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Understanding Sikhism

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Original, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. Original

    Original
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    Understanding Sikhism: Sikhism is a subject of faith and not knowledge. Empirical observation and rational enquiry cannot prove the existence of Nanak’s [founder of Sikhism] God. By definition Sikhism is a religion and not a Philosophy for that very reason.

    Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 8.44.04 PM.png

    Philosophy seeks truth by reason and argument, whereas, religion and mysticism do so by intuition and revelation. The rules applied to dichotomise religion from philosophy are dependent upon the nature of the truth being sought. In this case it is divine reality. In assessing such statements and claims, Sikhism has been classified as a religion because of its mystical status. Truth be told, reason and argument cannot permeate and evaluate divine reality. It is a matter of belief and as such falls within the ambit of religious experience, not philosophical investigation.

    Since the dawn of civilisation, humankind has attempted to discover the means by which our knowledge is acquired and the standards or criteria employed to judge the extent, nature and the reliability of all that we claim to know. Epistemology, an important branch of philosophy, deals with such knowledge claims.

    Knowledge as we know it comes through our sense data [including intuition] of the world in which we live. How we perceive this knowledge is down to our reason. This is more commonly referred to as empirical observation and rationalism, respectively. In determining what we can know, there are certain conditions that limit our understanding of the world. It is our mind [ma’nn] that set these conditions. These conditions; space, time, cause and effect, reside permanently within our mind and as a result, contribute to our conception of the physical reality we experience.

    In illustrating these conditions, Dorothy, from the film “The Wizard of Oz”, affords a good example. The Wizard of Oz gives Dorothy green glasses to wear, which makes everything appear as green. This in a way limits Dorothy the way she perceives reality. Everything around her is part of the natural world, but how she “sees” it, is determined by the green glasses she is wearing. Taken implicitly, Dorothy cannot say the world is green even though she conceives it as being green. Similarly, our reason acts as the glasses through which we perceive the physical world as it appears and not how it really is. We cannot know with certainty what the world is like in “itself”, but we can know what the world is like for “me”. For this very reason the word Maya, [illusion] speculated to have entered the religious lexicon during Vedic times, is used throughout the writings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib [SGGSJ] to make the distinction between physical reality and divine reality.

    Time and space, the two forms of intuition acting as conditions also limits are perception. Whatever we see will first and foremost be perceived as phenomena in time and space. Together they occupy a permanent place within the mind and precede every experience we have. For example, when we take the dog out for a walk in the morning, we do not know beforehand what we will experience. What we do know beforehand is that whatever we will perceive will be in time and space because we’re wearing glasses of reason, which we cannot take off. Perceiving things in time and space is innate. The two of them act as modes of perception and not attributes of the physical world. They are part of the human condition.

    In understanding reality, these conditions forms part of our consciousness to give us the concept of the world as it is. If our concept of the world was any different, the world would be different, so to speak. The law of causality is eternal and absolute simply because human reason perceives everything that happens as a matter of cause and effect. And, since it’s eternal, conditions at either end are inconceivable.

    Nanak’s divine [mystical] experience at Sultanpur Lodhi sets the scene for the creation of what was to become a major religion, namely, Sikhism. All the authors of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji [The Holy Scriptures of Sikhism] speak of the same experience that transcends time, space and the natural faculties of humankind. It is not knowledge, but reality that is imperishable – divine reality.

    The question Sikhism attempts to address at a fundamental level is one of reality. What is reality? Does reality consists of those things, such as tables, chairs, trees, mountains, plants, animals and so on, which are made of matter, or does it include some more abstract reasoning such as time and space, and the totality of all such “real” things that would otherwise fall within the meaning of the universe ? Some might consider that this is not the whole of reality. What about the reality of our mind, shouldn’t we include a conscious experience as something real and concepts, such as truth, virtue, beauty, justice and so on as real as well? Of course, some may class the mind and all its attributes to be secondary to what is materially real. This of course, on the basis that our mental states are simply emergent features of the workings of our brain and that, as developed human beings we are the products of our genetic, cognitive and environmental make, categorises conscious mental experience as no more a reality than that of the underlying material which gave rise to it in the first place. In other words matter.

    Sikhism however, takes the view that it is the conscious spiritual [mystical] experience transcending time, space, sensory perception and rational reasoning, which itself is primary and real. And, that the external reality that appears to constitute the ambient environment of the ordinary world is to be understood as secondary and transitory. That is to say, this here physical reality is a mere reflection of the divine reality, which like a single point in space [geometry], has no dimension, but is, always has been and always will be [ad sach, jugad sach, havee such, Nanak hosi ve sach]. Take for example a shadow and an object casting it. On closer examination the object casting the shadow would appear to be beautiful, original, majestic and sharper an outline than that of its casted shadow. Taken together, this world view is simply a natural phenomenon of shadows of the divine world of Ik On Kar [God is one].

