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SOME CONCEPTS of Sikh THEOLOGY


ABLUTION:- In Hinduism term Pavitar means spotless, virgin, pure, sacred, solemn, vestal, virgin, saintly etc. It has special significance in Hinduism. The Hindus believe in the concept of purity of several things and several rituals. In Sikhism, there is no ablution (nor pollution). Sikhism believes that moral conduct, and not the rituals, are the basis of purity. Remembering the Almighty is the real ablution. It does not mean that a Sikh need not be conscious of cleanliness and good health.

ASCETICISM:- The word asceticism has its roots in the Grecian word askesis which means training/exercise of the body and the mind. In religious terminology it means severe self-denial and abstain from worldly comforts and pleasures. In other words it means life of abstinence and austerity. In the Hindu culture it means one who renounces the world and lives the life of non-attachment. It includes primitive dress (even nudity), cave-dwelling, silence, meditation, celibacy, vegetarianism. infliction of pain upon oneself, owning no wealth and depending solely upon begging and alms, suppression of desires and passions, fasts, ablution, pilgrimage etc. In Buddhism and Jainism too asceticism is an established institution. Sikhism rejects asceticism. Sikhism is Parvirti Maarag (way of active activity). Guru Sahib commended the life of householder i.e. disciplined worldliness. In Sikhism, the suppression of desires and self-torture does not control mind as mind can be subdued by purging one's ego, by Naam Simran (remembering the Almighty) and by truthful living.

ATTH SATTH:- Literally: sixty plus eight (68). The Hindus believe that bathing in their so-called 'sacred' places is instrumental in obtaining liberation. The Hindus grant the status of this so-called 'sacredness' to sixty-eight places. These include: Ayodhya, Badri Narayan, Dwarka, Ganga, Gaya, Godavari, Gomati, Haridwar, Kurukashetra, Kapal Mochan, Kedar Nath, Kashi (Varanasi), Mansarovar, Mathura, Paryag (Allahabad) etc. Sikhism rejects the holiness of any place or spot. According to Sikhism, only the Name of the Almighty is "Atthsatth Tirath'. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1263 etc.

AVTAAR/AWTAAR:- Literally: descent. The Hindus believe that God descends to the earth to restore Dharma (Righteousness) in the world. Sikhism rejects this theory. According to Sikhism, God never descends on this earth because He is ever-present and is Omnipresent. According to Sikhism, evil and good, both, are the creations of God. His Word teaches us to choose the path of Righteousness. According to Sikhism, the so-called Avtaars (of the Hindus) were human beings and not God in human form. Guru Arjan Sahib says that a tongue which claims that God appears in human form is worth burning. Even to consider Guru Sahib as Avtaars is blasphemous as Guru Sahib have unequivocally rejected the concept of descent of God on this earth. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib too has presented the same thought in Chaubis Avtaar. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 559, 747, 1136 etc.

BHAGAT:- Bhagat has roots in the word Bhaj or Bhakt, which means divided (into self and the 'other'; this 'other' may be a god or the Almighty) or sacrificed (into pieces for some god or for the Almighty); hence Bhagat is one who is devoted to some god or the Almighty. The word Bhagt has also been traced to the word Bhaj (to adore, honour, love, revere etc.). It has another root: Bhagvata (devotee of Bhagwan). According to Sikhism, a Bhagat is one who is devoted to the Almighty. A Sikh is a Bhagat (devotee) of the Almighty only. In Guru Granth Sahib the non-Guru poets have been mentioned as Bhagat (e.g. Kabir, Ravidas,, Ramanand, Namdev, Tirlochan, Parmanand, Jaidev etc. Some of these Bhagats were, in the beginning, the devotees of some Hindu gods but later, they became devotees of the Almighty only. Sikhism accepted the Bhagti of the Almighty as the real Bhagti and the rest as illusion). The Muslim poet Farid is mentioned as Sheikh and the bards of the court of Guru Sahib are known as Bhatt. Also see: Bhagti.

