Aug 072017
 

ਗਲੋਬਲ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਧਰਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ : ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ

Dr. Jaspal Singh

Abstract

ਧਰਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਦੀ ਪਰੰਪਰਾ ਵਿਚ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦਾ ਆਪਣਾ ਇਕ ਨਿਵੇਕਲਾ ਮੁਕਾਮ ਹੈ। ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਵੱਡੀ ਵਿਲੱਖਣਤਾ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਘੇਰਾ ਬਹੁਤ ਵੱਡਾ ਹੈ। ਉਸ ਦੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਹਨ। ਉਸ ਦੇ ਸੰਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਕ੍ਰਿਤੀ ਤੇ ਪਹੁੰਚ ਜਾਹਿਰਾ ਤੌਰ ’ਤੇ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਹੈ। ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਅਧਿਆਤਮਕ ਪਾਸਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਬਾਰੇ ਚਰਚਾ ਪ੍ਰਮੁੱਖਤਾ ਨਾਲ ਸ਼ਾਮਲ ਹੈ।

ਕਈ ਵਾਰ ਇਹ ਸੁਆਲ ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਉਠਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਕਿਸ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਨੂੰ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਕਿਹਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ ਹੈ। ਕਿਸੇ ਰਚਨਾ ਦੇ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਹੋਣ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ ਕੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਮੇਰੀ ਸਪਸ਼ਟ ਮਾਨਤਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਜਿਹੜੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਵਿਚ ਮਨੁੱਖ-ਮਨੁੱਖ ਵਿਚਕਾਰ ਖਿੱਚੀਆਂ ਹੱਦ-ਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਤੋੜ ਦੇਵੇ, ਜਿਸ ਰਚਨਾ ਵਿਚ ਹਰ ਲਕੀਰ ਨੂੰ ਪਾਰ ਕਰ ਜਾਣ ਦੀ ਸਲਾਹੀਅਤ ਹੋਵੇ, ਜਿਹੜੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਹਰ ਦੀਵਾਰ ਲੰਘ ਜਾਣ ਦੀ ਸਮਰਥਾ ਰੱਖਦੀ ਹੋਵੇ, ਉਹ ਰਚਨਾ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਫਿਰ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਉਹ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਜਿਹੜੀ ਸੰਵੇਦਨਸ਼ੀਲ ਹੋਵੇ। ਜਿਹੜੀ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਪੱਧਰ ’ਤੇ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਭਰ ਵਿਚ ਵਸਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਬਾਰੇ ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਗੱਲ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੋਵੇ। ਸਾਂਝੇ ਤੌਰ ’ਤੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰ ਮੰਨਦੀ ਹੋਵੇ।

ਰਤਾ ਸੰਜੀਗਦੀ ਨਾਲ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਕਰੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਇਹ ਤੱਥ ਸਪਸ਼ਟ ਰੂਪ ਵਿਚ ਉਭਰ ਕੇ ਸਾਹਮਣੇ ਆਉਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਵਿਚ ਦਰਜ ਸਮੁੱਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਪਾਰਗਾਮੀ ਹੈ। ਉਸ ਦੇ ਪਾਸਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਪਰਵਾਹ ਅੱਗੇ ਹਰ ਹੱਦਬੰਦੀ, ਹਰ ਦੀਵਾਰ ਟੁੱਟਦੀ ਚਲੀ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ। ਸਮੁੱਚੀ ਮਨੁੱਖਤਾ ਦੇ ਦੁਖ-ਦਰਦ ਤੇ ਵੇਦਨਾ ਦੀ ਤਰਜੁਮਾਨੀ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ – ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ। ਸਾਰਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਕਲਾਵੇ ਵਿਚ ਲੈ ਲੈਣ ਦਾ ਸੁਭਾਅ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਧੁਰ ਅੰਦਰ ਤਕ ਸਮੋਇਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ। ਪੂਰਾ ਗਲੋਬ ਅਤੇ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਸਰੋਕਾਰ, ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਵਿਸ਼ਾ-ਵਸਤੂ ਹੈ।

