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Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by sukhsingh, Feb 8, 2017.
Should we be using the term God as transliteration for onkaar /akaal /Vaheguru?
There are a million different words that Sikhs use for God/Ek Onkar, I suppose I would ask, why pick on the word 'God', the words Allah and Ram both have connections with other religions, but it seems that the word 'God' comes in for most of the brunt on the topic.
Should we only be using the term Ek Onkar exclusively?
I would argue that 'god' is reductive and incomparable to Allah, ram etc
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Further more it is interesting that ongkaar as expressed in mool mantar encapsulates ram, rahim etc but is more than anyone of those terms and much more elusive
--- Double Post Merged, Feb 8, 2017, Original Post Date: Feb 8, 2017 ---
I would say God is an umbrella term something that most cultures would understand as meaning 'creator of the universe' rather than assigning a persona like Allah, ram, Krishna, etc. By the way the Christian persona is actually Jehovah not 'god' where 'god' is just a descriptor of the one in charge so to speak.
Therefore I don't think the term god can be considered a reduction. I view it like this... Prime Minister is the one in charge of Canada but his name is not 'prime minister'. Does that make sense?
And Gurbani tells us that Akal Purakh, Waheguru, Ik Onkar, is beyond any description. We can't ever know the nature of our Creator. only that such Creator DOES exist and is within us and all of its creation. The words we assign to have something to refer to, they are for OUR benefit and not our Creators benefit. We can call Creator whatever we want as long we have devotion and love and desire to find its divine light within us and everyone else.
One could say Ek Onkar has no personalitiy or human emotion, all the above have personalities,and more importantly human emotions and traits
surely therefore it cannot be comparable to a God that does
But personalising Ek Onkar could lead to idol worship without a physical idol. Is something, anything better than nothing?
Harry Ji? Did you read what I said?? LOL I said the term God is specifically the term which does NOT personify Creator. It's just a word to describe who / what we are referring to (a universal word, that all cultured can understand). I think that other religions can use their own words without necessarily succumbing to idol worship. Because idol worship is worshipping a false representation of God.. ie worshipping a stone statue made to be in God's image. Someone can use the name Jehovah for example without necessarily visualizing any specific face or form. The word we use (any word or name) is just for us to have something to refer to. In reality there is no name as name indicates language. Language indicates duality (communication between several beings). God is ONEness and encompasses ALL. Therefore why would our Creator require any specific name or term?? It's just for us.
What exactly is being "reduced" though when the term 'god' is used?
But the word God does personify Creator, as it has been used by the Abrahamic religions for so long. If we were to take a brief passage from the bible,
New Living Translation
You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected--even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.
How can someone new to religion, given Christianity is quite popular, not get confused by what is God and what is not?
I asked my father once, what god looked like, he thought for a while and then said, in his head, he had a beard, and looked old, and kind, and was the ultimate father, is this not also idol worship?
There are so many aspects of Creator, so many names, so many personalities, how can it not be confusing to give them all the same values, and say they are all the same thing?
As a matter of interest, I would like to collate what we do know about Ek Onkar, so as to flag up any major differences between all these Gods. I use the term Gods, because clearly the aspects of God from Exodus 20:5 are incompatible with the Sikh view of Ek Onkar.
If you could kick off with your personal view of the attributes of Ek Onkar, we could see where this goes
I think only a few associate the word God with specificially Christianity as a proper name instead of a noun. Like 'dog' vs 'Scruffy' You are stuck associating God like the proper name Scruffy. I and many many others use it like the word 'dog' as simply a descriptor.
Also the Bible passages you quoted have been translated twice... hebrew and latin I think (or maybe greek in there somewhere) and who is to say that God was the word that was supposed to be used? Even in the context you posted above you would never say I am your Harkiran. So even there, the word God is used as a descriptor and not a proper name with a persona. As I said, the proper term in Christian religion for God is Jehovah.
God (capitalized) according to oxford dictionary:
a: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
b: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
That is kind of all encompassing of all religions including Sikhi don't you think??
What is in a name? Languages have words to indicate and relate to particular objects. Each language may be giving different names for the same thing. Thus there may be any number of names for the same thing. It is only a physical indication to the existence of something and directing one to connect to that. If you know to whom you have to connect; it is immaterial as to what name it has been given.
Good point! I personally often find that my understanding of akaal / Vaheguru seems somehow limited by the term God. For me God with all the Abrahamic connotations suggests. The term for me is engendered as well as suggesting creation being commanded and overseen by a entity that is neither nirvair or nirbhau
But... the term God was never used in a proper name format in Christianity. The proper name in Christianity (and hence a persona) would be Jehovah. The term God is used as merely a descriptor to refer to Jehovah in their case. The term Waheguru is a proper name we use to refer to God. or 'the God' you know what I mean. The term God does not have any specific qualities attached to it.
I understand what you're saying but my specific issue is that within this forum we should try and be more discerning as I think using the word as a transliteration is limiting. I also think that we should be careful in choosing which terms we use.. I appreciate that as a pedant this may be more of an issue for than for others but I also think that for a more intellectual /academic exegetical discussion its important.. I believe 'concept of God' in sikhi is very different from 'god' as popularly understood by most people and therefore opens up the possibility of misrepresentation
The same word may have different connotations in different languages or for the different persons.
I'm sorry but this makes no sense... A word such as God can have different connotations for different people but not for different languages... Since words in different languages have different connotations themselves... What is the word for God in panjabi?
In abrahmic terms, God is a being in the sky or in the clouds.
This then just becomes a sarguna term, which doesn't really represent nirguna Waheguru Akaal Purakh.
And in dharmic religions God is formless and is within all. That encompasses the nirguna formless.
In pagan religions God/Goddess are the energy running everything but visualized by numerous avatars with aspects similar to Hinduism. God is just the reference to which we apply 'creator' of all and IS all. And it's the same Creator all religions are trying to understand in their own ways. There is only ONE! The God of Abraham is not some separate thing from Waheguru Ji. They aren't separate entities. It's just that the people of Abraham tried to understand Creator in their own way.
The term God is not the proper name for the 'being in the sky' ala Abrahamic religion. That is Jehovah.
And even then it's a misnomer. Nowhere in the bible does it say that God has form. Jesus did similar to avatars. But the 'father' can also be understood in same terms we apply to 'husband lord' versus 'soul bride'. It is metaphoric. It's people who do not understand the metaphor in the Christian bible who put this man in the clouds with sandals and long white hair idea. That is not actually how Christians see God.
The following is a google image search for God, the results, I feel speak for themselves
god - Google Search
I feel you are correct in that, however I also feel you are in a minority, to most it is personable, rather than a descriptor.
haha, ok, I knew you would bring this up, so I chose a quote that was pretty definitive in every translation I could find,
Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
Although fundamentally, Harkiranji, I am in complete agreement with your philosophies and your points, my own issue is that most do not see it as you do.
nope, supreme beings perfect in power and wisdom, and goodness, probably don't get jealous