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Glimpses of a Scientific Vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Mai Harinder Kaur, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    Glimpses of a Scientific Vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Hardev Singh Virk
    Director Research, DAV Institute of Engineering & Technology,
    Kabir Nagar, Jalandhar City, India.

    Introduction



    The Sikh religion, founded by Guru Nanak during fifteen century in India, has some parallelism with renaissance and reformation movements in Europe. Guru Nanak challenged the orthodox ideas of Indian society based on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. The Sikh philosophy as expounded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) is unique in its epistemology. It rejects myths, rituals and dogma; as a consequence it has a universal appeal for humankind irrespective of its religious and cultural affiliations. In the holistic vision of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, God, nature and man are integrally bound to each other. An attempt will be made to present some glimpses of a scientific vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib in this essay.

    The spiritual/mystical vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is compatible with modern science in its approach to cosmology, nature of reality, origin and evolution of life, relation of microcosm to macrocosm and consciousness. Sri Guru Granth Sahib advocates dual nature of reality, both transcendental and immanent at the same time. God himself transforms into creation, changing his nirguna form (energetic state) to sarguna form (material state). Space and time were created at the epoch of Big-Bang and creation process has occurred several times. The universe was created out of sün phase (cosmic void) billions of years ago. There are millions and billions of stars, solar systems and galaxies in the universe and it is almost impossible and beyond human reason to account for the whole system. Scientific discoveries have revealed that our visible universe constitutes just 5% of the total universe, Dark matter makes up 25% and the rest 70% is Dark energy. The riddle of Dark matter and Dark energy is yet to be solved by the scientists. Who knows it may correspond to dhundhukara state referred to by Guru Nanak in Raga Maru Solhe.

    Role of Consciousness in Science and Religion


    Religion and Science are both engaged in the exploration of Ultimate Reality. The field of religion concerns consciousness and its flux in molding the destiny of man. Science explores the nature or its manifestation through the material world. It starts from gross matter and moves toward subtle consciousness pervading in the material world.

    Recent advances in both experimental and theoretical physics have established that quantum theory supports the idea of a cosmic spirit pervading the cosmos and inter-relationship of individuals in world society (parts and wholes). Roger Penrose in his book<sup>1</sup>, Shadows of the Mind, has tried to establish the role of consciousness in new physics which looks beyond quantum theory. In the chapter, 'Structure of the Quantum World', he probes the limitations of quantum theory to describe physical reality. Earlier, EPR paradox brought into focus the limitations of quantum theory: "The quantum-mechanical description of reality given by the wave function is not complete or, in other words, when the operators corresponding to two physical quantities do not commute, the two quantities cannot have simultaneous reality." EPR paradox was explained by John Bell in his famous theorem implying some hidden variables. Theoretical predictions of Bell's theorem have been verified by Aspect Experiments. The implications of Bell's theorem and its experimental findings are staggering. They have established the interplay of consciousness and the physical world and changed our world-view where the notion of an objective world is in conflict with quantum theory. The inter-relation of human consciousness and the observed world is obvious in Bell's theorem. What we call physical reality, the external world, is shaped to some extent, by human thought. This train of thought was led further by David Bohm who proposed that the information of the entire universe is contained in each of its parts. For Bohm, order and unity are spread throughout the universe in a way which escapes our senses. We are living in a holographic universe. The world is an indivisible whole.

    Similar sentiments were expressed by John Donne, a mystic poet, in his poem during 17<sup>th</sup> century : "No man is an island, entire of itself, everyman is a piece of the continent; if a clod is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind."

    Human life is based on the interaction of physical, cultural and even religious forms of life. Man is part of nature. Human mind has access to reality through four modes of knowledge: sensory experience, discursive cognition, intuition, and revelation. In the first two modes the subject-object duality remains intact. Hence the religious experience, which transcends this distinction, does not belong to the realm of these modes. While mysticism involves intuition, spiritualism bases its self-certifying validity on revelation.