ਮੌਜੂਦਾ ਸਥਿਤੀ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਕਰੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਇਕ ਵੱਡੀ ਹਕੀਕਤ ਸਾਡੇ ਸਾਹਮਣੇ ਹੈ। ਦੁਨੀਆ ਦੀ ਨੁਹਾਰ ਤੇਜ਼ੀ ਨਾਲ ਬਦਲ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ। ਕਿਹਾ ਜਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਵਿਸ਼ਵੀਕਰਣ ਦੇ ਨਵੇਂ ਵਰਤਾਰੇ ਨੇ ਦੂਰੀਆਂ ਘਟਾ ਦਿੱਤੀਆਂ ਹਨ। ਪਰ ਹਕੀਕਤ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਇਹ ਪੂਰਾ ਸੱਚ ਨਹੀਂ। ਅਸਲੀਅਤ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਦੂਰੀਆਂ ਵੱਧ ਗਈਆਂ ਹਨ। ਫਾਸਲੇ ਹੋਰ ਵੱਡੇ ਹੋ ਗਏ ਹਨ। ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇ ਟੁੱਟਦੇ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਆ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਤੰਗ-ਦਿਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਬੇਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸੀ ਵਿਚ ਖਾਸਾ ਵਾਧਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ। ਫਿਰ ਦਾਅਵਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਇਕ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਰਗੀ ਬਣ ਗਈ ਹੈ। ਪਰ ਹਕੀਕਤ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਅੱਜ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਦੀ ਤਰਤੀਬ ’ਚੋਂ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਾਇਬ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ। ਸਭਿਆਤਾਵਾਂ ਦੇ ਟਕਰਾਅ (Clash of Civilizations) ਦੀ ਚਰਚਾ ਸਾਰੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਛਿੜੀ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ। ਬਹੁਤ ਸਾਰੇ ਵਿਚਾਰਕਾਂ ਦਾ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਨਵੀਂ ਉਭਰ ਰਹੀ ਬਹੁ-ਧਿਰੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਖ਼ਤਰਨਾਕ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਹੁਣ ਵੱਖ-ਵੱਖ ਸਭਿਆਤਾਵੀ ਹੋਂਦ ਰੱਖਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਲੋਕ-ਸਮੂਹਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਵੱਖ-ਵੱਖ ਬਣਤਰਾਂ ਵਿਚਕਾਰ ਹੋਣ ਦੀ ਸੰਭਾਵਨਾ ਵੱਧ ਗਈ ਹੈ।

ਐਸੀ ਬਿਖੜੀ ਅਤੇ ਟਕਰਾਅ ਵਾਲੀ ਸਥਿਤੀ ਵਿਚ, ਦੁਨੀਆ ਨੂੰ ਇਕ ਨਵੀਂ ਸੇਧ ਦੀ ਲੋੜ ਹੈ। ਮੈਂ ਪੂਰੇ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ ਨਾਲ ਕਹਿ ਸਕਦਾ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਕੋਲ ਇਹੋ ਜਿਹਾ ਸੋਚ-ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧ ਮੌਜੂਦ ਹੈ ਜਿਹੜਾ ਇਹ ਸੇਧ ਦੇਣ ਦੇ ਸਮਰਥ ਹੈ। ਜੱਗ ਜਾਹਿਰ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਬੁਨਿਆਦੀ ਸੁਭਾਅ ਸਦਭਾਵਨਾ ਵਾਲਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਉਸ ਦਾ ਰੁਝਾਨ ਬਹੁਲਵਾਦੀ (Pluralistic) ਹੈ। ਗਲੋਬਲ ਸਰੋਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਕੋਲ ਇਹੋ ਜਿਹਾ ਫ਼ਲਸਫ਼ਾ ਮੌਜੂਦ ਹੈ ਜਿਹੜਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਬਹੁ-ਧਿਰੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਵਿਚ, ਵਿਭਿੰਨਤਾਵਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਵੀਕਾਰਦਿਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਸਤਿਕਾਰਦਿਆਂ ਹੋਇਆਂ ਜੀਵਨ ਜੀਉਣ ਦੀ ਜਾਚ ਸਿਖਾਉਂਦਾ ਹੈ। ਸਹਿਹੋਂਦ ਵਾਲੇ, ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ-ਡੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਵਾਂਗੂੰ ਵਿਚਰਨ ਦਾ ਸੰਦੇਸ਼ ਦਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ।


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Body of Paper

Sri Guru Granth Sahib:  Scripture of Global Concerns

All religious scriptures of the world deserve reverence. The message of all scriptures guides our lives in one – way or the other. But there is the least doubt that the place and position of Guru Granth Sahib is singular in the tradition of religious scriptures of the world.

