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Opinion Eminent Educationist and Excellent Proponent of Sikhism – Dr. Devinder Singh Sekhon

Dr. D. P. Singh

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SPNer
Apr 7, 2006
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Nangal, India
Eminent Educationist and Excellent Proponent of Sikhism - Dr. Devinder Singh Sekhon

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

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Photo: Dr. Devinder Pal Singh and Dr. Devinder Singh Sekhon

Dr. Devinder Singh Sekhon was born in Sathiali village of Gurdaspur district in Punjab province of India in 1944. After receiving his M.Sc. (Chemistry) degree from Kurukshetra University in 1965, he started his professional journey at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Mahilpur. The following year, he joined Khalsa College, Amritsar. However, in 1967, he joined Sikh National College, Kadian, as Head of the Department of Chemistry. Due to his keen interest in further studies, he emigrated to California, USA, in 1972 and later settled in Canada. Until 2009, he served as a Chemistry/ Educational Administration professor at various colleges/Universities in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Presently, living in Windsor, Canada, he is actively contributing to the fields of Science, Religion, and Literature.

Despite being a noted chemist and educationist, he is interested in sharing his insights about religion and science. Due to this keen dedication to sharing his understanding of Sikhi doctrines with all, he authored seven books on various aspects of the Sikh way of life. In addition, his about three dozen stories and two dozen articles have been published in various newspapers and magazines of India, Canada and the USA. His writings, laced with his rationalistic approach and logical outlook, have been well appreciated by his readers. Presently, he is entirely devoted to preparing an English translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs. In one of my recent meetings with him, I had a chance to learn more about his contributions and insights into Sikhism. A brief write-up of the interview is being shared for the benefit of the readers.​

Dr. Singh: You are a scientist by training and a teacher by profession; how have you become so interested in theology?
Dr. Sekhon:
I was very fond of reading from a very early age. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I got the opportunity to read S. Sohan Singh Seetal’s books. He was a famous religious author in those days. His books on the Martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh, the younger Sahibzadas, Guru Arjun Sahib, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, Baba Deep Singh Ji, and stories about Guru Nanak Sahib, etc., deeply touched my heart, and totally unaware of their impact on me, I became a highly devoted Sikh in my early childhood. When I studied science, and as my knowledge about nature and the universe grew, I became more fascinated by the amazing wonders of its Creator. My faith in His existence became firmer with time; it was solidified by Gurbani.

Dr. Singh: Do scientists believe in God? Is faith in God justified?
Dr. Sekhon:
I cannot speak on behalf of scientists in general, but as a science studente, my faith in God increased with every passing day. Scientists do not make or change natural laws; they only discover them. But there has to be some power which has created amazingly perfect laws. For example, the earth, which is known to be about 4.54 billion years old, has been rotating about its axis and revolving around the sun without any noticeable change in its path and its periods of rotation and revolution. Which power is keeping it so precisely in its path? There are zillions of amazing facts in nature which cannot be explained without some superpower being behind them. Let us not go too far; even the so complex functioning of the human body is so amazing that one cannot help but acknowledge that there must be some supernatural power which has created such a perfect system. According to Wikipedia, many renowned scientists, including Robert Boyle, Isaac Barrow, Gottfried Leibniz, L. Euler, Mikhail Lomonosov, A. Lavoisier, John Dalton, James Maxwell, John Dawson, J. Gladstone, Lord Kelvin, and J.J Thomson, were believers in God.

To answer the question of whether faith in God is justified, I will say absolutely. Looking at the creation of the universe, and its functioning, who can deny the existence of some supreme power – which you may call God, Allah, Waheguru, or by any other name - and which controls such an endless universe? Rather, I will ask a counter question, is denying the existence of some supreme power justified?

Dr. Singh: Some scholars emphasize that Sikh philosophy depicts a way of life, not a religion. What is your opinion about it?
Dr. Sekhon:
Is not any religion a way of life – a set of beliefs and faiths - that its adherents follow in their life? For example, Christians believe in Jesus as the son of God, in the Bible as their spiritual scripture, in the Trinity principle, in Satin, in Adam and Eve, in Judgment Day, and in the idea that only Christians are the preferred children of God. They do not believe in reincarnation.

Muslims believe in one God and Mohammad as their prophet, but also believe that Mohammad was the last prophet. They follow the Sharia in their everyday life and offer prayers five times a day. They must perform Hajj at least once in life, and men are allowed to marry four times. The women are not allowed to go to the mosques and believe firmly that only Muslims are the true devotees of God, whereas all others are infidels; forcible conversion into Islam is considered a noble deed.

Hindus believe in multiple gods and goddesses and lay great emphasis on the performance of rituals, like a pilgrimage, idol worship, wearing of religious symbols, caste system, donations to Brahmans, auspicious and inauspicious days, in the custom of “sati” treating the cow and some rivers as being sacred and more. They also believe in hell and paradise as being special places. The same goes for other religions.

Sikhs also have their own set of beliefs, including the belief only in one God, with Guru Granth Sahib as their spiritual Guru. They believe in the equality of all human beings as the children of one God and do not believe in the caste system. They must earn their living by honest means working with their own hands, share their wealth with the needy, and not intimidate anyone or allow their own intimidation by others. They are expected to keep Waheguru in mind all the time. They do not believe in hell and heaven as some dedicated places. So, like any other religion, Sikhs have their own religion, which is confirmed by the Sikh Scriptures. Our Guru Sahiban called their followers Sikhs. The following holy Shabads support this assertion.

