Today is Vaisakhi (a festival celebrated across India especially in the Punjab region by the Sikh community); It is celebrated as the day of the Khalsa in Punjab. Today is the day when the Khalsa clan was started by Guru Gobind Singh to protect dharma, destroy evil, and uplift human values.
Guru Gobind Singh’s message is so relevant today.
He said, ‘You should be dynamic, and still be soft in the heart. You should be inwardly spiritual. Be a Sant Sepahi, a saint and a soldier, together.’
He meant, you have to stand up against injustice. You cannot just be a saint and say, ‘Okay, whatever has happened, let it happen!’ You should stand against injustice, and simultaneously, be compassionate within you, like a saint.
It was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, who established this rare combination of firmness and softness.
When Guru Gobind Singh left this world, he said, ‘After me, the next Guru is the book, Granth. All the knowledge is kept in this Granth. This is the Guru; your guiding light.’
Thus, in all the Gurudwaras (places of worship of the Sikh) you will find the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture.
The wisdom that these scriptures bring out to humanity is invaluable. The story of sixteen different saints and their teachings are compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sikhism had ten Gurus. The story of all the ten Gurus of the Sikh tradition is so heartwarming and uplifting. It is one of sacrifice. The gurus sacrificed everything they had for the sake of protection of the good, the innocent, and the righteous. People were given the cream of knowledge in simple, understandable words.
There is a beautiful story about Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru.
When his parents would ask him to go and sell things, he would do so. However, as he would start counting from one, he would get stuck at 13, as tera (in Hindi) means yours. So, even while doing work, his mind was never in work, it was always immersed in the Divine. Guru Nanak said, ‘I am yours, I am yours, I am yours.’
Guru Nanak’s life was filled with pure love, wisdom, and valor.
There is a beautiful greeting in the Sikh tradition, ‘Sat Sri Akal’. It is one of the best greetings in the world. Sa means Truth, Sri means Wealth, and Akal means Eternal, i.e., Truth is the real wealth, which is really eternal.
The eternal transcendental Divinity is the truth, and that is the real wealth.
So, all of you have gained the real wealth here, by meditating, getting into that inner space. That is truth. That is Sat Sri Akal.
Many people simply say, ‘Sat Sri Akal’, without knowing the meaning of it. It is one of the best greetings, as it reminds you when you meet anybody, that truth is the real eternal wealth.
The greeting that you exchange is all about spirituality, eternal knowledge; reminding yourself of the true wealth. Isn’t that so beautiful?
Jo Bole So Nihal! Sat Sri Akal: One who says it, (Sat Sri Akal) they will exalt.
Nihal means Exaltation; you will get uplifted. Saying, ‘Sat Sri Akal’; not only does it fill you with valor, but it also fills you with the spirit of eternal being.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said, ‘Oḿ ity ekākṣaraḿ brahma vyāharan mām anusmaran yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaḿ sa yāti paramāḿ gatim’(Chapter 8, Verse 13). The Brahman, the all prevailing Divinity, is called Om.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, it is said, ‘Ek Onkar Sat Naam’, there is only one Om, which is the true name for infinity.
Om is the eternal sound that exists in the depth of one’s consciousness. If you go to the ocean and listen carefully to the waves, you will find the same sound, Om. If you go on top of a mountain and listen to the wind blowing, you will hear the sound Om. Before this birth, we were all in Om. After this birth, after we all die, we will merge into that cosmic sound, Om. Even now, in the depth of creation, that sound still resonates.
So, in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism, in all these religions, Omkar (Om chanting) is given so much prominence.
I feel Amen (in Christianity) and Amin (in Islam) is also another form of Om only. So, Om is this one word for the eternal, diverse consciousness.
Today is also celebrated as a New Year in Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.