Those were the conditions, when, according to Sir Mohamad Iqbal:
A clarion call for belief in One Creator Being was heard in Panjab;and a perfect (spiritually accomplished) man, woke up India from a (bad) dream.
Phir akhir sada utthee toheed ki Panjab se
Hind ko ek Mard-e-Kamal ne jagaya Khwaab se.
Guru Nanak’s Mission:
Guru Nanak began his mission by describing the nature of the Creator Being, the Source of Reality, as revealed to him
, so that human beings, the created, would aspire towards those qualities and establish a direct
connection with the Source without the need for a human guru to intercede. The Guru Jyot (Light or Guide), is the Word Guru of which Guru Grath Sahib is the embodiment.
– The indivisible One, so that all creation is withim that One. There is no “other”. There is only One and no “other”.
: True is the Name
of that One
(by whatever Name remembered). All our existence is within that One
ultimate Reality. Naam
is our total awareness and experience. Naam
is the totality of our existence.
: The One is The Creator Being of all, Who is within and without our perception of Creation.
Without fear and Nirvair
: Without animosity – He has no enemy.
These two qualities, Nirbhau
– without fear - and Nirvair
– without enemy, give the Sikhs their civic code.
: The One IK Oankaar
, is Timeless form.
(According to respected UK scholar Subedar Bhai Dharam Singh Sujjon, Guru Gobind Singh further clarified Akal Moorat
as Achal Moorat
: Self-aware unlimited Source of Energy which exists in potential (Niurgun) and motion or kentic (Sargun) forms.)
: Never born, outside cycles of birth and death.
Self existent. Ever fresh, Self renewing.
: Only through the Grace of the Holy Preceptor can one be united with the One, and this falsehood of duality between the Creator and the created, removed.
Sikh Dharam is also called the Naam Marag, the Path of Naam.
Main features of Guru Nanak Sahib’s revolutionary ideology
(Some headings like the Sikh martyrdom tradition, are suggested as topics for seminars in future.)
is the preferred word for Sikh religion.
Three linked Sikh concepts of Naam, Guru
express the unity of the Ik Oankaar, the One Creator and the created.
All creation is manifestation of Sat Naam. The Guru is the Guiding Light, the Jyot, the Guiding principle of Naam;. and Sangat teaches us how to live in accordance with the Guru’s teaching. Sangat, the holy congregation, interprets the Guru’s Word and teaches us the Jugat or Jeevan jugat, i.e. how to live our lives.
go together in the Sikhi Naam Marag
. The Path of the Naam
All Sikhs have direct access to the Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. There is no intermediary between a Sikh and Ik Oankar
, the Wondrous Giver of Knowkedge, the Dispeller of Darkness. That is the Khalsa connection
, the direct link.
It follows, that there is no ordained priesthood in Sikhi.
Sikhi is God loving monotheism. God love is expressed in many ways:
Through the twin concepts of sewa
means serving all without distinction, while doing simran
i.e. remaining immersed in God love and God awareness. Active sewa
is a pre-condition for salvation.
In that same spirit of love and a desire to serve humanity, a Sikh also works tirelessly towards a just society. Sometimes, as the ultimate solution, a Sikh resists oppression and injustice with own life and, if necessary, through armed struggle.
Closely linked are the Sikh saint-warrior and shaheedi
i.e. martyrdom traditions.
Says Guru Nanak: If you wish to play the game of love, be prepared to give your life for the righteous path/cause (i.e. be reborn in this life as the invincible mar-jeevra
.). (SGGS 1412) Every person has the right to die the death of a warrior fighting for the righteous cause. (SGGS 580)
Sikhi rejects every excuse for any form of discrimination.
Sikhi raises the status of women by treating all as soul-brides of the Lord Creator.
Sikhi promotes participative family life, so that constant God remembrance (simran
) is combined with honest living and sharing. (Naam japna, Kirat Karni and Vand shakna). These are
the three pillars of Guru Nanak’s ideology.).
Therefore, Sikhi rejects monasticism and opt-out eastern ideologies, which make religious practitioners dependent on working householders.
Sikhi promotes the path of udham, ghaal and Nadar. Action and initiative; sustained effort with total belief in Waheguru’s Grace (Nadar) which can instantly break the cycle of Karma. In short, look after your “here and now”; and “hereafter” will look after itself.
Therefore, Sikhi rejects traditional karam (karma) philosophy of Indian systems.
Sikhi makes freedom from fear a human goal i.e. cultivates the Nirbhau
quality - - so that a Sikh remains in positive spirit or chardhi kalaa
in Waheguru’s Will or Bhana
Starting with Guru Nanak Sahib, the Guru Jyot
, passed through nine successor Guru-persons, and “created a productive, fearless and honest nation out of powerless downtrodden people, at the fringes of society.” (Dr I J Singh)
By the final Command of the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, the Jyot resides in Guru Granth Sahib, the Word Guru, and Jugat is in the holy congregation, the Sangat, represented by Guru Khalsa. The distinction between the Guru and the Gursikh, the Khalsa, following in the Guru's footsteps, was removed (Aapay Gur-Chela principle).
Sikhs were given a new religious order: which we can truly say is “of the people, by the people and for the people”
(Punjabi) by Prof Satbir Singh
Sikh Sikhi atey Sidhaant
(Panjabi) Dr Taran Singh
Connecting the Dots in Sikh History
(English) by Harbans Singh Noor
(Punjabi) Prof Satbir Singh (also English translation by Dr Hakam Singh.)
Sikh Religion & Islam
by G S Sidhu & Gurmukh Singh (UK)
Essays by Dr I J Singh published in The Sikh Review and also as books by www.centennialfoundation.org A paper "A Sikh view of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hiduism, Budhism and Natural Faiths..." collated by Dr K. Ranvir Singh for the Parliament of World Religions, Cape Town 1999, makes interesting reading regarding the Naam. Guru and Sangat concepts in Sikh thought.
© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author