    Concept of Reality (God) in Sri Guru Granth Sahib



    The concept of ultimate reality propounded by Guru Nanak in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is most scientific; as a consequence, it is also dynamic and precise. Reality is one and non-dual. Hence the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Manglacharan<sup>2</sup> commences with the numeral 1 before 'Open Oora', which represents Existence or Being. It is followed by Satt(i) Naam which means the supreme reality is True and it is manifested in Truth, Existence and Being. The other features of reality are itstranscendence and immanence, creator person, without fear or hatred, beyond time and space, self-existent, transcendental cosmic spirit made manifest by grace of the Guru.

    1E siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYr Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]

    Reality or God was in existence before the commencement of creation and time (yugas) during the epoch of cosmic void. God existed at the beginning of this universe, i.e., creation of space and time. God exists now and will also exist in the future (even when the universe is annihilated). The Sikh philosophy dialectically unites the ideas of God and the world. Transcendence shows that God is prior to and distinct from the world. Immanence of God represents God's connection with the world. Guru Angad defines the transcendental nature of reality<sup>3</sup>:

    "In this realm, one sees but without the eyes; one listens but without the ears, one walks but without the feet; one works but without the hands; one speaks but without the tongue; thus attaining life in death. O Nanak, one meets the God after realization of the divine law."

    AKI bwJhu vyKxw ivxu kMnw sunxw ] pYrw bwJhu clxw ivxu hQw krxw ]
    jIBY bwJhu bolxw ieau jIvq mrxw ] nwnk hukmu pCwix kY qau KsmY imlxw ]

    Guru Nanak discards the Vedantic concept of reality which considers this universe as an illusion or Maya. His view-point expressed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is<sup>4</sup>:

    "Real are Thy Continents; Real is the Universe; Real are these forms and material objects; Thy doings are real, O Lord."

    scy qyry KMf scy bRhmMf ] scy qyry loA scy Awkwr ]

    Truth is considered supreme in all religions but the Sri Guru Granth Sahib lays more stress on truthful living than on truth<sup>5</sup>:

    "Truth is high but higher still is truthful living".

    schu ErY sBu ko aupir scu Awcwru ]

    Hence the Sikh religion does not condemn the worldly life as Maya (illusion). Reality is perceived in a holistic mode in both microcosm and macrocosm. Guru Nanak has identified the manifest reality with nature<sup>6</sup>:

    "Nanak, the beneficent Lord alone is true,
    and He is revealed through His Nature
    ”.

    nwnk sc dwqwru isnwKqu kudrqI ]

    The description of Nature by Guru Nanak in Asa-di-Var<sup>7</sup> is a new dimension in the history of religious thought. In a way, scientific study of Nature is sanctioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib:

    "All that is visible is His Nature; All that is heard too is His Nature….
    In the nether regions and skies is the manifestation of His Nature;

    Of His Nature are all the manifestations"
    .

    kudriq idsY kudriq suxIAY kudriq Bau suK swru ]
    kudriq pwqwlI AwkwsI kudriq srb Awkwru ]

    To sum up, the concept of supreme reality as presented in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is unique, scientific and revolutionary. It is not a mere abstraction. Its realization is possible through the practice of Sabd and Naam. Guru Nanak was blessed with the vision of God or Reality in Nature<sup>8</sup>:

    "The Guru hath revealed the Lord's presence to Nanak in the three worlds;

    in the woods, waters and over the earth
    ".

    sWiq pwvih hovih mn sIql Agin n AMqir DuKI ]
    gur nwnk kau pRBU idKwieAw jil Qil iqRBvix ruKI ]
    Concept of Sün in Sri Guru Granth Sahib


    We find an echo of Sünyata philosophy of Buddhism in Sikh scripture. A wonderful doctrine of Sün is introduced in the Sikh scripture to explain the pre-creation state of the universe. God is the creator of the universe and He is the annihilator. Various interpretations of Sün doctrine exist in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sün is not equated with void or emptiness in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Rather, it represents the state of equipoise where Absolute Lord exists in primordial trance called sün samaadhi<sup>9</sup>:



    The Yogi, the Primal Lord sat within the celestial sphere of deepest trance (samaadhi).


    suMn mMfl ieku jogI bYsy ]

    In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Absolute Reality or God is both immanent and transcendental<sup>10</sup>. It is formless, attributeless and hence beyond description:

    He possesses all qualities, He transcends all qualities;

    He is the formless Lord; He Himself is in Primal trance (samaadhi
    ).

    srgun inrgun inrMkwr suMn smwDI Awip ]

    In consonance with the Buddhist philosophy of sunyata, subject–object differentiation or concept of duality does not exist in the sün state as enunciated by saint Kabir in Sri Guru Granth Sahib<sup>11</sup>:

    No life or death, no pain or pleasure is felt there.

    There is only the primal trance of samaadhi, and hence no duality
    .

    jIvn imrqu n duKu suKu ibAwpY suMn smwiD doaU qh nwhI ]

    Guru Arjun, the fifth Nanak, describes the primordial trance of God before the creation process starts as a manifestation of God <sup>12</sup>:

    For countless days, He remained invisible.

    For countless days, He remained absorbed in Sün

    For countless days, there was utter darkness, and

    Then the Creator revealed Himself.


    kyqiVAw idn gupqu khwieAw ]kyqiVAw idn suMin smwieAw ]
    kyqiVAw idn DuMDUkwrw Awpy krqw prgtVw ]

    However, the most beautiful elaboration of Sün doctrine is given by Guru Nanak in his composition, Maru Solhe, in Sri Guru Granth Sahib<sup>13</sup>. Sün is compared to a primal void where God exists in its full effulgence. The creation appears when God wills out of this sün phase. All the seventeen stanzas of seventeenth Solhe give us a vivid description of sün and there is no parallel in Indian religious literature to the spiritual vision of Guru Nanak. We may quote only a few reflections from this vision:

    In the Sün (Primal void), the infinite Lord assumed his Power.

    He Himself is unattached, infinite and incomparable.

    From the Sün, He created air and water.

    He created universe and the man in the fortress of body.

    From this Sün, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva issued forth.

    From this Sün, the moon, the sun and the earth were created.

    They were created from Sün, and they will merge into the sün.

    From the Sün, the five elements became manifest.


    suMn klw AprMpir DwrI ]Awip inrwlmu Apr ApwrI ]
    Awpy kudriq kir kir dyKY suMnhu suMnu aupwiedw ]1]
    pauxu pwxI suMnY qy swjy ]isRsit aupwie kwieAw gV rwjy]
    Agin pwxI jIau joiq qmwrI suMny klw rhwiedw ]2]
    ……………………………
    suMnhu bRhmw ibsnu mhysu aupwey ]suMny vrqy jug sbwey ]
    ……………………
    suMnhu Driq Akwsu aupwey]ibnu QMmw rwKy scu kl pwey ]
    ……………………
    pMc qqu suMnhu prgwsw ]
    Cosmology: Big Bang Model of the Universe

    The creation or expansion of the universe from singular state is referred to as ‘Big Bang’. It’s most ambitious and detailed theory is that of Gamow and collaborators, known as abg theory. They suppose that universe started from a very dense, hot mass of neutrons which decayed into protons and electrons. These combined to form complex nuclei. The temperature during this phase was 10,000 million degrees Kelvin and most of the heavy elements were built up in the first 30 minutes of the expansion. The abg theory fails to explain the production of heavier elements after helium. Lemaitre explains the big bang from a primeval atom--an atom which contained all the matter of the universe.

