Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Rehat Maryada (Code of conduct and conventions)
Harpal Singh Pannu
As man developed culturally, he tried to give up everything that made life uncomfortable and laid emphasis on adopting those ways which made life happy. These ways were shown by far sighted people and were accepted by society as rules to be followed. When society approved those rules, those who followed the rules began to be respected by society and those who defied them were looked down upon. All these rules are personal, social and national (in their application). To the extent this code (personal, social and national) got free of contradictions, powerful society and nation came into being to that extent. Every hook of this chain should be strong is the main aim of code of conduct and conventions.
A compilation of rules of conduct which may be applicable to a person being member of a group, or a resident of a place, is called code of conduct.
Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha says in Mahankosh (encyclopedia) –
‘The discipline to be followed in observing the Sikh way of life, and living accordingly is called ‘rehat.’
‘The act of remaining in discipline, or the discipline as laid down in the Sikh faith, is called rehat.’
‘The rules, principles, discipline,penal rules, religious principles, moral rules, or the conduct of any section.’
According to Bhagvad Gita, an ideal man is the one who dedicates the performance of his deeds to God, should have no motive of self, and not desirous of fruit of his action. ‘He should not renounce karma (action). Any thing done without ulterior motive gives comfort and happiness. A devotee keeping full control on himself performs his worldly duties. He is content with everything. Honour or dishonour, heat or cold, praise or ridicule are the same thing for him. Such a person is really wise. Basis of code of conduct.
Every religion of the world has determined its own code of conduct though there have been some differences therein. Time and place also bring in some difference. There is difference in the conventions of the Christsians of Europe and those of South India. Similaly difference has been seen in the conventions followed in Gurdwaras in India and those in the USA, especially with regard to Langar (community kitchen). There may be any religion, the following three bases have been accepted to determine the code of conduct:
Whatever has been said by the Gurus (or Prophets) is true and worthy of being observed.
Whatever Gurus did is ideal and it is proper to emulate it.
History established some glorious conventions for the good of humanity, which became the code of conduct.
All these three have been the basis of Gurmat code of conduct. There are two main aspects of the code of conduct:
Personal discipline can further be divided into two parts. The first part is connected with man’s conscience and the second with the outer symbols. So long as a person is not mentally committed to be fully devoted to the faith adopted by him, the outer symbols have no meaning. This was the reason for Guru Nanak to refuse to wear the sacred thread (Janjoo) because the principles behind the practice of wearing the thread had disappeared and only the thread had remained. It is just like killing a living person and preserving his skeleton which may be called the real man; flesh, blood life, etc. are unnecessary.
When a person prepares himself mentally to act according to Guru’s teachings, he partakes of Amrit (Baptism). Keeping the five K’s after baptismal goes to indicate that the Sikh is spiritually and physically a perfect Khalsa. It is appropriate here to bear in mind that when Guru Gobind Singh had ordained
‘Rehat pyari mujh ko, Sikh pyara nahi.’
(I love the following of the code of conduct and not the Sikh)
it certainly did not mean the keeping of outer symbols only. ‘Rehat’ means the inner faith and the outer symbols should be in tune. If the conduct is of low type, the wearing of K’s is only hypocrisy which can never be approved by the Guru.
In the social conduct, responsibility devolves on the Sikhs towards their own community and the entire humanity. Paying of tithe (one tenth of income), helping the poor and needy and according priority to other’s needs rather than one’s personal needs, are the basic features of the social conduct. The devoted service by Bhai Kanhiya is the best ideal that even the enemy ‘is our brother who had only refused to be our brother for a little while and soon he would come to know of the human affininity.’ The Sikh history is full of such examples when even at the time of crisis, the Sikhs preferred to safeguard the honour of others rather than indulging in personal comfort. They did not view even their enemies with an immoral sense. Once some Sikhs submitted before Guru Gobind Singh – ‘The Mughal soldiers are massacring the old and the children and violating the modesty of our women. Till we take revenge thereof, they would not stop doing so’. But Guruji told them, ‘I would not permit you to ape those who have fallen so low.’ History of code of conduct.
