Age of the Sage site banner

Sikh Spirituality

Sikh Spirituality & Mysticism

Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, and the man who became its first Guru, was born in 1469 A.D. by the western calendar.
After having won many followers through preaching a message of love and understanding, (and of criticism for the blind following of rituals as then seemed commonplace amongst religious believers in northern India), Guru Nanak passed on his enlightened leadership of this new religion to nine successive Gurus.

The term Sikh translates into English, from the original Punjabi, as Disciple.
Before his death in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh declared that the Sikhs no longer needed a living leader and appointed as his spiritual successor the Sikh Holy Book, (now known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib), and as his physical successor the Khalsa (meaning 'The Pure'), order of soldier-saints.
The Khalsa are men and women who have undergone the Sikh baptism ceremony and who strictly follow the Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions.

Guru Gobind Singh felt that all the wisdom needed by Sikhs for spiritual guidance in their daily lives could be found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is unique in the world of religious scriptures as is it accorded the status of being the spiritual head of a major religion. Alongside the profound spiritual poetry of the Sikh Gurus, it also contains the writings of saints of other faiths, (notably the Hindu and Muslim faiths), whose thoughts were held to be consistent with those of the Sikh Gurus.

Please be prepared for some "soul-force" that might be held to reside within many of these quotations!!!

Disdain for Material Things

Though the outer wall of thy palace be made of pearls,
Though it be studded with gems,
Though the inner walls be smeared with musk,
And fragrant with sandal and agar wood,
Commingling with sweet saffron's smell;
If these thy mind bewitch,
Beware, Man, lest thou forget
And remember not the name of God.
God unremembered, life runs to waste;
I have asked my Guru
And he has convinced me
There is no other place but God.

Sri Rag ~ page 14

Blessed beautiful is the Hut
Where the Lord's praise is sung:
Worthless is the palace
Where the Lord is forgotten

Rag Suhi ~ page 745

Distrust of Intellect

It is not through thought that He is to be comprehended
Though we strive to grasp Him a hundred thousand times;
Nor by outer silence and long deep meditation
Can the inner silence be reached;
Nor is man's hunger for God appeasable
By piling up world-loads of wealth.
All the innumerable devices of worldly wisdom
Leave a man disappointed; not one avails.

How then shall we know the Truth?
How shall we rend the veils of untruth away?
Abide thou by His Will, and make thine own,
His will, O Nanak, that is written in thy heart.

From Japji

(A hymn attributed to Guru Nanak which appears early
in the Sikh Holy Book ~ and which is recited every morning).

Spiritual Insights are possible!

Knowledge of the Transcendent is not to be obtained,
Though outward religious observances, without knowledge,
Doubt and delusion will not depart;
No amount of outward observances
The mind is filthy with ignorance,
How can it be made clean?
Wash thy mind, O man, in the light of the Word,
And fix thy heart and thy soul upon the Lord.
Saith Nanak: It is by the grace of the Guru
That knowledge of the Transcendent is obtained.
In this way only will doubt and delusion depart.

From The Anand Sahib

(A hymn attributed to Guru Amar Das)

Lord, I am Thy child, and know nothing of Thy Greatness.
I am ignorant and a fool. Lord, have mercy,
Bless me with Thy High Wisdom: change a silly child to a sage.
My indolent mind has nodded and fallen to slumber.
By the grace of God I met the Guru!
By whom my spirit was illumined.

From ~ Jaitsiri

(a hymn attributed to Guru Ram Das
Son-in-law to Guru Amar Das and founder of the city of Amritsar)


And my soul is absorbed
In the Love of My Lord.
Bow humbly to the saint
That is a pious act.
Bow to the ground before him
That is devotion, indeed.

The faithless know not,
The joy of the love of the Lord;

From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer

(This section of which is attributed to Guru Ram Das)

Without the Guru's help we cannot burn
To nothingness the ashes of self-love;
For the Guru kindles in the human hearts
The fire of the love of God.
Through the Guru's Word alone
There comes the moment of knowing:
'My Self is that Self.'
Through faith in the Guru the True Self is known.
What else do we need to know?

