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The Sikh And Sikhism - Book By Surinder Singh Kohli
Preface Of The Book 'The Sikh And Sikhism' By Surinder Singh Kohli
This short book contains eight research articles, which bring forward some of the salient features of Sikhism. The first article is an answer to the latest controversy about the identity of a Sikh. Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) was the founder of the pure discipline (nirmal Panth) of Sikhism. It is an entirely new faith meant for the whole of mankind. To call it an offshoot of one or the other religion is a misnomer. The second article i.e. "The Origin of Sikhism" concerns this issue. The third article is about NAM or the spiritual discipline of Sikhism, which results in the unity of the soul with the over-Soul, the main objective of human life. The fourth article on "Sikh Theology" is the first systematic attempt on the subject. The fifth article concerns the concept of martyrdom in Sikhism and its brief history. The sixth and seventh chapters present the brief biographical studies of the first two martyr-Gurus i.e. Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur. The last and the eighth chapter brings forth the most significant aspect of Sikhism i.e. its scientific approach. Several scientific facts discovered by modern science, were revealed by Guru Nanak Dev more than five hundred years earlier.
The human life is the most precious gift of the Lord-God. The man should realise the objective of his birth and pass his life in devotion· towards the Lord and the service of humanity. But normally the man neglects his foremost duties and thus wastes away his invaluable life. According to Guru Nanak Dev, after birth, the infant grows by drinking the mother's milk and gradually becomes conscious about his parents and other relatives. Then he is imbued with love, becomes fond of various tastes and ultimately the lust overpowers him. The youth begins to fade away and the anger weakens his body. The hair turn white and the dwindling age leads him toward death. The first ten years of the life pass away in childhood, at twenty he begins to enjoy life and at thirty he grows to be a loved youth. Passing through forty and fifty, he becomes old at sixty. At seventy his thinking faculty becomes impaired. At eighty he loses vitality. At ninety he is bed-ridden and very weak. He fumbles in his speech. Then ultimately he passes away like smoke. According to Bhai Gurdas, the intellect of the child is sub-normal; he wastes away his life in playing. When he attains youth, he is overpowered by various passions, calumny and lust. When he becomes old, wearied by family matters, the faculties of his body become very weak and he feels tired, but his mind is still active in the world of passions.
But the same human body is the repository of the greatest and priceless Treasure. The ultimate Reality which Pervades the Universe is also present within the body. The macrocosm is there in the microcosm. Everything is there within the human body. Those who want to seek the Lord, can realise Him only within their body through the guidance of the Guru. Within the human body reside the mind, intellect and the soul. The soul undergoes transmigration because of the impact of five vices and the impaired functions of the five organs of perception and five organs of action. The five vices which are the cause of suffering are lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego. The lust and anger are the main factors for weakening and debilitating the body. The Guru and saints are unanimous on this point that the embodied soul (Jiva) must do its best as long as the faculties of body function properly. All the organs of perception and action must work under the discipline enunciated by the Guru. They must follow the right path and avoid any type of vicious action. For example, the eyes instead of casting vicious glances on the beauty of women belonging to others, should see only the Heavenly Light Pervading everywhere. The ears instead of listening to the calumny of others should absorb themselves in Katha (the discourse about the Lord) and Kirtan (singing of the Praises of the Lord). According to the Sikh scripture, the human being should work with his hands and feet for his sustenance and in his heart, he should remain in unison with the Ultimate Reality. The Lord, through Whose Grace, we are in good health and are provided with all the comforts of life, should always be remembered.
I am confident that the Sikhs in general and the students and scholars of Sikh religion in particular, will be benefitted by the thought content on various aspects of Sikhism in this concise work.
SURINDAR SINGH KOHLI