(A) WHAT IS WAHEGURU?
This profound question in the mind of man will ever remain unanswered
because we can only realize Waheguru but we cannot tell what He is. In Gurbani,there
is a simple example to explain why no one can answer this question. A mute
person, after tasting sugar, knows the taste, enjoys it and expresses it
through a smile. But being unable to speak, he cannot tell a word about
what sugar is like. Waheguru is love,hence immensely sweet, many times more
sweet than anything in this world. Holy persons love Waheguru,they enjoy
the sweetness but cannot say anything by
which we can know and understand Waheguru. There is no language and no thing available in this world which can be quoted to describe Waheguru. Therefore,only similes, however incomplete or unrepresentative they may be, have been offered by holy persons. That is the best they can do to explain their mystic experiences of the spiritual world (Waheguru) to those living
in this mundane world.
Waheguru as Father - Mother:
(i) Waheguru is mentioned as Father, Mother,Protector, etc. These words
are used to remind us
about some of His virtues. Waheguru is the cause of our birth (creation). He nurses us, protects us, and does everything else to make our lives happy, the way parents do for their children.
Before creating humans and other living beings,Waheguru created the sun,
moon, water, air, plants,etc. He also created whatever was required by the
people to live comfortably. All things are a gift from Waheguru to us as
children are given all things free with love by their parents. There are
many other things that we have not yet discovered which have been created
by Waheguru. The earth, sun, rain, air, darkness,etc. have been so adjusted
that they produce innumerable kinds of foods for our consumption. No scientist
with all the latest technology has ever been able to create a single grain
or fruit in his laboratory. This is done by Waheguru alone under His own
laws. These natural phenomena are so set that the earth produces different
kinds of foods in different regions. Man is required only to put the Waheguru-given
seeds in the soil
and harvest the fruit.
Waheguru does many more things than those mentioned above to keep us
comfortable and happy in the same way that parents do for their children.
Hence the most popular character of Waheguru is revealed to our heart when
with love we say, "You are my Father,
my Mother, my Brother, and all my other kin.... You protect me from everything at all places."
(ii) The mother, having a physical existence, is visible to her children. Waheguru also has a physical form and is visible to us as "Mother Nature", which is mentioned in Gurbani . [Guru Granth Page 469 ]
(iii) When we see a mother with a baby in her lap, we know that the baby
and the mother were once one, i.e., the baby was a part of the mother. The
same thing can be said about us and Waheguru. We have been created by Waheguru,
we were part of Him. We are His children. We can enjoy the love of Waheguru
and feel the peace as well as comfort in our heart in the same way as a
baby does in the lap of its mother. However, it is impossible for a baby
to describe the
mother, understand how and when she was born, from where she gets food and other necessities, how she built the house, etc. After becoming an adult, the baby knows all about the answers to these questions and understands her well. In the same way, when we 'children' grow spiritually to be 'adults' we can understand our Mother, Waheguru. That is the only way to know Waheguru. As long as we are 'babies' we will not be able to know our 'Mother'.
To become an 'adult' means to know 'What am I?' Therefore, to answer the GREAT QUESTION -WHAT IS WAHEGURU? - the first step is to know,'WHAT AM I? "I" is tangible to all of us, hence easily knowable. Waheguru is immanent and at the same time also transcendent, hence not visible and difficult to understand. "I", being a child of Waheguru, is a reflection of Waheguru. Once we 'grow' spiritually, we can understand "I" and we can then understand Waheguru.
Waheguru Resides in Mankind:
(i) Today' I am old. 'Yesterday' I was young and proud of my health,
looks, physical strength, political power, etc. The 'Day Before Yesterday',
I was just a baby crying or sleeping most of the time, but a joy and a hope
to My parents who are no longer here to look after Me. Tomorrow' I will
be dead and buried or cremated. Nothing will be left of Me except My children
who, in their turn, will also die. Their children will continue this cycle. No one can tell when this cycle began. Furthermore, no one can tell when this cycle will end, if it ever will.
Now you know 'MY' history. But can you tell who I' am or who I' was?
Am I' a baby, a child, a
young man, an old man, or nothing but dust, My final form? Maybe, I' was none of these; at the same time, maybe I' actually was. To answer this question, let us have a second look at what I' had been. We thought I' was born, grew old, and died. Actually not I', but 'MY' body was born, it increased in size, grew old and finally died. When 'MY' body returned to the earth, its constituents, all of which came from the earth, became earth again. They were picked up by the plants and trees to start another cycle. All through this cycle, everybody had the illusion that 'MY'
body was I'.
