Guru Nanak Dev Ji ~ Divine Qualities & Vision for a Balanced Life

How to live a healthy, prosperous, truthful and stable life from the ideals of Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Divine Qualities and Divine Vision for living a Balanced Life
by Amandeep Kaur
Research Scholar, Philosophy
Panjab University, Chandigarh

“ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਿਆ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਧੁੰਦ ਜੱਗ ਚਾਨਣ ਹੋਆ” ॥
“With the emergence of the true Guru Nanak,
the mist cleared and the light scattered all around”.
(Bhai Gurdaas Ji in Vaars (Heroic Poetry), Page -1)


The origin of Sikhism begins with the emergence of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of the Sikhs.

Different people in society give different views about Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Some call them social reformer, some call them prophet etc. But one thing which is clear from the above hymn is that the with rise of Guru Nanak Dev, Mist (Darkness) is cleared, and the Society became enlightened. So, question arises what the meaning of mist is here and what type of enlightenment came in society.

For this we have to understand that there was a total downfall in social and political life of people at that time. Guru Nanak Dev Ji enlightened the society by clearing the mist which comes from lack of clarity and knowledge. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was such a warrior and an enlightened person who wiped out all kinds of persecution, like low caste discrimination, prejudice, oppression not only in Punjab but in the whole humanity, and woke up the people's dead conscience, dignity and pride. This was a need of that time that a complete transformation of social, political and religious life was required. This change became possible with the origin of Guru Nanak.

The motive of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was to build up an enlightened person and dignified society. This motive cannot be fulfilled by making people not only religious, but they should deserve to live a social and political life in a right way. All the divine knowledge given in the religion and to live according to this spirituality in a practical form in this world, whose life is a combination of utterance and action, that person can become a enlightened. Guru Nanak Dev ji motive was to make such a society and we can clearly see the glimpse of all these qualities in the life of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Guru Nanak, philosophy was not only to impart religious knowledge, but to give knowledge of political and social values ​​to man. To worship in the jungle and to keep oneself away from the daily normal life, which people use this way to achieve God was neither considered this right by Guru Nanak Dev Ji nor did he ever persuade anyone to do so. According to him, God's achievement can be possible while living in a worldly life and also by practicing it. We can see in their life a complete perfection in every relationship as a father, husband, son, brother and good social person.

In every relationship they seem contented, satisfied, strong and happy. We can see the quality of stability in their nature due to which they made a balance between social life and their religious life.

Therefore, they have adopted the path of living life too and done four divine journey’s through which they wanted to tell them about the real message of God. The people in the world were confused by the conflicting thoughts and the messages given to them by priests, kazi’s, pandits etc.

The first requirement of a Person in his life is how to live and interact in the society in a right way. Because it is only the society by living in that one can refine his nature and character completely and can reach at the level of higher ideals and virtues. How these ideals should be and how our thinking should be, how to face the situation of life in any circumstances, the answers to all these things are found in the philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

If we talk politically then they also told us the right path for the state and governance. The hymn in Guru Granth Sahib clarifies this point in which the governance system told by Guru Ji was described.

ਨਾਨਕਿ ਰਾਜੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਟੁ ਸਤਾਣੀ ਨੀਵ ਦੈ ॥
naanak raaj chalaa-i-aa sach kot sataanee neev dai.
Nanak established the kingdom; He built the true fortress on the strongest foundations.
GGS Page No 966


He told the society a special type of governance system and that what type of rule should be accepted in the society and how the people make themselves free from tyranny, suppression of the state. They gave an alternative for this through which they made truth as a base which result in a new kind of lifestyle and governance in society. But it is a matter of thinking that from where this strength came to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. In reality the origin from where this authority came was that Guru Ji has something which we can call a particular divine light or power which instructed Guru Ji to give message to all humanity the source from where the idea of this type of governance came is nothing but a divine quality only. 

If we deeply see their Divine Qualities and Divine Vision, we can understand easily that their personality give us complete knowledge of every aspect in our life. According to Guru Ji the base of governance system should be Ethical and righteous because ego comes in the nature of human being and this Ego can go on the wrong path and destroy society. 

So, there is a need of something which a police and law of the state are not enough to control the unjust practices in the society. One thing which is most important and should be present in the governance system is the fear of divine power and this fear originate the sense of serving the society and by controlling the ego keep the person free from self-interest. This type of person can make the society just. After that the whole society become prosperous and developed.

The attributes of a new light are already present in the Sikh faith, and Guru Ji has told to bring these qualities in our life. At the political level, they have put perfect and complete ideal before us by removing the shortcomings of democracy, nationalism and socialism. The reason behind that in democracy one should keep higher ethical standards in a governance system and nobody has given the ways till now which can make this possible. There should be a religion and a fear of god which is taken as a supreme by the ruler of the state for making a successful government.

If we talk about nationalism, then it has some positive and negative sides. In this system a government is loyal to the state rules and policies and nothing to do with person’s needs and interests. Loyalty towards humanity is missing in this governance system. 

At last in socialism, as Karl Marx did Guru Nanak Dev Ji also talked about  equal distribution of wealth and equality among labour class in society. The three basic principles of Kirat Karo (earn honestly), Naam Japo (recite God name) and Vand Chakko (sharing the food with others). But the principle of Naam Japo is missing in Karl Marx theory as Guru Nanak Dev Ji told humanity that without reciting the name of lord we cannot earn honestly and cannot share our food with others because we cannot control our senses which are the main cause of making person egoistic.

Now a days we can see the downfall at the social level and political level also. The reasons behind is that poor social system and unjust political policies which are making people unaware about their conscience. People are becoming egoistic, lusty, greedy and relationships are declining. people started thinking more about themselves with increasing self-interest. As a result, Society is becoming materialistic.  More and more opening of old age homes, divorces, separation of families etc all these are the results of unbalanced life.  So, there is need of time that we should learn that how to live a healthy, prosperous, truthful and stable life from the ideals of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. If a person adopts such a philosophy, then the whole society can become just and righteous socially and politically.

Editor's note: The art at the top of the article by Sarabjit Singh can be purchased here

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