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  Gur Panth Parkash
Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh





Saran Singh, IAS (retd) .

In gurdwara sessions, seminars and study circles I often meet young people full of energy and zeal, on the look-out for GUIDANCE and EXAMPLE. Their disappointment with the performance of our politicians and priesthood, even parents, is only too obvious. Our approach to the new generation requires a radical change; their doubts and anxieties must be addressed upfront. Our programmes at Gurupurabs and Sunday sessions must be fine tuned to enlighten and inspire the young boys and girls in their teens and twenties. Our connectivity with history and our understanding of the text of Guru Granth must be strengthed through regular lessons, Sunday schools and youth camps.

Of prime importance is Gurbani, i.e., God's wisdom enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. Set to classical ragas, it is invariably sung in Gurdwaras across India and beyond. But we seldom proceed beyond the congregational Kirtan, little realizing that the treasure of Guru-vani's wisdom is waiting to be discovered. Take the gem from Guru Arjun:

Suddenly we discover the incomprehensible divinity deep within our own hearts! The portals of this treasure need to be opened.

The younger generation have no reason to despair. The gloom of the last decades of 20th century has yielded place to the cheerful optimism shining through Guru's promise:

We must, then 'come home to Guru Nanak', and deliberate upon our destiny on the planet Earth.

Focus on Truth: It is imperative that everyone (parents, children - old and young ­teachers and pupils) makes a determined effort to leave the individual bandwagon and join Guru Nanak's highway to happiness. The myths and superstitions only obscure the Reality, and self-styled saints simply add to confusion. Our future is safe in the wisdom of Guru Granth Sahib and combined guidance of the illustrious Ten Gurus who perfected the Doctrine of the Khalsa through centuries of toil and suffering. Our test today consist not only of our ability to comprehend our destiny in a shrinking world but also to face up to the future - in the ascending spirit of Charhdi Kala.

Heritage: This calls for mobilizing our individual faculties and collective resources to learn more about the Sikh history and tradition as well as to IMBIBE the spirit of Gurbani. There is currently no better example of the Endeavour than Baba Guriqbal Singh's movement ''300 Saal Gurubani de naal" that focuses on children of school-going age. This purposeful Endeavour should become the main spring board for all Singh Sabha gurdwaras - across India.

Energy: The youth will soon realise how simple and universal is the Gurmat formula:

The Sikh masses must know that the goodwill so generated will bless all people across, India:

Such cordiality will unleash positive energy for social welfare and personal fulfillment.

Thirst for knowledge is inherent in every child. Regrettably the media - particularly television - are busy promoting a superficial variety of pop culture, wholly bereft of deeper moral values. Even the PTC group, patronised by SGPC for 'live' telecast of Gttrbani Kirtan (and kalha) from Amritsar, descends to guttersnipe song-and-dance brouhaha immediately after the Gurani relay. Commercials on TV may be a necessary evil. But the shabby way "Sikh Sarup" is often projected - would make a white American Khalsa blush!

Most educated and pious Sikhs are deeply embarrassed by TV depiction of Punjabi Sikhs, including those who seek popularity for their music and wishfully regard themselves as icons!

Inspiration: Yet this depressing (and distressing) scene can be easily transformed in INSPIRATIONAL heights by the Simple act of keeping (and respecting) W1 'kesh' and making it a point-of-honour to appear in public with a turban (not a palka). All of which takes a Will and a mindset.

The Sikh way of life is not an Olympian test of body and mind: it is simply the way God made man in His (or Her) own image. It is, however, significant that since the 1960 Olympic games, the feat of the "Flying Sikh" Milkha Singh has not been replicated. Neither the Indian Army nor State of Punjab has produced Olympian athletes. This negative trend needs to be reversed.

