(This is the concluding part of the article. The first part appeared in the Baisakhi Issue of April 12, 1985).
(14) The noblest act is the search for Truth and love for Truth (God) “sab oopar naam achar.” Love of Naam is the highest meritorious act (Guru Arjun, Rag Asa, page 405). “Prab ka simran sab tai oocha.’”’ Remembrance of God is the highest meritorious act. (Guru Arjun, Sukhmani Sahib, Astpadi I). “‘sachon urai sab koi, oopar sach achar.”’ Truth is the highest of all, and search for Truth is the highest meritorious act. (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag, page 62). Reliance on any other types of good deeds leads to idolatrous practices and egocentricity a feeling of “holier than thou.’’ God is the only one who is Immaculate, all others are prone to fall. The Gurus therefore categorically rejected the Path of Gyan Marg, Karma Marg, Yoga of meditation, Yoga of renunciation, etc. as preached in Gita and Shastras.
(15) God is the Creator and His Light manifests in all. The Gurus recognized all without any distinction as His children. There is the total universality of the vision recognizing no _ political or other types of labels distinguishing man from man. The Gurus vigorously preached and practiced the equality of all persons irrespective of their sex. All humans have the basic right for freedom, belief, thought and expression. It is on this reason they gave the supreme sacrifices. They also raised most powerful voice against the caste and other distinctions amongst people and other social injustices. They preached love of the fellow beings and mutual rendering of service to each other to become self-sufficient. They preached that no one can ever aspire to meet the Creator, if he is harsh and unkind to his fellow beings, as God is present in all.
(16) Man inherits from God the fundamental property of the creative principle. Whatever progress Man has made is due to this creative attitude. Guru Nanak in Japji says, “‘God is Eternal, the Beauty of All beauties and is Creative.”
To be puzzled and to wonder at the things is to begin to be wise, and this is the creative attitude of the mind. The Sikh Creed to meditate on the Name of God is WAHEGURU Lord of Wonderful Moral Intellect and Wisdom. In Asa di Var, Guru Nanak has described at length. His wondrous works. The word used is “‘Vismad” — puzzling. Bhat Gyand says, ‘This Universe is the Wondrous Play of the Wonderful Lord.’’ No one can have nearness of God unless he creates virtues in himself to be worthy of Him bin gun kitai bhagat na hoai (Guru Nanak, Japji). For this creative attitude one must try to act in an intelligent way with a sense of objectivity, have respect for others as much as he should have for the self and should be bold enough to explain his point of view and to stand for his convictions with courage. Creativity therefore requires individual integrity and an ability to work with others, which we call the sense of adjustment.
It is generally said that conflicts are harmful and hence they should be avoided. This is the escapist attitude and is not a correct attitude, as characters are developed by confronting the evil boldly and not running away from it. The situations that arise make us wise and give necessary immunity to resist the evil. If one avoids conflicts, he becomes a smoothly running machine. If all desires are met without any effort then the feelings become flattened out. There is always the instinctual conflict going on within us. We transcend from the animal within us by self-awareness, imagination and creativeness. One has to inculcate the will to be born anew every-day. It is on birth a baby starts his independent existence. He is gradually to leave mother’s breasts, mother’s lap and her protection. Each new ability, the ability to talk, to walk, to eat and to work and to live by him is a new step forward towards progress. The Baptism of the Double Edged Sword means, a new spiritual birth of more responsibilities and independent existence from all types of bonds.
(17) According to the theory of “Karma,” persons take birth to neutralize the effect of sins committed during the previous life by performance of the good deeds in the new life to attain perfection and final liberation. This theory has not been accepted in Sikhism. The Gurus teach us when God Wills the world comes into existence. God creates Life and Matter from His Own inherent Potential. The persons who take birth in this world for the first time had not committed any sins. These persons, who were earlier part and parcel of God, were sent to this world, subjected to the vicissitudes of life and separation from their Source, they yearn for reunion with Him. This intense yearning for reunion is called the Productive Love or NAAM. God liked this very much and for the glorification of this Love and reunion, He created the world. All have come from Him and eventually all will go back to Him. Every-one will in his time achieve the much desired perfection to be worthy of attaining union with Him. Those who go astray and take to evil ways also serve the Great Purpose of ennobling the personalities of persons of righteous path, as Good and Evil are the _ relative terms, one can-not exist without the other. All what happens is in according with His designs. Liberation from the entanglements of this Great Illusion (Maya) created by Him alone is through His Grace only. It is all the wondrous play of the Wondrous Lord.
