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Mainstay of the Faith
Sikh Missionary Society: Articles: Essays on Sikh Values: Mainstay of the Faith

Mainstay of the Faith
Pillars of the faith

The Sikh religion, newest in the world, about 537 years old, has its home in the state of Punjab, in the north of India. It is professed by more than 20 million people - the world�s 5th largest religion. 
Every faith has some main stays. The Sikh faith is unique in having its base on the three main edicts -

  1. Kirat karo - earn your livelihood honestly.
  2. Vand chhako - share your boons with the others - needy.
  3. Naam japo - remember God: recite His name.
The Sikh: Changes - Changes by becoming a Sikh. Plinth of these three main pillars is based on indiscremation, equality etc. These automatically come with the following (by taking Amrit) - 
  1. Kirat Nash - negation of the vocational base. In India, Mannu introduced classification of the people based on their professions. 
  2. Kull Naash - negation of the caste base. In the Sikhs, there is no distinction dependent on the caste, family, class, high or low.
  3. Karam Naash - negation of the status, high or low. It has no place in the Sikh thought (Sikh philosophy). All are equal. 
  4. Dharam Naash - negation of whatever faith one professed. Anyone who adopts the Sikh faith, loses his or her previous faith and beliefs. Anyone from any other faith can become a Sikh. Discrimination due to faith of a person is not accepted in the Sikh world. 
  5. Naam Nash - The name of a male ends with Singh, and that of a female with Kaur. 
In a Sikh, there is no more Mann-Matt - egoistic thinking. The spiritual father of a Sikh is Guru Gobind Singh, mother Mata Sahib Kaur, and residence Anandpur Sahib.

The Sikh faith believes in equality, and accepts no discrimination based on religion, caste, class, color, high or low, family, avocation (profession), geographical distribution, sex etc. Only in such a frame of mind, one can serve others selflessly without any discrimination, and these are distinguished characteristics of a Sikh. Around this revolve the three cardinal factors - honest livelihood, sharing, and remembrance of Waheguru (The Lord). One has to be  humble, polite and sympathetic. 