    The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

    Our universe sprang into existence as a "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago (some say about 15 billions). What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." According to Big-Bang model, our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know.
    Mathematically speaking, the moment of origin (time, t=0) of the universe is called a singularity; the density of matter and space-time curvature is infinite and the distance between any two “observers” is zero. Interestingly, the laws of physics, as are known to us, breakdown here. To understand the events close to the singularity, rules of quantum mechanics are employed.
    In 1964, Arno Penzia and Robert Wilson discovered very high frequency radio microwaves coming from all directions of the sky. They believed that these microwaves were the remnants of the "echo" of the Big Bang, which is still pulsating and reverberating through the universe<sup>14</sup>. Evidence collected by astronomers during the last 50 years confirms the hypothesis of expanding Universe and it is the basis of Big-Bang cosmology.
    In1992 COBE satellite discovered hot and cold patches in the cosmic background radiation that are characterized as primeval ripples. These patches have traveled undisturbed since the cooling of the universe, three hundred thousand years after the Big Bang. George Smoot, 2006 Nobel Laureate<sup>15</sup>, has discovered the long-sought hard evidence for the Big-Bang origin of Universe on the basis of small fluctuations found with the help of NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE).
    According to current scientific understanding, origin of the universe is best understood by reversing the expansion process. In the reverse, more than 100 billion galaxies with billions of stars are compressed together. As it shrinks the temperature and the density of the primordial plasma rises. Extrapolating to the point of origin the universe would have begun as a point of extremely high temperature and density. The Big Bang occurred at this stage and space and time came into existence. It was believed that matter is made of protons and neutrons, but with the advances in particle physics these have been replaced by their smaller constituents called quarks. Before protons and neutrons the universe is said to consist of quarks, electrons and photons. Using this model the history of the universe has been reconstructed to one thousand-billionth of a second (10<sup>-12</sup>) after the Big Bang.
    Cosmological Ideas in Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Cosmological ideas as enunciated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib have been found to be most scientific and compatible with the modern cosmological theories of science. In Japuji, Guru Nanak sums up his ideas about creation of the Universe, which he elaborates further in the most precise and scientific manner in the Raga Maru Solhe in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The creation hypothesis is summed up as follows by Guru Nanak<sup>16</sup>:
    ‘God created the Universe by uttering a word.’
    kIqw pswau eyko kvwau ]

    Thus the problem of ‘singularity’ faced by the Big-Bang model of the Universe is solved by the Guru by bringing in God as the creator of the Universe. Once this riddle is solved, the sequence of creation, its epoch and extant is described in Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a most rational manner. Guru Nanak poses the next question in Japuji<sup>17</sup>:
    ‘What was the time and the moment
    The day and the month,
    When the world was created?
    kvxu su vylw vKqu kvxu kvxu iQiq kvxu vwru ]
    kvix is ruqI mwhu kvxu ijqu hoAw Awkwru ]
    In the next stanza, Guru Nanak provides the answer<sup>18</sup>:
    ‘Neither the Pundit can find this date
    By looking through the Purana texts,
    Nor can the Qazi tell from the Koran,
    Neither the Yogi nor any one else knows
    The day, weak, season and month of creation,
    The creator who creates the World
    He alone knows the time’
    vyl n pweIAw pMfqI ij hovY lyKu purwxu ]
    vKqu n pwieE kwdIAw ij ilKin lyKu kurwx ]
    iQiq vwru nw jogI jwxY ruiq mwhu nw koeI ]
    jw krqw isrTI kau swjy Awpy jwxY soeI ]

    Guru Nanak does not want to formulate any hypothesis based on false assumptions and leaves this question open. The creation process is started under the command of God, the creator of the universe. The Guru envisages the creation of the Universe out of ‘Sün’ which is devoid of matter but not of energy. Hence, a beautiful analogy with quantum concept of creation out of nothing, as a vacuum fluctuation, is established in Raga Maru Solhe<sup>19</sup>:
    ‘The creator was all alone,
    He created the air, water, earth and sky;
    Even the sun and moon from this Sün.’
    pauxu pwxI suMnY qy swjy ]
    isRsit aupwie kwieAw gV rwjy ]
    suMunhu cMdu sUrju gYxwry]

    This wonderful drama of creation is elucidated further by Guru Nanak in his mystic reverie. Surprisingly, there is a perfect correspondence between the epoch of ‘Big-Bang’ and the creation out of Sün phase as enunciated in Maru Solhe, the most beautiful hymn on Sikh cosmology<sup>20</sup>:
    “For billions of years, there was nothing but utter darkness. There was neither day nor night, nor moon, nor sun, but the Lord alone sat in profound trance. Neither there was creation, nor air, nor water. There were no continents, nor underworlds, nor seven oceans nor rivers, or the flowing water. There was neither death, nor time. There was no Brahma, nor Vishnu or Shiva………………………..

