Uniqueness Of Guru Nanak


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Uniqueness Of Guru Nanak

  1. 1. Uniqueness of Guru Nanak Kulbir Singh Thind, MD San Mateo, California , USA [email_address]
  2. 2. Disclaimer <ul><li>I am not a historian. The history presented here is just enough to make the point as to how different beliefs have developed. </li></ul><ul><li>I have no intention to disrespect any religion. But some comparisons are necessary due to the nature of my subject matter. And I do not profess to be the master of any religion. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Early Religions of Mankind <ul><li>Polytheism of many kinds was practiced by early humans </li></ul><ul><li>As different civilizations developed over different parts of the world, each had its own brand of beliefs (examples: Egyptians, Romans, Myas). </li></ul><ul><li>Religious beliefs over centuries have provided some framework of ethics for the mankind </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ibrahim’s monotheism <ul><li>Ibrahim is said to have been borne about 4000 years ago in a small village in today’s Iraq. He is said to have had communication with God through an angel. </li></ul><ul><li>To teach his message, he traveled to a place which later became Jerusalem, as this was considered sacred at the time. This is where he preached his message of monotheism. His followers around Jerusalem later came to be known as Israelites of Hebrews. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Emotional Center of the World
  6. 6. Jerusalem area
  7. 7. Monotheism of three major religions <ul><li>Israelites or Hebrews </li></ul><ul><li>Moses (1391-1189 BC) </li></ul><ul><li>Exodus (during Moses) </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish tribes (twelve) </li></ul><ul><li>King David (1037-970 BC) </li></ul><ul><li>Jerusalem is made the capital of Israelites </li></ul><ul><li>Kind David prepares ground for Jewish temple </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish Temple was constructed by King Solomon the descendent of Kind David </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ten commandments Division of the Ten Commandments by religion/denomination Commandment Jewish (Talmudic)**** Anglican, Reformed, and other Christian Orthodox Catholic, Lutheran** I am the Lord your God 1 preface 1 1 You shall have no other gods before me 2 1 You shall not make for yourself an idol 2 2 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God 3 3 3 2 Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy 4 4 4 3 Honor your father and mother 5 5 5 4 You shall not murder* 6 6 6 5 You shall not commit adultery 7 7 7 6 You shall not steal*** 8 8 8 7 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor 9 9 9 8 You shall not covet your neighbor's wife 10 10 10 9 You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor 10
  9. 9. Monotheism of three religions (cont) <ul><li>Jerusalem and the Jewish temple became the centre of Judaism </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus of Nazareth </li></ul><ul><li>Spread of Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Constantine </li></ul><ul><li>Muhammad (7 th century) </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of Jerusalem during Muhammad </li></ul>
  10. 10. Monotheism of three religions (cont) <ul><li>Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, through the angel Gabriel, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Monotheism of three religions (cont) <ul><li>Current Islam includes many religious practices. Adherents are generally required to observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. In addition to the Five Pillars, Islamic law (sharia) has developed a tradition of rulings that touch on virtually all aspects of life and society. This tradition encompasses everything from practical matters like dietary laws and banking to warfare and welfare. The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Monotheism of three religions (cont) <ul><li>Spread of Islam </li></ul><ul><li>Long history of upheavals, dominance of one religion over the other or sometimes of accommodation (generally by Islamic rulers) </li></ul><ul><li>The current conflicts around Jerusalem are just a continuation of past human saga. </li></ul>
  13. 13. What is common in Ibrahimic religions <ul><li>All came from Ibrahim </li></ul><ul><li>All have concept of sacred places </li></ul><ul><li>All have rules, a framework of living by the adherents that include ideologies about the right food, right satire and about the human relationships etc and more. </li></ul><ul><li>All have concept of heaven and hell </li></ul><ul><li>All have concept of coming of prophet & redirection </li></ul><ul><li>All have concept of how God created the world </li></ul>
  14. 14. What is common . . (continued) <ul><li>All say that theirs is the only true prophet </li></ul><ul><li>Christians and Muslims believe that their faith should be spread and in case of Islam force for this reason is justified </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish religious practices included burning of fire and animal sacrifice at their temple. Over centuries, Judaism was defined and shaped by priests and their students who like the Hindu Brahmin scholars interpreted and reinterpreted religious philosophy. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Sufism is different than traditional Islam <ul><li>Although Sufis claim their origins from Muhammad and consider themselves to be Muslims; traditional Islam often does not consider them to be true Muslims. The views of Sufis about how a man should treat another man are in conflict with traditional Islam. Sufis believe that God is in every-being. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Early Hinduism & its Scriptures <ul><li>Early traditions were oral </li></ul><ul><li>Hindu beliefs are an amalgamation of many different beliefs, ideologies and many mythologies </li></ul><ul><li>Different categories of Hindu scriptures: Vedas, Puranas, Upnaishads, Simritis </li></ul><ul><li>Bhagwat Gita, is the latest </li></ul>
