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SikhRI What Is SikhRI?

Discussion in 'Sikh Organisations' started by Admin Singh, Jul 5, 2009.

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  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Inspiration & Approach

    We believe the values and principles that were revealed to the Ten Nānaks are worth conserving. And as educators, we believe the most effective solutions are consistent with those principles and values. We believe that principles have consequences, but that those principles must be promoted with determination. So, we need to constantly develop innovative ways to share our ideas to draw solutions to contemporary problems (both intra and extra Sikh community) from the ideas, principles and traditions that make Sikhs and Sikhī great. We need to generate solutions consistent with our beliefs and impart them first to the Sikh populations. Then, share them with community organizations, governing bodies, human rights and social justice forums, human development institutions, the news media and others. These solutions must be built on our culture’s spiritual, economic, political and social heritage to produce a safer, stronger, freer, more prosperous Sikh Nation. And a world community free from mental, spiritual, and physical slavery.


    We strive to interpret Gurmat. The term gurmat is often used to describe the Gurū’s way, literally the wisdom of the Gurū. Gurmat is the confluence of bānī, tvārīkh and rahit, i.e., scriptural directives, historical precedents, and code of ethics. The bānī celebrates Gurū Granth Sāhib as the epitome of Sikh heritage that embraces only those parts of the universal cultures that have the potentialities to be generous, sublime and impartial, and admits no hegemonic intrusion that may disturb the flow of its spiritual creativity. The tvārīkh comprises of those traditions that cherish the prophet-genius of the Gurū, the one who takes an individual from ignorance to enlightenment. It also borrows insights from the lives of the Sikhs raised by the Gurū. The rahit encompasses the wholeness of life and then raises its myriad forms to a level of transcendental purity. It is unimpaired freedom of person and soul where the paradoxical segments of life (e.g., war and peace) find a level of naturalness. Additionally, we use the synergy of other faiths, traditions, thoughts, and philosophies that further the drive to realize the divine potential within each individual as long as they do not contradict the Gurmat traditions.

    We believe the earnest pursuit of this institutional mission can have a strong effect on the course of higher awareness. We attempt to provide platform for intensive dialogue in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued. They include a wide variety of experiences, making their own contribution toward the balanced development. Such a preparation will be capable of meeting challenge and change in family life, social relationships, civic duty, and service to humanity.

    Mission & Values

    The Sikh Research Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization seeking to develop a principle-driven community by protecting the core and enlarging the resource pool.


    Mission
    The Sikh Research Institute’s mission is to facilitate training and development while inspiring Sikh values, create global awareness of Sikhī, and deliver solutions to the key challenges faced by the Sikh community.

    Values

    Service - Improving lives and communities
    By demonstrating an attitude of love and respect; by nurturing physical, mental,
    and spiritual endurance

    Integrity - Being fair and honest
    By keeping our word; transparency in all spheres; and doing what is right even
    when nobody is looking

    Excellence - Exceeding expectations
    By being innovative; having vision; giving 100%; and demonstrating competence


    Protecting the Core

    The Sikh Research Institute aims to develop a principle-driven community by protecting the core and enlarging the resource pool. Our efforts are divided into three focus areas: Training and Development, Global Awareness, and Strategic Solutions. All programs and projects strive to develop and share a positive Sikh perspective. The Sikh Research Institutes strengthens individuals and builds communities by enhancing leadership skills and endorsing community action. All development initiatives attempt to weave diversity, multiculturalism, and acceptance into the fabric of civil society.


    Facilitating Training and Development
    The growth and development of the community at-large can only occur by growing and developing the individuals which makeup the community. With this in mind, the Sikh Research Institute organizes and facilitates numerous educational forums focused on distinct segments of the population.


    Creating Global Awareness
    The lack of global awareness of the Sikh faith and people is a growing concern for the Sikh community. In order to increase awareness, the Sikh Research Institute makes it a priority to deliver lectures, host discussions, and engage in interactive dialogue with the media.


    Delivering Strategic Solutions
    Complex key challenges exist in all communities. The community’s key challenges require thoughtful research and analysis in order to present relevant, long term solutions. The Sikh Research Institute is working on thoughtful research and analysis in order to present relevant, long-term solutions. Further, the Institute is committed to facilitating these solutions as part of the community.
     

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    SikhRI has been a personal inspiration to me -- They publish many resources, make discussions readily accessible on the web as web seminars on topics that are of interest to all levels of adherents, create well-designed lessons and curriculum for gurmat study in gurdwara for all ages that are educationally sound and full of content, and they run Gurmat camps for the study of gurmat and Gurmukhi for beginners and advanced students. Very impressive group! With a lot of backbone for standing up to a small unrepresentative band of "spoilers" who will argue about anything if given an audience. Thanks for the article.
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    A Taste of Infinity

    by DILPREET KAUR


    Recently, I participated in the Sikh Research Institute's "Saneha: Becoming Guru-Centered" event held at Guru Nanak Foundation of America in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.


    The saneha, or message, of the workshop was "Sabad Asgah: Experiencing Infinite Wisdom".
    The day began with the introduction of participants, along with sharing why each of us had come to the workshop. In response, participants' answers included wanting to get over the fear of making mistakes or committing a transgression while reading Guru Granth Sahib, wanting to learn more in order to teach their children, and the desire to move beyond the darshan of the Guru to creating a genuine relationship.



    Whereas I had expected a lecture-style presentation, I was surprised by the dialectical and dynamic structure of the presentation, which facilitated discussion and the sharing of views. A comfortable, inquisitive atmosphere was set so that the diverse group of high school and college students, young professionals, and mature individuals, could all effectively engage in dialogue and learning.



    Harinder Singh of Sikh Research Institute ("SikhRI") began by sharing the intent and aim of the workshop. He stressed the necessity of interpreting Gurbani for ourselves and moving away from spiritual dependence on so-called religious leaders. In this way, spiritual empowerment and the development of a personal relationship with Guru can take place.



    To that end, the workshop served to introduce practical tools for further study of Gurbani. The profound importance of Guru Granth Sahib was emphasized by describing it as a khajana, a treasure house of the absolute perfection of ideas and thoughts.



    The first session, presented by Jasmine Kaur, was titled Guru Granth Sahib: Origin and Message, in which the compilation of the Guru Granth was historically contextualized and its contributors, organization, and message expounded upon.



    The opening lines of Guru Granth Sahib that manifest the attributes of the Divine (the Mool Mantar) were likened to a thesis. The subsequent revelations in Guru Granth Sahib then further expound upon these attributes and detail how to attain these qualities to become like the Divine. In this way, the message of Guru Granth Sahib is a universal one that provides guidance and morality, regardless of time, space, or location.