ਬਲਿਓ ਚਰਾਗੁ ਅੰਧ੍ਹਾਰ ਮਹਿ ਸਭ ਕੁਲ ਉਧਰੀ ਇਕ ਨਾਮ ਧਰਮ॥ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੁ ਸਗਲ ਹਰਿ ਭਵਨ ਮਹਿ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 1387)
Meaning: Guru Nanak was a lamp of spiritual enlightenment which dispelled the darkness of ignorance in the world, and the whole world attained salvation by the sole Naam of Waheguru. Guru Nanak appeared as a manifestation of Waheguru in the whole universe.

ਨਾਉ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਾਦਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਉ ਬੋਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੋਖੀਵਦੇ॥ ---- ਨਾਨਕਿ ਰਾਜੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਟੁ ਸਤਾਣੀ ਨੀਵ ਦੈ॥ (ਸਤੇ ਅਤੇ ਬਲਵੰਡ ਦੀ ਵਾਰ, 966)
Meaning: When Waheguru, Himself exalts someone, no words can fully justify his grandeur. ----------- (Satguru) Nanak founded a new kingdom (of spiritual path or religion) of which the very strong foundation was based on Truth (Waheguru’s Naam).

ਸਿਧੀ ਮਨੇ ਬੀਚਾਰਿਆ ਕਿਵੈ ਦਰਸਨ ਏ ਲੇਵੈ ਬਾਲਾ॥ ----- ਸਬਦਿ ਜਿਤੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਮੰਡਲੀ ਕੀਤੋਸੁ ਆਪਣਾ ਪੰਥ ਨਿਰਾਲਾ॥ (ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ ਜੀ, ਵਾਰ 1, ਪਉੜੀ 31)
Meaning: The Sidh yogis began to ponder on how to win (Guru) Nanak to their faith. ------- However, Guru Nanak overpowered the Yogis with His logic and convinced them that their path to realize Waheguru was not right, and He established His own unique religious path.

So, it does not matter what people claim, Sikhism is a distinct religion. Guru Arjun Sahib further solidifies this claim when He writes in SGGS, p. 1136, “I am neither a Hindu nor a Muslim.”

Dr. Singh: What are the unique features of Sri Guru Granth Sahib that make it universal in its approach to human concerns?
Dr. Sekhon:
The main human concerns are equality of all human beings and justice for all, fulfilment of the basic needs of life, and peace in the world. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) emphasizes all these concerns. The following Shabads will make the claim clear.

ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 611-12)
Meaning: We all are the children of the same Father, Waheguru, who is also my (our) Guru.

ਅਵਲਿ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ॥ ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ॥ (ਪ੍ਰਭਾਤੀ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀਉ, 1349-50)
Meaning: First of all, God created nature from His Light, and we are the children (products) of the same Light. Being the products of the same Light, whom can we call good or bad?

ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲੰਦਾ ਰਖਿ ਲੈ ਆਪਣੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਦੁਆਰੇ ਉਬਰੈ ਤਿਤੈ ਲੈਹੁ ਉਬਾਰਿ॥ (ਮ:3, 853)
Meaning: Kindly save the world which is burning (suffering) in the fire of desires; oh Waheguru. It does not matter which faith the people belong to.

As you can see, all these holy Shabads are meant for the whole of humanity and not only for a particular set of followers.
In addition to the above, SGGS appeals to all humanity because it is all about the praise of God (Waheguru) and about exhorting high moral character for all humanity. Unlike other religious holy books, it does not include any personal stories. It does not claim that only Sikhs can attain emancipation and be “one” with Waheguru. Any human, who worships God with full dedication and leads a life of high moral character, can attain emancipation. It is the only holy book of its kind, which includes the compositions of other holy saints from all religions and from all castes as well. There are 35 holy saints and great souls whose compositions are enshrined in SGGS, but out of them, there are only 6 Sikh Gurus in this list; and the remaining 29 are other holy saints and great souls.

Dr. Singh: As per the Sikh doctrines, what is the meaning or purpose of our presence in this Universe?
Dr. Sekhon:
According to an old belief, there are 8.4 million life forms in the world – a number not necessarily supported by SGGS, according to which the number of species is countless. Scientists believe that there are about 8.7 million species in the world, of which only 1.2 million have been identified (3) so far, and a human being is one of them. Humans have the ability to control the environment and beautify or destroy it. Over time, humans have been able to change the face of the earth with their intelligence and have made life more comfortable in many ways (and difficult in some other ways). According to SGGS, the main purpose of human life on earth, which has been separated from God, is to reunite with Him. This can be done by singing His praise and leading a life of high morality. The following holy Shabads support this idea.

ਰਾਤੀ ਰੁਤੀ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ॥ ਪਵਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਤਾਲ॥ ਤਿਸ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮਸਾਲ॥ ---- ਕਰਮੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ॥ ਸਚਾ ਆਪਿ ਸਚਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ॥ ਤਿਥੈ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ॥ (ਜਪੁਜੀ, ਪਉੜੀ 34)
Meaning: Among the creations of nights, seasons, phases of the moon, days, air, water, fire (energy), and the sky, God has created the earth as the place to sing His praise. God is eternal, and so is His Court. Everybody’s deeds are evaluated there, and the holy saints are honoured there.

ਸੰਤ ਹੇਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਨ ਧਾਰੇ॥ ਆਤਮ ਚੀਨੈ ਸੁ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ॥ (ਮ:1, ਅਸਟਪਦੀ, 224)
Meaning: God created the three-layered universe to create holy men. Whoever searches his soul, ponders on the basis (origin) of the universe (sings God’s praise).

