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Even in their dreams, they find no peace

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This article is part of the series on the "Message of Gurbani"

Why is there pain and suffering in the world? Mother Teresa said, “Suffering is a gift of God.” Well, it may be true that suffering tends to build character and makes a person emotionally stronger, but it can also sometimes result in bitterness and regret and may push the weaker person into criminality. However, in most cases, most people strive and would prefer to do without it, especially the extreme forms of it.

So why is there so much pain and suffering? You only need to watch the news to hear and see the way criminals and others continue in ever increasing numbers to kill, rape, violate and cause misery and destruction to others. Most of the time this is done because of a state of transient madness or anger or to revenge a perceived wrong, or to gain material gain or for some other skewed reason; but in most cases the wrong doer offers a reason for the violation.

The most interesting non-spiritual reason offered is this; the human race like most other living organisms is subject to the scientific rule of "survival of the fittest". This terms was first used by British philosopher Herbert Spencer (who coined the term) in 1864 when referring to the work of Charles Darwin, the world renowned English naturalist. Spencer, in his "Principles of Biology" drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin's biological ones, writing "This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection', or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life."

Survival of the fittest

So if we accept this rule then the whole of the human race is in biological competition to stay ahead of the rest; it is like the "clash of the bulls" that we observe in many animal species in slow motion; Every person wants to get ahead of the rest in this biological race. The one who gets to the top reaps the rewards of dominance over the rest. Personally, I do not believe that the picture is that stark; fortunately, as a race, we still allow the weaker in society to continue in survive and in fact the weaker are offered extra support.

However, on the other hand, when we look at the criminal element in society, this concept may offer one explanation of why some in society are so selfish in their behaviour. The theory appears to fit the observed behaviour.

What does Sikhi say about this?

In this Shabad by Guru Nanak in Sri Raag, the founder Sikh master asks the question: How can a person without any virtues within himself or herself find peace? The Guru tells us that the self-centred manmukh will continue in this cycle of death and rebirth perpetually if he or she fails to adopt a virtuous life; so

ਗੁਣ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣਾ ॥

ਖੜੁ ਪਕੀ ਕੁੜਿ ਭਜੈ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਆਇ ਚਲੈ ਕਿਆ ਮਾਣੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਚਉਥੈ ਪਹਰੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੪॥

Guṇ anṯar nāhī ki▫o sukẖ pāvai manmukẖ āvaṇ jāṇā.

Kẖaṛ pakī kuṛ bẖajai binsai ā▫e cẖalai ki▫ā māṇ. Kaho Nānak parāṇī cẖa▫uthai pahrai gurmukẖ sabaḏ pacẖẖāṇ. (4)

With no virtue within, how can you find peace? The self-willed manmukh comes and goes in reincarnation.

When the crop of life has matured, it bends, breaks and perishes; why take pride in that which comes and goes? Says Nanak, O mortal, in the fourth watch of the night, the Gurmukh recognizes the Word of the Shabad. (4)

ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਤਨ ਤੁਝੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਉ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਿੰਜਨ ਤੁਝੁ ਭੋਗ ਭੁੰਚਾਵਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਭੁੰਚੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਹੀ ॥ ਅਚਰਜ ਸਾਦ ਤਾ ਕੇ ਬਰਨੇ ਨ ਜਾਹੀ ॥੨॥ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੂਆ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬੁਝਿ ਥਾਕੀ ॥ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਸਰਣਿ ਜਨ ਤਾਕੀ ॥੩॥

Suṇ man ṯan ṯujẖ sukẖ ḏikẖlāva▫o. Har anik binjan ṯujẖ bẖog bẖuncẖāva▫o. (1) rahā▫o.

Amriṯ nām bẖuncẖ man māhī. Acẖraj sāḏ ṯā ke barne na jāhī. (2) Lobẖ mū▫ā ṯarisnā bujẖ thākī. Pārbarahm kī saraṇ jan ṯākī. (3)

Listen, O my mind and body, and let me show you the way to find peace,

so that you may eat and enjoy the various delicacies of the Lord (1)(Pause) Taste the Ambrosial Nectar of the Naam, the Name of the Lord, within your mind. Its taste is wondrous - it cannot be described. (2) Your greed shall die, and your thirst shall be quenched. The humble beings seek the Sanctuary of the Supreme Lord God. (3)

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