Individual and Social Responsibility

A Sikh should be focused on the One at all times and places. How Sikhs find the One will depend, in part, on how they approach the One. The Gurus themselves enjoy a panentheistic vision in which they find the One within themselves and all things. “One Light fills all creation. That Light is You” (Guru Granth Sahib: 13). The implication of this is an attitude of mystic

revolution, seeking The One within yourself and serving the One in others. This ideology is formalized in the saint-soldier ideal of the Khalsa, Guru and disciple in one time.

For Sikhs, with regard to health, the body is the temple of the One so it should not be abused. Thus anything that harms the body should be avoided. Since the body has been designed by the One there is no need to try to improve it, by for instance, cutting hair. Four hymns state that the female period is natural and not the result or cause of any pollution or hurt or wound.

With wealth, the Sikh ideal is ‘outwardly rich, inwardly a fakir’. A Sikh believes that a person should work hard to earn a living and not depend on begging, directly or indirectly through a system of benefits. At the same time people should share their money as an expression of lovingkindness towards others and to earn good karma. Three stories from Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life illustrate this. The first called the ‘true deal’ involved him in choosing to spend money feeding the hungry, rather than investing it in business. The second involves him in challenging a millionaire to return a needle to him in the next world. The confused man asks how this could be possible and then understands that you cannot take the money with you. The third involves him refusing to break bread with a wealthy man. His argument is that his bread is filled with the blood he has squeezed from those who work for him. The person he would prefer to eat with is poor but honest and hardworking. His bread is filled with the milk of lovingkindness.

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Sikhi worldview traditions


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