Gurbani about the Universe and the Lord

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"You created the entire universe, and it is You who sustains it

The Gurbani of the Guru Granth Sahib has a lot to say about the Lord of the Universe and His (or Her) creation.

God in Sikhism is a term used to denote any object of worship or evocation used to signify the belief of most modern religions in the existence of a "Supreme Being" or "Supreme Spirit" who is the source and support of the spatio-temporal material world.

Theologians remember Him by the name of God. The fundamental belief of Sikhism, too, is that God exists, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a "Real Being", indescribable yet not unknowable. The Sikh Masters, however, never theorized about proofs of the existence of God.

For them the Creator of all that exists is too real and obvious to need any logical proof. Guru Arjan, Nanak V, says, "God is beyond colour and form, yet His presence is clearly visible" (GG, 74), and again, "Nanak's Lord transcends the world as well as the scriptures of the east and the west, and yet he is clearly manifest" (GG, 397).

In any case, knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it comes by revelation of Himself through nadir (grace) and by anubhava (mystical experience). Says Guru Nanak, budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane (He is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He is met, when He pleases, through devotion) " (GG, 436).


What does Gurbani say about God and the Universe?

God's limit cannot be found

In his beloved composition, Japji sahib found in the Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak the first of the Sikh Guru explains,

ਅੰਤ੝ ਨ ਜਾਪੈ ਕੀਤਾ ਆਕਾਰ੝ ॥ ਅੰਤ੝ ਨ ਜਾਪੈ ਪਾਰਾਵਾਰ੝ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਕੇਤੇ ਬਿਲਲਾਹਿ ॥

ਤਾ ਕੇ ਅੰਤ ਨ ਪਾਝ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ਝਹ੝ ਅੰਤ੝ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਬਹ੝ਤਾ ਕਹੀਝ ਬਹ੝ਤਾ ਹੋਇ ॥

Anṯ na jĝpai kīṯĝ ĝkĝr. Anṯ na jĝpai pĝrĝvĝr. Anṯ kĝraṇ keṯe billĝhi.

Ŧĝ ke anṯ na pĝ▫e jĝhi. Ėhu anṯ na jĝṇai ko▫e. Bahuṯĝ kahī▫ai bahuṯĝ ho▫e.

The limits of the created universe cannot be perceived. Its limits here and beyond cannot be perceived.

Many struggle to know His limits, but His limits cannot be found.
No one can know these limits. The more you say about them, the more there still remains to be said.

- the limit of the Universe cannot be perceived; it is beyond the capability of measurement or of real comprehension by the human mind. Further, the Guru tells us that the limits of the Creator and His creation cannot be found.


The Universe will depart, but...

ਹੈ ਭੀ ਹੋਸੀ ਜਾਇ ਨ ਜਾਸੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਰਚਾਈ ॥ ਰੰਗੀ ਰੰਗੀ ਭਾਤੀ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਉਪਾਈ ॥

ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਕੀਤਾ ਆਪਣਾ ਜਿਵ ਤਿਸ ਦੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸ੝ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਕਰਸੀ ਹ੝ਕਮ੝ ਨ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਾਈ ॥
ਸੋ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ੝ ਸਾਹਾ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹਿਬ੝ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਹਣ੝ ਰਜਾਈ ॥੨੭॥

Hai bẖī hosī jĝ▫e na jĝsī racẖnĝ jin racẖĝ▫ī. Rangī rangī bẖĝṯī kar kar jinsī mĝ▫i▫ĝ jin upĝ▫ī.

Kar kar vekẖai kīṯĝ ĝpṇĝ jiv ṯis ḝī vadi▫ĝ▫ī. Jo ṯis bẖĝvai so▫ī karsī hukam na karṇĝ jĝ▫ī.
So pĝṯisĝhu sĝhĝ pĝṯisĝhib Nĝnak rahaṇ rajĝ▫ī. (27)

He is, and shall always be. He shall not depart, even when this Universe which He has created departs.

He created the world, with its various colors, species of beings, and the variety of Maya.
Having created the creation, He watches over it Himself, by His Greatness.
He does whatever He pleases. No order can be issued to Him.
He is the King, the King of kings, the Supreme Lord and Master of kings. Nanak remains subject to His Will.(27)


ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਆਪੇ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਵਰਤੈ ਜੀ ਤੂੰ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਸ੝ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਆਪੇ ਸ੝ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਭ ਉਪਾਈ ਜੀ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਆਪੇ ਸਿਰਜਿ ਸਭ ਗੋਈ ॥
Ŧuḝẖ ĝpe bẖĝvai so▫ī varṯai jī ṯūʼn ĝpe karahi so ho▫ī. Ŧuḝẖ ĝpe sarisat sabẖ upĝ▫ī jī ṯuḝẖ ĝpe siraj sabẖ go▫ī.
Everything happens according to Your Will. You Yourself accomplish all that occurs.

