Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Sikh Rehat Maryada
- Sikhi is a way of life – a disciplined and practical mode of living based on a truthful righteous lifestyle in accordance with the universal laws of nature (or reality). That recognises the equality of all mankind and a love for all things in existence. Simply a vision and lifestyle exemplified by truth, humanity, morality, equality and justice.
- Ik = 1, everything is part of Onkar (infinite Oneness, Universe). Guru Nanak defined this as ‘there is no other’, there is only Oneness. Ik Onkar is the primary concept of Sikhi. This was a revolutionary break from past religious concepts five hundred years ago. Today in modern science Einstein defines this factually as the single spacetime reality. There is no need for faith or belief. We see the Oneness within ourselves and everywhere, all things are subject to the laws of nature. This is why the Gurus completely rejected the supernatural being or entity that is worshipped by other religions. Instead total acceptance of Ik Onkar means that we must understand and live according the universal laws of nature, accept our unity with all of existence and accountability for the wellbeing of all things.
- The journey for a Sikh and any human is to develop supreme consciousness where every thought and action is rational and balanced. To transform ones mind and lifestyle to manifest righteous qualities, thoughts & actions with each and every breath. The Sikh is a student that constantly transforms from the ego of selfishness and instead lives in accord with the universal laws of nature, undertaking selfless actions that contribute to society. This transformation journey is unique to each human being, to realise that we are a part of the one energy and our aim is to fully manifest individual infinite positive potential. This is the most challenging of lifetime journeys to undertake. In the end true victory is victory over self.
- The Guru is the enlightener – the Guru is the shabad or divine word or truthful knowledge that transforms the mind state from darkness (ego) to light (supreme rational consciousness). Just as the universe gives life and nurtures all things, when our thoughts and lifestyle actions accord with the laws and qualities of nature we achieve harmony with existence. It is the personal responsibility of each Sikh to understand this knowledge and transform themselves, no one else can make this change. The Guru states: “Water mingles with water and light merges in the light, discarding their separate existence“.
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) encapsulates the shabad or knowledge for understanding Oneness and how to transform the inner human mind – humans are born in a state of self ego where the mind is out of control subject to negative emotional energies e.g. attachment, anger, pride, greed and lust which lead to pain and suffering. Transforming the mind all human emotional energies are used for rational thinking and positive living that accords with the natural universe laws. Thus the human manifests divine qualities: Naam – meaning knowledge based lifestyle, highly practical, developing righteous qualities such as truth, compassion, accountability and humility in daily existence. This lifestyle requires personal accountability and responsibility including improving the lives of all. The result should be constant bliss and peace, that is bestowed by the individual on themselves.
- The Gurdwara is an educational institution – meaning the door to the Guru’s wisdom (gurmat) as encapsulated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahibs universal perspective. Historically the gurdwara was a places of Sikhi teaching and discussion, providing medical services, feeding the hungry and self defence training.
- Sikh Gurus – Sikhi originated ~500 years ago in Punjab, north west region of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib the first guru (1469-1539), and all nine subsequent Gurus explained and lived the message of Ik Onkar. In that time period, India was controlled by an inhumane, immoral and corrupt dictatorship. Ritualistic religious practices that promoted repression, fear, hatred and class division amongst people were deeply entrenched in society. Religion was a means to suppress peoples thinking and freedom. All the religions of the day promoted a belief in a separate supernatural creator, that required an elite group of ‘holy’ priests to communicate the wishes of this entity. The Gurus totally rejected all aspects of these non-fact or non-reality based concepts, beliefs, rituals and inhumane and immoral practices. Instead they established model communities & towns that operated on modern universal humanitarian teachings and principles despite the repressive dictatorship of the time.
- The 10th Guru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib sealed the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and conferred eternal guruship to SGGS in 1708. The divine knowledge in SGGS is the eternal Guru for Sikhs. This knowledge is a gift to all of humanity.
Sikh core values for daily living can be summarised as : Naam japna, Wand kay Shako and Kirat Karni.
