Grist marg

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Sikh family visiting a Gurdwara

In India before the advent of Guru Nanak, the life of the ascetic or recluse was regarded as the best way to connect to God. However, Guru Nanak changed that by saying that the life of the householder - the "spiritual path of the householder" or "Grist Marg" was the preferred route to attain the highest level of spirituality in this era of Kaljug.

Guru Nanak taught that the ideal householder's life is spent in selflessly carrying out one's duties to family and society while at all times remembering God and serving His saints; engaged in gainful labour one is to nurture ones family; take care of the local community and protect the weak.


Sikhism is a monotheistic faith, which teaches that there is only one God; that is not subject to time or space; that is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer of the Universe and everything in it.

Moreover in Sikhism, ethics and religion go hand in hand. The inculcation of moral qualities and the practice of virtue in everyday life is a vital step towards spiritual development. Qualities such as honesty, compassion, generosity, patience and humility can be built up only by effort and perseverance. The lives of the Gurus show how they lived their lives according to their code of ethics.

Sikhism does not believe in Avtarvada, that God takes a human form here on earth. It does not attach any value to the gods and goddesses and other deities and mythology of other religions.

The Sikh religion rejects all rituals and routine practices such as fasting and pilgrimage, omens and austerities. Like many of the world's other religions Sikhs believe that the goal of human life is to merge with God, but they believe that this is accomplished by following the teachings of the Guru, by meditating on the holy Name and by living the life of a house holder while performing acts of service and charity to ones fellow human beings.

Other "Margs" or paths

Sikhism emphasizes Bhakti Marg (the path of devotion) and Karam Marg (Path of Action) while recognizing the limited value of Gyan Marg (Path of Knowledge). It also lays stress on the need for earning God's Grace in order to reach this spiritual goal.

Sikhism is a modern, practical religion that is based on logic. Sikhi holds that normal family-life (Grist) is not a barrier to salvation. That it is possible to live detached in the midst of worldly ills and temptations. A devotee must live in the world and yet keep his head above the usual tensions and turmoil. He must be a soldier, scholar and saint for God.

The Gurus believed that this life has a purpose and a goal. It offers an opportunity for self and God realization. Moreover man is responsible for his own actions. He cannot claim immunity from the results of his actions. He must therefore be very vigilant in what he does. Finally, the Sikh Scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the perpetual Guru. This is the only religion which has given its Holy Book the status of a religious preceptor. There is no place for a living human Guru (Deh-dhari) in the Sikh religion.


ਇਸੁ ਭੇਖੈ ਥਾਵਹੁ ਗਿਰਹੋ ਭਲਾ ਜਿਥਹੁ ਕੋ ਵਰਸਾਇ ॥
Is bẖekẖai thāvhu girho bẖalā jithahu ko varsā▫e.
Instead of wearing these beggar's robes, it is better to be a householder, and give to others.

ਗਿਰਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਗਿਆਨ ਤਤ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਖਿਆ ਉਰ ਧਾਰੀ ॥੨॥
Girhī mėh saḏā har jan uḏāsī gi▫ān ṯaṯ bīcẖārī. Saṯgur sev saḏā sukẖ pā▫i▫ā har rākẖi▫ā ur ḏẖārī. (2)
Immersed in family life, the Lord's humble servant ever remains detached; he reflects upon the essence of spiritual wisdom.

Serving the True Guru, he finds eternal peace, and he keeps the Lord enshrined in his heart. (2)

ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਜੋ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਭੀਖਿਆ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਕਾ ਕਰੇ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਗੰਗਾ ਕਾ ਨੀਰੁ ॥
So girhī jo nigarahu karai. Jap ṯap sanjam bẖīkẖi▫ā karai. Punn ḏān kā kare sarīr. So girhī gangā kā nīr.
He alone is a householder, who restrains his passions

and begs for meditation, austerity and self-discipline. He gives donations to charity with his body; such a householder is as pure as the water of the Ganges.

ਕਬੀਰ ਜਉ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਤ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਤ ਕਰੁ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਬੰਧਨੁ ਕਰੈ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਬਡੋ ਅਭਾਗੁ ॥੨੪੩॥
Kabīr ja▫o garihu karahi ṯa ḏẖaram kar nāhī ṯa kar bairāg. Bairāgī banḏẖan karai ṯā ko bado abẖāg. (243)
Kabeer, if you live the householder's life, then practice righteousness; otherwise, you might as well retire from the world.

If someone renounces the world, and then gets involved in worldly entanglements, he shall suffer terrible misfortune. (243)

See also