Guru Nanak Ki Bani

Articles on Sikhism written by Sujan Singh

Message for Eternity

Message for Eternity


Sujan Singh

More than 500 years have gone by when Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji started his holy mission to transform world social structure in a way that human society rids itself of all social evils. He preached his followers, the Sikhs, to lead truthful and pious lives and do good to others. He then preached to his Sikhs to inspire others, their near and dear ones and their friends to lead truthful and pious lives and doing good to others so that a wave is created and whole of the nation is transformed into a pious society. This was in fact a message for all times to come and a message not only for India but for whole of the world. This was thus the message for eternity.

The nine gurus who followed Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji followed the same method and for over 250 years, rivers of spirituality flowed in India and whole of the nation started to see the Sikhs as perfect humans. It became famous that a Sikh will never tell a lie. Even court decisions were made on the basis of a Sikh’s witness thinking that a Sikh will never tell a lie. Sikhs used to escort the brides in the marriages to safety. They used to free the daughters of the country from the clutches of the foreign invaders. They were always ready to fight for the right cause. Sikhs’ fifth and ninth gurus sacrificed their lives to save the honour of the country and to check the forcible conversion of innocent people to Islamic religion by a tyrant ruler. Their tenth guru sacrificed his four sons for saving the honour of the country. The great, noble and unprecedented sacrifices of the gurus were followed by thousands of sacrifices by the devoted Sikhs to save the honour, religion and culture of this country. Even in freedom struggle from the clutches of a foreign rule, the sacrifices made by the Sikhs far exceed the combined sacrifices made by the rest of the country.

Society before guru Nanak Dev Ji

Guru Nanak Dev Ji has described the state of decadent society prevailing in his times in his own words. He writes that the sin was the ruler, greed was his prime minister and falsehood was his finance minister. Ladies of the harem were the king’s advisers with whom the ruler was ever engaged in conversation. The public was ignorant and mindless and accepted every thing thrust on it by the corrupt ruler (pages 468-469 of sacred guru granth sahib).At another place, Guru Nanak Dev Ji likened kings to ravenous loins, their officials to dogs and their subjects to blind sheep.

It is ironical that the wave started by Sikh gurus did not last long. The present day rulers and the public are in no way different than those described by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in his times The present day society is caste ridden and strife torn. There is violence every where. Corruption is rampant.  Bribery has made inroads every where. No work is possible without greasing the palms of the government officials. Justice is purchased. Bigotry is the order of the day. Tolerance has disappeared. Rapes of innocent girls are common.  There is therefore a dire necessity of renaissance of Guru Nanak Dev’s message for eternity. That can only save the present day society from self destruction.

Basic concepts of Guru Nanak’s teachings

Guru Nanak’s teachings lay main emphasis on righteous living and doing good to the society. According to him, it is through good deeds that a person can reach the door of God. Guru Ji says, “God rules through His supreme command but His pen flows according to our deeds. His justice is truth and his court is truth” (page 1241 of sacred Guru Granth Sahib).At another place Guru Ji says,” For every human being, life means action (work) and God would take His decision on the basis of our good or bad actions” (page 1176 of sacred Guru Granth Sahib). In fact Guru Ji says that we have got human birth according to our good deeds done in the past births (page 18 of holy Guru Granth Sahib).Guru Ji says that no worship of God can be possible without righteous living and without inculcating good attributes (gunas) in our mind (vin gun keete bhagte na hoe). Riches have no meaning in the court of God if the wealth is earned by evil means and spent on selfish causes. On the other hand, money earned by hard labour and honest means and spent on right causes makes the life sublime and is accepted in the court of God. Once Guru Nanak Dev Ji spurned the invitation of having feast with a rich man named Malik Bhago and accepted simple food from a hard working, poor carpenter, Bhai Lalo. On Malik’s asking, Guru Ji replied,” The bread earned by the exploitation of the poor and by using evil means exudes blood of those exploited by you. If I squeeze your bread, blood will flow from it. How can I eat such bread? On the other hand, the bread earned by a sweat, hard work and honest and right means by Bhai Lalo exudes milk of his hard earnings. If I squeeze his bread, milk will flow from it. That is the difference between your sumptuous meals and Bhai Lalo’s simple food.” Once in Bagdad, a Moslem Ulema asked Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” who is superior, a Hindu or a Moslem?” To this Guru Ji replied,” Both would weep without good deeds”.