The ten Sikh Gurus were high educated and dynamic social reformers challenging the negative custom conventions that had persisted in society for thousands of years. Uniquely they all promoted and demonstrated perfect humanitarian based righteous lifestyles that accorded with rational universal laws. All taught the same concepts and principles of Ik Onkar, lived according to Sikh teachings and provided perfect transformation role models. The challenge to existing rulers and the religious order came with severe consequences. Despite facing persecution and execution of themselves, their families, children and communities by the immoral religious and inhumane government powers of the day who sought to protect the existing power order, they did not deviate from the path of truth. They continued to elevate the consciousness of humanity, aided the poor, fought injustice, repression and cruelty, and alleviated pain and suffering.
The perfect lifestyles, dedication and determination of the Gurus to transform society for the betterment of all people, in a period of severe hostility and ever changing adversity is an example to all Sikhs. These powerful timeless lessons, and the necessity to constantly learn and evolve is true in the here and now, as it was 500 years ago.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)
SGGS is a gift to humanity and the eternal Guru for Sikhs – it aims to transform the inner mind state and lifestyle of a human to the highest rational state. Each person has a unique spiritual development path. SGGS is a personal Guru for each individual, providing a definitive universal guide to ones own spiritual and righteous existence path.
SGGS is written in wonderful poetic language set to music to provoke self understanding, self contemplation and personal transformation. The key to understanding the meaning of gurbani poetry is to first understand the true meaning of Ik Onkar. This can be used to unlock the metaphors and principles, to understand them correctly so as to apply the knowledge to transforming the human mind and developing rational truthful thinking. Equally, the poetry can be misunderstood if dualistic thinking and external ritualistic practices or worship is applied.
Uniquely, the SGGS was written directly by seven of the ten Sikh Gurus. In total it contains the writings of 35 contributors from diverse backgrounds who all shared the same message and experiential understanding of Oneness and the laws of nature. SGGS was finally sealed by the 10th Guru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1708.
SGGS starts with a definition of Ik Onkar in the Mool Manter or root verse. This explains the real and fundamental qualities of a persons mind state. This key concept is then further explained through major shabad or divine poetic hymns that follow.
The first shabad Jap Ji Sahib by Guru Nanak Sahib is an overall synopsis. Jap means to understand and through this comprehension manifest a lifestyle based on the rational laws of nature. Jap Ji starts by questioning and rejecting historical religious concepts, external ritualistic and divisive social practices. Instead it explains the real purpose of existence is to understand and transform the mind, with truthful knowledge, to live a lifestyle with total accountability and responsibility for our actions. This message is amplified throughout the rest of SGGS.
SGGS has 5877 Shabad all set to musical raag measures. These are recited and sung in Kirtan.
The Sikh Ardas a prayer for humanity.
Sikh Rehat Maryada
A Sikh fully accepts the concept of Ik Onkar and has a daily lifestyle that embodies the universal principles and wisdom in SGGS. SGGS is the highest authority on Sikh lifestyle.
The Sikh Rehat Maryada defined by the Sikh Panth provides guidelines for daily living. The Sri Akaal Tahkt the Sikh temporal leadership body has adopted this guideline as the standard of behaviour. It must not be used as a ritualistic or rigid guideline that results in practices that are contrary to SGGS universal principles.
The function of Akal Takht is to effect decisions that are truthful and transparent. These must fully accord with righteous and universal principles within Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Therefore, any decision that is untruthful, inhumane, immoral, unjust, politically biased, or narrow group or self interest based must be rejected by Akal Takht and all Sikhs.
Gurpurab Dates based on Nanakshahi Calendar
The old Bikrami calendar used for setting date is inaccurate with an error of 1 day in about 71 years. The proposed Nanakshahi calendar reduces this error to one day in about 3,300 years, but in the case of Nanakshahi calendar this error will automatically be corrected, whenever the correction to the Common Era calendar is made. The new Nanakshahi calendar baselined in 2003 is simple, rational, accurate, and conforms to Gurbani factual thinking. Sankrants will occur on the same dates in the CE year, every year. All Gurpurbs also occur on the same dates every year, with one exception noted above. This dispenses with the need to consult primitive outdated Jantri publishers to find out when a Gurpurb is to occur or shifting dates for Gurpurbs.