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Human Values in Sikhism

Love of the Lord: Guru Granth Sahib, the last and the final Sikh Guru, describes in the Mul Mantar thetruth of the cosmic existence, which is fathomless and limitless, never ever known or fully revealed. Waheguru! The Lord of wonderful creativity has manifested himself in everything, animate and inanimate. It is ordained by Guru Granth Sahib: Sing the glory of the Lord and drown yourself in his love. From this, it logically follows that all human beings, irrespective of their distinctive capabilities and functional diversities, are brothers and the only way to serve the Lord is to serve all his creation. Guru Nanak says: Religion must join the life current of humanity and should be socially and spiritually consistent. The love of the Lord fully implies love and service of mankind.

Humility: Be humble. Don’t feel proud of your youth, riches, children, social status and mundane achievements. Nothing can be done or achieved without the grace of the Lord. It is He who does everything and even a leaf can’t move without his command. The Sikhs are ordained to keep their head low and consciousness high. Waheguru is the creator of the whole cosmos, protector and doer of everything. O’ man, always bow to him and beseech his grace. The word pride be expunged from your life and replaced by the feeling of humility. It is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again.

Human Equality is basically in reference to God’s presence and manifestation in all human beings. Guru Nanak beautifully said: No body is Hindu; no body is Muslim, meaning thereby that all are human beings. No body is high; no body is low. If there is a low caste, I am the lowest of the low, said Nanak.

Diversity is the beauty and wonder of his creativity. But God has not divided mankind into different religions and castes, which are simply man-made denominations. Sikhism preaches human brotherhood and forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, colour and creed etc. Rigid divisions and exclusivity have unfortunately pitched people against each other with hatred and antagonism. Our Spiritual Masters had never ordained rigid divisions of people into warring camp

Freedom of Faith: Every individual hasthe freedom to pursue his faith. Guru Nanak asked everybody to correctly understand and follow his religion. If you go deep into your religion, you will have nothing to say against other religions. The Sikh Gurus upheld this conviction, fought and embraced martyrdom for the religious freedom of all. In Sikhism, there is no room for interference, oppression, compulsion and conversion. Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh made supreme sacrifices for the freedom of thought and faith. 

Seva is the benchmark of human values in Sikhism, but it has to be done without the expectation of reward and recognition. Sikhism emphasizes service of the whole mankind without discrimination between religions and national boundaries. A unique Seva is seen as the shoes of the pilgrims at Gurdwaras are picked, cleaned and returned after polishing by the devotees.

Reconciliation: To understand each other’s viewpoint, through dialogue, is a great human value. It is absurd to impose your viewpoint on others. Reconciliation and ecumenism constitute the quintessence of the teachings of Guru Nanak. The Sikh Gurus preached what they had practiced.

Rejection of Exploitation and Tyranny : The Sikh Gurus opposed all types of oppression and exploitation- economic, social, political and religious etc. The whole Sikh history is replete with commendable evidences in this regard. Guru Nanak rejected barbarism on the part of Sikandar Lodi and also condemned the acts of inhumanity committed by the soldiers of Babar. He rejected the hospitality of Malik Bhago, a rich landlord, and instead welcomed the meals at the house of Bhai Lalo, a poor untouchable carpenter. Nanak also condemned the exploitation of the illiterate and poor multitude at the hands of clever Pandits and Mullahs, who simply used Sanskrit and Arabic clichés to befool them and hide their own ignorance of true religion.

Patriotism: The Sikh Gurus set up the best examples of the spirit of patriotism. They tried their best to raise the consciousness of the depressed masses and fought battles for freedom of all kinds. They encouraged the people, both Hindus and Muslims to rose agaomst oppression and tyranny. How courageously did Guru Tegh Bahadur fight for the religious freedom of the Kashmiri Pandits and defied the Mughal King Aurangzeb. Guru Tegh Bahadur, his three devotees, Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and the last human Guru of the Sikhs, along with his four Sahibzadas (sons) fought for the freedom of faith and self-respect and embraced a unique martyrdom, which has been recorded in golden words in the Indian history.

Sangat that comes to get the Guru’s grace comprises individuals from different religious persuasions, which speaks volumes of love for human equality and rejection of discrimination and baseless ritualism.

Kirat Ki Kamai (truthful living and earning through legitimate means): The Sikhs are ordained by Guru Granth Sahib to give a daswandh, i.e., one-tenth of their earning for charity and social good.

Langar (Wand Chhako)- Guru ka Prasad is open to all, irrespective of religion, caste, colour and creed. One has only to see to believe, how the devotees, men and women from all strata of the society are cooking the Langar and also cleaning the used utensils.

In a nutshell, Sikhism is a prayer for all and prayer for the inner peace. It excludes none, no land and no creed. Nanak Nam Charhdi Kala, Tere Bhane Sarbat Da Bhala.  Sikhism preaches the highest human values of Love of the Lord, Humility, Equality, Freedom of Thought and Religion, Happy and Healthy life, Righteous Deeds, Daan, Kirat ki Kamai, Seva, Reconciliation, Patriotism, Sangat and Langar. The Khalsa spirit is upheld for the life of purity, dignity, self –respect and seva for the common good of mankind.

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