Sikh Hermeneutics

I have recently started my PhD. On the topic of sikh hermeneutics. I think interpretation plays a vital role in the well being of any religion. I believe that it is due to erroneous interpretations that religions deteriorate. Although it is not the only factor but it is without doubt a vital one. If we try to understand the present condition of Sikhi, then it will be soon clear that interpretative violence has played a key role in its degeneration. Although systematic study of religion and scripture is a western phenomenon, our own tradition also have its systems of interpretation. What is wrong with any given system of interpretation is this: it tries to objectify its subject matter and submits it under a seemingly universal set of rules and methods. This procedure involves a violence because it ignores the singularity and tames it according to its own needs. This very violence is the root cause of most sikh problems today. I would like to be acquainted with different perspectives on how to approach and understand Sri Guru Granth Sahib.


  1. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh!

    Dear bhajee Prabhsharanbir Singh,

    Can you please comment on the interpretation of Tapoban Sahib ( - please browse the site if you have time and are not familiar with their stance... Their views are closely related to AKJ, however they have no formal affiliation with the current group known as AKJ, rather they claim to be the original AKJ. Do you believe the Tapoban interpretation and practice is inline with how it might have been during the time of the Guru?

    Also why do you think these movements came about when they did….?

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh!

    Kamalpreet Kaur

  2. bhenji kamalpreet kaur ji,

    if i could, my 2 cents,

    Down the line, in sikh history,a lot has happened.We get groups like, Damdami Taksal, who claim to have been around since dashmesh pitaah's time.We got AKJ, whose history is all of 60 years old, but insist on their maryada being the original.We got Naamdharis, who claim that their guru is the present guru of sikhs.We also have our nihang singhs,who claim that their maryada and tradition has been unchanged since the formation of the khalsa, which according to them was an image of a nihung.And now you talk about Tapoban being the original Akj or something like that.

    We can't write these people off, i'm sure they have their reasons to these claims.The problems arise, when, they start preaching their individual maryadas instead of the deeper message,which is,love,peace and tolerance.

    None of these jathas can prove that their maryada is the original and is what was practised during the guru's times.They themselves were not around during those times, so their claims are not credible.

    For example, AKJ claims the keski to be a kakkar.The jatha's been around for only 60 years.another 50 years down the road, some clever soul would proclaim the kamarkasa to be a kakkar just because it sounds with the "k".They say ragmala isnt bani because its not in raag aasa mahala 1.If this is the case, japji sahib isnt bani too, because it doesnt fall under any raag.

    Baba Gurbux Singh, 2nd jathedar of the damdami taksal, was a nihung.See the irony?

    I am not discriminating anyone,just citing examples. These are the little petty differences which are breaking up our sikh panth today.Instead of fighting over this, we should concentrate on preserving our amritvela,nitnem,naam simran, other more important things, and also get under one banner, regardless of any jathas.These examples of unity have been proven before. Let me take you back to june 1984.

    The defence of the golden temple against the indian army was spearheaded by sant jarnail singh ji bhindranwale, who was from damdami taksal.We also had babbar khalsa singhs defending the holy shrine and giving their lives for a just cause.They were the militant wing of the AKJ.We also had nihungs of buddha dal and tarna dal involved in the defence, and also throughout the freedom struggle of punjab.However today, the very next generation of these brave souls are fighting one another just because of maryada differences?I think that's dumb.

    To end it off, My humble opinion is, we should read the history of the sikhs, especially post guru gobind singh ji, leading up to maharaja ranjit singh, and to june 1984. you will find endless examples of sikh unity regardless of jatha/maryada.Hopefully we can pick up valuable lessons from it, and apply them to our present situation.
    The sikh kaum needs us, at its most dire hour of need, today, therefore i urge all my brothers and sisters, to put petty differences aside, come under the fold of the kesri nishaan sahib,jap naam, and talk of our future and act upon it.

    Bhul Chuk di khemaa, devoh aseesaan, gajke fateh balaao,

    Jagvinder Singh

  3. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh

    Kamalpreet Kaur ji

    I am sorry that I was not able to respond to your comment till now. Actually, my computer is not working. I am trying to fix it. Now I am using internet in a cafe. As soon as i get my computer fixed, I will reply to you in detail.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

ਸਿੱਖ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੇ ਖੱਬੇਪੱਖੀ ਚਿੰਤਨ ਦਾ ਸੰਕਟ

ਆਧੁਨਿਕਤਾ, ਬਰਬਰਤਾ, ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਕਵਿਤਾ

ਮਾਂ! ਮੈਨੂੰ ਫੈਸਲਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਦੱਸ ਕਿ ਮੈਂ ਹੁਣ ਕੀ ਕਰਾਂ ?