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Gurbani Speaks of One Universal Dharma of Virtues

The word Dharma comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, which means “to hold”. Therefore, Dharma refers to that innate characteristic or Eternal Nature which constantly exists within a particular object or being — the Eternal function or True Nature of all beings.

For example, heat is the natural Dharma of fire, liquidity is the natural Dharma of water, light is the natural Dharma of the sun, to produce plants is the natural Dharma of a seed, energy is the natural Dharma of electricity, and so on. Hence, the word Dharma referrers to and expresses the vital or Essential Nature of men, animals, all other creatures, metals, and so on. Dharma, therefore, is a comprehensive term that refers to the immutable Law of Nature (Hukam, Sach…).

Accordingly, although, the worldly, organized religions are many and are man-made, however, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) asserts that there is only one true Dharma — the Universal Dharma of Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun)!

This true, one universal Dharma is observed at the level of the mind (Surat, consciousness). It’s so because this true Dharma is the Eternal function or Original Nature (Inner Nature) of all beings in relationship with “Sach” (Truth, Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues).

ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: If someone grasps this – there is but one Dharma of Truth. (sggs 1188).

ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਕਰਮੁ ॥: Of all Dharma, the best Dharma is “Naam(u) Japi” (understand the Gurbani and obtain Giaan or Wisdom, Virtue…) and do Pure Karma (ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਆਚਰਣ, conduct…). (sggs 266).

To the contrary, all religions are man-made, and mostly observed at the level of the physical body-frame (Karamkaand or rituals, etc.).

One of the things common among man-made or organized religions is their respective Pujaare system, their religious paraphernalia, and their Karamkaand (rituals)!

Accordingly, there is the Pujaaree group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾ) in Sikhi; there is the Hindu Pujaaree Group; there is the Muslim Pujaaree Group; there is the Christian Pujaaree Group, and so on. And this Pujaaree group is greedy, corrupt, crafty, illiterate…

Dharma without Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun)

There can be no true Dharma without Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun) — Truth (ਸਤ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ)…

Including ALL Sikhs (learners or students of the SGGS, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ), the SGGS teaches the entire mankind to follow the ONE, Superb Dharma of Virtues (Giaan, Truth, Bhagti, Naam, or Hukam).

In fact, Giaan (Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Bibek…) is called Dharma and Gur(u) in the SGGS. Hence, the SGGS asks us to build a fence of this Dharma around!

As a matter of fact, all terms like Giaan (Wisdom), Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ), Truth (Sach), Naam, Gurmat Bhagti, or Hukam (Law of Nature) are synonymous. The Gurbani confirms it as follows:

ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: (One who) contemplates the Divine Virtues is spiritually Wise. Spiritual Wisdom is obtained through the Divine Virtues (sggs 931).

ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Remaining attuned to the Naam, Virtues and spiritual Wisdom are reflected upon. (sggs 941).

ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).

ਮਾਨੈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਸਭੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ॥: (One who) accepts the Divine Hukam, he is blessed with all Divine Virtues and total Spiritual Wisdom. (sggs 944).

Hence, in nutshell, clearly, the Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) wants us to awaken the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within in order to be a true Dhaarmic person!

No wonder the SGGS asks all to share in the Divine Virtues!

For a Sikh can awaken within the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) by remaining a good Sikh, a Hindu can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Hindu, a Muslim can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Muslim, a Bodhi can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Bodhi, a Christian can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Christian, a Jew can awaken within the Divine Virtues by remaining a good Jew, and so on.

However, the crafty Pujaaree system of the world religions will NOT let it happen! Instead, they will make sure the people remain divided, ignorant, without the Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ)…

Understandably, the SGGS breaks the corrupt Pujaaree system. They have turned their man-made religions into a mundane business (ਧੰਧਾ)! Accordingly, for the betterment of the human society, all Gur Sahibaan and Bhagat tried their best to break the corrupt and stagnant Pujaaree systems. They knew that without breaking these corrupt Pujaaree systems, people cannot be steered away from the lifestyle of “Bhangaar” they propagate. The reality is falsehood cannot propagate Truth.

Gurbani’s Superb Universal Dharma of Virtues

Gurbani rejects all man-made religions. The Universal Dharma of Sach (Truth) that the SGGS reminds the entire humankind of is for the good of the entire mankind.

ਬੋਲੀਐ ਸਚੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲੀਐ ॥: Speak the “Sachu” Dharma (i.e. to speak Truth is Dharma), and do not speak falsehood (sggs 488).).

ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥: There is One Divine-Father; we are the children of the One God. O God, (then, also) you are my Gurbhaaee (a fellow spiritual brother, a fello seeker or learner or student…) (sggs 611).

ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਰਾਨ ॥੪॥: We are neither Hindu, nor Muslim. Our body and breath of life belong to (whom Muslim call) Allah and to (whom Hindus call) Raam. ||4|| (sggs 1136).

Currently, in Bhav Saagar, Jeev (individual beings) are in the cracked or split state (“ਦੁਤੇੜਾ”) — lacking Virtues (Nirgun).

The Gurbani’s Universal Dharma wants the entire humanity to escape from Bhav Saggar to Sukh Saagar and awaken the Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun) or Giaan (Wisdom) within.

A Brahmin can do that; a Muslim can do that; a Yogi can do that, a Sikh can do that; a Khalsa can do that, list goes on and on.

Bhagat Kabeer Sahib reminds the entire humanity of this universal Dharma of Virtues, Truth…

ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ਦਿਵਾਨੇ ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ॥ ਪੇਟੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਪਸੂਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੋਇਓ ਮਨੁਖੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਾਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O madman, You have forgotten your Dharma; you have forgotten your Dharma. Like animals, you fill your belly and sleep; you have wasted and lost this human life. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1105).

