Friday, November 24, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Fundamentals of Sikhism

The seed for the reformation of humanity which was sown by Guru Nanak and watered by his successors, ripened in the time of Guru Gobind Singh and culminated in the creation of the Khalsa. The sword that carved the Khalsa's way to sublime glory was undoubtedly forged by Guru Gobind Singh but its steel was provided by Guru Nanak.

The whole program of Guru Nanak's initiation reached its exalted state of finality when the tenth Nanak (Guru Gobind Singh) passed on 'Gur Nanak Jot' to the Adi Granth, Holy Scripture- par excellence, and proclaimed it as Guru Granth Sahib, the last Guru for ever.

From the moment of its initiation by Guru Nanak to its consecration by the tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, a period of 239 years, Sikhism acquired its holy scripture, signs and symbols, and unmistakable form or stance. Transformation from one Guru to the other happened in the same way as one lamp were to lit from another. The holy transformation of ten Gurus is recognized as ONE, since all of them came from the same Divine Flame in continuity of the same Divine Mission. The establishment of Guruship, the story of succession, the founding of Amritsar and other seats of Sikhism, the compilation of the Adi Granth, the institution of Sangat (holy congregation) and Pangat (Guru's free kitchen), the martyrdom of the Gurus, the panoply and plumage of power, the investiture of the Khalsa, all these and many other events which make the Sikh chronicle, give Sikh religion a color of the highest distinction.

In Sikhism, Guruship does not stand for mere order of mystics, since the Guru attached no values to renunciation of worldly life. Those who practiced renunciation such as Yogis and Sidhas were condemned as shirkers of responsibilities- they were considered as escapists and runaways from social responsibilities and obligations. In Sikhism a man is called upon to accept the Will of God and thus sublimate his suffering and loss. Sikhism believing in the conquest of sorrow and suffering, stipulates ceaseless endeavor.

PURPOSE OF LIFE:

According to the Guru, moral life is not a matter of a few commandments or a code or a ritual, but the fruit of a life directed towards spiritual quest involving incredibly hard discipline. Most people generally believe in enjoying materialistic life to the brim. Thus, the life goes on till a person ultimately finds oneself physically spent up and spiritually bankrupt. Lured by the charm of success in this materialistic world, one gives little or no thought to the Eternal values of life.

According to the eastern religions, there are eighty-four lakhs (8.4 million) of lives in the world, half of which are in the water and the other half are on the land and air. All life is transient. It moves on and on through the wheel of transmigration in accordance with its 'karmas' or actions good or bad. The human soul is achieved after transmigrating through various lower species as Gurbani (the Divine Word) confirms it:

    "In how many births wert thou a worm or a moth!
    In how many births an elephant, a fish, or a deer!
    In how many births a bird or a serpent!
    In how many births wert thou yoked as a horse or an ox!
    Meet the Lord of the world, this is the time to meet Him
    After long period of time hast thou attained human body."
    (Gauri Guareri Mohalla 5, p-176)

The Gurmat (Guru's teaching) defines the purpose of life as:

    "This time having born as human being
    This is thy turn to meet the Supreme Lord.
    Thy other activities will be of no avail at the end,
    Seek the company of the holy men
    And only contemplate on God.
    Set thy mind on crossing the sea of life,
    For life is being wasted away
    In pursuits of pleasures of the world."
    (Asa Mohalla 5, p-12)

Human soul is the door for liberation, but enchanted by the materialistic world, one loses highly precious chance of life:

    "O man, thou comest to earn merit (spiritual)
    But how vainly art thou engaged
    While the night of life passeth away."
    (Sri Rag Mohalla 5, p-43)

    "Sleeping through, man wasteth the night,
    Eating, he wasteth the day away
    And lo, the Jewel of life is bartered away for a trite."
    (Gauri Bairagan Mohalla 1, p-156)

    "Having wandered through eighty-four lakhs of species
    Thou hast obtained the very precious human life,
    Nanak, remember thou then the Nam
    For thy days are numbered."
    (Sri Rag Mohalla 5, p-50)

