A series of articles written by Yuktanand Singh will be posted on this important topic.
Summary of Article (will be posted below in installments)
An introduction to why meeting a Gurmukh is so important and what is the significance of Sat Sangat. In Gurbani, Sangat is listed as essential to living normal life as a human. Sat Sangat is just as important as reading Gurbani, because it transforms our heart so that we can truly understand the message of Gurbani.
Is the Sangat working for us in this sense? If not, why not? Do we understand what Sat Sangat means? Does a crowd of people like us represent Sat Sangat? Does the company of others just like us, adequately fulfill all the conditions of being in the Sadh Sangat? In other words, what is the role of a Sadh or a Sant in Sikh Panth?
The meaning of Sadh or Sant: A Sikh Saint or Sant is someone who has achieved spiritual perfection and mastery over the personal self through Guru’s mercy. A Sant is an extremely rare soul. But this should not discourage us, confuse us, or cloud our understanding that Sant is the model of a perfect Sikh, the person that Gurbani urges us to become. A Sant is someone who is devoted only to God and always lives in God’s presence.
In an apparent effort to save us from the charlatans, our scholars shroud and suppress our need to adore perfect Gursikhs as our role models, by distorting the meaning in Gurbani. However, the institution of Sangat, the Panj Piyare, and the rules of the Khalsa Panth, eliminate all danger from impostors.
Those who claim to be a Guru or a Sant, leading the Sikhs away from mainstream Panth, are the ones we need to worry about. Additionally, we must avoid those teachers who disregard the Rehit prescribed by the tenth Master. Today’s Sikh Sant is a Gursikh who keeps the Rehit of Khalsa, and someone who would not lead people into joining a ‘Jatha’ or a ‘Dera’ and thus, would not engage in fragmentation of the mainstream Sangat.
How is a Sant produced? We stay oblivious towards the essence, being busy all our life mistaking the shell for the kernel. Except for that rare individual called Sant, we all vacillate, and thus, we remain imperfect and keep falling off the path. Those rare individuals who seek the kernel, the essence, and through Guru’s mercy, never turn their attention away from it, become perfect and they are known as a Sant. Being in dust from the feet of Sat Sangat, we can learn how to maintain a balance on this path.
Judging by the numerous references to Sant it should be obvious to us that an insight into its meaning, and more importantly, its application is absolutely vital to our understanding of Gurmat and to succeed as a Sikh. The terms, Sikh, Gursikh, Brahmgyani, Gurmukh, Jan or HariJan, Mahapurush, Sadh, and Sant, are the names given to Sikhs at various spiritual stages. The Sant is a sacred and supreme state recognized within the Panth.
How do we find a Sant? Since the establishment of Sat Sangat, we no longer wander in search of such an individual and we no longer follow someone who claims to be a Sant. Sadh Sangat is the place to be. Nevertheless, we must have a burning desire to be uplifted through company of such Gursikhs.
Before we can solve our internal problems, we need to remedy our lack of faith in the Panth, its garden, Sat Sangat, and its fruit, the Sant. We may sing and read Gurbani all our life, but without faith, our inner progress remains stunted.
We must help each other in the Sangat by being absorbed in Gurbani with a sincere desire to be uplifted by the Sangat. Sadh Sangat or company of perfect Sikhs is essential. Just as, one lamp lights another. But there is no need to worship such Sikhs. The mere sight of a Sant is uplifting. But first, we need that burning desire to see them. Only then, can we benefit from their company or recognize them.
If we continue to live as if this goal is unreachable and disregard seeking company of such Sikhs, then, either Gurbani has failed us or we have failed Gurbani. Our faith in Gurbani is valid only if we have a yearning and a hope to meet a perfect Gursikh, sometime soon, within our lifetime. Guru Ji promises that there is always a Sant living somewhere in this world.
Sant is our role model, a testimony to the ultimate triumph of the Guru. Coming to Sangat with a desire to see such a Gursikh is the road towards spiritual awakening. The Shabads regarding the qualities of Sant, as one example given, should be studied carefully.
Guru Nanak introduced a unique method to liberate us en masse: Sat Sangat generated with Gurbani, augmented with music and singing from the heart. Kirtan of GurShabd or God’s Word, in Sadh Sangat can gradually, or instantly, convert ordinary masses into Saints. However, a multitude joined for singing Gurbani, but lacking faith in the outcome of Sangat, succeeds in creating only, a multitude singing Gurbani. Let us never confuse the two as the same.
The formula: “Meditate upon the formless God, connect with the Shabad, and seek the glorious sight of the Khalsa” needs to be followed thoroughly, with full faith and conviction. A Sant in the Sikh Panth today would keep the Rehit prescribed by the tenth Master, would dislike being called a Sant or a Guru, and would never lead the Sikhs away from mainstream Sangat into some eccentric group.
These are some important qualities of a perfect Gursikh. Sangat of Guru Khalsa or such perfect Sikhs, and submitting to the Panj Piyare is the foundation of Sikh Panth. Spiritual words of Sri Naranjan Singh Ji on this subject are recorded in this section.
Saints are the only humans truly alive in this world. The rest of us make up the bulk of Sikh Panth. Their company enlivens us. Sant is the lifeblood on Panth. God hides Himself in a Sant’s heart. Guru Ji says, “The sole purpose of a Sant coming into this world is that we remember Naam in their company.”
End of summary