THE SIKH WAY OF LIFE
BY RANBIR SINGH
SIKHISM is a Way of Life shown to mankind by the Ten Divine Masters-Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, who were in direct and constant touch with the Eternal Reality. Sikhism is a practical way, leading man straight to his goal and does not involve itself in verbose theorizing. It is a religion concerned with now and here.
Guru Nanak preached that there is but One God. He described Him as Absolute yet Personal, the Eternal, All-Pervading Divine Spirit, The Creator, the Cause of causes, without enmity, without hate; both immanent in His creation and transcendent, Immortal Reality, Unborn and Self-Existent, and He can be realized through the Grace of the Guru-the Divine Master.
He is not jealous or merely a just God, but God of Love and Grace. That being so, He creates man, not to punish him for his sins or to reward him for his good actions. but for realization of his true purpose in the cosmos, to merge in from where he issued forth.
The object of human life according to the Guru is to seek God and to be re-united with Him. Just as all waters must flow down to sea
Whence they came so all life must ultimately go to God in whom it was.
Thou hast been given this human body.
Now this is thy opportunity to meet God, thy Lord,
Of no avail would be thy other activities.
Seek the company of the holy,
Set thy mind on crossing the sea of life.
Life is being wasted away
In pursuits of pleasures of the world.
(Guru Arjan: Asa) Translated
God, Whom we seek, is not merely a God of mercy or even a distant ruler to be prayed to and supplicated before, but an all too human God, like a bridegroom yearning to receive His youthful bride in His restful Arms. The analogy of the bridegroom and bride employed over and over again in the Holy Granth to explain and express the idea of the individual soul and that of the Supreme Soul is pregnant with a great meaning.
As no sustained and final happiness can be found in perishable things, man reaches his goal only by seeking. union with that Eternal Lord from whom he came. But man is snared in this world of change. It has verily become a prison for him, which should have been his happy play ground. This is because of his own blind acts in identifying the 'self' entirely with his physical body and environment in utter forgetfulness of his real 'self' and the Supreme Reality behind.
The Guru preached that mere belief in .myths and miracles or in some such senseless dogmas and meaningless rites and rituals cannot free the man or save him. The Guru repeatedly pointed out that religion or Path to Reality do not consist in worshipping stocks and stones nor in throwing oneself prostrate on the ground, nor in raising the hands before idols or gods, nor in approaching the altars and deluging the temples with the blood of the beasts, nor in taking vow upon vows, but in realizing the Divine Light within one's soul in dedicating oneself to Him.
The Guru declared that salvation cannot be obtained by abandoning home and family or by wandering aimlessly, or by torturing the body, or by frequenting holy places, or by. performances of external austerities, or by observing fasts or performing 'Havan' and pouring oblations into sacrificial fires. But-it is only by kindling the Fire of Devotion and Love for God in the self itself, by the Guru given Spark of Life, that sense of egoism- (khudi) is lost and salvation is obtained.
The Sikh Way of Life, so to say, is the art of living a pure and beautiful life like a flower, by abiding in the True Source of its being and emitting its fragrance and sweetness all around. And this life is to be lived in fullness in all its aspects. It is the Life of Light, Love and Service (Gyan, Prem and Seva) a life filled with the fire and fervor of God, a life of vigor, vitality & velour in the midst of perils. This life of inspiration is the gift of the Gurus, the Divine Master. Man achieves this illumination through his goodwill and grace.
The Guru is the light of the world. He shows the way to reality. He that follows him shall not walk in darkness , but shall have the Light of Life. But anybody who walks in darkness doesn't know where he is going
Guru Nanak spoke the words of eternal truth, which were destined to give peace, freedom and salvation to all men and create a noble humanity.
He gave the world a simple doctrine, a pure faith universal in its application. All those who are weary. of the materialism of the modern times will find in the Gospel of Guru Nanak comfort, peace of mind arid happiness.
Sikhism is a sovereign religion. It is a new, original and direct revelation. It defies all the social laws of Manu and turns its back on the four-fold Hindu Order of Society. Caste system is totally obliterated. All gods and goddesses have been eliminated. We find there is a dynamic transvaluation of values. Old values crumbled and have been remolded and reshaped into a new form with a new life. Spirituality and religion have been revolutionized and a new ideological coin has been minted and the seal of the New Faith has been set on it. This faith is crystal-clear, as is the water gushing out from the snow-fed fountain. It is like the new dawn so pure, so fresh and fragrant that it immediately catches our imagination and gives us pleasant feelings.
Sikhism is the most modern religion, not. only in age but also in its outlook on life. But in order to understand and fully appreciate the fundamentals of this 'new deal' in the form of Sikhism, it is essential to make a brief survey of the conditions that prevailed in India before the advent of Guru Nanak.