Guidance for all
The Sikh scriptures are unique among the religious "Holy Books" of the world in that they don't just offer spiritual guidance for the Sikhs alone but impart guidance and assistance for all the peoples and religions of the world.
The Siri Guru Granth is a supreme treasure for all mankind. It is accepted as the true and permanent spiritual guide of the Sikhs; but it has not yet been recognised as a true guide for all of humanity. Guru Granth Sahib transcends creed and caste, cant and convention. It does not belong to the Sikhs alone.
It consecrates the sayings of 11 Hindu bhagats and as many bard poets and seven Muslim saints, along with the teachings of six Sikh gurus. No other religion has included in its holy book the sayings of so many others, however revered. The Guru Granth Sahib provides unique and unequalled guidance and advice to the whole of the human race. It is the torch that will lead humanity out of Kaljug, (the dark era) to a life in peace, tranquillity and spiritual enlightenment for all the nations of the World.
What others have expressed
This is what Max Arthur Macauliffe writes about the authenticity of the Guru's teaching: "The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote of his tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophanes. Buddha has left no written memorial of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucius, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social system. The founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing and for them we are obliged to trust to the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Arabian Prophet did not himself reduce to writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of Sikh Gurus are preserved and we know at first hand what they taught."
And this is what Miss Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate wrote in the foreword to the English translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Dr Gopal Singh Dardi): "When I was in India in 1962, one of the notable events of my visit was the presentation to me of the English version of Sri Guru-Granth Sahib, translated and annotated by Dr. Gopal Singh. I was deeply grateful to receive this great work, for in the original it was inaccessible to me, and this was a matter of regret, for I have had many Sikh friends, and have always admired their qualities of character. Now that I have had time in my quiet Pennsylvania home to read their scriptures slowly and thoughtfully, I can understand why I have found so much to admire. The religion of a people has a profound and subtle influence upon them as a whole, and this is true whether individuals do or do not profess to be religious.
|I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length and are a revelation of the concept of God to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzled me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century when explorers were beginning to discover the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.|
Message of SGGS
|Says Kabeer, I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord; I teach both Hindus and Muslims. ((4)(4)(13))|
|SGGS Page 479|
It's clear that the SGGS gives directions to the various religious peoples of the world to point them in the correct path. The different religions ("paths to God") and their "Holy Books" are supported and are not directly criticized but the followers who do not follow these scriptures properly are reproached and admonished.
|My body and breath of life belong to Allah - to Raam - the God of both. ((4))|
|SGGS Page 1136|
|The One Lord is within both Hindu and Muslim; Kabeer proclaims this out loud. ((3)(7)(29))|
|SGGS Page 483|
| Some bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and some make the pilgrimage to Mecca. |
Some perform devotional worship services, and some bow their heads in prayer. ((2))
|SGGS Page 885|
All belong to the One God
A Sikh believes that there is only one God in the Universe and that He is the same God for all religions and all the peoples of the world. The soul goes through a cycle of birth and death before reaching its human form. The goal of life is to merge with God and to maintain a balance spiritual and temporal obligations. The true path to God does not mean a renunciation of the world but a life of devotion as a householder, earning an honest living and avoiding temptation and sin. Sikhism condemns rituals such as fasting, pilgrimages and other meaningless rites. All people of all races and sex are equal in the eyes of God. There is total equality between man and woman and women can participate in any religious function and lead the congregation in prayer.
| All are Yours, and You belong to all. You are the wealth of all. |
Everyone begs from You, and all offer prayers to You each day.
|SGGS Page 86|
|Who can estimate Your worth, God? You are kind and compassionate to all beings.|
|SGGS Page 608|
| Don't worry - let the Creator take care of it. |
The Lord gives to all creatures in the water and on the land.
|SGGS Page 1070|
| O Lord and Master, You are inaccessible and merciful. Everyone meditates on You. |
All beings are Yours; You belong to all. You deliver all. ((4))
|SGGS Page 301/2|
Teachings for Hindus
As we have seen Gurmat (the Guru's message) is universal mystical revolution. Hinduism is hard to pin down but there are certain fundamental beliefs focusing around a national-political project which has been active in India since the Aryan invasion three and a half thousand years ago. But whereas the western Aryan belief systems such as the ancient Greek and Roman were changed by the influence of Judaism and Christianity, the eastern Aryans have not made this change, since the earlier attempts of Jainism and Buddhism were effectively marginalised in India, the land of their birth.
