Perhaps the most relevant message of Guru Nanak Dev as we usher into the New Year and make fresh resolutions in the conduct of our lives, is Hukam Razai Chalna, Nanak likhyea naal.
In its simple meaning, as usual addressing himself, Nanak says: it is inevitably written that we conduct ourselves according to the will of God.
Hukam means order or command, razai means acceptance, chalna means to walk, and likhyea naal meaning inevitably written down. To follow (razai) the walk (chalna) guided by hukam of God as inevitably written (likhyea naal), create our basic understanding of this divine message from Guru Nanak Dev.
The key word in the edict is Hukam, and this is where our razai or acceptance is based. Does it mean that we dispel all our reasons and accept every situation or event as the will of God, in other words, that is our fate, good or bad? Is this the way God wants us to accept His will without any action on our part?
In this discussion, if our answer is yes, then we are ritualistically wrong.
Hukam does not mean fate or something unavoidable. It does not mean that we accept every situation as a creation of God whether we like it or not, and we surrender to it.
This is passive acceptance. That is the path for those who seek escape or renunciation. Nanak was against renunciation, and so were all other Sikh Gurus including Guru Gobind Singh.
The history of Sikhism is full of actions to seek righteousness and reject injustice. And that has been the Supreme Command which Nanak is professing.
Hukum is not rigid and a closed commandment, rather it encourages rational thinking followed by action. That is the entirety of Hukam. Here the word chalna, to walk, is very crucial. It means that we carry on with our mission until the goal is achieved.
Hukum is the beginning, and it is the end. In between are our related thoughts and actions. Hukum is the cause of generating an effect. The latter is produced by our actions where God gives us the freedom to act according to our consciousness.
In our personal commitments, Hukam is the discipline we’re creating in the execution of resolutions we make, including the ones listed on the new year.
-by Promod Puri