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It is used in all Sikh worships and major functions like weddings and naming of babies. It is never left unattended and is usually covered with special colorful clothes. Throughout the text of Guru Granth Sahib , various beliefs which shape the Sikh religion are mentioned with primary importance given to the Lord at all points.

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The scripture tends to have a central theme running throughout wherein man is considered a being of lesser importance, while the Lord is referred to as the Almighty and all powerful. A variety of qualities of the Lord have been described at various points [ Table 1 ].

The Lord is also described as having countless asankh names ; p. As per Sikh beliefs, everything that happens in one's life is as per the will hukam of God. The text emphasizes that rebirths are real and that there are approximately 8. Every being has to go through these forms as reincarnations p. Human life has been mentioned as the last incarnation that one gets only after good karma.

All incarnations are said to have pain and suffering at their core, except the human life which is said to be the best of all, giving one the opportunity to meet the Lord It is only in human life that one can get peace by reciting the name Naam of Lord If one recognizes the true Lord, then he is never reincarnated again and is released from the cycle of rebirths The Sikh beliefs also rely on the importance of the thoughts that one focuses on during death, as these then determine the type of reincarnation that the individual will have [ Table 3 ].

Another important belief in Sikh religion is about one's karma. Karma refers to one's actions in life; the consequences of these actions decide whether a soul can be set free from the cycle of rebirths. Freedom from this cycle of rebirths is a type of emancipation called mukti. Various factors such as pride hankar , lust kaam , anger krodh , greed lobh , and being too attached to the world moh can stop a soul from attaining mukti. Guru Granth Sahib refers to the physical body as a robe that is influenced by one's karma On similar lines, Hindu philosophy also views life along a continuum and equates rebirths to the changing of clothes.

The text describes characteristics of two types of individuals: muhnmukhs self-willed, and those who always think of themselves and gurmukhs those who always think of the Lord see Kalra et al. The gurmukhs find the treasure of excellence with the Lord abiding in their minds It is mentioned that mere self-discipline, meditative chants, or daily rituals are of no use if they are done without the Lord's name, which is usually done by muhnmukhs p. The muhnmukhs are superficial beings, who perform religious rituals like an unwanted bride decorating her body, but her husband Lord does not come to her bed; day after day, she grows more and more miserable p However, the gurmukh is referred to as a bride with a pure soul p It has also been mentioned that gurmukhs win the battle of life, whereas muhnmukhs lose it which may refer to the predisposition of muhnmukhs to emotional breakdowns or depression.

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We studied both the Gurumukhi version and the English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib [ 6 ] to see descriptions of depression within the text. Both the versions were read by all the authors and contemporaneous notes were taken on descriptions of depression in the scripture. These notes were then pooled together. The Sikh holy scripture explicitly discusses sadness and depression dukh using many metaphors see Kalra et al. Here, we elaborate on the phenomenology of depression as understood in modern terminology that has been described in the Guru Granth Sahib. Although many etiological references to depression are included in the scripture, the most important cause mentioned is when one forgets the Lord and implicit in warning that this is the duty to the Lord.

These Verses warn that an individual's mind can be afflicted with terrible diseases like depression dukh ; if one forgets the beloved Lord even for a moment. However, when one remembers God, happiness sukh automatically comes to that person Ketiya dookh bhookh sad maar, ih bhi daat teri daatar can be literally translated to the human being saying to the Lord that there is so much pain, hunger, and abuse in the world, but still these are like gifts of the Lord.

This statement refers to people enduring distress, deprivation, and constant abuse, which have been considered gifts of Lord. This emphasis on dukh being a gift of Lord may be one of the factors why some people today still consider mental illness a curse of Lord and do not seek professional help on time.

The text goes to the extent of saying that those who do not take the name of the Lord suffer in agony even after death , while those who sing his praises stay in ecstasy forever sadaa anand Guru Granth Sahib warns the devotee that one may enjoy carnal pleasures with hundreds and thousands of women, and rule the nine continents of the world, but without the true Guru, one will never find peace and mukti and will be reincarnated over and over again p.

Karma is the second etiologically important factor that leads to depression as per Guru Granth Sahib. Bad karmic actions force a person to sit and weep , while good karma makes them resistant to pain dukh , disease rog , and fear bhau ,4 , all of which are references to depression. Various other causative factors for depression have been discussed at various points in the text. Death of a person has been especially given some importance.

The text mentions that death of a loved one may give rise to feelings of worthlessness in the survivor It cites the example of a widow, who after losing her husband may suffer in sadness Other causes that have been listed are taunts fika-bol , hypocrisy pakhand , and loss of wealth dhan p.

