Free and Universal Man
The Sikhs as a community of saint soldiers, laboriously created by the Sikh Gurus, still persists in all its form and content. The Sikhs have unswerving faith in their Guru. They bow to the Guru but worship only the one God through theteaching and living examples of their Gurus. The Sikhs have a history which anyone can be proud of. The Guru’s Sikhs are to rise at dawn, bathe and recite the hymns of the Gurus. They are not to smoke tobacco, cut their hair or commit adultery. They have to earn an honest living and give a tenth of their income in charity. They have to fight against injustice and oppression of all kinds and to protect the weak. A Sikh is therefore to be a free man, an ideal man – representative of man on this earth with God’s name in his heart. His hands are to work for the active good of himself and his fellow men. He is to abide pure among the impurities of the material world. Thus a Sikh is required to play three roles together — firstly to be devoted to God as a saint; secondly to live and work as a family man, sharing his earnings with the needy and thirdly, to act as a guardian soldier in times of danger or threat to human dignity and honour. In short he is to act as a saviour among his fellow human beings. Such is, in fact, the Sikh form and its essentials which the great Gurus bestowed upon the common man without any distinction of caste, colour or creed.
These free and universal men are being put to a hard test in Britain and elsewhere in the Western countries to which they have emigrated. The British public has known them as the toughest foes and the sincerest friends for the past 150 years. Despite this they have at times had to meet a three pronged challenge because of their colour, hair and turbans. Many of the employers still need to cultivate an approach of tolerance and understanding towards the Sikhs and their essential characteristics. By doing so they will surely help in establishing a new and happier relationship between the Sikhs and the people of Britain.
Let us all, therefore, pledge on this anniversary of the birth of Khalsa Panth to live up to the Great Sikh traditions and become universal men in thought, word and deed. Let us cultivate love for all mankind and strive for beauty, goodness and truth.