On September 1, 2004, the Sikhs celebrated the 400th anniversary of the first installation of their holy scriptures now called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This was a significant landmark for the Sikhs; the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled and first installed at Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab India in 1604. The holy book contains hymns written by the Sikh Gurus, saints and scholars of different religions and was completed on the 30 August 1604, it contains an important message for the whole of humanity.
The Sikhs believe that the Guru Granth Sahib provides unique and unequalled guidance and advice for the whole of the human race. It is the torch that will lead humanity out of Kaljug, (the dark era) to a life in peace, tranquillity and spiritual enlightenment for all the nations of the World.
|Guru Granth Sahib transcends creed and caste, cant and convention. It does not belong to the Sikhs alone. It consecrates the sayings of 11 Hindu bhakats and as many bard poets and seven Muslims, along with the teachings of six Sikh gurus. No other religion has included in its holy book the sayings of others, however revered.|
The SGGS is about living a life of Truth, respect for others; humility; tranquillity, peace, blessings, high moral standards, equality, co-existence, etc. These are qualities which will result in a situation which will take humanity to higher level of living; to a situation where everyone will be proud and humbled at the same time for being part of pure society.
One who follows the teaching of and accept the SGGS as their Guru or Spiritual Guide is called a Sikh. A follower of the teachings of the SGGS is also called a Gurmukh – which literally means “follower of Guru”.
|The Dalai Lama said,|
|We bow to this great Granth, which was compiled 400 years ago. Since then it had been spreading the message of peace and love all over the world. The 21st century is witnessing a revolution in technology and man is improving his skills, but in matters of living and relationships between nations there is a marked degradation. The aim of all religions is to create a good man.|
For more comments by outsiders about the [[SGGS], see Worldwide Praise for the Guru Granth Sahib
Below are listed the qualities promoted by Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
All Peoples of the World are Equal
The Guru Granth Sahib promotes the message of equality of all beings. Discrimination of all types is strictly forbidden. Since Fatherhood of God was the basic Sikh tenet, sisterhood/brotherhood of humans ipso facto became its social corollary. No one was to be reckoned low or high –“Reckon the entire mankind as One” (Akal Ustat, 15.85) was the Guru Gobind Singh’s precept. The Gurus went further than just proclaiming the equality of humans. They established dignity of labour, by making social service (seva) as an important vehicle of spiritual advancement. “The hands and feet that shun seva are condemnable; actions other than seva are fruitless” (Bhai Gurdas, Varan, XXVII. 10). Begging is taboo for the Sikhs. While bhaktas could live on alms and public charity, not so a Sikh. He is ordained to earn his living by the honest labour of his hands (kirat) and share his earnings with others. It rehearsed in the fifteenth century the ideology of fraternity, equality and liberty. The Gurbani below gives a general idea of the message put forward by the Gurus:
|They look upon all with equality, and recognize the Supreme Soul, the Lord, pervading among all.
Those who sing the Praises of the Lord, Har, Har, obtain the supreme status; they are the most exalted and acclaimed people. (2)
|The God-conscious being is always unstained, like the sun, which gives its comfort and warmth to all.
The God-conscious being looks upon all alike, like the wind, which blows equally upon the king and the poor beggar.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib promotes the concept of equality by highlighting the fact that we are made of the same flesh, blood and bone and we have the same light of God with us – Soul . Our building bricks are the same:
|There is only one breath; all are made of the same clay; the light within all is the same.
The One Light pervades all the many and various beings. This Light intermingles with them, but it is not diluted or obscured.
By Guru’s Grace, I have come to see the One. I am a sacrifice to the True Guru. (3)
Women as Equals
A drastic distinction between the roles of the male and female exists in all the history of modern human societies. Women have grown to accept, not without resentment though, the male-dominated atmosphere of the world. Because people use religious doctrine to define their life styles, religious views in both the East and the West seem to condone, even encourage, the unequal treatment of women. In the 15th century, Guru Nanak established Sikhism, the first religion to advocate emphatically the equality of all people, especially women. In a continent characterized by severe degradation of women, this bold declaration, along with others, determined to erase the impurities of the Indian society. However, prejudices and injustices based on gender linger even today. (by Valerie Kaur) www.sikhwomen.com
|SGGS Page 473 Shabad 1748 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| "From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married.
Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman. That mouth which praises the Lord continually is blessed and beautiful. O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of the True Lord. (2)"
|SGGS Page 604 Shabad 2292 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| " The Beloved Himself enjoys every heart; He is contained within every woman and man.
