We all passionately desire to lead a happy life. All human life has that end in view in every one of its acts. Perhaps we all know that the real source of happiness lies in leading amoral, truthful, just and contented lives. The indulgence in immoral and deceitful practices for material gains and power in pursuit of transitory pleasures and satisfactions, results in leading of a most painful, unhappy and unsuccessful life. In spite of this Universal Truth, falsehood is rife in the human life as a matter of course, and Truth is very rare to be found in a person. Why this is so? There are the pressing bodily needs to be satisfied and there are the uncertainties of life, which cause delays in their satisfactions or even it may result in their total denials. One becomes impatient and begins to compromise his moral essentials for immediate gratification of the material needs. Human development thus can easily go astray. One becomes wary, hostile, withdrawn or over dependent, and in due course of time becomes a neurotic person. As a result of this neurotic process he develops all kinds of unconstructive or destructive attitudes, the main features of which are pride and conceit, unconscious pretenses and irrational hostility in its many forms, like suspicious ness, egocentric callousness, vindictiveness, ruthless ambition and so on. Man turns unconstructive or destructive only if he cannot fulfill himself. The unfulfilled life makes him barren or destructive.
The question arises, how the destructive life can be turned into constructive or useful happy life. This has been the problem ever since the beginning of the history of Man. World Teachers appeared on the Earth from time to time who gave their message of peace and sanity to the people. But despite all this the problem of sanity and happiness of man is still as acute as it has ever been before.
Five centuries ago, God sent Guru Nanak to show to the world how to lead a moral and happy life. The Guru, his new ideas, preaching more by his personal example than by
precepts. Guru Nanak was succeeded by the Nine successor Gurus, one after the other, each successor Guru considered an incarnate of Guru Nanak. The teachings of the Gurus thus spread over more than two centuries, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth and the last Guru. In this paper we will give the Sikh teachings in brief, Significance of the Baptism of the Double Edged Sword and Our Problems. The following are the Sikh teachings in brief
(1) There is only One God, the Creator of all life and matter, and is the All Pervading Spirit. He is the Eternal Reality, does not take birth, does not die and is Self-Existent. He is Infinite, no beginning and no end. He is the Creator of the Universe as well as its Supreme Ruler. Everything takes place according to His Will. He is the only Giver, Who. Gives life to. The living beings and sustains them. He is All Virtues and the Source of these virtues to His Creation. He is infinitely Perfect, Wise, Just, Compassionate and looks after each and every one of His creation individually being fully aware of their problems. He is All Truth, Love and Compassion. Union with Him is attained by His Grace.
(2) When there was no creation and it was all void, God alone was in existence and was absorbed in Himself in love with virtues. In this state God is called ‘“‘Nirgun”’ or Absolute. He liked Truth, Love and Virtues, and for the manifestation of these He created the Universe. There are the millions of types of living beings, from one celled animal to the highest of the mammals. He first created His Light, from which sprang up the entire Universe and whatever is contained in it. God’s Light is present everywhere and in every one. In this state of Creation, God is called ‘‘Sargun” or the God of Qualities. God’s Light in every one gives life to everyone. Everyone has to travel from the smallest living creature to the highest state of human life. Evolution goes on. It is only through the spiritual evolution, man choosing flight towards Spirituality instead of mere satisfaction of animal appetites, that he finds union with his source, God from whence he came. Man therefore through his heredity carries within himself all the instincts of the lower life through which he _ has travelled. The Guru says that it is after very long time and travelling Man has attained the life of a human being, which is the only medium through which he can evolve his spirituality and find his goal. It may however take many human lives to attain his perfection. It is for the glorification of Righteousness, Sainthood, and Goodness and nobility that God created this Universe. Whatever God was doing in ‘“‘Nirgun”’ state, He is also doing in ‘‘Sargun’ state. This is the “consistency” of God.
(3) God’s Light, which is the source of all life, | pervades in all. He has created Man in His Own Image. Supreme among all the values on this Earth stands the Human Soul. It is the Light of God and His very essence. It has the same qualities, which God has, and is life giving. Since it is the essence of God in Man, it is immortal. Presence of God in Man makes him. Transcend. Himself to higher values and purpose. Man can therefore live in the world of time and in that of eternity. Body of Man is only the vehicle of the Soul. Body may be destroyed but his spirit remains unquenched, destined for the eternal life with God. It is the spiritual nature of Man which makes him the Crown of God’s creation. The Sikh Teachings describe the Soul as the “Guru,” the Enlightener, verily God Himself present in all.”
