Harmony in Science and Sikh Religion - Book By Hardev Singh Virk

Publisher: Hardev Singh Virk
Authors: Hardev Singh Virk (Editor)
Page: 180
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Product Code: SPE206
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Table Of Contents 'Hormony in Science and Sikh Religion' Book By Hardev Singh Virk

 

 

CONTENTS

Page No
  Foreword................................................... 7
  Introduction................................................... 10
1. The Harmony of Science with  
  Sikh Religion................................................... 15
2. Glimpses of a Scientific Vision in  
  Sri Guru Granth Sahib................................................... 29
3. Guru Nanak Leads the   
  Modern Science................................................... 45
4. Concept of Spirituality in  
  Science and Religion................................................... 58
5. HUKM:  
  The Laws of Nature................................................... 76
6. Is Creation An Illusion?-  
  Scientific Vision of SGGS................................................... 91
7. Ecological Concern in  
  Sri Guru Granth Sahib................................................... 103
8. Sikh Perspective on  
  Modern Scientific Technology................................................... 114
9. Science and Gurbani................................................... 127
10. Sikh Hermeneutics and   
  Interpretation of Gurbani................................................... 135
11. Science versus Religion:  
  What Conflict?................................................... 150
12. Reason, Intuition, and Faith in  
  Science & Religion................................................... 158
13. Exegesis of Sri Guru Granth Sahib:  
  An Overview................................................... 173

 

Foreword To Book  'Hormony in Science and Sikh Religion' By Hardev Singh Virk
 

As is evident from the title of the book, Sikh doctrines stress harmony of science and religion; in fact they may actually complement each other.

From the earliest years of human development, people have been pondering over the definition of God, the purpose of human life, and the consequences after death. Because of a lack of understanding about various natural phenomena, God was potrayed as God of the rain, the God of lightning, the Sun God, the Moon God, etc. All of this is evident not only from the relics we have found, but by the fact that some of these beliefs are still being practiced today.

Stephen Hawking, the famous theoretical physicist, said that the more knowledge we humans understand the higher becomes the position of 'God'. Will we ever know the answers to key questions about the concept of God, its meaning to life, and consequences after death? Perhaps we will, but most likely we will not. The answers to these questions will always be limited by the quality of the sensors we possess or might cultivate. This is why we have faith in both religion and science. For some, this is the same faith, yet for others, it is not.

Guru Nanak defines God by pointing out many important attributes, and it was Guru Gobind Singh who defined not only what God is, but also what God is not. There are hundreds of such attributes mentioned in the Sikh scriptures. Of the various characteristics of God noted by Guru Nanak, the one that intrigues me the most is that God is Formless. This concept was also taught by the great Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, in the Tao Teh Ching. This concept is contrary to some of the beliefs and practices of the other three monotheistic religious: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

I grew up in a family who has been Sikhs for many generations, but I had learned only the history, customs, and festivities of the Sikhs, rather than the religion, by the time I had come abroad for my advanced studies. After a number of European scholars enquired about my religion, I began looking deeper at the essence of Sikhism through the portraits of the lives of the Sikh Gurus contained in the Guru Granth Sahib. It was then that I discovered that Sikhism is perhaps the only religion that allows me to be a scientist and still adhere to the magnificent Sikh concepts.

Unfortunately, some highly respected Sikh scholars continue to dwell on the conflict between science and Sikh religion. In one seminar I attended, a Sikh lecturer talked about the scientific aspects of Guru Nanak's teachings. Some of it I understood, and the rest I wanted to think more about. But two highly respected Sikh scholars who were present were deeply critical of the presentation because it brought science and Sikh religion into the same discussion.

When I find any Sikh belief in contradiction to the modern science;  I consider it not really a Sikh doctrine but a story and superstition. Often it is based on an historical event that was not well documented or the sermons of an illiterate cleric. I will not deny that we do practice superstitions in some segments of our societies, particularly in some of our rituals and in some of the stories in our Gurus' lives. But with the efforts attempted in this book, such practices should become less significant from our culture and a deep awakening about the contributions and nature of science should arise.

Some believe that taking science with us in our practices of religion will weaken the religion. I do not think so. I think it will not. Interaction of science and religion will strengthen our faith in Sikhism. Abdu'l Baha put it in a affirmative way in his Paris talk (London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1969,p. 146):

"When religion, shorn of its superstitions, traditions, and unintelligent dogmas,
shows its conformity with science, then will there be a great unifying cleansing
force in the world which will sweep before it all wars, disagreements, discords
and struggles and then will mankind be united in the power of the Love."

While this concept is difficult to achieve we must continue to strive.

Galileo and Copernicus both tried to bring science and religion closer and as a result suffered from religious inquisition. While that was happening in Europe, Guru Nanak was presenting his revolutionary viewpoint on the origin of the universe. Imagine if the inventor of  the telescope and Guru Nanak were able to see their respective concepts intersect at that time!

Robert Wright in his 2009 book,"The Evolution of God" raised an appropriate question"Can religious in the modern world reconcile themselves with science"? He further enquires, "What will religion do to be well suited to an age of advanced science and rapid globalization: what will religion do to be well a religion look like then"?

Five centuries ago Guru Nanak and other Sikh Gurus taught the masses to respect all other religions, reject human inequality, abandon caste system, abandon gender inequality, help the helpless, defend the defenseless, respect the environment, eliminate use of drugs, respect all credible disciplines including science and a number of concerns that humanity in the 21st century is struggling with.

Most religious leaders happily make frequent use of the science and technologies developed over the last few centuries, but still deny its presence in their spiritual domain. The Sikh Gurus, through the Guru Granth Sahib, have laid the foundation to bring the concepts of all technical and non-technical fields, including science, into the same domain as morality and spirituality. The need to disseminate this concept further is urgent, and this magnificent book, written by a number of learned authors, is a vigorous step in that direction.

Narinder Singh Kapany

 

About The Author Of Book 'Harmony in Science and Sikh Religion'

Dr Hardev Singh Virk retired from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar in June 2002 after serving as Founder Head of Physics Department; Dean Science Faculty: Dean Academic Affairs and Director of Earthquake Research centre. He graduated from Marie & Pierre Curie University, Paris with Doctorate in High Energy Nuclear Physics (1972). He has published 350 Research Papers, Reviews and Reports in Research Journals of repute and 24 Books in areas as diverse as Science, Religion, Literature, and History & Philosophy of Science. Professor Virk has travelled widely covering more than 50 countries for his academic pursuits. He was Senior Associate of International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy (1985-90); Visiting Professor in more than a dozen universities, and Fellow at the Indian Institute of Science & Religion, Pune. He is recipient of Shiromani Award of Punjab Government for Scientific Literature in Punjabi (1993) and Honorable Mention Award of Templeton Foundation (USA) for a Project on Global Perspectives of Science & Sikh Religion (2005). He believes that 'Harmony in Science & Sikh Religions' will have some 'ripple effect' in Sikh circles, as a galaxy of scientists have contributed their essays for this volume.

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