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Essence of Sikhism

A Review by Sadhu Singh Deol

Author: Raghbir Singh Dhillon
Publisher: Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana
Price: Rs 195/-; Pages 196

The book under review is a collection of essays published by the author in the leading magazines devoted to Sikhee. The author has done a commendable job by revealing interesting facts and historical references, “which even many Sikhs do not know.” S Raghbir Singh Dhillon is a devout Sikh and brilliant scholar who is bitterly realistic about the Sikh Community’s weaknesses, but he has never lost an intuitive understanding of the community’s strength and its virtues. Guru Granth Sahib and the writings of eminent mystics inspired the author to pen down his thoughts regarding contemporary institutions and many other aspects of the Sikh Panth.

The author has very aptly described the contribution made by the Sikh Gurus by living a life style which brought about unprecedented awakening in the masses. The Gurus paved a new path for humanity that delivered it from the brutal Hindu and Muslim forces. Khalsa of Sikh Sidhant is the last stage in the human evolution for bringing Paradise on earth. In Sikhee, Salvation means a happy and contended life free from evils of ego, anger, greed and sex. Thus, a benevolent egalitarian Khalsa Society would be established.

The chapters on Mool Mantar and Sikh Sidhant help the reader a lot in understanding of the essence of Sikhism. It has been beautifully pointed out that Guru Granth Sahib is the repository of Sikh Sidhant and Sikh Sidhant is the future of human race. The author, with the help of narrating certain incidents, has tried to interpret the concepts of Naam, Amrit, Amritdhari and Khalsa. The author gives lot of importance to Shabad Vichar. According to him only that person is a Sikh who lives as per Guru’s teachings. ‘Concept of God in Sikhism’ is a very thought provoking chapter. God in Sikhism is man’s friend and looks after him like a father. This concept strengthened the character of the masses and instilled confidence in them. The chapter on “Significance of five symbols of Sikh Identity” is about how they represent Sikh Sidhant. They are mandatory for observing the basic Sikh edict to comply with the Order of Nature.

“Introducing Sikhs to Global Communities” is another very educative chapter. At present the sun never sets on the Sikh community because Sikhs have spread all over the world. Since the days of Guru Nanak, Sikhs have played a major part in evolving a political system suitable for the progress of humanity all over the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UNO in 1948 is almost based on Sikh Philosophy. Therefore, Sikhs must contribute for the welfare of the whole world because they are the most vibrant members of the worldwide communities.

The chapter on ‘Sikh Institutions and their Role’ is a very interesting. All these institutions are pillars of Sikhee. At present, they are in a very bad shape. The author has suggested many ways to improve their functions in order to nurse the Sikhee in a right way. (The writer very rightly laments the highjacking of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and other institutions by the modern day politicians.) The chapter on ‘Sikh Concept of Non-violence, Violence and Martyrdom’ signifies that Sikhs basically are non-violent but they become violent only for their survival and honour. In Sikhism, sacrifice and martyrdom have very high place and these are considered necessary for the survival of the fittest.

The author has very rightly pointed out how Dalits and other poor sections of society can play a vital role in rejuvenating Sikh Panth in the chapter “Pillars of Sikh Panth – Workers, and Dalits.’. The criticism of the present-day satsangs in the chapter Satsang for What? is very thought provoking. The chapter on Khalsa shall Rule-Who is that Khalsa? first defines Khalsa as a person who understands Gurbani and lives by it. He takes an oath to sacrifice his life for the cause of others. In Persian language, it means God’s own property. This Khalsa shall rule and usher Paradise on this earth.

The chapter on ‘Sikh Prayer – Ardas’ is a very wonderful exposition of the Sikhs philosophy, history and culture of the people. ‘You are my Word and Master, I enjoy blissful life because of You and to You alone I pray.’ This is the best prayer in the world because it includes in it Sarbat Da Bhala. The author very vehemently pleads for its translation into all the languages of the world so that peoples of the world may understand fully the bond of human brotherhood.

The last chapter ‘Letter to my New Zealand based Son’ invites suggestions from readers how to convince the younger generation especially his own son, to became sabat soorat as ordained by the tenth Guru. This is the most moving yearning of a devout Sikh.

S. Raghbir Singh Dhillon by publishing this book has shown his commitment to Gurmat and authentic history of the Sikhs in the right perspective. It is strongly recommended that this book must be translated into Punjabi and this should be on the shelves of all the school and college libraries for the benefit of the young students.


ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2010, All rights reserved.