Importance of good deeds and actions
In a life that is busy and prone to many difficulties, much pain and riddled with many personal challenges it seems impossible to worry about others. One has to worry about oneself; there is debt to pay off; outstanding bills that need to be paid urgently. What happens if you suffer health problems; how will you cope? How are you going to balance your budget? What if the interest rate goes up again? There are so many hurdles that need to be crossed to get to a level playing field; will I ever get there?
Recent survey and trends
In a recent survey, over 50% of Americans said they worry about the money they owe; many said that they worry about their overall debts most of the time. These debts can come from home and car loans as well as credit cards; 75% in the poll said they have credit cards. 40% of those with credit cards said they will use plastic to help pay for their holiday spending that year. Debt and money problems are highlighted in many surveys across the world.
With so much personal stress and pressure, the idea of helping others is difficult to accept. However, Gurbani warns us, "O Nanak, how shall I tell them this? Without the karma of good deeds, they are only destroying themselves (1)" (SGGS p 147). The wise Guru tells us that without doing good deeds we are just digging a large hole for ourselves.
If this was not sufficient, the Guru also continues to reminds us that: "Only the good deeds which you have done shall remain with you, O my soul. This opportunity shall not come again! (1)(Pause)" (SGGS p 154). So time is quickly running out and you will not get a second chance! Gurbani reminds us that it is only the good deeds and action that will remain with us and will be counted in the end; the pleasures of life here on Earth will mean nothing.
Within Sikhism, all living beings are described as being under the influence of Maya's three qualities. Always present together in varying mix and degrees, these three qualities of Maya bind the Soul to the body and to the earth plane. Above these three qualities is the eternal time. Due to the influence of three modes of Maya's nature, jivas (individual beings) perform activities under the control and purview of the eternal time. These activities are called Karma. The underlying principle is that karma is the law that brings back the results of actions to the person performing them.
This life is likened to a field (Khet) in which our Karma is the seed. We harvest exactly what we sow. No less, no more. This infallible law of Karma holds everyone responsible for what the person is or going to be. Based on the total sum of past Karma, some feel close to the Pure Being in this life, and others feel separated. This is the Gurbani's (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) law of Karma. Like other Indian as well as oriental school of thoughts, the Gurbani also accepts the doctrines of Karma and reincarnation as the facts of nature.
Message of Gurbani
In the morning prayer found at the beginning of the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib is this shabad which explains the importance of good deeds and actions. The Guru tells us that "...by their deeds and their actions, they shall be judged.....". So it through our deeds and actions that the final judgement will be determined.
|ਕਰਮੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਆਪਿ ਸਚਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ ॥ ਤਿਥੈ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣ ॥
ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਪਵੈ ਨੀਸਾਣ ॥ ਕਚ ਪਕਾਈ ਓਥੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਇਆ ਜਾਪੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੩੪॥
|Karmī karmī ho▫e vīcẖĝr. Sacẖĝ ĝp sacẖĝ ḝarbĝr. Ŧithai sohan pancẖ parvĝṇ.
Naḝrī karam pavai nīsĝṇ. Kacẖ pakĝ▫ī othai pĝ▫e. Nĝnak ga▫i▫ĝ jĝpai jĝ▫e. (34)
|By their deeds and their actions, they shall be judged. God Himself is True, and True is His Court. |
There, in perfect grace and ease, sit the self-elect and self-realized Saints. They receive the Mark of Grace from the Merciful Lord.
Those who perform virtuous actions and deeds will go along one route and ones who perform negative deeds and action will go in the opposite direction. The Guru tells us in the final sentence of this hymn that "....The ripe and the unripe, the good and the bad, shall there be judged. O Nanak, when you go home, you will see this." The good and the bad will be separated here where judgment will be determined; In ones real home, the Creator of the Universe will cause the determination to be made and according to this decision one will move into another cycle.
|ਅਮਲ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣ ਈਮਾਨ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤ ਦੋਜਕ ਮੂੜੇ ਝਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥|
|Amal kar ḝẖarṯī bīj sabḝo kar sacẖ kī ĝb niṯ ḝėh pĝṇī. Ho▫e kirsĝṇ īmĝn jammĝ▫e lai bẖisaṯ ḝojak mūṛe ev jĝṇī. (1)|
|Make good deeds the soil, and let the Word of the Shabad be the seed; irrigate it continually with the water of Truth.
Become such a farmer, and faith will sprout. This brings knowledge of heaven and hell, you fool! (1)
|ਜਿਸ ਹੀ ਕੀ ਸਿਰਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਕਾ ਸਭ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਗਰਮਖਿ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਸਚ ਘਟਿ ਪਰਗਟ ਹੋਇ ॥|
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਜਿਸ ਕੈ ਸਚ ਵਸੈ ਸਚੇ ਸਚੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਸਚਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੇ ਨ ਵਿਛੜਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥
|Jis hī kī sirkĝr hai ṯis hī kĝ sabẖ ko▫e. Gurmukẖ kĝr kamĝvṇī sacẖ gẖat pargat ho▫e.|
Anṯar jis kai sacẖ vasai sacẖe sacẖī so▫e. Sacẖ mile se na vicẖẖuṛėh ṯin nij gẖar vĝsĝ ho▫e. (1)
|Everyone belongs to the One who rules the Universe. The Gurmukh practices good deeds, and the truth is revealed in the heart.|
True is the reputation of the true, within whom truth abides. Those who meet the True Lord are not separated again; they come to dwell in the home of the self deep within. (1)
|ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਆਇਆ ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਇਆ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਰਾਈ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨ ਮਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ਬੂਡੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਹੇਤਿ ॥|
|Sanjogī ĝ▫i▫ĝ kiraṯ kamĝ▫i▫ĝ karṇī kĝr karĝ▫ī. Rĝm nĝm bin mukaṯ na ho▫ī būdī ḝūjai heṯ.|
|By the good fortune of good deeds done in the past, you have come, and now you perform actions to determine your future.
Without the Lord's Name, liberation is not obtained, and you are drowned in the love of duality.
- Find all occurrences of the following word in the Guru Granth Sahib: deeds
Good deed kick: I loved the feeling!
Today, while driving home, I saw this bag laying on the streets. So I stopped the car, looked around if I saw anyone whom it could belong to, but I saw nobody and decided to take it home with me. When I got home I checked it out and found a wallet with some cards in it and a mobile phone.
While snooping around in the phone trying to find out who it belonged to, I found a contact called "mom" in the address book. So I sent a sms to "mom" where I tell her I found the bag and it could be collected. She immediately called me back to let me know how happy she was I found the bag and that she felt blessed that I was honest enough to contact the owner because there were some very important papers in that purse.
Although it was just the right thing to do, I felt like I had done a good deed and I loved the feeling it gave me!