    The second session, presented by Mandhir Singh, centered on Raag: Music of the Soul. That Guru Granth is organized according to Raags points to the importance the Gurus placed on music and its role as a mode of delivery. Music serves as a vehicle for imparting the experiential and emotional and is a potent method for relaying internal and transcendent feelings to the common person. Music also places the listener in a reflective and receptive mood.



    Thus, music surpasses the limits of language and becomes an essential delivery mechanism for the Gurus, especially as a medium to reach the masses and cross all demographic boundaries. In setting all Gurbani in Raags, the Gurus sought to instill cultural and artistic appreciation in the masses.
    The session that follwed, Gurbani Viakhia Pranaliam, discussed the features, strengths and shortcomings of the various schools of thoughts of Gurbani interpretation.



    This session provided extensive information on the motivations, intentions, and context of the different systems of Gurbani interpretation. Seven major systems of Gurbani interpretation were elaborated upon in order to suggest that perhaps the best approach is to develop an integrative one. This entails identifying the verse's context and potential cultural barriers that may affect understanding, learning the meanings of words and accompanying connotations, and, if needed, examining grammatical patterns.



    The last session of the day was a "Question & Answer" forum, in which participants could ask any question of the presenters, including clarification about the content of the workshop and the role and projects of SikhRI.



    The presenters consistently and deftly used the confluence of bani (scripture), tvarikh (history and tradition), and rehat (discipline) to develop and present their views from a Gurmat perspective, from which they relayed relevant examples for further clarity.



    Along with the abundance of information and resources presented, I especially appreciated the encouragement of critical thinking, an essential skill that is unfortunately often disregarded or dismissed as irreverent in the study of scripture today. Unlike other workshops I have attended in which presenters adamantly insist upon on the accuracy of their own views, the presenters motivated the participants to seek out further information and guidance on their own through the Gurmat tradition.



    All in all, the day was reflective and thought provoking and instilled an ardent desire to continue my journey of learning and development of a relationship with Guru Granth Sahib.

    [Established in 2003 and located in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A., SikhRI is a non-profit, faith-based initiative whose mission is to "facilitate training and development while inspiring Sikh values, create global awareness of Sikhi, and deliver solutions to the key challenges faced by the Sikh community."]



    July 2, 2009


    Source
    sikhchic.com | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | A Taste of Infinity
     
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  5. Tejwant Singh

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    Narayanjot Kaur ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    And the band of "Spoliers" are in full rhythmic swing. They have banned the Gurmukhi courses based on Sikhiri at the Freemont Gurdwara in California.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    What is the answer? What is the question? On the way to becoming a sect?
     
  7. Tejwant Singh

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    It shows the trend to talbanise Sikhi by some with the blindfolds on and holding a garvi of Ganga sagar in their hands.

    In other words, no respect, no understanding of SGGS. So, one wonders who is slandering Sikhi now?

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Tejwant Ji,

    Sikhi/Gurmatt of SGGS doesnt figure into their equation at all - all they consider are their versions, translations, what their derawadee mahapurash said...is set in stone..even if that is ultra vires the Gurbani of sggs even..
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Who is their derawadee mahapurash? That's a good one..can't see that working out well when "they" read that comment.

    P/S -- You mean the antagonists of SikkRI, don't you? :confused:
     
  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Naraynjot Kaur Jio,
    gurfateh Ji.

    Its not just one or two "mahapurash"...that is a metaphor..the point i am making is the SGGS/Guru nanak ji come SECOND to whatever baba ji they have at personal level.
    SO If you ask so you ahve taken Amrit..Haan ji..I chhak amrti from so and Baba Ji at fallanna dera/gurdwara..Falanna Jatha..etc sant Babab Dhadrianwallha,,sant Pehowa valleh, Rarewaleh mahapurash etc..Never Amrit of AKAL TAKHAT/Guru Khalsa Panth.
    Ragis affilaiated to them will ALWAYS mention their Dera Head (past present ) as WADDEH BABA JI...( automatically relegating Guru nanak ji out of the viakhiyah.....one liner shabad..and twenty minoutes rambling along on waddeh babajis tales andf miracles, walks in cemetries where the dead souls woke up simply to have the plaeasure of saluting Waddeh baba ji,,,or a dog snatched waddeh baabjis roti and he ran after the dog with Sabzee !!..then again repeat one line form Gurbani and back to WB's stories...SAME MIND SET....working agaisnt the Sojhi Curriculum, anti-SikhRI, anti SGPC SRM..anti-Akal takhat and so on...totally brainwashed/choloroxed minds:idea::idea::idea::idea::advocate:
     
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  11. vsgrewal48895

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    SIKH VALUES ACCORDING TO SABD GURU
    The values of Sikh faith are contained in AGGS. Their emphasis is mostly on subjugating the lower human instincts and developing the higher virtues, to become a Guru Willed (ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ) better person. AGGS is a path to grow in spirituality, to find the Higher Power in the Higher Self hidden behind the lower self of ego (ਹਉਮੈ).
    ਭੂਲੇ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਜਿਨਹਿ ਬਤਾਇਆ ਐਸਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਮਨਾ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਚਿਤਾਰੇ ਬਸਿ ਰਹੇ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਗੁਰ ਚਰਨ ਪਿਆਰੇ
    Bhoolay Maarag Jineh Bataa-i-aa, Aisaa Gur Vadbhaagee Paa-i-aa, Simar Manaa Raam Naam Chitaaray, Bas Rahay Hirdai Gur Charan Pi-aaray.

    Guru places the one who strays back on the Path; such a Guru is found by great good fortune. Meditate; contemplate on Its Name, O mind. The Beloved Feet of the Guru abide within my heart.

    -----Guru Arjan, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 803-18 & 19

    The Principles laid down in Sabd Guru, when followed honestly, earnestly, willingly, with total acceptance, and truthfully lead to spiritual progress by rooting out ego, doubt, duality, lust, greed, anger and bondage.

    ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਚੂਕਈ ਨਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ
    Bin Sabdai Bharam Na Chooka-ee Na Vichoh Haoumai Jaaey, bin pareetee bhagat na hova-ee bin sabdai thaa-ay na paa-ay.