As Guru Nanak Dev went round many countries, the Sangats (congregations) were established at numerous places. Sangat means the assembly of those who belived in Guru’s teachings. They framed some rules to be followed in the congregations. These rules were acceptable to all. To start with, a Sikh, meeting another Sikh, used to touch the other’s feet and used to say ‘Sat Kartar’ ( True Omnipotent God) or ‘Dhan Nirankar’ (The Great Formless One). As Guru Nanak himself sang his hymns, it was but natural that the tradition of Kirtan was established in the Sangats established by him. Guru Nanak founded Kartarpur and spent the last years of his life there. This programme continued there also. Bhai Gurdas writes –
Sodar aarati gaviai, Amrit vailai Japu uchara. (Var 1 pauri 38
(Rehras (evening prayer) and arati were sung
And in the morning was recited Japuji)
It is clear that in the morning the Japuji and in the evening Sodar , arati, etc.had begun to be recited in Guru Nanak’s time.The Reharas of today came into being later on because the verses of the Gurus succeeding Guru Nanak were included in it and in the present Rehras the Chaupai of Guru Gobind Singh has also been included. In the beginning the hymns of Sri Guru Nanak Dev were only recited In the Janamsakhis many of the old conventions are mentioned, like touching the feet, repeating ‘Guru-Guru’, becoming like the dust of feet, to receive the nectar of Naam, were the main features of the practices followed by the Sikhs.
We are able to trace easily the foundations of the Sikh Code (of Conduct) in Guru Nanak’s Bani, like mention of eating, drinking, dressing and sleeping.
‘Baba hor khana khushi khuar.
Jit khadhai tan pidiai, man mahi chalai vicar.’
(Sri Rag, M. 1, pp.16-17)
(The other food taken for pleasure leads to misery. It causes pain in body, and evil thoughts in mind.)
The teaching given by the Gurs was ‘To repeat Waheguru’s Name. Waheguru is One, True, Doer, Fearless, has no enmity.’ According to Gurbani, you will adopt the traits of the object of your worship. Guruji forbade his followers to do idol-worship because by worshiping stones, Indian society had turned into stone with the result that it had to suffer backwardness for centuries. Like the Budhists or the Marxists, the respect for and imbibing the moral values give strength, but only moral character is the destination of the Budhists and Marxists and it is not so in Gurmat. Keeping high moral character, one has to dwell on God, the Timeless. This is the integral part of Sikh faith.
The Indian religions have not ordained their adherents to do labour while the Gurus call the idlers parasites. Such parasites were the Sidhas and Nathas who were exhorted by Guru Nanak to shoulder their responsibility. There is a difference between an idler and an invalid. One who is not capable of working, should always be helped but one who can work, but still does not work, one should have nothing to do with him. Doing manual labour is the divine power which moulds man like God. Those who run away from working are neither healthy physically nor are they mentally strong.
It is mentioned in the Budhist parables that Bhardwaj gave money in charities. Once he requested the needy people to come to him for partaking food. Large number of sadhus and saints came. Bhardwaj continued to distribute food among them. Mahatma Budha also came. He also extended his begging bowl for food. Bhardwaj stopped his hand. He said, ‘O saintly person, I have not questioned the other sadhus. But I put the question to you. I ploughed the field, sowed the seed, irrigated it, looked after it and grew food grain and now I am doing this service. Kindly tell me, what have you done for which you become rightful to have this food?’ Lord Budha’s reply was, ‘I too am a farmer, O Bhardwaj. I sow the seed of my karma (deeds) in the land of my mind and then the crop of dharma gets ready. Therefore I too should get this food.’ Although Guruji has exhorted in his hymn ‘Man hali kirsani karni’ to grow the crop of goodness, in order to ensure that the verbal preaching may not encourage idleness, he ploughed land in old age, did farming and grew food crop and started the langar (community kitchen). Bhai Lehna was tested from all angles. He assisted Guru Nanak in farming also. Because of all the virtues, he attained the Guruship. Those who work hard and the nations which work hard are unique because they are the partners in the creative power of nature.
