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Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Astroboy, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    BUDDHI (J. S. Neki) or buddhi (from Sanskrit budh—to wake up, be awake, to perceive, learn) is the intellectual aspect of mind (antahkarana) whose other aspects man and humai are intertwined with it in close interrelationship. Its nearest English equivalent may be intellect.
    Man (Sanskrit manas) as the receptacle of sense-impressions from sense-organs, organizes them into precepts, yet it has doubt of indetermination about them. Buddhi defines and ascertains them and brings about definite and determinate cognition. Man simply assimilates sense-impressions; haumai (or ahankara) self-appropriates the apperceived impressions, while buddhi determines their nature, categorizes them and welds them into concepts. Its function, then, is to bring about certainty and definitiveness in knowledge. Definitive apprehension might spur action. Thus it is buddhi which resolves to act and then guides the ensuing action.
    A fundamental categorization of precepts as also of ensuing actions concerns their moral import. The deftness with which buddhi does that is variable. If it can exercise acute ethical discrimination, it is known as bibek buddhi (discriminative intellect). That can happen only if it has become God-centred. On the contrary, if it remains self-centred (aham buddhi), then it remains morally confounded and unable to discriminate.
    Bibek buddhi in gurbani, Guru’s utterance, has also been called sar-buddhi (the essential intellect), tat buddhi (the real intellect), bimal or nirmal buddhi (unclouded, clear intellect), bal buddhi (powerful intellect), mati buddhi (the counselling intellect) and sudh buddhi (pure intellect).
    Aham buddhi has also been called chapal buddhi (the unstable intellect), buddhi bikar (foul intellect), malin buddhi (turbid intellect), nibal buddhi (weak intellect), durmat buddhi (perverse intellect), and phanin buddhi (the deluding intellect).
    This moral bipolarity of the functioning of intellect stands out in relief in gurbani. In its decadent form, buddhi wastes itself in vain, egoistic pursuits: kaunu karam mera kari kari marai—for what reason does it die proclaiming mine! Mine!? (GG, 1159). However, when through evolution it ascends up the ethical scale (buddhi-pragas), it flowers into bibek buddhi which is a divine attribute: tu samrathu tu sarab mai tu hai buddhi bibek jiu—You are omnipotent, you are all-pervasive, you are the discriminating intellect (GG, 761). However, if it begins to undergo the process of devolution (visarjan) down the moral scale, buddhi becomes delusional intellect (phanin buddhi).
    Buddhi, also called akal (Arabic ‘aql) in gurbani is considered to be an instrument for serving the Divine purpose and acquiring merit: akali sahibu seviai akali paiai manu—by wisdom is the Lord served; by intellect is honour attained (GG, 1245). By contrast, buddhi in its decadent form is not only infirm but also arrogant, which makes it despicable:
    Some are devoid of intellect, or sense, or comprehension
    And understand not a syllable.
    Such folk, saith Nanak, as fill themselves with pride.
    Without merit are asses pedigreed.
    (GG, 1246)
    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
     
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  3. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    GIAN (Dharam Singh, Major Gurmukh Singh)(Skt. jnana), knowledge, understanding or consciousness, is what differentiates human beings from the animal world and establishes the superiority of homo sapiens over the other species. Nature has not only provided man with a qualitatively superior brain but has also endowed human mind with a dynamic inner stimulus called jagiasa (Skt. jijnasa), desire to know, inquisitiveness. Perhaps it is on account of this urge for knowledge and the consequent exercise that human brain or mind (psyche or soul for the ancients) gradually developed over the millennia. Gian consists in man's capacity to distinguish various forms, colours, sounds, smells or their compounds in the shape of objects in the phenomena surrounding him through his sense perceptions. It also includes an understanding of his thoughts, sentiments, feelings and emotions which, though conditioned by external stimuli, are yet the formulation or creation of his own mind. Gian is acquired or gathered through the mental faculties of cognition (process of knowing) and affection (affective process pertaining to feelings and emotions). The mind also possesses a third faculty, conation (concerning desire and volition), which is closely related to and interacts with cognition and affection. Epistemological theories are broadly classified as materialism and idealism. While the materialists regard the mind, consciousness or spirit as the product of material world, or nature, the idealists hold that nature and material world are the product of consciousness, of spirit, which is independent of the material world.
    In the religious context the idealist view takes precedence over the materialist. Even the primal man must have noticed through experience a twofold division in phenomena. Some things existed and events happened in an orderly or regular manner so that they were easier to understand by personal experience. These formed for the aboriginal mind its natural world. But there was another world of experience, the extraordinary or supernatural, which was baffling and difficult to understand. This was the world of belief, which formed the earliest religion of magic, sorcery, necromancy and witchcraft, traces of which persisted even during the later civilized ages in the form of superstitions, rituals and forms of worship. Knowledge (gian) thus came to be classified as natural or ordinary and spiritual or mystical. In Greek philosophy especially in the works of Plato or Aristotle, for instance, words used are episteme for ordinary and gnosis for spiritual knowledge in opposition to doxa (belief).
