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The Real Meaning of Ik Oankar?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Santokh Singh1989, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Santokh Singh1989

    Santokh Singh1989
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    WaheGuru ji ka Khalsa, WaheGuru ji ki Fateh. Greetings Sangat, its been a long time since I really logged onto SPN and even longer since I've posted anything on here do to my job. Recently I happened across an interesting essay writen by a Professor Devinder Singh Chahal ji PhD of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism, apparently based in Laval, Quebec, Canada. http://www.iuscanada.com/journal/articles/omkar.pdf This is the link. The basic summary is that Ek Oankar, as it is commonly pronounced, is a mistranlation that goes back as far as Bhai Gurdas, so says Mr. Singh, and that the correct pronounciation should be something along Ik Oh, or Ik Oh Ananat. It was a very interesting article and I'm not sure exactly how I should feel about this. I did some research and so far couldn't really find anyone else who was making the same claims that he was, not saying there aren't, just that I didn't find them. I have trouble taking information like this at face value. I don't want to assume he's a crock but, I'm also not to sure about believing him. The big problem for me is that I speak little to no Panjabi and no Hindi so I don't really have anything to go off of. Anyways I strongley encourage everyone to read this bit of information and please give me your opinion on the situation. The link again is http://www.iuscanada.com/journal/articles/omkar.pdf. Thank you for your time and patience. Peace, Love and Respect.
    ikonkaar Sat Naam
    Sincerley Santokh daas

     
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  3. spnadmin

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    SantokhSingh1989ji

    Thanks for this reference. I am familiar with much of the writing of Dr. Devinder Singh Chahal. Forgive me but I am not sure if I have read this article.The topic looks really interesting and should provoke some good discussion. These discussions are always engaging and uplifting.
     
  4. Randip Singh

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    Dr Chahal is one of the few Sikhs who knows what he is talking about :)
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    Dr. Chahal would love to know that you have said this. There is a contingent that argues with everything coming from his pen. In fact, it depresses me to read some of the rejoinders they write. Fortunately people who also know what they are talking about continue to invite him to give lectures and discuss matters with them.
     
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  6. Santokh Singh1989

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    Its a shame no one seems to be interested in this topic. I was hoping more people would read this and give me their opinion on it as this seems like somewhat of an important topic considering that the words Ik oankar or however it is they should be pronounced is something that every sikh says every day. God willing more people will read this article and tell me what they feel about it. Or at least drop a little knoledge for me regardless if they read it or not.
     
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  7. roopsidhu

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    SSA,
    First of all sorry that since several days I could not log on to SPN due to some personal issues.Surely the topic is very serious, should be adressed by all sikhs. I will read the link and come back today itself with my opinion.
    Roopsidhu
     
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  8. Archived_Member16

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  9. Tejwant Singh1

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    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!

    I am not a Scholar or a Giani of Sikh Studies but I try, in my own way, to read and understand the Jewels of Gurbani. Therefore, at the onset, please pardon me if you find my views not very much in conformity to the main stream thinking.

    Before I dwell into "The Real Meaning of Ik Oankar?", let me ask one simple question to myself.

    Who were those people Guru Nanak ji was preaching to when he began to preach? Majority of them were of Hindu background and some may have been Muslim once Guru Maharaj came to be accepted as a Divine Personality par excellence. The Hindus and the Muslims subsequently, became his Sikhs or his Followers only once they accepted his point of view and came back to him for more.

    Since the first people he preached to were Hindus, they knew the classical mythology and description of God as many faceted being with many names as the 'Devtas' and 'Devies' went. They used to call God "Om". That is the invocation of all Hindus religious ceremonies where "Om" is recited first followed by the prayer going to some particular god or goddess. Even when a Hindu priest invokes a new Shloka, he starts with 'Om" like 'Om Bhagvati'.

    Now, take the case of semi-literate or uneducated Hindu masses having been used to calling God "Om". In the simplification or any spoken sound, there is always some corruption or deviation from the original pure sound which was refined in Sanskrit.

    By the way, the word Sanskrit itself means, "something which can not be refined anymore'. Go back to the English meaning of the word 'Sans', which means 'without'. The second vowel of 'Krit' means to do or to make. And it sounds very akin to 'Create'. Therefore, Sanskrit became a language over a long times as something which could not be 'created or crafted any further' or 'which is perfect'. But it remained a classical language of the Brahmins only, unfortunately.

    Going back to "Om". If you sit, close your eyes and recite the word "Om' in a low baritoned voice, you may experience a divine vibration in your chest which acts like a bellow, blowing out air through your throat in a controlled manner thus making the sound "Om" turn into "Ooooooooommmmmmmm", until you run out of breath and inhale again and start all over again. That is the practice which Hindu yogis indulge in, even when they do Yoga.

    Therefore, Guru Nanak Dev ji Maharaj spoke to the Hindus from simple backgrounds and not to the classical Sanskrit educated elite. In my perception, he spoke the word "Om' as was being spoken by the layman. The whole Gurbani is a layman's language or simple Sant or Sadhu basha. But the words of this simple language have Sanskrit origin going back to many centuries.

