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"Guru and Sikh - The Gursikh"

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by singhbj, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. singhbj

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    Nov 4, 2007
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    Guru and Sikh - The Gursikh
    by Yuktanand Singh

    Some readers will be baffled that I use the terms like, Truth, God, Waheguru, Shabad, Gurbani, Guru, Gurus, True Teacher, Saint, Khalsa, Gursikh, True Sikh etc. in the present and past tense, and interchangeably, as if they were synonyms. Guru Nanak's philosophy, like the Vedas, teaches a unity in diversity. In reality, and under ideal conditions, what is the difference between a True Sikh and the Guru, and what is the difference between the Guru and God? The one cannot help it but quietly disappear into the other. I have used these terms freely to indicate this as the goal of a Sikh and its relevance, today as well as in the past, and that we cannot tell where one merged into the other. The differences are only semantic.

    However, to avoid another delusion, a delusion of self-glorification, we should see all of these as above ourselves. A True Sikh, in his own mind, is always less than what is required. No sooner a seeker believes that he has reached an attainment or understood a principle, he is shown that he was wrong. Because, as God has no limits, so do His principles. Besides, the ego itself is an interruption, and God does not want us to stagnate at any level, no matter how glorious it may seem to us, or to others. A Gursikh regards himself as the lowest of all.

    As this word indicates, when the Guru (Teacher) and the Sikh (Disciple) have established a permanent relationship, the Sikh can be called a Gursikh. Before any real progress on the inner journey, a Sikh has to become Gursikh. Why?

    The aim of a Gursikh is to reject all the falsehoods and manifest the ultimate Truth, during his lifetime, and at all costs. In other words, it is, to become a perfect Sikh, like the Guru. This can be called a spiritual cloning. All other rules on this Path are only the means toward this goal. It is possible only through a complete submission to the True Spiritual Teacher. Without it, the walls of ego severely limit all personal efforts to rise above the human nature. Because, all work keeps feeding the ego, which simply mutates into a glorified and a more intangible character. As Swami Vivekananda said, being bound with chains made of pure gold is the same as bound with chains of steel. The bondage of ego, along with its sting, death, is not removed. For this reason, Jesus said that no one could reach his Father except through him. People take it literally. The followers of other messengers have misunderstood them the same way. This has resulted in needless strife, argument, and bloodshed.

    Need for a Guru

    The Ultimate Truth is also unique, not understood by the intellect. It does not match any preconceived human ideas. This is why the Guru is compulsory, but only on the final path, the path to ultimate Truth. When the seeker submits to the Guru with this humility, the Guru quietly plants the way to Truth in his heart. This is called Naam.

    Scientific and technological advances of today make the man feel, more than ever, in control of his destiny. This makes it harder to be spiritually humble and work on our death. Death insurance, as we may call it, is more important than life insurance. Stop and look around you. It is hard to imagine, but is true, that, the moment our body takes its last breath, none of this intricate knowledge, technology, possessions, or the family and friends, is going to accompany us on the other side. That moment can come at anytime, without a warning. Suddenly, whatever our soul has earned, or lost, will be final. However, our outlook and demeanor show that we are always in a state of denial of this, certain and unpredictable nature of our death. Gautama, the Buddha saw this and many other such human characteristics as completely irrational, like a form of psychosis. This made him the Buddha, different from the rest of humanity.

    All rational thought, if followed sincerely and tenaciously, leads us to the gates of Truth but it cannot enter with us. The sign on these gates says: "Here Is The Higher Self, Who Secretly Loves And Controls Everything, And It Is Beyond The Intellect." According to Guru Nanak, this Higher Self talks only in one language: Boundless, Pure and Unconditional Love. Nevertheless, most individuals with an analytical disposition will find that, time to seek a true teacher is after they have done some serious philosophical analysis. By philosophy, I do not mean Plato or Kant, but the kind that Paul Brunton discusses in 'The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga', 'The Wisdom of the Overself', and his earlier books. A True Spiritual Teacher can be useful only when we understand the urgency, and after we have seen the limitation of all personal effort, not before.

