Saturday, May 28, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Non-Sikhs on Sikhism
Some thoughts of modem writers on Sikhism and Gurbani.
Rev. H. L. Bradshaw
After thoroughly studying the philosophy of Sikhism, Rev. H. L. Bradshaw observed:
Sikhism is a Universal world Faith, a message for all men. This is amply 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 … It completely supplants and fulfils 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.
Bradshaw also writes:
The 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 the modern man.
Archer, in his book on the Sikh faith comments:
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 needs today its message of peace and love.
Another scholar, Dorothy Field in her book, "The Sikh Religion," writes:
Pure Sikhism is far above dependence on Hindu rituals and is capable of a distinct position as a world religion so long as Sikhs maintain their distinctiveness. The religion is also one which should appeal to the occidental mind. It is essentially a practical religion. If judged from the pragmatical standpoint which is a favorite point of view in some quarters, IT WOULD RANK ALMOST FIRST IN THE WORLD. (Emphasis by the author). Of no other religion can it be said that it has made a nation in so short a time.
In his book, "The Sikh Religion," Macauliffe writes:
Unlike the scriptures of other creeds, they do not contain love stories or accounts of wars waged for selfish considerations. They contain sublime truths, the study of which cannot but elevate the reader spiritually, morally, and socially. There is not the least tinge of sectarianism in them. They teach the highest and purest principle that serve to bind man to man and inspire the believer with an ambition to serve his fellow men, to sacrifice all and die for their sake.
Macauliffe deems it necessary to draw the reader's attention to another significant feature of Sikhism which distinguishes it and separates it from other philosophical and religious systems of thought:
The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other great theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition, and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote any of tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Buddha has left no written memorials of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucious, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social systems. The Founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing, and for them we are obliged to trust to the Gospels 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 first hand what they taught. They employed the vehicle of verse, which is generally unalterable by copyist, and we even become in time familiar with their different styles. No spurious compositions or extraneous dogmas, can therefore be represented as theirs.
The author of the 'Vie de Jesus' was a great admirer of Jesus Christ. Greatly impressed as he was of the spiritual message delivered by Christ and those of the Semitic thinkers that preceded him, he posed the question: "Whether great originality will again arise or the world be content to follow the paths opened by the daring creators of the ancient ages?" Bearing Sikhism in mind, Macauliffe answers the above question in the following words:
Now there is here presented a religion totally unaffected by Semitic or Christian influences. Based on the concept of the unity of God, it rejected Hindu formalities and adopted an independent ethical system, ritual, and standards, which were totally opposed to the theological beliefs of Guru Nanak's age and country. As we shall see hereafter, it would be difficult to point to a religion of greater originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system
Guru Nanak was not a priest either by birth or education, but a man who soared to the loftiest heights of divine emotionalism, and exalted his mental vision to an ethical ideal beyond the concept of Hinduism or Mohammadanism.
Dr. W.O. Cole
Dr. W.O. Cole, of the U.K. wrote more than half a dozen books on Sikhism. In 1985, he visited India where communal disturbances had created a virtual turmoil and thousands of people were killed. In a key note lecture by him on the Mission and Message of Guru Nanak Dev, he gave a message to the Sangat there and through them to all of humanity:
Remember the tenets of Guru Nanak, his concepts of oneness of God and Universal Brotherhood of man. If any community holds the key to national integration of India, it is the Sikhs all the way.
After the lecture, he was asked what drew him to the study of Sikhism, he replied:
Theologically, I cannot answer the question what drew me to the study of Sikhism. You may call it, the purpose of God. But to be more specific, the unique concept of universality and the system of Langar (free community meal) in Sikhism are the two features that attract me towards the study of Sikhism. Langar is the exclusive feature of Sikhism and found nowhere else in the world. Sikhism is the only religion which welcomes each and everyone to its Langar without any discrimination of caste, creed, color, or sex.
