Friday, 12 February 2021

Sikh Perspective about Ageing and Care of Elderly


(Article first published in May 2010).


 This article looks at “ageing and spirituality” from a Sikh perspective under two headings:

 1.  Preparation for and coping with faith in advanced age.

 2.  Norms to be followed for caring of Sikh elders.


1.    Preparation for and coping with faith in an advanced age

 1.1       Sikh concepts of Udham, Ghaal, and Nadar*

(* For further reading: Booklet in Panjabi, Udham Ghaal & Nadhar by Guru Nanak Mission, Patiala.)

 Sikh spirituality is based on constant God awareness (Naam simran) while living an active life of a householder.

There are three peculiarly Sikh concepts, which relate to Sikh spiritual progress and well-being. The first is udham, which is timely initiative and action; the second is ghaal or intense and sustained effort; while the third component is Nadar or Divine Grace, sought through daily prayer in humility. Udham and ghaal give the Sikh the will power to act when his or her duty or righteous conduct (dharam) demands it. The Sikh code of conduct (rehat), or the Sikh way of life, is based on the Sikh concepts of udham and ghaal. These are the pre-conditions for treading the path of Sikhi (Sikh way of life). However, achievement of the ultimate objective of human life depends entirely on Nadar (literally: look of compassion) or Divine Grace invoked through constant God awareness Naam simran). The main aim of human life is to acquire a state of equanimity and equipoise (sehaj anand), reached while living an active life.

According to Sikh teachings, the goal of human life is achievable here and now and at any stage in life, without waiting for the hereafter. Indeed, the total stress of Sikh thought is on this moment, this breath, which should not be wasted. The hands and feet remain active while the mind remains focused on God consciousness. The Guru’s teaching is that this is possible while living an active life. There is no place for opt-out ideologies or asceticism in Sikhism.    

These three components of the Sikh way of life, Udham, ghaal and Nadar, prepare the devotee for the challenges to be faced in all stages of life. These are the ingredients present in the lives of all great Gur-Sikhs, the true followers of the Guru’s path, who are remembered by the Sikh tradition.  


1.2       Sikhism: A faith of optimism and hope


Sikhism is a faith of optimism (Chardhi kalla) and of hope during all stages of life. No one is regarded as beyond redemption.

Sikh teachings in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures, show the path to a complete life system from birth to death. The Sikh Code of Conduct (Sikh Reht Maryada) based on the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib, gives guidance regarding the spiritual and physical disciplines, which need to be observed to attain the ultimate goal of human life.

The spiritual well-being of an individual is important. It is achieved and maintained through an understanding of the relevant guidance in the Guru’s Word (Gurbani) embodied in Guru Granth Sahib. The ultimate purpose of life is achieved through constant God awareness so that the falsehood of duality (duvait) between the One Timeless Creator Being and the created is removed by seeing the Creator in all creation. The falsehood of duvait is due to false pride in self or egotism (haomai). The stage of bliss or sehaj anand is achieved through God’s Grace (Nadar), a concept unique to Sikhism. God’s Grace or Nadar can redeem the most evil person at any time in life and free the being from the cycle of cause and effect and the cycle of life and death.

There is hope for all during all stages of life to return to the path of righteous and truthful conduct. In Sikhism, no sinner is beyond redemption. According to Sikh teachings, the cycle of “karma” can be broken at any time with the Nadar of Waheguru, the Wondrous Giver of Knowledge.

Inner detachment, while living the full life of a working householder, and service and sharing, are the other main pillars of the Sikh faith. Such a life style teaches one to accept God’s Will (Hukam razaee) in all situations; empowers the devotee to shed the fear of death, pain and loss. One acquires the will to control lust, anger, greed and vanity and the soul is freed from material attachment. A state of equanimity and contentment is achieved through inner detachment while living a fully participative life.

            There are constant reminders in the Sikh teachings that no time must be wasted and one should start God remembrance (Naam simran) from the earliest possible age. The more the delay in following the path shown by the Guru, the Giver of Knowledge, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a life of complete harmony with the creation and the Creator. Nevertheless, the stress of Sikhism is on God’s Grace (Nadar), which gives hope to all at all stages in life. It is the one constant throughout life. That is the reason why it is said that those who follow the Guru’s path never age (Gurmukh budhay kadday nahi..); they remain active and positive in a spirit of unyielding courage to the end.

It is the positive, life affirming spirit of chardhi kalla, which has produced a long line of great elderly Sikhs in the Sikh tradition, who showed unyielding courage against impossible odds. [Many examples can be given of great Sikh scholars, generals, reformers and achievers in all walks of life from the times of the Gurus to the present day.]             

Sikhism teaches a simple, clean and healthy life of moderation. Excessive eating and sleeping are not good for health and prevent an individual from living an active life.  Smoking and addiction to alcohol and drugs is totally forbidden.    

            The stress of Sikh teachings is on an active working life so that one continues to contribute to society through the diverse roles as a family person and as a full participant in community life to the end. At different stages of life a Sikh contributes physically, mentally and economically. So far as possible, a Sikh should not be a burden on society. And so a Sikh is prepared during his or her lifetime to cope with all challenges of life including those of advanced age.


1.2       Coping with faith in advanced age  

            The Sikh Code of Conduct, the Sikh Reht Maryada, derived from the Sikh teachings in Guru Granth Sahib, gives guidance on the physical discipline a Sikh should follow for spiritual advancement. The five Sikh articles of faith, called the Five “K”s, and the  daily religious routine are prescribed. These are the aids to physical and spiritual well being of a Sikh and ensure constant spiritual alertness through focus on the Guru’s Word.       

   However, it needs to be remembered that, according to Sikh teachings, spirituality is not based on any ritualism. Subject to physical ability, the ultimate purpose of this life is the achievement of a state of spiritual contentment through God remembrance (Naam simran) and inner detachment. Naam simran  is the cure for all pain and suffering. The Code is not prescriptive but a practical guide allowing flexibility where age or any other physical or mental handicap limit full compliance. [However, Sikhs would oppose any restrictions imposed by the state on the right to practise own faith or the right to own religio-cultural identity.]

