Sin, Guilt, Heaven and Hell

Here is one topic which I think is a great one for us all to think about. I have found that even within the Sikh lifestyle many people have adopted the mentality of "guilt and sin". Western influence has definitely played a big part in this, and it doesn’t help to have translations of Gurbani that translate "paap" into "sin".

In the following video interview Guruka Singh shares his thoughts on the topic of Sin, Guilt, Heaven and Hell. Hopefully the next time you catch yourself feeling one of these things you may think more deeply about it.  

Download Video

Here are some other comments on the topic: 

I have to admit, I have a problem with the concept of sin. And the fact that there is a quote in one of the (poor) translations of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that says we are all sinners has me confused. Admittedly, we are all specks of dust in relation to the Infinite, — but at the same time Ang Sang Wahe Guru

The Siri Singh Sahib once said, “The thing I like best about Sikh Dharma is ANG SANG WAHE GURU.” I like it, too! It means that God is in every part of me, every limb, every molecule, every atom is a manifestation of God. You might say it is a paradox. Despite my human flaws or failings, this mantra is a reminder that God is living and breathing in me all the time! This is distinct from the concept in some religions that we are all born in sin. I don’t buy it." – Shakti Parwha Kaur 

The word in the Guru is ‘Paap’ (sometimes translated as “sin.”) It means the action of a manmukh — one who speaks from his mind and follows his mind. The point is that to move from manmukh to gurmukh, (one who speaks with the mouth of the Guru, not his own mouth) we must merge into shunia (zero – thoughtlessness) at the feet of the Guru. "Sinner" is a manipulative Western concept based on Christian guilt. It is not an accurate or useful descriptive term. ‘Paap’ as used by the Guru, means any action that makes you feel alone and separated from God. ‘Paap’ is not “bad.” Nothing is good or bad, except that thinking makes it so. ‘Paap’ is simply an action that makes you forget who you are, One with the Infinite." – Guruka Singh

14 Responses to “Sin, Guilt, Heaven and Hell”

  1. Laura says:

    Wow a GREAT teaching about Heaven and hell.  I am Christian, but I have been studying the Sikh faith and I find a lot of the teachings make sense to me.

    I have always questioned that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven.  We have a compassionate, forgiving and loving God.  Looking at other religions, it seems like we all believe in the same principles of who God is.  How can they all be wrong if they believe in the same God, our Creator and Creator of all living things and the Universe, just because they don’t believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior?  How does that show compassion to all people regardless of their beliefs? Doesn’t that create a divide among all people?  Isn’t that how religious wars start?   
    The other thing I question, is about forgiveness and Jesus Christ.  If you do wrong, ask God for forgiveness and you are forgiven.  Well, where is the accountability to not continue to commit the same sin over and over again?  It is like “Oh, well I will do something wrong and God will forgive me.”  So we continue to feed our ego and continue to be selfish because God will forgive us.  I don’t think that is God’s purpose for us in life.  We forget that God lives within us and He is everywhere, all knowing.  We have to always strive to do good, because we are Holy because God lives within us.

    In Christianity, as mentioned in the video, Heaven is some unknown place we go.  Nobody seems to know what that place is really like.  According to the Christian faith, if you don’t believe and follow Jesus Christ, you will not be saved.  However, I feel that God has put us here on Earth for a purpose.  We are here for other people, to be with other people, to help and to love others.  A lot of people forget that.   I watch how some family members treated other family members.  Why can’t everyone just get along?  How hard is that? What are they teaching their children by behaving in this manner? Shouldn’t we treat others as how we want to be treated?  Don’t we all want to be treated with love and respect?  Then why do we hate and why do we treat others badly?

    Because, like Gurka Singh says, we think we can do it all ourselves – EGO.

    Blessings.

  2. Guruka Singh says:

    Beautiful comment, Laura. You are right, our only judge is our own higher consciousness. We are all answerable to that.

    …..G

  3. Jaspreet says:

    Sat Sri Akal,

    This topic has been bothering me recently, so it was blessing you put this video up. I’m not very well read in Gurbani, but aren’t there mentions of being punished in God’s court (in Asa Di War for example) of a person who has not followed the Guru’s advise.

    Could you kindly clarify where these writings fit in?

    Thank you.
    Waheguru Ji Ki Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

  4. Guruka Singh says:

    Jaspreet Ji -

    Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa
    Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh!

    Thank you for the great question. First of all, what exactly is meant by Gur Darbar? You know, some can enter the Guru’s gate and some cannot. It is one’s own frequency of consciousness that determines that. Some can even go to the Gurdwara, but they cannot enter. Have you seen it?

    Gur Darbar exists actually within your own consciousness. In that inner place you are always in the company of the Sadhsangat and the Guru always presides 24×7.

