After Mantra Jaap (recitation of God's name) which
one may do long as possible, the next step is to develop further
from mere reading of liturgy Sikh. The progression takes the form
of understanding Gurbani (Guru’s scripture),
so as one may act upon its instructions.
Gurbani - the Guru's word
A photograph of an Akali Nihang Singh reading from
Adi Guru Durbar, the paramount sacred scripture for all Sikhs
The initial liturgy, which is a selection of readings
from Adi Guru Durbar and Dasam Guru Durbar in general, is but a
launch pad to push a Sikh into the full study of the three Sikh
scriptures, original historical texts, classical arts Raag Vidiya,
Vidiya etc. and attaining 'Sampardaic' (traditional
Sikh schools Udhasi, Nirmala, Seva Panthi and Akali Nihang Singh
Khalsa) oral tradition. All the fore-mentioned are repositories
of Gurmat in particular the three Sikh scriptures.
A photograph of Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
performing kirtan (devotional music) at a Gurudwara in Canada
It is Gurmat (Guru's thinking) which
leads one to the road to appreciating what is Naam (the way to salvation)
in serving Nirankar God. Akali Nihang Mohinder Singh explained Naam
'Naam is Name/Name is that
by which we refer to someone/something. Nirankar
(formless God) Vaeh-Guru is known by his divine
Niyam (Law) Dharma (divine universal law of righteousness).
Since God is eternal His law is eternal, therefore, eternal
law is Dharma. Dharma is the divine law
which underlies all creation and harmonises all creation.
Hence Naam Simran in the philosophy of Akali
Guru Nanak,as contained in Japji Sahib, begins
on entering the spiritual sphere of Dharm Khand’.
Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in Japji Sahib (Adi Guru
Durbar, pg. 1 to 8), mentions five 'Khands' (spheres of
1. Dharam Khand (Sphere of righteousness)
2. Gian Khand (Sphere of knowledge)
3. Saram Khand (Sphere of hard work)
4. Karam Khand (Sphere of divine grace and action)
5. Sach Khand (Sphere of eternal truth)
The first of these Khands is, ‘Dharm
Khand’. Hence Dharm Khand is the first step in appreciation
of Dharma meaning Naam Simran.
As one contemplates upon the Almighty, one sees
the Almighthy within creation and sees beyond Maya (the illusion
of creation itself)
Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji speaks of Dharm Khand (Sphere
of Righteousness) thus:
‘In night, seasons, months, weeks.
Wind, water and earth.
Is bound the earth which is a house of Dharma.
On the earth are many life forms of a myriad different habits
Their names are beyond count
According to our previous Karma we appreciate this.
Truth is himself, truth is his court.
There the five elect find honour.
By glance of Satgur's grace are these elect marked.
Only there do we know who are ripened or un-ripened.
Says Nanak only there is the truth known.’
('Adi Guru Durbar', Japji Sahib)
In the first Khand, a person is shown by the Guru
that there is a natural order of things in the universe. This world
is a, ‘Dharm Sal’, a house of Dharma,
a house of Vaeh-Guru, meaning a place of righteous
All things perform their righteous set duties. Likewise,
an individual learning from this natural order of things should
find his/her place in this natural order. In other words, they begin
their spiritual journey by seeing loving Vaeh-Guru in all and treating
the world around them as a 'Dharma Sal' and thus respecting all
things in it accordingly. It is only with Karma
(deeds/destiny) that one can appreciate that the world is a 'Dharm
Sal' and thus enter Dharm Khand.
The Guru further explains that many times this
spiritual journey is impeded by one's own judgmental attitude towards
others born of one's own self-conceit that "I know best and
my way is best".
Consequences of Ego
Pride, anger, ignorance, lust, etc. are products of ego
and lead a person away from the path of inner enlightenment and
In conclusion, the Guru makes it clear in this stanza
33 of Japji Sahib, that God alone elects and honours the righteous
and stands as judge in His court overall. There is no other to judge.
So, the Guru teaches that we should not judge others,
but leave that to Va-eh Guru. We are to perform righteous duty as
best we can.
Hence, key points of Dharma Khand, the starting point
of a Sikh's spiritual journey of ‘Naam Simran’, are:
- One starts one's spiritual journey according with
ones Karma only
- Look upon world as 'Dharm Sal'
- Have opinions by all means but do not judge
- Act righteously having faith in God's justice