Understanding Sikhism, The Research Journal, is no longer available in paper (printed) form. You may contact Prof. Devinder Singh Chahal by emailing at sikhism@iuscanada.com. Articles and Table of Contents for the past issues are available in electronic form.

 

2013

Table of Contents and Abstracts
January - December 2013, Vol. 15, No. 1-2

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FORMULATING METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING GURBANI
September 21, 2013 Montreal, Canada
Dedicated to Centennial Anniversary of Max Arthur Macauliffe
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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Gyani Title for Sikh Scholar Max Arthur Macauliffe
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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PREAMBLE

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: FORMULATING METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING GURBANI
September 21, 2013 Montreal, Canada
Dedicated to Centennial Anniversary of Max Arthur Macauliffe (1841-1913)

Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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FEATURE ARTICLES

APPLICATION OF SCIENCE AND LOGIC IN INTERPRETATING GURBANI Part I: Etymology
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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ABSTRACT
Although Guru Nanak has used definite Methodology to write his Bani, our pioneer interpreters of Gurbani have not paid any attention to look into his Methodology to interpret Gurbani. Therefore, it is not only important to understand that Methodology of 15th century and to use it for interpreting Gurbani but also to supplement it with modern Methodology. The present paper deals with the Application of Science and Logic for interpreting Gurbani. This paper has been divided into two parts. First part deals with “Etymology” along with the application of Science and logic. The second part discusses the use of “Ontology” to interpret the concept and existence of God.

APPLICATION OF SCIENCE AND LOGIC IN INTERPRETATING GURBANI Part II: Ontology of God
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Institute for Understanding Sikhism
Laval, Quebec, Canada
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ABSTRACT
In continuation of our work on the “Application of Science and Logic in Interpreting Gurbani” we have discussed in the Part I that “Etymological Study” of words, used in Gurbani, was a great help to achieve interpretation very close to the theme of the Sabd. Existence of the God has been and will continue to be a “Question” in comprehending the Truth in its propriety by the evolving humanity. The theologians in almost every known religion of the world are promulgating the existence of God in one form or another based upon their imagined descriptive attributes reflected in the natural phenomena. Most of the terminology applied in describing God as an Entity is either reductive or deductive of existing attributes in natural phenomena. In this article we are looking for if existence of God or “Ontology of God” can also be demonstrated by the application Science and Logic?

FORMULATING METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING GURBANI
Dr Devinder Pal Singh
Centre for Understanding Sikhism,
4-215 Mississauga Valley Blvd,
Mississauga, ON, Canada;
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ABSTRACT
The process by which theological texts are understood relies on a particular hermeneutical viewpoint. In the interpretation of a text, hermeneutics considers the original medium as well as what language says, supposes, doesn't say, and implies. The process consists of several steps for attaining the best of the Scriptural author's intended meaning(s). Some important steps [31] are outlined as under.

EXPLICATIVE METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING GURBANI
Avtar Singh Dhaliwal, MD,
14, Points West Dr.,
Asheville, NC 28804
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ABSTRACT
To understand the Gurbani in a holistic way, person needs to detect in applied words of the Gurbani itself. All subtle formations from the beginning, relationships and interrelationships with the God, Nature, the community, various processes and transformations of such processes, reflecting the laws of the Universe, realization of the Truth in Nature and simplicity of the person as an individual and community configuration are incorporated in the Gurbani. The available translations and interpretations of Gurbani are allegoric, laden with literal interpretations based upon controversial Vedic philosophy, twisted historical and anecdotal stories.  The Gurbani, however, follows an explicative methodology, related to the fundamental nature of the world, its entities independent of human thought and existence; an inquiry into prevailing religious literature claiming knowledge of the world, and their praxis. This paper will discuss examples of misinterpretation of the Gurbani and the impact, and suggest an explicative methodology to be followed for appropriate interpretation of the Gurbani.