If you ask now what ' I' was, the answer would be "All through this
cycle I' was the "livingness," soul,or life in the body."
'MY' body, not 'I, underwent continuous changes in its form and size. I',
(inside MY body) remained unchanged with the physical changes in my body.
I' did not grow or become old or die. Neither could I do anything to 'MY'
body such as stop its growth or make it grow more quickly. For example,
a person of fifteen years of age cannot become thirty years old in a couple
of months, or a thirty-year old man remain the same forever without becoming
dying. 'MY' body underwent all changes independent of 'ME' and 'MY' wishes. The birth ,growth, and death of 'MY' body were controlled by nature according to the time cycle decided for 'ME' and 'MY' body. After the clock ran out, I' and 'MY' body became separated. This phenomenon is described by Gurbani like this:
The beloved (body) tells the lover (soul),
I can enjoy only when you are with me. Therefore, I request you to
promise not to ever leave me.
The lover (soul) says,
I obey my Master (Waheguru) Who is the Greatest and is not indebted
(obliged) to anyone. (He does not need to consult anyone. He makes independent
decisions.) Whenever He recalls me, I
shall have to go. [Guru Granth Page 1073 ]
When I' was in 'MY' body, you could see 'ME'.When I' became sad, angry, or happy, I' was able to express 'MY' feelings to the people through 'MY' body. Otherwise 'MY' body is just inert matter; it cannot become sad or angry. It can express 'MY' mood only when I' am there in it. The moment I' leave the body, it cannot hear, see, or move. It was I' who listened,who saw, and who reacted. 'MY' body was only a medium. Do you understand now, who I' am?
(ii) Let's attempt to look at 'ME' from another angle. One evening I' was enjoying a cup of tea in a cheerful mood. 'MY' son brought his school report showing very poor progress. 'MY' mood changed instantly and I' became very angry in a moment after reading the report. Can you trace the source of 'MY' anger, or trace the path on which 'MY' happiness left 'ME'? If you had cut open every cell of 'MY' body, you will not discover any happiness or anger anywhere. You know that I' become angry and happy almost every day. In 'MY' body, there is no place where you can find any mind or mood even though we know it is always there directing 'MY' actions and feelings.
(iii) Let's try to understand this paradox - I' am in 'MY' body but I'
am nowhere in it. Holy persons say that each of us consists of two things,
inert matter or our visible body and "livingness" or soul, the
cause of our life. The soul is the reflection of Waheguru, the
Cause of all lives. Our soul (Atma) is a part of the Whole (Parmatma), Waheguru.
Now let us assume that the physical Universe (which we know is limitless), is the visible form of Waheguru. The principle (about which we do not know anything) which keeps it working in a regular and systematic manner ever since its origin is the. Great Soul,the invisible Waheguru. This means we cannot and will never be able to describe Waheguru in our words or in the physical forms known to our senses.
The Universe, the 'Body of Waheguru', like 'MY' body is undergoing changes all the time and the Great Soul like 'Me' (soul) remains unchanged and ever continuous. I' existed before the birth of 'MY' body, and will continue to exist after the death of 'MY' body till I' merge with Waheguru as a river merges in the sea. Similarly, the Great Soul existed before the Universe was created and will continue to exist even after the destruction of the Universe.
This comparison fails in one important aspect. The Great Soul controls the creation and working of the Universe. I' can not direct the birth, growth or death of 'MY' body. It had to act under the directions of the Great Soul which directs the whole Universe. The Great Soul is the Generator, Operator, and Destroyer of this Universe, hence Its name, GOD, Waheguru.
(iv) Gurbani explains why we fail to 'find' Waheguru, Who is living in
every person, by giving an example of a musk deer. The deer smells musk
and runs in different directions to find it but remains unsuccessful. He
searches for it outside whereas the musk is inside his own body, hence he
fails. It is only when the hunters get him and take the musk from the pouch
near his navel that he comes to know of it. In the same way we run out to
find Waheguru but remain unsuccessful. It is only when the soul leaves the
body that we know we are a reflection of Waheguru inside the
body. This reflection is the sustaining principle of the body.
In conclusion, we may say that we know the Great Soul, Waheguru, is True,
not an illusion. He is the Creator of the Universe and is existing in it
like 'I in 'MY' body. He is sans-fear and sans-enmity because there is none
else except Him; He does not grow old or die, i.e., He is beyond time ;
He does not undergo the cycle of birth and death: being self-created, He
father or mother. [Guru Granth Page 1 ]
(v) Before proceeding further the reader may like to know the scientific stand for the statement mentioned earlier: The physical Universe which we know is unknowable.
