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Is SGGS God?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by carolineislands, Apr 3, 2008.

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  1. carolineislands

    carolineislands
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    In my effort to sort out Orthodox from Naamdhari from Nirankare and understand how Sikhi evolved from the message of Guru Nanak to the situation I see in videos where it's hard to tell who is attacking who, I keep running into this statement that certain Sikhs are not really Sikhs because they say that SGGS is a book.

    And I'm thinking, "But it IS a BOOK." So is that heresy? I mean, when I read and heard that Guru Gobind Singh put an end to the human Guru lineage and named the SGGS as the last Guru, I thought that meant that the SGGS was the final teacher, what brings one from darkness to light (as that is what I'm told the definition of Guru is). That made sense to me sense our sacred texts are our teachers.

    But now I'm getting the idea that Sikhi (or some groups of Sikhs anyhow) actually believe that the SGGS is a living entity, the reincarnation of Guru Nanak. And thinking about that I immediately thought of the fact that many Sikhs also believe that Guru Nanak IS God.

    So does that mean that SGGS IS God? Or is it the place we find the inspired word of God and since the knowledge it holds brings one from darkness to light, it can be considered "Guru?" Do you believe that it is actually a divine living entity or do you call it the Guru because it is now the only teacher the Sikhs have?
     
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  3. futurekaur

    futurekaur United States
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    CarolineJi;
    I'll quote this from an excellent book I'm reading "The Sikh Way to God Realization" by Dr. Sureet Kaur, 2004 pub: Bhai Daya Singh Charitable Trust

    "Sri Guru Granth Sahib is not considered a mere book or scripture but the visible form of the Guru (in word form). A sikh who follows it's teachings in word, deed and thought is ensured liberation." p. 75

    Also "In sikhism the stress in not on human Guru. ....The physical body of Guru acts as an instrument for expressing the word of God. The human Guru assumes such complete unity with the holy word that there remains no distinction between shabad and Guru. But it does not mean that sikhism believes in incarnation of God in the form of Guru. God does not take birth according to the sikh religion. The union between the Guru and God is only at the spiritual level." p. 75

    I think this explains it very well, the author has an M.A. , M. Phil and Ph.D in Religious Studies from Punjabi University, Patiala so this is a very mainstream scholarly work, which is why it's in my university library.
    I hope this is helpful!
     
  4. spnadmin

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    This answer is so clear and wraps the questions up for me. So I am so thankful to you.

    Just as a side note, every now and then I will bring a question form the forum to Gurdwara out of simple curiosity. How do people who have been practicing Sikhs for a lifetime react? granthi, assistant granthi, gurdwara secretary, members who attend, grad students, stray teenager here and there -- who may be just hanging out a bit after services -- And they are very polite, but they roll their eyes.:hmm: Here she goes again!!!!!:hmm:

    They do not consider SGGS to be God. But exactly the way expressed above -- the unity is complete with Shabad and God, The Shabad is Guru, The book itself is holy. The book is not God.
     
  5. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    If God is the opposite of Dog, then SGGS is definitely God.
    Because a dog needs to be fed, while SGGS feeds us.
    Because we need to touch the feet of our Master, while a dog touch ours.
    Because a dog will bite us if we try to put it to death, whereas SGGS remains unharmed even if we were to cremeate old editions.
    Because a dog can be silenced but SGGS cannot be.
    All this is so only because GOD and DOG are seen differently.

    (Posted as a member)

    I'm the dog here.

    ਕਹਾ ਸੁਆਨ ਕਉ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਸੁਨਾਏ ॥
    Kahā su­ān ka­o simriṯ sunā­ė.
    Why bother to read the Simritees to a dog?
    Devotee Kabir - [SIZE=-1]view Shabad/Paurhi/Salok[/SIZE]
     
  6. spnadmin

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    GOD and DOG are seen differently.:roll: Very cool.

    Yes if one means the actual book. No if one means the message in the book. My opinion only of course.

    Aren't we supposed to hear the Shabad within us. So if we are separated from the book, we are never separated from the Shabad.
     
