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2011

Table of Contents and Abstracts
January - December 2011, Vol. 13, No. 1-2

PREAMBLE

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE UNIQUENESS OF GURU NANAK'S PHILOSOPHY
Prof D.S. Chahal, PhD
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INAUGURAL ADDRESS
Prof Dr Ajaib Singh Brar
Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
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INTRODUCTION

Department of Guru Nanak Studies and
Objectives of International Conference

Prof Dr Shashi Bala, PhD
Dean of Faculty, Coordinator (Conference)
Department of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
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KEYNOTE ADDRESS

UNIQUENESS OF GURU NANAK'S PHILOSOPHY
Prof D.S. Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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FEATURE ARTICLES

Uniqueness Of Guru Nanak's Philosophy:
Revelation Or Philosophy?

Sarjeet Singh Sidhu
MBBS, FRCOG, FICS, LLB (Hons.), AM
50, Jalan Bintang, Taman Sunrise, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

ABSTRACT
Guru Nanak's Philosophy is best gleaned from a study of his writings and from his actions such as can be ascertained to be true by historically verifiable documents. Guru Nanak took a comprehensive view of life: an approach best encapsulated in the aphorism "Kirt Karo, Naam Japo, Vand Shakko". This paper attempts to show why his philosophy is unique, especially given his practical, life-affirming approach in moulding ordinary individuals into good, productive members of society. Whilst open to the idea, if sufficient evidence is adduced, that there is every possibility that Guru Nanak's philosophy was totally new, and hence its uniqueness, it is suggested that no philosophy can be independent of existing philosophies. It is contended that the trend of interpreting Gurbani in Vedantic terms is wrong, and that many lay Sikhs seek to know what precisely Dhur ki Bani means and implies: an issue for Sikh theologians to sort.
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The Unique Logo
Prof D.S. Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada

ABSTRACT
The , it is pronounced by many Sikh theologians as ‘Ek Oankaar’ or ‘Ek Aumkaar’ because they consider the open ‘Oora’ is the abbreviation of ‘Oankaar’ used in Gurbani. Many Sikh scholars relate ‘Oankaar’ to ‘Aum’ according to Vedic and Vedantic philosophy. This paper presents the findings of our continuous research into the meanings of the logo, The , coined by Guru Nanak. Here it has been fully documented that The stands for ‘Ek Oh Beant’ (One and Only, Oh, Infinite).
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Uniqueness of Guru Nanak's Philosophy:
Difference from Vedanta Philosophy

Prof Shashi Bala, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Religious Studies
Department of Guru Nanak Studies

ABSTRACT
Guru Nanak's philosophy is universal, dynamic and deeply humanistic and it provides perennial solutions for the emerging problems of human life. He enunciates the doctrine of oneness of God and universal brotherhood but this oneness does not mean uniformity rather recognition of diversity underlying unity. He does not advocate the philosophy of absolutism and religious totalitarianism but believes in the spirit of religious pluralism. Real religion means contemplation of Divine Name, righteous conduct and service of humanity and mere possession of religion without religiosity may lead to religious dogmatism, proving detrimental to the growth of any religion. This paper deals with three main issues viz. first, we need to understand the meaning and nature of philosophy in East and West to clarify the misconceptions about the relation of religion and philosophy in the East; and to see how the religious texts are not only a matter of faith but are the imperatives for the righteous way of living with a definite goal. Second, whenever we talk about uniqueness of any philosophy, the immediate thought that comes in our mind is uniqueness in comparison with the other faiths or philosophies. However, the word uniqueness should not be taken as claiming exclusive authority with an intention to undermine the others; but it points to the distinctive features of any religious tradition which are more conducive for self-progression and self-transcendence and to bring religious harmony. Though the eternal truths of all scriptures are universal yet the particularities, historical context and uniqueness of their preceptors' spiritual experiences are the stimulating factors within the given context. Third, often we find disagreement among scholars regarding the interpretation of Gurbani and often Vedantic interpretation of Gurbani is the most popular usage among many scholars. To avoid any misunderstanding, we should be clear about the literal meaning of Vedanta as well as the development of Vedanta as a philosophical school of thought.
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Explication of the Potter and the Potter's Clay
Avtar Singh Dhaliwal, MD
3606, Honeywood drive, Johnson City, TN 37604

