Rehit Maryada


By Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji

Excerpt from a lecture given May 23, 1993

The most important part of Sikh Dharma, or any religion, is reality. It is very difficult for an individual to follow his or her religion. Mostly you have no choice when you follow a religion. Either you are born into it. Or you just know a little bit about it, and you go along with it.

But technically speaking, every religion, big or small, has a code of conduct. It is called Rehit Maryada. Rehit means the way to live. Maryada means the self-dictatorial admission of surrender of confession to that path. It is a very long meaning. Normally, they say the “rules.” Rules are not made in a day. Rules come through a technical experience. Rules justify or personify to an individual that that individual is on the path.

Why is it this way? Why is there no freedom to choose religion the way we want it to be? Why can’t we have religion as we want it? After all, we are made in the image of God.

Our soul was here and the body was given to us. Then, after that, the continuous process of life begins. You are born on an axis, at a certain longitude and latitude, and your life starts. Sometimes you control events. Sometimes events control you. And life goes on. But there is one fundamental challenge in life which you can never escape. And that is Rehit Maryada, the code of conduct.

If you examine it in reality, you have to understand that you have three personalities. One is your elementary personality. Mostly you try to know your elementary personality, but mostly you do not get to know it. In many cases, if you can get into the depth of your subconscious, and reach the state of your unconscious; if you can get into that trance, you can totally find who you are. It is very easy, but very difficult. But that is the stage you have to reach.

Second is your working personality, which totally crosses with society all the time. Moment to moment, you deal with yourself and with the environments. There is a code right there. Your behavior is set. If you are a policeman, your behavior is set. If you are a priest, your behavior is set. If you are a doctor, your behavior is set. If you are a businessman, your behavior is set. Your working personality has a set behavior and you have to match up to it.

So normally, you do not know your basic elementary personality. And there is a code of conduct you have to live because of your working personality. If you break the rules, they will break you. You know it. So you accept that through fear. Sometimes you dodge the code of conduct within reason. Sometimes you get caught, and sometimes you escape. You find it difficult but you know fundamentally that my working personality requires this particular way of behavior. So you behave.

Then we come to the third personality. It’s called fantasy. Fantasy is such a way of life for you, that you won’t even tell yourself what you want. Forget about telling somebody else. It is your secret. It comes to you layer after layer after layer.

So between man and God, and God and man there is a relationship in which man doesn’t know what man is. God knows what a man is. Therefore, God has the edge. God is a creative reality, not a personality. You made it a personality. God never was, is or shall be a personality. Neither is there a roop nor is there a rang. It has no color. It has no shape. It is by Itself, Saibhang. It is a creative energy by Itself and It creates everything.

If you say you are an unhappy, miserable, wrong person – so be it. Because God created you as it is required to be creatively you. So

Aad Pooran Madh Pooran Ant Pooran Parmaysureh.

(Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Ang 705 in Siri Guru Granth Sahib)

In the beginning you are perfect, in the middle you are perfect, and in the end you are perfect. (Tranlsation by Yogi Bhajan.)

In one of my exchanges while on duty, I encountered a very powerful smuggler. By chance, we met in a situation face to face. I said to him, “I represent the government. I will give you a chance to fire at me first.” We were within range of each other. We were face to face. He was armed. I was armed.

I said. “I won’t attack.”

He said, “It is your responsibility to arrest me dead or alive.”

I said, “That’s true. But it is also my responsibility to get what I can get. I am a revenue officer. My job is to stop smuggling and to collect money. So I will stick by my oath. My job is not to get you and shoot you. So you attack me first. Then in self-defensive, I will kill you. There’s no doubt about it.”

He said, “I am not going to attack you.”

I said, “I am not going to attack you.”

He said, “Why won’t you attack me?”

I said, “I am an intelligent, wise, and experienced officer. I am surrounded by your men so attacking you is useless. Nobody will know the story. But if you attack me, your men are hero worshippers. If I get you, then they will honor me. “

He said, “I don’t understand.”

I said, “The rule. I will abide by the rule. I will abide by my oath.”

He said, “How can we disengage ourselves?”

I said, “You go back thirty steps. I will go back thirty steps. If you decide to do it, then you turn around and you leave with your men. I turn around and join my men.”

And we did it.

You are bound by a certain rule of action. Are you conscious or not conscious of whether you can demand and ask yourself to discipline yourself? It is up to you. It doesn’t matter what the time is, what the temptation is, or what the circumstances are. That is your personal honor. Everything which is sacred is secret because it is between you and within your consciousness. Therefore, it becomes Rehit Maryada.

Your elementary personality, what you are to yourself, is not known to you. Your working personality has a code of conduct, which you have to obey. Even though you don’t like it. And fantasy is a fantasy which you won’t even tell yourself.

Now religion is either a reality or a ritual. But the fact is, religion is a reality. That reality does not have a personality but it does have a code of conduct. The code of conduct will give you the personality, though it will not be your personality. That is why there is a code of conduct.

For a Sikh, there is one code of conduct. He has to be identifiable by himself. He has to stand out and identify himself that he is a Sikh. Secondly, he has to rise in the Ambrosial hours and clean his subconscious so he can face his day.

And there is a very powerful thing. He has to share with people. Sharing with people is only possible if he has something to share. If he is hungry, poor, absolutely useless, mentally corrupt, does not know anything, and is just a lemon – what can he share?

He has to be prosperous. He has to be rich. He has to be energetic. He has to give. And he has to give to those whom nobody gives anything. He has to be compassionate where nothing is required. He has to come out when nothing else can come out. A Sikh is a Lord of Impossibility. He claims calamity like we claim dessert after a good meal.

A Sikh lives to challenge calamity. That is our food. You can always claim calamity and challenge it if you have reality on your side. And your reality is only one thing: that you are you. In the beginning, in the middle and in the end.

Copyright The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

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