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Basics of Sikhism Revisited

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Taranjeet singh, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    Three pillars of Sikhism

    The Three Pillars of Sikhism were formalised by Guru Nanak as:


    1. The Guru led the Sikhs directly to practise Simran and Naam Japna—meditation on God and reciting and chanting of God’s Name—Waheguru. The Sikh is to recite the Nitnem banis daily in remembrance of the grace and kirpa of the Almighty.
    2. He asked the Sikhs to live as householders and practise Kirat Karni: to honestly earn by one's physical and mental effort, while accepting God's gifts and blessing. One is to speak the truth at all times and only fear God. Live a life of decency, high moral values and spirituality.
    3. The Sikhs were asked to share their wealth within the community by practising Vand Chakkō—“Share and Consume together”. The community or Sadh Sangat is an important part of Sikhism. One must be part of a community that is pursuing the values set out by the Sikh Gurus and every Sikh has to give in whatever way possible to the community. This spirit of Giving is an important message from Guru Guru Nanak.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_pillars_of_Sikhism
     
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    #1 Taranjeet singh, Dec 5, 2011
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  3. Archived_Member16

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    With Divine Love & Blessings of Waheguru Ji:

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Taranjeetji

    As you know, I hold you in the highest regard, however I am not sure I agree with these as pillars.

    1. I think this is a personal practice, and there has been debate on this already, but calling it a pillar is giving it a lot of importance.
    2. I do not fear God, why would I want to do that? That means everything I do is born out of fear of God, I find that a very Abrahamic position, The only sentence that should contain the words God and fear, in my view, is the sentence 'I Fear being without God', other than that God is inside us all, how can we fear a part of us?
    3. There is nothing bad to be said about this pillar, but where is the importance of practical Sikhism, where is the importance of wisdom and knowledge through study and implementation?

    I think to condense Sikhism into the above 3 pillars does not do the religion justice

    my own thoughts, apologies for any offence
     
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  5. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Nitnem talks about the Amrit Vela hours, evening and night. What about rest of the day? That is what forms the Naam Japna and Simran. Like you are waiting for the bus at the stop, what are you thinking? You can worry about stuff or blame someone, or you can think about Waheguru.

    These small idle moments of the brain are generally wasted, and once you start focussing on Waheguru (requires lot of effort) you feel better. Slowly your Simran in these small fillers will expand to other activities. Chances are the bus will come, you will board it and get off some other stop, you are still doing Simran.

    With time, you will understand how to be in Simran mode 24x7. You will realize the universe reverberating with Waheguru, for that is what your heart, mind, soul and ears want to listen. You will find faintly recognizable Waaahe-Guroooooo when you breathe in and breathe out. You will be sleeping in the train and the sound of the wheels on the tracks would sound like Waheguru repeated infinitely.
     
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  6. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Kanwaljit Singh ji isn't the following characterized as Hallucinations,

    I know one can say these will be positive in a way but it is Hallucination. Simply meaning hearing or feeling what you want to versus what is!

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  7. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Yes I know it sounds weird when you say it like hearing what you want vs what is. I believe I wanted to say what you are reminded of.
     
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  8. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    I had started this thread so that one may form a view about sikhi and re visit the thread in case of doubt. The first post was taken from 'wikipedia' , a neutral source for reporting matters and things stated therein. It is open for editing by anyone. If one feels strongly that sikhi is not about this and the some additions are required one is free to edit the page and spread the message. I refrain from doing so as it makes sense to let the traditional way of expressions not be disturbed. There would many posts , I believe, that would be available on SPN that would be speak sikhi in same format i.e three pillars of sikhi.

    Dear Harry ji..kindly refer to the speech of Mr. Tejwant ji that was posted on this very forum about few days ago. He also talks of three tenets instead of three pillars. It is in his first minute of speech.

    I think you are right in saying this that sikhi cannot be condensed in the three points only and would require further elaboration. I tend to agree with you here and feel almost the same. Sikhism may be very vast and teachings of Gurus cannot be summed up in few points.
    For me , personally speaking, entire Guru Granth sahib ji is a 'Naam guide. Nitnem is to be performed with full understanding of Bani. It should not be reading only that I used to do few years back.

    Regarding points at 1 and 2 , it is , I presume, your view point and each one of us has right to have . One should , however, refer to Rehat and to the bani before further indulgence. In case something gives rise to argument , it is always preferable to avoid the same.I appreciate the eloquence you are blessed with.

