| Karminder Singh | Opinion | 9 April 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Nam japnaa? What did Guru Nanak say about this process? Dr Karminder Singh, a Malaysian lay preacher, says it is a mistake to equate Jup as chanting (ratnaa).
Sikhs today have, generally, misunderstood the actual meaning of Nam Jupna, reducing it simply to chanting or continuous repetition of selected words, he argues. Jup is also spelt as Jap.
“Jup is not chanting. That has to be cleared out of our minds. We have reduced, relegated, downtrodden, trampled upon, stepped on….the process of naam jupnaa to chanting.
“Guru Nanak came all the way, for 70 years, through 10 Gurus, to tell us to chant? I’m having trouble with that.
“We were already chanting before Guru Nanak came. That’s all it was, chanting. Guru Nanak took chanting out of our spiritual processes. Chanting gets us nowhere,” he argued in his Vaisakhi-related talk series at Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya yesterday (8 April 2016). His daily evening sessions, from 8.30pm-9.15pm, continues until Monday (11 April).
Generally, most Gurbani translations, including those commonly found on the internet, translates the word Jup as chant.
Dr Karminder points out this as one of the two common errors when it comes to translating Gurbani. The other one involves the word Naam.
“One, Naam is wrongly translated as God’s Proper Name. Two, Jup is wrongly translated as chanting,” he said.
Naam is not Name.
“Naam is not Name, again as usually translated. God has no Proper Name,” he argues.
“The original name of the bani is Jup. We call it Jup Ji Sahib, out of respect. That’s fine. But Guru Nanak named it Jup. You cannot chant the Baani, you cannot chant the Guru Granth Sahib,” he says.
There is constant debate and confusion on what is the proper name for God. Many have staked the claim for it to be so and so. In the following clip [to be uploaded later], Dr Karminder sheds some light on the issue seen from the Sikh perspective.
“The issue is still alive with us today. Guru Nanak had resolved it for the Sikhs by declaring that all perceived virtues are acceptable.
“All his names are ‘Kirtem’ – descriptions of his perceived virtues (adjectives). All such perceived virtues are acceptable. One virtue cannot be superior than the other. Hence, one Name cannot be superior than the other,” he said.
In fact, he goes on to say that Guru Granth Sahib has rejected the ‘One Name’ concept and accepted ‘ALL’ names.
“All the Names used by all the faiths are contained within the Guru Granth Sahib. This describes how open and large is Guru Nanak’s mind and heart, that he can accommodate all within. We, then, should not be narrow and claim that only this is the Name and that’s not the Name. We will then be going against the tenets of the Guru Granth Sahib which accepts all names,” he argues.
He then made reference to a shabad by Bhagat NamDev Ji:
mein andhley kee teik naam khundkara,
mein gareen mein maskeen tera naam hai adhara,
kareema raheema allah rtu ganee,
hazra hazoor dar pesh tu mnee.
ਮੈ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਕੀ ਟੇਕ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਖੁੰਦਕਾਰਾ ॥
ਮੈ ਗਰੀਬ ਮੈ ਮਸਕੀਨ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਅਧਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਕਰੀਮਾਂ ਰਹੀਮਾਂ ਅਲਾਹ ਤੂ ਗਨੀ ॥
ਹਾਜਰਾ ਹਜੂਰਿ ਦਰਿ ਪੇਸਿ ਤੂੰ ਮਨੀ ॥੧॥
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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