Dr. Singh: Various religious scholars interpret the symbol ੴ as Ek Ongkar, Ek Oankar, Ek Omkar, Eko or Eko Beant. In your opinion, what is the exact pronunciation of ੴ?
Dr. Sekhon:
Regardless of what the views of different scholars are, we will seek the answer for part A of the question from Guru Granth Sahib itself. Regardless of how the symbol ੴ is pronounced, it stands for the “One” Supreme Being. Guru Nanak Sahib has written a long holy composition titled “Onkar(u)” in Raag Ramkali on pages 929-38 of SGGS. Guru Nanak Sahib, and Guru Arjun Sahib have also used the word Ekunkar(u) for the Supreme Being many times in SGGS. Etymologically, the word “Ekunkar” is composed of two syllables – Ek and Onkar. So as far as the first part of “Ekonkar” is concerned, there is no disagreement. However, some people also pronounce this as “Ik”. As far as the second part, “Onkaar” is concerned, it is again a matter of personal choice. The letter “g” in Ongkar implies a variation of a nasal sound. We all pronounce Saiybhun as “Saybhung”. Vedun as “Vedung” and Naadun as “Naadung”, and so on. Some people prefer to pronounce Onkar as “Ongkar” or as “Oankar”. In my opinion, these three pronunciations do not change the meaning of “Onkar”. So, let us not pay too much emphasis on pronunciation. We also know that many words are pronounced in different ways, even in different parts of Punjab. For example, people in Majha call the industrial city “Ludhiana” while the residents of Malwa pronounce this as Lude-haana. They put too much emphasis on the “h” sound. We, in Majha, pronounce blood as “Luoou” while in Malwa, they call it “Lhuuoo” and so on.

Dr. Singh: What does represent.
Dr. Sekhon:
The word “Om” has been used in the Hindu holy scriptures as a highly sacred word, but even there, it is given different interpretations in different scriptures. For example, according to Wikipedia.org it is a sacred spiritual symbol, the meanings and connotations of which vary between diverse schools of thought. In Hinduism, it signifies the essence of the Ultimate Reality, which is consciousness. Onkara, or Omkara means “Om-maker” denoting the first source of the sound.

According to Britannica.com, Om represents triads of many different entities including the three layers of the universe, the three gunas of matter (goodness, compassion, and dark), the three Vedic Scriptures, three gods (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva), and more. Thus, “Om” mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe.
Yogis use the sound of the word for meditation.
According to Hinduamerican.org, Om is the primordial sound of creation. It is the original vibration of the universe, and all other vibrations manifest from it.
Thus, the word “Om” does not have a single meaning and there is no agreement on its meaning among its followers.
Guru Nanak Sahib did not want to change the names of popular gods or the faith items of the people of the time; he, however, changed their meanings. For example, the names of all the popular gods, like Rama, Krishana, Gobind, Madho, Hari, Keshav etc., have been used for Waheguru (God) in SGGS.
Similarly, Guru Nanak Sahib kept the word “Om” or “Omkar” or “Onkar” which was the sacred word for the Ultimate Reality among the Hindu majority, for God so as not to hurt their feelings, but changed its interpretation by adding the digit 1 before “Onkar” to make the word ੴ implying that there is only one Supreme Being which is a living power which never changes. So ੴ represents only one Supreme Being, which is a living power, and which never changes.

Dr. Singh: What is the relevance of Gurmukh (as envisioned by Sikh Gurus in Sri Guru Granth Sahib) in the modern context?
Dr. Sekhon:
For the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is an eternal truth, so its context never changes. The definition of the Gurmukh is the same as it was at the times of Guru Sahiban and will never change no matter what era it is. A Gurmukh is a devotee which has full faith in the Guru (now Guru Granth Sahib) and leads his life according to His Teachings. All the Teachings of Guru Sahiban have been enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and they are eternal. The following holy Shabads testify to this fact.

ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਘਰੀ ਵਸਾਏ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਣਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਹਹੁ ਕਢਾਏ॥ (ਮ: 4, 308)
Meaning: Recite Waheguru’s (God’s) Naam all the time, oh the Sikhs of the Guru; the Creator will implant it in your hearts. Have full faith in the eternalness of the Bani of the Guru as Waheguru Himself makes the Guru utter it.

ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਪੂਰੀ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕਲਾ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਅਟਲਾ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ॥ ਦੂਖ ਦਰਦ ਸਭੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਨਸੈ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 1339)
Meaning: The Guru is perfect, and so are His powers. His Shabad is eternal (valid all the time). The individual, who enshrines His Bani in his heart, gets all his sufferings dispelled.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਦਰਗਹ ਮਾਨੁ॥ (ਸਿਧ ਗੋਸਟਿ, ਪਉੜੀ 36, 942)
Meaning: The Sikh of the Guru, recites Waheguru’s Naam, shares it with others, helps the needy, and cleanses his mind with the Naam. He focuses his mind on Waheguru in a peaceful state of mind, and he is honoured in Waheguru’s Court.

Like any other human being, some Sikhs may have become more money-minded and may have started to question some of the dogmas of Sikhism to justify their way of life, but the basic definition of Gurmukh will never change.

Dr. Singh: What is Sikh Gurus’ Educational Philosophy, and what are its sources?
Dr. Sekhon:
Guru Sahiban were not against constructive education, which enhanced peoples’ ability to think positively so as to become good human being and to be useful to society. Science and technology were not as advanced in those days as they are now, and probably there were no institutions to teach them. So, how could Guru Sahiban promote their learning? But, even Guru Nanak himself went to school to have a working knowledge of languages and arithmetic. As is clear from his writings, he had a vast knowledge of many languages and of music. The same goes for other Guru Sahiban. Society always needs physicians, technicians, teachers, and skilled workers who need knowledge in their respective fields. Obviously, Guru Sahiban promoted education as they wanted people to be knowledgeable. As revealed by their writings, they were highly against ignorance; and even spiritual enlightenment requires education. All the 15 bhagats and the 14 other great souls, whose compositions have been enshrined in SGGS, were all highly educated. However, they were against the education which attached the people to Maya (worldly possessions and desires) so that they became money-minded, selfish, egoist, and forgot the Creator.