“Guru” in Sikh Scriptures has been described in synonymous’ terms with God, as both have the same characteristics. God has been described the Infinite and the Greatest and has none as His second. Similarly “Guru” or “Sat Guru’ has also been described as the greatest of all.
God’s Light (Soul or Guru) is present in all. This has all the characteristics as of God but is NOT the Absolute God, Who is Infinite and beyond approach. Soul or the Guru animates our material body. This vital energy opens to the body through our nervous system or the brain, which is called the Tenth Gate of the body. The other nine gates being, two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, mouth anus and urogenital organ. When the vital energy emanating from the Soul interacts with the material body, it creates the instincts and passions of the body. The body needs food to grow, clothes, house to live in and varied other requirements. It also produces its instincts and passions. All these requirements need to be satisfied. Based on these requirements Man evolves his desires and aversions in the form of his Mind. The Mind is Man’s lower self, which is more or less of animal nature. As all the needs of the body or the desires of the Mind cannot be immediately satisfied, Man learns to evolve his Intellect in his own self-interest and lasting betterment. He learns that postponement of certain desires or proper satisfaction of those desires would be helpful in the long run. So the human mental structure evolves three distinct layers for his approach to various aspects of life. The Mind craves for satisfaction of his bodily needs, the Intellect although in full sympathy with the Mind judges the situation and avails of the best opportunity to act, while the God or Soul or Guru in him in a feeble voice advises the morality and justification of the act. It is therefore the Sikhs daily pray.
Let the desires of the Mind be subjected to the scrutiny of their Intellect, which in turn ever be commanded by the dictates of God’s Commands, which we are Capable of hearing them. When the yogis of Achal Batala asked Guru Nanak to show them the miracle, the Guru replied he had none of it. He only lives with his Satguru and acts on His Commands.
(4) In all of the creation there is the same one living force i.e. His Light, though the things and the life may appear separate from each other. This is the imminent form of His Supreme Spirit (Sargun God). God at the same time is Transcendent and maintains His separate Individuality. He is Immaculate, Absolute, Infinite and beyond the approach of His creation. This is ‘‘Nirgun” state of God. He gave separate individuality to all living beings, quite separate from His Own. As such everyone and everything is created by God and God’s Light is present in
All, yet no individual is God. It is a sin to call any individual as God or ascribe forms to Him, or make idols of Him. Guru Arjun has given the similie of countless pitchers full of water, where the reflection of Moon is seen in each of them, yet the Moon transcends the pitchers. All human beings have the individuality of their own. The Gurus strongly advocate strengthening of the real self in Man, their individuality or Personality, by elimination of egocentricity, selfishness, avarice, greed, lust, rage, attachment, infatuation, etc. comprising the pseudo self in them. Man must accept his real self in this vast creation, if he is not to be swayed by the various distracting forces acting on him to lead him astray. Guru Arjun states that Man’s origin is “‘by immersion of tiny sand like sperm into the field of his mother’s womb,” and should not boast himself as verily God Himself, Who is Infinite, beyond all comprehension and His knowledge in fathomable.
(5) The human mind is a pile of all kinds of bodily desires, and is more or less of the nature of animals. The intellect, which guides the mind for fulfillment of its needs and desires, also gets corrupted and in justification of the wrong decisions finds plenty of excuses to support its contention that his way is not only right but also justified in the circumstances. The Divine or the Guru presents within him, who directs the right way or the truthfulness of any issue one is meeting and solving a problem is pushed aside by the cleverness of the intellect. Thus the feeble voice of the Divine or the Guru or the Con science is completely silenced. The human self thus becomes the degenerated self, much worse than of animals. False. Hood thus becomes the way of our living.
(6) Guru Nanak in the first stanza of his composition ‘‘Japji,”’ gives the different approaches: prevalent for human salvation, which are of avail. These approach: are, cleansing of the bod by taking baths in the sacred waters, self-absorption in contemplation amassing of material wealth to satiate the un ending hunger, and b; our ingenuities to possess: God by our contrivances, such as the Yogic Sadhana System. Then the Guru himself poses the question as to how to cut as under the Veil of Sham and Falsehood created by our Mind and Intellect to separate us from the Divine. He immediately gives the answer that Man can lead a truthful and contented life if he adjusts his mind and intellect to the Commands of the Divine within himself, which he is capable of hearing. The whole of the Sikh Teachings revolve round this pivot. God’s Name is Immaculate and the only purifier of the Mind and the Intellect. By loving God, His various Functions and Qualities, we imbibe within us the same virtues and qualities and thus purify our Mind and the Intellect. When this is achieved by His Grace, then all the three layers of our thinking via, Mind, Intellect and the Divine form a united and integrated Moral Self. Man thus becomes God like and the union with Him is complete in this life itself. Then the various types of allurements (Maya) do not tempt him. The Guru says
The ferocious beast sees its prey, but does not fall upon it. The Great Butcher has thrown away the Knife.