    "Without the Name of God, birth into this world is fruitless,
    Without Nam one eats poison, speaks evil, dies without
    merit and transmigrates."
    (Bhairo Mohalla 1, p-1127)

    "O God, the mothers of those who keep not God's Name in their hearts ought to have been barren,
    For they who wander without the Name, pine away and die in agony."
    (Jaitsari Mohalla 4, p-697)

The purpose of human life in Sikhism is not to attain paradise or Swarga of the popular Hindu conception, but to seek God, and be united with Him. The ultimate goal of Sikh religion is to merge with the Supreme Soul and then enjoy the Uninterrupted Bliss for ever. A Sikh aspires for spiritual union with the Lord- a state of Bliss. Human life is an opportunity to attain that goal, if it is missed, a person falls back in the cycle of birth and rebirth.

CONCEPT OF GOD IN SIKHISM:

The definition of God is given in the very opening sentence of Guru Granth Sahib, which is called Mool-Mantar (Preamble of Japji):

    There is but One God
    He is the Eternal Truth
    The Creator, All-Pervading Divine Spirit
    Unfearful, Without hate and enmity
    Immortal Entity, Unborn, Self-Existent, and
    He is realized by His Own Grace.

    Meditate upon
    Who was True before the Creation
    Who was True in the beginning of the Creation
    Who is True now, and
    O Nanak, Who shall be True for Ever.

As a matter of fact the whole of Guru Granth Sahib is the explanation of the above definition. The Guru elaborates the concept of God in Rag Sorath:

    The Unseen, Infinite, Inaccessible, Inapprehensible God is not subject to death or destiny.
    He is of no caste, unborn, self-existent, without fear or doubt.
    I am a sacrifice to the Truest of the true.
    He hath no form, or color, or outline;
    He becometh manifest by the true Word.
    He hath no mother, father, son, or kinsman;
    He feeleth not lust, and hath no wife
    Or family; He is pure, endless, and infinite; all light is Thine, O Lord.
    God is concealed in every heart; His light is in every heart.
    He whose understanding's adamantine doors are opened by
    the Guru's instruction, fixeth his gaze on the Fearless One.
    God having created animals made them subject to death, and retained all contrivances in His Own power.
    He who serveth the True Guru obtaineth the real boon, and is delivered by repeating the Word.
    Truth is contained in pure vessels; few there are whose acts are pure.
    By seeking Thy protection, saith Nanak, the soul blendeth with the Supreme Soul.
    (Sorath Mohalla 1, p-597)

God is both Impersonal (Nirgun) and Personal (Sargun). Impersonal God is Formless and beyond the human reach. When He reveals Himself through His Creation, He becomes related and personal. It is just like the rays coming out of the sun. The source is Formless, and the whole universe is His Personal form. No form howsoever unique it may be, is independent of Him. Infinite can manifest into unlimited number of finites, but any number of finites, alone or together, cannot be equal to the Infinite. So any finite form cannot be worshipped as God, Who is Infinite and Formless:

    "God is Formless, colorless, markless,
    He is casteless, classless, creedless;
    His form, hue, shape and garb
    Cannot be described by any one,
    He is the Spirit of Eternity,
    Self-Radiant, He shineth in His Splendor."
    (Guru Gobind Singh)

God neither takes birth nor does He die:

    "Burnt be the tongue that says
    The Lord takes birth and undergoes death."
    (Bhairon Mohalla 5, p-1136)

The Guru warned that he was not God, and those who called him God, should fall into hell:

    "Whosoever calleth me God
    May fall into hell."
    (Guru Gobind Singh)

i) God protects His saints and devotees from dangers, unless He wills that their sufferings and martyrdom should serve a higher purpose. To protect the righteous is His Sovereign Characteristic (Birdh). In the face of some acute dangers, saints have prayed for aid and intervention of God to help them in distress. God came to their help and protected them in a miraculous way. The stories of Prahlad, Dhru and others, and the autobiographic statements of Namdev and Kabir in Guru Granth Sahib, show His Sovereign Power to protect the righteous. Such miracles are part of the doctrine of divine Providence and Preservation. These supernatural miracles of God should be distinguished from the miracles of human beings performed by their occult powers, which in Sikhism are considered dangerous and unbecoming.