Sources: The main source of Guru Sahiban’s philosophy about education is SGGS and to some degree, the Sikh history – Janam Sakhis, and authors like Bhai Santokh Singh, Giyani Gian Singh, and S. Rattan Singh Bhangu. Bhai Gurdas Ji is known to have received his education in Sanskrit from Benaras, and the same is said about the Nirmalas.

Dr. Singh: You have been an educationist for more than four decades of your life. Please, do share some of your experiences/efforts to implement Sikh Gurus' educational philosophy at the various institutions you served during your long professional career.
Dr. Sekhon:
It is a very worthy question, but most of my teaching experience has been at colleges in Alberta and a university in B.C. (Canada) where I taught chemistry and educational administration. Unfortunately, in those environments, there were not enough opportunities for me to intentionally implement Guru Sahiban’s philosophy. However, when I taught leadership to the M.A. students, I did emphasize wherever I could that a leader must be fair, non-discriminatory, and unselfish as far as possible, which is the essence of the education policy of our Guru Sahiban.

Dr. Singh: Can you enlighten us on the concepts of (i) Shabd, (ii) Shabd Guru, (iii) Naam, (iv) Naam Simran, (v) Hukam and (vi) Hukam realization as described in Sri Guru Granth Sahib?
Dr. Sekhon:
It is a very tough question to answer, and I am nobody to enlighten anyone on these concepts. But I will certainly try to discuss them as best as I can.

(i) Shabd (or Shabad): This sacred term has been used in SGGS with a few different meanings.
(a). Generally, the term means any holy composition in SGGS which is in praise of Waheguru/Satguru or which is used to inculcate high morality among humans. The whole SGGS is also Shabad.

ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਲਾਲੁ ਬਣਾਇਆ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਰਖਿ ਪਰਖਾਇਆ॥ ਜਿਨ ਸਚੁ ਪਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ ਸਚੁ ਕਸਵਟੀ ਲਾਵਣਿਆ॥ 1॥ ਹਉ ਵਾਰੀ ਜੀੳ ਵਾਰੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਵਣਿਆ॥ (ਮ. 3, 112)
Meaning:
I am a sacrifice for all those who acquire noble qualities which are invaluable, like diamonds and rubies, and which are tested against Guru’s Shabad. Those, who have Waheguru’s Naam in their possession (heart), recite His Naam and are approved when tested against the norms set by Waheguru.

ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਪੈ॥ ਪੂਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਿਞਾਪੈ॥ ਜਿਨ ਪੀਆ ਸੇਈ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਸੇ ਸਚੇ ਸਚਿ ਅਘਾਵਣਿਆ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 130)
Meaning:
One realizes the Lord in the shelter of the Guru, where he recognizes Him with Guru’s Shabad. Those who drink the Amrit of Guru’s Shabad (Waheguru’s Naam) get fully contented with His eternal Naam.

(b). “Shabad” has also been used as the Huqam of Waheguru and even as a manifestation of Waheguru. Focus on the following holy Shabads.

ਉਤਪਤਿ ਪਰਲਉ ਸਬਦੇ ਹੋਵੈ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਹੀ ਫਿਰਿ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਸਚਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਉਪਾਇ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 3, 117)
Meaning:
All creation and destruction happen with the Huqam (command) of Waheguru, and then a recreation is caused by Waheguru’s Huqam. A devotee of Satguru realizes that it is Waheguru alone that operates in the universe, and it is Him who creates the universe and then absorbs (destroys) it in Him.

ਸੁ ਸਬਦ ਕਉ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਅਲਖੰ ਜਹ ਦੇਖਾ ਤਹ ਸੋਈ॥ ਪਵਨ ਕਾ ਵਾਸਾ ਸੁੰਨ ਨਿਵਾਸਾ ਅਕਲ ਕਲਾ ਧਰ ਸੋਈ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, ਸਿਧ ਗੋਸਟਿ, ਪਉੜੀ 59, 944)
Meaning:
The indescribable Shabad (Waheguru) has a continuous (with no breaks) presence in the universe, and I find Him to be present wherever I look. Just like air fills a vacuum, the indivisible Shabad (Waheguru) is filling the whole universe and supporting it with His powers.

ਆਪੇ ਸਬਦੁ ਆਪੇ ਨੀਸਾਨੁ॥ ਆਪੇ ਸੁਰਤਾ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਨੁ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, 795)
Meaning:
Waheguru Himself is the Shabad and His own identification (in nature). He listens to the prayers of His living beings and also knows everything about them.

(c): In rare cases, “Shabad” has also been used as an obligation, responsibility, or way of life.

ਜੋਗੁ ਸਬਦੰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਬਦੰ॥ ਬੇਦ ਸਬਦੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣਹਿ॥ ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਬਦੰ ਸੂਰ ਸਬਦੰ ਸੂਦਰ ਸਬਦੰ ਪ੍ਰਾਕ੍ਰਤਹਿ॥ ਸਰਬ ਸਬਦੰ ਏਕ ਸਬਦੰ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਭੇਉ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਦੇਉ॥ (ਮ: 1, 469)
Meaning:
The responsibility of the Yogis is to acquire knowledge of their faith, and that of a Brahman is to read Vedas. The responsibility of a Khatri is chivalry, and the obligation of the low classes is to serve others. However, if people realize the responsibility of everyone is to serve only the “One” (Waheguru). I am His slave, and He is the Lord which is above the effects of Maya, oh Nanak.

(ii) Shabad Guru: As discussed above, Shabad is also Gurbani, which is the whole SGGS. In 1708, Guru Gobind Singh Ji passed on the Guruship to SGGS. So, SGGS, or Shabad, is our Guru. But, even long before this, when the Sidh yogis asked Guru Nanak Sahib at the meeting between them at Achchal, Batala in 1539, who His Guru was, Guru Sahib had replied that the Shabad was His Guru, and his fully focused mind on its recitation was the disciple. This statement leaves no doubt that Shabad is our Guru. In addition, there are many holy Shabads in SGGS which certify this fact. But only one or two will be quoted.

