Why Am I a Sikh? (Aspirations of a Sikh)
Late S. Narain Singh M.A.
Ex. Manager Nankana Sahib, Secretary Guru Nanak Dev Mission
Because I have not to worship and appease many a God and a goddess and seek the help of so many of them to meet my needs. Rather I depend upon one God who is Omnipresent and is with me where-so-ever I be.
My God has no equal and has none to fear from. By praying to Him I seek the protection of One who is Himself fearless and makes me lose all my fears. My God is kind and merciful and does forgive my sins if I sincerely pray for that. My God is all powerful and because He is always at my beck and call, my enemies dare not touch me. I have no rituals to perform to seek his help. I simply meditate on certain of His qualities and He stands by me in the particular form and shape of that quality.
I can meditate on His qualities any where, any time and on every occasion and my seeking His help is so simple and easy that it tempts me to be a Sikh.
Because I need not go from door to door to seek guidance and advice. I have all guidance and advice incorporated in one and only one Holy Granth. It is the fountain head from where all knowledge springs. Through it I see my God visualised. It gives me a clear and true perspective of this world and the world to come. It has in it the axioms of a happy life, a life of beauty and joy for ever and ever. It makes me slight the most fearful - the very death itself that emanates all fears. It brings home to me all the different values of life-personal and impersonal, social and individual, worldly and heavenly, pertaining to my soul and my God. With it I soar to immeasurable heights and go fathoms deep in successful search of invaluable rubies and diamonds and with it I stand exalted high as Heavens. It puts into motion the inner-most strings of my life. It carries me there where human intellect fails. It distinguishes right from wrong and puts me on the right track. It is a guide that never deserts. It has a transcendant beauty, an execellent music and an ambrosial food for my yearning soul and through it I feel one with humanity, one with universe, nay, one with God Himself. Its constant enlightenment lets me not waver form Sikhism.
Because I am never alone. My Guru though invisible to human eye, is always with me. He is a great warrior unsurpassed in valour a knight among heroes, saviour of the innocent, kind and merciful and noblest of the noble souls and comes to help his Sikhs wherever and whenever they meditate and call on Him for help. When I am upset and feel lonely, when I am faced with insurmountable difficulties and dangers, when my enemies seem to overpower me, I concentrate on His dynamical personality and He is there by my side. Isn't it then worth while to be a Sikh?
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Master, has put on me three commands - Service, Simran and Sacrifice-Service of the humble and the poor, Simran of his Master's great qualities and Sacrifice of self to uphold the right and the just. These are the picks of human excellence. In my endeavours to inculcate these qualities in me I hold on as a Sikh.
Because Sikhs are a martial community, they always prefer to die a heroic death to an ignominious life. They rejoice over death for a noble cause. They take it as the sweet will of God and grumble not when faced with death. Their take it as the sweet will of God and grumble not when faced with death. Their past history abounds with such deaths and they recollect their innumerable martyrs in their regular prayers every morning and evening to imbibe their spirit of sacrifice. It enlivens their souls and reminds them of Guru Gobind Singh's commands. To die a coward is the greatest sin with them. A death in the battle field is what they covet most. They would not turn their back on the enemy. It is their martial spirit that has given them a place and name in the world. It is this incentive to martialism of theirs that keeps me a Sikh.
Because of the heavenly nectar -Amrit that Guru gave me that I am Sikh. It gives me the supremacy of Nam, hardness of steel, coolness of water and sweetness of honey. With it I feel transformed to super-humanity. I imbibe the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh and present a look of the very Guru himself. With my long hair and comely beard I vie in appearance with Christ and Mohammed, with Ram and Krishna, with Balmik and all Rishis of the Bharat. I feel a Shiva in me with a sword in hand to safeguard the interests of the weak and defend my land against aggression. What a wonderful transformation by this Amrit that makes me a Sikh!