    A seeker without a Spiritual Guide is like an orphan child in the wilderness. The word, Guru, means - Supreme Spiritual Light. When the seeker has developed a permanent and firm conviction - that his intellect, his education, and all knowledge of the world, without the constant inner guidance of A True Teacher, is actually complete darkness which ultimately leads to death - he is called a Gurmukh. Then, he is able to receive, and share, what the Guru has come to give. Its opposite is called a Manmukh.

    An old adage, "When the disciple is ready, the Guru appears," has withstood the test of time, and is still true. In the eastern circles, such a relationship was always established through some form of initiation. For that, the disciple had to take a vow of a lifelong, complete submission to the teacher. Some form of baptism, sipping or dipping in water, etc. has always accompanied this. An initiation is mandatory.

    For reasons known only to God, the disease of false prophets and "green gurus", as I call them, has plagued the society since the beginning of the human quest. Talking or writing endlessly about deep and lofty spiritual principles does not prove anything. Some writers appear to be excellent teachers. We all learn something from them. However, a True Guru uncovers the truth, which is already within the seeker's heart, and transforms him, without the need of any words. Since he is here to teach only one thing, he can do it mostly silently, through his own example and a spiritual touch, or a gaze. Such a True Spiritual Master is extremely rare and very hard to find.

    A seeker's hunger to follow a tangible human guru is a bona fide condition. At some point it is very strong because, it is inherent in the human nature. It is not a sign of some inner weakness. However, it often results in a weak character when the seeker is satisfied with partial spiritual experiences under the care of an imperfect guru. Some people will follow anyone pointing at the sky! Most seekers looking for a spiritual guru are deceived every day.

    For this reason, the masses have always instinctively rejected their current Spiritual Messenger, however genuine he might be. They may worship him afterwards, though. On one hand, a half-guru or a fake can waste the life of many sincere spiritual seekers. On the other hand, people turn their faith into a stagnant and decaying faith by following only a Teacher of the past. They will refuse to accept or recognize an Oasis of Truth of their own time if he happens to cross their path, even if He comes and knocks at their door. We can call it, a religious dysfunction. What can we do about it?

    Guru Nanak, the First Master brought the solution to this problem with the advent of Shabad Guru. The Ten Masters proved that God's Word is The Real Guru, and that with Gurbani (God's word), we can rise above the need to worship a human form of the Guru. They showed it in their own life through two hundred years of practical application. To stress this, The Fifth Master, designated as The Guru then, after compiling the Gurbani into one volume, kept this Holy Book at a higher place, while he would sit and sleep on the floor.

    This truth reached its culmination under The Tenth Master. The Tenth Master turned the tide for humanity by prohibiting the Sikhs from, searching for or, following any human Guru. He permanently banished the incurable disease of false prophets from Sikh Panth, through two major changes in the curriculum of spiritual seekers. This was not easy. It has required endless and unmatched sacrifice especially from the Gurus themselves. I will not go into details already recorded in history.

    First: Unlike any prior Messengers of God, The Tenth Master did not make a Sikh his, or any other Guru's disciple. He said that a Sikh was God's Property. A Sikh gets Baptism (Amrit), not from a person, but only from water stirred with a double-edged sword while reciting the five daily Sikh prayers. Five Gursikhs, "The Five Beloved," as The Tenth Master called them at their Initiation, represent the body of the Guru at this ceremony. Being so baptized, the Sikh belongs only to God. The Five Gursikhs, represent the Tenth Master, and initiate the Sikh in the practice of meditation on God's Name with the Gurmantra (the Holy Word, Waheguru). The Amrit and the accompanied Initiation are mandatory.

