Security Concerns: Gurbani Solutions

Security is at present a major concern globally. The phenomena of countries attacking others for territory, wealth or to establish regional or global hegemony have always been there. A new angle has been given to this in the last few decades by way of terrorist organizations challenging communities and countries to advance their agendas, in many cases connected with religious fanaticism. I have used the word fanaticism instead of fundamentalism because those who indulge in terrorist activities do not understand the fundamentals of their religions, none of which teaches to harm innocent people.



It is amazing to see that these groups employ methods which are not anticipated and but for the fact that they have actually been employed, would lie in the fields of fantasy or fiction. Notable amongst these are the use of hijacked airplanes to blow up the World Trade towers in New York, United States of America in Sep 2001 and suicide bombings in many parts of the world. Almost all cases of attacks can be attributed to the lack of defense preparedness of the victim countries mostly due to complacency. In many cases it is bad governance – basically inefficient intelligence-gathering. The rulers concerned get so busy enjoying the fruits of authority that they forget about security.



Almost in all cases the governments of countries affected rightly condemn such actions but do not take responsibility for their failure to protect their people against attacks. They forget that protecting the people is their major responsibility.

Gurbani teaches to be practical in addressing security concerns both physically and spiritually. Threat to security by physically is likened to the threat of evil to a spiritual and ethical life. It covers both prevention and defense should an attack materialize. For this it uses the physical examples – which are easily understood – as metaphors in the spiritual field. This will be seen as we proceed.

Taking a wider view one may say that God who is the Master of all universe would know what is coming and should protect the people. When a situation like this occurred in Guru Nanaks period due the Mughal invasion of India, he addressed God and the rulers at the same time:

ਏਤੀ ਮਾਰ ਪਈ ਕਰਲਾਣੇ ਤੈਂ ਕੀ ਦਰਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਆ ਕਰਤਾ ਤੂੰ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਸੋਈ ਜੇ ਸਕਤਾ ਸਕਤੇ ਕਉ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ਰਹਾਉ ਸਕਤਾ ਸੀਹੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਪੈ ਵਗੈ ਖਸਮੈ ਸਾ ਪੁਰਸਾਈ ਰਤਨ ਵਿਗਾੜਿ ਵਿਗੋਏ ਕੁਤਂ​‍ੀ ਮੁਇਆ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਕਾਈ ੩੬੦

O God didn’t you feel the pain when the people suffered so much?

You are the Creator and Master of all;

If a powerful force attacks another then there is no ground for complaint;

but when a powerful one attacks hordes of innocent people the ruler is answerable;

The dogs of rulers were only busy exploiting the people, posterity will not spare them (M: 1, p 360).



In order to complete the picture it is necessary to understand why the Creator lets or makes such things happen. Accepting that every thing happens by Divine will, pain for the people must be as per His scheme to chastise them for some thing. In this case He used the Mughal invader Babur for the purpose. This is explained by Guru Nanak in two verses that precede those given above:

ਖੁਰਾਸਾਨ ਖਸਮਾਨਾ ਕੀਆ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੁ ਡਰਾਇਆ ਆਪੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਈ ਕਰਤਾ ਜਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੁਗਲੁ ਚੜਾਇਆ

Having secured Khuraasaan, the Mughal intimidated India;

Not taking the blame on Himself the Creator used Babur to invade the country.



Coming back to the subject of complacency Sheikh Farid uses the example of a crane making merry on its catch unmindful that unforeseeable situations may arise:

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਦਰੀਆਵੈ ਕੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਬਗੁਲਾ ਬੈਠਾ ਕੇਲ ਕਰੇ

ਕੇਲ ਕਰੇਦੇ ਹੰਝ ਨੋ ਅਚਿੰਤੇ ਬਾਜ ਪਏ

ਬਾਜ ਪਏ ਤਿਸੁ ਰਬ ਦੇ ਕੇਲਾਂ ਵਿਸਰੀਆਂ

ਜੋ ਮਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਚੇਤੇ ਸਨਿ ਸੋ ਗਾਲੀ ਰਬ ਕੀਆਂ ੯੯ ੧੩੮੩

The way the crane has fun standing on river bank; then

While enjoying it is suddenly attacked by the hawks;

When under attack it forgets all enjoyment;

Things that one never thinks of happen, such are the ways of God. 99. (Farid, p 1383).



