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Sikhism: The Truth

1. Sikhs are often asked, for the sake of argument, if Guru Nanak was a Prophet. Sikhs do not need to entertain the question whether the Guru Nanak was a Prophet. Guru Nanak and the other nine Sikh Gurus were not "prophets" in the Semitic sense. For instance, they never tried to impress people by performing miracles or by making predictions. They did not put their own people on a high pedestal in their holy book. Their teaching does not revolve around some small nation, its history, or its future. They did not scare people with a fear of an everlasting hell, or lure them with reward of a heaven.

2. Sikh Gurus did not promote any predictions about how this world will end some day, because, end of the world has absolutely no relationship to how we are supposed to live today. We all know that most of us will die of other causes before it ever happens. Any story about when the world was created, or if woman was created from man's ribs, has no significance in how we should live today, either. In God's eyes, all such topics are superficial and irrelevant. Guru Nanak taught us to ignore them, and to live with awareness that life could come to an abrupt end at any moment. For a sane person, whether this world ends today, next week, or in thirty thousand years, has no importance at all for one's spiritual welfare.

3. A Sikh is prohibited from arguing with people who believe in foolish dogma and who insist on making ridiculous arguments. For example, some people insist that a prophet must perform miracles. People have turned sticks into snakes, heal the sick, walk through fire, etc., routinely on the stage everyday. The Gurus did not believe in engaging in such circus show just to make people believe in them. People attracted in this manner will follow someone out of fear of punishment or, hope of a reward. Such people can not endure the rigors of the actual practice of God's Love, which should endure even in the face of adversity. Such people cannot understand why anyone would love God even if there were no reward forthcoming at all.

4. Only those who are quickened by the spirit can survive on the narrow path of true love of God. Additionally, the Gurus wanted us to worship God who is always with us, not to seek the Gurus, or someone else, for our deliverance. Some miracles have occurred spontaneously, out of love and mercy. But that is the extent of miracles from the Gurus. People, who continue to be attracted to their Messiah because of the miracles, can read about a true Saint's view of such acts. I posted it last year, in the story of a Muslim Saint, here: http://www.sikhnet.com/sikhnet/discussion.nsf/78f5a2ff8906d17887256....

5. A serious study of Gurbani makes it clear that the Sikh Gurus were conduits of God's message. It other words, it was God Himself manifest through a human body. This phenomenon has occurred in the past, before the Ten Sikh Gurus, and it will continue to occur in the future. Some are better at it than others. Ignorant humans try to impress their own beloved Messiah's holiness on the basis of an unusual birth, an unusual death, rising after death, miracles, predictions, advance knowledge of science, etc. The ignorant will continue to argue as to whose prophet was the true one, or the greatest. In God's eyes, this is never an issue, regardless of what theories we invent or write in our holy books. God Himself holds the key to our deliverance. He has not given it to any one entity.

6. The Gurus saw the mistakes made by others before them. They refrained from making any declarations that could induce people to worship them instead of God. This is their unique greatness. They wanted us to follow only God. Their message is as pure as God's Holy Name. Whatever the Gurus said was as if it came from God's own mouth. Those who ignore it knowingly are in fact, committing a sin. A true test of God's Word, and the Messiah who conveys it, is whether this message joins us with God, whether it makes us realize God's love for us. On the other hand, if a message promotes arguments and fights while trying to make us follow some person or even God, on the basis of punishment or a reward, then, it is not from God.

7. There is only one God. We are all his children. He loves us equally. Our mistakes take us away, and a correction puts us back on a path of return, to our Father. This is called religion. He forgives our mistakes (our sins) all the time. God does not punish anyone. Our own sins punish us, because each action has built-in consequences. This is God's law. He gives us free will to make our own choices. God is always here with us, to help us if we sincerely ask Him to and if we have a sincere inner desire to refrain from mistakes. He is not impressed by a mere show of such desire. We are required, with each breath, to choose between remembering God during our daily activity and thus get closer to Him or forgetting Him, and accept the consequences. It is all quite simple. Really. Granted, that some nations could not understand abstractions. Hence they were prescribed religion in the form of a storybook.

8. A true religion is nothing new. Guru Nanak wrote in Japji, that God gave it to us when He created us. The entire universe is following it in the form of God's Will. We lose it through many lifetimes of erroneous conditioning. God sends His Saints, from time to time, to uncover it from inside our own heart. God does not seek to divide people on the basis of one Messiah's authenticity in contrast to another. Only we do this. A true religion is that which helps us live in peace and in harmony with God's creation, in its entirety.

9. A true religion teaches a sane life, a life that is lived being spiritually in touch with reality. Any teaching that lacks this is, simply, fooling us with false promises that are, sadly, exposed after we die. Often, such teaching is the result of our own misinterpretation of the stories that were invented to coerce us into a religious life. It is time to grow above those stories. Guru Nanak taught that God is the only reality and God is the only one who is eternal. The invisible, God, is the source of life while the visible world represents a constant flow towards death. A true religion teaches a mystical, inner connection with God through a constant Remembrance and Gratitude, called Simran.