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਾਰੇ॥ ਗੁਰੂ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕ ਜਨ ਮਾਨੈ ਪ੍ਰਤਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ॥(ਮਹਲਾ 4, 982)
Meaning:
Guru is the Bani (Shabad), and the Shabad is the Guru, and all the amrits are contained in Guru’s Shabad. The Guru clearly salvages the Sikh who obeys His Words (Bani or Shabad).

ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਬਚਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਕਟੀ ਜਮ ਫਾਸੀ॥ ----- ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਬਚਨੁ ਕਤਹੂ ਨ ਜਾਇ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 177)
Meaning:
Guru’s Word (Shabad) is eternal, and the noose of the Angel of death is severed with His Shabad. Guru’s Shabad never loses its significance, and one should sing Waheguru’s praise with His Shabad.

(iii) Naam:
Everything in the world, which can be seen or felt, has been given some name. Similarly, the Supreme Being has also been given countless names, about 60 of which have been used in SGGS. The most common are Ram, Hur(i), Kerta, Dhunee, Daata, Kartar etc. But God is the name which is mostly used for Him in the world. However, Naam also has a special connotation in SGGS. It actually means praise of the Supreme Being (Waheguru). In many situations, it has also been used to represent Him or as His manifestation.

(iv) Naam Simran: The word “Simran” means remembering. So, Naam Simran means remembering Waheguru or to sing His praise. The best way to remember Him is to recite Shabads from SGGS. But recitation must be performed with love and respect and with a fully focused mind. Recitation of Shabads without love and respect is not spiritually beneficial; in fact, in most cases, it becomes a matter of showing off to give the false impression of one’s religiosity, which boosts one’s ego and becomes a trap for worldly attachments.

Even though the early morning hours are the best time to recite Waheguru’s Naam, any other time is also good. In fact, A Sikh is required to keep Waheguru in mind all twenty-four hours. Over a period of time, when one recites His Naam (with Guru’s Shabad) with love and dedication, Waheguru’s Naam gets enshrined in his heart, he becomes totally disinterested in worldly attractions to achieve emancipation, and he becomes enlightened to attain the high spiritual state to be “one” with Waheguru, and his birth-death-birth cycle is terminated. Such an enlightened soul has been called “Panch” in Jap(u) Ji.

One must realize that he cannot worship Waheguru (recite His Naam meaningfully) without acquiring noble qualities of which Waheguru, Himself is the source. Thus, Naam Simran is a cyclical process. You cannot effectively recite Naam without having noble qualities, and noble qualities cannot be acquired without Waheguru’s Naam. At the end of SGGS, Guru Arjun Sahib explains that when one acquires Waheguru’s Naam in his heart by working hard, he automatically acquires noble qualities.

(v) Huqam: Like “Shabad,” the term “Huqam” or Hukam has also been used to imply quite a few things in SGGS. It means any of the following: Command, Natural Laws, and Waheguru’s Will. The following holy Shabads are used as examples in each situation.

(a). As Command:

ਸੋਈ ਸੋਈ ਸਦਾ ਸਚੁ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਚੀ ਨਾਈ॥ ------ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਕਰਸੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਾਈ॥ ਸੋ ਪਾਤਸਾਹੁ ਸਾਹਾ ਪਾਤਿ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਹਣੁ ਰਜਾਈ॥ (ਜਪੁਜੀ, ਪਉੜੀ 27, 6)
Meaning:
It is only Waheguru who is eternal, and so is His grandeur….. He does whatever He likes, and nobody can order Him otherwise. He is the King of kings, and one should always obey His Will.

ਨਾਲਿ ਇਆਣੇ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਰਾਸਿ॥ ------ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸੇਤੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਕਹੀ ਬਣੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 2, 474)
Meaning:
Friendship (partnership) with a naïve person does not prove to be successful. One cannot order the Lord in any way; one should only pray to Him.

(b). As Natural Laws:

ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੋਵਨਿ ਆਕਾਰ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਕਹਿਆ ਜਾਈ॥ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੋਵਨਿ ਜੀਅ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਵਡਿਆਈ॥ (ਜਪੁਜੀ, ਪਉੜੀ 2. 1)
Meaning:
All bodies come into being by Waheguru’s Huqam (His laws); but His Huqam cannot be explained. Living beings are born with His laws, and one gets recognition as per His laws.

ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਚਲਾਏ ਰਾਹੁ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਵੇਪਰਵਾਹ॥ (ਜਪੁਜੀ, ਪਉੜੀ 3, 1)
Meaning:
------- The Commander, Waheguru, runs the universe with His laws and the carefree Lord. feels blissful (to watch His creation).

(c). As Waheguru’s Will:

ਸੋ ਸੇਵਕ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰੇ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮਨਾਇਸੀ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਮੰਨਿਐ ਹੋਵੈ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ਤ ਖਸਮੈ ਕਾ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਾਇਸੀ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, ਆਸਾ ਦੀ ਵਾਰ, ਪਉੜੀ 15, 471)
Meaning:
Only that devotee serves Waheguru, whom He makes obey His Will. The individual, who obeys Waheguru’s Will reaches His Court (merges into Him) and is approved.

ਕਰਹਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਆਤਮ ਕੈ ਚਾਇ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹਿ ਸਮਾਇ॥ ਜੋ ਹੋਆ ਹੋਵਤ ਸੋ ਜਾਨੈ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ॥ (ਮ: 5, ਗਉੜੀ ਸੁਖਮਨੀ, 286)
Meaning:
(Guru’s Sikh) worship Waheguru with zest, and stays absorbed in His Naam. He accepts whatever happens as Waheguru’s Will, and recognizes it.

