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Read the following post by Sardar Jass Singh from Sikhnet forum. He raises some interesting points about pantheism. How can we address these as Sikhs?


Sikh scholars agree on the fact that Sikhism teaches a pantheistic monism

i.e. God becomes the creation (creation is an emanation of Him). There are many verses that openly allude to a pantheistic monism as concluded by astute and keen scholars of Sikhism, such as prof Sher Singh, Nirbhai Singh and Ishar Singh. Creation is ex-deo (out of God). This is the exact opposite of the Semitic religions, which teach that creation is ex-nihilo (out of nothing). These two concepts of God are

worlds apart separated by an infinite and unbridgeable chasm. This is a

critical and very important observation. I have yet to meet a scholar who

has even attempted to address this issue. This difference completely demolishes

thenaïve belief that all religions are the same. All gods are not the same let alone religions. The core of Sikh theology about the nature of deity is the pantheistic monism of Vedanta. The bottom line is that if this doctrine of the nature of God does not reflect reality then it is not a true belief and must be rejected. This undermines the whole foundation of Sikhism. The very first numeral "ek" of the SGGS speaks of pantheistic monism, and the rest of the SGGS is commentary. How is this obstacle to be overcome, if indeed it can?

" Both Sankara and the Guru are monistic idealists." (Philosophy of Sikhism, Sher Singh p83).

"We have worked out the Sikh view of reality as a unity. Guru Nanak in the opening fundamental tenet (mulmantra) of the Guru Granth sahib enunciates the personal unity along with the ontological impersonal basis of unity. Both the aspects constitute the dynamic Being (karta purakh). It consists of a systematic unity of the IK. The Sikh Scriptures seem to articulate the systematic non-dual unity which has the characteristics of hierarchy, coherence, and internal harmony. The numeral one (1) stands for the unity of the Real. The units are its manifestations (bistar)."

(Philosophy of Sikhism, Nirbhai Singh p255).

"Sikhism seems to discern unity not only in the Nature, but the underlying Unity of the transcendent and the immanent. Thus karta and purakh taken together constitute a conative conscious or dynamic-purposive principle which regulates the manifest world. Here karta-purakh as a complex term means the dynamic personal unity which creates the manifest forms out of Himself and reabsorbs them into Himself. It is not creation of forms out of nothing but from within Himself and into Himself. All forms are in Him. Karta-purakh does not create the very stuff of the manifest world but Himself becomes the manifest world. Hence creation of forms is the self-manifestation of the Ik."(Philosophy of Sikhism, Nirbhai Singh p111-112).

" 'Nanak' literally means 'no other' and this is indicative of the Oneness of God, the same oneness which is divulged in the first attribute of God 'Ik Onkar' and the last stage to and union with Him in 'Sachkhand'".

(The Philosophy of Guru Nanak, vol 1, Ishar Singh p289).



You need the whole counsel of SGGS to get the proper perspective on its teaching on monism/pantheism, as can be verified by the verses listed below.

The SGGS says:

"Sagar mehn bund bund mehn sagaru

Kavanu bujhai bidhi janai."

"In the drop is contained the ocean, the ocean in the drop, who will unravel this?" (GND Ramkali M1 )

"Nirgun aap sargun bhee ohee....... Har bin doojaa naahee ko-e. sarb nirantar eko so-e."

"The Lord is unattributed and attributed. There is no other than God. He the one Lord is pervasive in all beings."(Gauri GGS p287)

"Ek roop saglo paasaaraa."

"The entire expanse is the manifestation of One God."

(Bilawal M5 GGS p803)

"My Master is the One, He is the One, brother and He alone exists." (Asa M5 GGS p350)

"From His Absolute condition, He the pure One became manifest, from nirguna, He became Saguna."

"Thaapiaa na jaa-e keetaa na hoe. Aape aap niranjan soe."

"He can neither be manifested nor created by anyone, he, the pure one is all in all." (GGS p2)

"From the Absolute Lord, emanated Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva."

(GGS p1037)

The stone, plant, animal and man are in the same line with some difference of degree, but none of kind:

a) "Dulabh deh pai Wadbhagi.."(Gauri M5 GGS p183)

B) see Maru M3 GGS p1063



"Suraj kiran mili , jal ka jal hua Ram."

"God and you are the same like the sun and the ray."

(Bilawal M5 GGS 846).

"As from one fire millions of sparks arise; though rising separately, they unite again in the fire;

As from one heap of dust several particles of dust fill the air and on filling it again blend with the dust;

As in one stream millions of waves are produced, the waves being made of water all become water;

So from non-sentient things and sentient things are manifested and springing from Him, shall all be united in Him again."

(Sikh Religion, Macauliffe Vol V p276)

"Kaia andar sabhu kichh wasai khand mandal patala, Kaia andar Jagjiwan data wasai sabhna kare pratpala."

"Just as the sea is represented in the drop and the drop in the sea on a smaller scale, similar is the resemblance between man and the universe."(Suhi M3 GGS p754)

"Qudrat disai qudrat suniai qudrat bho-o sukh saar."