Not all Sikhs would have followed the life path as shown by the Guru in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scriptures. Yet, the experience of Sikh community workers is that most Sikhs born in Sikh families are generally aware of the main teachings of the faith. Elderly Sikhs can be helped to regain their faith and hope: that the Guru – the Giver of Knowledge - through his Nadar (Grace) shows the path to all regardless of age. Historical and contemporary success stories can be recited to show great Sikh achievements in advanced age. Life can be changed through the Guru’s teaching and God’s Grace. Naam is the cure for all pain and suffering. Naam (literally Name) describes the spiritual manifestations of the Creator Being. In Sikhism. the Name Word is “Waheguru” – the Wondrous Enlightener or Giver of Knowledge”, the repetition of which invokes the Divine Spirit within each soul and frees the mind from worldly thoughts and physical pain. Sin, sorrow and suffering test a man but his true support through all the challenges of life is his complete faith in God and prayer for His Grace (Nadar).

Gurbani (Guru’s Word) constantly reminds the devotee about the aging process and the urgency for the human mind to focus on the Timeless Creator Being. A sense of God awareness also gives the individual a sense of freedom from the worries of the aging process and hope in advanced age. The fear of death is replaced by equanimity and blissful contentment. Those who have faith in God’s Will (Hukam Razaaee) are not afraid of death. Says Kabir, “Death, of which men are afraid, gives me nothing but joy. It is through the gate of death that one may unite with the Lord of Bliss. SGGS p.1365)


2.         Norms to be followed for caring of Sikh elders.

(Based on guidance for health care personnel in Riverland, Australia by S. Baldev Singh Dhaliwal JP)


2.1       Guidelines for the health and other allied services.


2.1.1        General


Sikhs, who have lived their lives according to Sikh teachings, are likely to remain active to a very advanced age. It is important that their way of life is respected and they are allowed to remain in an environment in which their daily routine is not disturbed.

Many elderly Sikhs came from the villages of Punjab, in northern India.  Generally they have a poor understanding of the English language. This is particularly true in the case of women. It is important, therefore, that effective communication is established and maintained between the patient and the health professional.

The presence of a close relative in some cases; e.g. for women their husbands, and for the elderly, their carer (son or daughter), may make the patient feel comfortable and may also be of benefit to the health professional.  However, the relative should not be used as an interpreter other than for matters that are general in nature. It is important that the clients can clearly understand their options to be able to make informed decisions.

A caring attitude and a genuine desire by the service personnel to understand and serve the patient according to his/her particular requirements e.g. regarding faith and cultural aspects, goes a long way to put the patient at ease and to develop mutual trust and understanding.  Remember that each person is an individual with his/her own likes, dislikes, preferences and religious convictions.


2.1.2        Interpreters, faith guidance and nursing care


The language (mother tongue) of a vast majority of the Sikhs is Panjabi.  For general matters the gender of the interpreter may not be important, but for matters of a personal and delicate nature, however, a gender appropriate interpreter must be used.

Gender appropriate staff must be used for nursing care involving handling, close contact with the client, changing, bed baths, treatment and examination of a personal and delicate nature and any other procedures that may require body exposure.

Amritdhari Sikhs (male or female Sikhs who have taken and maintained the Sikh Baptism) will have particular needs to maintain their code of discipline and this should be discussed with them.  They should not be asked to be separated from their five articles of faith: kesh (hair), kangha (wooden comb), kirpan (small sword), kashehra (special shorts) and kara (iron bangle).  If for some reason this is absolutely necessary it should be discussed with them before hand.

Sikhs who maintain their hair unshorn need to care for their hair.  If the patients are unable to care for their hair themselves, this must be discussed with them or their relatives and they should be assisted as necessary.

The patient may need privacy when they are engaged in prayer or are caring for their hair.  They may not want to be seen without the head covering (turban, keski (smaller version of a turban) or a headscarf, especially in a shared room. Some Sikhs like to spend time in prayer in the early morning and in the evening after a bath.  Their needs should be discussed, understood and accommodated, and they should be assisted in maintaining their discipline and daily routine.  People may also prefer to listen to their religious music (kirtan) at other times.  This should be encouraged and will help them in their mental and physical well-being.

Generally, staff and community workers caring for elderly Sikhs need appropriate education and training to understand the Sikh way of life, some aspects of which have been mention in the first part of this article. Where there is need, faith guidance and counselling service should be made available.


2.2       Terminal illness and death

                There are no obvious special requirements for terminally ill patients except that they need to be cared for and nursed with particular sensitivity. Where possible, arrangements should be made for Sikh religious volunteers or paid workers, and religious personnel from the local Gurdwara to visit them from time to time. 

                Sometimes the question is asked, “How should a patient be informed of a terminal illness?”  There is no simple answer to this; each situation will be different. Be guided by those close to the patient.  Understanding and acceptance of their situation by the patient can vary according to their spirituality and mental outlook. Generally, people with true understanding of Sikh teachings are much better at discussing their illness frankly and accepting their situation more readily. The general experience is that religious Sikhs remain calm to the end, and, sometimes even comfort those they would be leaving behind!

There are no specific protocols for the handling of the deceased, except that the body must be given due respect. The Sikh Rehat (Code of Conduct) should be respected; that is, that none of the five Kakaar (Articles of Faith) should be removed, even from the deceased body. Guidance should be sought from the family or appointed relatives/friends. Family and friends may read the verses from the Sikh Scriptures or repeat/ chant the words Satnaam and Waheguru (Sikh Names for the Creator). Although not encouraged, some older women may display uncontrolled grief.


2.3       Death

            (Note: The following general notes are subject to the guidance given in the approved  Sikh Code of Conduct (Sikh Reht Maryada), a copy of which should be kept by those concerned. Panjabi and English versions are readily available from Gurduaras and on the Internet.) 


A Sikh, who has lived his or her life according to the Guru’s teaching, is prepared for and accepts death as inevitable at some stage in life, and as the Will of God (Hukam Razaee).  Wailing and outward display of too much grief is discouraged.  At the time of grief Sikhs are encouraged to find peace and comfort in the recitation and understanding of Gurbani (the Guru’s Word) and meditating on Naam by reciting “Satnaam, Waheguru – the True Name of the Wondrous Enlightener).  There are relevant passages in the Guru Granth Sahib, which, when read with understanding, can provide comfort and consolation to the grieving.  However, there may be display of uncontrolled grief, particularly by ladies attached to non-Sikh traditions.

The dead body is treated with respect until the final rites and cremation, which take place as soon as possible.  The 5 Kakaar must be maintained on the body to the end. Sikhs usually cremate their dead, although, if the circumstances demand, the body can be disposed off in any other way. The ashes are dispersed in flowing water.  After the cremation, Guru Granth Sahib is read from beginning to end, generally at the family’s home. There is no fixed period in which to complete reading the Scriptures, but, traditionally, it is soon after cremation.  The family is encouraged to read the Scriptures themselves or listen to the recitation by someone else as much as they can.  The reading is followed by the final ceremony, generally also at the family’s home.  The reading of the Scriptures with understanding or listening to them being read consoles the grieving relatives and friends.  The ceremony that follows may be considered as the conclusion to the main grieving period.





Coping with old age is an increasingly important area due to the ageing population in the Sikh diaspora. This is an initial collation of relevant Sikh thought; others would wish to add and amend as they see fit. Relevant Gurbani quotations are readily available and can be given in any presentation where appropriate.

As well as the spiritual principles of Sikhism, it will also be useful to mention some role models e.g. Guru Amar Das Ji’s Guruship period was from the age of 72 to 95 years (from 1552 - 1575). During this period Guru Sahib consolidated the Sikh institutions set up by Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Angad Dev Ji and gave the Sikh Panth the organisation to emerge as the Khalsa Panth by 1699. 

Great elderly Sikhs include Baba Budha Ji, Baba Dip Singh Ji, Mata Bhag Kaur (popular as Mai Bhago JI), and in recent times, Baba Fauja Singh, the marathon runner, setting world records at the age of 90 plus. These GurSikhs exemplify the Gurbani quote, “Gurmukh budhay kaday nahi


Gurmukh Singh OBE

© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author


hir mMdru eyhu srIru hY  igAwin rqin prgtu hoie ]

mnmuK mUlu n jwxnI  mwxis hir mMdru n hoie ] 2 ]

ArQ: pRwxI dw srIr hI Akwl purK dw mMdr hY, pr ies dI soJI Akwl purK dy igAwn duAwrw hI pRwpq huMdI hY [ pr, mnmu~KW nMU ies vwry pqw nhIN lgdw ikauNik auh smJdy hn ik ienswn dy srIr ivc Akwl purK dw vwsw ikvyN ho skdw hY ? (2)

The human body is the abode of the True Lord but it could only be realized by the Divine enlightenment of True Naam. Whereas, the faithless persons are unable to realize as they suspect, how this body could be the abode of Akaal Purkh? (2)

hir mMdru hir jIau swijAw  riKAw hukim svwir ]

Duir lyKu iliKAw su kmwvxw  koie n mytxhwru ] 3 ]

ArQ: hy BweI! ienswn dy srIr nUM pYdw krn vwlw BI Akwl purK Awp hI hY Aqy ies dI dyK-Bwl BI ausdy hukm Anuswr hI huMdI hY [ ies At~l scweI Anuswr hI ieh jIvn cldw hY Aqy aus dI rzw ivc hor koeI dKl nhIN dy skdw [ (3) - (is~KW nMU sMq-bwibAW Aqy pujwrIAW qoN dUr hI rihxw cwhIdw hY}

Akaal Purkh alone is the Creator of this human body the abode of God and it is also nourished by God’s Command. By virtue of Divine Enlightenment, this life is sustained and as such no other authority could ever interfere. (3) [Hence, Sikhs should not run after sant-babas/pujaris]








Sikh Position Regarding Oaths in Courts


Through the Sikh Council UK, the Ministry of Justice asked for Sikh religious position regarding the taking of oaths in courts. Clarification was needed for “jurors guidance and for their staff manual so that the Ministry’s staff have a greater awareness and understanding of Sikhism.”

Current guidance received from the Ministry (e-mail of 4 April 2016), reads, “The [Sikh] community usually choose to Affirm but may choose to Affirm holding the Sikh holy book (they may refer to this as swearing). – The Sundar Gutka, an extract from the Guru Granth Sahib, is considered an appropriate form of a Sikh holy book to be used in courts. It should be covered with an orange or yellow cloth and only the juror should handle the holy book out of the cover.”

Reaction to this wording on behalf of the Sikh Missionary Society UK (affiliated to the Sikh Council) was immediate. Such wording and procedure is not acceptable. I was vaguely aware that the question had been addressed some years ago and general dissatisfaction had been expressed about the current practice from a Sikh religious perspective.

The guidance wording forwarded on behalf of the Sikh Missionary Society UK (copied to the Sikh Council UK), which has been accepted by the Ministry of Justice (e-mail of 21 April 2016) is as follows:

“ Thank you for your reply. I have redrafted the guidance below, based on your response…. The guidance is for court staff on the swearing of oaths for Sikh customers and jurors:

“Guru Granth Sahib is the Living Spiritual Guide of the Sikhs. Taking the Guru or any part of it e.g. the Gutka, to the court constitutes an act of grave sacrilege. Stating something on oath using the word “God” or “Guru” is considered blasphemous in Sikh religion. So also is the act of giving testimony by touching or holding the Sikh Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib or any part of it e.g. the Gutka. All Sikhs should exercise their right to Testify by Affirmation which is more in accordance with Sikh belief and practice. Sikhs should not be asked to remove their head coverings in court.” (close quote)

The Society agrees with similar interpretation of the Sikh religious position by prominent Sikhs like Lord Indarjit Singh and Sardar Harchand Singh of Canada. We agree with Harchand Singh when he wrote, “An individual [Sikh or non-Sikh], who in one way or another, becomes instrumental in taking Guru Granth Sahib or a Gutka to the court room, renders himself guilty of committing a grave sin in the eyes of his Guru.”

We also agree with the advice given by Lord Indarjit Singh to the Deparment of Constitutional Affairs* in 2005, “A solemn affirmation following a reminder of the consequences of perjury, would in all probability achieve a greater degree of justice than the swearing of oaths, not only for Sikhs but for people of all faiths.” [*The Department became part of the new Ministry of Justice.]

