SIKHISM

 

Sikhism, a way of life and philosophy well ahead of its time when it was founded by Guru Nanak dev Ji over 500 years ago, The Sikh religion today has a following of over 20 million people worldwide. Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice and denounces superstitions and blind rituals. Sikhism is open to all through the teachings of its 10 Gurus enshrined in the Sikh Holy scriptures and Living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism is the only religion in the world that celebrates it's birth, this takes place on April 13th (Vaisakhi).

 

World Religions (followers)
Christianity
2 b
Islam
1.3 b
Hinduism
900 m
Buddhism
360 m
Chinese Trad.
225 m
Primal-indig.
190 m
Sikhism
23 m
Yoruba
20 m
Juche
19 m
Spiritism
14 m
Judaism
14 m
Bahi
6 m



Definition of a Sikh

The word 'Sikh' in the Punjabi language means 'disciple', Sikhs are the disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus. The wisdom of these teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are practical and universal in their appeal to all mankind.

"I observe neither Hindu fasting nor the ritual of the Muslim Ramadan month; Him I serve who at the last shall save. The Lord of universe of the Hindus, Gosain and Allah to me are one; From Hindus and Muslims have I broken free. I perform neither Kaaba pilgrimage nor at bathing spots worship; One sole Lord I serve, and no other. I perform neither the Hindu worship nor the Muslim prayer; To the Sole Formless Lord in my heart I bow. We neither are Hindus nor Muslims; Our body and life belong to the One Supreme Being who alone is both Ram and Allah for us." (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib, Raga Bhairon pg. 1136)

"Any human being who faithfully believes in: (i) One Immortal Being, (ii) Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh, (iii) The Guru Granth Sahib, (iv) The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and, (v) the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion is a Sikh." (Reht Maryada, Sikh Code of Conduct)

 

Sikh Philosophy and Beliefs 

There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all religions.

The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.

The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and sins.

Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.

Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Women can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony or lead the congregation in prayer.

 

Sikh History and Practices

The founder of the Sikh religion was Guru Nanak who was born in 1469. He preached a message of love and understanding and criticised the blind rituals of the Hindus and Muslims. Guru Nanak passed on his enlightened leadership of this new religion to nine successive Gurus. The final living Guru, Guru Gobind Singh left this world in 1708.

During his lifetime Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa order (meaning 'The Pure'), soldier-saints. The Khalsa uphold the highest Sikh virtues of commitment, dedication and a social conscious. The Khalsa are men and women who have undergone the Sikh baptism ceremony and who strictly follow the Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions and wear the prescribed physical articles of the faith. One of the more noticeable being the uncut hair (required to be covered with a turban for men) and the Kirpan (ceremonial sword).

Before leaving planet Earth in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh declared that the Sikhs no longer needed a living guru and appointed his spiritual successor as Sri Guru Granth Sahib, his physical successor as the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh felt that all the wisdom needed by Sikhs for spiritual guidance in their daily lives could be found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is unique in the world of religious scriptures because not only is it accorded the status of being the spiritual head of the Sikh religion, but besides the poetry of the Gurus, it also contains the writings of saints of other faiths whose thoughts were consistent with those of the Sikh Gurus.

Sikhism does not have priests, which were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru felt that they had become corrupt and full of ego. Sikhs only have custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib (granthi), and any Sikh is free to read the Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) or in their home. All people of all religions are welcome to the Gurdwara. A free community kitchen can be found at every Gurdwara which serves meals to all people of all faiths. Guru Nanak first started this institution which outline the basic Sikh principles of service, humility and equality. Giani's (Gurdwara service conductors) , Raagi's (Gurdwara hymn musicians) and Sant's (gurdwara or missionary heads) are also Sikh custodians, they devote their lives in Gurdwara's, preaching the name of God and also raising funds for the temple. A Sant is normally considered as a higher rank and they have a greater knowledge and understanding of Sikhism. The majority have given their whole life times to the faith and can perform miracles where they see necessary. 

The most significant historical religious centre for the Sikhs is Harimandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) at Amritsar in the state of Punjab in northern India. It is the inspirational and historical centre of Sikhism but is not a mandatory place of pilgrimage or worship. All places where Sri Guru Granth Sahib are installed are considered equally holy for Sikhs.