ii) 'As you sow, so shall you reap', leads to the theory of 'Karma', actions, good or bad, where a person is rewarded for his good actions and punished for his bad deeds. Therefore, according to the theory of Karma, a worst sinner will always suffer for his deeds and can never attain salvation. Guru Nanak has rejected this stating that pardoning even the worst sinner is the Sovereign Characteristic (Birdh) of God:

    "Patat pavan prabh birdh tumaro."
    (Bilawal Mohalla 5, p-829)

    'Redeeming the repentant sinner, is Thy Characteristic.'
    (Translation of the above)

The Guru emphasizes that the sinner whom no body affords protection in the whole world, if he surrenders before the Almighty, becomes pure, that is he is blessed by His Grace:

    "Jis papi kau milai na dhoee Saran aawai ta nirmal hoee."
    (Bhairon Mohalla 5, p-1141)

    'The sinner who is patronless in the world When surrenders before God, gets deliverance.'
    (Translation of the above)

The Guru reiterates that to save the saints, to protect the righteous, and even to redeem the repentant sinners is Paramount Characteristic of God.

CONCEPT OF NAM (DIVINE NAME):

According to Gurmat (Guru's teaching), before the creation, God lived Absolutely by Himself, Formless. When He made Himself manifest, He first formed Himself into NAM (Divine Name) and then created Nature. After creating Nature, He did not go away from it, rather He sustained His creation with His Own presence into it, and felt delighted.

    "Aapinai aap sajio aapinai rachio Nao
    Dui kudrat sajiai kar asan ditho chao."
    (Asa Mohalla 1- pauri 1, p-463)

    "God created Himself and assumed Name
    Second besides Himself He created Nature
    Seated in Nature He watches with delight what He creates."
    (Translation of the above)

1) NAM (Divine Name) and God are not two different entities. Nam is just another aspect of the Almighty, still Formless. Nam is the total expression of all that God is. Nam sustains everything:

    "Nam sustains and controls all beings
    Nam supports the universe and its regions."
    (Gauri Sukhmani Mohalla 5, 16-5, p-284)

2) Nam is not expressed as mere noun and it does not mean that there is a special name of God and by enchanting of which, one will meet Him. He is Infinite and can be called with infinite names, but who can count His infinite names? The enlightened and the blessed ones remember Him through His Attributes:

    "Tav sarb nam kathai kavan
    Karm nam barnat sumat."
    (Guru Gobind Singh- Jap Sahib)

3) God may be called by countless names by the devotees, who create these names according to the attributes of their Godhead, but the first and the foremost name of God is clearly depicted as 'SAT' (Eternal Truth) which shows the ever-existence of God:

    "Kirtam nam kathai terei jihba
    Satnam tera pra purbla."
    (Maru Mohalla 5, p-1083)

4) The word NAM is a mystic Word used in practical religious life and in discipline of meditation. God is remembered by His attributive names. There is another aspect of it called true Name which emanates from a prophet's personal experience. It emerges from a vision that the Prophet has of the Divine Being. Such a mystic Word in Sikh religion is called 'Waheguru' or Wonderful God or 'Thou art Wonderful'. True Name is not the word by which we describe an object, but the total power, quality and character of Reality. Through the word 'Waheguru' the prophet has tried to sum up mystic power and experience of His presence all around. Prophets have given us Divine Names of the nameless God, which reflect His presence in our consciousness. Contemplation or meditation on true Name (Waheguru) is called practicing the presence of God in one's conscious.