Any advice given on Sikh religious issues should be open and accountable.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Sikh Turban

Importance of the Sikh Turban 

“There must be no doubt that the long coiled hair and the turban go together as one of the five K’s; as they are called — the articles of the religion dating back over 500 years. Definitions have been clearly made by the Gurus from time to time.” (Sydney Bidwell MP (Ealing-Southall speaking in the House of Commons on 28 January, 1975 ref. His book “The Turban Victory”.

For a Sikh, the dastaar (Sikh turban) is a religious requirement by the Guru’s own injunction. Dastaar is an essential article of faith for male Sikhs, about that there should be no misunderstanding: men must wear it, while it is optional for women. Four quotations are given below: the first from “Sikh Reht Maryada – The Code of Sikh Conduct & Conventions” and two from writers who were with Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

“For a Sikh, there is no restriction or requirement as to dress except that he [or she] must wear Kachhehra [a drawer type of garment] and turban. A Sikh woman may or may not tie a turban.” Panth approved “Sikh Reht Maryada – The Code of Sikh Conduct & Conventions – Article”, Article XVI (t).

Kangha dono wakt kar, paag chuneh kar baandh
(Translation) Comb your (unshorn) hair twice a day and tie your turban neatly.
(Tanhkahnama of Bhai Nand Lal – a leading poet in Guru Gobind Singh’s court.)

Joora sis kay madh baandhe(n), aor paag barhi baandhe(n)
(Translation) Tie your hair-knot in the middle of your head and tie the full length turban (to distinguish it from the small turban called “keski” which some Sikhs wear underneath the full length turban).
(Reht Naama Bhai Daya Singh – the first of the Panj Piarays – the Five Beloved Ones.)
Huto Guru Sri Jaani Jaan, sabhi bidhee Guru leyee pehchaan…
Sehli topi sir dhare(n), daaseh naam kahai……
Ab Sikhan roop paltaiyay, tej dhari jim lakh tao pai…
Shatri roop sundar att laagay, kes sis sir bandhio paagay
(Translation) And so the All Knowing Guru recognised the need…these people wear a cap and have names like “Daas” (slave or servant)….now the appearance (and personality) of the Sikhs will be changed and they shall be recognised in their distinctive glamour amongst thousands. The (saint)warrior appearance is attractive with unshorn hair and turban tied on the head.
(“Sri Guru Panth Prakash” by Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu)
It becomes rather tedious reading Sikh scholars quoting the Old Testament, “Once they enter the gates of the inner Court, they are to wear vestments. They shalt wear linen turban, and linen drawers on their loins.” So what, I ask myself. Is it not enough that my Guru instructed me to wear a turban over my unshorn hair? In the same way, references by Sikh scholars to Samson and myths about the power of hair do sound quite ridiculous!
However, we can accept that for thousands of years the turban had, and for millions around the world continues to have, very special cultural and spiritual significance. In the Semitic traditions - the Jewish, the Christians and the Islamic – the turban has been a symbol of “prophethood, holiness and divine power.” (“The Turban and the Sword of The Sikhs” by Dr Trilochan Singh). It matters not whether it was “One of the Commands of God to Moses was to wear turban…”
Also, in India, the turban was and continues to be, a symbol of royalty, being used in place of a crown. The Sikh dastaar makes the Sikh a sardaar (chief or lord). Without dastaar, a Sikh is not a sardaar, and no one addresses him so. The Sikh dastaar, worn neatly and with dignity, does combine and represent the miri-piri (temporal and spiritual) aspects of Sikhi .

In gareeb Sikhan ko dioon paatshahi” – I shall bestow royalty on these poor Sikhs was the Guru’s promise. And so, by replacing their servile topis (caps) with the kingly turban, and by placing the sword of honour – the defender of human dignity - in their hands, that is precisely what the Guru did.
Within sixty years of the Guru’s demise, the Sikhs ruled all the area north of Delhi and put a stop to the annual invasions from the north-west via Afghanistan.
Sikh Turban ban in France
An article on dastaar would not be complete without a reference to the turban issue in France. As Dr M S Rahi says in his well researched article in “The Sikh Review” ("Turban and the French Law" SR Jan 2005,) “The turban of the Sikhs, a hoary article of their faith, is once again caught in the controversy of definition of secularism as understood within the framework of French republicanism and political liberalism of the other countries of the world.”
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes…..either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion…” (Article 18). The French passed a law, which contravenes a human right agreed to at the international level. In fact, the French are going against the spirit of their own constitution. It was the French Revolution which gave the world the famous slogan – liberty, equality and fraternity. As is accepted, if the Sikh daystar is a symbol of dignity, freedom and moral courage to fight against injustice facing all the odds and difficulties, then the French ban is a challenge for the Sikhs worldwide, to resist such injustice. The Sikhs should continue to seek the support of the international community.
Wrote Dr M S Rahi, “The international community should take note that the Sikhs are feeling hurt and humiliated by the French Law passed in 21st Century for the removal of their turban in the schools of France.”
Sikh youth today are looking for extrovert role models like Ravi Singh of Khalsa Aid (UK) and the globe-trotting Kirtania world-musician, Dya Singh of Australia, who are proud of their Guru-given dastaar and Sikh identity. Over the years, hundreds of turban-wearing Sikhs around the world have succeeded and excelled in their chosen professions.

The dastaar, as part of the sabat-surat sardaar Sikh personality gave them the strength of character and the courage to face all odds and to succeed. That is also my personal experience of living and working in the UK for over 56 years.
Dastaar, as part of the Sikh identity is a gift of the Guru and should be accepted gratefully as such.
The 21st Century message for Sikh youth is:
Leadership by Turban” is not a theory but a proven fact.
I started with a quotation from a speech in the House of Commons, let me finish with one from the House of Lords:

There is absolutely no doubt that the wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh religion. The ten gurus, the founders of the religion and the architects of it, all wore turban themselves.” Lord Avebury 5th October 1976 – Second Reading of the “Motor-cycle Crash-Helmets (Religious exemption) Bill”.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author

Japji Sahib Book Reveiw

"Understanding Japji Sahib" Book by Sardar Rawel Singh

The importance of this book lies in establishing the sovereign status of Sikh theology.

