655. What is the fate of those who fail to deserve God's grace ?
Those who fail to deserve God's grace suffer from all worldly sins and suffer deprivation of grace and blissful contacts of the company of saints in this world. The results of their egoistic propensities so poison their soul that they get into the endless cycle of birth and death and cease their wanderings only when they meet a true preceptor, repent on their wanderings only when they meet a true preceptor, repent on thier sins and deserve God's grace.
The Guru's instruction opens the soul's eyes to the true reality and enables them to see the Lord. God speaks to the true reality and enables them to see the Lord. God speaks to the devotees through the Guru and arouses their souls to true spiritual effort.
656. Was Guru Nanak God ?
All religious leaders were men sent by God to do His work of saving the world from sin and imparting knowledge about God and the best way of leading the life. According to Sikhism God is never born and He never dies. Men of God like Guru Nanak are so near to the Lord that there is not much difference between the Lord and His messengers.
To say that any religious messenger was God is heresy. No Guru claimed to be God and yet all those who met or heard the Gurus in person said that the Gurus were "God in human form." The Bhatt's for instance wrote:
"God Himself assumed the form of Nanak And existed on this Earth. The invisible became visible to the world."
This is because the Bhatts found the Gurus perfect human beings worthy of the highest regard and out of respect differentiated them from the rest of mankind. Just as a personal secretary knows the officer so do the Gurus claim to know God, and whatever they have said and left for us is nothing short of the Lord's commands conveyed to us through them:-
"I know not how to speak Lord, I have only conveyed your orders." (Guru Arjan)
Today the Gurus are not amongst us in human form but their word is making them re-live as such. The Guru's mind is open to us through the word and that is why the last of the Gurus declared that after him the faithful will call the Holy Book their Guru. Those who want to see the Guru are asked to read, understand and act upon the Guru's word contained in the Holy Granth.
657. Is it necessary to have a Guru ?
Yes. Almost all religions agree on the necessity of a religious guide or preceptor. Like all temporal knowledge, ecclesiastical knowledge is difficult to obtain without the help of a teacher. What is quite often forgotten is the fact that it is not the teacher or the guide who is important but his word, and the philosophy he teaches through it.
In Sikhism, therefore, the authority of the Guru was vested in the Holy Granth after Guru Gobind Singh, the last Guru of the Sikhs, left this world for his heavenly abode in 1708. Thus in the Holy Granth the personal Guru became the impersonal. This impersonal Guru, the vehicle of the philosophy of Sikhism, presides over all Sikh gatherings and for the Sikhs it is a necessity because the Guru says :
"As water is contained in an earthen pitcher Although the pitcher itself owes its existence to it, So is human mind disciplined with knowledge And knowledge is impossible without a Guru."