BHAGTI/BHAKTI:- Bhagti is the activity of a Bhagat. Bhagti/Bhagati/Bhakti means meditation of the Name of the Almighty. In Sikhism meditation is not mere recitation of hymns. A Sikh is supposed to recite hymns, understand the substance and practice the same in one's life (truthful life). For a Sikhs, rituals are not Bhagti. The repetition of merely the Name of God or some special hymns, at a particular time or a particular number of times, at a particular place, in a particular manner is not Bhagti in Sikhism. In Sikhism, this type of Bhagti is rather hypocrisy.
In Hinduism, there are three major paths of liberation: Karma (rituals), Gyan (spiritual knowledge) and Bhagti (devotion). Sikhism rejects this classification. According to Sikhism, ablution, pilgrimage, rituals etc are futile. Similarly one can not achieve liberation only by acquiring knowledge. Bhagti, however, is recognized as an important step to achieve liberation (self-realization). In Sikhism, Bhagti means devotion of the Almighty [and not of any deity or even Guru Sahib]. According to Sikhism, one has to pass through the plans of Dharam (Righteousness), Gyan (Knowledge), Saram (effort) to gain His Karam (Grace) before achieving the Sachch (Truth). This is the final stage of liberation (self-realization). In Sikhism, Bhagti is not a phenomenon of isolation; it goes side by side with Parvirti (life of active activity).
Some writers, out of ignorance and/or mischief, have made attempts to define Sikhism as a part of Bhagti tradition only. This label has been assigned by the fundamentalist Hindu writers (who want to eliminate distinct entity and identity of Sikhism) and also by some the Western missionaries (who have invariably collaborated with the Hindu fundamentalists) due to their ulterior motives. In Sikhism, Bhagati is only one part of a man's religion. In Sikhism, Truthful living is equally important. Further, it is obligatory for a Sikh to defend human rights by all lawful means, a principle unacceptable to Bhagti tradition. Bhagti tradition recognizes the devotion of the mythical Hindu gods and Sikhism rejects them altogether. Hence, "Sikhism" and "Bhagti movement" as tradition, have a little in common with each other. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 39, 88, 127-28, 267, 380, 424, 440, 491, 738, 1246

BRAHAM GYAN:- Literally: the knowledge of Brahman (the Almighty). It is not mere recognition of His existence or His Excellences but it is continuous realization of the Almighty. A person with such knowledge (Brahmgyan) is called Brahmgyani. According to the Sikh philosophy, a Brahmgyani is one whose ego has been purged; who is thoroughly unattached; who is like lotus in (muddy) water; pleasure and pain or praise or dis-praise don't affect him; who is full of love, compassion and graciousness; who is impartial to all the creatures (Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 272-74). A being with such qualities is like Supreme Being i.e. the Almighty; hence only God is Brahmgyani. (Nowadays, several impostors love to be addressed as Brahmgyani).


CHAURASI LAKH JOON:- Hinduism believes that there are 8400,000 (8.4. million) types of creatures on this earth. According to this 'theory', the division of creatures is as follows: nine hundred thousand in the sea (water), one million with wings (birds etc.), 2 million plant life, 1.1 million reptiles, three million four-legged animals, four hundred thousand human-like (includes monkeys and apes etc.). Jainism has different classification. The reference to the Chauraasi Lakh Joon, in the Sikh literature, is to express the infinity of creation and the number is not to account. Sikhism believes that His creation is not accountable. There are hundreds of thousands of earths and there are countless creatures of every type on each earth. Similarly, the Hindu belief that one has to pass through 8.4 million lives before becoming a human being is also rejected by Sikhism. In Sikhism the reference to 8.4 million lives and human life means that human being is supreme among all the so-called 8.4 million (numerous) creatures. God has granted human beings a life which is better than the rest of the numerous creatures. It has not been achieved after passing through 8.4 million lives but it is superior-most life.

CREATION, THEORY OF:- According to Sikhism God created this universe out of nothingness. God first created Himself and then He created the universe. He created everything with one word and not in stages. The creation of universe was done by God in no specific time. None can know the date, day, time, hour, moment, season etc. when creation took place. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 3, 4, 5, 7, 19, 82, 276, 666, 782, 949, 968, 949, 1035-36, 1053, 1269 etc.

DASWAAN DUAAR:- Literally: Daswaan means the tenth and Duaar means the door. In Sikh terminology it means consciousness. There are nine holes (doors) in human body (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, anus and urethra. Some sections of the Hindus believe that there are secret duaars (holes or doors) in human body and these are not visible. Bhagwad Gita mentions the human body as a city with nine gates. Hattha Yoga claims that there are ten doors in human body. Katha Upanishad claim eleven gates. Buddhism and the Yogis too believe in the concept of the Tenth Door. Guru Amar Das Sahib refers to the Daswaan Duaar as the secret door which is opened by the key of Guru Sahib's Word. Daswaan Duaar, as a mystic concept, is not a concept of the Sikh faith. The Sikh concept of Daswaan Duaar is a state which one achieves by doing meditation, worship and love of the Almighty. Doing this is the opening of the so-called Daswaan Duaar.

DHARM:- Dharam/Dharma is derived from the word Dharamang which means: the "Law" which embraces the world i.e. Righteousness. Dharam also means religion (faith, cult, sect) but this shade too is based upon the Divine Law. Another meaning of Dharam is justice. In Hinduism, Dharam also means life style and it is different for different castes, sexes and groups (as defined by Manu in Manu Smriti). In Sikhism, Dharam is a man's duty to act upon Divine Law. It includes remembering God, living a truthful life, serving humanity, promoting justice. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 7, 266, 773, 785, 874, 895, 1188, 1351, 1372, 1398 etc.