  7. carolineislands

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    I think as you spend more time reading on this forum you will see that there are many varied philosophies on many elements of Sikh faith and this is one of them. There are many Sikhs who do believe that the Guru is actually God -- even "mainstream" Sikhs.

    Thank you! I will see if I can find some work by that author.
     
  8. spnadmin

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    One of the points of confusion is this. What does someone mean when they are saying Guru -- Sri Guru Granth Sahib -- the book -- or Sri Guru Granth Sahib -- the Shabad, with a capital S? I do not think there is as much confusion about the issue as there is about the way language is used.
     
  9. carolineislands

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    Namjap, do you know what you get when you cross a dyslexic, and an agnostic, and an insomniac?

    A person who lies awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog.

    :)

    I agree that SGGS being our Guru (teacher) is to be understood in a more figurative sense in that the word of God is expressed in the written word in a way that we can grasp and understand but that it is actually that message IN those words that is the teacher who brings us from darkness to light.

    So my question is, considering that most agree with this definition, why is the fact that Namdhari Sikhs consider the SGGS to be a book with the writings of the Gurus (word of God) used as grounds to exclude them from Sikhism? They also believe in the 10 Gurus, but they believe in subsequent Gurus as well. I watched as many videos on youtube as I could and saw the SGGS always placed in the same place of honor it is in mainstream Sikh gatherings. Now I know youtube is not exactly an authority (LOL) but it is actual video. It seems to me that the ideas about SGGS are not what sets them apart as much as their belief in the continued incarnation of gurus and perhaps their politics.

    I will admit that I don't know most of the facts in this situation, and that's why I'm bringing it to the forum. I realize that there is some support from the government but I will tell you that some of them say that is because the Namdhari Sikhs are excluded or discriminated against by mainstream Sikhs and that is why the support -- sort of like programs for minorities here in the states.

    So what is the discrepency really? The attitudes about SGGS aren't really that different between what I've seen so far with namdhari Sikhs and mainstream Sikhs.

    Pardon my ignorance!
     
  10. spnadmin

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    The position of the Namdhari goes back to the martyrdom of Sri Gobind Singh in 1708. They do not indeed see Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the Word of God. However, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, as you are aware, declared the 11th Guru to be "Guru Granth Sahib" ending the succession of human gurus. However, there were 2 ( I think) among his followers in the Panth that argued that Gobind Singh's message was not understood properly and claimed a kind of apostolic succession. The Namdhari continue from that time to believe a number of things that are not consistent with Shabad Guru followers. One of these is indeed that Guru takes a human form.
     
    #9 spnadmin, Apr 4, 2008
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  11. spnadmin

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    Here caroline ji is an account of events -- written from the Namdhari point of view -- but also very detailed in terms of things that are distinctly different about Namdhari. In addition to their position on human gurus, they reject the idea of dowry, and they are strict vegetarians. This article pretty much lays it out.

    [SIZE=+3]Brief Remarks About Namdhari Sikhs

    [/SIZE]
    By, S. S. Jeet
    The word Namdhari Sikh (Sant-Khalsa) means, "One who has the Name of God (Nam-Simran) in his or her heart." Sikhs who adhere strictly to the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. In the second half of the 19th century, Punjabis again became the Sant Sipahi and joined the Sant Khalsa whom people called Namdhari or Kuka Sikhs. They wear white clothing and, by their methods of tyng the turban (As original Sikhs tied) horizontally across the forehead, one can recognise them very easily.

