n this article, we will delve into Saakhi #8 from the Sikha Di Bhagat Maala, Sikher (Seeker) series to understand the meaning of a Sanmukh Sikh who lovingly remains focused on the Guru.

The Story of Bhai Kalu Jee

ਸਨਮੁਖਿ ਕਾਲੂ ਆਸ ਧਾਰ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਰਗਹ ਸਾਬਾਸੀ ॥

Kalu, a Kshatriya with numerous aspirations and desires, came to the Guru. Through the transformative power of Gurbani, he gained honour and respect within the divine court.

One day, Bhai Kalu Ji came to meet Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Kalu Ji used to read Gurbani, but had many desires and wants within his heart. Upon meeting Guru Sahib Ji, he asked them a question, “Who is a Sanmukh and who is a Bemukh?”

Guru Nanak Dev Ji answered,

1. Those who show their back to sinful acts and come forward to do good deeds are called Sanmukh Sikhs. 

2. When Sanmukh Sikhs meet the Guru, they sit in front, close to the Guru and listen to the teachings of the Guru carefully. 

3. When sitting in the presence of the Guru, they actively control their wandering minds and shift their attention from their own wants to the Guru’s teachings. 

This is interesting because we often choose to sit at the back of the Darbar Hall when we visit Gurdwara Sahib, whereas Guru Sahib Ji urges us to sit close to the Guru in order to help establish better focus and love.

Four characteristics of a Sanmukh

Guru Nanak Dev Ji also told Bhai Kalu Ji about the four characteristics of a Sanmukh Sikh, which are described as follows:

  1. Maitri (Friendliness) – The Sanmukh Sikh sees everyone as their friend and is equally happy for others’ happiness. They don’t rely on worldly pleasures to achieve satisfaction. They share their wealth, knowledge, and virtues.
  2. Karuna (Compassionate) – The Sanmukh Sikh is a humble person even if he is wealthy, knowledgeable and strong. This person gives charity with humility, and not with pride. They have empathy towards others. 
  3. Mudhta (Happiness) – The Sanmukh Sikh is happy to see others more successful than himself, in wisdom, knowledge, virtues and wealth. This person says, “Great is Vaheguru who created such Gursikhs!” They are happy to hear the praises of other Sikhs, just as one is happy to listen to the praises of one’s family. They don’t slander, gossip, or envy others. 
  4. Upikhia (Renoucement)– A Sanmukh Sikh shares learnings with the world based on the teachings of the True Guru. This person doesn’t get into arguments with people who do not believe in the Guru, and understands that it's not in their destiny to accept the Guru's words as of now.

Earning the Guru’s Words

Bhai Kalu Ji listened to the teachings and lived his life according to them. He was liberated, and those who kept his company were also liberated. 

ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਉ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਰਗਾਸੀ ॥੧੩॥

The wisdom of the Guru, i.e. the Gurmat, spread loving devotion all around.

Guru Amardas Ji explains the meaning of Sanmukh further in Sri Anand Sahib.

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥

If a Sikh turns to the Guru with sincere faith, as Sanmukh,

ਹੋਵੈ ਤ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਲੇ ॥

He keeps his soul abided by the Guru.

ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਧਿਆਏ ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥

Within his heart, he meditates on the lotus feet of the Guru; deep within his soul, he contemplates Him.

ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹੈ ਪਰਣੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਏ ॥

Renouncing selfishness and conceit, he remains with the Guru; he does not know anyone except the Guru.

ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਏ ॥੨੧॥

Says Nanak, listen, O Saints: such a Sikh turns toward the Guru with sincere faith, and becomes Sanmukh. ||21||

Guru Sahib Ji explains that a Sanmukh Sikh is one who constantly remembers and worships the Guru within his heart and remains in this loving presence, eradicating self-conceit from within.

The Gursikhs in these stories are mentioned as the Sikhs of Guru Nanak Dev Ji as they have taken on the teachings of the Guru, accepted them and put them into practice. Through this, they earned the greatest form of devotion, which is love and sacrifice. 

-End of Sakhi Bhai Kalu Ji, Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji- 

You can help spread the message of Sikhi to people around you by using the leaflet created by the Basics of Sikhi team.
You can also check out our other leaflets on the Downloads page.

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