Q105. Give the substance of the Japji.
The Japji contains the whole basis of the Sikh religion and philosophy. The theme - the evolution of spiritual life - is developed systematically.
As a first step, Guru Nanak defines God and sums up His attributes. The goal of human life is for a union with the Divine Being, often called salvation or Nirvana. This is achiveable through self-surrender and a submission to God's Hukam. God is manifest in His creation. Nature obeys His law; like-wise we too, must obey Divine law.
How can a devotee merge with Divinity? Guru Nanak suggests that in the early hours of the morning the devotee should meditate on "His Name" and praise His Greatness. The disciple must follow the Guru's word.
The first step is to listen for the Name. By careful listening, the devotee becomes free from sorrow and sin. The second step is true and firm belief in "The Name". Those who have firm faith in "The Name" not only free themselves from the cycle of birth and death but also liberate others. Creation is in the play of God. Some people are busy in good works, while others are busy in crime and sin. Action is followed by reaction. As a man sows, so shall he reap.
The sovereign remedy is the remembrance of "God's Name" (The invocation of the air of the "Holy Spirit"). Just as dirty clothes are cleaned by soap, in the same way, man's evil is washed away by "The Name". God is vast and so is His universe. No Religious leaders can ever fathom His greatness. He has created millions of worlds and stars. No one can visualize His infinity. He alone knows Himself. He guides and controls the universe and all things are under His law. The conquest of one's Ego under the control of the 'self', is the only way to merge the individual soul into the Universal soul.
There are five stages of spiritual life: Dharm Khand, Gian Khand, Saram Khand, Karam Khand and Sach Khand. To progress through these the disciple has to follow a strict discipline, namely to control the mind and body, fearlessness, steady perseverence and a constant remembrance of "The Name", in order to reach the goal. True devotees have radiant faces, beaming with Divine Light and they bring peace and happiness to countless other people - all who come in contact with them.