ABSTRACT
The Sabd, "mittee Musulman ki" (AGGS, M 1, p 466.) became contentious in the court of Aurangzeb (1661 CE), when his Islamic clerks applied sophistic interpretation to embarrass Baba Ram Rai, son of the 7th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai. Their misinterpretation of the Sabd implying disposition (burial) of human remains according to Islamic law and then the potter digging clay from the grave of a Muslim to make pots, pans and bricks; has never been challenged by any Sikh or Non-Sikh scholar. The critical and discrete analysis of the Sabd provided logical certitude completely opposing premise that the Sabd is about the creation of a human from clay and suffering through the worldly entanglements. To elaborate on the notion that human sufferings brought on by the individuals themselves regardless of their faiths; Guru Nanak expounded a unique way of substantiating emancipation of human in the Sabd "mittee Musulman ki", known only to the Creator of it ALL. This paper will discuss the potter, potter's clay, and reasonable explication of the Sabd to emphasize UNIQUE Philosophy of Guru Nanak in its true interpretation.
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Egalitarian Hermeneutics From The Bani Of Guru Nanak:
His Attitudes Toward Caste And Females

Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, PhD
Department of Religious Studies,
University of Wolverhampton, UK

ABSTRACT
Attitudes towards the lower castes and women in the society in which Guru Nanak lived were often quite demeaning. Guru Nanak's Bani (philosophy) offers a profound insight into his revolutionary uniqueness of mind in which he endeavoured to promote an egalitarian society. In his ideology, all human beings were on a par with one another, regardless of caste, religion or gender. Women in the period of Guru Nanak were very often seen as a source of pollution, and the ascetic, in particular, viewed them as evil seductresses. Women were denied an education and refused permission to read the Vedas. Guru Nanak condemned views that led to the justification of celibacy amongst ascetics. He emphasized the grihast stage in which the householder had an equal opportunity to achieve mukti as compared to the sannyasin who had renounced the world in search of spirituality. Guru Nanak emphatically voiced that females could not possibly be inferior to men, since it is from woman that man takes birth (AGGS, M 1, p 473). In his stance towards an egalitarian society, Guru Nanak also rejected the notion of ritual pollution (and conversely ritual purity) associated with the caste of one's birth. This paper will explore and discuss the uniqueness of Guru Nanak's philosophy with regard to the social and religious betterment of women and the lower castes in Fifteen- and Sixteen-century Punjab.
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Concept Of Reincarnation In Guru Nanak's Philosophy
Amarjit Singh Chahal
9- Holloway Road, Markham, ON, L3S 4P4, Canada

ABSTRACT
The mystery of life and death has puzzled man since his stepping onto the threshold of 'Homo sapiens' or perhaps even before. The endeavor to solve this puzzle provided a fertile ground for the growth of several philosophies. All major religions have belief in some sort of life after death. Hinduism believes in the doctrine of karma which leads to the doctrine of reincarnation or transmigration of souls. The concept was also adopted by Buddhism and Jainism. Followers of the present day western religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not believe in reincarnation as such but hold that the dead will be raised on the Day of Judgment (Resurrection). This paper deals with the unique concept of reincarnation and/or transmigration according to the philosophy of Guru Nanak embodied in his Bani.
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Guru Nanak:
His Distinctive And Pro-Active Philosophy

