REALITY And IT’S Manifestations By Nirbhai Singh

Divided into 7 enlightening chapters, Reality And Its Manifestations (Sikh Philosophical View) is a one of a kind book that strikes a good balance between providing information and enriching the reader with knowledge of a higher kind that cannot be measured but will enhance the quality of life by improving the manner of living for the one who puts the teachings of this book into whole hearted practice. Acceptance remains the key to creating a free and fair space for understanding of the knowledge that is both sophisticated and simple but also empowering to the reader in ways more than one. It helps them to understand their selves better, to create a sense of understanding with the world and to improve the knowledge of the Higher Power that is a positive and persistent existence, Omniscient, Omnipotent and All Powerful. This book looks at the Sikh world view in an exploratory manner through its epistemological, metaphysical and ethical aspects. The idea is to convey the essence of the Guru Granth Sahib in the 7 chapters of this book although the true grip over the teaching of the Guru Granth Sahib can only be learnt through proper understanding and actual application over the lifetime of an individual. Yet, this book is highly handy and helpful in providing a sort of crash course or basic and general information about the Sikh religious philosophy which is an indirect invitation to learn, understand, think and reflect upon the ways of the world and the nature of the Creator.

The book opens with a list of abbreviations and a key to transliteration of the pronounciation of the alphabets of the Gurmukhi, Devanagri and the Arabic and Persian used in this book. This is followed by a page on Punjabi phonemes or Consonant/ Vowel Symbols. It is at the preface of the book that one is struck by the instinctive logic of questioning and deep reflection that the author takes the reader into through his rhetorical and quizzical questions. These do not interfere with the rational manner of individual thinking but is put in a pattern that sets the reader to explore new avenues of thought and seek for inner development of the mind and the soul in a whole hearted and dedicated manner. This makes the entire reading experience of the book highly engaging and enriching. The startling point remains that the book provides a whole new take on the way in which Eastern, Oriental or Indian philosophy and the basic tenets of Sikh philosophy are understood and looked upon. The combination of Western Socratic and Indian mystical leanings is what according to the author makes Sikh philosophical view so interesting. This book focuses on restoring the multiplicity to unity of reality. It differs from previous works in the sense that these provide literal meanings and exegesis which has been done over too many times. This makes this book serve a new purpose of presenting a new side through a path less treaded. It also reasserts the role played by Guru Nanak in teaching and propagating the Sikh beliefs and practices while acknowledging the influences of the Indic religions and Islam. The research questions posed at the very outset of the book are pertinent and have been posed in a timely manner.

The book follows a gradual manner of progression in which the ideas flow from one aspect of Sikh teachings and philosophy to another without overburdening the reader. This makes the book highly engaging for even beginner level readers. As a non-fiction the book does not use any particular characters to convey the ideas but the narrative maintains an omniscient point of view. This creates a manner of story telling about a topic that is both interesting and also sensitive to handle. It is the sense of balance throughout the text that ensures that the ideas are well propounded and made easy to grasp for the reader. However, the book is meant to be devoured slowly and is definitely worth reading more than once if a reader wants to understand and implement the ideas in practical life. While there is some philosophical jargon to some extent, most of the book follows a simple and easy vocabulary that can be easily followed while the moderate pace makes for a systematic presentation of thoughts, logical flow of arguments and simple arrangement of ideas that make up a patterned representation of the well -researched pointers that the author wishes to draw. The book is quite lengthy at 370 pages although that is not unusual for book of non-fiction and considering the fact that the book is full of information, astounding ideas and proper presentation of new found knowledge. The concluding few paragraphs is highly enticing considering the fact that the author argues that Sikhism is a subaltern movement in which the mission of Guru Nanak was to reach out to the downtrodden and it is this idea of passing on his teachings in theory and in practice that the book encourages the reader to imbibe.

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