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Essentials of Sikhism - Book By Daljeet Singh
After a two year study of Guru Granth Sahib I started writing notes on its important concepts. My understanding of them revealed that Sikhism was a system radically different from the Indian Bhakti creeds with which it was often confused. For, although quietist mystics and saints had appeared the world over in all ages and countries, yet none of them had ever accepted social responsibility, or used force for a righteous cause. Therefore, I wrote a paper on the concept of Naam in Guru Granth Sahib, and sent it to my friend, late Dr. Prem Nath, Head, Department of Philosophy, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He was happy to go through it, and wanted me to publish it, since it expressed a new and logical picture of the identity and theology of Sikhism. Thereafter followed my ventures in Sikh Studies.
The papers in this volume are divided into three sections. In the first section is a paper dealing with the problem of religious studies in the present academic world, where the materialist philosophies quite often from the base of social science disciplines. The second section comprises thirteen articles, namely, 'Idea of God in Sikhism', Naam in Sikhism', 'Vaisnavism, Vedanta and Nathism', 'The Sikh World-View', 'Sikh Theory of Evolution: Haumain, and Problems of Hermeneutics', 'The Concept of Maya in Sikhism', 'Sikh Bhakti and Hindu Bhakti' (Reproduction of a paper contributed at a Seminar organised by the Council of World Religions of a Unique Ideology', 'Sikh Religion and Politics', 'Gurmukh', 'A Critique and a Clarification of Sikhism, 'The Idea of Freedom and Responsibility', and 'Sikhism---Its Identity'. The third section has a paper under the Caption 'Sikhism and Inter-Religious Dialogue'.
The selection of papers in this volume has primarily been made in order to clarify, in the light of Gurbani, topics about which some confusion has arisen, or which are fundamental to the Sikh thesis. Many a time one finds scholars saying that Sikhism has Vedanic, Bhakti, or Islamic affinities. There is a fundamental failing in such views. A religion is not a cultural or social growth. Every religion has esoteric and exoteric aspects. So far as the spiritual, ontological or esoteric roots of a religion are concerned, those are entirely its own. It is these roots that shape its personality. The exoteric aspects of a system naturally have their relation to time and space. The difference between a spiritual and a social system is, that the former draws its sap from the realm of the numenon, and the later from the world of the phenomenon.
In order to enable the reader to have a clear understanding of Sikhism, an attempt has been made to give a comparative picture of Sikh concepts and doctrines, so that their reality is brought in sharp focus, and their significance and implifications in the overall structure of Sikhism, are grasped. Another aspect that is sought to be emphasised, is that Sikh history of the Guru period is an extension, demonstration or a product of the Sikh ideology; and neither of them can be understood in isolation. Just as the Ten Masters working over a period of 240 years, are a unique feature of Sikhism, this unity of Sikh ideology and the lives of the Gurus, is an essential aspect of the Gospel of the Gurus for its authentic interpretation.
In this venture my profuse thanks are due to my brother-in-law, Professor Jagjit Singh, and my friend, Dr. Kharak Singh, for their help in writing and compiling these papers. For, in matters of ideology, discussion with knowledgeable persons always leads to clarity and precision. I should also like to express my gratefulness to my wife, Sardarni Amarjit Kaur, for her continued assistance in my work, studies and preparation of these essays.
Sikhism is a system radically different from the Indian Bhakti Creeds with which it has often been confused. Although quietist mystics and saints appeared the world over in all ages and countries, yet none of them had ever accepted social responsibility or used force for a righteous causes, which are the basic concepts of the Sikh Philosophy. The author elucidates all the Sikh concepts in this context in a forceful manner. He clarifies the misconceptions made about Sikhism in an effective and logical way. While comparing the fundamentals of Sikh Theology with the other religious systems, he relies the authoritative writings on the other religious and quotes profusely from the Sikh Scriptures.
In short, this work is an attempt to give a comparative picture of Sikh concept and doctrines, so that their reality is brought in sharp focus, and their significance and implications in the overall structure of Sikhism are grasped by the reader easily.
Following a bright academic record, the Author competed successfully for the Civil Services and retired as Secretary and Commissioner Education, Government of Punjab in 1969. Since then he has devoted himself to the study of Comparative Religion and Sikhism in particular. His Works include a number of books and numerous papers on the Religion of Guru Nanak. He has delivered Guru Nanak Memorial Lectures and Guru Tegh Bahadur Commemorative Lectures at the Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab. Among the living scholars, he is the most authentic and prolific exponent of Sikhism. His views on Sikh Theology are sound and unchallenged, being based entirely on the doctrines in the Guru Granth Sahib and the lives of the Gurus.
Issues of Sikh Studies
|2||Idea of God in Sikhism||25|
|3||Naam in Sikhism||34|
|4||Sikhism, Vaisnavism, Vedanta and Nathism||61|
|5||The Sikh World-View||81|
|6||Sikh Theory of Evolution : Haumain, and Problems of Hermeneutics||108|
|7||The Concept of Maya in Sikhism||144|
|8||Essentials of Sikh Bhakti and Hindu Bhakti||165|
|9||Guru Nanak---The Prophet of a Unique Ideology||179|
|10||Sikh Religion and Politics||199|
|12||A Critique and A Clarification of Sikhism||231|
|13||The Idea of Freedom and Responsibility in Sikhism||250|
|14||The Sikh Identity||255|
|15||Sikhism and Inter-Religious Dialogue||268|
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