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AKAL MURAT , a composite term comprising akal (non-temporal) and murat (image or form), occurring in the Mool-Mantar, the root formula or fundamental creed of the Sikh faith as recorded at the beginning of the Japji, composition with which the Guru Granth Sahib opens, literally means timeless image or timeless form. Elsewhere in the compositions of [[[Guru Ram Das]] (GG, 78), and Guru Arjan (GG, 99, 609, 916 and 1082), the expression Akal Murat reinforces the original meaning of Divine Reality that is beyond the process of time, and yet permeates the cosmic forms. The non-temporal Being transcends the space-time framework and, as such, is Formless. However, in its manifest aspect, the same Being assumes the cosmic Form. The Sikh vision of God combines the Formless and its expression in natural forms, the transcendent and the immanent, the essence (spirit) and existence (creation).
The expression ‘Akal Murat’ lends itself to interpretation in two ways. The exegetes, who treat it as one term, take akal in the adjectival form that qualifies the substantive murat, the whole expression implying Everlasting Form equivalent to the Supreme Being. Those approaching the pair akal and murat severally, treat both the units independently, each expressing an attribute of the Divine Reality, believed to transcend time and space, yet manifest in spacio-temporal forms. But, despite the divergence of approach, both interpretations agree in substance, i.e. the featureless eternal Reality assumes features and modes of empirical existence. To put it differently, ‘Akal Murat’ presents a synthesis of nirgun and sagun facets of the Absolute-God of Guru Nanak’s vision. It however does not embrace the notion of incarnation. Non-incarnation is a basic theological postulate of Sikhism.
See also Akal
1. Talib, Gurbachan Singh, Japuji—The Immortal Sikh Prayer-chant. Delhi, 1977
2. Trilochan Singh, “Theological Concepts of Sikhism,” in Sikhism. Patiala, 1969
3. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism, Lahore, 1944
4. Jodh Singh, Gurmati Nirnaya. Ludhiana, 1932
Above adapted from article By Wazir Singh