    5) Gurbani (Divine Word) itself is NAM.

    a) Gurbani itself is Nam:

    "Gurmukh bani nam hai, nam ridai vasaie."
    (Sarang ki Var-pauri, p-1239)

    b) The term 'Nam Japo' means to remember God and to invoke His presence in one's conscious. All modes of meditation take the devotee into the presence of God, but according to Gurbani, Hari Kirtan, the musical recitation of Gurbani, is the super form of meditation. It invokes one's consciousness to the maximum level, into the presence of God:

    "Har kirat utam Nam hai vich kaljug karni sar."
    (Kanre ki Var Mohalla 4, p-1314)

    c) The Gurmat explains that the recitation of the word 'Har Har..' is Nam Japna:

    "Har har har har nam hai gurmukh pavai koei."
    (Kanre ki Var Mohalla 4, p-1313)

    d) Salvation cannot be attained without Nam. In other words anything that delivers salvation is Nam. Since Gurbani delivers salvation, therefore, Gurbani is Nam:

    "Sachi bani mithi amritdhar
    Jinh piti tis mokhdwar."
    (Malar Mohalla 1, p-1275)

    'The True Bani is sweet-nectar
    Whosoever is devoted to it, attaineth salvation."
    (Translation of the above)

    "Sachi bani sion dhare piyar
    Tako pavai mokhdwar."
    (Dhanasari Mohalla 1, p-661)

    'Whosoever devoted to Eternal Bani
    Will get deliverance."
    (Translation of the above)

It is therefore, very clear and evident that any form of recitation of Gurbani, may be simple reading with attention and devotion or meditation on any Sabad of Gurbani or Kirtan of Gurbani, is fully deemed as Nam Japna (meditation on Nam), that is to invoke the presence of God in one's conscious.

It may be mentioned here that there are small sects who mislead the innocent Sikhs on the subject of Gurbani and Nam. These sect leaders very emphatically say to the innocent Sikhs," Gurbani says that one must meditate on Nam, but Gurbani is not Nam. Come on, we will give you Nam." Then they whisper in their ears some broken sentence of Gurbani which they call Nam, and warn them not to tell any one; if ever they disclose this Nam to any one, some curse will fall on them. In this way they run their cults (shops). Thus, innocent Sikhs and others are lured and misled into their fold. The Sikhs should, therefore, be very careful from such sects. Those who try to say that Gurbani is not Nam, they are either misguided or are deceitful. According to Gurmat (Guru's teaching), Gurbani is everything:

    Gurbani is Nam: "Gurmukh bani Nam hai.."
    (Sarang ki Var-pauri, p-1239)

    Gurbani is Guru: "Bani Guru, Guru hai Bani..."
    (Nat Mohalla 4, p-982)

    Gurbani is Nirankar:"Wauh wauh bani nirankar hai Tis jiwad avar na koi."
    (Slok Mohalla 3, p-515)

    'Wauh wauh Bani is the Formless One
    There is none as great as He."
    (Translation of the above)

    Gurbani is every Nad and Ved:

    "Sabh nad beid gurbani Man rata sarang pani."
    (Ramkli Mohalla 1, p-879)

It is, therefore, Nam that ultimately leads a person to Eternal Bliss. For God consciousness, one must come in contact with Nam, but without Guru one cannot attain Nam and would wander away in the darkness.

    "Were a hundred moons to appear
    Were a thousand suns to arise
    There would still be utter darkness
    If there were no Guru."
    (Asa di Var, Mohalla 2, p-463)

    "Let no one in the world remain in doubt
    That it could ever be possible to be saved without the Guru."
    (Gaund Mohalla 5, p-864)

    "In this age of falsehood, Nam lieth hidden
    Though the Lord filleth all hearts,
    The Jewel of Nam becomes manifest in the hearts of only those Who resort to the Guru's refuge."
    (Parbhati Mohalla 3, p-1334)

    "All repeat God's Name, yet He is not attained
    But when through the Grace of the Guru
    God comes to reside in the mind
    It is only then one's life becomes fruitful."
    (Gujri Mohalla 3, p-491)

CONCEPT OF GURU:

The concept of Guru has been explained in the previous chapters. A yogi asked Guru Nanak who his Guru was? He replied,"The Word is Guru." God anointed Guru Nanak with His Word, His Wisdom (Logos), and the Guru's whole personality was Word-personified. The Guru made it very clear that his human body was not the Guru, and the mere outward glimpse of the Guru, or the outward profession of faith in him, could not bring the disciple close to the Guru. The light of the Word within his heart was the real Guru and the disciple should approach him with a receptive mind to receive His Light.