(vi) Huqam Realization: According to SGGS, one realizes Huqam when he sings Waheguru’s praise and accepts His Will (accepts everything as it happens and does not complain if something goes against his own wish). He does not feel attached to worldly attractions (what is called “dead alive” in SGGS and treats everybody the same. A couple of holy Shabads are given in support of this conclusion.

ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਿਵ ਮਰਹਗੇ ਕੈਸਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ॥ ----- ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ॥ (ਮ:3, 555)
Meaning:
I do not know what kind of death I will meet. ------- But the individual who kills his worldly desires with Satguru’s grace recognizes Waheguru’s Huqam.

ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਾਲਾਹਣੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮ ਰਜਾਈ॥ ਸੋ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਈ॥ ਸੋਈ ਜਪੁ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜੀਉ ਭਾਵੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਪੂਰ ਗਿਆਨਾ ਜੀਉ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 100)
Meaning:
To obey Your Huqam is to sing Your praise, oh Waheguru. Only that knowledge and that focus of the mind are meaningful, which is approved by You. Only the recitation of that Shabad is approved, which pleases Waheguru, and obeying his Will is perfect knowledge.

Dr. Singh: The concepts of the afterlife, heaven, and hell are part of many religions. Based on your analytic study of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, what is the Sikh perspective on these concepts?
Answer:
The Sikh perspective on these concepts is as follows:

(a). Afterlife: As discussed earlier, the objective of human life is to elevate the soul to be as pure as Waheguru’s so as to merge with Him (the Supreme Soul). According to SGGS, those, who purify their souls, merge with Waheguru, but those who stay engrossed in Maya, and forget Waheguru, take rebirths in many life forms. Consider the following holy Shabads.

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਗੁਰ ਬਚਨੀ ਬੋਲਹੁ॥ ਸੰਤ ਸਭਾ ਮਹਿ ਇਹੁ ਰਸੁ ਟੋਲਹੁ॥ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਹਹੁ ਘਰੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਗਰਭ ਮਝਾਰਾ ਹੇ॥ (ਮ: 1, 1030)
Meaning:
Recite Waheguru’s Naam with Guru’s Words (Shabad); you will find this sweetness in the company of the holy saints. Find your eternal home (union with Waheguru) with Guru’s Advice, and you will never go into mother’s womb (be reborn) again.

ਇਕੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਰਾਮਰਾਇ ਕਾਟਹੁ ਮੇਰਾ॥ ਅਗਨਿ ਦਹੈ ਅਰੁ ਗਰਭ ਬਸੇਰਾ॥ (ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀ, 329)
Meaning:
Kindly rid me of one suffering – burning in the fire of worldly desires, and of rebirths – oh my Lord.

(b). Heaven and Hell: Unlike most other religions, Sikhism does not believe in any dedicated places for heaven (paradise) and hell, where souls either enjoy all comforts or are tortured, respectively. Because Waheguru (God) is present everywhere, the whole universe could be heaven for deserving people, or any place could be hell where Waheguru is NOT remembered. According to SGGS, for a Gurmukh, heaven is the place where Waheguru’s praise is sung, and hell is the place where He is not remembered. For a common man, the quality of life in this world is either heaven-like or hell-like, depending upon his mental state. The following Shabads will support these assertions.

ਮੁਕਤਿ ਭੁਗਤਿ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਤੂੰ ਆਪਿ ਕਰਾਇਹਿ॥ ਤਹਾ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਜਹਾ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਤੇਰਾ ਤੂੰ ਆਪੇ ਸਰਧਾ ਲਾਇਹਿ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 749)
Meaning:
The paradise is the place where Your praise is sung, and it is You who exhort the individuals to have reverence for You, oh Waheguru. Service to You subsumes emancipation, luxuries of life, and high morality, but only that devotee serves You (obeys Your Huqam) whom You make to do so.

ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਹ ਸਾਧ ਪਗ ਧਰਹਿ॥ ਤਹ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਜਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰਹਿ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 890)
Meaning:
The place where the Guru sets His foot, becomes holy like the sixty-eight holy places; and the place where You praise is sung, becomes paradise, oh Waheguru.

ਸਾਕਤ ਕੂੜ ਕਪਟ ਮਹਿ ਟੇਕਾ॥ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਨੇਕਾ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਆਵਹਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਗ੍ਰਭ ਜੋਨੀ ਨਰਕ ਮਝਾਰਾ ਹੇ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, 1130)
Meaning:
The mind of a Maya-engrossed individual stays focussed on lies and deceit; and he vilifies others countless times. Without Waheguru’s Naam, he goes through the hell of many different life forms.

ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, ਸਲੋਕ ਸਹਸਕ੍ਰਿਤੀ, 1358)
Meaning:
You take a man through hell when he is recycled through many life forms, oh lust.

Dr. Singh: What are miracles? Do these occur? What is the Sikh perspective on this issue?
Dr. Sekhon:
Dr. Sahib, according to the dictionary of Oxford languages, miracles are the surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. SGGS acknowledges the existence of miracles for which the ability is acquired naturally by holy, while some others attain the ability by the full focus of mind practised over very long times. The following holy Shabads affirm their existence.

ਭਗਤਾ ਦੀ ਸਦਾ ਤੂ ਰਖਦਾ ਆਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਧੁਰਿ ਤੂ ਰਖਦਾ ਆਇਆ॥ ------ ਰਿਧਿ ਸਿਧਿ ਸਭ ਭਗਤਾ ਚਰਣੀ ਲਾਗੀ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਈ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 3, 637)
Meaning:
You have protected the dignity of Your devotees ever since. -------- Without any special effort on their part, supernatural powers are slaves of Your devotees who love the Guru.

