Issues of Understanding Sikhism, The Research Journal, since 1999 are available in electronic form: http://www.iuscanada.com/journal/archives/journalarchives.html

Why This Research Journal

Sikhi (Sikhism) is based on Guru's philosophy [2]. This philosophy is based on the 'Sabd (word) of the Guru. According to the Gurbani 'Sabd' is the Guru, and it is the philosophy of Guru Nanak [2, 3, 4, 5]. A part of philosophy is explained as follows:

  1. Evaluation of Philosophy: Gurbani teaches that one must first evaluate the philosophy, if convinced, then adopt/follow it [6].
  2. Deliberation and Discussion: Highest importance is given on the deliberation and discussion on the sabd of the Guru [7].
  3. Listening and expressing: Importance of first listening and then expressing oneself as long as one lives in the world, is an important feature of the Gurbani [8].
  4. How to Resolve Doubts?: The above philosophy (2-3) has been reiterated by Guru Arjan that if there is any doubt it can be resolved by sitting together in the sangat and discussing the matter fully attuned to the Almighty [9].
  5. Discriminating Intellect: Gurbani says: Those who have discriminating intellect can understand things in their real perspective [10], and those who have the discriminating intellect are wealthy in knowledge [11].
  6. Importance of Research: Gurbani explains that researchers progress while the others who move aimlessly from one topic to the other, disintegrate [12].

Although the above citations are inscribed in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) [1], most of the Sikhs do not take any initiative to question the authenticity and validity of unscientific and illogical beliefs introduced into Sikhism and misinterpretation of Gurbani by some individuals and preachers.

The above principles encourage every human being to explore the philosophy of the Nanakian School with every possible applicable method for its proper understanding. I, therefore, met and talked to some Sikh scholars in Canada, USA, UK, and India during 1997 and 1998 and proposed to get together on a platform, where well documented research articles can be published for the Sikhs and Non-Sikhs, especially, the young Sikhs of the next millennium. I felt very satisfied when everybody accepted the proposal with a great enthusiasm.

Explanation of a philosophy to make it in easily understandable form depends on the interpretation and representation of its originality and entirety. In this respect, the following example quoted by McMullin [13] is worth mentioning here:

".we must see something of what is meant by 'explanation' - scientific, philosophical and theological. Each discipline proceeds in a different way to 'explain' the same thing; each has, if you will, a different idea of what constitutes 'explanation'. For the scientist, the death of a dog will be 'explained' in terms of a virus; for the philosopher, it will be 'explained' in terms of matter and form; for the theologian, it will be 'explained' as part of God's providence. Now the exponent of any one of these modes of explanation is quite liable to regard the other modes as being trivial or even spurious."

It is clear from the above example that a scientist, a philosopher, and a theologian individually failed to give a reasonable explanation of the 'death of a dog' acceptable to all three. Nevertheless, this is the best example that supports the policy of the journal. The interpretation of Gurbani and representation of Sikhism by a researcher, when reviewed by two or three editors expert in the field of Theology, Physical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Political and Social Sciences, Medicine, Philosophy, Psychology, History, Languages, or Law then the final form will be more close to the reality than that given by a single person expert only in theology or languages.

There is quite a good number of journals on Sikhism and Gurbani in Punjabi and English, published privately by various Sikh institutes and societies, and the universities in India and Western countries. But most of them deal with the traditional or conventional methods, dominated with mythology and rituals, for interpreting Gurbani and representing Sikhism. A research article, to find out the real perspective of Gurbani and Sikhism, appears rarely in these journals. Therefore, publication of Understanding Sikhism The Research Journal has been initiated that will publish articles to understand Gurbani and Sikhism in its originality and entirety and to eliminate mythology and unscientific and illogical, beliefs, codes and rituals crept into Sikhism during the last three centuries.

REFERENCES

    AGGS = Aad Guru Granth Sahib. 1983 (reprint) 1430 p. Publishers: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar. (M = Mahla, i.e., succession number of the Sikh Gurus to the House of Guru Nanak, P = Page of the AGGS).
  1. AGGS, M 1, P 465: Sikhi sikhia gur vichar
  2. AGGS, M 1, P943: Sabd guru surt dhun chaela
  3. AGGS, M 1, P 635: Sabd gur pira ghehar ghambeera bin shabdae jag bao-rann
  4. AGGS, M 1, P 904 :Gur mat jage dur mat parharri
  5. AGGS, M 1, P 1410: Pehla wastu sanjan kay ta keechay wapar
  6. AGGS, M 1, P 904: Sabsay Uppar gur sabd beechar
  7. AGGS, M 1, P 661 :Jab lag dunia rahiey Nanak kish suniey kish kahiey
  8. AGGS, M 5, P 1185: Hoey ikatar mileh mere bhai dubida dur kar liv laey
  9. AGGS, M 5, P 285: Bhujay Bhujanhar bibake
  10. AGGS, M 5, P 1150 : So dhanwanta jis budh bibake
  11. AGGS, M 1, P 1255: Khoji Upjay badi Binsay hao bal gur kartara
  12. McMullin, Ernan. 1968. Science and the Catholic tradition. Pp 30-42. In: Science and Religion: New Perspectives on the Dialogue. Ian, G. Barbour. Ed. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York.