    Without understanding and reflecting on Sabd, doubt is not dispelled, and egotism is not eliminated from within. With out love, there is no devotional worship and without the Sabd, no one finds acceptance.
    -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 67-4

    Sabd Guru incorporates the teachings of 6, Sikh Gurus, 15 Bhagats of different faith, 17 Bhatts, and 3 Sikh Bards, thus making it a universal secular Holy book. The holy text comprises over 5000 Sabds or hymns which are poetically constructed; are designed to be sung in 31 musical Ragas – only a few know about their modes. These hymns impart instructions for spiritual growth of the humanity. It also contains a hymn of Guru Gobind Singh at Page, 1429-7 as hymn # 54 ,which is a reply to hymn#53, Dohira, of Guru Tegh Bahadur (1429-6):

    ਬਲੁ ਛੁਟਕਿਓ ਬੰਧਨ ਪਰੇ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਤ ਉਪਾਇ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਬ ਓਟ ਹਰਿ ਗਜ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਹਾਇ ੫੩ (ਮ–੯)
    Bal Chutkeo Bandhan Paray Kachoo Na Hoat Oupaa-ey, Kaoh Nanak Ub OaT Gaj Jeo Hoh Sahaa-ey. (M-9)

    My strength is exhausted, and I am in bondage; I cannot do anything at all. Says Nanak, now, the Akal Purkh is my Support; and will help me, as It did the elephant.
    ਬਲੁ ਹੋਆ ਬੰਧਨ ਛੁਟੇ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਤ ਉਪਾਇ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੁਮਰੈ ਹਾਥ ਮੈ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਹੋਤ ਸਹਾਇ ੫੪(੧੦)
    Bal Hoaa Bandhan Chutay Sabh Kich Hoat Oupaa-ey, Nanak Sabh Kich Tumrai Haath Mai Tum Hee Hoat Sahaa-ey. (M-10)
    My strength has been restored, and my bonds have been broken; now, I can do everything. Nanak: everything is in Your hands, O, Akal Purkh; You are my Helper and Support.
    -----Ref- Mahan Kosh & Old Birs in the library of Punjabi University, Patiala.
    Sikhs were instructed by the 10th Guru that after his death there will be no living guru as his successor after his death. Sikhs are to follow the “Sabd Gur/AGGS” which is the embodiment of the instructions for the humanity to follow. Sikh Gurus never claimed themselves to be God. Guru Gobind Singh writes in “Bachitar Natak,” his autobiography on this question.

    ਜੇ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਪਰਮੇਸ਼ਰ ਉਚਰ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਨਰਕ ਕੁੰਡ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਿ ਹੈ
    Jay Ham Ko Parmayshar Ouchar Hai, Tay Sabh Narak Kound Meh Par Hai.

    Whosoever calls me God, will fall in to the ditch of hell.
    Hence Sabd Guru is not to be considered God but only respected like other Sikh Gurus and followed in thought, word, and spirit the teachings contained there in. It aims to root out idolatry, ritualism and ignorance of worship, Spiritual Ignorance, from the Sikh faith. AGGS contains the tools for the humanity to progress in spirituality to become better human being. But unfortunately this universal book of spiritual wisdom has been hijacked, made in to an idol and kept in lock and key by the uneducated clergy and Sikh politicians, for their own personal, egotistical reasons. They restrict its use in the Hotels, where smoking and drinking takes place outside the Gurudwara fearing disrespect to the AGGS. But Guru Amardas had a different point of view in Raag Asa, on this subject:

    ਜਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ
    Jithai Jaey Bahai Nayra Satguru So Thaan Sohava Raam Raajay.

    Wherever my True Guru goes and sits, that place is beautiful, O, Akal Purkh The King.
    -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 450-17
    They also have made it difficult for the Sikhs to buy a copy of AGGS for their homes. Under empty Fatwa’s called Hukamnamas, by making artificial rules that verge on idolatry, knowing fully well that is available at every place on each PC. This all is indicative of Spiritual Ignorance.

    Spiritual Ignorance;

    ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ ਔਧ ਵਰਤਾਵਾ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ
    Giaan HeeNan Agiaan Poojaa, Andh Vartaavaa Bhaou Doojaa.

    Without spiritual wisdom, people worship ignorance. They grope in the dark, in the love of duality.
    -----Guru Nanak, Sloke Vaaran To Vadheek, AGGS, Page, 1412-4
    ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਾਨੁਖੁ ਭਇਆ ਜੋ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੋ ਲੋਰੈ ਰੈਣਿ ਅੰਧਾਰੀ ਕਾਰੀਆ ਕਵਨ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਭੋਰੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਤੋ ਭ੍ਰਮਤੋ ਹਾਰਿਆ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਿਧੀ ਕਰਿ ਟੋਰੈ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਭਈ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਨਿਧਿ ਮੋਰੈ

    Agiani Manukh Bhaiaa Jo Nahin So Lorai, Rain AnDhaaree Kaaree-aa Kavan Jugat Jit Bhorai, Bharmato Bharmato Haari-aa Anik BiDhee Kar Torai, Kaho Nanak Kirpaa Bha-ee SaaDhsangat NiDh Morai.

    Humanity is in spiritual ignorance; people see things that do not exist. The night is dark and gloomy; how will the morning dawn? Wandering, wandering all around, I have grown weary; trying all sorts of things, I have been searching. Says Nanak, Akal Purkh has shown mercy to me; I have found the treasure of the Sadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. -----Guru Arjan, AGGS, Page 212-11

    The purpose of developing spirituality is to be free of spiritual ignorance, free of selfish or destructive behavioral patterns and free to return home to our eternal home in God. All the present problems are self-inflicted in ignorance and our performance of mostly empty, meaningless rituals.

    Ignorance of reality is no excuse. The only cure is self-knowledge and becoming conscious of one’s own infinite worth so that he can grow spiritually towards God. Sikhism is a way of life, to be lived with internal piety. The prescription to clean the inside is to subjugate the 5 animal instincts of Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment to Maya, and Ego. These need to be supplanted through the development of virtues. Guru Nanak explains in Japji, AGGS, Page, 4-11, 12, and 13 that every one knows how to clean the outer filth. But it is the Sabd, which cleans the inside through positive right action on the instructions in:

    ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜ ਹੋਇ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗ ਓਹ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗ
    Bharia Hath Pair Tan Deh, PaaNee Dhotai Outras Kheh, Moot Pleeti Kaparh Hoey,Day SabooN La-ee-ai Oh Dhoey,Bharia Mat Papaa Kai Sung, Oh Dhopai Navai Kai Rung.

    When the hands and the feet and the body are dirty, water can wash away the dirt. When the clothes are soiled and stained by urine, soap can wash them clean. But to clean the inside one needs the help of Naam to progress in spirituality obtained through Sabd Guru. When the intellect is stained and polluted by sin, it can only be cleansed by the Love of the Name.
    Guru’s help is absolutly necessary for progress in spirituality.

    ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਦਰਗਹ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਜਾਇ
    Bin Gur Kinai Na Paa-eo Birtha Janam Gavaa-ey, Manmukh Karam Kamaavnay Dargeh Milai Sajaa-ay.

    Without the Guru, no one has obtained spirituality and they waste away their lives in vain. The self-willed self-wiled create karma, and in the Court of the Akal Purkh, they receive their punishment.
    -----Guru Ramdas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 33-15 & 16

    ਮਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਆ ਅਨਿਕ ਪ੍ਕਾਰ ਫਿਰਤ ਬਿਲਲਾਤੇ ਮਿਲਤ ਨਹੀ ਗੋਸਾਈਐ
    Maa-ee Gur Bin Gian Na Paa-eeai, Anek Parkar Firat Billaatay Milat Nahee Gosaa-ee-aa.

    O mother, without the Guru, Divine knowledge is not obtained and one wanders crying and not finding God. They wander around, weeping and crying out in various ways, but the Creator of the World does not meet them. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Devgandhari, AGGS, Page, 532-11 & 12
    ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਔਧੁ ਪਿਆਰੁ ਬਾਝੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਡੁਬਾ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ
    Nanak Manmukh Undh Piaar, Baajh Guru Dubaa Sansaar.

    The self-willed loves the Spiritual darkness. Without the Guru, the world is drowning.
    -----Guru Nanak, Majh Ki Var, AGGS, Page, 138-1

    It is the message in the Sabd Guru, which has to be respected with contemplation, deliberation and reflection in daily life as worship of the Truth. Guru Nanak stressed that it is the Truth which is God, which never gets old.

    Truth;

    Sikhism is about Truth and Sikhism is Truth. That is how Guru Nanak defined God. It was Truth before time, it is true now and it will be true in the future. Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. The study of Truth is part of philosophy and epistemology. Falsehood is an offensive weapon, truth is defensive armor.

    ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੀਤਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਪਾਟੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸਚੋ ਸਚਾ ਤਿਚਰੁ ਜਾਪੀ ਜਾਪੈ
    Sach Purana Hovai Naahee Seeta Kaday Na Paatai, Nanak Saahib Sacho Sachaa Tichar Jaapee Jaapai.

    The Truth never gets old; and when it stitches, it does not torn again. O Nanak, the Akal Purkh and Master are the Truest of the True, manifests to mind, during contemplation.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sorath, AGGS, page 956-1

    ਸਤਜੁਗਿ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰੀਰਾ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਵਰਤੈ ਗਹਿਰ ਗੰਭੀਰਾ
    Satjug Sat Santokh Sareeraa, Sat Sat Vartai Gehr Ganbheeraa.

    In the Golden Age of Truth, Truth and contentment filled the bodies. Truth is pervasive, deep, profound and unfathomable. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1023-13 & 14

    ਕੇਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ
    Kaytay BanDhan Jee-a Kay Gurmukh Mokh Du-aar, Sachoh Oarai Sabh Ko Ouper Such Aachaar.

    There are so many entanglements for the soul. Only as Guru willed do we find the Gate of Liberation. Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living.
    -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 62 -11

    Spirituality is being of the spirit. It is a devotion to the metaphysical matters and activities, which renew uplift, comfort, heal, and inspire others with whom we interact. It is the development of the self to the point that one’s spirit reaches the Holy Spirit of God, the Divine Truth, the highest spiritual achievement possible.

    Spirituality is not the domain and inherited property of any religion, it can be obtained individually. Sikhism is a way of life lived according to the teachings incorporated in AGGS. But unfortunately idolatry with rituals is more in vogue in the Sikh ways of life and institutions at the present time.
    The original intentions of all religions were to promote and teach true spirituality among all. Over time they have become organized and institutionalized. They have started to control people. Development of true spirituality is independent of any church/temple/mosque or religion. God is the Holy Spirit and has no religion. There is only one religion of Righteousness, which represents the individual's internal "law," to which obedience must be given. This means living in accordance with the Divine Will, Divine Creative Principle. Dharma essentially means living as per a universal value system.

    Dharma;

    Dharma (Righteousness) is one of the Sikh virtues, which requires an individual’s active participation to obey the universal eternal laws of Mother Nature. It is the essential character or nature of all that is, of the universe and of each of us. It is the natural and rightful order and foundation of everyone and everything. It is both why things are as they are and the path to awakening. As such, dharma is the underlying Truth of all spiritual traditions.

    ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦਿ੍ੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪੂਰ ਜੁਗਿ ਜੁਗਿ ਸੋਈ
    Ayko Dharam Dirrhai Sach Ko-ee, Gurmit Poora Joug Joug So-ee.

    There is only one religion of Righteousness; let everyone grasp this truth. One can become perfect in all ages by following the teachings incorporated in SGGS. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Basant, AGGS, 1188-15

    ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਕਰਮ
    Sarb Dharam Meh SraysaT Dharam, Har Ko Naam Jap Nirmal Karam.

    Of all religions, the best religion is to deliberate, contemplate and reflect on the Name of the Akal Purkh and maintain pure conduct. -----Gur Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, 266-13

    ਮੰਨੈ ਮਗੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਪੰਥੁ ਮੰਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਬੰਧੁ
    Mannai Mag Na Chalai Panth, Mannai Dharam Saytee Sanbandh.

    By acting on Akal Purkh’s Will, one follows the path of righteousness and is not led astray by rituals. The faithful are firmly bound to the righteousness. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 3-9

    ਨਾ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਰਮ ਕੇਵਡ ਤੇਰੀ ਦਾਤਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਜਾਤਿ
    Nā jāā karam kevad erī ā. Karm Dharam Tayray Naam Ki Jaat.

    I do not know about karma, or how great Your gifts are? Actions, righteousness, social class and status, are all contained within Your Name. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page 154-2

    ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ
    Kabir Jhaa Giaan Teh Dharam Hai Jhaa Jhooth Teh Paap, Jhaa Loabh Teh Kaal Hai Jhaa Khima Teh Aap.

