by Jaswant Singh Neki

This book Ardas of the Sikhs is an inclusive, yet discreet work about the congregational prayer of the Sikh people. The Ardas for the Sikhs is the way of life ordained by their Gurus. It is but another way of simran or practising the Presence of God.
The book opens with general metaphysical considerations about prayer as also its universality. Then it makes an in-depth explication of the Ardas phrase by phrase bringing out its evolution over the numerous historical vicissitudes of the Sikh people and mirroring their spiritual fortitude as well as steadfastness of faith. It also brings out pithily the cosmic glory, spiritual experience and ethical sublimity enshrined in the perennial Word of the Adi Granth that it invokes all along. This distinctive prayer has been crafted in elegant folk idiom by generations of devotees many of whom eventually laid down their lives upholding the faith.
The concluding section of the bookdeals with the practice of Ardas, especially bringing out the psychological problems and philosophical hurdles that beset it. It answers with convincing answers such questions as:
•If God knows everything, then what is the use of praying?
•If the divine Will cannot be changed, then how can Ardas alter it?
•If prayer can fulfill all desires, then what is the purpose of effort?
• If one must reap the fruit of one's actions, then what can prayer do?
It also deals with such obstacles to Ardas as disbelief, doubt and disappointment and suggests how they might be overcome.
Author Dr. Jaswant Singh Neki is Professor of Eminence in Religious Studies at the Punjabi University, Patiala. A psychiatrist of international standing, he has been Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and a Consultant with the World Health Organization as also with UNDP. An outstanding metaphysical poet in the Punjabi language, he received the national Sahitya Akademi Award in 1980

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