 

There is only one God, he is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer.

"You are the Creator, O Lord, the Unknowable. You created the Universe of diverse kinds, colours and qualities. You know your own Creation. All this is your Play." (Guru Nanak, Var Majh)

"The Formless Supreme Being abides in the Realm of Eternity. Over His creation He casts His glance of grace. In that Realm are contained all the continents and the universes, Exceeding in number all count. Of creation worlds upon worlds abide therein; All obedient to His will; He watches over them in bliss, And has each constantly in mind." (Guru Nanak, Japji)

 

God cannot take human form.

"He neither has father, nor mother, nor sons nor brothers." (Guru Nanak, Maru)

"Burnt be the mouth that asserts, the Lord takes birth. He is neither born nor dies; neither enters birth nor departs. All pervasive is Nanaks Lord." (Guru Arjan Dev, Raga Bhairon)

 

The goal of human life is to break the cycle of birth's and deaths and merge with God. This can be accomplished by following the teachings of the Guru, meditation on the Holy Name and performance of acts of service and charity.

Without devotion to the Name Divine is birth in the world gone waste. Such consume poison, poisonous their utterance; Without devotion to the Name, without gain they die, and after death in transmigration wander." (Guru Nanak, Raga Bhairon)

"True life is life in God, contemplation on the Name and the society of the saints" (Guru Arjan Dev, Dhanasari)

"I shall merge in the Lord like the water in the sea and the wave in the stream. The soul will merge in God and like air I shall look upon all alike. Then why shall I come again? The coming and going is under the Will of the Lord and Realising This Will, I shall merge in the Lord" (Bhagat Kabir, Maru)

"The disciple of the True Guru (God) dwells upon the Lord through the teaching of the Guru and all his sins are washed away" (Guru Ram Das, Var Gauri)

"Our service in the world gets us a seat in the Court of the Lord" (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag)

"One known as disciple of the holy Preceptor must, rising at dawn, on the Name Divine meditate" (Guru Ram Das, Raga Gauri)

 

The five cardinal vices are; Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (worldly attachment) and Ahankar (pride). If one can overcome these, they will achieve salvation.

"Five thieves who live within this body are lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego. They rob us of ambrosia, but the egocentrics do not understand it and no one listens to their cries" (Guru Amar Das, Sorath)

"I am in the Refuge of the Lord; Bless me, O Lord with your Grace, so that the lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego may be destroyed" (Guru Arjan Dev, Gauri Sukhmani)

 

Narm Marg; emphasises daily devotion to the remembrance of God.

"Meditation of the Lord is the highest of the deeds, through which myriads obtain release, through which the thirst (of desires) is quenched, through which one becomes all knowing, through which the fear of death goes away, through which all the desires are fulfilled, through which the dirt of the mind is cleansed and the Nectar of the Name of God is absorbed in the mind" (Guru Nanak, Gauri Sukhmani)

 

Rejection of all forms of blind rituals such as fasting, religious vegetarianism, pilgrimages, superstitions, yoga, as well as any form of idol worship.

"Let good conduct be thy fasting." (Guru Nanak, Var Majh)

"You keep the fast to please Allah, but slay life for your relish. But you do not reflect on the Lord, Who is within you" (Bhagat Kabir, Asa)

"Only fools argue whether to eat meat or not. They don't understand truth nor do they meditate on it. Who can define what is meat and what is plant? Who knows where the sin lies, being a vegetarian or a non vegetarian?" (Guru Nanak, Var Malar)

"The world is in agony because of the filth of ego, the word is filthy because of duality; The filth of ego cannot be washed away, even if one bathes at one hundred holy places." (Guru Amar Das, Sri Raga)

"They go to holy places for a bath, Their minds are impure and bodies are like thieves; If by bath their dirt drops down, they got on themselves twice as much dirt and ego." (Guru Nanak, Var Suhi)

"Whosoever controls the mind, he is a pilgrim" (Guru Arjan Dev, Maru Solhe)

"You calculate the auspicious moments, but do not realise, That God is far above the effects of these auspicious moments." (Guru Nanak, Ramkali)

