image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Religious, Social & Political Revolutionary: GURU NANAK SAHIB

      Those who claim that Sikhi is a traditional religion only, fail to understand the revolutionary nature of the Message of Guru Nanak Sahib. Guru ji described the conditions of His times in His Bani as follows: The dark age of Kalyug is the knife, the kings are the butchers, and dharam has taken flight i.e. there is no justice or righteousness. (SGGS 145). Greed and sin are the king and minister and falsehood is the revenue collector. (SGGS 468). Man eaters do the Namaz prayers. Those who wear the sacred thread wield the knife. (SGGS 471). The public is blind and without wisdom and feed the greed of the officials with bribes (equated to carrion &ndash murdaar) (SGGS 469)

According to Bhai Gurdas, the truth, or the righteous path was abandoned and Brahmins and the Mulanas were going for each other&rsquos throats ! (Sach kinaaray reh gia kheh marday Bahman Mulaanay.) Those were the conditions, when, according to Sir Mohamad Iqbal: A clarion call for belief in One Creator was heard in Panjab and a perfect (spiritually accomplished) man, woke up India from a (bad) dream. (Phir akhir sada utthee toheed ki Panjab se. Hind ko ek Mard-e-Kamal ne jagaya Khwaab se.)

Guru Nanak began his mission by describing the nature of the Creator Being, the Source of Reality, as revealed to him, so that human beings, the created, would aspire towards those qualities and establish a direct (Khalsa) connection with the Source. The Guru Jyot (Light or Guide), is the Word Guru of which Guru Granth Sahib is the embodiment. It follows, that there is no ordained priesthood in Sikhi. Sikhi rejects every excuse for any form of discrimination. Sikhi raises the status of women by treating all as soul-brides of the Lord Creator.

God love is expressed in many ways e.g. through the twin concepts of sewa and simran. Sewa means serving all without distinction, while doing simran i.e. remaining immersed in God love and God awareness. Active sewa (Sikh activism) is a pre-condition for salvation. In that same spirit of love and a desire to serve humanity, a Sikh also works tirelessly towards a just society (Sikhi political objective). Sometimes, as the ultimate solution, a Sikh resists oppression and injustice with own life and, if necessary, through armed struggle.

Sikhi promotes participative family life, so that constant God remembrance (simran) is combined with honest living and sharing. I would like to conclude with a pithy definition of the three pillars of Sikhi: Naam japna, Kirt karni, Vand chhakna, by Dr I J Singh of New York** &ldquo& honestly lived life with its bounties cheerfully shared with the needy, and for both of these practices to be driven by an awareness of the Creator in us all&hellipwhile Naam japna, refers to spiritual discipline, the other two attributes are strictly social attributes that serve to cement the community&rdquo. That, in a nut-shell, is the whole-life approach of Guru Nanak Sahib to Sikhi spiritual-social activism. It is our responsibility to take this beautiful Message to the world.


** A review of his book Sikhi: The Journey & The Destination is at link:


Gurmukh Singh OBE