When Guru Nanak came to this world, paths to enlightenment were devoid of divinity; they were completely distorted towards unholy goals of the exploiters of people.
A class of religious leaders routinely concocted religious practices to thrust on people to serve many unholy interests. These interests were mutually supportive and were successful in designing a variety of concealed tricks to fool people who were seeking salvation.
The religious institutions had devised beauty shows with religious practices that were intended to attract innocent minds. For example, they invented deities with accompanying stories, idols with descriptions of their powers, recitations to invoke imaginary deities, and rituals that buttressed each other. They asked people to erect stunning buildings to house god and promised accessibility to gods at precise times and places opened only through expense of wealth, time, and inner energy. Altruism was made so that it only benefited clerics and clergy.
Many other tricks were implemented to speed a religion’s institutional agenda. For example, miracles were invented to convert people and influence human behaviors. The religious myths were invented to answer real questions and then safeguarded those miracles and myths by un-testable threats and promises.
Religious institutions built cults of external marks and body wrappings to encourage murders and wars against those who did not tow the line, or who were members of competing religions. People were asked to invest massive amount of money, time, and mind in ritualistic illusions and also in corrupted beliefs such as, either converting others or serving clergy with wealth or flesh would guarantee heavens no one had ever seen. Above all, they used horrific fears to ensure compliance of all their tricks.
Guru Nanak came out of his enlightening meditation at the Veeni River with fervent zeal to spread what he said was inspiration from the ONE Creator. He then taught that human life was a result of the millions of years of history and the experience from numerous life cycles of birth and death.
This history manifested in the human mind and body as the warehouse of primitive and corrupted instincts all inherited from plant and animal life. They become the basis of five inner evils (lust, resentment, insatiability, attachment, and ego). Upon birth into the human form the animalistic instincts are reinforced by illusions created by self-serving materialistic cultures on one hand and the ethnic religiosity promoted by selfish clerics on the other hand. As a result the human life is mislead.
The mislead life in the human form continues to endure pains and sufferings, but at the same time its divine inner self longs for a salvation and unity with Cosmos.
Guru Nanak taught that suffering comes from enslavement of five inner evils or vices: lust, resentment, insatiability, addicting attachment and false ego. Conquering them with the sword of knowledge and discipline, and seeking of enlightenment through contemplation of the Divine, brings freedom from suffering. It will lead to achievement of a timeless bliss.
Nanak’s first pronouncement is enshrined in the first verse of the Sikh scripture. In Roman alphabet, it reads:
“Ik Onkar satnam karta purakh nirbhau nirvair akal murat ajuni saibhang gurprasad.”
It may be explained as follows:
There is one eternal reality that manifests in the creation, embodying the Infinite Wisdom in the universe to give it the format of One Spirit One World. One spirit and one unified world form the basis of unity among all humans; we may experience God by experiencing that unity in the blue-print of His creation.
In God alone can we transcend the divisions inherent in our separatist attitudes of “mine” and “yours,” “us” and “them,” “we” and “others.”
The God permeating in its creation may be seen as the soul within all of us, which gives us an identity of eternal truth to liberate every human from the transient identities given for worldly chores.
Guru Nanak urged humanity to meditate on God’s attributes of creativity, fearlessness, devoid of animosity or negativity towards others, freedom from time and mind cycles, and a mind of gratitude and grace.
The idea is that if we meditate towards emulating divine attributes in our mind and behaviors, we would become god-like, awakened, liberated and productive.
Guru Nanak claimed that there was no religion that God would patronize. Each disciple of spirituality may seek guidance from the enlightened messengers and work out his/her own patterns of religious practices to calm down the mind and insure suitable paths of salvation.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-gurus/23680-guru-nanaks-gift-to-humanity.html
In Nanak’s religion, the company of enlightened people will facilitate the journey to salvation. No deities, mythical stories, hidden powers, or other misleading tricks of organized religions would be desired for spiritual attainments.
Guru Nanak advocated the institution of spirituality in earthly practices, all seeking the divinity in daily practices (naam) and leading a life that shared one’s possessions with others (daan). He felicitated experience of divinity at every moment and in every act of life in order to inculcate cleansing acts that purify the heart (isnaan).
It has been over five centuries that Guru Nanak walked on this earth. Let us examine today how prepared are we to accept his light.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=23680
The author is a professor of pharmacology and chairman of that department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. He is also a recipient of an honorary doctoral degree in literature from Guru Nanak Dev University in Punjab. Harbans Lal lives in Arlington, Texas, and can be reached at Japji08@yahoo.com