Aug 072017

Living in alignment with Hukam (Hukam rajaaee chalnaa)

Dr. Inder Mohan Singh


In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji asks how can we achieve union with the Divine and tear away the veil of illusion, and provides the answer – by living in harmony with the Divine Hukam  “Kiv sachiara hoeeai — hukam rajai chalna Nanak likhya naal”. We will look what Hukam, the Divine Will or Command, is and how we can live our lives In harmony with Hukam.


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Living in alignment with Hukam (Hukam rajaaee chalnaa)

Dr. Inder Mohan Singh

In Japji Sahib, near the beginning , Guru Nanak Dev Ji asks “Kiv sachiaara hoeeai – How can we achieve union with the Divine or the True One?” and He gives us the anwer “hukam rajaai chalnaa, Nanak likhia naal – Walk in the Hukam, which is inscribed within us, within all creation.”

Let us look at what is Hukam, and what does it mean to walk in alignment with the Hukam. How do we become sachiaara, or one with Truth? How do we achieve that state of union with the True One, with Waheguru, through hukam rajaaee chalna?

The word hukam means a command or edict. In the relgious context it is often translated as Divne Will or Commandment. Hukam also refers to the System or Framework ordained by the Creator under which everything in the universe operates. Gurbani tells us that everything is under His Hukam – nothing happens outside Hukam.

ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ [SGGS Japji M1 p1]
Everything operates under His Hukam, nothing is outside of Hukam.

ਜਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਵੈ ਤਿਉ ਹੋਵਣਾ ॥ [SGGS M5 p523]
As is Your Hukam, so will every thing will happen

ਸਗਲ ਸਮਗ੍ਰੀ ਤੁਮਰੈ ਸੂਤ੍ਰਿ ਧਾਰੀ ॥ [SGGS M5 p 268]
ਤੁਮ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਆਗਿਆਕਾਰੀ ॥

Everything in all of creation is strung on the thread of Your Hukam, and since it all comes from You it is obedient to Your Hukam

We can try to describe Hukam and talk about it, as we are doing here, but ultimately Hukam is beyond our ability to fully understand or describe. Like Waheguru Himself His Hukam is incomprehensible — agam and agochar.

ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੋਵਨਿ ਆਕਾਰ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਕਹਿਆ ਜਾਈ ॥   [SGGS M1 p1]
By His Command, all beings are created; His Command cannot be described.

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਪੀ ਕੇਤੜਾ ਕਹਿ ਨ ਸਕੀਜੈ ਕਾਰ ॥   [SGGS M1 p18]
No one knows how great the Hukam of His Command is; no one can describe His actions.

His Hukam cannot be fully described in words, however the Guru shows us how to walk on the Gurmat path in alignment with His Will.

There is a common image of God as a human like figure, a kind of puppeteeer, who is directing and micromanaging everything in the Universe. I like to think of Hukam more as a framework or system under which everything in the universe operates. This includes the laws of nature, which scientists have been studying for a long time, and which they are progressively understanding more and more. But beyond the laws of nature His Hukam is manifested through spiritual laws, which are the focus of Gurbani and other religious scriptures.

In Japji again Guru Nanak tells us:

ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥ [SGGS M1 p3]
ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਹੋਏ ਲਖ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥
You created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word!
And hundreds of thousands of rivers began to flow.

We can think of the Kavao or Word as the Divine Hukam or the expression by God of these laws of nature and the spiritual laws. Everything flows from the one Word or Hukam.

Scienists has discoveed over the centuries that there are certain laws underlying all the different phenomena we see in nature. While we have progressively learnt more and more, we still understand only a tiny fraction of all the wonders of His creation. There is much more that science still cannot address or explain. It is important to remember that anything that science does discover is a part of His Hukam, a reflection of His awesome glory and of the wonders of His creation.

