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Kamalla Rose Kaur on EkOngKaar

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Arvind, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Fateh ji.

    I read the following article where Ms Rose writes about EkOngKaar. This also explains about a few terms generally used in incorrect context e.g. monotheism.

    Regards.

    *******************************************

    On EkOngKaar
    Kamalla Rose Kaur

    EK ONG KAAR means there is ONE Creator and ONE Creation and they are ONE in the same. The Creator/Creation are ONE. This is, technically, Monism/Pantheism, not Monotheism. Unlike Western religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) GOD does not stand separate from creation nor is creation "fallen" or sinful.

    For Sikhs GOD is the whole kit and kaboodle. GOD is Creation Itself.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

    *******************************************
    Following is the response by Preet Mohan S Ahluwalia for above quote.

    Before we address this issue we should define a few terms first.

    Monotheism - a doctrine of belief that there is only ONE deity
    Pantheism - a doctrine which equates God with Nature.
    Monism - a view that reality is basically one.
    Transcendent - a reality that transcends (is beyond)
    Immanent - Dwelling in Nature (Indwelling)

    Now that we have these definitions out of our way, things should become clear. There are primarily two sets of philosophy - the Eastern and Western. Semitic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheistic since they provide for a Transcendent God. The God is up there in what they call heaven. Indian philosophy does not have this concept of God. To understand the Indian philosophical thought you will need to understand how the two core terms - purusa and prakriti - are defined in Hinduism.

    Primarily, Hinduism does not have a God who is a Creator or Controller of this creation. In Hinduism, the Absolute (God) is:

    "rigid, motionless, and totally lacking initiative or influence, and He cannot call forth our devotion and worship. Like the Taj Mahal which is not conscious of the admiration it arouses from the worshippers. Sankara's view appears to be a finished example of error. His God is bloodless absolute."(Indian Philosophy, Dr. Radhakrishnan)

    This is the Hindu concept of sat-chit-anand, where there is no place for a Creator God. Sikhism rejects this view because Sikh philosophy calls God, Karta Purukh, the Creator of this creation.

    Since we have a Creator who "created" this universe, this creation and the Creator are NOT the same. The creation put together DOES NOT equal the Creator. This is what Sikhism suggests.

    "The Universe is the creation of God BUT NOT identical with God, which is the basic distinction between monotheism and Indian monism or pantheism....." (ref: Naam In Sikhism, Daljeet Singh)

    Undoubtedly, the creation came from within the Creator - His act of creation - however the Creator also exists beyond His creation.

    "[from] nothingness the Formless one assumes a form, the Attribute free becomes full of attributes." (SGGS: p.940)

    Says Guru Nanak:

    From the state of shunya, the latent form
    became active. The elements of air and
    water were evolved out of shunya...
    within the fire, water and living beings
    is His Light and the power of creation
    lies within shunya..
    From shunya came out the moon, the sun and the firmament..
    The earth and heaven have been evolved out of shunya. (SGGS: 1037-38)

    There is an act of creation as the Guru suggests. Since the creation came from within the Creator it is Divine in Nature. This is the reason why Sikhism considers creation divine and not fallen or sinful. One must also appreciate Sikhism as an ecosophical religion for this very reason.

    Sikh phislosphy makes God BOTH Transcendent and Immanent.

    ape nerai duri ape hi ape manjhi miano,
    ape vekhai sune ape hi qudrati kare jahano (SGGS, I.25)

    He is the transcendent as well as immanent, and
    He is also the appearances.
    He is the Pure Consciousness, and
    He is also the Creator of Nature

    ape qudrati sajikai ape kare bicaru (SGGS, I.143)

    God creates Nature and single and alone
    He contemplates it

    The problem with Eastern and Western philosophy is the LACK of unity between the Creator and His creation. This creates a disharmony which is NOT evident in Sikh philosophy because God is present in Nature, in his Immanent form.

    "God creates the universe, takes His abode in it and sustains it."(SGGS p.788) "He who permeates all hearts is Transcendent also."(SGGS p.294) "He pervades the body and is yet detached."(SGGS p.514) "Having created the world, He stands in the midst of it and is separate too."(ref: Religion and Society... Part V)

    Writes Dr Muthumohan:

    "The disharmony of God and man is involved in any religious doctrine which teaches a transcendent God, a God whose existence is somewhat independent of man....A view of God as transcendent moral judge takes moral autonomy and responsibility out of the hands of man and places it beyond him....A transcendent God makes human autonomy impossible...Consequently Hegel sees a contradiction between the transcendent God and human freedom.

