Spirit by merging it with the Immortal Divine Spirit.  This way of raising the lower nature to a higher virtuous plane is through humility, says Guru Nanak in Raag Asa, Guru Tegh Bahadur in Raag Gauri, and Kabir in Raag Kidara:

ਫਲ ਫਿਕੇ ਫੁਲ ਬਕਬਕੇ ਕੰਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਹਿ ਪਤ ॥
ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ
Fal fike ful bakbake kamm na āvahi paṯ.Miṯẖaṯ nīvī nānkā guṇ cẖang­ā­ī­ā ṯaṯ.

Fruits of Symbal tree are tasteless, its flowers are nauseating, and its leaves are useless. Sweetness and humility, O, Nanak is the essence of merits and virtues.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 470
ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਖੋਜੈ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਨਾ
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਕਠਨੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਨਾ
Usṯaṯ ninḏā ḏo­ū ṯi­āgai kẖojai paḏ nirbānā, Jan Nānak ih kẖėl kaṯẖan hai kinhūʼn gurmukẖ jānā.
Renounce both praise and blame; seek instead the state of Nirvana. O servant Nanak, this is such a difficult game; only a few Guru willed understand it!-----Guru Tegh Bahadur, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 219
ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਤਜਹੁ ਮਾਨੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ॥
ਲੋਹਾ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਹਿ ਤੇ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨਾ ॥

Usṯaṯ ninḏā ḏo­ū bibarjiṯ ṯajahu mān abẖimānā, Lohā kancẖan sam kar jāneh ṯė mūraṯ bẖagvānā.
They who abandon both praise and slander, who reject self worship, self conceit, and who deem iron and gold alike are the image of God.-----Kabir, Raag Kidara, AGGS, Page, 1123-2


Majority of the world's woes come from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves. To grow spiritually is to transcend in the flame of true love to God.  Divine Wisdom lies in dying daily, while alive (ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤ).  One should die to sin but remain alive to righteousness. Higher Power is the voice of Divine in man.  It is also reflected in the teachings of men who have progressed spiritually to the point that their minds has become one with the higher consciousness of the God within. Man is a temple of God. All religions in varying degrees minister to the moral and spiritual progress of mankind. Unfortunately they have become institutionalized to control their followers. Guru Nanak indicates in Raag Suhi and Kabir in Raag Gauri, that to progress in spirituality means being free from impurities, while living amongst them;

ਵਾਜੇ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਵਾਜੈ ਤਉ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ
vāje bājẖahu sińī vājai ṯa▫o nirbẖa▫o paḏ pā▫ī▫ai.Anjan māhi niranjan rahī­ai jog jugaṯ iv pā­ī­ai.

When the horn is blown without being blown, then you shall attain the state of fearless dignity. To live undefiled among material defilement is the true way to live in Yogic-praxis. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 730-12                                                                                                
ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਮਰੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਐਸੇ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥
ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਭਵਜਲਿ ਪਾਇਆ
Jīvaṯ marai marai fun jīvai aise sunn samā▫i▫ā.Anjan māhi niranjan rahī­ai bahuṛ na bẖavjal pā­i­ā.

One who remains dead while yet alive, will live even after death; thus he merges into the Primal Void of the Absolute God. By living immaculate amidst impurity, one enters not again the ocean of existence. -----Kabir, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 332-16

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