An attacker makes considerable preparations including intelligence-gathering before the operation is undertaken. An alert government should therefore be able to detect it since it has the necessary resources for it. If it has its eyes and ears open it would know but if it is complacent or busy in other things, defense gets compromised. The fifth Guru says metaphorically:

ਨੈਨਹੁ ਨੀਦ ਪਰ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ਸ੍ਰਵਣ ਸੋਏ ਸੁਣਿ ਨਿੰਦ ਵੀਚਾਰ

ਰਸਨਾ ਸੋਈ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੀਠੈ ਸਾਦਿ ਮਨੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਿਸਮਾਦਿ

ਇਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਮਹਿ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਗਤੁ ਰਹੈ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਨੀ ਲਹੈ ਰਹਾਉ ੧੮੨

The eyes are inebriated looking viciously at others beauty and wealth;

The ears have become dumb listening and thinking of slander;

The tongue is busy enjoying good food; the mind is thus inebriated by these transitory pleasures (M: 5, p 182).



This is exactly what the politicians do. They remain busy bashing their opponents and enjoying the fruits of their positions. Security requires eternal vigilance:

ਇਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਮਹਿ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਗਤੁ ਰਹੈ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਨੀ ਲਹੈ ਰਹਾਉ ੧੮੨

Whosoever remains vigilant,

Shall remain fully protected: Pause: (M: 5, p 182).



It should be anticipated that evil forces antagonistic to national interests would be around. They should be identified so that with this information necessary steps are taken. Gurbani uses the metaphor of a garden for the country to drive home the threat both physically and spiritually:

ਏਕੁ ਬਗੀਚਾ ਪੇਡ ਘਨ ਕਰਿਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਤਹਾ ਮਹਿ ਫਲਿਆ

ਐਸਾ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਨੀ

ਆਸਿ ਪਾਸਿ ਬਿਖੂਆ ਕੇ ਕੁੰਟਾ ਬੀਚਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਰਹਾਉ

ਸਿੰਚਨਹਾਰੇ ਏਕੈ ਮਾਲੀ ਖਬਰਿ ਕਰਤੁ ਹੈ ਪਾਤ ਪਤ ਡਾਲੀ ੩੮੫

There is a garden with dense plants; the garden is known by the fruit the plants bear;

Plan in such a way that you are emancipated i.e.fruits are available where desired:

The essences (fruits) are in the middle but all round there is poison (evil) that destroys the fruits: Pause;

There is one gardener who irrigates them all;

And knows every leaf and branch;

He planted the total vegetation;

If the gardener has good sense he controls the sources of poison

All of them blossom and none dies ie. Nothing is lost (M: 5, p 385).



In the above Shabad the plants are akin to the people, Amrit to peaceful living and poison to evil forces.



With eyes and ears open it is possible to spot weak spots in security. If these are identified necessary action can be taken to plug them:

ਗੁਰਿ ਦਿਖਲਾਈ ਮੋਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਮਿਰਗ ਪੜਤ ਹੈ ਚੋਰੀ ਮੂੰਦਿ ਲੀਏ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ਬਾਜੀਅਲੇ ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਜੇ ੬੫੬

The Guru has shown me the loophole;

Through which the adversaries may attack me;

Now that I have plugged the loopholes;

I can enjoy perpetual peace (Kabir, p 656).



It is military wisdom to be well fortified and defended both physically and spiritually:

ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਪਹਿਰਿ ਸਨਾਹ ਕੋਟਿ ਆਵਧ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੇਧਤ ਨਾਹਿ

ਹਰਿ ਚਰਨ ਸਰਣ ਗੜ ਕੋਟ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੰਟਕੁ ਜਮੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਨ ਬਿਦਾਰੈ ੭੪੨

One who wears the armor of God’s remembrance (plans defense);

Is not harmed by millions of weapons (evil);

One whose power center and fort is God’s sanctuary;

Is spared the pain inflicted by the messenger of death (M: 5, p 742).



The fundamental principle in Gurbani is not to harm any one but at the same time be prepared to defend your self. This is real wisdom:

ਭੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਦੇਤ ਨਹਿ ਨਹਿ ਭੈ ਮਾਨਤ ਆਨ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਖਾਨਿ ੧੬ ੧੪੨੭

A wise person is one who neither intimidates any one nor is intimidated (M: 9, p 1427).



There are two types of major security concerns – physical and financial. One who is prudent makes the right preparations for protecting both of them. In spiritual terms it means depending on the ultimate power – God. One who earns Divine favor has no worries. Similarly a person or a country that takes the correct actions remains safe:

ਜਾ ਤੂ ਮੇਰੈ ਵਲਿ ਹੈ ਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੁਹਛੰਦਾ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਨੋ ਸਉਪਿਆ ਜਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਬੰਦਾ ਲਖਮੀ ਤੋਟਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਖਾਇ ਖਰਚਿ ਰਹੰਦਾ ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਮੇਦਨੀ ਸਭ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੰਦਾ ਏਹ ਵੈਰੀ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਭਿ ਕੀਤਿਆ ਨਹ ਮੰਗਹਿ ਮੰਦਾ ੧੦੯੬

When You are on my side I need no other support;

If I be Your servant you grant me every thing;

There is no dearth of money to spend, and save;

Every one is there to help;

All enemies become friends and no one wishes ill for me (M: 5, 1096).