Be Watchful: The decline in the physical prowess and morale is a singular outcome of the vainglorious/defeatist Punjabi life style. The spirit of "fB;u? eo ng[Bh ihs eo'" infused by Guru Gobind Singhji needs to be re-kindled. Else, the glorious Dasam Patshah could turn his back with a disclaimer: "w? B eo' fJB eh gqshs''

Order & Discipline: An important component of Life on Earth is discipline. If the
planetary system moves within Natural laws, if the wind and water (according to Guru Nanak) obey Nature (G? ftfu ;{oi[ G? ftfu uzd[ .. e'j eo'Vh ubs B nzs[ .. 464), it is IMPERATIVE that we follow the Divine Discipline enunciated over 239 years (1469 to 1708) and confirmed and sealed in the blood of countless martyrs - right upto 1984.
Inner Harmony: The ethical principle inherent in the Sikh Dharma emphasizes sanctity of life: Exhorting us tl1at our body is God's Temple .and our mind provides us the ftt/e p[Xh i.e., wisdom to distinguish between good and bad. It is our duty to work towards REALISING GOD. To facilitate this goal the Guru Granth prescribes specific code of conduct, to protect the body (including the KESH crowning glory) avoid drugs and intoxicants, and to imbibe AMRlT, as the climactic benediction for a life of dedication, wherein all divisible distinctions of castle, colour or status dissolve, giving way to harmony and inner peace.

Man thinks of God - the Creator - when in dire distress. This is tl1e opposite of what Guru Nanak teaches. The Guru affirms that we are ALIVE only in God's domain. We are 111Jeed capable of realising and experiencing - God, howsoever, subtle and incomprehensible lie may be.


Despite such clear declarations about Nature of God, a majority of people suffer in
disbelief, and languish in pain and misery. For those in wilderness, confusion or pain, Guru' Holy Word has compassion and hope, since God's compassion is all encompassing.


Saint & Sinner: As any sincere seeker would discover, Guru Granth is encyclopedic in its scope. The sinner and the saint alike have special messages waiting to be discovered. Nor is Gurbani in conflict with modern science. If anything it presages scientific discoveries in cosmology and origin of Earth and the Solar System, including seasonal dynamics. Clothed in exquisite poetry, there are fairly precise theories of the Origin of the Universe I Planetary System .

Dilemma: Indeed the conflict in argument is man-made. Gurbani resolves dilemmas in all spheres: social, economical or psychological. The Gurus (1469 to 1708)'s scientific sweep is indeed all embracing be it their reference to the cosmos, the planets, origin of species or biology. It goes well beyond the physical dimensions; it delves in 'the mysteries of the mind, and the invisible, but potent, impulses - of Lust, Anger, Greed, Blind attachment and Pride, for these have far-reaching INFLUENCE on our Actions and Conduct.

The younger generation needs to grasp the above noted essential constituents of the Sikh theology. This can best be achieved if these teachings become integral to 'our educational system. It is necessary to impress upon the youth that SIKHISM's VITALITY; VIGOUR and CREATIVITY are derived from our WHOLESOME (Keshadhari) PERSONAE, on the one hand and our FIRM FAITH in the TRUTH and VALIDITY of Guru Granth Sahib on the other. The two are INTEGRAL to Life, and to success.

Optimism: The youth should be helped to overcome their frustration - with the state of politics and economy, even religion, that cast a long, dark shadow across their future. In their frustration, they by pass the Life-affirming moral message of Gurmat. The best example - in history - is when. Guru Gobind Singh turned the tragedy of Chamkaur and Sirhind into a triumph when he wrote his classic "Letter of Victory" (Zafamamah) to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Let us be worthy of the message of Gurus forever enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. God works through testing times and unexpected challenges to accomplish the Divine Will in order to draw us closer to Him. To my mind, the message of Guru Granth offers the only Certitude in this ephemeral and uncertain world. There is, in psychological terms, One Refuge for all humanity. Unless we imbibe the essential spirit (AMRIT) we have no right to expect Guru's Grace, for which we pray each day. The symbolism must be matched by the PRACTICE of truth and purity without any fear.



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