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Author: Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD



Montreal, Canada
Nov 05, 2008

The year 2008 was very auspicious for the Sikhs since during this year the 300th anniversary of GURGADI DIVAS (Bestowing of Guruship onto the Holy Granth) was celebrated all over the word. Prof Dr Devinder Singh Chahal, President of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism (IUS) was invited to present papers at two great International Conferences.

Prof Chahal presenting his book, NANAKIAN PHILOSOPHY, to Dr Harbans Lal, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, GNNSJ, Chairman, Bhai Sahib Sukhbir Singh GNNSJ, Convener, and Dr William Lesher, Chairman, Council of Parliament of World Religions, USA. (Photo by GNNSJ)

1. The International Interfaith Conference, held by the Takht Sach-Khand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib at Nander, Maharashtra, on September 25-28, 2008. At this conference Prof Chahal presented a paper on “SABD GURU” and he also present his recent book, NANAKIAN PHILOSOPHY: Basics for Humanity, to Bhai Sahib Mohindr Singh Ji, Chairman of the Conference and Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), Birmingham, UK; and to Rev. Dr William Lesher, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago, USA. Besides, copies of the above book were presented to Bhai Sahib Sukhbir Singh (GNNSJ), the Convener of the Conference; to Amam Ulmair Ahmed Ilyasi, Secretary General, All India Organization of Imams of Mosques, New Delhi; to Dr Mimpal Singh, Doctor of Medicine, Lahore, Pakistan and to many other academicians.

Hon Mr Baljit Singh Chadda, Privy Council, introducing Dr Kulbir Singh Thind, the poineer in developing the unique CD on Guru Granth Sahib.

Speakers and scholars from various countries such as USA, Canada, England, India, Pakistan, East Africa, Australia, Dubai, and Europe representing world religions including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Baha’i and the Sikhism participated. They included academicians, university administrators as Vice Chancellors, and artists. ‘They encouraged governments and civil societies to respect scriptures of all traditions’, said the conference convener, Sukhbir Singh (GNNSJ) of England.

According to Dr PS Pasricha, Chairman of Administrative Committee, Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded / Coordinator, Gurtagaddi celebrations, 2008, ‘the purpose was to further promote interfaith dialogues, for developing greater insight of religious beliefs, as well as opening the door to the understanding of one’s neighbors’ religion’.

‘It is not an attempt for fusion of religions, but a quest to nurture an appreciation of similarities and to value the differences. Such initiatives will reduce global conflicts and promote peace’ said Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK.

The conference also served as a pre-Parliament event for the next Council for the Parliament of the World Religions’ international conference to be held in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2009. Dr William Lesher, President of CPWR was the keynote speaker at the Nader conference.

A lot of construction of buildings, new roads and widening of old roads was still going on. The Central Government of India is spending Rs 2,000 crores to beautify Nanded. The ghat of Gudawari river, where three Gurdwaras are situated. has been beautified and it is a wonderful scene to look at. Nanded is becoming a biggest touring area not only for the Sikhs but other people from all over India and other countries. The Such Khand Hazur Sahib Gurdwara is becoming another wonder in India among the historic Gurdwaras.

2. Prof Chahal was also invited to present his paper in “Relevance of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Contributions of Guru Gobind Singh”, to be held by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar with collaboration of Mumbai University, at Mumbai on October 1-2, 2008. Unfortunately when I reached Nanded and found that this conference has been cancelled all of a sudden for unknown reasons.

This year was also very auspicious for the Institute for Understanding Sikhism (IUS) since it is completing its ten years of study of Gurbani and Sikhism. Therefore, the IUS held two conferences on “SABD GURU”. ‘Sabd’ and ‘Guru’ are two words, which have been used extensively in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). Although these words have been discussed in the ancient philosophy from time immemorial, they have special meanings and applications in the AGGS. Therefore, to understanding the intrinsic values of ‘Sabd’ and ‘Guru’ and their implications the IUS held two seminars on SABD GURU:

3. Highlights of the Seminars
i) The first Seminar was held at Kitchener in collaboration with Mr Kuldip Singh Bachher, President of Golden Triangle Sikh Association and Dr Gurdev Singh Sangha, President of Sikh Social and Educational Society of Ontario at the Gurdwara Sahib of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario on September 13, 2008. It was attended very well. Each speaker was given 30 minute for his lecture and 15 minutes were spent on question and answer session. There had been good discussion after every speaker.

ii) The second Seminar was held at the Civic Center, Dollards des Ormeaux, Quebec, on September 20, 2008.
All speakers, who participated at the Kitchener Seminar, presented their papers at Dollards des Ormeaux, Quebec. Besides, a few more speakers joined at this Seminar. Prof Dharam Singh, Editor, Sikh Encyclopedia, Punjabi University, Patiala was the Chief Guest and Dr Kulbir Singh Thind, the pioneer of developing Gurbani CD was Special Guest of Honor. Hon. Baljit Singh, Privy Council, Government of Canada was a Chairperson for one session. Mr Abnash Singh, McGill University was Chairperson of another Session. The first Session was chaired by Dr Harjeet Singh Bhabra, Concordia University, Montreal. This Seminar was attended by most of the Sikh scholars of Montreal. Here also each speaker was given 30 minute for his lecture and 15 minutes were spent on question and answer session. There had been good discussion after every speaker.