    Kabir, where there is spiritual wisdom, there is righteousness. Where there is falsehood, there is sin. Where there is greed, there is death. Where there is forgiveness, there is God It self.
    -----Kabir Sloke 155, AGGS, Page 1372

    Discipline;

    A spiritual discipline is necessary for spiritual growth and character. Character implies a broad understanding of life choices that a person makes for the purpose of entering in to deeper awareness and relationship with God. It emerges from a cleaning of the inner self. Sikhism is all about internal piety and absolute truthful conduct. “We humans are undisciplined people. So we let God discipline us with action and more action”. For spiritual growth one has to follow the prescribed discipline of his faith in his way of living. Guru Nanak describes the true way of life in Raag Bilawal;

    ਸਾਚੀ ਰਹਤ ਸਾਚਾ ਮਨਿ ਸੋਈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਥਨੀ ਹੈ ਪਰੁ ਰਹਤ ਨ ਹੋਈ ਨਾਵਹੁ ਭੂਲੇ ਥਾਉ ਨ ਕੋਈ
    Saachee Rahat Saacha Man So-ee, Manmukh Kathnee Hai Par Rahat Na Ho-ee, Navoh Bhoolay Thaou Ko-ee.

    Through the lifestyle of Truth, the True Akal Purkh comes to dwell in the mind. The self-willed talks about it, but does not practice it. Forgetting the Name, he finds no place of rest.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 831-12 & 13

    Guru Arjan ponders in Raag Devgandhari;

    ਕਰਤ ਫਿਰੇ ਬਨ ਭੇਖ ਮੋਹਨ ਰਹਤ ਨਿਰਾਰ ਕਥਨ ਸੁਨਾਵਨ ਗੀਤ ਨੀਕੇ ਗਾਵਨ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਧਰਤੇ ਗਾਰ ਅਤਿ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਬਹੁ ਚਤੁਰ ਸਿਆਨੇ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਰਸਨਾ ਚਾਰ ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਮੇਰ ਤੇਰ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਏਹ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਨਿ ਭਵਜਲੁ ਤਰੀਅਲੇ ਪ੍ਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਸੰਤ ਸੰਗਾਰ
    Karat Firay Ban Bhaykh Mohan Rahat Niraar, Kathan Sunaavan Neekay Gaavan Man Meh Dhartay Gaar. Ut Sundar Boh Chatur Siaanay Bidiaa Rasnaa Chaar, Maan Moh Mayr Tayr Bibarjat Ayh Maarg Khanday Dhaar, Koh Nanak Tin Bhavjal Tari-alay Prabh Kirpa Sant Sangaar.

    Some wander around in the forests, wearing religious robes. But the Fascinating Akal Purkh remains distant from them. They talk, preach, and sing their lovely songs, but within their minds, the filth of their sins remains. They may be very beautiful, extremely clever, wise and educated, and they may speak very sweetly. But to forsake pride, emotional attachment, and the sense of 'mine and yours', is the path of the double-edged sword. They alone will swim across the terrifying world-ocean, who, by God's Grace, joins the Society of the Saints, says Nanak. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Devgandhari, AGGS, Page, 534-12

    Spirituality is preparing, body and mind, to receive God's inspiration and translating it in thinking, speech, and actions that lead to the formation of virtuous habits, the foundation of character. Developing Humility, Love, Contentment, Truth and Compassion is the Goal of Life. They lead to Spiritual Enlightenment, which unites the Conscious Mind with the Universal Consciousness. The Divine love & fear of the Creator removes the Ego, the goal of true spirituality.

    Kabir says in Raag Kidara, on Fear & Love of God:

    ਭੈ ਬਿਚਿ ਭਾਉ ਭਾਇ ਕੋਊ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਭਾਈ ਜੇਤੇ ਘਟ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਪੀਆਈ
    Bhai Bich Bhaaou Ko-ou Boojheh Har Ras Paavai Bhaa-ee. Jee gat amri sab hī mėh bāvai isėh pī▫ā▫ī.

    In the Fear of God, is the Love of God? Only those few who understand Its Love obtain the sublime essence of the It, O Siblings of Destiny. As many hearts as there are - in all of them, is Its Ambrosial Nectar; as It pleases, It causes them to drink it. -----Kabir, Raag Kidara, AGGS, Page, 1123-15

    Can Spirituality be obtained by mere verbal talk?

    Sikhs are not obeying the teachings to modify their way of life and are in total spiritual ignorance. But spirituality cannot be obtained by mere talk or following hollow rituals. It depends on the favor of God’s Grace. Guru Nanak, explains this in Raag Asa:

    ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਗਲੀਈ ਢੂਢੀਐ ਕਥਨਾ ਕਰੜਾ ਸਾਰੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਹੋਰ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ
    Giaan Na Galee-ee Dhudhee-ai Kathna Karrhaa Saar, Karam Milai Ta Paa-eeai Hoar Hikmat Hukam Khuaar.

    Wisdom cannot be found through mere words. To explain it is as hard as iron. When the Lord bestows Its Grace, then alone it is received; other tricks and orders are useless. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 465-1 & 2

    Can spirituality or love of God be bought?

    Guru Arjan in Chaubolay Sloke and advises a dedicated Sikh “Samman” that Spiritual Wisdom or the love of God cannot be bought. God cannot be bribed. Unfortunately bribing God is very prevalent now days as a way of liberation in different ritual forms;

    ਸੰਮਨ ਜਉ ਇਸ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਕੀ ਦਮ ਕ੍ਯ੍ਯਿਹੁ ਹੋਤੀ ਸਾਟ ਰਾਵਨ ਹੁਤੇ ਸੁ ਰੰਕ ਨਹਿ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਿਰ ਦੀਨੇ ਕਾਟਿ
    Samman Jaou Iss Praym Kee Dam Kehoh Hoatee Saat, Raavan Hutay So Runk Neh Jin Sir Deenay Kaat.

    O Samman, if one could buy the love of God with money, then consider the king Rawan, who was not poor, but he could not buy it, even though he offered one of his heads to Shiva.
    -----Guru Arjan, Chaubolay Slokes, AGGS, Page, 1368-18
    Kabir refers to the way bribing God in Raag Gauri:

    ਕੰਚਨ ਸਿਉ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਹੀ ਤੋਲਿ ਮਨੁ ਦੇ ਰਾਮੁ ਲੀਆ ਹੈ ਮੋਲਿ
    Kanchan Si-o Paa-ee-ai Nahee Tol, Man Day Raam Lee-aa Hai Mol.
    God cannot be obtained by offering your weight in gold. But I have bought God by giving my mind.
    -----Kabir, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 327-10

    Can spirituality be obtained by visiting religious places?

    Spirituality cannot be obtained by mere visiting religious places as explained by Guru Amardas, Raag Dhanasari:

    ਸੇਵਕ ਸਿਖ ਪੂਜਣ ਸਭਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਊਤਮ ਬਾਨੀ ਗਾਵਿਆ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਥਾਇ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਿਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨੀ
    Sayvak Sikh PoojaN Sabh Aaveh Sabh Gaaveh Har Har Ootam Baani, Gaaviaa SuNiaa Tin Ka Har Thaey Paavai Jin Satgur Ki Aagia Sat Sat Kar Maanee.

