Scinetific Outlook and Sikhism by Dr. Vidvaan S Soni When people were worshipping the sun and were offering water to it, Guru nanak Dev Ji started throwing water towards his fields in Kartarpur. He argued with the people that if the water thrown by Him could not reach Kartarpur a few hundred miles away, how could it reach the sun at the distance of millions of miles. Such an argument can be made only by a person who is well-versed with the knowledge of latest scientific research. One line of reasoning is that he must have thought the sun to be situated at a very great distance or atleast far away from Kartarpur which was a few hundred miles away. Secondly, the atmosphere around the earth is like a thin covering and the water which is offered to the sun becomes steam with the heat of the sun but remains in the atmosphere of the earth. It cannot cross the space of thousands of miles and therefore how can it reach the sun? The preception of the Guru was so acute and scientific that He instantly rejected this practice. Moreover, nobody had the courage to demolish those misconceptions that had customarily been absorbed in the life of the people. The Guru had made that demonstration simply to shatter such fallacies. Till that time and probably even afterwards, nobody had adopted such a logical approach in any religion. Nobody could even speak against superstitions. Much has been said about superstitions in Sikhism, in Gurbani and in the practical demonstrations given by the Sikh Gurus. In this regard the maximum examples from the ancient as well as modern religions are to be found in Sikhism. Superstitions had a complete sway everwhere in the Medieval Ages. It was during those days that Giordano Bruno was burnt alive by the Inquisition. Everybody is well aware of the fate met by Galileo. It was because of His logical thinking that some people called Guru Nanak Dev ji a misguided person(kurahiya). The priests would tell the people that the earth was placed on the horns of a bull and when it shook its horns an earthquake resulted. The Guru argued: Je Ko Boojhai Hovai Sachiar Dhaulai Oopar Keta Bhaar Dharti Hore Parai Hor Hore Tiste Bhaar Talai Kawan Jore The superstition of washing away one's sins by pereforming abulations at a place of pilgrimage has also been repeatedly falsified in Gurbani. The practice of putting up a disguise has been disapproved and man has been warned against any kind of hypocrisy. The philosophy which is found in Gurbani about existence of nature and the universe is quite close to the conclusion drawn by today's scientific researches. Science tells us that man and the various forms of life did not come into being all of a sudden. They are the product of gradual evolution. Earth, water and other things were formed when the gasdust got shrunk. It is mentioned in Gurbani: Saache Te Pawana Bhaya Pawanai Te jal Hoe. (God created air and from air water was created...). And again: Kai Jananm Sail Gir Karia (Life was first born in the rocks...) Science has discovered that millions of years ago the most simple and elementary forms of life came into being and gradually they changed into the vegetation and living forms having different types of solid bodies. the researchers have divided the evolutionary periods into the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Caiozoic ages. The science of fossils tells us that these great ages are further divided into several ages during which the genes and species had been growing. First of all the creatures with the spine were born, followed by the fishes and other creatures with hard bodies after a gap of many 'lives'. For millions of years the dinosaurs were the masters of this earth and the birds came into being much afterwards. Man was created the last of all. We read in the Gurbani: Kaee Janam Bhae Keet Patanga Kaee Janam Gaj Meen Kuranga Kaee Janam Pankhee Sarap Hoeo Kaee Janam Haivar Bikh Joeo And then, after this kind of creation for a long time, human life came into being but it did not grow simultaneously in different geographical regions. Now a consesus is being reached with the mutual thinking of the scientists of Genetics and Fossils That the entire human race was evolved in a region of Southern Africa and the mother of all was a jungle woman. This is not related to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as mentioned in the Bible. But it is about that mother whose family grew and spread all over the world. Because of the different geographical conditions and growth of different social systems and arrangements, the human race developed so much diversity during the lakhs [one lakh is a hundred thousand] of years that the thinkers like mannu created differences in the lives of men and divided human beings into upper and lower classes. But bhagat Kabir has truely said: Ek Noor Te Sabh Jag Upjeaa Kaun Bhale Kaun Mande The Gurbani teaches us that all the people irrespective of their colour and complexions are equal. The scientists call them Homosapiens. Of course, we find some differences in the make-up of man because of geographical, climatic, social and historical conditions but Guru Gobind Singh Ji has rightly observed that: Manas Ki Jaat Sabhai Ekai Pehchaanbo (All mankind are one) Even the last discovery of science cannot deny the fact that all human beings, the mammals, the creatures and vegetation born before man and all the living and non-living things are bound by some kind of oneness. This oneness has tied the whole world--from an atom to the groups of galaxies--in one chain. The 'creator' about whom the Sikh Gurus talk, Has been absorbed in the entire creation and the the 'oneness' of the the whole creation makes its contribution to it. Guru Arjan Dev Ji writes: Apavitar Pavitar Jin Tu Karia Sagal Jone Meh Tu Sir Dharia Ab Tu Seejh Bhaavai Nahin Seejhai And then this is also true: Hukum Saaj Hukmai Wich Rakhai Nanak Sacha Aap And also: Na Soor Sas Mandano Na Sepat Deep Nah jano Ann Paon Thir Na Kuee Ek Tuee Ek Tuee Or: Hukmai Hukam Chalaae Raah .....Hukmai Andar Sabh Ko, Baahar Hukam Na Koe (The rules that bind the entire creation together are governed by the dictates of the Creator). The glimpse of those concepts which have been established regarding the creation of the Universe based on the present day scientific thinking is found in the Gurbani and man is compelled to think that though the hints are found at some places they thoroughly match with the findings of the scientific discoveries. For example, according to the prevalent principles about the begining of the Universe, about twenty billion years ago, there was a huge explosion in space as a result of which the process of the evolution of the universe set in motion. Before that the entire matter was limited to nothingness--and time did not exist at all. It was a state of timelessness. Guru Nanak Dev Ji describes this situation in the following manner: Arbad Narbad Dhandukaara Dharan Na Gagna Hukam Apaara Na Din Rain Na Chand Na Suraj Sunn Samadh Lagainda He also says: Khand Brahmand AArambhe Guptah Pargateeaindaa According to the scientists when the matter with limitless density --the elementary ball(egg) of energy--exploded, it spread in all directions. In this respect, the Guru states: Andas Phod Jod Wichhod This universe went on spreading and now billions of years have passed. Countless stars, the suns and the moons are created at several places in it and are destroyed after completing their life-span, and the universe continues to expand. In the imagination of the Guru, these heavenly bodies have appeard like this: Pataala Pataal Lakh Agaasa Agaas (here the word lakh should be interpreted as a very large number) Anik Soor Saseear Nakhiaat Anik Purian Anik Takhand Anik Roop Rang Brahmand And... Kete Ind Chand Soor Kete, Kete Mandal Des Or, Kaee Kote Akaas Brahmand Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: Kaee Kote Saseear Soor Nakhater Nobody could express such views about the existence of millions of suns, moons and stars in the medieval Europe and if there were one or two persons to make such claims, it was impossible for their views to reach the Guru because at that time the means of communication were not that advanced as in the modern day and age and except the views of some great saints and philosophers, the ideas of the common thinkers would not go around. The divine perception and knowledge of the Guru Himself, had an access to all the happenings in the universe. On the whole we shall have to admit that there was full expression of the scientific truth and outlook in what was said and done by the founders of our religion.