DHARAM YUDH:- Literally: "war for Righteousness". It is duty of a Sikh "to utter the Name of the Lord and always be prepared for a war for Righteousness" (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib). Guru Nanak Sahib had reminded the same in Baabar Vaani. Dharam Yudh presupposes that the war must be a genuine struggle for Righteousness and secondly, the Sikh-Laws must be strictly followed during the course of this struggle: there should not be feeling of revenge or enmity; the ambition should not be acquiring un-necessary power; the participants must join it for promotion of justice and not for gains (their strategy should be Sewa and not fascism); minimum (but necessary) force should be used during the war; arms should be taken only when all other means have failed. All Guru Sahib fought Dharam Yudh. The Sikh nation, during the eighteenth century, fought a Dharam Yudh for the freedom of the Sikh Homeland. In 1982, the Akali Dal began an agitation under the name of Dharam Yudh (though it was not so in the strict sense of term). The Sikh struggle for their sovereignty (in 1980s and 1990s) may also be considered as a Dharam Yudh (though the strategy has not been followed).


GOD (CONCEPT OF):- Sikhism is monotheistic religion. In Sikhism, God is but One, His Name is true, He is the Only Creator (and Sustainer and Destroyer of all the creation), He is Fear-free, He is without enmity, He is Timeless, He is self-Created, He can be realised through Grace of God; He is Infinite, Omnipotent and Omnipresent. In Sikhism God is both Nirgun (without attributes) and Sargun (with attributes). In Sikhism, God never descends on earth in any form. He manifests Himself in Nature. Guru sahib have used several names for God: Satguru, Guru, Prabhu, Thaakur, Sach, Salahi, Shah, Sahib, Swami, Saeen, Patshah, Narayan, Ram, Gopaal, Govind, Allah, Khudaa, Nirankaar etc. The most popular term used by the Sikhs is Waheguru. Guru Sahib address the Almighty in the terms of attributes too: Data, Daataar, Dayaal, Karim, Kirpaal, Qaadir, Kartaa etc. Also see: Akaal Purakh.

GRACE:- A Sikh's prime-most duty is to have faith in His Grace. It is one of the fundamental principles of Sikhism. In Sikhism God is always Generous and Graceful to each and every being. To keep grudge against the Almighty in one's mind is like a sin for a Sikh. Joy and sorrow must be treated alike and should be considered as gift from Graceful God. In order to seek His Grace, one must meditate His Name, attend the company of the enlightened people (Saadh Sangat) and live truthful life; but, still, it is His own Will to grant Graceful Bliss to the human beings. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 5, 7, 8, 10, 44, 49, 323, 749, 837, 1020, 1190 etc. Also see: Bhana and Karam (Persian).

GURU:-In the Sikh faith, the term Guru has been used for the Almighty, Ten Naanaks and Guru Granth Sahib. Literally, Guru means the Enlightener. In Sikhism, it can not be used for any human being. Sikhism defines Guru as one with God. Guru is God and God is Guru. Guru in Sikhism is the guide to the path of liberation (self-realization). Guru cleanses the mind of the seeker of Truth by helping one purge one's ego. Guru gives knowledge about the mystery of the Creator, His Creation, purpose of a human being's existence. Guru gives realization of Word of the Almighty. Without Guru one can't find way towards union with the Almighty. In Sikhism, Word is Guru. The grant of the status of Guru to Guru Granth Sahib was the confirmation of the Sikh principle that Word is Guru. Guru is also used for the Ten Naanaks. They are called Guru because the Almighty revealed His Word through them. All the Ten Naanaks were one entity, one spirit; when one Guru installed his successor he merged his light to the light of his successor. A Sikh respects the Ten Naanaks but worships only Shabad (the Word). Guru Sahib are not considered as Awtaar (descent of God), but they were human beings blessed by the Almighty to give His message to the humanity. [Sikhism rejects the theory of "descent" of the Almighty in human form. Sikhism does not consider the leaders of the other religions as so-called Awtaars; they were just human beings, who had been sent into this world by the Almighty for a mission]. Respect and reverence for Guru Sahib should not lead to worship. Even worship of the photos (which are of course imaginary) of Guru Sahib is against the Sikh philosophy. [These imaginary photos of some models, said to those of Guru Sahib ought not be kept in the homes and Gurdwaras but some phoney and/or ignorant Sikhs keep these photos at home and, unknowingly, practice blasphemy]. The third usage of the term Guru is done for Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru-Eternal of the Sikhs. It is Guru because it contains the Word (hence it is the Word). Guru Granth Sahib was granted the status of Guru-Eternal by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, on October 6, 1708. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib stated that the Sarbat Khalsa (all the initiated Sikhs) shall be Guru-Panth to make Gurmatas for the national issues of the Sikhs. Here the usage of the term Guru is not in the sense of Shabad (the Word). Here Guru-Panth means the "Panth of Guru Sahib" and not Panth as Guru. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 49, 53, 55, 58, 149, 262, 308, 387, 435, 441-42, 463, 466, 597, 635, 650, 722, 763, 802, 878, 942-43, 951, 966, 982, 1332 etc.

