One God

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One God: This is the primary message of Sikhism
and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture
begins with the word:


which basically means - There is only One God.

The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a Real Entity, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who is prepare to dedicate the time and energy to become perceptive to His persona. The Gurus never spoke about proofs of the existence of God: For them He 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" (SGGS 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" (SGGS 397).

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

Sikhism as a religion is uncompromisingly monotheistic. The Gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout. Sikhism arose in northern India during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sikhs believe in one, timeless, omnipresent, supreme creator. The opening verse of the Guru Granth Sahib, known as the Mool Mantra signifies this:

Punjabi: ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਕਰਤਾ ਪ੝ਰਖ੝ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ੝ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Transliteration: Ik ŝaṅkĝr sat nĝm karatĝ purakh nirabha'u niravair akĝl mūrat ajūnī saibhaṝ gur prasĝd.
English: One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace ~

The word "ੴ" is pronounced "Ik ŝaṅkĝr" and is comprised to two parts. The first part is simply: "੧" - This is simply the digit "1" in Gurmukhi signifying the singularity of the Creator. Together the word means: "There is only one Creator God"

It is often said that the 1430 pages of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib are all expansions on the Mool Mantra. Although the Sikhs have many names for God, they all refer to the same supreme being.

The Sikh holy scriptures refer to the One God who pervades the whole of Space and is the creator of all beings in the whole Universe. The following quotation from the SGGS highlights this point:

"Chant, and meditate on the One God, who permeates and pervades the many beings of the whole Universe. God created it, and God spreads through it everywhere. Everywhere I look, I see God. The Perfect Lord is perfectly pervading and permeating the water, the land and the sky; there is no place without Him." (SGGS 782)

The Sikhs believe that Allah - A name of God used by Muslims and Christians of the Middle East (there are 998 more according to the Prophet of Islam) is also a valid name for God. Similarly, the name Hari, Raam, Paarbrahm, Krishan which are names of God used by Hindus are also frequently mentioned in the Sikh holy scriptures. The same God of the Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc is also called Akal Purakh or WaheGuru, the primal being of the Sikhs.


Ek Oankaar |ੴ

Mool Mantar Poster

There is only One God

Ek | One

There is but one God, the Sole Supreme Being, the Ultimate Reality. The number one denotes that God is non-dual (advait). Bhai Gurdas writes, "By writing 1 (one) in the begining, it has been shown that EkOnakar, God, who subsumes all forms in Him is only One (and not two or three)" The number one also affirms God as being a positive entity as well as Shunya or a void.

The negation of duality implies Absoluteness of God's Being. Being Absolute, God cannot be comprehended by the mind. The mind is capable of knowing only those things, phenomena, facts and concepts which are bipolar or relative. God being Non-Dual and Absolute, is Unknowable to man's mind. A simple example of this is in imagining distances: one could quite easily indicate that a metre in height is so high; even two or three metres. However when it comes to large distances, one mile, or two miles it cannot be imagined by the mind, or fully comprehended and so a standard is used for comparison: this mountain is x miles high, this tree is so high, etc.

Oankaar | Creator God

The word 'O-ankaar' denotes that God manifests Himself ceaselessly throughout His Creation in diverse forms, features and colours, and in this way becomes knowable to man. But, in spite of manifesting Himself diversly, God remains One. Immanent in all creation, while at the same time remaining transcendent. Thus God is at once One and Many implying Unity in Diversity. Kapur Singh suggests Oan = Transcedent, -kar = Immanent. The Mandukopanishad defines the word as: "That which was, is, will be, is all Onkar. And that which triple transcends is Onkar too."

What SGGS tells us

There is only ONE God who has infinite qualities and names; She/He/It, is the same for all religions; God is Creator and Sustainer -All that you see around you is God's Creation; S/He* is everywhere, and in everything; S/He is fearless and with no Enemies; Only God is without birth or death and S/He* has and will exist forever.

