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Sikh Religion and Science

Sikh Religion and Science

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The word ‘secular’ is derived from the Latin word
Saeculum (meaning present age or this world). It was first used in

269

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)4 Whether it is glorious imperialism or a democratic show, separation of religion from
politics leaves behind barbarism and brute force. (Sir Muhammed Iqbal)

270

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131

1648 in the treaty of Westphalia at the end of religious wars in the
west. At that time it denoted “the removal of territory or property
from the control of ecclesiastical authorities.”271

George Jacob
Holyoake (1817-1906) was the main exponent of this doctrine and
defined it as “well being of mankind in the present life to the
exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God and a
future state.”272

Soon it acquired negative connotations and began
to be used as a weapon of counter-religious ideologies. It was
defined as non-ecclesiastical, non–religious and non-sacred anti-
clerical act. Its simple definition became “Liberation of modern
man from religious tutelage.”
The dictionary meaning of
secularism is ‘concerned with the affairs of this world, worldly,
not sacred, not monastic, not ecclesiastical, temporal, profane

(The concise Oxford Dictionary 1958 page 1124)

Considered in this context secularism can mean
individualism and goodbye to morality, truth, justice, compassion
and fair play. In Sikhism sacred and secular are co-mingled but
purified. The Guru condemned the secular authorities as “beasts
and animals” (AGGS p.1288)273

and the religious leaders as

“butchers and liars.”(AGGS p.471)274

He said that ‘truth, fair play

and justice have taken flight from both.’275

He secularised religion
by divesting it of mystery, miracles, magic, divine incarnation and
supernatural mediation between man and God and purified
secularism by investing it with equality, mutual respect, goodwill,
morality, equal opportunity, religious toleration and openness in
administration.

271

The Social Reality of Religion” by Peter L. Berger page 10. He defines the term to mean “the
process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious
institutions and symbols”(page 197) Professor Roger Mehl defines it as “the process by which
a society disengages itself from the religious ideas, beliefs and institutions which have ordered
its existence in order to constitute itself an autonomous reality, and in order to enclose religion
in the private sector of life” (The secular and secularisation” page5)

272

Shorter Oxford Dictionary” page 1164. For further reading refer to Archbishop of Canterbury
A.M. Ramsey’s “Sacred and secular” or Harvey Cox’s “The sacred city”

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132

Even in the most advanced western countries like
England and the U.S.A, secularism is not practised in the real
sense. For example only a Protestant Christian can become the
head of state in Britain. In America President Ronald Reagan
declared 1983 as “Year of the Bible” in his speech in the House of
Representatives on 5th

April, 1982 and celebrated it at the state’s

expense.

In the Sikh concept of secularism, “All have equal rights
in affairs. Nobody is an outsider.”276

(AGGS p. 97)

The Guru treated all religions equally and wanted all to
share in the bounties of nature. “O Nanak a truly religious leader
should be known as such only if he brings all people together.”277
To demonstrate this Guru Granth Sahib contains verses of Dhana,
a farmer from Rajasthan; Sadhna, a butcher from Sindh; Sain a
barber from Rewa; Ravidas, a cobbler from Benares; Namdev, a
calico printer from Maharashtra; Jaidev a Brahman from Bengal
and Farid and Kabir who were Muslims. Hindus, Muslims and
Vaishnavites all find a place on the pages of the Sikh Holy
Granth.

“Everybody is my friend and I am a friend of everybody”

278

(AGGS 671)

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