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Sikhism Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh's "Sikhism: An Introduction"

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by spnadmin, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    SIKHISM: AN INTRODUCTION, by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, I.B. Tauris, April 2011. 272 pages. Hardcover - $73.00; paperback - $25.00. ISBN-10: 1848853211; ISBN-13: 978-1848853218


    Almost from the moment, some five centuries ago, that their religion was founded in the Punjab by Guru Nanak, Sikhs have enjoyed a distinctive identity.

    This sense of difference, forged during Sikhism's fierce struggles with the Mughal Empire, is still symbolised by the 'Five Ks' ('punj kakaar', in Punjabi), those articles of faith to which all baptised Sikhs subscribe: uncut hair bound in a turban; comb; special undergarment; iron bracelet and kirpan) - the unique marks of the Sikh fraternity (the word Sikh means 'disciple' in Punjabi).

    Yet for all its ongoing attachment to the religious symbols that have helped set it apart from neighbouring faiths across the world, Sikhism amounts to far more than just signs or externals.

    Now the world's fifth largest religion, with a significant diaspora especially in Britain and North America, this remarkable monotheistic tradition commands the allegiance of 30 million people, and is a global phenomenon.

    In her balanced appraisal, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh reviews the history, theology and worship of a community poised between reconciling its hereditary creeds and certainties with the fast-paced pressures of modernity.

    She outlines and explains the core Sikh beliefs, and explores the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus in Sikhism's Holy Scriptures, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (more usually called just the 'Guru Granth'). Further chapters explore Sikh ethics, art and architecture, and matters of gender and the place of women in the tradition.

    The book attractively combines the warm empathy of a Sikh with the objective insights and acute perspectives of a prominent scholar of religion.



    BRIEF PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEWS

    In this delightful study, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh introduces the reader to the history, religion, and culture of the Sikhs, highlighting the various issues related to doctrine, worship, ethics, art, architecture, and diaspora.

    Her bold critique of patriarchal structures of Sikh society is refreshing.

    Written in an accessible style, this exciting book will appeal not only to undergraduate students of Sikh studies, religion, medieval Indian history, and literature, but also to lay readers who will gain firsthand information about the youngest world religion. -- [Pashaura Singh, Professor and Dr. Jasbir Singh Saini Endowed Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies, University of California, Riverside.]



    Nikky Singh's latest publication provides an eloquent introduction to Sikhism, grounded in reference to the scriptures and articulate, with a sharp awareness of contemporary issues. Students will find her Sikhism: An Introduction a clearly organized text, written in an engaging style, and usefully augmented by a substantial bibliography.

    Sikhism: An Introduction is the fruit of many years of immersion in Sikh Studies and of sharing it through the author's university teaching.

    This excellent illustrated guide to the Sikh tradition offers readers not only key factual material but also Nikky's own insights into gender and her substantial attention to the arts, to colonial encounters and diasporic life stories.-- [Eleanor Nesbitt, Professor of Religions and Education, University of Warwick and author of Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction.]



    A solid and lively introduction to key events in Sikh history, Sikhism: An Introduction paints a vivid portrait of Sikh spirituality, arts, politics, and gender and family life. This engaging text takes readers from the origins of Sikhism in Guru Nanak's life and teachings to contemporary Sikh life in India and the Sikh diaspora. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh's call to Sikhs to reflect on the founding principles of their tradition gives Sikh and non-Sikh readers alike insight into the challenges all religions face as they evolve over time. -- [Robin Rinehart, Professor of Religious Studies and Asian Studies Program Chair, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.]

    http://www.sikhchic.com/books/nikky_guninder_kaur_singhs_sikhism_an_introduction

    Related thread http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-...source-five-symbols-khalsa-dr.html#post150901
     

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  3. texassikhstudent

    texassikhstudent
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    I'm definitely going to check this out as a new Sikh!
     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    She is the one who has set the MONA DOCTORS on a diaspora sikh forum all wagging their tails..BY ASSERTING thta the 5 Kakaars actually begin with GURU NANAK JI.
    This really upsets their cart..becasue all this while they were insisting that since only GGS introduced the 5 kakaars at vasakhi 1699...and they beleive only in Nine Gurus and SGGS..they can be Mona sikhs on equal par with keshdharee amridahrees etc..
    Nikki puts them on the defensive...by proving from Gurbani that the Kakaars are a GIFT from GURU NANAK JI..and being a full fledged amrtidharee with all kakaars is actually the ULTIMATE GOAL of Sikhism....and not just a"hiccupp" set by Guru Gobind Singh ji...
    The three Good doctors have been jumping high and low all week...saying.."How could she ?? how coudl an American Uni Professor say this...blah blah blah.......sigh besides the 3 of them..no one else bothered...
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    It is always the same old story. Nikki Guninder Kaur Singh has impressive credentials and therefore she must be bad-mouthed. First of all her father is Prof. Harbans Singh (Editor, Encyclopaedia of Sikhism), who taught at Colby College, in its Department of Religious Studies, where Bibi teaches now. She grew up in an atmosphere of vichaar, simran, and serious scholarship from birth. Now she has her doctorate in religious studies, fully equipped with knowledge of other faiths and deep understanding of her own faith. But as they say, "Don't be a high poppy." In other words do not stand out for what you have accomplished as it may make some others uncomfortable.

