To a Sikh, there are four breaches of conduct that are primary and must be avoided.
1. The removal of hair
Hair is seen as part of the Lord’s design of the human form, of which we are to respect and not to mutilate. The body is the living temple of the Lord, for His Light (Soul) resides within all. Hence, it is not so much in ‘keeping’ hair – which is ritualistic and prideful (identity pride), but rather it is in ‘not cutting’ it, that reflects true devotion from within and without (integrity and consistency). The question then arises why do we cut our nails? If we observe in nature, no mammal destroys its own hair or fur, while the nails are taken care of by the use of their digits/paws. So is the case with our nails, due to the application of our hand sand feet – also breaking off easily and hurting, after a particular length has grown if not cut – besides endlessly growing. Unlike the hair, each strand of which has a lifespan of a few years and growing to a specific length as required by the body.
One is to be faithful to one’s spouse, the marital bond wherein the husband and the wife become one soul in two bodies. Fidelity reflects contentment and self-esteem. Infidelity reflects inner sense of inferiority complex/ insecurity, thus seeking constant reassurances without.
Tobacco is to be avoided in every form. The breath is the most vital force of the organism, to pollute it is to dis-ease oneself. In the breath, the air, is the whole universe. It is the inspirer and the inspiration, the Pavan Guru. To pollute it is to sicken ourselves. Drugs and alcohol in the form of intoxicants that obscure our presence of mind are also to be avoided.
4. Ritual meat
Consumption of meat slaughtered in the name of God as offerings and sacrifices to God or gods are condemned and strictly forbidden in Sikhism. This act is seen as being irresponsible and as passing the buck (of our sins and shortcomings) on to the innocent animals. There’s nothing we can offer to God but our own sense of ego and delusions. To make such offerings (of humans or animals) to any entity or ghost also shows divided loyalty to God, and renders our allegiance to Him in vain. The point here is there is no shortcut to God but through true love.