Jap - The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy - Book By Devinder Singh Chahal

Publisher: Singh Brothers
Authors: Devinder Singh Chahal
Page: 148
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Language: English
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Foreword To Book 'Jap - The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy' Book by  Devinder Singh Chahal

JAP: A Scientific and Logical Interpretation by Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD is a welcome addition to more than 200 commentaries on JAP written in various languages by different authors. Professor Chahal retired as Professor from the Institute Armand-Frappier, Universite du Quebee, Laval, Quebec, Canada and engaged himself in Sikh studies after retirement. Due to his professional training as a research scientist, he brings to bear the testimony of an analytical mind in interpretation of Gurbani. The title of the book justifies the approach of the author. Prof Chahal has mentioned five major categories of interpretation, as reported by Dr Joginder Singh [1] in the Author's Note as follows:

1. School of Meharbaan: Interpretations of this school are based on Vedas and Puranas.
2. School of Udasis: These interpretations are also based on Vedas and Puranas.
3. School of Nirmalas: Interpretations are based on Vedas. This school has introduced 
customs of Sanatana Dharma. One sentence is interpreted with more than one different
meaning.
4. School of Gianis: Interpretations of Bhai Mani Singh and of Giani Badan Singh (Known as
Faridkot Wala Teeka) are important ones.
5. School of Modern Scholars: Interpretation by Bhai Vir Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh, Prof 
Sahib Singh, Principal Teja Singh, Dr Mohan Singh and many more contemporary 
scholars are included in this school. Although these interpretations are much better, still 
there is a lot of influence of Vedas and Puranas.

I may add  that Professor Chahal's interpretation falls into the sixth category, which may be listed as School of Scientist. His interpretation is unique in some respects and may create reactions in orthodox circles not familiar with scientific approach.

JAP is the essence of Nanakian philosophy and is recited by Gursikhs (Sikhs of the Guru) as a morning prayer. Even before the compilation of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS), the text of JAP (Gutka-booklet) was written by Guru Ramdas. It may be anticipated that written text of JAP was available to the Sikh Sangat (congregation) established by Guru Nanak and his followers as mentioned by Bhai Gurdas, the great Sikh exponent, in this Vaars (odes).

Professor Chahal has explained the meaning of term JAP in the Part I of the book. The author implies that JAP is not mean recitation or repetition like a 'mantra' but it means to imbibe or understand after deliberation on the message of the Guru. In fact, Nanakian philosophy lays more stress on creating liberated role models (Gurmukh - Guru-oriented persons) rather than stereotypes. Nanakian philosophy demolishes the concept of personal Guru-ship and establishes  the 'Sabd' as 'Guru'.The import of this concept is noteworthy and had not been propagated properly by Sikh preachers and intellectuals till today. The book of Professor Chahal will promote the ideal of 'Sabd Guru' and his scientific approach will be appreciated by the youth educated in modern Science Age. The author claims (on page 10): " I have attempted to interpret JAP scientifically and logically so that the readers could understand the originality and uniqueness of the philosophy of Guru Nanak for uplifting their morality, inspiration, and to create a society of righteousness."

During the Fifth Centenary Celebration (1968-69) of Guru Nanak in the Punjabi University, Patiala, I was invited to deliver a lecture on cosmological concepts in Guru Nanak's Bani. I was wonder struck to find echo of modern scientific theories in JAP, Sidh Goshit and Maru Solhe Bani of Guru Nanak. My interest in the study of Gurbani  was kindled by Professor D S Kotharia (Chairman University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India) and Professor Abdus Salam (Nobel Laureate, Director, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy) encouraged me to delve deep into scientific aspects of Nanakian philosophy. Professor Chahal has rendered a yeoman's service to the Sikh community by writing a scientific commentary on JAP for further exploration. I was surprised that many established scholars of Sikh lore, viz. Dr Mohan Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh, Principal Teja Singh, et al. are on slippery ground as discovered by Professor Chahal. For example, the opening verse of the first stanza of JAP has been wrongly interpreted by these worthies, translating as thought  process. I fully agree with Professor Chahal's interpretation of as physical cleansing of body. In Gauri Sukhmani (AGGS, M 5, p 265), Guru Arjan used the same term and it implies what Professor Chahal interprets:

The polluted mind cannot be cleansed by physical cleansing of body day 
and night.