    In continuation with the post at 1, I post the following:
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->
    Sikh beliefs
    [Source: Wikipedia]

    The sikh gurus tell us that our mind is constantly being attacked by the Five Evils (or Five Thieves); Kam (Lust), Krodh (Rage), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment) and Ahankar (Ego).

    A Sikh needs to overcome these five vices.1

    The Sikh Gurus taught the Sikhs to develop and harness the Five Virtues which lead the soul closer to God and away from evil. These are Sat (Truth), Daya (Compassion), Santokh (Contentment), Nimrata (Humility) and Pyare (Love).

    Beliefs

    1) One Source
    One God is the Creator of the Universe
    2) Equality
    Ø All human beings are equal
    Ø People of all religions and races are welcome in Sikh Gurdwaras
    Ø Women have equal status with men in religious services and ceremonies
    3) Human Life Precious Above Other Life
    Ø The human life is supreme and it is through this life that we can achieve oneness with God's will.
    Ø Finding God in this life and living by his commands helps us to attain God's mercy.
    4) Defending Against Injustice
    Sikhs are a peace loving people and stand for Truth and Justice
    Guru Gobind Singh Ji said, "It is right to use force as a last resort when all other peaceful means fail."

    There would be many other beliefs of Sikhs. It is not possible to encapsulate these in a small write up. Concepts are built up gradually in this thread over passage of time and as per convenience.

    The post would need 'text' formation.

    Adopted from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh_beliefs

    <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%">
    1. Sri Granth Sahib page 1389 http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?Action=Page&Param=1389&english=t&id=59169#l59169
     
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    #7 Taranjeet singh, Dec 6, 2011
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  9. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Taranjeet ji thanks for your posts.

    I read that you want changes in Wiki in respect to the entries. Why not take the opportunity to do so in this thread. Perhaps we can all chip in and then Wiki could be updated by yourself, don't be shy, make a name and be a proud Sikh.
    I appreciate the thrust of your posting. Sikhism is simple and the message is also pretty simple. We need to keep it so.

    Sat Sri Akal.

    PS: Please confirm if you are man/women as I like to address you as Veer/Bhain sometimes. It sounds very endearing to me when I do so.
     
  10. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    Hello Ambarsari ji,

    In our parts it is considered that impromptu remarks are made by drunken oafish ox. Further that such out of context remarks are not to be attended to. We in judiciary follow this as well.

    But you appear to be a fairly sensible person. You can yourself find out as to when intrusion is welcome or otherwise. Anyways, you have wanted to know some thing that is personal. It is neither mandatory for me nor directory to reply to such a query. You may continue to address me the way you have done. It is o.k.

    Regarding your 'chipping in' please do the chirping and chipping both. I can accommodate both and if that you have 'chipped in' is found up to the mark we can decide mutually to post it on wiki.
     
  11. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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  12. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    Post Linked to Post 8

    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> KAM (Skt. kdmd), meaning desire, longing, concupiscence, sensuality or lasciviousness, is counted among the five cardinal sins or sinful propensities. In common usage, the term stands for passion for sexual pleasure and it is in this sense that it is considered an evil in Sikhism. In Brahrnanical literature kdm is not always disdained. Kam as Kamadeva is a god in the Hindu pantheon comparable to Eros of Greek mythology and Cupid of the Romans, and is as such not contradictory to spiritual life.


    Kdm (gratification of desire) is in Hinduism one of the four objectives {purusdrthas) of human life, the other three being artha (acquirement of wealth), dharma (discharge of duty), and moksa (final emancipation).Jainism and Buddhism, which arose as protest movements against Brahrnanical ritualism and superstition, however looked upon often with horror. For munis and sramanas of Jainism and Buddhism and for yogis of the Sarikhya school, kdmwas to be deliberately suppressed to achieve ultimate release. As a result, they preached celibacy and asceticism.

    The Gurus rejected Brahrnanical superstition as well as self mortifying austerities. Yet they recognized the four purusdrlhas, referred to in gurbdm as char paddraths or the four human pursuits. However, in Sikhism kdm is not unrestricted gratification of carnal desires, but an impulse which needs to be kept under check like other impulses and passions.Unrestrained propensity towards kdm, especially sexual relationship outside the marital bond, is condemned in the strongest terms in Sikh codes of conduct as well as in the Scripture. It is a destructive evil and a deadly sin.

