Opinion - An International Physicist and A Devoted Proponent of Sikhism - Prof. (Dr.) Surjit Singh Bhatti interviewed by Dr. D. P. Singh | Sikh Philosophy Network
  • Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Opinion An International Physicist and A Devoted Proponent of Sikhism - Prof. (Dr.) Surjit Singh Bhatti interviewed by Dr. D. P. Singh

drdpsn

Writer
SPNer
Apr 7, 2006
82
56
Nangal, India


An International Physicist and a Devoted Proponent of Sikhism
- Professor (Dr.) Surjit Singh Bhatti


1596563919258.png

Interviewed by
Dr. Devinder Pal Singh
Center for Understanding Sikhism, Mississauga, ON, Canada​

Prof. Dr. Surjit Singh Bhatti, born in 1943, at Amritsar, India, is an international Physicist, a dedicated teacher, an able administrator, and a devoted proponent of Sikhism. After receiving a Ph.D. (Physics) degree from the University of Allahabad (India) in 1969, he started his professional career as a Lecturer in Physics at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar. Soon he was invited by the University of Oklahoma, USA. to work with an eminent scientist Dr. Sergio Petrucci, as a PDF. In 1972, he joined Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and served as Head, Department of Physics during 1986-1989. In his tenure, he laid down the infrastructure for pursuing teaching and research activities in chemical, biological, and solid-state materials using the ultrasonic technique.

He played a vital role in establishing the Department of Applied Physics at G. N. D. University, in 1992 and served as its Head, and Dean (Applied Sciences) too. Herein he laid down the infrastructure to pursue research activities in several applied fields including high-temperature superconductors, solar energy, and digital electronics. After his retirement from the University in 2003, he was instrumental in setting up two Engineering Colleges e. g. B. K. S. Engineering College, Amritsar, and Akal College of Engineering & Technology at Baru Sahib, Himachal Pradesh. He also served these institutions as their Founder Director-Principal. Thereafter, he served as Director-Principal at Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology, Faridkot, Punjab.

In his four decades-long career as a Physicist, he has published over 100 research papers in various reputed journals published from the USA, Germany, Japan, and India. He has authored three textbooks and numerous articles for the popularisation of science. Being a member of many national and international professional scientific societies, Dr. Bhatti has visited several countries including the USA, UK, Italy, France, and Hongkong concerning his research activities. Besides, he has completed six major Research Projects funded by various Government agencies and guided 12 Ph. D. students in his field of expertise.

Having served as an educationist and administrator for over forty years, at various prestigious educational institutions in India, he has also established himself as an eminent writer in the field of popular science and Sikh theology. He has published several articles on various aspects of Sikh Spirituality, Cosmology, and Nature in a much-esteemed Journal "The Sikh Review." For the last several years, he is sharing his thoughts on various scientific and spiritual issues via his blog "Simply Science" available at drbhatti.ca. Through his literary essays and blog writing, he has been able to create an indelible mark of scholarship on the minds of his readers.

During the Corona pandemic lockdown period, he not only inspired his son Dr. Raja Balraj Singh, Alberta, Canada to initiate e-Diwan activity, to share various aspects of Gurmat via the internet. In the activity, in addition to Dr. S. S. Bhatti, several renowned Sikh scholars e. g. Dr. Bhai Harbans Lal, USA; Dr. Michael Hawley, Bibi Gurdish Kaur Grewal, and Prof. Maninder Singh, Alberta; Dr. D. S. Sekhon, and Dr. D. P. Singh, Ontario; Dr. Kala Singh, British Columbia, Canada; S. Kuljit Singh India; and Bhai Nirmaljit Singh, UK, etc. participated and shared their views on various aspects of Sikh theology and history. For the dissemination of mental health awareness among Sikh Sangat (community), several experts e. g. Dr. Punam Chouhan and Dr. Anmol Kapoor, Alberta, Canada shared their view in the e-Diwan. Several groups of young people were encouraged to share their talent in Gurbani kirtan. Thus Dr. Bhatti served well for the cause of Sikhism in the trying times of the corona pandemic.

Prof. Bhatti, is committed to bringing out the truth of Gurbani, logically, rationally and scientifically. With his scientific training and devotion to Gurbani, he is eminently qualified to do so. Prof. Bhatti adheres that Sikh Gurus' Philosophy is perennial and universal in its approach to understand Cosmology, Nature, life, and human behavior in the present scientific era. Keeping in view, his outstanding contributions for the propagation of Sikhi, his views on various aspects of Sikh Philosophy are presented here for the benefit of readers:

Dr. Singh: You are a Physicist by training and a teacher by profession. How have you become interested in Sikh theology?
Dr. Bhatti:
Sikhi is not an orthodox religion, rather it is a “Truthful way of life," a blend of Sikh spirituality with modern science. For instance, Guru Nanak (1469-1539), reveals how the universe was created. This conviction of Guru Nanak has been confirmed by Big Bang Theory in 1948.

ਆਪੇ ਸਚੁ ਕੀਆ ਕਰ ਜੋੜਿ ਅੰਡਜ ਫੋੜਿ ਜੋੜਿ ਵਿਛੋੜਿ ਧਰਤਿ ਅਕਾਸੁ ਕੀਏ ਬੈਸਣ ਕਉ ਥਾਉ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 839)
It means breaking the cosmic egg, He (God) reunited the particles (created after the explosive bang) and made Earth and Sky fit for the human beings to live there.​

Guru Arjan Dev, in the early seventeenth century, talks of atoms* as smallest parts of matter, which Dalton proposed in 1803.