Looking at all the myriad living beings including human beings, they are all created by Him under His Hukam. But the way I understand it, He did not just command each one into existense, as the proponents of “Intelligent Design” and others would have you believe; instead He produced all this incredible world of myriad creatures through the laws of nature, through the fascinating process of evoution, along with the underlying processses of physics, biochemisty and genetics. Just consider at the complexity and power of the eye, or the brain. All of these have been created through the basic laws of nature, including evolution. So there really is no contradiction between religion and evolution, or science in general.

If you look at the universe, not only is it incredible that there all these galaxies, stars and planets, but the whole process through which they have been created starting with the big bang is awe inspiring. There is so much beauty in how all this can happen from a few basic laws. You can almost feel spiritual reading about all the incredible discoveries that scientists have been making about the universe if you recognize that it is all a part of His creation, His Hukam.

ਕਰਤੇ ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਮੁਸਤਾਕੁ ॥ [SGGS M 5 p 724]

O Creator, beholding your creation, I am filled with love for you.

Gurbani also tells us that Waheguru is the Master of countless universes (kot brahmand ko thakur swami), and that he constantly creates and destroys universes. Many physicists are now speculating about the multiuniverse, and of bubble universes popping in and out of existense.

The laws of nature are only one part of His Hukam that we can see and talk about. There is a whole other universe of spiritual laws which are also a part of His Hukam and which are the subject of Gurbani. For example, Gurbani talks about the law of dharma, whereby each of us is judged and held accountable for our actions, and we reap the results of the actions that we sow. It also tells us about the path of naam simran and bhagti that we should follow. Gurbani also describes how God takes care of his devotees or bhagats :

ਅਉਖੀ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਦੇਖਣ ਦੇਈ ਅਪਨਾ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥
ਹਾਥ ਦੇਇ ਰਾਖੈ ਅਪਨੇ ਕਉ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲੇ ॥੧॥   [SGGS M5 p662]
The word birad is often translated as His innate nature but we can think of it as His way, one of His spiritual laws. According to this spiritual law, He watches over those who reach a certain stage of bhagti,

These are just a few examples of His spiritual laws given in Gurbani. Waheguru is the creator of these physical and spiritual laws, but He is not limited by them. He is beyond all limits and transcends these laws. He is not arbitrary or whimsical – He is just, kind and forgiving. If His Will appears to be unfair or mean, it is our limited understanding

ਪੂਰਾ ਨਿਆਉ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥       [SGGS M5 p 199]
The Creator administers true justice. And

ਤੁਮ ਕਰਹੁ ਭਲਾ ਹਮ ਭਲੋ ਨ ਜਾਨਹ ਤੁਮ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਦਇਆਲਾ ॥   [SGGS M5 p 513]
What You do is always good, but we do not understand and appreciate it. You are always kind and compassionae.

What does it mean to live in alignment with Hukam or hukam rajaai chalna? There are two major aspects of Hukam Rajaaee Chalnaa – one is Hukam manana or joyful acceptance of whatever happens as His Hukam, and the other is understanding and living our lives according to His Hukam or Hukam kamaana.

What do we mean by that? Guru Nanak Ji says Hukam rajaaee chalna Nanak likhia naal. What does the Guru mean by likhia naal ? The universal Divine Hukam is writen deep within each one of us. However, we cannot understand it because we are separated from our true reality by our haumai – the strong sense of a separate identiy, often translated as ego. As we progress spiritually this universal Divine Hukam within ourselves is what we start to discover and to follow in our lives. Gurbani instructs us about this Hukam even when we are not yet at the stage where we can understand this Divine Hukam on our own. In other words, Gurbani is Hukam, in a form that is accesible to us. It tells how we should live our lives to achieve union with the Divine. So this aspect of Hukam rajaaee chalnaa is understanding and following the Divine Hukam as given to us by the Gurus in Gurbani – Hukam bujhnaa and Hukam kamaana.

Bhana mananaa

Let us take a closer look at the first aspect of Hukam – bhaana mananaa. What that means is to realize that everything heppens in His Hukam and to cheerfully accept whatever occurs as His Will.

ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਾਈ ਭਲੀ ਕਾਰ ॥ [SGGS M1 p. 4]

Whatever pleases you is good, and..

ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ [SGGS M 5 p.394]

Whatever You cause to happen is sweet to me.

We do have to be fully engaged in life and do our best, but at the same time we have to accept whatever happens as His Hukam. Even in the face of misfortune, we have to keep our faith and remain in Chardi Kalaa. The most inspiring example of bhaana manana is that of Guru Arjan Dev Ji who underwent the most horrific torture and still declared “tera keea meetha llagai”.

An important part of livng in Hukam is recognizing that everything is His Hukam and celebrating it and accepting it joyously. This is part of expressing our devotion and love for Him.

ਸੋਈ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਿ ਆਪਿ ਕਰਾਏ ॥   [SGGS M 5 p 108]
ਜਿਥੈ ਰਖੈ ਸਾ ਭਲੀ ਜਾਏ ॥
ਸੋਈ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਸੋ ਪਤਿਵੰਤਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਲਗੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥

The Gurmukh not only accepts the Divine Will, but considers it to be sweet – Hukam lagai jis meetah jio.

It is easy to talk about accepting His Will, but it can be really hard to actually do so in practice. As Guruji tells us
ਤੇਰਾ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਗੋਚਰੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੈ ਭਾਣਾ ॥   [SGGS M5 p 1186]
Your Mansion is imperceptible, O my Beloved; it is so difficult to accept Your Will.

Even when we are trying to do the right thing, and putting in our best effort, things don’t always work out the way we want.

ਤੂੰ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਾ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥   [SGGS Rehras M1 p469]
He is doing what He wills; what I attempt may or may not work. But I have to try and then cheerfully accept the result. We must have faith that what happens in His Hukam is for the best

ਤੁਮ ਕਰਹੁ ਭਲਾ ਹਮ ਭਲੋ ਨ ਜਾਨਹ ਤੁਮ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਦਇਆਲਾ ॥   [SGGS M5 p 613]
We know Waheguru is compassionate, we know he is just. So whatever He does is for the best, even though we may not realize it. However, bhaana mananaa is not to be confused with resignation or fatalism. Gurbani tells us to do our udam, to make our best effort to do the right things. Looking at the lives of the Gurus, we see that they didn’t just accept injustice and tyranny as His Will, they resisted and fought against it, often at great personal sacrifice.

When we talk about bhanaa manana, acepting His Will, we usually refer to how to deal with misfortune, when things go wrong. But both bad and good things, dukh and sukh, happen in His Will.

ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੁਇ ਦਰਿ ਕਪੜੇ ਪਹਿਰਹਿ ਜਾਇ ਮਨੁਖ ॥ [SGGS M1 p.149]
Pleasure and pain are the two garments given, to be worn in the Court of the Lord.

Sukh and Dukh, good and bad fortune, happiness and suffering are all His gifts

ਜੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਤ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਅਰਾਧੀ ਦੁਖਿ ਭੀ ਤੁਝੈ ਧਿਆਈ ॥੨॥   [SGGS M4 p 757]
ਜੇ ਭੁਖ ਦੇਹਿ ਤ ਇਤ ਹੀ ਰਾਜਾ ਦੁਖ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੂਖ ਮਨਾਈ ॥੩॥
If You will bless me with happiness, then I will worship and adore You. Even in pain, I will meditate on You. ||2||
Even if You give me hunger, I will still feel satisfied; I am joyful, even in the midst of sorrow. ||3||

We have to remember Him both in moments of pain, and of happiness.

Hukam is not just accepting misfortune, it is also celebrating when good things happen. When something bad happens, we say oh well it is God’s Will. We are effectively blaming Him but saying that we have no choice but to accept it, or perhapsto to pray to Him. When good things happen, we often take the credit for them – we believe that it is the result of our hard work, or our smarts, etc. or else we just take them for granted. It is important to remember that good things also happen in His Will. They are an opportunity to celebrate all our blessings and to remember Him and practice gratitude. If we just pause and reflect on all our blessings, we realize there is so much to be grateful for.