    To quote Guru Arjan, Guru Nanak V: "0 Kam, thou landest people in hell and makest them wander through many births, entieest all minds, swayest all the three worlds and undoest one`s meditation, austerities and restraint. The pleasure is ephemeral and thou afflietest high and low alike" (GG, 1358). Guru Tcgh Bahadur, Guru Nanak IX, says: "In the sinning heart reigns kdm and the fickle mind breaks out of control. Kdm casts its noose even upon yogis, jangams and sannydsis.

    Only those imbued with God`s Name (fall not a prey to it) and are able to go across the ocean of existence" (GG, 1186). Bhai Gurdas describes an ideal Sikh as one who is loyal to his wife and "regards all other women as mothers, sisters and daughters" {Varan, XXIX. 11). Guru Gobind Singh also said: "Love your own wedded wife ever so more, but do not go to another woman`s bed even in a dream."

    Sikh codes of conduct strictly prohibit extramarital relations. While prescribing self control and restraint and not total annihilation of kdm, the Gurus suggested two ways of channelizing and sublimating it.

    On the one hand, they pronounced grihaslha or married life to be the ideal one, and, on the other laid down love of God and absorption in His Name as the essential principle of spiritual discipline. Says Guru Gobind Singh, "Hear ye all, I proclaim here the truth: only they who love God find Him." The image of a devotee most common in Sikh Scripture is one of a wife deeply in love with her kani or husband presently separated from him, and waiting, craving, praying for a reunion with him. Such fervent devotion cannot but bridle the wayward passion in man. According to Guru Arjan, a person who has cultivated the love of the Lord`s feel would desire neither kingship, nor worldly power, nor even mukli or liberation (GG, 534).




    Source

    http://www.thesikhencyclopedia.com/philosophy/kam
     
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  13. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    KRODH (Ski. krodh(i) or wrath is an emotion recognised in the Sikh system as a spring of co-nation and is as such counted as one of the Five Evils. It expresses itself in several forms from silent sullenness to hysterical tantrums and violence.

    Krodh (ire) is the direct progeny of kdm (desire). The latter when thwarted or jilted produces the former.

    The Scripture also counts krodh (or its synonym kop) among the four rivers of fire. "Violence, attachment, covetousness and wrath," says Guru Nanak "are like four rivers of fire; those who fall in them burn, and can swim across, 0 Guru Nanak, only through God`s grace" (GG, M7).Elsewhere he says, "Kdm and krodh dissolve the body as borax melts gold" (GG, 932). Guru Arjan, Guru Nanak V, censures krodh in these words:


    "O krodh, thou enslavcs sinful men and then cap crest around them like an ape. In thy company men become base and arc punished variously by Death`s messengers.

    The Merciful God, the Eradicator of the sufferings of the humble, O Guru Nanak, alone saveth all" (GG, 1358). Guru Ram Das, Guru Nanak IV, warns:
    "Do not go near those who are possessed by wrath uncontrollable` (GG, 10).


    Krodh is to be vanquished and eradicated. This is done through humility and firm faith in the Divine. Guru Arjan`s prescription:

    "Do not be angry with any one; search your own self and live in the world with humility. Thus, O Guru Nanak, you may go across (the ocean of existence) under God`s grace" (GG, 259).


    Shaikh Found, a thirteenth century Muslim saint whose compositions arc preserved in the Sikh Scripture, says in one of his couplets:


    "O Farid, do good to him who hath done thee evil and do not nurse anger in thy heart; no disease will then afflict thy body and all felicities shall be thine" (GG, 138182).


    Righteous indignation against evil, injustice and tyranny is, however, not to be equated with krodh as an undesirable passion. Several hymns in the Guru Granlh Sahib, particularly those by Guru Nanak and Kabir, express in strong terms their disapproval of the corruption of their day.

    References :
    1. Sabadmih Sri Guru Granth Sahib fi. Amrksar, 1964
    2. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Gurmat Nirnaya. Ludhiana, 1932
    3. Sher Singli, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Laliore, 1944
    4. Avtar Singh, Ethics of the Sikhs. Patiala, 1970
    5. Nirbhai Singh, Philosophy of Sikhism. Delhi, 1990


    http://www.thesikhencyclopedia.com/philosophy/krodh

    Note: Some lines with spellings mistakes that would have created confusion are removed. One may kindly like to refer the Source as well. There may be some mistakes in the above. Readers may ignore spelling mistakes if the essence is clear. One may also like to check the Ang Nos
     
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  14. Ambarsaria

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    Taranjeet Singh ji thanks for your post.

