For Guru Nanak, the Creator (sat kartar) and its energy aspect (Kudrat) are one and not two separable entities. The energy aspect of the One purusa involves itself in the affairs of the universe through the agents of creation, destruction and preservation; consciousness as the ground of being is within all creation.

kudrat kar kai vasi-aa so-ay.
He created the Creative Power of the Universe, within which He dwells (p83)

Another important area that needs consideration is the term lila or manifested creation as a play within Advaita. Advaita accepts that lila has a transitory aspect and is an illusion with independent existence. It involves a simultaneous position and negation of the cosmos and that creation is only relative to the empirical consciousness.

For Guru Nanak, the creative evolution is without any such qualification. Since the manifestation of creation, or lila, is an act of self expression of the One, it cannot be an illusion. It’s as real as Consciousness itself. The energy aspect of the One, for Guru Nanak, is a principle of manifestation, involution and evolution of the universe.

khin meh thaap uthaapanhaaray kudrat keem na pahee. ||2||7||
In an instant, You establish and disestablish; the value of Your Almighty Creative Power cannot be estimated (p 529)

Again in contrast, Shankaracharya’s Advaita Vedanta conceives that Sach-chit-ananda as mentioned in the Vedas and developed in Brihadaranyaka Upanisad (2:4:14) is unreal and thus postulates an illusory power named Maya. However, Guru Nanak sees Maya as self-deception in terms of one’s psychological relationship through emotional attachment with existence / creation which arises as a result of haumai (ego).

ha-umai maar sadaa sukh paa-i-aa maa-i-aa moh chukaavani-aa. ||1||
Subduing your ego, you shall find a lasting peace, and your emotional attachment to Maya will be dispelled. (p110)

mohi mohi-aa jaanai door hai.
Infatuated with emotional attachment, they think the One is far away (p 210)

Guru Nanaks experiences the One as Absolute Purusa, both self-conscious and unconscious, the matrix of Creation. The Creator is manifest in all its creation. This Creation is not separate and independent of purusa, but rather an emanation of this purusa called Kudrat (that which is under the power and authority of its creator ).

khaalik khalak khalak meh khaalik poor rahi-o sarab thaaN-ee. ||1|| rahaa-o. The Creation is in the Creator, and the Creator is in the Creation, totally pervading and permeating all places. (p1394)

Such understanding presents far reaching implications in terms of relationship the between humanity and the creation it exists within. It is within this context a practising Sikh undergoes transpersonal psychological changes from Manmukh (mind facing) to Gurmukh (Gur, that which enlightens, awareness, facing). Manmukh could be considered as ‘structure’ or ‘content’ facing, Man meaning mind. As Schweizer states : In most general connotations, the ‘mind’ in western philosophy corresponds to the combination or complex of three faculties recognized in the Shankhya-yoga, namely manas, buddhi and ahamkar. However, there is a fourth component of this complex that is missing from Schweizer’s account, namely, chit or memory.


In Western thought, duality exists between mind and matter. In Sankhya-yoga, duality exists between Consciousness and Prakriti, where mind is assigned to matter as is its complex of thought, intellect, memory and ego.

Purusa is held to exist in complete independence of the material realm. So the basic dualism in Sankhya-yoga metaphysics is between purusa and prakriti, between Consciousness and matter. (Schweizer). However, this dualism of reality is transcended in Sikh thought by addressing the identity, difference and relation problem by describing the Absolute as the numeral ‘1’ as its first term, 1 Consciousness both immanent and transcendental.

Ik Oankar removes the polarized ends of multiplicity and Oneness too. The One in its sargun form becomes the law of many (hukam). The One pervades all creation, forming a synthetic and holistic system, whereby every individual moment exists in the Absolute Consciousness and is unalienable part of it.

Another dualism to be considered is that between the inner states of Manmukh and Gurmukh. As illustrated by Deikman, this dualism is of the ‘I’ and that which is observed.