Gurbani says that an attack should always be expected and necessary preparations made both for preventing it and for defense if it materializes. The important principle of not underestimating the enemy is also emphasized. The threat to security may be one or combination of espionage, incursion, subversion and invasion. These aspects are brought out in the following Shabad calling the attackers as the evil forces as used in the spiritual context.

ਸੂਰਬੀਰ ਵਰੀਆਮ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਹੋੜੀਐ ਫਉਜ ਸਤਾਣੀ ਹਾਠ ਪੰਚਾ ਜੋੜੀਐ

ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ ਅਉਧੂਤ ਦੇਨਿ ਚਮੋੜੀਐ ਜਿਣਿ ਜਿਣਿ ਲੈਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਰਲਾਇ ਏਹੋ ਏਨਾ ਲੋੜੀਐ

ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਇਨ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਮੋੜੀਐ ਭਰਮੁ ਕੋਟੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਖਾਈ ਕਹੁ ਕਿਤੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਤੋੜੀਐ

ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਆਰਾਧਿ ਬਿਖਮ ਦਲੁ ਫੋੜੀਐ ਹਉ ਤਿਸੁ ਅਗੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਰਹਾ ਕਰ ਜੋੜੀਐ ੧੫ ੫੨੨

The enemy forces comprise of brave great warriors, no one can stop them,

Their combined army of the five evils has great determination.

They use temptations and attract even those supposedly withdrawn from worldly activities,

Their aim is to winover and make them join them;

They control all activities of life and are not deflected from their aim;

They secure their victims in a fort (of delusion, protected by a moat of temptations; ways have to be found to break this fort?

(And in the spiritual context)

These formidable forces can be destroyed with the help of the perfect guru

I pray to Him day and night with folded hands (M; 5, p 522).



The fourth Guru compares physical hijacking with Naam being taken away from the mind by evil forces:

ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਨਗਰੀਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਧਨੁ ਹਿਰਿਆ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖੋਜ ਪਰੇ ਤਬ ਪਕਰੇ ਧਨੁ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਾਸਿ ਉਬਰਿਆ ੧੧੭੮

The five evils broke into the body and stole God’s Naam from there;

It is possible to trace and retrieve the treasure of wealth with Guru’s help (M: 4, p 1178).



Guru Nanak describes the obstacles in greater detail:

ਜਿਤੁ ਦਰਿ ਵਸਹਿ ਕਵਨੁ ਦਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਦਰਾ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਦਰੁ ਕਵਨੁ ਲਹੈ

ਜਿਸੁ ਦਰ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਫਿਰਾ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਸੋ ਦਰੁ ਕੋਈ ਆਇ ਕਹੈ

ਕਿਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਜੀਵਤਿਆ ਨਹ ਮਰੀਐ ਰਹਾਉ

ਦੁਖੁ ਦਰਵਾਜਾ ਰੋਹੁ ਰਖਵਾਲਾ ਆਸਾ ਅੰਦੇਸਾ ਦੁਇ ਪਟ ਜੜੇ

ਮਾਇਆ ਜਲੁ ਖਾਈ ਪਾਣੀ ਘਰੁ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਸਤ ਕੈ ਆਸਣਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਰਹੈ ੮੭੭

How do we describe the place where God abides, what is there in it?

Some one please help me find the place I am searching around;

By what method can we cross the terrifying world ocean (of evil)?

It is not possible we act like the living-dead (give up ego, evil). Pause.

(We have to cross the following obstacles)

The gate is of pain, with shutters of expectation and fear; angeracts as the guardsman;

Around it is the water-filled moat and in the midst of water sits Akal Purakh (M: 1, p 877).



Guru Nanak says if you want to retrieve the treasure of God’s Naam you have to become a living dead and give up evil. He also says

ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ

ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ੨੦ ੧੪੧੨

If you wish to play the game of love;

Know that it means playing with death;

Once you step on this path;

Do not hesitate to sacrifice your self (M: 1, p 1412).



This should be announced to motivate others:

ਸੁਨਹੁ ਲੋਕਾ ਮੈ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ

ਦੁਰਜਨ ਮਾਰੇ ਵੈਰੀ ਸੰਘਾਰੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਿਵਾਇਆ ਰਹਾਉ

I enjoy the pleasure of being in love;

I have destroyed the evil enemies; the true guru has given me the benediction of Naam (M: 5, p 370).



