Holy verses should be debated

Holy verses should be debated

By DAVINDER P.S. SANDHU | 3 October, 2015

The sixth teacher, Sri Guru Har Gobind, was in congregation when the issue of interpretation of holy verses was raised. It was mentioned that the meaning of holy verses was a constant debate amongst the devotees, and it would be better if Guru Har Gobind would write a book that interprets Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru said that meanings of the holy verses are infinite. Even the same devotee approaches the holy book in different frames of mind at different times. In each case, the verses would cast a different light, as needed by the situation. To attempt giving a singular meaning to such a vast ocean of knowledge would not only be impossible, but entirely inappropriate. It is desirable that devotees should discuss the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib between themselves, and share their knowledge with each other. In this process, however, it is important to understand the method of debates. Two methods of debate could be jalap and vadanta. In the first, the person finds ways and means of justifying what he said earlier, disregarding any new information that may be presented. In the latter method, there is constant derision poured on any alternative framework, and the conversation is an attempt to put the other down.  Both these methods are considered undesirable. The ideal methods to debate are the het and vaad methods. In het, one listens carefully to those who are adept, and asks questions till he understands. The questions asked are to learn, not to argue. Using vaad, two people discuss their own understanding, share knowledge, and help each other in deepening their interpretation. Guru Har Gobind uses a powerful analogy to guide the devotees.  All lamps give out light, but each has its own area of shadow too. In jalap and v adanta, both earthen lamps attempt to blow the other out, and the result is complete darkness. In het and vaad, the two lamps work as a team to enhance not only their level of knowledge, but even cast light on their respective shadows.

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