SHILPY AHUJA continues her writings on Guru Nanak and the ideals of conduct that the Guru specified one must follow on the spiritual path to God Realisation
Guru Nanak’s teachings give us the three tenets or the three pillars of Sikhism that define the ideals of conduct that one should follow to move fearlessly forward on the spiritual path.
These three pillars are: Naam japna, Kirat karna and Vand ke chakko
Let us understand what each pillar signifies:
Naam japna: The ‘Naam’ signifies the name of the divine formless Creative Power, the Ik Onkaar, the Waheguru. Naam japna is to contemplate on the essence of the Naam. Its Divine presence creates and preserves the grandeur of the celestial universe and energizes its bright galaxies, gives birth to sophisticated ecosystems and is also subtly present in each living being as the invisible quantum particle.
When you practise Naam japna, the heart becomes full of love, gratitude and humility when it realises the all-pervading Divine beauty and its benevolence. With loving devotion towards Ik Onkaar, we contemplate the Naam and practice its ‘Simran’ or remembrance.
Kirat karna: Living with integrity. Baba Nanak gives the message that Sikhs should live an honest life upholding high spiritual and moral values so that they perform their duties or dharma with righteousness and earn their livelihood by hard work through the practice of truthfulness. This is the path to Nirbhay, a path that excludes wrong action.
Guru Nanak spread the message that as householders taking care of the family and earning a livelihood, one can realise the Supreme Reality of the Waheguru.
He stressed that there was no need to become a renunciate or leave home because the Ik Onkaar resides in our very own heart. The ideal is raj mein jog or striving towards non-attachment, while staying in the world and remaining impervious to desires.
Vand ke chako: This term symbolises the spirit of Sewa or voluntary service. Giving and sharing is an important message of Sikhism. Guru Nanak emphasises selfless sharing, kindness, justice and empathy in contributing towards the welfare of the needy. Sewa should be done without any hidden intention or expectations.
Langar Sewa which is the community kitchen serves food to all from different religions, caste, race or socio-economic strata. The message is simple — that no one should live or sleep hungry.
To partake of Guru ka langar, everyone, collectively called the sangat is required to sit on the floor in rows, side by side as equals, without discrimination and accept the prasad of the langar or community kitchen.
Langar sewa is based on thoughts of compassion. No one is superior or inferior and all are equal in the Guru’s eyes. Those who partake of the langar are truly humbled and uplifted.
Through Naam Simran, Shabad Gurbani, kirat (singing God’s praise) and Sewa, Haumai is removed and one is blessed with sat (truth), santokh (contentment), Daya (compassion), Nimrata (humility) and pyaar (love for the divine).
The Hukam is a very important message given by Baba Nanak, which expresses the idea to live life fully, in the present moment, to live as Nirbhau, without fear and nirvair, without hatred.
The Universe is formed by the Hukam, the command of the Akal Purakh, the Timeless One. We are born from and merge with Him, by His Hukam, by his absolute power. Everything is preordained by His Hukam and everyone is placed exactly where they should be. Obeying the Hukam, His Will is the humble acceptance of whatever good or bad the Universe presents before us with equanimity. One becomes Nirvair.
This does not mean that we quit acting or following our path or karam or working. Each individual has free will to accomplish his ordained tasks. It is up to us to exercise free will, to proactively choose kind karam or deeds.
The progress towards God Realisation is simple — through the Will of the Akal Purakh and good karam of past life, we are born as humans. Through acceptance of Hukam, the ego is tamed and anger, fear, unhappiness and hatred towards others leaves our thoughts.
One becomes Nirbhau and the Karta Purakh, the doer and the giver. Whatever one receives is the Hukam, a blessing from the Divine. Acceptance of Hukam brings with it, contentment and peace.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, a verse of devotional love from all the ten Gurus and Bhagats describes selfless love as the antithesis of selfish ego. Through love, we unite with others and find liberation.
Aisee preet karahu mun maerae,
aath pehar prabh jaanahu naerae
(Guru Granth Sahib, ang 806-7)
Translated, this means, ‘Enshrine such love, O my mind,
that twenty four hours a day, Waheguru, is close to us.’
In yet another verse, the Guru states:
Mohee Prem pirae prabh abinasee Raam. Meaning, ‘I am enticed by the love of the eternal, imperishable Parmatma’.
(Guru Granth Sahib, ang 843)
Bhagat Kabeer also says:
‘Allah is hidden in every heart, reflect upon this in your mind,
The same One, is within both Hindus and Muslims’.
(Guru Granth Sahib, ang 483)
With the Hukam or the Divine Will and efforts over lifetimes, one becomes pure in heart and mind and understands what is beyond the farthest shores of the mind, where there are no perceptions or judgement, where hateful divisions advocated by different philosophies and the noise of the ego are dead. Where only timeless, tranquil, infinite Love remains.
In that exalted state, steeped in the highest frequency of infinite love and devotion, lifted by the highest wave of expanded consciousness, the all-pervading and timeless nature of the Waheguru, the Ik Onkaar, the Parmatma, is realised.
After transcending his own individual identity, Guru Nanak’s first words, were ‘Na koi hindu, na koi musalman’, meaning all are children of the same God. What this means is that there may be different schools with diverse philosophies and separate paths to find the Supreme. Some bhakts may chant and sing, while some monks take a vow of silence and dervishes may twirl to Unify, and there may be still other devotees who will read scriptures or yogis who will meditate in dark caves and become renunciates while others live as householders and unify with the Oneness within.
What ever the way, when we deeply connect with the highest state of excellence, we calmly unite with our own Infinite, blissful timelessness, like a tiny drop which gently and noiselessly merges into the serene depths of the endless ocean to become One with the Supreme.
Shilpy Ahuja is a poet, writer and painter. She considers spirituality and family as the most important dimensions of her life. Shilpy is a bachelor of science from Delhi University, and pursued business studies. She is self-employed.