Prof Karamjeet Singh
On this auspicious occasion, let us remind ourselves of the simple and sublime teachings of Sri Guru Angad Dev, which are non-sectarian and universal in their application. If only we pay heed to the teachings of Gurus, we can surely foster universal brotherhood based on mutual love, respect and understanding, and we can build and promote international peace.
Guru Angad Dev formalized the present form of the Gurmukhi script; maintained and developed the institution of Langar (community Kitchen) started by Guru Nanak Dev, started the tradition of Mall Akhara to emphasize physical well-being, to go along with spiritual development.
Let us today pledge to follow the teachings of Guru Angad Dev ji:
Live pure life based on Selfless Sewa:
The Guru taught us the value of purity and harmony in life; whereby every action must have an impact of spirituality, humility and love. This can be achieved if one is always conscious of the presence of God. Guru ji was against rituals and formalities and believe in truthful life.
ਬਧਾ ਚਟੀ ਜੋ ਭਰੇ ਨਾ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੇਤੀ ਖੁਸੀ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥3॥787॥
(Doing something unwillingly or doing under pressure from someone, does not bring either merit or goodness. That alone is a good deed, O Nanak, which is done by one’s own free will)
Dignity of Labour
Work is worship. The Guru earned his own living by twisting coarse grass into strings used for cots. All offerings went to the common community fund. This demonstrates that it is necessary and honourable to do any type of productive work. It also emphasises that parasitical living is not in consonance with the mystic and moral path.
Live Fearless life
There is no place of fear, anxiety, stress in the life of Gurus Sikh as Waheguru is to take care of everything:
ਨਾਨਕ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਤਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਹੇਇ ॥ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਇਅਨੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਭਿ ਰੋਜੀ ਦੇਇ॥955॥
(Live life without any stress as whosoever are in the world (in the Air, Land or Water) , genuine needs of all will be taken care of by Waheguru. We are just to perform our Karmas, always remembering Waheguru)”
Pictorial depiction of Mata Khivi distributing Langar
Focus on Equality
The Guri decried the division of society on grounds of birth and founded a classless society based on the idea of equality and universal brotherhood. He preached that man and women were equal before God. He set an example as his wife, Mata Kheevi ji, contributed significantly to Sikhism and was instrumental in creating and maintaining the institution of langar, whereby all devotees of the Guru and all people in general, were invited to come and eat together.
Introspection is the key
Good deeds are important but winning God’s Grace is still more important. Pride, greed and ego are the greatest distractions to keep away humans from the Creator. A Guru or a spiritual divine teacher is needed to guide the man on the true path.
ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥ ਰੋਗੁ ਦਾਰੂ ਦੋਵੈ ਬੁਝੈ ਤਾ ਵੈਦੁ ਸੁਜਾਣੁ ॥2॥148॥
(O Nanak, if someone introspects and observe ones deed as per Gurus verdict, only then is he known as a real judge. If someone understands both the disease and the medicine, only then is he a wise physician. Do not involve yourself in idle business on the way; remember that you are only a guest here)
ਬੀਜੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਮੰਗੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਨਿਆਉ ॥2॥474॥
(Guru Ji also advocated that if sowing poison for others and asking ambrosial nectar (Amrit) for ourselves is unjustified. One has to eliminate conceit and then perform service to humanity, only then one will be get honor)
So as per teachings of our Gurus, the path for achieving enlightenment is through service, good actions, devotion and worship of one God. Let us learn from the life and conduct of Guru Angad Dev, and live a fearless life full of Nishkam Sewa (selfless service); complete surrender to the will of God; Continuous Self- introspection for living a truthful life without show-off and hypocrisy.
(Prof Karamjit Singh is Vice Chancellor, Jagat Guru Nanak Dev Punjab State Open University)