Harsimran Kaur ON May 01, 2023 , IN BOOK REVIEW, The First Sikh: The life And Legacy of Guru Nanak By Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh-NON-FICTION
The True Guru, Nanak has arrived
Clearing all the dust and illuminating the eternal abode
As if the Sun rises imperturbably from the horizon
The stars steer back and the sheet of darkness is consumed.
Guru Nanak, so gloriously called ‘The First Sikh’ by the author Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh reveals the humility transcending as a ‘mortal being’ and not to depict him as an ‘anthropomorphic deity’. Guru Nanak, the philosopher and enlightener, is a sacrifice to the ‘Divine’. His succulent veneration of the ‘creator’, considering himself a ‘dust of its feet’ channelizes our vision to understand and analyze ‘who we are’ and our connection with the ‘Divine’. It further lays emphasis on if ‘morality’ is just a human misconception and ‘rationality’ a punctured rattle trap?
So, what makes the Divine happy, urges Nanak?
- Is it the Brahminical ablutions? For the moment, he sees a despicably laden human, the Brahmin runs to slither off his Spartan cloth that is still stuck by the gaze of the downtrodden.
- Or the arteriosclerosis of caste, creed and ethnicity that has subjugated the human to an oblivion where ‘me, my ego’ descents unapologetically.
What is the life Nanak requests us to follow where excrescence of ego, pride, anger and materialistic desires is incapacitated of further growth?
It is to attach your will to Divine’s will! It’s the divine will that permeates the body and soul to act in accordance to the evolving symphonies of life. Some leave us dilapidated and some are a splendid marvel to our utter bemusements. Those who utter the ‘Divine name’ are swayed across the tumultuous ocean with grace and perspicaciousness. And, those who flutter in the garb of anthropocentrism meet a devious fate.
Sikhism is a philosophy so eloquently put forward by Guru Nanak. It about understanding the divine through ‘Naam’ esoterically contemplated in the ‘Bani’ composed by the ‘Gurus’. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism is more of a reformer than a preacher. His peripatetic travels with his accompanist ‘Mardana’ are not only limited to spreading knowledge about the ‘Divine’ and its attributes but also to help create an abode where humanity is felicitated by an urge to evolve together. Are we all in cognizance to the teachings of the Guru?
- ‘Deprivation’ is a voice of the powerful siphoning their ego to make a piteous call to the less deprived.
- Woman, Oh! Woman, wear the garb of decency. The veil is the perfect accoutrement that hides the desirable you. Woman, you are the giver—the womb is a receptor that binds you to evolution. This is the best you can do, don’t ask for more.
- Soothsayers everywhere! They know not the ‘creator’s arcana’. Still they insinuate the tireless souls to look for signs that make their adversity vanish. ‘The feeble spirited’ then resort to pilgrimages, holy baths and purification rituals, not knowing that divine resides within them. ‘Naam’ is the greatest treasury Nanak wishes you to embellish yourself with.
- Megalomania has crippled our sense of belonging to the exuberant canvas of nature. Effrontery to the environment is a carte blanche—a privilege; where does it come from? Isn’t it a man-made dictum to rule over sanctuaries created by our own fissiparous proclivities?
Nanak despises all! He believed in pluralism that has presently been eroded in the effluents of polarization and religious dystopia.
In the book, ‘The First Sikh: The Life and Legacy of Guru Nanak’, the author has fastidiously contemplated Nanak’s vision about human deprivation, women subjugation and mendacious propaganda.
‘Wondrous are the ways of the Divine’, extols Nanak extrapolating a philosophy that’s forms the core of Sikhism. The ‘Khands’ or realms are the ways to connect or unite with the Divine. The five khands; Dharam Khand, Gian Khand, Saram Khand, Karam Khand and Sach Khand have been conscientiously expatiated by the author. Our being on this Earth is reflective of how we process our inner thoughts in juxtaposition to the nature and other beings, and consequently evolve by engagement with them to realize the ‘ultimate truth’ to finally become a liberated soul.
Evanescence of life is the ‘ultimate truth’ and soliciting a righteous path helps us connect to the divine and scraps off the cycle of birth and death.
The Divine, the exemplary creator watches with admiration
The fleet of birds rummaging the sky
The petals flickering, oh! So shy
The egoist clamps his head
To play tricks and create dread
The unaware pass their time in glory
Remembering the Lord is a puerile soirée
Travelling up-hill and sitting under the shade
Many have failed to find him, they prayed!
Where do I find you O ’Lord?
My legs ache, my mind wanders
You are the ‘truth’ residing
In the expanse of human charade
The truth is revealed by your ominous glance
I wait, to re-kindle to your all-pervading ‘Naam’
Guru Nanak created a philosophy, reverently followed by the successive Gurus. His poetic mystics are sacredly inscribed in the Guru Granth Sahib—the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs. Nanak’s observations and engagements with nature and people of other faiths had a profound impact on his personality. He never adorned the ‘sadhu style living’ and gave indelible importance to family life. He was not an a priori but a reflective philosopher who assessed the being as a whole and not be hammered by hierarchal norms. The Janamsakhis give the freedom to know Nanak for his reflections rather than magical poweress that he was strictly against.
In the home of virtuous living and righteous path, one connects to the divine.
The rustle of leaves has its essence
The animals gazing on the swathe of pines grass long for its affection
The dying mortal is not deprived of his benevolent glance
The intemperate minds not devoid of his guidance
The Divine resides within you! The moment we realize this truth, all ego is dispelled and humanity takes precedence.
Assiduously researched and written by Nikky….