Guru Granth Sahib, eternal Guru of the Sikhs, attributes all happenings of life to “Hukam”, a word derived from Arabic meaning “Divine Order”. So much is the importance given that this word appears on its very first page with the entire Gurmat wisdom revolving around it. ‘Hukam rajai chalna, Nanak likhiye naal’ (O Nanak, thou shalt obey Lord’s command and walk in the way of his will). Translated as ‘Pavittar Niyam’, Hukam is referred to as Rit in the Vedas, Dhamma in Buddhism, Dharma in Jainism and features as Al-Qadr in Islam exemplifying Allah’s Predestination.
Hukam is just another law of the universe as that of gravity, light or sound. Everyone is subject to this law and no one is beyond it (Hukamey andar sabko, bahar hukam na koe.). It is through this Hukam that you experience bliss or grief. But our mind creates a fantasy world of its own and prefers to live in that dream. Actions that pleases the mind are accepted but it complains when things do not go the way it wants. It rejects the cosmic reality represented by Hukam and wants the universe to behave the mind’s way. A conflict thus arises between what is happening inside of us and the world outside.
In the world that is suffering from a mental health epidemic, there are two ways of living; one of conflict and the other of surrender. The ego thrives on conflict but is annihilated in surrender. The ego lies in ignorance of ‘I am the doer’, whereas surrender removes this delusion giving the belief that ‘I am only a means or an instrument’. When you are just a fish in the river with a Hukam to go with the flow, any attempt to change its course is sheer absurdity and a waste of strength. One who has understood this command, would not speak in ego (Nanak Hukamey je bujhe ta haumai kahe na koye).
The question now arises, that do we accept our defeats and victories as God’s will and do nothing about it? Here Gurbani elucidates that if you have the ability, then it is your Hukam to take action. But if this ability is not in your destiny then it is prudent to accept your providence the way it is. It is your duty to work, but to desire for the fruits is against the Hukam. Accepting Hukam doesn’t mean you give up; it only means that rather than blaming the circumstances, over which you have little control, change the way you look at life.
If joy and sorrow come from the same hand, why then make a difference between the two. They will lose their impact the day you realise this. Jinhey pashatha hukam, kadey na rovai (those who recognize the Lord’s command, never weep). The universe is not against us, it is us who are resisting it. Aligning with Hukam will only assist harmonizing with the Divine will for attaining inner peace.
Col HP Singh
An alumini of the Lawrence School Sanawar and NDA Khadakwasla, the officer is a recipient of Vishisht Seva Medal and is a fourth generation soldier. He is a prolific writer and based at Mohali, Punjab.