    The word "Om" was being spoken as "Onnnnnmm' with a predominant nasal sound. Try it yourself.

    Therefore, all that Guru Maharaj said to his congregation, "Ek Oan Kar" meaning that there is "One Om Who is the Doer or 'Karta' of everything". Its implied meaning is that there is not more than One God as the common people were made to believe until then.
    My humble submission is that the meaning of "Ik Oankar" is "One Oan Who is the Karta or Doer of everything".

    And as far as the written form is concerned, it's easy to put the Gurmukhi figure of '1' before 'Oan' rather than write Ek Oankar.

    May Waheguru ji forgive me if I have written anything incorrect. He knows what we all are talking about with our limited understanding.

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!
    Tejwant Singh1
     
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  10. japjisahib04

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    First of all whether it is the meaning as the title is, or the pronunciation Dr Chahal is disputing. Dr Chahal is a very dedicated and well informed scholars but it is my personal feeling he is creating more controversies than solution. I use to argue with him but than decided not to waste my time as most of time it used to come out unproductive. I remember a story, once man came home very excited and stated to his family that today he had a million dollar bet with someone that rabbit has three legs and he is sure he will win the bet. His family members one by one explained to him that he will lose the bet as rabbit has four legs and not three. Upon his reassurance, when the family enquired to explain how he will win, he said he will lose only if he admits.

    Now coming to the pronunciation of opening verse he insists it should be pronouced as ek oh beant or anant due to open aura whereas everyone including myself pronouce it as ek aung kar, but he says it sound like ek Om whereas gurbani has clearly mentioned as ,’ eykm eykMkwru inrwlw ] Sri Guru Granth Sahib 838.19. Thus he feels insecured as the name is derived from Sanskrit or is based on vedanta thus there is nothing new or unique in Guru sahib philosohy unless we address it as ek oh beant. ffice:eek:ffice" /><?"urn:<img src=" />

    The word kar has been used in gurbani at many places like, ‘sweI kwr kmwvxI Duir CofI iqMnY pwie ] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.475.10 or guir kihAw sw kwr kmwvhu ]Sri Guru Granth Sahib.832.16. When we ponder over it, kar will give the meaning as His laws or Hukam also. Further, it is not M of Om but sound as ang or aungkar. So it makes the meaning clear that, 'There is One God and ang ang of my body is functioning under His Hukam'. In this way what have we taken from Hindus or Pandai. If we go by His argument then word satnaam, karta, purakh all these word are derived from sanskrit. Sanskrit was one of my subject which I studied. Have we started wearing the dhoti or started adopted Hindu rituals due to these words. Similarly there are many words in Guru Granths Sahib from Farsi. Did we started sunnat or adopted muslims way of life and so on?

    Best regards
    Mohinder Singh Sahni
     
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    #9 japjisahib04, Jul 6, 2010
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  11. roopsidhu

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    SSA,
    I am very sorry to say but thats what I feel, I feel that this discussion is unneccessary. Why Dr.Chahal Has brought this issue up? What would be the constructive benifit of this issue. There are many words in gurbani which has base in sanskrit language or vedas, so what? why we are feeling insecure? While giving examples gurus has mentioned many stories of vedas or puranas. What difference shall it make if we pronounce it ekonkaar or ek beant/ anant? Is the word beant or anant unique sikhi words? had these words not used by anyone prior to gurus? Pronounciation of a noun should not become an issue. We sikhs always waste our time in such issues which does not matter spirtually or socially. Constructuve mind scholers should neglect such issues and should not give importance to the persons who bring up time wasting issues.
    Roopsidhu
     
  12. Randip Singh

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    Roop Sidhu ji,

    I disagree!

    Dr Chahal is not being conroversial at all, but he is studying and exploring meanings within Bani. He is learning, as good Sikh should do.

    We take the meaning of Ik Onkaar as a given, but do we understand why this word was used? and not something more common like "Raabb" , or "Bhagwaan"?

    Why did the Guru's chose to use this term specifically?

    Ik

    On

    Kaar

    Analyse each word. The meaning of this phrase for me certainly has changed over time!!icecreammunda
     
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  13. dalbirk

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    It is a view from one of my favourites pk 70 ji an ex SPNer
    GURSOCH

    PRONUNCIATION OF “ੴ ”
    In an article [http://www.iuscanada.com/journal/articles/omkar.pdf] Devinder Singh Chahal PhD, claims that ੴIkkankar/Ekkankar should be pronounced as “Ikk Oh Beant or Ikk Oh Anant” and openly says that Bhai Gurdas misunderstood it like many other Sikh scholars. He also claims that Guru Nanak Dev doesn’t name the Creator as “Ikk Onkaar/Ekkankar”, obviously in a hurry; he has overlooked all usages of “Ekkankar” in Gurbani in context of the Infinite Creator, and interestingly Dr Chahal gives one quote in this article in which “Ekkankar” is used for the Creator. Even if we agree with him that the Bani “Dakhni Onkaar/Omkaar” has nothing to do with the pronunciation of ੴ; there is another thing needs to ponder over. “ੴ” has been completely written by Guru Nanak Dev and his descendant - Gurus. Most of the vital words Guru Nanak Dev has used in his Bani are interpreted and clarified in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. “ੴEkkankar” is also defined and clarified as well.

