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Essential Postulates of Sikhism - Book By N Muthumohan

Foreword To Book 'Essential Postulates of Sikhism' By N Muthumohan 

Sikhism, the youngest of major religions the world over, was founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and the nine succeeding Gurus during the late medieval India as a positive and synthetic response to the pluralistic religious situation prevailing then. The wide variety of religious denominations popular in the region during those days is astounding. At the macro level, Hinduism and Islam represented themselves as the varying religions of the time.  At the micro level, many socio-religious movements such as saguna and nirguna Vaisnava bhakti, Nath tradition, siddhas of Tantric Buddhism, bhakti of Siva and of Sakti in Hinduism, and the different orders of Sufi tradition in Islam formed the religio-cultural multiplicity of late medieval India. Sikhism is a positive response to this situation and herein the Spiritual gets socialized and the social and the secular get spiritualized, thus putting an end to the dichotomy of body and mind, matter and spirit, material and ideal on the one hand, and providing a model of a casteless and classless social order wherein asceticism is rejected in favour of ethical and righteous social involvement on the other. It aims at the betterment of man as well as the material world he lives in, and accepts and appreciates the fact of religious plurality though not in a passive manner.

The present-day world situation has of late become complicated especially in terms of inter-religious relations. The leaders of the world have started talking about civilizational conflicts, jihads and crusades. Beyond the pale of war, there are hate crimes and curtailing of civil liberties and human rights. Religious feelings of the common people are massively manipulated for political purposes and selfish motives. The people of the world are terror-stricken and wish to end this situation at the earliest certainly before the predictions of Samuel Huntington come out to be true. Religions of the world have a special responsibility towards this end, and Sikhism with its emphasis to keep close to each other both the esoteric and exoteric streams of life can play a very vital and meaningful role in such a situation. The Sikh belief that this mundane world is not an obstacle inthe realization of the spiritual ideal of man rather is the abode of God exhorts man to endeavour replace mutual distrust and disharmony with trust and harmony, inequality and exploitation with equality and philanthropy, mutual jealousy and hatred with love and compassion.

It becomes, thus, pertinent that this message of the Gurus be taken to as many people as possible through publication of good literature on the subject. Guru Nanak took out four preaching odysseys to spread his message as far in India and abroad as his physical frame could carry. In the south, he went almost to the tip of India in Rameshwaram form where he went on to Sri Lanka. There are also suggestive references that he also visited Madurai in Tamil Nadu. It was at this latter place in the Madurai Kamraj University that a Guru Nanak Chair was set up in 1969 to carry out studies and research in Guru Nanak's teaching which are universal in nature and relevant to the present context. It gives me immense pleasure that the Punjabi University is publishing this book of Dr N. Muthumohan, who holds Guru Nanak Chair at Madurai which has been doing a commendable job teaching Sikh religion at Madurai. The book, which has been edited by Dr Dharam Singh of our University, formulates almost all the essential postulates of Sikhism from a philoso-phical perspective and discusses them in relation to some contemporary contexts such as postmodernism, inter-religious dialogue and pluralism. I hope the book will prove valuable and helpful to scholars and students in the field of Sikh studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            SWARN SINGH BOPARAI

 

Table Of Contents For 'Essential Postulates of Sikhism' By N Muthumohan

 

  Contents

Page No

  Foreword (vii)
  Introduction (ix)
     
I A Brief History and Basis Doctrines 1
II God And Reality 14
III The World And The Man 30
IV Sikhism And Society 50
V The Khalsa Order 70
VI Sikhism, Modernity And Post-Modernity 91
VII Sikhism And Inter-Religious Spirituality 120
  Bibliography  

 

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