ਭਏ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲ ਦਇਆਲ ਗੋਬਿੰਦਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸੰਚਾਈ॥ ਨਵਨਿਧਿ ਰਿਧਿ ਸਿਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਾਗ ਰਹੀ ਜਨ ਪਾਈ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 5, 679)
Meaning:
With Waheguru’s benevolence, His devotees enshrine His immortalizing Naam in their hearts, and all the nine treasures and all the supernatural powers become their slaves.

Dr. Singh: You are very critical of ritualistic aarti and urge all to follow real Aarti. What do you mean by real Aarti? How do you distinguish between “Ritualistic” and “Real” Aarti?
Dr. Sekhon:
Hindus perform aarti of idols by placing flowers, a lamp, incense, vermillion etc., on a platter and revolving the platter in a vertical circle in front of the idol. These people perform such aarti in a purely ritualistic way to please the idol and may or may not have any reverence for the idol. SGGS disapproves of such a ritual for two reasons. First, idol worship is strictly forbidden in SGGS, and second, real reverence is manifested in obeying the “Huqam” of the “Guru” and of God and not just performing aarti as a ritual. Guru Nanak Sahib has elucidated the real way to perform Waheguru’s Aarti in the following holy Shabad, in which the only aarti to perform is the one which is approved by Waheguru (recite His Naam).

ਗਗਨਮੈ ਥਾਲੁ ਰਵਿ ਚੰਦ ਦੀਪਕ ਬਨੇ ਤਾਰਿਕਾ ਮੰਡਲ ਜਨਕ ਮੋਤੀ॥ ਧੂਪ ਮਲਆਨਲੋ ਪਵਣੁ ਚਵਰੋ ਕਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬਨਰਾਇ ਫੂਲੰਤ ਜੋਤੀ॥ ਕੈਸੀ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ॥ ਭਵਖੰਡਨਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਰਤੀ॥-------- ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ॥ ---- ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੁ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, ਆਰਤੀ, 663)
Meaning:
In the sky as the platter, the sun and the moon are the natural lamps, and the stars are like pearls. The wind from the Mallya mountain is serving as the incense, the wind is serving as the Royal whisk for You, and the whole vegetation is serving as the flowers. In other words, everything that the people use to perform the arti of their deities is already there in nature. So, what amazing arti is being performed for You, oh the destroyer of rebirths, Waheguru!! --------- Waheguru’s Light (Soul) is present in everybody which appears with Guru’s Shabad in the devotee’s heart. and that (enshrining Waheguru’s Naam) is the Arti which is approved by Waheguru.

Dr. Singh: Once, you wrote a fascinating article: “Amazing Scientific Revelations by Guru Nanak,” wherein you proclaimed that Guru Nanak revealed gravity long before Newton. What is the evidence that confirms your claim?
Dr. Sekhon:
People interpret Gurbani in their own ways (or with a bias, in some cases); the only proof of the true meaning of any Shabad has to come from SGGS with some other Shabads supporting the same meaning: I interpreted the word “bhaar” in the holy Sloak, “dherti dubbi baar(u)” by Guru Nanak Sahib in Assa Di Vaar, to imply gravity. Now let us consider another Shabad by Guru Nanak Sahib, which also has an implication of great significance.

ਸਾਚੇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰੇ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਧਰ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਧਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ॥ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਸਾਚਾ ਵੇਪਰਵਾਹਾ ਹੇ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ 1, ਮਾਰੂ ਸੋਲਹੇ, 1032)
Meaning:
The eternal Lord is the creator who placed the earth in its orbits with great planning. The eternal Lord, which is carefree, watches His own creations.
This hoy Shabad clearly supports the related idea of gravity in that Shabad.

Dr. Singh: What are some other amazing scientific revelations which you have gleaned from Sri Guru Granth Sahib?
Dr. Sekhon:
SGSS professes that Waheguru (God) and His creation (the universe) are limitless, and putting any numbers on parts of His creation is impossible. In the 35th Paurri of Jap(u) Ji, Guru Nanak Sahib claims that there are not just four sources of recreation – actually, there are infinite – a fact which is now being supported by scientists. They have discovered that asexual reproduction is happening in nature, and there are many ways in which viruses and some vegetational species can reproduce. Similarly, he claims that there are infinite suns, moons, and galaxies in the universe – facts which have been verified now. All these were amazing revelations at the time.

Dr. Singh: Do Sikh doctrines drive towards the sustainability of living beings on the earth?
Dr. Sekhon:
According to SGGS, God created the world with His Huqam (natural laws). In Paurri 31 of Jap(u) Ji, Guru Nanak Sahib reveals that God put in all the needed materials for the survival of life on earth once, and that is not going to change. Guru Nanak Sahib also says that after creating the universe, He watches it working carefreely and enjoys it. The earth is full of water, minerals, gases, oil, and vegetation to meet all the needs of animals, including man. He has also given the man the intelligence and the ability to manage these things to suit his needs. So, it is up to man now whether he wants to use natural resources to improve the environment or to ruin it. Of course, everything is perishable, and the world has to end someday as per natural laws. But man can stretch his life or shorten it by creating conditions corresponding to each situation.

Dr. Singh: Some people proclaim that Sikh Gurus borrowed most of their ideas from Vedas and did not preach anything new.  What is your opinion about it?
Dr. Sekhon:
This assertion is absolutely untrue. Of course, everything evolves with time and conditions. Right from the advent of man on this earth, he has acknowledged the existence of some superior power which he was afraid of and worshipped that which may not be God as we worship Him now. With increased knowledge, the man continued to be more and more aware of that power, which gave birth to religions like Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Christianity, and Sikhism as the main religions of the world. According to SGGS, the Vedas do not acknowledge a single Supreme Being but believe in many gods and goddesses. They do not talk about man’s union with Waheguru as the main objective of human life; they rather talk about noble and ignoble deeds which result in man’s going to heaven or hell respectively. SGGS disapproves of such teachings of the Vedas, which will be clear from the following holy Shabads.

