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Sikhism Articles





Translated Into English By
Khushwant Singh,Famous Historian & Writer

There is One God

He is the supreme truth.

He, The Creator,

Is without fear and without hate,

He, The Omnipresent,

Pervades the universe.

He is not born,

Nor does He die to be born again,

By His grace shalt thou worship Him.


Before time itself

There was truth,

When time began to run its course

He was the truth.

Even now, He is the truth

And Evermore shall truth prevail.


Not by thought alone

Can He be Known,

Though one think

A hundred thousand times;

Not in solemn silence

Nor in deep meditation.

Though fasting yields an

Abundance of virtue

It cannot appease the hunger for truth,

No, by none of these,

Nor by a hundred thousand other devices,

Can God be reached.

How then shall the Truth be known?

How the veil of false illusion torn?

O Nanak, thus runneth the writ divine,

The righteous path – let it be thine.


By Him are all forms created,

by Him infused with life and blessed,

By Him are some to excellence elated,

Others born lowly and depressed.

By His writ some have pleasure, others pain

By His grace some are saved,

Others doomed to die, re-live, and die again.

His will encompasseth all, there be none beside.

O Nanak, He who knows, hath no ego and no pride.


Who has the power to praise His might?

Who has the measure of His bounty?

Of His portents who has the sight?

Who can value His virtue, His deeds,

His charity?

Who has the knowledge of His wisdom?

Of His deep, impenetrable thought?

How to worship Him who creates life,

Then destroys,

And having destroyed doth re-create?

How worship Him who appeareth far

Yet is ever present and proximate?

There is no end to His description,

Though the speakers and their

speeches be legion.

He the Giver ever giveth,

We who receive grow weary,

On His bounty humanity liveth

From primal age of posterity.


God is the Master, God is truth,

His name spelleth love divine

His creatures ever cry’: O give, O give,’

He the bounteous doth never decline.

When then in offering shall we bring

That we may see his court above?

What then shall we say in speech,

That hearing may evoke His love?

In the ambrosial hours of fragrant dawn

On truth and greatness ponder in meditation,

Though action determine how thou be born,

Through grace alone come salvation.

O Nanak, this need we know alone,

That God and Truth are two in one.


He cannot be proved, for He is uncreated;

He is without matter, self-existent.

They that serve shall honoured be,

O Nanak, the Lord is most excellent.

Praise the Lord, hear them that do Him praise,

In your hearts His name be given,

Sorrows from your soul erase

Arid make your hearts a joyous heaven.

The Guru’s word has the sage’s wisdom

The Guru’s word is full of learning,

For though it be the Guru’s word

God Himself speaks therein.

Thus run the words of the Guru:

"God is the destroyer, preserver and creator,

God is the Goddess too.

Words to describe are hard to find,

I would venture if I knew."

This alone my teacher taught,

There is but one Lord of all creation,

Forget Him not.


If it please the Lord

In holy waters would I bathe,

If it please him not,

Worthless is that pilgrimage.

This is the law of all creation,

That nothing’s gained save by action.

Thy mind, wherein buried lie

Precious stones, jewels, gems,

Shall opened be if thou but try

And hearken to the Guru’s word.


This the Guru my teacher taught,

There is but one Lord of all creation,

Forget Him not.


Were life’s spand extended to the four ages

And ten times more,

Were one known over the nine continents

Ever in humanity’s fore,

Were one to achieve greatness

With a name noised over the earth,

If one found not favour with the Lord

What would it all be worth?

Among the worms be as vermin,

By sinners be accused of sin.

O Nanak, the Lord fills the vicious with virtue

The virtuous maketh more true.

Knowest thou of any other

Who in turn could the Lord thus favour?


By hearing the word

men achieve wisdom, saintliness

courage and contentment.

By hearing the word

Men learn of the earth, the power that

supports it, and the firmament.

By hearing the word

Men learn of the upper and nether regions,

of islands and continents.

By hearing the word

Men conquer the fear of death and the elements.