Swami Nitya Nand
The opinions of some Hindu mystics also should be quoted to understand their experiences with the Sikh faith. Swami Nitya Nand (expired at the age of 135 years) writes in his book "Gur Gian":
I, in the company of my guru, Brahma Nand Ji, went to Mathra ... While on pilgrimage tour, we reached Panjab and there we met Swami Satya Nand Udasi. He explained the philosophy and religious practices of Nanak in such a way that Swami Brahma Nand Ji enjoyed a mystic lore. During the visit to the Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar, his soul was so much affected, that he became a devotee of the Guru. After spending some time in Panjab he went to Hardwar. Though he was hail and hearty, one day I saw tears in his eyes. I asked the reason for that. He replied, "I sifted sand the whole of my life. The Truth was in the House of Nanak. I will have to take one more birth in that house, only then I will attain Kalyan." After saying that the soul left his body.
Swami Nitya Nand also wrote of his own experience:
I also constantly meditate on Waheguru revealed by Nanak. I practiced Yoga Asanas under the guidance of Yogis and did that for many years; the bliss and peace, which I enjoy now, was never obtained earlier.
Finally, here are some excerpts from the proceedings of a seminar on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. It was conducted at Simla, now in Himachal Pardesh, by the Panjab Historical Society Lahore, before World War I. The seminar was presided over by the lieutenant governor of Panjab.
After hearing the lecture by Joginder Singh, Pundit Ramsaran Das, a prominent Hindu intellectual observed that Guru Nanak was a great reformer of the Hindu faith.
Nawab Zulfkar Ali Khan of Malerkotla disagreed with Mr. Das and commented that Guru Nanak was a great Muslim fakir, his best friend was Bhai Mardana, a lowly Muslim. His best devotee was a Muslim, Rai Bular, the village chief.
The governor, in his presidential remarks disagreed with both and said that according to what had been told by the speaker, Guru Nanak was a great Christian.
Guru Nanak, however, states in Gurbani:
"I am neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, I am a human being."
Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh
individuals requesting for my limited understanding of Dhyan. Before I
share some of my thoughts, I would like to set a context within which my
understanding makes sense to me.
There are three centers from which all your actions come: the head, the
heart, and the being. The head is the most superficial. It has to think
about things -- even if you fall in love the head thinks about it, am I
really in love? And if it decides that yes, it seems you are in love,
the head is going to propose to the woman, "I think I am in love with
But thinking is base. Man functions from the head. It has its utilities
-- it has created all the sciences, and all the technologies, and all
the nuclear bombs, aggression etc.
The woman generally functions from the heart, by woman, this also could
mean the female energy, the ying etc. She cannot say, "I think I love
you." It has never been heard in the whole history of humanity. She
simply says, "I love you." Thinking plays no part. The heart is enough
unto itself; it does not need any help from the head.
If one has to choose between the head and the heart, one should choose
the heart, because all the beautiful values of life belong to the heart.
The head is a good mechanic, technician, but you cannot live your life
joy just by being a mechanic, a technician, a scientist. The head has no
qualities, capacities for joy, for blissfulness, for silence, for
innocence, for beauty, for love, for all that makes the life rich -- it
is the heart. Therefore, when considers meditation and that its to do
with the head, our starting point may become contaminated.
First drop from your head to your heart. But don't stop there; it is
only an overnight stay, a temporary abode. You can have a little rest
there, but it is not the goal. Drop from the heart into the being.
And this is the secret of meditation, that wherever you are -- in the
head, in the heart -- it doesn't matter, meditation brings you from the
head, from the heart, to the being. Meditation is the way to your own
center of existence, where there is no question of getting stuck, no
question about getting caught in your thoughts. This takes a little
practice, but in a relatively short time, one can get to witness
And there are 108 or so techniques for meditation, to start the process.
The easiest is based on breath and is what is proscribed according to
Sikhi. It starts with the "act" of doing... One is focusing on their
breath in, their breath out.. It's a doing... And as our minds wander,
we will "catch" our minds wandering...chasing thoughts, passing
judgements to these thoughts etc.. Thought are like a horse and our
attention becomes the rider. After a little practice its possible to
cultivate a sense of mental focus. This then drops into a state of
being... Being in the present moment. This takes some effort and
re-conditioning of our minds. I know this may not be the done thing, but
I would like to share an understanding of Mool Mantar from a view point
Ek - this very moment
Oong Kar - Being created, sustained, and destroyed, yet all within the
Sat nam - The Truth of NOW, This Moment existing, This moment being the
Kartha Purkh - That Creator that is in its creation. Therefore, being in
the experience of NOW, will allow you to witness/experience/glimpse Nam
Nirbhau - With out fear, since fear needs either a future or past. In
the present moment, who can be feared, what is there not to know. All
that is known is NOW, therefore no fear.