(7) Good society has been considered in Sikhism as the warp and woof of the sound morality and rationality in man. It is the web or tissue of human interactions and relations. It is through society persons learn to regulate behavior to one another. Good society stimulates the growth of moral consciousness and the sense to discriminate between good and evil. In the society of the saints and the learned persons, one can gain in knowledge of God and also the best way to solve one’s individual problems. In Slok 42, Sehaskrita, Guru Arjun teaches us “One becomes purified only by association with holy persons.”’ “Man cannot become human unless he associates with the holy and the learned people,” says Guru Ram Das in Rag Majh.
(8) Union with God can only be attained by loving Him. By performance of ceremonies, rituals, magical rites, doing penances, self-mortification and adopting the ascetic way of life, one achieves nothing, as the Mind and Intellect are not cultivated by these means.
(9) Reliance on any object except the Infinite Spirit of God is an idolatrous faith and practice, as all other objects are subject to limitations. The idolatrous is the type of faith, wherein the centered act of personality point is not in the center but on the periphery of the personality circumference. Therefore this faith is not deep enough but of superficial nature, having lost the center and is on the verge of disruption of the personality. The passion of this type of faith may hide the inner hollowness only for a certain time, but finally the reality comes out. In the idolatrous faith (imposition of any types of limitations on God or making idols of Him or attributing to Him any type of corporeal forms or limiting His sphere of existence, worshipping gods and goddesses, hero worship of leaders and other persons, flattery of any one, reliance on material wealth or material power of varied types, dependency of any nature on any person or object, undue attachment to persons and material objects, country, nation, state, family, clean, caste, race, party, group, reliance on performance of ceremonies, rituals and magical rites to gain power, etc. only preliminary and finite realities are elevated to the rank of ultimacy. The inescapable consequence of such a faith is mere disappointment, from which all types of evil practices emanate. Human life truly becomes terrible and burdensome, when one breaks away his connections with his Creator. He becomes entrapped in the web of greed woven by himself. No strength is left in him to break this bondage. It is then the tedium of nonbeing and self-alienation becomes apparent.
(10) God’s Light, which is the source of all life, pervades in all. Man belongs to Infinite God and inherits from Him the instinct of infinitude. God created two main
Forces. in this world, namely, the Life Force and the Material Force. Man has been given the material body as the vehicle of His Ray of Light, which animates the former. Man has both the spiritual and the material needs for his existence. The Spark of infinitude implanted in him impels him to transcend his earthly existence, and his limitations. His Mind and Intellect (Self) are allured by the glamour of material possessions and he tries to satisfy the instinct of infinitude by acquiring more and more of the material things and the material power to dominate others. Since all things created by God are finite and have their limitations, man’s lust for possession of more and more of the material things and power is never satisfied. His greed becomes the bottomless pit. Therefore, there is the restlessness in the hearts of persons and is ever found in the flux of life. The passion of infinitude within the persons finds its goal when they turn towards their source of life, the Infinite Spirit of God and make a spiritual contact with Him. As one goes deeper and deeper into the Infinite Knowledge of God and the attributes assigned to Him, his vision is broadened and imbibes within himself the limitless virtues. He then becomes the man of qualities and virtues. He experiences no dearth of any material things necessary for life. There is then the acute quest to meet the Infinite God, our source of life, because it is in Him the finites with the passion of infinitude can find their goal and the resting place. The blessed ones. Therefore find their fulfillment in meeting the Infinite. This is the true faith, whereby the ultimate concern is about truly Ultimate One. The element of infinitude is the Double Edged Sword in Man if one is driven towards accumulation of material things,
Then it will lead him to the destructive end if one seeks refuge in God, it shall tear as under the veil of falsehood in us and makes us unite with the Supreme, our ultimate concern, a return to the source of life and to the native land of the Spirit. Such a Man will find utmost pleasure, peace and satisfaction.
