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Perspectives on Guru Nanak - Seminar Papers - Book By Harbans Singh

Publisher: Punjabi-University-Patiala
Authors: Harbans Singh
Page: 548
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: SGE161
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Preface Of The Book 'Perspectives on Guru Nanak - Seminar Papers' By Harbans Singh 

The International Seminar on the Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak from September 3-5, 1969, brought together on the campus of the Punjabi University, Patiala, scholars from all over the world. This seminar was one of many occasions that celebrated the five-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. The papers in this volume were presented and discussed by the members of the seminar during the three days of diligent work together.

The diversity of the papers in this volume is evident. They range from traditional historical and philosophical studies to the latest forms of sociologocal, linguistic and structural analyses. They touch every aspect of Guru Nanak's life. The articles explore the parallels between the age of Guru Nanak's life. The articles explore the parallels between the age of Guru Nanak and our own. Yet the historians also remind us of the distance humanity has travelled in the five hundred years since the birth of Guru Nanak in medieval India. Guru Nanak's message has been studied in the context of the modern world and its contemporary relevance pondered. Several of the essays elucidate the conceptual framework of Guru Nanak's thought. What is the common core in all this work ?

In the first place, the seminar revealed the vitality of the faith born out of Guru Nanak's teachings and the growing interest  in its founder throughout the world. The learned debate, often sharply joined, showed the vitality and depth of interest in Guru Nanak and his continuing meaning. The gloomy predictions of the last century of the decline and ultimate disappearance of Sikhism have been proved unfounded. Max Arthur Macauliffe, the great historian of Sikhism, hurried to his task of recording the history and teachings of the Sikh religion, for he believed that its living traditions would soon be lost forever. Macauliffe's work, which appeared in 1909, was to serve, in his view, as a kind of monument to a great and noble religion that was fast sinking to extinction. These Quincentenary essays, sixty years later, show Sikhism to be a vital tradition open to scholarly analysis and capable of widespread religious  influence. It is a faith not only vitally in touch with its past, but also creatively engaged with the present.

Secondly, these papers show the places in which work remains to be done on understanding Guru Nanak and the Sikh religion. Several of the papers are methodological in nature pointing out fresh approaches to finding the present reality and historical roots of Sikhism and its founder. Analytical techniques of western thought need to be joined with the detailed and extensive knowledge of the traditional languages of India before firm conclusions can be reached. These papers are a call to a new generation of scholars who will come under the discipline of both traditional and modern critical scholarship.

As the papers demonstrate, the work of Guru Nanak can be placed under various categories. He was the first Guru and  founder of Sikhism, a poet, a wandering religious teacher, a social reformer and  a householder. However, in order to employ any of these titles correctly, Guru Nanak's unique religious experience of one God, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and beyond all form and name, determined every thought and deed of Guru Nanak. The social doctrine denying   caste which Guru Nanak preached must be seen in the light of his experience of a God before whom all men are eaqual. His wanderings should be acknowledged as an attempt to engage in dialouge with others and to spread his belief in one God who teaches tolerance. Guru Nanak's later life as a householder should be perceived  as his compliance of God's command to all men to act responsibly within the world. Finally, the bani Guru Nanak composed and the passing of his Guruship to his successor can only be understood as devotional acts meant to instil among his followers a continued dedication to God. Certainly it cannot be denied that social, economic and political factors as well as the various religious doctrines of Guru Nanak's period helped to form his vocabulary and fields of activity, but none of these factors can be said to be in any manner as determinate as Guru Nanak's unique and vivid continuing experience of God. It is this element of the sacred which, despite their various backgrounds, religions, and fields of study, unites the contributors of this volume in perceiving Guru Nanak as one of the great religious figures of mankind.

This is not a volume to be read straight through from beginning to end. Rather it is a book in which to dip at various points as interest inclines the reader. The opening addresses will provide an orientation to the discussion and to the meaning of Guru Nanak. Then it will be possible for the reader to move to the essays with a clearer grasp of their purpose and inspiration. It is acknowledged that this work, with its large number of articles, is somewhat uneven both in style and scholarship. This unevenness is overcome by the range of opinions and views contained in these essays which should provide the reader with a deeper and more thorough appreciation and understanding of Sikhism as a whole, and more particularly , the figure of Guru Nanak.

It was a fitting tribute to Guru Nanak that this seminar could be held at the Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan, named after the tenth and last of the Sikh Gurus, and dedicated to the study of all religions in the attitude of tolerance and dialogue taught by Guru Nanak. It is hoped that this seminar, representing the collective work of scholars from various lands and religious traditions, contributed to inner-religious understanding, and that this resulting volume will further knowledge in comparative religions.

The publication of these essays poses an interesting speculation. What would be the outcome of a similar seminar convened five or ten centuries hence? Certainly some of the outstanding questions will have been answered. New questions will have arisen. But of one thing, one believes, we can be sure. Guru Nanak will continue to be part of the ongoing concerns of humankind as we move into a future marked by peril and promise.

We wish to gratefully thank the individual contributors, some of whom travelled great distances, for their efforts in deciphering the many facets of Guru Nanak's beliefs and actions. The presence of Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith was an inspiration. He is a leading philosopher and theoretician in the field of comparative study of religions. The Guru Gobind Singh Department of Religious Studies at Punjabi University has depended on his counsel from the very beginning and our debt to him is immense. Gratitude is due to distinguished men in the public life of the nation such as Dr Y. B. Chavan, Union Home Minister, who presided over the inaugural ceremonies; Sardar Swaran Singh, Union Minister of Defence, who opened the exhibition of paintings on Guru Nanak; Dr V. K. R. V. Rao, Union Minister of Education, and Dr D. S. Kothari, Chairman, University Grants Commission, who chaired seminar sessions; and Sardar Gurnam Singh, Chief Minister of the Punjab, who performed the opening ceremony of the Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan and gave wholeheartred support to the seminar. Sardar Kirpal Singh Narang, Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University, was the vital force behind the seminar and provided most significant and distinguished leadership. Dr K. L. Seshagiri Rao and his colleagues in the Guru Gobind Singh Department of Religious Studies as many others from the University faculty and administrative staff helped with arrangements. I must especially acknowledge the help I received from Dr Kishan Singh Bedi, Retired Joint Director of Agriculture, Punjab Government, and Shri Sardar Singh Bhatia, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, in preparing the volume for publication. Rev. Anand Spencer prepared the index and I must thank him for the assistance so cheerfully rendered. Sardar Hazara Singh supervised the production of the book for which I express my appreciation to him.

Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan HARBANS SINGH
Punjabi University  
Patiala  

 

 

Table of Contents of the Book 'Perspectives on Guru Nanak - Seminar Papers' By Harbans Singh