A person who works with his hands is entitled to share food with others. An idler cannot order about a worker to share his earning with him. One who toils himself, he knows the meaning of helping the needy. Those who sit together to eat are always content because Timless God is pleased with them.
‘Khavahe kharchahe ral mil bhai.
Tote na avai, wadhdoo jayee.
(Eat and spend together, brethren) There shall be no dearth; this wealth shall keep growing.)
The Gurus have exhorted that the married life is the best for a person. Live in the world but don’t become worldly, say the Gurus. The lotus dwells in mud. The snow-white duck lives in water but does not let her feathers get wet. In the same way, a Gurmukh living in Maya (illusory world) remains free of all temptations. What kind of family life should be lived in has been described by Guru Ram Das ji in this way –
Gur Satgur ka jo Sikh akhaye,
su bhalkai uth Hari Nam dhyayvai
Udam karai bhalkai parbhati,
isnan karai amritsar nahvai.
Updesh Guru Hari Hari japu japai
sabh kilvikh paap dokh leh javai.
Phir chadhai divas Gurbani gavai,
behdyan uthdyan Hari Naam dhyavai.
JSo saas giraas dhiyai maira HariHari
so Gurusukh Guru man bhavai.
Jis noon dyal hovai maira suami
tisu Gursikh Guru updesh sunavai.
Jan nanak dhoor mangai tisu gursukh kee
jo aap japai avra naam japavai.2.
(One calling himself a Sikh of his Satguru should get up early in the morning and meditate on His Name. He should endeavour to leave his bed and take bath in the tank of nectar. He should recite the Gurus’ hymns (teachings) and all his sins and evils will vanish. At sun rise he should sing the hymns, and keep in mind His Name all the time, sitting or rising up. One who keeps in mind His Name with every breath, becomes likeable in Guru’s eye. When my Master shows his kindness to a person, He makes him listen to Guru’s teachings. Sayeth Nanak, he seeks the dust of the feet of a Gursikhs; who himself recites His Name and makes others do so.)
All the above discussion goes to prove that the code of conduct which does not conform to the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, cannot be the conduct of the Sikh faith. We find such codes given in different Rehatnamas (Codes of conduct) which do not conform to the teachings of Gurbani.Therefore those Rehatnamas are not acceptable. Before breathing his last, Sri Guru Gobind Singh had coronated Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation was called by him the physical Guru. The Guru Panth is now responsible for laying down the Code of Conduct which should not differ even a little bit from the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Cultural Revolution in Guru Nanak Bani.
Dr. Jagbir Singh
The important role of the Saints, Bhagats, Sufis and the Gurus in shaping the history of medieval times can be easily accepted. Those Great Personages, endowed with the highest sense of understanding religious reformers, through their own intellect recognized the great danger to contemporary society and suggested such safeguards as proved to be the source of deep inspiration and guidance to the people. The influence of such Great men gave birth to renaissance the main aim of which was to create a new awareness about the human concerns. Guru Nanak not only endeavoured to develope and give a fillip to this renaissance, but through his constructive role also he tried to give it a revolutionary turn. Along with the spiritual thought in his Bani, he strongly criticized the destructive and anti-people activities which were going on and in which lay hidden the message for a cultural revolution. In this paper, an attempt has been made to highlight the concept of cultural revolution in Guru Nanakbani.
Basically, Guru Nanakbani is a religious poetry. In this is found the strange combination of literature, music, religion and morality. In accordance with the thought process prevailing in the medieval times, it is inclined towards presenting human concerns through the religious idiom. It is for this reason that in the context of learning and science, its presentation needs to be redefined.
In the context of the above position, in order to interpreting the social and cultural meaning of his teachings, we will have to analyze the communication methodology followed and to unravel the mystery of its religious code. As a matter of fact, the purposeful study of the entire writings of the medieval times concerning the contemporary culture, can only help to undertake this analysis so as to re-define it as the medieval methodology which is basically different from the present system. By finding the relevance of the heritage and tradition in the modern context, can we do the proper evaluation. Our basic problem is to find as to what type of concept of a cultural renaissance and revolution is presented in Guru Nanak Bani, through its unique poetic and religious communication system, and how far is it meanighful in the present times.