BAPTISM IN SIKHISM:

Nam is the whole source which takes a person back into the Unmanifest One. Guru is the sole Channel to Nam. The Gurmat tells us that the Jewel of Nam becomes manifest in the hearts of only those who resort to Guru's refuge.

    How do we resort to Guru's refuge?

When we go to the Guru, he gives us Nam and then we meditate upon the Guru given Nam which in turn takes us back to our destination, the Almighty.

How do we go to the Guru?

In Sikhism the one and the only one way to go to the Guru is through Baptism. A Sikh has to take Pauhal or Amrit, from the Five Beloved Ones (Panj Pyare), then he becomes of the Guru or Guruwala. Without baptism a Sikh remains without Guru or Nigura.

    "Nigure ka hai nau bura."
    (Rag Asa Mohalla 3 Pati, p-435)

Everybody repeats God's Name, but simply repeating it He is not attained. When through the Grace of the Guru, Nam enshrines the mind, only then one's efforts of meditation become fruitful. Without the Grace of the Guru, a Sikh cannot attain his objective of salvation. In order to seek the Guru's Grace, we have to go to the Guru and that is only done through baptism.

    "Ram Ram sabh ko kahai kahiai ram na hoi
    Gurparsadi Ram man vasai ta fal pavai koi."
    (Gujri Mohalla 3, p-491)

    'All repeat God's Name, yet He is not attained
    But when through the Grace of the Guru
    God comes to reside in the mind
    It is only then one's life becomes fruitful.'
    (Translation of the above)

The question arises, is there any other way for a Sikh to attain his objective of salvation?

No, says Gurmat, there is no other way. This world is a vast and formidable ocean of Maya (materialism). A Sikh has to cross this ocean to meet his Beloved God. The ocean seems endless and there are countless obstructions in the way. In order to get through this dangerous and formidable sea, one needs a strong ship and that ship is only the Guru, the Divine Light. In order to get into the Guru's ship, a Sikh needs a passport, and that passport is baptism.

    "Bhavjal bikham dravno na kandhi na par
    Na beri na tulha na tis vanj malar
    Satgur bhai ka boihtha nadri par utar."
    (Sri Rag Mohalla 1, p-59)

    'The fearful ocean of the world is dangerous and formidable; it hath no shore or limit,
    No boat, no raft, no pole, and no boatman;
    But the true Guru hath a vessel for the terrible ocean, and ferrieth over him on whom he looketh with favor.'
    (Translation of the above)

The ceremony of baptism was started by the very first Guru. Those persons who became Guru's Sikhs, were baptized by the Guru. By mere attending the assembly of the Guru, one did not automatically become a Sikh of the Guru. From the first to the tenth Guru, baptism ceremony consisted of taking Charanpauhal i.e. Guru's toe (or feet) was dipped in the water which was then given to the devotee to drink and also Gurmantar (Word) was given by the Guru. After the creation of the Khalsa, the tenth Guru changed this tradition and entrusted this ceremony to the Five Beloved Ones. After that those who accepted the Guru's religion (Sikh religion), were baptized and they were called the Khalsa (the word Sikh and Khalsa became synonymous). The Guru issued instructions to all to get baptized and join the order of the Khalsa.

Guru Gobind Singh was the first one to get baptized by the Five Beloved Ones. Let it, therefore, be very clear to every Sikh that in order to get into Guru's fold and seek Guru's grace, one will have to get baptized by the Five Beloved Ones. Only then one's efforts towards spiritualism become fruitful. From Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, those who called themselves Guru's Sikhs, were always baptized by the Gurus. It is the Guru's order for every Sikh to get baptized and therefore after obeying his order one can get accepted by the Guru:

    "Hukam maniai howai parvan ta khasmai ka mahal paisi."
    (Asa di Var pauri 15, p-471)

    'By obeying His order, one is acceptable
    And shall then reach his Master's court."
    (Translation of the above)

