From firstname.lastname@example.org@21:1/5 to All on Fri Oct 20 17:59:17 2017
SIKHISM by Justice Choor Singh
The noble ideals and principles of the Sikh religion founded by Guru Nanak Dev have been appreciated by many leaders of other religions.
All great religions deal with the relationships of God, man and the universe. And, like the religions of the West, Sikhism emphasizes the belief in One Supreme Being, The Creator.
The Supreme Being revealed to Guru Nanak is the Indwelling Spirit which continually creates and sustains the universe, each moment of its existence. God transcends the universe but is present in every part of it.
From this fundamental doctrine flow a number of other beliefs. Sikhs believe that since God is present in every Person, each person stands as an equal before God, regardless of race, color, nationality or sex, Thus there is in Sikhism a religious basis
for tolerance, freedom of conscience, and social equality.
An important tenet of Sikhism is that man may improve his own destiny. Guru Nanak taught that God rules the universe by Divine Will. Yet, each person by his deeds on this earth can influence his fate. What we sow, that alone we reap. Thus man molds his
own destiny under Divine Will. One might also reason that this belief in individual responsibility is a source for the Sikhs' energy and enterprise.
Another important concept of the Sikh faith needs to be emphasized. It is a religion which encourages people to strive for continual improvement. Guru Nanak taught that God is The Perfect One, and that man is not perfect but has the capability of
becoming perfect. The attainment of perfection, according to Guru Nanak, is by developing love for God. Through meditation on the divine attributes of God there arises in the believer a desire to inculcate those same virtues in himself. Thus he strives
to develop the Divine within himself, to become like God and to become one with Him
Guru Nanak, who lived from 1469 to 1538, the era in which India was just emerging from its medieval period, traveled widely, preaching his new Faith. He won a large number of adherents to his teachings. It was the beginning of a new religious fellowship
which in course of time developed into a well defined new religious Order. Its chief doctrines were the unity of God, the brotherhood of man, rejection of caste and the futility of idol worship.
The term "Guru" when applied to Guru Nanak and his nine successors means Enlightener. The Gurus were not an incarnation of God, or God in human form. Sikhism does not believe in the theory of incarnation. The Sikh Gurus were ordinary human beings, but
when they were blessed by Divine Grace, they become perfect and capable of guiding mortals on the spiritual path. The Sikh Gurus were not worshiped; they were treated with great reverence and men turned to them for instruction because of their wisdom and
their high moral Purity.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last living Guru of the Sikhs, ordained that after his death the Granth Sahib (the Holy Bible of the Sikhs) shall be the Guru of the Sikhs. He installed the Granth Sahib as his successor and conferred Guruship on it. The
Granth Sahib, compiled by the fifth Guru, Guru Arian Dev contains not only the great writings of the Sikh Gurus but also those of many Hindu and Muslim spiritual leaders, ecclesiastics and saints from all castes and creeds. Sikhism is, in essence,
heartfelt adoration, devotion and surrender to the one God, the Eternal Reality. This is the cardinal principle enunciated by all the Sikh Gurus and others whose writings find a place in the Granth Sahib, the scripture of the Sikhs.
It is not the 1430 page volume of the Granth Sahib, but its contents, the Shabad, (Divine instruction), which is now the eternal Guru of the Sikhs and that is why they prostrate before it, in reverence to the Shabad, in the same manner as the Sikhs of
the day used to do before the living Gurus.
In the Sikh religion, union of the soul with God is the supreme state and the bliss of it is indescribable. The Sikh way of life is the simplest way of attaining salvation. It requires the performance of duties to family and society. It also requires
doing honest labor, sharing food with others, meditation, charity, cleanliness, selfless service and egolessness. Salvation or liberation can be achieved here and now while on earth, without forsaking one's ordinary worldly duties.
In Sikhism there are no rituals to be performed, no Gods or deities to be worshiped and none is high or low. Guru Nanak advises:
Call everyone noble, none is low born:
There is only one potter, God, and He has fashioned everyone alike.
His is the one light that pervades all creation.
(AG62) Sikhs worship God and nothing else. At a prayer session, they sit on a carpeted floor before their Granth Sahib, which is installed at a slightly higher level and sing hymns of their Gurus from the Granth Sahib. After that they stand before the Granth
Sahib with their palms pressed together, in a humble posture, and address God in prayer or supplication. Every prayer ends with the following request:
Through Nanak may the glory of your Name increase and may the whole world be blessed by your Grace.
Sikhism is a way of life shown to mankind by Guru Nanak and the nine other Divine Masters who in turn succeeded to the Guruship. They were in direct and constant touch with the Eternal Reality. It is a code of discipline laid down for the Sikhs by their
FOR PEACE AND ENLIGHTENMENT READ GURU GRANTH SAHIB, - SECULAR, MODERN AND UNIVERSAL SCRIPTURE -AS OPINED BY SOME WORLD SCHOLARS, PHILOSOPHERS & WRITERS.
I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the
human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God, to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzled me until I learned that they are
in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century, when explorers were beginning to discover that the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the
source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to persons of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
- Mrs. Pearl S. Buck, Noble laureate
Sikhism is a Universal world faith, a message for all men. This is simply illustrated in the writings of the Gurus. Sikhs must cease to think of their Faith as just another good religion and must begin to think in terms of Sikhism being the religion for
this New Age... The religion preached by Guru Nanak is the faith of the New Age. It completely supplants and fulfills all the former dispensations of older religions. Books must be written proving this. The other religions contain the truth but Sikhism
contains the fullness of truth...
