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Theology (33)
AKAL, lit. timeless, immortal, non temporal, is a term integral to Sikh tradition and philosophy. It is extensively used in the Dasam Granth hymns by Guru Gobind Singh, who titled one of his poetic compositions Akal Ustati, i.e. In Praise (ustati) of the Timeless One (akal). However, the concept of Akal is not peculiar to the Dasam Granth. It goes back to the very origins of the Sikh faith. Guru Nanak used the term in the Mul Mantra, the fundamental creedal statement in the Japu, the first composition in the Guru Granth Sahib.
AKAL MURATI, a composite term comprising akal (non temporal) and murati (image or form), occurring in the Mul Mantra, the root formula or fundamental creed of the Sikh faith as recorded at the beginning of the Japu, composition with which the Guru Granth Sahib opens, literally means `timeless image`. Elsewhere, in the compositions of Guru Ram Das (GG, 78), and Guru Arjan (GG, 99, 609, 916 and 1082), the expression Akal Murati reinforces the original meaning of Divine Reality that is beyond the process of time, and yet permeates the cosmic forms. The non temporal Being transcends the space time framework and, as such, is Formless. However, in its manifest aspect, the same Being assumes the cosmic Form.
AKALPURAKH stands in Sikh religious literature for the Divine Being, i.e. God. Like Akal, Murati, it is composed of two units, viz. akal (non temporal) and purakh (person). The latter figures in Mul Mantra, the preamble to Guru Nanak`s Japu, in conjunction with Xarta (Creator), the whole expression implying the Creator Divine Person. In the Sikh tradition, the expression Akal Purakh has gained common currency like the terms Vahiguru and Satinam, equivalently used.
ANAND (Skt. Anand, from nand meaning "to rejoice" or "to delight") denotes mystical experience, spiritual bliss or a state of consciousness such as that ofaJi`van mukta, i.e. one released while still in body. Anand in the Upanisadic texts istaken to be one of the three inherent attributes of atman or Brahman, the other two being sat and chit. In the Taittiriya Upanisad (II. 15), it acquried this meaning of pure bliss. The self at the lowest or first stage of its evolution is defined as the annamaya kosa (the matter) which evolves successively into prana (life), man (mind or perceptual consciousness), vijnana (self consciousness) and ananda, nondual bliss.
5. BANI,
BANI, Sanskrit van! (meaning sound, voice, music; speech, language, diction; praise, laudation), refers in the specifically Sikh context to the sacred compositions of the Gurus and of the holy saints and sufis as incorporated in the Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. Compositions of Guru Gobind Singh comprising the Dasam Granth are also referred to as Bani. For Sikhs, Bani or the compound Gurbani (Guru`s ban!) is the revealed word. Revelation is defined as the way God discloses and communicates Himself to humanity.
6. BHAI,
BHAI, of Indo Aryan origin (Sanskrit bhratr, Pali bhaya), means brother in its literal sense and is employed as an honorific as well as in the dominant familial sense and as a title of affection between equals. It has been used in the Guru Granth Sahib in the latter sense and there are several apostrophic examples none of which seems to imply any special rank or status. However, by the middle of the seventeenth century, it was being used as a title implying distinction: the earliest example is the Bala Janam Sakhi (AD 1658) which refers to its putative author as Bhai Bala. The naturalness of its use in this particular context suggests that it must have developed the honorific connotation even earlier though it does not necessarily follow that these connotations were clearly apprehended in earlier usage.
BHANA, lit. liking, pleasure, will, wish or approval, is one of the key concepts in Sikh thought. In Sikhism, it refers specifically to God`s will and pleasure. Raza , an Arabic term popular in the context of various schools of Sufi thought, also appears frequently in the Sikh texts to express the concept of UMArSA bhana. According to this concept, the Divine Will is at the base of the entire cosmic existence. It was His bhana, His sweet will which was instrumental in the world`s coming into being: "Whenever He pleases He creates the expanse (of the world of time and space) and whenever He desires He (again) becomes the Formless One (all by Himself)" (GG, 294).
BHOG (which by literal etymology, from Sanskrit, signifies "pleasure," "delight") is the name used in the Sikh tradition for the group of observances which accompany, the reading of the concluding parts of Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. This conclusion may be reached as part of the normal and routine reading in the daytoday lectionary of a major centre of worship with a staff of readers. But in the mind of the community the word is very deeply associated with a complete, end to end, reading of the Holy Book without interruption which is called akhand path. This usually takes two twenty four hour days of nonstop reading by a relay of readers.
9. BIR,
BIR, a term used for a recension or copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, is derived from Skt. verb vid meaning "to make strong or firm, strengthen, fasten, or to be strong, firm or hard." The Punjabi verb birana which means "to fix, bind or fasten (something) firmly, or to lay (a gun)" is from the same root. Guru Arjan having compiled the Holy Book deputed one of his leading disciples, Bhai Banno, to go and get the volume bound in Lahore, perhaps because facilities for proper binding did not then exist at Amritsar.
BAANA: Literally: dress. In Sikh cultural terminology it means all the five Kakaars (articles of faith) plus a Chola (a long shirt), a tight fitting trousers, a Kamarkassa (a belt to tighten Gaatra and like a sash around the waist) which make one very active. This was actually a dress for the battlefield. A Sikh is expected to be ever ready in Baana at every moment because for a Sikh the world is like a battle field and he/she has to act in every situation in the discipline of a soldier in a battle field.

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