    Here in lies the issue. The two elements of 1 an 2 as identified are far too subjective. Most Parchariks in Gurdwaras only mention 1 as the thing to eradicate. Very little is talked about in terms of 2.

    Further issue about 2 is that it is self subjective in every moment of our lives. It is not that you go to a "Krodh" expert to see if your every instant of "Krodh" is a valid one.

    Hence I believe it is the "Moderation" or "Balance" of "Krodh" that needs to be emphasized and it has a better chance of differentiation development between 1 and 2.

    Same goes for virtually all "Five Thieves" as identified.

    You may also want to capture this in the five thieves thread below,

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/leisure/37128-what-do-the-five-thieves-steal.html

    Any comments.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  15. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Taranjeet Singh ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Here is my 2 cent worth.

    You write:

    Yes and no. First wrath is a strong word for anger or it depends on the degree of anger to make it wrath. In the Bible, it says that their God is wrathful,vengeful and angry.

    Anger is good if controlled as other 5 thieves. One should get angry at oneself when one has made a mistake. It can become a learning tool rather than when spewed at others.

    I disagree. Krodh may have many causes eg Power, mistakes made, short temper etc. etc.

    Yes. All it means is that it can be controlled because SGGS, our only Guru gives us the tools how to.

    Yes. Here lies the remedy.

    I am sorry, I could not find the above pangti on page 10. Need help.

    I disagree. Krodh is never vanquished and eradicated nor it should be because it can be used for positive things as mentioned above. Hence, it is called one of the five thieves which should be lassoed with the help of Gurbani.

    I agree, all these are remedies prescribed by our SGGS and this is what I mentioned before that Krodh can be helpful for us to become better Sikhs.

    Thanks for the great effort.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh.
     
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  16. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    "I disagree. Krodh is never vanquished and eradicated nor it should be because it can be used for positive things as mentioned above. Hence, it is called one of the five thieves which should be lassoed with the help of Gurbani.""

    Lassoed and its strength to be made use of ,by assisting in logistics
     
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  17. Ambarsaria

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    Harry Haller veer ji thanks for your post.

    Is it not common knowledge how even thieves do good work while in prison. Like making license plates, doing handy helping tasks in community, etc. lol. Who will do this if such were eradicated? :mundabhangra:

    Eradication is an emphasis of some bad parchariks as this is a formula and a story that will never fail in time and the money will keep filling their pockets. It is much harder to preach control and subduing.

    Sat Sri Akal. mundahug
     
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  18. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    SYNOPSIS
    The colour most people like best is the colour of money. One can put a price on the principles held by such individuals. It is only those with inner-spiritual strength that are successfully able to resist the onslaught of greed. Guru Gobind Singh Ji by injecting the spirit through ‘khandey de pahul’ spurred his Sikhs to lay down their lives to uphold their principles. The offers of wealth and jannat by the Moghul oppressors held no sway. Read on how Greed can disrupt our spiritual journey and the remedies to overcome it.
    LOBH
    by Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’

    WHAT IS LOBH?
    Lobh may be defined as an incessant tendency towards gaining worldly possessions and wealth. Such obsession in one simple word is ‘greed’. This constant propensity towards materialistic values is fuelled by avarice for things that are not really necessary for leading a normal life, a life based on decent values and honest living.

    The driving force behind a greedy person‘s intention is the desire for attention, comfort and in some cases power. Greed knows no limits. The abyss of greed is bottomless. A greedy person is always hungry for more wealth and never achieves contentment (bina santokh nahin ko raja - M: 5 - GGS 279). Greed renders the person’s life worthless.

    ahinis aodhghatai nahee jaanai bhaio lobh sang hauraa (M: 9 - GGS 220).

    The greedy person does not see that his life is decreasing as each day passes by. Greed has rendered his spiritual progress weak and worthless.

    LOBH AND LIFESTYLE

    Unless one is born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth most of us do not want more from life apart from loving parents (which is a blessing in itself) a happy childhood and a stable family life. As we grow older we become world-wise and often get corrupted by the worldly values we pick up from people surrounding us. This has a direct impact on our attitude towards our later life. Our earlier years, therefore, have a great impact in moulding our characters. Broadly three main types of persons emerge.


