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Literal Meaning of Gurbani

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by Daanveer, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. Daanveer

    Daanveer
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    Literal Meaning of Gurbani



    Gurbani is dear to many. Some read Gurbani every day, some as a rehat, some read it occassionaly.

    I have noticed some people question the acceptance of the literal meaning of Gurbani. I am surprised to see that happening even under 'GURMAT VICHAAR' Section.

    If we say that literal meaning is wrong: Isn't that imply that we are saying-GURU IS LYING.

    CAN A TRUE GURU LIE TO HIS FOLLOWERS?

    In my neechan neech budhi- GURU IS RIGHT IN LITERAL SENSE.

    If anybody is telling me a meaning that does't go in line with the literal meaning of that Gurbani Line- CAN NOT BE REGARDED AS GURMAT.

    For Example:

    ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੭॥੯॥
    गुरु नानकु नानकु हरि सोइ ॥४॥७॥९॥
    Gur Nānak Nānak har so­ė. ||4||7||9||
    Nanak is the Guru; Nanak is the Lord Himself. ||4||7||9||

    Any person who knows Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, khari boli will tell you that it tells us- Guru Nanak is God Himself. So Guru is telling us- GURU NANAK IS LORD HIMSELF.

    If somebody comes to us and tells us, No it is the literal meaning, He cant be God.

    Should I listen to him/her or My Guru?

    Obviously my Guru: GURU KNOWS BETTER THAN US AND HIM/HER.

    LITERAL MEANING IS ALWAYS RIGHT- INTERPRETATION HAS TO GO IN LINE WITH THE LITERAL MEANING.


     
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  3. carolineislands

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    I am new to Sikhi and it seems from the largest percentage of posts on this topic that most of the people (at least on this board) believe that Guru IS God and that there is no difference. That says to me that Sikhs actually DO believe that Guru Nanak was God incarnate. Which logically would prove that Sikhs (at least some Sikhs) actually DO worship the Guru as God. In which case, new people coming in who ask this question should be told the truth about it. When I first came in I asked if Sikhs worship Guru and see Guru as God and was told no, they do not. Now I'm thinking, but they DO.

    So my suggestion is that when new people come in asking if you worship Guru as God and believe there is no difference between Guru and God, you should tell them yes. You believe Guru IS God. In which case the general perception that Sikhi is the most pure monotheism might not actually be accurate.

    I mean no disrespect, so I apologize if anyone is offended by this.
     
  4. spnadmin

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    Caroline ji

    These two comments back and forth then raise another question

    Who is Guru -- of course also answered on several other threads.

    When new people are told that Guru is God will they know what "Guru" refers to? Or is it better for new people to go through an evolving process to understand the idea of "Guru? The process of discussion, reflection, re-thinking, and questioning may be a way to make a complicated idea in the end something that one understands in all of its complexity.
     
  5. ekmusafir_ajnabi

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    Danveer ji,

    ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੭॥੯॥
    गुरु नानकु नानकु हरि सोइ ॥४॥७॥९॥
    Gur Nānak Nānak har so­ė. ||4||7||9||
    Nanak is the Guru; Nanak is the Lord Himself. ||4||7||9||

    If you care to give the tuk another glance you my have a different experience. The ending word is ਸੋਇ and NOT ਸੋਈ.

    If it were the latter then I would have whole heartedly agreed with you. Many who along with you think that during the presence of Guru Nanak Dev ji on this Earth that He was God, I can categorically say this that you are all wrong. Once the soul mearges with God then it becomes God and cannot be seperated. Then there is no Guru Nanak but God Himself. The translation should be as follows:
    ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ = Nanak the Guru
    ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ = Nanak also belongs to the Lord. (He is also of the Hari hence ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ . if it were written as ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਈ then one would have translated as "He is the HAR". None of the Gurus have laid claims that they were God. It is a grave misunderstanding of Sikhs. I can sympathise with those whose mother tongue is not Punjabi but those whose mother tongue is Punjabi they need to brush-up thier knowledge before making these statements.

    Ekmusafir_ajnabi



     
  6. Daanveer

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    Caroline Ji,
    I haven't said that there are multiple Gods.

    Monothism: meaning Believe in One God. Guru tells us the same thing. Guru Ji explains very clearly this over and over again. Calling 'Guru is God', doesn’t lead me neechan neech to think that there are more than one God. If it's leading you to believe that- Waheguru help you.