It is my privilege as reviewer to impress upon the readers of this book the salient features and shortcomings, if any, in Professor Chahal's interpretation. I fully appreciate the scientific and logical approach, the style of rendering Gurbani into English using linguistic techniques and rules of grammar, reviewing works of other authors and providing references of all relevant texts. Some unique features of interpretation are too obvious to be ignored. Professor Chahal opines that is a unique word introduced by Guru Nanak and it should not be pronounced as Ik Oankaar or Ekankaar. He advocates a new pronunciation as ('Ik + Oh + Beant' - One and Only, that, Infinite) for to express both the Oneness and  Infinite characteristics of the Supreme Reality (God). He has properly acknowledged the original work of Nirmal Singh Kalsi who first of all propounded this new hypothesis in his book, that should be pronounced as "Ikoooo" whereas Professor Chahal has gone a step further to make it more clear to pronounce as it written originally by Guru Nanak:

It is a well-known fact that science and mysticism are two different modes of experiencing the Reality. While science lays stress on empirical facts and transcendental experience. Gurbani belongs to the realm of mysticism as Guru Nanal proclaims that he preaches what he experiences in his mystic reveries. Prof Chahal has tried to interpret into 'Gravitational Attraction' into 'Big Bang' theory and into 'fusion and fission' page. Analogies are acceptable within certain limits but the purpose should not be to confuse the lay readers.

Some terms have gained currency in the Sikh literature; for example, is the ambrosial hour sunrise). Professor Chahal renders into 'anytime of tranquility', which may not be acceptable to Sikh Sangat as there are references to in the AGGS. Nevertheless, he has tried to justify his interpretation in the text.

Professor Chahal has obviously deviated from the beaten track of rendering the Gurmukhi text of JAP into English. To make the rendering forceful, he has given theme headings on each Pauri (stanza) and provided its explanatory notes at the end. The driving force behind his interpretation of JAP seems to be his conviction that Nanakian philosophy is unique and original and borrows nothing from decadent Hindu philosophy. He is not the first and the last author to propagate this hypothesis. It was Professor Puran Singh, a great mystic poet and scientist of Punjab, who expounded the unique features of Nanakian philosophy in his writings during 1920's. Professor Puran Singh lamented that due to Brahmanical environment, the Guru's message has been misinterpreted:

"It is to be regretted that Sikh and Hindu scholars are interpreting
Guru Nanak in the futile terms and dissecting texts to find the Guru's
meaning to be same as of the Vedas and Upanishads. This indicates
enslavement to the power of Brahmanical traditions."

I am pleased to note that Professor Chahal is in resonance (working on the same wavelength) with Professor Puran Singh. I also wish, like the author, that more scientific interpretations of JAP should appear in the future to propagate the Nanakian philosophy of Sikh religion for the benefit of emerging global society of the twenty-first century.

 

Introduction To Book  'Jap - The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy' Book by Devinder Singh Chahal
 

JAP is such an important part of Gurbani that it has been incorporated at the beginning of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). Due to its importance in the lives of the Sikhs JAP has been interpreted and translated into many languages of the world by many scholars of various faiths. It is estimated that there are hundreds of such interpretations since its realization by Guru Nanak sometime during the 15th or 16th century.

