Core Beliefs of the Sikhs

Belief in One God.

The Sikhs believe in One Kartar (God the Creator), who is the Creator of the whole creation. Kartar is called God, Ram, Rahim, Gobind, Allah, Waheguru and many more names in different languages and faiths. The various names used are given by humans only. Kartar, being formless Lord does not have any name. The creation is created and run under the Divine Hukam (order) of the same God. There is nothing in the creation, which is not in the Lord’s Hukam. Kartar creates the living and non-living things in the creation, takes care of everything, and destroys everything, according to the Divine Laws of His Hukam. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture starts with the following description of Kartar.

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

One Universal Creator God. His Name Is Truth, Creator of Everything, Omnipresent, No Fear, No Enmity, Beyond Time, Image of the Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent, Obtained by the Guru’s Grace.

॥ ਜਪੁ ॥

Chant and Meditate

ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥ ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥੧॥

True in the Primal Beginning before the Time. True Throughout the Ages. True Here and Now. O Nanak, Forever and Ever True. ||1|

SGGS – Ang 1

Kartar was there before the creation came into existence, is present now, and will be there after the creation is destroyed according to His Will. He nourishes all the beings, takes care of all the beings. There is nobody other than Kartar to ask for anything.

ਪਹਿਲੋ ਦੇ ਤੈਂ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸਮਾਹਾ ॥ ਪਿਛੋ ਦੇ ਤੈਂ ਜੰਤੁ ਉਪਾਹਾ ॥

First, You arranged the nourishment; then, You created the living beings.

ਤੁਧੁ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਲਵੈ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੬॥

There is no other Giver as Great as You, O my Lord and Master. None approach or equal You. ||6||

ਆਪੇ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਮਾਰਿ ਜੀਵਾਲੇ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥

The True Lord is Himself the Creator. He Himself kills, and gives life; there is none other at all, with these powers.

SGGS – Ang 130

There is no reason for anybody to worship any other powers or deities, other than One Kartar. In Gurmat, there is strict guidance for Sikhs to believe, meditate and pray only One Kartar. If a Sikh goes to other doors to beg the blessings, that’s against the tenets of Gurmat.

ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਇਕੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥

Serve the One Lord, the Great Giver; meditate only on the One Lord.

ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਪਾਈਐ ॥

Ask everything from the One Lord, the Great Giver, and you shall obtain your heart’s desires.

ਜੇ ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸਹੁ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਾ ਲਾਜ ਮਰਾਈਐ ॥

But if you beg from another, then you shall be destroyed by shame.

SGGS – Ang 590

Worship the Creator not the Creation

The Sikhs worship the Creator not the creation as creation is created by the Creator. Sometimes in ignorance, illusion or attraction of the Maya (creation) people starts worshiping the powers of the creation like wind, fire, water, trees, mountains, stones, idols, tombs, etc. And the Creator is forgotten.

ਚਚਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚੇਤਹੁ ਚਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥

The Lord painted the great picture of the world. Forget the attraction of the picture, and remember the Painter.

ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਇਹੈ ਅਵਝੇਰਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਚਿਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੨॥

This wondrous painting has become the problem, because it is too attractive. Forget this picture and focus your consciousness on the Painter. ||12||

SGGS – Ang 340

The Creator does not live within the boundaries of the temple or mosque. He is pervading and permeating everywhere. There is no place without His presence. Gurmat teaches that the Sikh should keep Lord’s name in the mind always, at all places.

ਹਿੰਦੂ ਪੂਜੈ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥

The Hindu worships at the temple, the Muslim at the mosque.

ਨਾਮੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਜਹ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਨ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥੪॥੩॥੭॥

Naam Dayv serves that Lord, who is not limited to either the temple or the mosque. ||4||3||7||

SGGS – Ang 875

Life has a Purpose

Gurmat teaches us that, our life on earth is not a mere coincidence. It has a Purpose. The supreme purpose of the human life is, to break out of the cycle of birth and death, liberate the soul, and merge with the Creator. The soul has passed from various life forms. Now the human life is the chance to act and do effort to merge with the Creator.

