Guru Angad Dev's Philosophy

An embodiment of selfless service and humility

Before Guru Nanak, different religious beliefs and cultures had created dissention and enmity in the society. Consequently, caste and class distinction, idolatry, superstition, hypocrisy and asceticism were prevailing. Guru Nanak preached the worship of One God and tried to build a casteless society that does not believe in empty rituals and superstitions, and lives an honest life. Guru Angad Dev, an embodiment of selfless service and humility, was greatly influenced by Guru Nanak due to his strong association with the Guru. Guru Nanak nominated him his successor ignoring his own sons. Let us see if Guru Angad, an inspired poet, who composed only 63 prologues (Saloks) succeeded in propagating the mission of Guru Nanak and what his philosophy is.

Faith in One God

Guru Angad had strong faith in the Almighty who created the whole universe. According to him, the main purpose of human life is to know Him, seek His blessings and be grateful under all circumstances. Salvation cannot be obtained by show of devotion. Those who remember Him are free from doubts and always remain happy:

jo isru sWeI nw invY so isru dIjY fwir ]
nwnk ijsu ipMjr mih ibrhw nhI so ipMjru lY jwir ]
'Chop off that head which does not bow to the Lord. O Nanak, take that human body in which there is no longing to meet the Lord and burn it.'

nwnk iqnw bsMqu hY [email protected] Gir visAw kMqu ](SGGS:791)
'O Nanak, it is the spring season for those, within whose homes (hearts) their Husband Lord abides. '

AMDy eyih n AwKIAin ijn muiK loiex nwih ] u
AMDy syeI nwnkw Ksmhu GuQy jwih ]
(SGGS: 954)
'Do not call them blind who have no eyes on their face.They alone are blind, O Nanak, who wander away from( forget) their Master.'

God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient

God is neither in any special form nor at any special place. The view that He lives in the sky or in the forests is baseless. He is within us. So asceticism is useless. No one can find Him with intellect alone. Guru Angad Dev told his followers that we can meet God by obeying Him and leading the life of an honest householder:

nwnk hukmu pCwix kY qau KsmY imlxw ](SGGS: 139)
'O Nanak, recognize the Lord's Command, then you can merge with the Lord '.
iehu jgu scY kI hY koTVI scy kw ivic vwsu ](SGGS: 463)
'This world is the room of the True Lord; within it is the dwelling of the True Lord.'

eyk ik®snµ srb dyvw dyv dyvw q Awqmw ]
Awqmw bwsudyvis´ jy ko jwxY Byau ]
nwnku qw kw dwsu hY soeI inrMjn dyau ](SGGS:469)
'The One God is the Divine Lord of all; He is the soul of the god of gods.
Nanak is a slave to anyone who understands this mystery of the All-pervading Lord;
He Himself is the Immaculate Divine Lord.'

nwnk AMimRqu mnY mwih pweIAY gur prswid ]( SGGS:1238)
'O Nanak, the Ambrosial Nectar is within the mind. It can be realized by Guru's Grace.'

Need of Spiritual Guidance

Guru Angad Dev teaches that the need of a spiritual Guru for a devotee to meet God is very important. When a person accepts the will of the Guru, his mind is illuminated. Only the Guru has the key to the doors of the heart:

jy sau cMdw augvih sUrj cVih hjwr ]
eyqy cwnx hoidAW gur ibnu Gor A
'If a hundred moons were to rise, and a thousand suns appeared,
even with so much light, there would still be pitch darkness without the Guru.'

guru kuMjI pwhU invlu mnu koTw qnu Ciq ]
nwnk gur ibnu mn kw qwku n auGVY Avr n kuMjI hiQ ]
'The Guru is the key to open the lock of attachment, in the house of the mind, under the roof of the body.
O Nanak, without the Guru, the door of the mind cannot be opened. No one else holds the key in hand.
(Only the Guru can remove the influence of attachment.)'

Pride of Caste is a Folly

According to Guru Angad Dev, people are unnecessarily involved in the distinctions of caste and creed. It is nothing, but foolishness. Only our actions will count in the next world. Only those who meditate on God belong to the high caste:

ijn vifAweI qyry nwm kI qy rqy mn mwih ](SGGS: 1238)
'Those who are blessed with the glorious greatness of Your Name - their minds are imbued with Your Love.'
auqm miDm jwqIN ijnsI Brim BvY sMswru ](SGGS: 1243)
'High and low, social class and status - the world wanders lost in superstition.'

God-oriented (Gurmukhs)

Guru Angad Dev writes that Gurmukhs know the reality of life with the grace of the Lord. This reality cannot be known with efforts of intellect:

nwnk gurmuiK jwxIAY jw kau Awip kry prgwsu ](SGGS:463)
'O Nanak, he is a Gurmukh, whom the Lord Himself enlightens.'

Self- oriented (Manmukhs)

According to Guru Angad Dev those who forget the Lord and run after worldly gains are self-centered persons and suffer from sheer-ignorance. They run after short-lived comforts, but depart without enjoying them:

dyNdy Qwvhu idqw cMgw mnmuiK AYsw jwxIAY ](SGGS:138)
'They prefer the gift, instead of the Giver; such is the way of the self-willed persons.'
AMqir bih kY krm kmwvY so chu kuMfI jwxIAY ](SGGS:138)
'The deeds which one commits, while sitting in one's own home, are known far and wide, in the four directions.'
rwiq kwrix Dnu sMcIAY Blky clxu hoie ]
nwnk nwil n cleI iPir pCuqwvw hoie ](SGGS:787)
'One accumulates wealth for life which is like a transitory halt of the traveler for the night, and leaves and departs leaving wealth behind.
O Nanak, it shall not go along with him, and so he regrets.'


To sum up, the religious philosophy of Guru Angad Dev preached through his compositions (Saloks) is a continuation of the religious philosophy of Guru Nanak. In fact, Guru Angad Dev's Bani illustrates the religious ideals of his spiritual master, Guru Nanak. Guru Angad Dev followed in the footsteps of Guru Nanak Dev and faithfully upheld the broad principles of Guru Nanak's philosophy in his compositions. He emphasized the importance of meditation and obeying the Will of God. Guru Angad Dev started using the word 'Nanak' at the end of his compositions and other Gurus followed this practice. Bhatt Satta and Balvand have rightly said:

joiq Ehw jugiq swie sih kwieAw Pyir pltIAY ]( SGGS:966 )
'They shared the One Light and the same way; the King just changed His body'

Picture Source:

Add a Comment