Dr Dugal was the author of
Essentials of Sikhism: A talk, 1950
Philosophy of Guru Nanak, 1952
Divine Baba, 1955
We give below excerpts of the same and will have the complete books available shortly.
Sardar Bahadur R. S. Dugal requires no introduction in Burma. Since the British days in different spheres of national life of Rangoon, or rather of Burma, he has been a universally familiar figure.
The present talk, thus, comes from a man with matured experience in social affairs and with a keen power of understanding “the other man’s view-point”, as also making himself perfectly understandable to people not belonging to his faith or way of thinking.
This talk was delivered at the meeting of the Cultural Studies Group of the Ramakrishna Society Rangoon at the invitation of the organizers of the study group which has as one of its objects, the promotion of goodwill and understanding, among people belonging to different sects, religions and nationalities. An appreciative study of the creative achievements of different peoples being a necessary prerequisite to such a goodwill and understanding, this study group organized various talks on the contribution of different cultures towards the progress of humanity and this talk formed a part of that study.
A perusal of the following pages will, I’m sure, convince any intelligent reader that this talk fully realized it’s objective. It avoids technicality without being superficial. It touches on all the important aspects of the Sikh religion without being boring or controversial. In fact, this a short handbook on Sikhism for all and the Sikh Temple Committee, Rangoon, deserves congratulations for its publication.
The Sikh community being a numerically a very small community as compared to it’s brother communities like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or Buddhism its fundamental tenets are less widely known. And this precisely the reason why the positive teaching in its scripture should receive wider publicity and circulation. From here, we find the wonderful idea of toleration and equality, combined and put into practice and a genuine attempt made in harmony amongst the contemporary conflicting faiths.
It preaches in clear and simple language the innermost essence of true spiritual life and emphasizes this should predominate, control and mold the secular life as well – a teaching which forms the core of all religions.
The Sikhs as a community have earned for themselves a unique place for themselves in Indian history and society by dint of their valor and sacrifices, and are reputed for virility, unity and humility. These virtues follow from their adherence to their creeds which serve as a continuous source of inspiration to live up to an ideal.
A study of these fundamental creeds, therefore, will undoubtedly be, to a person outside the Sikh fold, be a matter of great profit and interest, and it is from this standpoint this book will amply justify its publication and will deserve attention.
Ramakrishan Mission Society, 230 Thompson Street, Rangoon, Burma
Dated: 14th November 1950
Two years back was published my small book “Essentials of Sikhism”. In it was given a short account of the background and growth of Sikhism as a religious movement. It was intended primarily for non-Sikh readers to understand Guru Nanak and his religion. The reception it received from all quarters has shown beyond all doubt the existence of desire for further information on and knowledge of Sikhism in all sections of society. This fact has provided a stimulus and encouragement for the present undertaking – “The Philosophy of Guru Nanak”. I must, however confess that for the constant encouragement from Swami Akunthanandaji of the Ramakrishna Mission Society, who was contemplating to hold under the auspices of the Mission, a Parliament of Religions and wanted someone to prepare a paper on Sikhism, this publication would not have seen the light of the day.
In trying to understand Guru Nanak and his religion the fact will have to be borne in mind that Northern India, where he was born, has been honeycombed with conflicting ideologies and sects. A spiritual confusion prevailed everywhere. There was deep religious darkness. It was at this critical juncture that Guru Nanak Dev gave his lecture of Divinity of Soul and Oneness of Existence. The sole theme of his saying (hymns) which are incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib is this message. These hymns also provide material for his philosophy.
No originality is claimed for what is stated in this book. Numerous valuable works, by learned Sikhs and others, both in English and Gurumukhi (the language of the Sikhs [Punjabi]) exist. All of them derive their authority from the Guru Granth Sahib (the scripture of the Sikhs). The philosophy of Guru Nanak is not presented in the Granth Sahib is any systematized manner, nor can a non-Sikh unacquainted with its language and have a recourse to it for knowledge and information. The need for authoritative literature on Sikhism in languages other than our mother tongue is obvious. “Philosophy of Guru Nanak” is, therefore, an attempt towards that direction. Moreover, like other religions, Sikhism is little known beyond the borders of India. If, therefore, this publication succeeds in giving the reader a bid’s eye view of the fundamentals of the Master the author would be amply rewarded.
In conclusion, I am indebted to all the authorities and authors on whose works I have drawn. In this connection, I am indebted in particular to Dr. Sher Singh Giyani on whose valuable works I have literally drawn. I am also especially thankful to Swami Hiranmayanandaji of Ramakrishna Sevshram Hostital, Rangoon for having gone through the manuscript, making very valuable suggestions for its improvement and writing the foreword. Many thanks are also due to Swami Akunthanandaji for going through the book prior to its publication, to Mr P.V. Subbiah, Office Superintendent of the All Burma Indian Congress, for tying the manuscript during his off hours and to Mr T. Jayaram for the help you gave me in reading the proofs.
R. S. Dugal
243 Sparks Street, Rangoon, Burma
The title of this book “The Divine Baba” is perhaps a misnomer. The reader would expect a chronological narrative of the life of Guru Nanak Devji. In this he will disappointed. No attempt has been made to give the life story of the Baba. A non Sikh will presumably will be more interested on being acquainted, however briefly, with the teaching a message of the Guru than his life story. For Sikhs any number of publications dealing with the history Guru Nanak’s
life are available and there seems no need to add one more.
This book is solely confined to some fundamental and important aspects of the teaching and message of the Divine Baba. As the booklet was under preparation, at one of the meeting of the Sikh Culture Study Circle, Rangoon, some skepticism was discerned among some young men of the community re: the benefit that can accrue from the form of worship practised by the Sikhs viz: Nama-Marga, and it’s potency as a vehicle for spiritual evolution. The author was also asked at this meeting to explain what was meant by Simirin and how should it be practised. An advantage has therefore been taken of this opportunity to discuss in these pages in some details Nama-Marga, Simrin and and other essentials of religious worship in Sikhism. If by this attempt a conviction is carried home by the younger members of the community and if they are, even to a small extent, drawn to Nama-Marga and the Divine Baba the author would be amply rewarded.
This booklet is, however, primarily intended to provide information about the teachings of Guru Nanak for non-Sikh readers. The incentive to undertake this task came from the appreciative reception that has been accorded to my two previous publications – “Essentials of Sikhism” and “The Philosophy of Guru Nanak”, and the demand for more information on Sikhism and its Founder.
Guru Nanak has given us a doctrine which is simple and shorn of religious orthodoxies and ritualisms. It consists of a simple requirement that to promote spiritual accent and union with God one should cultivate love for God and his creation through loyalty to, perfect faith in, deep affection for and willing obedience to Him. This union is obtained by plunging deep into his glories and seeking thrilling bliss by love and devotion through Nama-Marga.
The Gospel if the Guru is enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib — The Scripture of the Sikhs — in the form of hymns, (Shabads) by the Guru and all those who are eagar to have a glimpse of the Baba and his Divine Message should resort to the sacred volume. From this storehouse of spirituality they will gather wisdom and self-realization which will illuminate their whole being. Some quotations from the Granth Sahib have been given. Their English rendering are reproduced from “Guru Nanak” by Sir Jogindera Singh and Raja Sir Daljit Singh, and “The Gospel of Guru Granth Sahib” by Duncan Greenless. To both these sources the author is gratefull.
R. S. DUGAL
243 Sparks Street, Rangoon, Burma
19th November 1955