SPIRITUALITY BEYOND RELIGIONS : THE SIKH PRAYER

Ek onkar satgur parsad

There is but one God reached through the grace of True Guru Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture brings a message of prayer, sharing, caring, love, compassion, equality, justice, peace and harmony to all mankind. It reminds us that the one God is the God of us all. We are all His children and His door is open to all of us whatever our persuasion or circumstance. True religiosity consists in living a prayerful life and performing good deeds – Sagal dharam mehn sresht dharam, har ko nam jap nirmal karam. The path Gurus commended is to be a productive, responsible member of society, provide through honest work for self and family and give some to help others in need. We are told that God communicates with us through infinite love and it is through unbounded love that we can connect with Him – Jin prem kio tin hee prabh paiyo. Let us also recall an incident from Sikh history. The year is 1705. The place is Anandpur and the Imperial army invests Sikhs frequently.  As the weary sun is going down after a day of skirmishes, in the lengthening shadows of a hot summer evening, witness an old Sikh, Kanhaiya ministering sips of water and tending the wounded of both sides. Envision the same scene another day when the wounded lay in the midst of fallen leaves or fields wet with rain. The Sikhs upset, ask Guru Gobind Singh to stop Kanhaiya from comforting the enemy. The Guru says let’s call him and ask him, why? Brought before the Guru, he humbly says Lord you told us - manas ki jat sabh ekay pehchanbo - recognize ye all human race as one. When I go tending the wounded and I look at them I see your image in each of them. If you pervade in all, I see only you and no enemy. Guru Nanak in his compositions recognized the ills that pervaded the society of his times. He was a witness to the horrible suffering inflicted on the hapless civilians, men, women and children caught in the cross fire of the struggle for supremacy by the strong and powerful. He was deeply troubled by the plight, for centuries of the lower castes and women. His anguish at the suffering of the innocent was so deep that he even chided God that “Did Thou feel no compassion for their cries of pain?”

Aiti mar payee kurlaney tain ki dard neh aaya

We continue to hear those cries in so many places across the globe today. So much of this strife is in the name of or for the protection of tradition and values. Each side calls the other evil and all invoke God to their side. Men have forgotten that God created us as humans, not, as Nanak said centuries earlier, as Hindus or Muslims - our body and soul but belongs to the One – call him Allah, call him Ram

Neh ham hindu neh musalman, allah ram ke pind pran

Let us then in our moment of reflection remember these and several other pearls of wisdom that have come to us through the prophets, sages and savants. We cannot change the world and our influence may indeed be limited but it is not beyond our power to keep trying to make men of reason to assert their belief in the eternal truths and basic tenets of virtuous living. For ourselves at our level let us accept one another. Let us recognize that there can be several paths to the same destination. Let us learn to care and share, to love and to pray that God, in His beneficence, showers His mercy and blessings on one and all Nanak nam chardi kala, tere bhane sarbat da bhala.

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