Baptism is only the starting point towards the attainment of spiritual goal. Virtuous and religious living according to the Guru Rahit Maryada (Code of Conduct) is to be cultivated in daily practical life. The codes of conduct include spiritual awakening, conscientious performance of one's duty, humility, temperance and charity. Mere outward faith without practical adherence to the codes of conduct, will not lead the disciple towards the spiritual goal. After baptism, through constant devotion and heartfelt love to the order of the Guru in every walk of life, the disciple seeks the Guru's grace. Through submission and unconditional surrender before the Guru, the devotee is reborn in the spirit of the Guru; and only at that stage a disciple is truly called a Sikh:

    'Guru sikh, sikh guru hai eko gur updes chalai
    Ram nam mant hirdai devai Nanak milan subhai.'
    (Asa Mohalla 4, p-444)

    "The Guru is a Sikh, the Sikh is a Guru; they are both one, but it is the Guru who giveth instruction
    He putteth the spell of God's Name in the heart, O Nanak, and then God is easily obtained." (Translation of the above)

HAUMAI (EGOISM - I-AM-NESS):

God is everywhere and within us too, but a veil of ego separates us from Him, it hides the Truth from us:

    "God, the Incomprehensible, is within us but not perceived
    For the screen the 'ego' hangs in between."
    (Rag Sorath Mohalla 5, p-624)

All the five vices- lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego; are the obstructions in the way of spiritual path, but egoism is the paramount of all. In the Guru's words one of the most recurring key terms is Haumai (I-am-ness) which is regraded as synonymous with the most insidious evil. Egoism is the moral evil which is the root cause of all ill doings. This egoism is the consequence of illusion, of looking upon the individual-self as of paramount importance. All his activities are exclusively directed towards himself. "In ego he takes birth and in ego he dies," (Asa Mohalla 1, p-466). It spoils the fruit of great penances. The veil of ego when descends on a great Yogi makes him loose in a moment, whatever he had gained through self-mortification practised for years. This egoism is a disease and an obstacle in the way of spiritual uplift of an individual.

Purpose of life centers on the spiritual salvation of a man through the glorification of the Divine and imbibing Divine qualities in the process. Blinded by the ego man cannot perceive the glory of the Divine. Therefore, Nam will not reside in the mind as long as ego is there. Nam and ego are two opposing elements:

    "Haumai nawai nal virodh hai doai na vasai ek thai."
    (Wadhans Mohalla 3, p-560)

Egoistic mind cannot realize the 'morals' as laid down by the Guru, thus leaving the depressed soul groping in the dark, never realizing its goal. Egoism stands in the way of the desired spiritual attainment. Guru calls egoistic man as 'Manmukh'. By the grace of the Guru, ego is only burnt through the Sabad:

    "Gur kai Sabad parjaliai ta eh vicho jai."
    (Bilawal ki var, Mohalla 3, p-853)

SALVATION - THE WAY TO GOD:

A body is dead without life and life itself is dead without Nam. Nam is the Elixir of life without which life would be meaningless and an accumulative waste. Forgetting Nam torments the soul. There is no spiritual awakening, no peace of mind, no joy and no bliss without Nam. Realization of Nam is the essential condition for a true and fruitful life.

    "The tongue that repeateth not His Name
    Better it be cut out bit by bit."
    (Funhe Mohalla 5, p-1363)

Gurmat rejects all fasts, rites and rituals as a means to attain salvation. Gurmat rejects claims of yoga, mortification of body, self-torture and penances or renunciation. Gurmat does not believe in the worship of gods and goddesses, stones, statues, tombs, crematoriums, Samadhies, idols and pictures. Gurmat forbids the worship of anything of the Creation as a means to attain salvation. Only one God, the Formless, the Creator of the world is to be Glorified.

The road that leads to God is the most difficult and complex. Guru Nanak has made this road simple and as clear as crystal by showing us a technical approach. The Guru explains that since the human life is attained after passing through numerous lives, so it has gathered along the way impurities of every life it has passed through. Human mind has become black smeared with these impurities:

    "The impurity of many births hath attached to man's mind, and it hath become quite black."
    (Slok Mohalla 3, p-651)

As long as the human mind remains impure, it will not merge with the One Who is Absolute Pure. As the mind becomes pure, the soul will merge with the Supreme Soul. How does the mind become pure?