    In India, too, gian is divided into two categories: paragian (higher or spiritual knowledge) and aparagian (lower or worldly knowledge). In practice, the word gian in philosophical sense usually refers to paragian, also called atmagian, and the highest knowledge is termed brahmagian, the awareness and understanding of the Ultimate Reality. The earliest Indian religious text, the Rgveda, though mainly comprising hymns of praise and prayer addressed to personalized powers of Nature, does contain some speculative hymns. Brahmanas only describe rituals by means of myths. It is the Upanisads which are devoted primarily to religious speculation using rational tools. Advait Vedanta defines gian as self-effulgent (svaya-prakas). No other knowledge is required to know it. The self- effulgent gian enlightens human minds and eradicates the darkness of ignorance (agian or avidya). Metaphors of day and night and of light and darkness have been extensively used in Indian religious literature for jnana and ajnana, respectively.
    Sikhism, without rejecting empirical perceptual knowledge, holds gian (spiritual knowledge) definitely superior and more desirable than ordinary knowledge. Guru Nanak beautifully illustrates gian vis-à-vis worldly knowledge in Japu (ji). After referring to, in stanza XXXIV, the perceptual phenomenon of day and night, changing seasons, the elements amidst which is set the Earth for practising dharma (righteous actions or righteousness), stanza XXXV depicts gian khand, the region of true knowledge, as illimitable expanse of myriad karam bhumis (lands of action), suns, moons and universes. The comparison clearly brings out that gian consists in directing the mind from the limited realities and concerns of this puny Earth towards the limitlessness of the True Reality depicted as sach khand and finally defined as inexplicable in stanza XXXVII. Elsewhere gian itself is said to be inexplicable and available through grace to the exclusion of other wayward efforts (GG, 465). It is also acquired by listening to nam (God's Name), having faith in it, internalizing it with love and delving deep into the inner recesses of one's mind (Japu, xxi), i.e. through reason, contemplation and meditation. That the jewel of gian or understanding of Ultimate Reality lies within one's self and may be had by listening to Guru's advice, subject of course to God's grace, has been stressed again and again in the Sikh Scripture (GG, 2, 102, 425, 569, 644, 684, 1002, 1378). Faith has of course been prescribed as essential, but stress is also placed on vichar (reason or contemplation). Another crucial factor to attainment of gian is the Guru whose words and whose favour are the key to true understanding. Guru for the Sikhs, after the ten prophets from Guru Nanak (1469-1539) to Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), is their Word embodied as Guru Granth Sahib. Company of holy men (sant) and holy assembly satisangat is also highly commended as being instrumental in the attainment of gian. Mere intellectualism and sophistry are, on the other hand, decried as useless wrangling detrimental to body and mind (GG, 230).
    Knowledge attained by super-rational and super-sensuous faculties is intuitive and mystical in nature. It is paragian, the highest form of knowledge. Its attainment not only leads to emancipation of the seeker but also enables him to work for the emancipation of others. Possessor of the highest gian, the brahmgiani, is highly praised by Guru Arjan, Nanak V, and is even equated with God Himself (GG, 272-74).
    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
    2. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Japuji Satik. Patiala, 1988
    3. Bhasha Vibhag, Japuji: Ik Tulnatmak Adhiain. Patiala, 1972
    4. Locke, John, Essay on the Human Understanding. 1690
    5. Berkeley, George, The Principles of Human Knowledge. 1710
    6. Progress Publishers, ABC of Dialectical and Historical Materialism,
    Moscow, 1976
    7. Punjabi University, Sant Vinoba Bhave Krit Tika Japuji. Patiala, 1969
    8. Gurnam Kaur, Reason and Revelation in Sikhism. Delhi, 1990
    9. Talib, G.S., ed., The Origin and Development of Religion. Patiala, 1985
    D. S
    M. G. S.
     
  4. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    BHAKTI (J. S. Neki): The word bhakti is derived from Skt. Bhaj, meaning to serve, honour, revere, love and adore. In the religious idiom, it is attachment or fervent devotion to God and is defined as “that particular affection which is generated by the knowledge of the attributes of the Adorable One.”
    The concept is traceable to the Vedas where its intimations are audible in the hymns addressed to deities such as Varuna, Savitra and Usha. However, the word bhakti does not occur there. The word occurs for the first time in the Upanisads where it appears with the co-doctrines of grace and self-surrender (prapatti) (e.g. Svetasvatar, I, V. 23). The Bhagavadgita attempts to expound bhakti in a systematic manner and puts bhakti marga in juxtaposition with karma marga and jnana marga as one of the three means of attaining liberation. The Nardiya Sutra, however, decrees that “bhakti is superior even to karma, jnana and yoga.
