NAAM IN SIKHISM DALJEET SINGH 1. Introductory Every religion has its world-view on which are based its concepts about Reality, the place of man in the universe, ethics and human goals. All students of Sikhism know that the concept of Naam is fundamental to the gospel of Guru Granth Sahib and the entire structure of its theology. In fact, Sikhism has often been called the Naam Maarg or the way of Naam. It is in this context that we shall endeavour to trace the salient features and implications of this concept, which we believe, holds the key to the understanding of the message of the Sikh Gurus, their religious and social ideas and their world-view. At the outset, we should like to make one point clear about the language and the various traditional terms used by the Sikh Gurus. Since they were conveying their message to the mass of the people, both Hindus and Muslims, with a view to evoking a response in the very depths of their hearts, they have, for obvious reasons, used in their hymns the then current words and symbols from Indian, Persian and Arabic languages. And yet, one thing is patent even from a cursory study of the Guru Granth Sahib that the Gurus have, as was essential for the proper understanding of a new gospel, made the meaning of each concept, symbol and term employed by them, unambiguously clear. Many a time the meaning of such words is entirely their own. Accordingly, we have refrained from tracing the meaning of Naam to its traditional usage and background. In fact, such an exercise could be even misleading and wasteful. We shall, therefore, base our arguments and inferences about Naam on the hymns in Guru Granth Sahib and the accepted facts about the lives of the Sikh Gurus. 2. Definition Let us now try broadly to indicate how Naam has been used in Guru Granth Sahib, where it appears in a majority of hymns. The Sikh Gurus have given the word Naam, a distinct and significant meaning which is far different from that of mere ?Name? or ?psychic factors? as understood in Naam-Roopa in traditional literature. [5. p. 169]. The basic definition of Naam as contained in Sukhmani and other hymns in Guru Granth Sahib is given below : (i) ?Naam sustains all regions and universes, all thought, knowledge and consciousness, all skies and stars, all forces and substances, all continents and spheres. Naam emancipates those who accept it in their heart. He, on whom is His Grace, is yoked to Naam, and he reaches the highest state of development.? [1. p. 284]. (ii) Naam is the Creator of everything. To be divorced from Naam is death.? [1. p. 603]. ?All is created by Naam.? [1. p. 753]. ?Naam gives form to everything and through Naam comes all Wisdom or Light.? [1. p. 946]. (iii)Naam extends to all creation. There is no place or space where Naam is not.? [1. p. 4]. (iv) Naam is the Nine Treasures? and Nectar (amrita). It permeates the body.? [1. p. 293]. (v) Naam, the immaculate, is unfathomable. How can it be known? Naam is within us. How to get to it ? It is Naam that works everywhere and permeates all space. The perfect Guru awakens your heart to the vision of Naam. It is by the Grace of God that one meets such an Enlightener.? [1. p. 1242]. to be contd.