Every now and then we read a quotation from a famous author and find ourselves deeply inspired. Think of Sikhyas as just that, the Shabad brought to you in easy to understand and imbibe learnings. They are not meant to be viewed as a call to pull up your religious socks but rather bits of inspirations scattered through your feed (on Social Media). We shall share these Sikhyas on our outreach platforms to let you engage with them. Just as you share an uplifting quote from Murakami about life, let the Shabad also encourage you to be shared with someone who could use some positivity or upliftment. Sikhyas are not only the result of divine words but also the effort each of us makes to share these words as a source of humility, inspiration or comfort.
Based on the teachings of the Sikh Gurus (or teachers) and personalities that expounded upon virtuous living, the Guru Granth Sahib is a compilation of such a cosmos of words and verses. A volume which can be read as a philosophy that emphasises on tapping the inner capabilities and capacities of humans as they navigate life in relation with each other and as they go on exploring their relationship with the One Supreme being. An approach which enables transforming the everyday and community at large through learning(s).
From ‘truthful living’ and standing up to one’s oppressors, to conceptions of love and liberation, the Granth has insights and advice to offer at every stage of one’s life.
This month we offer you a few of Guru Amar Das’s, Guru Arjan Dev’s and Bhagat Kabir’s concepts and ideas as an outlook to be contemplated upon:
ਸਚੁ ਖੇਤੀ ਸਚੁ ਬੀਜਣਾ ਸਾਚਾ ਵਾਪਾਰਾ ॥
Sach Khaethee Sach Beejanaa Saachaa Vaapaaraa ||
Let Truth be the farm, Truth the seed, and Truth the merchandise you trade.
ਵਡਹੰਸ (ਮਃ ੩) ਅਸਟ. (੧) ੩:੧ – ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੫੬੫ ਪੰ. ੨
Raag Vadhans Guru Amar Das
Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs advocates the centrality of truth in one’s existence, he says ‘ Truth is high but higher still is truthful living.’ This same thought is reflected in Guru Amar Das’s lines which prescribe how a human being should live his life. Specifically, in the way, one earns their living and especially, how we deal with situations in our everyday life in relation to economics and people.
ਸਚੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਸਚੁ ਪੈਨਣਾ ਸਚੁ ਟੇਕ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਉ ॥
Sach Khaanaa Sach Painanaa Sach Ttaek Har Naao ||
Let Truth be your sustenance, and let Truth be your clothes; let your True Support be the Name of the Lord.
ਵਡਹੰਸ (ਮਃ ੩) ਅਸਟ. (੧) ੪:੧ – ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੫੬੫ ਪੰ. ੩
Raag Vadhans Guru Amar Das
In the 15th Century, along with Bhakti and Sufi traditions we see a rejuvenation in conceptions of faith and ritualistic practices, more so in the relationship individuals share with their God. The Gurus did away with the priestly class, grand ceremonies and superstitions. Instead, they offer to approach each day and its tasks with honesty and unwavering faith in the Almighty.
ਜਿਸ ਕੇ ਸਿਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਤੂੰ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਕੈਸਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
Jis Kae Sir Oopar Thoon Suaamee So Dhukh Kaisaa Paavai ||
When You stand over our heads, O Lord and Master, how can we suffer in pain?
ਸੂਹੀ (ਮਃ ੫) (੫੭) ੧:੧ – ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੭੪੯ ਪੰ. ੧੮
Raag Suhi Guru Arjan Dev
Guru Arjan Dev who sacrificed his life for the upholding of spiritual freedom and subservience to oppressors; expresses his deep abiding faith in the protection of God. This conviction probably endowed him with the great fortitude with which he made the supreme sacrifice in order to uphold his beliefs of equality, tolerance and finally, not submitting to an earthly king. Standing ‘truth to power’ in the face of adversity is what one takes away from his extremely revolutionary existence.
ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਚੀਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥੧॥
Bol N Jaanai Maaeiaa Madh Maathaa Maranaa Cheeth N Aavai ||1||
The mortal being does not know how to chant Your Name – he is intoxicated with the wine of materialism, and the thought of death does not even enter his mind. ||1||
ਸੂਹੀ (ਮਃ ੫) (੫੭) ੧:੨ – ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੭੪੯ ਪੰ. ੧੯
Raag Suhi Guru Arjan Dev
In an age obsessed with chasing infinite desires and the ever-changing trends every second day, one may look at these lines by Guru Arjan Dev as he reminds human beings of their finite existence.He advises them not to be obsessed with a life full of illusion and material wealth but instead spare thought for their spiritual growth. To be centred by cultivating their inner strengths.
ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥
Jal Kai Majan Jae Gath Hovai Nith Nith Maenadduk Naavehi ||
If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing in water?
ਆਸਾ (ਭ. ਕਬੀਰ) (੩੭) ੨:੧ – ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੪੮੪ ਪੰ. ੧੫
Raag Asa Bhagat Kabir
In Bhagat Kabir’s words, a similar strain resounds, one which throws light on the importance of being true to oneself and others by harnessing our inner virtuous qualities. He questions the frivolity of partaking only in the outward expressions of ritual and spirituality.
Sikh philosophy bridges the mind and matter, or the temporal and spiritual duality, and advocates the pivotal role of human action. We find in essence, a deep faith not just in a higher power but in the very make-up of the humans. These learnings, a set of qualities propagated, are not acquired from outside of oneself nor are they miraculously bestowed upon an individual. To the contrary, they can be recognised and discovered within and brought forth. A compelling vision which goes on and continues to vitalise the meaning of being human and doing human.
Rather than life effacing, this Sikhya is life-affirming.