Gyani Jarnail Singh (Malaysia) on Unitarian Universalist Principles


I was raised Unitarian Universalist which is a religious movement, as much as a religion, I feel. UUs do not care what you believe. If you agree to adopt and promote the 7 UU principles, then feel free to call yourself a UU. There are ChristianUUs, and HumanistUUs, and BuddhistUUs, and PaganUUs, and AtheistUUs and so forth.

The Seven UU Principles are:

1.The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

I asked Gyani Jarnail Singh from Malaysia to comment on the 7 UU Principles from a Sikh perspective. “Gyani” is a title of respect given to those who are scholars of the Sikh scripture, the SGGS.


Gyani Jarnail Singh writes:

Kamalla Rose Kaur Ji has asked my opinion on the following UU Principles…Here is an off the cuff response from me attempting a comparative look at the UU principles from a Sikhi point of view.

1.The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

1. Gurbani declares..Search not ever the Lord without..The Creator is within each heart. The One Lord is pervading ALL Ramkali Mh 3 Page 953,

Hundreds of times the Gurus and Bhagts (authors of the Sikh scripture/Guru) have asserted again and again that its not just the outward riches, or flashy clothes, or appearance that should “attract us”..but the inherent worth and dignity of each and every part of the Lord’s Creation. The poor and the meek have just as much rights and dignity and worth as the rich and the powerful..the children of the streets have just as much dignity as the children enrolled in premier schools.

2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

2. Its not by sheer accident that the First Pyara (first Khalsa Knight) who got up in Vasakhi 1699, called by Guru Gobind Singh ji for a “Head”..was named DYA Ram. Dya is Compassion and Guru declares that for RELIGION to successfully plant its roots..DYA..Compassion has to come FIRST. Then the second person to answer the call was DHARAM Chand…”Religion” !! So DYA came first as the SOIL in which the seeds of Dharam (Religion) were to be planted…”accident”….? “plan” ??..”design..fluke..coincidence ?? (The remaining three payaras Names continue this “compleat man” design but explaining all that would make this mail too long)
Dya or compassion in Sikhi is not just the…” don’t kill the chicken..its cruel !!” ( killing for food cannot be cruel ) or the jain ideology that even when walking be careful not to step on the ant ( thus Jains wear masks to prevent breathing in germs and thus killing them..and they sweep the road before them to sweep away insects etc they would kill by stepping on them). IF that were the case than a Sikh would be sinning if he swatted the mosquito….or swatted the pesky fly…or used bleach etc on his laundry. Unfortunately “Dya” is wrongly construed by many Sikhs as just this sort of “compassion”. Its NOT this way at all. True “compassion” or Dya is Giving of ones-self. Those who make TRUTH their fasting, contentment their pilgrimage, cognition and Meditation their ablution, compassion their deity and forgiveness their rosary..they are most sublime of persons..declares Guru Nanak ji on Page 1245.(Sggs)
Sikhi lays great emphasis on Justice, equity and compassion not only among humans , but also on all of Gods creation. Guru Arjun Ji declares in Asa M 5 Page 376 Sggs – Lord’s nature is pervading ALL the Forms and Colours..and Guru Amardass Ji says..O true KING..TRUE is thy NATURE. PG 463 Sggs

Again it is written..Through Nature we see thy POWER and through thy nature we fear and have the essence of Happiness..through thy nature exist the skies and the entire creation..through thy nature exist the Vedas, the Puarans, the Semitic Books, and ALL LOVE, The NATURE..the Living Beings of the world..Through the nature are Virtues, honours and dishonours..Guru nanak Page 464 Sggs.
Thus a Sikh is an environmentalist..automatic greenpeace activist..automatically a human rights activist… a preserver of forests…clean rivers..anti-pollution… and animal rights supporter
As far as Human relations between man and woman are concerned…Guru nanak ji was among the first and most vocal on Gender equality – all along in almost all civilisations and societies…the woman (Eve) had been placed on rib level..and in Indian Society at feet level (jutee – footwear of Man!!) Guru nanak Ji declared…So kio manda akheayeh jit jammeh rajaan… Why call her LOW who gives birth to KINGS ? Todays some Sikhs under the influence of the “fundalmentalist brahminsed fringe” have sadly begun to put aside this teaching of Guru Ji and discriminate against “woman” – thus no woman can do Kirtan/path/sewa at harmandir sahib or be member of the Panj Payras. Forward looking Sikhs are fighting hard against this.
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

