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«AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION O thou that buttest the high mountain, seeking to dislodge it with thy horns, take pity, not on the mountain but on thy head ...»

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Almost every page of Adi Guru Granth, Dasm Granth (spiritual works), Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lall ex-plains what the ‘Guru’ in Sikhism is and what are the relations of God with the Perfect and True Guru. One page in every ten pages of the voluminous Scriptures clearly explains what a true Sikh is and what are the ideas, the religious principles of meditations, prayers and worship, a Sikh must follow. The whole Guru Granth speaks in detail of the stages by which the mind of a true and committed Sikh progresses morally and spiritually and what code of conduct, moral principles and meditations he has to practice. The relation between God and the true Guru, between the true Guru and a humble devout committed Sikh are clearly stated. No Sikh has to go for any guidance to anyone or any place except the written Word of the Sikh Gurus and the Bhaktas. The Guru as the eternally living Word guides the Sikh not only on meditations, prayers, worship, but also on social, cultural ideals of human freedom and equality. And yet Hew McLeod has 174

written hundreds of pages to create confusion about theseconcepts.


In Sanskrit the word guru means venerable, respect-able, parents, spiritual guide, precepter. In the Hindu world it is invariably used for school teacher and acharya for professors.

Brahmins considered themselves born gu-rus of lower classes and castes. Anyone who gives profes-sional training in any art or technical skill is also called guru. For the Sikh Prophets the word Satguru, Gurdev, Jagatguru, Gurmukh (mukh-Guru) that is Primal or Adi Guru is also used. In the works of Guru Nanak and his successors the Perfect Guru is vividly portrayed. Guru Nanak and his successors were not God, but they were not only as pure and sinless as God, but were embodiment of the Perfect Spirit of God. The mystery of life, the creation and the universe is either known to God or Satguru the Perfect Prophet.

In the Hindu-Islamic world in which Guru Nanak lived, spiritual or religious knowledge was generally im-parted by Brahmins who claimed to be born gurus, by Qazis and Mullas or some pirs in Islam, and by yogis and sannyasis of many sects in the ascetic world. Unfortunately, in the eyes of Guru Nanak it is these three who were responsible for the moral and social degradation in the country.

Qazi kud bol mal khae brahmin nhavai jia ghae yogi jugat na janai andh tino ujade ka bandh

–  –  –

Leading to wilderness and self-destruction A.G. Guru Nanak, Dhansari, p. 662 Giving religious and spiriual instructions had become an organzed secular technique under cover of clt-holy robes and religious cults, as it even now prevails on far other yoga cults.

In a country where Guru Nanak and his successors wished to establish the ideal of ruth Guru, there were countless false and morally as well as spiritually blind gurus and pirs. In a country where Guru Nanak had to find sincere dedicated and devou Sikhs (disciples) there already existed selfish, greedy and misguided morally blind disciples of those spiritually blind gurus and plrs. Such selfish and greedy men who only wanted to exploit reli-gion were frequently present even in the congregations of the Sikh Gurus where entry was open to all human beings of all faiths, caste and creeds. This happened during the lifetime of the Gurus and even after them.

When gurus are morally and spiritually blind, Their chelas (disciples) find no spiritual inspiration of the divine Presence of God.1 When gurus are morally and spiritually blind, Their Sikhs (disciples) also commit acts and deeds of morally and spiritually blind persons.2 There were as Guru Ram Das puts it sachiar Sikhs truthloving, dedicated Sikhs and kudiar Sikhs: false and faithless Sikhs, though outwardly they looked alike. Out-wardly their behaviour was alike. Guru Ram Das clearly differentiates between them saying: “Truthful Sikhs remain close to the Presence of the True Guru and concen-trate on their life of obedience and contemplative disci-pline. False and faithless Sikhs just sit in the congregation to while away time. The spiritual instructions of the True Guru are distasteful to them and they try to shun them.”3 It is the true Guru who had the insight and vision to know and pick up sincere, humble and genuine devotees and to reject false and hypocritical followers. Unlike other religions, the Sikh Gurus did not divide their devotees or 176 followers into believers and heretics, the Puritans and the malechhas, or the momin and kafirs, terms used in Hindu-ism and Islam invariably. The sincere devotees were called Gursikhs, Gur-sewaks, Sanmukh Sikhs or Gurmukh Sikhs or Sant Sikhs (saintly Sikhs). Those who were not sincere and those who did not live in obedience of the principles of Sikh ism were called manmukh (egoistic and self-willed), be-mukh (those who have turned their back to the Guru’s ideals). These and similar other terms are used through-out the Sikh Scriptures.