HATTH YOGA:- Hatth Yoga is Tantric Yoga of the Buddhist school. It stresses more on physical training and hard practices for achievement of so-called liberation. This school had been very popular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Sikhism rejects all the schools of Yoga. Sikhism does not reject physical exercise for health reasons but it does not consider Yoga or any other physical exercise etc. as a device or aid for attainment of so-called liberation. Guru Nanak Sahib has rejected Yoga in Japji Sahib and also in Sidh Gosht. According to Sikhism, love of God; renunciation of ego and attachment; and truthful living are the basis of way to liberation. Sikhism rejects not only Hatth-Yoga but the very concept of Yoga itself; hence all the schools of Yoga. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 16-17, 71, 155, 223, 385, 469, 662, 730, 879, 903, 909, 951, 1139, 1186, 1308, 1322, 1390, 1420-21 etc.

HEAVEN & HELL:- According to the Sikh philosophy, there is no heaven or hell beyond this universe. Life of goodness (absorption in the Name of the Almighty) is heaven and an evil life (living in ego and away from the Supreme Love) is hell; and all this exists on this earth and not beyond this life. In Sikh literature heaven (Swarg/Baikuntth/Jannat) and hell (Narak/Jahannum) have been used several times because it was popular vocabulary, familiar to the people of the day. These references are contextual and relative and not conceptual. Sikhism does not believe in re-birth, hence this birth is not because of Karma (past deeds), rather it is Karam (Graceful Blessing) of Waheguru (karami aavai kaparaa, nadri mokh duaar. Here Karam is Persian term meaning Grace like Nadar i.e. Blessing). See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 151, 214, 297, 325, 337, 460, 682, 707, 742, 749, 890, 920, 940, 1025, 1028, 1078, 1161, 1229 etc.

HINDU:- Hindu is a term, generally applied to the followers of Brahminic rituals and Vedic culture. The term Hindu was used first by those who invaded the Indian sub-continent from Afghanistan etc. Probably, the word Hindu has been derived from Sindhu; meaning those who live around the river Sindh. It is not easy to define the term Hindu as there are no defined ingredients of this religion. This is a conglomeration of different beliefs. The Hindus worship several gods and goddesses; some count it around 350 million. Hindus worship idols and have faith in miracles of queer type. Hinduism stresses more in rituals and the other-worldliness. The Hindus are vegetarian and non-vegetarian both, but the non-vegetarians don't eat beef and some of them don't eat any type of meat on Tuesdays (the day of the mythical god Mangal i.e. Mars, which according to Hinduism, is the son of the Earth ). The famous books of the Hindus are Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas etc. The first two are epic poems and have not much to do with philosophy. Even the heroes Rama and Krishna seem to be feudal lords. The Hindu social structure is based on Manu Smriti, which is a good document of sociology (many people consider this work as racist and fascist in tone). The Hindu polity is base on Arth Shastra of Kautalya; again a document which teaches more or crookedness than of diplomacy and administration. The Hindus have been ruling parts of the sub-continents from time to time. Their land had been ruled by foreigners for about 2000 years. In 1947, they were transferred power by the British. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 556, 951 etc.

IDOLATRY:- Sikhism strictly rejects idolatry. It is obligatory for a Sikh not to worship idols of any form. A Sikh must have devotion for the One and the only God and His Word (as contained in Guru Granth Sahib). Sikhs don't worship even Guru Granth Sahib but worship the Word in it. It is out of sheer ignorance that some writers have used term "Sikh Temple" for Gurdwara (the Sikh place of worship). A Sikh can not worship even the pictures of Guru Sahib or Sikh personalities (even if one could find real photos). Sikhs do show respect to their Guru Sahib, the martyrs and the leaders but don't worship them. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 525, 686, 738-39, 1160 etc.

JAP/JAAP KARNA:- To repeat the Name of Waheguru. It can be done in three manners: to utter, so that the others may listen; to utter it slowly, so that the others may not listen; to repeat in mind. In Sikhism, Jap Karna is not mere uttering of His Name or a hymn but it means also to keep His 'noble-fear' always in one's mind, so that one may not do anything against His Order. However, Waheguru is not a spell/charm/ magic/incantation etc. The repetition of His Name or of a hymn, as a Mantra or as some other magical power is not in consonance with the Sikh ideology. A Sikh, however, may adopt repetition of His Name in order to keep one away from distractions or some temporary disturbance.

JIWAN MUKTI:- Jiwan Mukti literally means: liberation from the cycle of life and death. In Sikhism, the concept of liberation, like the concepts of heaven and hell, is unique and is altogether different from all the other religions. In Sikhism, one achieves Jiwan Mukti during one's life time and not after death. Absorption in His Name, purgation of ego, living truthful life lead to the candidature for self-realization. Jiwan Mukti, however, is achieved by Grace of the Almighty. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 2, 8, 161, 201, 412, 448-49, 522, 1009, 1058, 1343 etc.

