Librivox.org has this work on the Sikh religion which I though it good to listen to for my commutes. So far I am into the introduction which has shed a little bit of light onto the subject. The religion was started by Guru Nanak in the 15th century. I learned that the English officers encouraged their Sikh recruits to be good followers of their religion, since this facilitated military discipline, bravery and loyalty. Although we might argue about loyalty when discussing the assassination of Indira Gandhi. There was also some discussion of the pre-Sikh history which begins with the Brahmins driving out the Buddhists, and later the Mohammedans forcing their religion into India with the most brutal techniques known to man.
Macauliffe explains his goals of providing a text on the subject that was as accurate as possible, avoided slanders, and met the approval of the Sikh gurus of his day. These goals seem to have been met in their entirety. This has me pondering the modern intellectual who will do almost the exact opposite with Christianity: To meet scholarly approval, a work on Christianity must slander, defame and twist, ideally along new directions that had not previously been considered. Anyway, I am glad to have such an introduction to Sikhism.
Something that I have wondered about is regarding the exodus of westerners from Christianity. Even the Pope is ashamed to be known as a follower of Christ and chooses instead to be publicly known as a disciple of Marx. In this mad rush, westerners have settled into all kinds of religions, but I have yet to see one embrace Sikhism. Why is that?
Macauliffe tells a little of his problem of bringing Sikhism to the Western reader. This relates to the original gurus preferring the vernacular, which is now a dated version of Punjabi. To this is mixed in Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic, with some special terms that only the gurus can explain. This creates an extraordinarily complex linguistic problem that can only be addressed in India in careful consultation with the gurus. A related problem is that the Sikhs themselves might not be terribly well informed of their religion. The first volume of this is 14 hours of recording, and it seems that there are 6 volumes to the set. If I survive this will I achieve nirvana?