Yesterday I woke up in the morning and switched on the news whilst eating breakfast to see news of the Manchester terror attack outside an arena where there was pop concert. The pop concert was mainly attended by young girls and their mothers. Sitting in the car going to work, I listened to the news on BBC Radio 4. The radio had interviews of teenagers and parent who were in the area of the attack or had loved ones in the area. It made my stomach churn how someone could commit such a crime in the name of God, thinking they could get paradise, prove a point, or get revenge.
In 1520, seeing the terror committed by the Mughal invader Babar on the terrified public, Guru Nanak Dev Ji proclaimed:
ਏਤੀ ਮਾਰ ਪਈ ਕਰਲਾਣੇ ਤੈਂ ਕੀ ਦਰਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥੧॥
There was so much slaughter and people screamed; (O cruel Babar!) Didn't you feel any compassion (committing such an act). ||1||
ਕਰਤਾ ਤੂੰ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਸੋਈ ॥
O Creator Lord, You are the carer of all.
ਜੇ ਸਕਤਾ ਸਕਤੇ ਕਉ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
If a powerful person strikes out against another powerful person, then no one feels any grief in their mind (because it is an equal fight). ||1||Pause and reflect||
(Aasa M:1, 360)
Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Japji Sahib (the first prayer of the Sikhs) tells us that dharam, the righteous and just path, is based on daya, compassion.
ਧੌਲੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਾ ਪੂਤੁ ||"It is Dharam that supports the world's existence; this is born from compassion"(Japji, 3)
Compassion is the basis of the Sikhi, and everything a Sikh does, because God is All-Compassionate. Keeping the above it mind, it was of no surprise that on Monday night, Manchester's Sikh community immediately came forward to help those injured and stranded after the terrible attack. All four of Manchester’s gurdwaras provided free food and shelter to those in the need, whilst Sikh taxi drivers offered free rides to the hospitals to those injured in the attack.
All this compassion came from Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Sikh Gurus empowered their Sikhs to cultivate an environment of caring and sharing wherever they go in the world, and contribute to the beautification of society. When begin to care, we will share not only our food, but also share one another's suffering and sorrow.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji, mandated his Sikhs to feed and protect the needy wherever they go is true victory (Degh-Tegh-Fateh). Protecting the needy includes fighting for justice and speaking up against tyranny. This timeless message of the Sikh Gurus is forever relevant for all people, of all places, for all times!