    If we continue reading Bani “Dakhni Onkaar/Omkaar”, in stanza number 5, Guru Nanak Dev talks about all pervading Creator and addresses Him as “Ikkankar” that is exactly the guide to pronounce ੴ, let’s look at that first.

    ਏਕੋ ਏਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਰਬੁ ਵਿਆਪੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਏਕੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਇਉ ਘਰੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਸਿਞਾਪੈ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਨੇੜੈ ਹਰਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਹੁ ਏਕੋ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਬਾਈ ॥ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਦੂਜਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੁ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੫॥
    Ėko ek kahai sabẖ ko▫ī ha▫umai garab vi▫āpai. Anṯar bāhar ek pacẖẖāṇai i▫o gẖar mahal siñāpai. Parabẖ neṛai har ḏūr na jāṇhu eko sarisat sabā▫ī. Ėkankār avar nahī ḏūjā Nānak ek samā▫ī. ||5||

    In Essence: Though all say the Almighty is but one; however, they remain engrossed in conceit (In fact). If one realizes that the Almighty is the same who pervades within us and out, only then one can find His home within. Akalpurakh is very close; do not consider Him away because He is the only one who pervades in the whole world. Nanak says that there is none other than “EKKANKAR ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ /” who is permeated in all.

    Why Guru Nanak Dev is addressing the Creator as “Prabh and Ekkankar”? Isn’t “Prabh” used in Hindu philosophy? Why the use of “Onkaar” becomes a big deal then? Why Guru Nanak Dev is using “Prabh” “Ekkankar” together? The Answer is that he stresses on getting our attention on the one Creator regardless the name He is addressed with. As per Dr Chahal’s understanding, the word “Omkaar” belongs to ancient Hindu/ philosophy of Trinity belief! Well, Guru Nanak Dev uses this word by adding number one with it to define the “oneness” of the Creator by negating its usage for other entities through which the Creator was otherwise reduced to human beings; besides, he has no worry if people do not call him original or declare that he has taken these words from such and such source? These things bother to small minds only. His main goal is to lead people to one and only one Creator. Many words used for the Creator in Gurbani are also used in ancient Hindu philosophy in context of various Devtas and deities but that doesn’t bother Guru Nanak Dev and his decedants and Bhagatas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, obviously we should not think that these words have anything to do with their old usages because their context, in Gurbani, is all pervading Creator not any deity or Devta or other concept in case of Omkaar. If they interprets “Onkaar/Omkaar” for concept of trinity, so be it, Sikhi doesn’t believe in it rather rejects it for One Creator.

    Dr Chahal feels that the first stanza of the Bani “Onkaar/Omkaar” states views of the Pundit whom Guru Nanak Dev encountered in a temple in south of India, that also appears incorrect because whatever is expressed there in the first stanza, is not limited to trinity concept rather it conveys that the totality of existence of all comes from Onkaar and then Guru Nanak Dev uses the word “Gurmukh” in context of getting saved [from Maya inflicted world – Ocean]. Guru Nanak also addresses the Creator with numerous names in various places in Gurbani, and he doesn’t care if those names were used earlier by others for their revered entities because he explicitly states that there is no name that can express Him fully [538 SGGS Mehla 1] Literally he addresses Him as “Naao [japji] also. Now let’s look at the first stanza of “Dakhni Onkaar/Omkaar” and see if it conveys views of that Pundit Dr Chahal is talking about or of Guru Nanak Dev?

    ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਉਤਪਤਿ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਸੈਲ ਜੁਗ ਭਏ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਬੇਦ ਨਿਰਮਏ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਧਰੇ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਰੇ ॥ ਓਨਮ ਅਖਰ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਓਨਮ ਅਖਰੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੧॥
    O▫ankār barahmā uṯpaṯ. O▫ankār kī▫ā jin cẖiṯ. O▫ankār sail jug bẖa▫e. O▫ankār beḏ nirma▫e. O▫ankār sabaḏ uḏẖre. O▫ankār gurmukẖ ṯare. Onam akẖar suṇhu bīcẖār. Onam akẖar ṯaribẖavaṇ sār. ||1||

    In Essence: Brahma was created by Onkaar whom[Onkaar] Brahma cherished in his mind. The mountains and the different yugas have come into existence from Him [Onkaar], He [Onkaar] is the cause of Vedas’ creation [it is just an expression of the concept of His Ordinance] Onkaar saved the world with Shabada [concept of His Grace]. Through Onkaar [with His blessings] Guru - followers were saved [Importance of Guru]. Ponder over and listen about the “word onam” [addressed to Pundit] , this word is for that power that is an essence of whole world. [Obviously Guru Nanak Dev is saying that this word belongs to all pervading Creator not to a certain deity, ponder over it and do not limit it to your thought]