[Image from Sikhnet review]

"Understand Japji Sahib" By Sardar Rawel Singh

Book review by Gurmukh Singh.

Japji of Guru Nanak Sahib, the Founder of Sikhi (Sikhism), is the essence of Sikh theology. It is the first Bani in the Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

It provides the road-map and directions for travel for the Sikh who follows the Guru’s path to the main objective of human life which is union with the Creator Being by aspiring to Sach Khand, the realm of Truth, the Ultimate Reality.

The book, Understanding Japji Sahib, is in two parts.

The first part comprises short essays which expound the main themes of Japji.

The second part is an interpretation of each Paurri or stanza of Japji in the same format as the author’s magnum opus, the full translation of the Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. [At the time of writing, the work has yet to be published but has been made available online by the author and well received by Sikh scholars.]

Sri Guru Granth Sahib is an exposition of Japji. It is not possible to interpret the Bani (the Shabad or Word-Guru) in Guru Granth Sahib without continually cross-referencing back to the Source Bani, Japji. Otherwise, inevitably, the interpretation would be misleading. It would lead to many diverse conclusions, thereby, giving rise to many sects, cults, gurudoms and derawadi traditions, all claiming Sikhi centre-ground!

Therefore, exposition of the unique and sovereign theology of Guru Nanak depends on the correct understanding of the main themes of Japji. Also, in an environment of polemics i.e. religious controversy when the independent existence of one established religion is challenged by another, it becomes vital that the uniqueness of its ideology is explained with clarity.

The extent to which the author has succeeded in establishing the sovereignty of Sikh theology and confirming Guru Nanak Sahib’s Japji as its root-source, has been used as the benchmark for this review of his book, Understanding Japji Sahib.

There is no shortage of exegeses of Japji by erudite Sikh scholars. Yet, the author’s research and presentation offer much more than his modest claim, “It is one more English interpretation of Japji but with a different format giving meanings of most individual words in parentheses.” His introductory essays leading up to “Paurri-wise Interpretation of Japji” are of great value in clarifying Guru Nanak’s nirala Panth (unique path).

The author has mostly relied on Japji itself for his interpretation. He writes, “A careful study of Japji shows that Guru Nanak first covers a topic in a Paurri and elaborates/verifies it in later Paurris. If this is followed in translation/interpretation, it helps in relying on the Guru’s guidance rather than on personal understanding.” This is an objective and fresh approach to the understanding of Japji.

Starting with an overview, the Synopsis, Japji topics and themes are cross-referenced in the Japji Paurris under the headings of Naam, Cosmology, Karma, Re-incarnation and Liberation, Divine Grace and Avoiding Rituals and complying with Naam. The chapter on, Development of Thought in Japji, takes the reader on a guided tour of the Japji at the next level to the introductory Synopsis.

The second part is a detailed “Paurri-wise Interpretation of Japji”. It takes the reader from the prologue, through the 38 Paurris to the epilogue. The Paurris are interpreted and explained sequentially like steps leading from the temporal to the highest spiritual levels.

The road-map is now complete with clear directions for travel on the Guru’s road.

Naam is the main theme of Japji and it is important to fully grasp what Naam means in Sikh thought. Is Naam japna just inactive parrot-fashion repetition of some holy Word or is it suggestive of a life of Sikhi activism. If so how? Do we climb the Paurris (steps) of Japji without effort or does that step-by-step climb require daily mental and physical effort? The author clarifies that living by Naam means emulating Divine virtues/attributes and living by divine commands. That requires daily/timely sustained effort.

The reader is left in no doubt that Naam japna requires both, mental and physical activism/effort. That clarification sets this study, Understanding Japji Sahib, apart from other interpretations.

Naam is (gun or qualities) virtues or attributes – plural concept - and Naam is commands (Hukam rajaaee or Divine Will) of the Almighty – referred to as Hukam (command), a singular concept. As the author sums up, “lead life by Naam and attain union with the Supreme Being.”

The journey which follows the directions for travel, starts with the Mool Mantar, the founding precept of Sikh theology, which gives Sikh ideology its sovereign status amongst world religions. The author clarifies, “ੴ  Ik Oankaar is not the ‘Omkar’ of Hindu belief signifying the Hindu trinity of Brahma – the creator, Vishnu – the sustainer and Mahesh/Shiva – the destroyer. The use of the numeral ‘1’ before Oankaar discounts that interpretation because the numeral ‘1’ is indivisible.” The conclusion is, “ ੴ is therefore to be taken as a single indivisible representation of the Supreme Being.”

Thus, the very opening expression of Japji, the Mool Mantar, the basis of Sikh theology, rejects the Hindu belief system.

After the Mool Mantar, and the prologue, the journey continues with the question: How can the wall of falsehood be broken so that one is looked at as (sachiaara) truthful i.e. presenting the self as one really is?

The Guru’s response is in Japji Paurris (steps), which the devotee climbs to reach the final destination where the Nirankar, the Formless Almighty resides. That is the realm of Truth. It is in minds of those who truthfully conform to Naam.

With quotations from Japji, the essays clarify the Sikhi concepts relating to cosmology, karma, re-incarnation and liberation, Divine Grace and rituals.

About transliteration: Transliteration of one language alphabet into another can be only a close approximation of the original pronunciation at best. The author has given a detailed explanation of the dual approach method used to help the non-Punjabi reader to get the conventional pattern of sounds of the Punjabi language right. However, the original word pronunciation in Punjabi can only be learnt from a Punjabi speaking person. To use one example, the author admits, “It has not been possible to make distinction between sounds of ‘’ and ‘’ and ‘n’ has been used for both.”

Review conclusion:

The author’s approach and schematic presentation of Japji Sahib themes is original and, without doubt, adds value to earlier exegeses. The themes are developed with references from Japji itself. That means that the interpretation and understanding are based on the Guru’s Own guidance and revelations in Japji. This methodology adds much authority and value to the Understanding of Japji Sahib. The book is an invaluable learning aid for serious students of Sikh thought.

1898, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, completed his historic book, Hum Hindu Nahi, one publisher wrote,”….it was an outcome of polemics prevailing in the religiously polarised and strife-torn society of the nineteenth century’s last decade.”

