At the end of the first pauri of Japji, it says:-
“O Nanak, it is written that you shall obey the Hukam of His Command, and walk in the Way of His Will.”
The next pauri goes on to say that God is in absolute control, that nothing happens without Him:-
By His Command, bodies are created; His Command cannot be described. By His Command, souls come into being; by His Command, glory and greatness are obtained. By His Command, some are high and some are low; by His Written Command, pain and pleasure are obtained. Some, by His Command, are blessed and forgiven; others, by His Command, wander aimlessly forever. Everyone is subject to His Command; no one is beyond His Command. O Nanak, one who understands His Command, does not speak in ego.
And still in pauri 33 it says that we are powerless to do anything:-
No power to speak, no power to keep silent. No power to beg, no power to give. No power to live, no power to die. No power to rule, with wealth and occult mental powers. No power to gain intuitive understanding, spiritual wisdom and meditation. No power to find the way to escape from the world. He alone has the Power in His Hands. He watches over all. O Nanak, no one is high or low
The question that begs to be asked is: “If we are powerless (as according to pauri 33) as God made us so (according to the pauri 2), then how can we follow God’s command as He requested (in pauri 1)?”
If God alone causes everything to happen and we cannot do anything by ourselves, then where does sin come from? Is not sin from God also? If sin is from God then why is it we who must go to hell?
I am in no way questioning the validity of the Guru’s statements. To me these are mystical statements. What I am questioning is our way of understanding them. I believe there must be a coherent way to understand and explain these seemingly contradictory statements. That’s what I hope we will find.