ਪਰਮਾਣੋ ਪਰਜੰਤ ਆਕਾਸਹ ਦੀਪ ਲੋਅ ਸਿਖੰਡਣਹ ਗਛੇਣ ਨੈਣ ਭਾਰੇਣ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨਾ ਸਾਧੂ ਸਿਧ੍ਯ੍ਯਤੇ ॥(SGGS, M. 5, P. 1360)
It means that if one could transform himself to the size of an atom*, which could travel through the galaxies
in the twinkling of the eye#, still, true knowledge would be acquired only by the grace of the Guru.​

Guru knew this is possible only at the speed of light#, a result given later by Einstein in 1905. Relation of Space and Time, a result that follows from the Theory of Relativity, is obvious from Guru Nanak's description of the Time of Creation of the Universe.
ਅਰਬਦ ਨਰਬਦ ਧੁੰਧੂਕਾਰਾਧਰਣਿ ਗਗਨਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਅਪਾਰਾ
ਨਾ ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ ਚੰਦੁ ਸੂਰਜੁ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਇਦਾ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1035)
Guru Nanak says for endless eons, there was utter darkness. Earth, sky, day, night, Sun, or Moon did not exist.
Only God sat in absolute silence.​

Theory of Relativity says Time (day and night) cannot exist when there is no Space (Earth, Sun, or Moon). Time is a dimension of the 4-D manifold called space-time continuum. Thus, there is no dichotomy between Sikh Spirituality and Modern Science.

Dr. Singh: What are the basic principles of Sikh Gurus' Philosophy?
Dr. Bhatti: "Worship of one God" and "Truthful Living" are the two basic principles of Sikh Philosophy. One Universal True God is the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent creator of the countless universes. This timeless, fearless, and loving power alone sustains all life. Worship of God implies empathy for all humans, (irrespective of gender, caste, color, creed, and their faith) and for all species of flora and fauna. That leaves no space for hatred, ill-will, or violence. Gurus advise humans to learn from the good characteristics of animals, birds, trees, forests, and other forms of life. All good human qualities follow as corollaries of Truthful Living, the second pillar of Sikhi.

ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 62)
Guru Nanak says that everything is below Truth, but Truthful Living is higher than All.​

These principles are the starting points to free a person from the misleading rituals, idolatry, myths, and blind beliefs that are incongruous in the 21st century.

Dr. Singh: What are the authentic sources of the Sikh Philosophy?
Dr. Bhatti: Hymns of the Sikh Gurus, and several saints (who believed in the Sikh philosophy), were recorded in 31 musical forms (Raagas) in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). This is the Holiest Book of the Sikhs. However, SGGS was also given the exalted status of an Eternal, Living Guru by the Tenth and last Master, Guru Gobind Singh (1666 -1708), after him. This most authentic source of Sikh philosophy was got compiled, revised, and sealed during the lifetime and under the supervision of the Gurus themselves. Every Sloka is numbered and locked, so that no addition, deletion, or modification is possible subsequently. The compositions of Bhai Gurdas, the scholar, who originally wrote down the text, Dasam Granth, and the verses of the tenth Sikh Guru's contemporary poet Bhai Nand Lal are the other authentic sources of Sikh philosophy. These verses contain praises of one God, devoid of all rituals, and guide how one can live truthfully.

There have been several great scholars and historians who have written extensively about the Sikh philosophy. These include such eminent persons as Bhai Chaupa Singh (author of Rehatnama, the code of Conduct for the Sikhs), Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha (author of Mahan Kosh), Bhai Vir Singh (a great Sikh spiritual poet), Professor Puran Singh (an enlightened Sikh mystic and a scientist), Principal Teja Singh (a missionary saint and a pioneer of the unique educational revolution at Baru Sahib) and Professor Sahib Singh (a renowned Sikh scholar and writer), among some others. They were highly devoted and enlightened Sikhs. Their knowledge and interpretations of Gurbani are highly respected, and their books are considered as standard reference works.

Dr. Singh: Some scholars claim that Sikh Gurus laid down the foundations of a new social order. Do you agree?
Dr. Bhatti: Yes. Guru Nanak gave the earliest democratic concepts of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, 300 years before the French Revolution of 1789. Parts of the world continue to be torn apart by blind beliefs and practices, even today. Sikhi, like a whiff of fresh air, heralded logical, and scientific thinking, rejecting all outdated and mythical customs. Descartes and Spinoza came on the scene in the 17th century while Voltaire and Rousseau appeared in the 18th century. Guru Nanak's crusade against the superstitions and unscientific beliefs spread by priests and the cruelties perpetrated by despotic rulers had begun in the 15th century. It frees society of all irrational and illogical mental shackles. Thus, Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus laid the foundation of a new social order, based on democratic and scientific principles, much ahead of their times.

The New Social Order created by Sikh Gurus has some other unique features. Guru Arjan Dev sacrificed his life for the Principles of his faith while Guru Teg Bahadur sacrificed himself to protect the Faith of others. Guru Har Gobind Sahib added the concept of Meeri (Self-respect and Royalty) to Peeri (Spirituality and humility) and thus created a new paradigm for the common people, particularly the Sikhs. The concept of Meeri-Peeri led to the emergence of new self-respecting, and Godfearing human beings in a dumb-driven society. Finally, Guru Gobind Singh created The Khalsa, a new force to reckon with. They were called sant-sipahi or saint-soldiers, who were to be not only compassionate, principled, and self-respecting human beings but also armed soldiers, capable of defending themselves as well as others, when faced with immoral and ruthless aggressors.

Ten enlightened Sikh Divine reformers, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, achieved this rejuvenation of a decadent and demoralized society in 239 years. They did not condemn any established religion, nor fought wars to annex any kingdom. They aimed to show the "Truthful way of (scientific and democratic) Living" by the establishment of a brave new social order, unparalleled in human history.

