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USA The Second Annual Conference On Sri Guru Granth Sahib


Sep 24, 2004
The Second Annual Conference on Sri Guru Granth Sahib

San Jose, California

September 14, 2013

On September 14th, 2013, over a full 9-hour day, ten speakers and an audience of a hundred celebrated the day in 1604 that the Adi Granth (that became the Guru Granth Sahib in 1708) was first ensconced in the newly built Harmander Sahib (Golden Temple, Amritsar, India) personally by Guru Arjan.

This Symposium was a joint venture of the Chardi Kalaa Foundation and the Sikh Gurdwara San Jose.

The theme: To explore in the diaspora how Guru Granth informs us today in the twenty-first century. To mine the Guru Granth for its meaning and relevance today.

A wide variety of topics were engaged. The presenters came from an impressively broad background and included both academics and lay scholars. The audience ranging in number from 60 to 100 was widely diverse and varied from teenagers to gray beards. Each presentation fostered much discussion that was lively and vigorous.

Speakers and their topics were:

I.J. Singh, Professor Emeritus of Anatomical Sciences, New York University: “Guru Granth-- How it Speaks to me Today.” How does Guru Granth help navigate life in today’s multicultural, multiethnic and multifaith global village as it did in the realities of Punjab years/centuries ago?

Nikky Guninder Kaur, Chair, Department of Religious Studies & Crawford Family Professor at Colby College: “The Guru Granth Sahib-- Pluralistic Paradigm for Global Society.” Five contemporary issues were explored: 1. Theology, 2. Language, 3. Social values, 4. Scientific & Ecological sensitivity, and 5. Gender.

Inderjit N Kaur, Research Associate specializing in Sikh Shabad Keertan, University of California at Santa Cruz: “Addressing economic inequality – Sikh sacred songs and music, theory and Practice.” This presentation explored how the Sikh keertan tradition addresses the ills and solutions of socio-economic inequalities in society.

Meeta Kaur, Managing Editor, Sikh Love Stories Project: “How the Guru Granth Sahib looks at the relationship between free will and destiny.” Do hard work, luck and timing determine our fate or is it pre-written and preordained?

Jarnail Singh, India-based celebrated journalist and author: “Shabad as Guru.” The presentation explores at length Guru Nanak’s words in Sidh Gosht “Sabd guru surat dhun chela.”

Rahuldeep Singh Gill, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University: “Guru Nanak and this American Moment.” Towards what kind of life did Guru Nanak call his Sikhs? How to build Sikh values into an American future while rising to the challenge posed by the Guru Granth Sahib.

Sangeeta Luthra, Cultural Anthropologist & Educator, Santa Clara University: “The Role of the Guru Granth Sahib in promoting peace and harmony in the contemporary world.” The traditions of debate, reconciliation and humanism in the life of Guru Nanak and in the Guru Granth were explored.

Jessi Kaur, Author of highly acclaimed books on Sikhi for children & Editor of the web magazine Sikhpoint: “Ethical Communication According to Sri Guru Granth Sahib.” How in this hyper-connected world do we suffer from breakdown in communication? How Guru Granth analyzes this and how it recommends that we deal with it.

Gurinder Pal Singh, Chairman, Religion and Education Committee, San Jose Gurduara & Principal Engineer, HGST Company, Western Digital Corporation: “ Recipe for a Harmonious Married Life by Following Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.” When many religions described family as a distraction from a God-oriented life Guru Granth directly repudiated that idea. The discussion here centers on how Guru Granth advises that we build step by step the core of a harmonious life.

Inder Mohan Singh, Chairman of the Chardi kalaa Foundation and of LynuxWorks: “Science and Sikhi.” Can one be a scientist or technologist and also a devout Sikh without compromising either? Guru Granth answers unquestionably in the affirmative. For a Sikh scientific discoveries are a celebration of the marvels of creation.

This is a preliminary report. Detailed papers will appear in The Sikh Review within the next few months.



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