Main Principles. The word 'Sikh' means a disciple. So Sikhism is
essentially the path of discipleship. The true sikh remains unattached
to worldly things just as the lotus keeps its blossom over and above
the surface of water. The Sikh must do his duty to his family and to
the community. The main thing is leading a pure and moral life, full
of noble deeds and kind words. A Sikh does not regard fasting,
austerities, pilgrimages, alms-giving and penance as important things.
Bhagti: Those who know the importance of Bhagti feel like Guru Nanak
Sahib that forgetting God is just like death and brooding upon His
Name is life and joy. Without the nectar of God's name, the polgrim
dies his misery. But Bhagti is possible after certain conditions are
i) Faith in God.
ii) Following Truth.
iii) Unattachment and desirelessness.
iv) Control over throught, word and deed.
v) Association with holy men(Satsang)
vi) Humanity and submission to Hukam.
Salvation/Mukti: The Guru says, "The man of God rejects
salvation. He wants only love of God and nothing else. The joys of
heaven are nothing as compared to the merging in the Divine Spirit.
The ultimate goal of man is union with God. Man does not become God,
only the spark merges in the fire. This is called self-identification."
A man may have done many noble deeds but if he has not undertaken
meditation on God, he cannot have any hope of Mukti. Guru Nanak Sahib
says in Asa-di-Var: "That is true knowledge when the thruth is in
the heart, when the dirt of falsehood vanishes and life is pure and
clean. That is true living when one fixes one's love on truth and
finds joy in the hearing of the Name."
Need of Guru: Almost all the great religions of the world emphasis
the need of a preceptor or Guru or holy man for the attainment of
salvation. The Vedas enumerate the qualities of a religious guide.
Even Guru Nanak Sahib empha-sises that bliss can be obtained only
through the grace of the Guru. Sikhism does not recognise either
chosen prophets or chosen people. Guru Nanak Sahib did not insist on a
physical Guru (Dehdari}. His own Guru was God Himself. What is
important is not the person but the word-"The word is the Guru.
The Guru is the word. If the devotee follows what the word says,
surely the Guru will save him." That is why Guru Gobind Singh
Sahib installed Sri Granth Sahib as Guru for all time. We do not need
any man as Guru because the word is now with us. Guru Arjan Sahib
says, "Without a Guru, liberation cannot be won. The Guru is my
boat, which will ferry me across the rough ocean of existance."
The Guru destroys illusions and attachment to worldly objects.
Guru Ramdas Sahib says, "The Guru is the Sikh and the Sikh who
practices the Guru's word is equal to the Guru." Guru Gobind
Singh Sahib says, "I live and have my being in the Khalsa."
The Guru lives in the form of the Panth. He resides in the Sangat. All
the Gurus are identical with Nanak. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib passed on
the corporal succession to the Panth, which is regarded as the
embodiment of the Guru. The Panth represents the Guru and it is
progressing, With the passage of time, the Panth is evolving. It is a
dynamic and corporate personality with authority to make decisions
(Gurmatas) binding on the Sikhs. In this way, there is a two-fold
concept of Guru-dom, one permanent, the other progressive. The Word is
the embodiment of eternal and changless truth, while the Panth is the
progressive, collective personality of the Guru in Sikhs.
Guru Granth Sahib is the living embodiment of the Ten Gurus. It is
the living flame of the Name, which lights the lamp of the disciple.
There is no place for a living Guru in the Sikh religion, bacause
Gurbani is Guru and Guru is Gurbani. After all, what the Guru does is
to guide the disciple by means of words, in the same way Guru Granth
Sahib guides the Sikh through its song-message. When a Sikh is in
doubt about any principle of Sikhism, he refers the matter to the
Panth for decision.