Today we are more lost than ever from the teachings of our Guru, we are forgetting Guru Gobind Singh's words; Rehit Binaa Neh Sikh Kehavai, Rehit Binaa Dar Chotaa Khhaavai This means that: Without the Rehat (the code of conduct) he should not be called a Sikh. Without the Rehat, the doors are closed in his face. Guru has told us than when we follow his words, he will bless us, but when we slacken in our faith and discipline Guru Ji does not shower us with his blessings.
We forget Guru Ji's own words "Rehat is more important to me than a Sikh". Why is this? Guru Ji has 25 million Sikhs worldwide. He does not need any more. What Guru Ji loves is the Singh or Singhnee who follows Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's words; "If you desire to play this game of love with me, then step onto My Path with your head in your hand. When you place your feet on this Path, give me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion." One who is steadfast in his faith in the Guru and all of the Gurus teachings is a Gursikh, not one who decides which parts of Sikhi he or she wants to follow, deciding which parts of the divinely inspired Sikhi are appropriate and which parts aren't.
If the human wishes to be liberated in this lifetime then the path he or she follows is full of pitfalls. In Gurbani the path is described as "as sharp as the edge of a sword and as thin as a hair". Since Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's times it was made compulsory that all Sikh had to keep Kesh (hair); Guru Nanak himself administered baptism or Amrit to all his followers in what was known as "Charan Pahul". This is shown in all old historical documents and Bhai Gurdas's Varan, which is considered Gurbani. So Amrit and the compulsory nature of Kesh did not start with the 10th Guru. Power was given to the Panj Pyare so they could administer Amrit since Guru Gobind Singh was to be the last living Guru.
If one intends to gain salvation from this world living life as millions of others do, in what many term as "living a good life," is not enough. Liberation is open only to a select few who have truly realized Waheguru and followed Akal Purakh's every command. In Gurbani it says "As a stone placed in a boat can cross over the river, so is the mortal saved, grasping hold of the Guru's Feet." Our body is the stone and will sink in the water. Only with the Guru's help, by submitting our full mind and body to Him, can we cross this world ocean and gain liberation.
Guru says "What useless activities are you attached to? Your life-night is coming to its end. The animals and the birds frolic and play-they do not see death. Mankind is also with them, trapped in the net of Maya (worldly illusion)... that dwelling (one's own body) which you will have to abandon and vacate-you are attached to it in your mind… Those who fall at the Feet of the Guru are released from this bondage." If one wastes day after day in shallow worldly pursuits, their precious chance of liberation will be over.
To begin to follow the true Gursikh path is much more fruitful than any worldly pursuits. Drinking, clubbing and other such activities provide only short term, shallow enjoyment and destruction to the inner body. Once a high spiritual level is obtained (such levels can be found by all, easily with some effort) the seeker is in a permanent state of bliss, beyond any possible words. For any reader who does not believe this, they are suggested to consult a Gursikh for details and be advised to follow full Rehat (Khalsa code of conduct) for 3 months. In these three months if all of Guru Ji's Rehat and advice is adhered to with full effort and more importantly love from the seeker, with Guru's grace the disciple will no longer be attracted to the empty worldly attractions and instead try to feel again the Anand (ecstasy) that is derived from the spiritual practices a Gursikh follows. As Guru Nanak Sahib Ji says, "To explain this is as hard as steel"; such feelings cannot be explained but only experienced. Until this point we are wasting our days away making no spiritual progress to be reunited with Waheguru.
Whilst it is easy to say "I will take Amrit later" or "only the very religious take Amrit, it is not necessary", or "I go to the Gurdwara once a week and pray, what more is needed", until one has experience life the way our infinitely wise Guru have told us to live, how can we comment? The Gurus were not stupid. They were not mere men; every word they said came through them from God; Guru Ji tells us "Dhurr Kee Bani Aaee" – what they spoke came from God. For a change in lifestyle for only a few months of our lives, our entire path on this world may very possibly be changed. For those who have attempted to practice Khalsa Rehat, done Paath and Amritvela consistently with Pyaar for even a short period of time, they have seen for themselves the hidden gem in Sikhism which today's modern youth have forgotten, rejecting the nectar instead for the mud and dirt.
To begin walking on the Sikh path can start with making small amounts of Paath part of one's daily lifestyle, and over time the Rehat can be integrated into one's life to accelerate spiritual progress. More Paath will make Rehat easier, and a stronger Rehat makes more Paath easier. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji tells us "O servant Nanak, among millions, there is scarcely anyone who attains the Lord's meditation." To be gifted with the good karma from past lifetimes to realize the Truth, or even to attempt to practice the Truth, is truly a gift that many of us squander away. The path of Gursikhi is difficult in the beginning, but if we take one step towards the Guru the Guru will in turn come one hundred steps closer to us. To harbor false delusions of what Sikhi is and how release from this world is obtained, will not help one in the end, as Gurbani clearly tells us, the majority of us are consigned back to the wheel of reincarnation, and only those truly devoted to God reach a resting place.
It is often commented on that outside Punjabi culture, Sikhism is thriving whilst within Punjabi culture Sikhism is dying out; this is true in a way, as there are hundreds and thousands of white Sikhs in America and many thousands in the UK according to surveys. However it is also true that many Monna (cut haired) Punjabis are tasting the blissful flavor of the Naam, growing their hair, following the Guru's Path and becoming much better Sikhs than many of those who have kept their hair from birth. As Guru Gobind Singh said, "Without arms (weapon – kirpan) and kesh (hair) do not even bother to come into my presence." How many of us are fit to even stand before our Guru, never mind learn from Him?
In the late 80's after Bhai Anokh Singh had his eyes gouged out, abdomen slit, groin electrocuted, metal poles dug into chest and legs, whilst uttering WAHEGURU instead of screaming in pain, Bhai Sahib's last words were "Satguru, may the Sikhi and Kesh you have given me last with me till my final breaths" before his tongue was cut out with a metal saw, still finishing his Ardas at this time before being shot.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself begged in humility in front of the Panj Pyare for Amrit. Once they were created, he considered himself inferior to them when the full Panj were assembled. It is the most important thing to take the Guru's Amrit; Amrit is not the end but the beginning of a beautiful spiritual journey. Without Amrit, the Gurmantar "Waheguru" is not bestowed on the seeker in his heart and one is defined as a "Nirgurey" or one without the Guru. In Guru Granth Sahib it says "For him who is without the Guru, there is no liberation." Do not forget that Guru Gobind Singh's 47th Hukam from Nanded was; "Live and die a Kesadhari Sikh".
Do not dishonor the Gurus' sacrifices by squandering the opportunity you have been given. They have died for your freedom to practice religion which we all are guilty of squandering.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors