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Concept of Naam

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by Sikh80, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    NAAM IN SIKHISM

    DALJEET SINGH


    1. Introductory

    Every religion has its world-view on which are based its concepts about Reality, the place of man in the universe, ethics and human goals. All students of Sikhism know that the concept of Naam is fundamental to the gospel of Guru Granth Sahib and the entire structure of its theology. In fact, Sikhism has often been called the Naam Maarg or the way of Naam. It is in this context that we shall endeavour to trace the salient features and implications of this concept, which we believe, holds the key to the understanding of the message of the Sikh Gurus, their religious and social ideas and their world-view.

    At the outset, we should like to make one point clear about the language and the various traditional terms used by the Sikh Gurus.

    Since they were conveying their message to the mass of the people, both Hindus and Muslims, with a view to evoking a response in the very depths of their hearts, they have, for obvious reasons, used in their hymns the then current words and symbols from Indian, Persian and Arabic languages. And yet, one thing is patent even from a cursory study of the Guru Granth Sahib that the Gurus have, as was essential for the proper understanding of a new gospel, made the meaning of each concept, symbol and term employed by them, unambiguously clear. Many a time the meaning of such words is entirely their own.

    Accordingly, we have refrained from tracing the meaning of Naam to its traditional usage and background.

    In fact, such an exercise could be even misleading and wasteful. We shall, therefore, base our arguments and inferences about Naam on the hymns in Guru Granth Sahib and the accepted facts about the lives of the Sikh Gurus.

    2. Definition

    Let us now try broadly to indicate how Naam has been used in Guru Granth Sahib, where it appears in a majority of hymns. The Sikh Gurus have given the word Naam, a distinct and significant meaning which is far different from that of mere ?Name? or ?psychic factors? as understood in Naam-Roopa in traditional literature. [5. p. 169]. The basic definition of Naam as contained in Sukhmani and other hymns in Guru Granth Sahib is given below :

    (i) ?Naam sustains all regions and universes, all thought, knowledge and consciousness, all skies and stars, all forces and substances, all continents and spheres. Naam emancipates those who accept it in their heart. He, on whom is His Grace, is yoked to Naam, and he reaches the highest state of development.? [1. p. 284].

    (ii) Naam is the Creator of everything. To be divorced from Naam is death.? [1. p. 603]. ?All is created by Naam.? [1. p. 753]. ?Naam gives form to everything and through Naam comes all Wisdom or Light.? [1. p. 946].

    (iii)Naam extends to all creation. There is no place or space where Naam is not.? [1. p. 4].

    (iv) Naam is the Nine Treasures? and Nectar (amrita). It permeates the body.? [1. p. 293].

    (v) Naam, the immaculate, is unfathomable. How can it be known? Naam is within us. How to get to it ? It is Naam that works everywhere and permeates all space. The perfect Guru awakens your heart to the vision of Naam. It is by the Grace of God that one meets such an Enlightener.? [1. p. 1242].



    to be contd.
     
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  3. Sikh80

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    From the above verses it is clear that the Gurus do not use the word Naam in any restrictive sense, of its being a psychic factor or mere consciousness, but refer to it as the Highest Power, creating, informing, supporting and working the entire creation. In short, Naam is the Reality, supporting and directing the created worlds or the entire cosmos. There are numerous verses in Guru Granth Sahib where Naam and God have been described synonymously.

    Both Naam and God have been mentioned as "the Creator of the Cosmos", "the Sustainer of the Universe", "Permeating and informing all things, beings, space and interspace", "the Treasure of virtues, values", "the Support of the helpless", "the Giver of peace and bliss", "Eternal", "Perfect", "Unfathomable", "Friend", "Master" and "Emancipator." The highest state of man is mentioned as the one when he lives and works in tune with God or Naam, often called God?s Naam. We, therefore, find that God and Naam are real, eternal and unfathomable. The Sikh Gurus have repeatedly emphasized, as is also stated in the very opening verse of Guru Granth Sahib, that God is one, Ek Oamkaar, and no second entity, as in the case of the Sankhya system, is at all postulated.

    The Guru says, "My Lord is the only One. He is the only One, (understand) brother, He is the only One." [1. p. 350].