    Guru Nanak Dev Ji felt, that God could be obtained only through divine grace and through the guidance of a True Guru (Satguru). He did not preach renuciation of the world as was being done by many other saints of the Bhakti movement. He told people to: "Abide pure amidst the impurities of the world." Guru Nanak was very keen on preaching equality, worship one God and practise and meditate on His true name with the guidance, kindness and Grace of the Satguru. In the time of Guru Angad, Guru Amar Dass and Guru Ram Dass, Sikhism (Cult of Name-God's True Name) advanced further perfection in its various attributes both moral and material. During the Guruship of Guru Arjun Dev Ji, the principles of Guru Nanak took a firm hold on the minds of his followers. Guru Harghobind grasped the swords and declared himself the spiritual and political head of his followers (Sikhs), assumed attributes, and at the same time, the sixth Guru did not neglect religious duties. Sikhism met a far more serious challenge when Aurangjeb (Mughal Ruler) came into power. Guru Har Rai was harassed by him and Guru Har Krishan, a mere child, was summoned to the imperial court in Delhi, where he died of smallpox. The ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur had died with the word: "I have given my head and not my determination (Dharam)." Natually, martyrdom inspired the Sikhs with ideas of resolute struggle and fighting for their identity; an open conflict with the Mughals became inevitable.

    The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, prepared his followers with zest and forsight; tenth and brave Satguru gave them courage by name confidence with baptism (amrit) and tenacity of purpose with a uniform Khalsa look (i.e. Sant Siphi). His Holiness wrote a new chapter of Sikh History and wrote it on the granite of time. In fact, the greatest work of Guru Gobind Singh was the creation of Khalsa in 1699. Guru Gobind Singh was not only a great and mighty warrior, the creator of Khalsa, but he was also a great (Saint) Satguru and a scholar who carried on the mission of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It was during this time that Sikhism established its new identity and appeared as a stream of distiction from the Hindu and Islamic religions.

    The mighty Sikh movement of struggle and reserection continued even after Guru Gobind Singh, and thrusted this task and the Guru-ship was confered by His Holiness (Tenth Guru) onto Guru Balak Singh of Huzro, who passed it on to Guru Ram Singh Ji of Bhaini District Ludhiana. At the same time, it is fundimental to Namdhari Sikhs believe that Guru Gobind Singh Ji did not die in 1708 in Nanded, but lived until 1812 A.D. Namdhari Sikhs also believe that Guru Gobind Singh did not confer the Guru-ship upon the Adi-Granth but rather upon Sri Satguru Balak Singh and succession of Gurus followed after him which was started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This distinguishes them from the other Sikhs, and they call themselves SANT KHALSA (i.e. NAMDHARI SIKHS). Namdhari Sikhs are very strict followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Ram Singh Ji. Such a great reformer or revivalist was Sri Satguru Ram Singh, who reformed the Sikh society in the second half of the nineteeth century, that within a few years a million of the Punjabis again became the Sant Sipahis and joined the Sant Khalsa. His Holiness attracted His true diciples (Namdharis) towards entirely original tenets of Guru Sikhee Maryada (code conduct of the Gurusikhee).

    Giving them (Namdhari Sikhs), a moral height they had altogether lost, bestowing upon them a new life of purity, simplicity, fearlessness and Love, which they needed badly since the last century; cared them of all their Corroding Maladies and prepared them for a new Crusade against the crushing evil of foreign rule. The religious and national life of the Sikhs and other other communities had been completely ruined in India. Guru Ram Singh was a clear headed leader of the same (lived) category-line on his predecssor (Gurus) who launched a crusade for religious reforms and revival movement. Guru Ram Singh discerned that political independace had disappeared from Punjab and the rest of the country because true religion (Guru-Mat) had become extinct in the hearts of the people. To revive the self pride of the Khalsa, Satguru Ram Singh established a new centre and new atmosphere of Punjab. The Namdhari movement began in India as a reform and a protest movement with regards to the Sikh community of the 19th century. They also played a significant role in the struggle against British Rule. During the struggle for the freedom movement in India, and all over the world, whenever and wherever the Goddess of Liberty demanded its price and quivered its thristy lips, the Namdhari Sikhs offered cup-fulls of blood for sacrifice.