    The conscious spiritual experience that the Banikars [authors of SGGSJ] speak about is the fourth dimension of reality. In the ordinary sense of the meaning dimension, we tend to have a location for an object somewhere in space. For example, the lines of latitude and longitude give us the position or the bearings of an object anywhere on the surface of planet Earth [two dimensional, 2D]. And, likewise any object in space, say the moon [3D]. Sikhism’s Ik On Kar in terms of divine reality is eternity [4D], which ordinary eyes cannot see simply because of the 3D reality of the universe. Nanak’s Sikhism offers 4D glasses to experience the divine. This is synonymous with the three states of consciousness, conscious, unconscious and subconscious. The fourth state of consciousness known as Turyia or more commonly referred to as, God consciousness is a state of pure consciousness. It’s a state of bliss in unison with the divine. Where the former a light [Anubhav Parkash] the latter a sound [Anhad Shabd], together they give conscious spiritual experience. Why spiritual, is because of its transcendent form from matter to non-matter, an experience beyond physical reality.

    Questions of meaning and purpose of life are dealt conspicuously in a contemplative setting rather than the ordinary dynamics of life. Although, the fabric of social networking promotes work and altruistic disposition, the contemplative reflection in solitude for the realization of the spiritual being in a human body is deemed necessary to free oneself and become one with God. This is a religion, which is seen as a dimension to bridge the gap between reason and ordinary experience and offers like other systems of belief do, a way to realize the existence of the beautiful, the good and the just God.

    The subject matter at the heart of Nanak’s Sikhism is the realization of the spiritual being in the human body.

    Guru Amardas Ji weaves it beautifully –

    ਘਰ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਪੂਰੁ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਸਤੂਰੀ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਦਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ [..hey you human, the spiritual within, you dont see ? Like the deer who searches endlessly for the source of this beautiful fragrance not knowing it is he the emitter, so too is you, waste a beautiful life chasing externally for that which is internally placed - p644 SGGSJ]
     
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    #1 Original, Apr 29, 2015
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  3. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Personally I would disagree, most religions are based on faith, I would actually turn that on its head and say Sikhism is one of the few religions not based on faith.

    Is it possible that Nanak's God was never meant to be proven? In that case the question would never have arose that such an issue would need to be proven, thus, in my view, the lack of miracles in Sikhism. we have nothing to prove.

    Again, turning this on its head, the lack of miracles, to me anyway, points towards a philosophy, because once again, there is nothing to prove.
    Absolutely agree, pragmatism versus mysticism.

    Does Sikhism have a mystical status? Should divine reality stay in the domain of the divine?

    absolutely!

    Now here is where I feel Vedic intrusion has corrupted the very foundations of Sikhism, Maya is a very Vedic word, unlike orifice or crevice, which are not very Vedic words, or bamboozle, which is quite a good word, but getting back to Maya, the concept that all is illusion around us, and that the reality is very different. I find Sikh thinking to be more focused on the individual than the surroundings, the concept of Maya in Sikhism points towards the false layers of personality which force us to act or think in a certain way that is not actually us at all. Sikhism points towards removing the layers of false personality to reveal the true personality, which then interprets our surroundings in a true way. Examples of such would be heightened perception, lateral thinking, wisdom, discretion and tact. Should the word Maya instead make the distinction between physical personality and divine personality?

    agreed!

    our arguments share similar foundations, I find this most agreeable,

    and this, our arguments and thinking are very similar..

    I think the more you know, the more you see. However, I do not feel this is divine wisdom, more growing and learning about oneself, the world, consonance, feeling ones own energy, feeling the energy within others, the energy that is Akal Purakh, Ik Ong Kar......, our arguments are actually the reverse of the others, you feel that first comes divine interaction, then wisdom, I feel it is wisdom first, then divine connection.

    I find this too inward for a religion that was born out of a rejection of bells and whistles, and a desire to be pragmatic and questioning. That is not to say it is not true, I am just voicing my own opinion. One the one hand I fully understand it, but on the other hand, I feel it takes away from the grounded, innocence of Sikhism that I feel Guru Nanak tried to teach.