    Bhaktitook strong roots in South India where generations of Alvar (Vaisnavite) and Nayanar (Saivite) saints had sung their devotional lyrics and founded their respective schools of bhakti between AD 200-900. It came to north India much later. “The Dravid country is the birthplace of bhakti school; bhakti became young in Karnataka, it grew old in Maharashtra and Gujrat, but when it arrived in Vrindavana, it became young again.” Munshi Ram Sharma: Bhakti Ka Vikas. P. 353.
    In the north, the cult was essentially Vaisnava-based, but instead of being focussed on Visnu, it chose to focus itself on Visnu’s human incarnations, Rama and Krsna, the respective avatars or deities central to the two epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. For bhakti now Visnu’s incarnations (Rama and Krsna) were the direct objects of devotion. Adoration of the devotees was focussed on them in association with their respective consorts: Sita with Rama; and Rukmini, his wedded wife, or Radha, his Gopika companion, with Krsna. Images of these deities and their consorts installed in temples were worshipped. The path of bhakti was not directly accessible to the lower castes; for them the path of prapatti (unquestioned self-surrender) was prescribed. Singing of bhajans and dancing formed an important part of this worship. The dancers were deva-dasis (female slaves of the deity) inside the temple, but nagar-badhus (public wives) outside. Apart from being overwhelmingly ritualistic, the worship tended to be intensely emotional, frenzied and even erotic.
    An important influence in north Indian bhakti was Ramanand whose many disciples including, Kabir, Ravidas, Pipa, Sadhana and Sainu radicalized the Bhakti movement. Kabir, out of them, was the most eloquent and outspoken. Besides bhakti, other influences which shaped him were Sufism and Buddhism. He repudiated avatarvad, social ideology of caste, ritualistic formalism and idol-worship, all of which were integral parts of traditional Vaisnavite bhakti. Kabir even questioned the authority of the Vedas and Puranas.
    Sikhism undoubtedly accepted some of the aspects of radicalized bhakti, and admitted some of its practices into its own ordained set. It did lay down spiritual love, as the way to the deity, but the deity to be worshipped was neither Siva nor Visnu nor even any of their incarnations, nor any of the gods or goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. It was the One and the Only God, the Lord of Universes who was at once transcendent (nirguna)and immanent (saguna). Although immanent in His Creation He was yet apart from it, being its Creator. Since he inhered in the world that He had created, the world could not be considered unreal or illusory (mithya or maya). It was real and sacred (“the abode of the True One”). It is therefore blasphemous to renounce it in quest of God. “He that is immanent in the Universe resides also within yourself. Seek, and ye shall find” (GG 695). Renunciation of the world as a spiritual pursuit thus stood totally rejected. Celibacy was no longer countenanced, either. Full participation in life in a spirit of ‘detachment’ was prescribed instead. “Of all the religious rules and observances grihasthya (the homestead) is supreme. It is from here that all else is blessed” (GG, 587). Guru is paramount in bhakti as well as in Sikhism.
    The ideal that Bhakti laid down for man was to achieve personal release (moksha or mukti). In Sikhism the ideal was stated in these terms: “I long not for a kingdom or for mukti but only for the lotus feet of the Lord” (GG 534). In the Sikh faith the highest ideal is to be able cheerfully to accept the will of God (raza, bhana) and to live one’s life it its dynamic mould, to be ready to give oneself to carrying out what ought to happen. This concept of Divine Will (hukam) as well as the injunction to accept it cheerfully is peculiar to Sikhism. Also, whereas the ultimate aim of bhakti is for the individual to attain personal liberation, the Sikh ideal is well-being of all (sarbatt ka bhala),
    The modes of worship in Bhakti cults included not only bhajan (adoration) and kirtan (singing praises of the deity), but also Yogic upasana (literally, to sit beside, to meditate), Vedic sacrifices, Brahmanical ritualism and Tantric practices. Of these, Sikhism retains only bhajan and kirtan and disclaims the rest. It categorically rejects sacrificial rites. The only sacrifice it approves of is self-sacrifice for the sake of righteousness. Sikhism strongly censures idol-worship. Instead, sabda (the Divine Word)is determined to be the focus of all adoration. However, as in bhakti, nam (Logos) is both the object and means of adoration of God
    Thus, bhakti has been radically transformed and redefined in Sikhism. Sikhism is in fact much wider than bhakti both in its conceptual gamut as well as in practice. For the Bhakti cults, bhakti is the be-all and end-all of everything; for Sikhism two other crucially important ends are ethical living and spiritual liberation. The cultivation of moral qualities, in Sikhism, is the requisite precondition for bhakti. “Without morality bhakti is not practicable (GG, 4). Moral discipline is considered a vehicle for attaining nearness to God. “It is by our deeds that we become closer to God or become distant from Him” (GG, 6).
