God in Sikhism – Guru Nanak’s concept of God is universal in character since he (God) has created everything, variety of races, plants, continents, solar system and oceans. His system is self-sustainable and moves in an order that the human mind can never learn or replicate. He is called supreme power because the universe moves under his Will and no scientist can ever change this universe or dent into God’s creation. Yes, scientists can destroy many of God’s creation by making weapons of mass destruction, gadgets and articles of consumerism and creating many isms.
Guru Nanak’s monotheism explains God’s Will that concerns human development to perfection so that everyone becomes equal, courageous to counter the tyranny and bullying power thirst. Guru Nanak urges man to earn their own living and sharing with the needy so that equality and compassion can sustain. When Islam came to India the religious scenario completely changed the environment. Hinduism being polytheistic, iconographic and ascetical religion, Islam, on the other hand, was monotheistic, iconoclastic, socially motivated and practical. Hinduism was religiously tolerant to other religious ideologies but had developed into a rigid society where tolerance was negligible if you belonged to lower caste and status. There was no interaction within various castes.
The Islamic people were religiously rigid, their conduct made them intolerable and hatred developed between Hindus and Moslems and that remained forever. Islamic people though socially liberal but were bigoted and fanatic in their religious matters. The two very diverse viewpoints could only create sensitivity and hostility became prominent. The creative impulse for synthesis could have been developed but rejection and hostility between two great religions deepened.
Guru Nanak’s creative impulse to shorten this hostility was a definitive step with his monotheism thesis and God is universal theory. His powerful expression, affirmation and integration guidelines were not rejected by the people of both religions. Both Hindus and Muslims adored his thesis but the powers to be in the forms of Himalayan kings and Emperors on behest of local Kings joined hands to abolish this new impulse. So the diverse viewpoint people joined hands to stop the wave of a universal thesis to flourish for the vested interest in power and luxurious living at the cost of humanity. He presented a thesis for living an idealized life that not only enhanced the personal development of a human being but reaching a higher spiritual experience that delivered faith in God and his Will for equality and justice.
From the prevalent trends of the time like Bhakti movement and Sufism that tried in vain to better the pangs of suffering humanity, he evolved a thesis that not only brought back the full faith in existential reality or truth of God alive but moral guidelines to establish his thesis in action. He sowed the seeds of religious and social revolution. Evolving a perfect character that not only evolved as an individual but evolved society for interaction on the basis of equality, justice, working to earn own living, sharing with needy and respect for all genders. Becoming a perfect human being entails a process that takes a human being to the right path.
Guru Nanak’s monotheism removes the probability of duality, sectarian development of belief thus making it universal and pure thesis. To spread his doctrine of the unity of God, the brotherhood of man, the futility of idol worship and rejection of caste system he undertook many journeys known as Udasis and travelled breadth and length of India. He consolidated the true theism to bring back people to believe in the truth alone.
He spread his message by singing praises of only one Creator Lord and warned people of evil that has crept into belief and weakened the society. To become aware of God’s truth Guru Nanak preached to meditate on His name. With this religious practice the haumai or ego abandons a person and he becomes able to harmonize with self, his environment and The Creator’s Will. One awakens his spiritual nature and ascends to a higher level of consciousness.
For awakening, Guru Nanak has chosen the Guru the enlightened person as spiritual guide thus rejecting the other mediums like incarnations, prophet and son of God.
The history is the evidence that all other mediums have proved to be the ultimate sectarian development that needed the support of state structures to impose their ideology. Guru Nanak’s thesis not only preaches to avoid five evils namely; kaam; krodh; moh, maya and ahankar that are- lust; anger; avarice; worldly attachments and ego, but to build a powerful personal character that needs a man to become courageous, patriotic, strong-willed and educated.
Such character can stand on his feet and fight for his own rights and for the rights of others. This preaching was to free the subjugated humanity from torturous tyranny of religious and political dominance. This preaching could wake an impulse in downtrodden humanity to stand up and fight for their rights. In his hymns, he has targeted the rulers, Emperors and self-appointed religious heads and pointed at their selfish behaviour. For this very reason, the Sikh movement became a target for persecutions and executions. Countless Sikh men and women have paid with their lives to safeguard the very neutral principles but strong fundamentals. Guru Nanak’s theism may have few followers numerically but has very strong fundamentals to make it a mainstream religion.
On the basis of these strong fundamentals, a very strong and unique character was developed that not only became a marshal race out of downtrodden Hindu masses but unique in appearance and social values.
Their uniqueness of character, strength, value for justice, care for others with their Sewa or free service make them completely detached from their previous birth, religion, caste and standing.
Guru Nanak’s thesis makes Sikhism a complete positive theism.
God in Sikhism by Rajinder Kaur Johal
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