The Method

Sikhs employ a variety of means to find their way to the true God. These include meditation, devotion, and proper thoughts and actions. The gurus are examples of those who wrote and spoke with Divine authority. In the absence of those leaders, their writings serve the faithful today as guide and guru.

Meditation is one of the means and is mentioned in a number of sacred writings. Nanak says that we ought to "meditate on His Name at morn, wet with the ambrosia of daybreak." One's mind ought to "meditate on the Lord and get bliss." The servants of the guru "meditate on the Word, and they find the quintessence of God within." And, "he who meditates on the Word and knows himself, realizes Him." By contrast, those "who have not meditated on the Name, ... will suffer the cycle of birth and death."14

The Adi Granth, too, holds meditation in high esteem: "Honoured are they in His shrine [w]ho meditate upon Him." Through meditation on the name of God one attains "the height of happiness." A 15th century disciple named Dhanna said, "I centred my mind on the Lord in deep absorption, [i]t entered into my heart that He is one."15 In Arjun's Sukhmani, similarly, tells us that we "must meditate upon and remember the Name of God...."16 Gobind Singh says that we ought to "dwelleth upon God's Effulgent light, night and day, and thinketh not of another."17

Certain ethical standards are also expected of the faithful. The Sukhmani states that those "whose mind's evil desires vanish from his heart," and who, "having conquered (controlled) his evil instincts, frees himself from the five deadly sins." Those sins include lust, anger, greed, false love, and ego.18 For Nanak, "the desires of the mind dissolve" when "the lotus of the heart is upturned to be filled with nectar," and one "merges in the primeval Lord." By the "practice of the Word... erased is vice from with [the] mind...."19

Devotion, in all its forms, is also an important means to realize the Light of God. For Nanak, "one attains bliss through devotion to God." It is through "loving adoration of Him that one attains unto God." Therefore we ought to "pray to the true guru." We are further encouraged to "worship thy Lord with Love."20 The Adi Granth states that when we "pray to the Lord, ... the soul is happy."21 The Sukhmani agrees that we obtain the gifts of God "by making earnest prayers." Even "the worst sinners, brutes, sprites, fools, and stone?hearted people obtain union with Him , by worshipping and remembering Him and His Name." Those who remember the Name of God "and sincerely worship Him, shall be remembered." The "mortal is advised to sincerely love the True Guru, with full devotion." We "must meditate upon and remember the Name of God in the company of the true saints." Similarly, we ought to "[p]ray to God on the society of true saints." We are further encouraged to "worship thy Lord with Love."22

The faithful are frequently reminded to remember and repeat the Name of God. The Sukhmani defines the Name of God as "the Supreme Power and Light of God." One "gains union with God... by remembering Him and repeating His Name." By remembering the Name of God, "the Divine Light shines within the heart." Only "some very rare man tastes the Nectarine Name," so only "very fortunate ones repeat the Name of God."23

Similarly, Nanak enjoins us to know God by knowing His name, and familiarizing ourselves with the Word of God with the help of the Guru. These are all inter?related; the Guru can be understood as one of the ten gurus, or their words that have been recorded in the holy scriptures. To know God and His Name, the Nanak tells us to look within ourselves:

Searching his body, his home,
By the master's instructions one finds
The Name revealed within.

Subsequently, those "who are imbued with the Name remain intoxicated with bliss day and night." We attain this "treasure of love through the guru.... by decorating herself with the Word, the bride merges herself in the Lord." By "hearing the Word, devotees ever live in a state of bliss... they are absolved of all sins and sorrows." One realizes God "through the unstruck melody of the Word, by the guru's grace... it is through the guru?saint that one attains to God." Meeting with the guru, the believer "becomes the embodiment of bliss, of unparalleled beauty and incomprehensible." In the poetry of the Divine Word,

If we are dyed in the Name
We attain to our home of immortal bliss.

Ask of thy Guru what he commands
To guide thy life.
"Give abode to the Word in thy mind
And let the pain of ego be burned out.
In the state of sahaj, unite with the Lord;
And merge in the truest of the true."24

In Sikhism, uniting with God and experiencing His light and bliss are integral components of the sacred writings. To experience the Divinity within onesself is to experience, in a sense, death itself. Death is a state of bliss; the object for the devotee is to escape the otherwise endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Only by uniting with the True God within can we achieve permanent escape from this present life of suffering, and lies. To do that in Sikhism, one must meditate, pray, and live by the Word of God.




Divine Encounters
The Method


site design
site last modified on 05/28/06
"Divine Encounters"
copyright © Brian A. Bain
all other content copyright © 1999-2012