KALYUG:- The Hindus believe in four eras or Ages: Satyug, Duapar, Treta and Kalyug. These four are in sequence of time as well as qualities. Satyug being the foremost, it is considered as the top-most time of the humanity and Kalyug being the latest, is considered as the lowest time of humanity. Sikhism does not believe in this division. Any references to these Yugas, in Sikh literature, is relative and not conceptual. In Sikhism, Kalyug means darkness in the mind of a human beings. Similarly, Satyug means the state of enlightenment in a human being. One can live in Satyug by meditating the Name of the Almighty and by living Truthful life. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 145, 470, 668, 1023, 1390, 1408 etc.

KARAM:- Karam means Grace of God. Persian word Karam has been frequently used by Guru Sahib. According to the Sikh philosophy, every bliss is Grace of the Almighty. Birth, life, death, liberation are all His Grace. A Sikh has an obligation to have complete faith in His Grace as He is ever Graceful to the whole of the humanity and not to some selected or chosen people or categories. Also see: Karm/Karma.

KARM/KARMA:- Karm/Karma means actions done in past life. According to the Hindu Law of Karma, one reaps what one has sown (in his previous life). In Sikhism, Karm philosophy, unlike Hindu philosophy, does not mean that the human birth is a result of the actions done in the previous life. According to the Sikh philosophy, one gets reward/punishment for one's actions in this life. In Sikhism, hymns which seem to refer to the past life, are meant at clarity of the popular belief; hence relative and contextual and not conceptual. According to the Sikh philosophy, human life is a result of God's Karm (Grace). Similarly, in Sikhism, liberation too depends upon His Grace. Meditation, purgation of ego and truthful living, by themselves, do not entitle one to achieve liberation as liberation too is His Graceful Blessing. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 5) Good Karms (or Karma) may lead to a better, pious life, which is an obligatory qualification for consideration for candidature in His Court for liberation. Also see: Karm (Persian).

LIFE (Purpose of):- The purpose of a human being is to achieve self-realization. In Sikhism one's life is a span for meditation of the Name of God and for living truthful life. A Sikh has an obligation to live life of active activity, make positive contribution to the society and meditate upon the Name of the Almighty. All this will lead to the attainment of the stage of self-realization. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 522, 921 etc.

MAYA:- Maya, in Sikhism, is not illusion (it is rather delusion). Sikhism believes that this world is real because it has been created by God. Mention of Maya, in Sikh scriptures, does not refer to this world/universe rather it refers to delusion which keeps a man away from Truth. This world, and every thing of this world is real (not unreal) but it is ephemeral. This ephemeral aspect is called Maya in Sikhism. The way to overcome Maya is to live truthful life, overcome one's ego and remember the Almighty. When the Almighty makes a Graceful Glance, a man is born. Life is His Blessing. But, as one grows up, one forgets the Creator and becomes more and more attached to pleasure, greed, materialism and egotism. It is the beginning of the spell of Maya. Such a person is a Manmukh. His Grace can turn one into a Gurmukh, who is free from the effects of Maya. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 42, 67, 120, 148, 186, 188, 190, 213, 231, 279, 394, 417, 429, 435, 648, 672, 740, 787, 921, 1019, 1093, 1252, 1342, 1427 etc.

MIRACLES:- Miracle is a marvellous and welcome event that seems impossible to explain by means of law of nature and therefore it is attributed to some supernatural agency. Sikhism rejects miracles, charms, incantation, occult power, magic etc. According to Sikhism, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow are His Gifts. A Sikh must live his life according to His Hukam (Order). Sikhism rejects interference in His Order. Magic, miracles and such actions are against His Order. In Sikhism there is only one miracle i.e. remembering His Name without any expectation for a reward. He alone knows, to whom, when, what, how much and where will His Blessing be granted. A Sikh can not believe in superstitions as well. The stories of miracles and supernatural events presented in the Janamsaakhis by some writers do not denote that Guru Sahib themselves believed in such things. The miracles presented in the Janamsaakhis are a method adopted by some writers to present a certain point in the paradigm of fiction. It can be compared to a sugar-coated pill. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 6, 417, 543, 593, 637, 907, 941 etc.

NAAM JAPNAA, KIRAT KARNAA, VAND CHHAKNAA:- Mediation of the Name of God (Naam Japnaa) is basic tenet of Sikhism. Human life is meant for mediation upon the Name of God. Naam Japnaa is not simple reading of hymns; it means understanding the Word and living life according to Word. Naam Japnaa dispels darkness and leads to self-realization and finally to union with God. Honest earning (Kirat Karnaa) and sharing with the other (Vand Chhaknaa) is equally important for a Sikh. Without honest earning and helping the poor and the needy mere meditation is of no use. Such a meditation is hypocritical rituals. In Sikhism, truthful living is as important as meditation is.