The second Guru says:

ਜਿਸੁ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸਿਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਮਰਿ ਚਲੀਐ

ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਪਾਛੈ ਜੀਵਣਾ ੮੩

One should be prepared to die for what one holds dear;

It is curse to live if the cause is lost (M: 2, p 83).



One must prepare when there is still time:

ਕਰਿ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਿਮਰੁ ਮਾਧੋ ਹੋਹਿ ਪਤਿਤ ਪੁਨੀਤ

ਕਾਲੁ ਬਿਆਲੁ ਜਿਉ ਪਰਿਓ ਡੋਲੈ ਮੁਖੁ ਪਸਾਰੇ ਮੀਤ

ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਤੋਹਿ ਗ੍ਰਸਿ ਹੈ ਸਮਝਿ ਰਾਖਉ ਚੀਤਿ

ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਭਜਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਤੁ ਅਉਸਰੁ ਬੀਤ ੬੩੧

Join holy company and be lifted from the fallen state (low spirits);

The death-beast is on the prowl to swallow you;

And it may grab you any time; always keep that in mind;

Remember the Lord (arrange for your protection), time is running out (M: 9, p 631).



The enemy uses all means including money for spying. For this financially embarrassed people who are in need of money are identified and tempted. The latter then betray their own countries for short term gains. Guru Nanak descries it thus:

ਇਸੁ ਜਰ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਘਣੀ ਵਿਗੁਤੀ ਇਨਿ ਜਰ ਘਣੀ ਖੁਆਈ ਪਾਪਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੁਇਆ ਸਾਥਿ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਪਿ ਖੁਆਏ ਕਰਤਾ ਖੁਸਿ ਲਏ ਚੰਗਿਆਈ ੪੧੭

Numerous people run around for money and numerous go the wrong way;

Money is not gathered without evil ways but does not accompany on death;

One whom hte Creator wants to be led astray is deprived of goodness (M: 1, p 417).

The enemy also uses women to tempt people who would do any thing to satisfy their lust:

ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਦੈ ਸਿਰਿ ਜੋਰਾ ਅਮਰੁ ਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਵਹਿ ਭਲਾ

ਜੋਰਾ ਦਾ ਆਖਿਆ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਸੇ ਅਪਵਿਤ ਅਮੇਧ ਖਲਾ

ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਨਰ ਸੇ ਜੋਰਾ ਪੁਛਿ ਚਲਾ

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਆਖਿਐ ਜੋ ਚਲੈ ਸੋ ਸਤਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਭਲ ਭਲਾ ੩੦੪

The self oriented are controlled by women and would do anything to please them;

Being stupid and of soiled conduct they obey the women;

In fact being in the grip of lust and of impure mind they ask the women what to do;

One who follows the guru’s instructions is truly reform himself (M: 4, p 304).

One fundamental factor in people being prepared to betray their own country is dissatisfaction with the rulers. The latter therefore need to ensure that the people are not neglected or exploited. Guru Nanak explains using the example of hunting lions and hounds:

ਰਾਜੇ ਸੀਹ ਮੁਕਦਮ ਕੁਤੇ ਜਾਇ ਜਗਾਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਬੈਠੇ ਸੁਤੇ

ਚਾਕਰ ਨਹਦਾ ਪਾਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਘਾਉ ਰਤੁ ਪਿਤੁ ਕੁਤਿਹੋ ਚਟਿ ਜਾਹੁ

ਜਿਥੈ ਜੀਆਂ ਹੋਸੀ ਸਾਰ ਨਕਂ​‍ੀ ਵਢਂ​‍ੀ ਲਾਇਤਬਾਰ ੧੨੮੮

The rulers are like lions and their subordinates the hounds;

They attack people living peacefully;

The officials cause pain to people like the lion uses its paws;

The servants gather whatever they can like the dogs licking blood;

When the time of reckoning comes;

Having lost credibility they will be disgraced (M: 1, p 1288).

The fifth Guru says the Divine expects all to act with compassion:

ਹੁਣਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੋਆ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਣ ਦਾ ਪੈ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕਿਸੈ ਰਞਾਣਦਾ

ਸਭ ਸੁਖਾਲੀ ਵੁਠੀਆ ਇਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਰਾਜੁ ਜੀਉ ੧੩ ੫ ੭੪

The compassionate Master has commanded that no one is to get after and harm any one;

Every one lives happily if the rulers act with compassion (M: 5, p 74).

If Gurbani teachings are followed the world will be a safer and peaceful place.

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