Let’s take a few examples from Gurbani:

For example, a person who identifies himself as a Sikh or Khalsa can awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:

ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: O Kabeer! Those persons become “Khaalsae” (ਖਾਲਸੇ) who have realized the Prem Bhagti (ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦਾ ਪੂਰਾ ਗਿਆਨ; Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Giaan, or Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…). (sggs 655).

ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥: O brother! He alone is a Sikh, a friend, and a relative, who walks in the Way of the Gur-Bhaanaa (Divine Hukam, Gurmat, the Gurbani’s Giaan or Wisdom…). (sggs 601).

A person who identifies himself Brahmin can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:

ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨ ਇਸਨਾਨੀ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪੂਜੇ ਪਾਤੀ ॥: He alone is a Brahmin, who takes his cleansing bath in the Brahm-Giann (spiritual wisdom), and whose leaf-offerings in worship are the Divine Virtues. (sggs 992).

A person who identifies himself Muslim can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, withut changing his man-made religion:

ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥: There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names. Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third good will for all (Sarbatt Da Bhalaa). Let the fourth be the pure intent and mind, and the fifth the the Divine Praise. (With these five Namaaj) utter the creed of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a Muslim. (sggs 141).

A person who identifies himself Yogi can also awaken the universal Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, without changing his man-made religion:

ਮੁੰਦਾ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰਮੁ ਪਤੁ ਝੋਲੀ ਧਿਆਨ ਕੀ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ॥ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੁਆਰੀ ਕਾਇਆ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ॥ ਆਈ ਪੰਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਮਾਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Make contentment your ear-rings, humility your begging bowl, and meditation the ashes you apply to your body. Let (the remembrance) of death be the patched coat you wear, let the body free of Bikaar be your skill in the world, and let knowledge (conviction, confidence, faith) be your walking stick. See the brotherhood of all mankind as the highest order of Yogis; if you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world. (sggs 6).

If all this happens, then, regardless of what worldly religion a person identifies with, everybody will have the same Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ-Gun) — Oneness, Sameness, universal Love, universal Brotherhood, universal Citizenship…

The Divine Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) build a fence of Dharma around a person. As a result, there will be more love, less hatred and bloodshed in the name of religion or god.

However this universal Dharma of Virtues requires people to change and see the world with spiritual eyes.

ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਦੀਆ ਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਨਿਹਾਲਿਆ ॥: He taught me and given me the healing eyedrops of spiritual Wisdom so that with my spiritual eyes, I see the world (sggs 470).

That’s where the problem is — people don’t want to change or mend their thinking. Since the organized religions see no material gain in teaching their followers to change, they stick to their antagonistic adherents and engage in foolish acts in the name of their religion and god.

Dharma revealed by the SGGS is universal

First off, Dharma of the Gurmat is Dharma of GIAAN (Divine Wisdom or Knowledge, Virtues…). It’s NOT a Dharma of AGIAANEE (ignorant, unvirtuous…)!

ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥ ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ ॥੧੫੫॥: O Kabeer! (Within a person, if) there is Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Aatm–Giaan…) there is Dharma; (if within him) there is falsehood, there is sin (corrupt thinking). (Within a person, if) there is greed, there is “Kaal(u)” ( thoughts-ਫੁਰਨੇ, imagination, fancy, death of spiritual life-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ…); and (if within him) there is forgiveness, there is one’s True Self. (sggs 1372).

The Giaan or spiritual Knowledge of the SGGS is meant to raise conditioned consciousness to the level of Immortal Consciousness. Thus the SGGS puts the entire mankind back on the path (Panth) of the True Dharma (“ਸਚੁ ਧਰਮੁ – Sachu Dharamu”). Its Divine Guidance and Universal Message is for the improvement and welfare of the whole mankind.

ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈ ਊਤਮ ਧਰਮਾ ॥: Obtain the Divine Naam (Spiritual Knowledge, Virtue…), this is the Highest Dharma (sggs 834).

However, the members of the Gurdwara committees and the illiterate and crafty Pujaaree-Vaad (Raagees, Bhais, Kathaakaar, preachers, Deraavaad Baabaa, etc.) have shamelessly hijacked and tortured the real Gurmat and its Supreme Message with concocted Karamkaand (rituals,) plundering masses in the process. The wicked Pujaaree system has connected people to mere body-consciousness (Maya) instead of the Gur-Giaan (spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani…) or Naam.

Regardless of religion, the Pujaaree of every religion firstly wants to close people’s minds shut — make them dead! Also, they make people emotional, so they don’t think logically. As a result, people believe whatever the Pujaaree-Vaad tattles (ਗੱਪ) in the name of dharma and god.

Pujaaree, thus, plunder people by confusing them, entangling them and selling them the fake or counterfeit dharma or god (ਨਕਲੀ ਧਰਮ ਅਤੇ ਰੱਬ)…

What a tragedy! To reverse this situation in Sikhi, we must read Gurbani ourselves, churn it through Shabad-Vichaar to understand its true meanings, and then apply it in daily life.

Virtue, is one of the most important concepts in the Tao Te Ching (Book of the Way) the old classic collection of sutras on Taoism. That's why the word is also in the title. It can be explained as the noble behavior of a person who follows Tao, the Way, which is virtuous in itself. We human beings, though, have to learn it by a process of unlearning our own assumptions about the nature of reality.

Sabbar Singh Khalsa

Sabbar Singh Khalsa

Sebastian Carranza was an Orthodox Priest. He became Sabbar Singh Khalsa when he became an Amritdhari Sikh.

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