    The punishment the Guru describes is actually a self-punishment. It is your own consciousness that punishes you. In Japji Sahib Pauri 27, Guru Ji says:

    gaavahi chit gupat likh jaaneh likh likh Dharam veechaaray.
    “The angels of the conscious and unconscious minds (Chit and Gupat), who write the records of our actions, sing, as the king of Dharma reflects on that record.”

    Chit is the conscious mind and Gupat is the uncouscious mind. When we die, the minds “play back” everything and you experience whether or not you lived a Dharmic life. We actually experience the effects upon ourselves and upon others of all the words and actions we spoke and did in our life. We feel every pain we ever caused anyone. That is the punishment the Guru describes.

    …..G

  5. Jaspreet says:

    Wow!

    Thank you so much, Guruka Ji. I’m kinda of speechless. I had only a flimsy idea of those concepts. Your words have really helped to solidify what I had read. I read something similiar to what you wrote in Conversation With God. I couldn’t understand how Gurbani was something opposite to that.
    Thank you so much. Will let my consciousness work on these concepts.
    God Bless.

    Waheguru JI ki Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

  6. Sohan Kaur says:

    Sat Nam!  Wonderful video, Guruka Singh; thank you!

    I loved reading the comments to this.  This topic and Guruka Singh’s video as well as Laura’s comment above make me think of this interesting article I read on the BBC religion site about Jesus through a Sikh woman’s eyes:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/people/jesus.shtml

    I am not a Sikh, but I have a spiritual name and do Kundalini Yoga, and I find a lot of truth in the Guru’s teachings as well as Yogi Bhajan.  I was not raised in any particular religion, there was some emphasis on Christianity, but I feel myself to be a very spiritual person and I love to see the common aspects of all the religions in this world.  I think that a lot of conflict could be solved by simple understanding of the common ideas that are at the foundation of all religions, because then we are able to see how the words of the original teachers sometimes become distorted through interpretation.
    However, I have struggled a lot lately with feeling the need to belong to a particular religion in order to be spiritual.  I have always felt a close connection with God and the Universe without learning a religion, but now I’ve been wondering if it is something that is, or should be, necessary to foster that connection.

  7. Satvinder Singh says:

    WOW!  I loved it all.  Thank you so very much.  We need you up here in Canada Guruka Singh Ji.

  8. JaeSingh says:

    i agree Guruka Singhs gotta make a trip to Canada…(hint calgary :D )

  9. Jaspreet says:

    Waheguru Ji Ki Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    One more question, Guruka Ji.

    What about having the fear of God as a necessary part of becoming devotional. Why fear a being that is Nirbhau, Nirvair?

    Thanks in advance.
    Jaspreet

  10. Guruka Singh says:

    Jaspreet Ji -

    Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa
    Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh!

    This is another common mistranslation. Fear is not the right concept at all. There is nothing to fear. Guru Ji means awe, not fear. It is that sense of awe that is the root of devotion. It is the true meaning of “awful”…. full of awe!

    …..G

  11. Jaspreet says:

    Ahhhh…I see. I’m a blind fool lead by my own (mis)concepts.

    Thank you once again, Guruka Ji. God Bless.

    Jaspreet

    Waheguru Ji Ki Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

  12. Justin says:

    What I’m wondering is this — when you see the dog poop, you still see God, but, when you see Jefferey Daumer (sp?), or a murderer, or a serial rapist, people who don’t recognize their misdeeds and appear to revel in them, do you still see God there?

    If so, how?

    I’m very interested to hear what you would say. This is an issue I get hung up on…

    The video was excellent, though, very… calming and interesting.

  13. A.S. says:

    http://www.naam-jor.blogspot.com/ SORRY last comment by accident

  14. Ajit says:

    waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh
    nice video=D
    guruka singh im kinda confused about wat u said up inda comment.
    (”gaavahi chit gupat likh jaaneh likh likh Dharam veechaaray.
    “The angels of the conscious and unconscious minds (Chit and Gupat), who write the records of our actions, sing, as the king of Dharma reflects on that record.”
    Chit is the conscious mind and Gupat is the uncouscious mind. When we die, the minds “play back” everything and you experience whether or not you lived a Dharmic life. We actually experience the effects upon ourselves and upon others of all the words and actions we spoke and did in our life. We feel every pain we ever caused anyone. That is the punishment the Guru describes.”)

    inda transalation it says angels of the minds and like, gavai chit gupat likh janan. wat does that actually mean like kinda the minds sing the glorious praises of the lord. im juz reli reli confused coz i gt 3 gutka wid english transalations and all of dem r different. and wer it says likh likh dharam vicharey. so does that mean the minds r writing down or writing everything were doing?  i was taught that theres a guy called chitr gupt and everyone has their own chitr gupt . he sits rite nex to u inda room and goes everywer u go and rites down everysingle thing u do, this actually scared me and stopped me from doing bad things . but i heard and learnt rong rite? im sorri i no my questioins r stupid

    thanks waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh