RELIGIOUS STUDIES 101B Lecture Notes January 29
Approx 25 million Sikhs worldwide. most know very little about
sikhs. most think of them as muslim or hindu. often treated as
an afterthought in indian religious.
Sikhs constantly have to define and redefine who they are
because of their religious geography, emerging in an area that
is muslim, hindu, jainist; persian, arabic, sanskrit.
THERE ARE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STUDYING MORE MODERN GROUPS AND
STUDYING MORE ANCIENT TRADITIONS.
when it is more modern, you can be sure about a lot more things.
it is easier to trace development of modern traditions. more is
written down and preserved. easier to pin point specific events.
SIKH means "disciple" God is called AKAL PURAKH. SIKHS are disciples of God or AKAL
There were 10 GURUS instated in a chain from Guru Nanakh
Primary scripture is ADI GRANTH
- not part of any type of brahmin class. he was in merchant
- received hindu upbringing but had considerable exposure to
muslim traditions and law. the area he was born (punjab) was
controlled by muslims.
- Adi Granth tells us a great deal about Nanak's teaching but
very little about his life. What we do know about his life comes
from the "Birth Narratives."
- Nanak's life can be divided into three phases
1. contemplative period
2. mystic enlightenment, pilgrimage and debate
3. sikh community building
apparently he was always of a contemplative mind. father
realized he would never be an accountant so he sent him out to
be a cowherd so he could think. he spent much time in devotional
when he was 30, after bathing in the river, Nanak disappeared.
three days later, he emerged. when he emerged, he taught a new
vision of common humanity:
NO HINDU NO MUSLIM NO CASTE
this was very heretical. and there were conflicts in this area
between hindu and muslim and they didn't want that kind of
debasement of their causes.
second phase: he begins on his own travels to give voice to the
word of god. leaves family behind (common theme) and starts encountering a variety of leaders and engaging people in debate.
teh purpose for this was to test the veracity of his own
beliefs. he would teach and sing hymns whereever he went.
he wore a mix of garb from both islam and hindu
third phase: he starts village of Kartarpur and won a bunch of
followers who went there. the first followers were called the
NANAK PANTH. his way was thought of as more rational based on
human behaviour and based on divine authority. it was believed
he had direct access to god. he was DIVINELY COMMISIONED.
a) god as the sole reality
b) though we are trapped in cycles of rebirth, the way to the
unity with god would come from listneing to the guru and
individuals would recieve gods grace and favour. what he was
essentially teaching was how to discipline and prepare their
hearts. they didn this through:
c) meditating on GOD'S NAME and
d) KIRTAN*remember this, devotional singing of hymns.
Nanak taught a unique message with familiar paradigms,
encrypting his teaching in the language and framework of the
religion he was reaching out to.
The ideal person is the GURMUKH (one oriented towards the Guru)
who practices the three-fold discipline:
1. the NAM (the divine)
2. the DAN (the society)
3. the ISHNAN (the self)
NAM DAN ISHNAN
three key institutions executed this THE SANGAT (fellowship)
THE DHARAMSALA (place of worship)
THE LANGAR (communal meal