O Nanak, the word hath such magic for the worshippers,

Those that hear, death do not fear.

Their sorrows end and sins disappear.


By hearing the word

Mortals are to godliness raised.

By hearing the word

The foul-mouthed are filled with pious praise.

By hearing the word

Are revealed the secrets of the body and of nature.

By hearing the word

Is acquired the wisdom of all the scriptures.

O Nanak, the word hath such magic for the worshippers,

Those that hear, death do not fear,

Their sorrows end and sins disappear.


By hearing the word

One learns of truth, contentment, and is wise.

By hearing the word

The need for pilgrimages does not arise.

By hearing the word

The student achieves scholastic distinction.

By hearing the word

The mind is easily led to meditation.

O Nanak, the word hath such magic for the worshippers,

Those that hear, death do not fear,

Their sorrows end and sins disappear.


By hearing the word

One sounds the depths of virtue’s sea.

By hearing the word

One acquires learning, holiness and royalty.

By hearing the word

The blind see and their paths are visible.

By hearing the word

The fathomless becomes fordable.


The believer’s bliss one cannot describe.

He who endeavours regrets in the end,

There is no paper, pen, nor any scribe

Who can the believer’s state comprehend,

The name of the Lord is immaculate.

He who would know must have faith.


The believer hath wisdom and understanding;

The believer hath knowledge of all the spheres;

The believer shall not stumble in ignorance,

Nor of death have any fears.


The believer’s way is of obstructions free;

The believer is honoured in the presence sublime;

The believer’s path is not lost in futility,

For faith hath taught him law divine.

The name of the Lord is immaculate,

He who would know must have faith.


The believer reaches the gate of salvation;

His kith and kin he also saves.

The believer beckons the congregation,

Their souls are saved from transmigration

The name of the Lord is immaculate,

He who would know must have faith.


Thus are chosen the leaders of men,

Thus honoured in God’s estimation;

Though they grace the courts of kings,

Their minds are fixed in holy meditation.

Their words are weighed with reason,

They know that God’s works are legion.

Law which like the fabled bull supports

the earth is of compassion born;

though it bind the world in harmony,

Its strands are thin and worn.

He who the truth would learn

Must know of the bull and the load it bore,

For there are worlds besides our own

and beyond them many more.

Who is it that bears these burdens?

What power bears him beareth them?

Of creatures of diverse kinds and

colours the ever-flowing pen hath made record.

Can anyone write what it hath writ?

Or say how great a task was it?

How describe His beauty and His might?

His bounty how estimate?

How speak of Him who with one word

Did the whole universe create,

And made a thousand rivers flow therein?

What might have I to praise Thy might?

I have not power to give it praise.

Whatever be Thy wish, I say Amen.

Mayst thou endure, O formless One.

There is no count of those, who pray,

Nor of those who thee adore;

There is no count of those who worship,

Nor of those who by penance set store.

There is no count of those who read the holy books aloud,

Nor of those who think of the world’s sorrows and lament,

There is no count of sages immersed in thought and reason,

Nor of those who love humanity and are benevolent.

There is no count of warriors who match their strength with steel

Nor of those who contemplate in peace and are silent.

What might have I to praise Thy might?

I have not power to give it praise.

Whatever be Thy wish, I say amen.

Mayst Thou endure, O Formless One.


There is no count of fools who will not see,

Nor of thieves who live by fraud,

There is no count of despots practising tyranny,

Nor of those whose hands are soiled with blood

There is no count of those who sin and go free,

Nor of liars caught in the web of falsehood,

There is no count of the polluted who live on filth,

Nor of the evil-tongued weighed down with calumny.

Of such degradation, O Nanak, also think.

What might have I to praise Thy might?

I have not power to give it praise.

Whatever be Thy wish, I say Amen.

Mayst Thou endure, O Formless One.


Though there is no count of Thy names and habitations,

Nor of Thy regions uncomprehended,

Yet many there have been with reason perverted

Who to Thy knowledge have pretended.