In an article regarding Albert Einstein in the newspaper, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Mr. Eugene T. Mallove mentioned:
Einstein wrote: "A religious person is devout in the sense that
he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those super-personal
objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation.
" Einstein did not believe that science would ever know all that could
be known about the world. He confided in a friend: "Possibly
we shall know a little more than we do now. But the real nature of things,
that we shall never know, never. "The same point is the
major theme of cosmologist Edward Harrison's recent book. Masks of the Universe.
Harrison eloquently traces humanity's quest to understand the world and
says that in every age our world model or "universe" was thought
to be the real "universe". This was the "magic universe"
of pre-history in which
the animism of all objects formed a continuum with living beings. This gave way to a succession of mythic universes with multiple powerful gods as prime movers. Thence came a medieval universe and a succession of physical universes.
Harrison suggests that we shall never know the true "Universe" no matter how we embellish our transitory "universe". Harrison stands with Einstein in believing in the ultimately unattainable "universe".
He was impressed with the comprehensibility of the universe. After all, one could imagine a chaotic world without rhyme or reason -a world impossible to understand by any simple set of laws. But the world is far from that way. It is strikingly regulated. Einstein believed that faith in this regularity came from 'religion': "Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. The source of this feeling, religion, without science is blind. "
Albert Einstein also saw God as Mother Nature. Central to his religiosity
was, in his words a "rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural
law which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with
it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly
insignificant reflection. "
Both the physical universe and the spirit controlling it are nothing
but Waheguru Himself as His visible and invisible forms which are
In the whole universe Waheguru is the real source of life; everything is because of Him.
Mystics say they can understand Waheguru but cannot describe Him to us beyond the physical human senses. The example of a mute person enjoying the sweet taste of sugar was mentioned earlier. There are several more examples to get conceptually as near the answer as possible.
(B) IMMANENT WAHEGURU:
(i) The Statement "Waheguru is everywhere but we need other 'eyes'
to see Him" is often sung in the Gurdwaras.
To explain this, we may take the example of the sun. Our daily life revolves around this great gift of Waheguru, and we may not know about it. The petroleum we use, the juice we drink, the cereals, vegetables, and fruit we eat, all have sun (actually the sun's energy) in them. However, we don't see or feel any sun in them. We know that plants and trees absorb sun light (energy) to grow and produce food for other living beings. Trees when buried in the earth over a long period get converted into coal and petroleum. They release the energy received from the sun when we bum them.
In the same way Waheguru, the great Sun of Suns, is the cause of the whole creation and is in the creation but without being visible to us. There is nothing without Him, not even the sun, stars, human beings, animals, plants, etc. Waheguru is everywhere,Waheguru is nowhere. Waheguru is immanent and transcendent. Waheguru thus appears to be a paradox when any one tries to describe Him.
(ii) One more example from our daily life can illustrate this character
of Waheguru. We know the
earth has a force of gravity. Things fall towards it,rather than floating away from it when they are thrown upwards. Gravity is not visible to the eye. We also know it is unborn; it does not grow old: it neither increases nor decreases with the passage of time. It is there in the same intensity even before man came to know of it. It exists in the earth but there is no place where it is stored in quantity and can be dug out like coal, but still we observe it acting everywhere and all the time. Waheguru similarly is invisible, unborn and beyond the effects of time. He is everywhere and no-
where. He is the cause of the universe and its working, in the same way as gravity is the cause of things falling on earth.
(iii) Sometimes Waheguru as a Creator is compared with a painter. People can see the character of a painter in his paintings. Similarly Waheguru's character can be seen in His creation. To learn how to see a painter in his painting, one needs training and education in that subject. Similarly, training and education in spirituality can guide a person to see Waheguru in His creation. Nobody can show or describe Waheguru to any other human being. But human beings can be trained to "see" Waheguru themselves. This is what Gurbani teaches a disciple who wants to know Waheguru. Under the guidance of Gurbani, we can learn virtues of Waheguru and enjoy His love, but we cannot fully describe our feelings to others.
Limitlessness of Waheguru
(i) The fact that even though we are the reflections of Waheguru, but can not understand or describe Waheguru, can be explained in another way as well.
Imagine yourself standing on the seashore with a handful of sea water. Throw the water back in the ocean. You find that you have drops of water clinging to your hands. Imagine yourself to be that drop of water and Waheguru to be the sea. The drops are sea water but not the sea. There is no way a drop of water can explain what the sea is. The sea is not just a very, very large collection of drops which the drops can imagine or discuss between themselves. It is much more than that. It has different depths because of its variable bottom level; it has waves of various heights moving about in it and striking among themselves or against the shore; there are hot and cold water currents running in the sea; innumerable kinds of plankton as well as fauna and flora float there, etc. All these things can in no way be represented in a drop of water, even though undoubtedly it is a part of the sea. The drops can never think of, or understand all these properties of the sea. In the same way, our souls are reflections of Waheguru, but are not able to understand or describe Waheguru.