    Guru Nanak Dev is addressing those people who write “onam nameh” to idols, and makes it clear that the Brahma well known - Devta was His creation who kept Akalpurakh in his mind, mountains [earth], ages, Vedas came into existence due to Him [due to His Will], literally Guru Nanak Dev is defining His Hukam/Ordinance. There is the word “Shabad” [Indication is about His grace that materializes through Guru] through which many were saved. So it is important to know that whom Pundit addresses “onam nameh”, actually is not “Onkaar/Omkaar”, Pundit is mistaken because Onkaar is the Creator of all including the entity the Pundit pays tribute to, Onkaar is the essence of the whole world. Literally Onkaar gets new meaning by Guru Nanak Dev, no wonder he calls the Creator “Ekkankar” in Stanza number 5. Where is the Pundit’s own point of view here in this stanza? I couldn’t believe what Dr Chahal is saying here. Pundits talk about Brahma and Shiva and they put liberation in the hands of Devtas unlike Guru’s thought which rests it on His grace through Guru. Let’s look at the point of view of Dr Chahal who interprets this stanza by deeming it Pundit’s views. He writes in his article:

    “In the next four phrases Pundit teaches a few more attributes of Omkar as follows:
    ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਉਤਪਤਿ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਸੈਲ ਜੁਗ ਭਏ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਬੇਦ ਨਿਰਮਏ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਧਰੇ ॥ ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਰੇ ॥
    Mountains and different yugas (periods of time) came into existence from Omkar.
    Vedas were born from Omkar.
    Omkar saved the world through Sabd.
    Through Omkar the Guru-oriented swim across (the sea of life) safely.
    Here Pundit says that Omkar created mountains, various yugas (periods of time) and Vedas; saves the world and the people with Sabd (word). But in ancient philosophy it is generally accepted that Vedas were written by Brahma. What is the truth?” [Interpretation as per a quote from Devinder Singh Chahal ji’s article]

    First of all, Dr Chahal doesn’t feel necessary to interpret the whole stanza when it was very necessary to prove that the views in it are of the Pundit or not; he omits the verses that contain Guru Nanak Dev’s advice. Moreover, Guru oriented [Gurmukh] is not used by Pundits, in their theory the pundit is the guide, in this very Bani in stanza number 22 [As a matter of fact first stanza and stanza 22 have a big relevancy] Guru Nanak Dev again stresses on “Gurmukh”; obviously, “Quote- Through Omkar the Guru-oriented swim across (the sea of life) safely [ above quote interpretation by Dr Chahal]” this is a Gurmat - concept defined repeatedly in Gurbani not by any pundits. The next verses which are omitted by Dr Devinder Singh Chahal are “ਓਨਮ ਅਖਰ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਓਨਮ ਅਖਰੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ , they [these verses] explicitly make it clear that actually this word “ਓਨਮ ਅਖਰ “ belongs to the power that pervades in all three worlds, so ponder over it and do not limit it to the deities . Add to it, there is another problem, Dr Chahal first subscribes these words to Pundit then questions his views, just have a look at it, “Quote: But in ancient philosophy it is generally accepted that Vedas were written by Brahma. What is the truth?”

    My response to Dr Chahal is this that here the Pundit is not saying that the Vedas were creation of Onkaar, these are Guru Nanak Dev’s views and I will support this with another quote from Gurbani.

    Surprisingly Guru Nanak Dev further defines it by asking the pundit to give up these games of entanglements.

    ਸੁਣਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਕਿਆ ਲਿਖਹੁ ਜੰਜਾਲਾ ॥ ਲਿਖੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗੋਪਾਲਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    Suṇ pāde ki▫ā likẖahu janjālā. Likẖ rām nām gurmukẖ gopālā. ||1|| rahā▫o.

    In Essence: Oh Pundit! Why to write this worldly puzzle [entangling views]? Through Guru, write down only the name of all pervading Akalpurakh who is the cherisher of the world (pause)

    Pundit is asked to write only the name of the Care - Taker of the world, Ram. Here Ram and Gopal are used for Akalpurakh. Also note it down that Gopal is also used in Hindu Scriptures and Philosophy, it doesn’t bother Guru Nanak Dev from where the words come; then why would he bother about the word “Onkaar/Omkaar”? Meanings of “Ekkankar” are given in SGGS Gurumukhi English Dictionary and Mahan Kosh in the same manner as Dr Sahib Singh interprets it. Besides, Guru Nanak Dev’s effort is to lead people to one Creator by telling them that He is present all over and is not limited to one body. How can above views be of a Pundit? I would like to quote here Guru Nanak’ Dev’s own words regarding Vedas and other stuff that contains almost similar idea expressed in the first stanza of Dhakhni Onkaar/Omkaar. In the quote below, Guru Nanak Dev is saying that all people and Yugas are coming from Him and He by being permeated in His Creation plays all roles, it is on 432 SGGS, obviously they are very much close to the views expressed in the first stanza of Dakhni Onkaar quoted above.

