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Posted by paramdeep singh | Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 0 comments

Question 5: Do the Sikhs believe in transmigration of soul?

The Sikhs believe in the evolution of soul. The good or bad deeds done by any person affect his soul and cause it to have some characteristics peculiar to it. These characteristics determine the future course of the soul. Thieves, for instance, rarely desist from theft because of the inclinations of their soul created by frequent acts of theft. Since the Sikhs believe that a soul never dies so the effects of the actions follow the soul like a shadow. According to Sikhism salvation or deliverance from these impressions can be obtained through good deeds as well as by the grace of God's name. Guru Nanak explains this point clearly as follows:-

"The mind is the paper on which are recorded our deeds good and bad, as the course of our cumulative actions dictate. But the Almighty is merciful for He can turn dross into gold and extinguish all our passions, and wanderings."

The Sikhs do not believe in predestined or pre ordained course of the soul. Our present action coupled with God's grace can change the course and set us on a new road. The sum total of our present actions can over-ride the past impressions and efface them altogether. Virtue or sin, therefore, is in the hands of the individuals. In the company of saints and by acting on the Guru's advice, the Sikhs change the course of their soul and as Bhai Gurdas puts it: "Take the high way and avoid narrow lanes." The whole idea is summed up by Guru Nanak in Japji as follows:-

"We so not become saints or sinners
By merely saying that we are:
It is the actions that are recorded.
According to the seed we sow, is the fruit we reap.
By God's grace, O Nanak;
Man must either be saved or transmigrate."

In order to deserve God's grace, the Guru outlines the course of eradicating lust, anger, greed, infatuation and ego, and act in His will remembering Him every moment of life. The householder deserves grace as much as a hermit and there is no need to renounce the world. "He sends His grace to those who work at self-purification through obedience to the Holy word for which the virtues, such as purity, patience, and love are needed which are to be hammered out in our daily dealings with others, with constant suffering and sacrifice. Here we have to choose between God and the false pretty self, and according to our choice our future state will be a sad wandering in the darkness of ignorance of blissful residence with God. Those who succeed in doing so, their faces glow in the very light of God's own presence."

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