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Living In The Fear Of The Guru

ਸਲੋਕ ਮ: 3 ॥
ਸੇਖਾ ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਜੋਰੁ ਛਡਿ ਤੂ ਭਉ ਕਰਿ ਝਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥
ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭੈ ਕੇਤੇ ਨਿਸਤਰੇ ਭੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਪਾਇ ॥
ਮਨੁ ਕਠੋਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਤੂੰ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥
ਸਾਂਤੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਸਾ ਖਸਮੁ ਪਾਏ ਥਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਾਇ ॥1॥

The hukam above has been addressed to a Sheikh (A Sufi Saint). Sri Guru Ji instructs the Sheikh the following:

1) Abandon Zor (Haume, personal might), adopt fear (of Waheguru) and give up your madness.
2) Through the fear of Guru, countless have swam across this world, and through this fear of Waheguru, the fearless Waheguru is attained.
3) The stone heart is pierced through the Shabad and then divine peace resides in the heart.
4) Once this peace is established in the heart, then when one meditates on the Lord, the Lord accepts this divine effort of the seeker.
5) By indulging in lust and anger, no one has attained Waheguru; go and ask the wise about it.

In the above shabad Guru Sahib gives hukam to live in the fear of Guru. What does it mean to live in the fear of Guru? Fear here does not mean to be frightened and scared of the Guru. Fear means to obey the hukams of Guru Sahib. Fear means to accept the divine will of Guru Sahib. The divine will of Guru Sahib or Waheguru is the same and is enshrined in Gurbani. To live our lives according to the hukams of Gurbani is to live in the fear of the Guru. "Hukam Razayee Chalna" actually means to obey the hukams of Guru Sahib enshrined in Gurbani.

Another meaning of Fear in Gurmat is Adab. Adab is a Farsi word which means the respect that one gives to one who is higher in authority. The Gursikhs who live in the love of Guru Sahib give utmost respect and honour to Guru Sahib. Examples of this divine Adab are to not place your legs towards Guru Sahib, to prostrate before Guru Sahib, to fold your hands and hold the hazooriya between your hands while folding your hands in ardaas, to repeat the last two pankitis at the end of a paath and to bow your head at the conclusion of Gurbani etc.

About repeating last two pankitis and bowing your head after concluding Gurbani paath, there comes a saakhi of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. Once while travelling with Singhs, Sri Guru Ji concluded Sri Sukhmani Sahib and bowed his head. Incidently there was the grave of Bhagat Dadu Ji there. Singhs thought that Guru Sahib had bowed to the grave. They asked Guru Sahib and Guru Sahib was very pleased at their vigilance. It is said that Sri Guru Ji even accepted Tankhah from the Singhs but later on Guru Sahib told them that he had bowed his head not to the grave of Bhagat Dadu Ji but after concluding Sri Sukhmani Sahib that he was doing in his Surthee. This Saakhi gives us the guidance that we should bow our head after the conclusion of a Baani and traditionally the last two pankitis or the last pauri of a baani are repeated twice.

Below are some examples from history to show how Gursikhs have shown us the way to respect and honour Guru Sahib:

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Baba Ram Rai Ji

Guru Har Rai Ji ordered all Sikhs not to keep contact with his son Baba Ram Rai Ji. When Guru Gobind Singh Ji went to Paunta Sahib, he went out one day to see Baba Ram Rai, at his request. There were singhs along with Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib sat in a boat to see Baba Ram Rai, midway in the river. From the other side Baba Ram Rai came as well.

Baba Ram Rai asked Guru Sahib for forgiveness and added that he was a virtual prisoner of his masands. He further told Guru Sahib that they were going to kill him anytime.

During this time a very interesting incident took place. The singhs who had accompanied Guru Gobind Singh Ji, turned their back when they saw Baba Ram Rai's boat approaching. They did so in spite of doing back to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The singhs knew that Guru Har Rai Ji had done bachan ke "Ram Rai de mathe nahi lagna" i.e. to not even go face to face with him. Only when Guru Gobind Singh Ji took Guru Har Rai Ji's bachan back, the Singhs turned their faces towards the direction Baba Ram Rai was coming from. So much the Singhs obeyed the hukam of Guru Sahib.

The hukam not to mingle with followers of Baba Ram Rai, still holds today.

Guru Hargobind Ji and Sahibzada Har Rai Ji

Once Sahibzaada Har Rai Ji (he was not a Guru at that time) was walking along with Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. Sahibzaada Ji used to wear a heavy chola with a lot of kaliyaan. As he was walking, his chola got stuck in a rose plant and plucked a beautiful flower. Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji did bachan sehaj-subhaaye, "If you are to wear a chola of this size, then you should also take care when walking".

From that day, till his last day, Guru Har Rai Ji always used to hold his chola with his hand while walking between flower plants. Sahibzaada Ji followed this bachan that Guru Sahib had done casually, always. Even after the Sahibzada Ji became Sri Guru Har Rai Ji, he ued to hold his chola with one hand while walking.

Guru Angad Sahib Ji and Baba Amar Das Ji

Once Guru Angad Sahib Ji and Baba Amar Das Ji were walking. Baba Amar Das Ji noticed that he was walking along with Guru Angad Sahib Ji as opposed to walking a little bit behind. As this thought came to his mind, he slowed a little bit, so that he is a little bit behind Guru Sahib but at the same time he did not want anyone to notice that he was walking very behind Guru Sahib. They kept walking like this for some time and then Baba Amar Das Ji noticed that as he walked, one of his swinging arm would get ahead of Guru Sahib. He slowly tried to slow the swing of his arm and finally held one of his arm with his other arm. At this point Guru Angad Sahib Ji who knew everything that was going on in Baba Amar Das Ji's mind, just looked at him and lovingly smiled. No one said anything and they kept walking.

What an amazing example of living in the fear of Guru and showing respect to Guru Sahib. Only in such soft heart that is drenched with the divine water of love of Guru would Waheguru appear in Jyot form.

Guru Ram Das Ji and Baba Hindal

Bhai Hindaal was a very devoted Sikh who used to do sewa in the langar. He used to do sewa and simran, both at the same time. He had great love for Guru. One day he was doing the sewa of aata-gunn (kneeding flour), when Guru Ram Das Ji walked into the langar preparation area. Bhai Hindaal Ji upon realizing Guru Ji's arrival, held his hands that were covered with wet flour, behind his back and did matha tek of only his head. He had his head on the Charan Kamal of Guru Sahib but his wet hands were joined behind his back.

Guru Sahib got very pleased at his love and new style of matha tek. Guru Sahib placed his hand on his head and Bhai Hindaal Ji became a Brahmgiyaani in that instant. Guru Sahib blessed him with the responsibility of doing Parchaar of Sikhi.


The true respect and honour for Guru Sahib comes only if one has true love for Guru Sahib. The requirement of true love is that the lover is ready to sacrifice everything to please his beloved. This is why the Gursikhs who are the true seekers of Waheguru, strive to obey all hukams of Guru Sahib to please him. If Guru Sahib is pleased, the Waheguru gets pleased and gives darshan to the seeker.

So to live in the fear of Guru Sahib means to obey the hukams of Guru Sahib which include chanting of Naam, recitation of Gurbani, keeping Amritvela, and keeping Khalsa rehit prescribed by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. We have no right to pick and choose hukams. We have no right to decide that a certain hukam is difficult to follow and thus can be ignored and certain rehit or hukam is trivial and can be shed. We should try to obey all hukams of Guru Sahib.

May we live in the love and fear of Guru Sahib.

Kulbir Singh

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