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.

 

2015

Table of Contents and Abstracts
January - December 2015, Vol. 17, No. 1

EDITORIAL

In This Issue...
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
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FEATURE ARTICLE

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS PERSPECTIVES FROM NANAKIAN PHILOSOPHY
Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD

ABSTRACT
The term ‘environmental ethics’ is a part of wider term, ‘environment philosophy’, which is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the natural environment and humanity's place within it. Our Earth is the third planet from our Sun. Nevertheless, the Earth is the only planet in this Universe known to us which can sustain life although there is the possibility that there may be millions of such planets which can sustain life. Since the Earth provides everything to sustain life, therefore, Guru Nanak calls it “Mother Earth” ( ਧਰਤੀ ਮਾਤਾ – AGGS, p 1021). Guru Nanak in his first verse, Jap, has equated Air as the Guru, Water as the father and the Earth as mother during the early part of 16th century. Consequently, it necessitates that we formulate environmental ethics to keep Mother Earth and its environment safe for as long as possible. However, before formulating the environmental ethics one must be aware of the fact that the Earth has been constantly changing; it was never in the state which we observe today and will never be in the same state in the future in spite of all our efforts to save it. In this paper the formulation of environmental ethics are discussed according to Nanakian Philosophy.
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FEATURE ARTICLE

GURU NANAK’S TRAVEL AN APPRAISAL OF BAKU VISIT
Gurvinder Singh Chohan, B.Eng, MBA

ABSTRACT
Taking reference of many research papers and books written by eminent scholars and historians have always intrigued me to find out some facts about the travels by Guru Nanak. This article examines the various sites cited in research papers and books where Guru Nanak claimed to have visited and examine it in light of empirical evidence culled from early contemporary sources as well as from current understanding of existing monuments. By questioning various arguments and proofs regarding the paucity of general historical information about Guru Nanak’s travel, the author argues that the Guru Nanak indeed visited these sites. In series of the articles, starting with Baku (Azerbaijan), I will try to put forth some arguments for each site Guru Nanak visited. Next Article would be focused on Istanbul, Turkey.
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FEATURE ARTICLE

SIKH IDENTITY Sikhs are Passing Through
Baldev Singh Sandha

ABSTRACT
A Sikh is a learner. For a Sikh, God - a unique transcendent invisible entity present in all existence - is a part and parcel of life that originates from a clean source and, as such, a search for spiritual ideals is free from the bondage of personal possessions and wealth. The ‘worship’ of Aad Guru Granth Sahib by a Sikh implies action as per the ‘philosophy, ethics, culture and way of life’ as prescribed in the teachings treasured in Aad Guru Granth Sahib and communicated to the learner through the Sabds (hymns) - the pivotal force of Sikhism. No wonder, Guru Arjan refers Aad Guru Granth Sahib “The Holy Book as the home of the Transcendent God.” And, Guru Gobind Singh declared it to be eternal Guru of Sikhs.

A glance through Aad Granth yields the seven inter-twined layers that lay bare the necessary condition of the value-cum-belief system of the identity of a Sikh. The three sufficiency condition related elements of the identity of a Sikh, namely the dress code, the nomenclature, and the formal initiation procedure to Sikh Brotherhood, bear the signature stamp of Guru Gobind Singh. Consequently, there exists a landscape of people who profess Sikhism faith in the Census statistics, namely Amrit-dhari, Keshdhari and clean-shaved Sikhs, the numbers that are boasted by the faith as well as political leadership of Sikhs.

The rising preponderance of clean-shaved Sikhs, particularly amongst the Sikh youth, in rural Punjab, more so, among the members of Sikh diaspora, is, indeed, a sign of worry. As a response, a number of research issues are listed for diagnostic analysis in the context of Indian Punjab and diaspora. These research issues call for empirical investigation to objectively delineate the causes and only, thereafter, changes required in the present pattern of institutional leadership of Sikh faith can be deciphered and deliberated upon.
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SEMINAR 2015 - Pothi Parmesar Ka Thaan

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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

SABD - THE GURU OF NANAK
Devinder Singh Chahal

ABSTRACT
Two words, ‘sabd’ and ‘guru’ and their combination as ‘sabd guru’ have been extensively used in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). It is usually understood that the word ‘sabd’ is derived from Sanskrit and is spelled as ‘sabda’ in English, however, in this paper it will be spelled as ‘sabd’. In Hinduism every person or spiritual leader must have a Guru. For example, in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjun, a Kshatriya prince, accepts Krishna as his Guru on the battlefield. The Siddhas had Gurakh Nath as their Guru and Bhagat Kabir had Ramanand as his Guru. Many Hindu families have their own personal Gurus. In the same sense, the Siddhas wanted to know the Guru of Nanak during a discourse (Siddh Gost) between Nanak and Siddhas. Nanak replied that his ‘guru’ is ‘sabd’ (sabda). This paper will discuss the intrinsic meanings of ‘guru’ and ‘sabd’ (sabda): what is that ‘sabd, which is the ‘guru’ of Nanak, and how did ‘sabd’ become ‘sabd guru’ and how did ‘sabd guru’ become ‘granth guru’. This paper will also discuss implications of accepting the ‘granth’ as the ‘guru’ instead of ‘sabd, as the ‘guru’?
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

