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6. Gurmukh or the Ideal Man | Sikhi

6. Gurmukh or the Ideal Man

The Gurus describe the qualities of the Gurmukh and the role he is expected to play in life.

These draw a clear picture of the ideal life in Sikhism. The lives of the Gurus are another indication of that kind of life, the seeker and the Gurmukh are supposed to lead.

In fact, Bhai Gurdas calls Guru Nānak also a Gurmukh. A Gurmukh, being the instrument of God, exhibits in his life all the qualities attributed to God:

Because on the one hand he is in touch with God who is All Love, and on the other hand he is conscious of his close kinship with every other living being.

(1) He is godly, and has all virtues:

"He (Gurmukh) is the ocean of virtues, pure and truthful.''
"He deals in the virtues of God." "He is shelter for the shelterless."

"God is Compassionate, Merciful and Support of the earth;
and so is the nature of saints.''

"The Gurmukh saves all and removes pain.''
"He becomes like Him with whom imbued.''

"He practises good spontaneously; he is the fountain spring of benevolence.''

Being God-conscious, he is not alienated from his relationship with other beings.

(2) He carries out His Will:

God has a Will. The ideal man carries out that attributive Will. His mind is filled with Nām; true mind is imbued with Word, he serves truth, practises truth and earns truth.

"Imbued by His Will, he carries it out.''
"The soldiers of God act just as He Wills."

"Wonderful is His Will; one knows it only if one walks in his Will.
Then alone one knows how to lead the life of truth.''

The Guru emphasises, that he who carries out His Will alone knows it; and he who knows it must carry it out. A Will known is essentially a Will carried out.

"They who know His Will carry it out.''

(3) He is the servant of God and man:

They "dedicate life to Him", he is "a combatant in the cause of God;" he is “the servant of God." The Guru calls himself as "the slave of all creation."

The Guru prays: "the world is sick, O save it by any means you please.''

This hymn is of classic significance. The Guru prays for the entire humanity. He does not want God to help men only through him. He makes no claim to exclusive prophethood. He wants everyone to be saved by any means God may be pleased to use.

Nothing could be more expressive of the anonymity and humility of the Guru and his deep concern for the entire humanity.

(4) He partakes actively in all fields of life:

Unlike the Jīvan Mukta in other systems, where the goal is union or merger as an end in itself (note: actually it is for the benefit of all beings, but for sake of explanation),

the Gurmukh's aim is not salvation for himself alone. He works for all, nor does he compromise with evil. For, "God's chosen is one who fights for the oppressed.'' His responsibility is total.

As the instrument of God, he works for others and in all fields of life. Just, as is the area of his responsibility, the Gurmukh's sphere of activity too is unlimited.

(5) He aims to make all others God centred:

"He unites himself with God and unites others too with Him."
"The servants of God salvage all.''
"His self is emancipated and he emancipates others."  

The emphasis on this ideal of making everyone God- centred is so great that the Guru says that "God established the earth for the sake of God-centred persons."

This, in essence, means that the creation or evolution of the superman on earth is the purpose of God towards which all life is moving, and the Gurmukh works for it.