"Whatever we see or hear is the manifestation of Brahman."

(Var M1 GGS p464)

"Aape patee kalm aap upar lekh bhi Tun."

"Thou art the wooden tablet, Thou art the pen and Thou art the writing. There is only One, O Nanak! and no second."

(Var Malar M1 GGS 1291)

"Ekas te hoio anantaa Nanak ekas mah smaae jeeo."

"He becomes countless from One, saith Nanak, And everything dissolves into One."(Majh M5 GGS p131)



1. You cannot get personality from impersonality. You cannot get the Sargun

from the Nirgun. Intellect, will and emotions are characteristics of

personality and so the Absolute Brahman could never become the Sargun

personal God. Personality is more than consciousness. Personality inspires rational creative communication in words and symbols. It has feelings of likes and dislikes. It has volitional, aesthetic and moral feelings, which

impersonality does not. Something higher does not come from something lower.

2. Modern science has shown that the universe came into existence from

non-existence at a precise moment of time. Creation is ex-nihilo. This

automatically disproves the ex-deo corollary of pantheism and therefore

shows pantheism itself as an untenable and false worldview. Pantheistic monism is not a true description of reality. A philosophy that is contradicted by the

given nature of things cannot be true. A map must be adjusted to the reality and not the reality to the map.

3. Modern science also says that at the moment of creation, 4 of the 11

dimensions curled up in a singularity uncurled. These are the time-space

continuum in which we live. This also shows that the creator exists in at

least 11 dimensions and that He is beyond or transcends time-space. He is not the creation! Pantheism/monism is a false worldview, which locks God into the

cage of the time-space continuum.

4. The question as to why the Absolute Brahman felt the need to create the

universe is not adequately answered.

5. If the reality is one, you cannot maintain the duality of good and evil.

Then nothing is ultimately evil, there is no distinction between good and

evil. On what basis do you distinguish good from evil? If all reality is

ultimately one, then what is evil? Whenever people pass moral judgments, they betray their own worldview.

6. Because monism presupposes that man is in essence God, it fails to give

a serious and credible explanation for the apparent (or real?) sinfulness of

man. Monism implies man is not really a sinner.

7. Monism implies that reality is one and plurality is unreal, unity is

true whereas diversity is illusory. The corollary is that no particular thing or individual has any meaning. Our individuality is a play (lila) of God.

God is playing hide and seek with Himself. He became man, forgot that he is

God for a moment, then sent enlightened souls to help him self to become god


8. It does not answer the question 'why did God who is pure impersonal

consciousness forget His reality and become self deluded personal ego?'

9. The moral conscience that is inherent in man's nature contradicts the

amoral monistic worldview.

10. If nothing is really evil, if life on earth is a metaphysical morass of

bondage, ignorance and rebirths, if one's suffering is the result of one's

own karma from previous lives, why do you then fight for social injustices?

11. If individuality is ultimately false, and there is only one

consciousness in the universe, which has come under the spell of maya, then when one man realizes truth, the whole consciousness ought to realize it, since there is only one consciousness. If all the other individuals still continue in ignorance, it implies that they are separate individuals, having their own distinct consciousness. This obviously contradicts the basic monistic premise.

12. Moreover, if the enlightened person has realized the truth that the

world is illusion and individuality is illusory, then why is he going all over

the world to preach to individuals, who from his enlightened point of view are

by definition illusory?

13. In fact, within monism, the very idea of the grace of God is

meaningless. Logically you cannot believe in a personal god who is gracious toward individual souls. For if He thinks that individual souls are there, he too is under illusion and needs mercy!

14. The low view of the physical universe that is inherent in Monism

undercuts the very basis for science.

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Those 14 points are lame! Were they added by the moderator?

I personally see more similarity in Vallabhacharya's modified 'shuddhadvait' than Sankaracharya's earlier form. This approach attempts to deal with the almost Cartesian problem of maya.

Yes, I personally agree with what was written in the first part of the post regarding sikh scholars' view of sikh perspective.

'Saagar muhi boond boond muhi saagar...' - one of my favourite lines at the moment. Just using that very line to someone yesterday on the phone :shock:

Now something to also bear in mind is that Sikhi has great fluidity. I'm sure you're aware that some Sufis bridged the seeming divide between semitic and vedantic thought. Likewise, Gurbani can be appreciated and applied to a semitic format equally. God forbid (pun intended), but there are even (although I'm dubious) Tibetan Buddhist who historically saw no conflict between Sikhi and their own very different cosmological and philosophical perspective.

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All I could read in "Jass Singh's" post above was pseudo-intellectual conjectural opinion, coming from the dark school of anti-Sikh and anti-Eastern mysticism.

Looks like we have a Muslim or Christian pretending to be a Singh and attacking Sikhi.

None of his opinions on Sikhi or science holds any water.Strip away the layers and all you have is an idiot bouncing up and down saying: "I hate Sikhi, it's too accepting.I am an agent of division."

There are numerous nindak like him, accumalating the weight of their sins on there head.

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