(ii) Here is another example to explain our limitations in describing
or understanding what is
In your house there is a glass aquarium with a frog. You move the frog to your swimming pool. It would be extremely happy to swim around its "very large new house." At that time your friend brings a frog from the sea to temporarily keep in your pool. The dialogue between the two frogs could be like this:
Pet Frog: Mr. Sea Frog, welcome to my new big house!
Sea Frog looks with surprise on hearing the words "big house" and says: Thanks a lot Mr. P.
Pet Frog swims a couple of yards and asks: Was your previous house this
Sea Frog: Much bigger than this!
Pet Frog, after covering the whole pool, repeats his question: Was it this big?
Sea Frog repeats the reply: Much bigger than this!
Pet Frog: How could it be bigger than all this. the biggest ever possible?
Sea Frog: I cannot describe it. The only thing I can say is neither I
nor my parents, nor anyone else could ever know its limits. Millions like
me lived there without knowing it. There are millions of very big animals
also in the sea. None of them could ever reach the limits. The wise told
us: When you reach a limit, that is the limit of your imagination and thinking,
not the limit of our house. The house is without limits, water, water, water,
everywhere and all through. I enjoyed
A human being, similarly, even after enjoying and delving in the love
of Waheguru, cannot describe its limits or its mystery, except by saying
WOW! GREAT! or GOSH! In Panjabi we say WAH!; hence the name WAHEGURU for
God. In Sikh scripture God is remembered by many names describing His virtues,
such as : Karta Purkh, Ram, Rahim, Akal Purkh, Sat
Nam, Parbraham, Kartar, Gopal, etc.
Mystery too, was the key to Einstein's religious sentiments.
It was the experience of mystery-even if mixed with fearthat engendered religion. A knowledge of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds-it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense and in this sense alone, I am a deeply religious man.
(i) There are many directions of life which we can not imagine or understand at the present level of human knowledge. To understand our limitations, let us briefly go through the classic example of a pencil being pushed into water and observed by an insect The insect floating on water has the concept of length and breadth only and not of height or depth. When the tip of the pencil is dipped into water, it appears as a small circle (disc) to the insect. When we push the pencil downwards, the insect will observe the circle growing bigger and bigger. Even when the insect has seen the whole pencil it can never understand its true shape. And there is no way to describe to him the shape of the pencil.
We humans know only three dimensions, length, width, and height. Recently
a fourth dimension,
time has been added by the scientists to our knowledge. Physical environment is another dimension which we do not understand fully so as to express it empirically. We know a dry seed retains the same size and shape with the passage of time. However, it germinates and grows to become a seedling under optimum environment. A person ignorant of the 'environment' direction cannot 'observe' the plant existing in the seed.
This is one way of saying that it is impossible to imagine Waheguru without knowing all the dimensions of life. We see Waheguru operating and living with us all the time, but we cannot understand Him completely and correctly. We get a very different perspective of Waheguru when some holy person describes Him to us. Our senses have only limited dimensions. Waheguru has many dimensions including physical, metaphysical, spiritual and others unknown to us.
( ii) One more example of our limitations is necessary before we conclude this discussion regarding "Immanent Waheguru."
Assume you are watching television. If you close your eyes you can hear the sound, but you can not see the figures on the screen. If you plug your ears, you cannot hear any sound though you can see the figures on the screen moving their lips. Only when both ears and eyes are open, you can fully understand what is happening on the screen of the television. Similarly, not our physical bodies but our souls can listen to Waheguru. We can know Waheguru only through love.
We can now, from all that we have discussed,reach some conclusions.
Like holy people, we too can 'see' Waheguru and 'know' Him through love, but we cannot describe Him in physical words. This is because our senses have limitations. Waheguru is Love, Truth, Un-born, Creator, and Everlasting. There being He alone, both in physical and non-physical form, He is sans-fear, and sans-enmity. Guru Nanak Dev, to tell these virtues of Waheguru.