    The sacrifice of the Namdhari Sikhs shocked the British rule of the time, resulting in imposition of various restrictions and discrimination against them. But they adopted the resistance movement, programme of swadeshi, non-cooperation and boycott of foreign goods and continued their struggle for the liberation of the country along side the Indian National Congress through a democratic way. Namdharis are staunch vegitarians and do not use alcohol, tobacco etc. Worship, reading-resiting Gurbani and meditation (Nam-Simran) recitation of the true Name are central to Namdhari Sikhs.
    Since 1947, when India became free from British Rule, the role of Namdharis has become more significant. They are the sybols of India's seccularism, as they command element. They provide the mother land with the most experianced artisans, contractors, cattle breeders, farmers, business men, etc. for its growing industry and development. They embody the rural culture of India with their zest for agriculture and vigorous protectors of the wealth of cattle rearing. Under the spritual guidance of their present Guru-Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, they are growing in prosperity, and strength.

    Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji is stressed for social reforms and more simplified and econimcal marriage (Mass anand and Karag ceremony). His Holiness urges the Sikhs to strictly follow their `Gurumat' tenets in and outside India. So, much so that millions of Sikhs of Guru Nanak NAM LEVA (NAMDHARIS) now spread to distinct corners of the globe; become vegetarians teetotallers and Guru Sikhs. The services and blessings provided by His Holiness Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji for world peace and against modern warfare weapons are noteworthy. His Holiness always stresses on the Holy teachings of the Gurus and strictly leads the life according to the, `Gurumat' tenets (Guru-Marayada). His Holiness attaches equal importance and respect to the Adi Granth and Dasam Granth Composition Chandi di Var in their daily Nit-Nem. So the Namdhari Sikhs are original Sikhs of the Satgurus.

    As freedom fighters during the 19th Century, no one disputes the steadiness of their conviction and commitment. There are however major differences as far as ocus of divinity.
     
    #10 spnadmin, Apr 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2016
  12. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Let me take you thru a journey, Caroline Ji.
    It's called the time/space continuum. In this journey, you may focus your attention on the videos you saw yesterday. What you're actually doing is recalling on something you did yesterday, but the truth is that you're recalling those events NOW. You are extracting memory bits NOW. So does Yesterday actually exist ? Answer is NO !!! What really exists is NOW.
    We are always living in the Nowness and Isness which is beyond the concept of time.

    You may ask me a question tomorrow. Is that really possible ? No it isn't. Tomorrow never comes. A restraunt owner has a sticker near the cashier desk which says, Pay Today, Free Tomorrow.

    Seeing this, a client appeared the 'next day' for a hearty free meal. This time he ate more than usual. He was stopped by the cashier for leaving the premises without paying for the food. The client said, I came yesterday and read your poster, Pay Today, Free Tomorrow.

    The Cashier told him to read what the sign says - Pay Today, Free Tomorrow - and the client realised he still had to pay for his food because tomorrow never comes. It was a gimmick and he fell for it.

    Don't we all fall for such gimmicks thru out our lives ?
     
  13. carolineislands

    carolineislands
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    Aren't Khalsa vegetarians as well?
     
  14. spnadmin

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    I think you probably have figured out by now that you will not get a Yes or No:eek:

    First of all, there will be differences in definition of Khalsa.
    Then there will be arguments over whether rehat mayrada allows one to eat meat.
    Then there will be those who are vegetarians, and Sikhs, but do so out of personal choice or cultural/family orientation, and will not realize that that is what they are doing.

    :D:D:D:D:D

    The rehat maryada does not forbid the eating of meat. At langar a vegetarian meal is served because langar is open to everyone. The reason is historic. I believe under Guru Amar Das, the langar became a regular tradition. The meal was vegetarian because those in attendance might be Hindus who were and today many still are vegetarian.

    There are a lot of things that Sikhs in theory "do not do" that in reality "they do do" and always have "done it"

    In the interests of full disclosure -- I am a vegetarian -- so if anyone is contemplating calling me a name, please don't.

    Namharis are vegetarian by rehat. It is a hotly debated question whether everyone else/or is/or should be a vegetarian.:crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy: Sorry about that. Some other sects also are vegetarian, or even vegan, according to their rehat.

    NamJap is doing an excellent job of telling you in metaphysical parlance not to sweat some stuff.
     
