Whatever kind of seed is sown in a field, prepared in due season, a plant of that same kind, marked with the peculiar qualities of the seed, springs up in it. – Guru Nanak Lessons
Here is how I got introduced to the life lessons from Guru Nanak: As a college student, I remember reading the books of Khushwant Singh and Ruskin Bond whole day long. To date, I’ve read these writers over a dozen times.
The writings of Ruskin Bond taught me about the happiness one can find in smaller things and how a writer can satisfy himself writing charming stories on them.
On the other hand, the books of Khushwant Singh kindled my love towards words of Guru Nanak and Urdu poetry. The books of these two writers are the examples of pearls of wisdom.
It was then when I was still a schoolboy and staying with my parents. Opposite to our house stayed a Sikh family. Every morning, I heard the Gurbani (Guru’s words) coming from their television.
Although my father himself from a Sikh family and preached Guru Nanak, I never saw him visiting Gurudwara (Sikh Temple). But before leaving the house for his job, he would bow down before a portrait of Guru Nanak.
My mother never preached Sikhism, for she grew up in a Hindu family. Quite often, you could find her singing the name of Ram.
The music of Gurubani particularly appealed to me. I always wanted to play the Gurubani on our TV, but the thought of my mother and her religion impeded me every time.
After long years, when I admitted to college, I got introduced to the words of Guru Nanak through the books of Khushwant Singh. From then I became curious about the Sikhism and read English translation of Guru Granth Sahib.
I found the English translation monotonous. The English version had lost the rhythm and original meaning of the hymns, perhaps. So I read commentary on Guru Granth Sahib including the translation by Khushwant Singh.
Among those few books, Thus says Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Sawan Singh. The book is a collection of about one thousand references and quotations from Gurbani in Gurmukhi as well as in Roman scripts with their translation in English on 65 topics.
In this blog, I’ve written down some of my favorite hymns that I’ve collected from the above-mentioned book; may the words of Guru Nanak enlighten your intellects.
1. Guru Nanak On Religious Rituals
- They worship lifeless stones and serve the tombs of the dead; all their efforts are useless. (SGGS:332)
- One stone is lovingly decorated, while another stone is walked upon. (SGGS: 525)
- The stone does not speak; it does not give anything to anyone. Such religious rituals are useless; such service is fruitless. – Guru Nanak lessons
- Within the home of his own self, he does not even come to see his Lord and Master. And yet, around his neck, he hangs a stone. (SGGS: 739)
- Some apply ceremonial marks to their foreheads, hold a rosary in their hands, and wear religious robes. Some people think that the Lord is a play-thing. (SGGS: 1138)
- Yoga does not consist of abandoning one’s household and roaming in the world. (SGGS: 909)
2. Guru Nanak On Fasting
- Keeping fast according to the lunar days is of no account to God. (SGGS: 1099)
- He does not eat food; he tortures his body. (SGGS: 467)
- Some refuse to eat; what can be done with these fools? (SGGS: 1285)
- Keeping fasts and making vows of all sorts- none of these are equal to the contemplation of the name of the Lord. (SGGS: 265)
3. Guru Nanak Lessons On A Man’s Attitude
- Be humble in this world, O Nanak, and by His grace, you shall be carried across. (SGGS: 259)
- Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra. (SGGS: 1384)
- My mind has become the dust of all, and everyone seems a sweet friend to me. (SGGS: 379)
- Compassion for all the creature is the essence of acts of pilgrimage of sixty-eight holy places and charities. (SGGS: 136)
- Decorate yourself with truth, contentment, compassion, and righteousness. (SGGS: 812)
- Nanak, by speaking unpleasant words, one’s body and mind become insipid. One is called foul-mouthed and one’s reputation becomes indifferent. (SGGS: 870)
4. Guru Nanak Lessons On Wisdom and Education
- A fool is the educated one if one indulges in ego, greed, and avarice. (SGGS: 140)
- If you deliberate over your education only then you will become a benefactor to all. (SGGS: 356)
- To speak too much is useless. (SGGS: 661)
- If one converses with the saint, one earns merit, but if one speaks with an unwise man, it is a waste of breath. (SGGS: 870)
- Jealousy brings terrible pain and our all three places (thought, word, and deed) are accursed. (SGGS::1091)
5. Guru Nanak Lessons On Mind
- If you conquer your own mind, the whole world will be yours. (SGGS: 6)
- Those persons who fight with their minds are brave and distinguished heroes. (SGGS: 1089)
- When anxiety and wanderings come to an end, the mind becomes happy. (SGGS: 1415)
6. Guru Nanak On Achieving Goals
- Within your mind, make patience your bow, and make your bowstring of patience. Make patience the arrow, the creator will not let you miss the target. – Guru Nanak (SGGS: 1384)
- Without conquering his mind, no one can be successful; concentrate on it. (SGGS: 650)
- Sleeping a little and eating a little is the quintessence of ideas. (SGGS: 939)
- Prompted by the Guru, I made an effort; and made a beginning. (SGGS: 399)
7. Guru Nanak Lessons On Perishable
- The body is a wall of water, supported by the pillars of air; the egg and sperm are the mortar. The framework is made up of bones, flesh, and veins; the poor soul-bird dwells within it. – Guru Nanak
- Wealth, the beauty of youth and flowers are guests for only a few days. (SGGS: 23)
- Moment by moment yesterday passed. Today is passing as well. (SGGS: 1352)
- Death does not ask the time; it does not ask the date or the day of the week. (SGGS: 65)
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