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Bertrand Russell and the Basics of Sikhism

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Why did Bertrand Russell , a mathematician, philosopher and self-identified atheist have such positive words for the path of Sikhism?

    "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.' When asked, isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? He said, ‘Yes it has the capability, but the Sikhs haven’t 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."
    Bertrand Russell (Philosopher, Mathematician 1872-1970)

    Some thoughts from the blog of Gupt Singhni in the UK at
    Sikhi Thoughts: Back to Basics


    Half of us don't follow the 'splendid doctrines of this religion'. How can this dude expect us to teach others about it??


    We spend so much time worrying about tiny details in reht (conduct), pro vs anti-khalistan, jatha v jatha (groups/sects within Sikhi) that we've forgotten the basics of Sikhi:


    Truth, Contentment, Humility, Love, Honest earning (Kirat Karna), Seva (selfless service) Vand ke Shakna (Sharing), Reading Gurbani and most importantly Naam Japna (contemplation on the Divine Name).

    What are your thoughts?


     

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  3. harbansj24

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    Absolutely! At SPN too we should concentrate on propagating this simple yet powerful philosophy of Guru Nanak ji. We should try and avoid getting into unfruitful, inconclusive and divisive discussions or politics.

    Gurufateh and Chardikalan:happysingh::happykaur::veryhappymunda::happykudi:
     
  4. bawaj

    bawaj
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    Can someone provide the source where Bertrand Russell's quote is taken from. I have read it only on Sikh sites and as a philosophy student i am curious to know where this quote is taken from.
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    bawaj ji

    Thanks for this quesiton - Big Time. I spent more than an hour investigating your very question last night. There are two kinds of sites where this quote is found: sikhism sites and atheist/humanist sites. None of them give an original source, reference, footnote. It is maddening not to find it. We all know that Einstein has been misquoted, and my concern is the Russell's remarks have been taken out of context too many times and now have become self-perpetuating and perhaps misleading.

    It appears that there was some kind of seminar or conference on nuclear war where Russell spoke and a question with his answer about Sikhs was given. That is all I can deduce.

    I will keep looking but suspect that all of his papers would have to be searched, or someone who knew him and/or was present could reconstruct the event.

    One possibility would be to put the question out on the net at a very good site on religion called First Things. Some serious theology is discussed there.

    Home | First Things

    Under that also Spengler's Blog and Spengler's Forum

    Spengler Forum at First Things • Index page
     
  6. jsingh03

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    I found this answer to someone asking the same question

    - Thanks for asking this question - I really enjoy research on Bertrand Russell!

    Unfortunately your Sikh friends or rather the websites that made this claim, do not appear to be actually quoting Bertrand Russell. In fact the manner of speech sounds rather more like something a devout Sikh might say and very little like the style or phraseology Bertrand Russell ever used.

    Moreover it does not appear to be listed among the online collections of his quotes either. The alleged quote would have been quite a sensational departure from his public and blatantly atheist worldview. Bertrand Russell once commented, "No one can believe in a good God if they've sat at the bedside of a dying child."

    That the Sikhs did not celebrate him in life, or mourn his death, would tend to imply that either the ones who set up the web site you found merely made it up, or took a comment which he made in a sarcastic tone entirely out of context.

    which makes sense. Maybe we should stop claiming that he said that if we can't prove anything what's the point.
     
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