    ਚਚੈ ਚਾਰਿ ਵੇਦ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਾਜੇ ਚਾਰੇ ਖਾਣੀ ਚਾਰਿ ਜੁਗਾ ॥ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਖਾਣੀ ਭੋਗੀ ਪੜਿਆ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਆਪਿ ਥੀਆ ॥੯॥
    Cẖacẖai cẖār veḏ jin sāje cẖāre kẖāṇī cẖār jugā. Jug jug jogī kẖāṇī bẖogī paṛi▫ā pandiṯ āp thī▫ā. ||9||

    In Essence: Who created four Vedas, life from four sources and the four Yugas; He himself has been a Yogi [immaculate] and a Reveler, and a learned scholar [Pundit].

    Literally there is nothing without Him as stated in Jap Ji 4 SGGS,

    ਜੇਤਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਤੇਤਾ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਥਾਉ ॥
    Jeṯā kīṯā ṯeṯā nā▫o. viṇ nāvai nāhī ko thā▫o.

    In Essence: All His Creation is His manifestation; there is no place without Him.

    Obviously the first stanza of Bani “Dakhni Onkaar” contains Guru Nanak Dev’s views not of a Pundit views as Dr Chahal claims.

    I just wonder how Dr Chahal builds a theory about the way Guru Nanak Dev expresses his views, according to that in the first stanza of Dakhni OnKaar/Omkaar , all words were of the pundits before “Rahao” because Guru Nanak Dev first expresses others views. Indeed, many times Guru Nanak Dev first expresses others views before expressing his own but it is not applicable in all instances for example take an example of Jap Ji, he doesn’t start it with others point of view, take example of Patti, he doesn’t start it with the views of Pundit either and in Sidh -Gosht, Guru Nanak Dev doesn’t start the Bani with Yogis views [except later on in form of questions], so that alone idea that Guru first expresses others views before he expresses his, cannot be applicable in all cases, obviously it is not applicable in Dakhni Onkaar either; we have to look for total concept of Guru Message, if we don’t, certainly we will lead others to misgivings.

    A quote from Dr Chahal’s article
    “Our further research lead us that the letter open 'Oora' means 'Oh' in Punjabi-English Dictionary [8] and in Mahan Kosh of BhaiKahn Singh [17]. 'Oh' of Punjabi and 'Oh' of English means 'That' in English [27]. The open end of 'Oora'has been extended to characterize it as ਬੇਅੰਤ (Beant - Infinite) or ਅਨੰਤ (Anant – Infinite). Thus, it should be
    pronounced as ਇਕ ਓ ਬੇਅੰਤ (Ek + Oh + Beant) (One Oh ∝ = One and Only, Oh, the Infinite). Or ਇਕ ਓ ਅਨੰਤ (Ek Oh Ananat) as suggested by Harchand Singh of Calgary, Canada suggested that ‘Anant’ isequally good for ‘Beant’. (Personal Communication).
    Stanzas # 5-7, 9, 11, 23, 29, 31, 34, 35, 46 of the Omkar Bani clearly indicate that the Eternal Entity is One”

    If as per Punjabi English dictionary [8] and Bhai Kahan Singh Kosh [17] open Oorha means “Oh/ meaning “that” in English” then from where the meaning “Beant/ Anant /infinite” is added to it? Is it because of open - ended Oorha? When we read “ਓਹੁ” with open extended Oorha in Gurbani, we understand that it conveys the meaning of “That [which is itself limited in meaning]” how does open ended Oorha start giving meaning of “infinite” Why some one feels that “ਓ” should be interpreted as “Beant” and “Anant”, what is the base? Why should we conclude that an open “Oorha” not only conveys the meaning of “ਓਹੁ Oh/that” but also “Beant/Anant/infinite”? By the way where in Sri Guru Granth Sahib “ਓ open Oorha” is used for expressing Creator’s infinity?

    Dr Chahal keeps stressing on “oneness” of the Creator through Gurbani quotes but that is not the issue in the article, it is all about correct articulation of ੴ, use of 1 number with “open Oorha” concludes that there is only one Creator/God/Prabh/ Narrain/Ram/Gopal; moreover, ੴ is not defined by Bhai Gurdas on the basis of “Dhakhni Onkaar or Bani Omkaar”, Regardless whatever way the meaning of Onkaar/Omkaar, Gopal or Ram is interpreted by the Hindu scholars, quite contrary to that, In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, these words are used for the infinite one Creator save for Historical references.