Guru Granth Sahib is the only Holy Scripture in the world which occupies the status of the Guru. It is looked upon by the Sikhs not as only a scripture but as the visible body of the Guru. History tells us that the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev in addition to Bani of the Gurus, compiled and edited the collected Bani of Saints and Bhaktas before installing Guru Granth Sahib in Harmandar Sahib for the first time in 1604 A.D. Following this, the Bani of Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib was added to the Bir, edited by Guru Arjan Dev, by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh under his own supervision and direction at Damdama Sahib. This Damdami Bir was then installed at Abchal Nagar, Hazoor Sahib by Guru Gobind Singh in 1708 and was given the exalted status of a Guru for all times to come.

The distinctness of Guru Granth Sahib lies in the fact that its concerns are global. The nature of Bani and its reach is manifestly global. The global concerns are discussed predominantly in the spiritual scope of Guru Granth Sahib. Sometimes, a question comes to mind, which composition can be identified as global and what are its essential features. I firmly believe that a global composition is the one which has the capacity to bridge the gap between human beings and the potency to cross all the hurdles and impediments of the world by talking about them in all its candidness.

An in-depth study of the Bani very clearly brings out the fact that it transcends all walls of discriminations and divisions. Every barrier and obstacle caves in before its forceful and spontaneous flow of words. The entire humanity is immersed into its fold. It’s a gateway to resolving all kinds of problems inflicting upon the human society and the whole world and its concerns is the subject-matter of the Bani.

Questions like what is the global scope of Guru Granth Sahib and who is covered in its ambit also come to my mind. Here, the following lines from Asa-Ki-Var, composed by Guru Nanak, seem to me quiet befitting while answering this question:

Purkhan birkhan tirthan tattan meghan khetanh

Dipan loan mandlan khandan varbhandanh

Andaj jeraj utbhujan khani setjanh

So mit janai Nanka sran meran jantah

Nanak jant upai kai samale saabhnah

Jini kartai karna kia chinta bhi karni tah

 

“Men, trees, holy places,

banks of sacred streams,

clouds and fields, islands, spheres,

universes, continents and solar system.

The sources of creation, egg-born,

womb-born, earth-born and sweat-born

and oceans, mountains and sentient beings;

He, the Lord, knows their condition,

O Nanak, having created the beings,

the Lord takes care of them all.

The Creator, who has created the world.

He takes care of it well.”

    Arti is another beautiful composition of Guru Nanak Dev which is recited in every Sikh shrine. Nothing can be written better than this to depict the whole universe and its creation. These lines reflect the enormous and panoramic wisdom of Guru Nanak:

 

Gagan main thalu ravi chandu dipak bane

tarika mandal janak moti

Dhup malanlo pawanu chavro kare

sagal banrai phulant joti

Kaisi arti hoi Bhav khandana teri arti

“The sky is Thy salver,

The sun and moon Thy lamps,

The galaxy of stars as pearls scattered.

The woods of sandal are Thine incense,

The forests Thy flowers,

What a beautiful worship is this O Destroyer of fear.”

It is quite obvious from the above facts that the nature and scope of the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib is global and its sensitivity is responsive to all global concerns.

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In this paper, I intend to discuss one important issue with reference to the global concerns of Guru Granth Sahib. One of the major concerns of Guru Granth Sahib is religious pluralism in the situation that exists in the world today. In fact, Pluralism has become a key challenge in present globalized world. On one hand, the present globalization has brought the whole world closer together, while on the other hand, the world has become divided and fragmented. Undoubtedly, we are living in an era of possible conflicts and violence. Strengthening religious pluralism and mutual understanding is more important and required than ever before.

In today’s situation what we need is a true pluralistic model which teaches tolerance towards each other, understanding each other and appreciating each other. A model through which we learn to share what is common in our religious philosophies. This is, in fact, the very essence of pluralism.

I am of the opinion that, the message of Guru Granth Sahib is fully capable of giving an affirmative direction to this world facing a grave confrontational situation. It is a crystal clear truth that the quintessence of Bani corresponds to righteousness in a pluralistic society, as it doesn’t cater to any kind of discriminatory tendencies. The followers of Bani also look forward to the emergence of a large, liberal and progressive world.

We have a perfect pluralistic model in the Guru Granth Sahib, which can guide us and give us direction in the present scenario. In this model, different religious traditions and their identities have been given due recognition. The Bani, very emphatically, lays stress on plurality and is quite explicit in accepting the identities of the different religious traditions. Not only this, the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib appreciates and glorifies pluralism and considers the plurality of the world it beauty and strength. Furthermore, the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib shows the way for – how to promote and how to strengthen the process of consolidation of the pluralistic system.

