Daya or Compassion holds a very important place in Gurmat Dharma; so much so that it is considered to be a prelude to Dharma. For centuries some people held the belief that this Earth is held by a Bull on his horns but Siri Guru jee in Siri Jap jee Sahib made it clear that the Bull that is holding the Earth is Dharma:
ਧੌਲੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਾ ਪੂਤੁ ॥ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਸੂਤਿ ॥
Guru Sahib is making it clear in the above Gurvaak that the Bull holding the Earth is Dharma and this Dharma in return is a product of Daya or compassion. Where there is no Daya, there can be no Dharma and where there is Dharma, there ought to be Daya. Where both Daya and Dharma are present, Santokh (Contentedness) too comes to reside. In other words a Dharmi person is always compassionate and contented.
ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਏਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਰੇਣਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਦੇਇ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥3॥
One should adopt high moral character, contentedness and compassion; this is the essence of good doings. One should give up ego and be dust of everyone's feet; but these qualities can come only if the formless Vaheguru gives.
ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਏ ਖੇਲਤ ਸਭਿ ਜੂਐ ਹਾਰੇ ॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਧਰਮੁ ਸਚੁ ਇਹ ਅਪੁਨੈ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਵਾਰੇ ॥1॥
Shed Lust, Anger, love for Maya, Pride and Jealousy as a addicted gambler loses his possessions in gambling. Bring charity, contentedness, compassion, Dharma and Truth in your house (i.e. mind).
ਸਚੁ ਤਾ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਸਿਖ ਸਚੀ ਲੇਇ ॥ ਦਇਆ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੀਅ ਕੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥
Then it would be considered that there is Truth if one adopts the Truth teaching (i.e. Naam). One should have compassion for all creatures and do good deeds and give charity.
ਦਇਆ ਕਪਾਹ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੂਤੁ ਜਤੁ ਗੰਢੀ ਸਤੁ ਵਟੁ ॥ ਏਹੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਹਈ ਤ ਪਾਡੇ ਘਤੁ ॥
In the above Salok too the Hukam is to have Daya, Santokh, Jatt (to be free of sexual lust) and Satt (Moral Character). It seems like these qualities are a must for the true Seeker of Vaheguru.
ਕਹਤੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਬਾੜੀ ॥3॥7॥ 970
Bhagat Kabir jee addressing to Gursikh Sants is saying that adopting Dharma and Daya is like have a beautiful garden (that will give good smell of spirituality).
ਜਉ ਜਮੁ ਆਇ ਕੇਸ ਗਹਿ ਪਟਕੈ ਤਾ ਦਿਨ ਕਿਛੁ ਨ ਬਸਾਹਿਗਾ ॥ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਭਜਨੁ ਦਇਆ ਨਹੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਤਉ ਮੁਖਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਹਿਗਾ ॥2॥ 1106
When the Jamm holds you by your hair, that day you will not be able to do anything. Since you did not do Simran Bhajan (Chanting Naam) and Daya (compassion), you will face injuries on your face.
Punj Pyare and Daya-Dharma
It was probably not a coincidence that the first Pyara who got up to offer his head to Guru Sahib was Bhai Daya Singh signifying the fact that the start of Dharma (religion) is with Daya (compassion).
Next Pyara after Bhai Daya Singh jee was Bhai Dharam Singh, in a way, reinforcing the fact that where there is Daya, there is Dharma too.
The next Pyara who offered his head to Guru Sahib was Bhai Himmat Singh, teaching us that where Daya and Dharma are present, Himmat (courage, valour) can't be absent from there.
The fourth Pyara was Bhai Mohkam Singh, signifiying that when Daya, Dharma and Himmat all mingle, they become Mohkam (a Farsi word meaning very strong, determined).
The last Pyara was Bhai Sahib Singh and his name and inclusion symbolizes that fact that where there are Daya, Dharma, Himmat and Mohkam, there is Sahib (meaning Master i.e. Vaheguru).
Some Historical Examples of Gursikhs working under Daya
1. Bhai Ghanaiya jee used to feed water to wounded soldiers in the battlefield. How could Bhai Sahib feed a wounded Sikh soldier and leave out the wounded soldier of the enemy? He could not. It was the virtue of Daya that prompted Bhai Sahib to not leave out the enemy soldier who too wanted to be fed water. Bhai Ghanaiya jee saw Vaheguru in all and as thus could not discriminate when feeding them water. Possessing such Daya also proved that Bhai Sahib was a true Dharmi.
2. Baba Khuda Singh was once absorbed in Naam Abhyaas during Amritvela that he heard someone sobbing and crying with pain. Baba jee went towards the direction where the painful sobbings were coming from. There he noticed a woman who had a poisonous abscess on her body. Her husband too was beside her but could not dare to remove the puss from her abscess. Baba jee out of Daya for her sucked out the puss from her wound and relieved her pain. In those days this was the only way to relieve of pain in such cases. Daya worked through Baba jee and helped the woman in distress.
3. Bhai Ladha Parupkaari jee helped Rai Balvand and Satta Doom to be part of Gurughar again. Guru Sahib had said that whoever would try to mediate for Rai Balvand and Satta Doom would have their face blackened. Bhai Ladha jee himself blackened his face and went to the Darbar of Guru Sahib. When Guru Sahib asked the reason for this action, he requested that these two Rababis be forgiven. Guru Sahib forgave them at the behest of Bhai Ladha jee. Bhai Ladha jee did this great act of helping others out of Daya and Karuna.
In the light of above stated pankitis of Gurbani it is clear that having Daya is an important virtue that a Sikh must possess. Where there is compassion, there is Dharma. Following thoughts have come to mind after going through the Gurbani Pankitis stated above:
1. A Sikh is Dharmi only if he has Daya.
2. Anger prompts us to become violent against our fellow creatures but if we have enough Daya inside, it will prevent us from getting violent.
3. Continuing from point 2, the Gurmukhs do holy war (Dharam Yudh) not prompted by Anger but by Daya - Daya for victims and love for Dharma.
4. A Sikh can never be cruel and vengeful because Daya would prevent him from becoming so.
5. Killing Jeevs for the taste of the tongue is against the spirit of having Daya. Daya would never allow one to kill others for food. So eating meat is against Dharma because it violates the principle of Daya.
6. A Sikh is not in the business of breaking hearts because Daya prevents him from doing so.
May Guru Sahib enable us to adopt the Gurmat Principles of Daya, Dharma, and Santokh.