Gurbani and Man V. N. TEWARI “Gurbani”, the works of Gurus and Saints in Adi-Granth, is the essence of Sikhism. Cruelty on one side and cowardice on the other in the second half of fifteenth century brought Guru Nanak on the Indian scene who gave birth to a new religion. Religion helps man to come to terms with the questions of his existence. Religion as a way of life is considered an ordered and disciplined approach to man’s aspirations. Three basic questions arise while discussing Gurbani and Man; (i) Man’s relationship with the Invisible Creator, (ii) Man’s relationship with the visible world, (iii) Man’s relationship with himself. We will discuss these one by one. According to Gurbani, before the creation of this universe There was darkness for limitless time. There was no earth, no sky, Neither day, nor night, nor moon, nor sun, God was in the state of the abstract meditation, The universe came into being when it was His will. Maroo, Mahla – 1. The Sikh scriptures open with the “Mul Mantra” which is a description of the Creator. There is but one God. If you care to name Him, call Him Sat, i.e., one Who was, Who is and Who shall be. He is the doer, all pervading, without fear, without enmity. His existence is unlimited by time. He is unborn and self-existent, can be realized through the grace of the Guru. And Out of the primal Truth came the air, Out of air came the water, Out of water, the three worlds were found, And He merged within the Creation. This reminds us of the famous lines dealing with creation in Rig Veda. Faith in God is the fundamental concept of Gurbani. Hindus at time worshipped various gods and goddesses. The Guru advised them to worship God, who created these gods and goddesses and could destroy them too. Gurbani accepts God as Creator and Destroyer of the Universe. Thou are the Creator; All that is, is Thy handy work There is none besides Thee, What Thou createst That Thou see’est and knowest. Man though created by Him is separated from Him. Separation is the cause of restlessness, unhappiness and misery. How can man be happy? How can man meet Him? The only way is that he must practise constant remembrance of God by meditating on His Name. And for this he needs The Guru, who himself has realized the truth and can lead his Bhagat to the same goal. <table style="border-width: 0px; border-collapse: collapse;" id="AutoNumber19" width="45%" align="left" border="1" bordercolor="#111111" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="border: medium none;" width="92%" bgcolor="#d5eaff">Gurbani explains the three fold role of man, society and God. It provides guidelines to man for his social rule and prepares him for his final meeting with God, who is indivisibly one and is the highest moral being. The idea of man's praise of the Supreme is not to be understood as one of idle mysticism, but should translate into active service done in the midst of worldly relations. </td><td style="border: medium none;" width="8%"> </td></tr></tbody></table> Man is not only disturbed because of his separation from the Creator but is also distressed because of the manmade divisions of high and low, Brahman and Sudra, rich and poor. Social barriers, economic inequality, political injustices all belong to the visible world. Man’s relationship with man and society figure quite prominently in Gurbani. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism was a social revolutionary, one who wrote against all formalism, rituals, caste system, political tyranny, economic imbalance, kings and their deputies, priests and their chelas. He elevated the position of women in society, worked for Hindu-Muslim unity and pleaded for dignity of labour, advised his followers for distribution from their earnings “Kirt Kare Kichh Hathen Dey’ (Dasvandh) and started the institution of Langar (Free Meals). Thus Guru Nanak was a great humanist. Gurbani like many other religions does not condemn body and family life. Gurbani on the contrary preaches (Girhi Men Udasa) attached detachment. “Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Ek Hi Pahchanovo” (“all human beings are one”) is the message of Gurbani and every Sikh in his Ardas wishes well for everyone; irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex. “Nanak Nam Chardi Kala, Tere Bhane Sarbat Da Bhala”. Thus Gurbani believes in casteless society based on the principles of individual dignity, social justice and economic equality and preaches universal brotherhood; “Na Ko Bairi Nahe Begana, Sagal Sang Hum Ko Ban Aayee.” Today, at the national level, we are striving for Unity, Integration and Secularism. Gurbani, if made a pivot, can play a very important role. In fact, Gurbani is a manifestation of these ideals. Regardless of religion, area, caste, one finds the most sublime compositions in Adi-Granth. One admires Sheikh Farid, a Muslim, appreciates Kabir, a low caste, and is impressed by Namdev, a Marathi, in Adi-Granth. It is proved beyond doubt that Sikh scriptures do not adhere to the ideas of sectarianism and regionalism. The entire emphasis is on to the good human-beings, tolerant, just and accommodating which are very essential for man-to-man relationship and man’s adjustment with the visible world. Gurbani has something to say about man for himself. It is agreed that God made man in His own image. If the Creator is within us, why do not we feel His existence? “Haumen”, i.e., Lust, Anger, Greed, Moh and Pride, is a wall between the God and the man. “Haumen Deeragh Rog Hai, Daroo Bhi Is Mahe”. Man has to fight “Haumen” and only then can he meet him. The ethical content of a good life according to Gurbani includes all this — Santokh, Saram, Jugat, Partit, Ai panthi, Sagal Jamati, Man jite jag jit, Daya and Gian. The greatest of all conquests is the conquest of the self. One who has conquered his self is “Gurmukh” and one who follows self is “Manmukh”. Five symbols, Kes, Kangha, Kara, Kirpan and Kachh signify commitment, control, orderliness and honour in life. Thus Gurbani is a world-affirming and not a world-denying philosophy. To sum up, we can say that Gurbani explains the three fold role of man, society and God. It provides guidelines to man for his social rule and prepares him for his final meeting with God, who is indivisibly one and is the highest moral being. The only way of worshipping Him is to sing his praises; but the life of praise is not to be one of idle mysticism, but of active service done in the midst of worldly relations. It is an action-oriented way of life. Thus Gurbani has answered the threefold human relationships; with himself; with his family and milieu; and with Him. True man or Gurmukh, according to Sikh scriptures, is one who has waged battle against the lower human desires and has thought bearing in his mind the fear of God, been rendered fearless and fights against all devils— social, cultural, economic or political. Excerpted from the late author’s article in the book Concept of Man in Philosophy, published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.