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The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan, in one of his hymns in Rag Ramkali, accepting the independent identities of the different religions, has given due recognition to their established and diverse traditions and customs. He says:

Koi bolai raam raam koee khudaae.

Koee sevai gusaeeaa koee alaahe.

Kaaran karan kareem.

Kirpaa dhaar raheem. Rahaao.

Koee naavai teerath koee haj jaae.

Koee karai poojaa koee sir nivaee.

Koee parai bed koee kateb.

Koee odhai neel koee suped.

Koee kahai turrak koee kahai hindoo.

Koee baachhai bhisat koee surgindoo.

Kah Naanak jin hukam pachhaataa.

Prabh sahib kaa tin bhed jaataa.

“One calls Him Ram, another Khuda;

Some call Him Gosain, some Allah.

He is All-powerful, bountiful, beneficent and merciful.

Some go to Hindu bathing-places; some to Mecca;

Some perform Hindu ritual of worship, others bow down in namaz.

Some read the Vedas; others the Koran.

Some wear blue; others white.

Some are called Turk; others Hindu.

Some covet Bohisht, some Swarga.

Saith Nanak, he who has understood God’s commandment,

He alone knows His ways.”

Guru Granth Sahib declares that all religious dispensations are equal and lead to the humanity to salvation. Guru Amardaas, in one of His hymns says:

Jagat jalandaa raakh lai aapnee kirpaa dhaar.

Jit duaarai ubrai titai laih ubaar.

“The world is burning, save it, O Lord,

Out of thy mercy,

Save it through whichever dispensations,

Thou consider best.”

In his Bani, Guru Nanak teaches us how to respectfully accept the identity of all religious denominations. He says:

Nanak wechaaraa kiaa kahai

Sabh lok salaahe eksai,

Sir Nanak lokaa paav hai

Balihaaree jaao jete tere naav hai.

        

“What can poor Nanak say that is new?

The whole world louds the Sole Lord.

At feet of those uttering Thy names,

Is placed Nanak’s head in reverence.

To all Thy Names am I a sacrifice.”

Let me also quote here a poetic composition of the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, which over-rules differences and divisions among men on the grounds of birth, caste, creed or religious belief and lay emphasis on common fatherhood of God and common brotherhood of man:

Kou bhyo mundia sanyasi, kou jogi bhaio;

Kou brahmchari, kou jati anmanbo.

Hindu turak kou, rafzi immam safi;

Manas ki jaat, sabe ekey pehchnbo.

Karta karim soi, rajak rahim oei;

Dusro na bhed koi bhul bharm manbo.

Ek hi ki sev, sabh hi ko Guru Dev ek;

Ek hi sroop, sabe eke jyot janbo.

“Many believe that they have become superior

by accepting celibacy or undertaking meditation,

by giving up material comforts, or by making

themselves look different, or by wearing matted

hair or no hair.

Others feel higher by joining a

Particular sect of Islam as, Shia, Sunni, etc.

But no one should overlook the basic fact that

followers of all religions are the same human beings.

The Creator of all provides for the needs of all humans.

There is one Lord of all and that

Lord alone should be worshipped.

Do not remain an ignorant and

believe in anyone else

except the one Lord.

All humanity is equal, each one of us carries

the reflection of the Creator in us,

and we are all manifestations of one Creator.” (8)

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Another salient feature of Guru Granth Sahib is that its structure is Pluralistic. The exclusivity of Guru Granth Sahib lies in the fact that in addition to the Bani of Gurus, the Bani of Bhaktas has also been included in it. Not only this, their hymns have been given the same degree of esteem as the hymns of the Gurus and this Bani enjoys the same status and reverence for the Sikhs. In fact, the range of contributors in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is quite vast. A contributor belonging to any caste, religion or occupation had the privilege to find space for his hymns in the Granth. He could be a Hindu-Jaidev or a Muslim-Baba Farid, a Brahmin Parmanand or a so-called low caste-Ravidas, Namdev of Maharashtra or Bhagat Kabir of Banaras. Evidently, by including the hymns of Bhaktas belonging to different castes and faiths, the Gurus tried to eradicate the caste system and inculcate the spirit of tolerance among the people.

