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Daya. Compassion

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by Sikh80, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Sikh80

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    Oct 14, 2007
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    or Compassion is a very important quality that needs to be part of a Sikhs Mind Set and must accompany the Sikh at all times. The other four qualities in the arsenal are: Truth (Sat), Contentment (Santokh), Humility (Nimrata) and Love (Pyare). These five qualities are essential to a Sikh and it is their duty to meditate and recite the Gurbani so that these virtues become a part of their mind.
    The importance of Daya can be seen from the following Shabads from SGGS:
    SGGS Page 903Full Shabad
    You have no compassion; the Lord’s Light does not shine in you.
    You are drowned, drowned in worldly entanglements. (4)

    It is clear from the Shabad above that if one does not have Compassion, then you will not by blessed by the Lord. You will not achieve any progress in your spiritual development and you will drown in Worldly Entanglements or Maya. It is mandatory to not ignore tragedies that take place in the world but to face them head-on and do whatever is possible within ones means. As a Sikh you must feel the pain and suffering of other people involved in any tragedy. These days, in addition to natural disasters, we have many Man-inspired violence and destruction. Most of this crazy action is the result of peoples lack of understanding and due to a complete loss of compassion for humanity. The Devil runs the mind of these people. Let’s learn from Gurbani as only then can we make sense of the world.
    In Japji sahib, the most important Bani for the Sikhs, Maharaj says:
    SGGS Page 3Full Shabad
    The mythical bull is Dharma, the son of compassion; this is what patiently holds the earth in its place. One who understands this becomes truthful. What a great load there is on the bull!

    meaning that Dharma or Religion is the son of Compassion. Putting it another way: There would be no religion if there was no compassion. This highlight how important this quality is and that it is central for religion to function. So make no mistake, and make sure that as a Sikh, this virtue is always in your mind and that you analyse your feelings and actions whenever you seen any injustice or suffering taking place. If your heart is not moved seeing the starving in Africa, or the sufferings of the victims of terrorist bombing, then you have much intra-inspection to do to move forward with Sikhi.

    SGGS Page 822Full Shabad
    Truth, contentment, compassion, Dharmic faith and purity - I have received these from the Teachings of the Saints.
    Says Nanak, one who realizes this in his mind, achieves total understanding.(2,4,90)

    If you desire to achieve total understanding, then make sure you practise Truth, contentment, compassion, Dharmic faith and purity at all times. That is the message of the Gurus!

    DAYA (usually spelt daia in Punjabi), from Sanskrit "Day" meaning to sympathize with, to have pity on, stands for compassion, sympathy. It means ‘suffering in the suffering of all beings’. It is deeper and more positive in sentiment than sympathy. Daya, cognitively, observes alien pain; affectively, it gets touched by it and moves with affectional responses for the sufferer; and conatively it moves one to act mercifully, pityingly, with kindness and forgiveness. Daya is antithetical to hinsa (violence). One imbued with daya “chooses to die himself rather than cause others to die,” says Guru Nanak (GG, 356).

    Daya is a divine quality and a moral virtue highly prized in all religious traditions. In the Sikh Scripture, mahadaial (super compassionate), daiapati (lord of compassion), daial dev (merciful god), karima, rahima (the merciful one), etc., have been used as attributive names of God (GG, 249, 991, 1027, 727). In Sikh ethics, too, daya is inter alia, a basic moral requirement, a moral vow. “Keep your heart content and cherish compassion for all beings; this way alone can your holy vow be fulfilled” (GG 299).

    At the human level, one can comprehend feeling of another’s anguish, but as a theological doctrine it is to risk allowing suffering in God’s life. This has often caused much controversy in theological circles. God does not suffer in the sense of pain from evil as evil, but may suffer compassion (daya) as bearing the pain of others to relieve them (of pain as also of evil). That is why at the time of Babar’s invasion of India, Guru Nanak, when he witnessed the suffering of people, complained to God:
    Eti mar pai kurlane tain ki dardu na aia
    So much agony were they put through So much anguish did they suffer— Were you not, O God, moved to compassion?
    (GG, 360)

    The Guru, in the image of God, is also daial purakh (compassionate being) and bakhasand (forgiver)—GG, 681.
    Daya is a virtue of the mind. In Indian thought, virtues are classified into (i) those of the body: dana (charity), paritrana (succouring those in distress), paricharana (social service); (ii) those of speech: satya (veracity), hitovachana (beneficial speech), priyavachana (sweet speech), svadhyaya (reciting of Scriptures) and (iii) those of the mind which, besides daya, also include aparigraha (unworldliness) and sraddha (reverence and piety).
    In Sikh thought daya is considered the highest virtue:
    Athsathi tirath sagal punn jia daia parvanu
    The merit of pilgrimages of holy places sixty-eight, and that of other virtues besides, equal not compassion to living beings.
    (GG, 136)

    Daya, in fact, is considered to be Truth in action:
    sachu ta paru janiai ja sikh sachi lei; daia janai jia ki kichhu punnu danu karei Truth dawns when truthful counsel is accepted, Seeking familiarity with compassion one gives away virtuous charity.
    (GG, 468)

    Daya is, in reality, true action or action par excellence (karni sar)
    as are truth and contentment, the other two high virtues
    (GG, 51)
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