    I think that this takes a lot from the Vedas, pointing towards the 10th eye, et al.

    again we are are at 180 degrees here, I would say that

    Questions of meaning and purpose of life are dealt conspicuously in the ordinary dynamics of life rather than the contemplative setting......

    this screams at me to find my true personality.

    Originalji, a beautiful and extremely well written post, and one that should be debated and discussed in my view, as it is the debate and discussion that makes writing it worthwhile, in my opinion. I thought it was a wonderful piece of writing, I hope you do not mind me playing devils advocate in an effort to get some good dialogue going.
     
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  4. Original

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    Brother H - I'll attempt to answer in blue:

    Personally I would disagree, most religions are based on faith, I would actually turn that on its head and say Sikhism is one of the few religions not based on faith.

    This article was written more to explain about the "truth" which cannot be proved but exists, nevertheless. From a scientific perspective it falls outside of the realms of reason and sensation. Nanak’s experience cannot be explained using scientific tools, but can be understood and realised through “faith”. It is faith that constitutes belief and it is belief that gets pigeonholed as religion. By convention we tend to use these words interchangeably. Generally, they are no more than academic distinctions, but in particular, these differences are quite enlightening.

    Is it possible that Nanak's God was never meant to be proven? In that case the question would never have arose that such an issue would need to be proven, thus, in my view, the lack of miracles in Sikhism. we have nothing to prove.

    On the whole, all religions profess to have accessed the ultimate “truth” [beyond time n space]. Similarly, Nanak’s Satnam is for the contemplative mind and not the ordinary. Those who search, Nanak’s Sikhism is the way – literally speaking.

    Again, turning this on its head, the lack of miracles, to me anyway, points towards a philosophy, because once again, there is nothing to prove.

    Indeed, it qualifies on all fours as a philosophy [practical way of life], but again, from a proof perspective [divine entity] it falls within the disciplines of “art” and not “science”.

    Absolutely agree, pragmatism versus mysticism.

    Does Sikhism have a mystical status? Should divine reality stay in the domain of the divine?

    Yes! Nanak’s experience transcends human capacities and is classed as “mystical”. Divine is an idea – you either believe or you don’t

    absolutely!

    Now here is where I feel Vedic intrusion has corrupted the very foundations of Sikhism, Maya is a very Vedic word, unlike orifice or crevice, which are not very Vedic words, or bamboozle, which is quite a good word, but getting back to Maya, the concept that all is illusion around us, and that the reality is very different. I find Sikh thinking to be more focused on the individual than the surroundings, the concept of Maya in Sikhism points towards the false layers of personality which force us to act or think in a certain way that is not actually us at all. Sikhism points towards removing the layers of false personality to reveal the true personality, which then interprets our surroundings in a true way. Examples of such would be heightened perception, lateral thinking, wisdom, discretion and tact. Should the word Maya instead make the distinction between physical personality and divine personality?

    It is not an intrusion, but a fact. Take the binary language for instance, the motherboard of Information Technology [IT], the figure 0 [zero] is a Vedic primary number brought about to advance civilisations. Just because of one's personal inclinations toward certain factual information is to the contrary, it doesn't invalidates the fact. Similarly, language used and the ideology modified by the authors of SGGSJ is of Vedic origin.

    This true personality is what Nanak calls spiritual.

    The distinction is important because when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the ideas you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them. Maya and Madho [illusion and divine, respectively} are the binary language for the communication of Sikh thought. It's like taking out the Zero from the binary language and then builing computers ? Unimaginable or perhaps impossible, as we speak.
    agreed!


    our arguments share similar foundations, I find this most agreeable,

    and this, our arguments and thinking are very similar..

    I think the more you know, the more you see. However, I do not feel this is divine wisdom, more growing and learning about oneself, the world, consonance, feeling ones own energy, feeling the energy within others, the energy that is Akal Purakh, Ik Ong Kar......, our arguments are actually the reverse of the others, you feel that first comes divine interaction, then wisdom, I feel it is wisdom first, then divine connection.

    I don’t say anything really, what I write is the truth. That is to say, Nanak’s truth [sach] has always been here and always will be. Of course, to get to that stage of realisation and mellow it within – takes phases.

    I find this too inward for a religion that was born out of a rejection of bells and whistles, and a desire to be pragmatic and questioning. That is not to say it is not true, I am just voicing my own opinion. One the one hand I fully understand it, but on the other hand, I feel it takes away from the grounded, innocence of Sikhism that I feel Guru Nanak tried to teach.