Though by words alone we give Thee name and praise,

And by words reason, worship, and Thy virtue compute;

Though by words alone we write and speak

And by words does not its Creator bind,

What Thou ordainest we receive.

Thy creations magnify Thee,

Thy name in all places find

What might have to praise Thy might?

I have not power to give it praise.

Whatever be Thy wish, I say Amen.

Mayst Thou endure, O Formless One.


As hands or feet besmirched with slime,

Water washes white;

As garments dark with grime

Rinsed with soap are made light;

So when sin soils the soul

Prayer alone shall make it whole.

Words do not the saint or sinner make,

Action alone is written in the book of fate,

What we sow that alone we take; O Nanak, be saved or forever transmigrate.

Pilgrimage, austerity, mercy, almsgiving and charity

Bring merit, be it as little as the mustard seed;

But he who hears, believes and cherishes the word.

An inner pilgirmage and cleansing is his need.


Pilgrimage, austerity, mercy, almsgiving and charity

Bring merit, be it as little as the mustard seed;

But he who hears, believes and cherishes the word,

An inner pilgrimage and cleansing is his meed.

All virtue is Thine, for I have none,

Virtue follows a good act done.

Blessed thou the Creator, the prayer, the primal

Truth and beauty and longing eternal.

What was the time, what day of the week,

What the month, what season of the year,

When Thou didst create the earthly sphere?

The Pandit knows it nor, nor is it writ in his Puran;

The Qadi knows it not, though he read and copy the Koran.

The Yogi knows not the date nor the day of the week,

He knows not the month or even the season.

Only thou who made it all can speak,

For knowledge is Thine alone.

How then shall I know Thee,

how describe, praise and name?

0 Nanak, many there be who pretend to know,

each bolder in his claim. All I say is: "Great is the Lord, great His name;

What He ordains comes to be" O Nanak, he who sayeth more shall hereafter regret his stupidity.


Numerous worlds there be in regions

beyond the skies and below,

But the research-weary’ scholars say, we do not know.

The Hindu and the Muslim books are full of theories the answer is but one.

If it could be writ, it would have been, but the writer thereof be none.

O Nanak, say but this, the Lord is great,

in His knowledge He is alone.


Worshippers who praise the Lord know not His greatness,

As rivers and rivulets that flow into the sea know not its vastness.

Mighty kings with dorhains vaster than the ocean,

With wealth piled high in a mountainous heap,

Are less than the little ant That the Lord’s name in its heart doth keep.


Infinite His goodness, and the ways of exaltation;

Infinite His creation and His benefaction;

Infinite the sights and sounds,

infinite His great design,

Infinite its execution, infinite without confine.

Many there be that cried in pain to seek the end of all ending.

Their cries were all in’ vain, for the end is past understanding.

It is the end of which no one knoweth,

The more one says the more it groweth.

The Lord is of great eminence, exalted is His name.

He who would know His height,

must in stature be the same.

He alone can His own greatness measure.

O Nanak, what He gives we must treasure.


Of His bounty one cannot write too much

He the great Giver desires not even a mustard seed;

Even the mighty beg at His door, and others such

Whose numbers can never be conceived.

There be those who receive but are self-indulgent,

Others who get but have no gratitude.

There be the foolish whose bellies are never filled,

Others whom hunger’s pain doth ever torment.

All this comes to pass as Thou hast willed.

Thy will alone breaks mortal bonds,

No one else hath influence.

The fool who argues otherwise Shall be smitten into silence.

The Lord knows our needs, and gives,

Few there be that count their blessings,

he who is granted gratitude and power to praise,

O Nanak, is the king of kings.


His goodness cannot be priced or traded,

Nor His worshippers valued, nor their store;

Priceless too are dealers in the market sacred

With love and peace evermore. Perfect His law and administration,

Precise His weights and measures;

Boundless His bounty and His omens,

Infinite mercy in His orders.