    This unambiguously leads us to conclude that God and Naam are one and the same, and the latter may be called the immanent or qualitative aspect of God, since God has been described both as unmanifest (nirguna) and the Creator, and Ocean of values.

    In view of the above, we should define Naam as the Dynamic Immanence of God or the Reality sustaining and working the manifest world of force and form. It is on the basis of these fundamentals that we should like to trace and understand some important concepts and conclusions, ideas and institutions, trends and traditions in Sikhism and its socio-religious way of life.

    3. Naam and Cosmology

    The Guru writes, "the self-existent God manifested Himself into Naam. Second came the Creation of the universe. He permeates it and revels in His creation." "God created the world of life, He planted Naam in it and made it the place for righteous activity." [1. p. 463].

    Thus, according to the concept of Naam and the hymns quoted earlier in this regard, God created the world and in His immanent aspect, as Naam, is informing and working it. Only one entity, namely, God, is envisaged and the world, in time and space, is His creation, the same being supported and directed by Naam. Let us see if this cosmological view is also supported by other verses in Guru Granth Sahib.

    In the very opening verse of Guru Granth Sahib, God is described as the Sole-One, His Naam as Real, Creator-Lord, ...... Timeless Person, One that is not born, Self-existent. [1. p. 1]. The Gurus have stated at a number of places that there was a stage when the Transcendent God was by Himself; and it is later that He started His Creative Activity. In Sidh Gosht, in answer to a question as to where was the Transcendent God before the stage of creation, Guru Nanak replied, "To think of the Transcendent Lord in that state is to enter the realm of wonder. Even at that stage of sunn (void), He permeated all that void." [1. p. 940]. The Guru, in effect, means that to matters that are beyond the spacio-temporal world, it would be wrong to apply the spacio-temporal logic, and yet man knows of no other logic or language. Perforce, He has to be explained, howsoever inadequately or symbolically, only in terms of that language.

    That is why the Guru has cautioned us against the pitfalls and inadequacy of human logic and language to comprehend the Timeless One. All the same, the Guru has mentioned the state when the Transcendent God was all by Himself and there was no creation. The Gurus say, "When there was no form in sight, how could there be good or bad actions? When God was in the Self-Absorbed state, there could be no enmity or conflict.

    When God was all by Himself, there could be no attachment or misunderstanding. Himself He starts the creation. He is the Sole-Creator, there is no second One." [1. p. 290]. "For millions of aeons, the Timeless One was by Himself. There was no substance or space, no day or night (i.e., no time,) no stars or galaxies; God was in His Trance." [1. p. 1035]. "God was by Himself and there was nothing else ...... There was no love or devotion, nor was His Creative Power in operation ...... When He willed, He created the Universe." [1. p. 1036]. The same idea is expressed in these words, "When He willed, the creation appeared." [1. p. 18]. Again, in answer to the question of the Yogis, "When there was no sign and no form, where was the Word (Logos) and how was He identified with Truth?" [1. p. 945]. The Guru replied, "When there was no form, no sign, no individuation, the Word in its essence abided in the Transcendent God; when there was no earth, no sky, (time or space), the Lord permeated everything. All distinctions, all forms then abided in the Wondrous Word. No one is pure without Truth. Ineffable is this gospel." [1. pp. 945-6].

    In short, the Gurus say that before He created form, He was Formless; before He was Immanent, He was Transcendent only : and yet, all immanence, expression, creativity were inherent in Him, and so was His Word, in essence.

    In the Jap(u), where a picture of the realm of creativity is given, the Guru writes, "In the region of Truth is God, where He perpetually creates and watches the universe with His benevolent eye, deliberating and directing according to as He Wills." Further, it is stated, "In the region of Creativity (Karam), only God?s Power or Force is at work." [1. p. 8]. Again, "Of the region of construction or effort, the medium of expression is form. Here most fantastic forms are fashioned, including consciousness, perception, mind and intellect." Further still, "Innumerable creations are fashioned, myriads are the forms, myriads are the moons, suns, regions." [1. pp. 7-8].


    These hymns also indicate how the process of creativity or a becoming world started, and is being sustained and directed by Benevolent God.

    In all the above quotations from Guru Granth Sahib, the same idea is expressed, namely, that God is the Sole Entity, Who in His Creative Urge, has produced the Cosmos, which He, in His immanent aspect, Naam, is sustaining vigilantly and directing benevolently according to His Will. In the created world no other entity, like Prakriti in Sankhya and other dualistic systems, is assumed. While the world is real and is directed by Immanent God, at no stage is the separate independent existence of matter accepted directly or by implication.

    4. Metaphysical Implication of Naam

    We have seen that according to the concept of Naam and the hymns already quoted in this regard, God created Himself and Naam, and at the second place was created the universe. Further, this universe is being sustained and directed by God as Naam or His Immanent Aspect. This concept of God being the Sole Entity and being the Creator God (karta purakh) is so fundamental in the Sikh theology, that it is mentioned in the very opening line (Mool Mantra) of Guru Granth Sahib and in the beginning of almost every section and sub-section of it. Both the doctrine of Naam and Mool Mantra clearly point out the theology of Sikhism being monotheistic. Let us, therefore, try to see whether this conclusion of ours is correct and whether many of those hurriedly-begotten views about Sikhism being pantheistic, Vedantic, Sankhyic, Yogic or Buddhistic have any validity.

    A few of the reasons supporting our conclusion are as under :

    (i) Throughout the hymns of Guru Granth Sahib, nothing is more significant than the acceptance of the Creator-creature relation between God and man. Invariably, God has been addressed as ?Thou?, ?Mother?, ?Father?, ?Brother?, ?Beloved?, ?Lord?, or ?Husband.? In fact, a majority of the hymns in Guru Granth Sahib are in the form of prayers addressed to God. In the Sikh tradition, two things are firmly established, having the sanction of the Gurus. First, every ceremony, religious or social, ends with an Ardas or supplication to God, invoking His Grace.

    Secondly, at the time of initiation ceremony (amrit), a Sikh is enjoined upon to recite or hear daily Jap(u), Jaap(u), ten Sawayaas, Sodar(u), Rahiras and Sohila, besides reading or hearing of Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Rahit Maryada, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, 1970, p. 35).



    31.12.07
     
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  4. Sikh80

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    We thus see that both in the hymns of Guru Granth Sahib, and the Sikh tradition and practice, this Creator-creature relation is never forgotten. So much so that the Guru calls himself as "the lowliest of the low," [1. p. 15] and never does he mention another person as ?That is Thou.? According to tradition, the Fifth Guru declined to include in Guru Granth Sahib a hymn by a contemporary saint, Bhagat Kaanhaa, saying, "I am He, O, I am the same," because this hymn was felt by the Guru to be evidently contrary to the Sikh thesis that man is not and can never be God, though he can be His instrument.

    (ii) The arguments advanced to show the Creator-creature relation in Sikhism and the importance of prayer, mutatis mutandis, apply also to God having a Personality. We need hardly state that this idea of Personality in Theism is not analogous to the idea of limited personality in man, who is a finite being. In the very opening line of Guru Granth Sahib, God is mentioned as the Creator Person, the Timeless Person (karta purakh, akaal moorat). In fact, in all devotional and mystic religions, the idea of Personality of God is inherent, since devotion involves God and a devotee.

     
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  5. Sikh80

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    In Sikhism, the idea of Will (hukam, razaa) of God in relation to the created world is as fundamental as in other theistic religions like Christianity and Islam. In fact, both the words hukam and razaa used in Guru Granth Sahib are Arabic in origin. The idea of Will is inalienably linked with the idea of Personality of God, the Creator, Who alone can have a Will. In reality, we know that Will and Naam are virtually synonymous, both being the Immanence of God. While this point will be elaborated later on, it is well-known that in Sikhism the highest ideal for man is to ?carry out the Will of God? [1. p. 1] or to link oneself with Naam.

    to be contd.
     
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  6. Sikh80

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    Another fundamental characteristic of Sikhism showing the Personality of God is His Grace. One of the chief points made out in Guru Granth Sahib is that nothing happens without God?s Grace. While it is stated in the hymn of dharam khand, which lays down man?s duties in life, that man?s assessment will be entirely according to his deeds, it is clearly mentioned that ?final approval will be only by God?s Grace.? [1. p. 7]. The idea of Personality, Will and Grace of God being basic to Sikhism, too, underlines its theistic character.