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Drinking of wine results in madness baral that is characterized by sadness, hopelessness niraasa , pollution of the intellect, restlessness, and misery, and can lead to all sorts of diseases rog p. The text also mentions three factors that are bad for the body and mental peace ; and can cause depression: excessive and unfulfilled sexual desire kaam , anger krodha , and egotism or pride ahankaar p These have been variously referred to as demons paret and wounds of the soul jeeah mei chot Symptoms of depression have been mentioned throughout the text.

Depressed individuals are said to suffer in sadness and agony and have been compared to maggots in manure bista meh keerey Like the deer caught in a trap fahi fathey mirag , they continually cry out in pain Reference to decreased interest in previously pleasurable activities anhedonia has been made on p.

It is said that one may not feel interested in his or her work like acting in dramas or singing in theaters, or riding horses or elephants. There is also a loss of interest in grooming oneself with jewelery and dressing in silk and satin clothes p. Bad karmic actions force a person to sit and weep This reflects the psychomotor slowing and crying seen in depression. There are also references to loss of interest in sexual activity. The text also mentions that the afflicted mind muhn-bhulo may harbor negative thoughts vikar The negative outlook of the depressive is evident in line 1 of page which states that the sick person perceives everyone else as sick, while to the happy person, everyone else seems happy, and also that for the depressed, colors may appear faded and washed away Weeping rona and loss of sleep neend and appetite have been mentioned as symptoms of sadness seen after the person is separated from the Lord , as is heaviness on the head sir aavey bhaar The tongue is said to lose all tastes in the absence of the name of the Lord ; all tastes saad are perceived as insipid and bland fika ; In the absence of the Lord, one becomes dukhi , so it can be interpreted that loss of taste is mentioned as a symptom of dukh.

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The afflicted person may also have poor self-care and may be dressed in filthy cloths mailey veis. A reference to hopelessness as a symptom probably is reflected in the following line: In front of me, I see the jungle burning; behind me, I see green plants sprouting There are references to doubt sansaiy and skepticism bharam , both being part of depression as these never affect the ones who are always in touch with the naam of God The text also illustrates therapeutic issues in depression at an individual level by asserting that peace and tranquility of the mind can restore the mind to its original balanced state or equipoise sanatan.

It gives due importance to diagnosing depression p. The text equates the Lord's name to medicine aukhad ; , mentioning that it can help the depressed person and relieve him of his depression. However, the scripture is not a pharmacopeia, and so not surprisingly there is no mention of the role of medication in the text. At some points, medicines and remedies have been said to be nothing more than ashes It also suggests meditation as having a therapeutic effect, provided it is done with the Lord's name in the mind ; ;; ; Through meditation and listening to the religious scholars and spiritual teachers, devotees are forever in bliss The text enumerates many ways of praying pujaa, bhagti the Lord, some of which include: Ardaas prayer , shabadandkirtan holy songs , naam-jaap chanting the Name , oostuht praise the Lord , listening to saakhi Guru's teachings , gurbani Guru's words , and upadeis teachings.

It notes that grief gets resolved by coming to the sanctuary of the parbrahma sanctuary here may refer to any holy place For a more long-term control and management of depression, the text recommends remembering simran and praising the Lord p. Only these will lead to eternal peace p. Chanting the name of the Lord har-jap and dedicating oneself to selfless service sevaa of others enable the individual to attain happiness The name can be chanted 24 h a day aath pahar or day and night , and this serves as a protective and therapeutic measure for dukh Thus, agurmukhi way of life has been recommended Apart from considering karma as etiologically important in depression, the Guru Granth Sahib also specifies that the Lord can forgive all beings for their bad karma in life.

The only condition for this is that the person should surrender to the Lord p. The Granth thus puts the locus of control totally on the outside, on Lord, on karma , on the universe, and in a way shuns people to take responsibility of their lives.


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This perhaps reinforces that an external locus of control is better. As per the text, remembering Lord Prabh simar and meditation dhyan can free both the body and mind of any illness Those who meditate on the Lord's name, with focused consciousness, remain stable forever Raja Yoga , the Yoga of meditation, is said to give the perfect peace sukh and contentment santokh to an individual p.

Samaadhi has been described as the final and ultimate end of a happy life, a sweet pleasure , wherein one merges imperceptibly into the Lord However, an assertion is made that meditation should be done with the name of the Lord if it is to have any power. He added that Sikhism appears once in the new standards and in the context of an elective course about contemporary issues. An estimated , Sikhs live in the United States, a figure that Singh said is based on the number of gurdwaras in the United States.

In a study conducted by the Sikh Coalition, it was found that up to 67 percent of Sikh children have said they experienced bullying at school because of their religion. Some reported instances of physical violence, including removal of their turbans by force. When children were asked what they feel needs to be done to address these issues, they consistently said they wished their peers learned about Sikhism and what Sikhs stand for, Singh said. The Tennessee State Board of Education's decision to include Sikhism in its revised standards comes as the Sikh community remembers the fifth anniversary of the Oak Creek shooting that left six dead and several others permanently injured.

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