    The Tenth Master did something else here that no other Savior has done: After initiating the first Five Gursikhs with the Amrit, he bowed to them and became their spiritual disciple. The Guru himself took the same initiation so that there was no difference between Guru Gobind Singh and the "Five Beloved." Its significance is not understood easily. In doing so, The Tenth Master blended his own spiritual identity into the Khalsa (see below), so that he will never leave the Khalsa. This shows how he honored God's command to assist Khalsa. In contrast, other Masters in the past left us saying they are going back to God, to make room for us, etc. Who wants to stay with us? History is replete with supreme sacrifices of The Tenth Master. His whole life, including family, was a sacrifice toward worthy causes for humanity. However, this act cannot be duplicated by anyone.

    I do not want to tire the reader with details of how the first "Five Beloved" were chosen. I will also skip other instructions given to the Gursikh at the time of Amrit. In short, the aim of a Gursikh is to lose his smaller self in the spiritual service of the Truth, to realize his unity with God or, in other words, to merge with the Khalsa Ideal. Amrit is a start on this path. It is not an automatic qualification or a diploma. It is very important to understand that a Gursikh does not accept initiation of any other kind, from a single human guru.

    Gurbani as Guru

    Second: God's Word, called Shabad, Shabd, or Gurbani, is the only formal Sikh Guru. True Guru, who is always the True Spiritual Teacher of everyone, is the Shabad, the Word. It is also called the Divine Light. In the Sikh Path, only the Word part of the Guru is worshipped. Since the appearance of Gurbani, we do not need to worship or glorify the person who brought it to us, or declare him as "The Only One" etc. The First Master, Guru Nanak, introduced this concept, when he humbly proclaimed that all teaching, in the form of Gurbani, comes to him from his Master (God) to be given to the world. He merely composed the verse however God commands him. The real abode of Gurbani is God Himself. When they asked Guru Nanak who was his Guru, he said that Shabad (Gurbani) was the Guru.

    A Sikh may still look for a guru to learn Yoga, archery, philosophy, Mathematics, etc. But, to reach the highest fulfillment of life, he does not go in search of a Guru anymore. This was a giant spiritual step for humanity, although it never made headlines on the news. One day, The Fourth Master quietly wrote the punch lines for the whole world: "Gurbani is in the Guru, and the Guru is in Gurbani. Gurbani holds all the virtues and rewards. When a servant obeys Gurbani's command, the Guru Himself is tangibly present to save him and deliver him." (SGGS, p.982)

    Gurbani from Saints of "other" religions, and the Gurus themselves, is preserved in one volume, Guru Granth Sahib. This is the ten Gurus' greatest gift to humanity. Guru Granth Sahib is treated as the Guru's own body. Any addition or modification of Gurbani is not allowed, nor is it necessary. The Ten Masters' soul resides in Gurbani (Jote). Some Gursikhs will become one with this Light. Such a true Sikh is a living example of the Method (Jugat) for seeing it. At least one such Sikh is always here. There is no need to run around searching for him. He knows where you are. He does not run around looking for you either. He lives completely by God's Will. When you need to, God makes sure that you will meet him. Such Gursikhs are served through service of the congregation (Sangat), because Sangat is an extension of the Guru. Sometimes, through God's Mercy, such a Gursikh graces a congregation with his physical presence (Sadh Sangat). The number of such True Sikhs at any given time is directly proportionate to number of seekers who sincerely want to see them.

    Witnessing a Gursikh of this stature often makes one weep uncontrollably without any reason, with an intense desire to stay in his presence and become his servant. Gurbani is then seen in its true form, as a living entity. It glows with a romance between man and God and, love for the Sikh. Everything else seems worthless then. Besides Gurbani and Nam Simran, all other activity seems futile. This is the effect of his loving gaze and his enlightened words, soaked with God's Love. It is like coming home, for the first time. This starts to occur whenever the Sikh gets a spiritual glimpse of the same Love in Gurbani, during Kirtan and meditation. Not everyone is affected in this way, though. An occasion to serve such Gursikhs is found once in many lifetimes. This is a glorious milestone in a person's spiritual journey, because, his journey actually starts now. However, these Gursikhs are not to be worshipped as a Guru. In the Sikh Panth, no Gursikh, no matter how great, is to be considered as another Guru. A Gursikh himself would never allow or accept such a label.

    To reiterate, though A Gursikh deeply reveres the Ten Masters, above all other Masters, he is forbidden from worshipping any human from the past, the present, or the future. He sees Guru's presence in singing of Gurbani sincerely with other Sikhs (Sangat). Sangat in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib is Sadh Sangat, because Guru Granth Sahib is also Guru's body. It is not for a seeker to assess the spiritual state of others. Therefore, it is only correct to consider all Sat Sangat as Sadh Sangat. Then, Guru, himself, takes care of the details. The Sikh always yearns and prays that he happens to be in the company of some enlightened Gursikhs, because the Guru's teaching tells him to do so. To teach this, The Fifth Master, Guru Arjan wrote: "I bow to every Gursikh I see. I share with them my heart's desire. I pray that they will help me (Spiritually) meet my Beloved Friend Guru" (SGGS, p.763). It is not appropriate for anyone to guess or discuss whatever spiritual exchanges may take place between sincere seekers and True Gursikhs.

    Too complicated? Let us examine all the options. Today's seeker has four choices: 1) He can sweep the whole idea of the need of a living Guru under the rug, until he really needs one. 2) He worships and accepts only a Messiah from the past and rejects any current ones who are regularly sent by God to connect us with the Truth; this will assure that he is spiritually stagnant like the masses, until he chooses to wake up and smell the reality. Remember that, stagnation results in decay and disease. 3) He searches for a spiritual guru in a human and takes his chance with whatever he finds. Many fakes and half-spiritual gurus are always waiting, also on the Internet.

    Or, 4) He follows the Sikh way: Regards Gurbani, God's Word, as the only True Guru. Finds some Sat Sangat, or forms his own Sangat, that is joined only for Naam, not to worship some human. He pays proper homage to all His Messengers, past and present. This is the message of Gurbani. This way, when he is ready, he will meet someone in the Sangat who truly talks and lives Gurbani. His simple presence and spiritual touch will help him on the path to become just like this Gursikh. Such a Gursikh will never attempt to replace the Guru, in Gurbani, with himself or with some other writings.

    To many, the idea of submission to something written in a foreign language is not appealing. Besides, it is too simple and too safe for an intellectual to follow. There is a fifth choice: If you cannot accept the truth, or if you cannot trust Gurbani, keep praying to God for the correct way.

    The Role of Gursikh

    In the Sikh Path, and in Gurbani, enlightened Gursikhs are given ranks of, Gurmukh - Brahmgyani - Sant - Sadh - Jan - etc. It cannot be said too often. Their company is compulsory for a Sikh's spiritual progress. Only a lit candle can quickly light another one. However, in Sikh Panth, if someone calls himself such a person, or if his followers call him a guru, run away as fast as you can! Display of occult powers, which, come to a Gursikh naturally as he continues to advance, is prohibited in the Guru's House. If someone does so, stay away again, because he is not a mature Sikh. Needless to say that Truth is not for sale and it cannot be bought, if it is, it is not for a Sikh. Again, the only place, to find a True Gursikh is Sadh Sangat.

    Many Sikhs contend that these ranks do not apply to a living person anymore. This is the cause of doubt, weakness, and lack of direction among the common Sikhs today. This creates a spiritual void. It leaves the door wide open for so-called gurus, the false prophets, to emerge and fill this void, and they lead the sincere seekers away from Gurbani and the Panth. Most Sikhs doubt that anyone can live up to the high standards set by the Ten Masters. If they were correct, the Gurbani is simply metaphorical. Those, who believe Gurbani is mostly metaphors, can get little, if anything, out of it. Sincere Non Sikhs can benefit more from Gurbani in this case. Mediocrity, dishonesty and disorganization prevalent in the Sikh arena can be very discouraging. These are perhaps, the reason for such doubts among the common Sikhs. However, chronicles of regular emergence of True Gursikhs who are firm in practice of Dharma, the Khalsa Panth, meeting such Gursikhs in flesh and witnessing their Glory, eliminate all such doubts.