Dr. Singh: What is the relevance of Sachiara, as envisioned by Guru Nanak in his Jap composition, in the modern context?
Dr. Bhatti: The word Sachiara stands for the Truthful and is used primarily for God Himself. He alone is True and dispenses True Justice, as is evident from the following.

ਤੂ ਸਚਾ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1279)
You are True, O True Lord; You dispense True Justice.​

God likes the Truthful persons, called Gurmukhs in the Sikh parlance, the true devotees of the Guru, who are judged and found to have spent a Truthful Life.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੈ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਦਰਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਚਿਆਰ ॥ (SGGS, M. 3, P. 549)
The Gurmukhs are pleasing to the True Lord; they are judged to be true in the True Court.​

In Jap Ji Sahib, Guru Nanak explains how one can become truthful and how the veil of falsehood can be destroyed. He says it is destined that (to be True) one must (willingly) honor hukam, the Command of God.

ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1)
How can one become truthful? How can the veil of illusion be torn away?
Nanak says it is ordained that one must obey His Command (hukam).

ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੀ ਜਾਇ ਰਲੇ ਸਚਿਆਰ ਸਿਖ ਬੈਠੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ (SGGS, M. 3, P. 314)
(Guru says that) those who follow the path of falsehood, mingle with the false people;
but the truthful Sikhs follow the True Guru.​

It is obvious that to attain the status of a Sachiara, one has to keep away from falsehood and hypocrisy, and those who indulge in evil ways. One has to discard not only the company of the false people but also give up all vices and do good deeds. Only then one becomes Sachiara. Guru Nanak asserts;

ਅਵਗਣ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੀ ਦਰਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਚਿਆਰੋ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 437)
Discarding one's vices, one must do good deeds, and then in the True Court, he/she is judged as true.​

Dr. Singh: Many of the Sikh scholars emphasize one or the other versions of the Three Pillars of Sikhism e.g. (i) Kirat Karo, Naam Japo, Vand Chhako (2) Naam, Daan, Ishnaan (3) Sat, Santokh, Vicharo (4) Deg, Teg, Fateh, etc. Based on Sikh doctrines, what do you think is the aptest version?
Dr. Bhatti:
The most important doctrine is the one that was given by Guru Nanak himself, calling upon all humans, particularly the Sikhs, and enunciated in the prophetic words: Naam Japo, Kirat Karo and Vand Chhako. This epistemological doctrine points to basic human responsibilities that form the basis of real divine knowledge.

Naam Japo stresses one’s responsibility to oneself. By remembering God, one can resist evil thoughts, words, and acts, thereby acquiring the moral values and attributes needed for one’s spiritual uplift. It prevents wastage of time in futile rituals. It is necessary, however, to ensure that worship of God is reflected in a person’s conduct, which should be free of lust, violence, greed, ego, hatred, and ill will. These evils are the pitfalls on the journey of an individual who treads on the path of truthful living.

Kirat Karo exhorts earning one’s livelihood by fair means and hard work. Acquisition of wealth by dishonest tricks, either by giving or taking bribes or by exploiting the poor, is immoral as well as illegal. Earning money is necessary to look after the needs of one's own body and live life with self-respect by meeting one's family responsibilities. Sikh Gurus did not advocate renunciation of the family life and moving to forests or mountains to attain spiritual knowledge or peace of mind.

Vand Chhako means everyone has a responsibility towards society, as nobody lives in isolation, without support from others. One's financial earnings, material assets, and knowledge must be shared with the people outside the immediate family. This is called giving Dasvandh or one-tenth to charity. The selfless service (Seva), which many Sikhs e.g. Bhai Ghanaiyya, Bhagat Puran Singh, and several Sikh organizations have done from their resources, during difficult times, is a glittering example of implementation of this doctrine. Guru Nanak says;

ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1245)
One who earns by honest means and share his earning with others, O Nanak, he knows the real Way.​

Other doctrines have their different origins and significance. Giving donations (Daan) to the needy and food to the hungry (Deg) in community kitchens (Langars) are noble acts. But these acts can not be executed without first earning honestly the means to implement them. Similarly, taking baths (ishnaan) and observing complacency (santokh) in what one possesses is good in principle. However, these acts become meaningless if a person is oblivious of family and societal responsibilities. Abdication of responsibilities is neither worship nor help in the progress of society.

Dr. Singh: What is the Sikh perspective on life, death, reincarnation, heaven, and hell?
Dr. Bhatti: The Purpose of Life, says Gurbani, is to avail this opportunity to meet with God and worship in the company of the saints. The human body has been given for this purpose only. All other acts are of no use. Guru Arjan proclaims this in his hymns as;
ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ
ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਕਾਮ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 12)
This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet the Lord of the Universe.
Nothing else will work. Join the company of the holy (Sadh Sangat), and meditate on Naam (Virtues of God).​

Death is (inevitable but) peaceful if one does not forget God.

ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਹੁ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤਾ ਸਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ (SGGS, M. 3, P. 555)
If one does not forget the Master (God), then one's death will be peaceful.​

The Guru prays, "May the body be healthy at the last moments (before death) so that one may remember God".

ਸਰੀਰ ਸ੍ਵਸਥ ਖੀਣ ਸਮਏ ਸਿਮਰੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਮ ਦਾਮੋਦਰ ਮਾਧਵਹ ॥(SGGS, M. 5, P. 1358)
May the body be healthy at the last moments, so that one may remember God.
The Concept of Re-birth in Sikhism is similar to that in the other three Asian religions (Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism). One passes through numerous births (of animals, fish, birds, or insects) before getting human life.

ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਭਏ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਜ ਮੀਨ ਕੁਰੰਗਾ
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਰਪ ਹੋਇਓ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਹੈਵਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਖ ਜੋਇਓ ॥(SGGS, M. 5, P. 176)
In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect; in so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish, and a deer.
In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake. In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse.​

Mother, father, spouse, children, relatives, lovers, friends, and siblings, (who were) our associates in the previous birth, meet us but none of them help in the end.
ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ
ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਅੰਤਹਿ ਕੋ ਸਹਾਈ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 700)
Mother, father, spouse, children, relatives, lovers, friends and siblings, meet, having been associated
in previous lives, but none of them will be your companion and support in the end.​

Guru Gobind Singh has himself stated that he was engrossed in worship at the feet of God and was unwilling to come to the world. God somehow persuaded him and sent him to this world, with a Mission.

ਚਿਤ ਨ ਭਯੋ ਹਮਰੋ ਆਵਨ ਕਹਿ ॥ ਚੁਭੀ ਰਹੀ ਸ੍ਰੁਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਚਰਨਨ ਮਹਿ ॥
ਜਿਉ ਤਿਉ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਸਮਝਾਯੋ ॥ ਇਮ ਕਹਿ ਕੈ ਇਹ ਲੋਕਿ ਪਠਾਯੋ ॥ (Dasam Granth, Bachitar Natak, P. 118)
I had no desire to come because I was fully absorbed in devotion to the Holy feet of the Lord.
But the Lord made me understand His Will and sent me in this world with the following words.​

Heaven and Hell, according to Gurbani, are not any dedicated places. Truthful Living and worship of God give one a state of bliss, which is heaven. Such a person has no rebirth and becomes one with the Creator. However, a person who spends life without worship and is under the spell of sins (like lust, violence, greed, attachments, ego, falsehood, ill-will, jealousy, slander, and hatred), lives in a mental state, called hell. Such a person is reborn and passes through the state of hell. One example is that of a person who has the pride of power. Such a person gets rebirth as a dog whose life is hell.

ਜਿਸ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਾਜ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਸੋ ਨਰਕਪਾਤੀ ਹੋਵਤ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 278)
One who has the pride of power within, shall dwell in hell, and become a dog.​

Gurbani says a person who has forgotten God and is stuck in falsehood and deception, slanders others day and night, comes repeatedly (into this world), and dies. Such a person is born again and again and is reborn in the womb of hell.

ਸਾਕਤ ਕੂੜ ਕਪਟ ਮਹਿ ਟੇਕਾ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਨੇਕਾ
ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਆਵਹਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਗ੍ਰਭ ਜੋਨੀ ਨਰਕ ਮਝਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1030)
The faithless cynics are stuck in falsehood and deceit. Day and night, they slander many others.
Without meditative remembrance, they come and then go, and are cast into the hellish womb of reincarnation.
Dr. Singh: How do you distinguish between the Gurbani's concepts of Karma and Nadar?
Dr. Bhatti: The concepts of Karma and Nadar are explained in the Jap Ji as;

ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵੈ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 2)
One gets this life based on the acts committed in the previous birth and gets salvation by
the Grace of the Guru. Nanak says, that know this well; that God is the True One.​

When seeds of one’s good deeds of the past sprout, one meets God, the source of bliss and detachment. Guru Arjan proclaims;

ਪੂਰਬ ਕਰਮ ਅੰਕੁਰ ਜਬ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੇ ਭੇਟਿਓ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਰਸਿਕ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 204)
When the seed of the karma of past actions sprouted, I met the Lord; He is both the Enjoyer and the Renunciate.​

While performing good deeds is the righteous path and it is the duty (karma) of the Gurmukhs to follow it, the fruits of these acts are not in their hands. It is the grace of the Guru (Nadar) that ultimately brings enlightenment in their life.

ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਦਾਤਿ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 5)
O Nanak, by His Glance of Grace, He bestows His Blessings.​

Gurbani reveals that even the desirable and noble human acts of performing good deeds (karma) can be performed by a person only under the merciful and graceful glance (Nadar) of the Guru. Nothing can happen without the grace of the Guru and nothing is outside his glance. One becomes what the grace of the Guru wants and depends upon the way the Guru beholds. Gurbani proclaims;

ਸਭ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਨਦਰੀ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕੋਇ ਜੈਸੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੈ ਸਚਾ ਤੈਸਾ ਹੀ ਕੋ ਹੋਇ ॥(SGGS, M. 3, P. 66)
All do their deeds under the Glance of Grace of the Guru; no one is beyond his vision.
According to the Glance of Grace with which the Guru beholds us, so do we become.​

However, the word Karam is not restricted to human actions alone. It has also been used to signify the blessings of the Guru. The glorious greatness of God's name (Naam), is bestowed upon a person only by the mercy of the Guru.

Dr. Singh: What is the Sikh perspective on Spirituality?
Dr. Bhatti: Sikh Spirituality is based on the principles of remembrance of One Supreme God and directing all human acts to Sarbat da Bhala (the Good of All). Besides, Sikh Spirituality is based on a discipline, the Rehat Maryada (Sikhs’ Code for conduct), prescribed by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. A Sikh can attain spiritual knowledge only after following the guiding hukam (Will of God) of the Gurus, enshrined as Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥ (SGGS, M. 2, P. 139)
O Nanak, recognize the Lord's Command (Hukam), and thereby merge with Him.