Culture, renaissance and revolution are the conceptual words which need to the defined and explained. Culture is the basic trait of way of life of man which easily distinguishes him from the other creatures in the world. While all the creatures, right from birth to death, live in the state of nature, the man, though passing through the vast world , through his creative talent, creates a separate world of meanings and values which lend meaning to his conduct and behaviour. This man made world is the world of culture wherein the material world is presented as a reality. Being a cultural being, man defines the basic concerns in his life, in the form of meanings, values and ideals and builds his life style conforming thereto. Thus culture can be called the identification of the total way of life of man. This cultural behaviour of man is presented through literature, musical art, and religious morality, which have their own form and nature. This man made world does not take birth in the air, but its foundation lies in the socio-economic set up, which passing through the historical pace, continues to change. Being based on meanings and values, culture can also be accepted a part of the thought process. It is for this reasons that, like the development of the thought process of human society, culture also, sometimes, begins to lag behind by getting cut off from the mainstream of socio-economic development. Such a cultural environment, as has lagged behind, needs a revolutionary change.
India, of Guru Nanak’s times, was passing through such cultural backwardness.The meanings and values had badly fallen in disarray and had lost their identity in the context of contemporary social conditions. This backward cultural system had its foundations in the ancient brahminical ritualism and caste system which had become meaningless in the context of the changed times.With the Islamic invasion in the Nanak era, a new culture had entered India, which is called semitic culture. Right from the eighth century to the fifteenth century, this culture, passing through the initial conflict with the local Hindu or Aryan culture, had reached the level of dialogue.
The historians call it the age of Hindu-Muslim co-ordination. To kindle the light of this co-ordination, saints, bhagats, Sufis and the Gurus played an important role. The combination of these two -three cultures gave birth to the renaissance of medieval times. To call this movement renaissance is very apt because it created a new awareness in the contemporary life and culture and made it conscious of the basic human concerns. On the one hand the Sufis were redefining their ancient religious heritage, and on the other hand, the saints and bhagats were engaged in transforming their old Hindu heritage. Through the co-ordinated efforts of both of them, a new phase of dialogue and unity began which laid the foundation for development of a new and special type of common culture. In the Nanakbani, we can have a glimpse of this type of common culture. Compared to the social reformers or religious preachers, who gave new meaning to their respective religious philosophies, Guru Nanak made greater efforts to transform this renaissance into a cultural revolution. Therefore, his contribution could be rightly called distinct from others.
This revolutionary contribution of Guru Nanak, can be discerned easily by a close study of his writings. The decay of contemporary social and cultural conditions, is vividly described in Nanakbani. Some examples are given below:
Kali kati rajai qasayee,
Dharma pankh kari udrya.
Kood amavas sach chandrama,
disai nahi keh chadhya.
Hau bhal vikunni hoyee,
aadherai rahu na koyee.-SGGS, 145
(This dark age is like a knife, and kings are butchers.
The darkest night of falsehood overshadows everything
And the moon of truth, is not seen to be rising anywhere.
I have been trying to look for it, groping in the dark
But no way could be found in the night of pitch darknes)
In these lines the Guru-poet has pointed to the calamitous conditions prevailing in the contemporary life which show his intellect. The duty of the king is to look after and defend his subjects but if the kings turn their back on their sacred duty and begin to pounce on them to devour them, the condition of the subjects can well be imagined. Guru Nanak has commented critically on the people (subjects) of his time also.
Andhi raiyat, gyan vihooni
Bhai bharai, murdar (SGGS, 469)
(The blind people, utterly ignorant
Go on grabbing others’ belongings
Just like eating a dead body. )
Bhai Gurdas, the first biographer of Guru Nanak, writes in his first Var about the decayed social and moral values of Guru Nanak’s time-
Kal aiyee, kuttai muhi,
khaj hoya murdar gusayee.
Rajai paap kamavandai,
ulti vaad khet kau khayee.