Gurnam Singh Sanghera, PhD
8042-19 Avenue, Burnaby, BC, V3N 1G3 Canada

ABSTRACT
Guru Nanak, the first preceptor and founder of the Sikh religion, enunciated and delivered a very distinct philosophy of pro/creative-activism (to awaken people to strive against unjust discrimination, oppression and aggression). He espoused muti-faceted salvific teachings but I will discuss Guru Nanak's philosophy concerning socio-economic injustice ,exploitation, aggression, social justice and physical/ mental liberation of oneself and the society. Guru Nanak emphasized a life of truthful living (which is higher than truth) and of propitious and good deeds. Thus his creative and exceptional promulgation deters humans from asceticism, formalism, ritualism and penances etc. One can execute Naam Simran in word, thought and deed. He empowered the low, downtrodden and the marginalized to stand up for their rights and carve out their own destiny. One ought not to avoid struggle in socio-economic and political worldly life.
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Unique Communication Philosophy Of Guru Nanak
Prof Dalvinder Singh Grewal, PhD
Guru Tegh Bahadure Khalsa Institute of Engineering and Technology, Malout

ABSTRACT
Having attained salvation at Vein River in Sultanpur Lodhi, God revealed to Him that he should share with the world his own experiences with truth. Guru Nanak set out with the declaration of equality of all beings since all were the various forms of the God. God made no religions; neither Hindus nor Muslims; for that matter no other religion is created by God. Religions are man-made. God loves all equally; God differentiates none. This was a unique message; it was a great message since the rulers considered it their birth right to rule over others and treat them as pawns in the keg of their power. He trotted the entire globe not caring for the extreme hardness and difficulties and communicated with rich and poor; high and low; God fearing and the hardened criminals with his sweet, melodious voice accompanied by the mystical music instrument; taking every one along in the wave of truth, love and compassion; equality and fraternity in God; instantly convincing everyone. This paper discusses his great power of communication he had that no one could resist him; everyone moved and floated with him!
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Guru Nanak's Concept Of God (Absolute Reality)
Prof Hardev Singh Virk, PhD
#360 Sector 71, SAS Nagar (Mohali) -160071

ABSTRACT
It is unfortunate that Nanakian Philosophy failed to impact at global level despite its unique world-view. Nanakian Philosophy dialectically unites the ideas of God and the World created by Him. No school of Hindu philosophy believes that God is Karta Purkh in the same sense as implied by Nanakian Philosophy. Guru Nanak discarded the worship of the whole pantheon of gods and goddesses of Hindu religion. He laid the foundation of a strictly monotheistic religion in India for the first time. Guru Nanak's God is absolute, formless one, inscrutable, boundless, self-existent, ineffable and beyond time. Guru Nanak's God is both transcendental and immanent, pervading the macrocosm as well as the microcosm. The idea of divine self-expression in the World is another revolutionary theological concept introduced by Guru Nanak. The concepts of Truth (Sach), the Name (Naam), the Word (Sabd), the Divine Preceptor (Guru), and the Divine Order (Hukm) form the key-concepts of divine self-expression. Guru Nanak is the first prophet of God in the history of world religions who removed the dualism and dichotomy between the spiritual life and empirical life of man. We may conclude that Guru Nanak's vision of God was far more scientific/logical and comprehensive than his predecessors both in the East and the West.
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Shades Of Guru Nanak's Philosophy
Rajinder Kaur Rohi, PhD
Professor Religious Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, India

ABSTRACT
Guru Nanak's philosophy is not his individual personal reaction to the then prevalent scenario, rather it is the divine intervention through Guru Nanak to assert and establish the real purpose of religion in human history. It is not only the intervention merely, yet also the desire and design of a particular spiritual and moral life standard as revealed by God Himself through Guru Nanak.
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Transcendentalism and Pragmatism in Guru Nanak's Philosophy
M M Verma, PhD
InterFaith Foundation, India,
A-9/13A Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110 057

ABSTRACT
The uniqueness of philosophy of Guru Nanak has been discussed in this paper on his transcendental and pragmatic approach to address the humanity.
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RESOLUTION
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