2015- IUS Research Monograph # 5

NANAK: The Guru, The Founder of Sikhism


Many books and articles have already been written about Guru Nanak's life and his contributions. Some present him as a mystic man and a prophet sent by God for the welfare of humanity; others write that he was a reformer and follower of the Bhagati Movement so much so that some say that he was a follower of Bhagat Kabir. Still others are of the view that he was creating a bridge between Hinduism and Islam. Currently the general trend is to represent him as a preacher of Vedantic philosophy, although even those who present him in this way admit that on certain points he differed from Hinduism.

A critical analysis of the literature indicates that there is a great need to represent him based upon his philosophy as embodied in his bani. However, the various interpretations of his bani currently available have been done under the shadow of Vedanta. We, however, have interpreted his bani by using the application of science and logic to represent the real theme / philosophy in it.

Now the question is:
Who is Nanak?

In this book it has been tried to represent Nanak as the Guru based on the Gurbani incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib. In our subsequent books his bani will be interpreted by using the application of science and logic. Some of the basic principles of his philosophy are presented in this book.

To comprehend the truth in the bani as written and promulgated by Guru Nanak, one must compare the results of preconceived opinions of the 'Unknown' by historical interpreters which are based on theology against the scientific approach appreciated and adapted by Guru Nanak himself. He applied all the evidence including historical; and religious literature and religious praxis in search of the truth. He came to the realization that the ultimate explanation of reality lies in accepting the freedom of natural phenomena (Hukm-hukmu ) and living by (mMnY ) it. This book is only an introduction to the founder of Sikhi(sm) and its basic principles.

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhi(sm) (1469-1539 CE), was a divinely inspired, well- educated by the mentors of Islam and Hinduism, and extensively travelled person who, at very young age, had realized the 'Truth' about the Reality - God and natural phenomena. From his writings incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture, it becomes obvious that through discourses, discussions and observation of the praxis in various religions, he discovered religious mentors deluged with ego (haumae haUmY ), promulgating nothing more than chaos by indulging in self- serving gains.

Knowing that humanity in general has the capacity to be deceived or deceives itself by believing in anything but the truth; most religious authorities with their clever, but often abstruse meanings have shielded the ancient interpretations of the Reality from humanity. They have promulgated the presence of a fearful and judgmental God in the very midst of human ignorance, doubts, fears, and sinfulness. It was these superfluous and superstitious beliefs of which Guru Nanak and the succeeding Sikh Gurus did not approve. For these reasons this booklet has been written and published using critical analysis (Bibek Budhi) to evaluate "historical theology" and the false promulgation of religious ethos.

This booklet reflects the brief life history of Guru Nanak, the political and religious chaos in India during early 15th and 16th century, the travels of Guru Nanak, and the declaration and honoring of Nanak as the Guru. It also discusses the story of the revelation to Guru Nanak when he emerged out of Vein rivulet after three days and the story about the succession of Bhai Lehna to the 'House of Nanak'. All other fictitious stories about his life, found in various Janam Sakhis (biographies), have been avoided.

The question of whether the philosophy of Guru Nanak is original and unique has also been explained in brief.

The Gurbani phrases or Sabds and their transliterations have been copied with permission from www.srigranth.org, maintained by Dr Kulbir Singh's son, Jasjeet Singh Thind. The interpretations of these phrases and Sabd are either by the authors or by some other authors and in that case their names are mentioned at appropriate places. The manuscript has been critically edited by Mr Jesse Schell from New Zealand to make it understandable by native English speakers in Western countries.

The Authors
Laval, Quebec, Canada
25 October 2014