Parja andhi gyan bin,
kood kusatt mukhahu alayee.
Qadi hoye rishvati,
wadhi lai kai haq gawaiyee.
Istri purkhai daam hit,
bhavai aiye kithahu jaiyee.
Wartya paap sabhas jag mahi. (Var.1 Bhai Gurdas)
(In this dog-mouthed dark age the corpses are being eaten. The rulers are commiting sins, the fence is eating the crop. People are blind in ignorance, tell lies, live in falsehood. Judicial officials are corrupt, they deprive the rightful of their due.Men and women are after money, whatever way it comes and in whatever manner it is spent. The entire world has taken to sinful ways.)
The wanton loot and tryrannical system of the Indian feudal society prevailing in Guru Nanak’s times, have been described in detail in many places in Guru Nanakbani. Guru did not have before him an alternative to the feudal system, still in his Bani, the concept of such a state is clearly seen highlighted as should be based on justice and guarantee people’s rights. In other words, a rule wherein the rulers should not act like butchers and the people should not be ignorant. The concept of state power, free of exploitation, and awakened subjects bear witness to the revolutionary vision of Guru Nanak.
As has been indicated before, the best example of the medieval renaissance appears in the Hindu-Muslim coordination. The saints, bhagat and Sufis strengthened it. Not only in the hymns of Guru Nanak, but in his personality and behaviour too, we can see the live picture of this coordination. The famous episode of the Puratan Janamsakhi (Old biography) in regard to Guru Nanak’s disappearing in the stream, and the first words on his reappearing, ‘No one is a Hindus and none is a Musalman’ brings to the fore the real philosophy of Guru Nanak, though stated in the mythic way which shows him the supporter of Hindu-Muslim coordination. This is reflected in a well know adage also.
Nanak Shah Faqir
Hindu ka Guru
Musalman ka Pir.
(Nanak Sahah Faqir, Is Hindus’ Guru And Muslims’ Pir. )
What was this Hindu-Muslim coordination? Why is it considered the symbol of renaissance? The answer to this would be found in the analysis of the contemporary religious position wherein the Hindus and Muslims had broken away from the thread of their religious and spiritual truths had become merely outward followers of their faiths and believed in rituals and other ways of worship. The saints, bhagat, Sufis and the Gurus tried to locate the spiritual centre of the religious heritage. The identification of this central truth of faith rules out the outward ritualistic worship and creates the mutual goodwill laying emphasis on dialogue. In the following lines of Sri Rag, Guru Nanak seems to highlight this –
‘Jab lag duniya rahiai Nanak,
kuchh suniai kuch kahiyai.
Bhal rahai ham rehan na paya,
jivtiya mar rahiai. (SGGS,661)
(So long as we live in the world, let us hear something and say something (about Him). No one lives for ever, it is certain. Let’s live in a humble way, without ego (like a dead person).
Saying something or hearing something is also a basic truth which not only shows the opposites, but creates an equation and gives birth to a new situation. The points of conflict in dialogue create the cultural renaissance or revolution. Moulding this method of dialogue in their life, the Guru-poet held a dialogue with the prior folk culture. This was the spiritual tradition of the Sidhas and Nathas which had risen out of opposition to brahminic philosophy and ritualism and caste-system. This tradition , in place of ritualistic worship, had advocated a life of restraint and prcatice of yoga. The doctrine of Sidhas advocated following the ‘Parvirti Marga’ (worldly way) while the Yogis favoured the ‘Nirvirti’ path (renunciation). Guru Nanak held a dialogue with this tradition and presented the ideal of ‘Girhi mahi udasi’ (Remaining detached as a householder). This view, establishing an equilibrium between Yoga and Bhoga, of Guru Nanak proved to be his new invention in the cultural thinkinking. In his composition, Sidhagoshta, the dialogue and arguments revolve round this aspect. In addition, this composition by Guru Nanak in Sri Raga establishes the combination of Yoga and Bhoga:
‘Moti ta mandir usrai
Ratni ta hoye jadau.
Kastoor kungu agar chandan
Leep awai chao.