     
  7. Sikh80

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    (iii) The verses quoted earlier mention nature as the Creation of God, and not His Emanation or Extension. Obviously, nature is a changing or becoming world, limited by space and time, and cannot be eternal like God, who is beyond time (akaal moorat). Whereas God is Self-Existent or Self-created (swai bhang), nature is the creation of God. While everything in nature is changing, i.e., is born and dies, God is never born (ajooni). This is the reason why in Sikhism the doctrine of incarnation (avatarhood) or God taking the human form is strictly denied, and is considered heretical
    [1a) a religious belief opposed to the orthodox doctrines of a church; esp., such a belief specifically denounced by the church b) the rejection of a belief that is a part of church dogma 2any opinion (in philosophy, politics, etc.) opposed to official or established views or doctrines 3the holding of any such belief or opinion]; so much so that Guru Gobind Singh described any person holding such an idea as accursed, he being only a servant of God. [2.]. This is also in line with the hymns in the Jap(u) quoted earlier. Here, the world is up to the Region of Creativity (karam khand) initiated through the medium of energy or power (jor).


    As indicated in the hymns of saram khand and gyaan khand, a fantastic multiplicity of forms, shapes and things, including the moulding of consciousness, sense perceptions, mind, intellect, etc., are described. Everyone knows that in Sikh theology, the highest form of being is the mystic (bhagat)
    [1[FONT=' ']of mysteries, or esoteric rites or doctrines
    2[FONT=' '][/FONT]MYSTICAL
    3[FONT=' '][/FONT]of obscure or occult character or meaning !mystic powers"
    4[FONT=' '][/FONT]beyond human comprehension; mysterious or enigmatic
    5[FONT=' '][/FONT]filling one with wonder or awe
    6[FONT=' '][/FONT]having magic power
    n.
    1[FONT=' '][/FONT]a person initiated into esoteric mysteries
    2[FONT=' '][/FONT]a believer in mysticism; specif., one who professes to undergo mystical experiences and so to comprehend intuitively truths beyond human understanding]
    In japji, the Guru distinctly mentions, or rather limits the presence of these God-conscious or God-filled beings (jin main Raam rahiaa bharpoor) only up to the Region of Creativity, but never beyond it, i.e., not in the Region of Truth or God (sach khand vase Nirankaar). The Universe is the creation of God but not identical with God, which is the basic distinction between monotheism and Indian monism or pantheism.[/FONT]
     
  8. Sikh80

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    (iii) The verses quoted earlier mention nature as the Creation of God, and not His Emanation or Extension. Obviously, nature is a changing or becoming world, limited by space and time, and cannot be eternal like God, who is beyond time (akaal moorat). Whereas God is Self-Existent or Self-created (swai bhang), nature is the creation of God. While everything in nature is changing, i.e., is born and dies, God is never born (ajooni). This is the reason why in Sikhism the doctrine of incarnation (avatarhood) or God taking the human form is strictly denied, and is considered heretical; so much so that Guru Gobind Singh described any person holding such an idea as accursed, he being only a servant of God. [2.]. This is also in line with the hymns in the Jap(u) quoted earlier. Here, the world is up to the Region of Creativity (karam khand) initiated through the medium of energy or power (jor).

    As indicated in the hymns of saram khand and gyaan khand, a fantastic multiplicity of forms, shapes and things, including the moulding of consciousness, sense perceptions, mind, intellect, etc., are described. Everyone knows that in Sikh theology, the highest form of being is the mystic (bhagat). In Japji, the Guru distinctly mentions, or rather limits the presence of these God-conscious or God-filled beings (jin main Raam rahiaa bharpoor) only up to the Region of Creativity, but never beyond it, i.e., not in the Region of Truth or God (sach khand vase Nirankaar). The Universe is the creation of God but not identical with God, which is the basic distinction between monotheism and Indian monism or pantheism.

