I have the good fortune of going through the two volumes of the Philosophy of Guru Nanak by Sardar Ishar Singh who has laboured hard for many years to compare the Philosophy of Sikhism with the Philosophy propounded by other great religions of the world and specially that of Hinduism which he has dealt also in a separate volume. This work assumes a special signifi-cance in the context of present day world which is torn apart due to discord existing between different religious, social and political faiths and beliefs. Ignorance of the Truth not only widens the gulf between man and man but may foster a spirit of hostility and dissension. Guru Nanak's Philosophy of life brings men and nations closer to each other and helps fostering peace Sc brotherhood on earth.
"True Teacher is that who brings all men closer to each other" (Guru Nanak, G.G.S., p. 72)
There is an essential unity in all the higher religions and there is no real difference in the ultimate Truths inculcated by various faiths, that there is but one method by which the world has evolved and there is but one goal as admitted by all scriptures. But this basic Truth is one not easily compre-hended. The discord existing between different faiths makes it almost impossible to lift the veil and have a look at the grand verity. Guru Nanak's Philosophy removes all doubts and disharmonies and brings the whole humanity on one platform. He teaches us how to control our senses, subdue the evils and passions and teaches the path of `Sehr through inhering a loving devotion and meditation on the ONE: SUPREME BEING leading to total self-abnegation.
The first Volume of this work has been in print for a. number of years and has been well received and acclaimed as a work of great merit and scholarship. The highest achievements of each religion have been fully acknowledged and their contribution to the overall good of the humanity have been affirmed in a manner befitting a true disciple of Guru Nanak who was an embodiment of humility and well wisher of all men inhabiting the earth.
I have no doubt in my mind that these two volumes will not only enlarge the vision of its readers in understanding the subtle differences in different religious philosophies but will bring humanity close to each other by grasping the essential unity of all faiths.
Out of so many religions, which are treated as world religions, four of them originated from the soil of Bharat Desh. Buddhism and Jainism, according to the philosophies recorded in their scriptural books, are atheists not having belief in the existence of any Supreme Power of God. Hinduism, and Sikhism, the other two world religions rising from India, both believe in the existence of God. Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikh religion, which has been further developed and completed by his nine successor Gurus, who also gave it a fundamental book of scripture, the Adi Granth. Hinduism, on the other hand, has neither any single founder nor are its various branches and schools of philosophy based on any single book of scripture. In the first volume of this book the space given to the description of Hinduism is rather limited, with due regard to the requirements of other world religions described therein. However for a deeper understanding of the nature of Hinduism, which is the most ancient theistic religion of the world, it became essential to present to the readers a much more elaborate picture about its various schools of philosophy. Such an understanding became all the more essential in the context of its comparative study with the philosophy of Sikhism. Hinduism and Sikhism are the only indigenous theistic religions of India. They have much in common in the matter of historical background and so far as their social and temporal ties are concerned. But there is also a significant misunderstanding between the two regarding the spiritual side of human life. At present, as against about 2% of Sikhs in India Hindus constitute a majority of about 82% of India's total population. This ,majority has a capability and a tendency to absorb in itself the new currents of thought arising in this country. Barring a few exceptions the majority of Hindus, have not cared to-understand the religion of the Sikhs and consider that all religions arising in India are part of Hinduism. The Sikhs on the other hand, with the knowledge of their own religious principles, are at pains to save themselves from absorption and are clamouring to keep up their separate identity. This situation definitely demands a better understanding: between the two, specially at this juncture of India's history. In this second volume of the book, I have therefore made, in my own humble way, a sincere endeavour to present a clear and objective picture of the philosophies of the various schools of Hinduism as well as of the new philosophy of Guru Nanak. This latter philosophy, in fact, has the laudable aim of bringing people of different faiths closer to each other. This is a philosophy of synthesis, which in place of the prevalent ideas of religious superiorities, separateness and divisions, aims at creating conditions of equality, cooperation, love and brother-hood amongst followers of all religions, rather amongst all' peoples of our world. As to how such most desirable consequence can be achieved, one of the means on which greatest stress has been laid in this new Philosophy of Guru Nanak, as the readers will find from the pages of this book, is that all human beings may rally and march towards One common all pervading God, who is the source of all Truth, justice, mercy, love and all other qualities of goodness, of which mankind stands in dire need, specially in these present times. Of course, any comments and suggestions from the readers will be-welcome.
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