- I – NEVER FORGET THE POOR
This mantra was relevant in 1500 when there was no concept of poverty alleviation, and is just as relevant now, when poverty hasn’t left the world. When Nanak was 12, his father gave him Rs. 20 to set up a business. Nanak bought food worth Rs. 20 and gave it away. When his father asked him what he had done about the investment, Nanak told him he had accomplished a “True Bargain”.
Today, a gurdwara named Sacha Sauda (“The True Bargain”) marks where Guru Nanak thus fed the poor as a boy.
- II – THERE IS ONE GOD
Using religion to segregate people into categories is awful. In the Guru’s own words, “There is no Hindu, no Mussalman.”
Instead, he said, practice your own faith, but shorn of superstitions and meaningless rituals.
On his visit to Hardwar, he saw Hindus throwing water from the Ganges eastwards towards the sun as an offering to their ancestors in heaven. He began to throw water towards the West. When others ridiculed him, he said: “If the Ganges water will reach your ancestors in the Sun, why should the water I throw not reach my fields in the Punjab, which are far less distant?”
- III – WOMEN ARE EQUAL TO MEN
At a time when other religions wanted quiet, demure women in the temple and no women in the mosque, he welcomed women to join religious gatherings and openly sing their praises of God.
- IV – RUNNING AWAY TO A FOREST WON’T GIVE YOU ENLIGHTENMENT
“… Remember the essence of religion / Is humility and compassion / A life of goodness and purity / Amidst the world’s temptations …” (Guru Nanak)
Guru Nanak rejected renunciation of the world and austerities of any kind (silence, fasting, etc) as a path to salvation. Instead, he said, living as a householder was better than fleeing life; it is in living life to the fullest that ones finds divine. Nanak himself was a farmer and a householder even while he led his followers who came to be known as Sikhs — students, learners.
- V – CONQUER THESE FIVE EVILS
Ego. Anger. Greed. Attachment. Lust.
All suffering comes from letting these evils govern your thoughts and actions.
- VI – FOCUS ON WAHEGURU, THE ONE GOD, NOT IDOLS & DEITIES
Worship without public service (seva) is futile. Living truthfully is far superior to visiting pilgrimage destinations or performing rituals or trying to buy salvation through charity. The best pilgrimage is inwards; all treasures lie within oneself. The best charity is one without strings attached or expectation of a reward.
- VII – BE SELFLESS
Gurdwaras around the world feed multitudes every day. Not because there is some divine gain, but because it is a sacred duty. A way of life.
- VIII – FIGHT SUPERSITION OF ANY KIND
Nanak devoted his life to attacking meaningless rituals, caste, and practices that didn’t make any sense. This is the simplest way you can find meaning and purpose in your own life – cutting out the clutter of what society dictates you should do.
- IX – SIMPLICITY IS BEAUTIFUL
It is not hard to live a life of Sikhi:
Vund Chhako: Share
Kirat Karo: Make an honest living
Naam Juppo: Remember God at all times
- X – TRAVEL
Get to know your fellow man.
There is much to be gained from journeys beyond your comfort zone. At a time when religious leaders never ventured out of their villages or regions, Guru Nanak walked, yes, walked across continents … to Iraq, Ladakh, Tibet and Arabia!
[Courtesy: India Times, Source: sikhchic.com]