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨਿਹੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਕੇਰਾ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ (SGGS, M. 3, P. 918)
Obey the Guru's Command (Hukam), and sing the True hymns (Bani).​

All Gurus (and saints) repeatedly warn human beings against five deadly sins: Kaam (Lust), Krodh (Violence), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment) and Ahankaar (Ego). Lust can be overcome by living a responsible family life. Family is necessary for the cycle of civilized life. However, indiscriminate indulgence in lust destroys families and a healthy social structure. Anger, even in difficult situations, needs to be kept under control. It should not lead to violence. History is replete with the tragic consequences of unbridled anger. Greed has been the cause of most crimes at every level, and many wars in human history. Earning for one’s needs by honest means is justified and is not greed. Human attachments are the basis of healthy family and social relations. But excessive attachments are the root cause of animosities and jealousies. Ego is the worst of all human frailties and leads to the downfall of even the noble and devout spiritual luminaries. However, self-esteem is different from vanity. Gurbani illuminates the mind with the hukam and enables Truthful Living if one observes the Code of Conduct and abstains from these five deadly sins.

Dr. Singh: Do scientists believe in God? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Dr. Bhatti: Scientific discoveries were once supposed to be accurate, beyond any doubt. This is no longer true. Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty in physics points to this conclusion. He asserted that there is a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain sub-atomic physical entities can be determined. Most scientists believe that while scientific research is an effort to discover the truth about the matter, energy, and living systems, spirituality is an attempt to understand the questions of the mind which science can not answer. Thus, there is no conflict between them.

ਓਇ ਜੁ ਦੀਸਹਿ ਅੰਬਰਿ ਤਾਰੇ ਕਿਨਿ ਓਇ ਚੀਤੇ ਚੀਤਨਹਾਰੇ ॥ (SGGS, Bhagat Kabir, P. 329)
Who has planned the (motion of the) stars which are seen in the space?" asks Bhagat Kabir.​

We know that gravitational forces and centrifugal forces balance and keep the planets moving around stars in their orbits. A similar situation is prevalent concerning the motion of the stars within the galaxies, and the galaxies in the interstellar space. The galaxies not only recede, indicative of the expanding universe but also rotate in a well-planned manner. It cannot be called a chance event, as that would be the violation of the Law of Causality. Scientists can calculate only partly how it happens, but nobody can say with certainty who caused it all, when and why? The ranges of the orbits, the inclinations of the planets, and their speeds of rotation around their respective stars are within safe limits and appropriate for the seasons on them. Who did this?

Today, scientists can not explain several important mysteries, like the evolution of life, and stem cell research results. Einstein once remarked, " I believe in (Spinoza's concept) of God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists. All the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling". In the order, beauty, and intelligibility of creation, he found signs of God. He also heard Him throughout his life in music. Guru Nanak clinches the matter thus;

ਪੂਰੇ ਕਾ ਕੀਆ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਘਟਿ ਵਧਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਾਹੀ
ਨਾਨਕ
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਐਸਾ ਜਾਣੈ ਪੂਰੇ ਮਾਂਹਿ ਸਮਾਂਹੀ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 1412)
Everything is done by the perfect Creator, and all His acts are perfect. They are neither inadequate nor excessive.
The faithful understands this and spiritually merges in the Perfect. That is the way, a believer acquires the perfect knowledge.​

Dr. Singh: How can Sikh Gurus’ Philosophy help in the cultivation of scientific temper in society?
Dr. Bhatti: Gurbani enjoins upon all to give up the superstitions, blind beliefs, and illogical practices, spread by some cunning people to exploit the gullible. It rejects the worship of idols, graves of the dead, planets and stars, trees, and animals. It considers utterly futile all such rituals such as ablutions in rivers on special days, pilgrimages, fasts, self-inflicted tortures, and acts such as the application of ashes on the body.

In the Sikh Gurus’ philosophy, renouncing home to attain enlightenment is foolish. Also, Sikhism debunks the concept of the so-called miracles that some self-styled charlatans show to hoodwink the naïve and the gullible to make money. Sikh Gurus exposed such acts and beliefs as the results of people's gross ignorance. Gurus set highly potent examples of their scientific thinking. A few instances, as follows, would suffice.

During one of his travels, Guru Nanak reached Hardwar. There he saw that people were “worshiping” the Sun, treating it as a “god”, by throwing water from the “holy” Ganges river, towards the East. Guru Nanak started throwing water towards the West, wherein lay his fields. When asked how water thrown by him in West can reach his fields, which are several hundred miles away, Guru Nanak replied that if your water can reach millions of miles away to the Sun, it can easily reach his fields, which are much closer than the Sun. His argument was logical and was intended to remove an unscientific belief that Sun is a god.

Similarly, during one of Guru Nanak's travels to the West, at Mecca, the worshippers objected when he slept with his feet towards the holy shrine. He asked them to turn his feet in the direction where there is no God. The message was clear: God is in all directions and everywhere.

During his times, there was a prevalent myth that the earth is balanced on the horns of a bull. Guru Nanak explained (much before Science did so) that there are millions of planets, stars, galaxies, and universes, which are not gods. Where do these bulls (balancing all of them) stand?

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਬੁਝੈ ਹੋਵੈ ਸਚਿਆਰੁਧਵਲੈ ਉਪਰਿ ਕੇਤਾ ਭਾਰੁ
ਧਰਤੀ ਹੋਰੁ ਪਰੈ ਹੋਰੁ ਹੋਰੁ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਭਾਰੁ ਤਲੈ ਕਵਣੁ ਜੋਰੁ॥(SGGS, M. 1, P. 3)
Only a knowledgeable person can understand it. What a great load there is on the bull!
So many worlds beyond this world, so very many! What power holds them, and supports their weight?​

He also revealed that there is life in every grain of our food. First of all, there is life in water which makes everything green.