    Here is some background. (I can hear it now. Oh yes of course! That SikhChic! You can depend on them to promote Gurbani western style by light-headed scholars in the disapora.)

    http://www.sikhchic.com/people/prof_nikky_guninder_kaur_singh_honoured

    Nikki Guninder Kaur ji is one of those unadulterated beacons, a lighthouse of knowledge, for me... and nothing but clear explanation. Today I was at the hospital for 6 hours for an in-patient treatment, and I brought another book by bibi, "The Name of My Beloved." This is my second time reading the book. And I will share imho that Nikki Guninder ji discusses so many of the topics that go round and round in this forum, where Gurbani is completely clear, yet the discussions get tangled up in exotic material that has little to do with Gurbani. I remember reading a paragraph here and a paragraph there today, and remember what those discussion were like. But she nails each theme, controversy and conflict with utter simplicity and unyielding adherence to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, to the lives and works of Gurusahiban and Bhai Gurdas. She keeps to the basics.

    And that is what annoys some people who want to make this journey an intellectual obstacle course. The more convoluted, the more exotic, the more mysterious, one can make it, the better the words sound.
     
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  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    And shes definitley RIGHT. How could Guru Gobind Singh possibly "deviate" from the GOAL set by the Fountain-Head Guru nanak Ji ? He DID NOT. ALL ten Gurus and SGGS follow the Same straight line of Gurmatt from A-Z..

    Its a fallacy. First they said that Guru hargobind sahib deviated from the First Four gurus, and turned a "peaceful" religion militant and violent with His Miri Piri and all that fighting the mughals etc etc. They FAIL to see the "STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS" strong stance of Bhagat Kabir Ji and various Bhagats that came before Guru nanak ji and the strog stand taken By Guru nanak ji himself in standing up to Babar and other Tyrants, Guru Angad ji facing the naked sword of Mughal Humayun etc have set the stage for the direction Gurmatt/Sikhism has to take. The FOUNDATION of the Kakaars is already in MOOL MANTAR.. SATNAM - TRUTH....NIRBHAU and NIRVAIR....FEARLESS and WITHOUT ENMITY. TO STAND FOR TRUTH almost always entails BRAVERY - physical and Moral. A COWARD cannot stand by TRUTH. A WARRIOR is always FEARLESS..and the SIKH KIRPAAN is not a weapon of oppression but SANS ENMITY DEFENDER of..and.....for JUSTICE and RIGHTS of all. Is it that "impossible" to see how a "cowardly" so called "peaceful" person can be forcibly prevented even from praying ?? in the aftermath of Op Bluestar 1984..even small children and women and girls were FORCIBLY STOPPED outside the gates of Harmandar sahib to be STRIP SEARCHED by Armed Forces?? They were just going to Matha tek...peacefully...For a THOUSAND YEARS..the peaceful "HINDUS" of India were looted, raped and oppressed..and prevented from praying as and when they wished by the tyrants ruling them....even TAXED a special TAX just for being HINDU ??? SO even to "just PRAY...Matha TEK..in Peace..one has to be STRONG and WARRIOR able to DEFEND ones RIGHT to PRAY !! That is the message of SOORA SO PEHCHANNEAH Larreh deen ke KHET !! PURZA PURZA KATT MAREH..cut into pieces until death comes but refuse to surrender........and it was propogated by Bhagat KABIR JI and included by guru nanak ji in SGGS. GURU ARJUN Ji..showed one Facet of Gurmatt.. SPIRITUAL SOORA and Purza purza katt marreh......in SPIRITUAL PEACE......Guru hargobind sahib showed the other...Take up the SWORD on the battlefiled PHYSICAL WARRIOR..NIRBHAU/NIRVAIR......Bhai MANI SINGH showed one facet..... CUT FROM JOINT TO JOINT VOLUNTARILY......Baba DEEP SINGH the other...its always BOTH SIDES of the "Gurmatt COIN" right from Day one 1469..and not from 1699 only !!

    Then they said...well Guur Hargobind Ji wasnt that bad per se..Now Guru Gobind Singh Ji with his Khalsa and 5 kakaars and panj Piyaras has gone and done a complete about turn form Guru Nanak ji. GGS has gone and started a compeltely "New religion". many who couldnt/wouldnt accept the kesh kirpan (the other 3 kakars seldom matter) began to say..OH we are only SIKHS of the First NINE Gurus..we dont want anything to dow ith the battling militant GGS and his Khalsa amrtidhareeism etc.