O Nanak, the Beloved is pervading everywhere, but He is hidden; through the Guru, He is revealed. (4,2)"
|SGGS Page 223 Shabad 706 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
|"In the earth and in the sky, I do not see any second. Among all the women and the men, His Light is shining. (3)"|
- See also the full article of Sikh Women
One God for All
Sikhism is strictly monotheistic in its belief. This means that God is believed to be the one and sole Reality in the cosmos, and no god or goddess or power like Satan or Ahirman or any other has reality such as God’s. God alone is worthy of worship, and the highest end of existence, that is mukti or liberation can come through Devotion to God alone. All other worship is false and a waste of the precious gift of this human life. Besides its monotheism, Sikhism also emphasizes another philosophical idea, which is known as monism. Monism is the belief that all that our senses comprehend is only a "vision" or illusion (Maya); ONLY God is the sole "Continuing Reality". Forms being subject to Time, shall pass away. God’s "Reality" alone is eternal and abiding. Hence behind the shows of things, the spiritual vision is always aware of the "reality of God". According to this philosophy, the differences created by man’s limited thinking which result in selfishness, egoism and hate are meaningless. Since nothing exists except God; the man of God sees in all beings the reality of God. Some text from the holy Guru Granth Sahib will illustrate this point:
- The SGGS tells us that there is only one God and no other:
|There is only the One Supreme Lord God; there is no other at all. |
Soul and body all belong to Him; whatever pleases His Will comes to pass.
- Further, it informs us the this One God is merciful, infinite and is everywhere:
|God is merciful and infinite. The One and Only is all-pervading.
He Himself is all-in-all. Who else can we speak of? God Himself grants His gifts, and He Himself receives them.
Speak and Live Truthfully
Human beings must be truthful, whether one is Hindu or Muslim or of any other religion. Self-recognition is very important for truthful living. Body impured by falsehood cannot be purified by taking a bath in holy rivers or by visiting holy places. Purity of mind is essential. Impurity of mind leads to many other vices such as anger, lust, attachment, ego, and greed. If mind is not free from evils then cleansing of the body even million times is useless. Restless mind is unable to get in touch with God’s love. Continuous practice of austerities and penance do not help in acquiring truthful life. One has to earn his living by honest means. Guru Nanak Dev Ji explains in Japji Sahib how to become truthful and how to break the wall of falsehood:
So how can you become truthful? And how can the veil of illusion be torn away?
O Nanak, it is written that you shall obey the Hukam of His Command, and walk in the Way of His Will. ||1|| (sggs Page 1)
|They see the Truth, and they speak the Truth; their bodies and minds are True.|
|The One Lord is in his heart. True are his actions; true are his ways. True is his heart;
Truth is what he speaks with his mouth. True is his vision; true is his form. He distributes Truth and he spreads Truth.
One who recognizes the Supreme Lord God as True - O Nanak, that humble being is absorbed into the True One. (8,15)
|The true devotees look beautiful in the Darbaar of the Lord`s Court. They speak Truth, and only Truth.
Deep within the nucleus of their heart, is the True Word of the Lord`s Bani. Through the Truth, they understand themselves.
They understand themselves, and so know the True Lord, through their true intuition.
True is the Shabad, and True is its Glory; peace comes only from Truth.
Imbued with Truth, the devotees love the One Lord; they do not love any other.
O Nanak, he alone obtains the True Lord, who has such pre-ordained destiny written upon his forehead. (4,2,3)
|In Truth I sit and stand; I eat and speak the Truth.
With Truth in my consciousness, I gather the wealth of Truth, and drink in the sublime essence of Truth.
In the home of Truth, the True Lord protects me; I speak the Words of the Guru`s Teachings with love. (5)
|True is the speech of the Gurmukh; true are the eyes of the Gurmukh. The Gurmukh practices and lives the Truth.
He speaks the Truth forever, day and night, and inspires others to speak the Truth.
|True are the faces and true are the beards, of those who speak the Truth and live the Truth.
The True Word of the Shabad abides in their minds; they are absorbed in the True Guru.
True is their capital, and true is their wealth; they are blessed with the ultimate status.
They hear the Truth, they believe in the Truth; they act and work in the Truth.
They are given a place in the Court of the True Lord; they are absorbed in the True Lord.