ਭਜਹੁ ਗੋੁਬਿੰਦ ਭੂਲਿ ਮਤ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਨਮ ਕਾ ਏਹੀ ਲਾਹੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Vibrate, and meditate on the Lord of the Universe, and never forget Him. This is the blessed opportunity of this human incarnation. ||1||Pause||

SGGS – Ang 1159

ਇਹੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਅਉਸਰੁ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਾਰ ॥ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਤੂ ਦੇਖੁ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥

This is your chance, and this is your time to merge with the Lord. Look deep into your own heart, and reflect on this.

ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਕੈ ਹਾਰਿ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਕਹਿਓ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ॥੫॥੧॥੯॥

Says Kabeer, you can win or lose. In so many ways, I have proclaimed this out loud. ||5||1||9||

SGGS – Ang 1159

ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਤੂੰ ਆਇਆ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈਣਿ ॥

O mortal, you came here to earn the profit of Naam.

ਲਗਾ ਕਿਤੁ ਕੁਫਕੜੇ ਸਭ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਚਲੀ ਰੈਣਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

What useless activities are you attached to? Your life-night is coming to its end. ||1||Pause||

SGGS – Ang 43

ਬਹੁਤ ਜਨਮ ਬਿਛੁਰੇ ਥੇ ਮਾਧਉ ਇਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਤੁਮੑਾਰੇ ਲੇਖੇ ॥

For so many incarnations, I have been separated from You, Lord; I dedicate this life to You.

ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਆਸ ਲਗਿ ਜੀਵਉ ਚਿਰ ਭਇਓ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ॥੨॥੧॥

Says Ravi Daas: placing my hopes in You, I live; it is so long since I have gazed upon the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan. ||2||1||

SGGS – Ang 694

In the worldly life people have their life goals, which they consider important and try to achieve to prove self-worth. These worldly life goals are important to live our life comfortably, and fulfill our familial and social obligations. But these goals are limited to this lifetime only. No degrees, designations or amount of wealth amassed during the lifetime, will help in the spiritual growth of mind.

To live spiritually fulfilling life, we have to find the real purpose of our life. We need to ask ourselves, why I am here on this earth? From where I came? Where I’ll go after death? Am I here, just to eat, drink, work, raise kids and retire? Or there is some more profound purpose of this life?

ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਹਸਣਾ ਸਉਣਾ ਵਿਸਰਿ ਗਇਆ ਹੈ ਮਰਣਾ ॥

Eating, drinking, laughing and sleeping, the mortal forgets about dying.

ਖਸਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿ ਖੁਆਰੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਨਹੀ ਰਹਣਾ ॥੧॥

Forgetting his Lord and Master, the actions of the mortal become the cause of distress, and his life becomes cursed. He forgets that he will not remain forever. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 1254

Remember God Always

Simran (ਸਿਮਰਨ) – Continuous remembrance of God is the most important thing for a Sikh to do. We can do Simran while we are walking, eating, driving, working etc. We don’t need to stop the work we are doing, to do Simran.

ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗਾਈਐ ॥

Standing up and sitting down, we should sing the Name of the Lord, Har, Har.

ਜਿਸੁ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਵਰੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥

Meditating in remembrance on Him, the Eternal Husband Lord can be obtained.

SGGS – Ang 109

ਪੂਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਨਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ॥ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਪੇਖੁ ॥

Listen to the Teachings of the Perfect Guru; and see the Supreme Lord God near you.

ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥ ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਉਤਰੈ ਚਿੰਦ ॥

With each and every breath, meditate in remembrance on the Lord of the Universe, and the anxiety within your mind shall depart.

SGGS – Ang 295

Remembering, who we love the most, creates the attraction in the mind, it makes us feel the Birha (ਬਿਰਹਾ) – the pain of separation. The Birha leads us to search for meaning of our life. It elevates the soul to the higher levels of spirituality, and finally in the state of Sachkhand (Realm of Truth), where the soul completely merges with the Beloved God.

ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਵਦਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭੁੰਚੁ ॥

Making efforts for devotion to the Lord, you shall get the spiritual life; practicing Naam, you shall enjoy peace.

ਧਿਆਇਦਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਮਿਲੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਤਰੀ ਚਿੰਤ ॥੧॥

Meditating, you shall meet God, O Nanak, and your anxiety shall vanish. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 522

Equal Status in the Eyes of God

Everybody is created by the same Kartar. So, status of everybody is equal in the eyes of Kartar. In the world, people may have different statuses, based on the caste, color, creed, tribe, gender, education or occupation. But for Kartar, we all are His children. Everybody has equal rights to worship, meditate and pray, to seek and merge with the Creator. Guru’s message is also applicable to everybody, without any reservation or discrimination.

ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥

The One God is our father; we are the children of the One God. Hence, you are my Gurbhai (brother/follower of same Guru).

SGGS – Ang 611

ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥

In the dwelling of the womb, there is no ancestry or social status. All have originated from the Seed of God. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 324

ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥

How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am Shoodra (of a low social status)? How is it that, in me the blood flows, and in you the milk flows? ||3||

ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥੪॥੭॥

Says Kabeer, one who contemplates God, is said to be a Brahmin among us. ||4||7||

SGGS – Ang 324

ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਸੂਦੁ ਵੈਸੁ ਕੋ ਜਾਪੈ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਜਪੈਨੀ ॥

Anyone, from any class – Kshatriya, Brahmin, Shoodra or Vaishya – can chant, and meditate on the Mantra of the Lord’s Name.

ਗੁਰੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਪੂਜਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਸੇਵਹੁ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਸਭ ਰੈਨੀ ॥੧॥

Worship the Guru, the True Guru, as the Supreme Lord God; remain in His sanctuary, all day and night. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 800

Human may have gone to Moon, and soon he may reach Mars. But the human civilization is still primitive. Most of the investment is made in the scientific research, technology, and finance to generate more wealth and prosperity. Investment in spiritual development, human values, interfaith dialogue, preserving mother nature etc. is still a second thought.

We still see so many people facing racial discrimination (Black Lives Matter movement), gender discrimination (many countries still don’t allow women to drive or leave home without a male family member), religious intolerance (Islamophobia, attacks on the houses of worship), bullying of minorities in schools and workplaces.

Once we become less human in someone else’s sight, we become less worthy of compassion, empathy, space, existence, justice, fairness. Less worthy of Love. Peace. Power.

– Nic Stone

We need to understand that all humans are the children of One God. Discrimination, atrocities, or any dehumanizing acts against anybody for any reason will be taken into account, in the Court of God.

ਕੋਊ ਭਇਓ ਮੁੰਡੀਆ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਕੋਊ ਜੋਗੀ ਭਇਓ ਕੋਊ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਚਾਰੀ ਕੋਊ ਜਤੀ ਅਨੁਮਾਨਬੋ ॥

Somebody became a Bairagi (recluse), somebody a Sannyasi (mendicant). Somebody a Yogi, somebody a Brahmchari (student observing celibacy) and someone is considered a celibate.

ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਰਾਫਜੀ ਇਮਾਮ ਸਾਫੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਿਚਾਨਬੋ ॥

Someone is Hindu and someone a Muslim, then someone is Shia, and someone a Sunni, but all the human beings as a species, should be recognized as one and the same.

ਅਕਾਲ ਉਸਤਤ ॥ Akaal Ustat (Eulogy Of the Non-Temporal Lord)

Path of the Householder

Gurmat is the path of householder. On this path the human does not need to leave his house or society and live in the jungles or monasteries. Normal social life is in no way, an obstacle in the spiritual advancement.

ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਬਨ ਖੋਜਨ ਜਾਈ ॥

Why do you go looking for Him in the forest?

ਸਰਬ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਸਦਾ ਅਲੇਪਾ ਤੋਹੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Although He is unattached, He dwells everywhere. He is always with you as your companion. ||1||Pause||

SGGS – Ang 684

Gurmat emphasizes on cleansing the mind to become the receiver of Truth. The householders, living in the family, laughing, playing, eating, enjoying, working, delivering on the social and family responsibilities, can achieve the highest state of mind to get liberated, and see the Creator within the abode of mind.

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਭੇਟਿਐ ਪੂਰੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥

O Nanak, meeting the True Guru, one comes to know the Perfect Way.

ਹਸੰਦਿਆ ਖੇਲੰਦਿਆ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥੨॥

While laughing, playing, dressing and eating, he is liberated. ||2||

SGGS – Ang 522

ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂੰਢਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਸੁਥਾਇ ॥

Searching outside of themselves, they are ruined; the object of their search is in that sacred place within the home of the heart.