    Its perfectly OK to stop at Nine and not complete the Course...its voluntary and even in Guru Jis time not every single one became a Khalsa..BUT to DENY others "RIGHTS" to be a KHALSA by claiming NINE=TEN is wrong in PRINCIPLE. Thats what IJ Singh has been also trying to put across. IF a Sikh wants to remain a MONA..its his choice....BUT IF he INSISTS hes the Exact SAME as a Keshadharee Amrtidharee then that puts the RIGHTS of the Amrtidharee at RISK and in Jeopardy becasue the NON-SIKH will then tell the Amrtidharee.......Its OK to remove the dastaar/kirpan/ as we have been told a MONA.sans-kirpan Sikh is also equally SIKH.WHY are YOU INSISTING on dastaar/Kirpan ?? On the INDIVIDUAL LEVEL..a sikh can be whatever he likes..mona..half mona..whatever....BUT on the COMMUNITY LEVEL the Dastardharee Keshadharee Kirpan gatradharee VISUAL IDENTITY of a SIKH has to be PROPOGATED as "SIKH" and as such only SUCH SIKHS have the RIGHT to hold office in Gurdwaras and Sikh Schools etc....simply because IF the Authorities can cite a MONA SIKH as President of a prominent Gurdwara/Sikh Association...then they can INSIST that a dastardharee keshadharee kirpan carrying SIKH REMOVE those as its OK and he remains a SIKH. THAT takes away the Legitimate Rights of a SIKH and that is WRONG. The same 3 mona doctors also took offense with IJ Singh on this issue in a recent discussion on Sikh identity...simply because they are MONA and they want to be Presidents and Committee members of GURDWARAS as well while remaining MONA. There is a VISIBLE COMMUNITY IDENTITY of a SIKH and that is of a Dastardharee kirpandharee Sikh. That is the DEFACTO STANDARD every SIKH should be measured by.IF You cant make it..its OK..but dotn try to LOWER the DEFACTO STANDARDS to suit your own. This IDENTITY comes from guru nanak ji.
     
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  7. spnadmin

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    Gyani ji

    Would you shed more light on this part of your comments

    I keep coming back to this thread and this statement. I need more input as to how someone concludes there were 9 Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Speaking of "hiccups' ... Nanak X initiated the first khalsa and declared Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to be his successor. He must have played a key role, No? The chronological sequence gives us the Khalsa fellowship first in 1699, and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is declared Guru sometime after that in 1708. So if there is a new religion (hypothetically speaking only), then the Khalsa and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji seem to be in it together. Forged within a very close span of time.

    "The battling militant Guru GS" gave us a Guru. By my reckoning there have to be 11 Gurus. :whatzpointsing: I know you will know the answer.
     
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  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Most non-sikh historians have stated that Guur hargobind Sahib turned a Corner " morr" from the supposedly "peaceful" saintly religion of Guru nanak ji-Guru Arjun Ji and MILITARISED SIKHISM by Miri-Piri and fighting battles....But Sikhs have always held that as a wrong notion because Shakti and Bhagtee have always been two sides of the same COIN that Guru nanak ji forged. Guru nanak ji forged the Khanda of GYAAN...GYAAN KHARRAGG - to UPLIFT down trodden slaved minds to THINK !! Be INDEPENDENT. BE BRAVE. STOP BEING the shoes of the rulers and tyrants...to be worn and discarded at will. To do this to a People used to THOUSAND YEARS of such slavery of the MIND ( it is stated in the Laws prevalent at the tiem fo the Slave dynasty that should a Muslim feel the need to SPIT...a HINDU standing nearby should have no hesitation in opening his mouth to receive that "holy spit" to stop it falling to the ground. Hindus had gone so Brain DEAD that the muslim rulers high and small took their daughters and wives as they pleased....that is how "child marriages" and Sandhoor markers etc came into play in feeble attempts to show that the "girl" is no more virgin and is used soiled goods..and hope that will save them from the marauders...GURU NANAK JI travelled wide and far..carrying his GYAAN KHARRAGH awakening a dead people...by the time of Guru hargobind sahib Ji these people were strong enough to carry the PHYSICAL SWORD..so its a NATURAL PROGRESSION of Guur nanak jis Gurmatt PLAN and NOT a new change by Guur hargobind ji or an attempt at seeking REVENGE for the death of Guru Arjun ji.
    Guru Har rai ji kept an escort of 2000 of the best cavalry always ready at hand but had no reason to use them. Guru TEG BAHADUR Ji again showed that a SIKH can try the Peaceful mewthods..Guur teg bahadur ji also travelled to ALL the places Guru nanak ji had visited 200 years earlier..ASSAM Bengal Karnatak etc to mentally prepare for the Coming Call on Vasakhi 1699. THIS is why and HOW a PYARA from far away Karnatak/Orrissa could be among the FIVE chosen....esp in those days when travel was so extremely difficult and dangerous...He must have begun his long and ardous journey to Anandpur LONG BEFORE the Call in 1699 !!