    Truth is truth, remain the same: Guru Nanak is God Himself.

    Here is another one in the same context:
    "Jot Roop HARAap Guru Nanak Kahayio"
    SGGS, Ang (1408)

    "The Lord Almighty caused Himself to be called as Guru Nanak"

    Ek Ji,

    Guru is not limited to a body made of flesh and blood Ek Ji.
    BRAHMGYANI AAP PARMESAR.

    EK JI – I NEVER SAID IT IS Soei with Bari EE Di Matraa=Bihaari. It seems like you are teaching some new grammer rules- when were they made?
    Or is this Punjabi some different language, and Punjab somewhere else: other than northern India?

    And my mother tongue is Punjabi(spoken in PUNJAB-INDIA). And I am in that Punjab 50% of the time, speaking and teaching SHUDH PUNJABI, nowadays. Before I was in the same Punjab solely for 61 years.

    :):up:SABH GOBIND HAI SABH GOBIND HAI:up::)
     
    #5 Daanveer, Mar 13, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  7. carolineislands

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    With all due respect, the misunderstanding could be because of language differences. I do not speak Punjabi and am a native English speaker with only English and Caribbean French languages at my command. I do see that many of the concepts in Sikhi are UNwestern enough that it takes a little effort on the part of those of us who aren't raised in Sikhi to grasp them. I also am coming from a background in which a religion that claims to be monotheistic has taken their founder (Jesus) and elevated him to the level of God, calling him God in the flesh. It seems that Jesus never really meant to be thought of as God from his teachings and yet people have elevated him to actually be one and the same with God. Therefore they have created a concept very similar to the one I am reading here about Guru and God as one.

    And yet there are some very learned Sikhs who do not agree that Guru IS God. Many believe that God is in Guru and God is in us but neither Guru Nanak OR any other human IS actually God.

    This Sikhs don't agree on this topic, obviously. Which is just a part of being human and understanding things in different ways.

    Now, from what little I have learned so far about the message of Guru Nanak, he taught that each person should question and seek for understanding and praise and worship only God and that human beings, even though we have part of God IN us, are all fallible and lowly. That we are powerless without God. I also understand Guru Nanak's message to be very inclusive and non-judgemental in that no one person is to be declaring what is true and correct to another, but that each person comes to truth in their own way, thus the concept of all religions belonging to God even though they have so many different (and seemingly conflicting) ways of understanding God and practicing their faith.

    But I am a native English speaker and I'm sure there is much about Gurbani that I will never fully understand. What is important to me is that God is not limited in the message of the Guru, and the limitless God is adored and sought after with all the heart. And I also love the inclusiveness of Sikhi.

    I will always be a little sceptical of concepts that elevate human beings to the level of God. I personally don't believe that Guru Nanak meant to be elevated in that way as his writings seem very humble and always point to the singularity of Waheguru and the lowliness of humanity.

    Ekmusafir's post seems to have evidence that Guru Nanak did NOT mean to be elevated to the level of God.
     
  8. Pyramid

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    Very Well Said.

    There will always be people who wont read Gurbani themselves to find the truth.
    Like the example you have given: I cant even count times Guru Ji says that Guru/God Oriented/Saint/Brahmgyani is God Himself. There is no distinction at all between Guru and God. Guru Ji has confirmed this in many different ways.
    About this question in general:'Is Guru God?': Guru Ji answers every question of a seeker in very plain words. He has said this many many times and many many ways that Guru is God, No difference between God Oriented and God.
    Many Many times words 'Guru' and 'God' is used interchangebly: A PRACTICAL DISPLAY OF THE TRUTH-no distiction between Guru and God.

    HE NEVER SAYS EVEN A SINGLE TIME: There is a difference between Guru and God.

    Literal Meaning cant change- like this one is:
    Hum Kookar Tere Darbaar, Bhonkay aagay badan pasaar.
    Can the explanation change what is being said-No.

    Who can change Guru's Word- No one.

    Tuhada Das
    Yograj
     
  9. Pyramid

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    The same concept is repeated several different ways. So there cant be a chance of error at all.

    Danveer Ji,

    Even regarding the translations in english and Punjabi, I see that you get the idea - the essence- what is being said by Guru Ji.

    Tuhada Das
    Yograj
     
  10. Pyramid

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    This is another one goes with the first example.
    Good.

