Charhdi Kala (Optimism-exalted spirit)
A Sikh is required to be optimistic and ready to face and address the problems; He should be courageous and ready to sacrifice for righteous cause. Passiveness, gloominess, despair and depression has no place in Sikh life. A Sikh always looks for the bright side, whether win or lose by how he interprets and reacts to everything that happens.He welcomes every day as it comes, and give it all he has got. He puts anger, sadness and regret behind. He always offers a helping hand and a comforting ear to all those in distress. A Sikh always remains in Charhdi Kala at all the times and under all the circumstances by submitting to the Will of God (Bhana). He prays for peace, prosperity and well-being of human race irrespective of caste color and creed.
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ, ਤੇਰੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ ॥
Under all the circumstances, while in Charhdi Kala, a Sikh must surrender before Will of God
(Bhana Manana) and spread fragrance of blooming flowers of Sikh philosophy in this pretty, charming and beautiful world.
Charhdi Kala is a symbolic word of Sikhism. It has been used at the end of Ardâs. It implies acquiring that power of mind and soul where a person remains optimistic even in most adverse circumstances. By his association with the Lord, he becomes enthusiastic, hopeful and determined in his faith. He then keeps marching towards his ideals. A man is a combination of mind, body and soul. Body is constituted of five elements (Fire, Earth, Water, Air and Space). There are five senses that provide him with knowledge, Mind is subtle and abstract. Consciousness or inner mind has four parts. These are mind (Man), intellect (Budhi), Heart or mental faculties (Chit) and arrogance (Hankar). Mind is the exciter of the senses and works in the body in a subtle or abstract way.
What does the mind do ? Sankalap (determination to do a job) and Vikalap (Lackadaisical attitude). Sensuality, desires, devotion, kindness, love, encouragement, lust, anger, fear and envy are the traits of mind. Intellect (Budhi) discriminates between right and wrong. Then the mind orders the senses of knowledge (hands, nose, eyes, ears etc.) to act. ‘Chit’ keeps the experience stored in itself and to reproduce when called for. Arrogance (Hankar) distinguishes one class of person from the other. In Gurbânî, the word ‘man’ has also been used for Âtmâ (soul). Sometimes the consciousness has been used for ‘man’ (mind). When Guru Ji says : Man tûn jot(i) sarûp hai(n), âpnâ mûl(u) pachhân(u). (Page 441)
Here ‘man’ means Âtmâ (soul) that is a fraction of the Lord. And yet at another place, it is said :
Here it does not mean soul but consciousness and that faculty of mind that acts on Sankalap and Vikalap. Kabir Ji says :
The western school of thought says that man is made up of his own thoughts and views. Man is supreme amongst all the creation and is centre of all powers. A determined mind of a man can achieve everything. The research of Western scholars on the subject of psychic power says that a man can become whatever he wants. The power of mind governs the body. The first essential in the use of psy power is that the mind be focused in a definite direction and be so perpetually. Those whose mind waivers from one side to the other can hardly achieve success. We must know what we want and what our priority is. What ideal are we determined to complete. Once the faculties of mind are scattered, one faces failures. Success depends upon determination, place and firm resolve. The right use of the mind is to keep it engaged in constructive tasks. Keep yourself busy in good thoughts and actions. If you accept any thing as ideal, try to mould yourself towards achieving that idealism. Let pessimistic or thoughts of failure not come to your mind. The psy-power of those who fail more often are not operating in the right direction.
When you make up your mind to do something, think of it many a times during the day. Motivate your mind to do it. Put all your faculties to ensure its success. Your intentions and desires are a powerful part of your life. Keep your thoughts high to achieve greatness. Think good and be firm and careful about your character, strength and health. Be alert of mind. Life must blossom and let it blossom towards the right goal with right thoughts.
Many men do not use their psy-power rightly. They make them weak. They do not strengthen their objectives and passions. They do something that they do not wish to become. Hoping for success, and yet keep asking—‘tell me what should I do’ is total lack of confidence and fickleness of mind that will never grant success. There is nothing that will get attracted towards you when you are despondent. As the sun light causes all the vegetation to blossom, to be hopeful or optimistic, renders strength to your life. Optimism is a nectar for a human life. It makes our lives beautiful and successful. Gurbânî tells us :
As a magnet attracts iron fillings from sand, similarly a man can acquire worldly materials through his mental power. Qualities like bravery, courage, determination faith and confidence, happiness and good wishes are essential for making the mind powerful. What degrades the mind and lends pessimism to it are envy, fear, depression, despondency, worry, uneasiness, lack of confidence etc. Increase in vices lowers the capabilities of the mind. Auto suggestion and concentration effects the mind much. Many people fall ill due to weakness of the mind and many escape serious maladies because of their mental strength. Many set other people right with the use of their psychological power. Determination lends power to the mental strength and grants success. Keeping mind away from depressive thoughts and focussing it on a point often produces praiseworthy results. He who thinks low can never rise above. It is in a man’s nature to either rise or slip towards decline. It is difficult for the mind to stay firm in one state. Great achievements result from determined efforts and never say die spirit. A person is influenced by two types of thoughts. One that generates in his own mind and the second that he acquires from others. Own thoughts are powerful and the others are not all that strong. Keep the foundation of your thoughts strong as the character is built upon it. Be engrossed in work when you are working and think hard if you are planning something. This is the key to success.
The western scholars of psychology consider the mind of a man as the centre of all his energy. Man is supreme in all the creation. Sikhism considers man to be superior over all other species but is not the centre point of all energy. Its mind cannot remain in high spirit all the time. The power house of all energy is Lord Himself. A man’s mind can become powerful when he attaches himself with Lord. As the water in a fountain flows from a reservoir, the source of mental energy is also God. All energies are then utilized to the optimum and He supports all noble causes. For strengthening the mental faculties, Indian culture has such disciplines as Jap, Tap, Sanjam and Yog. The western culture analysis the constructive and destructive tendencies of the mind and then promote constructive traits to strengthen the mind. By ‘Yoga’ a person achieves miraculous powers and acquires a state that is beyond desires and wants. The West has resorted to hypnotism and mesmerism to achieve concentration of the mind. The cause of a highly spirited profile of a Sikh is due to his attachment and intimate association with Guru and
Guru Amar Das Ji commenced service of his Guru in old age but his mind was ever in high spirits. He says :
Those who are self willed and self conscious are old even in their youth.
A western scholar has said :
Youth is not a state of life. It is a state of mind. It is written about Prahlad in history books that his father Harnakshyap threw him before the elephant, threw him from the cliff, into the fire and yet he did not flinch. The hands and feet of Kabir Ji were tied with chains and was ordered by Sikander Lodhi to be thrown in river Ganges. He said at that time :
The pious lives of Guru Sahiban and Sikh martyrs are a beautiful saga of high morale and rising spirit.