(11) Man is conscious of an inner voice that commands and forbids, that reproves and commends, and that admonishes and entreats. This is not the voice of our intellect or the self, but of our higher self or the Divine Self in us. This is impartial in making judgments. No matter how hardened a man is a criminal, he still hears some echoes of that voice, which he has persistently ignored. This makes him pass sleepless nights, wander from place to place to get some solace anywhere. This voice also makes the criminals to rush to the police stations to confess their guilt. This is the Voice of the Divine Spark with us, verily the Voice of God. By associating with the saintly and the learned people we begin to love God. The attributes we give Him (Naam), we imbibe the same virtues in us. The more we live with God,the more clearly we begin to hear and understand His Commands or the Voice of Conscience. The Divine Spark in us manifests in us in the form of Moral Conscience or Sat Guru, verily God Himself. This Humanistic Conscience or God Himself judges our functioning and also those of others. Man thus develops capacity to accept the responsibility for his actions. Through the Grace of the Moral Conscience or SatGuru we reach God’s Infinite Spirit and become united with Him. In this process our conscious self or Intellect is completely united with the Moral Conscience (Sat Guru) and conforms to the ideal not out of compulsion but out of love. In Sikhism greatest emphasis is laid on the harmonious functioning of our Mind (instinctual drives), the conscious self (Intellect) and the Moral Conscience. These three layers of our thinking unite to form an integrated self or the Moral Self or the Real Self or the Divine Self (God like). Such a person is called a “‘Gurmukh,”’ i.e. who lives with the Guru or God. A Gurmukh is one who gives a natural response of his even mindedness and loving kindness to all under all circumstances especially
In situations which warrant his automatic reactions leaving no scope for the censor by the conscious self or the intellect. Instantaneously, simultaneously, spontaneously’ or without any second thought, Truth and Goodness come out from the persons in all situations. This is the Path of “Sehaj” or Automatic Goodness, which has been taught by the Gurus.
(12) A Gurmukh leads a life of Truthfulness and happiness receiving directions from the Moral Conscience (Sat Guru). The Voice of Moral Conscience is the ‘“GuruSabad”’ or the Voice of God. The Voice of Moral Conscience is All Truth and Righteousness, and there can never be two Opinions to act differently. The more Man listens to the Voice of Moral Conscience and willfully and lovingly adopts it, the nobler he becomes. He never feels presence of the Guru and God in himself
This is the only way for evolution of good character and union with God.
Guru Amar Das, in Sri Rag, page 39, also teaches us, ‘“‘without evolution of the Moral Conscience (Sat Guru) salvation cannot be attained and the egocentric man ever wanders about from place to place like a mad man. He does not listen to the Voice of the Moral Conscience (Sat Guru). He has no practical life but talks a lot about philosophical things and is engrossed in sins… . The Voice of Moral Conscience (Gur Sabad) is the Voice of God and union with God is possible only if we listen to His Voice. O, Nanak, you shall obtain peace only by remembering Him and listening to His Commands.”
(13) Voice of God is the “Will of God.’’ God’s Voice within us always directs us to lead a Truthful and Moral life, happiness lies in this. Will of God is not an external will imposed on us, an arbitrary law framed by a heavenly tyrant, who is a stranger to us and does not know our nature and the problems. The Will of God is the Voice of the Moral Conscience, God manifests in us. The Man of Moral Conscience is never deceived by the superficial appearances of the things. He adjusts to his environment not by expending greater effort in unnecessarily pleasing others but by redirecting his energies more wisely. He does not worry about the opposition of the people and stands like a rock
on his ethical convictions. He thus becomes an instrument in changing the environment by his personal example. This is the burden of the whole Sikh Teachings. The Gurus teach
“God’s directions in grained within us should be understood, which we are capable of hearing. These should be heeded to and lived up to.
” (Guru Nanak, Japji,stanza I)
“Nanak says, he who realizes God’s Will,
Knows His secret ways.
(Guru Arjun, Rag Ramkali, page 885)
Following are the basic requirements for evolution of Moral Conscience
- Love of God — His Infinity, Wisdom, Truth fullness, Morality, Justice, Compassion, Forgiveness and _ other virtues we attribute to God.
- Listening to the Voice of Moral Conscience and living up to its dictates.
- Sense of objectivity against egocentricity and selfishness, rising above the self and all prejudices. ;
- Consistency, reasonableness, adjustment, humility and sweetness.
Article extracted from this publication >> April 19, 1985