The above mentioned view point is described by Guru Arjun as under “Before the creation of the world, where was the question of sin and virtue? When there was no one in existence, against who did one harbor enmity or jealousy? Who then was bound and who was free? When God created the world with Matter of Three Qualities, it was only then the conflicts started and the terms of virtue and sin became current. He Himself is the Doer of all acts and takes pleasure in the sporting game. Man on whom His Grace dawns, He remembers Him. God makes man play as He Wills.”” — (Guru Arjun, Rag Gauri Sukhmani, p 290)
It must be remembered that God is the Creator of all and he present in every one, and it is He Who in a sense enjoys or suffers pleasure and pain. He is Fearless and without any Enmity against any one. How He can be unjust and _ inimical against Himself, as all are His manifestations. All our actions are the effects of the causes of varied nature. The present is both the effect and the cause for the future actions. All causes are under His control and His creations. Guru Nanak in Japji says, “All are under the pale of His Will, and no one is exempt from it.” The blessed ones are truly free persons, as they necessarily choose the Path of Righteousness, however difficult may be the odds before them.
(18) The Gurus taught that the worst type of perverseness and the worst catastrophes come to pass, when people compromise Truth and the Moral Essentials, and become enslaved to the power that be. Their growth then stops, decay sets in and they perish.
During the times of Guru Nanak, Babar was the king of India. Guru Gobind Singh stated in symbolic words that there were Two Forces created by God in this world, (1) The Spiritual Force (Babe Ki — The House of Guru Nanak), (2) The Material Force headed by the State (Babar Ki — The House of Emperor Babar). Man needs both the above said Forces for his sustenance and growth. The Guru, however, warned us of the superiority of the Spiritual Force over the Material Force under all circumstances. Under all conditions, there should be service to God, first. Attention to other things be given in the light of His Commands, i.e. adjustment to be environment’ on the basis of Truth and Morality only. We should be able to hear His Commands, i.e. the Voice of the Guru or God within us. Sovereignty of the Guru or God within us is only to be recognized. Invariably the earthly rulers, who wield power, are corrupted by the blind exercise of power and no sense of discrimination is left in them between right and wrong of the things. When persons recognize and proclaim only their allegiance to Caesar or Babar (State or country), to the exclusion of God, then we have the totalitarian state, which is, logically enough, atheist. When men fantastically cling to their creed and religion and see all other creeds and religions as profane and irrelevant and believe in the superiority of the people of the in one group to rule over others to enforce their will through civil and military power, then we have a theocracy. The Catholic Church and the Muslims believe in the theocratic form of government. There are, however, temporal republics in name only, as the religious majority in most subtle ways under the garb of nationalism enforces their rule over the religious minorities. Everything is done to discredit and humiliate the people of religious minorities to bring about homogeneity. Theocracy or the pseudo theocracy is another version of totalitarianism, and it is even more despicable than the secular totalitarianism. The secular totalitarianism tyrannizes men in the name of Caesar or Babar or State only, while in the other case the tyranny is in the name of God by the priests in conjunction with the rulers, which is a blasphemy as well. In theocracy all clerical men are tempted to make abusive use of their spiritual authority for temporal purposes and to Caesarise or Babarise God. Man’s history is filled with the ravages wrought by either divinizing Caesar or Babar (secular totalitarianism) or Caesarising or Barbarising God (theocracy) or doing the greatest harm to man and the society, apart from to their respective creeds. Religion is also corrupted by the rulers for their own selfish ends.
Sikhism rejects the absolute authorities of both the State and also of the priest. Man has been created by God in His Own Image and His Light is implanted in every one. The Gurus proclaim the sovereignty of the Spirit or the Moral Conscience, God manifest in Man. God’s Spirit transcends all earthly authorities. The Voice of Moral Conscience (Guru Sabad) or Voice of God transcends the tribunals of this world, because God is the highest. ‘‘Kahoo har saman nahin raja, enbhoopat divas char kai jhoothai karat dwaja.” — Sri Kabir Jee. There is no king higher than God. These earthly kings are only for the transitory period, who lead their lives full of falsehoods. Man obeying the commands of his Moral Conscience can never be wrong, false or unjust. It is therefore Guru Amar Das, the Third Guru, stated in Anand Sahib that except Guru’s Word (Voice of Moral Conscience) all else one utters is false.