    As Shri Naranjan Singh Ji used to say, "Some think that Sikh Panth is disappearing. This is a mistake. Some say that Panth is in a danger. One who is not the Panth is always in a danger. Someone, who gives up Japji, gives up Amrit Vela, is truly in a danger. How can Waheguru's Panth be in any danger? Do not look for large numbers. The Guru did not rely on the count at all. Guru Nanak was looking for only one real Gursikh, Guru Gobind Singh Ji said five would be sufficient. He did not even ask for the sixth."

    The Tenth Master says: "Khalsa is my own body… Khalsa is my face…. Khalsa is my own appearance…This is where I live." (SLG, p.667) These words, as well as the rest of Gurbani, are not metaphors. Honoring Guru Granth Ji, as Guru's own body, is imperative to its preservation for the future generations. This is one of the reasons that The Tenth Master ordained this. This is not idolatry. A Sikh prays only to the Waheguru and Gurbani in Guru Granth Sahib. We turn to the Holy Book during prayer. This does not mean that we pray to the physical Book. A Sikh does not expect that some day, God or the Guru will step out of the binding or the paper of this Holy Scripture. The Tenth Master has also said, "All those who worship me as God shall burn in the hellfire." (DG, p.57)

    Sikh Panth is not like the religions of the past. It is just as alive and well now as it has been since Guru Nanak, perhaps, even more so. The only change is that, since the initiation (or, should we say, emergence) of Khalsa, Guru Granth Sahib is the only Sikh Guru in spirit. His Darshan (Glory) in a physical form, thanks to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, has never left us. However, it is not to be found at Hemkunt, nor is it in any human guru. It is experienced in the company of Khalsa. That is not to say that Khalsa is found easily. Such blessed people, as always, do not advertise themselves. A Sikh prays for the blessed sight of Khalsa every day and, then he leaves it up to God to do as He sees fit.

    The People

    A primitive, stone-age trait of human behavior is found even today: "If it looks different, kill it before it gets closer." Many Non Sikhs feel threatened by the uniqueness of the Sikhs. They feel relief in making some simple Sikhs the butt of their jokes. One should not condone lack of hygiene, or bad manners, which can be found among all cultures. Yet, they target only the Sikhs. A car can pass through the eye of a needle before these cultured people can find spirituality or holiness in simple folks!

    This does not mean that all, or only simple people are holy. However, there are certain abstract reasons for God's choosing the very simple and candid people of Punjab, with a rich ancient Indian and spiritual heritage, and with constantly volatile and changing borders, to receive Guru Nanak's message. Could it be that Jesus was born in a manger, to a homeless and poor carpenter's wife, probably for similar reasons? Personally, I would rather roll in dust from the feet of very common people gathered to sing Gurbani, than see the face of someone who wants to replace Gurbani and promises to show me "Sach Khand (God's Abode)" along with all the bells and whistles.

    Most of the Sikhs stand by the fence, rather than follow the Sikh teachings seriously. Still, they get to enjoy beneficial fallout of the Holy activities, of the Ten Masters in the past and some rare and obscure Gursikhs at present. This is clear. For instance, modern Sikh children, with hair, who simply recite Japji as a rule before breakfast, excel in school and whatever else they do, whether it is farming, the military, business, academics, or the sports.

    Be realistic if you visit a Sikh place of worship. Expect to find mostly, rather common Sikhs, than some masters of Yoga. Perhaps, the only purpose of the Sikhs from Punjab has been, not to attract or convert others through intricate theology, or elegance, but to simply preserve and perpetuate the flame of Khalsa for the rest of the world. It seems that their work is now done. Proliferation of false gurus today, especially with the advancement of technology, makes it important that all the true spiritual seekers in the world know the meaning of the True Guru, and what Gurbani and the Panth represent. Spiritual sincerity toward God is the central message of Gurbani. If you have it, you are on the right track. You do not have to leave your religion to be able to follow Gurbani. However, if your religion does not support it, it is time to move on and be an example to others.