SGGS – Ang 63

Live a Moral Life

Gurmat teaches us that we are, what we chose to do in the past. The human life is the continuation of the journey of the soul separated from the Creator. During this period of separation, the soul passed through various life forms like fish, beasts, ants, trees, elephants, dogs, monkeys etc. The human life is treated as the most superior life form on earth.

ਅਵਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀ ॥

Other life forms are in your service; in this world, you are a ruler.

SGGS – Ang 374

Being the most superior, humans rule over and control other life forms. But this also gives the human a big responsibility to take care of other life forms. Human is given the free choice to live the life. But free choice also has the caveats. Whatever the choices are made or actions are taken, those get recorded in the human life’s account. Every human is individually responsible for the choices made and the actions taken and will be judged based on these choices and actions. So, it’s in our best interest to live the life in a way, to minimize the negative impact on others, and do nothing for which we have to regret later (think before choosing and acting).

ਐਸਾ ਕੰਮੁ ਮੂਲੇ ਨ ਕੀਚੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਅੰਤਿ ਪਛੋਤਾਈਐ ॥

Don’t do anything that you will regret in the end.

SGGS – Ang 918

Gurmat emphasizes on developing high moral character by acquiring the moral and divine attributes like selfless service, sharing, contentment, humility, integrity, fairness, justice, faithful relationships, being non-judgmental, seeing God in all; and getting rid of lust, anger, greed, attachment, ego, jealousy, slander, backbiting, prejudice and judgement. Instead of judging others and finding faults in them, the Sikh focuses on introspection and opportunities for self-improvement.

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਨ ਲੇਖ ॥

Fareed, if you have a keen understanding, then do not write black marks against anyone else.

ਆਪਨੜੇ ਗਿਰੀਵਾਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੁ ॥੬॥

Look underneath your own collar instead. ||6||

SGGS – Ang 1378

ਜਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਹੀਐ ਭਲਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਝੋਲਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ॥

Wherever we go and sit, speak of the welfare of all; let us skim off the Ambrosial Nectar, and drink it in.

ਗੁਣਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਵਾਸੁਲਾ ਕਢਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਲਈਜੈ ॥੩॥

One who has a basket of fragrant virtues, should enjoy its fragrance and share with others. ||3||

SGGS – Ang 766

There is a concept called Gurmat Veechar, where Sikhs gather in sangat (congregation) and discus the Gurmat to understand the deeper meanings and learn to apply the concepts in the day to day life. Sikhs learn the moral values, ਰਹਿਣੀ (way of life), ਬਹਿਣੀ (way of sitting in various situations), ਕਹਿਣੀ (way of talking), ਸਹਿਣੀ (patience, and perseverance to face any situation), in the sangat by learning from the Gurmat and history discussions. This can happen in Gurdwaras, online forums, conference calls, or social media etc.

Woman is an Equal Partner in the Journey of Life

Man and woman are created by the same God. In Gurmat, woman is not considered superior, or inferior to man. They are complementary to each other. As Gurmat is the path of a householder, Sikhs live in the society and enjoy the married life with family and friends. In the spiritual journey, woman is not considered an obstacle, as in some other faiths. Man and woman walk in the journey of life together as equal partners.

ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ॥

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married.

ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ॥

Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.

ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ ॥

When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; from woman, other relationships are formed.

ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥

Kings are also born from woman, so why call her bad or inferior?

ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥

From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.

ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥

O Nanak, only the True Lord is not born from woman.

ਜਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਭਾਗਾ ਰਤੀ ਚਾਰਿ ॥

That mouth which praises the Lord continually is blessed and beautiful.

ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਊਜਲੇ ਤਿਤੁ ਸਚੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥

O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of the True Lord. ||2||

SGGS – Ang 473

Third Guru Amar Das appointed male and female preachers during his time. The Guru encouraged woman to remarry, if her husband dies, and influenced emperor Akbar to abolish the Hindu practice of Sati, according to which, the wife was burnt alive with the corpse of her husband.

ਸਤੀਆ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਜੋ ਮੜਿਆ ਲਗਿ ਜਲੰਨਿੑ ॥

Do not call them ‘satee‘, who burn themselves along with their husbands’ corpses.

