Sikh Religious Philosophy
"Realization of Truth
is higher than all else.
Higher still is Truthful Living." (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag)
is only one God, he is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer.
"You are the
Creator, O Lord, the Unknowable. You created the Universe of diverse
kinds, colours and qualities. You know your own Creation. All this is
your Play." (Guru Nanak, Var Majh)
Supreme Being abides in the Realm of Eternity. Over His creation He
casts His glance of grace. In that Realm are contained all the continents
and the universes, Exceeding in number all count. Of creation worlds
upon worlds abide therein; All obedient to His will; He watches over
them in bliss, And has each constantly in mind." (Guru Nanak, Japji)
God cannot take human form.
has father, nor mother, nor sons nor brothers." (Guru Nanak, Maru)
"Burnt be the
mouth that asserts, the Lord takes birth. He is neither born nor dies;
neither enters birth nor departs. All pervasive is Nanaks Lord." (Guru
Arjan Dev, Raga Bhairon)
The goal of human life is to break the cycle of birth's and deaths
and merge with God. This can be accomplished by following the teachings
of the Guru, meditation on the Holy Name and performance of acts of
service and charity.
to the Name Divine is birth in the world gone waste. Such consume poison,
poisonous their utterance; Without devotion to the Name, without gain
they die, and after death in transmigration wander." (Guru Nanak, Raga
is life in God, contemplation on the Name and the society of the saints"
(Guru Arjan Dev, Dhanasari)
"I shall merge
in the Lord like the water in the sea and the wave in the stream. The
soul will merge in God and like air I shall look upon all alike. Then
why shall I come again? The coming and going is under the Will of the
Lord and Realising This Will, I shall merge in the Lord" (Bhagat Kabir,
of the True Guru (God) dwells upon the Lord through the teaching of
the Guru and all his sins are washed away" (Guru Ram Das, Var Gauri)
in the world gets us a seat in the Court of the Lord" (Guru Nanak, Sri
as disciple of the holy Perceptor must, rising at dawn, on the Name
Divine meditate" (Guru Ram Das, Raga Gauri)
The five cardinal vices are; Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed),
Moh (worldly attachment) and Ahankar (pride). If one can overcome these,
they will achieve salvation.
who live within this body are lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego.
They rob us of ambrosia, but the egocentrics do not understand it and
no one listens to their cries" (Guru Amar Das, Sorath)
"I am in the
Refuge of the Lord; Bless me, O Lord with your Grace, so that the lust,
anger, greed, attachment and ego may be destroyed" (Guru Arjan Dev,
Narm Marg; emphasizes daily devotion to the remembrance of God.
of the Lord is the highest of the deeds, through which myriads obtain
release, through which the thirst (of desires) is quenched, through
which one becomes all knowing, through which the fear of death goes
away, through which all the desires are fulfilled, through which the
dirt of the mind is cleansed and the Nectar of the Name of God is absorbed
in the mind" (Guru Nanak, Gauri Sukhmani)
Rejection of all forms of blind rituals such as fasting, religious
vegetarianism, pilgrimages, superstions, yoga, as well as any form of
"Let good conduct
be thy fasting." (Guru Nanak, Var Majh)
"You keep the
fast to please Allah, but slay life for your relish..But you do not
reflect on the Lord, Who is within you" (Bhagat Kabir, Asa)
argue whether to eat meat or not. They don't understand truth nor do
they meditate on it. Who can define what is meat and what is plant?
Who knows where the sin lies, being a vegetarian or a non vegetarian?"
(Guru Nanak, Var Malar)
is in agony because of the filth of ego, the word is filthy because
of duality; The filth of ego cannot be washed away, even if one bathes
at one hundred holy places." (Guru Amar Das, Sri Raga)
"They go to
holy places for a bath, Their minds are impure and bodies are like thieves;
If by bath their dirt drops down, they got on themselves twice as much
dirt and ego." (Guru Nanak, Var Suhi)
the mind, he is a pilgrim" (Guru Arjan Dev, Maru Solhe)
the auspicious moments, but do not realise, That God is far above the
effects of these auspicious moments." (Guru Nanak, Ramkali)
and ill omens stick to him Who does not remember the Lord." (Guru Arjan
"The way to
true yoga is found by dwelling in God and remaining detached in the
midst of worldly attachments." (Guru Nanak, Suhi))
busy studying Puranas, Yogis are busy in yogic meditations; Sannyasis
are intoxicated with ego, Tapsis are intoxicated with secrets of Tapas;
All are intoxicated, none is awake, With them are thieves robbing them."
