AHANKAR (hankar as it is commonly pronounced in Punjabi) is a compound of Sanskrit aham (I) and kar ('maker') and means I-maker, i.e. what individuates the person as I. It stands for egotism, egoism, self conceit, self centredness, vanity or simply pride. Other synonyms used in the sacred texts of the Sikhs are man, abhiman, garab, guman, ahang, ahammeu, ahambudh, haumai and khudi. Pride is regarded as an undesirable trait in all ethical systems; it is counted among the seven deadly sins in the religious literature of the West.

Sikhism considers it not as a metaphysical myth as is done in Sankhya and Buddhism but as one of the five common human weaknesses or evils. Ahankar is vanity, elation or exultation arising from an exaggerated view of one's own merit. The merit may consist in real or presumed intellect, scholarship, physical strength or beauty, worldly rank and possessions or even spiritual accomplishments. Whatever the source, ahankar is counted a frailty. Says Guru Amar Das, "it is a deadly disease and the cause of the unending cycle of birth, death and rebirth" (GG, 592).

Again, "Pelf is like poison, for it engenders arrogance.None sunk in arrogance wins approval" (GG, 666). In another hymn, Guru Amar Das declares: "Egoity is the adversary of nam (absorption in God`s Name); the two cannot abide together" (GG, 560). Guru Arjan thus addresses ahankar personified: " 0 thou, the cause of birth and death: 0 thou, the soul of sin: Thou for sakest friends and slowest enmities: Thou spreadest the net of illusion far and wide"(GG, 1358). Even virtues and pieties are rendered sterile if accompanied by ahankar, as says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX: " Pilgrimages, fasting and charities if they lead to guman (pride) go waste like the bath by an elephant (who after bathing besmears his body with dirt)" (GG, 1428).

Remedies suggested in Sikhism are humility and seva (self abnegating deeds of voluntary service). The two are complementary virtues. For Guru Arjan humility is a weapon against not only ahankar but all vikars or evil tendencies. Says he, "Humility is my mace, being the dust of the feet of all, my dagger. These weapons vanquish all vices" (GG, 628); Seva is a highly prized virtue in Sikhism. To quote Guru Arjan again: "I feel blest rendering service to God`s servants by drawing water for them (from the well), by swinging the fan over their heads (in holy congregation) and by grinding corn (for their meals).

State, territory and mundane offices are of little value" (GG, 8ll). Another remedy is to be aware of the insignificance and transience of man in the context of cosmic vastness. Kabir wonders at the vanity of men who pride themselves upon trifles. "Even kings mightier than Ravana," he says, "perished in a twinkle"(GG, 1251) .Judicious self respect and a sense of honour should not however be mistaken for pride. Humility does not rule out the former. Says Guru Nanak: "If one loseth one's honour, all that he eats is unclean" (GG, 142).

References :

1. Kahn Singh, Bhai, Gurmat Sudhakar. Paliala, 1970
2. Gunnat Prabhakar. Patiala, 1970
3. Jodh Sirigh, Bhai, Gurmati Nirnaya. Lahore, 1932
4. Caveeshar, Sardul Singh, Sikh Dharam Darshan. Patiala, 1969
5. Sher Singh, Philosophy of Sikhism. Delhi, n.d.
6. Taran Singh, ed.. Teachings of Guru Nanak Dev. Patiala, 1977
7. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990

World Gurudwaras

Gateway to Sikhism proudly launches  Gurudwaras of World on auspicious day of Khalsa Sajna Divas , Vaisakhi April 14th 2012.  will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.

All About Sikhs is a comprehensive web site on sikhism, sikh history and philosophy, customs and rituals,sikh way of life, social and religious movements, art and architecture, sikh scriptures,sikh gurudwaras.

Based on the belief in One God, the Sikh religion recognizes the equality of all human beings, and is marked by rejection of idolatry, ritualism, caste and asceticism. This website serves to heighten the awareness of Sikhism and hopefully can be of some use to seekers of knowledge.

Search Gurbani brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas . You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword in either one or all of the scriptures. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh, Hukumnama Index and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.