Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sikhism -- A Way of Life

Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru, laid the very foundation of Sikhism to rid the society of false religious pretenses and rituals. He had a unique way of sending his message across to his disciples and the public in general. Once he deliberately lied down at a famous religious place, pointing his feet towards the sanctum sanctorum. When asked by the priest to move his feet away from the seat of the Allah, the Guru requested him to move them towards the direction where the Almighty did not live. The priest was speechless. Guru Nanak Dev had driven home his point that the Omnipresent does not live within the four walls of a building alone. On another occasion, after watching pilgrims offering water to the Sun on the banks of Ganges, he started throwing water towards the opposite direction. When questioned, he told, that he was trying to irrigate his fields, which were hundreds of miles away. He argued that if the water could reach the Sun then why not his fields. Every single verse of ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, the holy book of Sikhs, calls upon us to shun affectations and follow the teachings of the great gurus and saints which repeatedly mention that God is only one ('Ek Onkaar').

Over the centuries, the Sikhs have been identified as a brave and hard working race. They have not only been providing largest quantity of food grains to the country, but have also been contributing largest number of manpower to the Indian Army. By their sheer grit and hard work, they have converted many a barren land, in some parts of the country, into green farms, particularly in some desert and hilly areas. They have achieved success in almost every walk of life and have migrated to almost every part of the world. This is one community, the members of which, owing to their great sense of humour, have the ability to laugh at themselves. The Sikh functions are designed to be simple and sober. In Sikh marriages, no horoscopes are matched to find the brides and the grooms. The marriage is held on any convenient day selected by the families of the bride and the groom, mostly Sundays, without getting into the rigmarole of 'Muhurats' etc. The marriage is solemnized by taking four rounds of the holy book ie., 'Guru Granth Sahib' by the marrying couple during day time preferably before twelve. However, now most of the Sikhs have started indulging in the 'spirited' revelry during almost all the functions in addition to adding all kinds of pomp and show in a race to compete with one another.

While the Sikhs have become synonymous with hard work, bravery and high spirits, they have also demonstrated tolerance and humility. In a ‘gurudwara’ (a Sikh shrine) all are welcome, regardless of their cast, creed, colour or culture. At the end of every religious congregation, all sit on the floor and eat together, as a mark of equality of mankind.

The occassional show of strength by Sikhs, where they are seen killing each other, some times brandishing bare swords and other weapons, destroying public property and disrupting normal life, is just unfortunate. The Sikhs have been ordained to raise the sword only in the face of extreme injustice being meted out by the strong and powerful to the feeble and helpless.

" सूरा सो पह्चानिये, जो लड़े दीन के हेत" ' soora so pahchaaniye jo ladey deen ke hait' (the brave is identified as the one, who would fight for the sake of the poor)

In today's strife torn world, the need of the hour is universal brotherhood, tolerance, peace and harmony, that is demanded time and again in the ‘Gurbani’ -- the teachings of not only ten Sikh gurus but also other great saints from different religions like Kabir , Farid, Namdev, Jaidev, Ravidas etc, recorded in ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, which is worshiped as the embodiment of the ten Sikh 'gurus'.

This post is part of an earlier post and is repeated here on the occasion of Gru Nanak Dev's Gurpurab.


BK Chowla, said...

I am not a born Sikh,but,I have follow the principles of Sikhism.
Every word you have written about Sikhs is absolutely true.
I appreciate your having shared this in public space

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Usha Menon said...

The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev are true for all religions.You have very correctly portrayed the crux of Sikhism.I have recommended this post for the prestigious Liebster Award.Forthe rules kindly refer to my post'Liebster Award' and