ਜੇਤੇ ਦਾਣੇ ਅੰਨ ਕੇ ਜੀਆ ਬਾਝੁ ਕੋਇ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 472)
As many as are the grains of corn, none is without life.
First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green.​

There is life in plants, grass, flowers, fruits, trees, and every petal of vegetation. This was proved experimentally by scientists in the 20th century. Plants have emotions just like human beings and other living creatures. “Why do you destroy the living (the petals of flowers) to please the lifeless stone idols (of your presumed gods) ?” asks Bhagat Kabir.

ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਮਾਲਿਨੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਜੀਉ ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਉ ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਹਨ ਨਿਰਜੀਉ ॥ (SGGS, Bhagat Kabir, P. 479)
You tear off the leaves, O gardener, but in every leaf, there is life. That stone idol,
for which you tear off those leaves - that stone idol is lifeless.​

Millions of people in the world are poor, illiterate, unemployed, and afflicted with diseases. They pray for their prosperity in front of idols and graves, but their condition never improves. Many of them are educated but believe they are “religious” because they visit these places of “worship”. Few realize that spiritual wisdom is different from religious rituals. Only a rational attitude and logical thinking combined with a scientific temper can bring improvement in human life. This is exactly what the Sikh Philosophy advocates. (See more details in 'Scientific Thinking of Guru Nanak' at my blog; Simply Science, at drbhatti.ca).

Dr. Singh: What are the barriers to a logical interpretation of Gurbani? Why do Sikh practices appear to be out of sync with the Sikh doctrines in contemporary times?
Dr. Bhatti: For logical interpretation of Gurbani, the Sikh scholars will have to change the traditional ways of explaining Sikhi. The teachings and lives of Sikh Gurus were based not on miracles or blind beliefs. They were based on sound logic, for which the Gurus sacrificed their lives. The failure to highlight this aspect is the main barrier in the correct interpretation of Gurbani and its relevance in modern times. The Sikh practices appear to be out of sync as the doctrines are not being implemented in their true spirit.

The logic of Sikh doctrines of Naam Japo (Worship of one Universal God), Kirat Karo (Truthful living and earning by honest means), and Vand Chhako (Selfless voluntary sharing) are not understood by those who run amuck for amassing wealth by foul means. Sikh Code of Conduct (Rehat Maryada) is the only way to restrain the egoistic mind, which often wanders after lust, greed, and evils causing violence and crimes in the world. Lust and anger dissolve (or waste away) the body just as borax dissolve gold. Gurbani proclaims;

ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ਜਿਉ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੋਹਾਗਾ ਢਾਲੈ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 932)
Unfulfilled sexual desire and unresolved anger waste the body away, as gold is dissolved by borax.​

The Sikh doctrines of empathy and selfless Seva (altruistic service) are needed in the modern world today, where poverty, disease, addiction, crime, and atrocities prevail in many parts. Calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis, and climate changes make human life more miserable. One can do service to humanity only by giving up ego and rising above attachment to personal gain, ambitions, one's family, one's community, and prejudices against others. Guru Nanak proclaims;

ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 26)
Amid this world, do Seva (selfless voluntary service), and you shall be given a place of honor in the Court of the Lord.​

Dr. Singh: Karl Marx, the German philosopher, once said that "Religion is the opium of the people." Is Sikh Philosophy a new variety of this opium?
Dr. Bhatti: This is a metaphor, quoted only in part, and a misinterpreted statement. Let us not forget that he also said: "Religion is the general theory of this world … its spiritual point d’honneur,..... its moral sanction … It is the fantastic realization of the human essence...… and the soul of soulless conditions.” What he meant was that religion had a certain value similar to that of opium for the sick or injured. Religion gives them the strength to face their adversities, depressions, diseases, and other vicissitudes of life.

Today, there are many other forms of the opium of the people. For instance, fandom for celebrities and sports, car and horse races, crazy lustful escapades, addiction to television, and life-threatening games on the internet, are all modern-day opiates of the masses. Even religious showmanship and hysteria and the political jugglery for power and wealth are the popular varieties of a numbing obsession (call it opium) that hold some hope (though false) for the suffering human species.

Sikhism is not a stereotype, outdated, and traditional "religion" in the conventional sense. It is a modern and scientific way of truthful living, with a spiritual experience based on the three basic doctrines of Naam Japo, Kirat Karo, and Vand Chhako. Hence, the Marxist metaphor is not relevant for the Sikh Philosophy. Guru Nanak was neither a scientist nor a communist. He had logical and rational thinking and stood boldly in favor of the poor and oppressed.

Even when the word opium is used symbolically, it can not apply to Sikhism, which does not accept any mumbo-jumbo and rituals. Sikhism does not stand for meekly submitting before any oppressor of the poor. Sikhi advocates sacrifice of life for one’s principles. There can be no revolution in human thinking greater than the one brought about by the Sikh Gurus. This revolution is based on the concepts of Meeri and Peeri, living a truthful life with self-respect, in service of humanity without any bias, and remembrance of one universal God. It is not opium.

Dr. Singh: During April-July 2020, in e-Diwan (organized by Dr. Raja Balraj Singh, Alberta, Canada) you have delivered several lectures on various aspects of Nature as depicted in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In these lectures, you have proclaimed that the mystical vision about Nature in SGGS is compatible with modern science. Can you share a few salient features of your thesis?
Dr. Bhatti:
All Sikh Gurus have always been very close to nature. Guru Nanak traveled with his two companions more than 30,000 miles, across plains, mountains, deserts, and oceans, to visit many countries. They preferred to stay mostly in shady groves in the proximity of rivers, trees, flowers, animals, and birds. Gurus saw life in plants, appreciated the peculiar characteristics of flora and fauna, and asked human beings not only to protect them but also to learn from their qualities. They saw the presence of God in various aspects and forms of nature. The Gurus also described the significance of the attributes of such manifestations of nature as time, months, seasons, day and night, winds, water, rain, clouds, oceans, the innumerable planets, moons, stars, galaxies, and universes. Some examples are given here.