(Bhagat Kabir, Basant)
"Five are the
Muslim prayers; five their appointed hours, Five their names. These
be the true prayers: The first is Truth, the second is lawful earning
and the third is to beg the Graces of God for all, The fourth is the
right intention in the mind and the fifth is the praise of the Lord."
(Guru Nanak, Var Majh)
"He reads the
holy books with commentaries, He does not remember God, his way of living
is not flowless. He instructs and makes other people firm, But does
not practise, whatever he says. Understand the substance of the Vedas,
O Pandit!" (Guru Arjan Dev, Ramkali)
he calls his god, in the end, drowns him with itself... Know that a
boat of stone carries one not across" (Guru Arjan Dev, Suhi)
neither speaks nor gives anything. Therefore its service is fruitless
and its worship is of no avail." (Bhagat Kabir, Bhairo)
Normal Family life (Grasth) is encouraged, celibacy or renunciation
of the world is not necessary to achieve salvation. The devotee must
live in the world yet keep his mind pure. He must be a soldier, a scholar,
lady! hast not heard with thy ears, To the husband's home must thou
come, nor for ever canst thou in the parental home abide" (Guru Nanak,
"I that in
the parents home on the Lord meditated, In the husband's home bliss
have found. Blessed is the entire life of such." (Guru Ram Das, Sri
as celibates knowing not the right device, discard house and home."
(Guru Nanak, Asa)
the household, one's mind took him to the forest, but it could not get
peace even for a moment; but when it sought the refuge of the Saint
of the Lord, its wanderings ceased and it returned to its own home.
One abandoned his relatives and became a Sannyasi, but the craving of
the mind did not cease. One's desires are not finished without the Word
of the Guru, which alone can bring peace. When hatred for the world
wells up in ones mind, he becomes a naked recluse, but the mind wanders
ceaselessly and these wanderings do not end his desires, but when he
meets the saints, he reaches the House of Mercy. Siddhas learn numerous
Yogic poses; but their mind only after miraculous powers yearns. Thereby
comes not to them fulfilment, content and peace of mind." (Guru Ram
The Sikh Holy Book (Guru Granth Sahib) is the perpetual Guru, there
is no place in Sikhism for a living Guru today.
"The bani is
the preceptor and the preceptor is the bani, All the nectars are present
in the bani: If the faithful follows the bani of the preceptor, The
preceptor himself helps him in the realisation of his ideal." (Guru
Ram Das, Nat)
Sikhism rejects all distinctions of caste, creed, race or sex.
"All are created
from the seed of God. There is the same clay in the whole world, the
potter (God) makes many kinds of pots." (Guru Amar Das, Bhairo)
the light (of God) and do not ask for the caste, There is no caste in
the next world." (Guru Nanak, Asa)
The Guru's stressed the full equality of women, rejecting female
infanticide, sati (wife burning), permitting widow remarriage and rejects
purdah (women wearing veils).
"We are born
of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are engaged and
married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued
because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound
with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives
birth to kings? The woman is born from woman; there is none without
her. Only the One True Lord is without woman" (Guru Nanak, Var Asa)
be called satis, who burn themselves with their dead husbands. They
can only be called satis, if they bear the shock of separation. They
may also be known as satis, who live with character and contentment
and always show veneration to their husbands by remembering them." (Guru
Amar Das, Var Suhi)
Honest labour and work (Kirat Karna) are the approved way of living
ones life. It is considered honourable to earn ones daily bread through
honest work and not by begging or dishonest means.
"He who eats
what he earns through his earnest labour and from his hand gives something
in charity; he alone, O Nanak, knows the true way of life" (Guru Nanak
Dev, Rag Sarang, pg. 1245)
Vand Chhakna, sharing with others is also a social responsibility.
The individual is expected to help others in need through charity.
Seva, community service is also an intergral part of Sikhism. The
free community kitchen (langar) found at every gurdwara and open to
people of all religions is one expression of this community service.