    "Maen te dhokha ta lahai ja sifat kari ardas."
    (Rag Wadhans Mohalla 1, p-557)

    'Praise and prayer (to God) maketh the mind pure."
    (Translation of the above)

Those who have done it, have crossed the ocean of Maya and merged with Him:

    "Tu sacha sahib sifat sualio jin kiti so par piya."
    (Slok Mohalla 1, p-469)

    'Thou art the True Lord, Beautiful is Thy Praise; He who utters it, is saved.'
    (Translation of the above)

    Explanation: If a glass is full of dirty water, pour constantly pure water into it. The constant pouring of pure water into the glass, will throw the dirty water out of the glass and ultimately the glass itself will be full of pure water.

In the same way the constant prayer and praise of God, will clean the impure mind. Human mind is in chaotic state. It is full of five vices- lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride or ego. These are the obstacles in the realization of Nam. Purity of mind is needed for spiritual uplift. No man or monk can achieve salvation without disciplining the world of inner chaos. This discipline of inner chaos by banishing these five vices from the mind, is a pre-requisite for spiritual excellence which is commanded by the Guru. Singing the Glory of the Lord, the Mighty King, will help purge the mind of its impurities. By glorifying the Divine, the human mind imbibes divine qualities in the process. As a result when all the impurities are gone, Nam will enshrine the pure mind. This will lead to exalted mental state from chaotic state. Spiritual evolution will occur resulting in Heavenly Bliss:

    "Prayer and praise of God, shall give rise to Nam inside."
    (Ramkali Mohalla 3-Anand, p-917)

Gurmat further states that when hands are smeared with ordinary dirt, simple water will wash it away. If urine makes the cloth dirty, ordinary water cannot wash it, only soap will clean it. Similarly when our mind is full of impurities (sins), it needs some strong detergent and that detergent is Nam:

    "As hands or feet besmirched with slime, Water washes white; As garments dark with grime, Rinsed with soap are made light; So when sin foils the soul, Prayer alone shall make it whole."
    (Japji- pauri 20, p-4)

The effect of Prayer and Praise is, firstly all the impurities of the mind are washed away and it becomes pure; secondly as a result when the mind becomes pure, then the nectar of Nam enshrines the mind:

    "Prayer and praise of Almighty removeth the impurity of mind
    And the Ambrosial Nam then filleth the mind."
    (Gauri Sukhmani Mohalla 5, 1-4, p-263)

That is the stage a true devotee yearns for. By prayer and praise, one's mind comes in touch with Nam and becomes illuminated. An enlightened mind emerges and a person is reborn in the spirit of the Guru and he begins to make spiritual progress slowly. Nam is registered by the consciousness and penetrates into the human soul and mind. This glorious transformation or metamorphosis helps transcend human soul to a state of Absolute Bliss. It is a change in a person which occurs within the self from one form to another. The aspect of realization of God changes within and lifts the devotee from the Personal to the Impersonal. All boundaries, limitations and barriers are broken and the individual soul starts merging with the Supreme Soul, as water blends with water, the light blends with the Divine Light:

    "His soul and body dyed with the Name of One God Shall ever abide with the Supreme Soul. As water blendeth with water, So light is blended with Light. Transmigration is ended and rest obtained- Nanak is ever a sacrifice to the Lord." (Gauri Sukhmani Mohalla 5, 11-8, p-278)

WHAT TO MEDITATE UPON OR HOW TO DO PRAISE AND PRAYER:

A Sikh is to worship only One God and None else. But God is Formless, then what to meditate upon? During the dialogue with the Sidhas, one Yogi called Charpat asked the Guru," O Guru, you say that one should not renounce the world rather live in it but the element of Maya (materialism) is so powerful, how can one overcome it and become one with God while living in Maya itself? Please explain your logic behind it."

    "The great sea of life is hard to cross, pray tell us how to get safely across it."
    (Sidh Gosht- Charpat, p-938)

Guru Nanak gave two examples:

A lotus flower always floats above the surface of the water. It cannot exist without water, yet it remains

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Worldgurudwaras.com will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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