Guru Nanak Ki Bani

Articles on Sikhism written by Sujan Singh

Sikh Jiwan

Sikh Jiwan (Sikh living)


Sujan Singh

Sikh jiwan (living) is based on three fundamental principals. These are Naam Japna (recitation of name of God), Kirt karni (hard work for honest living) and wand chhakna (sharing of earnings with others).

Naam Japna (recitation of name of God)

Continuous recitation of the name of God has been a well known practice in ancient Hindu saints. It has been mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures that the ancient saints used to get divine powers by continuous recitation of name of God especially the name of Lord Siva. In Sikhism, the recitation of the name of God, The Naam, has a different connotation. It is not done to achieve divine powers. Recitation of Naam is done to inculcate the attributes of God in our mind. It is therefore important to know the broad meaning of Naam. Lines from a few hymns from Guru Granth Sahib Ji will illustrate the definition of Naam.

  • In Naam are included continence, truth and self control (page 33).
  • Naam describes the attributes of God (page 1176).
  • True Naam of true God is the noble attributes of God (page 688).
  • Guru’s collection of hymns (in sacred Guru Granth Saheb) is Naam (page 1231).

Following lines from a few hymns from Guru Granth Saheb will illustrate how to recite Naam repeatedly.

  • Recitation of Naam should accompany the preservation of good qualities in our mind (page 19).
  • Good deeds are like plant and Naam of God is its fruits. Naam has no features and it appears (in mind) without a sound. This Naam has been created by God by His word (page 351).
  • In this world, doing good deeds is the recitation of Naam (page 539).
  • Do good deeds through recitation of Naam and doors of the hell will be closed for you (page 461).
  • Every body recites Naam from his mouth but few make their mind as abode of Naam. Only those who have made their mind as the abode of Naam will attain salvation (page 565)
  • Recitation of Naam should be done slowly so that we can understand its meaning (478).
  • Only guru knows that only Naam exists in the court of God. The life of only that human is the best and is recognized in the court of God who recognizes Naam. He who makes truth, contentment and love as the provisions for the journey to the court of God achieves Naam.To achieve truth, we will have to drive away the sins from our mind (page 422).

From the above few lines from hymns from Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it becomes clear that recitation of Naam means the absorption of noble attributes of God in our mind.

For continued recitation of Naam, we must select a specific name of God which can be repeatedly recited. God has been given thousands of names. Then what can be the most suitable name for repeated recitation. Various most common names of God include Parmatma, ( the supreme soul), Primal, Immaculate, Immortal, Giver, Benevolent, Bestower, Agam (inaccessible), Agochar (beyond senses of perception), Achut (firm), Apaar (limitless), Avenaasee (indestructible), Alakh (cannot be explained), Waaheguru (supreme teacher), Creator, Swami (master), Hari, Allah, Thakur (master), Prabhu (supreme master), Preetam (loved one), Bhagat Vachhal (who loves His devotees), Parmeshvar (supreme deity), Ram (omnipresent), Raheem (having mercy on all), among thousands of others.  Guru Nanak Dev Ji selected SATNAM as the name of God as this word depicts the qualities of God in their entirety and also depicts that these qualities are everlasting or truth (SAT). Guru Arjun Dev Ji has sermonized in His hymns that all other names of God are based on one or the other specific deed of God or His incarnations but Sat Naam is God’s fundamental and eternal name. Another name of God which can be repeatedly recited and which is considered in Sikhism as the most suitable name of God is Waheguru.Guru Nanak Dev Ji stated that the word of God is his guru which means that God was the guru of Guru Ji. Guru Gobind Singh Ji also said that He who is the only one from the beginning of the universe and who will remain one at the end of His creation is his guru. In Sikhism, Sat Naam and Waheguru are the two names of God which are repeatedly recited for integration of God’s attributes in our mind.

In Sikhism, there are specific morning, evening and bedtime prayers. Sukhmani Sahib, Jap Ji Sahib and Shabad Hazare are recited in the morning after taking bath. The time prescribed for these prayers is between 4 and 6 am. Evening prayers include Rehras Sahib, Choupie and Anand Sahib Ji. The bed time prayer is Kirtan Sohela. There is no specific time for recitation of Sat Naam and Waheguru. Every time is good for Naam recitation (page  1150 of Guru Granth Saheb Ji ). Naam can be recited while engaged in work, while walking on roads and while visiting sacred places (page 386 of Guru Granth Saheb Ji).

Kirt Karni (Hard work and honest living)

Guru Nanak Dev Ji says that after creating living beings, God has placed the power of action in their hands. They reap the fruits according to their deeds. Only God who has created this universe can evaluate their deeds (page 932 of Guru Granth Saheb). Action is necessary to earn living and for our daily routines. Honest and truthful life is the aim in Sikhism as Guru Nanak Dev JI says that truth is above all but truthful life is even higher than truth. Our actions should therefore be directed towards doing good deeds as only good deeds can take us to the door of God. A few lines from the hymns of Guru Granth Sahib Ji will illustrate this point.

