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|Summary of Question:||Why Do We Call The Ten Founders The Gurus?|
|Category:||The Sikh Gurus|
|Date Posted:||Wednesday, 7/31/2002 9:19 AM MDT|
"Meeting with the Guru, Nanak has recognized the Supreme Lord God."
I cannot seem to find anywhere the people we call "Guru's" actually state they are the Guru. Why then do we call Nanak Guru? However, Nanak also said there was only one Guru in the whole Universe:
Taken from: http://www.sikhs.org/english/eg4.htm; Siri Guru Granth Sahib, English Translation, page 50.
"I serve the Guru, the Transcendent Lord, the Dispeller of fear; my suffering has been taken away. || 3 || The True Guru is the Deep and Profound Ocean of Peace, the Destroyer of sin. For those who serve their Guru, there is no punishment at the hands of the Messenger of Death. There is none to compare with the Guru; I have searched and looked throughout the entire universe. "
Now, it says the true Guru is the destroyer of sin. Who or what is this Guru which Nanak is talking about? How could a man who is sinful (which Nanak said he was) be the destroyer of sin? Also, if Sikhs are not bothered about Sin then why did Nanak continually talk about this salvation through the Guru?
" One who does not fear God shall live in fear; without the Guru, there is only pitch darkness. || 3 || The Creator alone is seen to be Eternal; all others come and go. Only You, Lord, are Immaculate and Pure. All others are bound up in worldly pursuits. Those who are protected by the Guru are saved. "
Those who are protected by the Guru are saved. i.e. everybody else will not live eternally.
To answer this question I seeked the true meaning of the word Guru. It does not mean teacher. Far from it. "Gu" means darkness. "Ru" means light. Guru is the one who brings us light from the dark. More importantly, who is this Guru?
Sat Siri Akaal, Ji.
Very good question. Guru IS the one who brings you from darkness to the Light. Guru Nanak always recogized that he was a bearer of the LIght of the Guru, and through both collecting and writing bani, served as Guru in this way. For the True Guru is the only one who can reveal the Word of God. It is not about the person, it is about the SPirit. If you read every one of Guru Nanak's bani, you will see that he never claimed greatness, he considered himself a seeker of truth, Gursikh. You will also see, especially in Sidh Gosht, that when he was asked who his guru was, he said " shabd Guroo surat dhun chaylaa, ....Nanak jug jug gur gopalaa." "The Holy Word is Guru, and by meditation I am His disciple... in all the ages, God is Nanak's Guru." (ang 943 at the top) For every one of the Gurus who followed Nanak, their Guru and by extension, the Guru of all Gursikhs, is Shabd Guru. Notice the expression we have of giving a devotee the gift of the Naam. That is saying that a human-as-Guru gave his devotee the experience of Shabd Guru, which we call the Naam.
The Bani is thus the revealed teachings, the Truth revealed. All 10 Gurus recognized this. Those Gurus that didn't WRITE bani both served as custodians of the bani as well as lived by it and taught the SYSTEM of righteous living as that accorded with Gurbani. The powers that we understand each Guru to have when they lived is a reflection of the power of the Word or Shabd manifested through a human who had so perfected himself as to be a clear and ego-less vehicle for such Truth. But you will see that inthe bani of the Gurus who wrote it, all of them bowed their heads to Shabd Guru and the Ek Ong Kaar.
The Guruship, as it's called, was passed on from one Guru to the other. It was the passing on of a spiritual power and understanding. By the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Master recognized that all that a human-as-Guru could do for Sikhs had been done, and it was time for all to recognize and honor Shabd Guru as the Sikh Guru. Thus the Guruship was passed to the collected bani -- Siri Guru Granth Sahib-- which had been revealed by those that understood Shabd Guru (Gurus and bhagats both have bani in Siri Guru Granth Sahib).
For what it's worth, there have been many beings throughout humanity's history that have had this gift: Mohammed, Jesus the Christ, Gautama Buddha, to name a few. What is important is the distinction between the man and SPirit within. Our SGGS repeatedly tells us that the body and mind are nothing but the temple for Spirit, for God within, and to use them as a tool (through meditation) to know this Presence within.
It is this Shabd Guru, this Naam that saves us from ourselves and liberates us from the rounds of births & deaths. But make no mistake: the only way to know this Shabd Guru is through daily practice of the Naam --Naam Simran.