    To me its a matter of mere semantics...because its clearly stated in SGGS that GURU JYOT is ONE...so Guru nanak Ji placed the GURU-JYOT in Guur Angad Ji...and this same GURU JYOT progressed until today it rests in the SGGS. SO from 1469 there has always been only ONE GURU...the SHABAD that is manifested in SGGS in a way we humans can comprehend.

    Its a sad travesty that we HUMANS drag the Sublime GURUS to our levels...hence we have MALWA SIKHS who delight in claiming that GURU GOBIND SINGH JI is OUR MALWAII GURU....pass through the Malwa Heartland..and you will notice that 99.9% of Signborads all proclaim..Guru Gobind Singh/DASMESH/KALGHIDHAR....only. Here and there one may come across an ocassional signboard of a factory or store named after Guru nanak !! ON the other hand take a drive through the MAJHA Heartland...you will hardly see Guru gobind Singh/dasmesh/kalghidhar even mentioned anywhere..it will be always GURU NANAK....or sometimes GURU RAMDASS JI....that too becasue of the City of AMRITSAR happened to be founded by Guru Ramdass Ji..otherwise no mention as happens to the other GURU SAHIBS. Guur harkishn Ji finds mention in DELHI...and now in afew schools named after him...due to the same management...THE 3HO sikhs exclusively ONLY MENTION GURU RAMDASS JI..no one else...Guru Angad ji finds mention in and around Khadoor sahib...Guru Amardass Ji around Goindwaal...This "disease" also spread to MALAYSIA..where the MAJHA SIKHS always named their Gurdawras schools after Guru nanak Ji..and the Malwa Sikhs after Guru Gobind Singh Ji.....hence we have Guru nanak School/Diwan....and Guru Kalghidhar diwan..Guru Kalghidhar School DASMESH SCHOOL etc.. etc...and one instantly knows who manages these !!( Amrtisarees or bhatindees ).Only RECENTLY did we manage to make them see reason..and as result the Largest MALWA RUN Gurdawra in the region decided to name their ultra new Gurdawra Complex GURU NANAK DARBAAR..a welcome step and door andeshi far sighted Vision of the staunchly malwaii president to cross the line....and build bridges...instead of walls.

    SO YES..mnay so called sehajdharees, sindhis, as well as sikh monas proclaim they only beleive in SGGs and up to Guiru teg bahadur Ji and thus have no reason to keep hair, wear dastaar or take pahul becasue thats Guru gobind Singh jis doing...and they dont beleive in him. The DG Brigade also take this same view...completley IGNORING the SGGS..they claim that AMRIT is totally dependant on the DG and the few banis in Nitnem from that granth. They claim that if these banis are dropped from nitnem..the KHALSA will disappear...The KHALSA roots are IN SGGS...not in 3 compositions from DG. Its Compeltye FAITH and total ALLEGIANCE to SGGS as our one and ONLY GURU that will save the KHALSA...because its a fallacy that the Khalsa survives on banis outside the SGGS.......its the SGGS that makes the Khalsa NIRBHAU and NIRVAIR from day ONE..Mool Mantar.........not some chaupaii written 300 years after that...ITS the SGGS that is sarab kala samrath GURU and Protector of the KHALSA..the GURU provides sustenance and strength to the KHALSA...because GURU KHALSA PANTH is in the TABIAH of the GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI. There is no Guru Khalsa Panth without the Guru Granth Sahib..
     
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  9. Harry Haller

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    It is the human nature of some to see themselves as the centre of the universe. The universe exists to give these pleasure and validation, and if it cannot, then the universe must change.

    I meet such people every day, they are like little children, 'say this is ok for me to do daddy', they grow up into self centred egoistical morons, who actually, maybe due to upbringing, really totally believe that things can be shifted to suit their own agenda,.

    If there is one thing I have managed to learn in the last 3 weeks, it is humility, but even that is a double edged sword, there is the danger that you try and out humble everyone else, just so you can show others how humble you really are, I actually find myself sounding sarcastic!

    True humility does not sound sarcastic, so I know where I am going wrong on that one, the other thing I have taken to heart is acceptance, so it is with great humility and acceptance that one has to make the cake using the ingredients as stated. Leaving out the chocolate in chocolate cake seems a bit strange, even more so if you do not like chocolate, why not just bake an apple pie and enjoy it, instead of baking a non chocolate cake, and then trying to convince people that chocolate was never supposed to be part of it anyway, but it still is chocolate cake, honest!
     
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  10. spnadmin

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