The Gurus in their own writings have clearly defined their relation as Perfect Prophet, with God. Behind the physical presence of the historical Guru there was the divine Presence of his God-Consciousness, Guru’s Light, blazing within him as Eternal Light, as the Light of God and manifest through his Word (Shabad).

Only a perfect Guru who was inseparably One with God could reveal the mystery of the perfect Light of God to the true seeker. It is in this sense, God and Guru were one in Spirit, one in their all-pervading Presence, and one in their sinlessness and perfect in their Wisdom. Guru Nanak described his own relation as Eternal Guru with the All-pervading and Almighty

Light of God thus:

` gur mai apu rakhiya kartare gurmukh kot asankh udhare.

–  –  –

When the word Guru is used for the Sikh Prophets it is qualified with “Perfect (Pure), Eternal (abinashi) Infal-lible (achutya).

tun sabhnaa mahi samae tin kartar ap lukaya nanak gurmukh pargat hoyaa ja ko jote dhari kartara jio.

–  –  –


The word “Sikh” simply means “disciples” and it was used in Sikh scriptures and religious literature for,disciples of Gorakh, Ramanand and every religious teacher. The word Guru-Sikh or Gursikh is used in Sikh Scriptures for disciples and committed devotees of the Sikh Gurus. But as the word “Guru” was inseparably attached to the Sikh Gurus, their disciples came to be popularly known as “Sikhs”.

A person in Indian or Semitic religions never be-came a disciple of a Religious Master by merely joining their followers, as one becomes a member of a political party or the present day Sant-cults and yoga ashrams, popular in the west, by just entering their names in their membership registers and taking some vows after paying entry subscriptions and donations. The Guru’s doors were open for all human beings, but they accepted sincere re-ceptive minds as their disciples (Sikhs) first as novices (sahajdhiiris) or namdharik (nominal) Sikhs and then they

initiated those who were true seekers. Bhai Gurdas rightly says:

gur-dikhya gur sikh lai gursikh sadae

–  –  –

Gurdikhiya was initiation into the Guru-mantram, and it is only through this initiation, a disciple became a Sikh and the Master who initiated became the Guru. What the average western mind does not understand is that the Word, Shabad, through which the Guru transfers and trans-mits his mystical and divine power is not an ordinary Word. The word or the Gurmantra is the quintessence of the Guru’s inner divine Personality, the universal Light and Spirit which is all embracing Guru-consciousness, which pierces and awakens the sleeping disciple-consciousness. Through this inspired Word (Shabad) human conscious-ness discovers new dimensions of a world, nay, a universe within himself. It opens upon the vista of higher forms of life. The mind, the heart and soul of the seekers shares the universal Spirit within him and within the living world and universe around him.

Shabad gur pira gahar gambhira bin shabde jag baurana

–  –  –

When the heart is open and receptive It is brimming with nectar.

The Name of God, which symbolizes His Presence and Existence, Gurbani which portrays the eternal Pres-ence, Creation and Work of God, and all the mystical, spiritual and aesthetic manifestations of God as Unstruck Music, as Eternal Light, are called Shabad: the Word Eternal, the Name: God’s Presence and Existence.

In every religion the Master and disciple are described in terms of their character as well as moral and spiritual personality.

A person does not become a Christian, Muslim, a Buddhist or a Sikh, either by merely signing a register of a particular religion or by merely profession to be one, but one had to accept some views of a moral and spiritual discipline, and mould his inner life according to this discipline. It is according to this discipline a Chris-tian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Sikh is described.

Hundreds of hymns in Guru Granth speak of the Sikh Way of life. Daily Sikh meditation and Prayers, Sikh Code of Conduct, and the difficulties a Sikh faces in this long journey to God are given. Only the fortunate few who lead the life of dedicated Sikhs achieve Him. The Word (Shabad) is the Essence of this Path, Gurmat, Wis-dom of the Gurus.

Gurmat is the Path of Truth The Word is the Essence of Path The Disciple enshrines in his heart The Divine Name of God.4 Those who tread this path of dedicated love for God are called Gurmukh Bhaktas and it is about this Sikh Way of life of devout Bhaktas (lovers of God). Guru Amar Das writes in

our daily prayer Anand Sahib:

Unique is the conduct and bearing of these Bhaktas, The devout lovers who walk on the Path of Love.