Nirvar - hate needs a reference point, a point in the past. If one is in
the now how can hate be experienced?
Akaal Murth - Akaal, Without Time, outside time. The Now can not be
subject of this time dimension. Murth its form
Ajuni - Without Birth, Death or Rebirth. The now is always eternal
Siabangh - That which is created from itself.
Simran... The act of rememberance, an act of doing , an act of the head,
in time drops to a state of being. Your very fabric is dyed with the
reminder/ remembrance of the divine.
There are two methods of Dyhan, within, and without. Within is based on
meditaion. Wthout is based on Sewa, selfless service.
The closest state for meditation is being in love.Iove is the closest
phenomenon to meditation. The moment you fall in love with someone, what
actually happens? What transpires between those two who have fallen in
love with each other? They drop their egos -- at least for each other.
They drop their hypocrisies, their masks. They want to be together,
almost one soul within two bodies. That's the desire of love. When your
whole being is in remembrance of the beloved.
And this is a beautiful moment to change it into a meditation. Just
nobody has ever told them. In fact, just the opposite has been told to
them. The sad fact is that many of us are replacing the Mysticism of
Sikhi, the Bhagti Movement, the Love Devotion with a superficial mental
and physical Sikhi. The heart appears to be less important in todays
Thursday, May 12, 2005
How many of us walk into the Gurudwara and before looking and concentrating on our Guruji infront of us, we look for people who we might know and who we can sit down next to, cos we dont want to sit by ourselves (that means we look like loners!)? I do.
How many of us will not listen to what our Guruji is saying and concentrating on the word, but talk to our friends about whats happenin? hows life? what you doin tonight? I do.
Now ask yourselves would we do this if Guru Gobind Singh Ji was sitting up there infront of us?
Monday, May 09, 2005
Look at everything as if you were looking at God
Listen to everything as you were to be listening to God.
Speak to everyone the way you would speak to God.
Think of everything as God.
Tears come to my eyes when I think of thee, why is that so? The body goes numb, theres a shiver down my spine, my heart feels like something is pulling it, the mind feels fresh, whilst dryness takes the breath. Why is this so Master, beloved Waheguru?
I am not even worthy of being the dirt on the shoes of the slaves of the slaves of Waheguru.
We only pray to you waheguru when we need your help and how great you are waheguru that you still come to my aid! I only use you, yet you help me when im in great trouble.
Thankyou Waheguru ji, Thankyou.
You gave me life, thankyou.
You gave me a way of life, thankyou.
You gave me your name, thankyou.
You give me everything I need and want, thankyou.
You give, you take, thankyou.
Yet we dont say thankyou, thankyou for everything Waheguruji.
Im such a fool, you have shown me the way, yet I am still blind.
You have given me your word, yet I am still deaf.
You have told me what to say, yet I am still dumb.
You have told me how to live, yet I am still paralyzed.
Some call you Ram, some call you Allah, some call you Lord, I call you all.
Please help me find you, otherwise this life will be wasted! Who knows how many I have wasted already!?
Give me strength so I can destroy the 5 sins which pollute my mind, body and soul. Those sins which keep me away from thee. Make me fearless, show me love, make me walk the path Nanak has set out.
Your great, yet I dont appreciate you! I ignore you, say ill words to others, I have time for everything apart from you, I dont think of you, yet your so great that you wait for me to say hello, bye, goodmorning, goodnight. You never think bad of me, you say theres always tommorrow, yet I still dissappoint thee, how great you must be to wait for an idiot like me! Waheguru!
Poor is a King without you. Rich is a beggar with you.
Childless is a mother without you.
Dry is the water without you.
Cold is the sun without you.
Love is hate without you.
Heaven is hell without you.
Life is death without you.