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The Road to Anandpur:
Basics - The Writings of Bhai Ardaman Singh of Bagrian





Every school of thought, every great religion, has, in fact, the same goal in view, which is to provide the human mind with tranquillity, stability, calm, and bliss.

They are all, in a way, together at the bottom and meet again at the top. It is in between that differences and troubles lie. Political considerations and ambitions, social systems and rituals, selfish interests and rivalries, tend to separate them and create schisms and classes.

Sikhism asserts that all true religions are not, in fact, opposed to each other. They are all one, if they come to accept compassion as the fountain-head of virtues and consider spiritual elevation, the forging of individual character, and the formation of a society of men-of-God, as their aim.

The Tenth Master, in Akal Ustat, says:

The Creator (Hindu 'karta'), the Beneficent (Muslim 'karim'), are the same.
The Provider and the Merciful are the same;
Let no one even by mistake suppose there is any difference.
Worship the One God, who is the One Divine Guru for all.
Know that His Form is One,
And that He is the One Light diffused in all.
The temple and the mosque are the same;
The Hindu worship and the Mussalman prayer are the same.
All men are the same,
It is through error they appear different.

Originally, all the religions come into being to provide the human mind with peace and eternal bliss. They have different approaches, but are all seeking to reach the top. Some of them are circuitous and tough and some are short and straight. Some are difficult, while some are easy to tread. Some of them are full of obstacles and labyrinths, while some pass through wilderness and jungles full of ferocious and poisonous predators. Through some, people are able somehow to pass, while in others they get lost.

Sikhism has its own approach. It steers clear of formalism, ritualism, religious hypocrisy, spiritual stunts and acrobatics, austerities, and other physical sufferings. It is a lesson in life: how to live it purposefully and successfully so that it may be ‘approved’ here and in the hereafter.

Sikhism enjoins upon us to fulfil our duty both towards the Creator and His creation where He has been pleased to send us. This life has to be lived joyfully and cheerfully and not bewailing and repenting. Duty is confined to effort: diligent, hearty, hard and consistent effort. The result, the fruit, lies in the hands of the Omnipotent Bestower. Whatever the Bestower in His
pleasure bestows, is to be accepted without grumbling.

The Fifth Master says:

Whatever Thou bestoweth satiates;
I wander not elsewhere.

We have to earn the pleasure and blessing of the Master. Our work, our efforts and our actions should be such as not only to create love for the Master in us like other sufi and bhagti marg people, but also the aim is that the Master may begin to like and love us.

In Jap, Guru Nanak sings:

What should I say and how should I act so that He may start loving me?
If our actions are ‘approved’, the Grace of the Master will liberate us. The focus is significantly more on righteous living than on theoretical discussions. The Satguru says :

Truth is great; but greater still is truthful living.

In this way we come to a sort of dharam chakkar - the Circle of Law. If our actions are good, we please the Lord, and when He is pleased, we meet the Guru. When we meet the Guru, his touch generates the inherent godly virtues and values in us and our actions become good and get ‘approved’.

So this circle goes on as an escalator.

But this we have to catch and step upon, wherever we can, to go up. The easiest way is, therefore, to run to the Guru and cling to his Lotus Feet. When we have got hold of the Guru’s Feet, he will, no doubt, try to disentangle his Feet from our grasp. But the Guru is not averse to it. By this, he only wants to test our faith, our devotion and our persistent patience. If we stand and pass the test, the Guru will pervade us. It is then the Guru who functions, and we become only his instruments.

When the Guru resides in us, he brings along all his forces, strength, power, treasures and high spirit. As the Guru is inseparable from God, the Supreme Being (Akal Purakh) also comes with him. Then both God and Guru (Waheguru) manifest in us.

A Khalsa then becomes a lakh and a quarter from a single individual.

This approach being the shortest and straightest, is naturally tough and difficult. The main problem to solve in this way is the moulding of the mind to proper attitude. But this is the easiest way which takes us to Anandpur, the city of calm, cheerfulness, and eternal bliss.


The whole structure of Sikhism is based on the conception of the Formless Eternal Being. The conception of our God-head is that of the Formless and Timeless Reality, Truth, that was and shall ever be. So our Guru now is also formless as the Shabad.

Similarly, our way of worship is also formless, being solely devotional singing. The two main pillars on which the structure of Sikhism stands, are simran and seva.

[Courtesy: “Thoughts of Bhai Ardaman Singh”, compiled by Bhai Ashok Singh. Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, Punjab. Edited for]

June 21, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Harminder Singh (Jalandhar, Punjab), June 21, 2013, 11:52 PM.

Thanks for explaining the Sikh tenets in such a beautiful way. To remember God and serve humanity are two basic principles that guide our lives.

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Basics - The Writings of Bhai Ardaman Singh of Bagrian"

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