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Evolution and Sikh Beliefs

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by MGC, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. MGC

    MGC
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    Hello,

    My understanding is that Sikhism believes in a form of evolution or can be interpreted as such from certain passages in the Guru Granth Sahib (about life beginning with the oceans and the oceans beginning with the air, etc). Assuming this is true, how does the principle of Kesh fit into Sikhism? Specifically, the idea behind it that hair was given to us by Waheguru by design and that it should be kept? This might apply to other aspects of Sikhism as well but I'm only using Kesh as an example.

    If life has evolved and will continue to do so, how could this be possible? And what about other lifeforms on this planet and beyond, how does/could this apply to them?

    Assuming Sikhism believes everything even evolution is planned, wouldn't the eventual end of life as we know it also be planned (when all of Waheguru's creations are reabsorbed)? I believe it was Guru Gobind Singh Ji who said something along the lines of life (meaning everything that was created when Waheguru spoke or the "big bang" as some might know it) is a play and that it can end when Waheguru deems it which means it isn't planned?

    I feel I must have misinterpreted something so I'm hoping someone can clarify this for me. Sorry for the lack of links or clarity in regards to some aspects of this post, most of this research was done over a series of weeks and I'm afraid I've lost those links but if further clarification is needed I will try to find them again.
    Thank you,
     

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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    MGC ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Interesting inquisitive question. Before I respond to that, can you please describe Ik Ong Kaar in your words. Is it a deity, a he, a she or an it?

    Secondly, what made you choose kesh? What happens when we evolve enough physically in such a manner that we may not even have kesh? As you must be aware that many kids are born without appendix or without wisdom teeth now a days. It is all part of adjusting to the nature in the way of evolution. Mongoloids have known to have a gene in them which makes them have no bodily hair except on the head, perhaps to keep our brains protected from heat etc etc.


    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
  4. MGC

    MGC
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    Thank you for your response,

    Good question and I'm not entirely sure how to address it. Because of Sikh views on gender equality I can't say for sure whether god is man or woman. If the Guru's claimed "god is a man" or "god is a woman", would that not lead to an eventual gender inequality in Sikhism as a result of human nature and people pointing to god's gender and using it as justifications to being superior or inferior (as some religious people do in other religions). Or perhaps the Guru's realized this could happen as did Guru Gobind Singh on future gurus and as such decided not to say anything on the subject?

    As a result of reincarnation, my understanding is that even we as humans are not in the perfect "form" since the best form is the one that breaks the cycle and achieves liberation. Because of this, could Waheguru be "human"? And if so, what does that say of other life on earth or life on other planets if it exists, did Guru Arjun Dev Ji not say that even other creatures are looked after by Waheguru?

    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/rs/environment/sikhbeliefsrev1.shtml)

    Kesh was just an example, it stood out to me because it seemed to imply that intelligent design plays a role in Sikhism. If that were the case, does it not contradict what the Guru's have said and what is written in the Guru Granth Sahib?

    Thanks,
     
  5. Caspian

    Caspian
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    This is a silly thought. But it always struck me as odd that if sikhism was to be truly universally adopted. The people that would "suffer" the most would be the people of African descent. Their hair isn't particularly suited to the demands of sikhi. I am aware they're are african american sikhs, i wonder what they do with their hair tho? Perhaps they straighten it beforehand... but that wouldn't be the hair's natural state. So it just seemed as if sikhi alienates many africans. There are african or afro-centric religions that also advocate the keeping of hair (like rastafarians). But as you can tell from the pictures :p their hair naturally tangles and knots into dreads. I dont think dreads would be allowed by Sikhi.

    If sikhism is advocating a kind of intelligent design, then perhaps waheguru only made people with naturally straight hair more suited for the religion.

    Sikhi may be a Universal religion, but the sikh uniform may not be universal.
     
  6. MGC

    MGC
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    I don't think Sikhism was ever meant to be universally adopted, for one, the religion doesn't actively seek converts such as Christianity or Mormonism do for example. Sikhism doesn't discredit other religions and through the teachings of tolerance says others should have the right to practice their faiths as well (I guess one can interpret a lack of faith as well).

    You bring up a good point on intelligent design however, in terms of being able to tie up hair, any hair can be suitable if it's long enough. Going back to the example about Africa, as you can see in these pictures,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-textured_hair

    "Styling" is certainly possible. As for "natural state", I guess it could depend on interpretation?
     
  7. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    What difference does it make? It's not like you can see what the hair looks like under the turban! My uncle is naturally completely bald. It doesn't mean he is any less of a Sikh. It's the non-cutting thats important, nothing else.
     
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    caspian

    Just some reactions that call for more research on the facts.

    1. There is no clear argument that Sikhi or Guru Nanak advocate "intelligent design." True, one reads it on the Internet. How much validity is there in drawing any conclusion based on conversations in forums where fact and opinion are not sorted out? Opinion often takes the place of careful logical analysis of texts. If a careful logical analysis of this topic has occurred in an Internet forum, I would like to have the link. Personally, and this is my opinion, I do not see where "intelligent design" stands as the Sikh theory of evolution.

    Actually, I see each of the prevalent theories of evolution (natural selection being the only scientific one) irrelevant to Guru Nanak's philosophy.

    2. There is a sizable and growing contingent of African-americans within the 3HO movement. Based on photographs and personal contact, their hair is kept combed, and is not worn as dread-locks under dastar (men and women). It is just somewhat bushy. And not at all that different from Punjabis whose hair is tightly curled naturally. The uniform is the same, amritdhari of color keep the 5 kakkars. I have not noticed any problem with that, but rather enthusiasm.

    There is also an uncounted number of African-americans who converted to Sikhi independently of the 3HO movement. You might want to take a look at a photo of the great American jazz musician, Dr. Lonnie Smith, who is a convert to Sikhism. He is not 3HO, so he is not wearing white.
     

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