The first pillar of ethical living is the honest earning of livelihood.
1. Honest Earning
    This is earning the livelihood without deceit or cheating. Honest earning keeps the mind pure. Many adopt hypocrisy just for filling their stomachs: to appease their hunger -
      audrY kwrix Awpxy bhly ByiK kryin ] 
      audrY kwrix Awpxy bhly ByiK kryin ]
      Oudrae kaaran aapnae  behlae bhaekh karaen 
      Many adopt deception to appease their hunger. 
    We should justify the money we get as our labor, with our hard work. We should not weigh or measure less, give spurious things, try to pass a thing as something which it is not, or sell expire-dated articles as fresh. Dishonest earning is poison for the family. It is strongly advocated to do work and earn an honest living, and as well not to be a burden on anyone or on the society -
      mKtU hoie kY kMn pVwey ] 
      Pkr kry hor jwiq gvwey ]
      mKtU hoEy kY kMn pFæwE ] 
      Pkru kry horu jwiq gvwE ]
      Makhtoo ho-ae kaae kann par.aa-ae 
      Faqar karae hor jaate. gavae 
      An idle person identifying himself as a faquir (saint), 
      destroys his very roots.
      1-1245 -18
    The Sikh faith rejects renunciation - detachment from home, family or work, and strongly advocates the house-holder�s life -
      nwnk siqguir ByitAY pUrI hovY jugiq ] 
      hsMidAw KylMidAw pYnMidAw KwvMidAw ivcy hovY mukiq ] 
      nwnk siqguir ByitE pUrI hovY jugiq ] 
      hsMidAw KylµidAw pYnµidAw KwvMidAw ivcy hovY mukiq ]
      Nanak Satgur bhetiaae pooree hovae jugat. Hasand.eaa khae-land.eaa paaenand.eaa khaavand.eaa vichey hovaae mukat.
      Lead a happy worldly life in a way that while enjoying it you meet your Preceptor and get emancipated!
      audmu kryidAw jIau qUM kmwvidAw suK BuMcu ] 
      iDAweidAw qUM pRBU imlu nwnk aqrI icMq ] 
      aÖm kryidAw jIAo qMU kmwvidAw suK BuMcu ] 
      DAweidXw qUM pRBU imlu nwnk aqrI icMq ] kred.eaa jeeo t.oon kmavd.eaa sukh bhunch 
      Dheaa-edeaa toon prabhoo mill Nanak ut.ri chint. 
      Put in good efforts, earn your livelihood
      and enjoy the comforts of life. Keep the Lord in your mind and stay free from worries. 
      gur pIru sdwey mMgx jwie ] 
      qw kY mUil n lgIAY pwie ]
      guur pIru sdwE mMgx jwE ] 
      qw kY mUil n lgIEY pwE ]
      Gur peer sadaa-ae mangan jaa-ae 
      Ta kae mool naa laggee-ae paa-ae 
      A beggar, however a saint, 
      cannot command respect.
    A Sikh is to earn for himself and out of it to help others. How can a beggar help anyone ?
The second essential, or the next pillar of life is sharing your boons with others: the needy.
2. Sharing Your Blessings
It is excellent to have the sense of sacrifice, and if such dire circumstances arise, we should help the other forgetting our own selves. But in general and as a routine to extend your help to anyone, it has to be intelligent in its reasonable way, and in the right proportion -
      AklI piV@ kY buJIAY AklI kIcY dwnu ] 
      AklI piFæ ky buJIEY AklI kIcY dwnu ]
      Aklee par.h kae bujhiaae aklee keechaye daanu
      As the essence of the script is reached through wisdom, 
      so, assess wisely and share your boons but intelligently.
Besides taking our own care, we have to run our house and family. The Sikh prophets (Gurus) advocated Dasvandh - tithe, one tenth of income  to be kept aside for the humanitarian undertakings i.e. charity. In the present, it will be fine if we reserve one tenth of our savings for such purposes after deducting our income tax and any other essential expenses linked to our earnings. It will be a good idea to keep a separate box in the name of God for putting in it some amount daily. You will not feel when giving out of it for charity. For the purification of mind, sharing i.e. helping the needy, is essential -
      qY nr ikAw purwnu suin kInw ] 
      AnpwvnI Bgiq nhI aupjI BUKY dwnu n dInw ] 
      qY nr ikAw purwn suin kInw ] 
      AnpwvnI Bgiq nhI apjI BUKy dwnu n dInw ]
      Taae nar kya puraan sunn keena 
      Annpaavani bhagat nahi oupjee bhookhaae daan na deena
      O, man, to what end is your scripture reading 
      when the worship of sharing 
      did not well up in your mind!
Gwil Kwe ikCu hQhu dyie ] 
nwnk rwhu pCwxih syie ] 
Gwil KwE ikCu hQhu dyE ] 
nwnk rwhu pCwxih syE ]
Ghaal khaae kichh hathon dae
Nanak rah pachhane sae 
Earn ethically and share with others,
This is the way to the Lord
    dieAw jwxy jIA kI ikC puNnu dwnu kryie ] 
    dieAw jwxy jIA kI ikCu punu dwn kryiE ]
    Daya jaanae jeea kee kichh pounn daan karae
    Be compassionate and share with the needy.
    It is but essential that all our giving and sharing has to be free from every shade of the subtle or gross ego -
    qIrQ brq Aru dwn kir mn mY DrY gumwnu ] 
    nwnk inhPlu jwq iqh ijau kuMcr iesnwnu ] 
    qIrQ brq Aru dwn kir mn mY DrY gumwnu ] 
    nwnk inhPlu jwq iqh ijau kuMcr  ieÆnwnu ]
    Teerath barat arr daan karr mann maae dhraae gumaan
    Nanak nehphal jaat teh jeo kounchar isnaan
    Colored with ego, pilgrimage, 
    abstinence and giving (charity) goes to the dust
    3. Remembering the Lord
    The third pillar is, always to keep God in the mind.
    We become worthy of remembering God only after carrying out honestly the avocation the Lord assigned to us, earning our livelihood to be self supporting, and helping the needy. The honest earning and selfless service make us fit to be close to the Lord -
    syvw krq hoie inhkwmI ] 
    iqs kau hoq prwpiq suAwmI ] 
    syvw krq hoE inhkwmI ] 
    iqs kå hoq p®w�q ÆvwmI ]
    Sewa kart. hoe nehkaamee.
    .Tis kau ho.te prapat. swami
    The selfless service 
    gives vicinity to the Lord !
syvk  kau syvw bin AweI ] 
hukmu bUiJ prm pdu pweI ]
syvk ka syvw bin Awe ] 
hukmu bUiJ prm pd pwe ]
Saewak kou saewa bann aaee
Hukam boojh parampad. paa-ee
The merciful Lord blessed me with selfless service, 
and this placed me close to Him
5-292 -18
Selfless service purifies the mind. Unless the mind is pure, taking the name of God is meaningless - 
kwhy kau kIjY iDAwnu jpMnw ]
jb qy suDu nwhI mnu Apnw ] 
kwhy kau kIjY ÎAwn jpnw ]
jb qy suDu nwhI mnu Apnw ]
Kahae kou keejaae dh:eaan japnaa. 
Jabb sud:h naahee mannu apnaa
Talk not of the name of God
With the impure mind. 
min mYlY Bgiq n hoveI nwmu n pweAw jwie ] 
mn mYlY Bgiq n hove nwmu n pwieAw jwE ]
Mann maaelae bhagat. naa hova-ee 
Naamu naa paa-eaa jaa-ae
The polluted mind is no place for the name of God 
and for His worship !
Aim of life is to be in communion with the Lord. This is achieved through remembering Him constantly. But as well, we have  not to forget our daily routines -
nwmw khY iqlocnw muK qy rwmu sMm@wil ] 
hwQ pwau kir kwmu sBu cIqu inrzjnu nwil ]
nwmw kh iqlocnw muK qy rwmu sMm@wil ] 
hwQ pwau kir kwmu sBu cIqu inrMjnu nwil ]
Nama kahaae .Tilochna mukh Ram samhal-e 
Haath paao karr kaam sabh cheet.u Niranjanu naale 
Nama advises Tilochan to keep remembering God, 
working with the hands and feet, and keeping the mind fixed on Him.
Purpose of Life
The purpose of this life is to attain godliness through practicing the Holy Name of the Lord ( Waheguru ). To remember God, we become fit for it more effectively and easily through selfless service to the humanity. It includes sharing our honestly earned money and our boons with the needy, wishing well of others, and through our physical efforts for the good of the people.
We can help others better when we ourselves are self-sufficient. Renunciation has no value in this life, because it renders a fellow beggar, and it adds to the burden on society. We have to actively live in this world to build up our own and others` lives. We have to live within the discipline of honest earning, sharing, and remembering God. This vividly explains the purpose of life. This is for what God sends us to this world!


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