    1. The first type is a person who develops a habit of only taking. He never believes in giving anything. It is just take and seek for more. Such a person is utterly selfish and lives only for himself and those he may call his.He either does very little or what he does is purely driven by self-interest.


    2. The second type, whilst taking from life also believes in giving something back to society. Often he will give with expectation of a return. This person tries to balance things up. He looks upon life as a ‘give and take’ affair more like a trade or a barter system; he works hard for the comforts of life but also contributes to society for the amenities he enjoys such as a good environment and a welfare system.


    3. The third type is a noble soul who is always looking to help people and society. He is always engaged in thinking of ways how he may acquit himself with honour and grace, A charitable person who gives without reservation, without expecting anything in return. Needless to say this kind of a person belongs to the rare species. But there are many more such souls than we think; kind and noble people who maintain a balance between good and evil on this earth, Such a type of person will often sacrifice his self interest for the benefit of society. Philosophers, saints, thinkers and reformers belong to this category.


    The intensity of greed varies from person to person. The first two types experience a greater degree of greed than the third.

    In the first category mentioned above we find individuals ranging from drifters and scroungers at the lower end (for example people ‘milking’ the social welfare system) to people going to any lengths to secure wealth (serious fraudsters and criminals) forming the upper end. There is little chance for people of such inclinations to rise above their worldly needs towards spiritual development. They are quite happy to remain stagnant and entrenched in the lowest strata of spiritual existence(Tammo Gunni).

    In the second category, at the lower end, we find the average householder who strives to run his household but at the same time occasionally gives for good causes. At the upper end are the intensely ambitious individuals who would go to any lengths to get what they want but at the same time will also contribute to society, which may or may not be their primary aim. Professionals and politicians are good examples of these. We may refer to this group as ‘rajsi’or‘rajo gunni’ i.e. in the middle strata of spiritual existence. With Guru’s grace some from this group will conquer the five evils and progress to the Satto Gunnistatus i.e. the higher level of spiritual existence. Fewer still may eventually attain ‘Param Pad’(the highest status of spiritual being – the supreme state).

    The third category, of noble souls, is not initially driven by greed. However, success in their pursuits and the adulation of society sometimes awakens ego and they get caught in other negative attributes of the human soul, amongst them greed.If only they could fight off ego, a few from this group shall attain Param Pad.

    But only the chosen few reach the status of a brahmgiani (the highest spiritual accolade). Bhagat Kabir reinforces this view when he says:

    rajj gunntamm gunn sat gunn kahee-aei eh tayree sabhmaaiaa;
    ca*uthey pa ka*o jo nar cīnĥai inĥ hee param pa paeyaa. (Kabir - GGS 1123).

    Rajj Gunn signifies characteristics of energy and activity tainted with worldly attachment and ego; Tamm Gunnrepresents qualities of darkness and spiritual suffocation;Sat (or satto) Gunnembodiesattitudes of tranquility, compassion and charity. However, these are all creations of maya (illusion). Only the man who rises above these three to the Fourth Stage (Param Pad)attains the supreme Spiritual Bliss. Just because a person is in the third category will not automatically confer on him the right to this accolade.

    This view is supported by Guru Amar Das who states that pundits and scholars are not necessarily elevated to Param Pad:

    Par par pandi monee thakey ca*uthey pa kee saar na paavi*aa (M:3GGS 117).

    Reading and reciting, the pundits, the religious scholars,and the silent sages have grown weary, but they have not foundthe supreme essence of the Fourth State.

    CAN LOBH BE JUSTIFIED?

    Perhaps this is the most easily justifiable vice of the ‘five thieves’. Whoever you speak to, will find some reason or excuse for his or her avarice and greed. Typical responses are

    -“We both work because we need to send our child to a private school”.
    -“We need a bigger house since each child needs a separate room“.
    -‘Every time I see someone in a Mercedes,I feel embarrassed driving a Ford focus” – ‘keeping up with the Jones’s syndrome.
    -
    “The standard of living is so high my salary does not stretch far enough. Well I need to entertain friends otherwise I will lose my face“.

    This constant focus on materialistic values drives the individual into a perpetual cycle of‘grab and consume culture. This preoccupation with the materialistic chase takes the person away from activities needed for spiritual development.

