Deccan Chronicle

Mystic Mantra: Guru Nanak - The only truth

Deccan Chronicle| Kulbir Kaur

Published on: November 3, 2017 | Updated on: November 3, 2017

Guru Nanak's philosophy of salvation is simple and practical.

Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak

"False the king, false the subject, false the whole world.
False the gold, false the silver and false those who wear them
The false one is attached to falsehood, forgetting the creator.
Whom to be friends with? The whole world is transient...
Nanak, praise to thee, all else is false without thee"

The only truth, says Guru Nanak, is the supreme being. He is ikk (one), second to none, the ultimate reality. He is Karta-Purakh and being the creator he regards everyone as equal. Why would he discriminate? Why would he harbour hatred? All are equal and no one would attain salvation on the basis of caste, religion and gender. Guru Nanak’s path of realisation is based on love, devotion and faith in one God — the true name (Satnam). "True in the beginning, true for ever, true he is... Nanak, true he will ever be!" says the Guru. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born in 1469 at Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib. Even as a child, Guru Nanak would not accept anything without probing it. There was a strong desire to know the truth, to attain gian (spiritual knowledge) and most importantly, how to maintain a balance between this and other worldly life.

Guru Nanak’s philosophy of salvation is simple and practical. He says the source of gian lies within one’s self. There is no need to renounce the world. Guru Nanak’s religion is a religion of affirmation. The world is real and so are the ways of life. How to realise the truth? How to cross the ocean of illusion? The simplest way is nam simran, the remembrance of God, nam japna. It is the remembrance of the attributes of the almighty who is nirbhau (fearless), nirvair (without enmity) and ever benevolent, compassionate and merciful. The Sikhs, the followers, not only have to meditate upon his attributes but are required to imbibe the same qualities — to help others, to treat others equally and to not to be scared of anyone except the Akal-Purakh. The knowledge of his vastness instils humility in man and helps him to get rid of his ego (haumai), which is regarded as the greatest obstacle in the path of realisation. With the grace (mehar) of the Guru, a person surrenders himself to the will (hukam) of the God. Guru Nanak says: "Steadily I danced in his will. Nanak is ever happy to follow him. My wandering is due to him. I live his teachings, one who follows him knows himself. And is submerged in truth."

Can there be any love of God without seva (service)? Guru Nanak stressed the futility of meaningless rituals and superstitions. Instead, selfless service is the only true path. "All living beings are God’s own creatures, and none can obtain any reward without rendering service," says the Guru. With seva is attached the notion of sharing — vand chchakna. A true Sikh loves to contribute to others’ well being, in addition to earning his livelihood through labour (kirat karni). Nam japna, vand chchakna and kirat karni are the three simple ways to live the life as prescribed by Guru Nanak.

Guru Nanak’s message was based on love, devotion and simple living. The complete faith in the creator (hukam) is offered as the remedy of all sufferings. No wonder, every Sikh in his daily prayers, remembers and repeats: "Tera bhana meetha lage har nam padarath Nanak mange (Everything happens as per his will, which is always sweet. To remember him is the only thing Nanak wishes for)."

About The Author

Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

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