    All the Sikhs come to worship and adore God; they sing the sublime Bani of the Eternal Akal Purkh. Their singing and listening is approved by God; they accept the Order of the True Guru as totally True.
    -----Guru Amardas, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 669-14 & 15

    Guru Amardas further clarifies this in Raag Vadhans:

    ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ
    Satgur No Sabh Ko Vaykhda Jayta Jagat Sansaar, Dhithai Mukat Na Hova-ee Jichar Sabd Na Karay Veechaar.
    All the living beings of the world behold the True Guru but one is not liberated by merely seeing, unless one contemplates and deliberates on the message of the Sabd with reflection in daily life.
    ------Guru Amardas, Raag Vadhans, AGGS, Page, 594-11

    The word Vichar is repeated at least 378 times in AGGS but how many actually do it.
    Are the Sikhs carrying the message home to change their life style? An individual has to change himself by reflecting on the message; otherwise Bani itself is not a magic potion. It needs individual’s action. Those who behold the Akal Purkh do not fathom It. Those who fathom the Akal Purkh cannot behold It. One cannot fathom the unfathomable.

    ਹਰਿ ਅਗਮ ਅਗਾਹੁ ਅਗਾਧਿ ਨਿਰਾਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਗੋਪਾਲਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਤਿ ਤਾਰੇ ਤਾਰਣਹਾਰਾ ਮੇਲਿ ਲਏ ਰੰਗਿ ਲੀਨਾ ਹੇ
    Har Agam Agaah Agaadhi Niralaa. Har an na pā▫ī▫ai gur gopālā. Sagur ma āre ārahārā mel la▫e rang līnā he.

    The Akal Purkh is inaccessible, inscrutable, unfathomable and unattached. Its limits cannot be found; the Guru is the God of the World. Through the Teachings of the True Guru, It carries us across to the other side uniting with It those who are colored by Its Love.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1027-17

    Can spirituality be obtained with filth in side?

    Kabir clarifies in Raag Asa about inside filth-484-14 &15:

    ਔਤਰ ਮੈਲੁ ਜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਵੈ ਤਿਸ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਲੋਕ ਪਤੀਣੇ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਅਯਾਨਾ
    Untar Mail Jay Tirath Naavai Tis Baikunth Na Janan, Loak PateeNay Kachoo Na Hovai Naahee Raam Iaanaa.

    With filth within the heart, even if one bathes at sacred places of pilgrimage, shall not go to heaven. Nothing is gained by trying to please other people as the God cannot be fooled.

    ਪੂਜਹੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੀ ਦੇਵਾ ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ
    Poojoh Raam Ayk Hee Dayva, Saachaa NaavaN Hur Ki Sayva.

    Worship the One Divine God. The true cleansing bath is service to the Guru.
    Similarly Guru Nanak declares in Raag Parbhati, that worship is useless with filth inside.

    ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਕੋ੍ਧ ਮਹਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਸਥਾਰਾ ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਤਨਿ ਚਕ੍ ਬਣਾਏ ਔਤਰ ਕੀ ਮਲੁ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਨ ਜਾਏ ਇਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਪ੍ਭੁ ਕਿਨ ਹੀ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਮੁਦਾ੍ ਮਨੁ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਮਾਇਆ
    Man Meh Krodh Mhaa Ahankaraa, Pooja Kareh Bahut Bisthara, Kar Isnaan Tan Chakar BaNaey, Untar Ki Mal Kab Hee Na Jaaey, It Sanjam Prabh Kin Hee Na Paaeaa ,Bhag-utee Mudraa Man Mohi-aa Maa-i-aa.

    Within the mind dwell anger and massive ego. Worship services are performed with great pomp and ceremony. Ritual cleansing baths are taken, and sacred marks are applied to the body. But still, the filth and pollution within never depart. No one has ever found God in this way. The sacred mudras - ritualistic hand gestures -- are made, but the mind remains enticed by Maya.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1348-1

    Can spirituality be obtained by outward show of piety e.g. bowing etc?

    Spirituality cannot be achieved by the various postures of the body like bowing and going down on knees etc; Guru Nanak mulls this in Asa Di Var, 470-15:

    ਸੀਸਿ ਨਿਵਾਇਐ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੁਸੁਧੇ ਜਾਹਿ

    Sees Nivaae-ai Kia Theeai Ja Ridhai Kasudhay Jaaeh.

    What can be achieved by bowing the head, when the heart is impure?

    Bhai Gurdas ponders on the same issue:

    ਸਿਰ ਤਲਵਾਏ ਪਾਈਐ ਚਮਗਿਦੜ ਜੂਹੈ ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਜੇ ਮਿਲੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਖੁਡਾਂ ਚੂਹੈ
    Sir Talvaa-ay Paa-eeai Chamgidharh Joohai, Marhee MasaaNee Jay Milai Vich Khudan Choohay.

    If bowing could grant liberation than bats hanging upside down in the forest or the rats living in crematories in seclusion should get liberation in their holes. -----Bhai Gurdas, Var 36-Pauri, 13

    Can spirituality be obtained by verbal recitation of the Path with out relishing it?

    Answer is big NO. I have been reciting Path daily since the age of 12 for 63 years, which was just mechanical recitation with out understanding. I have read SGGS, over 63 times from A-Z in my life but it was mechanical reading with out understanding and reflection. But the last 5 readings of SGGS read very slowly were more enjoyable. When I started understanding its meaning with the help of dictionaries, translations and further reflections on the message in my daily life, I became more satisfied. I relish the “Sabd”, and occasionally become overwhelmed and get lost in it.
    Guru Amardas replies my question;

    ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪੜਹਿ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਭਰਮਾਵਹਿ
    Pundit Parheh Saad Na Paaveh, Doojai Bhaey Maya Man Bharmaaveh.

    The religious scholars read, but they do not taste the essence due to unfocussed mind in the love of duality and Maya. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 116-18

    He further stresses;

    ਪਾਠੁ ਪੜੈ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਈ ਭੇਖੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਰਸਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਸਮਾਇ
    Path Parhai Na Boojha-ee Bharam Bhulaey, Gurmatee Har Sada Paaeaa Rasna Har Ras Smaaey.

    Akal Purkh cannot be understood by reading scriptures; the deceitful pretenders are deluded by doubt. It is always found through the Guru’s teachings, and the tongue is permeated with the Sublime Essence It.
    -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 66-18 & 19

    ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਨੀ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਇ
    Kathnee Badnee Na Paaeeai Haoumai Vichoh Jaaey.

