Welcome to New to Sikhi community
I am looking for guidence on a part of the SGGS I keep reading and I don't seem to be able to understand and I thank you for your time in reading my message and any answers or guidence you can give me.
I keep reading the the path to God is a personal one, that we walk this life and death alone, that only we can choose to honour God on this path and that the actions of others, although already prescribed by God, are not our concern - it is OUR PERSONAL journey and with the blessings of God, we will walk a true path and find him. That our actions are our responsibility and impact on us alone.
YET - I keep also reading that our actions can save our ancestors - That the gurmukh emancipates his family and relations. That our actions can save them....
I feel like I am missing something in my understanding. I have almost read all of the SGGS, but this is one thing that keeps coming up over and over again. I just cannot quite understand or find an explaination of how two seemingly opposite concepts are related and not contradictory.
Thank you so much for your time, I have been raised Christian and Sikhism is new to me, however, reading SGGS feels like a homecoming... it feels "right" and whether my faith changes or not in time, I do not know... I do know that everything I read and understand within SGGS and all the research I have done on Sikhism, that it calls me.
SSA and Welcome Grayson ,
""YET - I keep also reading that our actions can save our ancestors - That the gurmukh emancipates his family and relations. That our actions can save them....""
As per my little knowledge it means a gurmukh can have a positive impact on his family,friends or anyone who came in contact with him/her.they can feel the internal peace ,bliss of gurmukh ,they might try to follow the gurmukhs footsteps ,in that way gurmukh emancipates them.
That is a very good question. I'll try to answer your questions and hope it clears your doubts.
What differentiates Sikhi from other religions is the fact that it combines spiritual with empirical life, unlike most other eastern traditions. The Gurus right from Guru Nanak Dev Ji not only criticized mindless rituals and discrimination but also the tyranny of the rulers and so on. The path of Sikhi does not limit itself to individual salvation; rather (s)he is to create an environment, a society, where society as a whole can achieve this state of spiritual salvation. It is also therefore that the Gurus established model communities free of prejudices, religious taxes etc so that people could, as a community, achieve oneness with Waheguru.
Coming to your doubts about saving ones ancestors and coming generations we have to take it in a context. Gurbani is clear when it says 'you reap what you sow'; 'by their actions some are drawn close to the Waheguru and others away' thus the concept of saving ones ancestors or coming generations find no place in Sikhi. But the these lines we read in Gurbani need to be taken in the context of:
ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. ||2||
So the saving generations means saving your children, family and surroundings by teaching them about the Truth and encouraging them to thread that Path.
The below lines are clear enough that only individual actions count, others can't account for you.
ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥
You shall harvest what you plant.
Guru Nanak Dev, GGS (panna 4)
ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਇ ॥੨॥
As we plant, so we harvest and eat. ||2||
Guru Nanak Dev (GGS, panna 25)
ਜੋ ਬੀਜੈ ਖਾਵੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥
Whatever you plant, you shall eat. ||3||
Guru Ram Das (GGS, panna 40)
ਜੋ ਬੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਖਾਤਿ ॥
whatever you plant, you shall harvest.
Guru Arjan Dev (GGs, panna 78)