5. Goal | Sikhi
The next issue is as to what is the goal in Sikhism:
In this field the Gurus have made a completely radical departure from the general religious tradition, more especially from the Indian tradition.
Many misunderstandings about the ideology, growth and history of Sikhism, arise because of the fallacious assumption that goal in Sikhism is the same as in the other Indian religions.
The Gurus have explained their views about the spiritual goal of man by enunciating 5 principles. All of them point to the same conclusion about the ideal life.
(a) Righteous deeds alone the basis of man's spiritual assessment:
In the first hymn of Cosmography, Guru Nānak suggests what should be the role of man on earth, which has been declared to be a place for the practice of righteousness.
The assessment of man, Guru Nānak says, will be made on the basis and character of his deeds. This idea has been repeated in numerous hymns like.
"With God only the deeds one does in this world, count."
“Through virtue is one enlightened."
(b) Higher than Truth is Truthful living:
Guru Nānak states, "Everything is lower than Truth, but higher still is truthful living”:
It is just a symbolic way of emphasizing that the ideal is to live the active life of truth and not only to know Truth as an end in itself. The goal is to live an active and creative life.
"True living is, living God in life."
(c) Carry out the Will of God:
Guru Nānak specifically raises the question as to how one can be a true human-being, or an ideal man. Then he himself provides the answer: "By carrying out the Will of God".
The Gurus conceive of God as a God of Will, Dynamic, Attributive and Creative. God is always nurturing the world with a benevolent eye.
For man, the ideal life is to carry out His Will. The goal is not only to establish union with God, nor only to know his Will, but after having done that, to carry it out.
The ideal is not blissful union as an end in itself, but union in order to be God's instrument or agent in the world. Therefore, in Sikhism it involves a life of continuous moral activity.
(d) God-conscious man:
On the question of Haumain, we came to the conclusion that the Gurus lay down God- consciousness as the ideal. Because of his new consciousness he is spontaneously virtuous.
All exhortations to man are to achieve his ideal by the practice of virtues:
"In the soil of your body, sow the seed of godly deeds. In that field God sprouts."
(e) Link with Nām:
Nām is Creative and Attributive Nām is working in the world with Benevolence and Love. A very large number of hymns in the Guru Granth request for individual being linked to Nām.
"He reaches the highest stage whom God graciously galvanises to His Nām."
"Pray, link me to God."
Accordingly, the ideal of Sikh Bhakti is to be yoked, attuned or linked to Nām.
Nām being the opposite of egoism, and the Ocean of virtues and values, to be linked to Nām means only to become His instrument and share the responsibility of a creative and virtuous development in the world.
The Gurus have laid down these 5 principles prescribing the goal in Sikhism. Whether it is the ideal of God-consciousness, or of carrying out the Will of God, or of the gift of Nām, in essence all of them prescribe the same goal or spiritual truth.
Again, whether it is the ideal of righteous deeds or of truthful living, the discipline and direction are exactly the same.
We, therefore, come to the conclusion that in Sikhism, the goal is to develop a Higher consciousness and lead a life of creative and moral activity.
It means that spiritual life and moral life are virtually synonymous and coextensive. One inevitably leads to the other.
It is in this context that the Gurus describe themselves as the "servants" of God and His "soldiers." The Gurus pray that their lives may be devoted to the service of God:
"May I have millions of hands to serve Thee."
"The service is the way to cross the hurdles of life."
"Be ever alert in the service of God. Serve God every moment and relax not.''
As the World is the authentic creation of God, supported by His Immanence, the service of God means the service of His creation.
"Service in the world leads to approval in Court of God." This is the goal in Sikhism.