    Akal Purkh is not obtained by mouthing mere words, but by rooting out ego from within.
    -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 32-19

    ਙੰਙਾ ਙਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮੁਖ ਬਾਤਉ ਅਨਿਕ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ੍ ਕਰਿ ਭਾਤਉ ਙਿਆਨੀ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਦਿ੍ੜ ਸੋਉ ਕਹਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਕਛੁ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਊ

    Nganga Ngiaan Mukh Batou, Anek Jugat Saaster Kar Bhatou, Ngianee Soey Ja Kai Dirrh Souoo, Kehat Sunat Kuch Joag Na Houoo.
    NGANGA: Spiritual wisdom is not obtained by mere words of mouth. It is not obtained through the various debates of the Shaastras and scriptures. They alone are spiritually wise, whose minds are firmly fixed on the Akal Purkh. Hearing and telling stories, no one attains Yoga.
    -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 251
    ਵੇਦ ਕਹਹਿ ਵਖਿਆਣ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਣਾ ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੈ ਭੇਖਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਾ ਸਚਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਅਲਖੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ

    ve kahėh vaki▫ā an na pāvā. Parhia Naahee Bhayd Bujhia PaavNaa. Kat arsan kai bek kisai sac samāvā. Sacā purak alak saba suhāvaā.
    The Vedas speak and expound on the God, but they do not know Its limits. Akal Purkh’s mystery is revealed only by understanding and not by studying the scriptures. There are six pathways in the Shaastras, but how rare are those who merge in the True God through them. The True Akal Purkh is Unknowable; through the Word of Its Sabd, we are embellished.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 148-3
    Sabd can only be relished with spiritual growth as explained by the following hymns;

    ਥਾਲੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਤੈ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਹਰਿ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਔਮਿ੍ਤ ਸਾਰ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਮਨੁ ਤਿ੍ਪਤੀਐ ਪਾਈਆ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ
    Thaalai Vich Tai Vastoo Pa-eeou Har Bhojan Anmrit Saar, Jit Khaadhai Man Tirpateeai Paa-eeai Mokh Duaar.

    Three things (Truth, Contentment, and Contemplation) have been placed on the plate, which is the sublime, ambrosial food of the Akal Purkh. Eating this, the mind is satisfied, and the Door of Salvation is found. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 645-12
    Guru Arjan confirms the same in Mundavani-1429-12 & 13
    ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ਔਮਿ੍ਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ Thaal Vich Tinn Vastoo Paeeou Sat Santokh Veecharo, Anmrit Naam Thakur Ka Paeou Jis Ka Sabhs Adhaaro, Jay Ko Khavai Jay Ko Bhunchai Tis Ka Hoey Oudharo.
    Three things Truth, Contentment and Contemplation have been placed on the plate. The Ambrosial Nectar of the God’s Naam has also been placed upon it; it is the Support of all. One who eats and relishes it shall be saved.
    Can spirituality be obtained by rituals?

    Kabir in Raag Maru 1103-7 points out;

    ਜਟਾ ਭਸਮ ਲੇਪਨ ਕੀਆ ਕਹਾ ਗੁਫਾ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਸੁ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤੇ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤਿਆ ਜਾਂ ਤੇ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਉਦਾਸੁ
    Jataa Bhasam Laypan Kee-aa Kaha Gufaa Meh Baas, Man Jeetay Jug Jeetiaa Jaan Tay Bikhia Tay Hoey Oudaas.

    What is the use of wearing matted hair, smearing the body with ashes, and living in a cave? Conquering the mind, one conquers the world, and then remains detached from corruption.
    Guru Nanak confirms the above in Raag Ramkali, 903-3 that to get on the spiritual path, one has to get the inside clean;

    ਨਾਵਹੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਚੜਾਵਹੁ ਸੁਚ ਵਿਣੁ ਸੋਚ ਨ ਹੋਈ
    Navoh Dhovoh Tilak Charhavoh Souch ViN Soach Na Ho-ee.

    You may bathe and wash, and apply a ritualistic tilak mark to your forehead, but without inner purity, there is no understanding.

    He further clarifies in Asa Di Var-472-4

    ਸੁਚ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ
    Souch Hovai Ta Such Paaeeai.

    If you are clean in side, you will obtain the True Lord.

    It is the understanding, contemplation with deliberation and controlling the mind with reflection of the message in daily life which helps in the spiritual growth.

    ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ
    Man Jeetai Jug Jeet.

    Conquer your own mind, and conquer the world. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 6-17

    ਮਨੁ ਬਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜੇ ਪੂਰਨ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਹੋਇ
    Man Bas Aavai Nanaka Jay Pooran Kirpa Hoey.

    Akal Purkh’s Grace only can control mind. It can only be obtained by Its service by becoming a better human (ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ). -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 298-17

    Kabir ponders on Spirituality & Liberation in Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 324:
    If Yoga could be obtained by wandering around naked, then all the deer of the forest would be liberated. If the spiritual perfection could be obtained by shaving the head, then why haven't sheep found liberation? If someone could save himself by celibacy, why then haven't eunuchs obtained the state of supreme dignity? Kabir says that without the God's Name, none has found spirituality & salvation?

    Guru Arjan Ponders in Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1003-

    Someone may practice intensive meditation, and discipline of his body, but his mind still runs around in ten directions. The celibate practices celibacy, but his heart is filled with pride. The Sannyaasi wanders around at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, but he is mindless. The temple dancers tie bells around their ankles to earn their living. Others go on fasts, take vows, perform the six rituals and wear religious robes for show. Some sing songs and melodies and hymns, but their minds do not sing of the God. Says Nanak, I met the Perfect Guru, and then the anxiety of my mind was removed.

    Can Spiritual wisdom be obtained by saying Ram Ram etc?

    Guru Amardas replies in Raag Gujri, AGGS, Page, 491-1 & 2

    ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਕਹਿਐ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ
    Raam Raam Sabh Ko Kahai Kahai-aa Raam Na Ho-ee, Gurparsadee Raam Man Basai Ta Fal Paavai Koey.

    Everyone chants the God's Name, Ram, Ram, but by such chanting, It is not obtained. By Guru's Grace, It comes to dwell in the mind, and then, the fruits are obtained.