    When He so willed, He created the world and supported the firmament without support. He created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and extended the love of mammon………………

    He founded the continents, solar systems and underworlds, and from the Absolute self, He became manifest.”


    Arbd nrbd DuMDUkwrw ] Drix n ggnw hukmu Apwrw ]
    nw idnu rYin n cMdu n sUrju suMn smwiD lgwiedw ]1]
    KaNI n baNI pxuN n paNI . Xpit Kpit n AavN jaNI .
    K;d ptal spt nhI sagr nwI n nIru vhaiewa .2.
    bRhma ibsnu mh[su n k]eI . Avru n wIs{ e[k] s]eI .
    nair purKu nhI jait n jnma na k] wuKu suKu paiewa .4....
    ja itsu BaNa ta jgtu xupaieAa . baJu kla AadaNu rhaieAa .
    bRhma ibsnu mh[su xupae[ maieAa m]hu vWaiewa .14.....
    K;d bRhm;d patal Ar;B[ gupthu prgoI Aaiewa .15.

    Guru Arjun Dev describes in Sukhmani the myriad forms of creation<sup>21</sup>:
    There are millions and millions of galaxies and solar systems in the universe. The phenomenon of creation has occurred so many times. But the one Lord remains for ever and ever.”


    keI koit KwxI Aru KMf ] keI koit Akws bRhmMf ]
    keI koit hoey Avqwr ] keI jugiq kIno ibsQwr]
    keI bwr psirE pwswr] sdw sdw ieku eykMkwr]

    The riddle of creation of the universe will remain an enigma for cosmologists and there is no final word yet in cosmology. About the present theories and models, we may conclude with a quotation from Benti Chaupai in Dasam Granth<sup>22</sup>:
    “Everyone explains the creation process according to his intellect,
    But no one can tell, O Lord,
    How you first created the universe”
    Awp AwpnI buiD hY jyqI[brnq iBMn-iBMn quih qyqI[
    qumrw lKw n jwie pswrw[ikh ibiD sjw pRQm sMswrw [

    Concept of Nature in Sri Guru Granth Sahib


    Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, was fully aware of the ancient Indian thought and its implications concerning nature. He had first hand knowledge of both Hindu and Muslim viewpoints about nature. Surprisingly, Guru Nanak opted for Arabic term ‘qudret’ for nature in comparison to Sanskrit term ‘prakriti’ which occurs in Samkhya school of Indian philosophy. According to Kapur Singh<sup>23</sup>, Guru Nanak has abandoned the term prakirti while retaining the term purusa in his description of nature, after noting the dualism of Hindu philosophy.

    By juxtaposition of Quaranic term ‘qudret’ against the Samkhya term ‘prakriti’, we can easily understand and appreciate the choice of the term ‘qudret’ to represent nature in all its manifestations by Guru Nanak. In the opening sloka of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sri Guru Granth Sahib), Guru Nanak defines the various attributes of God, the ultimate reality. He calls Him ‘Karta Purkh’, the creator person and not merely a purusa. Hence in the scheme of things envisaged for his world view, Guru Nanak employed ‘qudret’ to represent nature.

    According to Kapur Singh<sup>24</sup>, Guru Nanak employed the Arabic term qudret as the second term of the dualism, with Purukh as the first. Qudret means “that under the power and authority of its Master”. In Quran, al-Qadir as one of the attributes of God is distinguishable from another attribute, al-Khaliq, which means the creator. Guru Nanak includes both these attributes of God in his use of the term, qudret for nature<sup>25</sup>:

    He Himself creates and arranges the Nature,
    He Himself controls its progression and evolution.
    Awpy kudriq kry swij ] scu Awip inbyVy rwju rwij ]

    According to Guru Nanak, God first created Himself and then at a second stage of creation shaped qudret (nature) out of his own goodwill to enjoy the creation process<sup>26</sup>:

    The universal self (God) created the individual self,
    He Himself created the differentiating names.
    Thus Nature hath He created as the ‘other’,
    And depositing Himself therein.
    He contemplates on Nature.
    AwpInY Awpu swijE AwpInY ricE nwau ]
    duXI kudriq swjIAY kir Awsxu ifTo cwau ]

    In Rag Asa<sup>27</sup>, Guru Nanak has written a long poem eulogizing qudret in its various manifestations as revealed through the creation process. In fact, God not only plays the role of creator but also reveller and sustainer of creation through qudret (nature):

    Nature is all that appears and hears,

    Nature is the world as seen, felt and appreciate.

