Guru Nanak’s Universal Message
Harbhajan Singh Manocha
There are many human races, ethnic groups and religions on this earth. Religion, which should have taught people to treat all humans as equals, acted as a divisive force. This was the situation in India in the 15th century. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, (1469-1539) was born in Village Talwandi (now Nankana Sahib, Pakistan). He brought a revolutionary thought in those days. Guru Nanak felt there could not be two separate Gods, Ram for Hindus and Allah for Muslims as claimed by the people. He declared that there is only ONE GOD for whole humanity, we can love Him by any name, Allah, Gobind, God, Guru, Ram, etc. If all believe in ONE GOD then spiritual unity can be achieved. Their way of worship may be different but unity among them is natural if their goal is one. Guru Nanak strongly preached the brotherhood of mankind and the fatherhood of God. Sabhna Jia ka Iko Data (Jap Ji Sahib) Toon Data Ham Sewak Terai (SGGS: 1038) According to Guru Nanak God is the Lord of the whole universe. He alone is the Father and Mother for all of us. While the universe is moving and changing according His will, He alone is unchanged, beyond time. He is neither born and nor is He to die. He is ever self-existing. All people are His children. No one community or people of any particular religion have "franchise" on Him. God belongs to all. Human body is the temple of God. God’s light prevails in all. Toon Sanjha Sahib Baap hamara. (SGGS: 658) Sabh meh jout jout hai Soi (SGGS: 663) So we are all equal. No one is high or low. Guru Nanak Dev Ji advised men not to recognize people by caste, colour, creed or sex but give importance to their deeds. All people will be judged by their deeds alone. Any one who loves God achieves the mission of his life. A person who loves God cannot hate any one. All people will be judged by their deeds and not by the name of the faith they adopt. Caste system is the basic cause of discord. Man has only one caste that is humanity. All belong to one God. All have equal body with different faces, colour, language, sex and place. One should not be considered high or low because of caste or religion. Guru Nanak Dev Ji stressed on truthful living. Truth is the way to love God.
Sach ta par janiai j a ridai sacha hoi. Kur
ki mal utrai tan
Kare hachha dhoi (SGGS: 468)
Bura bhala kahu kis nou kahaie, disai
braham gurmukh sach lahiae (SGGS:
Jini naam dhiaya gae muskat ghal.
Nanak te mukh ujaele kaiti Chhuti naal.
Jaat janam nah poochae sach char lahu
Sa jat sa pat hai jahee karam kamaie
Man is the highest creation of God. He has to discover the aim of his life. He came in the world to earn merit. "Prani tu aiea laha lain". Religion should not be considered merely a set of ceremonies, customs, beliefs and rituals. According to Guru Nanak Dev Ji religion supports and promotes life, love, service to mankind, dedication, contentment and truthfulness.are the basic elements of religion. In fact there is only one religion for all mankind that i.e. to love God, remember God i.e. Simran of One God. Every person is his manifestation and every person has his reflection within him/her. The Gurbani says it in the following words:
Eko Dharam drerai Sach koi (SGGS: 1189)
Bhaie prapat manukh deh-huria
Gobind milan ki eh teri baria (SGGS: 12)
Guru Nanak Dev Ji disapproved worldly renunciation and life of depravation. Man must be truthful, whether one is Hindu or Muslim or of any other religion. Self-recognition is very important for truthful living. Body impured by falsehood cannot be purified by taking bath in holy rivers or by visiting holy places. Purity of mind is essential. Impurity of mind leads to many other vices such as anger, lust, attachment, ego, and greed. If mind is not free from evils then cleanings of the body even million times is useless. Restless mind is unable to get in touch with God’s love. Continuous practice of austerities and penance do not help in acquiring truthful life. One has to earn his living by honest means. Guru Nanak Dev Ji explains in Jup Ji how to become truthful and how to break the wall of falsehood.
Chupai chup nah hovai je lae raha livtar
(Jup Ji Sahib)
Kiv schaira hoiai ki kurai tutai pal
Hukam Razai chalana Nanak kikhia naal
(Jup Ji Sahib)
If man acts according to God’s Will, only then can he get the Grace of God. Ego (Haumai) is a great hindrance in the way of submission to God. Because of materialistic attachments and ignorance, we have forgotten God. We do not realize that with God’s grace we are enjoying life and all its comforts. God is within us but we do not actualize him because of our ego (Humai). Our ego causes worries, tensions and many other physical and mental problems. The Gurbani illustrates it very precisely as follows:
Haumai Diragh Rog Hai (SGGS: 466)
Khasam visare kiaie ras bhog
Ta tan othee khloia rog (SGGS: 1256)
Today in our life, we are surrounded with all the comforts and facilities but we do not have peace of mind. Pain of separation, feeling of insecurity, fear of death, loss of job, failing health and mental tension and worries are bothering us. Faith in one’s family and fellow men is steadily declining. Strains of life are increasing day by day. Values of life have changed. Enmity, hatred, malice, discord, conflict, corruption, injustice, violence have taken the place of brotherhood, love, truth and non-violence. Today the teachings of Guru Nanak are very relevant and guide us to achieve the real goal of life. They are valuable not only for the welfare and uplift of the Sikhs but for all mankind. Guru Nanak Dev Ji has shown us the path of happiness, love and universal brotherhood. If we shed our ego (Haumai), lay aside greed, hypocrisy and falsehood and act according to Guru Nanak’s teachings we can get rid of mental tension, conflict, discord and disunity. Guru Nanak emphasized a global perspective that has concerns for the whole of humanity rather for any particular group. He not only advocated the rights of women but also protection of human rights. As we are approaching the 21st century, the last line of Sikh prayer envisages universal outlook for the welfare of all mankind