Mat dekh bhoola visrai
Tera chit na avai nao.’ (SGGS, 14)
(You may build a house of pearls With gems studded in it Having the perfumery of All sources of fragrance Sprayed and splashed therein But make sure you Don’t forget His Name, ye forgetful one.)
This feeling of keeping in mind one’s humble position, in the midst of all the high comforts of life, is possible, in fact, through a distinct life style, which is the basis of Guru Nanak’s thinking.
Besides dialogue and meeting (of minds), the important concept of cultural renaissance and revolution that has been established in Guru Nanakbani is ‘Shabad’ (Word). Word has been called ‘Guru’ in Nanakbani and mind is the disciple:
‘Sabad Guru Surt dhuni chela (SGGS, 943)
(Word is the Guru, and mind attuned therein is the disciple)
This Word is indicative of the spiritual awakening which becomes the means of salvation but what is important is that the Word is formed in such a way that it gives the sense of energy. According to the present science and knowledge, the word is deeply related to knowledge. This knowledge can be spiritual or real. The important thing is to unravel the mystery of the process of ‘Gyan’. In Guru Nanakbani, the explanation of the Word in all its mysterious aspects, is, in fact, the symbolic way of highlighting it. Through this power of the word, Guruji seems to have tried to draw attention to the main source of revolution.
Assuming of the religious form by the medieval awakening, laying stress on the central idea of religion, was a natural process. The meaningless rituals and performances and ways of worship have been condemned in Guru Nanakbani and in the ultimate analysis, all this becomes the indicator of cultural revolution. The following lines are quoted in this context:
Tirath nhata kya karai, Man mahi mail guman. (SGGS, p.61)
(What is the use of bathing at pilgrim centres When the mind is full of the dirt of ego?) Nhavan chalai tirthi Man khotai tani chor. (SGGS, p.789)
(They go to bathe at places of pilgirmage With evil minds, and thieving bodies.)
Instead of this outward bathing, Gurbani favours ‘Antargati tirath (bathing at the internal place of pilgrimage) :
‘Antargat tirath mali nhayo.’ (SGGS, p. 4)
(Bathe properly at the holy place within you.)
Wearing of different types of garbs to show off one’s religiosity has been strongly criticized:
‘Ik van khand baisai jaiye, sad na devayi.
Ik pala kakkar bhann sital jal hevahi.
Ik bhasam chadhavai ang, mail na dhovahi.
Ik jata bikat bikral, kul ghar khovai.
Ik nagan phirai din rati nind na sovahi.
Vin navai tan chhar, kya kahi rovahi. (SGGS, p.1284)
(Some go to the forests and do not make a call
Some go to live in icy cold freezing waters.
Some smear ashes on bodies, not washing dirt.
Some grow matted hair, looking horrible,
Lose their home and hearth and lineage.
Some move in the nude day and night sleeplessly.
Without His Name, it’s like relentlessly
Weeping over dust accumulated on body).
‘Qadi kood bol mal khaye
Brahman nhavai, jia ghaye
Jogi jugat na janai, andh
Tinai ujadai ka bandh. (SGGS,p.662)
(The magistrate tells lies and eats dirt.
The Brahmin bathes, but kills the living.
The blind Yogi does not know the way. )
All the three become cause of destruction.
But this type of biting criticism only is not found in Guru Nanakbani but pointing towards the real meaning hidden in the hollow ritualism and the fake religious attire, Guruji makes his criticism constructive.
‘So Brahmin jo Braham bicharai.
Aap tarai saglai kul tarai.3
So Jogi jo jugat pachhanai.
Gur-parsadi eiko janai.
Musalman soyee mal khovai….(SGGS, 662)
(Brahmin is the one who think of Brahm (God)
He gets across and helps others do so.3
The Jogi is the one who knows the way.
With the Grace of Guru, he attains Him.
A true Muslim frees himself of dirt (of sins).
‘Daya kapah santokh soot,
jat Gandhi sat vatta.