ਮਾਦਲੁ ਬੇਦਿ ਸਿ ਬਾਜਣੋ ਘਣੋ ਧੜੀਐ ਜੋਇ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਲਿ ਤੂ ਬੀਜਉ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ॥ (ਮ: 1, 1090)
Meaning:
The drum that the Vedas have beaten has been watched by countless people. But I remember Waheguru’s Naam only because there is none other like Him, oh Nanak.

ਬੇਦ ਬਾਦ ਸਭਿ ਆਖਿ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ॥ ਨ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਭੀਜੈ ਨ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ॥ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਪਾਪੁ ਸਭੁ ਬੇਦਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪੀਜੈ ਹੇ॥ (ਮਹਲਾ: 3, ਸੋਲਹੇ, 1050)
Meaning:
Everybody recites and explains the Vedas, but neither one’s mind gets imbued in their love, nor does one recognize (realize) the Shabad (Waheguru) with them. The Vedas emphasize only the noble deeds and the sins, but the Sikh of the Guru drink the immortalizing liquid of Waheguru’s Naam.

ਬੇਦ ਕੀ ਪੁਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਭਾਈ॥ ਸਾਕਲ ਜੇਵਰੀ ਲੈ ਹੈ ਆਈ॥ ਅਪਨ ਨਗਰੁ ਆਪ ਤੇ ਬਾਧਿਆ॥ ਮੋਹ ਕੈ ਫਾਧਿ ਕਾਲ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਧਿਆ॥ (ਗਉੜੀ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀ, 329)
Meaning:
The Smritis, which are considered the daughters of the Vedas, have brought more shackles (of Maya) for their followers. They have created their own kingdom in which the followers are more tightly bonded to worldly attractions and to rituals, as a result of which the spiritual death has aimed its arrow at them.

Dr. Singh: In 2017, you wrote a very analytical article: “Did Guru Gobind Singh Ji worship any goddess?” Can you share your precise findings in this case?
Dr. Sekhon:
In addition to being the ninth spiritual successor of Guru Nanak Sahib and the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji fought his entire life against oppression and for justice and equality for everybody. He fought many battles against the evil empire and won most of them, but he never claimed even a single inch of the enemy territory, never chased the fleeing enemies, and no plundering was allowed after winning a battle. On the other hand, inspired by his teachings, his Sikhs served water even to the enemy on the battlefield and dressed their wounds. When the enemy fled, leaving their dead behind, Guru Sahib ordered his Sikhs to dispose of their bodies with respect. He sacrificed his entire family – his father, his mother, his four sons, and a large number of his very dear Sikhs. With such noble qualities, some zealot Hindu brethren tried to prove that their gods or goddesses were greater than him and began to promote that Guru Sahib was a worshipper of a goddess. To read the full detail and my response to such false claims, please read the article on my website http://www.gurbanisandesh.com/

Dr. Singh: As “Shashtar Mala” bani is attributed to Guru Gobind Singh, do you believe Guru Gobind Singh was a worshipper of shastras?
Dr. Sekhon:
You have used the very appropriate word “attributed to” about Guru Gobind Singh Ji as the author of “Shastar Mala” Dr. Sahib. In Sikhism, worship only of Waheguru or Satguru is permitted. No other living or non-living person or article is allowed to be worshipped. The younger Princes of Guru Sahib – Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh Ji – aged 9 and 7 years, respectively, did not bow even before the powerful and cruel governor of Sirhind, in whose confinement they were. So, why would Guru Gobind Singh Ji worship non-living weapons – especially which kill people without any discrimination? Guru Sahib’s father, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, was beheaded with a sword, and his elder sons – Baba Ajit Singh Ji, and Baba Jujhar Singh Ji – attained martyrdom on the battlefield – again suffering wounds inflicted by weapons. So, what is there in the weapons by which Guru Gobind Singh Ji might have been fascinated to worship them? No, way !!!. This subject also has been discussed in detail in the Punjabi language on my website: www.gurbanisandesh.com

Dr. Singh: In your opinion, why do Sikh doctrines and Sikh practices appear to be at loggerheads during contemporary times?
Dr. Sekhon:
Dr. Sahib, as per SGGS, man is born with haumein (selfishness and ego), which is impossible to get rid of without the shelter of the Guru. As a result, people have been materialistic ever since. In contemporary times, with the advancement of technology, there is a race among the nations and among the general populace to outdo the others, and man’s greed has increased to the degree that it has become his main objective in life. To achieve this objective, man is using all moral or immoral ways and sacrificing all his morality and contentment. The Sikh Doctrines are very hard to follow, and the man wants to follow the easiest path to satisfy his haumein. Sadly, even our religious and political leaders (who have always been less than honest) have become victims of immorality. The Gurudwaras have become the source of making money and promoting the political agenda of the leaders. The privately owned Gurdwaras are mushrooming everywhere and are being sold in the market. The holy books are being purposely disrespected and desecrated. Because of a lack of proper preaching, most Sikhs have started to cut their hair and engage in other immoral practices. The whole situation is very sad to watch, and as per SGGS, the world has been thrust into darkness without the Guru.

Dr. Singh: Thank you, Dr. Sekhon, for sparing your valuable time for this interaction. It was wonderful meeting you and listening to your views on various aspects of Sikh doctrines, Sikh history and Sikh philosophy.
Dr. Sekhon:
Thank you very much, Dr. Devinder Pal Singh, for your intelligent and thought-provoking inquiry. I appreciate your input and efforts very much.
 
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