Principles and Concepts

What are the five virtues, according to Sikhi?

The Virtue, of having the ability to do good, is a greed aid to the achievement of peace and happiness. Self control itself is a great virtue, because the mind usually turns to brooding on evil. Control over the organs of action – Karma Indries – is really necessary. The mischief of the tongue and the eye must be assessed or controlled. Bhai Gurdas insisted on the cultivation of sweet speech, toleration and charity.

Truth occupies the first place in the virtues recommended by the Sikh Gurus. According to Guru Nanak, “Truth is the remedy for all ills, it washes away all sins.” Truth includes righteousness, honesty, justice, impartiality and fair play. A ‘Truthful living’ is actually a life lived according to the pattern set by the Sikh Gurus.

Contentment is another virtue. A contented mind is free from ambition, envy, greed and jealousy. Without contentment, it is impossible to acquire peace of mind.

Patience is another quality which a Sikh ought to cultivate. Patience gives courage to put up bravely with all the slings and arrows of outraged a fortune. Forbearance, particularly when one is in a position to punish one’s opponent, is a great asset.

Perfect faith in the Guru is the fourth virtue which the Sikh has to cultivate and develop. Faith implies considering the Guru’s teaching as infallible and following it in daily life. The Guru often tests the devotee. A True Sikh will never lose faith or follow any one except his Guru. Those whose faith is diluted or deficient cannot serve the Guru truly or gain the goal of their heart’s desire.

Another virtue is compassion (Daya). This implies considering another’s difficulty or sorrow as one’s own and helping to relieve it as far as possible. Compassion also includes the overlooking of imperfections and mistakes of others, for to err is human. The Gurus admired those Sikhs who observed others’ faults, but did not expose them to their disadvantage.

The Sikh regards the practice of virtue as a means to an end. His goal is the integration of the human personality with spiritual realization.