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਰੁਖੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਫੁਲੁ ਫਲ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 147)
Nanak says that the Guru is the tree of contentment (of the worshipper), with flowers of faith (in God),
and fruits of divine spiritual wisdom (that emerges from them).

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਲੇਪ ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲ ਅਲੇਪ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 272)
One who acquires true Spiritual Knowledge is not attached to the (attractions of the) world,
just as the lotus flower, though in water, remains detached from it.

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਹਉ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪੰਖੀਆ ਜੰਗਲਿ ਜਿੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਵਾਸੁ
ਕਕਰੁ ਚੁਗਨਿ ਥਲਿ ਵਸਨਿ ਰਬ ਛੋਡਨਿ ਪਾਸੁ॥ (SGGS, Saikh Farid, P. 1383)
Farid Ji says he is a sacrifice to the birds whose abode in the forest,
who peck at the roots, live on the ground but do not forget God.

ਸਰਵਰ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਮੋਤੀ ਸੋ ਹੰਸਾ ਕਾ ਖਾਣਾਬਗੁਲਾ ਕਾਗੁ ਰਹਈ ਸਰਵਰਿ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਅਤਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ
ਓਨਾ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਪਇਓ ਓਥੈ ਓਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਹੋਰੋ ਖਾਣਾਸਚਿ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਸਚੋ ਪਾਈਐ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜਾ ਮਾਣਾ ॥(SGGS, M. 1, P. 956)
The diamonds are in this lake; they are the food of the swans. The cranes and the ravens may be very wise,
but they do not remain in this lake. They do not find their food there; their food is different.
Practicing Truth, the True Lord is found. False is the pride of the false.​

Hereby Guru Nanak proclaims that noble people do not mix with the false ones, only the liars take pride in the company of the false. The swans like diamonds and pearls in pure water lakes. Cranes and the crows, even if very wise, do not live in such clean places as their (co{censored}) food is different and is not available there.

The Gurus stressed the need to conserve the ecological balance of nature which is possible only if the forest cover of the earth is protected. The flora and fauna can survive if their sanctuaries are intact as their habitat. Deliberate deforestation to meet exponentially mounting energy (and other) needs of the rising human populations has led to the calamity of adverse climate change. Wild forest fires have only further compounded the resulting tragedy of global warming. These are the consequences of ignoring the proclamations made in SGGS, five centuries ago.

Reforestation today is now a world-wide concern and is being done extensively. North America is adding more than 17,000 hectares of new forests every year. Canada has a target of raising its present cover of 34% to 40% and is reducing the yearly forest losses from 0.34 % to as low as 0.02%. Japan has enacted a law that requires that at least 34% of its land area must be covered by forests. German law has fixed this cover at 31%. Similarly, China has a plan to plant more than 26% of its land with jungle. Every student (above the age of 11 ) in China is required to plant a new tree every year till graduation. These are some of the positive steps being taken up by humanity to handle the global crisis of climate change in a fruitful manner.

Dr. Singh: What are the major causes of the ruination of Punjab - the birthplace of Sikhism (especially concerning its social and ecological aspects)? Based on Sikh Gurus' vision as envisaged in SGGS, what can be done to stem the rot?
Dr. Bhatti:
Punjab is ruined on two fronts, Moral and Ecological. Its youth, known for strength and diligence, are now drug addicts. Groundwater table was high, and air, water, and soil pollution were negligible. This has changed drastically for the worse.

Moral degradation in Punjab began when Punjabi was ignored after partition in 1947. This alienated the youth from their rich culture and heritage. The moral values taught in Gurbani were forgotten. Green Revolution that brought prosperity in Punjab, led to binge drinking as a status symbol, leaving manual work to migrant labor. Now, dangerous intoxicants have made them addicts and physical wrecks. Besides, blatant corruption has demoralized the impressionable minds. They are enamored of the ribald songs, erroneously considered "Punjabi culture," praising lusty overtures, intoxicants, violence, and gangsterism.

Instead of honest earning by hard work (as taught by Gurbani), they are attracted to the easy route of grabbing worthless degrees, ill-gotten wealth, and unprincipled politics. Except for some, most educational institutes have failed to impart moral values to the younger generations. Their main aim is to migrate to other countries, as there are few jobs left in the state.

Ecological degradation in Punjab started when the Indian Punjab lost three main rivers, which had almost double water flow than in the rivers left behind, due to partition. Even this water has been shared (free of cost) with non-riparian states, leaving an insufficient amount of water for Punjab. The high-water consuming crops of rice have made Punjab seriously deficit in water. The water-table has gone alarmingly down due to the usage of thousands of tube-wells for irrigation. Agriculture has become non-sustainable, leading to suicides by farmers. The chemical fertilizers have widely polluted the soil. The flow of toxic industrial effluents into rivers, caused severe pollution of soil and water, which resulted in an exponential increase in diseases (like cancer) among people.

The solution to these problems is not easy. It requires a multi-pronged, very well thought out, and internationally co-ordinated effort by all concerned. The passive elder generation has to play a pro-active role if the next generation is to be saved.

For the youth, the elders in Punjabi families will have to consciously set a healthy example by themselves shunning vulgar songs, alcohol, and all types of intoxicants in totality. Making them status symbols is a sign of inferiority complex. The loss of moral values will not affect only one community, but it will destroy the future of the youths of all communities in Punjab. Only Punjabi, their rich mother tongue, should be spoken at home so that the original culture and teachings of SGGS can be understood by the next generations. This type of self-imposed discipline, therefore, is essential not only for the Sikhs, but it is also equally important for all communities.