    Sikhism does not deny an individual the normal comforts of life. It does not impose a life of sacrifice and austerity. Quite to the contrary Sikhism is against a life of denial, penance, isolation and physical austerities. But the Gurus have been at pains to point out the difference between comforts for a normal life and pure greed for wealth and possessions which are really not necessary for a balanced lifestyle - a balance between personal and family welfare and the good of the society in general. A life which constantly focuses on itself has missed the point and purpose of mortal birth. A person who does not contribute to the well-being of society and people more unfortunate than himself has utterly wasted the opportunity to make the most of his humanly existence.

    Sikh Gurus did not object to a person using his talents and opportunities to acquire fame or wealth provided such fame does not feed ego, and provided such wealth does not corrupt the person’s soul. Success must not stand in the way of good and charitable work.Neither should fame and wealth become an obstacle in that person’s spiritual development. The soul must remain untainted from the adverse affects of success and worldly prosperity. Attachment to wealth and worldly possessions creates a barrier between the individual and his soul. He must be clear in his mind as to the objective of chasing worldly possessions. If the aim is merely to amass wealth and pump up one’s ego than the individual is going to grow further and further away from his quintessence soul. Such ruthless pursuit of materialistic values acts like a poison which will lead to even greater obsession for things that are really not necessary for a meaningful life. This obsession often drives the person to obtain wealth at whatever the costs, resorting to cheating, stealing and forceful grabbing of another’s estate.

    Guru Arjan states:

    lobh bikhi*aa bikhai laagė hir vi chiṯḏukaaee. Khin bhangunaa kai maan maatay asur jaaneh naahee (M: 5 – GGS 408).

    Absorbed in materialistic values and comforts some people hurt others. Driven by greed they even steal and grab from others to appease their immoral leanings. Such egoistic demons little realise that worldly possessions can perish in an instant. Just as too much food weighs on the body excess wealth will weigh on an individual’s soul. Like a climatic fog which forms a screen between the individual and his sight, greed stands as a screen between him and his soul. Such a person will never see inwards, into his soul, but always outwards into the materialistic world. Mind of a greedy person becomes warped. Guru Amar Das observes:

    ma budh bhavee na bujhee anar lobhvikaar (M: 3 - GGS 27).

    The greedy person’s mind is incapable of comprehending the true purpose of life; his thinking is dominated by worldly pleasures.

    A lobhee (greedy person) cannot see beyond his own needs. He is incapable of serving others. He will preach to others but not practice what he preaches. Guru Amar Das Ji endorses this when he says:

    lobhee an ka*o seyvey par veyaa karai pookaar ( M:3 - GGS 30).

    Evil and corrupt people, full of greed, pretend to be religious and display their purity through needless rituals, but inside they are filled with greed, filth and vices (karam ḏẖaram such sanjam karahi anar lobh vikaar – Guru Ram Das: GGS1423)

    Hypocrisy and deception are labelled as evils of this world. People who practice these wander around in confusion(pakhand pakhand kar kar bharmay lobh pakhand jaggburi*aarey - Natt M: 4 – GGS 981).

    Kabir warns that the human body wears away moment by moment and that in old age no one will even pour water in your cup (chhin chhin tan chheejai jaraa janaavai - GGS656). Despite all this, Kabir adds, a man will go to deceitful and hypocritical lengths to acquire wealth to squander on his wife, children and others(baho parpanch kar par dhan liaavai; sutdaaraa peh aan lutaavai–GGS 656).

    There is no doubt that a person has to carry out his householder’s duties but this should be done in an honest and clean manner. Cheating and committing questionable acts on behalf of the family are not recommended as the very people you risk your all will not stand by you in your hour of need.

    Guru Amar Das endorses the above thoughts of Bhagat Kabir when he states:

    deykh kutamb mohi lobhaanaa chaldiaa naal na jaaee (M: 3 – GGS 32).

    You allow yourself to be drawn into emotional attachment to your family but none of them will go along with youin the end.

    Why then must the jeeva (human being) engross himself in pursuits which will not benefit him in the end? Such actions will only bind his soul more and more into futile activities. Guru Tegh Bahadur ji leaves one in no doubt when he says that lalach (greed) leads a person astray:

    bhoolio man maaiaa urjhaaio. Jo jo karam keeo laalach lag tih tih aap bandhaaio (GGS 702).

    Your mind has strayed from the True Path, being engrossed in maya (greed, attachment}. Your acts in the pursuit of greed have only served to bind you down further (in the world of greed and attachment).

