Sant And Sufi Tradition's Influence On Sikhism

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A humanitarian, a teacher and a proponent of not only North India’s major religion but also many daily-life philosophies, which till date continue to influence fundamental principles of many leaders, Guru Nanak Dev succeeded in innovating and establishing an apposite and reconcilable religious world. Through this paper, I will attempt a critical analysis of the Sant and Sufi tradition’s influence on Sikhism and commonality between the principles and teachings of Sikhism, propounded by Guru Nanak Dev. The paper focuses on the interdepending influence of the three traditions aforementioned and how that makes Sikhism so relevant today.

The religious world that Guru Nanak advocated began with the doctrine of God. An interpretation was of God as
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One who sheds their haumai and perceives with humility the divine order or hukam, will be freed from the chain (30 McLeod). To attain liberation one must be in harmony of the divine name through means of regular, disciplined practice of nām simaran or “remembrance of the Name” (31 McLeod). This is done through repeating a word or expression which honors the meaning, Vāhigurū or through a technique of meditation, Kīrtan, through singing of appropriate hymns (30 McLeod).

Guru Nanak’s teachings have had a far reaching influence on many religions. The reasons for this are firstly, Guru Nanak was said to have travelled to many different regions, even outside India, hence his philosophies tend to be found in or impacted by other religious leaders of his time. Secondly, the geographical area within which the North-Indian religions originated are common, hence daily struggles, thinking and culture of the people would have been similar. And third, Guru Nanak’s teachings were unique and practical, allowing it to exert its knowledge over other theories at the
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The believe in the reality of karma and and in the consequences of their actions. Its objectives pointed towards stilling of emotions and conflict and eternal peace (26 McLeod). Like the Sant Tradition, Sikhism emphasizes on the role of the work one does, in the life after death.

Guru Nanak was also said to be an exponent of Sufi Islam (27 McLeod). Sufism is a mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God (Britannica 2010). The fundamental basis of Sufism is that Truth is One, and similarly in Sikhism the alphanumeric Ik-Oankar, symbol that represents the One Supreme Reality, is a central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy propagating a similar

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