In the end, a common experience needs to be mentioned . Once the author asked his host to give him the directions to the house of their common friend. He said, "I know the landmarks leading to his house and can take you there, but I cannot describe to you how to get there. Even if I try to tell you, you will not under-stand. The only way is that I drive ahead of you and you follow me." Similarly we have to 'follow' holy persons and do what they ask us to do, i.e., love Waheguru ourselves and 'see' Him vibrating everywhere in the Universe. Don't expect anyone to explain Waheguru to you just by talking. Love Him, enjoy Him, and that is the simple and only way to know Him and understand Him.
After going through this draft, one youth observed:
I think Waheguru is a grand plaza. Anything one can think of, and also, one cannot think of, is there. One can describe what one can see. Here It is limitless. There are shops, shops, shops..., each of a different kind. Leave aside the knowing of the things inside the shops, one cannot know the number, size or kind of shops there.
(i) To humans, it will ever remain a mystery how Waheguru created the
universe and from where he got the first molecule of matter. As mentioned
earlier, just imagine a drop of water trying to know how big the sea is
and how it was created. The drop of water can never discover the answer.
Gurbani says our search for Waheguru is like the search of the sea by the
grain of sugar sent down in the sea to know the depth of the water can never come back to tell the story. Our lives are too short to realize the depth of the creation or the Creator. We cannot find the boundary of even its single direction or aspect.
(ii) There is another facet of the creation of this universe. Waheguru
created this universe for us to enjoy and to do our duty. Finding out when
and how the universe was created is not the goal of our life. While sitting
at a dining table, you don't think of asking questions regarding the table
such as where was the wood grown, who cut the wood, who shipped it to the
factory, who built the table, who polished it, etc. We are to sit there and eat our food. Even if someone has answers to these questions, they are not related to the eating of food nor is it important to know them.
Gurmat says this life is not to be wasted in meaningless pursuits. Let us accept the creation of the earth, sun, and everything else that is here with us. We also know they will continue to be here even after we die. Therefore, let us get busy with the mission of human life (To love humanity, serve it and realize Waheguru) and do as much as we can with the limited period of time available to us.
(iii) lt is only an assumption or hypothesis that a big bang created our universe. We do not know the facts. Even if the bang theory is true, the question, who created the bang, still remains unanswered. Some power shall have to be held responsible for causing the bang and later guiding the molecules to become alive. Surely, a soul, the existence of which has been proved again and again, cannot be accepted to have been created during the big bang. It has to have a Creator, the Lord, whom we call Waheguru, the Almighty. Regarding creation, Gurmat says the following:
With His single order whole creation came into existence and millions of rivers (sources of lives) were created. [ Guru Granth Page 3 ]
Waheguru created the gases; the gases produced water. From
water many forms of life originated. He is in everyone. [ Guru Granth Page 19 ]
Whatever visible nature there is, it may be considered as "visible" Waheguru or the "body" of Waheguru. The invisible force which we think is energy may be accepted as Waheguru in His invisible form.
Let's make a start with this knowledge and work further. We also surely will be able to 'see' Waheguru as sages have already done.
(D) FOUNDING OF FAITHS
(i) Man, as we know, is an animal but highly developed. He can think
and has the power of articulated speech. Based only on the life cycle of
birth, growth, and death, he finds himself to be no different from animals.
The first thought of man which distinguished humans from other animals was,
"What is the purpose of my life?" In other words, man is a man
only if he attempts to achieve the goal of his life. Without working for
that goal, he is like any other animal on this earth.
"What is the purpose of human life?" is a profound and complex question before mankind, like the question "What is Waheguru?" Anyone answering this question has been considered a wise and a holy person. People believe such a person was blessed by Waheguru Who gave him all knowledge through intuition and mystic experience. The directions for the people set by the holy person were called a faith or a religion. He was recognized as a prophet and the founder of that faith.
Among the major religions, there are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc., in the West. In the East, we have Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Vedant, Jainism, collectively called Hinduism. Buddhism and Sikhism also took birth in the East.
(ii) Man founded another branch of knowledge concerned with establishing
and systematizing facts by experiments and called it science. Recent achievements
in science have shaken the basis of many faiths. The people are losing faith
in some beliefs of their faiths because science has proved many old beliefs
to be incorrect. People are, therefore, forced to decide which one is right,
faith or science. Science can demonstrate and prove its truth. Therefore,
many people give up their beliefs which are proved wrong by science. Some
people, however, continue to stick to their beliefs ignoring the truths
discovered by science.
About four centuries ago, an Italian astronomer named Galileo (1564-1642) concluded from his observations that the earth revolves around the sun. He was imprisoned for 'preaching' anti-Christian belief. However on October 5, 1989, the Pope appeared on the television to confess that Galileo was right and those who punished the scientist for his discoveries were wrong.