Since there are already many interpretations of JAP in Punjabi as well as in English and the other languages, then the question is: What is the need of another interpretation of JAP? Critical analyses of many of the interpretations of JAP indicate that they are heavily dominated with ancient philosophy and mythology where the real theme of Nanakian philosophy has been lost altogether. Therefore, the author has attempted to interpret JAP scientifically and logically so that the readers could understand the originality and uniqueness of the Nanakian philosophy to understand the philosophy, enshrined in the AGGS, in its real perspective.

 

About The Author Of Book  'Jap - The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy'
 

Professor Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD retired on October 1, 1996 from the position of Applied Microbiology from a Canadian University. During his scientific professional life he has written many articles on scientific and logical interpretation of Gurbani and representation of Sikhism in various journals of the world and in many multi-authored books. He has also written a few critical analyses of some works on Sikhism and Gurbani. This book is based on his experience gained through discussion with Sikh scholars, the inquisitive questions by young Sikhs and by applying his scientific knowledge and logic in interpreting Gurbani.

 

Table Of Contents For 'Jap - The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy' Book by Devinder Singh Chahal

 

CONTENTS

Page No
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................. i
FOREWORD.............................................. iii
AUTHOR'S NOTE.............................................. vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS.............................................. xi
   
PART I  
MEANING OF JAP.............................................. 1
     TIME OF REALIZATION.............................................. 4
     STRUCTURE OF JAP.............................................. 5
     CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE  
         AUTHORSHIP OF SLOKS  
      MISINTERPRETATION OF GURBANI.............................................. 9
      REFERENCES.............................................. 10
   
PART II  
NANAKIAN METHODOLOGY.............................................. 13
     TYPES OF EXPRESSIONS IN GURBANI.............................................. 13
     DIFFICULTIES TO UNDERST AND BANI  
         BEING IN POETICAL FORM.............................................. 17
     DEFINITIONS AND TERMS.............................................. 18
     SOURCES OF MEANINGS.............................................. 18
     FEED BACK.............................................. 18
     INTERPRETATION OF GURBANI.............................................. 19
     ADDRESSING GOD.............................................. 19
     PRESENTATION OF PUNJABI OR OTHER  
         WORDS.............................................. 20
     SYSTEM OF REFERENCING BANI FROM  
         AAD GURU GRANTH SAHIB.............................................. 20
     REFERENCES.............................................. 20
   
PART III  
THE COMMENCING VERSE OF   
THE AAD GURU GRANTH SAHIB.............................................. 23
INTRODUCTION.............................................. 23
INTERPRETATION OF THE COMMENCING  
    VERSE.............................................. 23
PRONUNCIATION OF.............................................. 32
UPDATED INTERPRETATION.............................................. 47
REPRESENTATION OF COMMENCING VERSE  
    IN AGGS.............................................. 49
Different Forms of Commencing Verse as  
    Appearing in the AGGS.............................................. 50
CONCLUSIONS.............................................. 53
REFERENCES.............................................. 54
   
PART IV  
JAP: THE ESSENCE OF NANAKIAN PHILOSOPHY.............................................. 57
     THE COMMENCING VERSE OF  
     THE AAD GURU GRANTH SAHIB.............................................. 59
         DEFINITION/ATTRIBUTES OF  
          GOD/MANGLACHARAN.............................................. 59
   
