GURU NANAK’S FIVE TEACHINGS
Guru Nanak stressed on the internal piety and ethical side of life by the removal of the inner filth. The sacred teachings for the Sikhs consists of virtues of truth, contentment, compassion, faith in the existence of God, and fortitude with humility, which he advised the Brahmin as his sacred and religious thread in Raag Asa:
ਦਇਆ ਕਪਾਹ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੂਤੁ ਜਤੁ ਗੰਢੀ ਸਤੁ ਵਟੁ ॥ਏਹੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਹਈ ਤ ਪਾਡੇ ਘਤੁ ॥ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਤੁਟੈ ਨ ਮਲੁ ਲਗੈ ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਜਲੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਗੁ ਨ ਤੁਟਈ ਜੇ ਤਗਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੋਰੁ ॥ ਦਰਗਹ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਤਗੁ ਨ ਤੂਟਸਿ ਪੂਤ ॥ Ḏa¨i¨ā kapāh sanṯokẖ sūṯ jaṯ gandẖī saṯ vat. Ėhu janė¨ū jī¨a kā ha¨ī ṯa pādė gẖaṯ. Nā ėhu ṯutai nā mal lagai nā ėhu jalai na jā¨ė.Nānak ṯag na ṯut¨ī jė ṯag hovai jor. Ḏargeh anḏar pā¨ī¨ai ṯag na ṯūtas pūṯ.
Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, modesty the knot and truth the twist. This is the sacred thread of the conscience. If you have such a thread, then go ahead and put it on me. It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, and it cannot be burnt, or lost. O, Nanak, the thread would not break, if it had any real strength. Such a sacred thread is worn in the Court of the Akal Purkh; it shall never break. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 471-2, 8 & 9
These five virtues need to be developed, and one has to lead a virtuous life, thereby resulting in earning the profits (ਖੇਪ), which are rewarded in the next life in the court of the Akal Purkh. The following five teachings were bestowed on humanity by Guru Nanak. 1. Truth;
One must make an honest attempt to live the life of Truth on daily basis. Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered a supreme reality. Truth is the ultimate meaning and value of existence. The study of Truth is part of epistemology and philosophy. While falsehood is an offensive weapon, truth is a defensive armor.
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥ ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ Kaho Nānak sacẖ ḏẖi¨ā¨ī¨ai, Sucẖ hovai ṯā sacẖ pā¨ī¨ai.
Says Nanak, meditate on the True Akal Purkh, and if you have an inner purity, you will obtain the It, that is the Truth. -----Guru Nanak Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 472-3 & 4 2. Contentment;
it can not be developed until truth has been lived in. It is a sense of gratification, satisfaction, and pleasure but it is a rare commodity today. Contentment is seldom achieved, for we never seem to have enough or the things do not satisfy us for long. It represents a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be. Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/spiritual-articles/24357-guru-nanaks-five-teachings.html
ਬਿਨਾ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਊ ਰਾਜੈ ॥ ਸਪੁਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਬਿ੍ਥੇ ਸਭ ਕਾਜੈ ॥ Binaa Santokh Nahee Ko-oo Raajai, Supan Manorath Birithay Sabh Kaajai.
Without contentment, no one is satisfied. Like the objects in a dream, all of one’s efforts are in vain. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 279-2 3. Compassion;
it is a sense of shared suffering which is often accompanied with a desire to alleviate or reduce such suffering. Compassion is showing special kindness to those who suffer. It is empathy, not sympathy. It only comes in after living the truth and development of contentment, where as one identifies with another person. It shows an understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives. Compassion is the highest vibration of the elastic relative Law of Tolerance, under the Principle of Equilibrium.
ਸਬਦੰ ਰਤੰ ਹਿਤੰ ਮਇਆ ਕੀਰਤੰ ਕਲੀ ਕਰਮ ਕ੍ਰਿਤੁਆ ॥ ਮਿਟੰਤਿ ਤਤ੍ਰਾਗਤ ਭਰਮ ਮੋਹੰ ॥ Sabdann Ratann Hitann Miaya Keertann Kalee Karam Kritu-aa, mitant tatraagat bharam mohaN.
In the dark age of Kali Yoga, to be imbued with the word of God is a most worthwhile virtue. Singing the kirtan of the Akal Purkh’s praises is an equally worthwhile action. If one is attuned to the Word of the Sabd and is kind and compassionate, he is on his way to eradicate his inner doubts, whereby his emotional attachments to worldly feelings are sundered.-----Guru Arjan, Sloke Sahskirtee, AGGS, Page, 1354-11 4. Dharma;
There is only one faith of righteousness on this earth. It is to obey the eternal laws of Mother Nature honestly and truthfully. This broadly refers to a universal value system. It should become an individual's internal "law." One must obey this law, if he desires to live in accordance with the Divine Will also called righteousness, being just and impartial.
ਅਮੁਲੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ॥ Amul Dharam Amul Deebaan.
Priceless is the Divine Law of Righteousness, Priceless is the Divine Court of Justice. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 5-17 5. Fortitude;
it is a moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in one’s moral life. It is persistence in the face of the overwhelming odds. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death. With it, one can face all trials and persecutions. It disposes one to even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.
ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡੋ ਕਿਉ ਬਾਂਧਉ ਉਧੀਰਾ ॥ ਰੋਗੁ ਬੁਝੈ ਸੋ ਕਾਟੈ ਪੀਰਾ ॥ Roug Vadou Keo Bandhou Dheera, Roug Bujhai So Katai Peera.
The disease is so deadly; how can I find the courage? Akal Purkh knows my disease, and only It can take away the pain. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Basant, AGGS, Page, 1189-6 Conclusion:
Guru Nanak’s five teachings have to adorn the thread of humility to make it sacred for the Sikhs. This seems to be one of the main deficiencies in the Sikh character at the present. He summarizes the qualities of character in the last pauri (38) of his Japji. The word humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness and it is derived from the Latin word humilitas or, from humus, i.e. the earth that is beneath us and lies under our feet. Water is even humbler. It rests below the earth and low lands but rises under pressure in the fountains, says Bhai Gurdas in his Vaars. Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all possible changes in life. Pride is concerned with who is right; humility is concerned with what is right. Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes as long as one makes amends for them. It is vain to gather virtues without humility. This is because the spirit of God delighteth to dwell in the hearts of the humble. No one will learn anything at all, unless one first learns humility. Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve. Nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24357
Humility is not thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less.
They who persevere in a humble attitude reach God's highest pinnacles.
ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਜੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਨੀਚਾ ॥ ਸੋਊ ਗਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਚਾ ॥ Aapas Ka-o Jo Jaanai Neechaa, So-oo Ganee-ai Sabh Tay Oochaa.
One who sees himself as lowly shall be counted amongst the highest of all. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 266-7
Virinder S. Grewal