Sunday, August 8, 2010

Be ye like little children - 1

We said that while travelling with Nanak journey itself will be the destination. So we would not be in a hurry. We will not lift our foot for the next step until we have firmly established ourselves on the first - on the ground of the Very Beginning, on the ground of the One.

Enslaved by egos one can see many people eager to ask, "what, do you think our Nanak - or Christ or Muhammad or Buddha or Rama or Krishana... - and all the other prophets you mentioned in the last post are equal? Or our religion Sikhism - or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism... - and all the other religions are equal?
Or, if all the prophets have 'seen' the same One God, how come they speak different languages?
Some say no, our so and so is the real son of God, some say no, our so and so is the real messenger of God, some say our religion represents the real word of God, some say our religion is more scientific and true, some say our religion is more modern...

Sometime back I wrote an article in response to a very respected elder acquaintance of mine, a retired Professor who I don't know why asked my frank comments on his article regarding glimpses of scientific vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. I am reproducing that article here as I think it gives answer to most of the questions mentioned above. (I know such article could have been written by a Professor of any other religion regarding their own holy book or religion or prophet. My respone is for all of them.):

By asking me, almost a non-entity especially in academic circles, to comment on his paper no doubt Professor -* has given me a great honour but by adding the word frank comment he has also put me in an equally great dilemma.

There is a way of the world, a prevailing way, even a status-quoist way, right at its place for the time being, according to which learned professors and philosophers of a community, country or religion write about them and try to present what is best in them and to the extent they can keep their own individual ignorances and biases away they present their best and most faithful picture. Seen in that light I could hardly find fault with any thing put up by Professor -* in his paper, nay, I have hardly ever read a more inclusive yet concise, more illuminating yet down to earth and more acceptably representative of Sri Guru Granth Sahib given the present scientific age.

But the prevailing ways of the world with certain passage of time also invariably turn out to be like people throwing water towards the sun at Hardwar to offer water to their dead ancestors. Which at certain relatively innocent times serve some purpose but which eventually begin to serve exactly the opposite purpose for which they were originally intended. To further confound the problem they so enslaven the people's minds in the process that it requires then a person of the calibre of Nanak himself to free them once again of the same and put them on the original intended path of keeping focus on man's highest goal of realizing the One or Oneness of all mankind by going beyond their narrow selves or I, me, mine.

To elaborate. For a family its ancestor represents One from whom it originated. For the whole earth/mankind it is the sun. By asking people to remember or worship ancestors and by throwing water on sun the wisemen of the times may have devised a way to make them forget for a while their narrow selves and via ancestors and the sun eventually raise their attention towards One or God which they otherwsie could not understand. But with the passage of time it became a mere ritual and people taking part in it entirely forgot One and instead limited their thinking to pleasing their ancestors only. And that too rather for the benefit of their same small selves which they were otherwise supposed to forget, by asking their ancestors for boons. Thus which was originally intended to make them transcend their narrow selves eventually ended up binding them even more to the same.

I find shadows of something similar in Professor -*'s paper. A path, a path of Nanak, a path further enunciated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib in which I, me and mine is rather to be transcended (Nanak hukme je bujhe tan haumein kahe na koe) and all humanity is to be considered as one (Manas ki jaat sabhe ek hi pehchaanbo) is again, no doubt unwittingly, being bound to I, me and mine. My religion is unique, our religion is the best since it is the only religion which contains the fullness of truth, my religion is the most scientific etc. While it will need an other Nanak to come again to thoroughly shake and unshackle us from such new bondage by daring to add perhaps even the word “Sikh” along with Hindu and Musalman in original Nanak's famous words “Na ko Hindu na Musalman”, for the time being, as coming events cast their shadows before, perhaps a few outsiders like me can also show a few dots of such corruption in advance creeping into the highest and purest teaching of Nanak or of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. To repeat, Nanak hukme je bujhe tan haumein kahe na koe.

Nanak said “Ek”. If all is Ek, One, obviously the self-effulgent Perfect One, how one part of it can be unique and the other not? Nanak said ”Om kar”. If all is the "kar" (work/creation or scheme of things) of the same Ek, the same perfect One also called Om, how parts of it can be good, better and the best? Wouldn't the perfect create only perfection? Nanak said “Akal murat aejuni sae bhann”. If Ek, One is beyond time and space and hence beyond duality, how can Its status be supposed to be enhanced if It gives glimpses of that which is within time, space and duality, nay, has its very existence dependant upon duality like science is and hence always less than One or perfect?
Will the status of sun be enhanced if we say that it gives glimpses of planets in it or of anything else which came from it? Will our saying that a father gives glimpses of any of his sons carry any meaning?

No doubt there is concept of miri along with piri – of that which is within time along with that which is beyond time – in Sikhism of Guru Nanak, but in that case ephemeral and everchanging things of miri can be given the honour by saying that they give the glimpses of piri not the other way around. Science was not there a few centuries before, will not be there a few centuries from now but show me in mankind's history when Ek or One or God in one way or the other was not there or will not be there. All science or scientific theories are only partially true and so get superceded by newer ones with passage of time but imagine if you can if that which is written in SGGS will ever get superceded. We measure the importance of everchanging something against permanent not vice versa.

Swayed by the ephemeral though blinding accomplishments of science, we are certainly short-changing Nanak's great, eternal vision as contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib by saying that it gives glimpses of science. We can say with some meaning that something gives glimpses of perfection not that perfection gives glimpses of something. Perfection, which is what is written and represented in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, by its very name and nature is supposed to give glimpses of everything, nay, contain everything, in its less understood form as well as in its fully understood form which will by then have already approached perfection itself.

Science* fully understood or when it will have reached grandunification will be approaching that perfection but then it will no longer remain science and would have already entered the realm of One in which knower, the process of knowing and the things to be known would merge into one indistinguishable, unexplanable unity/whole. Which is in fact why science does not, cannot and will not reach full grandunification ever. It is the domain of direct experiences, of revelations. If science does not accept It, no harm will come to It while science will die banging its head in more and more details in the times to come.

* From the above some people may take the wrong notion that I am against science. I am not but at the same time I do not take science to be the end in understanding the final state or Reality, of One. Alternately I am against science in the same way a man led by reason is against emotions in which he finds a youth lost/enslavened. Just as the youth needs to go beyond emotions to see reason of a situation as they say, similarly, science or reason now needs to go beyond to see the spiritual aspect, the all-is-one aspect of a situation, though finally he may have to go beyond even spiritual aspect to see what agreeing with Lao Tze I call the Way of a situation and finally of Reality. As I have written somewhere else: Where science ends philosophy begins, where philosophy ends spirituality begins, where spirituality ends The Way begins which includes all yet transcends all, knowing which one knows all, more about which, however, I may write at some other time.
...To be continued

No comments:

Post a Comment