"Good omens and ill omens stick to him Who does not remember the Lord." (Guru Arjan Dev, Asa)

"The way to true yoga is found by dwelling in God and remaining detached in the midst of worldly attachments." (Guru Nanak, Suhi))

"Pandits are busy studying Puranas, Yogis are busy in yogic meditations; Sannyasis are intoxicated with ego, Tapsis are intoxicated with secrets of Tapas; All are intoxicated, none is awake, With them are thieves robbing them." (Bhagat Kabir, Basant)

"Five are the Muslim prayers; five their appointed hours, Five their names. These be the true prayers: The first is Truth, the second is lawful earning and the third is to beg the Graces of God for all, The fourth is the right intention in the mind and the fifth is the praise of the Lord." (Guru Nanak, Var Majh)

"He reads the holy books with commentaries, He does not remember God, his way of living is not flowless. He instructs and makes other people firm, But does not practice, whatever he says. Understand the substance of the Vedas, O Pandit!" (Guru Arjan Dev, Ramkali)

"The stone he calls his god, in the end, drowns him with itself... Know that a boat of stone carries one not across" (Guru Arjan Dev, Suhi)

"The stone neither speaks nor gives anything. Therefore its service is fruitless and its worship is of no avail." (Bhagat Kabir, Bhairo)

 

Normal Family life (Grasth) is encouraged, celibacy or renunciation of the world is not necessary to achieve salvation. The devotee must live in the world yet keep his mind pure. He must be a soldier, a scholar, a saint.

"Beauteous lady! hast not heard with thy ears, To the husband's home must thou come, nor for ever canst thou in the parental home abide" (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag)

"I that in the parents home on the Lord meditated, In the husband's home bliss have found. Blessed is the entire life of such." (Guru Ram Das, Sri Rag)

"Those known as celibates knowing not the right device, discard house and home." (Guru Nanak, Asa)

"Forsaking the household, one's mind took him to the forest, but it could not get peace even for a moment; but when it sought the refuge of the Saint of the Lord, its wanderings ceased and it returned to its own home. One abandoned his relatives and became a Sannyasi, but the craving of the mind did not cease. One's desires are not finished without the Word of the Guru, which alone can bring peace. When hatred for the world wells up in ones mind, he becomes a naked recluse, but the mind wanders ceaselessly and these wanderings do not end his desires, but when he meets the saints, he reaches the House of Mercy. Siddhas learn numerous Yogic poses; but their mind only after miraculous powers yearns. Thereby comes not to them fulfilment, content and peace of mind." (Guru Ram Das, Bilaval)

 

The Sikh Holy Scriptures (Guru Granth Sahib) is the perpetual Guru, there is no place in Sikhism for a living Guru today.

"The bani is the preceptor and the preceptor is the bani, All the nectars are present in the bani: If the faithful follows the bani of the preceptor, The preceptor himself helps him in the realisation of his ideal." (Guru Ram Das, Nat)

Any man or woman who claims to be a Guru or equal to the Sikh Guru's is false. Both followers and these people will have no place in God's Heaven.

 

Sikhism rejects all distinctions of caste, creed, race or sex.

"All are created from the seed of God. There is the same clay in the whole world, the potter (God) makes many kinds of pots." (Guru Amar Das, Bhairo)

"Recognise the light (of God) and do not ask for the caste, There is no caste in the next world." (Guru Nanak, Asa)

 

The Guru's stressed the full equality of women, rejecting female infanticide, sati (wife burning), permitting widow remarriage and rejects purdah (women wearing veils).

"We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings? The woman is born from woman; there is none without her. Only the One True Lord is without woman" (Guru Nanak, Var Asa)

"They cannot be called satis, who burn themselves with their dead husbands. They can only be called satis, if they bear the shock of separation. They may also be known as satis, who live with character and contentment and always show veneration to their husbands by remembering them." (Guru Amar Das, Var Suhi)

 

Honest labour and work (Kirat Karna) are the approved way of living ones life. It is considered honourable to earn ones daily bread through honest work and not by begging or dishonest means.