  • We have got human birth on the basis of our good deeds and would reach the abode of God through love. For this, we should teach our mind through guru’s teachings and our soul through knowledge (page 18).
  • The best way of worship is to do good deeds (page 1134).
  • Every one of us is to do work and God takes His decisions on the basis of our deeds (page 1169).
  • God rules through His supreme command but for decisions His pen flows according to our deeds. God is truth. His court is truth. His justice is truth (page 1241).
  • All actions are like a creeper plant spread out by God and the name of God is the fruit of this plant. This name of God has no shape and appears without a sound. God has created Naam through His word (page 351).
  • The real truth which is accepted (in the court of God) is that God takes decisions on the basis of our deeds (page 1238).
  • In this world, doing good deeds is the Naam of God which is admired by all (page 539).
  • We write our destiny according to our good or bad deeds through supreme command of God (page 466).

In Guru Granth Sahib Ji, guide lines are given to teach us how to lead a truthful and honest life through good deeds. There are five noble principles which are required to be followed by all Sikhs to lead a truthful life. These are Sat (Truth), Santokh (Contentment), Daya (compassion), Dharma (Religion) and Dheeraj (Patience). These noble principles should also form the basis for earning truthful and honest living. Truth is God. God’s attributes, Naam, should therefore guide our lives. Our earnings should therefore be based on truthful principles. Wealth earned by deceit, lies, corruption, bribery, exploitation of poor, etc is not permitted in Sikhism. Wealth thus earned pushes a person into den of vices like drinking, gambling, taking drugs etc. Another character which forces us to amass wealth by resorting to unfair means is greed. We should therefore be contended with whatever resources of earning we have. Self contentment keeps the desire of greed under control. Desires create greed for earning more money. We should therefore keep our desires under the limits of our resources. Compassion is another divine quality which makes our lives sublime if we are working in those professions which involve public dealings. Doctors, nurses, professions dealing with under privileged persons in the society like handicapped, blind, under developed and mentally retarded and down trodden are the professions where compassion plays an important role. Normal duties coupled with compassion can alleviate the sufferings of these under privileged members of the society in a much better way. Dharma is the compendium of noble principles enshrined in every religion of the world. These principles should never be overlooked while earning our living. We should always remember that God has bestowed upon us human birth with His unlimited bounties. We should therefore always be grateful to God for His blessings. We should ascribe all our achievements to God and failures to our own selves. In fact according to Sikhism, we should put in our honest and true labor through right actions and the fruits of that labor should be left to God. In fact Guru Nanak Dev ji says if we expect good fruits from our good deeds and bad returns from our bad deeds, then we are not true lovers of God. We are taking the duties of God in our own hands (Asa di War). Whatever we think for the reward of our labor it will be under the limit of our thinking but what God sometimes gives us is beyond our expectations. We call such rewards as only a miracle. Another thing which we should always remember is that in our efforts for earning money, we should never over look the basic tenets of our religion. The last noble principle is patience which helps us to tide over the unfavorable period which always comes in our lives even if it is for a limited duration. Bad patches in our lives should also be considered as the blessings of God as through such bad times, God wants to teach us something or wants to remind us of our duties in our lives. Or it may be said that God wants to remind us of the mistakes which we commit in our lives. Guru Nanak says that happiness sometimes becomes a disease and sorrow or grief its remedy because in happiness we often forget God. With patience and complete trust in God, we can tide over any unfavorable conditions with ease.

There are five ethical enemies who have found mention in Guru Granth Sahib Ji most frequently. These are Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment) and Ahankar (ego). In Sikh religion, renunciation of these five vices is not recommended. Conversely, a sikh should have a complete control over them and utilize them usefully in his or her truthful and honest living. Lust is described in Guru Granth Sahib Ji as an evil which pushes a person to hell and in the life and death cycles but it is an absolute necessity to perpetuate our dynasty.  A happy family life with a wife, children and parents can exert a complete control over the lust. In fact, in Sikhism, leading a happy family life is the ideal and easiest way to reach the court of God. Honesty to wife, upbringing children on sikh principles and fulfilling the duties to wards parents are the stairs leading to that goal. Under sikh tenets, all females other than wife should be considered as mothers, sisters or daughters. Anger, as described in Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the root cause of all quarrels and is devoid of compassion but it is necessary to drive away evils from the mind. Anger on self and not expressing on others keeps the tempers cool.  Greed, according to Guru Granth Sahib Ji, forces a person to run to all directions to collect wealth, makes him or her deplete with shame towards brothers, sisters, parents, friends, forces him or her to do those acts which are not worth a good person and eats those eatables which are not worth eating. But it is necessary to earn money for honest and truthful living. Greed can be checked by confining desires within the limits of our resources. Lobh (attachment) is described as invincible, powerful and has the capacity to control humans, animals, gods, birds and in fact all the lining beings. Humans are social animal and for a well knit society, Moh is of paramount importance. We can keep the Moh under limits if we have equal love for all children, equal respects for all elders and in the event of any dispute we blame the real culprit without any regard for our near and dear ones. Ego is described in Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the root cause of life and death cycle, sorrow and happiness. It converts friends into foes and turns the foes as hardened enemies. Ego  is also described  as the long running malady but its cure is also within it. Ego is necessary for self respect but we should not consider our wisdom and intelligence as most superior, our knowledge as the best and our opinion as the only correct opinion. Humility is the best weapon to fight the evil of ego. Guru Nanak Dev Ji has described himself in his bani as the servant, the down trodden, the poor and the helpless.