Beyond Bhaana mananaa or accepting the Divine Will, is Hukam kamaana, obeying or living according to Hukam. It is following the teachings of the Gurus and the Universal Divine Hukam deep within ourselves, and living our whole life according to this Hukam.

When the Guru asks kiv sachiaara hoiai, is it possible to become become one with the True One, with Waheguru, just by acceptance alone? The Guru is talking about more than bhaana mananaa, or accepting His Will. He is talking about being in alignment with the Divine Hukam, about living the Hukam.

ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਮੀਤ ਚਲਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਲੀ ॥   [SGGS M4 p667]
ਜੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਭਲ ਮਾਨਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਥਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
O Sikhs of the Guru, O friends, walk on the Guru’s Path.
Do as the Guru tells you – His message is wonderful.

The teachings of Gurbani can be said to cover two broad areas – one is spiritual or our relationship with the Divine — the path of Naam. The other is ethics or how we relate and act towards one another – our achaar.

ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥   [SGGS M5 p266]
ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਕਰਮੁ ॥
Of all religions, the best religion
Is to chant the Name of the Lord and maintain pure conduct.

It is clear that both spirituality and ethics have to go hand in hand. The practice of paath, kirtan and naam simran helps to overcome our haumai and cleanses us of our evil tendencies. But if we go through the motions of chanting Waheguru, Waheguru, doing kirtan and paath, but cotinue to cheat, be mean to others, or act in pride and anger, we are not going to make any spiritual progress. Our spiritual life has to be reflected in our actions. Otherwise we are trying to fool Waheguru, or ourselves.

Now, Hukam and Naam are closely related. Both words often refer to the all pervading Divine presence or jot that underlies everything.

ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਬੁਝਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੫॥
The One Name is the Lord’s Command; O Nanak, the True Guru has given me this understanding. ||5||

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਜਿਨਾ ਨੋ ਮਨਾਇਆ ॥   [SGGS M1 p 72]

ਤਿਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥

Those, whom God causes to abide by His Will,

Have the Shabad of His Word abiding deep within.

In other words, living in Hukam is to be in tune with Naam. Recognizing Hukam and living in alignment with Hukam helps to overcome Haumai, which is the biggest obstacle to Naam

ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥ [SGGS M3 p 560]

Haumai and Naam are essentially opposites. We cannot achieve Naam without overcoming our Haumai. At the same time, living in Hukam is the way to conquer Haumai.

ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥   [SGGS M1 p1]
O Nanak, one who understands His Hukam, does not speak in haumai. ||2||

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨਹਿ ਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥   [SGGS M3 p 560]
If you submit to the Hukam of the Lord’s Command, then you shall meet with the Lord; only then will your ego depart from within. ||Pause||

The ethical message of Gurbani includes overcoming our haumai and our evil tendencies – kaam, krodh, lobh, moh an ahankar (lust, anger, greed, unealthy attachment and pride) and all the other evil tendencies that come out of them – hatred, violence, cruelty, dishonesty. Additionally, there are the positive qualities or guns that we have to inculcate including Sat (Truth), Santokh (contentment), Daya (compassion), Dharam (doing one’s duty), Parupkar (altruism) and khima (forgiveness).

An important point to note is that Gurbani gives us a set of key ethical values, not a list of do’s and don’ts such as the ten commandments of Christianiy, the sharia law of Islam, or the karma kand of Hinduism. Such core ethical values are universal and timeless, while the do’s and don’ts of morality are often driven by cultural and historic context and they tend to be specific to a time and place. What people think of as morality differs from one group to another and this often leads to conflict and confusion. One group says “We cannot do this because my religion says so” and another group says “but my relgion says this instead”. Most people can, on the other hand, largely agree on the core values advocated by Gurbani.

As we discussed earlier, ethics and spirituality are intimately connected. One key guiding princple of our achaar or how we treat others is to recognize the Divine Light in all. We must treat everyone with respect and kindness because each one is a child of the same Creator.

ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥੧॥ [SGGS M5 p.1299]
…. ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੈ ਪੇਖਿ ਪੇਖਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਗਸਾਈ ॥੩॥੮॥
Guru Arjan Dev Ji says I do not see any enemy or stranger, and he goes on to add that he sees the same Divine Light pervading all.

Similarly in this shabad bhagat Kabeer Ji sees everything originating in the One Divine Light, so we should not judge any one as good or bad:

ਅਵਲਿ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ ॥   [SGGS Kabeer p 1349]
ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥
First, Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings.
From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||
ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਸੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨੈ ਬੰਦਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥
The last line emphasizes that realizing the Divine Hukam we see the One in everyone, which is, again, the basis of how we should treat each other.

Free Will and Choice

One question that frequently comes up in the context of Hukam is the age old issue of determinism versus free will and choice.

According to Gurbani, everything is under His Hukam, we have no power on our own..

ਮੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਕਰਿ ਹੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੋਇ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥ [SGGS Kabeer p 1165]

ਤੂੰ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਾ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ [SGGS M1 p 469]
You are the Creator Lord; I can do nothing. Even if I try, nothing happens. ||1

ਕੀਤਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਸਰਬ ਰਜਾਈ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਚੈ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸਕੀਐ ॥
ਆਪਣਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਉ ਰਖੀਐ ॥੧॥
ਮੇਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਤੇਰੈ ਵਸਿ ॥
ਅਸਾ ਜੋਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੇ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਮ ਸਾਕਹ ਜਿਉ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਵੈ ਬਖਸਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ [SGGS M4 p.736]
All that happens, and all that will happen, is by His Will. If we could do something by ourselves, we would.
By ourselves, we cannot do anything at all.

At the same time, Gurbani repeatedly tells us to make the right choices:

We are enjoined to walk on the path shown by the Guru. We have to do our paath and naam simran. As discussed earlier we must overcome our haumai, avoid evil and control kaam, krodh etc. and practice good achaar, exercise compassion, do parupkaar and seva and so on.

ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਵਦਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭੁੰਚੁ ॥

ਧਿਆਇਦਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਮਿਲੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਤਰੀ ਚਿੰਤ ॥੧॥ [SGGS Guru Arjan p. 15]

We have to make an effort to practice the teachings of Gurbani, do naam simran, and we will achieve union with God and all our anxieties and worries will be removed.

We are also told that we are held accountable for our actions, that we reap the results of what we sow through our actions both good and bad.

ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥

ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥ (SGGS M1 p. 433).

Clearly, Gurbani asks us to make the right choices and to do the udam or take the initiative and make a serious effort to follow through on the Guru’s teachings.

If God is directing everything and we do not have any real control over our actions, then why should we even bother to try?

How do we address this conundrum?

We have to realize that in any case, our choices are highly constrained. We have no control over our DNA which determines much of our personality and plays a big role in how we act in a given situation. We do not choose our parents or how the DNA from the mother and father is combined to generate our DNA. Furthermore, the environment in which we grow up also impacts who we are. The actions we can take are also limited by the external situations we face as we make our choices.

Nevertheless, it is my understanding, that I do have to make the right choices and take responsibility for my actions and try to follow the Guru’s teachings. At the same time, I must see it all as a part of His Hukam. My ability to do anything, including acting according to the Guru’s teachings, is through His blessing and I should be grateful. If things don’t work out as I intend, I also have to accept that as His Hukam.


About the Author

Dr. Inder M. Singh is the Chairman of Chardi Kalaa Foundation, and has served on the boards of several Sikh non profit organizations including SALDEF and Sikh Foundation.
He is the Chairmanof Lynx Software Technologies and was CEO until 2006. He founded Excelan, and served as its chairman, CEO and president.. He was a co-founder of Kalpana, one of Cisco’s early acquisitions. Dr. Singh has served on the boards of several high-tech companies.. He holds Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in computer science from Yale University, an MSEE from Polytechnic Institute of New York, and B. Tech (Hons) in Electronics from IIT, Kharagpur.