514.The Man in Blue – Sikhi III

Love God and open yourself to God’s Love. This is where it gets complicated ! Most of what I wrote in the two previous columns can be practiced by humanists. Many humanists recognise that mankind is more than the physical elements that we are made off and that this ‘more’ is what makes us human.

Opening yourself to God’s Love can only be done if you have experienced God, and many people who follow a religion or dharm believe in God without having met Her/Him. They might love God, but they have not felt God stir inside themselves.

I think that if you follow Guru’s teachings you have a good chance to reach that state of mind where you have darshan, where you realise God’s presence inside you. I cannot prove this, this is not scientific, but for me it is True.

I do not believe in God, I know that God is !

Guru writes that you have to open your ‘third eye’ or your ‘tenth body opening’ to experience God. God is always with us, inside us and around us, but many have their spiritual eye firmly closed and do not notice Her/Him.

Guru also writes that where there is ‘me’ there cannot be He/Her. The ego has to go to make place for God.

Remember that God is not an old man with a long white beard, God is a Spiritual Entity. Guru Sahib called himself Nanak Nirankarí, Nanak the follower of the Formless One.

Guru is in love with God and writes about the soul-bride who is enjoyed by the God-Groom, about how he longs for God like the chatrik longs for the raindrop.

God’s love is quite different from the love that we usually see in Bollywood or Hollywood films, where love is mostly related to good looks. In films and in daily life love is often conditional : If you are nice to me then I will be nice to you.

Between parents and children there is a better chance to see true love. However troublesome they are, many parents still love their children. Children often love parents who do not treat them well.

God’s love, and the love that a Gursikh should feel for fellow human beings, for God’s creation, is unconditional. There is no limit to God’s Love, God keeps pouring his love even if we do not notice it.

My first steps towards a changed life were when I deeply loved somebody who was not able to return that love. This was not easy to handle but in the long run it worked out well.

I was able to stimulate her into believing in herself, and she is now happily married. Because of this experience I started looking for the something that was missing from my life, which resulted in going to Amritsar and meeting with God.

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

513.The Man in Blue – Sikhi II

Sikhí is a Dharmic tradition, which means that we do not follow an elaborate system of dogmas (things you have to believe in) but we are to follow guidelines that indicate the way we should live our life in order to get nearer to God.

Just believing in One God and One Humanity is not good enough, we should actively practice these beliefs. And when in doubt how to apply these teachings we can look at the clear examples set by our Gurus.

Many Sikhs will say that our dharm is superior to others because of the equality taught and practiced by Guru, and then arrange their children’s marriages according to caste ! Looking down on people with dark skin is common in India and so is treating women as second class citizens, but these are not Sikh practices.

Simran, meditation, thinking about God. Always keeping God in mind should lead to better behaviour towards fellow human beings and towards creation in general. Just sitting in certain postures and endlessly repeating a ‘mantr’ without practising ‘seeing God in all and everything’ is useless.

Repeating words that highlight aspects of God (Vahiguru, Nirankar, Mukandé) or which are generic words pointing to God (Allah, Prabhu, Har) is good practice if it leads to seeing God in all. I personally prefer reading or listening to Gurbaní as a way of thinking about God, but what works for me might not work for you.

The yogi Sikhs devised the brilliant slogan : ‘If you don’t see God in all, you won’t see God at all.‘

Seva, selfless service to all goes together with seeing God in all. Sharing food, money and time with others is good for those you help and good for you. You will only profit from seva if you do it quietly, not seeking publicity for your good deeds. It should also not be done as a way to ‘buy’ favours from God.

Standing up against injustice and oppression as taught by tenth guru is also a form of seva. When we campaign for our right to wear the turban in Belgium we should also include the rights of other communities who equally suffer from bans on the wearing of head cover or the wearing of religious symbols.

Nám, books have been written about the exact meaning of ‘Nám’ in Gurmat, but if you read God for ‘Nám’ you are not far wrong. I tend to think of ‘Nám’ as representing the Godly principle or the Godly essence, while a friend of mine sees it as God’s constitution for her/his creation.

Saint John in the New Testament of the Bible writes : In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The biblical notion of ‘Word’ is similar to Nám.

The three first descriptions of God in the Guru Granth Sahib, Ik Ongkar (One Almighty, Omnipresent), Satnám (True Nám), Karta Purkh (Creator Being) represent God who is present in all and the cause of all.

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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512.The Man in Blue – Sikhi I

In the following articles I will not write anything new or amazing. I will only try to explain some basic notions of Sikhí in a more systematic manner than before.

One God. Guru Granth Sahib starts with the figure 1 followed by a word representing God. There are many words describing aspects of the One God, both in the south Asian spiritual traditions and outside it. God is the Father, the Mother and the Son, God is the Creator and the Destroyer, God is the Omnipresent and the All-Powerful. All these descriptions, all these ‘names’ are part of the One.

There is no Sikh God, no Hindu God, no Muslim God, no Jewish God and no Christian God, there is only One God.

God is All, All is God. God is present in all and everything. This is wonderfully illustrated in rág dhanásrí mahalá 1 árthí, which is on page 13 of the Guru Granth Sahib as part of Sohila, and in its rág on page 663.

Thousands are Your eyes, and yet You have no eyes. Thousands are Your forms, and yet You have not even one form.

Thousands are Your lotus feet, and yet You have no feet. Without a nose, thousands are Your noses. I am enchanted with Your play ! ||2||

God has no eyes, no form, no feet and no nose, but God is all forms and hence has all the eyes, all the forms, all the feet and all the noses.

One Humanity. One humanity regardless of gender, caste, nationality, skin colour, creed. All humanity is part of the same human family, all are the children of the One Father/Mother.

I think I would be within the spirit of the Guru Granth Sahib to go even further and say that the Universe is One, that the Universe is the physical and spiritual expression of the One God. The physical Universe comes from God, and all the souls come from God who is the ‘All-Soul’.

Even from the point of view of physics this makes sense as all beings and all matter are made of the same basic particles.

God is always near to us, God is always within us, but we are often blind and do not see Her or Him. When we follow the ethical way of life as will be explained in these articles, we will feel closer to God, and closer to Creation. When we lose the ‘I’ and become part of ‘Us’, part of Him or Her, we have achieved Liberation.

I will regularly refer to higher spiritual states, of which I have experienced the initial stages only, but I must emphasise that we all have to start from the first relatively simple steps of moving towards being a good human being. These first steps will also have the reward of increased contentment and true happiness. We will soon learn to be happy with a simple life.

Published in: on May 17, 2012 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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