Religion has two distinct aspects, the physical (karma), and the spiritual (dharma). Karma, manifesting itself in a myriad of established rituals. Dharma, lying deep in the thought process is seen as basis of action, but is like an iceberg, largely hidden to the eye. Guru Nanak Dev says:
This mind is born of the five elements.
The deeds it commits are its karma, and what the mind follows is Dharma.
Karma stems from the mind, instinctual, or acquired as part of the ageing and socialisation processes. We learn to bow and genuflect, visit some places, and call these actions as Dharma. But Dharma lies much deeper. Guru Granth Sahib says:
Some call themselves spiritual scholars, and by their clever tricks, love to gather wealth.
Some say they are righteous, but waste their righteousness by asking for the door of salvation!
But for those who find His grace, the difference between Karma and Dharma is no more:
Whatever pleases You is pure action of Karma.
Whatever pleases You is true faith of Dharma.
Guru Nanak Dev took his last breath in 1596. His followers, both Hindus and Muslims, argue over his last rites. Confusing the Karma with Dharma, some want to bury, and others want to cremate. Both place their respective flowers on the body, and cover it with a shawl. They would check in the morning, and those whose flowers were found still fresh, would conduct the last Karma as per their Dharma. In the morning, the body was missing; only the flowers were there, still fresh. Both communities then divided the flowers and shawl, with Muslims having a burial and the Hindus conducting a cremation. The gurudwara at Kartarpur has therefore both a grave and a cremation spot – a tribute to oneness of God and religion, and of Karma born of Dharma.