"He who eats what he earns through his earnest labour and from his hand gives something in charity; he alone, O Nanak, knows the true way of life" (Guru Nanak Dev, Rag Sarang, pg. 1245)

A Sikh Should give at least 10% of his/her earnings to God. This is a form of Seva, it can be either by money or offerings given to aid a Sikh Gurdwara.

 

Vand Chhakna, sharing with others is also a social responsibility. The individual is expected to help others in need through charity.

Sikhs should share with others, be it food or any other aid in life. Equal distribution helps to overcome Lobh (greed).

 

Seva, community service is also an integral part of Sikhism. The free community kitchen (langar) found at every gurdwara and open to people of all religions is one expression of this community service.

Worshippers normally help by preparing and distributing the food and washing the pots and dishes. Others may clean and polish the shoes of the congregation. This type of service helps to overcome Ahankar (pride). True Seva is recognised by God when it is done without boasting and telling others. 

 

“Besides the absolute value of the Divine itself the Sikh Value System comprises the following

(I)        Physico-economic values : A Sikh treats body as the sacred abode of the Spirit. There is no place for austerities and torturing of the body as a way of salvation.

(2)        Intellectual Values : Knowledge and wisdom are the key ­concepts; reason plays the pivotal role and truth is the highest value to be cherished.

(3)        Aesthetic Values : Loving devotion to the Lord, generating ecstatic state of bliss leading to the enjoyment of the grandeur and beauty of His creation.

(4)        Ethical Values : Virtue as reflected in valour, purity of conduct, realisation of the Divine presence in all the human beings and service of the mankind.

(5)        Spiritual Values :  Mukti and Nirvana in Sikhism is emancipation in life through Divine Grace.”

 

The three pillars of the Such way of life are -

              a)      Naam-Japna: Meditation of God            

Sikhs are directed to concentrate their minds on God, to reflect on God's virtues such as love, benevolence, and kindness. Sikhs practice this to inculcate such virtues into their own character. This can be done by reciting Gurbani, by listening to the singing of hymns from Gurbani, or by sitting in a quiet place and attentively thinking of God, forgetting all else.

Through this constant meditation, and not simply the repeating of a mantra, Sikhs develop a feeling of affection and love for humanity. Such a person does not merely talk about the brotherhood of humanity but actually tries to feel it continuously throughout their life. The thought of being a member of this human family becomes stronger and stronger and soon this fact is reflected in the daily behaviour of the devotee. Such a Sikh derives immense pleasure and satisfaction by observing the presence of God in every human being.

This achievement or realisation changes the thinking and behaviour of such persons and instead of hurting others, they enjoy utilising their life serving society. They cannot think of doing any act to harm others, because they "see" the living God inside every human being. This is why Nam is given the highest priority in the Sikh faith.

    b)     Kirt Karni: .Earning with hard labour.

Sikhs are advised to earn their livelihood by honest means. They are not supposed to be a parasites on society. Non-earners become dependent on others and because of this, are influenced to think and act as their benefactors expect. Such a person is unable to think or act independently.

Furthermore, a Sikh's earnings, however large or small, should come from honest means. If a person is dishonest, and takes what is not justly his, the Gurus declare these earnings as the 'blood of the poor'. They are prohibited to Sikhs, just as beef is prohibited to Hindus and pork to Muslims.

There is temptation to live a comfortable life by earning money through unfair means. The Gurus want us to resist this desire by keeping in mind that such earnings pollute the mind in the same way that blood stains our clothes. Only honest earnings are like "milk" and hence "nourishing".

 

    c)      Wand Chhakna: Sharing one’s earning with the needy.

The recitation of Nam helps disciples realise that they are members of the human brotherhood. This thought creates in them feelings of kindness and love for those who need their help. As a consequence, they enjoy sharing their earnings with those less fortunate. The Guru advises them that it is their duty to share their earnings with the needy just as it is the duty of parents to supply their children with clothing and other necessities.

This sharing must be done out of a sense of responsibility, and not of pride. A person can judge their closeness to God by sharing their bread with the needy. If this can be done without feeling as if they are doing someone a favour, then they are on the right path and are close to God.

Some broadcast their contributions and feel proud of their "benefactor" image. It is this ego (ahankar) that denies them the spiritual benefits obtained by remaining humble.

