Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh! Something that Daas has always wondered while growing-up was how different Worldly Spirituality was from Gurmat, and in the beginning, Daas used to believe they were similar; however, the two are very different; though there are those similarities that we can recognize. What Daas will be going over is why Gurmat is unique and how worldly spirituality can also prove to be a different spirituality all together from what Gurmat can allow us to do. *(Note, there may be some things that Daas may not exactly have the full answer for, as worldly spirituality is extremely diverse and not united by anything). So hopefully we can fully appreciate the need for Gurmat and have full respect for Gur-prassad.
First we will begin with some similarities between the two philosophies, there are a few and many of the things from worldly spirituality can assist us growing in Gurmat, (even though only one of them is truly connecting to Vaheguru completely). Some similarities is that from worldly spirituality the goal is for the individual to be able to connect to something, the really wish to connect to some outer energy which they believe is with everyone, this is similar to Gurmat as we try to connect to Vaheguru through Amrit Vela Simran. Another similarity is both paths require a certain lifestyle change in order to fully progress on a journey; for the worldly it may include some meditation, yoga, food changes, dressing a certain way, as well as limiting intake of intoxicants; for the Gurmat philosophy, we strive to change our lifestyle by doing our Nitnem, (daily prayers), simran, (chanting the Gurmantar: Vaheguru), controlling the effect of the 5 thieves, (lust, anger, greed, pride, and attachment), having some form of bana, (our 5ks), and doing what we can to build up our high qualities and give everything to Vaheguru, and Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Other similarities between the 2 paths include the need for finding a spiritual leader as well as a teacher; for the worldly spiritual people this may include a whole bunch of people with different thoughts of spirituality; while for Gurmat this is Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji-Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. And finally the 2 groups both attempt to answer the questions of life and death; as well as the importance of what to do here and after we leave, (for the worldly spiritual leaders this is diverse; however, each of them attempt to answer it, for Gurmat the answer is too deep to explain in this topic).
Now that we got the similarities we should acknowledge the differences between the 2 philosophies. In the worldly spirituality, the instructors usually require a dedication of materialistic things; (such as a lot of money, or gifts), while in Gurmat, Guru Sahib asks only for what one gives with true love and dedication; in Gurmat we give due to our love; while for worldly instructors it is more of a business, (some of these people charge at least $100-$200 per hour). Another major difference is one is in the worldly, the student having to find his way out and inside of their spiritual goals; having to go to how many people; while not knowing for sure what is true and what is not, and is stuck having to think for themselves; while in Gurmat spirituality a student can have guaranteed way of knowing what to believe from Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and not having to be extremely confused on the journey and can read Gurbani for themselves; (some fake leaders charge a lot for spiritual advice of asking questions, without really giving answers and giving vague responses most of the times). But the hugest difference between Worldly and Gurmat, is that in the worldly spirituality the leaders will tell you what they feel will keep you coming and giving their money; while in Gurmat philosophy; Guru Sahib will tell you what you need to hear to save you from 8.4 million lives, because the love Satguru Sahib has for anyone willing to learn from him is much greater than anyone can even imagine, and he would love to free you, even when you may not feel in love with Guru Sahib yourself. These are some differences between Gurmat and Worldly Spirituality.
How Worldly Spirituality can help someone on the path of Gurmat, as a different world view? Daas personally feels that Worldly Spirituality can help people because of the importance of that many people try to follow and learn from what they heard, many Sikhs today usually only know what to do; however, usually they don't follow, (and then they get lost). Usually some worldly spiritual people are genuinely interested in learning what to know about their own ideas and always ask questions to find the answers for; we as Sikhs can learn from that because as we ask questions and get answers; our faith in Guru Sahib will increase, sometimes, we need answers to our questions; and Guru Sahib has all the answers we can ever find. Many of the worldly spiritual people wake-up early for their devotional meditations, Amrit Vela is a completely Sikh concept that has been proven as a true time for Bhagti, (this was one of the things worldly spiritual took from Gurmat philosophy, that many of our people have forgotten), it is very important to get-up early for Bhagti. The last main reason worldly spirituality can help those on Gurmat philosophy is; it makes us feel more blessed and realize just how great Guru Sahib is, because while the world is busy finding spirituality which may take an extremely long time; we were blessed with the shortcut, especially if we were born into Sikh families from Gur-prassad; that out of all the people we were chosen to get a step-up and understand truth easily, and we can say Dhan Hai Sikhi, (Great is Sikhi), and finally acknowledge we have everything sorted out for us to rush through the 8.4 million lives and achieve Mukti in this life because of Gur-prassad.
Vaheguru, what we must realize is that because of our love for Guru Sahib, we may distinguish those trying to deceive us, and merge with Vaheguru. Through Gur-prassad, we are able to be given a fast-lane of Sikhi to get the ultimate spiritual benefits. While Worldly Spirituality has it's benefits, it does not equal to even a small amount of Gurmat Philosophy. Vaheguru, may we hopefully be blessed to understand just how blessed we are to know about Guru Sahib. Bhul Chuk Maaf Karni, Forgive Any Mistakes From Daas. Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!