Sikhism and Splitting Hairs

Comparing Christian and Sikh approaches to the human (and a scripture or community) who radiates God.

Sikh theology exhibits manifesting (my word) God at its limit, that is to say identifying the God consciousness that is said to be in the Gurus with God itself.

There is a comparison to be made with Christianity, which may look like splitting hairs but offers clarity of approach and hopefully understanding between two different traditions.

God itself is "Guru", objective and subjective, but the human Gurus are human manifestations of God. Thus they are so showing God that they radiate God, but that perfection does not mean, as Christianity pursues in its tradition, an incarnation of God. This means the human materiality of Jesus of Nazareth is considered the actual being of God whole and complete, although the Bible comparatively says (and it is that early tradition not yet two natures or trinitarian): "In the beginning was the Word". Whether Jesus appeared to radiate God or not: he was God, in the credal Church approach. The Gurus must and will radiate God to be so closely connected and in fact make the knowledge of God objectively and subjectively available to humanity. This is also said to be true for the Guru Granth Sahib and Khalsa (as Guru), and thus raises interesting comparisons with how to understand the Bible (often called the Word of God although it is Christ who is said to be the Word and the Bible the words) and the the community of the Church (which for Christianity needs the guaidance of the Holy Spirit and yet, united and agreed, is the Body of Christ at work).

For the Sikh Gurus (including the final non-human formation) it is the Divine Light and the Divine Word revealing, and these attributes are contained within the human Guru and are passed on within the ten and finally to the holy book and community.

Strictly speaking outsiders might see a subtle but important difference between reverence for a manifestation of God and worship of God, but here worship is used for both and it is the matter of impact that everything becomes blurred and even joined. After all Guru Jyot (divine light) and Shabad is within the being of the Guru, the Guru's quality of radiating and giving spoke and textual form.

I worship my Guru. My Guru is my God. My Guru is himself the transcendent God, and my Guru is the felicitous and prosperous ruler. My Guru is the imperceptible and inscrutable Luminous Lord. I serve the Guru's feet, which are adorned by all. I have no place other than the Guru. I contemplate day and night upon the Guru's glorious and distinguished Name. The Guru is my divine knowledge and I reflect on the Guru, within my mind. My Guru is the Cherisher of the world and the Omnipotent illustrious God. I remain under the protection of the Guru with folded hands. I worship no one else other than the Guru. The Guru is the ship to cross the dreadful ocean of the world. By service to the Guru, one is released from the fear of death's messengers. The Guru's creed (Waheguru) illumines the worldly darkness. In the association with the Guru, all are emancipated. The perfect 'True Guru' is attained only by great good destiny. Through the devotional service of the Guru, one is relieved from all suffering and pain. No one can dispute the Guru's unique authority as the 'Divine Word'. Nanak is the Guru and Nanak (Guru) is God

(Guru Grant Sahib Ji, p. 864).

Extract from: Singh, G. K. (1995), 'Guru Nanak Dev Ji: Unique Revelation of God', World Faiths Encounter, No. 12, November 1995, World Congress of Faiths, 23-27, 27.