Guru Nanak Dev's Japuji Sahib

The message of the Japuji is universal ~ describes the nature of the Ultimate Reality and the way to comprehend it.

In the Japuji Sahib, Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, asks: "How to be a man of Truth and how to break the wall of falsehood?" Japu meaning japna, recitation or meditation or Japuji Sahib, the Sikh morning prayer, is the opening composition of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Composed by Guru Nanak, Japuji Sahib contains a prologue called the mool mantra or the basic creed of the Sikh faith which sums up the characteristics of the Supreme Being: "There is only one God who is beyond time and beyond the circle of birth, death and rebirth. He, the Creator, is without fear and without hate. He is immortal, omniscient and omnipresent, self-existent, known by the grace of the Guru.

Guru Nanak says, in order to be a man of Truth, your actions should be pure and the precondition for spiritual success is the suppression of the ego with the discipline of morality and meditation, as well as by moulding one's life in accordance with hukam and raza His Will.

Understanding His hukam will rid one of ego. The Guru suggests a three-fold course for realisation: Sunai or listening to the Holy Name, Maniai or conviction in the truth of the Guru's Word, and Nidhiasan or carrying out the Guru's instructions in daily life. Three conditions indicate not only a code of ethics and conduct for the welfare of the individual but also include the feeling of public welfare. Even the Sikh prayer, Ardas , seeks the welfare of entire humanity, Sarbat-da-bhala , because true worship of God is service of His creation.

In the last section of Japuji Sahib, Guru Nanak mentions five stages of man's progress on the path of divinity. Man's spiritual progress begins in Dharam-Khand, that is, the realm of duty where a man discharges his responsibilities to himself, his family, community and country. The first requirement is purity of conduct. The next stage is Gian-Khand , the realm of knowledge where the variety and vastness of God's creation is realised. The third stage is Saram-Khand , the region of toil or the realm of spiritual effort to train body and mind to acquire an understanding of spiritual qualities. The next stage , Karam-Khand , is the region of grace. With Divine Grace, he becomes Gurmukh , inclined towards God, not towards himself.

Beyond these four regions is the region of eternal Truth, Sach-Khand , the abode of the Formless. The devotees, now saints, are in harmony with the Almighty. Guru Nanak compares the evolution of a devotee to the minting of a perfect coin of gold. The qualities of continence, patience, divine knowledge, wisdom, prayer, austerity and love of the Shabad or Divine Word make him a true man of God.

The message of the Japuji is universal since it simply describes the nature of the Ultimate Reality and the way to comprehend it. Meditation and recitation of Bani is always revered by the Sikhs as the Shabad.

"Shabda is my Guru, and the meditating mind the disciple/ By dwelling on Him I remain detached,/ Nanak, God, the cherisher of the world through the ages, is my Guru." This was Guru Nanak's reply to a yogi who asked him: "Who is your Guru? Whose disciple are you?" In 1708 Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed the Sacred Granth as the Guru. For the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib has since been the sole spiritual authority.

This is the tricentenary of the consecration of the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal guru of the Sikhs. `300 saal Guru de naal'. 

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