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Guru Nanak & The Siddhs
Living Sikhi - Lesson #28






Lesson Objectives:

1   To understand that people everywhere want to learn more about God.

2   To learn about the extreme behavior of certain sidhhs and Hindu priests of Guru Nanak's time and what He said about it.

3   To appreciate how some unbalanced people go to extremes and how their behavior becomes admired and copied.


Teachers, ask the students to say the Sikh greeting with you; then fold hands and do simran with the students.


Homework Review:

How many of you have memorized the Aarti poem composed by Guru Nanak? You will have one more week to do so.


Wherever Guru Nanak traveled, he found people who were interested in learning more about God. He enjoyed telling them about the One God and the love and bliss that comes from union with Waheguru. He listened to them and learned about their lives. He found it rather troubling though, that certain people, no matter what their country or religion, went to irrational extremes in their behavior in their devotion to God.

For example, some Hindus, Muslims and Christians thought that deliberately causing pain to their body was pleasing to God and would get them favors from God. They may have been taught that their bodies were evil. They may have felt guilty about something they did. They may have thought that going to extremes of hunger or pain will make them better, or holy, or more in control of their lives, or give them special powers. They tried to copy one another and even compete for attention. These behaviors, Guru Nanak knew, are wrong-headed, unbalanced and can be very harmful.

We know from studying his hymns that Guru Nanak taught us a balanced way of behaving, of respect for our bodies and moderation in all things. Yes, we need self-control in the normal process of living. Yet, God is in control. God made our bodies to need air, water, and sunshine, food and sleep, but not too much. We must respect this.

On one difficult journey into the mountains, Guru Nanak heard about holy men called siddhs who lived in and around the caves of the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world. These were men who thought that leaving their families, punishing themselves by - for example - standing on one leg for many days, or living outside in the heat and cold with no clothes at all, or fasting by eating no food for long stretches of time, would bring them miraculous spiritual powers.

Their conversation with Guru Nanak is recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib on pages 938-946. It is called the Siddh Gosht - The Dialogue with the Siddhs. Guru Nanak listened respectfully to their questions. He felt they sincerely wanted to learn more about the One God. He shared with them knowledge he had gained from Sach Khand, the Realm of Truth.

On another journey to Puri, Guru Nanak was at a famous Hindu temple where a priest had a large following of devotees. This priest covered his eyes and kept his nose closed, telling the people that this gave him access to God's secrets in the entire universe. People were so impressed that they gave him their gold and left rich food and clothes for him and asked his advice on all matters. Guru Nanak had a feeling he was not telling the truth, that he was a fraud.

What do you think Guru Nanak did to find out if the priest was telling the truth? No, he did not yell out: "This man is a liar! He is trying to fool you!"

Guru Nanak waited a while and then he quietly reached out and, in front of everyone, moved the bowl in which the priest kept his water. Everyone was watching carefully. The weather was very hot and he knew that the priest would soon be thirsty and would be feeling for his bowl in the spot where he had left it.

What do you think happened then? Why? Of course, when the priest felt all over the floor for his bowl, the people realized that the priest didn't know where it was. If the priest had knowledge of all the secrets of the universe, surely he would have had knowledge about where his bowl was located!

There are many people throughout history and even some today who try to get famous or rich by pretending to be holy. Sometimes these people have lots of followers, such as rock stars do. Not all of them are frauds. But how do we know? It is much safer to follow Waheguru's instructions as found in the Guru Granth Sahib, and not to be misled by human beings.

We should humbly follow God's command to be good humans and to sincerely remember Waheguru. This is the will of God, to use our God-given bodies and minds in His service - to do simran, to work honestly and to serve our community and family. Isn't it amazing that we are conscious in this wonderful human body and that it is an opportunity to become one with the One God, Waheguru!


Memorize the Aarti (See the homework of Lesson I:27, God is Everywhere)


Satgur aayo saran tuhaari


December 6, 2010



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Living Sikhi - Lesson #28"

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