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Sikh Principles

Bhana Mannana

Bhana Mannana Accepting the Will of God

We sometimes suffer from the misconception that we alone are responsible for the benefits we gain from our labors. Sikhs believe that these benefits are gifts from God and we are mere actors on stage. God rewards us and whether our efforts are successful is determined by His will. If we accept this philosophy, we will always be in peace with ourselves and with our environment and we will stop worrying about the ‘failure’ of our efforts

God has given us life, an expression of His Will. He has created the sun, the moon, vegetation, animals and everything else without which we cannot survive. When we plant a fruit tree, it grows naturally, with the help of sun and rain, and it bears fruit all without our help. Laws of nature govern the smallest seed and the largest plant.

The philosophy, that everything happens according to God’s will, can be explained by another example. A person driving on a road finds an old woman walking. She stops the car, picks up the woman, and drops her at her home. Although it appears that the driver’s body has carried out these actions, in fact, these actions originated in the mind due to a desire to help. Hence, actually it is the mind, controlled by the nature of the soul that helped the old woman. The body of the driver was merely an agent, which executed the decision for the ‘mind.’ Similarly it is the bigger soul, God, who motivates us to act. We are the executors of His Will.

If we choose an action, which we think is right, only to discover that it does not eliminate the situation we set out to abolish, we should not consider that our right action was useless. We should trust that in God’s larger plan, which we cannot understand, our right action has meaning and effort. We must believe that every righteous action will eventually lead to a favorable result.

The faith that our right actions are part of God’s great design, even if we do not see the results, dispels worries about our failures and brings us peace. We will realize God’s presence in ourselves; there is no higher goal in life than that.

Thus Sikhism was not the ‘transvaluation’ of the existing faiths and cults; it ushered in a new spiritual as well as social and political matrix of conduct for mankind.

Violence and peace as concepts for the social behavior are conspicuous to the Sikh way of life.

Sikhism does not support militarism or glorification of war and yet wielding the sword is warranted in extenuating circumstances. Sikhism upholds war against oppression and aggression. The sword is a symbol of power both temporal and spiritual in Sikhism. A Sikh doesn’t frighten anyone nor is he afraid of anyone.

Technically, the first date of Sikhism is 1469, the year of Guru, Nanak’s birth, but ideologically its origins may well he traced in the twelfth century, when the celebrated poet Jaidev and Sufi saint Sheikh Farid flourished on the soil of India. Their hymns find a place of honour in the Guru Granth, compiled in 1604.

The fact that Oamkar in the Mantra is preceded by I (one) shows that in spite of the many-ness of the revealed world, its oneness is not to be lost sight of. It is rnonistic in character, though pluralistic in content. It is many, yet one.

In this I-Thou relationship of love between man and God, the pole of human love is expressed in terms of loving devotion, and the other pole, of God’s love for man, in terms of his Grace.

On one side is bhakti or loving devotion, on the other side is. moral act. Both are complementary to each other; both taken together constitute the make-up of ideal person of the Guru’s conception. Gurbani commends the blending of simran and voluntary service called sewa; both are essential for a balanced life.

The Sikh ideal of salvation is jivan-mukti which is composed of two components-‘jivan’ (life) and ‘mukti’ (emancipation). It refers to the highest spiritual state of the individual, in tune with the Ultimate and at peace with human society. One. who attains to such a state of liberation in his or her lifetime, is called jivan-mukta.,

The foremost was the institution of Guruship itself. The second was langar or the community kitchen serviced by the Guru’s disciples for the benefit of visitors and inmates alike. Another was sangat: or congregation of the Guru’s followers sitting in audience and singing hymns to the accompaniment of music (kirtan).

Gurbani also refers to kings (patshahs), but indication of panchayati raj and spirit of democracy is available in plenty. It clearly says-Takht bahai takhta ki layik-that is, a ruler should occupy the throne only if he is qualified and deserves todo so. Guru Arjan Dev refers to the ideal state which guarantees comfort and welfare of the people, calling it ‘Halemi Raj’. Sense of humility and justice are its hall-mark.

Faith in God to the exclusion of concern for man has never been the forte of the Sikh.

Spiritualism has value, not for God, but for man.

if ethico-spiritual is one major theme of the thought-content of Gurbani, socio-cultural is the other. Both share a common objective, namely, welfare of man.

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