    Tuhada Das
    Yograj
     
  11. ekmusafir_ajnabi

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    Daanveer ji,

    Here is another one in the same context:

    "Jot Roop HARAap Guru Nanak Kahayio"
    SGGS, Ang (1408)

    Being in Punjab does not necessarily mean that you will understand SGGS. What you have quoted above is a verse from the
    Page1408 Line 10 Raag Sava-yay (praise of Guru Arjan Dev:by Mathura

    Swaeyea's are a part of SGGS that is a contribution by enlightened people in praise of our Gurus. These are the heart felt expressions of those individuals. Just as you are adamant at calling Guru Nanak Dev ji God. That is fine as long as you declare it to be your expression. It is an expression of your love. Perhaps if every one say things your way we would have not arguments. But that is not to say that what you say is the truth. You have based on the quote above expressing your view that Guru Nanak is God. I would go a step further a say we are all gods. Why? Because we are all part of the same light, The Jyot that we will all merge back into. They only difference is that Guru Nanak is a realised soul and we are not but are progressing towards that state. Now you may take offense at this statement. Just as if you decide to name West as East, the Sun is not going to change directions for you.

    So please be rational in your discussion and keep your emotions abay. If we all start calling Guru Nanak Dev ji as God . Then what is the problem in accepting "Ram" as God or "Krishna" as God and so on. It is all about ones state of mind.

    Spirituality is a progression and is based on "poorav janam" past lives. SGGS is a vast Ocean where the deeper you go the more precious the Jewels you are likely to find. Ones understanding becomes more mature. Where you currently see things from, will change in the future only if you keep an open mind. Conversely you can create a niche Well for you self and live a life of pretense. I respect your views, this is how you see things and you have the right to express them as you wish.

    Now at this point, I may say to you

    "Gur parmesar eko jaan". I am not saying it is equal (that would be "Gur parmesar eko mann" - there is a difference ) but "assume it to be" or "accept it" or "Let it be so" and move forward rather than halting your progress.

    My sincere apollogies if any of the above causes you any offense.

    Ekmusafir_ajnabi
     
  12. Pyramid

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    Ekmusafir_ajnabi Ji,

    Good Explanation.

    In the end it did sum up to- Let it be so- "God and Guru is ONE"

    =, let it be so, accept it, assume it to be so, equal: ALL POINT TO "IS"

    Thankyou very much.



    It makes sense.

    Dont change the truth, let it be so, God and Guru is same, No Distinction.
    Antar Guru Aradhanaa, Jehba Jap Gur Naao, Netree Satguru Pekhna Swarnee Sunanaa Gur Nao Satguru Seitee Rataayaa Dargeh Paaiai Thaon:cool:.

    Tuhada Das
    Yograj
     
  13. pk70

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    Caroline Islands Ji

    With all due respect I urge you not to take a a few Sikhs' blind theory as a true Sikh tenent. What they are doing on this site they just select a few Guru waak or some Bhatt bani to prove their case that guru is God. Remember, Gurbani is written in poetic form, it should not be read just like prose in which we most of the time make statements. Gurbani is loaded with metaphors. All the quotes they give are compliments. Gurbani doesnt and cannot contradict its basic principle, that is "GOD IS BEYOND BIRTH AND DEATH", this strong statement was specially supported by Fifth Nanak in context of incarnation. What proof do you need more, I can give you. All the Gurbani quotes these people have been giving are merely praise and strong emotional compliments for Guru as in India some Moms in emotional way calls their sons Kings.
    You can judge from this that when they are asked not to take literal meaning of Gurbani since its form is poetry, they have started saying that some people( Like many of us ) are calling Satguru Sahiban liars. How people can stoop so low. They have no rational proof to go against Sikh religion's basic principle. There are always some people in every society who just worship every thing related to their Guru, prophet, messanger and forget The Creator. If you believe only these people, you also will realize that then there is no difference between Hinduism and Sikhism. That conclusion totally destroys the Sikhism as it was advocated by its founder. The mool mantra clearly states that Sikhism doesnt believe that God does incarnate. I request you not to hear some people or a member on board to go to any conclusion. As a new member, my answer is very simple, SIKHISM REJECTS INCARNATION OF GOD. PROOF MOOL MANTRA WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY FIFTH GURU HIMSELF. PERIOD. Since its written in a hurry sorry for the mistakes if occured. GOD bless you!
     