You Yourself created the entire universe, and having fashioned it, You Yourself shall destroy it all.

The Universe is His arena of play!

ਤ੝ਮਰੀ ਕ੝ਰਿਪਾ ਤੇ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਪਛਾਣਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੀ ਓਟ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਣਾ ॥ ਤ੝ਝ ਬਿਨ੝ ਦੂਜਾ ਅਵਰ੝ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਸਭ੝ ਤੇਰਾ ਖੇਲ੝ ਅਖਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
Ŧumrī kirpĝ ṯe ṯuḝẖ pacẖẖĝṇĝ. Ŧūʼn merī ot ṯūʼnhai merĝ mĝṇĝ. Ŧujẖ bin ḝūjĝ avar na ko▫ī sabẖ ṯerĝ kẖel akẖĝṛĝ jī▫o.(2)
By Your Grace, I recognize You.

You are my Shelter, and You are my Honor. Without You, there is no other; the entire Universe is the Arena of Your Play. (2)

He sustains the Universe

ਸਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਈ ਸਭ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਆਪੇ ਰਿਜਕ੝ ਸੰਬਾਹਿਆ ॥

ਇਕਿ ਵਲ੝ ਛਲ੝ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ ਖਾਵਦੇ ਮ੝ਹਹ੝ ਕੂੜ੝ ਕ੝ਸਤ੝ ਤਿਨੀ ਢਾਹਿਆ ॥ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਆਪੇ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਕਰਹਿ ਤ੝ਧ੝ ਓਤੈ ਕੰਮਿ ਓਇ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਇਕਨਾ ਸਚ੝ ਬ੝ਝਾਇਓਨ੝ ਤਿਨਾ ਅਤ੝ਟ ਭੰਡਾਰ ਦੇਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਚੇਤਿ ਖਾਹਿ ਤਿਨਾ ਸਫਲ੝ ਹੈ ਅਚੇਤਾ ਹਥ ਤਡਾਇਆ ॥੮॥

Sisat upĝ▫ī sabẖ ṯuḝẖ ĝpe rijak sambĝhi▫ĝ.

Ik val cẖẖal kar kai kẖĝvḝe muhhu kūṛ kusaṯ ṯinī dẖĝhi▫ĝ. Ŧuḝẖ ĝpe bẖĝvai so karahi ṯuḝẖ oṯai kamm o▫e lĝ▫i▫ĝ. Iknĝ sacẖ bujẖĝ▫i▫on ṯinĝ aṯut bẖandĝr ḝevĝ▫i▫ĝ. Har cẖeṯ kẖĝhi ṯinĝ safal hai acẖeṯĝ hath ṯadĝ▫i▫ĝ. (8)

You created the entire universe, and You Yourself bring sustenance to it.

Some eat and survive by practising fraud and deceit; from their mouths they drop falsehood and lies. As it pleases You, You assign them their tasks. Some understand Truthfulness; they are given the inexhaustible treasure. Those who eat by remembering the Lord are prosperous, while those who do not remember Him stretch out their hands in need. (8)

ਸੋਈ ਮਉਲਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਜਗ੝ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਹਰਿਆ ਕੀਆ ਸੰਸਾਰੋ ॥ ਆਬ ਖਾਕ੝ ਜਿਨਿ ਬੰਧਿ ਰਹਾਈ ਧੰਨ੝ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰੋ ॥੧॥
So▫ī ma▫ulĝ jin jag ma▫oli▫ĝ hari▫ĝ kī▫ĝ sansĝro. Āb kẖĝk jin banḝẖ rahĝ▫ī ḝẖan sirjaṇhĝro. (1)
He is the Master who has made the world bloom; He makes the Universe blossom forth, fresh and green.

He holds the water and the land in bondage. Hail to the Creator Lord! (1)

His Glory never diminishes

ਖੰਡਿ ਵਰਭੰਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਹੋਈ ਇਹ੝ ਦਾਨ੝ ਨ ਰਲੈ ਰਲਾਇਆ ॥
Kẖand varbẖand har sobẖĝ ho▫ī ih ḝĝn na ralai ralĝ▫i▫ĝ.
Across the continents, and throughout the Universe, the Lord's Glory is pervading. This gift is not diminished by being diffused among all.

How does one attain Him?

