Sikh Perspective on Religion

Arvind Sharma: The Philosophy of Religion—A Sikh Perspective, Rupa & Co., pp 300, Rs. 595

Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism are succeeded by Sikhism, which has it very own philosophy of religion. For the strictly orthodox Sikh, the faith, which by preference he calls gurmat, can be regarded as nothing less than the product of direct revelation from God. Gurmat means the ‘Guru’s doctrine’. God, the original Guru, imparted his message to his chosen disciple Nanak who, having intuitively apprehended the message, thereby absorbed the divine spirit and became himself the Guru. This same divine spirit passed at Nanak’s death into the body of his successor, Guru Angad, and in this manner dwelt successively within a series of ten personal Gurus. At the death of the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, the divine spirit remained present within the sacred scripture and the community of the Guru’s followers. He who accepts the teachings of the Gurus as recorded in the scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) or expressed in the corporate will of the community (panth) is truly a Sikh. The symbol which represents God in Sikhism is ‘Ik Omkar’ which is “found on the canopy above the Adi Granth in the gurudwara, and means one God. Thus Sikhism is strictly monotheistic.

Sikhism accepts the idea of repeated creations. According to Indic thought, the spirit “great element” (mahabhuta) to emerge in the process of creation is akasa or space, whose subtle essence is sabda or sound. According to the Sikh view, the first elemental creation was from sabda and this is corroborated by Guru Amar Das.

The author then discusses the problem of evil which is considered entirely real and in no sense is an illusion. Here he points out that Nanak’s usage of the term maya (an evil) should not “imply the ultimate unreality of the world itself, but rather the unreality of the values which it represents.”

The book stresses the importance of recognising that the Sikh conception of human destiny involves the concepts of karma and reincarnations.

In short, the book offers a Sikh perspective on the philosophy of religion. (M.G.)

(Rupa & Co., 7/16 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002.)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home