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  14. ekmusafir_ajnabi

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    This is the same problem that even our beloved Gurus faced in their times. One message cannot be expected to be understood universally. Some understand it through metaphors others through examples and some have no problem in what is being said.

    Although we all have the same goal but our progression is at a different rate.
    "Gur Parmeshar eko jaan". A true Guru will never say he is God but sometimes the Guru is left with no choice and for the sake of progress he will make a statement that can be misinterpreted by others. Now Yograj is not going to move forward unless for him Guru is not God.

    The tuk "Gur Parmeshar eko Jaan". We all accept that Parmeshar is the truth. Guru also is telling about the same truth. So Guru is also the truth. It then becomes reasonable to say Guru is Parmeshar, If fact what the tuk is trying to tell us is that the Guru is telling us the truth. This does not equal the Guru as a being to Parmeshar. I am sure some will now split hairs here to get another meaning out of what is being said.

    So it is ones own problem in understanding that is the cause of the problem and not the message being delivered.

    ekmusafir_ajnabi
     
  15. Randip Singh

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    Do you understand what metaphors are? Do you agree the Guru's used metaphor's? If the the Guru's used metaphor's how then can things be taken literally?
     
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  16. Sikh80

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    It is always good to take the literal meaning as the plain text means. However, if some anomaly and absurdity appears one should see the full text/shabad in which the meaning of the ‘tuk’ is to be assigned. Further if the contextual approach does not lead to any relevant or satisfactory meaning where it is to fit in, one should read the entire Granth sahib ‘as a whole’ to establish the intent of the Guru sahib i.e. the entire Sikh philosophy. If one cannot find the intent of the Gurus one should be guided by the prevailing meaning as already assigned by the expert commentators in their ‘Teekas’ as we are not experts in the syntax and the semantics/Grammar of Gurbani.

    In such cases, it is the best course to not to speculate the meaning of the ‘tuk’ in isolation and one should always seek guidance from some other source.

    Kindly be guided by your interpretations if you feel satisfied the way you are interpreting. Interpreting Gurbani is always a complex subject as we do not know the Grammar of Language/Punjabi/Gurmukhi as employed in Granth sahib ji even though we know the language. We also do not have many external aids to interpret the ‘tuks’ in the context of which these have been authored.

    Your question is primarily related to the adoption of Literal approach uniformly all over the text of Granth Sahib. It shall not be advisable to do so.

    But one may do if the conscience so permits. Mr. Randip has already stated the views indirectly and some other will also express theirs.

    Bhul Chuk Mauf
     
  17. dalsingh

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    What about Guru Nanak referring to himself as a simple dhadhi in Gurbani. Should we ignore that? What would be the implications if we took this literally?

    Page 148, Line 4
    ਖਾਲਕ ਕਉ ਆਦੇਸੁ ਢਾਢੀ ਗਾਵਣਾ ॥खालक कउ आदेसु ढाढी गावणा ॥Kẖālak ka*o āḏės dẖādẖī gāvṇā.I humbly bow to the Creator Lord; I am a minstrel singing His Praises.

    Page 150, Line 16
    ਹਉ ਢਾਢੀ ਵੇਕਾਰੁ ਕਾਰੈ ਲਾਇਆ ॥हउ ढाढी वेकारु कारै लाइआ ॥Ha*o dẖādẖī vėkār kārai lā*i*ā.I was a minstrel, out of work, when the Lord took me into His service.
    Again from Guru Ram Das:

    Page 91, Line 14
    ਹਰਿ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸੁਣੀ ਪੂਕਾਰ ਢਾਢੀ ਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਇਆ ॥हरि अंदरि सुणी पूकार ढाढी मुखि लाइआ ॥Har anḏar suṇī pūkār dẖādẖī mukẖ lā*i*ā.The Lord has heard my sad cries from within; He has called me, His minstrel, into His Presence.

    Also:
    Page 91, Line 13
    ਹਉ ਢਾਢੀ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਖਸਮ ਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦਰਿ ਆਇਆ ॥हउ ढाढी हरि प्रभ खसम का हरि कै दरि आइआ ॥Ha*o dẖādẖī har parabẖ kẖasam kā har kai ḏar ā*i*ā.I am a minstrel of the Lord God, my Lord and Master; I have come to the Lord's Door.
    Guru Arjan Dev ji also referred to himself in a similar fashion.