Integration of Naam and Mind

Every one of us does some good deed in our day to day chorus in our lives. May it be attending to a sick person, donating to orphanages or blind care organizations, attending to handicapped persons, taking care of old parents, donating towards the treatment of poor patients suffering from serious diseases, donating blood, serving the nation at the time of foreign aggression, funding the education expenses of poor bright students who cannot afford the costly education, donating to construction and subsequent running of hospitals, schools, colleges, free eye operation camps among many such like other benevolent acts. But can such sporadic acts of goodness transform one’s life so that he can reach the door of God? No. Our mind should in stead be so tuned that at every step or rather at every breath, it thinks of good and nothing else. By attaining this state of mind, a person can attain highest level of piety in his life. To achieve this, Guru Nanak Dev Ji has repeatedly preached to us to have a symbiotic association of mind and Naam, the name of God or the noble attributes of God. Guru Nanak Dev Ji says,” to do good deeds is the best rosary. If our mind is tuned in doing good deeds, our life goes according to God’s wishes (sukirt karni saar jap maali  hirde pher challai tudh naali)” (page 1134 of holy Guru Granth Sahib Ji).

Naam means attributes of God. Integration of mind and Naam thus means absorption of God’s attributes in mind so that the mind becomes tuned to the wishes of God or whatever mind will think will be as God desires it to think. To receive Naam, mind should be free from all ills like hatred, jealousy, backbiting,  bigotry, thinking bad of others, hurting others feelings, stealing, telling lies, etc etc and also have complete control on anger, sex, greed, worldly attachments and ego. Guru Nanak Dev Ji says, “When we go to milk a cow, we first wash the utensil, sit and fumigate it with smoke of scented material before collecting the milk. In the same way, we should purify our mind before absorbing Naam in it.”( bhanda dhoe bais dhup devo  tau dhudhe ko javo) (page 728 of Guru Granth Sahib Ji).

Life and death cycle

The main thrust of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings is to get rid of the vicious cycle of life and death. How can this be achieved? Every person in human form has an ethereal self, a soul, spirit or aatma or jeevaatme inside the physical being. The body or the physical being is ephemeral and will die one day as any living being who is born will die one day. The death of physical being is thus certain. But soul is indestructible and in that way it is similar to God as God is also indestructible. But unlike God, the soul or ethereal self of a person has to come into a physical form again and again continuing the life and death cycle. It is just like changing the clothes when the old ones get worn out. The soul also changes its physical form when the body becomes old. According to Sikh gurus, the soul has to come into physical form again and again as long as we continue to commit sins in our human birth. The human birth is a chance for the soul to get purified by avoiding committing sins, atoning for the sins committed in the past births, integrating Naam with mind and doing good deeds. When the soul becomes free from sins and the human birth is dedicated to the will of God, the soul becomes pure. It will then become like that of its source, God Almighty. It will then become free from the vicious cycle of life and death. Guru Nanak Dev Ji says that truth is above every thing but still higher than truth is truthful living (sachcho ore sab ko   oopar sach achaar). In conclusion it may be said that if one integrates Naam with one’s mind, one can truly become a pious person, a Brahm Giani or a liberated soul. According to the philosophy of Sikh gurus, such should be the aim of living after getting the human birth.

At page 1291 of sacred Guru Granth Sahib JI, Guru Nanak Dev Ji has described the state of mind of a person when that person is able to integrate Naam with mind. Guru Ji says, “He who shows the abode of God in our mind is the wise and true guru. When the mind becomes abode of God, it hears continuous tunes of all the five types of instruments along with the beating of the drum of guru’s word. This condition of mind is called the condition of total trance or absolute bliss. At this state of mind, the worldly attachments (maaya) disturb the mind. But these attachments do not affect the mind as mind is fully integrated with Naam and God is experienced as if He is sitting on the throne of mind. The mind understands the value of guru’s word which otherwise is incomprehensible. All mind’ desires are finished within the mind. The mind frees itself from all worldly attachments and is filled with nectar of Naam. Now the mind does not run after worldly things. As the mind is completely integrated with Naam, it remembers God without using the tongue. The five senses of knowledge (senses of hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and seeing) have now achieved five noble attributes of sat, santokh, daya, dharma and dheeraj (truth, contentment, compassion, religious principles and tolerance). Guru Ji in the end says that he will be the servant of that person who achieves the above state of mind”.

Dissemination of Guru Nanak’s “message for eternity”

Guru Nanak Dev Ji in his own times spread the message for eternity i.e. the message of truthful living, doing good deeds and inspiring others to do the same, by him by touring far and wide in east, west, north and south. Guru Ji spread his message in the west upto Bangladesh and Burma, in the south up to Sri Lanka, in the north up to Tibet and China and in the west up to Mecca. Guru Ji spent his last 15 years of his life at a place in Punjab called Kartarpur. He used to hold sadh sangats both in the morning and evening to give sermons to his followers who were by then called the Sikhs. His followers included high and low, Hindus, Moslems, Jains, Budhis and of all the classes prevailing at that time. Guru Ji never asked any one to leave his religion but taught his Sikhs the message of universal brotherhood. He sought welfare of whole of the world ( tere bhane sarbat da bhalaa). He taught his Sikhs to shun the caste system, treat every individual equal, however high or low he may be. He did not believe in wasting time in unnecessary rituals. He believed in one God He taught that the method of attaining salvation is in leading truthful life, doing good to others, service before self, helping the poor and downtrodden, attending to sick and making the mind as abode of God. Guru Ji started common kitchen for all his followers. Guru Ji at Kartarpur earned his own living by cultivating land and raising agricultural crops. The produce from his land was mainly used in the common kitchen (langar).

