The Guru Granth Sahib

sduncan post on February 22nd, 2016
Posted in India

By Denise Smith

The true path to God lies in the service of our fellow beings.

– The Guru Granth Sahib

Sikhism arose through the teachings of Guru Nanak (c 1469-1538) in the Punjab region of

India. It emphasizes the importance of family life, philanthropy, service and defence of the

faith. Sikh philanthropy has been extensive and the terms of this service transcends

throughout the community.

The concepts and outcomes of unselfish giving for Sikhs is derived from the writings in the

Guru Granth Sahib which is the spiritual guide for mankind, and it plays a central role in

“guiding” the Sikhs’ way of life.

Its place in Sikh devotional life is based on two fundamental principles: that the text is

divine revelation and that all answers regarding religion and morality can be discovered

within it.

The Concern for others is central to the teachings of Sikhism, as illustrated by the story of

Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak went to the river Bain for his bath. After plunging into the river, Guru Nanak did

not surface and it was reported that he must have drowned. The villagers searched

everywhere, but there was no trace of him. Guru Nanak was in Holy Communion with God.

The Lord God revealed himself to Guru Nanak and enlightened him

Through this enlightenment and his missions Nanak established three pillars of teachings:

 Vaṇḍ Chakkō: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need

 Kirat Karō: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud

 Naam Japna: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times3

The emphasis on giving is also seen in the institution of the Langar which is a free

communal eating space attached to every temple. Guru Nanak started the practice of

Langar against the nature of the caste system in which the food of a higher caste was

considered polluted by even the shadow a lower caste. The Guru insisted that all people,

rich and poor, beggar and king, should be able to sit together on the same level, to eat a

meal and to be served by those of an equally varied social background.

Sikhism is viewed by many as a unique religion outside of Western tradition. It is known for

the special concept of Wand Ke Chhakna (charity). It is a concept of giving to those and

caring for the welfare of the needy, less fortunate and sick. The concept is to have co-

operative and peaceful living. It is serving each other without selfish motives and to achieve

a sense of social and economic equality through social responsibility. The sharing of

earnings, labor, wealth, religion and knowledge is a platform for the welfare of human

beings as a whole without discrimination of caste, colour, creed and gender.

The message of Sikhism is that giving of charity to the less fortunate is fine, but we should

also be prepared to give up something of our privileged status and standard of living, often

obtained at the expense of the less fortunate.

Works Cited





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