    ਹਉ ਢਾਢੀ ਦਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਦਾ ਜੇ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵੈ ॥हउ ढाढी दरि गुण गावदा जे हरि प्रभ भावै ॥Ha*o dẖādẖī ḏar guṇ gāvḏā jė har parabẖ bẖāvai.I am a minstrel at His Door, singing His Glorious Praises, to please to my Lord God.
    Also Guru Gobind Singh explicitly saying those who consider him God will go to hell in Bachitar Natak.


    ਜੋ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਉਚਰਿ ਹੈਂ ॥ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਨਰਕਿ ਕੁੰਡ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਿਹੈਂ ॥जो हम को परमेसर उचरि हैं ॥ ते सभ नरकि कुंड महि परिहैं ॥
    Whosoever shall call me the Lord, shall fall into hell.

    DG pg 137

    We should consider the context of the following too:



    ਕਹਾ ਲਗੈ ਇਹੁ ਕੀਟ ਬਖਾਨੈ ॥ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਤੋਰਿ ਤੁਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜਾਨੈ ॥कहा लगै इहु कीट बखानै ॥ महिमा तोरि तुही प्रभ जानै ॥
    Upto what limit this insect can depict (Thy Praises)? Thou mayst Thyself improve Thy Greatness.

    ਪਿਤਾ ਜਨਮ ਜਿਮ ਪੂਤ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਕਹਾ ਤਵਨ ਕਾ ਭੇਦ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥੪॥पिता जनम जिम पूत न पावै ॥ कहा तवन का भेद बतावै ॥४॥
    Just as the son cannot say anything about the birth of his father, then how can one unfold Thy mystery.4.

    ਤੁਮਰੀ ਪ੍ਰਭਾ ਤੁਮੈ ਬਿਨ ਆਈ ॥ ਅਉਰਨ ਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤ ਬਤਾਈ ॥तुमरी प्रभा तुमै बिन आई ॥ अउरन ते नही जात बताई ॥
    Thy Greatness is Only Thine, it cannot be described by others.

    DG pg 133

    The above quote by Guru Gobind Singh relay a relationship between God and Guru. They are two different things. The quote below iillustrates Guru Gobind's belief that Gurus fully merged back into the lord after their earthly existence.. Again a difference between God and Guru is implied.

    ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਮਿਲ ਗਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਤਾ ਦੇਤ ਅਰਜਨਿਹ ਭਏ ॥रामदास हरि सो मिल गए ॥ गुरता देत अरजनिह भए ॥
    When Ramdas merged in the Lord, the Guruship was bestowed upon Arjan.

    DG pg 130


    The quote beloiw related to Guru Tegh Bahadur's sacrifice. Note the use of the terms prabh logan (God folk). He never refers to the ninth Guru as God.


    ਨਾਟਕ ਚੇਟਕ ਕੀਏ ਕੁਕਾਜਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਲੋਗਨ ਕਹ ਆਵਤ ਲਾਜਾ ॥੧੪॥नाटक चेटक कीए कुकाजा ॥ प्रभ लोगन कह आवत लाजा ॥१४॥
    The saints of the Lord abhor the performance of miracles and malpractices. 14.


    The above seems to fly in the face of arguments that the Gurus are to be considered God like is being suggested by some.

    Are difficulties people are having with finding deeper meaning in Gurbani making them
    take the easy route (i.
    e. literal interpretations). What should we conclude from this?
     
  18. spnadmin

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    dalsing ji

    What a teacher you are! Your questions stop me dead. This is the best way for me to learn, speaking only personally. To have questions to ponder that address puzzles. Thank you for the mind and soul food.
     
  19. pk70

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    dalsingh ji,

    Your post proves that there are many Sikhs out there who read and understand Gurbani in its totality. Your way of expressing is Very simple and extremely beautiful ! Randip Singh ji and Ekmasifir_Ajnabi have also expressed their concerns about misunderstanding Gurbani. Facts remain cristal and clear When Gurbani is read in totality. There is no contradiction in GGS Ji at all. Our religion is based on logic grounds; amazingly beautiful. It has no place for mist at all. So thanks to you, Randip Singh and Ekmasafir_ajnabi !
    Waheguru bless you !
     
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  20. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Thanks for the kind words but believe you me I am no authority on Gurbani.
     
  21. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    dalsingh ji

    You are opening up a new path of discussion that is worth having. You are offering perspectives that some of us would like to hear.

    That promotes a healthy atsmosphere for discussion. That works for me.
     

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