    More than once, during, and after the time of The Tenth Master, the Sikhs have been virtually annihilated. They always survive these assaults. History is filled with countless accounts of the Sikhs' martyrdom. For this reason, The Tenth Master ordained that all the Sikhs should also be warriors. Being constantly oppressed and mistreated as a minority has made most Sikhs of today anxious to have a Sikh domain, separate from India. However, God's Khalsa has no country. The whole world is his country. Granted that every man with blood in his arteries is patriotic in his heart, but a Khalsa cannot be nationalistic in practice. A Khalsa does not aspire to rule over others or acquire a piece of land. His goal is to see that ultimately, only God's dearest will govern a universal brotherhood on this earth, with all the religions and all countries in a harmony with each other.

    The 5K's

    Besides a Sikh's spiritual practices, the Sikh conduct, and the five daily prayers, there are five essentials of a Gursikh's uniform. Otherwise, he is not considered a Gursikh or a member of God-Guru's army. They are five attributes of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, The Tenth Master. They are also known as the "Five K's." The Tenth Master designated these as a mandatory first step on a Sikh's way to become like The Tenth Master himself. To a Gursikh, each one of them is a loving reminder of The Tenth Master. The Tenth Master ordained the Gursikhs to consider these inseparable from their body. This uniform also makes the Sikh stand out in a crowd, so that a Sikh cannot hide himself. Here are some other reasons:
    A. Kesh: The Tenth Master did not mutilate his hair. Only humans have long hair, animals do not. If we cut a hand off, it is not equipped to recover, but the hair does, even if you continue cutting it for years. Preserving natural hair is also a denial of preoccupation with one's appearance. Throughout the history, for some reason, all Holy men have stopped cutting hair at some point of their spiritual development.

    A Sikh's head is kept covered. Women wear a scarf, while men wear a turban. This is an ancient, perhaps necessary, and forgotten, a gesture of respect toward God, who is always here, with us. The turban is wrapped fresh every day after the bath. In many countries it is considered a disgrace to be seen bareheaded. This is in contrast with the western tradition of going bareheaded in a formal place. This makes each appear odd in the eyes of the other, especially to those who have not traveled outside their own small circles. A cap or a hat is prohibited for a Gursikh.

    B. Kachhahra: The Tenth Master always wore a pair of knee length shorts, a holy undergarment, even (especially) during Ishnan. It also preserves a Sikh man or a woman's dignity in times of emergency, and during their devotional states of oblivion.

    C. Kirpan: The Tenth Master always carried a sword. He worshipped it as an emblem of God's Mercy, Siri Sahib, as Guru Gobind Singh Ji called it. Kirpan is a Sikh's ornament, in the memory of The Tenth Master. It is his fashion statement, like a necktie. He wears and displays it with pride, except where people cannot tolerate it due to lack of understanding.

    The struggle for survival of the pious will continue for many centuries ahead. The advent of Khalsa marks a reemergence of the ancient ideal man, the saintly-warrior. He is desperately needed today, as The Tenth Master said, "Khalsa is God's own army. Khalsa has appeared because of God's wish." His sword is a token of fearlessness and his readiness to die while defending the truth and the persecuted. With advanced weaponry, it has been a mere symbol, but its spiritual meaning is as important today as it was in the past. A Khalsa respects the sword as The Tenth Master did. A True Sikh follows The Tenth Master's example and uses a weapon only as a last resort, with extreme humility and compassion. There will always be those, the Sikh or the Non Sikh, who will misuse any weapon.

    D. Karra: The Tenth Master said that Sikhs should always wear a steel bracelet. He wore it too. It is a symbol, as a link in the chain of brotherhood of Gursikhs, and a sign of his commitment as a servant of God.