  C O N T E N T S  
I THE VICE-CHANCELLOR'S WELCOME ADDRESS:  
  Sardar Kirpal Singh Narang 1
II THE CHANCELLOR'S INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS:  
  Dr D. C. Pavate 7
III INAUGURAL ADDRESS:  
  Dr Yeshwantrao Balwantrao Chavan 11
IV GURU NANAK AS HISTORICAL MEMORY AND  
  CONTINUING REALITY:  
  Harbans Singh 15
V THE RELIGIOUS, THE SACRED AND THE HOLY :  
  GURU NANAK AND SECULARISM :  
  David B. Harned 30
VI GURU NANAK'S CONCEPT OF NATURE :  
  Kapur Singh 45
VII THE CONCEPT OF SAHAJ IN GURU NANAK'S  
  THEOLOGY-ITS ANTECEDANTS :  
  Niharranjan Ray 57
VIII THE CONCEPT OF MAYA IN GURU NANAK'S  
  PHILOSOPHY :  
  Buddha Prakash 71
IX THE PHILOSOPHY OF NAME :  
  R. C. Pandeya 76
X THE NATURE OF GOD :  
  Geoffrey Parrinder 83
XI SPEAKING ABOUT GOD :  
  Eliot Deutsch  
XII GURU NANAK'S VIEW OF GOD :  
  A. H. Ansari 98
XIII GURU NANAK'S CONCEPT OF THE ULTIMATE REALITY :  
  Surinder Singh Kohli 105
XIV AFFINITIES BETWEEN GURU NANAK AND  
  JESUS CHRIST :  
  Richard V. DeSmet 110
XV THERE IS NONE BUT ONE GOD :  
  Roma Chaudhuri 119
XVI SOME RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS IN HINDUISM AND  
  SIKHISM : GURU AND SABDA :  
  Sobharani Basu 124
XVII THE SECULAR RELIGION OF GURU NANAK :  
  John B. Chethimattam 136
XVIII GURU NANAK AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM :  
  Fauja Singh 141
XIX SOME SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS IDEALS OF  
  GURU NANAK :  
  K. A. Nizami 151
XX ETHICAL ASPECTS OF GURU NANAK'S THOUGHT :  
  Sohan Singh 155
XXI I SEE ONLY A MAN :  
  Marcus Braybrooke 164
XXII THE MYSTIC TEACHINGS OF GURU NANAK :  
  J. S. Puri 170
XXIII INDIAN SUFISM AND GURU NANAK :  
  S. A. A. Rizvi 191
XXIV A  STUDY OF GURU NANAK'S TEACHINGS IN RELATION  
  TO THE INDIAN SPIRITUAL TRADITION :  
  Gurbachan Singh Talib 223
XXV GURU NANAK AND THE SIDDHAS :  
  Bhai Jodh Singh 269
XXVI BUDDHISM AND SIKHISM :  
  L. M. Joshi 288
XXVII MUSLIM ATTITUDE TOWARDS GURU NANAK :  
  Mushir-ul-Haq 292
XXVIII SIKHISM AND YOGA : A COMPARATIVE STUDY IN  
  THE LIGHT OF GURU NANAK'S ENCOUNTER  
  WITH THE YOGIS :  
  Trilochan Singh 296
XXIX GURU NANAK AND THE HINDU HERITAGE :  
  K. L. Seshagiri Rao 310
XXX GURU NANAK AND HIS MESSAGE :  
  J. J. Karam 313
XXXI ELEMENTS OF SIKH CULTURE :  
  Avtar Singh 322
XXXII GURU NANAK AND CEYLON :  
  Saddhamangala Karunaratna 326
XXXIII GURU NANAK AND HIS NINE SUCCESSORS :  
  Sher Singh Sher 328
XXXIV THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS :  
  Kenneth W. Morgan 337
XXXV A DIALECTICAL EXCURSUS ON THE UNITY OR  
  PLURALITY OF RELIGIONS :  
  R. Panikkar 349
XXXVI PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATING GURU NANAK'S HYMNS :  
  Khushwant Singh 356
XXXVII THE HISTORIAN , THE GURU AND THE CHRIST :  
  Donald G. Dawe 360
XXXVIII HISTORY AND HISTORIOGRAPHY IN THE STUDY OF  
  INDIAN RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS : ONE  
  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GURU NANAK'S  
  ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION :  
  J. B. Carman 373
XXXIX THE POETRY OF GURU NANAK :  
  Darshan Singh Maini 381
XL SEER, SAINT AND REDEEMER :  
  Harnam Singh Shan 392
XLI GURU NANAK'S PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY  OF LIFE :  
  Bhag Singh 407
XLII JAPJI AND UNIVERSAL MYSTICISM :  
  K. Seshadri 413
XLIII GURU NANAK'S IMPACT ON HISTORY :  
  Ganda Singh 418
XLIV GURU NANAK AND HIS MESSAGE - SAINTLY  
  RELEVANCE AND CHALLENGE :  
  Amiya Chakravarty 428
XLV GURU NANAK - THE PARALLEL REFORMATIONS :  
  P. M. Wylam 447
XLVI GURU NANAK AND THE PROBLEMS OF HIS AGE :  
  A. C. Banerjee 465
XLVII THE SERMON AT SULTANPUR :  
  Taran Singh 482
XLVIII THE PERSPECTIVE OF GURU NANAK :  
  S. S. Raghavachar 489
XLIX GURU NANAK'S COMMENT ON THE VAISHNAVA LILA :  
  Norvin Hein 493
L THE FIVE SYMBOLS OF SIKHISM :  
  J. P. Singh Uberoi 502
LI TAGORE ON THE SIKHS :  
  Amalendu Bose 514
LII GURU NANAK TO THE GURU GRANTH  
  A. R. Wadia 521
LIII RELIGION AND PROGRESS : THE RECORD OF SIKHISM :  
  K. Ishwarn 524
LIV AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STRUCTURAL STUDY OF  
  JAPUJI :  
  Harjeet Singh Gill 528
  PARTICIPANTS 535
  INDEX 541
 

 

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