There is also a gulf between sramanic beliefs of the indigenous Indians which were later taken over and interpreted by the Aryan priests the brahmins, and brahminism. Sramanic beliefs include devi (the Goddess), music and dance as symbolised by Shiva and Krishna, and the Guru-chela relationship implied in the Upanishads. The brahmin texts include the Rig Veda, Manu and other simritis, shatras, purans, tales of Ram (Ramayana) and Mahabharata.
While the sramanic tradition deals with the dynamic tension of opposing forces in the universe (male and female, Guru and apprentice) which exist in the universe and within ourselves, the brahminical deals with social order as expressed in the caste system and the subjection and elimination of forces outside the brahminical social order which hope is expressed in the figure of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who is yet to come.
In contrast with Hindus, Sikhs do not accept animistic or polytheistic beliefs. Moreover, its monotheism does not contain any belief in avatars - that God incarnates as a man and dies. Its method of realisation, or soteriology, does not involve renunciation, but rather social transformation through living in reality and social responsibility, both within the inner family unit, the intermediate family (sangat) and humanity. The doctrine of Meeri-Peeri is that spiritual and social transformation are linked, which is why Sikhs do not believe in the caste system, and believe that women are equal to men.
This is what the Guru teaches the Hindu:
| The Muslims have lost their five times of daily prayer, and the Hindus have lost their worship as well. |
Without their sacred squares, how shall the Hindu women bathe and apply the frontal marks to their foreheads?
|SGGS Page 417|
| The Hindus have forgotten the Primal Lord; they are going the wrong way. |
As Naarad instructed them, they are worshipping idols.
|SGGS Page 556|
Teaching for Muslims
Both Sikhism and Islam recognize the Oneness of God and regard it as human duty to follow what they describe as the hukam, "the Divine Will". However, they differ on the content of this hukam. For Muslims, it can be derived from the Holy Koran, the hadith of Muhammed the Prophet, the consensus of the religious scholars (ijma) and argument by analogy (ijtihad). The kafir is the rebel, the unbeliever, who denies this hukam. For Sikhs, the hukam is unspeakable: “hukam na ka-ha ja-ye”. It can only be realized when lived. Therefore, the emphasis is on personal experience rather than social order. God’s laws and truths are written in every human heart, they are inscribed in the very being of our nature, articulated in the body, mind and soul.
The ideal Muslim social order is a return to the state established by Muhammed the Prophet, with all the world as Muslims, the remaining non-Muslims - zimmis – suitably subjugated and unable to promote their lies/practice their faiths. This ideal may be seen in a range of states from Afghanistan (where Sikhs may no longer perform nagar keertans), to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. It looks to an ideal past.
The result of this has been what is termed Islam’s bloody borders, struggles with all non-Muslims be they Hindu (India), Jews (Israel), Sikhs, Christians (Sudan, Indonesia, Balkans), Buddhists (Bhutan). By contrast, for Sikhs it is an as yet unrealised one world (sabhe manas ko ik pachanbo = recognise all humankind as One), with pluralism in people’s approaches to the One Reality as a garden of many flowers, with an emphasis on the equal dignity of all, of which the langar is a microcosm.
This pluralistic, one world vision is guarded by an armed and active citizenry in this republic of joy and is captured in the opt-repeated slogan, “Degh Tegh Fateh” = Victory to the Cauldron and the Sword. This ideal is also captured in the name of the birthplace of the Khalsa, Anandpur Sahib, City of Bliss. This is a physical manifestation of the spiritual transformation explained by holy bhagat Ravidass in the hymn about Begumpura, a description of the Kingdom of God. By entering that Kingdom within our heart, Sikhs strive to manifest that Kingdom in this world as a vanguard of this revolution, Akaal Purkh Ki Fauj – army of the Eternal Spirit.