    The beautiful thing about you is the truth within you, hovering – like a bumble bee around the flower for the honey, but little does the bee know its pollinating as well extracting. Your Sikhism will give you what is truly yours – provided the faith with which you accept is unconditional. Let go of these discriminations of “means” but rather focus on the “ends”, you will be in the innocence lap of Sikhism.

    I think that this takes a lot from the Vedas, pointing towards the 10th eye, et al.

    You’re quite right. Now read page 124 of SGGSJ and see what Guru Amardas Ji is directing us towards – 10th gate.

    again we are are at 180 degrees here, I would say that

    Questions of meaning and purpose of life are dealt conspicuously in the ordinary dynamics of life rather than the contemplative setting......

    Here I’m talking of the substance Sikhi and not the formal.

    this screams at me to find my true personality.

    Akal Purakh has chosen your seva via SPN – the true Harry is proponent of the word of God albeit his own version [old wine in a new bottle].

    Originalji, a beautiful and extremely well written post, and one that should be debated and discussed in my view, as it is the debate and discussion that makes writing it worthwhile, in my opinion. I thought it was a wonderful piece of writing, I hope you do not mind me playing devils advocate in an effort to get some good dialogue going.
    harry haller said:
    Personally I would disagree, most religions are based on faith, I would actually turn that on its head and say Sikhism is one of the few religions not based on faith.

    It’s a pleasure to be talking to a community of a beautiful mix. You help draw out what would otherwise remain shrouded in history.


    Always a pleasure to present facts from the house of Nanak into which I was born – Sikh.
     
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  5. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    Personally I would disagree, most religions are based on faith, I would actually turn that on its head and say Sikhism is one of the few religions not based on faith.

    or is the difference that sikhism doesn't just want you to have faith, it wants you to have faith and then to achieve whilst yet alive, in this moment...whereas the mainstream view in some religions is...have the faith and believe only...and be rewarded once you die.



    Is it possible that Nanak's God was never meant to be proven? In that case the question would never have arose that such an issue would need to be proven, thus, in my view, the lack of miracles in Sikhism. we have nothing to prove.

    to prove that god exists to someone else? or to yourself? i agree, Guru Ji says God is not something you can describe or calculate or prove...but because he exists within you...you yourself can experience Him, and then you can inspire other to do experience within themselves also...


    Again, turning this on its head, the lack of miracles, to me anyway, points towards a philosophy, because once again, there is nothing to prove.

    miracles are only miracles for the minds of people that don;t believe in their reality...for others there is no miracle...it is the norm...it is just everyone else who is limiting themselves...blocking it out.

    Does Sikhism have a mystical status? Should divine reality stay in the domain of the divine?
    Gurbani says that Gods Kirpa is showering upon us even right now...but our ignorance stops us from receiving it...So its already there for everyone...equally...



    absolutely!



    Now here is where I feel Vedic intrusion has corrupted the very foundations of Sikhism, Maya is a very Vedic word, unlike orifice or crevice, which are not very Vedic words, or bamboozle, which is quite a good word, but getting back to Maya, the concept that all is illusion around us, and that the reality is very different. I find Sikh thinking to be more focused on the individual than the surroundings, the concept of Maya in Sikhism points towards the false layers of personality which force us to act or think in a certain way that is not actually us at all. Sikhism points towards removing the layers of false personality to reveal the true personality, which then interprets our surroundings in a true way. Examples of such would be heightened perception, lateral thinking, wisdom, discretion and tact. Should the word Maya instead make the distinction between physical personality and divine personality?

    yup, which is why some are blessed to See the force of waheguru working in everyone and everything...others are blind to it....do the things as prescribed in Gurbani...and bit by bit what you see, or how you see the world changes...






    I think that this takes a lot from the Vedas, pointing towards the 10th eye, et al.
    The human body is the same for everyone...people just named things differently....so many religions have the 7 chakras...or name it the 7 seals...or name it the seven seas (in Gurbani)...the 10th eye...the 10th gate...

    All that occurred is people realized their Body is the True Temple...the True Guru Dwara, the true church...it contains the door to the Guru...within you..How amazing is that? everything you need is already within you...

    And when you experience it, maybe you will come up with your own name for it...but its all the same thing...
     
  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    gentlemen, if you could possibly use the quote system when you reply it makes the post look a lot tidier and is easier to read and it is also easier for you in your reply

    simply outline the text you wish to reply to, and you will note a reply tab appears, click on the reply tab and then post underneath, then if you wish, go to the next point, outline it, again, the reply tab appears, click on it, and type underneath, any problems PM me
     
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  7. Original

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    Thank you H !

    As simple as that.....phew !

    Much obliged
     
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  8. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    cheers :)
     
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