God in Sikhism

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion and hence, believes that "God" is One, and prevails in everything,[1] as symbolized by the symbol Ik Onkar (one all pervading spirit)[2]. The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who surrenders his egoism and Loves the Almighty.[3] The Sikh gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout.

God is described in the Mool Mantar (lit. the Prime Utterance)[4][5], the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib:

"ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥"
"ikk ōankār sat(i)-nām(u) karatā purakh(u) nirabha'u niravair(u) akāla mūrat(i) ajūnī saibhan(g) gur(a) prasād(i)."
"There is but one all pervading spirit, and it is called the truth, It exists in all creation, and it has no fear, It does not hate and, it is timeless, universal and self-existent! You will come to know it through the grace of the Guru."

(SGGS. Pg 1) Sri Guru Granth Sahib

General Conceptions

Monotheism

Sikhism is strictly monotheistic and believes that there is only One God. Guru Nanak prefixed the numeral "IK" (one) to the syllable Onkar stress the idea of God's oneness; that the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer is One.[6] Sikh thought begins with the One Almighty and then universalising him, coming down to the cosmic reality of all-pervading Onkar.[7]

ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥

"Ek(u) pita ekas ke ham barik"

"The One God is the Father of all;

We are His children."

— SGGS. Pg 611

Priority Monism

Sikhism complies with the concept of Priority Monism, a view point that all existing things go back to a Source that is distinct from them. It is the belief that all what our senses comprehend is illusion; God is the sole reality. Forms being subject to Time, shall pass away. God's Reality alone is eternal and abiding.[8] The thought is such that Atmaa(soul) is born from and a reflection of ParamAtma( Supreme Soul)[9], and would again merge into it just as water merges back into the water.

ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜਲੁ ਆਇ ਖਟਾਨਾ ॥

Jio Jal Mehi Jal Aae Khattaanaa ||

As water comes to blend with water,

ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥

Thio Jothee Sang Joth Samaanaa ||

His light blends into the Light.

— SGGS. Pg 278

God and Soul are identical in the same way as Fire and its sparks; fundamentally same as is stated in Guru Granth, "Atam meh Ram, Ram meh Atam", which means "The Ultimate Eternal reality resides in the Soul and the Soul is contained in Him". As from one stream, millions of waves arise and yet the waves, made of water, again become water; in the same way all souls have sprung from the Universal Being and would blend again into it.[10]

Pantheism

Another philosophy of Sikhism is the concept of Pantheism which says that every being is identical to Divinity. It focuses on the subject of a non-anthropomorphic concept of God, to the extent that one can interpret God as the Universe itself.[11] Sikh thought holds a pantheistic tone when it discusses the Immanence of God (Sagun), which says that the whole Universe is an abode of the All-pervasive Lord.[12] However, Sikhism does not hold the concept of Pantheism fully as it understands God to be both, transcendent and immanent at the same time.[13] Sikh philosophy fuses the concepts of Theism and Pantheism as to the belief that God exists in His Creation to a Theistic level, that is the One upon whom everything depends; the ultimate Preserver.[14]

It can be deduced that Sikhism agrees with Pantheistic belief only to the extent that Universe can be considered as Divine, never understating the Transcendence of God which deems the Creator as above His Creation.

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