First, this manifests for the flourishing of all humanity irrespective of race, religion, or sex in changing human expressions of God’s Divine Order, an ever-changing, ever-fresh kaleidoscope of rainbow colors in front of the Light of God’s Word or Guru-Bani. God’s law is not an abstract system for self-defined ‘normal’ people, with the ‘abnormal’, the kafir to be changed or subjugated, but a growing personal development which manifests in all people. It is based on the growth of every single person with the law (hukm) the universal natural growth principle for each person as a unique plant in God’s Garden of Love and Life.
Second, it is a vision which looks to the future manifestation of that Order on earth realizing that its success depends not on external coercion (law or sh’araih), but inner transformation through meditation (simran) and meditation in action (meeri-peeri). Finally, the victory of God’s Order is held to be part of God’s sovereignty so it will be. Trusting in this, Sikhs enjoy chardi kala, a dynamic optimism for the future, not looking to the past.
This is what the Guru teaches the Muslim:
| Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran. |
Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you shall be a true Muslim..
|SGGS page 140|
| There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names. |
Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third charity in the Name of God.
|SGGS page 141|
| Your Holy Scriptures say that Allah is True, and that he is neither male nor female. |
But you gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad-man, if you do not gain the understanding in your heart. ((2))
|SGGS Page 483|
| It is difficult to be called a Muslim; if one is truly a Muslim, then he may be called one. |
First, let him savor the religion of the Prophet as sweet; then, let his pride of his possessions be scraped away.
|SGGS page 141|
| Maaroo, Fifth Mehla: |
O slave of the inaccessible Lord God Allah,
Let compassion be your Mecca, and the dust of the feet of the holy your fast.
|SGGS page 1084|
What Non-Sikhs have said
Sonia greets Sikhs on anniversary
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today extended her felicitations to the Sikh community on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Sri Harmandir Sahib at Amritsar.
The “Adi Granth”, she said, is one of the greatest spiritual works that mankind possesses. “Profoundly wise and compassionate, it reflects the essence of almost all religions and the teachings of the noblest Hindu and Muslim sages of all times.
In a special message, Mrs Gandhi said, “The Guru Granth Sahib remains an eternal source of inspiration, guidance and solace in our daily lives.
It has motivated us to follow the path of peity and righteousness, taught us the virtues of sacrifice and forgiveness and instilled in us the values of love, tolerance and universal brotherhood.”
The following are from News Source:Sikhpoint (July 2007)
Rev. H. L. Bradshaw
Rev. H. L. Bradshaw of the U.S.A., Sikh Review, Calcutta. After thoroughly studying the philosophy of Sikhism, Rev. H. L. Bradshaw observed:
"Sikhism is a Universal world Faith, a message for all men. This is amply illustrated in the writings of the Gurus. Sikhs must cease to think of their faith as just another good religion and must begin to think in terms of Sikhism being the religion for this New Age … It completely supplants and fulfils all the former dispensations of older religions. Books must be written proving this. The other religions contain the truth, but Sikhism contains the fullness of truth."
Bradshaw also writes: "The Guru Granth Sahib of all the world religious scriptures, alone states that there are innumerable worlds and universes other than our own. The previous scriptures were all concerned only with this world and its spiritual counterpart. To imply that they spoke of other worlds, as does the Guru Granth Sahib, is to stretch their obvious meanings out of context. The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of the modern man."
Miss Pearl S. Buck
Miss Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate, gives the following comment on receiving the First English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib (The Sikh Holy Book):
".... I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God, to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzles me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century, when explorers were beginning to discover that the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none*. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind. ... " (From the foreword to the English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib by Gopal Singh M.A. Ph.D. 1960)(*bold added later)
Archer, in his book on the Sikh faith comments: "The religion of the Guru Granth is a universal and practical religion … Due to ancient prejudices of the Sikhs it could not spread in the world. The world needs today its message of peace and love."
