Sikhi: a lesson of love

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This article is part of the series on the "Message of Gurbani"

Guru Arjan "Tera keea mitha lagaa,
"[Almighty] all your doings appear sweet to me"

A Sikh is a person who accepts Gurbani (the Guru's words) as his or her spiritual guide and who adheres to the message contained within its holy pages. Sikhi is the message of the holy Granth and the code or policy (rehat) by which the person has to live their life. It is fascinating how the underlying message of the Sikh Holy Scripture is a message of pure love.

This love and longing is evident on all the pages of the Sikh scriptures; the Lord is referred to as "Husband Lord", "Beloved", "Immaculate", "Great", "Merciful", etc. all affectionate words for a tender, caring and powerful being. However, God is not an external entity; God is said to be in all places; in every living things; literally everywhere. Gurbani tells us, "The Lord Himself is within the self, and outside as well...; the Lord Himself is fully pervading everywhere" and also "You are the Great Giver of all souls; You are the Life within all living beings."

The ten Sikh Gurus and the other bhagats of the Sikhs in their compositions in Gurbani, explain over and over again their dedication and their love for the Almighty Lord. Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru explains his love for the Lord thus "Without the Lord, I cannot live for a moment, even an instant; I love Him, like the camel loves the vine." (GGS 369).

From whom do you learn about love for the Lord?

If you wish to learn about love for the Lord, then its easy to learn it from the Sikh Gurus. The fourth Sikh master later in the holy Granth also says: "My inner being is filled with love for my Beloved Husband Lord. How can I live without Him?" (GGS 1113); elsewhere, the Sikh scripture inform us "O Nanak, the fish is in love with the water; if it pleases You, Lord, please enshrine such love for you within me.".

Sikhi is a path of love for the Lord; an entity who is beyond birth and death; beyond time; He is omnipresent - present everywhere; fearless; etc. In the Mool Mantar, the "Main Mantra" of Sikhi - the central qualities of God are highlighted:

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਕਰਤਾ ਪ੝ਰਖ੝ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ੝ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ Ik­oaʼnkĝr saṯ nĝm karṯĝ purakẖ nirbẖa­o nirvair akĝl mūraṯ ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsĝḝ. "One Universal Creator God. His name is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace." There is hardly a page in the Sikh scripture where God is not mentioned by the Gurus. For Gurbani, the existence of God requires no proof because God "is visible everywhere". "In the one and in the many, He is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is." (GGS 485) and also "Wherever I look, there I see my Lord and Master." (GGS 96)

The Guru does not feel that there is any need to provide proof of God’s existence. He says that the deep mysteries of God are beyond the comprehension of human beings. The fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan simply tells us that: "He gave you the praanaa, the breath of life, and your mind and body. He is the Support of the heart." (GGS 51) and also that one has to adhere to special condition to realise God, the True Friend, thus: "Through mental truthfulness and contentment, union with the True Friend is attained; through the Guru's Teachings, the Husband Lord is known." (GGS 242)

Sikhi emphasises Bhakti marg or the "path of devotion". It does, however, recognizes the limited value of Gian marg (Path of knowledge) and Karam marg (Path of action). It also lays stress on the need for earning God's Grace in order to reach the spiritual goal. Gurbani emphasises the need for love and affection thus: "Here and hereafter, He is our Helper and Companion; embrace love and affection for the One Lord." (GGS 405). The Gurus and proponents of Sikhi expressed their intense affection for the Lord in very clear terms - "My inner being is filled with love for my Beloved Husband Lord. How can I live without Him?" (GGS 1113), referring to God as the Husband and themselves as the brides.

His presence can be seen in His creation

Life in this world is full of anguish and pain and the only way to "have peace of mind and stay positive and happy" is to be in love - not with another person but with God, the creator; the sustainer; and yes, the ultimate destroyer. If one can dis-engage from worldly entanglements just for a while and focus on the Supreme Soul - only then can one realise the ultimate reality. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan tells us, "If you remember the Lord in meditation for a moment, even for an instant, then your life will become fruitful and prosperous." (GGS 107) So, if we desire to improve our life, then we need to remember the Lord.

If we look around us, we see the vast number of "miracles of God"; there is magic everywhere; the sun; the earth; the wind; the sky; the plants and vegetation; the animals; these are all miracles of God. Without God the sun would not be there; the earth could not orbit for millions of years. His drama is indeed most wonderful! "Like the straw figure of a female elephant, fashioned to trap the bull elephant, O crazy mind, the Lord of the Universe has staged the drama of this world." (GGS 335) Many weak ones are trapped by the illusion of the drama; the strong overcome the illusion.

Now look at what he has given us all; just look at the eyes; the ears; the hands; the body and mind.... What wonderful technology! We are nothing compared to the Creator. If we are required to make just one part of the body, say the hand; we are unable to make it. So, compared to the Lord, we are nothing. Now, with these magnificent features we can do so many wonderful things; we can walk, talk, communicate, think, manufacture, etc. These are all marvellous gifts from God! Don't you just want to hug and thank that Almighty who loves us so much to have endowed us with these amazing and wondrous gifts?

More Gurbani

This Shabad is by Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Pannaa 394

ਆਸਾ ਘਰ੝ 7 ਮਹਲਾ 5 ॥

ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮ੝ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਿਤ ਧਿਆਈ ॥ ਸੰਗੀ ਸਾਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਤਰਾਂਈ ॥1॥
ਗ੝ਰ੝ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤਿਸ੝ ਸਦਾ ਸਮ੝”ਾਲੇ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਪਦਾਰਥ੝ ਨਾਨਕ੝ ਮਾਂਗੈ ॥2॥42॥93॥

aasaa ghar 7 mehalaa 5 ॥

har kaa naam ridhai nith dhhiaaee ॥ sa(n)gee saathhee sagal tharaa(n)ee ॥1॥
gur maerai sa(n)g sadhaa hai naalae ॥ simar simar this sadhaa samhaalae ॥1॥ rehaao॥
thaeraa keeaa meet(h)aa laagai ॥ har naam padhaarathh naanak maa(n)gai ॥2॥42॥93॥

Aasaa, Seventh House, Fifth Mehla:

Meditate continually on the Name of the Lord within your heart. Thus you shall save all your companions and associates. (1)
My Guru is always with me, near at hand. Meditating, meditating in remembrance on Him, I cherish Him forever. ((1)(Pause))
Your actions seem so sweet to me. Nanak begs for the treasure of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. ((2)(42)(93))