    "All transcendental systems of thought speak of freedom in a negative sense as freedom from something else. This means the construction of reality and the other, thus a dichotomic model of being. Classically, the other is the body, the world, the temporal existence. In ancient Greek philosophy, Parmenides, followed by Plato, dichotomised the life into the world of Truth and the world of opinions, the latter meaning the empirical world characterised by changing, chaotic, relative and so as non-being. Christianity continued this tradition naming the earthly life originally sinful and chaotic. In India, we have the Vedic-Vedantic life of thought which declares that Brahman alone is the reality (at the "Paramartika" level as they say) while the earthly life is "maya" or illusion. However, Vedanta maintains, at the "Vyavaharika" level the caste order, rituals and the "karma" theory to totally determine the earthly existence...."(ref: Sikhism - Concept of Freedom, Dr Muthumohan)

    Also,

    " According to tradition, the Fifth Guru declined to include in Guru Granth Sahib a hymn by a contemporary saint, Bhagat Kanhaa, saying, "I am He, O, I am the same," because this hymn was felt by the Guru to be evidently contrary to the Sikh thesis that man is not and can never be God, though he can be His instrument....(Concept of Naam, Daljit Singh)

    and,

    "....Sikhism, though often mixed up with the Sant tradition of the Hindu Bhakti movement, is metaphysically different from the advaita Vedanta of Shankara as well as from theistic Vedanta of Ramanuja and others.

    "The nirguna bhakti envisions this [God / man] relationship as, say, between the finite space bounded in a pot, and the outer infinite space; once the pot is broken, the finite is again indistinguishably one with the infinite - the two remained one substance all the time. For the saguna bhakti, the man God relationship is of the nature of the relationship between the inflowing river and the ocean; the river on getting submerged into the ocean loses its earlier determinate (nam-rup) 'identity' and 'otherness' and becomes indeterminately one with the substance of the latter.

    " In the Sikh bhakti, the individual WITHOUT losing his self-identity, his form, realizes a unity of spirit with God. Guru Amar Das states the ideal as such:

    "Two forms united in the oneness of spirit"

    "According to Sikhism, man in communion with God realizes his true self, that is, he comes to partake of the humanly realizable attributes of Godhead...(ref: The Quintessence of Sikhism-The Doctrinal Sovereignty, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia)

    This should clarify any doubts Ms Rose might have. Man and Nature is counter-distinguishable from the Creator. They are NOT the same as the Creator though in the Creator both have their origin.

    Ms Rose had expressed her desire to EDUCATE non-Sikh audience on Sikh philosophy. My recommendation to her is this: Ms Rose please get your facts straight. You may like to consider taking a course in Basic Sikh Philosophy so that you are better equipped to accomplish your goal.

    In conclusion: Sikhism is a monotheistic faith in which the Creator is both Transcendent and Immanent.

    Regards
    Preet.
     
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Sevadaar ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Any idea who wrote the response to Kamalla Kaur's comment?? we can invite the gentleman/woman to our forum in here. He makes a lot of sense.

    Regards

    Tejwant
     
  4. Arvind

    Arvind
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  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Dear Sevadaar Singh ji,

    Thanks for the info. I gather that the response to Ms. Kaur was by Preetmohan Singh ji. please correct me if I am mistaken. In case it is then It would be better if his name was mentioned at the end as the respondent.

    Tejwant
     
  6. Arvind

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    haanji, u r right. I have edited the first post here. Thanks for pointing this out ji.

    Best Regards.
     
  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Love&Light [​IMG]The Kamalla Rose Kaur ColumnSharing Khalsa Vows Kamalla Rose Kaur Sun Jan 20"Brothers and Sisters of my culture." I address a crowd the size of Woodstock in my imagination. "Let me tell you about a set of vows that the great Peaceful Defense-Only Sikh Warriors take."

    "But warning: many Sikhs do not keep these vows even though they wear the uniform. Some are so deluded to imagine that the costume of Khalsa Sikh Warriors, beard and uncut hair and turbans etc, is more important than keeping the vows. These phony ones are bad advertisements for True Sikh Warriors. But these days, just because a Sikh looks the part doesn't mean anything - it has come to this."

    Letting the stage rotate until I am a Sikh addressing fellow Sikhs again, I admit to believing that keeping the Khalsa Sikh uniform is very important. How has anything changed since Guru Gobind Singh's time? It was hard to wear a turban and beard then and it is hard now, for all the same reasons. O well.

    Yet, personally, I admit that I am not ready yet. My life turned out strangely and I am still adjusting to all the changes. I wore a turban and all white for twenty years in the USA, age 18-38, and I found out one day that I was part of a NewAge sort of Hindu Yoga cult, thinking I was a Sikh. My life crashed to bottom. I lost that battle.

