Q16. What is the place of morality in Sikh religion?
It is argued that one can be moral without a belief in religion. There are many people in various parts of the world, generally in Communist countries, who may not believe in God and yet are good citizens, kind and useful members of the society.
All the same it is generally recognized that religion is a great aid to morality. Man is subject to temptation. Though he is is born with certain good potentialities, the temptation to evil is so strong that without some moral background and religious convictions, he may easily sccumb to it. In such moments of difficulty, when he is likely to be overcome by evil, the Guru, or true spiritual leader will give him the guidance and courage to resist it.
Ethics and morality are the basis of Sikhism. Evolution of the spirit is not possible without righteous conduct and adherance to social morality. Guru Nanak emphasizes this point:
"Greater than Truth is Truthful living." (A.G. p62)
The Sikh follows personal ethics like telling the truth, gentle speech, fair play, service, humility and tolerance. Morality cannot be an end in itself. It is an aid to the evolution of spiritual life. Sin is a definite obstacle on the path of Divinity.
Immorality is something of which one is ashamed or which one practises in secret. The morality of Sikhism is based on the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. Service for God is the service of His Creation. Acts of love and charity, even self-sacrifice, are not spiritual deeds in the strict sense of the term, but they do help to prepare the ground for the elimination of egoism. They show a love for humanity and a love of God.
Sikhism believes that this is a just and moral world. Though some bad people may seem to thrive, sooner or later, they will have their punishment. God is a strict judge and He treats people according to their deserts. Guru Nanak says:
"According to their actions, some get near to God and some distant." (A.G. p8)
But like any good judge, God is charitable too and tempers mercy with justice.