Today, the distinct Sikh ideology and identity faces similar threats. Due to external as well as internal ideological challenges, the global Sikh reaction is to re-discover the founding principles of Sikhi. Next generations in the diaspora are searching for the essence of true Sikhi. They need quality literature in English.

For the mature student of Gurbani, Understanding Japji Sahib by Sardar Rawel Singh, falls into that category. Due to the central importance of Japji in Sikh theology, the importance of this book lies in establishing the sovereign status of Sikh theology.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author

Sikhism and Science

Gurbani and Science

The late Bhai Sahib Subedar Dharam Singh Sujjon’s research into the deeper meaning of Gurbani leaves the reader in a sta...

[Image from Sikhnet article under above heading.]

The late Bhai Sahib Subedar Dharam Singh Sujjon’s research into the deeper meaning of Gurbani leaves the reader in a state of wonderment.

He developed his arguments through a questioning approach and from first principles. He was a Gurbani scientist. Some of Bhai Sahib’s articles (in Panjabi) have also been published as “Gurbani Atay Science Di Roshni Wich Akal Purakh” (God In The Light of Gurbani & Science) which has been translated into English as “Gurbani & Science.”

The Mool Mantar is the Primary Mystical Formula at the beginning of the Sikh Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. Bhai Sahib interpreted the Mool Mantar in the light of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s further clarification in Jaap Sahib, “Achal Moorat Anbhau Prakaas Ametoj Kahejjai.” I am not aware of any scholar who has interpreted this profound revelation by Guru Gobind Singh Ji with such relevance to modern science. The import of these Words in the context of the opening “Tav Prasaad, Chhapay Chhand” of Jaap Sahib is as follows:

Waheguru, the Wondrous Dispeller of Darkness, is Infinite Energy (Ametoj) and is not an individual (not viakti) but Infinite Power (Shakti). Through conscious (self-aware) manifestation (anbhau prakaas), the perfect energy (pooran shakti) changes from potential form i.e. un-manifest, motionless form (Achal Moorat), which is without any visible qualities (Nirgun Saroop), to dynamic energy in manifest form with unlimited variety of qualities (as Sirgun Saroop). The Infinite Self-aware Motionless Energy (Achal Moorat), through Own Will, manifests itself as dynamic energy which is a living force. That is the One and only, Nirgun/Sirgun Ik Onkar.

Tis bhaavae tan karay bisthaar. Tis bhaavae tan Ekankar. (GGS. 294)
At Own Will, The (Self-aware) Singularity expands or contracts.

Pasreo Aap hoay anat trang ( GGS 275)
Expands Himself (by Own Will) as endless waves

(In Benti Chaopai, Guru Gobind Singh Ji conveys the same message.)
Jabb udkarakh kara Kartara. Parja dharat tabb deh apara.

When the Creator Being uses His expanding action or energy (udkarakh), He creates numerous people and bodies.

Jab akarakh karat ho kab hoon. Tumm mai milat deh dhar sabh-hoon.
When You use Your contracting energy (akarakh), all are absorbed in You.

So, from Conscious Singularity stage, at Own Will, the Creator expands into all-connected creation as a Universal Field of Energy, and contracts back to motionless unmanifest existence (Achal Moorat). Except for the “self-awareness” (anbhao – same as anbhav in this context) aspect, which makes the infinite energy a living entity in religion (Jagat Jot), it seems modern physics, cosmology and time-space theories would agree with the rest. And so the two sciences - physical science and the spiritual Gurbani science – begin to converge.

The following argument has been put forward to show that the Creator, as Electromagnetic Force or the Universal Field of Energy lives and is life-giving (that it has “praan shakti”): The argument is that only a living organism can procreate and give life to another. The universe was created from electromagnetic energy. Thus the same energy is responsible for life in the universe and is a living (and life creating) entity.

The articles in Bhai Sahib’s book “Gurbani & Science.” cover diverse topics, mostly in the context of modern science. Bhai Sahib investigates different aspects of Sikh ideology and way of life: the great spiritual significance of Amrat Sanskar (Sikh initiation ceremony) Gurbani recitation and Kirtan (religious singing) how the mind can be turned inwards to discover its own divine nature (jot saroop), the need for the Guru, salvation and the beginning and end of creation, to mention a few.

One interesting item is about the Five Regions (Panj Khand) described in Japuji Sahib. Bhai Sahib concludes that these are in fact five regions or actual spheres of existence just like this world. In scientific terms, it is possible for various wave frequencies to occupy the same space in the electromagnetic spectrum. Co-existence of different regions relating to different wave frequency bands (in the electromagnetic spectrum) is possible.

Essentially, when discussing Gurbani and Science, Bhai Sahib finds factors common to both disciplines in concepts such as various forms of energy (shakti) nature of matter (as space and energy) Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (e.g. what happens when the speed of light is approached, and about time and space) along with the link between mind and matter. And so he probes the true reality behind what we see as our “reality”. The final question, whether there is an all-pervading life force (praan shakti) needs further scientific confirmation. Gurbani leaves no doubt that the presence of the Self-aware Living Light (Jagat Jot) is in everything and that the scientific division between organic and inorganic matter is artificial and that the life force is in everything, in every energy form to the smallest sub-particles and waves of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Manifest form of the Infinite Energy Being is One self-aware electromagnetic force. One living body, within which all creation is; within which we all are. Time and distance are an illusion and so is self-centred individuality, which separates one being from another, and the individual soul from the Perfect Energy (Puran Shakti). Creation is not “many” but one body (vraat sarir) of Akal Purakh manifesting His countless qualities i.e. His Sargun Saroop. Therefore, self-centred individuality is an illusion, a dream from which we need to wake up with the Guru’s Grace (Nadar.)

In his book, Bhai Sahib expands on the profound revelations in the Mool Mantar and the opening Chhapay Chhand of Jaap Sahib. Other references in Gurbani equate the Manifest Form of Akal Purakh to light or “waves” (trang.) “Ek Noor te sabh jagg upjia.” From the One (the same) light all creation is created. Scientific research to date confirms this fact. At the lowest (founding) level, visible Creation is in the form of wave energy. Nothing is “solid” as we see the world. Even within the atom, only 1 part out of 10,000 is electricity, the rest is space – just emptiness! Electricity is wave energy and not “solid.” Place any “solid” particle under an infinitely powerful microscope and it will reveal that “Every solid particle in the universe turned out to be ghostly bundle of energy vibrating in an immense void.” (Dr Pardip Chopra MD in his book “Ageless Body Timeless Mind.”)

