Sikhi is not designed to be the path of masses. It’s the path of true seekers of Kartar (Creator Lord). Everybody in the world does not seek to connect with Kartar. It’s not easy to live truthful life free from Kam (lust), Karodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment), Ahankar (ego).
Most of the people just want good grades, good jobs, good health, good kids etc. So, most of the people are just like traders and they will go where they will get what they want (worldly things).
ਕੋਟਿ ਮਧੇ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Out of millions, hardly anyone is a servant of the Lord. All the others are mere traders. ||1||Pause||
There are very few who are genuinely interested in spiritual growth and connection with Kartar. This is a difficult path and very few ventures on this path. These venturers go where their soul can be fed, and they will progress spiritually. Sadh Sangat is the place where they can learn and grow spiritually.
ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗਏ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਰੀ ਬਹੀਰ ॥
Kabeer, the crowds follow the path which the Pandits, the religious scholars, have taken.
ਇਕ ਅਵਘਟ ਘਾਟੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਹ ਚੜਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧੬੫॥
There is a difficult and treacherous cliff on the path to the Lord; Kabeer is climbing that cliff. ||165||
There is no way to make the people want Kartar to come into their lives. This longing has to come from within. But if somebody has the longing, then Guru’s door is always open without any discrimination. Anybody can come to the Guru and follow the Gurmat for spiritual advancement.
Guru reminds us again that Sikhi is the Game of Love. Game of Love is not easy to play. We must be willing to give everything to the Guru, including our head. Panj Pyare (five beloved ones) gave their heads to join this game of Love. Same is expected from every Sikh who wants to join in. This is why we may not see that many Players in this Game as we would expect
ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥
If you desire to play this Game of Love with Me, then step onto My Path with your head in hand.
ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥
The feet can be placed on this Path, only when there is no hesitation to give the head to the Guru, without any attention to public opinion. ||20||
It’s not an anomaly or drawback, it’s the Guru’s Design. Guru focused on Quality over Quantity. To be true to the Gurmat values, we must be able to take on any challenges the life throws us into. The Sikh should be able to withstand the allure and enticements of Maya – the creation, (homes, cars, jewelry, beauty, fame, political posts etc.), and remain in grace and gratitude in the tough times.
There may be lot of Sikhs By Chance only (they just happen to be born to Sikh parents). But, the Sikh By Chance phenomena is not limited to Sikhi. It’s across all religions. In other religions also, how many actually read and believe in scriptures? So, all religions have the Followers by Chance phenomena.
When Sikh By Choice lives the Gurmat values, his positive image becomes the magnet to attract the true Seekers. In the interfaith dialogues, we come to know how many people are interested in knowing more about Sikhi. During Guru’s times also Sikhs were rare. But their lifestyle, values, care for others brought the respect and prestige to Sikhi. Lot of people wanted to be like them, and they came into their sangat and slowly became Sikhs. Those newcomers were the Sikhs by Choice. They were not forced into Sikhi, but they chose to become Sikhs. In Sikhi, being the role model and living the values of the Sikhi is the way to promote the Sikhi.
Actions speak louder than words. Let our actions be the medium of parchaar (promotion). We will not feel the need to grow in numbers. Let’s be proud of being may be 0.2% people of world, who have clear heads, not confused; who chose righteousness over convenience; who are there by Choice, not by Chance. We will feel everybody is our own. But yes, it’s difficult path to walk on. That’s why most of us chose the convenience over righteousness.
ਭਗਤਿ ਭਾਵ ਇਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਬਿਖੜਾ ਗੁਰ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਕੋ ਪਾਵਏ ॥
This path of loving devotional worship is very difficult; how rare are those who find it, through the Guru’s Gate.
ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਿਸੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਸੋ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਵਏ ॥੧॥
Says Nanak, that one, upon whom the Lord casts His Glance of Grace, links his consciousness to the worship of the Lord. ||1||
The numbers make difference politically, especially in democratic regimes. Politics is important for our lives. That’s why Guru specially instructed Sikhs to read politics and remain activists. Most of the people are silent because they do not have the courage to speak. If one person takes courage to speak, then the others will start murmuring, and soon there will be crowds behind him. Being that one with courage is important. Gurmat teaches us to be that One; crowds will follow.
Sikhi has the concept of Nishkam Seva (selfless service). Sikhs do not expect shout-outs in return for seva. When we stop caring for shout-out, we will continue to serve the humanity, the way Guru intended us to do and we will not have any care for numbers. We will be happy, even if we are lonely on the path.