    {it appears that the above post is the same as of above.I shall check and try to correct it. ]
     
  9. Sikh80

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    (v) An argument has been raised in favour of the supposed pantheistic character of Sikhism because of the Gurus', frequent mention of the immanent character of God in the created world. The Gurus have clearly emphasized the transcendental character of God by saying that the world was created in time and space, and the Transcendent God had been there while the world was uncreated, and, for that matter, God?s immanent character was unexpressed. We refer to the hymn quoted earlier in this regard. It is also stated that the Word was in God when there was no universe or form. The expression of Naam was prior to the creation of the universe, i.e., ?God manifested into Naam, and at the second place the world was created.? As stated already, Naam is mentioned as the Creator and Director of the world.

    It is true that the Guru quite often mentions God as informing the universe. But in no scripture has the distinction between the Transcendent and the Immanent aspects of God been made more clear than in Guru Granth Sahib, because God?s Immanence has been given separate names, i.e., of Naam, Will and Word. Evidently, all immanence can be expressed only in relation to the realm of creation; i.e., when God?s immanence as Naam creates, sustains and moves the world of name and form; when God?s immanence as His Will controls and directs the becoming world; when His immanence as His Word informs and supports the created universe. In other words, in Guru Granth Sahib both the transcendent and the immanent aspects of God are clearly specified and distinguished so as to avoid any confusion or hasty conclusion that Sikhism is pantheistic. We have already seen that in Sikhism the immanence of God in relation to the becoming world does not exhaust God and that is why God?s immanent aspect has almost invariably been called

    His Naam, His Will, His Word. True, at a number of places, the Guru describes God as informing the river, the fish, the boat, and everything.

    Perhaps, it is such verses as these that have led some to the superficial conclusion of Sikhism being pantheistic. But, all these verses are only a symbolic or another way of expressing the immanence of God. In modern monotheistic theologies, including Christian and Islamic, God?s Transcendence and His Immanence in the created world are accepted. Even in Islam, God?s Immanence is referred to as, "Is He not closer (to you) than the vein of the neck." [6.]. Such verses as these do not at all indicate anything beyond the immanence of God, or anything contrary to the doctrine of Naam. Obviously, God?s immanence (His Naam and Will) is manifested and exercised only in relation to the created and becoming world.

    This description of His immanence and its operation, metaphoric as it is, can mislead no one to any erroneous inference, especially because the Gurus have clearly stated that the immanent God in the universe does not exhaust God, and He is transcendent too. "He that permeates all hearts (i.e., Immanent) is Unmanifest too." [1. p. 939]. "He is pervading every where (Immanent) and yet He is beyond everything, beyond pleasure and pain (Transcendent)." [1. p. 784]. "He informs everything and yet is separate too." [1. p. 294]. "Having created the world, He stands in the midst of it and yet is separate from it" [1. p. 788].

    (vi) One of the chief objections to any pantheistic theology in the West is the lack of any ethical content and impact in any such view of the universe. Pantheistic philosophies, whether in the East, as in the case of Upanishads, or in the West, as in the case of Spinoza and Schopenhauer, lead to pessimism and fatalism, and lack of moral effort and responsibility on the part of the individual. The disasterous ethical consequences of pantheistic doctrines, including monism that downgrades the reality of the phenomenal world, are too well-known to be detailed here. In this context, we may like to see what is the ethical content and impact of the doctrine of Naam. In no religious system is the emphasis on ethical conduct greater than in Guru Granth Sahib, where "truthful living or conduct has been declared higher than Truth itself." [1. p. 62].

    In Jap(u), the Guru says that man?s final assessment and approval before God will depend entirely on his deeds in this world. [1. p. 7]. Further, ?egoistic conduct? has been called ?the opposite of Naam?, [1. p. 560] which, as we find, involves selfless and virtuous conduct, Naam being the treasure of all virtues. Similarly, moral living is stressed, since the ideal in life is ?to carry out the Will of God?, God?s Will and Naam being virtually synonymous. Judged from the emphasis on virtuous life (the matter will be detailed while dealing with the subject of goal, ethics, etc.) and moral responsibility in Sikhism and its anti-deterministic view, we should evidently conclude that Sikhism is monotheistic and not pantheistic
     
  10. Sikh80

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    (vii) There is a philosophic controversy whether or not mysticism of all kinds is monotheistic or pantheistic. Sikhism is undeniably based on a mystical experience. But so are religions like Christianity and Islam which are fanatically monotheistic. It is well-known that many of the great Christian and Muslim mystics have been dubbed as heretical, because their description of their mystical experiences could be misconstrued to support a pantheistic view of God, even though these mystics were devotedly religious and deeply reverential to their respective Prophets. Hence, the controversy hardly affects our argument.

