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Interesting essay on Sikhism as a non-Brahminical faith in India

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by dalsingh, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Although I don't agree with all of this, it has some interesting perspectives:

    Sikhs and Tamils - The Indus Connection - Dr.N.Muthu Mohan

    Guru Nanak had the opportunity to see both the ends of the devotional culture. He understood the strength of Devotion as a true and popular feeling as well its historically corrupt developments. He had the opportunity to travel all over India and even out of India, and encountered the available forms of religiosity in the length and breadth of the land. The Janam Sakhis tell us about the different types of religious personalities Guru Nanak met and forms of worships in various parts of the land. The Gurus had intimate contacts with the Siddh yogis and the Sufis. Guru Granth Sahib has the wonderful recording of the encounters between Guru Nanak and the Siddhas. The encounters with Islam and Sufis are another interesting chapter in the annals of Sikhism. Guru Nanak could see the results of political patronisation of religion as well as the religion serving at the hands of the rulers. The Sufi thought as a mystic and internalised trend within Islam represented another variation of Siddha thought. The rich experiences of Guru Nanak help to work out a new religiosity in the name of Sikhism.

    Sikhism appears in the map of devotional traditions of India as the most mature and the most experienced constituent. The Sikh Gurus could inherit the best out of the earlier traditions and as well vehemently critical of the corrupt aspects. The Guru revives the nascent and spontaneous emotions of devotion on the one hand and careful to avoid the temple-mutt-ritual complex of Saivism and Vaishnavism on the other hand. The Gurus does not accept the mythology of Puranas and the doctrine of Avatarhood of God. Guru Nanak's God is one, nameless and formless, without birth and death. Guru Nanak although inspired by the Siddhas and the Sufis, does not taken away by their unworldly path to truth. Again the Guru inherits the ethical-inward approach to themes of religiosity on the one hand and very particular to avert the egoistic and elite moments of the Sddhas and Sufis on the other hand.
    Thus, Guru Nanak synthesises the early spontaneous devotion and the inner purity of the Siddhas and the Sufis. It was a great experiment, a great historical and cultural experiment. The Gurus pushed out the ritual, mythological and caste aspects of the devotional traditions. Equally, the Guru was critical about the egoistic and elite moments of the mystic creeds of the Siddhas and the Sufis. The popular dimension is reintroduced but along with an ethical rigour. It is a very difficult thing to achieve. To popularise ethics, to make ethics into a mass phenomenon, it is very difficult. But the Gurus are decisive in their commitments. Sikhism comes into the scene.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Dalsingh ji
    This is a great article so thanks for that. The idea that rings loud, loud for me is that there is always within Sikhism a strong ethical call to the devotee that partners with mystical experience. Almost as if Guruji is saying -- what good is samadhi if the only one to achieve bliss is the devotee? How could that be the path to liberation? What kind of path liberates only yourself? Gurbani over and over in so many places pairs the ethical path with the mystical path. So I am always left asking, What happens after samadhi? Should a person not be more rather than less concerned with the moral path of the sangat? Don't we see that pattern of unmistakable ethical commitment in the sants? History of Sikhism seems to say the answer is Yes. I cannot think of one martyr, sant or blessed person who did not go on to defend moral principles to the point of martyrdom if necessary or to open hospices for the sick or hospitals for the blind if possible.
     
  4. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    I think one of the things that marks out Sikhism is an emphasis on active participation to challenge society on equalities. Whether Sikhs are doing enough of this is another matter. But it is early days yet.

    Its like the tradition that says Guru Nanak questioned ascetics on the value of their practices when the common people suffered. Strict bhagti with no involvement in wider society seems discouraged.
     
  5. KulwantK

    KulwantK
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    One of the wonderful things about Sikhism is that we are encouraged to go out into the society at large, not just our own sangat, to do the right things to help those in need, and make that society a better one on the whole for everyone.
    Wahe Guru
    KulwantK
     
  6. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    KulwantK

    I have noticed that many elements or jathas in the panth have a largely insular attitude which causes them to limit themselves to interacting solely with their "own"

    Strangley, such people seem to consider themselves the strongest adherants to Sikhi.
     

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