    E. Kangha: The Tenth Master carried a small comb. He said the Sikhs should do the same, to make its use mandatory. It is to remind us not to regress toward rituals of empty show. Some Indian monks grow artificially cultured hair, several yards long, unbroken and uncombed, as a display of holiness.

    It is not so obvious that hair is also a living appendage of the body. You may want to read Dr. Birendra Kaur's article on this. For spiritually sensitive people, sharing a comb is essentially the same as sharing a toothbrush.
    People ask why we need any outer rules to find God's simple Truth inside ourselves. It is the complexity of society that makes some form of rules extremely necessary. If you live in a jungle, no rules are necessary. If you come to a city, you need to obey at least the rules of traffic. If you join the army or take some other responsible job, you have to follow even more extensive and strict rules. Strangely, we expect to achieve the highest fulfillment of our life without having to obey any rules. Besides, how many rules are there? People are horrified mostly of the prospect that they will have to stop mutilating the hair, they will not be able to keep up with the social fads, and thus face rejection by their peers. People can benefit from the Guru's teachings without growing uncut hair, until they have the strength to accept and understand all the rules. Some sacrifice is inevitable. As a whole, it is a very small price to pay for being able to spiritually participate in helping the world avoid being influenced by the green gurus.

    These rules will never make any sense to some people. Spiritual rules are senseless, and needless, if you do not or, cannot have faith in them. Then, they definitely turn into empty rituals that no intelligent person should ever practice. Doing so degrades the image of other, more serious seekers also. For the same reason, people should not force their children and other family members to conform. Rather, be a good example for them to follow, and give them some freedom. Spirituality is a very personal matter. Only ignorant people will blame you for the actions of your family. Opinions of ignorant people are not important. Look at the Gurus' history, their own sons did not obey them.


    For a serious seeker, following the Guru's command, regardless of its reason, is an exercise in self-abnegation. Others cannot comprehend this behavior. Any rules, prescribed by any Master, are of no value to these people. History shows that a Guru will frequently ask his disciple to do things that make no apparent sense. The Guru does this, sometimes, just to strengthen a Sikh's submission to the Guru. It is acceptable to question everything a Guru does, until the seeker turns into a spiritual disciple. You can take a lifetime to satisfy your intellectual doubts first. In the end, you will find that each of the Guru's commands has some hidden reasons. A Sikh (spiritual disciple) accepts his Guru's command without question. This is a required condition. Otherwise, he is not a spiritual disciple; he can be called a student, an observer, or, a bystander. Not everyone will follow the simple rules prescribed by the Tenth Master. Many will prefer some other teachers.

    The way to God is not difficult, but it is totally different from what we can imagine. It requires breaking the ages old, firmly established habits of the intellect and mastering new disciplines. We can spend our whole life trying to accomplish this on our own or, we can submit to a True Guru with no more questions. This allows a Master to destroy the disciple's ego and transform him quickly and easily, from the inside. When the disciple is ripe, the Guru can accomplish many lifetimes' work with one look. Shri Naranjan Singh Ji used to say, "An ant may try to get to the top of a tree on its own. Or, someone may have mercy, pick it up and put it there." Again, in the Sikh Panth this is accomplished by 1) The Gurbani and Sangat, 2) The Tenth Master, when a Gursikh follows his lifestyle and 3) The Khalsa Gursikh, through his physical presence and his spiritual touch. All three are essential. In fact, in the essence, there is no separation among the three.

    Some say that they will "follow" only the first nine Gurus. This is a fallacy. There is no difference in the Ten Gurus. The Tenth Master completed what the First Master started. Some argue that we need to change with time and thus eliminate or modify the five K's etc. Who is qualified to change Guru Gobind Singh's mandate? "But," they say, "Is it not the inside rather than appearance, that is important to God?" A curt answer is, yes it is, to God, but not to you. Try not washing yourself from now on, or stay out in sub zero temperature without your gloves, walk naked on Broadway, then try to meditate in the jail, or, just chop your fingers off, they are not important to God! I hope you have grasped the idea.