    Nature is all the spaces, and

    Nature is totality of forms.


    kudriq idsY kudriq suxIAY kudriq Bau suK swru ]
    kudriq pwqwlI AwkwsI kudriq srb Awkwru ]

    Nature, like God, is also limitless and beyond comprehension. The abode of God is nature itself<sup>28</sup>:

    Glory to Thee who dwelleth in Nature,

    Infinite and Eternal,

    Thy limits and frontiers are unknowable.


    bilhwrI kudriq visAw ]qyrw AMqu n jweI liKAw ]

    Guru Nanak rejects the Vedantic concept that the created world and nature in all its manifestations is maya, a mere illusion, and only God is real. According to Sikh view point, both God and qudret (nature) are true as recorded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib<sup>29</sup>:

    O true lord, Thy created Nature is real.


    scI qyrI kudriq scy pwiqswh]

    The study of nature has been given the highest priority in Gurbani. Guru Nanak has identified the manifest reality or God with Nature<sup>30</sup>:

    “Nanak, the beneficent Lord alone is true,
    He is revealed through His Nature”.
    nwnk sc dwqwru isnwKq kudrqI ]

    It is also emphasized in Gurbani that God or the creator can be realized by
    man in his own body through Nature<sup>31</sup>:

    “He who has created the world in which
    He abides as Immanent,
    That Lord may be recognized through Nature.
    He is not to be regarded as wholly Transcendent;
    His voice can be heard in every heart”.
    ijin jgu isrij smwieAw so swihbu kudriq jwxovw ]
    scVw dUir n BwlIAY Git Git sbdu pCwxovw ]

    God being the Creator Person ( Karta Purkh) is also known as Qadir in Quranic vocabulary<sup>32</sup>. He is the absolute controller of destiny of Man and Nature.

    “All that is your qudret, and

    You are its Qadir and Karta, i.e.

    Absolute controller and Creator”


    sB qyrI kudriq qMU kwidru krqw pwkI nweI pwku ]

    God is the creator of Nature and He is fully involved and absorbed in Nature<sup>33</sup>:

    “God creates Nature and alone

    He contemplates it”


    Awpy kudriq swij kY Awpy kry bIcwru ]

    We may conclude that Guru Nanak’s vision of Nature is far more comprehensive than his predecessors both in the East and the West. It is holistic vision which can act as a platform for a dialogue between science and religion.

    Origin and Evolution of Life in Sri Guru Granth Sahib


    Various theories of origin and evolution of life have been put forward in the holy books of all religions. But one thing is common to all of them: God is the creator of life in this universe. Guru Nanak also accepts this postulate of God as the Creator of the universe and life in all its manifestations. However, Guru Nanak also accepts the theory of evolution in his own characteristic manner without taking recourse to the concept of natural selection in the Darwinian way.

    In Japuji<sup>34</sup>, Guru Nanak refers to the creation of various forms and living beings under the divine law (hukam). But this divine law is incomprehensible.

    hukmI hovin Awkwr hukmu n kihAw jweI]
    hukmI hovin jIA hukim imlY vifAweI ]
    In Sri Guru Granth Sahib<sup>35</sup>, Guru Arjun poses the question about the origin of life and he answers it as follows:

    Where do we come from? Where do we live?
    Where do we go in the end?
    All creatures belong to God,
    Who can place a value on Him?
    ikQhu aupjY kh rhY kh mwih smwvY]
    jIA jMq siB Ksm ky kauxu kImiq pwvY]

    We find reference to evolution of species in the universe in Sri Guru Granth Sahib without taking recourse to any scientific theory of evolution. Sikh Gurus generally followed the traditional Hindu view of eight million and four hundred thousand species<sup>36</sup> of living organisms in the universe. Man is the summum bonnum of this creation.