Ehu janeyu jia ka,
hayee ta pandai ghatt. (SGGS,471)
(The cotton of compassion, thread of contentment The knot of purity, and twist of truth. If you have a thread thus made O Priest, then give it to me to wear.)
Countless such instances can be found in Guru Nanakbani wherein the Hindus, the Muslims, the Jogis and the Sanyasis have been reminded to realize the truth in their own faiths. Thus while Guru Nanak has condemned the brahminic faith and caste system, he has equally condemned the Islamic sharah and bigotry and hypocrisy but in the ultimate analysis, in this criticism and condemnation, can be seen the exhortation to lead them to the virtuous path.
In Guru Nanakbani the evils of caste system and feeling of high and low have been condemned in an open and also subtle manner and all the discrimination between man and man has been rejected. For example, in the context of the caste system, the following lines of Guru Nanakbani speak volumes :
‘Jati dai kya hath, sach parkhiai.
Not the caste but the truth is to be tested. (SGGS, 142)
‘Janahu jot, na poochahu jati.’ (SGGS, 349)
(See the truth in him, and not his caste.)
Neecha ander neech jaat,
neechi hoo ati neech
Nanak tin kai sangh sath
Vadya sio kay rees. (SGGS, 15)
(Thoso low among the low castes, Even lower than the lowest Have Nanak with them all as he has Nothing to do with the higher ones.)
In the same way the Nanakbani addresses the woman haters and raises the voice against gender discrimination:
‘Bhand jammiai, bhand nimmiai
Bhand mangan viahu.
Bhando hovai dosti
Bhando chalhe rahu. (SGGS, 473)
(Conceived and born by woman Betrothed and married to woman Makes friends with woman The world is perpetuated by women.)
So kyon manda aakhiai
Jit jammai rajaan (SGGS, 473)
(Why ridicule her who Gives birth to rulers?
This type of healthy approach towards social relationships truly establishes the basic principles of conduct.
Another aspect of cultural renaissance is discerned with regard to language policy in Guru Nanakbani. Like other contemporary saints, bhagats and Sufis, Guru Nanak made the common language of the people as the medium of his expression. His languge is the ‘sadhu-bhasha) (Punjabi dominated language of the saints) which can be understood throughout the country. Similarly, to make his message fully communicative, he chose the folklore as his medium. That is why in Guru Nanakbani can be heard the living tune of the folk heritage. For example he wrote Baramaha, Vars, Alahniyaan, Chhant, etc. in the folk style and made use of the prevalent folk tradition. To make the folklore or folk language as the medium of expression is an important cultural process by itself which is indicative of renaissance.
Besides the critical analysis of the contemporary social and cultural position, the world view presented in Guru Nanakbani contains deep meaningfulness. The basic concern of this world view is to define the true purpose of human life. But the concept of far-reaching divine power presented in Guru Nanakbani gives a clear message of cultural revolution. The concept of divine power built by any religious philosophy addresses the contemporary concerns and challenges of history. Ultimately it becomes an ideal providing inpiring lead to human conduct and behaviour. For example, in the context of divine power, words like truth, truthful, True Lord, Nirbhau (fearless) and Nirvair (Having no enmity)have been used which assume new meanings in the context of divine power. In the same way the conceptual words like Naam, hukam (Divine command) raza (Divine Will) sachyar (truthful), koodyar (untruthful), Gurmukh (Guruward), Manmukh (self-guided), ego, illusion, etc have been used. When we discuss these words in the light of the religious code, we see before us the form of a distinct way of life. This way by discussing the divine design, Guruji brings the people face to face with the prevailing realities. This new awareness spreads the message of renaissance and revolution.
It can be said that Guru Nanak gave birth to a new and special type of cultural revolution in the medieval times. On the one hand he condemned the brahmincal practices prevailing in society for ages which had broken away from the spiritual sources and believed only in pure ritualism and showoff and supported the caste based anti-people social set up.On the other hand, Guruji bitterly criticized the contemporary social system and the conduct leading to decline. He supported the propagation of Hindu-Muslim coordination and played an important and constructive role in the medieval cultural renaissance which it would be appropriate to call Cultural revolution.