    With a quote, Dr Chahal also tries to explain that actually “ਓਹੁ Oh/that” is used in Gurbani for the Creator forgetting that its use is exactly as the word “that” is used in English, let’s look at one of his quote on 930 SGGS, I shall quote the complete stanza number 9 of Dakhni Onkaar

    ਉਗਵੈ ਸੂਰੁ ਅਸੁਰ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ॥ ਊਚਉ ਦੇਖਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਊਪਰਿ ਆਦਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਤਿਹੁ ਲੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੈ ਕਥੈ ਸੁਣੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਗਜੀਵਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥੯॥
    Ugvai sūr asur sangẖārai. Ūcẖa▫o ḏekẖ sabaḏ bīcẖārai. Ūpar āḏ anṯ ṯihu lo▫e. Āpe karai kathai suṇai so▫e. Oh biḏẖāṯā man ṯan ḏe▫e. Oh biḏẖāṯā man mukẖ so▫e. Parabẖ jagjīvan avar na ko▫e. Nānak nām raṯe paṯ ho▫e. ||9||

    In Essence: As the divine light shines in the mortal, he kills the negative forces within, by contemplating Guru Shabad, he sees the highest One Creator who has been present from the beginning and will be to the end throughout the whole world. (That person also understands that) The Almighty Himself speaks and listens through others; that [That, who is that? Answer: Who speaks and listens through others, this answer follows in the next use of “that” as well] destiny - Creator is the Giver of soul and body. That [same] destiny – Creator is in the mind and on mouth[of His devotee]. Almighty is the life of the world, without Him there is none other. Nanak says only through getting drenched in His name, one can obtain honor.

    Look carefully, in the stanza quoted above; there is a continuity of ideas. First importance of Guru - imparted – knowledge is expressed, then it is clarified that through Guru, Eternal Creator is known. Guru also tells that through mediums [others] the Creator speaks and listens to [idea of His being permeated in all], then like the use of English word “that” “Oh” is used because, talk about Him is continued. So here this use of “Oh” doesn’t mean it is used as ਓ in ੴ

    No scholar, as far as I know, has come to a conclusion that “Onkaar” as used in Dakhni Onkaar/Omkaar should be a base to pronounce ੴ correctly, or somehow use of “Onkaar/Omkaar” in Dakhani Onkaar sets up an example to pronouce “ਓ” as Onkaar; as a matter of fact, it is completely written in its articulation - form by Guru Nanak Dev himself, that is why Sikhs pronounce it as “Ikkankaar/ Ikkonkar/Ekkankar”. There is no support in Gurbani to pronounce ੴ as “Ikk Oh Beant or Ikk Oh Anant; contrary to that “ੴ” is written as “Ekkankar” throughout Sri Guru Granth Sahib. I quote here Fifth Nanak literally defining ੴ as Prabh,
    On 276 SGGS

    ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਖਾਣੀ ਅਰੁ ਖੰਡ ॥ ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਅਕਾਸ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡ ॥ ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਹੋਏ ਅਵਤਾਰ ॥ ਕਈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਕੀਨੋ ਬਿਸਥਾਰ ॥ ਕਈ ਬਾਰ ਪਸਰਿਓ ਪਾਸਾਰ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਇਕੁ ਏਕੰਕਾਰ ॥ ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਕੀਨੇ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇ ਹੋਏ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਤਿ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੭॥
    Ka▫ī kot kẖāṇī ar kẖand. Ka▫ī kot akās barahmand. Ka▫ī kot ho▫e avṯār. Ka▫ī jugaṯ kīno bisthār. Ka▫ī bār pasri▫o pāsār. Saḏā saḏā ik ekankār. Ka▫ī kot kīne baho bẖāṯ. Parabẖ ṯe ho▫e parabẖ māhi samāṯ. Ŧā kā anṯ na jānai ko▫e. Āpe āp Nānak parabẖ so▫e. ||7||

    In Essence: There have been many millions of various lives and realms, many millions of skies and cosmos, many millions births of beings, thus in many ways the Creator has unfolded, many times He expended His expansion, forever and ever, He has been only the one Creator [Ekkankar]. Many millions of kinds of creation He created, all emanate from Prabh and merge in Him eventually. No one knows His limits; Nanak says Akalpurakh is all by Himself.

    Above the concept of Ekkankar is expressed in detail , in no way Ikkankar or Ekkankar has any limit like of trinity concept. Still it is used in context of Prabh the Creator.

    Bhai Gurdas actually rightful way explains why Guru Nanak Dev uses “1”with “OOrha” without guessing unlike others. Bhai Gurdas writes:

    “ਏਕਾ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੇਖਾਲਿਆ ।
    aykaa aykankaaruz|ikhi daykhaaliaa|
    By writing 1 (One number) in the beginning, Ekkankar is defined as the one only [This is the right pronunciation of ੴ]
    ਊੜਾ ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ ਪਾਸਿ ਬਹਾਲਿਆ ।
    oorhaa aoankaaru paasi bahaaliaa|
    [With the first number], and by using “oorha” as “Onkaar” with it, [idea continues]
    ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਭਾਲਿਆ ।
    sati naamu karataaru nirabhau bhaaliaa|
    The True Name of fearless Creator is made understood.
    ਨਿਰਵੈਰਹੁ ਜੈਕਾਰੁ ਅਜੂਨਿ ਅਕਾਲਿਆ ।
    niravairahu jaikaaru ajooni akaaliaa|
    and also it is explained that the Creator is beyond enmity, birth [and death]. [Vaaran Bhai Gurdas]

    Bhai Gurdas leaves no doubt about the pronunciation and meaning of Mool Mantra and he hasn’t misunderstood it at all as Dr Chahal claims because as we go through Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we will find the use of “Ekkankar” just as we understand the meaning of ੴ by Gurus including Guru Nanak Dev on 30, 53, 85, 189, 222,227, 276, 284, 294, 296, 381, 507, 608, 688, 736, 782,, 821, 838, 901, 904, 905, 916, 930, 999,1034 and 1039, SGGS.