Atomic sub-particles, protons, neutrons and electrons, turn out to be no more than bundles of wave energy. These bundles of energy turn “on/off” millions of times in a second, popping in and out of existence! In the same way that the rapidly moving picture-frames give us the illusion of moving objects on a cinema screen, so the waves of energy, the building blocks of the universe, give the illusion of solid objects when in fact there is only the living force of the Infinite Energy (Jaagat Jot) and nothing else. The universe is in fact “empty” and time/space is an illusion as are the “solid” objects in the universe. All visible Creation is connected in the Universal Field of Energy; and it is One. Science confirms that our “reality” is only apparent or virtual. There is only the ever awake Light, the Jaagat Jot, the Creator’s conscious energy and the rest is illusion.

The Motionless Existence or Entity (Achal Moorat) expands from One (Ek) and manifests as light and sound. The Light is “Jot” and the sound is heard as “Shabad dhun”. Bhai Sahib (quoting Bhai Gurdas’ Vaars 12 and 26) comes to the conclusion that the Shabad dhun is heard by the saintly as “Waheguru” the Gur-Shabad. This is the “Naam” which is recited by Gursikhs.

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity states that time slows down as an object approaches the speed of light and time stops at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second.) Where there is no time there is no space and no past present or future. All is “here and now.” No one can reach this speed as it requires infinite force; only the mind (thought) can reach this state of “here and now” which is timeless (amar.) This state of the mind is “brahm-avastha” reached only by the brahm-gyani whose mind becomes attuned to the Timeless Being, the Akal Purakh (Brahm gyani aap Parmesar – Sukhmani Sahib.) In this state, thought creates “reality” in our time/space world. Thus, “kautaks.” or apparent “miracles” by some saintly beings may be explained from a scientific viewpoint. However, one suspects that despite Einstein’s theories, which carry much authority, for the time being at least, such mind/matter stuff is for philosophical and religious discussions only.

Nadar (Grace) literally means “look of divine benevolence” in Sikhi. The Creator as the Omnipresent Awake Energy (Jagat Jot) is aware of all that is in every mind at every moment (Ghat ghat ke pat pat ki janat. Or “Ghat ghat ke antar ki janat; Bhale buray ki pirr pshanat.” – Chaopai.)

Prayer, uttered in all humility in which one is freed from self-centred ego, invokes Waheguru’s Nadar (Waheguru’s compassion,) which can break the cycle of Karma. The law is that what we sow, so shall we reap; but the all-knowing Waheguru’s Nadar can intervene and change that. The human soul can be freed from the cycle of births and deaths through Ardaas (supplication) and recitation of Naam.

(Note: Bhai Sahib Dharam Singh Sujjon remained in touch with me for a number of years and sent some handwritten scripts in Punjabi.)

Gurmukh Singh OBE


© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article
Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author

Nirmal Panth to Khalsa Panth

Nirmal Panth to Khalsa Panth

The need was for a new world order for the New Age. Guru Nanak’s response was the Nirmal Panth

photo: Copyright: jvdwolf / 123RF Stock Photo

[Article also published by Sikhnet]

Nanak’s response was the Nirmal Panth which evolved and eventually emerged as the Khalsa Panth.

Recent discussions in the UK Sikh circles have centred around the definitions of religion and the qaumi (nationality) concept of ethnicity which includes religion and other community traits, as applied to Sikhi. With that background, we need to explore the purpose and scope of Guru Nanak’s Nirmal Panth.

The first Vaar of Bhai Gurdas of 49 Pauris (stanzas) sets the scene for "Nanak Nirmal Panth chalaaya" mentioned at Pauri 45. Bhai Sahib writes, “Maaria sikka jagat wich, Nanak Nirmal Panth chalaaya.  Maaria sikka refers to the victory of Naam so that the followers were cleansed of haomai or ego-centricity and the Nirmal Panth emerged victorious i.e. gained ascendancy over old religions, yogic sects and cults ridden with the impurities of self-promoting prophets and gods, socially divisive intolerant doctrines, superstition and ritualism. The priestly class in collusion with the oppressive rulers of the day, was exploiting the ignorance of the ordinary people.  The Great Mother Earth (Mata Dharat Mahat) was crying out under the weight of those ungrateful (akiratghan) people who had forgotten the True Name (Saat Naam) and were following false paths.

Guru Nanak gifted humanity with the empowering inner Light of Naam – constant God-awareness - to seek own way out of the thick fog (dhund) of the ritualism of religions, sects and cults. While Gurbani will always remain the primary source for seeking guidance, the next most authoritative source for interpreting Gurbani accepted in the Sikh tradition is the Vaaran of Bhai Gurdas.

Guru Sahib redefined word-concepts in Abrahamic religions (mazhab) and the Eastern dharmic schools as generally understood, and gave them new meanings. 

The continuity of the Nirmal Panth was assured by Guru Nanak Sahib.  Having laid the founding universal principles of the Nirmal Panth in his Bani starting with the Primal Formula referred to as the Mool Mantar, Guru ji ensured the continuity of the Nirmal Panth through his successors. They carried the same Light (Jote) and used the same methodology (Jugat) of Guru Nanak and showed the way to the Sikhs by own example. Thus, despite ten physical incarnations, the Guru is a singular concept in Sikhi (Sikhism.)

Guru Nanak established the Panth – the new path - and passed on the Gurgaddi to Bhai Lehna as Guru Angad. (Thaapia Lehna jeevday Guriyaee sir cchatar phiraaya. Vaar 1, Pauri 45.) Many Pauries in the first Vaar discuss the other orthodox paths. The conclusion is that Guru Nanak felt the need for a new path for Kalyug – the Age of vice and falsehood. 

The progress continued through the establishment of Sikh institutions, the strengthening of Sikh organisation through Sikh Sangats established by Guru Nanak. The theo-temporal tradition ensured defence and further expansion and evolution of the Nirmal Panth to emerge as the well disciplined niara Khalsa. Niara means unique or distinct.

