According to Guru Nanak Dev Ji, there are five evils that hamper a person’s spiritual growth and come in the way of leading a life with full of peace and harmony. The five evils are – Ego, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Lust. He believed that as long as these five powerful evil forces guide us in our life, we shall never be one with God and stay trapped in the illusionary world (Maya). He meditated on Lord’s name and advised all to do so to get rid of these five evils and make way through spiritual hindrance towards attaining oneness. Surely, these things are evil. And the first step to making a change around us is to question what are our real sources of motivation and if any of these five evils guide us, the way to greatness is to simply eliminate them.
At the age of 9, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was in a holy ceremony where he was to be invested with a “Janeu”, the sacred Hindu thread. He not only refused to wear it but questioned the priest about its significance. He believed that it was a way to divide upper class and lower class people in social hierarchy. He never valued any sort of superstitious beliefs and always questioned the underlying motivations regarding those beliefs. Guru Nanak lived his life with rational decisions and disregarded all those beliefs that were based on blind faith and superstitions. In today’s time when we are surrounded by self proclaimed Gurus and spiritual leaders, we must question their ideologies and challenge the superstitions that still prevail in our society.
According to Guru Nanak Dev Ji, God is omnipresent. When he used to go to the temple to pray he saw that people from the lower castes were not even allowed to set foot in the temple. Then he gave up the belief that to believe in God and pray we have to visit the holy places. He told that God exists everywhere and not exclusively in certain religious places He believed more in faith than blindly worshiping an idol.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was an avid traveler. On one of his journeys, he came across a cannibal named Kauda. He had a mental illness and was standing in front of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Nanak looked calmly and peacefully at the aggressive and ferocious cannibal. Guru Nanak Dev radiated love and kindness and slowly, the cannibal, Kauda, got relaxed and began crying. He gave his cannibalism and led a fine life thereafter. Guru Nanak believed that with kindness and compassion every hurdle in life can be overcome and anger and resentment only lead to destruction. In our modern world, where we get angry and reactive at small things, we must spend some time being compassionate and kind to our fellow beings and live a life full of gratitude.
While Guru Nanak Dev traveled, two of his companions and musicians accompanied him. They were Bala and Mardana. They used to wake him up early morning and sing melodious and mystical songs in the praise of God. That was called “Kirtan” and is still known by that name. Most of Guru Nanak’s teachings are in the form of devotional hymns and verses. He believed that music is the universal language of soul and is a way to achieve spiritual communion with God. Since then, the tradition of “Kirtan” is important in Sikhism. Besides being a pleasure for ears, music also helps us express what the words don’t reveal.