O Nanak, without the True Guru, the True Lord is not found. The self-willed manmukhs leave, wandering around lost. (53)
Control the Five Vices
The SGGS tells us to control our animal instincts of Pride/Ego, Anger/Temper, Greed/Urges, Attachment/Dependency and Lust/Addiction (PAGAL)
|SGGS Page 1388 Shabad 5352 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| "All virtues are obtained, all fruits and rewards, and the desires of the mind; my hopes have been totally fulfilled.
The Medicine, the Mantra, the Magic Charm, will cure all illnesses and totally take away all pain. Lust, anger, egotism, jealousy and desire are eliminated by chanting the Name of the Lord."
|SGGS Page 81 Shabad 199 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| "Taking them by the hand, the Lord has blessed them with His Praises. They no longer have to wander in reincarnation, and they never have to die.
Through the Kind and Compassionate True Guru, I have met the Lord; I have conquered sexual desire, anger and greed. Our Indescribable Lord and Master cannot be described. Nanak is devoted, forever a sacrifice to Him. (5,1,3)"
|SGGS Page 1395 Shabad 5390 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| "In truth, the True Lord is recognized and realized, when one is lovingly attuned to Him, with one-pointed consciousness.
Lust and anger are brought under control, when the breath does not fly around, wandering restlessly. Dwelling in the land of the Formless Lord, realizing the Hukam of His Command, His contemplative wisdom is attained."
Live in God's Hukam
A Sikh or person of God should live and accept the command of God easily and without too much emotional distress. Live in contentment and in Chardikala (positive attitude)
|SGGS Page 209 Shabad 657 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
| "Renounce the intellectual cleverness of your mind, O humble servants of the Lord; understanding the Hukam of His Command, peace is found.
Whatever God does, accept that with pleasure; in comfort and in suffering, meditate on Him. (1)"
|SGGS Page 253 Shabad 792 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen|
He wanders around in the four quarters and in the ten directions, according to the dictates of his karma. Pleasure and pain, liberation and reincarnation, O Nanak, come according to one's pre-ordained destiny. (1)"
Practise Humility, Kindness, Compassion, Love, etc
The necessity of controlling the mind and subduing one’s egoity is repeatedly taught in the Sikh religion. All the virtues such as Truth (Sat), contentment (santokh), Love (Pyar), Compassion/Mercy (daya), Service (seva), Charity (dana), forgiveness (ksama), humility (nimrata), patience (dheerjh), non-attachment (vairagya) and renunciation (taiga), are fundamental constituents of the Sikh religion and ethics. On the other hand, all the major vices or evils that overpower human beings and ruin their religious life, such as anger (krodh), egoism (ahankara), avarice (lobh), lust (kama). Infatuation (moha), sinful acts (papa), pride (man), doubt (duvidha), ownership (mamata), hatred (vair), and hostility (virodh) are condemned. Man is exhorted to eradicate them but certainly not through ascetic self- mortification. Sahaj is attained through tension-free, ethical living, grounded in spirituality.
|The fruit of humility is intuitive peace and pleasure. My True Guru has given me this gift. ((1)(Pause))|
|The God-conscious being shall never perish. The God-conscious being is steeped in humility.|
|First, is the Lord`s Praise; second, contentment; third, humility, and fourth, giving to charities. Fifth is to hold one`s desires in restraint. These are the five most sublime daily prayers.|
|Lacking truth and humility, they shall not be appreciated in the world hereafter.|
|Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra.
Wear these three robes, O sister, and you will captivate your Husband Lord. ((127))
|The armor of self-restraint, truth, contentment and humility can never be pierced.|
|He chants and meditates, and practices austerity and good deeds. He keeps to the Dharma, with faith, humility and contentment.|
And if you do not practise humility, truth, abstinence or self-discipline then what is in store for you:
|You do not practice truth, abstinence, self-discipline or humility; the ghost within your skeleton has turned to dry wood…..
When the Messenger of Death grabs you by your hair, you will be punished. You are unconscious, and have fallen into Death`s mouth. ((3))
A Tamilian girl tells me: "Papa, the beauty of guru Granth Sahib is that of its power, its majesty and its wonders in changing people’s lives".
The message of Sikhi - incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib - is not limited to any nation, people or religion. It is a universal message of truth for mankind. www.sikh-religion.de
Sri Ravi Shankar of the "Art of Living" fame, said the [Sri Guru] Granth should be taught to children not only in the country [India] but also across the world.