A UK Sikh faith representative wrote recently on an open forum, “Guru Nanak never preached the uniqueness of Sikh teachings.”  In his view, by showing that Guru Nanak Sahib laid the foundation of a new way of life, distinct from all others before him, we are “promoting the very bigotry of belief criticised by our Gurus.”  By referring to the interpretation of Gurbani by great scholars, from Bhai Gurdas whose interpretation of Gurbani was praised by the Guru, to more recent renowned scholars like Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, we are doing no more than repeating Sikh tradition and the objectives of Guru Nanak’s Nirmal Panth mission.

So, if there is any doubt, the question is whether the Guru started another religion or laid the foundation of a whole new way of life which cannot be pidgeon-holed into any earlier systems. The third path referred to as Tisra Panth by some classical Sikh writers like Bhai Gurdas II, would suggest a system which differed from the hitherto Eastern or Western traditions. Tisra Panth is a pointer to a paradigm shift in the way Eastern and Western schools think of religion. Their total focus is on hereafter while Guru Nanak’s Sikhi focus is on here-and-now social activism, albeit, in God awareness (Naam simran.)

According to Bhai Gurdas, the Muslim ulama, the brahaman or pandit, the jogi, the sidh, the jain monks etc all were misguiding humanity. The need Guru Ji felt was for a whole-life system – a new world order based on universal principles which would be much more than just another religion. A human order with a socio-political objective which was, and continues to be, the establishment of a benevolent just regime in which no one would inflict pain on another. The fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan referred to this regime as halemi raj.  The Guru exhorted his Sikhs to be prepared to make supreme sacrifices to work towards an ideal human society.

Socio-political activism became part of Sikhi living.

That is the Message of Guru ji’s Bani which laid the foundation of a Nirmal Panth to emerge (pragtio) as the Khalsa Panth – meaning the same as Nirmal Panth i.e. the Order of the Pure or those directly linked with the Creator without a human intermediary. The process took over 200 years. This was the Guru-tuition period from the time of Guru Nanak Sahib started his mission (Charria sodhan dharat lokaaee according to Bhai Gurdas) towards the end of the 15th century, to the high point of historical Sikhi tradition, the Khalsa Vaisakhi of 1699. 

Guru Nanak’s Nirmal Panth is an expression of His Founding Precept, the Mool Mantar: The One Timeless Creator Being manifesting in all creation. The Creator and the created are the same and all are equal before the Creator. The ego-centricity of the gods and the prophets who put themselves between the Creator and humanity was exposed by the Guru.  He did not just preach a new religion, as it is understood in the West. He laid the foundation of a whole new way of life which has also been recognised by non-Sikh historians, scholars and authorities. Guru Nanak studied the socio-economic life of his time and the politico-administrative arrangements, and he robustly challenged their inherent injustice and inequalities.

Earlier religious systems would have contributed to those societal divisions, frictions and inequalities but were not in a position to be the solution to the problems. Guru Nanak rose (jagg mahe ptthaaya) to meet that challenge by introducing a new system with new processes based on a revolutionary new ideology.

While it is true that the enduring universal principles of the earlier religions became part of Guru Nanak’s Nirmal Panth, there is little doubt that the Guru rejected most practices and rituals associated with older religions. Unlike Sikh teachings, enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, it is only political correctness which prevents us from saying that scriptures of orthodox religions are not entirely based on universal values and human rights.  In the first part of the 20th Century, Dr Ambedkar faced with religio-social choices and challenges as a dalit, studied and unequivocally rejected Hinduism and Islam.

When compelled to respond to Hindu claims to Sikhi being part of Hinduism, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha wrote, “We do not accept the authority of the Vedas, neither that of Simritis and Puranas. We worship neither Bhairva, nor Ganesha. We recognize neither Tithis nor Omens, nor days. Neither Rahu, Ketu, Shani, Shukar, Sun nor Moon. We do not believe a bit in Sandhya, Sutak, Caste, Varna, Jantar, Mantar, Fasting, Homa or Shradh. Disciples of the Tenth Master, Khalsa Panth is distinct.” (Ham Hindu Nahi)

The experience of ordinary people in the two Khalsa regimes of Baba Banda Singh Bahdur and Maharaja Ranjit Singh provide a sharp contrast to other religion based states. Today’s religious wars in the Middle East and the massacre and oppression of minorities in India and other countries, show that, unlike Guru Nanak’s path of Sikhi, orthodox world religions remain incapable of guiding their followers back to the concept of one human race. Their scriptures need to be painstakingly re-constructed by moderate modern scholars to derive their original universal human values.

Guru Nanak Sahib preached simple universal principles in the ordinary language of the people. He founded not just another religion but a complete theo-social, economic, administrative, political, life-affirming system.

Just like an artist who brings to life a new picture by using the same brush strokes, so did the Guru use the same popular language, idiom, and folk lore to introduce revolutionary new thought which swept aside the darkness of the old religions.  “All the sects, pirs, paigambars of the Hindus and Muslims were seen (by Baba Nanak.) He concluded that these were the blind leading the blind. Through the power of the Word, the Shabad, he conquered the siddhs and propounded his altogether new way of life.” (Vaar 1 Paoris 26 &31).

It takes a paradigm shift to see a new image in the same art work. That revelation is experienced by rejecting all previous beliefs and experiences. It takes a reborn mar-jeevra to wake up to the reality of Guru Nanak’s Nirmal Panth.

Yet, today, some misguided Sikhs remind us of the blind leading the blind referred to by Bhai Gurdas. Using all sorts of convoluted arguments, they tell us that Sikhi is just another religion cobbled together by borrowing parts of Vedic and Islamic ideologies. A Sikh scholar suggested recently on an open forum that “Sikhs are part and parcel of Indian/Hindu culture!”

The theo-political objective of Sikhi activism was laid down by Guru Nanak Sahib who challenged his Sikhs to be prepared to make supreme sacrifices towards the achievement of that objective. That is the Message of Guru ji’s Bani.  

The inclusive universal, yet specific organisational and qaumi (national) characteristics of Sikh ideology, institutions and identity need deeper understanding by those who insist on treating Guru Nanak’s Sikhi as just another world religion.  

© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
Please acknowledge quotations from this article

Articles may be published subject to prior approval by the author