    “God has created eighty four lakh (8.4 million) species of beings”


    lK caurwsIh jMq aupwey]

    There is a classification of all living organisms into four categories<sup>37-38 </sup>on the basis of their origin. They are grouped as under:

    (i) Those born from egg (andaj);
    (ii) Those born from womb (jevaj);
    (iii) Those born from earth (utbhuj), and
    (iv) Those born from sweat (setaj).

    “Egg born, womb born, earth born and heat born; are all Thine creatures.
    Oceans, mountains, and all beings - O Nanak, He alone knows their condition.
    O Nanak, having created the living beings, He cherishes them all”.
    AMfj jyrj auqBujW KwxI syqjWh]
    so imiq jwxY nwnkw srW myrW jMqwh]
    nwnk jMq aupwie kY sMmwly sBnwh]

    “Egg born, womb born, earth born and heat born; are all created by You.
    I have seen one glory of Yours, that You are pervading and permeating in all”.
    AMfj jyrj auqBuj syqj qyry kIqy jMqw]
    eyk purb mY qyrw dyiKAw qU sBnw mwih rvMqw ]


    In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, it is also mentioned by Bhagat Namdev<sup>39</sup> that forty two lakh species exist in water and the same number may exist on land. Science has failed to confirm this hypothesis.

    bieAwlIs lK jI jl mih hoqy bITlu BYlw kwie krau]

    The message of Sikh Gurus is enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In the final analysis, we can quote a relevant stanza in support of biological evolution of species<sup>40</sup>:

    In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect;
    In so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer;
    In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake;
    In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse.
    Meet the Lord of the Universe – now is the time to meet Him.
    After such a long epoch, you are born as a human being.
    keI jnm Bey kIt pqMgw]
    keI jnm gj mIn kurMgw ]
    keI jnm pMKI srp hoieE]
    keI jnm hYvr ibRK joieE]
    imlu jgdIs imln kI brIAw]
    icrMkwl ieh dyh sMjrIAw]

    End Note:
    The text of this essay is excerpted from my book, “Scientific Vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Interfaith Dialogue” published by Singh Brothers, Amritsar (2008). The full implication of this theme, including modern scientific theories, can be realized after reading this book.

    References:

    1. Roger Penrose, Shadows of the Mind, Oxford University, UK.
    2. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sri Guru Granth Sahib), Published by Golden Temple Press, SGPC, Amritsar. Manglacharan/Commencing verse, M1, P.1.
    3. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M 2, P.139
    4. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P. 463
    5. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P. 62.
    6. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P. 141.
    7. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P. 464.
    8. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 5, P. 617.
    9. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M 1, P. 685.
    10. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M 5, P. 290.
    11. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Kabir, P. 333.
    12. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.5, P. 1081.
    13. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P. 1037-1038.
    14. Time Magazine, Hammond Almanac Inc. Maplewood, New Jersey, 1979.
    15. George Smoot, CERN Courrier, Vol. 47(3), p. 26, 2007.
    16. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P.3.
    17. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P. 4.
    18. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P. 4.
    19. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P.1037.
    20. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M1, P.1035-1036.
    21. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M5, P.276.
    22. Dasam Granth, Bhai Chatar Singh-Jiwan Singh, Amritsar, 1902, p.1387.
    23. Kapur Singh, Guru Nanak’s Concept of Nature, SikhSpectrum.com Monthly,
    Aug. 2002.
    24. Kapur Singh, op. cit., P.3.
    25. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P. 1170.
    26. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 463.
    27. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 464.
    28. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 469.
    29. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 463.
    30. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 141.
    31. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 581.
    32. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 464.
    33. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M. 1, P. 143.
    34. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P.1.
    35. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.5, P.1193.
    36. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P.1190.
    37. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P.467.
    38. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.1, P. 596.
    39. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagat Namdev, P.485.
    40. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, M.5, P.176.
     
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