In ancient Hindu literature, the actions are categorized into three classes. These are Rajo, Tamo and Sato. Rajo actions include aspirations for acquiring worldly possessions, higher positions, higher status in society, fame etc. This category of action is the action of activity. Food prescribed for such type of actions is mainly vegetarian food and consists of nutritious diet with lots of spices, sour and sweet things.Tamo actions consist of all that is bad for society such as atrocities, cruelty, rapes, murders etc. This category of action is the action of passivity and inactivity. Food for this category of action is mainly of non-vegetarian type consisting of meat, alcohol etc. Sato type of actions is actions of reconciliation between passivity and activity. The diet is mainly vegetarian consisting of a lot of fruits, vegetables, honey, milk etc.Persons doing actions of Sato category always do good deeds, do not have too many aspirations, engage in charity works, feed the poor, help the needy and perform religious rites. In Sikhism, we should not get ourselves involved in any category of actions but should take best out of each category and utilize it for earning truthful and honest living. A Sikh’s life should be like a lotus flower floating on the surface of water away from the muddy pond floor but utilizing all good elements from the mud. Good actions from all the three categories should form the basis of Sikh living.

A Sikh who makes his mind as the abode of Naam, who has complete control over five ethical enemies and who is above three categories of actions leads a blissful life. For such a person, happiness and sorrow, disease and health are the blessings of God. Friends and foes, fame and criticism, worldly gains or financial losses are on the same footing. Fear of death disappears.In Sikhism, such a state of mind is called Sahej Awastha. In Sufism, this state of mind is called Turiya Awastha. A Sikh with this state of mind is considered as Brahm Giani. 

Wand Chhakna (sharing of earning with others)

Guru Nanak Dev JI says that those who work hard for their living and then give some for charity know the real way of living (page 1245 of Guru Granth Sahib Ji). We should however be careful to select a charity where our money is judiciously spent. Guru Nanak Dev has said that a person who has deceit in his or her mind should not be eligible for giving a charity as by giving charity to such a person will give us also the same type of reward (page 1413  of Guru Granth Sahib Ji). For a Sikh, primary duty is towards sikh temples (Gurudwaras) where a regular contributions should be made as such contributions go towards preaching sikh principles. Our Gurudwaras also serve free food to those who are needy and cannot afford to meet their two ends. Free food kitchens were started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, later continued by all gurus and is still being followed all over the world where Sikhs are settled. Most of the Sikh Gurudwaras also run free dispensaries, educational institutions and maintain libraries housing books on Sikh religion. It is therefore the duty of every Sikh to make contributions to our Sikh religious organizations. Other charities which should be eligible for donations should be those who deal with the rehabilitation of orphans, handicapped, under developed, mentally retarded, lepers and terminally sick who cannot afford costly medical treatment. The next important question is the amount of money which should be kept aside from our earnings for contributing to wards charities. In Sikhism and in other religions also, ten percent of our earnings is prescribed to be given to wards charities. We should therefore strive our best to set aside at least ten percent of our earnings for charities. If that may not be possible, as much money as possible should be set aside every month for contributing towards charities.

Marriage in Sikhism Marriage in Sikhism In Sikhism, leading a family life according to the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Saheb Ji is considered as the easiest and best way to be one with God or to reach the realm of God. Renunciation of worldly life and retreating to the forests or to some secluded place to achieve oneness with God is condemned in many shabads in sacred Guru Granth Saheb. It is stated that ‘ You cannot achieve union with God by wearing yellow robes or by becoming sadhu but you can achieve union with God while leading a family life through the teachings of your Guru’. ( To continue as separate subject)



0 #1 CHANDAN KUMAR 2016-01-14 07:04



Daily Hukamnama in English

  • SORAT’H, FIFTH MEHL: He did not take my accounts into account; such is His forgiving nature. He gave me His hand, and saved me and made me His own; forever and ever, I enjoy His Love. || 1 || The True Lord and Master is forever merciful and forgiving. My Perfect Guru has bound me to Him, and now, I am in absolute ecstasy. || Pause || The One who fashioned the body and placed the soul within, who gives you clothing and nourishment — He Himself preserves the honor of His slaves. Nanak is forever a sacrifice to Him. || 2 || 16 || 44 || Hukamnama from

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