The sun and moon were considered gods by ancient people in India. Therefore, they celebrate Sankrant (first day of the solar month), Poorenmasi (full moon and), Amevas (no moon) as sacred days. Gurbani rejected this thought by saying:
Only idiots and naive people believe and worship particular dates or days of the week as sacred. [Guru Granth Page 843 ]
Scientists have now studied not only the sun and moon but many other
planets. They do not accept them as gods. Science has thus endorsed the
five-centuries-old Sikh thought referred to above. However, how unfortunate
it is that some Sikhs under the influence of the tradition still celebrate
these days as sacred days. They ignore not only Sikh beliefs but also the
findings of the science.
(iii) The Sikh religion is unique and it does not clash with any known scientific facts;. rather, it does not enter the field of science. Unfortunately, because of the Brahmanical influence all around the Sikhs, the Sikh philosophy is being distorted. Continuous attempts are being made to fit it with the old Vedic and Upnisadic thoughts which Gurbani has emphatically rejected. (Read Sikhism a Revolt against Brahmanism by the same author).
Miss Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate, while giving her comments on the English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib, wrote,
I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find anywhere else the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find in these volumes ..There is something strangely modem about these scriptures and this puzzled me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modem, compiled as late as the 16th century.. They speak to a person of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
(E) WHY EVIL?
(i) The existence of evil is a Western thought. Sikhism does not agree
with this thought. According to the Bible, God created Adam. Later, from
Adam's rib, God created Eve to be Adam's companion. Satan (Evil) misguided
them to eat the forbidden fruit. Adam thus became a sinner for disobeying
God and was then thrown out of Heaven. We, all humans, being Adam's children,
are born sinners and, therefore, we all will go to Hell. However, if we
believe in Christ as the only Son of God (according to Christianity) or
in Mohammed as the last messenger of God (according to Islam) and follow
their instructions we will be saved. On the Judgment Day, these believers
will be taken to everlasting Heaven. Non-believers will go to Hell, where
they will suffer forever.
According to the Sikh faith, there is no particular place which is Heaven or Hell This earth is
our play ground and while living on it, we have to play the part assigned to us. Gurmat says a person is in Hell if he forgets God and is in Heaven if he loves God. Satan or evil has no existence. [ Guru Granth Page 749 & 1369 ]
We can discuss some scientific facts to explain this. Heat exists but
its counterpart cold does not exist. It is merely the deficiency or scarcity
of heat. Also, darkness does not exist; it is the light which exists. Absence
or deficiency of light is called darkness. No doubt we feel cold and observe
darkness but they have no physical existence. Evil does not exist, only
goodness exists. It is simply the deficiency or the absence of goodness
which we have named evil.
Some happenings which we do not like (therefore consider them to be evils) are actually not evil. Think of a father asking an unwilling child to take a shower. Failing to motivate the child to take a shower on his own, he uses force to put the child under the shower against his wish. The child thinks the father is a "devil" forcing him to do something 'bad'. We, however, know that the shower is necessary for the good health of the child who wrongly thinks it to be an evil act of the father. Alter experiencing the benefits of a regular shower, the child, when he becomes a father, will force his child in the same way to take a shower.
Sun, rain, and storms all are needed for the good life of man. Some places are warm and humid while others are extremely cold (polar regions.) In between these two extremes, all kinds of climate exist on this earth. These extremes are actually the requirements for the comfortable life of some kinds of animals and plants. The variable climate is not for bothering the living beings but for producing a variety of foods and many kinds of physical environment for them to live in
Waheguru is a Father. He forces many things on us to keep us healthy and right. He is a great teacher and has His own ways of teaching us. Waheguru created fire, so that we can keep ourselves warm and cook our food. The fire, when it is out of our control or when we mishandle it, burns us. It may look to be an evil act but it teaches us a lesson about how to use fire with caution. Similarly, our feelings of self-respect, when misused, can become ego to hurt us. We can become possessive, greedy, or miserly, thereby taking the rights of other people and forcing many people to go hungry; this is an evil act.
(ii) The most common example mentioned in the debate over "what
is evil?" is the eating of the weaker by the stronger. It may not be
evil, but may be the way of Waheguru to keep the cycle of living beings
continuous. Many animals are herbivores, some are carnivores, and still
others are omnivores. Plants are eaten by animals. Like animals, plants
are also living beings. Eating of the plants by the herbivorous animals
is not an evil act. It is a law of nature for the growth and reproduction
of herbivores. Plants grow, produce seeds, get old, and die. When dead,
they are broken down to earth by the microbes. When the animals, having
eaten the plants all through their lives, die, they are also consumed by
microbes. These herbivores might be eaten by other bigger carnivores who
themselves die and turn to earth again. The same thing in a cycle happens
at the next higher level. Everything returns back to the soil to start another
cycle of life.