    Everything we do to our body is very important. It leaves an imprint on the inner mind, unless we were totally free from the psycho spiritual bondage to our body. The five K's serve as a conduit of blessings from The Tenth Master to common Sikh masses that may be otherwise weak. The Five K's, the five daily pieces of Gurbani, and correct Sikh conduct (Rehet) is a track, that leads to becoming like The Tenth Master, because these are his own characteristics. In the least, they act like a thorny fence around delicate spiritual flowers in the garden of Sikh Panth. Again, all these rules are means to an end, which is spiritual self-realization. When a Sikh considers any one his activities as an attainment by itself, his progress stops.

    Guru Nanak, the First Master, brought a social order of the ancient Spiritual Masters, hidden in the Himalayas, to common people of the world. Common Sikhs have not risen to its call. This social order has no obligation to conform to the society, or to the ever-changing fads of society. Nor does it have a need to convert the whole world into its own mold. Its welfare does not depend on us; our welfare depends on it. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Master, was the perfect living example of this order of Saints. He gave it a final shape with a few very essential rules. He did this to assure that it will not disintegrate, dissolve, or get contaminated and assimilated by other cultures or cults. And to nurture a favorable environment that will facilitate regular emergence of the ancient Saintly characters, in common households, in the entire world. This was not possible in the world before.

    The Ninth Master describes some qualities of such a Saintly character, whose only joy is in the spirit: "One, who is not afraid of suffering, does not desire pleasure, and is not attached to love of others. He has no fear, and regards gold and clay as equal in value. It is same if someone worships him or slanders him, nor does he have greed, false attachment with family, or pride. He stays above elation or gloom. Honor or dishonor does not faze him. He gives up vain planning (and would rather stay rooted in Naam), and has no hunger for any fruit from his deeds. He sees a futility in the things of the world. When he is also free of lust, as well as anger, God manifests in him. A man understands this method (Jugat) only from Guru's mercy. Such a soul merges into God, just like, one day, the ice melts and becomes indistinguishable from water." (SGGS, p.633-34) The Ninth Master was a glorious living example of this Shabad. In return, a Mogul emperor, beheaded him in cold blood, at the city-square, and then, would not allow anyone to come forward and take proper care of his severed head and his body.
    A Sikh is taught to have an inner spirituality, rather than make a show of it. His aim is to see God during this lifetime. Gurbani is filled with this teaching. For example, The Tenth Master describes the Sikh version of Sannyasa (Renunciation). Sannyasa is the final of the four stages of a householder among the ancient Hindus, where, during the last quarter of his life, the seeker leaves the world to meditate on God. However, like most other religious practices of that time, it had degenerated into a ritualistic show, of holiness. A Sikh is taught to practice inner Sannyasa from the beginning, at a young age, while continuing as a householder, rather than leaving the world. The Tenth Master tells us how a true Sikh would substitute each of the rituals of Sannyasa:
    "Make it a mental Sannyasa: Regard all the comforts in the house as wilderness, remain free of desires. Be lonely in your heart (while staying with your family, instead of leaving them). Replace your artificially cultured long hair with chastity. Replace your obsessive cleansing rituals with true Yoga. Let a fixed daily spiritual routine replace your preserved long nails. Let the spiritual knowledge be your minister to pronounce you a sannyasi. Teaching lessons to your self should replace the wandering to preach others. Let meditation on God's Name replace the ashes you put on your body. Minimal food, minimal sleep, mercy, forgiveness, a body intoxicated with God's love, tolerance, and contentment, thriving on these will make you stay above the three worldly qualities. Remember that, you can see your innermost Self and be with God, only when you keep your mind free of lust, anger, pride, greed, compulsion, and false attachment with the family." (DG, p.709)

    Source: http://www.sikhs.org/ya7.htm
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Great article, singhbj. I really like the tone of this article. The author is not beating his chest but laying it out. Back to basics.

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