    So I do not wear a turban again yet. I have not yet taken Amrit the right way - free of the extra strange cult vows I once took - and I am idealistic enough to wish a female majority Punj Piaré when I do it.

    Yet strangely, the real truth, the big reality is that I do not seem to care if I ever take Amrit. I just want to teach my culture Sikh vows. I do not wish to convert anyone to Sikhi; I just wish to share the Khalsa vows. I couldn't care less if people grow their hair, but if I can help my culture understand Sikh vows and maybe start to practice them, I will die a happy Sikh writer.

    So the scene swirls again and the dream in my head continues:

    "I challenge you, people of my culture, to live free of addictions. I challenge you to give up alcohol and tobacco and other intoxicants and kicks.

    Can you be clean and washed? Can you commit to being wholesome and authentic?

    That is the beginning. Now, having come this far are you ready to be a Peaceful Warrior this life?

    Are you ready to jump in to defend anyone who is being oppressed each and every time you encounter injustice? Do you commit to refuse to accept and keep company with people who are openly racist, sexist, caste/classest - are you willing to take a stand?

    And at the very same time, can you commit to never attacking? You must defend, but you must not attack. Can you be a Peaceful Warrior?

    Finally (this one is hard for those of us raised by TVs), will you give up fantasy? Will you control your sexual energy? Can you hold all women as your Sisters and not indulge in sexual fantasy about real humans? And will we stop romanticizing pop heroes and rock stars and giving them our devotion and all that charisma? Can we give up living in a dream? Can you drop the need for cult 'Gurus' and Idols?

    Are you ready to stop wasting your life in fantasy and escapism, and face the truth no matter how hard it may be? Are you ready to connect with real humans in happy and wholesome ways?

    People of my culture, are you ready to consider these vows? Are you ready to be a Peaceful Warrior?"

    And spinning around, I ask Sikhs the very same questions.



    Kamalla Rose Kaur is a USA born writer and theater director of Irish descent who embraced Sikhi in 1973 at the age of eighteen. She lives in the Pacific NW (North West) of the USA. For her other writings, visit her column archives.






    The Response
    Form and Content Cannot Be Seperated Thu Jan 24 It seems poetically beautiful to psycho-dramatize the world of Sikhi in a utopic revolving stage of one's imagination. However, the premise with which the author would like to be 'Sharing Khalsa Vows' (Jan. 21) is dead wrong.


    Sikhi is unique as compared to any other practicing religion in the world. Guru Nanak Dev Ji wanted Sikhs not only to behave differently than the Muslims and the Hindus of the time but also to look distinct. The moment Baal (young) Guru Nanak refused to wear Janeiu, the thread that upper caste Hindus wear, he took Khalsa vows of form and content - Baana and Reht. So, metaphorically speaking, the cake of 'Khalsa Vows' was baked by the first nine Gurus. Our 10th Guru put the icing by creating the 'Khalsa Panth'.

    Now, coming back to the article, I am confused about the people the author has mentioned. Who are they? Are they only from the Woodstock generation? In what 'culture' would she classify the USA born, first and second generation Sikhs? Where on her parochial 'cultural scale' would she fit the Indian Sikh TV generation? How would she 'culturally measure' all other seekers who are looking for spiritual solace?


    There is a big flaw in her reasoning when she states to her 'cultural mates', "You can be a Sikh without being one", in other words, no Baana is required. (You can) Be a book without the binder. (You can) Be like Mike (Michael Jordan) by just drinking Gatorade. And disdainfully pointing at all the Baana wearing Sikhs, "Many of you have the form - Baana - but lack content - Reht." In other words 'You pretend to be what you are not'.

    The former is impossible - according to the Khalsa Vows - and the latter is pre-judgmental, laced with naivety.

    I would like to point out that all the Baana wearing Sikhs are on the path of Sikhi at different stages of their spiritual journey. Ms Kamala Kaur fails to recognize that only Waheguru knows what milestone they are at.

    Let me quote Gurbani to re-emphasize what Our Guru wants us to do:

    That person alone is the true disciple and our kinsman,
    who follows the Guru's will.
    But, those led by their own will,
    are separated from God and suffer sorrow.
    - Mahalla III, Sorath Raag​

    Those who live in Guru's fold,
    should submit to God's will and command,
    not feel proud for what they do
    and meditate ever on God's Name.
    Those who surrender their mind to the Guru,
    such servants have all their desires fulfilled.
    Those who serve without desire for reward,
    they alone attain God.
    - Mahalla V, Gauri Rag

    Khalsa vows are both form and content - Baana and Reht. Absence of either would be anti Khalsa hence anti Sikhi and nothing but mere cultist rhetoric.

    Tejwant Singh (Malik)


     

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