A fish eats a small fish. It is in turn eaten by a bigger fish who is eaten by a still bigger fish and finally a whale eats them all. When whales die, they are eaten by many kinds of microbes. Eating of one living being by another looks evil to us, but it is a part of the system in the cycle of nature. Evil is only when we disregard the job assigned to us or if we do something which we are not supposed to do, i.e. practice lust, ego, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, etc. Killing or hurting under the influence of these vicious thoughts is an evil act .These vices grow in us only when we forget to love our Father and His children. Love of God keeps all vices away, hence saves us from committing sins and evil acts.
(F) EVERYTHING IS IN HIS HANDS
The statement that everything is in God's hands is not understood properly;
this needs some detailed explanation.
Let us first analyze a simple worldly experience. The government builds roads and they make rules and regulations for driving vehicles. People have not only to learn driving, but also to know the rules and regulations for safe driving. If a driver goes through a red light and meets an accident, it is due neither to the failure of the rules nor to the lack of his driving skill. It is simple disobedience by the driver. If the driver knew the rules but he didn't bother to follow them, the cause of the accident is the disrespect shown to the rules.
Something similar happens in our daily lives. Sometimes we land ourselves in trouble because we didn't care to listen to the rules made for us by Waheguru. At another time, we may know the rules but we disrespect them, which causes us to get into trouble.
People have to know the rules of Nature and also follow them. The government does not create accidents; they are caused by the failure of the drivers. Waheguru does not plan 'accidents' (evil) for us; the failure is on our part. There is no devil or Satan to misguide us and put us in trouble. It is we ourselves who fail to follow Waheguru's rules and create trouble for
Waheguru has given us intellect and physical competence to act according to certain basic principles of life. We are to use them and not sit like stones. When we act we have many ideas before us and many kinds of forces acting on us. Greed, anger, ego, love, sympathy, desire for service, etc. direct our actions toward others. Teaching and preaching are required to help a person make the right decisions. Virtues lead us to peace and vices lead us to trouble. Our happiness or sorrow depends upon the feelings under which we act. It is not justified to blame Waheguru for our failures or evil acts. To free ourselves of the guilt of doing antisocial or illegal acts, we tell ourselves that everything is in the hands of Waheguru; a human can do nothing. This is trying to "act smart." Actually, by this we only fool ourselves.
There is a classic example of how this principle, "I do not do anything; everything is done by Waheguru" works and how its misuse is stopped. A second-time thief was sentenced by the judge for one year in jail. On hearing the sentence the thief addressed the judge, "Sir, do you believe in Waheguru, the Almighty Judge and that He does everything?"
Judge: Yes, I do.
Thief: Waheguru made me commit this theft according to His Will. Therefore, it is wrong for you to send me to jail.
Judge: You are sentenced for two years. Do not blame me for increasing your sentence. You know that I can not do anything; everything is done by Waheguru.
The thief learned the lesson of his life -- it is wrong to hold God responsible for what one intentionally plans to do or does under the pressure of vices.
We cannot ignore the knowledge of good or bad while living this life.
An ignorant person can be saved from doing wrong acts. But how can that person be saved who knowingly commits sins? [Guru Granth Page 1376 ]
Why does Waheguru not stop us?
(i) Waheguru does stop us from doing bad things or wrong things. He has
His own ways; we have to understand them. While jumping you may sprain your
ankle. It gets swollen and it gives you much pain. That is Waheguru's (nature's)
way of forcing rest on us. when you get sick, you become weak and do not
wish to move about; rather you feel like remaining in bed. That is what
Waheguru wants you to do to get into good health.
The same principle works on a larger scale too. If a king is inefficient or unjust the people replace him (if need be, by violence). Maybe a neighboring king will attack him, defeat him and take over his kingdom for better management. The world goes on and nature continues to act according to its principles. We may or may not observe them being implemented by the Great Governor, Waheguru.
(ii) Sometimes we do not know the greater plan of Waheguru and we may
not be clear about the part assigned to us. We are supposed to perform our
duty with the competency given to us. The world is a huge drama conducted
and directed by Waheguru. In a drama an actor is required to act according
to the will of the director, and not according to his own liking.
