Cosmology

The Sikh Gurus bring their own mystical and philosophical powers to provide an insight into the origin of Existence. For the Sikh Gurus, all Existence is unified into a singular “Godhead”, sacred, compassionate, unchanging and blissful, Ik Oaangkaar. There is no room for any dualistic or polytheistic doctrines.

God is not a mere concept or principle, but Ultimate Reality. True (unchanging) and eternal, He is the Power that has existed and will continue to Exist, it is endowed with Will (Hukam) and supported by a conscious intelligence and unconditional love, all of which serves as the instruments for the fulfilment of His designs and purposes. Karta Purekh, karta means creation and Purekh means consciousness or awareness, therefore, within the Sikh World-view, Existence is Karta Purekh, creation within which the creator is Conscious.

The world came to be as a playful gesture, lila and owes its existence to the divine will. He Himself is its material as well as efficient cause.

According to Sikh world-view there was a time when the world had not yet appeared and there will be a time when the world will again disappear. Says Guru Arjan, “kai bar pasario pasar sada sada ik akankar—Many a time you have projected this creation, yet you always remained the only formless One” (GG, 276).

While modern day science struggles with what proceeded the Big Bang, the Sikh Gurus have identified the pre-creation state of sunya, meaning ‘emptyiness’, ‘no-thingness.’ Describing this stage, Guru Nanak says:

For countless ages utter darkness prevailed There was neither earth nor heaven, The will of the Infinite One reigned everywhere. There was neither day nor night, Nor sun nor moon, Only Sunya (the Absolute self) stayed in solitary meditation. (GG, 1035) Again, For a good many ages Utter darkness filled everywhere. The Creator was wholly absorbed in deep meditation. There existed only His true nam, His glory, And the lustre of His eternal throne. (GG, 1023)

The “no-thingness” of the Gurus refers to absence of creation, and not to the absence of the Creator or His essence or potency. “Sunya” is in conjunction with terms such as samadh (Self-absorption), sahaj (harmony or balance), sach (Unchanging ness) and tari (trance). These terms provide an insight into the state of complete tranquillity and oneness of the Absolute Self, with the potential of entire existence and every aspect of creation lying dormant in Him, waiting to unfold from His desire. Divine desire gave rise from, the Formless to form, “The unattributed becomes the Attributed –“nirgun te sargunu thia” (GG, 940) and thus existence takes shape in its myriads.

The Sikh World-view rejects the idea that the world suddenly appeared or was ‘produced’ or ‘manufactured’ mechanically as one might produce an article out of a given substance. The world like the universes is passing through a gradual process of evolution. God and His creation are unfied—the creation is made of Him and in Him.

From the state of Sunya, The latent form became active. The elements of air and water Were evolved out of Sunya. . . Within the fire Water and living beings is His Light, And the power of Creation lies within Sunya . . . From Sunya came out the moon The sun and the firmament. . . The earth and heaven have been evolved out of Sunya. (GG, 1037-38)

Guru Nanak mentions three stages in the process of cosmic evolution. The first is the gaseous when there was only all-pervasive gases. The second stage was that of liquid; the third was crystallisation, formation of solid particles or when the earth crust formed from the liquid magma. Situated in the midst of the elements, the self has to evolve its potentialities to merge into the Absolute, which is the state of liberation. Thus, a theory of spiritual evolution is implicit in this process.

The source and origin of Creation is naam (sound), nad, bani or anahad sabad. The will of the Creator (hukam) was executed with the primal sound (kavoa) giving rise to creation and infinite number of rivers (different forms of energy) were set flowing (GG3).