Kalu Khatri with great spiritual aspirations came for Darshan of Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee. He asked Guru Sahib as to who is a Sanmukh Sikh. Siri Guru jee lovingly replied, “Ones who turn their backs towards sins and face towards good deeds (Gurmat) are Sanmukh. A Sanmukh is one who comes to the holy congregation and with full concentration listens to the Gur-Shabda”.
Guru Sahib continued saying that there are four salient characteristics of a Sanmukh. Bhai Kalu Khatri asked Guru Sahib to elaborate. The four salient characteristics of a Sanmukh are Maitree, Karuna, Muddta and Upekhya. Below is the brief description of these four Saakhis or qualities of a Sanmukh Sikh:
Maitree: As the name implies, Maitree means friendship. The creature (jeev) wishes to have all the comforts of the world, but he gets what he has earned according to his Karma. If a Gursikh considers other Gursikhs as his best friends, then he would naturally share his wealth, intelligence and other resources with other Gursikhs. This is the Maitree quality of a Sanmukh Gursikh. He considers all Gursikhs to be his best friends and shares his resources and possessions with them, just as a friend would do.
Karuna: Normally a person treats those inferior in wealth, intelligence or in other ways, with scorn. He looks down on them. He becomes proud of his superiority but the ways of a Sanmukh Sikh are different. Karuna means compassion. A Sanmukh Sikh who has this quality of Karuna, treats those inferior to him in wealth, intelligence or in other ways, as he would treat his own son or nephew. He does not let them feel that he is superior to them or that they lack anything. They feel perfectly comfortable in the company of such Sanmukh Sikh. This is the Karuna quality of a Sanmukh Sikh.
Muddta: Normal beings feel jealous of someone who is more wealthy, or possesses more qualities and intelligence. Jealousy is a disease that prompts one to act in very evil way. One starts slandering and even goes as far as doing physical harm to person one is jealous of but a Sanmukh Sikh who possesses the quality of Muddta (meaning happiness) feels happy when he hears of good qualities of other Sikhs. He feels as good as he would feel after hearing the praise of his father or Guru. A Sikh who possesses the quality of Muddta, feels happy when he sees a Sikh superior to him in qualities and wealth. He praises the good qualities of his fellow Gursikhs and does not feel one iota of jealousy. This is the Muddta quality of a Sanmukh Sikh.
Upekhya: A Sanmukh Sikh who possesses the quality of Upekhya preaches Gurmat to all but if a person is obstinate or stubborn in accepting the Gurmat preaching, he does not insist on continuing. A Sanmukh Sikh realizes that this person does not have Gurmat in his destiny and for this reason, he does not insist on giving him the Gurmat Updesh. Many times we see that if a person refuses to accept our Gurmat Updesh, we get upset but a Sanmukh Sikh stays calm and still loves the person. He does not get upset but stops preaching Gurmat till there is a favourable time. This is the Upekhya quality of a Sanmukh Sikh.
The above is based on Bhai Mani Singh jee’s Bhagatmala.