SOME PITFALLS OF TRANSLATION OF AAD GURU GRANTH SAHIB INTO ENGLISH
Kulbir S Thind, MD.
San Mateo, CA, USA.
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ABSTRACT
Besides a good mastery of English language and cultural practices of native English speakers, translation of Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) requires good knowledge of languages used in it, cultural practices of Punjab region/India and of mythologies of Indian subcontinent. There is significant symbolism used in AGGS which when literally interpreted changes the meaning. When a sentence taken out of context is translated the meaning can be entirely different. The subject of this presentation is to highlight some of the pitfalls that should be avoided during translation and to offer few suggestions regarding adaptation of right methodology.

APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE FROM VARIOUS SCIENCES AND LOGIC TO INTERPRET GURBANI
Dr Sukhraj S Dhillon, PhD.
Mountain House, CA 95391, USA.
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ABSTRACT
Gurbani is the absolute truth and the truth does not shake or waiver with time or contradicts itself. Truth from Science and truth from Gurbani must eventually converge to remove myths trickled down to us from Hindu mythology that has influenced interpretation of Gurbani. We have suggested both the scientific and spiritual perspectives to remove such doubts. It is concluded that use of science as a modern tool helps comprehend and understand, and gives a better picture of the total philosophy rather than leave things in myths and up to individual interpretations. The concept of God by Guru Nanak and modern science is similar which is important in understanding Gurbani.

SCIENTIFIC INTERPRETATION OF GURBANI
Prof Dalvinder Singh Grewal, PhD.
Desh Bhagat University.
Amloh Road, Mandi Gobindgarh,
District: Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab 147301, India
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ABSTRACT
The various schools of Sikh studies and individual researchers have been interpreting Gurbani differently creating numerous controversies and confusions over a period of time. These controversies and confusions relate to the interpretation of content and linguistic elements. The primary language of Aad Guru Granth Sahib is Puratan Punjabi with a sprinkling of other prevalent languages of the period’s style which differ from the modern Punjabi. In addition meanings of myths, the allegories, metaphors, and similes etc. too have changed over the period. Hence there is a requirement of scientific interpretation of the old material in new colours. This study is an attempt to explore the methods of interpretation of Gurbani with scientific methodology. In scientific research, interpretation is the task of drawing inferences. It is the device through which the factors that seem to explain what has been observed by researcher in the course of the study can be better understood. It also provides a theoretical conception which can serve as a guide for further studies. Analytical information and consequential inferences are to be communicated to the targeted audience or readers to represent the true picture. The researcher exemplifies the interpretation on scientific lines and established that such briefest, to the point and exact reporting of the experiments available in SGGS is rarely seen in any other text. He used hypothesis testing method, questionnaire method, and independent content analysis methods to find the subject treatment and found it to be the most scientific, clearly stated, developed and discussed logically and systematically covering the gaps of previous researches. Hypothesis is formulated, tested and modified effectively and conclusion drawn step by step. The reliability and validity of the research findings are duly tested through practice. Presentation is most lucid and artistic through poetry and music; a rare thing in research. This provides guidelines for future writers and researchers for being brief, to the point, exact, scientific, logical, systematic, reliable, valid, lucid, artistic, graceful, poetic and musical.

CONSISTENCY WITH GURMAT IS A MUST FOR AAD GURU GRANTH RENDITIONS
Harbans Lal, PhD, DLitt (Hon.),
Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience.
University of North Texas Health Science Center,
Fort Worth, USA.
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ABSTRACT
Because of its poetic format and its use of many languages, the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) text is bound to have frequent blind spots in its interpretation. To deliver its universality and eternally relevant message, the Aad Guru Granth Sahib hymns employ various kinds of figures of speech or poetic devices, particularly metaphor, apostrophe, personification, idiom, simile, euphemism, hyperbole, litotes, metonymy, and symbols. To translate or interpret the hymns, the scholar must ensure that the translation of the original text transmits the meaning or sense of the Gurmat, with all its universal applications. The scholar must not only circumvent the blind spots but also ensure that his/her expositions conform to the internal evidence of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib, its textual evidence as well as the main doctrines advocated by the founder of the Gurmat. Verses from various Aad Guru Granth Sahib hymns are selected to illustrate the blind spots, inconsistencies and ambiguities encountered by scholars while translating or interpreting the hymns. Some guidelines are provided to how the scholars may capture the meaning and spirit of the original text in their translations and interpretations.