NAAM SIMRAN:- Remembering (Simran) of the Name (Naam) of the Almighty. In Sikhism, remembering the Almighty does not mean mere meditation. It includes purgation of ego, truthful living (honest earning, sharing with others, helping the needy, defending human rights) also. See: Naam Japnaa, Kirat Karna, Vand Chhaknaa.

NANAK PANTHI:- Literally: one who practices the Panth (way) of Guru Nanak Sahib. It is another term for a Sikh. Anti-Sikhism school had tried to establish that a Nanak Panthi is "something different" from an initiated Sikh. Such propaganda was a result of ulterior motives.

NIRGUN:- Literally: without Gun (form or qualities or attributes). God, in Sikhism is both with attributes and without attributes. His attributes manifests in His creation (i.e. Sargun) but He is beyond attributes because He is beyond comprehension by human mind (Nirgun). "He has thousand eyes, yet not one; He has thousand forms, yet not one; He has thousand feet, yet not one...." (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 13). Also see: Sargun.


PACIFISM:- Pacifism is rejection of war and use of force. Sikhism is not a pacific religion. Kirpan (the Sikh sword) is one of the "five articles of the faith" of a Sikh. The Sikh Kirpan is not a symbol (nor it is a weapon of offence). Kirpan is a Sikh's duty to fight for Dharma (Righteousness). A Sikh has an obligation to resist tyranny by all legitimate means (it includes use of not only Kirpan but also the other weapons, according to necessity and the gravity of the situation). Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of the Sikh religion, told the Sikhs not to be a passive observer to injustice. He himself spoke against tyranny of the army of Babar. He called Babar as Jaabar (tyrant) in the same tone as he spoke against callousness of the Lodhi rulers. Guru Arjan Sahib refused to submit to terrorizing style of Birbal (a minister of Akbar). Guru Hargobind Sahib had to fight more than four battles against the aggressive forces. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib sacrificed his life for the right to faith. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib fought ten battles and sacrificed his whole family for the Sikhs' struggle for identity and entity. It is sacred duty of a Sikh to always be ready to resist persecution, injustice, tyranny and in-humanism. But, a Sikh, before resorting to arms must have tried all peaceful means; minimum and only necessary force should be used; Sikh moral traditions must be followed; the intention should be to defend and not to capture power or to assert fascist supremacy over the others etc. The writers of the Anti-Sikhism School have unsuccessfully tried to establish that Guru Nanak Sahib was a pacifist and from Guru Hargobind Sahib (some reckon it even from Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) onwards the Sikhs underwent a "transformation" or "evolution". This intention of these writers is, in fact, a part of some international conspiracy which intends to establish that the followers of Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh are different. This section has tried to divide the Sikh religion into two sects but have miserably failed. The truth is that the Sikh ideology never underwent any evolution, change or transformation. The Sikh thought has remained the same with all the Ten Naanaks, and, in spite of the malicious and mischievous propaganda, the Sikh nation stands firm on its national principles, even today.

PARVIRTI:- Literally: desire to do activity. Sikhism is Parvirti Maarag (way of active activity) as compared to Nirvirti Maarag (way of passive activity i.e. renunciation). A Sikh is a man of this world, though not worldly. Sikh religion is a social religion and not asceticism. A Sikh should renounce Maya and not the world. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 773 etc. Also see: Sanyas.

PATSHAH:- Literally: the sovereign/emperor. In Sikhism the Almighty is called Sachcha Patshah (literally: the true ruler) as compared to political sovereign who is referred to as Jhoottha Patshah (unreal/ephemeral ruler). According to the Sikh faith the Almighty is the emperor of the emperors. The authority of the true ruler (the Almighty) reigns over the whole of the universe alike and the basis of His authority is love. On the other hand the earthly ruler controls a limited territory and moreover his authority is due to force etc.

POLLUTION:- Pollution is what Hindus call Apvittarata. It is opposite of oblution. The Hindu concept of Pavittar (pure) and Apvittar (polluted) is rejected by Sikhism. In Sikhism cleanliness for hygienic reasons is a must; otherwise nothing is polluted nor any thing is abluted in any manner. An initiated Sikh, however, must not share food (dining together) with the one who is not initiated or is a Patit (apostate). In Sikhism, cleanliness, pilgrimage, rituals etc. have nothing to do with salvation/liberation/self-realization. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 56, 558, 1113, 1158, 1344 etc. Also see: Sutak.