How priceless Thou art one cannot state,

Those who spoke are mute in adoration,

The readers of the scriptures expatiate,

Having read, are lost in learned conversation.

The great gods Brahma and Indra do Thee proclaim,

So do Krishna and his maidens fair;

The demons and the demi-gods

Men, brave men, seers and the sainted,

Having discoursed and discussed

Have spoken and departed

If Thou didst many more create

Not one could any more state,

For Thou art as great as is Thy pleasure,

O Nanak, thou alone knowest thy measure.

He who claims to know blasphemeth

And is the worst among the stupidest.



(To Dawn)

Where is the gate, where the mansion

From whence Thou watchest all creation,

Where sounds of musical melodies,

Of instruments playing, minstrels singing,

Are joined in divine harmony?

There the breeze blow, the waters run and the fires burn,

There Dharmaraj, the king of death, sits in state;

There the recording angels Chitra and Gupta write

For Dharmaraj to read and adjudicate.

There are the gods Ishwara and Brah ma,

The goddess Devi of divine grace;

There Indra sits on his celestial throne

And lesser gods, each in his place.

There ascetics in deep meditation,

Holy men in contemplation,

The pure of heart, the continent,

Men of peace and contentment,

Doughty warriors never yielding,

Thy praises are ever singing

From age to age, the pundit and the sage

Do Thee exalt in their study and their writing.

There maidens fair, heart bewitching,

Who inhabit the earth, the upper and the lower regions,

Thy praises chant in their singing.

By the gems that Thou didst create, In the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage,

Is Thy name exalted.

By warriors strong and brave in strife,

By the sources four from whence came life.

Of egg and womb, of sweat or seed, Is thy name magnified.

The regions of the earth, the heavens and the universe

That Thou didst make and dost sustain,

Sing to Thee and praise Thy name.

Only those Thou lovest and with whom Thou art pleased

Can give Thee praise and in Thy love be steeped.

Others too there must be who

Thee acclaim, I have no memory’ of knowing them

Nor of knowledge, O Nanak, make a claim.

He alone is the master true,

Lord of the word, ever the same,

He Who made creation is, shall be and shall ever remain;

He Who made things of diverse species, shapes and hues,

Beholds that His handiwork His greatness proves.

What He will He ordains,

To Him no one can an order give,

For He, Nanak, is the King of Kings,

As He wills so we must live.


As beggar goes a-begging

Bowl in one hand, staff in the other,

Rings in his ears, in ashes smothered,

So go thou forth in life.

With earrings made of contentment,

With modesty thy begging bowl,

Meditation the fabric of thy garment,

Knowledge of death thy cowl.

Let thy mind be chaste, virginal clean,

Faith the staff on which to lean.

Thou shalt then thy fancy humiliate

With mind subdued, the world subjugate.

Hail! and to thee be salutation.

Thou art primal, Thou art pure,

Without beginning, without termination,

In single form, forever endure.


From the store-house of compassion

Seek knowledge for thy food.

Let thy heart-beat be the call of the conch shell

Blown in gratitude.

Hail! and to thee be salutation

Thou art primal, thou art pure,

Without beginning, without termination,

In single form forever endure.

Maya, mythical goddess in wedlock divine,

Bore three gods accepted by al

The creator of the world, the one who preserves,

And the one who adjudges it fall.

But it is God alone whose will prevails,

Others but their obedience render.

He sees and directs, but is by them unseen.

That of all is the greatest wonder.

He is the Lord, His is the will,

His the creation,

He is the master of destiny, of union and separation.

Hail! and to thee be salutation

Thou art primal, thou art pure,

Without beginning, without termination,

In single form forever endure.


He hath His prayer-mat in every’ region,

In every’ realm His store.

To human begins He doth apportion

Their share for once and evermore.

The Maker having made doth

His own creation view.

O Nanak, He made truth itself, for He himself is true.

Hail! and to thee be salutation.

Thou art primal, Thou art pure,

Without beginning, without termination,

In single form, forever endure.


