Are We Performing?

February 7, 2023

Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!

In today's world, many assume the garbs that denote certain religious behaviors without actually living out those behaviors—those with power perform intellect, knowledge, religiosity, and piety. Is this a new phenomenon, or has it always been there?

We turn to a conversation that Guru Nanak Sahib most likely had with the religious experts in Benares, the most famous Hindu holy city. The Guru speaks in their language and tone, recognizing that those seeking these conversations are typically looking to score or win an intellectual debate.

In the first couplet of Salok Sahaskriti, the Guru describes the behavior of the Brahmins and the Pandits — those with power and influence in society due to their religious status. They read religious books, offer prayers, and engage in arguments. They worship stone idols and sit idle in meditation. They tell lies and present those lies as truth. They reflect on mantras that seek security in intellect. They wear the garbs of holy people — rosaries around their necks, marks on their foreheads, wear loincloths — to skirt around actually living out the virtues. They go through the motions of performing religiosity and piety to justify their power and influence. However, they are caught up in only the garb, the performance, the knowledge, and the intellect.

Are we doing the same?
Are we performing?

The Guru guides the being who knows the religious practice of realizing the Supreme Being develops the conviction that all these rituals are useless. That being meditates on the Supreme Being with conviction. But without the true Guru, one cannot find the path.

We pause.
We reflect.

We see people who intellectualize and spend their time arguing for entertainment and clout. We see people selling us lifestyles they do not follow themselves.

The Guru guides.

Without living the religious practice of realizing IkOankar, the One, all things are useless. Without living the knowledge, all pieces of knowledge are worthless. When we change behavior and foster a relationship with the One, we develop this deep conviction: all rituals are useless. Then devotion enters us; we speak the truth. Without it, we lie for our benefit, cherry-pick, and manipulate our ends. When we become truth-oriented, insight graces us.

Will we bring these virtues within us?
Will we rise from our need to display our intellect?
Or
Will we continue to seek a lifestyle of power and intellectual one-upmanship?

May we yearn to become truth-oriented.
May the Wisdom-Guru guide us!

Watch, Listen, Read

Guru Nanak Sahib: "1-Ness to 1-Identity”: Questioning Prevailing Conventions

“Guru Nanak Sahib: 1-Ness to 1-Identity” exhibition is a tribute to the commemoration of Guru Nanak Sahib’s 550th Prakash Purab (Illumination Day). Launched at the National Museum, Delhi, India, February 2020.

Episode 6: Keeping Our Thoughts Clean

This podcast brings us to Haridwar, a town that lies on the banks of the Ganges river. Guru ji challenges the thinking of the men whom he meets at the river.

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In the fourth composition of the “Sabad Hajare Patisahi 10” (popularly Shabad Hazare Patshahi 10) series, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib proclaims to the world that he seeks the protection from only the 1-Divine; his honor and dignity are with the 1.

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