PUNJ KHAND:- Literally: Five realms/regions/stages. In Japuji Sahib (stanzas 34 to 37), Guru Nanak sahib have explained five stages of spiritual journey towards self-realization. These five are: Dharam Khand (stage of duty), Gian Khand (stage of knowledge), Saram Khand (stage of endeavour), Karam Khand (stage of Grace), Sach Khand (the realm of Truth). The first stage is that of Dharam Khand. Man has come in this universe to play his part. He has social role to play. He must play his role sincerely. One must not try to escape one's responsibilities. The second stage is that of Gian Khand. One must be aware of the mystery of the Creator, His Creation, oneself. Knowledge here does not mean intellectual understaning but it means spiritual consciousness. Saram Khand is the stage of endeavour. One should purge oneself of ego. One should meditate His name to negate his 'self'. Spiritual endeavour is the most difficult stage towards self-realization. On road to liberation this is the last human role. The fourth stage is Karam Khand, i.e. Grace of the Almighty. When one has achieved the stage of purgation of ego, the Almighty judges the performance of the human being. If one passes the test, then the Almighty grants His Grace. The final stage is Sach Khand. This is the final stage of the evolution of human consciousness. It is the realm of truth. It is the stage of self-realization i.e. liberation.

REBIRTH:- Punar-Janam (re-birth) is a Hindu belief. The doctrines of pre-existence of soul, transmigration, metempsychosis and re-incarnation are Hindu beliefs. According to modern Theosophists, these beliefs were also prevalent among the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims, in some form. Faith in resurrection of the dead from graves also seems to have its basis in the same belief. In the Sikh literature there are references to Chauraasi Lakh Joon (countless forms of creation) and Aavagavan (cycle of life and death). But these references are contextual and not conceptual. Sikhism does not believe that one is born in human form after living the lives of millions of creatures of different types of species. The reference to Chauraasi Lakh Joon is to explain that human life is superior to all the other millions of species. Similarly, reference of Aavagavan denotes the fear (created by the Hindus) of life and death and not actual "cycle of birth and re-birth". According to the Sikh philosophy, meditation and truthful living leads to elimination of the fear of re-birth. Sikhism does not believe in re-birth but it suggests means to get rid of the fear or re-birth created (by the other faiths). Sikhism rejects heaven and hell, existence of the other world, liberation after death and hence re-birth, re-incarnation, transmigration and metasychosis. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 275, 449, 742, 749, 1078, 1103 etc.

RITUAL:- Rituals has no place in Sikhism. According to the Sikh philosophy practice of rituals does not help in achievement of liberation. Rituals is hypocrisy. Lately, some rituals has begun to be practiced by some phoney Sikhs. It includes Aakhand Paatths, ablution, Aarti in Sikh-ized form, recitation sessions of Sukhmani Sahib or any other specific hymn, celebration of Diwali, Visakhi, Sangraand, Massiya, Pooranmaashi, Maaghi, Hola and even Sharaadhs etc. All this had been rejected by Guru Sahib as hypocrisy because such practices (rituals) make us forget the Beloved, the Almighty. In Sikhism Naam Simran, purgation of ego and truthful life are the real rituals. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 4, 33, 98, 162, 470-72, 558, 590, 641-42, 1258 etc.

SAMADH:- A memorial made over the ashes of some deceased person. In Sikhism, it is forbidden to build such a structure, mausoleum etc. Memorials, otherwise (not over the ashes or at the place of cremation) are not prohibited.

SANT:- Sant has been derived from the Sanskrit word Shaant meaning 'peaceful'. Sant is a Hindu concept. There has also been a Sant Samparda among the Hindu missionaries. This school emphasized monotheism and devotion of the Almighty but not through Awtaars, the so-called divine incarnations. In the Sikh ideology, the Almighty is the only Sant.

SANYAS:- Literally: renunciation. It is the fourth Aashram (stage of life) in the Hindu philosophy. According to Hinduism, a man, after fulfilling his duties as householder, must renounce the world and depend upon alms and begging. Some Hindus adopt Sanyas at an early stage and some even don't marry at all (this stage is called Brahamcharya i.e. celibacy). In general term, it means renunciation of the world. Sikhism rejects renunciation. For a Sikh, renunciation of ego, conceit, untruthful life, dishonesty, anger and the other vices, is the real Sanyas. A Sikh has to become a Sanyasi at heart. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 992, 1332 etc.

SATGURU:- Literally: the true Guru. The Almighty is the Satguru of a Sikh. Guru Nanak Sahib used Akal Moorat, Akal Purakh, Satguru etc. for the Almighty (Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 149, 352, 465, 1328). The other Guru Sahib also used Satguru for the Almighty (Guru Granth Sahib pp. 30, 41, 163, 645, 691, 911). The Almighty is referred to as Satguru in Guru Granth Sahib for more than 800 times. Guru Sahib (the Ten Naanaks) are also addressed as Satguru in contrast to the other human leaders. Guru Sahib are also known as Sachcha Patshah (the true king), in contrast to the "false (temporal) king".

SHARADH:- Literally: an activity done with Shardha (faith/devotion). In Hinduism it means a ritual performed in the memory of the deceased parents or some other relatives. Alms-giving, feeding the Brahmins and beggars etc. are a part of this ritual. The Hindus believe that the food given in charity shall reach their deceased forefathers/relatives. Sikhism rejects this ritual as hypocrisy. A Sikh is forbidden to observe such-like rituals. It is intriguing that some Hindu observe Sharaadh even of Guru Nanak Sahib. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 139, 332, 358, 856 etc.