The conduct and bearing of these Bhaktas is unique, They have to walk on the thorny and troublesome path.

–  –  –

A.G. Guru Amar Das, Anand Sahib, p. 918 Just as there is a profound and deep relation between God and Guru (the Prophet), so also, according to Sikh Scriptures, there is an abiding relation between the True Guru (Satguru) and sincere and devout Sikhs. The true Guru makes the Unseen seen, the Invisible visible to the Seeker’s inner

vision (divya drishti) :

adrisht disai tan kahya jai One can describe the Unseen God, If one sees His Light and Presence;

Without seeing Him as a Living Presence All atempts to describe Him are in vain;

The enlightened Sikhs see Him naturally, When their mind and consciousness, Lives in obedience of His Love and worship, In the transcendent spiritual state of Sahaj.

A.G. Guru Nanak, Gauri Asht, p. 222 The Sikh Gurus gave to their Sikhs, who were true seekers, a spiritual path, a mystical state, and a soul-consciousness which is illumined with the experience of His Light and Presence.

For such a life a Sikh had to live in obedience and moral as well as spiritual discipline called the Rahit, popularly translated as “Code of Conduct”. One of the key hymns giving concrete directions on this discipline given below, was composed by Guru Ram Das. It is the earliest code of conduct (Rahitnama).

–  –  –

A.G. Guru Ram Das, Var Gauri, p. 305 This hymn, like hundreds of other hymns, gives a clear definition, character, daily life and meditation of a Sikh. Without this basic code of conduct (rahit), a Sikh is not accepted as a sincere and committed disciple either by the Guru or by enlightened Sikh society. For a Sikh to rise up early in the morning and perform ablution of bathing his body with water is not the only act of ablution of purifying himself, but even more important act of profounder ablution is to immerse his heart, mind and soul in concentration, meditation and contemplation of His Presence and Name, which Guru Ram Das calls bathing in the Pool of Nectar Amritsar. While bathing in a Pool of Nectar, (Amrtisar) was a daily act of inner ablu-tion for every individual, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das constructed the Baoli Sahib shrine and the Golden Temple, Amritsar, where everyone first bathes in the Sacred Pool, and then he bathes in the ambrosial Waters of divine Word, which he continuously hears in the form of Kirtan (singing) and recitation of the hymns of Guru Granth. This is an ideal pilgrimage to an ideal shrine.

182 Those who seek the love and grace of the True Guru are blessed with the inspiration and ideals of Sikhism. While the Guru is a sinless Perfect Prophet, a Sikh is a human being, with all the human weaknesses and short-comings, who lives in the shadow of his Master’s protective grace.

bhitle sikh gurit samjhae aujhaq, jande marag pae.

–  –  –

At the mental and spiritual level, the relation between the Prophet-Guru and a devout Sikh and seeker is that of a inseparable bond between the Guru-consciousness, the GuruSpirit (the Word of God) and the disciple-consciousness of the Sikh and a sincere seeker. This rela-tion is described in hundreds of verses in Sikh Scriptures, as Shabad-Surta relation. Thus the Guru-consciousness as Shabad which was manifest in God’s Attributes and Name, in reality is an Eternal Presence, and lnscrutible Will of God which transcended the physical person of the Guru as well as the disciple.

–  –  –

A.G. Guru Arjun, Bawan Akhari, p. 262 Just as the spirit of God shines perfectly in the Person of the Guru, so the perfect Spirit of the Guru per-vades all enlightened Sikhs. “gursikhan andar satgur vartai, jo sikhan no lochai so gur khushi avae : “Within the illu-mined Sikhs, the Spirit of the Guru becomes manifest, and the wishes of the Sikhs (the disciples) becomes the joyous blessings of the Guru.”4

Most of the Sikhs daily recite in the Sukhmani:

The Satguru sustains and nourishes his Sikhs, He is ever compassionate towards his true devotees.

The True Guru dispels all evil thoughts From the mind and hearts of the Sikhs.

Inspired by the Guru’s divine Word, A Sikh utters and contemplates God’s Name.

The Satguru destroys all bondage of his Sikhs, The Sikh of the True Guru Shuns and keep away from evil.

–  –  –

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