Rules and Ethical Guidelines

The core values of Sikhism come from God. God is Sach (true, real) and so the aim of life is being sachiara (authentic, truthful, real). The godly show God’s qualities as a calf shows us something of the nature of a cow. The quality of loving kindness (meeta) is a fundamental one to describe social relations. The basic qualities humans need to serve God are fearlessness and truthfulness.

Sikhs consider that all people know what is true since God dwells within us as a reflection in a mirror and fragrance in a flower. God’s Hukam (Divine Will) is written in our very being.

Sikhs focus on God and being godly. A person who does this is called a gurmukh. The opposite is a manmukh (self-centred person). It is wrong to deny God and focus on our own doubts (haumai). By battling their own nature humans lose mastery of themselves and become a slave of five basic emotions – pride, anger, lust, greed and attachment.

Sikhs believe that a person should develop their relationship with God. This will reflect itself in godly conduct with other people. The community should work efficiently to expand God-fuelled loving kindness in social interactions rather than doubt-fuelled selfish acts.

Within the Sikh tradition, there are no ‘rules’ as such, but the Rahit Maryada (Code of Conduct) establishes a framework for spiritual practice which emphasizes moral acts as the basis, purpose and reflection of spiritual progress.

Ethical discussions are informed by reference to the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. For example, regarding the organization of society, the Guru Granth Sahib Ji says:

“Henceforth: such is the Will of God: No one shall coerce another, no one shall exploit another Everyone, each individual, has the inalienable birth-right to seek and pursue happiness and self-fulfilment. Love and persuasion is the only law of social coherence.” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji: 74).

Sikhs have an active obligation to disobey any law that violates these principles, e.g. Guru Nanak Dev Ji breaking the ban on music in Baghdad, Guru Hargobind Ji commanding Sikhs to bear arms and ride horses in violation of Islamic law on dhimmitude.

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