Euthanasia in Gurmat

Gurmat & Euthanasia

Upholding Gurmat Principles: Why Euthanasia Contradicts Sikh Teachings

In the profound philosophy of Gurmat, the teachings of Gurbani offer timeless wisdom regarding the nature of life, death, and the human consciousness. Central to these teachings is the understanding that consciousness transcends physical death, with individuals held accountable for their actions even after departing from the mortal realm. Furthermore, Gurmat elucidates the concept of the transmigration of the human mind due to egoic tendencies, bound by the karmic cycle of reincarnation.

A core principle in Gurmat is the sanctity and preciousness of life. Guru Nanak Dev's words resound, highlighting the ruinous nature of ego-driven actions: "ਹਉਮੈ ਖਪਹਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰਿ ਆਵਹਿ ॥" ("Haumai khapeh janam mar aavahi.") "But through their egotism, they are ruined; they die, only to be reborn over and over again." Herein lies a crucial tenet: ego, manifested in actions such as suicide, perpetuates the cycle of suffering and reincarnation.

The act of euthanasia, or assisted suicide, is viewed in Gurmat as an affront to the divine gift of life. Those who opt for premature termination of life are likened to butchers, squandering the invaluable jewel of existence bestowed upon them. In a worldview where suffering is seen as a medicine for the egoic complex, euthanasia stands in stark contradiction. Instead of confronting and transcending the ego, it succumbs to its demands, perpetuating the cycle of suffering for the individual's consciousness.

Furthermore, Gurmat warns of the consequences awaiting individuals beyond death. Guru Arjan Dev's guidance underscores this, stating, "ਐ ਜੀ ਕਾਲੁ ਸਦਾ ਸਿਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਠਾਢੇ ਜਨਮਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਵੈਰਾਈ ॥" ("Ai ji kaal sadaa sir oopar thaadhe janam janam vairaayee.") "O Dear One, death hangs constantly over his head. Incarnation after incarnation, it is his enemy." The accountability post-mortem is emphasized, as Guru Amar Das elaborates, "ਅਗੈ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਲੇਖਾ ਲੇਵੈ ਜਿਉ ਤਿਲ ਘਾਣੀ ਪੀੜਾਇਦਾ ॥" ("Agai jamkaal lekhaa levai ji-o til ghaanee peerraa-i-daa.") "In the world hereafter, the Messenger of Death calls him to account, and crushes him like sesame seeds in the oil-press."

Moreover, Gurmat elucidates that suffering, as a result of egoic attachments, serves as a catalyst for spiritual growth. Guru Amar Das poignantly observes, "ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਘਾਤੀ ਹੈ ਜਗਤ ਕਸਾਈ ॥" ("Manmukh andhe sudh na kaayee. Aatam ghaatee hai jagat kasaayee.") "The blind self-willed manmukhs have no understanding at all. They are the assassins of the self, and the butchers of the world." From this perspective, euthanasia undermines the potential for spiritual evolution inherent in confronting and overcoming suffering.

In light of these teachings, the Shabad from Guru Nanak Dev, "ਸ੍ਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਉਚਰੁ ਮਨਾ ॥" ("Sree raam naamaa uchar manaa.") "Chant the Naam, O my mind," serves as a reminder to seek solace in the divine Naam, navigating life's challenges with grace and fortitude. As adherents of Gurmat, it is imperative to uphold the reverence for life, understanding that every moment of existence is a precious opportunity for spiritual evolution. By aligning with the teachings of Gurbani, we can cultivate a deeper appreciation for life's inherent value and navigate its trials with grace and fortitude. Let us heed the wisdom of Guru Nanak Dev and tread the path of enlightenment, cherishing the gift of life and embracing its transformative potential