FORMULATING METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING GURBANI POSSIBLE CAUSES AND/OR EXCUSES
Dr Devinder Singh Sekhon,
20 Silas ST, Hamilton, ON. Canada
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ABSTRACT
Interpreting the holy Gurbani correctly has always been a great challenge for scholars of Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). However, this subject has gained more attention recently for the right reasons because many scholars are interpreting Gurbani in their own ways. This paper has tried to determine the possible causes/excuses which may lead some scholars to misinterpret Gurbani. Eleven such possible causes/excuses have been identified in this regard and discussed in detail. I am hopeful that if careful attention is paid to these causes/excuses, chances are that there will be much less disagreement among scholars on this subject, and hopefully, we can interpret the holy Gurbani correctly.

ABSTRACTS

Samkali Sandrabh te gurbani viakhia (Sar Ansh) (in Punjabi)
Prof Gulzar Singh Kang, PhD
Sri Guru Garanth Sahib Adhiayan Kaindar
Guru Nanak Dev University
Amritsar, Punjab, India
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NECESSITY OF GURMAT ANUBHAV IN INTERPRETING GURBANI
Prof Kirpal Singh, PhD
1/19, Caldwell Street,
Karori, Wellington - 6012, New Zealand.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF MYTHOLOGICAL REFERENCES AND SYMBOLS IN INTERPRETING THE GURBANI
Dr Manvinder Singh
Assistant Professor, Department of Guru Nanak Studies
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India
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EXEGESIS AND MISEXPOSITION OF THE GURBANI
Dr Gurnam Singh Sanghera
8042-19 Avenue,
Burnaby. B.C. Canada.V3N 1G3
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What is Naam in Gurbani ? (In Punjabi)
Dr Gurdev Singh Sangha
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
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AMRIT BANI AS A TRAJECTORY OF A DISTINCT IDENTITY
Charan Singh, et al
Educational Researcher, Centennial College, Toronto
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ARTICLES NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE THEME OF THE CONFERENCE

EXPLORATION OF GENDER EQUALITY IN SIKHISM
Lovepreet Kaur,
University of Wolverhampton, UK.
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ABSTRACT
This paper aims to explore the teachings of the Sikh Gurus on gender equality. Within this study I intend to explore whether these teachings are applicable to Sikhs today. Women in the society in which Guru Nanak lived were considered inferior, they were viewed as seductresses and were seen as a source of pollution. Women were denied education and were not permitted to study of the Vedas

SIKH CRITIQUE OF DICHOTOMY BETWEEN RELIGION AND POLITICS
Dr Arvinder Singh,
Head, Department of Political Science.
Ramgarhia College, Phagwara, Punjab, India
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ABSTRACT
Sikh vision of relations between religion and politics is the embodiment of political concerns of Sikh Gurus, Sikh perspective of politics, integral view of life and repudiation of politics-religion and secular-sacred dichotomy by Sikh Gurus. Sikh Gurus reacted very strongly against prevailing political despotism and they disapproved the separation of religion from politics. To them, physical and spiritual needs of humankind can be satisfied only in God-centred social and political order. There is harmonious fusion of spiritual and secular spheres in Sikh way of life. God-oriented polity represents true model of welfare state based on truth, righteousness and harmony. Guru Nanak sows the seeds of unification of spiritual and temporal matters in his Divine compositions, which grow up at the time of Guru Hargobind and began to excel with the creation of Khalsa. Sikh statecraft is based on outline of the intrinsic moral law laid down by Sikh Gurus for the head of state and common man.

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