JAP.............................................. 61
        EXISTENCE OF GOD.............................................. 61
           1. PURIFICATION TO ACHIEVE PEACE ON MIND.............................................. 62
           2. LAWS OF UNIVERSE'.............................................. 65
           3. THE ALMIGHTY IS ABOVE ALL  
               THE ATTRIBUTES.............................................. 66
           4. HOW TO PLEASE THE ALMIGHTY.............................................. 67
        5-1 NEITHER CAN BE STRUCTURED NOR CREATED.............................................. 72
        5-2 GOD BEYOND ANY DESCRIPTION.............................................. 73
           6. BATHING AT HOLY PLACES IS OF  
                NO AVAIL.............................................. 74
            7. LONG LIFE AND FAME ARE NOTHING WITHOUT  
                     THE GRACE OF THE ALMIGHTY.............................................. 76
            8. LISTENING MAKES ONE UNDERSTAND .............................................. 77
            9. LISTENING MAKES ONE UNDERSTAND.............................................. 78
10 LISTENING MAKES ONE UNDERSTAND.............................................. 79
11 LISTENING MAKES ONE UNDERSTAND.............................................. 80
12 ACCEPTING MEANS TO UNDERTAKE.............................................. 81
13 EFFECTS OF ACCEPTING.............................................. 82
14 EFFECTS OF ACCEPTING.............................................. 83
15 EFFECTS OF ACCEPTING.............................................. 84
16-1 REWARD FOR THE NOBLES.............................................. 85
16-2 MYTH OF WHITE BULL DISAPPROVED.............................................. 86
16-3 COUNTLESS LIVING BEINGS.............................................. 88
16-4 CREATION OF UNIVERSE/NATURE.............................................. 93
17 COUNTLESS DEVOTEES.............................................. 94
18 COUNTLESS WICKED.............................................. 95
19-1 IMPORTANCE OF ALPHABET/WORDS.............................................. 96
19-2 MANIFESTATION OF ALMIGHTY.............................................. 97
20. DIFFERENT PROCESSES OF PURIFICATION FOR  
     DIFFERENT TYPES OF POLLUTIONS.............................................. 98
21-1 NO REWARD FOR BATHING AT  
     HOLY PLACES.............................................. 100
21-2 TIME OF CREATION.............................................. 101
22 COSMOS.............................................. 105
23 GOD IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE.............................................. 107
24 INFINITENESS.............................................. 108
25-1 GOD IS BOUNTEOUS ENTITY.............................................. 109
25-2 GOD IS BOUNTEOUS ENTITY.............................................. 110
26-1 PRICELESS VIRTUES.............................................. 111
26-2 ATTEMPTS TO DESCRIBE GOD.............................................. 112
26-3 MANY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE GREATNESS.............................................. 113
27-1 WHERE DOES GOD LIVE?.............................................. 114
27-2 EVERYBODY PRAISES GOD.............................................. 115
27-3 EVERYBODY PRAISES GOD.............................................. 116
27-4. IMMORTAL GOD EXISTS FOREVER.............................................. 117
28. YOGI IS ADVISED ABOUT THE MEANINGS  
     OF THEIR PRACTICES.............................................. 118
29. YOGI IS ADVISED ABOUT MIRACLES, FUSION,   
AND FISSION.............................................. 119
30. TRINITY OR ONE ENTITY.............................................. 123
31. GOD EXISTS EVERYWHERE.............................................. 124
32. REPETITION OF GOD'S NAME.............................................. 125
33. NO ONE HAS POWER TO CHANGE LAWS  
           OF UNIVERSE.............................................. 126
34. NATURAL RESOURCES AND PHENOMENA.............................................. 127
35-1 REALM OF RIGHTEOUSNEOUS.............................................. 128
35-2 REALM OF WISDOM/KNOWLEDGE.............................................. 129
36-1 REALM OF WISDOM/KNOWLEDGE.............................................. 130
36-2 REALM OF INITIATIVE.............................................. 131
37-1 REALM OF DEEDS.............................................. 132
37-2 REALM OF UNIVERSE.............................................. 133
38  COINING SABD AND AMRIT (ELIXIR).............................................. 136
Slok 1. NATURAL RESOURCES.............................................. 137
   
PART V  
GLOSSARY.............................................. 139
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.............................................. 149
ABOUT INSTITUTE FOR UNDERSTANDING SIKHISM.............................................. 150
   
FUGURES  
Figure 1. Title page of 'Gurmat Gian'.............................................. 31
Figure 2. Milky Way - Our Galaxy.............................................. 106
 

 

Books
Author Devinder Singh Chahal
Pages 148
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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