    True, some symbolic descriptions in Guru Granth Sahib, which, when seen out of their context, and not seen against the overall background of Sikh theology and the overwhelming scriptural evidence to the contrary, could be misconstrued to suggest pantheistic inferences. But, such a view would obviously be not only far-fetched, but also opposed to the general thesis of the Gurus, which they themselves actually lived and demonstrated for 240 years, and the concept of Naam. The metaphysical implication of the doctrine of Naam clearly gives a monotheistic import to Sikhism, which view we find is unmistakably in accordance with the accepted concepts in Guru Granth Sahib.
     
  11. Sikh80

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    5. Naam and the Reality of the World and Interest in Life

    The greatest implication of the doctrine is in its proclaiming the dynamic reality and authenticity of the world and life. "God created the world of life and planted Naam therein, making it the place of righteous activity." [1. p. 463]. "God created the world and permeated it with His Light." [1. p. 930]. Since Naam, God?s Immanence, has not only created the world, but is also supporting, controlling and directing it, the same cannot be unreal or illusory. In fact, Naam?s immanence in this world guarantees its being a place of righteous activity, and not being a fruitless, unwanted or capricious creation. In one form or the other, this idea about the reality of the world gets repeated expression and emphasis in Guru Granth Sahib. "True are Thy worlds, true are Thy universes, true Thy forms Thou createth. True are Thy doings.

    This world is the Abode of the True One and He resides in it." [1. p. 463]. "True is He, True is His creation." [1. p. 294]. "Human body is the Temple of God." [1. p. 952]. "Beauteous, O Farid, are the garden of earth and the human body." [1. p. 966]. "Deride not the world, it is the creation of God." [1. p. 611].

    to be contd.
     
  12. Sikh80

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    It naturally follows from this doctrine that the world is real and God is greatly interested in it, since He has created it. He ?revels in His creation? [1. p. 463] and is sustaining and directing it. In japji, God is described as ?perpetually creating the world and benevolently nurturing His creation.? [1. p. 8]. ?God is the One, Who works through winds, waters and fire.? [1. p. 930]. This emphatic assertion about the authenticity of the world is a clear departure from the Indian religious tradition, and is, for that matter, radical in its implication. The Gurus were extremely conscious of this fundamental change they were making, and that is why, both in their lives and in their hymns, they have been laying great and repeated stress on this aspect of their spiritual thesis, lest they should be misunderstood on this issue. Living in this world is not a bondage (bandhan) for them, but a great privilege and opportunity.

     
  13. Sikh80

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    To be contd.......*****
    Not only is God benevolently directing the world in which He is immanent, but each one of us is ?yoked to His task and each is assigned a duty to perform.? [1. p. 736]. All this clearly indicates God?s or Naam?s plan and purpose in His creative activity.

    This idea is also clear from the Gurus? reference, again and again, to God?s Will working in this becoming universe. The very idea of a God of Will clearly presupposes and implies a direction, and a goal in the creative movement. The persistent interest of God in the creative movement is also obvious from the fact that the Guru calls Him ?the Protector? (raakhaa), ?Father? (pita), ?King-emperor? (Padshah) and a ?Just Administrator? (adlee). In japji also, the Guru emphasizes the idea that God adjudges each according to his deeds in this world.

    Naam has been described as the ?Treasure of Virtues and Qualities.? As a loving God with social and other attributes, He has been referred to as ?Father and Mother? (maataa, pitaa), ?Brother? (bharaataa), ?Friend? (mittar), ?Helper of the poor? (gareeb nivaaz), ?Shelter of the shelterless? (nithaaviaan daa thaan), ?Help to the Helpless? (nidhariaan di dhar), ?Remover of suffering and pain? (dukh bhanjan), ?Merciful? (raheem), etc. God with attributes leads to three inferences. First, qualities have a meaning only in relation to spacio-temporal world, since all perfection is static and all qualities are relative, capable of expression only in a changing universe. We have already seen that when God was by Himself and the world was not there, the question of good or bad, saved or saviour, love or devotion did not arise.