10. A true religion is learned through practice, in a Holy Company (Sat Sangat) and through a diligent and regular practice of meditative prayer, especially during the early morning hours. God's simple truth does not require any strange practices like, putting your body into contortions, a show, travel to holy places, proclaiming someone as a savior and trying to 'save' others while losing your own soul. Sikh Panth teaches us how to spiritually realize God's truth, and not just talk about it. Without a true, spiritual, inner connection with reality, life is simply wasted, regardless of how many more people you may have helped convert into your own faith.

11. A Holy Company is Holy only if it is spent in sharing true and purely Divine sentiment. Time spent in singing man-made verses or discussing our own ideas does not create a Holy Company. Only rare individuals seek Holy Company. Meditative singing of Gurbani, which came directly from God, ensures that a congregation is Holy and truly spiritual. Gurbani is the only such vehicle available to man. All other writings have been written by people. They were not dictated by God Himself.

12. Guru Nanak declared that he sings and composes only what God Himself tells him. He did not, as some others claim to have done, write words dictated by some angel etc. The Gurus collected and recorded all the Gurbani themselves. They put it in music, so that it will be sung. There is no other such writing. Sikh Panth is unique in that Gurbani and Rehet (lifestyle) make it possible to perpetuate a truly spiritual, real Sainthood in the common households, obviating the need to run away from the world or living in remote areas away from the society in order to achieve this goal.

13. Guru Nanak declared, God is one, and only one. It is a mistake to assume that a devout, Sikh, Christian, Hindu, or Jew, etc. is not devoted to the same Allah that a Muslim worships. Any religion that teaches that "non-believers" should not be treated as fellow human beings is condemned. Any religion that condones or promotes forced conversion and killing others "In the name of God," as a "Holy war," is condemned.

14. A true religion does not depend upon some prior covenant that God is said to have made with a certain nation. God does not favor a special era in the past, a certain nation, or a geographic location. Such stories are rejected because they are not in agreement with truth, that God loves everyone equally. He sends His messengers all the time, in all areas of the world. Some are widely known while others are not. Gurbani does not promote any Messiah as the only one or the last one, etc. We find that Gurbani is busy stressing upon an inner spiritual relationship with God and teaching us how to restore it. Gurbani is not filled with worldly wisdom. Some Muslims will also find it lacking in the details like, the description of torture in an everlasting hell or details of the pleasures of the flesh enjoyed in heaven after the judgement day. Nor do we find in Gurbani how to thoroughly torture the "non-believers" before murdering them.

15. People who believe that whosoever does not share their own faith is an infidel in the eyes of God, and thus, is worthy of condemnation, are some of the most ignorant people ever to roam on the face of this earth. Such people are the real problem in this world. They make it appear as if religion is the cause of all the fighting. It is impossible to reason with such entities. They are best left alone. As a Sikh, I pity those who were born in a Sikh household and converted to some such religion. Even though they claim to have done so after "great research" they have missed the entire point of Guru's teaching. It is sad that they never met a true Sikh Saint. Had they done so, there would be no need to look anywhere else.

16. It is impossible to lead someone away from the message of God's pure love expressed in Gurbani after they have experienced it in spirit, having been in the company of a true Saint. Often, affluence and sophistication of the non-Sikh society will influence some weak individuals, as it helps them get away from the lifestyle of poor uneducated Sikhs who may be mired in the notions of cast etc. However, it is much more important to persevere on the side of truth than to gain affluence and sophistication or, to be promised heaven after death. Think about this: a "heaven" that is inhabited by people who could not correct themselves before they die will very quickly turn into another world just like this one. Who wants to live there for an eternity? Would you call being stuck in such a world for an eternity, a heaven? It is no wonder that these religions have to invent theories to cover up their inconsistencies.

17. No particular religion has a monopoly over God's Word. A mere label or a verbal declaration of our faith is of little value. God does not crave praise, nor does He covet slavery of humans. These are only human characteristics. God's religion demands only correct inner intentions, and acts that would manifest God's love for everyone, making others follow your example. Gurbani, in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, declares this. We need to accomplish it before death, not after.

18. According to the Sikh standards only someone who believes in Gurbani as God's word can ever qualify to be considered as a perfect saint. Other saints, if any, must have some form of deficiency, or they would also naturally recognize this truth. Because of the importance of preservation of Khalsa Panth, we also look for the lifestyle of Khalsa Panth as a prerequisite. We are not to dissect and judge the spirituality of people on other paths, because that would be another sin. A Sikh respects all Saints and Messiahs. We are not supposed to argue with anyone about it. According to the Guru, all paths that take us towards God are acceptable, in their own place. Everyone cannot be the same. Gurbani teaches us to let everyone grow at one's own pace.

19. However, a Sikh does not need to adopt someone else's path simply to prove his tolerance and understanding, or vice versa. A Sikh preserves his own distinctness through following the discipline prescribed by the Tenth Master. Sikhs, as a community, have never engaged in killing or a crusade to convert anyone. All religions were respected under the great kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who respected everyone's rights. He could have written the American Constitution himself. This is just one simple example of the greatness that can be obtained through the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.

Yuktanand Singh
Saline, Michigan