    

    d)      Worshipping the Eternal God (Puja Akal Ki)

The Guru advises us to worship only the one almighty God and not to worship forces of the universe or mythical beings. It is the Creator, and not the creation, that is important. Hinduism encourages its followers to venerate many different mediators. It differs from Sikhism in this fundamental issue and because of this, Sikhism cannot be considered a sect of Hinduism.

How do Sikhs worship God? By thinking of Him and by believing in the brotherhood of mankind. For Sikhs, God does not reside in the seventh or fourteenth sky, or any other place far from the earth. God lives in the hearts of humans. There is no place without Him. He expresses Himself through His creation. In other words, worship of God is accomplished by meditating on Him, His virtues and His grace.

      e)       Understanding Gurbani (Paricha Shabad Ka)

Sikhs are required to regularly read and understand the Gurbani written within the Guru Granth Sahib. Gurbani teaches God's virtues and how they can be revealed to us.

The daily recitation of hymns reminds us repeatedly of the pitfalls of egotism, anger, lust, attachment, and greed. The hymns encourage readers to develop good character by constantly reminding that these virtues bring peace.

Sikhs accept the word of the Guru as their guide. They regard the Guru Granth Sahib as their living Guru because from Gurbani, they obtain the spiritual guidance they need.

f)     Appreciating the Sikh Reht (Didar Khalsa Ka)

Sikhs do not worship pictures or idols of God or the Gurus. Nor do they honour any living individual as their Guru. They respect the decision of the corporate body of the Singhs, the Khalsa, since the tenth Guru bestowed the authority of Guruship on this body.

g)     Working and wishing well for all of humanity (Sarbat ka bhala)

The importance that Sikhs attach to working and wishing well for others can be seen in the fact that Sikhs pray aloud at least twice a day:

"O God, in Your Name, shower Your blessings on everyone."

In other words, Sikhs pray not only for themselves alone but also for all of humanity.

This belief in the oneness of humanity, and the insistence on working for the welfare of all people, whether Sikhs or not, at the cost of sacrificing one's life, is what sets Sikhism apart from religions. In a world, which is torn by strife because of differing beliefs, Sikhism is unique. Sikhs treat all people with equal respect, irrespective of their faith. All people are offered free meals and other facilities in Gurdwaras. Sikhs do not harbour ill will against any person, including adversaries.

There are numerous examples of Sikhs helping foes in need. After battle, Bhai Kanahya, a water-carrier of Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib, used to give water and first aid to ALL wounded persons, Sikhs and non-Sikh alike. Three centuries ago, Guru Gobind Singh made arrangements to take care of and help all the wounded after battle, whether they were his own men or his opponents.

It has been explained in the discussion of Nam Japna that Sikhs respect all persons. People may appear different because of their language, colour, social habits but these variations are superficial and the result of different cultures and climates. Internally, we all have the same spirit. Just as gold can be made into ornaments of different designs but it remains gold, so people's outward appearances can be different but still they remain human beings created by the same God.

h)   Maintaining ethical behavior (Sacha Achar)

For Sikhs, as for the followers of many other faiths, lying, cheating, stealing etc. are forbidden. Sexual relations are restricted to married couples only. Recognising that during the medieval ages, after battle women of the defeated side were often raped as an expression of power over the enemy, Guru Gobind Singh ordered that any person guilty of rape would be expelled from the Khalsa Panth.

The moral character of Sikhs, in war and in peace, was praised highly by Muslim historians of those times. Nur Mohammed, though he expresses extreme hatred for Sikhs, still cannot help admitting their high character. In his book, "Jang Nama" he writes:

In no case would they slay a coward, nor would they put an obstacle in the way of a fugitive. They do not plunder the wealth or ornaments of a woman, be she a well-to-do lady or a maidservant. There is no adultery among these 'dogs' nor are these mischievous people given to thieving. Whether a woman is young or old, they call her a 'buriya' and ask her to get out of the way. (The word "buriya" in the Indian language means "an old lady.") There is no thief at all among these 'dogs' nor is there any house-breaker born among these miscreants. They do not make friends with adulterers.

i)     Accepting the Will of God (Bhana Mannana)

We sometimes suffer from the misconception that we alone are responsible for the benefits we gain from our labours. Sikhs believe that these benefits are gifts from God and we are mere actors on stage. God rewards us and whether our efforts are successful is determined by His will. If we accept this philosophy, we will always be in peace with ourselves and with our environment and we will stop worrying about the 'failure' of our efforts

God has given us life, an expression of His Will. He has created the sun, the moon, vegetation, animals and everything else without which we cannot survive. When we plant a fruit tree, it grows naturally, with the help of sun and rain, and it bears fruit all without our help. Laws of nature govern the smallest seed and the largest plant.

