Sikhism - A New Approach

 

In the following discussion, we'll make an attempt to understand the true meaning and tenets of Sikhism. We'll try to analyse what Sikhism was intended to be, in accordance with the Gurus' teachings, and not the way it is understood  by most people today. The ideas put here will be backed with sufficient support from SGGS, and we urge you to be patient and read through the entire article. Queries, if any, may be mailed to us.


During the times of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, there existed primarily two religions in India - Hinduism and Islam. Though he was born into a Hindu family by birth, when asked about his religion, his reply would be that he was neither  Hindu nor  Muslim. He justified his statement by saying  he was  the son of God, like all of us are, and thus he belonged not to religions, but to God. From all the literature, available on Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life, and also his verses in the SGGS, the following points are evident:

From the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji , it is clear that what he expected the Sikhs to follow was not just another religion or ritual but instead, a WAY OF LIFE -  a way that teaches man to realize God.

What we intend to emphasize by this, is that Sikhism is not to be treated as religion. Religion can be inherited - son of a Hindu  becomes a Hindu by default. Similarly, we treat a child born into a Sikh family to be a Sikh. Unfortunately what we fail to understand is that Sikhism is not something that can be inherited or passed on - it can only be earned. As son of a doctor, doesn't qualify to be a doctor unless he studies to be one, similarly the son of a Sikh has to walk on the path described by our Gurus to become a Sikh. To be a Sikh we have to follow the path shown by the Gurus.

Before we proceed any further, we would like to clarify the biggest misconception that prevails in our minds, including some of us who call ourselves 'Sikh'. It may come as a blow to some, because these ideas have been hammered into us, over the years, by our ancestors, family members, some Granthis, and people who consider themselves an authority on this subject.

It is to be clearly understood that the people described below are NOT Sikhs :

If all these people are not Sikhs, then who is a Sikh?
A Sikh is simply one who follows and practises the teachings embodied in the SGGS.   A persons' robe, appearance or background has nothing to do with his spiritual life. Anyone can read  the SGGS. The key word here is
FOLLOW. Though many of us 'Sikhs' read verses  from the SGGS daily, it is of little or no avail to us because we do not PRACTICE them. Thus a Sikh is one who puts into practice the teachings of our Gurus - someone who walks on the true path of love and devotion to God, as described in the SGGS. He can be of any color, caste, creed, race or religion.

At this stage, many may counter our discussion with  " Then what is the significance of  Guru Gobind Singh Ji 's giving  us an individual appearance and initiating the ceremony of Amrit Chakna? ".

First of all, let us try to analyze the  society prevailing at that time. There were castes and other distinguishing factors  present in society. Thus to make everyone EQUAL, as we are in the eyes of God, he wanted people from all backgrounds to drink Amrit from the same container so that we should realize the fact that we are the children of one God.

Secondly, Amrit Chakna, as explained above is a form of 'initiation' that is required by anyone who wants to walk the path of spiritualism. Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself got baptized in the same ceremony by the Panj Pyaaras. Thus it is the first essential step without which subsequent advancement on this path cannot be achieved. He asked people to wear the Five K's for the following reasons:

If you would like to read more about the significance of the Five K's in today's situation,   please follow the link at the end of the page.

Thus, we see that Sikhism is not a religion, but a Way of Life, which is to be followed if one wishes to be close to the Almighty.

Now we'll try to see where we went wrong. What is it that is taking away from God ? Why is it that despite the fact we go to a Gurudwara regularly, do our Nitnem, observe all the required code of conduct, we are still caught in the circle of the five sins? Why are we not nearer to him than we should be ? Why haven't we been able to break free from maya?

The reason is quite simple. We wasted all our time and energy on routine tasks. Thus, we became followers of another religion which we call 'Sikhism'.

Let us realize the fact that we shouldn't be demeaning Sikhism by making it a religion. It's high time we   FOLLOWED, and not just preached Sikhism.

Guru Fateh!


Article written by Karandeep Singh. Please mail any queries or discrepancies to the author.

 

Click here to read Part II of the discussion - " Where did we go wrong and what's the right path." (Coming Soon)