SHASTAR:- Literally: arms. In Sikhism the use of arms is legitimate (when all other means fail). In Sikhism, Shastar means real weapons/arms and not any diplomatic dialogue. Similarly, Kirpan (the Sikh sword) is not the only Shastar that a Sikh is allowed to use. A Sikh may use any weapon. The pre-condition is that arms are to be resorted to for defence and not for offence and the Sikh code of conduct (for war) must be followed. Also see: Dharam Yudh, Kakaar, Kirpan, Resistance, Pacifism.

SIN:- Sin is an act against religious or moral law or Divine Law. The main ingredient of sin is that it should have been done with an intention. It should not be an act done in innocence. In Sikhism the concept of sin, as such, does not exist, but some negative things and vices may be classed as acts of a nature of a sin. These include atheism, the five vices Kaam, Karodh, Lobh, Moh, Hankaar (lust, anger, avarice, attachment, pride), hurting the feelings of the others, laziness (lethargic mentality), ungratefulness, encroachment upon the rights of the others, monster mentality etc. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 126 etc.

SOLAAN KALAAN:- Solaan Kalaan means sixteen out of sixteen (there were sixteen annas in a rupee) i.e. one hundred percent. It also means sixteen arts. One who is perfect at sixteen arts is called Solaan Kalaan Sampuran (the perfect). According to Hinduism, God has sixteen powers (attributes): knowledge, love, meditation, goodness, firmness, contentment, righteousness, education, devotion, spiritualism, truth etc. Sikhism rejects this theory. In Sikh philosophy the Almighty can not be defined in the terms of attributes and He has infinite attributes, qualities and arts. He is Sarab Kalaa Sampuran (expert of all possible arts).

TEEN TAAP:- Literally: three forms of suffering. A human being, in his routine of life, can have suffering of three kinds: physical, mental and psychological. These are also mentioned as Aadh (of mind), Biadh (of body) and Upaadh (psychological; such as doubt, confusion, delusion, illusion etc.). All these can be overcome by meditation of the Almighty. The Almighty is "Tine tap nivaran-hara" (Moreover or the three types of sufferings). See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 287, 714, 1223 etc.

VICE:- In Sikhism there are five vices: Kaam (lust), Karodh (wrath/anger), Lobh (greed/avarice), Moh (attachment), Hankaar (pride). One must get rid of these five vices in order to get liberation (self-realization). These vices are obstacles in path to union with the Supreme Soul. These can be overcome by meditation and truthful living. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 14, 61, 147, 962, 1288 etc.

VIRTUE:- The main virtue for a Sikh is to overcome the five vices; to meditate and to live truthful life. Some other virtues are: to speak truth, contentment, patience, temperance, forgiveness, humbleness, justice, chastity, purity of mind and body, love for every one, helping the others, honest earning, sharing with others, meditation etc. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 4, 766, 812, 1384 etc.

WAHEGURU:- To be pronounced as Waaheguru. It is a combination of two words: Wahed (The One) and Guru (the Enlightener). As Sikhism believes in wahedat (monotheism), it believes in Oneness of God. "Waah" is also and expression of wonder, hence Waheguru may also mean: 'the Wonderful Enlightener/Master/Lord'. It is the most popular Sikh address for the Almighty. Also see: Akal Purakh, Akal Moorat, Satguru.

YOGA:- Yoga is an institution/philosophy of a sect of Hinduism. Sikhism rejects all type of Yoga practices. Sikhism, however, does not prohibit physical training and other exercises for health purposes. According to the Sikh faith the real Yoga is meditation of the Name of the Almighty. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 730, 937-43, 1127 etc. Also see: Hatth Yoga.

YUG/YUGA:- Hinduism divides span of Yugas (Ages) of humanity into four parts: Satyug, Duapar, Treta and Kalyug. Sikhism rejects this theory. References to these Yugas, found in Sikh Scriptures do not support the acceptance of this theory. These references are contextual and not conceptual. In Sikhism, Satyuga is meditation of the Almighty and living truthful life and Kalyuga is life of sin when goodness, godliness and righteousness disappear i.e. when one is away from noble fear of the Almighty. Satyuga is enlightenment and Kalyuga is darkness and false-ness (of mind). The division of Ages as such is not accepted by Guru Sahib. In the western world there is a different classification of Ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages.

For more entries about Sikh theology, please consult:
The SIKH REFERENCE BOOK by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer.
This book has 4000 entries about Sikh culture, Sikh theology, Sikh polity, Sikh literature, Sikh personalities, Sikh towns, Sikh shrines etc. Besides it has a comprehensive CHRONOLOGY of Sikh history from 1469 to 1996.

Published by: SINGH BROTHERS, Amritsar. Available from several shops. Can even buy on internet.


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