By Surinder Kaur Sohan Singh | SIKHI STUDY | OPINION
Fear and guilt are the two main tools of organised religions to manipulate humanity into submission.
Sikhism is also no different in this respect. Our clergy class often portrays God as a supernatural being who lives far away in a place called heaven. Some of the characteristics of this GOD are just like us.
Example: God gets angry when people disobey Him.
When He gets angry He causes tremendous destruction through earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes etc. On the other hand, when God is happy He fulfills our desires and He is also willing to perform miracles for us.
In the Gurdwaras we are told there are many ways we can keep God happy. The following are some of the suggested ways:
- Doing Path or getting others to do it for you (Nitnem, Akhand Paths, Sukhmani Sahib path, etc);
- Sponsoring langgars in the Gurdwaras;
- Giving donations;
- Going for pilgrimages;
- Doing prayers for our relatives who have departed from this world so that they are treated well in the next world;
- Performing penances like walking barefoot to the places of pilgrimages, standing on one foot and praying, fasting, reading a Shabad over and over again 101 times, sitting for hours in meditation, etc.
We are also told that upon death, we will be either sent to Heaven or Hell depending on whether God is happy or angry with us. He is constantly watching us and His two agents called Chitar Gupat are recording everything that we are thinking, speaking and doing. This record is then sent to an entity appointed by God called Dharamraj. Dharamraj decides whether we are fit for Heaven or Hell based on our records.
The result of all this fear of Hell and Heaven, Dharamraj and his army of Chitar Gupat, is that we try to do whatever the clergy instructs us to do to avoid Hell and gain entry into Heaven.
Question is: Is this the God that Guru Nanak ji is talking about in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)?
The angry and revengeful God? Are we safe if we perform all those actions mentioned above? Will we be allowed into Heaven if we do all those things?
Let us see what Guruji has to say about all those actions mentioned above.
ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮਾਨੁ ॥
Theerath thap dhaeiaa dhath dhaan jae ko paavai thil kaa maan – SGGS, Pg 4
Meaning: Pilgrimages, penances, doing charity in cash or kind at holy places to show how compassionate we are brings only an iota of merit to us.
Regarding our habit of mechanical reading of any baanee, Guruji says this:
ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥
Parriai naahee, bhaedh bujhiai parvaana – SGGS, Pg 148
Meaning: We are not going to gain any merit through mechanical recitation of any baanee. It is through UNDERSTANDING that the Lord’s mystery will be revealed.
If all the above are not the things that is going to give us merit, then what should we do? The right thing to do will be to ask the Guru.
Our first question should be: Who is Guru Nanakji’s God? We will discuss this in the next vichaar.
Surinder Kaur Sohan Singh is a Malaysia-based Gurbani enthusiast. This is an edited version of her regular articles shared within a circle of fellow Sikhi seekers. This articles will appear on Mondays and Thursdays.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Day 05: Living the Hukam (Asia Samachar, 9 Aug 2018)