Balpreet Singh is legal counsel and acting executive director for the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
The traditional conception of heaven is that of a place in which individuals are rewarded in the afterlife with pleasures and happiness. The Sikh faith teaches that true “heaven” is an awareness and union with God. This heaven is only available through meditation on naam or God’s name and is possible while living here on Earth.
The Sikh faith accepts that God’s creation is measureless and within it there are countless realms and “heavens” and “hells.” But for Sikhs, these are of no consequence. None of these places is permanent and a spiritual seeker should not desire such a heaven. Aiming for and desiring such a heaven is in fact considered a spiritual distraction.
The Sikh scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, teaches that true and permanent happiness is only possible through being spiritually awakened and then realizing and experiencing God, both within the self and throughout creation.
Spiritual awakening can only occur by meditation on naam and living a spiritual lifestyle. When one attains the state of spiritual awakening, heaven is everywhere because God’s light is seen and experienced everywhere. There is no higher state of bliss.
The Sikh faith has the concept of Sach Khand or the realm of truth which is God’s own realm and from which God’s light shines into creation. Spiritually awakened individuals who realize and become one with God’s light attain Sach Khand in life and reside there permanently after death.
Rather than the traditional conception of heaven with gardens and rivers, etc., Sri Guru Granth Sahib teaches that describing this realm is beyond words. It is a place of light and spiritual bliss where the soul remains eternally immersed in God.
So, for Sikhs, heaven isn’t a concept that requires much thought or worry. Rather than waiting for death to experience complete happiness and pleasure, if one meditates on naam and lives a spiritual lifestyle, heaven is possible right here and right now.
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