Symran > Mindfulness Research & Guides > Gurmat Psychotherapy

Gurmat Psychotherapy

Gurmat - Psychology of the Enlightened

This article presents Gurmat (psychology of the enlightened) also, known as Gurmat Marg (path towards enlightened) in relation to both Buddhism and psychology.

Gurmat, (Gur = enlightened, Mat = psychology or understanding), thus Gurmat is Psychology of the enlightened. is a therapy in the sense that it has a theory of how suffering comes about and it has a range of practises (as a lifestyle) designed to alleviate this condition, and it is specifically psychotherapeutic in that it sees the mind as playing a crucial role in this process.

The starting point is that human beings have much to discover about Being, and not just psychological exploration, as modern western paradigms generally understand. Western psychology is the product and exponent of European enlightenment. Gurmat, like Buddhist and Hindu mythos, rooted in a different matrix, including a different mapping of mind, body & consciousness.

In contrast to the purely intellectual approach, Bhakti movement dominated India during 15-16th century. (Verma 1981) It is during this time the Sikh spiritual tradition emerged in Northern India when, the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, declared: There is no Hindu and no Muslim, there is only the One spiritual essence within all (Singh, 1975). Gurmat is regarded as Prem bhakti marg (path of love) (Kohli). Keller (2000) states that the focus of the sikh religion is to make life better on earth and ritual is not the heart of the religion, but service to others is.

For a Sikh there are four relationships that are cultivated, Das (Guru and Disciple), Sakha (friendship), Vatsalya (parent-child) and Madhurya (lover-beloved). After the death of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh in 1706, the Guruship was bestowed upon the Sikh Scriptures (1604), thus, the Guru for a Sikh is Shabd or sound, specific mantra.