Guru Granth Sahib on God

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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 prepared to dedicate the time and energy to become perceptive to His/Her persona.

Sikhism as a religion is uncompromisingly monotheistic. The Gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns (Shabads) included in the Guru Granth Sahib; but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasised throughout. The Guru Granth Sahib deals with the concept of God in great detail.

The primary qualities of God for the Sikhs as described in the Mool Mantar, the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib and the basic formula of the faith. This first line of the Sikh Holy Scripture deals with this difficult concept thus:

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਕਰਤਾ ਪ੝ਰਖ੝ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ੝ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Ik­oaʼnkĝr saṯnĝm karṯĝ purakẖ nirbẖa­o nirvair akĝl mūraṯ ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsĝḝ.
Main article: Mool Mantar

There is Only One God; Truth is His Name; He is the Creator; Fearless; without Enmity; Immortal primal being; Without Incarnations; Self-perpetuating; With Guru’s grace.

Background

The Gurus never spoke about proofs of the existence of God: For them He/She is too real and obvious to need any logical proof.

Guru Arjan, Nanak V, says, "'God is beyond colour and form, yet His/Her 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/She is clearly manifest'" (GG, 397).

In any case, knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it is like trying to explain nuclear physics to a child. Understanding of God comes by revelation of the ultimate reality through "nadir" or grace and by "anubhava" or mystical experience or by enhancing ones conciousness and spiritual awareness. Says Guru Nanak, budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane which translates to "He/She is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He/She is met, when He/She pleases, through devotion" (GG, 436).

This concept is further explained later in the holy script. The Guru tells us that there is only one God who is eternal and cannot be destroyed; He is everywhere; outside and inside everyone; He does not discriminate and all are the same to Him. The full script is:

The One God is the treasure of peace;

I have heard that He is eternal and imperishable.
He is totally pervading the water, the land and the sky;
the Lord is said to be permeating each and every heart.
He looks alike upon the high and the low, the ant and the elephant.
Friends, companions, children and relatives are all created by Him.
O Nanak, one who is blessed with the Naam, enjoys the Lord's love and affection. ((7))

sggs page 319

The Shabads below help explain the position the Gurus take on this issue:

Gurbani

1). God is father and mother

In the following Shabads, the Guru explains in clear terms how the Lord is to be considered as our Father, Mother and Protector thus:

ਝਕ੝ ਪਿਤਾ ਝਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗ੝ਰ ਹਾਈ ॥

Ėk piṯĝ ėkas kė ham bĝrik ṯū mėrĝ gur hĝ­ī.
The One God is our father; we are the children of the One God. You are our Guru.

sggs page 611

ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਪਿਤਾ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਤਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਬੰਧਪ੝ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਭ੝ਰਾਤਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਤਾ ਭਉ ਕੇਹਾ ਕਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥

Ŧūʼn mėrĝ piṯĝ ṯūʼnhai mėrĝ mĝṯĝ. Ŧūʼn mėrĝ banḝẖap ṯūʼn mėrĝ bẖarĝṯĝ. Ŧūʼn mėrĝ rĝkẖĝ sabẖnī thĝ­ī ṯĝ bẖa­o kėhĝ kĝṛĝ jī­o. ॥1॥
You are my Father, and You are my Mother. You are my Relative, and You are my Brother. You are my Protector everywhere; why should I feel any fear or anxiety? ॥1॥

sggs page 109


2). He is found everywhere

In the following Shabad, the Guru tells us that God can be found in all the ten directions, on land, in water; in the forests and mountains; in heaven and hell; in mind and matter thus:

ਦਸੇ ਦਿਸਾ ਰਵਿਆ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਝਕ੝ ॥ ਧਰਨਿ ਅਕਾਸ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਪ੝ਰਭ ਪੇਖ੝ ॥

Ḏasė ḝisĝ ravi­ĝ parabẖ ėk. Ḏẖaran akĝs sabẖ meh parabẖ pėkẖ.
The One God is diffused in the ten directions. Behold God in all the earth and sky.

ਜਲ ਥਲ ਬਨ ਪਰਬਤ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਪਰਮੇਸ੝ਵਰ ਤਹ ਬਸਹਿ ਦਇਆਲ ॥
Jal thal ban parbaṯ pĝṯĝl. Parmėsvar ṯah baseh ḝa­i­ĝl.
In the water, on the land, in the forests and mountains, and in the nether regions of the underworld, the Merciful Transcendent Lord is abiding.

ਸੂਖਮ ਅਸਥੂਲ ਸਗਲ ਭਗਵਾਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਬ੝ਰਹਮ੝ ਪਛਾਨ ॥੧੪॥
Sūkẖam asthūl sagal bẖagvĝn. Nĝnak gurmukẖ barahm pacẖẖĝn.॥14॥
The Lord God is in all mind and matter, subtle and manifest. O Nanak, the Gurmukh realizes God. ॥14॥

sggs page 299

3). There is only One God

ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਝਕ੝ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਅਵਰ੝ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਗ੝ਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਿਤ੝ ਘਟਿ ਪਰਗਟ੝ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥

Sabẖnĝ kĝ parabẖ ėk hai ḝūjĝ avar na ko­ė. Gur parsĝdī man vasai ṯiṯ gẖat pargat ho­ė. ॥5॥
There is One God of all; there is no other at all. By Guru's Grace,
the Lord comes to abide in the mind; in the heart of such a one, He is revealed. ॥5॥

sggs page 757


4). He is in every heart

ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਝਕੋ ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਪਰਗਟ੝ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Gẖat gẖat pūr rahi­ĝ parabẖ ėko gurmukẖ pargat har har nĝm. ॥1॥ rahĝ­o.
The One God is pervading and permeating each and every heart;
the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, is revealed to the Gurmukh. ॥1॥Pause॥

sggs page 1334

See Also


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