Sacred Literature & Sikh Studies

In Chaupai Sahib, Guru Ji prays to destroy the enemies but in Ardaas we pray for the welfare of humanity. Explain.

We mistakenly assume our enemies to be human beings. In spiritual life our enemies are those who mislead us from the path of truth and put us in trouble. The major ones among them are lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego. They are called ‘diseases’ or ‘devils’ which ‘kill’ our soul. They attack our mind and fill it with vices destroying its virtues.

i) ਪੰਚ ਦੋਖ ਅਸਾਧ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕੇਤਕ ਆਸ ||੧||
“One who is filled with the five incurable vices – what hope is there for him? ||1||”
(Ang 486)

ii) ਪੰਚ ਬਿਖਾਦੀ ਏਕੁ ਗਰੀਬਾ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਰਾਖਨਹਾਰੇ ||
ਖੇਦੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਰੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਸੰਤਾਵਹਿ ਆਇਓ ਸਰਨਿ ਤੁਹਾਰੇ ||੧||
“The five vicious thieves are assaulting my poor being; save me, O Savior Lord! They are tormenting and torturing me. I have come, seeking Your Sanctuary. ||1||”
(Ang 205)

iii) ਵਾਤ ਵਜਨਿ ਟੰਮਕ ਭੇਰੀਆ || ਮਲ ਲਥੇ ਲੈਦੇ ਫੇਰੀਆ ||
ਨਿਹਤੇ ਪੰਜਿ ਜੁਆਨ ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਥਾਪੀ ਦਿਤੀ ਕੰਡਿ ਜੀਉ ||੧੮||
“The bugles play and the drums beat. The wrestlers enter the arena and circle around. I have thrown the five challengers to the ground, and the Guru has patted me on the back. ||18||”
(Ang 74)

Out of these ‘enemies’, ego is the strongest one of all. However, there is a method to control it. If blessed by the Lord, the person meditates of His virtues and destroys his ego. This is mentioned in the Gurbani .

ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ||
ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਜੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਤਾ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਹਿ ||
ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਜਨਹੁ ਇਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਦੁਖ ਜਾਹਿ ||੨||
“Ego is a chronic disease, but it is not incurable. If the Lord grants His Grace, one acts according to the Teachings of the Guru’s Shabad. Nanak says, listen, people: in this way, troubles depart. ||2||”
(Ang 466)

Gurbani teaches us to give up all Five and follow the path of Gurmat; obey the Will of the Lord rather than obeying these evil thoughts. (Ang 9 Guru Granth Sahib) May also be mentioned that the above hymn, in the beginning of the Rehras, refers to spiritual life and not to physical life. It means “I can live only if I remember the Divine Name. I die if I forget the Divine-Name.” This life of death of a person is not related to the body; it refers to the soul. It tells that the soul is ‘dead’ if one does not love God.

We conclude that the Sikhs wish well for all humanity; they have no enemies. Evil thoughts or vices are to be avoided by a Sikh. In physical terms, the Sikh philosophy says that if any violence is committed against an innocent person, he has a right to take up arms, to defend himself and the virtues he practices. While doing so he does not nurse any enmity against any individual, but he is protecting himself against that wrong thought which led the person to commit the violence.