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Introduction To The Book 'The Ten Gurus' By Jaspinder Singh Grover
The term 'Guru' is quite common in the Indian culture, but in Sikhism it enjoys a very distinct meaning. Guru epitomizes a spiritual teacher who enlightens His disciples for their all round development, inculcates in them devotion and Godly love, shows them a path of righteousness and justice, heals them with the medicine of 'Naam', refines their thought processes leading them into a state of equipoise, instills in them a spirit of service to their community and teaches them the art of attaining liberation while leading the life of a householder.
Of what form is the Sikh Guru ? What are His attributes ? Is it necessary for Him to manifest in physical form ? Who must Sikhs consider their Guru ? How does the Guru communicate with His disciples ?
What strikes the mind of a Sikh when he hears the term Guru ? Immediately the mind shoots off to the ten Sikh Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind, who seeded the Sikh religion and helped it sprout into a dynamic faith that has elevated and reformed millions of lives for more than five centuries. Of what form then is the Sikh Guru who continues to influence the consciousness of the masses long after He discontinued His physical presence on earth ? It is vital to comprehend the meaning of 'Guru' in Sikhism. When we say that Sikhs had ten Gurus or as the title of this book 'The Ten Gurus - Life and Teachings' does, are we really talking about ten different individuals or about individuals at all ?
As Guru Gobind Singh very succinctly puts it for us in His composition 'Bachitra Naatak'-----
Nanak metamorphosed into Angad,
and preached Sikhism around the world.
He was then revered as Amardas,
just as a candle is lit from another candle.
At time opportune of the boon, Ramdas became the Guru,
while Amardas ascended the heavenly abodes.
I recognise Angad as Nanak and Amardas as Angad.
Amardas then became Ramdas.
While the fools have seen them as distinct,
the saints recognise them as one.
Those who have deciphered the similarity,
have attained liberation which has evaded the ignorant.
When Ramdas became one with almighty,
Guruship was passed to Arjan.
When Arjan passed into eternal realms,
Hargobind took his place.
Hargobind gave way to Hari Rai.
Hari Rai's son Hari Krishan then became the Guru,
To be followed by Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Guru Gobind has thus emphasized that the Ten Gurus are to be seen as one soul that transmigrated from one body to another. It is the soul in Them, and the 'Divine Word' it revealed, which is to be looked upon as the Guru, and not their physical body. Though Sikhs consider them God and might worship them, the Gurus themselves always preached the existence of ----
One Immanent and Transcendent God Whose name is True, Who is the Creator Himself, Fearless and inimical to none, Who is beyond the cycle of births and deaths, Who is Self Illumined and Who is realised by His own Grace.
Guru Gobind Singh Said-------
Who was in the beginning and Who will be in the end, Consider Him my Guru.
|Chaupaee(Guru Gobind Singh Ji)|
So what exactly is the Sikh Guru ? Is he God born in human form ? No ! None of the ten Gurus considered themselves incarnates of God, it is only the Sikh people who saw them as one. The Sikh doctrine and scriptures, however, emphasize that God is beyond births and deaths and strictly discard the concept of incarnation of God. It is only because of the Divine qualities of the ten Gurus that Sikhs consider them to be no less than incarnates. Even this book takes the liberty to use the term 'incarnation' for their, just to differentiate the event from the birth of ordinary mortals.
The life of each of the Gurus is a specimen of a True Sikh's life and if we succeed in applying even a tithe of the principles They taught, we would end up taking our lives to unconquered spiritual heights. Each life of the Guru brought forth some distinct human quality or moral principle whose inculcation is to be cherished by each Sikh. While Guru Nanak was an idol of 'Humility', Guru Angad immortalized 'Obedience', Guru Amardas fortified the spirit of 'Equality', Guru Ramdas demonstrated the essence of ' Selfless Devotional Service', Guru Arjan Dev established the importance of 'Self Sacrifice', Guru Hargobind was an apostle of 'Justice', Guru Har Rai sanctified 'Mercy', Guru Harkrishan idolized ' Purity', Guru Tegh Bahadar was an ocean of 'Calmness' and Guru Gobind Singh embodied 'Royal Courage'.
The study of their lives provides us with a clue as to how they were able to uplift millions of lives from a state of moral degradation and set up a system capable of reforming generations to follow. Guru Nanak wanted not mere philosophy but practical application of the ideology called Sikhism. He felt that to make any significant impact and bring about a long lasting spiritual awakening, and elevation of diseased human souls, His message needed to be deeply embedded in the socio-cultural consciousness of the masses, and for that to happen it had to be injected into several generations. He thus chose to pass on the 'Divine Light' to Guru Angad and henceforth successively to each of the ten Gurus. Each of the Gurus dedicated their entire lives to the task initiated by Guru Nanak. When the tenth Guru felt that Sikhism was on firm footing and could survive and grow on its own, He declared 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' to be the Guru forever. Sikhs have thereafter depended on the Holy Granth to obliterate all their doubts and reveal to them the true purpose of life. The Guru thus manifested in physical form to start with, and acquired the form of 'Word' thereafter. It is thus the 'Word' which is the real Sikh Guru and the ten Nanaks were just messengers who delivered us the 'Divine Word'. Lets make a humble effort to look at their special lives hoping to learn some valuable lessons of humanity and service.
|SRI GURU NANAK DEV JI|
|Guru Nanak's Incarnation||14|
|The Detached Child||14|
|Who Could Teach the All Aware ?||15|
|The Sacred Thread||16|
|The Carefree Shepherd||17|
|Snake Provides Shades||18|
|The Ideal Deal||19|
|The Storekeeper with Endless Stocks||20|
|Disappearance into Vai River||21|
|Chapaatis of Milk and Blood||23|
|Encounter with Sajjan Thag||24|
|Watering His Fields from Haridwar||25|
|Kartarpur is Established||26|
|Shivnabh Seeks Forgiveness||26|
|Kauda Giant's Reformation||27|
|Journey of Uttarakhand||28|
|Baba Buddha becomes a Sikh||28|
|God is Omnipresent : The Miracle at Mecca||29|
|The Tale of Chashmaa Sahib||30|
|The Tale of Panjaa Sahib||31|
|Passing into Eternal Realms||33|
|GURU ANGAD DEV JI|
|Lahna Ji is Born||
The Ten Gurus - Book By Jaspinder Singh Grover