4. In Sikhi its mandatory for…seeking..learning..querying and actively looking out for TRUTH. Sikhi doesn’t encourage “closed eyes blind faith”..ask no questions and you will be given no lies/wrong answers… etc is taboo. Every Sikh is encouraged to.. LISTEN..SAY..QUESTION..and BELIEVE. Kichh sunneah kich kaheayeh…. As long as we are here in this world Nanak..we should hear somewhat and speak somewhat ( Gods praises ) Guru nanak Page 661 Sggs.

Meeting with a PIOUS person..have a conversation with him..BUT meeting an IMPIOUS person..Keep MUM – Kabir page 870 Sggs. Discourse and discussion are encouraged and deemed important.

5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

5. In the Sikhi concept of the PANJ – no individual has any veto power. Just like the ancient Greeks ‘democracy”..Sikhs have the Gurmatta. This institution held sway until the 1850’s rule of mahara Ranjit Singh. Each Sikh soldier or civilian was invited to a Gurmatta..each one had the right to stand up and speak his mind…and a final decision of CONCENSES was then taken by the assembly after hearing all. The MISL Leader..the CHIEFTAN..had the same right as the lowly soldier..the footman..the cleaner. Thus once a stable cleaner was chosen to be NAWAB at the Mughal court After the fall of the Sikh Empire in 1850..the British institution of “secret ballot elections” have taken root in Sikh Society. The Panj system has also been put on the back burner. Now the Panj is highly politicised and serve their political masters.

6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

6. Sarbatt Da Bhalla… Goodwill towards ALL is the Final Call at the end of each Ardass or Prayer session of Sikhs all over the world. Even before a battle with the enemy – this same supplication was delivered before the Almighty. Due to this, it is no coincidence that Bhai Khnaiyah during Guru Gobind Singh Jis battles with the Hill rajahs and mughals was found giving water to BOTH – Sikhs as well as the fallen enemy soldiers. When a complaint was made to Guru Ji – about this….and on being called up to explain his behaviour..Bhai Khaneyah replied..OH My Lord..I DONT see the fallen as SIKHS or Muslims or Hindus..ALL i see is YOUR IMAGE on each person..Hindu sikh muslim. Guru Ji was so happy with this answer that he gave Bhai Khaneayh a tin of SALCE and told him..from now on besides giving water to the fallen soldiers…you may also put salve on their wounds. Thus Bhai Khaneayh is the Forerunner of the International RED CROSS . Thus the Goal of the Sikhs is also Worldwide Peace, stability, prosperity and goodwill of all men towards all. Prosper thy neighbour is Sikhi. Every person has the Universal right to Peace, Liberty and Justice. Guru teg bahdur Ji – went to delhi to give His head for Freedom of ALL religions…Human Rights and Justice for all. Emperor Aurengzeb was forcibly converting ALL to Islam in an attempt to have just ONE religion in his empire – Guru teg bahadur Ji resisted that with his life.

7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
7. Respect for Gods NATURE is inherent in Sikhi as explained earlier. All Sikhs are environmentalists, conservationists, anti-pollution, anti-war and oppression, preservers of nature, forests, clean water resources, nuclear free world, against undue cruelty t animals..etc etc – we firmly believe all of this INTRICATE WEB of nature is INTER DEPENDANT. Any serious failure of any component is sure to impact the others…as we are already house effects, global warming, melting ice caps glaciers, extinctions of various species, disappearing rain forests, pollution of air and water resources etc etc – this is happening because MAN in his arrogance ( I have made thee in my IMAGE and appointed thee as Master !!) has abused his position in this web of God.

I will be happy to discuss further..



Filed under Multicultural, My Unitarian Universalist Roots, Sikhi

2 responses to “Gyani Jarnail Singh (Malaysia) on Unitarian Universalist Principles

  1. shahab abdolvand

    Hi , i’m a new member of UUism , i live in malaysia , here is islamic and budhism country . I want to ask is there a organisation of UUism in this country ?

  2. Rachel

    I am a UU Here in the states and I am glad to see a comparison of the faiths. Thats an awesome way to start dialoug between the two groups. I am not sure if that was the intention but i see it as a result of the article above.

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