In a drama, the son of a wealthy person was assigned the job of a beggar. He acted like a beggar even though he knew very well that he is not a beggar. He was doing the duty assigned to him by the director of the drama. He won an award for good acting. Similarly, in this world, the director, Waheguru, has assigned different kinds of duties to different people. Waheguru may make us rich, poor, a scholar, a common man, handsome or handicapped. But the situation in which He puts us, should not matter while we are doing the duty assigned to us. Wherever we are placed, we should do our duty honestly, sincerely, and devotedly, being neither jealous of others nor suffering from any ego.
Even if there is God why should people worship Him?
We do not bribe or oblige God when we worship Him. If a person is swimming in a pool, he does not oblige the water or the pool; he is enjoying himself. To worship God is to revel in His virtues and to be benefited by them. We do not worship God to benefit Him. He does not need anything from us, not even His worship. We do it for our own benefit. The sun does not benefit if we sit in the sun and enjoy its warmth. When we worship God, we sit in the "sunshine" of His virtues to benefit from them and not to please Him.
The example of a good social act can also help us to understand. A student
gets training from a
teacher, becomes a professional and gets a good job. Being happy with the job, he brings a gift to the teacher and expresses thanks to him for his help and guidance. Offering a gift to the teacher is not giving a charity or any donation to him. This act only expresses the feelings of happiness and also the gratitude of the trainee to his teacher. Waheguru is a great Teacher. When we offer money or we bow our head to the Guru Granth Sahib, which describes the virtues of Waheguru to us, we express our gratitude and thanks to Waheguru; we do not oblige Him. It is wrong to think that we can give anything to Waheguru. We are always receiving unlimited favors from Him. As custodians of His gifts we only handle them (share them with others), we do not create them or give them to anyone else.
Worship of Waheguru means to love Waheguru, to love His virtues and to love truth. The purpose is that these good qualities and virtues become a part of our life. These virtues will keep us happy and blessed with favors of Waheguru.
God has no shape, form, or body. If nobody can describe God, how could the Gurus do that?
The Gurus have told us about the greatness and the limitlessness of Waheguru. The Gurus have written hymns describing the virtues of Waheguru but it does not mean that they described the limits of Waheguru or His virtues. They taught us how to sing His praises and how to benefit from them. They showed us the path to Waheguru. It does not mean that they have presented Waheguru in totality to us. One can feel Him, enjoy Him, but cannot limit Him in words.
How did God create the first man, woman, or the first person?
According to Sikhism this question is outside the domain of religion.
To know it is not the religious goal of our life as stated earlier. Gurmat
wants us to marvel by thinking of the Creator and the creation, and not
bother about the process of creation.
Sikhism does not speculate about how this earth was created or how the human race came into being. In general terms we find some references relating to creation. They actually are mentioned to tell the greatness and virtues of Waheguru. Gurbani states that before creation there was Waheguru alone for an unknown period. Everything came into being by His Order and Will. Nobody knows how and when the universe was created. If anybody knew he would have told it. Only Waheguru knows when he created it and how he created it. [Guru Granth Page 4 & 1035 ]
ln this universe three phenomena -- creation evolution, and destruction
-- are taking place continuously. We know the process of evolution involves
both creation and destruction. Many species were created on this earth with
different physical and intellectual capabilities. Some species became extinct
because they could not face the changing environment. Dinosaurs are just
one example. They evolved on this earth and became extinct. Even today,
we find many new species being created and also see many species becoming
endangered or extinct.
The life on this earth is undergoing continuous change, i.e., reproduction, evolution, and destruction. How and when exactly did man join this cycle and how long will he continue to be a part of it? No one is and no one can be definite about it. The answers differ with different religious leaders. Scientists have found fossils to conclude that we, Homo sapiens, are the fourth
evolved species. When our predecessors first started walking erect, they belonged to the species named Homo erectus, which (along with other species) now is extinct.
According to the Sikh faith, this question is of little significance and of no religious importance. The real and urgent issue before us is not when and how we humans were created, but what is the goal of this life, and how is that goal to be achieved. As mentioned earlier, we have to pursue that goal in our life.
The significance of this can be explained by one simple example. A child was given a paper and pencil to write his name and address so that he could be admitted to the school. However, he wanted to find out who made the paper, where and when it was made, how it was made, etc. If he kept himself engaged in finding answers to questions regarding paper, pencil and his desk, he would have wasted his time and failed to answer the questions asked of him for his admission. He, being involved in unnecessary activity, might lose his chance of admission to the school and hence remain ever ignorant. However, if he joined the school, in due course of time, he would learn answers to many of his questions. Some questions, of course, will ever remain unanswered.
In the same way we should do our duty assigned to us by Waheguru. We should love Him, His virtues and His children. In due course of time we will be able to know the answers to those questions which we are anxious to know now, but are not competent to understand at present .