    The spirit, mind and sensuality form a triad of reality. To achieve harmony a delicate balance must be maintained with contentment in the unity with the universe. Spirit is the non-physical aspect of existence. Mind is a bridge between spirit and body. It is by rooting out self deceit by the selfless service that one prepares himself for the possible blessing of God’s Grace as elucidated by Guru Angad in Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 470-10:

    ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰੇ ਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਏ ਮਾਨੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਲਗਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਲਗਾ ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ

    Aap Gavaaey Sayva Karay Ta Kich Paaey Maan, Nanak Jis No Lagaa Tis Milai Lagaa So Parvaan.

    But if he eliminates his self-conceit and then performs service, he shall be honored. O Nanak, if he merges with the one with whom he is attached, his attachment becomes acceptable. Selfless service of the humanity is only useful if done without expecting anything in return as explained by Guru Angad, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 469-3:

    ਧਰਮੀ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਗਾਵਾਵਹਿ ਮੰਗਹਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ

    Dharmee Dharam Kareh Gavaaveh Mangeh Mokh Duaar.

    The righteous waste their righteousness, by asking for the door of salvation.
    Selfless service leads to spiritual growth and ultimately, we come to understand that serving humanity and serving God are one and the same. In other words selfless service is meditation in action.

    Spirituality is a two-stroke process. The upward stroke relates to inner growth through reflection on the teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the downward stroke manifests improvements in the reality around us as a result of the inward change as we root out the ego with Its Grace.

    ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਪਇਐ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਫਿਰਾਹਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਜੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਤਾ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਹਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਜਨਹੁ ਇਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਦੁਖ ਜਾਹਿ
    Houmai Ayho Hukam Hai Paeaa Kirat Firaaeh, Houmai Deeragh Roag Hai Daroo Bhee Iss Maaeh, Kirpa Karay Jay aapnee Ta Gur Ka Sabd Kamaeh, Nanak Kahai SuNoh Janoh It Sanjam Dukh Jaaeh.

    This ego exists by the Akal Purkh's Order; people wander according to their past actions. Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well. If It grants Its Grace, one acts according to the Teachings of the Guru's Sabd. Nanak says, listen people: in this way, troubles depart:
    -----Guru Angad, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 466

    Spiritual practices can be sound and helpful, but they can become the home of superstition and magic, too. NO external piety or body position or sequence of words or numbers, has ever made God respond any better to any prayer, nor made heaven or earth or hell or anything else supernaturally bend to anyone's bidding. Devotional aids are there to help you direct yourself toward God. The moment you believe they have any powers or merit of their own, you believe in magic, idolatry, and you are in breach of the teachings of AGGS as explained by Guru Arjan In his Sahskirti Sloke 60-1359:

    ਸਿਆਮਲੰ ਮਧੁਰ ਮਾਨੁਖ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਰਿਦਯੰ ਭੂਮਿ ਵੈਰਣਹ ਨਿਵੰਤਿ ਹੋਵੰਤਿ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਚੇਤਨੰ ਸੰਤ ਸ੍ਵਜਨਹ
    Siaamlan Madhur Manukhn Ridhian Bhoom VairNeh, Nivanti Hovanti Mithia Chaytanan Sant Savajneh.
    The mortal is beautiful and speaks sweet words, but in the farm of his heart, he harbors cruel vengeance. He pretends to bow in worship, but he is false. Beware of him, O friendly Saints.
    By altering the patterned performance of the conscious mind, the ego gradually diminishes and the stance of the individual shifts in its relationship to space and time. Perceptions heighten, alternate flows of powerful and pertinent knowledge and creativity results, and the mind is elevated to a new level of intellectual and intuitive functioning.

    The Guru, faith, Truth, and the capital of God’s name are necessary for spiritual growth. Without Guru there is no spiritual, Divine knowledge. Without faith there is no meditation. Without Truth there is no credit and without capital there is no balance. The best act is the desire to help mankind, without which human birth is accursed. Alms, gifts, penance and sacrifices are not equal to Philanthropy.

    Conclusion:

    ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਹੋਰ ਮੋਹੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ਸਬਦੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਖੈ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰ ਸਬਦੇ ਗਤਿ ਮਤਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ
    Iss Jag Meh Sabd KarNee Hai Saar, Bin Sabdai Hoar Moh Gubaar, Sabday Naam Rakhai Uri Dhaar, Sabday Gat Mit Mokh Duaar.

    In this world, the practice of the Sabd is the most excellent occupation. Without the Sabd, everything else is the darkness of emotional attachment. Through the Sabd, the Naam is enshrined within the heart. Through the Sabd, one obtains clear understanding and the door of salvation.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Parbhatee Bibhas, AGGS, Page, 1342

    Prayer, Meditation, Remembrance of the Word of God, Contentment, acceptance of the Will of God, Morality, Selflessness, Integrity, Honor, Dignity, Trustworthiness, Restraint, and Deferred gratification of desires lead to spiritual progress As spiritual awakening begins, motivations inevitably shift from the egocentric toward the desire to serve the others. This kind of service is seen as being absolutely necessary if the awakening and development are to continue. Spiritual growth requires a life of service. A person is not a conqueror in the spiritual sense unless he is willing to give his inner life in exchange for any significant advantage. Each of us must bring out what is best in him. When our lower nature no longer exerts itself in us, whatever may be the provocation, then self-conquest is complete. One should be concerned about internal cleanliness and discipline rather external cleanliness. The discipline of life is very wonderful for mind and body. Spiritual disciplines help to keep our relationship with God in good working order, and even help develop intimacy. Disciplines and practices are tools that are a part of cooperating with the Spirit on the task of remaking us into what God wants us to be, as explained by Guru Arjan in Raag Asa 12-8 & 9:

    ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ੰਜਮੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਨ ਕਮਾਇਆ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਾਧ ਨ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇਆ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਮ ਨੀਚ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਸਰਣਿ ਰੇ ਕੀ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਸਰਮਾ
    Jap Tap Sanjam Dharam Na Kamaaeaa, Sayva Sadh Na Jaaneaa Har Raaeaa, Koh Nanak Ham Neech Karma, SaraN Paray Kee Raakhoh Sarma.

    I have not practiced meditation, self-discipline, self-restraint or righteous living. I have not served the Holy; I have not acknowledged the God. My actions are contemptible, O, Akal Purkh I seek Your Sanctuary; please, preserve my honor, says Nanak!

    The danger to the Sikh philosophy comes from degeneration of morals, beclouded mental horizons and atrophy of the human spiritual nature. Individuals put their vested interest first, and truths and ideals go begging. Moral life cannot be lived in aloofness. Morality is the nurse of spirituality. For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary, but for those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient.

    Cordially,

    Virinder S. Grewal
     
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