"Dorothy Field', another scholar, in her book, "The Sikh Religion," writes: "Pure Sikhism is far above dependence on Hindu rituals and is capable of a distinct position as a world religion so long as Sikhs maintain their distinctiveness. The religion is also one which should appeal to the occidental mind. It is essentially a practical religion. If judged from the pragmatical standpoint which is a favorite point of view in some quarters, IT WOULD RANK ALMOST FIRST IN THE WORLD. (Emphasis by the author). Of no other religion can it be said that it has made a nation in so short a time."
Macauliffe, in his book, "The Sikh Religion," Macauliffe writes: "Unlike the scriptures of other creeds, they do not contain love stories or accounts of wars waged for selfish considerations. They contain sublime truths, the study of which cannot but elevate the reader spiritually, morally, and socially. There is not the least tinge of sectarianism in them. They teach the highest and purest principle that serve to bind man to man and inspire the believer with an ambition to serve his fellow men, to sacrifice all and die for their sake. "
Macauliffe deems it necessary to draw the reader's attention to another significant feature of Sikhism which distinguishes it and separates it from other philosophical and religious systems of thought: "The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other great theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition, and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote any of tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Buddha has left no written memorials of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucious, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social systems. The Founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing, and for them we are obliged to trust to the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark. Luke, and John."
"The Arabian Prophet did not himself reduce to writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of the Sikh Gurus are preserved and we know first hand what they taught. They employed the vehicle of verse, which is generally unalterable by copyist, and we even become in time familiar with their different styles. No spurious compositions or extraneous dogmas, can therefore be represented as theirs."
"The author of the 'Vie de Jesus' was a great admirer of Jesus Christ. Greatly impressed as he was of the spiritual message delivered by Christ and those of the Semitic thinkers that preceded him, he posed the question: "Whether great originality will again arise or the world be content to follow the paths opened by the daring creators of the ancient ages?" Bearing Sikhism in mind, Macauliffe answers the above question in the following words: Now there is here presented a religion totally unaffected by Semitic or Christian influences. Based on the concept of the unity of God, it rejected Hindu formalities and adopted an independent ethical system, ritual, and standards, which were totally opposed to the theological beliefs of Guru Nanak's age and country. As we shall see hereafter, it would be difficult to point to a religion of greater originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system. "
Macauliffe continues: "Guru Nanak was not a priest either by birth or education, but a man who soared to the loftiest heights of divine emotionalism, and exalted his mental vision to an ethical ideal beyond the concept of Hinduism or Mohammadanism."
Dr. W.O. Cole
Dr. W.O. Cole, of the U.K. wrote more than half a dozen books on Sikhism. In 1985, he visited India where communal disturbances had created a virtual turmoil and thousands of people were killed. In a key note lecture by him on the Mission and Message of Guru Nanak Dev, he gave a message to the Sangat there and through them to all of humanity: Remember the tenets of Guru Nanak, his concepts of oneness of God and Universal Brotherhood of man. If any community holds the key to national integration of India, it is the Sikhs all the way.
After the lecture, he was asked what drew him to the study of Sikhism, he replied:
"Theologically, I cannot answer the question what drew me to the study of Sikhism. You may call it, the purpose of God. But to be more specific, the unique concept of universality and the system of Langar (free community meal) in Sikhism are the two features that attract me towards the study of Sikhism. Langar is the exclusive feature of Sikhism and found nowhere else in the world. Sikhism is the only religion which welcomes each and everyone to its Langar without any discrimination of caste, creed, color, or sex.
Arnold Toynbee, a historian in the foreward to the "Sacred Writings of the Sikhs" by UNESCO writes:
"Mankind’s religious future may be obscure; yet one thing can be foreseen. The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before, in the days of increasing communications between all parts of the world and branches of human race. In this coming religious debate, the Sikh religion and its scriptures, the Guru Granth, will have something special of value to say to the rest of the world."