     
  14. Sikh80

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    Naam, being the source of all virtues, the world becomes an essential and integral part of the plan of Naam; since without a world for expression there could be no Will and no attributive aspect of God. Thus, Naam and the world are conjoint. Secondly, qualities in Naam indicate clearly ? and this is the most important aspect ? the direction of the progress and the ideal to be pursued by man in this world. Thirdly, all this ensures a logical and deep interest of Naam in the empirical world, since its attributive expression can be made only in it. That is also exactly the reason why the Gurus call the world real. Consequently, their message and mission also relate to this world, wherein alone these can be fulfilled. For the same reason, the Sikh Gurus? deep interest in all aspects of life, including socio-political aspects, can be directly traced to Naam, whose devotees they were. No feeling or prayer is expressed with greater depth and intensity than the one for the ?gift of Naam.? Now, Naam being the Benevole

    nt Supporter and Director of the world, what can be the gift of Naam to the devotee, except that of an enlightened, loving and creative interest in the world and in its development.

     
  15. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    How can one claim to be a devotee of Naam and ask for its gift or link with it, and yet, decline to toe the line of Naam, namely, of nurturing and furthering the process of creativity and construction in the world rather than becoming an ascetic or a drop out. That is why the Gurus have strongly condemned all ascetic and escapist practices. They say, "One reaches not Truth by remaining motionless like trees and stones, nor by being sawn alive." [1. p. 952]. "In vain are yogic practices, without Naam life is a waste." [1. p. 905]. "All yogic austerities, rituals, trance, etc., are in vain; real yoga is in treating alike all beings. " [1. p. 730]. "O Yogi, you are sitting in a trance, but you discriminate and have a sense of duality. You beg from door to door, are you not ashamed of it ?" [1. p. 886]. "Jainic ascetism", or "even if the body is cut into bits, does not efface the dirt of ego." [1. p. 256].

    311207
     
  16. Sikh80

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    What kind of life the Gurus recommended will be detailed while dealing with the subject of goal, but it would be pertinent to quote here the Guru?s dictum that "by despising the world one gets not to God." [1. p. 962].

    In Buddhism, nirvana and samsara are opposite entities. [7.]. In fact, in all Indian traditions, except in the case of the saints of the Radical Bhakti movement, worldly life had normally to be given up in order to pursue the spiritual ideal. But according to Guru Granth Sahib, it is not Naam and samsara that are opposed, but Naam and haumain (egoism); [1. pp. 560,1092] it is not worldly activity, as such, that has to be given up, but it is only egoistic and selfish activities that have to be shed. [1. pp. 522, 1246, 661]. Otherwise, belief in a God of attributes, which involves expression in the world of man, becomes meaningless.

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  17. Sikh80

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    Pause and Ponder***********************Break:idea:

    Prescribed daily practices of a Sikh


    The following is the daily routine to be followed by a practising Sikh:
    1. To rise early in the morning
    2. To meditate on God by reciting his name. In Sikhism, God is called Waheguru and meditation through kirtan(holy music) or simple meditation on God's name(on the word Waheguru through repetition and faith, otherwise known as Naam Japna) and recite the Banis of the Guru - Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib Tav Prasad savaye, Chaupai Sahib and anand Sahib. If possible to attend Gurdwara (Sikh Temple); to listen to Kirtan whenever possible. The most sacred Sikh place of worship is the Golden Temple.
    3. To perform Aardas, have breakfast and attend to the family needs.
    4. To attend work, training, or study, etc and perform Kirat Karni.
    5. Finish your daily work/training and return home to see to your family duties.
    6. In the evening recite or listen to the Rehras Sahib.
    7. After Aardas, to have the evening meal and engage in recreational, charitable, social tasks. Before bed to recite or listen to the Kirtan Sohila.
     