Guru Granth Sahib of all the world religious scriptures, alone states that there are innumerable worlds and universes other than our own. The previous scriptures were all concerned only with this world and its spiritual counterpart. To imply that they
spoke of other worlds as does the Guru Granth Sahib is to stretch their obvious meanings out of context. The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of modern man.
Prof. H. L. Bradshaw
The religion of the Guru Granth is a universal and practical religion... Due to ancient prejudices of the Sikhs it could not spread in the world. The world today needs its message of peace and love.
Mankind's religious future may be obscure; yet one thing can be foreseen. The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before, in the days of increasing communications between all parts of the world and branches of human
race. In this coming religions and its scripture, Guru Granth will have something special of value to say to the rest of the world.
- Arnold Tovnbee
Pure Sikhism (as enshrined in Guru Granth) is far above dependence on Hindu rituals and is capable of distinct position so long as Sikhs maintain their distinctiveness. The religion is also one which could appeal to the occidental mind. It is essentially
a practical religion. If judged from the pragmatical stand point which is a favorite point of view in some quarters, it would rank almost first in the world. Of no other religion can it be said that it has made a nation in so short a time. The religion
of the Sikhs is one of the most interesting at present existing in India, possibly indeed in the whole world.
- Dorothy Field
For Nanak there was no such thing as a God for the Hindus, a god for the Muhammadans, and a god or gods for the outer heathen. For him there was but one God, not in the likeness of man, like Rama, not a creature of attributes and passions, like the Allah
of Muhammad; but one sole, indivisible, self existent, incomprehensible, timeless, all pervading - to be named, but otherwise indescribable and altogether lovely. Such was Nanak's idea of the Creator and Sustainer of the phenomenal world, and it was a
conception which at once abrogated all petty distinctions of creed, and sect, and dogma, and ceremony. The realization of such God shatters the sophistries of the theologian and the quibblings of the dialecticians. It clears the brow from the gloom of
abstruse ponderings over trifles and leaves the heart free for the exercise of human sympathies.
- Frederic Pincot, British Scholar
The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from other great theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known not left a line of their own composition and we only know what they taught through tradition or
second-hand information. We know the teachings of Socrates through the writings of Plato and Xenophan. Buddha has left no written memorials of his teachings. Kung-fu-zu, known to Europeans as Confucius left no documents in which he detailed the
principles of his moral and social system. The Founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing and for them we are obliged to trust to the gosples according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Arabian prophet did not himself reduce to
writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of the Sikh Gurus are preserved, and we know at first what they taught. They employed the vehicle of verse, which is generally
unalterable by copyists, and we even become in time familiar with their different styles. No spurious compositions or dogmas can, therefore be represented as theirs.... As we shall see hereafter, it would be difficult to point to a religion of greater
originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system.
- Max Arthur Macauliffe, British Historian
In Brahmanical Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism generations of teachers and commentators gave new shapes of religions and philosophical doctrines and sometimes changed them beyond recognition. The six schools of Hindu philosophy branched off into different
groups of thinkers. The same process divided Jains and Buddhists into different and sometimes warring sects. The history of Islam as also of Christianity presents the same phenomenon of doctrinal disintegration. But Sikhism never succumbed to warring
commentators; it presented intact the heritage which Guru Nanak had left for it. None but a great and far-sighted founder can formulate doctrines capable of surviving the shocks of political and social revolutions for centuries... His humanity is
transparent in his verses... The story of Guru Nanak's life and achievement has no parallel in the annals of this ancient land. It is not enough to call him the greatest of the sons of Punjab. He must be counted among the greatest of the sons of India.
He was the founder of the last of the greatest religions of the world. He planted a poetical sappling which has blossomed into one of the great literatures of India. He laid the foundations of brotherhood which has enriched our national heritage by
struggle against religious intolerance, social injustice and denial of political freedom. History must pay homage to one who - in serving God - served his country so well.
- Anil Chandra Banerjee, Professor of Guru Nanak Chair, Yadavpur University, West Bengal.
The more I dug into the pages of Guru Granth the more I fell in love with them... It is enough for us to take as it comes to us, to hear the lovely music in the truths he sang, to try to live the life of inspired service and practical devotion which he
taught. For these things the world will always be in debt to Guru Nanak and to those through, whom he spoke in the succeeding generations.
- Duncan Greenless, Theosophist from U. S.A.
Besides containing the teachings of Sikh Gurus, Guru Granth, also contains the teachings of Muslim saints (Farid, Mardana, Bhikkan, Kabir) and Hindu saints (Dhanna Pipa, Sain, Surdas, Jaidev, Triochan, Ramanand etc.) and even untouchables like Namdev,
Ravidas etc. The treatment meted out to the untouchables by the high-caste arrogant class was immeasurably horrifying and inhuman and words fail to give the description. For example, they were not even allowed to enter the temples or fetch water from the
community well. This is only a negligible fraction of the scene. But the Sikh gurus embraced them, ate with them and even incorporated their lovely, universal, divine and sublime teachings in Guru Granth Sahib. This classic scripture can be easily called
a parliament of different religions. It does not contain any stories, histories etc. but only truth. And truth does not age, fade or waver. It will serve as a Torch of Truth for all the human beings, for generations to come. Guru Nanak had gone to Mecca.
Kazis asked him, "Nanak, according to you, who is great? A Hindu or A Muslim?" Guru Nanak replied, "Without noble deeds both will have to repent."