Below are quotations from Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) which reinforce the summaries outlined above:

a). There is One God: from SGGS page 45:

paarbarahm parabh ayk hai doojaa naahee ko-ay.
There is only the One Supreme Lord God;there is no other.
jee-o pind sabh tis kaa jo tis bhaavai so ho-ay.
Soul and body are all Yours; whatever pleases You, shall happen.
gur poorai pooraa bha-i-aa jap naanak sachaa so-ay. .4-9-79.
Through the Perfect Guru, one becomes perfect; O Nanak, meditate on the True One.


b). God the creator ? from page 1036:

"He formed the planets, solar systems and nether regions, and brought what was hidden to manifestation
When He so willed, He created the world.
Without any supporting power, He sustained the universe."

This doesn't imply that sikhism endorses Creationism; rather the text is praising the lord.

Names of God

When describing God, the English translations of SGGS uses 'His' or 'He' when referring to God. Sikhism does not recognise God as being of either sex and the original Punjabi version reflects this by being gender neutral.

The SGGS says the following about God: "You have so many Names, Lord, I do not know their limit. There is no other equal to You." (SGGS page 877).

You fashioned all these men and women, Lord. All these are Your Forms. Kabeer is the child of God, Allah, Raam. All the Gurus and prophets are mine. (5) Says Kabeer, listen, O men and women: seek the Sanctuary of the One. Chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, O mortals, and you shall surely be carried across. ((6)(2))

- Sri Guru Granth Sahib page 1349

However, some of the popular names for God are:

  • Akal Purakh meaning Timeless Primal Being. "Akal" stands for 'Primal, timeless' and "Purakh" stands for 'Being'
  • Ek Onkar meaning One Creator. "Ek" means "One"; "Onkar" means "Creator".
  • Satnam meaning True Name
  • Waheguru, meaning Wonderful Lord
  • Bhao Khandan meaning Destroyer of Fear
  • Dukh Bhanjno meaning Dispeller of Pain
  • Bhagat Vachhal meaning Lover of His Saints
  • Hari meaning Glowing, Shining, Vitalising - Absolute Name of God
  • Govind meaning Preserver of the World

God according to Guru Nanak is beyond full comprehension by humans; has endless number of virtues; takes on innumerable forms; and can be called by an infinite number of names thus "Your Names are so many, and Your Forms are endless. No one can tell how many Glorious Virtues You have." (SGGS page 358)

Other Views

Guru Granth Sahib Jee says to us,

"From the One Light the Creation came forth"
"So who is good and who is bad?"


A GurSikh on the left looks to Guru Granth Sahib ji and bows, A GurSikh on the right looks to Guru Granth Sahib ji and bows. The GurSikhs look at each other each regarding the other as slightly inferior. The fake smiles, the half-hearted greetings and they depart They see Guru Granth Sahib jee as good, but each other as bad. It would be great if they saw the goodness of Guru Granth Sahib jee in each other too.

Once 6 Khalsa returned to Guru Gobind Singh ji, Guru Sahib said you all look very beautiful and happy, tell me why. The first to speak said, your five beloved Khalsa graced my dwelling and had langar. As I served them I felt like I was serving you Guru ji. Guru Ji asked the 5 Khalsa why they were so peaceful and happy looking, they said, Guru ji we felt like we had been so blessed that it was you who was giving us langar.

Remember Bhai Kaneya ji.

"Hum Nahee Changeh Buray nhee koi

Pranvant Nanak Taray Soi"

"Nanak utam nich na koi"
"Jeh Jeh pekheh Teh Hadoor

Door katheh na ja-i"

We keep seeing differences in the branches of the tree calling some better than others, we forget that we came from the same seed and have the same sap of naam simran flowing in us.

Awwal Allah noor upaiya kudrat ke sabh bande
In the beginning Allah created the Light;

His might has created all. The entire universe is created from that One Light: Who then is pure and who impure? Brother, fall not into the delusion made by man: The Creator is in the creation; in creation is He- He pervades the universe. From one clay, in various forms He has made all creation. Neither is any pot of clay faulty, nor the Potter. The Eternal abides in all. All happens as He wills. One who realizes the Divine Ordinance, And knows God to be One without a second - Such a one alone is His true servant. Allah and Alakh is incompassable- This inexpressible truth has the Master taught me. Says Kabir: On realizing this my doubts have vanished, And I have had sight of the all-pervading Immaculate Reality.

See also