ਗੋਵਿਦ੝ ਗ੝ਣੀ ਨਿਧਾਨ੝ ਹੈ ਅੰਤ੝ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਨੀ ਨ ਪਾਈਝ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹ੝ ਜਾਇ ॥
Goviḝ guṇī niḝẖĝn hai anṯ na pĝ▫i▫ĝ jĝ▫e. Kathnī baḝnī na pĝ▫ī▫ai ha▫umai vicẖahu jĝ▫e.
The Lord of the Universe is the Treasure of Excellence; His limits cannot be found.

He is not obtained by mouthing mere words, but by rooting out ego from within.

Surprisingly, God acts according to the will of His servants

ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਕਰੇ ਦਰਿ ਫੇਰ੝ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਤਾ ਰੰਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਭ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣ੝ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੭੧॥
Jo har jan bẖĝvai so kare ḝar fer na pĝvai ko▫e. Nĝnak raṯĝ rang har sabẖ jag mėh cẖĝnaṇ ho▫e. (4)(1)(71)
As the servant of the Lord wills, so does the Lord act. At the Lord's Door, none of his requests are denied.

Nanak is attuned to the Love of the Lord, whose Light pervades the entire Universe. (4)(1)(71)

What do scientists say?

So how big is our universe? - HUGE So huge in fact that I'm going to have to play around with scales so you can get a better idea.

According to the standard inflationary model of cosmology, the visible portion of our universe; the one mapped by our telescopes is an infinitesimally small speck in a much larger universe of at least a 1035 light-year across! I admit this number is really, really big, and almost impossible to imagine.

Let's shrink things

So lets shrink everything down, WAY down, just so we can get a better grasp of it. Let's imagine that the entire universe that we have seen in all the world telescopes, all the galaxies, all trillion of them, extending out 13 billion light years in every direction is shrunk down to the size of a golf ball. Now you are holding the entire visible universe in the palm of your hand.

So how big is the actually 1035 light year universe in comparison? If we do a volume calculation, the actual universe contains 1060 of those golf balls! Wow, I guess we didn't shrink things down far enough, but this will have to do. So how big a volume would 1060 golf balls fill up? Try a sphere 850 light years across! So imagine a mass of golf balls that big, and each one of those golf balls contains all the stars and galaxies that we can see through our telescopes.

Still beyond imagining

This is still almost beyond imagining, so let's take a slightly different approach. Imagine you are travelling so fast that you can go from on end of the galaxy to the other in just one second. That's a speed of 100,000 ly/sec (1 light years/second is 9.4605284 × 1012 Km per second or 5.87849981 × 1012 miles/second or 5,878,499,810,000 miles/second or put another way 5,878 billion miles/second; 100,000 times that is super, super fast!).

At this speed the entire galaxy would be in reach before you can say the word "go", and wam, you're there. At this speed, you could travel to the nearest galaxy Andromeda in 22 seconds. And you could cross from one end of the visible universe to the other in 72 hours.

Continuing at this super, super fast speed

Continuing on at this speed, it would take 115 days to travel a trillion light years, 315 years to travel a quadrillion, and 315,000 years to travel a quintillion or 1018 light years. And yet you have barely moved at all in comparison to the universe which is 1035 light years across.

So, lets speed up our warp vehicles again, so that we can travel a quintillion light years every second. At such a speed we could cross the known universe 100 million times in one second. Ok, so now that we are travelling at a speed that might as well be infinite, how long would it take to cross from one side of the universe to the other? 3.7 billion years

Some say the Universe in infinite in size

Some physicists such as Max Tegmark believe the universe is actually infinite in size. If the galactic density of our own neighborhood is typical across this entire domain, and according to the data from the satellite COBE it is, then our bubble-universe should contain at least another 10100 galaxies.

This is such a large figure, that it's difficult to explain it. So to give you an idea of how large a number this is, it's far larger the the number of atoms that compose every object in our own visible universe, which as you remember extends out 13.2 billion light years in every direction.

This too is very difficult to conceptualize. So we'll have to scale down even further to a grain of sand. The number of atoms composing a grain of sand is about 1023 atoms, or 100 trillion trillion atoms for each grain of sand on a typical beach.

And just think how many grains of sand are on your typical beach, let alone something the size of the Sahara. And that's just on the surface of the earth. All the sand in the world composes much less than 0.00001% of the mass of the earth. The number of atoms composing the Earth is about 1060.

And the Earth in turn is one tiny planet around a small star in an ordinary galaxy, among hundreds of billions of galaxies in our very local neigborhood, which we call the visible universe. So 10100 is a very very big number of galaxies! Adding it all together and you get more galaxies in our universe than there are atoms composing every object in our visible universe.

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