  17. 17. Some Hindu believes <ul><li>Theory of Joonaa’n (different species), 84 lack </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of Karma and hence acceptance of caste system </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of transmigration of soul </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of many Gods and Goddesses and some concept of universal power </li></ul><ul><li>Many different theories of how world is created and maintained </li></ul><ul><li>Many different Hindu schools of thought and practice developed over the centuries. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Some Hindu believes <ul><li>Hindu philosophies are developed by a host of learned individuals that passed on knowledge through pupils </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, various sects, schools of thought or religions that came out of the Indian subcontinent carried on many of the above cited concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Concepts of right rules of behavior towards family relations and society including untoucheability </li></ul><ul><li>Concepts of holy places and pilgrimage of holy places. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Some Hindu beliefs <ul><li>Worship of many Gods, Goddesses, animals, plants, idols. </li></ul><ul><li>Concepts of right rules of behavior towards family relations and society including untoucheability </li></ul><ul><li>Concepts of holy places and pilgrimage of holy places. </li></ul><ul><li>Some concept of charity. </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of abandonment of traditional family life for becoming pious. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Some Hindu beliefs <ul><li>Many different ways of meditation </li></ul><ul><li>Ambiguous concept of liberation if any and different theories on how to obtain liberation. The concept of liberation is the foundation of Buddhism. </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhism rejected casteism </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Bhagti movement <ul><li>The Bhagti movement in Hindu society started around 11 th century. Ramananda seems to have been the 1 st Brahman to start this movement. He started a new sect with emphasis on Rama & Sita. He accepted many low cast individuals as his followers. His followers are said to have been Pipa, Sain, Dhanna, Ravidas and Kabir. </li></ul><ul><li>At this time Hindu society was mostly ruled by Muslim rulers. </li></ul><ul><li>By this time Islam had spread in India due to influences of Sufies and due to forceful conversion by the Muslim rulers. </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Bhagti movement <ul><li>Generally, the Hindu Bhagats accepted the concept of one God, emphasized Naam-Simran and rejected idol worship and pilgrimage. However, they were not totally out of Hindu influences. </li></ul><ul><li>Bhagat Karbir (1398 to 1518) seems to have made the most impact regarding Bhagti movement. </li></ul><ul><li>By this time many Sufis like Sekh Farid had also made their mark on the Indian society. </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Time of Guru Nanak <ul><li>By the time of Guru Nanak, the Brahmans were still ruling the social life of Hindu society. Without them no social function could be completed or sanctified. And the social life of Muslims was controlled by the Mullahs, the Islamic priests. The Hindu society was inflicted with casteism and many other ills. The Muslims rulers generally treated the Hindus as second class citizens. The Bhagti movement has had some impact on the Indian society but not a lot. Punjab had been the front of many invaders in the past and by the Mugals during time of Guru Nanak. </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Time of Guru Nanak <ul><li>The moral fabric of Hindu society had disintegrated and it could not even protect itself. </li></ul><ul><li>The ethical and spiritual framework of the Indian society was practically ruined by all kinds of confusion. </li></ul><ul><li>I have no doubt that Guru Nanak was a mystic from an early age and a searcher of truth. </li></ul><ul><li>By devotion to God and Bhagti he achieved union with God, the ultimate reality. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Guru Nanak <ul><li>Guru Nanak’s spiritual destiny seemed to have started at Sultanpur Lodhi after he disappeared for three days as he went for a morning bath and Bhagti in the Bein (a small river). And as people of the town thought that he was dead, but he then appeared uttering the words “Naa’n koee Hindu Naa’n Musalmaan”. </li></ul>
  26. 26. How is Guru Nanak’s spiritual philosophy different/ revolutionary <ul><li>Many books have been written by Sikhs and others about this topic. So it is long topic. </li></ul><ul><li>My aim is give you a conceptual idea. Thus, I will discuss only the points that I consider important. </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of God: Only One, Doer of everything, pervading Everywhere, in Everything and Every-being. </li></ul><ul><li>No particular place is more sacred, all places are sacred, and every being is sacred. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Guru Nanak’s philosophy <ul><li>We all are us, there is no other. </li></ul><ul><li>The aim of life is to be with God through Naam Simran. </li></ul><ul><li>Guru Nanak accepts the fact that there are many other paths to reach God, but then he shows a simple path; the path of Naam Simran. </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of heaven & hell of Ibrahimic religions is not accepted. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Guru Nanak’s philosophy <ul><li>He is bold in his condemnation of social ills and he has not left any aspect of it. Discussion of this topic could take long time. </li></ul><ul><li>There is total rejection of the concept of worship of Gods, Goddesses, Idols etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The way of family life is accepted as right. The concept of finding God by going to Jungles etc is rejected </li></ul><ul><li>Earning livelihood by right means is emphasized along with sharing of earning with the less fortunate. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Guru Nanak’s philosophy <ul><li>Guru Nanak in his Bani lays out the principals of right social and spiritual conduct instead of writing rigid rules. Thus his message is timeless and adaptable to different environments. This is contrary to almost all other religions. </li></ul><ul><li>Guru Nanak considers Haumai (I-am-ness) as most important impediment is meeting God. </li></ul><ul><li>(Maayaa) Kaam, Karodh, Lobh, Moh (sexual lust, anger, greed and attachment) are other impediments </li></ul>
  30. 30. Guru Nanak’s philosophy <ul><li>The concept of Sehaj is probably unique to Sikhism. Although this word is translated as “Intuitive ease” it is difficult to translate it exactly. “Sehaj” may be called a sate of mind that determines how one acts and deals with any situation. This state can only be achieved when one believes that in the ultimate analysis what ever happens is the will of God and one’s responsibility is to take the right steps in a calm and peaceful manner in harmony with the environment. </li></ul>
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