In Punjab’s fields, the large-scale sowing of rice must immediately stop as rice requires three times more water compared to wheat. Co{censored} grain crops (like maize, millets, soya, and barley), which require much less water than even wheat, must be encouraged. Farmyard manures should replace the chemical fertilizers to achieve maximum organic products. Immediate steps need to be taken to prevent pollution of rivers as well as the diversion of Punjab's river-waters to other states. If all these measures are not implemented on a war footing, Punjab will soon become a desert. India will suffer grievously if this ever happens in the state that always provided the largest number of defenders of the country and was also her breadbasket in the past.

Sikhs in the West cannot afford to ignore their mother tongue and become drug addicts. These two factors are the major threats to their identity. Punjabi is the 10th most popular language among the 7000 languages spoken in the world. It has 35 alphabets (and six connectives or Matras) that make its words and sounds more precise. Today, the Sikhs are well settled and are respected in the Western world. The most important duty of the parents, social leaders, religious organizations, and Sikh politicians in the West is to maintain their honorable status abroad by protecting their youngsters from drugs and keep them in touch with their roots. There is no better way to achieve this goal than to observe the simple tenets embodied in Sikh Rehat Maryada and to follow the logical teachings of SGGS sincerely.

Dr. Singh: Presently, there is a lot of discussion and activities in vogue about inter-faith dialogue. Many religious heads and scholars emphasize that inter-faith dialogue is the need of the hour. How can Sri Guru Granth Sahib play a leading role in such a dialogue?
Dr. Bhatti:
There is a great need for serious Inter-Faith Dialogue in today’s world, torn apart by disharmony between different faiths. There is a lack of understanding among the adherents of most religions about the basic tenets of the other religions. In this context, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) can play a very great unifying role because of some unique features of this holy scripture.

Universal appeal for people of all religions, all over the world, is the edifice of SGGS. For the Sikhs, SGGS is a Living Guru, a divine teacher, but the teachings are not for or against any other religion. The verses in this beautiful treatise, of 1430 pages, are in simple Gurmukhi script, with popular words from 22 languages spoken in the Indian sub-continent, and 31 musical Raagas. They are composed not only by the Sikh Gurus but also by 15 saints of other religions. These saints include the Muslims (Sheikh Farid and Kabir) and the Hindus (Namdev, Jaidev, Ramanand, Ravidas, Beni, Dhanna, and Parmanand), among others. It is the only sacred book in the world that honors all religions.

SGGS addresses all people following different schools of thought, Nirgun (who believes God is formless) and Sargun (who visualize God in perceptible forms). Gurbani says God is both Nirgun and Sargun.

ਨਿਰਗੁਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਰਗੁਨੁ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ ਕਲਾ ਧਾਰਿ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਮੋਹੀ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 287)
He is absolute and unrelated (nirgun); He is also involved and related (sargun).
Manifesting His power, He fascinates the entire world.​

The logical approach to the worship of One Universal God is another distinct aspect of the hymns in SGGS. Worship is not just a mechanical recitation of the verses (Slokas) and the performance of some rituals. Instead, one is expected to understand their true meanings and mold his or her life accordingly. Worship is futile if it is not reflected in good deeds in actual human life. For this, the verses (Slokas) stress Truthful Living, Honest earning, and Sharing with others, irrespective of caste and creed. Love, empathy, respect, and goodwill for all form the cornerstones of Gurbani in SGGS. All illogical beliefs and practices are rejected. The goal is to achieve spiritual knowledge by following a new logical way of Truthful Living, commensurate with the scientific temper of the modern world.

Simple spiritual epistemology is the basis of Gurbani in SGGS. It asks: (i) What exactly is true spiritual knowledge bereft of all mumbo-jumbo? (ii) How can this spiritual knowledge be acquired by the common people? (iii) What is the ultimate purpose of acquiring this spiritual knowledge? (iv) Who can guide human beings to come out of the darkness of ignorance? Guru Arjan enunciates;
ਸੋਈ ਜਪੁ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜੀਉ ਭਾਵੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਪੂਰ ਗਿਆਨਾ ਜੀਉ ॥ (SGGS, M.5, P. 100)
That which pleases God is meditation; to be in harmony with His Will is perfect spiritual wisdom.​

Acceptance of the Will of God is Meditation and a source of spiritual knowledge. Guru Nanak elaborates;

ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ (SGGS, M. 1, P. 469)
The mind can indeed be restrained by spiritual wisdom, but without the Guru, there is no spiritual wisdom.​

The purpose of acquiring spiritual knowledge is to restrain the fickle human mind (that falls an easy prey to evils). It is not obtainable without the Guru. The darkness of ignorance is dispelled (when) the Guru lights up the lamp of spiritual knowledge. Guru Arjan articulates;

ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੀਪਾਇਓ ॥ (SGGS, M. 5, P. 241)
The darkness of ignorance is dispelled when the Guru has lit the lamp of spiritual wisdom.​

SGGS does not talk of abstract philosophy for the spiritual enlightenment of only the scholars. Gurbani addresses the common human beings in simple words, using examples from the human environment and in the prevailing idiom. The Gurus explain how to be a good human being in the present-day hectic and scientific life. People of all religions can understand and adopt this in their life. These distinguishing attributes of SGGS can play a leading role in Inter-faith dialogues.

Dr. Singh: Thanks, Prof. S.S. Bhatti! for sparing your time to share your incisive views on Sikh theology and Sikh doctrines.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Last edited:

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

This Shabd is found on page 874 of the SGGS ji.

First, the CONTEXT.

The systematic corruption of spirituality by the clergy is a phenomenon that cuts across all major spiritual thought...

SPN on Facebook

...
Top