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤੀਆ ਜਾਣੀਅਨਿੑ ਜਿ ਬਿਰਹੇ ਚੋਟ ਮਰੰਨਿੑ ॥੧॥

O Nanak, they alone are known as ‘satee‘, who die from the pain of separation. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 787

Gurmat also forbids the practice of parda (Hindu women keep their face covered under the veil in public) or burkah (Islamic women keep their face covered under the veil in public). These practices are degrading to the women and are forbidden in Gurmat.

Sikh women fought in the wars shoulder to shoulder with men. Woman can become granthi (reader of Gurbani), preacher, keertania (who sings Gurbani), worker, fighter, player, politician, or anything her male counterparts do.

Social Welfare as a Sacred Duty

Gurmat teaches us to be self-dependent, earn honest living, and serve the humanity. Share daswandh (one tenth of the income) for community welfare.

ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥

In the midst of this world, do seva (selfless service) as taught by Guru, and you shall be given a place of honor in the Court of the Lord.

SGGS – Ang 26

A Sikh must be a warrior to defend the nation, a scholar to recite and understand the scripture, a worker to earn honest living, and a servant to serve the society. A Sikh must wear kirpan (sword) at all the times to fight injustice, must recite Gurbani in the morning, evening and night to understand and reflect upon Guru’s message, must earn living by honest work, must do seva (self-less service) with love and humility and take care of the poor and destitute.

ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥

One who works hard and earn for what he eats, and shares some of what he has – O Nanak, he knows the Right Path. ||1||

SGGS – Ang 1245

ਨੀਚਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਨੀਚੀ ਹੂ ਅਤਿ ਨੀਚੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਾਥਿ ਵਡਿਆ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਰੀਸ ॥

Nanak seeks the company of the lowest of the low class, the very lowest of the low. Why should he try to compete with the rich and fammous?

ਜਿਥੈ ਨੀਚ ਸਮਾਲੀਅਨਿ ਤਿਥੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਖਸੀਸ ॥੪॥੩॥

In that place where the lowly are cared for-there, the Blessings of Your Glance of Grace rain down. ||4||3||

SGGS – Ang 15

Freedom and Liberty for All

In Gurmat, all humans are treated equally, regardless of caste, color, creed, or social status. Every human being has the right to practice his faith freely. There must not be any coercion, or forceful conversions. For ages, coercion has been used by the rulers to rule the masses according to their own wishes and suppress the people who raise the voice against them. To justify their cruelties, they use religion, and make their coercive acts as religious acts, so that the general public will not object to them.

But the religious leaders, who are supposed to spread the message of love respect and peace, they also fell to the same coercive tactics, to deny the rights of women, low castes, or people of other faiths.

ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥

Kabeer, it is tyranny to use force; the Lord shall call you to account.

ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਨੀਕਸੈ ਮਾਰ ਮੁਹੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੦੦॥

When your account is called for, your face and mouth shall be beaten. ||200||

SGGS – Ang 1375

Ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur gave his life to protect the religious freedom of Hindus, when the Mugal rulers of the time were forcefully converting the Hindus to Islam.

Stand Against Tyranny, Injustice, and Fight for Human Rights

In the spiritual journey, peace is the very important. When there is no peace in the society it’s hard to focus on spirituality and personal growth. The mind will be preoccupied with the concerns for survival, and how to respond to situations. From the beginning of mankind, adversaries have been there to disturb the peace. Peace is not given; peace is established by deliberate actions to protect the society. We can enjoy the spiritual journey, because our military, navy and air force are working hard to protect us and fight the adversaries, if they try to disturb the peace in our country.

Gurmat teaches us to resolve the conflicts using diplomacy, mutual dialogue and other peaceful means. The force can be used only as the last resort.

ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥

When all peaceful means of diplomacy have failed,

ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤੁ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥

It is righteous to take the sword in hand.22.

ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਹ ॥ ZAFARNAMAH (The Epistle of Victory)

We must stand against tyranny and injustice. A Sikh should always be ready to fight for the human rights, to protect the weak and down-trodden.

ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥

He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of the weak and down-trodden.

ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥

He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the battlefield. ||2||2||

SGGS – Ang 1105

From the beginning Sikhs have fought the tyrannical Mughal forces, stood against the atrocities of the British rulers in India, and still fighting the oppressive regimes to stand firm against bullying, tyranny, injustice and human rights violations.


Tej Partap Singh

Related Articles:

Gurmat Process and Techniques | Milestones – Panj Khand (Five Spiritual Stages) | Uniqueness of Sikhi