Because practising Sikhism is so simple - no complexities of rituals and ceremonies, fasts and austerities, renunciations and reclusions or heavens and hells. I have no conch-shells to blow, no bells to ring, no deities to appease, no pilgrimages to undertake. I preserve my long hair and beard as nature gives them to me and keep a comb to cleanse them every day. To look decent and civilized. I keep my loins covered with a 'Kachhehra', an underwear. I wear a sword to meet unforeseen enemies, an iron bracelet an emblem to remind me that I am day and night in my Guru's bondage. I eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, wear when naked and enjoy as I will, provided those do not pollute my mind nor harm my body. The only criterian with me is the preservation of a clear conscience in a sound body. This simplicity of faith and freedom of joy are the greatest inducements for me to be a Sikh.
Because it is not a faith to be practised in the tempies and lived in seclusions. I have to practise it in daily life, behind the plough, on the roadside in the workshop and on the table. I have to be a Sikh at home, a Sikh abroad, a Sikh in society and a Sikh in battle field. I have to be a Sikh in thought, word and deed, a Sikh in my dealings with the world at large and a Sikh-like in all stations of life. It is a life to be lived and not a tenet or a philosophy to be preached. No recitations, no formalities, no celebrations are of any avail unless I live upto these. It is the action that counts with me. I must not say but do and I must appear as I am and not what I am not. No show, no deceitful presentation of myself is my creed. It is, therefore that I am a Sikh.
Because I need no priestly order to redeem my sins. I am priest to myself. I can stand alone and pray to God for my redemption. He listens to my prayers. I have also full faith in a congregation of my people-devotees of my Guru. We sit together in the presence of our Guru-Holy Granth, sing in chorus hymns from the Granth till we are all one and in harmony with the Guru. We stand up then and pray with folded hands for redemption of our sins, for proper guidance in life and for His blessings for the entire mankind and the Universe. There I feel one with universe, a member of the human brother-hood and lie prostrate at His feet with all humbleness praying for the common good of all friends or foes. What a wonderful prayer! Hence I am a Sikh.
Because Sikhism recognises no caste or creed as high or low nor is there any colour, country or race bar. Its doors are open to the black and the white, to the western and the eastern and to the Negro and the American alike. There are no untouchables with the Sikhs. They run free community kitchens and call them Guru-Ka-Langar. Whosoever may contribute, the ration cooked in the Langar is considered to be that of the Guru. Theirs is only the service that they do in person. It is therefore that even the wealthiest among them and the persons commanding greatest respect male or female are seen cooking meals and cleaning utensils in the Guru-Ka-Langar, here all dine sitting in one and the same row (pangat) and partake of one and the same food regardless of the fact of one's descending from a royal lineage or having in hand a beggar's bowl or of being a Brahman or a Shudra, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Jew or a Christian. Again they have common bathing tanks at Amritsar, Tarn Taran and a Baoli at Goindwal, constructed by the Gurus themselves where all are welcome to have a dip without the least distinction of caste or creed. When they join hands in congregational prayers, they place no bar on anybody may be of any nationality or profess any religion. Their common mess, common bath and common prayer with a common Holy Granth to revere and one Common God of all to pay their homage to, are the grand insignia to their deeprooted faith in one common brotherhood of man. They stand for equality and fraternity and their congregations (Sangat) and their mass dinners (pangat) are wonderful spectacles to look at. It is this spirit of universal brotherhood, a commonwealth of man in Sikhism that appeals to me to be a Sikh.
Because it is a faith based on Unity of God and brotherhood of man. Love of God and service of humanity are the main themes with it. Human soul enchained in human body feels separated from God and it has to be reunited with Him. Love is the only uniting force. Service humanises and makes one tender hearted - receptive - qualities essential for a loving heart. Love and service are hence enjoined upon every Sikh. He quits his bed early before dawn therefore, to get himself immersed in the love of his great Master and with sunrise he devotes himself to the service of humanity performing all the time his routine duties with all sincerity and integrity - noble ideals for a man. To own these I earnesty aspire to be a Sikh of the Guru.