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Cosmos according to Sikhi

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Although not exclusively a study of the Cosmos, the Sikh Scriptures do give important information about some interesting facts about the Universe that we live in; some of this information we can now verify scientifically but when this text was first written during the 1500's and 1600's, these statements must have been revolutionary and difficult to comprehend.

It is ironic that while the Sikh religion in the East was advancing our knowledge about the Cosmos and supporting the view of plurality of inhabited worlds, in the West an Italian philosopher, cosmologist, and a truly brilliant man, Giordano Bruno(1548–1600) was burned at the stake by authorities in 1600 for expressing these "radical" views.

Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher, mathematician and astronomer best known as a proponent of the idea that the sun was the centre not the Earth; also that the size of the universe was infinite. His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in identifying the sun as just one of an infinite number of independently moving heavenly bodies: he is the first man to have conceptualized the universe as a continuum where the stars we see at night are of identical nature as the sun. For holding these and other radical views he was executed in 1600.

Planets, solar systems and galaxies, with no limit, no end

The founder Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak wrote the Japji Sahib before 1539. This composition consists of the Mool Mantar, an opening Salok, a set of 38 Pauris (hymns) and a final Salok. This Bani appears at the very beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib from Page 1 to Page 8 in the Holy Book of the Sikhs. It is the most important Bani or 'set of verses' for the faithful and is recited by all Sikhs every morning.

In the 37th verse of Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak tells us that the Lord's creation is vast; it is beyond limits and that there is "no end"; further the Guru tells us that just describing it is tough - "hard as steel". So one can appreciate that to understand it will take man many centuries. Also the Guru informs us that the universe consists of planets, solar systems and galaxies - khand, mandal and varbhand; there are worlds upon worlds of His creation; limitless beyond comprehension. Here is the relevant part of the 37th verse of Japji:


ਤਿਥੈ ਖੰਡ ਮੰਡਲ ਵਰਭੰਡ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਕਥੈ ਤ ਅੰਤ ਨ ਅੰਤ ॥

ਤਿਥੈ ਲੋਅ ਲੋਅ ਆਕਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਵ ਜਿਵ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਵੈ ਤਿਵ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਕਰਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਥਨਾ ਕਰੜਾ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੩੭॥

Ŧithai kẖand mandal varbẖand. Je ko kathai ṯa anṯ na anṯ.

Ŧithai lo▫a lo▫a ākār. Jiv jiv hukam ṯivai ṯiv kār. vekẖai vigsai kar vīcẖār. Nānak kathnā karṛā sār. (37)

There are planets, solar systems and galaxies.

If one speaks of them, there is no limit, no end. There are worlds upon worlds of His Creation. As He commands, so they exist. He watches over all, and contemplating the creation, He rejoices. O Nanak, to describe this is as hard as steel! (37)


See also

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This article is part of the series on the "Message of Gurbani"

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