Sri Rag ~ page 59

Purity of Heart

Of all Religions this is the best Religion,
To utter the Holy Name with adoration, and to do good deeds:
Of all rites the holiest rite
Is to cleanse one's soul in the company of saints:
Of all strivings the best striving
To meditate on the Name and praise it forever;
Of all speeches, the ambrosial speech is
To utter aloud, having hearkened to it, God's glory;
Of all shrines, the most sacred shrine,
Nanak, is the heart in which the Lord indwelleth!

Astapadi, 3; Pauri, 8

(Hymn verses attributed to Guru Arjan Dev
son of Guru Ram Das and builder of the Golden Temple at Amritsar)


I am poor and wretched,
But I am thine, O Lord:
Save me, O save me
Thou greatest of the great.
Thy name to Thy slave Nanak
Is as his staff and his shield.
Only in the Name of the Lord
I have found my comfort.

From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer

(This section of which is attributed to Guru Ram Das)

O God, Searcher of hearts,
O God, who dispensest to each of us
The fruits of our acts,
Fulfil one wish of my heart:
Nanak, thy slave, craveth
The boon that he be made
The dust that clings to the soles
Of the feet, O Lord, of the saints.

From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer

(This section of which is attributed to Guru Arjan)


Ye, who seek after Truth, cast down your vanity!
Lust and wrath are wasteful companions. Flee them
By night, by day! Only that spirit is wakeful
That with equal mind confronts happiness and suffering,
Glory and shame, that regards joy with as much detachment
As pain, as sorrow! that is indifferent to praise,
That is indifferent even to blame, the world's blame,
And that seeks the blissful Nirvana. Nanak,
That seeking is the hardest of all games:
Only the rare Enlightened Ones master it.

Rag Gauri ~ page 219

Not cast down by sorrow
Nor over-elate in joy;
Aloof from the power
Of pride, greed, and coveting:
Such a man, saith Nanak,
Is the image of God.

Slok, 13; page 1326

Communion with God

Thou hast acquired this human frame,
This is thy opportunity to be one with God;
All other labours are unprofitable.
Seek the company of the holy and glorify His Name.
Strenuously prepare to cross this terrible ocean.
Thy life is being wasted
In love of the world's illusions.

From Sodar-Rehiras ~ an evening prayer

(This section of which is attributed to Guru Arjan)

All men cry 'Lord, Lord'.
But by vain repetition one is not made one with the Lord.
It is only when, by the grace of the Guru, God in the heart indwelleth,
That human effort bears fruit.
He who loveth the Lord from his heart's core
Shall never forget him, but from his heart and soul
Shall ever repeat the Lord's Name.

Rag Gujri, 491

page content divider


  Sikhism proves to be yet another of the major world religions which suggests that human behaviors have three identifiable tendencies ~

  With lust and with anger,
The city, that is thy body
Is full to the brim.
Meet as saint and destroy
That lust and that anger.

From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer
This section of which is attributed to Guru Ram Das

and again ~

  Root out the choking weeds
Of lust and anger;
Loosening the soil,
The more thou hoest and weedest,
The more lovely grows thy soul;

Rag Basant, page 1171

page content divider


The following linked pages are intended to fully demonstrate a degree of Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of several major World Religions on Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism (compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).
These quotations are presented on a series of very brief pages where each faith is considered individually.

We have seen it as worthwhile to add another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given to the possibility of Mystical Communion with God ~ as this addition may rather directly tend the range of agreement about "Core Spiritual Truths" already demonstrated towards actually becoming something of a proof of the Existence of the one God or Spirit which is the focus of Mystical Faith.

World Religions Spirituality Quotations

Buddhist       Islamic       Hindu


Sikh       Taoist       Jewish