By Kulbir Kaur
Once Guru Nanak, while travelling to Kashmir, met Pandit Brahm Das, a learned but proud man. Brahm Das approached the Guru with two camel loads of books and texts and with a stone idol suspended from his neck. Unable to find out the religious identity of the Guru, he questioned Guru Nanak on his faith, the rituals he observed and the food he ate. The Guru replied, ‘There is but one highway and there is but one entrance; He created Himself and Himself He recognised. God is Himself the relish, the thing relished and the relisher’.
Brahm Das further asked him how the Lord existed before creation. ‘There was neither night nor day, neither sun nor moon, no earth, nor firmaments. He alone was there. There was neither birth nor speech, neither air nor water, neither creation nor destruction, neither coming nor going. There was neither male nor female, neither caste nor reincarnation, neither pain nor pleasure. The Unspeakable One was Himself the speaker, the Unknowable One had alone the knowledge of Himself’, answered Guru Nanak.
The Almighty, as seen by Guru Nanak, is Ik Onkar, the One. He is the Creator and the creation. The Nirakar (Formless) manifests through creation so the question of divisions does not emerge. The Supreme is Satnam, the only Truth and it is futile to please Him through rituals and sacrifices. Outward forms, formulas, incantations, image-worship and superstitions are of no use.
Guru Nanak exhorted the people to establish a direct link with the Almighty through a simple marg of Nam-simran, chanting the Name. Divine love is the only way of salvation. When he was weighing wheat-flour in the provision store, as Nanak would reach the number 13 (tera), which in Punjabi means ‘yours’, Nanak could only utter, ‘Tera, Tera, Tera…( Lord, I am Thine, I am Thine)’.
Can there be a love of God without service? All living beings are God’s own and none can obtain any reward without rendering service, says Guru Nanak. In fact, we shall be rewarded according to the service we render. Vand-chchakna, sharing, incorporates another aspect of Sikh faith. It is like providing service to society and people. But this sharing should be based on kirat karni, honest livelihood. ‘Nam japna, vand-chchakna and kirat karna’ along with seva, form the main pillars of Sikhism as propounded by Guru Nanak.
In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak explains the five stages in the path of realisation. Dharam-khand is where a man performs his duties towards himself, family and society. Jnana-khand symbolises knowledge where man realises the vastness of God’s creation. Saram-khand is the realm of spiritual effort and a man tries to imbibe the qualities of God like truth, justice and compassion. Jaisa sewai taisa hoi – you become what you meditate on. Karam-khand is grace. With the grace of Guru, he gets a vision of God’s realm and becomes a Gurmukh. The last stage shows him Sach-khand, the Almighty, the Truth. These stages are a part of householder’s way of life, not of a renouncer. Guru Nanak says that this highway of illumination is open to one and all. ‘The learned and the illiterate can both attain the highest spiritual stage’, says the Guru.
Hence, listening to the Word, Gurbani and its acceptance, and then carrying out the Guru’s instructions in everyday life is what distinguishes the Sikh way of life.
(Today is Guru Nanak Jayanti)
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
via TOI Blog
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