The philosophy, that everything happens according to God's will, can be explained by another example. A person driving on a road finds an old woman walking. She stops the car, picks up the woman, and drops her at her home. Although it appears that the driver's body has carried out these actions, in fact, these actions originated in the mind due to a desire to help. Hence, actually it is the mind, controlled by the nature of the soul that helped the old woman. The body of the driver was merely an agent, which executed the decision for the 'mind.' Similarly it is the bigger soul, God, who motivates us to act. We are the executors of His Will.

If we choose an action, which we think is right, only to discover that it does not eliminate the situation we set out to abolish, we should not consider that our right action was useless. We should trust that in God's larger plan, which we cannot understand, our right action has meaning and effort. We must believe that every righteous action will eventually lead to a favourable result.

The faith that our right actions are part of God's great design, even if we do not see the results, dispels worries about our failures and brings us peace. We will realise God's presence in ourselves; there is no higher goal in life than that.

            Thus Sikhism was not the ‘transvaluation’ of the existing faiths and cults; it ushered in a new spiritual as well as social and political matrix of conduct for mankind.

Violence and peace as concepts for the social behaviour are conspicuous to the Sikh way of life.

 Sikhism does not support militarism or glorification of war and yet wielding the sword is warranted in extenuating circumstances. Sikhism upholds war against oppression and aggression. The sword is a symbol of power both temporal and spiritual in Sikhism. A Sikh doesn’t frighten anyone nor is he afraid of anyone. 

“Technically, the first date of Sikhism is 1469, the year of Guru, Nanak’s birth, but ideologically its origins may well he traced in the twelfth century, when the celebrated poet Jaidev and Sufi saint Sheikh Farid flourished on the soil of India. Their hymns find a place of honour in the Guru Granth, compiled in 1604.” 

“The fact that Oamkar in the Mantra is preceded by I (one) shows that in spite of the many-ness of the revealed world, its oneness is not to be lost sight of. It is rnonistic in character, though pluralistic in content. It is many, yet one.” 

“In this “I-Thou” relationship of love between man and God, the pole of human love is expressed in terms of loving devotion, and the other pole, of God’s love for man, in terms of his Grace.”

 “On one side is bhakti or loving devotion, on the other side is• moral act. Both are complementary to each other; both taken together constitute the make-up of ideal person of the Guru’s conception. Gurbani commends the blending of simran and voluntary service called seva; both are essential for a balanced life.” 

“The Sikh ideal of salvation is jivan-mukti which is composed of two components—’jivan’ (life) and ‘mukti’ (emancipation). It refers to the highest spiritual state of the individual, in tune with the Ultimate and at peace with human society. One. who attains to such a state of liberation in his or her lifetime, is called jivan-mukta.”,

“The foremost was the institution of Guruship itself. The second was langar or the community kitchen serviced by the Guru’s disciples for the benefit of visitors and inmates alike. Another was sangat: or congregation of the Guru’s followers sitting in audience  and singing hymns to the accompaniment of music (kirtan).”

Gurbani also refers to kings (patshahs), but indication of panchayati raj and spirit of democracy is available in plenty. It clearly says—”Takht bahai takhta ki layik”—that is, a ruler should occupy the throne only if he is qualified and deserves to do so. Guru Arjan Dev refers to the ideal state which guarantees comfort and welfare of the people, calling it ‘Halemi Raj’. Sense of humility and justice are its hall-mark.”

“Faith in God to the exclusion of concern for man has never been the forte of the Sikh.”

“Spiritualism has value, not for God, but for man.”

if ethico-spiritual is one major theme of the thought-content of Gurbani, socio-cultural is the other. Both share a common objective, namely, welfare of man.”