    So Bhai Gurdas gets help from Gurbani/in Guru’s own words only. What Bhai Gurdas has written about it, is genuine and above all guesses, he is very much aware of what he is saying, it would be highly unlikely that he wouldn’t have asked Guru Arjun Dev Ji about the pronunciation of ੴ as Dr Chahal declares him incorrect solely depending on his own guesses.

    “Sikhi/ is a way of living in Creator’s love” well defined through Sri Guru Granth Sahib, it has nothing to do with previous faiths or philosophies; if Parma Nanda or other individuals want to claim that Guru Nanak Dev has no new knowledge [as per an article of Dr Chahal], it is their problem, in “Sattyarth”, Arrya Smaji Daya Nand calls Guru Nanak Dev “an atheist” because such people’s egoist agenda is to tell the world that they found the Creator first and they never realized that there could have been civilizations that existed before Hindus and could have been destroyed thousands years before them. Still unknown civilizations are buried out there, we would never find to what spiritual peak they might have reached. Knowledge of the Creator comes to those upon whom He bestows His grace; it might have come to many another parts of the planet as well. Clouding enlightened ones’ views becomes agenda of those who are diseased with conceit. Look at an eminent Sikh Historian Khushwant Singh; he considers the word “Ram” “Seeta” used in Jap Ji for Ram Chandra ji and Seeta Ji. All other Names like Krishn, Braham, Narrain used for all pervading “Ikkankar”in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, are interpreted by such kind of people as Hindu – Gods or concept of Gods. We cannot stop fundamentalist - Hindus or people with such agenda calling Sikhs Hindus though openly Fifth Nanak declares that Sikhs are not Hindu [1136 SGGS]. Who are they to judge this path anyway when Fifth Nanak explains once for all that Guru Nanak - path is neither Hinduism nor Islam? This declaration is right there in Sri Guru Granth Sahib but they don’t accept it and keep playing with the words, it is their psychiatric – games; Sikhs know that they cannot and they don’t worship idols or believe in any of them. By guessing and giving new meanings to ੴ by articulating it differently is nothing but a muscular game of mind. What Dr Sahib Singh ji says about the meaning of “Kaar” in context of “Ekkankar” sounds right as we see Guru Nanak Dev and his decedents using “Ekkankar” as “all continuously pervading power”? Dr Chahal’s questioning him by saying that he [Dr Sahib Singh] interprets “Kaar” as “continuous” but also he interprets “Kaar” as work, therefore he is wrong, is very unfair commentary. Should we believe now that one word conveys only one meaning because Dr Chahal says so? When Dr Sahib Singh quotes “Sanskrit word” he defines it as it is interpreted in Sanskrit but when “Kaar” is used in context of “work” he uses it in that sense, how anyone can prove him wrong, what is the base? Is it that “one word has one meaning” technique that should be a base to understand a language?
    Talking about originality of Guru Nanak Dev, there is no evidence that any one ever used “Ekkankar” before, so that is original/ If we take Parma Nanda’s own words and accept that Guru Nanak Dev has added one [number] with Omkaar/Onkaar to express “oneness” of Onkaar, it becomes more clear that all Hindu Seers before Guru Nanak Dev were wrong because they failed to define Creator’s oneness, isn’t it originality? Guru Nanak Dev is not interested in who is the first to know Him, he doesn’t question all the prevailed Hindu and Ibrahim - faiths; however, it is the mountain of hypocrisy in all faiths he questions. If “Onkaar” comes from ancient belief, Guru also informs us that in the Vedas, worshipping of the Creator is indicated but people have forgotten [919 SGGS]. I strongly feel that Bhai Gurdas, Dr Sahib Singh and other Scholars are not incorrect in defining “ੴ/ as “Ekkankar/Ikkankaar” but Dr Chahal.


    Humbly

    G Singh

    gursoch@yahoo.com



    Reference:
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib [SGGS]
    Guru Granth Sahib Darpan: By Dr Sahib Singh
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib Kosh:By Bhai Veer Singh
    Mahankosh By Kahn Singh Nabha
    Search Gurbani.com Bhai Gurdas Vaaran
     
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  14. roopsidhu

    roopsidhu
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    SSA,
    Thanks Dalbirk ji for posting the views from pk 70 ji an ex SPNer gursoch.
    Perfect answer. I will say the best reply. The supporters of Dr. Chahal's theory must read it and think.
    Ropsidhu
     
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  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    By way of a moderation comment only. Someone who reads Dr. Chahal's article may not be aware of arguments to the contrary. How would they know? Everything depends on where you start. The only way to find out what the counter-arguments are is to bring the topic up in the first place. Then all these equally rich essays and comments come forward. How can the "churning" that is required of us happen if the milk is already homogenized? Having different perspectives can only increase the questioner's knowledge of Sikhism, in depth and breadth. It also makes it possible for everyone to judge for themselves which claims stand up and which are weak arguments. I think this discussion is a good discussion for that reason. Thanks to the members who responded to the call.