    While the bhagats’ sole stress was on bhakti or loving devotion, the Gurus also wanted to inculcate along with love and faith the spirit of fearlessness and valour among the Sikhs. A Sikh was to “overcome all fear by cherishing the Fearless Lord” (GG, 293). “He must not terrorize anyone, nor must he submit to anyone’s fear” (GG, 1427). He was “to be subservient to none but the True Lord” (GG 473). He was not to be a quietist ascetic but a valiant saint ready to “battle in open field” (GG 931) to destroy the tyrants; In their scheme of ethical dynamism the Gurus gave priority to zeal for freedom.
    Sikhs were not only given nam (Logos) as the symbol of the Formless One (which they shared with the bhaktas) but were also given kirpan (sword) as the symbol of the Fearless One. Sikhism, thus addressed itself to dual ideals, the other-worldly (piri) as well as this-worldly (miri).
    Since Fatherhood of God was the basic Sikh tenet, brotherhood of man ipso facto became its social corollary. No one was to be reckoned low or high –“Reckon the entire mankind as One” (Akal Ustati, 15.85) was the Guru’s precept. Most of the bhakti cults also decried inequality, and especially condemned caste-distinctions, giving the right of worship to the low caste. However, service continued to be a menial pursuit, and manual labour was looked upon as the job of the lowly. The Gurus went further than just proclaiming the equality of man. They established dignity of labour, by making social service (seva) as an important vehicle of spiritual advancement. “The hands and feet sans seva are condemnable; actions other than seva are fruitless” (Bhai Gurdas, Varan, XXVII. 10). Begging is taboo for the Sikhs. While bhaktas could live on alms and public charity, not so a Sikh. He is ordained to earn his living by the honest labour of his hands (kirt) and share his earnings with others. It rehearsed in the fifteenth century the ideology of fraternity, equality and liberty. Devotion was defined as a positive phenomenon. Full-faced participation in life was recommended. In the time and space setting, bhakti and Sikhism lie close to each other which has led some to describe Sikhism as an offshoot of bhakti.
    Like the bhaktas and the Sufis, Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, proclaimed the love of God and, through it, communion with Him as the primary aim of man. More like the former, he repudiated caste and the importance of ritualism, and in common with the latter, emphasized submission to God’s will as the ultimate means of realization. Agreeably to the atmosphere created by Bhakti and Sufism, he rejoiced in singing praises of the Almighty and indicated the way to reconciliation between the Hindus and the Muslims. He brought to these general tendencies the force and urgency of a deeply inspired and forward-looking faith. He added elements which were characteristically his own and which empowered current trends with wholly new possibilities of fulfilment. Life in all of its different aspects was the subject of Guru Nanak’s attention. Integral to his intuition was an awareness of the ills and errors of society and his concern to remedy these. This was in contrast to the attitude of escape implicit in Bhakti and Sufism. Guru Nanak did not admit, like many of their protagonists, the possibility of man ever attaining, in his mystical progress, equality with Divinity. He also did not share the Bhaktas’ belief in incarnation or the Sufis’ insistence on bodily mortification and frenzied singing and dancing to bring about spiritual illumination. The faith begins with the revelation brought to light by Guru Nanak. To understand Sikhism fully the study of the totality of its tenet and of what impact it made on history will be very vital. In this perspective, the precept he preached is definitively the starting-point of Sikhism and not bhakti or any other cult.
    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Taran Singh, ed., Guru Nanak and Indian Religious Thought. Patiala, 1970
    2. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
    3. Schomer, Karine, and W. H. McLeod, eds., The Sants: Studies in Devotional Tradition of India. Delhi, 1987
    4. Ishar Singh, The Philosophy of Guru Nanak. Delhi, 1969
    5. Jodh Singh, The Religious Philosophy of Guru Nanak. Varanasi, 1983
    6. Hira, Bhagat Singh, Gurmatt Vichardhara. Delhi. 1969
    7. Chaturvedi, ParshuRam, Uttari Bharat Ki Sant Prampara. Allahabad, 1964
     
  5. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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  6. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn
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    lakh akalaan, lakh gyaani
    lakh lakh karde rehen vichaar
    Teri leela kise na jaani
    Tum satgur mere aprampaar
     
  7. TGill

    TGill
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    Dear amar ji...From deep down my heart, I just love your soul !!
    I just love the flow of creativity within you...
     

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