VEDAS IN THE POTHI (AAD GURU GRANTH SAHIB)
Kulbir S Thind

ABSTRACT
This article examines the light in which Vedas are described is the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). This is not intended to give full gamut of occurrences referring to Vedas but enough to give the reader a whole view of the subject.
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

COMPREHENDING THE SABD (WORD) TO KNOW THE GOD
Avtar Singh Dhaliwal

ABSTRACT
The human, being curious by nature has been searching for some sort of supreme power to hang its woes, worries, guilt, concerns, and hopes in return for better life indulgences. Based upon perceptual empirical evidence in nature and natural phenomena, and knowing moral and social emotions of fellow beings, the humanity has been evolving concepts of an Infinite Entity that is beyond everything known to describe IT. The regional populations, depending upon their needs, wishes, wants, fears, anger, lust, hatred and so on have ascribed titles to the Entity and supplementing Its supremacy with historical moral and social ethical values. Guru Nanak (1469-1539CE), the founder of Sikhi, reviewed each and every available religious literature and religious praxis, to write his own analysis of divine play guiding human to live righteously. The succeeding Sikh Gurus with their own writ supplemented the principles written by Guru Nanak. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan realizing the precious treasure of supreme principles of divinity promulgating spirituality in righteous living, compiled the written words (gurbani) of the Sikh Gurus along with bani of the like-minded sages and saints, into a book (Pothi - pothi-Holy Scripture)) and revered it as word of the God.   Instead of creating a specific station for worship etc., he addressed the book (Pothi-Holy Scripture) as the source/place (Thaan) of God. This paper is an attempt to understand the Significance of the WORD's (bani) to know the God that Guru Arjan decided to designate the book as “pothi, the epicenter of the God (Pothi Parmesar ka Thaan).
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

BANI, GURU, AND GOD
Sukhraj S Dhillon

ABSTRACT
All Sikhs are ordered (by Guru Gobind Singh) to accept Guru Granth as the Guru (Sabh Sikhan ko hukm hai, Guru maneo Granth). But are not the ten human Gurus our Gurus or Bani is our Guru (bani guru, guru hai bani; AGGS, M4, p 982) or Sabd is our Guru (Sabd Guru, Surat dhun chela ; AGGS, M 1, p943)? Gurbani/Bani/Sabd is believed to be revealed to Sikh Gurus as message of God. Some Sikh sc holars consider gurbani as a place to meet God (Pothi Parmeshar ka Thaan; AGGS, M 5, p1226). Although Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) is the eternal Guru and there is no more human Guru in Sikhism after Guru Gobind Singh, but the bani/Sabd or message in it is what leads us to realization of God. That is why Bani/Sabd is Guru right from the time of Guru Nanak (Sabd Guru, Surat dhun chela; AGGS, M 1, p 943) much before Guru Gobind Singh declared AGGS as the Guru. There is no prophet in Sikhism. God according to Gurbani is pervading everywhere in all forms as well as formlessness (sargun as well as nirgun which is matter and energy in science). Note: AGGS = Aad Guru Granth Sahib. M = Mahla
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

POTHI PARMESAR KA THAAN
Devinder Pal Singh

ABSTRACT
Pothi, a popular Punjabi word, means a book. Among the Sikhs, however, pothi signifies a sacred book, especially one containing gurbani or scriptural text. Although the word is used even for the Aad Granth in the index of the original recension prepared by Guru Arjan. He probably alluding to the Aad Granth pronounces pothi to be "the abode of God" for it contains "complete knowledge of God" (AGGS, p 1226). However, in Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) [8, 17], the word ‘pothi’ has been used to depict a prayer book, a sacred book, a holy scripture and the Hindu scriptures. In this article, the historico-critical analysis of the words pothi, parmesar and thaan is done. In addition to the interpretation of the verse 'Pothi Parmesar Ka Thaan', the role and importance of pothis (Holy Scriptures) for spiritual enlightenment is described. It is pointed out that AGGS advises us to avoid the ritualism of pothi recital. Rather it exhorts us to understand the real meaning of what is written in Holy Scriptures (pothis). Also, it urges us to become a God conscious being [11] (Brahm Giani) - a person who always delights in doing well to others. From here onward pothi will not be depicted in italics.
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

POTHI PARMESAR KA THAAN
Manjit Singh

ABSTRACT
This paper deals with the following questions:
  • Who is Parmesar and what is His/Her authority?
  • What is the logic behind a book being equated with the dwelling place of the word of God?
  • What is the scope of this book and all, which is covered in it?
  • Historical and current status of the book.
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Proceedings of the Seminar Presentaions

POTHI PARMESAR KA THAAN - A PERSPECTIVE
Gurdev Singh Sangha

ABSTRACT
This article traces the historical information about the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) right from the writing of bani by Guru Nanak; and collection of bani of other Gurus and of Bhagats to compile it into a granth and declaring it “Pothi Parmeshar ka Thaan” by Guru Arjan. Finally, to the stage when this “Pothi” was declared the “Guru of the Sikhs” by Guru Gobind Singh.
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Editorial Board

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Trustees, Directors, Liaison Officers, Coordinators, Generous Sponsors

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