What is the concept of Truth in Sikhi?
The concept of Truth – Sach, Sat, is basic and fundamental in Sikhi. In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji deals with the subject of Truth. The word “Truth” has different meanings in different contexts. The most important connotation of Truth is God. The Almighty is Truth (Sat Kartaar, Sat Nam, Aad Sach Jugad Sach, Hai Bhi Sach, Nanak Hosi Bhi Sach, Ap Sach Keenay Sabh Sach). Another meaning of Truth is Virtue (ਆਪੇ ਗੁਣ ਆਪੇ ਗੁਣਕਾਰੀ || Aapay Gun, Aapay Gunkaari – ang 285) which includes qualities like honesty, righteousness, justice, compassion, detachment, humility etc. The third meaning of Truth is pure, holy, sacred (Sacha Chauka Surat Ki Kaar). The fourth meaning of Truth is that which is correct and proper (ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਸਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨਹ… Jo Kichh Karay So Sat Kar Maaneh – Ang 1199). The fifth meaning of Truth is eternal happiness of bliss (ਤਉ ਤਤਹਿ ਤਤ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਵਾ ||੨੨|| Tau Tatah Tat Milay Sach Paava – Ang 341).
But who can give the Truth? God being the source of Truth gives truth (revelation) direct to the holy and the enlightened (ਜਿਸੁ ਤੂੰ ਦੇਹਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਤਾ ਤਿਨ੍ਹੀ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਇਆ || Jis Tu Deh Tis Milay Sach, Ta Tini Sach Kamaaiya – Ang 467). Secondly the Satguru (or Guru) can give Truth to the devotee through his teachings and example (ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਿਨ੍ਹੀ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ || Satguru Milay Sach Paya, Jini Vicheu Aap Gavaaiya – Ang 465). Thirdly the Saadh Sangat or Holy Congregation can impart an understanding of Truth to the disciple (ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਸਚੁ ਧਨਾ || SadhSang Paaveh Sach Dhanaa – Ang 289). So God, Guru, or Holy Congregation can grant the gift of Truth to a devotee.
The gift of Truth comes to the deserving. The Sikh must satisfy some requirements to be a candidate for the gift of Truth. He must follow the Guru’s teaching: he must do charitable and altruistic deeds; he must submit to the will of God; he must do spiritual cleansing through remembrance of the Holy Name (ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ || Mun Dhovho Shabad Lagau har siu Rahau Chit Laai – Ang 919); finally, he must pray for God’s grace (ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਤੂੰ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਸਾਚੁ || ਰੇ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਤੂੰ ਤਾ ਸਿਉ ਰਾਚੁ || Jeh Prasaad tu Paaveh Saach; Ray Man Meray Tu Ta Sio Raach – Ang 270).
In Sikhi greater than Truth is Truthful living. One must lead a life of Truth. He must speak the Truth, act the Truth and think the Truth (ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਚੁ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ || Sach karni Sach Taki Rahat – Ang 283). A noble character implies the practice of humility, compassion, meditation and a desire to serve and guide others on the spiritual path. Such a devotee earns the gift of Truth and ultimately merges with the Eternal (God) like the rain drop losing itself in the ocean.