Is Sikhi a faith of hope and optimism?
Yes, the Gurus prescribed the sovereign remedy of Naam (the Name of God) as the panacea for all mortal ills. While some religions condemn men as miserable sinners destined to damnation and the unending fire of hell, Sikhi believes that there is hope even for the worst man. Koda the cannibal, and Sajjan the thug, were reclaimed to good life by Guru Nanak with the gift of Naam.
All is never lost. If man realizes his mistakes and shifts the centre of his life from the lower self to the higher self, he can attain to the highest goal. But this change comes through an understanding of the Guru’s word (Bani) and God’s Grace. In moments of crises, even the most pious and virtuous of men may succumb to temptation. Undoubtedly, evil and sorrow test the mettle of man, but his true support through all his trial is his faith in God and prayers for His Grace.
Sikhi is a practical religion. It shows mankind how to live a worthy and useful life in the world. It teaches him how to face and overcome evil through selfless service, devotion to duty. man can work his way to self-realization. If he trusts in God, feels that he is with Him, and that He will guide him to his goal. When a Sikh has to face trial and torture when everything seems lost, he prays for Divine guidance from his scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, and bears all difficulties with faith and fortitude. Gurbani (The Guru’s Word) affords him true solace and enables him to accept the Divine will (Hukam) patiently. He prays in a spirit of dedication and not with the expectation of reward. A true Sikh never despairs even in the most adverse circumstances. He feels that he is in the company of the Guru, this gives him strength and he can then face every crisis with courage and an unshakable faith in God and the Guru.
Sikhi is suited to the challenges of the modern age. Mr. Bunker, ex ambassador of USA to India, and a Christian, once said: “The Cardinal principles of Sikhism are very much akin to my own religion. It is a religion for our time.”
As pointed out by Dr. Arnold Toynbee, “In the coming religious debate, the Sikh religion and its scripture the Aad Granth, will have something of special value to say to the rest of the world.”