Sikh Edx Harvard Course: Sikhism Through Its Scriptures (free Online Course)

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by A_seeker, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. A_seeker

    A_seeker Writer SPNer

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    On 6th August 2018 .Harvard University will launch its first course on Sikh. The course is taught by Dr. Harpreet Singh, a scholar in Sikhism and South Asian Studies

    To Enroll checkout the link below:

    Sikhism Through Its Scriptures

    About this course

    Sikhi, commonly known as Sikhism, is a monotheistic religious tradition that was founded by Guru Nanak in late fifteenth-century Panjab in South Asia. Today, Sikhi’s approximately twenty-five to thirty million adherents can be found all over the globe, making it one of the six major religions of the world. Sikhi encompasses a number of religious, social, economic and political institutions, most of which were established and nurtured by Guru Nanak and his nine successors, known as Sikh Gurus.

    For over five hundred years, Sikhs in the Panjab and all over the world have engaged with their scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, through the devotional practices of exegesis, singing, recitation, memorization and calligraphy.

    This course examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providing an overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolved and became canonized. It also examines the musical and aesthetic dimensions of the Sikh scripture, as well as ways in which the voluminous text has provided Sikhs with a social, ethical, spiritual and political message to help them respond to and shape the world around them.

    No previous knowledge of Sikhi or religious studies is required. This course is part of the World Religions Through Their Scriptures XSeries Program.

    What you'll learn

    ● Exploration of a foundational Sikh text, the Japji, which was composed by Guru Nanak and is recited by Sikhs as part of their morning prayers
    ● The place of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, in Sikh life
    ● Interpretative skills to engage in a nuanced reading of Guru Granth Sahib
    ● Gurmat Sangit, the Sikh musical tradition, as represented in the Sikh scripture and its cultural context
    ● The aesthetics of Sikhi, including literature, art, and music
    ● The political dimensions of Sikh scripture and its impact on the evolution of Sikhs as a Panth or community
     
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    I would urge all to take this course. I have enrolled myself in.
     
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  4. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    I've enrolled, too. I'm ready for a refresher!
     
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  5. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh Admin SPNer

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    Well, the course started today... What are your first impressions of the course content?

    From a cursory look, the content seems to be greatly influenced by Sant Singh Khalsa translations as it is essentially using Christian terminology...
     
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  6. A_seeker

    A_seeker Writer SPNer

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    Maybe it might be funded by 3Ho followers as some of them are already professors at Harvard.Also it seems very introductory type of course.It will suit those who are new to sikhism.
    The JApji translation is too literal and not as per Tat Gurmat .Overall disappointing.
     
  7. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh Writer SPNer

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    Does it matter if it is funded by 3ho . Who would you recommend funding such a project?
     
  8. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    No, it is not funded by 3HO although the SGGS anniversary held at the San Jose Gurdwara last week was partly sponsored by 3HO where Gurmustuk Singh of Sikhnet also talked.

    I happen to know 2 out of 3 people who have arranged this course where JanamSakhis are given more importance than Gurbani. I have been talking to him since day 1 about the flaws of the course like Guru Nanak being a Prophet when there is no such thing in Sikhi. Thankfully, as per them, it has been removed which may be too late as that was the first day of the course.

    Then the course is also based on JanamSakhis which cannot be verified through Gurbani. For me, JanamSakhis to Sikhi are akin to the blood sucking tick on a dog. They distort Sikhi rather than enlightening us about anything. Many kathavaachaks till today, insert JanamSakhis in their Gurmat Kathas which is uncalled for.

    As 90% of the enrollees are non-Sikhs out of almost 200,000, it seems that this course is very good for those who are aliens to Sikhi.
     
  9. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh Writer SPNer

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    I don't think only 3ho can be accused of 'distorting' sikhi. Moreover my understanding is that they refer only to purataan janam sakhis and have also stated that the curriculum is not about right or wrong but about taking a rational approach to understanding how certain issues are contested. So far I think it has been pretty balanced and objective?
     
  10. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh Admin SPNer

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    Taking a rational approach with irrational janam sakhis ... :confusedmunda:
     
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  11. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur Writer SPNer Supporter

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    This line caught my eye.
    " It also examines the musical and aesthetic dimensions of the Sikh scripture..."
    The musical aspect has always been mysterious to me and honestly, very few seem to understand it.
    As for who is sponsoring it, lurking in the background, as long as they keep to Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji, I don't think they'll go far wrong.
    Sakhis are another matter entirely.
     
  12. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh Writer SPNer

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    From what I have seen so far they make clear that it is not about calling things rational or irrational but rather understanding how and why particular narratives have become prominent and hence contested.. I think that if as they claim to provide a scientific academic framework to consider these issues that can only be a good thing
     
  13. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh Writer SPNer

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    I don't place much value on janam sakhi myself but to disregard the importance placed on them and not trying to understand why they have become relevant seems obtuse..
     
  14. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    I'm new to Sikhi ( My journey started a bit more than one year ago) and the course is helping me to start developing some kind of "knowledge frame" from which I hope I can develop later my own vision. I'm very happy that some people here are taking the course and commenting it. Your different lenses will help me to look look at the course from different perspectives.



    Do they? I didn't notice. Is it that I'm so used to it that I even don't notice it? Would you mind sharing an example?



    Why is "too literal" that bad? Wouldn't be worst that the translator translated according to their own interpretation? I'm asking because as someone unable (yet :) ) to read Gurbani in Punjabi, and given that the general opinion is that the English transations (which are the ones I read) are quite bad, I'm concern about the issue.
    (And by the way I have been unable so far to find any books to learn Punjabi in Barcelona, not even in online shops, any ideas? (apart from online courses which I don't completely like to learn languages))

    I see that in here in general Janam Sakhis are not regarded as reliable sources while in the course they mention the Puran Janam Sakhi as worth taking into account. As far as I understand they see these texts as ways to understand how people viewed Guru Nanak ( "Some of the material, such as the janamsakhis, which is often dismissed as "hagiographic," helps us situate Guru Nanak in a specific context and understand how his contemporaries viewed him.").
    Could someone explain a bit more about this controversy?
    What about the Varan?
     
  15. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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  16. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    Sometimes I get to hear stories from other people about some of the crazy things I did in my younger years, in the 20 years since they took place, the stories, whilst still containing the basic events, end up quite far from the truth, and to be honest, although they make a good story, and a funny story, do not really encapsulate what happened or how people viewed me, so how reliable stories that have been doing the rounds for 500 years are,is open to debate
     
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  17. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    Thanks, Ishna! I'm so, happy!!


    Oh, I see that I should take things coming from the Sakhis with much more than a pinch of salt . Thanks!
    So, would you say that the SGGS is the only source from which one can get an understanding of who where the Gurus and what were their teachings?
     
  18. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    well, personally, I think Mool Mantra is a pretty good summary of their teachings, regarding who they were, again, personally, I do not consider that to be of any importance.
     
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