The same method of dissemination of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message was continued by other nine gurus following him. After getting blessings from gurus, the devoted Sikhs used to spread Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message at their own places. In this way sikh ideology spread in almost all the Asian countries.

The tenth guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, enshrined Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the next guru after him. From then on, the building where Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was installed used to be named as Gurudwara. The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and other sikh gurus were then started in Gurudwaras. With in a short time thousands of Gurudwaras were constructed throughout the country and abroad and Sikh ideology took the form of a separate religion and Sikhs started to be recognized as a separate nation. People from all religions, Hindus and Moslems, started embracing this new religion. This system of spreading the message of Guru Nanak Dev Ji still prevails. Millions of Gurudwaras have been built in India and all over the world where the Sikhs have settled. The teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are being spread even through the electronic media and thousands of web sites have been created on the life history of Sikh gurus and on the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Reformation of the decadent Sikh society

In spite of the help of electronic media and millions of gurudwaras, there is extensive degradation in the ethical values of Sikh society. The truth has almost disappeared. Falsehood rules the society. All the rituals which were forbidden by the gurus are being worshipped by the Sikhs. The Sikhs now a day worship gods, goddesses, tombs, mausoleums, snakes, trees and even idols. Sikh women have started keeping fasts. The Sikhs also observe shrads for their dead ones. There is therefore a strong need to spread Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message of universal brotherhood, truthful life, service to others and replacement of unnecessary rituals by practical life based on Sikh tenets.

What steps will be necessary to spread that message? First and foremost step should be to adhere to only those rituals which are prescribed by S.G.P.C at Akal Takht, Amritsar, Punjab, India. Sikh masses should be taught to shun all those rituals against which our gurus have written in sacred Guru Granth Sahib Ji. We should believe in one God (monotheism) and have trust only in Him. A Sikh cannot remain away from his guru. It is therefore necessary to pay obeisance to the guru at least once a day if not morning and evening each day. While bowing before guru, we generally put our demands of umpteen numbers of material things. This is against the sikh principles. Guru Ji says, ‘If I seek from you other things instead of asking your Naam, O God, I am asking sorrows and agonies from you. You please give me your Naam with which I will have contentment and the appetite of my mind will be satisfied’. Again at an other place guru Ji says,’Your supreme command is sweet to me. Nanak seeks only Naam from you’. At one place in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak Dev Ji describes how the   obeisance to the guru should be made. Guru Ji says,’ Obeisance to you, O God, should be to accept and practise your Naam. The offerings should be to stick to the truth which will authorize a person to sit in sadh sangat. The ardaas (request or determination) to you should be to seek truth and contentment. Then the guru will ask you to sit beside him’ (tudh nu niven mannan tera naao    saach bhent baison ko thaon    sat santokh howai ardaas taa sun sad bahae paas) (page 878 of Guru Granth Sahib Ji). Some times we prescribe punishment for our enemies and ask guru ji to inflict that punishment. In that way we flout the supreme command of God. It is the prerogative of God to give punishment or to forgive a person for his sins. We should only seek Naam and nothing else from our guru.

After paying our obeisance we should take part in the recitation of guru baani in sadh sangat. While reciting guru baani, we should try to understand the meanings. Mere recitation without understanding the meaning will be of no use to us. Saint Kabir in  Guru Granth Sahib Ji says,’ Recite the Naam slowly and with patience so that you can understand the meaning’ (har kaa bilowna blowoh mere bhai   sahej blowo jaise tat naa jae ) (page 478 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji).

Although it is important to make your mind as the abode of God, equally important is to preach to others also the message of Guru Nanak Dev Ji so that the whole sikh society is reformed and attains the same status as it was in the times of our gurus. Sikhs then will set the example of truthful living to other societies who can follow the reformation of their societies. In that way this earth will become like a heaven of our dreams and every person on this planet will lead a blissful life.



Daily Hukamnama in English

  • DHANAASAREE, FIFTH MEHL: I am satisfied and satiated, eating the food of Truth. With my mind, body and tongue, I meditate on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. || 1 || Life, spiritual life, is in the Lord. Spiritual life consists of chanting the Lord’s Name in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. || 1 || Pause || He is dressed in robes of all sorts, if he sings the Kirtan of the Lord’s Glorious Praises, day and night. || 2 || He rides upon elephants, chariots and horses, if he sees the Lord’s Path within his own heart. || 3 || Meditating on the Lord’s Feet, deep within his mind and body, slave Nanak has found the Lord, the treasure of peace. || 4 || 2 || 56 || Hukamnama from

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