    The person who began this thread is a young person who is starting his gurmat studies, and starting them in earnest by reading challenging things and opening himself up to some very sophisticated debate. It can only be good.
     
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  16. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    S. G. Singh

    <?"urn:<img src=" />
    I wonder if by use of Sanskrit or Hindu Om name makes Dr Chahal insured then what about in the following pankti where complete name Balram is used in place of just M and how will he react upon Baani brahma Ved dharam dridoh paap?

    ਹਰਿਪਹਿਲੜੀਲਾਵਪਰਵਿਰਤੀਕਰਮਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆਬਲਿਰਾਮਜੀਉ
    Har pahilaī lāv parvirī karam dri▫ā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o}
    ਬਾਣੀਬ੍ਰਹਮਾਵੇਦੁਧਰਮੁਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁਪਾਪਤਜਾਇਆਬਲਿਰਾਮਜੀਉ
    Baī barahmā veḏẖaram ariĥu pāp ajā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o Sri Guru Granth Sahib 773.


    If we claim that Brahma is symbolic or metaphor in above pankti, in that case we are trying to impress that Brahama is the name of the someone whereas it is not as it is not a noun. Guru Sahib has gone to the depth of this word Brahama and tries to find the truth. The meaning of Brahma is 'utpati' growth. Growth of creative thought.Thus Brahma is a thought process in above pankti and not otherwise

    Best regards
    Mohinder Singh Sahni
    Kuwait
     
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    #15 japjisahib04, Jul 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2015
  17. Tejwant Singh1

    Tejwant Singh1
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    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!

    I am not a Scholar or a Giani of Sikh Studies but I try, in my own way, to read and understand the Jewels of Gurbani. Therefore, at the onset, please pardon me if you find my views not very much in conformity to the main stream thinking.

    Before I dwell into "The Real Meaning of Ik Oankar?", let me ask one simple question to myself.

    Who were those people Guru Nanak ji was preaching to when he began to preach?

    The answer my mind gave me is that majority of them were of Hindu background and some may have been Muslims, once Guru Maharaj came to be accepted as a Divine Personality par excellence. The Hindus and the Muslims subsequently, became his Sikhs or his Followers only once they accepted his point of view and came back to him for more.

    Since the first people he preached to were Hindus, they knew the classical mythology and description of God as many faceted being with many names as the 'Devtas' and 'Devies' went. They used to call God "Om". That is the invocation of all Hindus religious ceremonies where "Om" is recited first followed by the prayer going to some particular god or goddess. Even when a Hindu priest invokes a new Shloka, he starts with 'Om" like 'Om Bhagvati'.

    Now, take the case of semi-literate or uneducated Hindu masses having been used to calling God "Om". In the simplification or any spoken sound, there is always some corruption or deviation from the original pure sound which was refined in Sanskrit

    By the way, the word Sanskrit itself means, "something which can not be refined anymore'. Go back to the English meaning of the word 'Sans', which means 'without'. The second syllable of 'Krit' means to do or to make. And it sounds very akin to 'Create' of English. Therefore, Sanskrit became a language over a long times as something which could not be 'created or crafted any further' or 'which is perfect'. But it remained a classical language of the Brahmins only, unfortunately. Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian language except Tamil, which is an old language by itself.

    Going back to "Om". If you sit, close your eyes and recite the word "Om' in a low baritoned voice, you may experience a divine vibration in your chest which acts like a bellow, blowing out air through your throat in a controlled manner thus making the sound "Om" turn into "Ooooooooommmmmmmm", until you run out of breath and inhale again and start all over again. That is the practice which Hindu yogis indulge in, even when they do Yoga.

    Therefore, Guru Nanak Dev ji Maharaj spoke to the Hindus from simple backgrounds and not to the classical Sanskrit educated elite. In my perception, he spoke the word "Om' as was being spoken by the layman in Punjabi. The whole Gurbani is a layman's language or simple Sant or Sadhu basha. But the words of this simple language have Sanskrit origin going back many centuries.

    The word "Om" was being spoken as "Onnnnnmm' with a predominant nasal sound. Try it yourself.

    Therefore, all that Guru Maharaj said to his congregation, "Ek Oan Kar" meaning that there is "One Om Who is the Doer or 'Karta' of everything". Its implied meaning is that there is not more than One God as the common people were made to believe until then through the concept of 30 Crore (one hundred thirty millions) god or goddess.
    My humble submission is that the meaning of "Ik Oankar" is "One Oan Who is the Karta or Doer of everything".

    And as far as the written form is concerned, it's easy to put the Gurmukhi figure of '1' before 'Oan' rather than write the full Ek Oankar.

    May Waheguru ji forgive me if I have written anything incorrect. He knows what we all are talking about with our limited understanding.

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!
    Tejwant Singh1
     
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