Men of Moral Conscience are the truly free men and certainly the more useful citizens of a country. Surely, the allegiance, which is higher than the allegiance to Caesar or Babar of the State, and also to the priest, is the basis from which man draws _ his freedom. One cannot be veritably free except through a superior allegiance. Who else can be superior to God, Whose voice we are capable of hearing. Freedom is the highest boon from God and all else is the state of servitude and misery. It was therefore, Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Guru formally proclaimed the sovereignty or supremacy of the Spirit or the Voice of the Moral Conscience verily the Voice of God by putting on his person The Two Swords (the symbols of Two Authorities, the State and the Priest). The slavery of collectivism in any form was denounced. It should never be the practice that the crowd called ‘‘Panth’’, if it decides something immoral as has thus far been happening, should be slavishly respected. The Moral Decisions of the learned and the truly Holy Persons (Panj Piaras — Five Beloved Ones) are only to be respected, which will naturally conform to the Individual Voice of the Moral Conscience also. Guru Hargobind became the 6th Guru in 1606 A.D. at the tender age of 1] years to shoulder the heavy responsibilities of steering clear the boat of Sikhism in most troubled waters, when heaviest of the storm and the tempest were blowing. Guru Arjun had been executed by the State with horrifying tortures implicating him falsely in an act of treason against the king for having allegedly helped Prince Khusro, who raised an armed rebellion against his father Emperor Jehangir to wrest power from him. Jehangir knew it well that the Guru was a Religious Teacher and that inciting a son to rebel against his father was an immoral act, which the Guru could never do. All this was done by the new emperor to fulfill the designs of the religious fanatics, who were then the king makers. The emperor had then also issued the orders to arrest the members of the Guru Arjun’s family and confiscate all his property. Guru Hargobind had then only three choices before him, either to surrender himself to the imperial authority or to flee to a safer place to spend the rest of his life or stay at Amritsar to resist the onslaughts of the imperialists. The young Guru chose the last alternative, stayed at Amritsar, armed the Sikhs to resist the onslaughts of the treacherous government. The Moghal Empire then extended from the confines of Persia to the Bay of Bengal and from Kashmir to Ahmednagar. Guru Hargobind raised the Sikh Militia at Amritsar for self-defense only. The raising of an army by the Guru was the direct challenge to the authority of the state and was fraught with great dangers. Guru Hargobind and the earlier Gurus had won the confidence of the right thinking people of all denominations, who firmly believed that the new measures adopted by the Guru were for self-defense only and not for establishing his rule, as the basic creed of Sikhism was recognition of individual freedom of thought and never to impose own views on others . . . The rulers were also aware of their own guilt of falsely implicating Guru Arjun in the case of treason and murdering him brutally. History bears testimony that the State did not take any notice of Guru Hargobind’s action to arm the Sikhs. The Guru’s calculations proved successful and the Sikhs gained self-confidence. But now another danger cropped up. The Guru realized that the Sikhs, who had been armed, might not misuse the power. It was therefore, in 1609 A.D., after three years of becoming the Guru, raised the Gurdwara of Sri Akal Takhat opposite to the temple of Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar and put on his person THE TWO SWORDS of the Spiritual and the Temporal Authorities, signifying the Sovereignty of the Individual Moral Conscience or the Sovereignty of God or Truthfulness in all spheres of life, whether spiritual or commercial, political or religious or social. The Doctrine of all is fair in love and war was repudiated. The Gurdwara was named Sri Akal Takhat the Throne of the Eternal Lord or the Seat of Authority or the Eternal Sovereignty of the Spirit.
(19) To sum up, the Gurus realized that Man has three basic needs, viz (1) Food, shelter, clothing, and other physical wants (2) Diffidence — to live and cause to live — social security and adjustment (3) reputation — a desire to excel others — transcendence from the Status of creature lines. Man has been caught (1) by his extreme sense of dependence on others for his material needs (2) He has morbid self-love or is egocentric and cannot adjust with others (3) to excel others, he accumulates and grabs more and more of material wealth and power, but this hunger is not satiated. To overcome this malaise, the Gurus advise us (1) have a spirit of self-reliance, earn your own living and spend within your means. (Kirat Karo) (2) Objective living, have giving capacity, serve others and you will have adjustment (Vand Chhako). (3) Belief in the Reality Principle. God is the only Reality and the Source of all life. All progress can be made by loving God, a new life comes in us in union with Him. The Matter has no life, it is inert. By loving material things we also become lifeless. (Naam Jap and be Truthful). Guru Nanak during his Missionary Travels laid emphasis on these Three Truths. The Fifth Guru, Guru Arjun, who compiled the Adi Guru Granth Sahib, concluded the Holy Book with the same testament “In this Book, Three profound and Basic Subjects are discussed (1) Satt — The Reality Principle, Love of Life (God) (2) Santokh — Contentment or the Principle of Adjustment with the environment — the Giving Principle (3) Vicharo — These Sense of Discrimination —Independent Thinking, which comes from independent living by earning one’s own bread. The Name of God is the basic subject on which all the three subjects are based. Whosoever shall understand this and live by it, shall be saved. This is the Science and the Way of Life that Mankind will have to revert to again and again. Nanak says that the Lord prevails everywhere and Man has to establish relations with Him to lead a meaningful life in the world.”
This is the summum bonum of the whole of the Sikh Teachings and also the gist of the Human Problem.