Were I given a hundred thousand tongues instead of one,

And the hundred thousand multiplied twentyfold,

A hundred thousand times would I say, and say again,

The Lord of all the worlds is one.

That is the path that leads,

These the steps that mount,

Ascend thus to the Lord’s mansion

And with Him be joined in unison

The sounds of the songs of heaven thrills

The like of us who crawl, but desire to fly.

O Nanak, His grace alone it is that fulfils,

The rest mere prattle, and a lie.


Ye have no power to speak or in silence listen,

To grant or give away, Ye have no power to live or die.

Ye have no power to acquire wealth and dominion,

To compel the mind to thought or reason, To escape the world and fly.

He who hath the pride of power, let him try’ and see.

O Nanak, before the Lord there is no low or high degree.


He Who made the night and day,

The days of the week and the seasons,

He Who made the breezes blow, the waters run,

The fires and the lower regions,

Made the earth – the temple of law.

He Who made creatures of diverse kinds

With a multitude of names,

Made this the law -By thought and deed be judged foresooth,

For God is true and dispenseth truth.

There the elect His court adorn,

And God Himself their actions honours:

There are sorted deeds that were done and bore fruit

From those that to action could never ripen.

This, O Nanak, shall hereafter happen.


In the realm of justice there is law;

In the realm of knowledge there is reason.

Wherefore are the breezes, the waters and fire,

Gods that preserve and destroy, Krishnas and Shivas?

Wherefore are created forms, colours, attire,

Gods that create, the many Brahmas?

Here one strives to comprehend,

The golden mount of knowledge ascend,

And learn as did the sage Dhruva.

Wherefore are the thunders and lightening,

The moons and suns, The world and its regions?

Wherefore are the sages, seers, wise men,

Goddesses, false prophets, demons and demi-gods,

Therefore are there jewels in the ocean?

How many forms of life there be, How many tongues, How many kings of proud ancestry.

Of these things many strive to know

Many the slaves of reason.

Many there are,O Nanak, their numbers are legion.


As in the realm of knowledge reason is triumphant

And yields a myriad joys, So in the realm of bliss is beauty respendent.

There are fashioned forms of great loveliness;

O them it is best to remain silent

Than hazard guesses and then repent.

There too are fashioned consciousness, understanding, mind and reason

The genius of the sage and seer, the power of humans superhuman.


In the realm of action, effort is supreme,

Nothing else prevails.

There dwell doughty warriors brave and strong,

With hearts full of godliness,

And celestial maidens of great loveliness

Who sing their praise.

They cannot die nor be beguiled,

For God Himself in their hearts resides.

There too are congregations of holy men

Who rejoice for the Lord in their midst presides.

In the realm of truth is the Formless One

Who, having created, watches His creation

And graces us with the blessed vision.

There are the lands, the earths and the spheres

Of whose description there is no limit

There by a myriad forms are a myriad purposes fulfilled,

What He ordains is in them instilled.

What He beholds, thinks and contemplates,

O Nanak, is too hard to state.


If thou must make a gold coin true

Let thy mint these rules pursue.

In the forge of continence

let the goldsmith be aman of patience,

His tools be made of knowledge,

His anvil made of reason;

With the fear of God the bellows blow,

With prayer and austerity make the fire glow.

Pour liquid in the mould of love,

Print the name of the Lord thereon,

And cool it in the holy waters.

For thus in the mint of truth the word is coined,

Thus those who are graced are to work enjoined.

O Nanak, by His blessing have joy everlasting.



Air, water and earth, Of these are we made.

Air like the Guru’s word gives the breath of life

To the babe born to the great mother earth

Sired by the waters.

The day and night our nurses be

That watch us in our infancy. In their laps we play.

The world is our playground. Our acts right and wrong at

Thy court shall come to judgement,

Some be seated near

Thy seat, some ever kept distant.

The toils have ended of those that have worshipped Thee,

O Nanak, their faces are lit with joyful radiance – many others they set free.


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