  18. Sikh80

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    1. Duties of a Sikh
    This section deals with the general duty of a Sikh to society and God rather than his/her daily practices dealt with in the previous section.
    1. Accept the Ten Gurus and SGGS as their Spiritual Teachers. Regularly study, meditate on and read the SGGS. Naam Japo; have faith in Guru & God.
    2. Live a householder life – honest, simple and family oriented Kirat Karni; Know you responsibilities and honour these.
    3. Contribute to the well being of Society by offering selfless service without receiving payment and give ten percent of their net income to a charity, poor person, worthy cause, etc. Wand kay Shako
    4. Treat every person as an equal irrespective of caste, creed, gender, profession, social status, age, race, ability, etc
    5. Speak politely; forgive easily and be humble at all times – page 1384 – “Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra. Wear these three robes, O sister, and you will captivate your Husband”
    6. Avoid the five thieves – PAGAL – Pride, Anger, Greed, Attachment to Worldly things Maya and Lust.
    7. If you are a Baptised Sikh, Wear the 5Ks.
    8. Do not be Cruel; nor have a negative outlook on life; Always have a Positive Attitude Chardi Kala
    9. Do not practise rituals or superstitions; no fasting; no penances; Always be logical and scientific in your approach to any problem.
    10. Practise vegetarianism – The Sikhs have to offer their food first to their Gurus before taking it themselves and NO sikh would allow meat products in their temples and so it follows that it is preferred for a Sikh to be a vegetarian. There is dispute about this matter but the consensus is that only vegetarian food is served in Sikh temples.
      (Note: Officially the dispute has been resolved and Sikhs are allowed to eat meat of animals not slaughtered in the Islamic Custom, in which the animal experiences a painful and slow death. Unofficially, many Sikhs still believe Sikhs should practice vegetarianism.)
     
  19. Sikh80

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    The best undestanding of the kind of interest in life the Gurus recommended for their disciples is gained from the lives they lived themselves. We shall revert to this point in detail while dealing with the issue of goal. Suffice it to say here that the Gurus, in harmony with the ethics of Naam, went in for full participation in life. For them it would have been incongruous on one hand to call life as real and on the other hand to fight shy of taking up the challenges of the socio-political life of their times.

    All this was an ideological, deliberate and clear departure from the Indian religious tradition and the Gurus gave a firm lead on this new path. While eulogizing the role of the Sikh Gurus in this regard, N. Ray laments the abject surrender to the vicious status quo on the part of the saints of the Bhakti movement
     
  20. Sikh80

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    6. Naam and Ethics

    On one hand, Naam being (a) the Sustainer and Director of the universe, (b) opposed to egoism (haumain) and (c) treasure of all qualities, lays down the standard of its ethics and on the other, points out that the universe is the plane and place where the qualities of Naam have to be expressed, so as to counteract and remove the vices of egoism and the practice of a sense of duality. Egoism involves separatism, selfishness, and individualism leading to the vices of greed, anger, pride, passion, conflict, wars, etc. ?The removal of duality is the way of God,? [1. p. 126] Naam being the opposite of ego, the same has been indicated as the only remedy for egoism, pain and frustration. [1. p. 1205]. In the same context, the Gurus have mentioned two sets of people ? one, the self-faced (manmukh) or egoistic, following the ethics of egoism and selfishness, and the other, the superman or God-faced (gurmukh), following the ethics of Naam in all phases of human activity.

     
  21. Sikh80

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    The ethics of Naam chooses its duties, virtues and value-system as consonant with the standard of Naam or a unitary view of life. Following are some of the verses in Guru Granth Sahib condemning egoism and duality and instead recommending the virtues and spirit of Naam so as to avoid and eliminate the vices of egoism :

    "In the grip of maya, we grab what belongs to others." [1. p. 715].

    "Man gathers riches by making others miserable." [1. p. 889].

    "Human passions, ego, duality lead us away from God." [1. p. 647].

    "God does not come near a person hard of heart and with a sense of duality." [1. p. 751]. "Some people shun meat, but devour men." [1. p. 1289]. "With God, only the deeds that one does in the world are of any avail." [1. p. 1383]. "Goodness, righteousness, virtue and the giving up of vice are the ways to realize the essence of God." [1. p. 418]. ?God?s riches belong to all, and it is the world that makes distinctions." [1. p. 1171].

    Thus, the entire progress of man is from being an egoist to being a man of Naam by shedding egoism and accepting the ethics of Naam, i.e., from being self-centred to being God-centred.

     

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