It can clearly be stated that to incorporate the hymns of Saints and Bhaktas in Guru Granth was a revolutionary step. The decision of the Gurus took the shape of a crusade to give a boost to the concept of religious pluralism in India. From the historical point of view, it can be said that the influence of these Saints and Bhaktas spanned over five centuries and they belonged to different parts and regions, which stand a testimony to the fact that their geographical influence was traversing all boundaries. It should also be noted here that this historical step led to the preservation of precious Bani of Saints and Bhaktas on one hand and on the other added glow and grace to Sikh tradition. Dr. Radhakrishan, observed very aptly, when he says. “A remarkable feature of the Adi-Granth is that it contains the writings of the religious teacher of the Hinduism, Islam etc. This is in consistency with the tradition of India which respects all religions and believes in the freedom of the human spirit.”

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This fact should also be clearly understood that Pluralism cannot be confined to knowing each other. Knowing each other’s traditions is also not enough. Having a dialogue between different religious communities is extremely important and necessary for peace and understanding. The days are gone when people of one religion could afford to live as separate religious groups without much interaction with other religious communities. The people of different religions and the people who have faith in different religious philosophies have to live together and are bound to interact with each other. Constructive and meaningful Inter-faith dialogue is a must in the present scenario.

Here, I am reminded of the process of Inter-faith dialogue, which was started by Guru Nanak five centuries ago and of the pluralistic model of Unity in Diversity which emerges out of the Bani of the Gurus and various Bhaktas compiled in Guru Granth Sahib.

Five centuries ago, Guru Nanak initiated inter-faith dialogue to establish the Universal Brotherhood of men. During his travels to Multan, Pakpattan, Haridwar, Kurukshetra, Kashmir, Banaras, Gaya, Rajgir, Puri, Ceylon, Tibet, Mecca, Madina and Bagdad etc, Guru Nanak opened a dialogue with all the existing faiths. He filled the inter-religious void with love, ethical humanism and spirituality for the first time. He approached every religion as his own and presented his own faith and philosophy as everyone’s religion. In all his dialogues with Yogis, Siddhas, Vedantists, Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Buddhists, Jains, Sufis, Mullas, Pandits, etc. Guru Nanak told them that religion is worthless till it joins the main life-current of humanity and implies itself socially and spiritually into mankind. Certainly, Guru Nanak, for the first time, introduced ecumenism in religion and philosophy and brought closer to each other different religions and religious philosophies.

Today Guru Nanak’s philosophy of inter-faith understanding through dialogue is the only approach to attain peace and progress of humanity and Unity in Diversity.

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To conclude, once again I would like to reiterate the fact that Guru Granth Sahib is a scripture of Global Concerns. It is also a fact that one of its major concerns, in the present context, is Pluralism. The Bani of Guru Granth Sahib very clearly manifests that Pluralism is the way of life. It teaches us to accept and respect the diversities and always remain in dialogue with others. The message of Guru Granth Sahib is very clear. It can be summed up as – To maintain Pluralism in true spirit and to have meaningful dialogue among different denominations, we must make a commitment:

  1. to accept the identity of others,
  2. to respect the identity of others, and
  3. to protect the identity of others.

It is worth mentioning here what the noted historian Arnold Toynbee

has written about the everlasting important message of Guru Granth Sahib. He says- “Mankind’s religious future may be obscure; yet one thing can be foreseen. The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before, in the days of increasing communications between all parts of the world and branches of human race. In this coming religious debate, the Sikh religion and its scriptures, the Guru Granth, will have something special of value to say to the rest of the world.”


About the Author

Dr. Jaspal Singh is the former Indian High Commissioner to Mozambique and Swaziland and former Vice Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala

Dr. Jaspal Singh held the post of Vice Chancellor, Punjabi University Patiala, India from 2007 to 2017. During his tenure, the University established a number of new institutions: Women’s Study Centre, Academic Staff College, Baba Farid Centre for Sufi Studies; Centre for Diaspora Studies; Centre for Census Studies and Research; Sophisticated Instrumentation Centre; a monumental Media Centre; and School of Social Sciences. The overall development of Punjabi, language, literature and culture has been the major thrust area with launching of Punjabipedia on the lines of Wikipedia, All-India and Regional Punjabi Conferences, and Mission Punjabi-2020 as the highlighting factors.

Dr. Jaspal Singh has authored five highly acclaimed books on Sikh religion, Sikh politics and Sri Guru Granth Sahib. He has authored over 300 articles on Medieval literature with particular focus on Sikh scriptures including Guru Granth Sahib.

The Sahitya Akademi, Government of India, has bestowed the prestigious Bhasha Sanman on Dr. Jaspal Singh in recognition of his significant contribution to the classical and medieval literature in 2015. He has been awarded several other fellowships and awards (too many to list) by government and private academic and literary organizations.

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