    PRE-ACT INTENTION AND POST-ACT APPLICATION

    Many people will ask whether accumulating wealth is greed. This is a good question, since it is not always right to jump to a conclusion. However, a further question needs to be asked here. What is the purpose of accumulating wealth? Is it for the welfare of family, society or is it for a charitable purpose? All of these causes may justify the need to create wealth. But if it is only for the purpose of boosting ego or the desire to show off (pre-act intention)then it is pure greed. Some people may have even sinister reasons for accumulating wealth as it helps in buying power. More than often such people abuse power; they use it for manipulating society for their own ends(post-act application).

    Greed may occur at community, national or even international level. One country builds up power to suppress or invade another. Most of us have seen this in our own lifetimes on several occasions. Some people even don on the garb of piety as a cover for evil and corrupt activities.

    karam dharam such sanjam karahi antar lobh vikaar (M: 3 - GGS 1423).

    We see hypocrisy and pretense of religious rituals to prove piety and maryada (religious discipline) but in realty these people are filled with greed and are corrupt to the core.

    EFFECT OF GREED ON THE SOUL

    Greed has a bad effect on a person’s sensitivity. He does not think twice about slandering a fellow human being. All he is interested is in self-interest even when it is to be achieved by hurting others. He becomes stone-hearted; devoid of feeling and sensitivity(Nar ninak lobee man kaṯẖor – Guru Nanak: GGS 1170). The greedy person forgets the real purpose of this mortal life; he gets entangled in the web of greed (Karo huo so nā kī*o pari*o lob kai fanḏẖ - Guru Tegh Bahadur: GGS 1428).


    Greed in turn breeds egotism which can only lead to pain and utter darkness in the end, says Guru Nanak (Lab lobahankaar so peeraa - GGS 414)

    The manmukh and the greedy can never achieve mokash. His hypocritical and self-centred approach to life will cloud his vision. He will forever wander in duality. In the ocean of life’s strife and karma the waves of greed will weigh heavily on the soul’s boat which will eventually sink (manmuk pakand baram vigūė lob lahar naav baar buda*eeaa -Guru Ram Das: GGS 834).

    The greedy person will never find peace. Greed leads to corruption and consequences of corruption are well known to most of us. This path leads to anguish and misery. Guru Amar Das proclaims “Without the Lord’s name no one has ever found peace. The attraction of maya will only entrap you further leading to greater pain and misery” (doojai kinai suk na paa*i*o piraa jeeo biki*aa lob lubaa*ey– GGS 246).

    A greedy person, caught in his egotism, is incapable of distinguishing between falsehood and righteous living.

    karam na jaaaaḏẖaram na jaaaa lobee maa*i*aa-ḏẖaae.
    I do not know about karma and good deeds; I do not know about Dharma and righteous living. I am so greedy, chasing after Maya(M: 5 - GGS 624).

    The message from Guru Amar Das leaves one in no doubt of the fate that meets the greedy person “Black are the faces of greedy people. They waste away their lives and leave in disgrace” (muh kaaleinH lobeeaan jaasan janam gavaaeye - GGS 1417).

    REMEDIES


    How do we curb the desire for unnecessary materialistic things which may or may not enrich our earthly lives but which will definitely not help our progression towards the merger with the Universal Soul? We can start with an attempt to subdue this passion for greed.

    Regular meditation

    Regular meditation keeps the mind in check and is a constant reminder of the true purpose of life.


    The Shabad represents Lord’s Bani, being the best utterances a person can make. Always sing them, listen to them, and read them, O brother, and the Perfect Guru shall save you (parabh banee sabad subhaakhiaa; gaavhu sunhu parhahu nitbhaaee gur poorai too raakhiaa M: 5 – GGS 611).

    The waves of greed and avarice are subdued, by treasuring the Lord's Name in the mind (lab lob lahar nivaaraaʼn har naam raas manaʼnM: 1- GGS 506).

    Utterance of Guru’s Shabad will drive away greed. Falsehood will banish and you shall obtain the true fruit (Guru Nanak – GGS 598). Intuitive wisdom will set in and the filth of greed shall depart.

    Nurture humility and keep good company

    Humility is the hallmark of the House of Guru Nanak. It is the paramount objective of every Sikh (Amritdhari or Sehajdhari) to nurture this. The system (maryada) installed by the Sikh Gurus in the functioning of Gurdwaras facilitates the process of developing humility. The tradition of langar assists in instilling the spirit of sewa and a feeling of equality amongst members of the congregation. Guru Amar Das, the Third Guru Nanak, himself wrote and put up a notice proclaiming: ‘Pehaley pangat paachai sangat’ (sacramental food before congregation). This automatically ensures all would sit together and eat the sacramental food (Guru’s langar) without distinction of a person's worldly caste or status. Regular visits to the Gurdwara offer the privilege of saadh sangat (the company of persons attuned to Guru’s teachings).