Swami Nitya Nand
The opinions of some Hindu mystics also should be quoted to understand their experiences with the Sikh faith. Swami Nitya Nand (expired at the age of 135 years) writes in his book "Gur Gian": I, in the company of my guru, Brahma Nand Ji, went to Mathra ... While on pilgrimage tour, we reached Panjab and there we met Swami Satya Nand Udasi. He explained the philosophy and religious practices of Nanak in such a way that Swami Brahma Nand Ji enjoyed a mystic lore. During the visit to the Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar, his soul was so much affected, that he became a devotee of the Guru. After spending some time in Panjab he went to Hardwar. Though he was hail and hearty, one day I saw tears in his eyes. I asked the reason for that. He replied, "I sifted sand the whole of my life. The Truth was in the House of Nanak. I will have to take one more birth in that house, only then I will attain Kalyan." After saying that the soul left his body.
Swami Nitya Nand also wrote of his own experience: "I also constantly meditate on Waheguru revealed by Nanak. I practiced Yoga Asanas under the guidance of Yogis and did that for many years; the bliss and peace, which I enjoy now, was never obtained earlier."
Finally, here are some excerpts from the proceedings of a seminar on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. It was conducted at Simla, now in Himachal Pardesh, by the Panjab Historical Society Lahore, before World War I. The seminar was presided over by the lieutenant governor of Panjab.
After hearing the lecture by Joginder Singh, Pundit Ramsaran Das, a prominent Hindu intellectual observed that Guru Nanak was a great reformer of the Hindu faith.
Nawab Zulfkar Ali Khan of Malerkotla disagreed with Mr. Das and commented that Guru Nanak was a great Muslim fakir, his best friend was Bhai Mardana, a lowly Muslim. His best devotee was a Muslim, Rai Bular, the village chief.
The governor, in his presidential remarks disagreed with both and said that according to what had been told by the speaker, Guru Nanak was a great Christian.
The Guru, however, had stated that his religion was "One God, One Humanity".
In fact he gave up and said "that if some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them." Russell was asked that he was talking about the third world war, but isn't this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? In reply, Russell said, "Yes, it has the capability, but the Sikhs have not brought out in the broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of this religion which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it."
President George W. Bush
"Our Nation has always benefited from a strong tradition of faith, and religious diversity has been an important part of this heritage. The Guru Granth Sahib has provided strength, wisdom, and guidance to hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in America and millions more around the world.
I applaud the Sikh community for your compassion and dedication to your faith. By sharing its message of peace, equality, and the importance of family, you help change lives, one heart and one soul at a time." Bush added, "Laura (Bush’s wife) joins me in sending our best wishes."
|Gurus:||Nanak Dev | Guru Angad | Amar Das | Ram Das | Guru Arjan | Har Gobind | Har Rai | Har Krishan | Tegh Bahadur | Gobind Singh | Guru Granth Sahib | Sikh Bhagats|
|Philosophy:||Sikh Beliefs | Simran | Sewa | Beliefs and Principles | Underlying Values | Prohibitions | Technique and Methods | Other observations | Technique and Methods|
|Practices:||Ardas | Amrit Sanskar | Chardi Kala | Dasvandh | Five Ks | Kirat Karni | Kirtan | Langar | Naam Japna | Simran | Three Pillars | Vand Chakna | Five Evils | Five Virtues|
|Scripture:||Guru Granth Sahib | Sikh Scripture | Dasam Granth | Ek Onkar | Waheguru | Bani | Mool Mantar | Japji Sahib | Jaap Sahib | Chaupai | Anand Sahib | Tav-Prasad Savaiye | Rehras | Sukhmani|
|More:||History | Gurdwaras | Harmandir Sahib | Khalsa | Khanda | Names | Places | News | Satguru | Sikhs | Bhagat Farid | Bhagat Kabir | Websites | Biographical | Terms|