  15. carolineislands

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    What is the writer referring to with this statement:
     
  16. spnadmin

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    I have to go back and check. There is a lot of mystery in this. The Namdhari's believe that Sri Gobind Singh lived for years after the historical date of his death. I have even read in some places 150 years. In some Namdhari writings. It may be a reference to the 10th Guru. Promise after dinner I will do some research. There is an answer. I am not sure.
     
  17. carolineislands

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    I'm not sweating the small stuff -- I'm just curious and I like to understand things. On the other hand, if this is as it seems, a huge schism, then I wouldn't exactly call it small stuff.

    It concerns me when people can't get along. I always want to understand why. I can't help it. :)

    But thank you namjap, for your reminder. :)
     
  18. spnadmin

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    It isn't small stuff, oh no. But it doesn't always suggest a schism either. Not even a big one. Rather there is a lot of sectarian thinking. People may or may not be getting along. It is impossible to read human motivations and states of mind in every situation.

    In my opinion, the very fact that there is no "clergy" in Sikhi in the sense that is used in the Judaeo/Christian traditions is instructive. Although the Jathedar is often referred to as "the Sikh high priest" in the press, that is just so others can map him onto a familiar concet. The Jathedars -- all of them -- are appointed. The SGPC is elected, and came about as part of a political solution to the question of Sikh identity in the early 20th Century.

    Sikhs are supposed to make sense out of their scripture in the company of their sanghat and with the help of their granthis and other learned people. So individual responsibility is very important -- ergo, you get many points of view. Then sometimes these sort out into schools of thought or sects in other cases.

    I feel liberated by this. Friction is unavoidable. ;)
     
  19. futurekaur

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    NamJapJi;
    that is very wise advice! At night at amritvela I am doing nam jap, while learning daily bani for this very reason....

    here is a quote from Guru Ram Das from my book:
    "The holy Word is the true Master, the Master's
    image the holy Word.
    In the holy word is pervasive amrita.
    What the Master's Word teaches; in that the
    devotee puts faith;
    Thus, manifestly the Master liberation grants."

    Why worry about other people, their customs, differing beliefs? I agree with AntoniaJi and JasleenJi, many points of view are refreshing.
    Better to get liberated:)
     
  20. spnadmin

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    :):)

    I can only heal myself. And maybe, just maybe, someone else will ask, see, hear and start on the path.
     
  21. spnadmin

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    Carolineislands ji

    Coming back with some quick research (links to sources available if you are interested). Just to give the historical perspective more precisely. I have listed our 11 Gurus with the year of death for Guru Nanak through Guru Gobind Singh. Then placed the succession of Namdhari gurus in chronological sequence, and in relation to Guru Gobind Singh.

    Guru Nanak Dev (1539)
    Guru Angad Dev (1552)
    Guru Amar Das (1574)
    Guru Ram Das (1581)
    Guru Arjan Dev (1606)
    Guru Har Gobind (1644)
    Guru Har Rai (1661)
    Guru Har Krishan (1664)
    Guru Teg Bahadur (1675)
    Guru Gobind Singh (1708)
    Guru Granth Sahib (Eternal Guru)

    Namdharis believe that Guru Gobind Singh did not die in 1708 and lived until 1812 in the jungle. Succession was passed, according to Namdhari tradition by Guru Gobind Singh to “Sri Satgur Guru” Balak Singh Ji in 1812. His successor is believed to be Satugur Ram Singh. Ram Singh was exiled by the British in 1872. His date of death is not known, and Namdharis believe that he did not die and will return. The 13th guru was “Sri Satguru” Hari Singh Ji (1819-1906) who passed the Guruship to “Sri Satguru” Partap Singh Ji (1890-1959). The current satguru of the Namdharis is “His Holiness Sri Satguru” Jagjit Singh Ji Maharaj. I have not yet located the information I once read where some 2 or more officers of missals organized by Sri Guru Gobind Singh disputed succession of the guruship, which led to the formation of several sects that survive to this day. Am looking.
     

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