    It is a well known fact that a person is known by the company he keeps. Obviously one cannot be choosy about colleagues at work and close relatives – these are fete accompli situations. However, a person is free to make choices as regards who he socialises with. There are those who always look at people above their station in life and not the ones below. There is nothing wrong with that provided the general approach is to improve one’s own status by hard work and talent. But to look this from the point of view of wealth will only nurture greed. Such people can never be charitable as they are incapable of looking at people below them. Such people lack compassion and are only driven by greed. Company of this group of people is to be avoided since greed is just as infectious as any tropical disease.As far as humanly possible do not trust greedy people advises Guru Amar Das (Lobhee kaa vesaahu na keejai jey kaa paar vasaa*ey -
    GGS 1417). Instead seek the company of people with compassion, those who want to contribute towards the well-being of society and not just line up their own pockets.

    Sewa – Serving humanity – Charity

    Ego and humility are the opposites. Only the most blessed ever get rid of ego. However, a person’s lifestyle can have great influence on reducing ego. There is no better way than making efforts to serve the humanity(Sewa). Sikh Gurus have laid great emphasis on this aspect of a Sikh’s life. The communal kitchen (langer) mentioned above not only puts all on the same platform but also offers the opportunity to actively participate in the activity be it cooking, serving, washing utensils or other organisational roles involved in running the noble tradition of langar.

    A Sikh is expected to contribute regularly to good causes, amongst which is a contribution towards the successful operation of Sikh Gurdwaras. In the times of the living Sikh Gurus the tradition of dasbandh was introduced equivalent to the Christian’s tithe. This was ofcourse an essential part of building a nation whose prime objective was to serve humanity in every way possible. But above all Guru Gobind Singh stressed that helping the meek was even more important than giving to the Guru. He said “garib daa moohn meri golak” - literally translated this means that the mouth of the poor is my kitty.

    Pre-act intention and post-act application

    Before embarking upon a lucrative activity question the objective and the end result. If this isonly to serve your own whimsical interests than it is greed. However, if this for the betterment of your career and the development of your talents than share your rewards with people more unfortunate than yourself, i.e. charity.

    Cut down attachment

    Bhagat Kabir warned that going to deceitful and hypocritical lengths to acquire wealth for the sake of one’s family will not assist the transition of soul towards the Universal Soul. The very people a person runs around all his life will not stand by him in his hour of need (baho parpanch kar par dhan liaavai; sutdaaraa peh aan lutaavai – GGS 656).

    Guru Nanak says “renounce greed and possessiveness, and become carefree” – Lab lobhaj hohu nichinaa– GGS1041.

    This does not mean an individual cannot work for the prosperity and well being of his family. The issue is at what cost? In doing so one must not compromise honesty and integrity. It is no good ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. The interest of the society as a whole must also be kept in mind. This aspect of a person’s inclination will be discussed in a lot more detail in the next article (moh – attachment).

    Spiritual pyramid (Reconciling Maslow’s Triangle)


    Just as people driven by ambition follow the Maslow pyramid starting from physiological needs to self-actualisation, plan one with your spiritual needs(see appendix below). This will help you to rise above social status and colour and to rid yourself of possessiveness and greed (jaa varan ey bhaey aeeaa mamaa lobh chukaa*i*aa -Guru Nanak: GGS 1345).

    Remember the whole world is just a dream. Do not,seeing it fill yourself with greed.

    ih sansaar sagal hai supno eykh kahaa lobhaaai (M: 9 -GGS 1231).

    The entire world, consumed (burnt) by greed and desire, continually wails in distress. But if it meets the True Guru (the pain-relieving Saviour) it will not burn any longer.

    SHALOK, THIRD MEHL: GGS 588

    Please refer to attached image file.

    Copyright: Rajinder Singh "Arshi" (ISBN 0 948522 02X)

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/spiritual-articles/26733-lobh-greed-avarice.html

    In case of doubt one may like to refer to the link that gives the post of Mr. Arshi with t Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Rajo, tamo and sato Gunas.etc..
     

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