The events were divided into separate sections. Following the welcome remarks by Prof Harjeet Singh Bhabra of Concordia University, Montreal in English Dr Jit Singh Arora, Professor, Universite Du Quebec welcomed the participants in French. Thereafter, Dr Parminder Singh Chahal, Scientist, Biotechnology Research Institute, Montreal provided a brief overview of the Institute’s activities and achievements since its inception. This was followed by the inaugural address by Prof Dr Devinder Singh Chahal, President of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism.

Session 1 commenced immediately thereafter, in which 3 papers were presented dealing with the 300th Guru Gaddi Diwas, Guru Maneo Granth, Guru Granth Sahib and the role of Guru in Sikhism by Dr HS Bhabara, Dr Gurdev Singh Sangha and Dr Dharam Singh. The luncheon session included a presentation on the “Mystery of Naam Simran” by Dr Kulbir Singh Thind from California. The four papers presented in the afternoon, discussed Sabd Guru by Dr Gurnam Singh Sanghera, Dr Balbir Singh, Prof DS Chahal, and Dr Avtar Singh Dhaliwal. The seminar ended with dinner and demonstration of the uses of CD on Gurbani by Dr Kulbir Singh Thind, the pioneer in developing this unique CD.

Dinner time was started with a beat of Dhol (drum) played my Master Vickey Kaura. During Dinner a Poetic Seminar was arranged by Mr Surjit Singh Pahwa on SABD GURU.

Objectives of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism (IUS)
The Institute for Understanding Sikhism was founded in 1998 with the following objectives:
• To promote Sikhi (Sikhism) and Gurbani (spiritual teachings of the Sikh Gurus) that has been incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) by publication of a regular journal, Understanding Sikhism – The Research Journal, books, booklets, and tracts, and through the electronic media, Internet, Group Discussion, and TV etc., and also by maintaining a Website: and
• To organize lectures, seminars, and conferences to promote Sikhism and Gurbani in their real perspective and to free them from the ancient philosophy, mythology and rituals introduced intentionally or ignorantly. To present papers on other conferences.
• To create dialogues between different religious groups for mutual understanding and respecting the other religions and their followers; and to strengthen Multiculturalism.

The Institute for Understanding Sikhism is the pioneer institute in the world for dissemination of NANAKIAN PHILOSOPHY scientifically and logically for the humanity and the philosophers of the Current Science Age (The Age of Understanding).

Achievements of the IUS during the last 10 years are listed as follows:
Seminars held by the IUS
2004: Philosophy and Teachings of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib
2003: Doctrine of Guru Nanak in JAP.
2002: Sabd Guru, Conscience and Consciousness.
2001: GURDWARA: History, Meaning and Functions of Gurdwara.
Proceedings of all the seminars are available in print as well as online on website:

Books Published by IUS
1. Chahal, D. S. 2008. Nanakian Philosophy: Basics for Humanity. Institute for Understanding Sikhism, 4418 Martin-Plouffe, Laval, Quebec, H7W 5L9, and Singh Brothers, S.C.O. 223-24 City Centre, Amritsar – 143 006.
2. Chahal, D. S. 2005. Some Salient Principles of Sikhism. Institute for Understanding Sikhism, 4418 Martin-Plouffe, Laval, Quebec, H7W 5L9.
3. Chahal, D. S. 2004. Sabd Guru to Granth Guru – An In Depth Study. Institute for Understanding Sikhism, 4418 Martin-Plouffe, Laval, Quebec, H7W 5L9, and Singh Brothers, S.C.O. 223-24 City Centre, Amritsar – 143 006.
4. Chahal, D. S. 2003. JAP: The Essence of Nanakian Philosophy. Institute for Understanding Sikhism, 4418 Martin-Plouffe, Laval, Quebec, H7W 5L9, and Singh Brothers, S.C.O. 223-24 City Centre, Amritsar – 143 006.
5. Chahal, D S. 2004. Sikh Perspectives on Bioethics. In John F Peppin, Mark J Cherry, and Ana Iltis (Editors), Annals of Bioethics, Volume 2: Religious Perspectives. Taylor & Francis, The Netherlands, Leiden, London and New York ISBN 90 265-1967 2. This chapter is the first of its own kind in the Sikh literature that Sikh Perspective on Bioethics has bas been discussed.

Thirteen (13) DVDs, about 45 minutes each on ‘Discussion on Sikhism’, have been prepared in collaboration with Jafry Communications, Toronto. These were broadcasted twice on the Sikh Virsa TV Program at OMNI 2, Winnipeg, Manitoba during January to March 2008.




Dr. Devinder Singh Chahal

  • We are neither going to heaven or hell or into reincarnation of any other lives after this life.
  • "Think about the future, look not on the past. Make the present life a great success because there is no birth again."

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