The Socially Involved Renunciate by Kamala Elizabeth Nayar
Guru Nanak's Discourse to the Nath Yogis

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A translation and analysis of Guru Nanak’s description of the Sikh path to spiritual liberation.

The Socially Involved Renunciate is an in-depth analysis and an original English translation of the Siddh Gost, a fundamental philosophical text of the Sikh tradition. The work reflects the distinctive worldview of Sikhism, the only major Indian religion that does not regard asceticism as a legitimate path to liberation.

Composed by Guru Nanak, a medieval, north Indian saint-poet and venerated founder of the Sikh tradition, the Siddh Gost is a dialogue between Guru Nanak and several Nath yogis who had been pursuing a rigorous path of hath-yoga as renunciates of the material world. Through their dialogue, Guru Nanak teaches the Nath yogis a spiritual path that also includes involvement in the social world and offers a practical way to achieve liberation. In The Socially Involved Renunciate, Kamala Elizabeth Nayar and Jaswinder Singh Sandhu provide background on Sikhism, highlight the ethical teachings expounded in the Siddh Gost, and demonstrate how Guru Nanak reconciles the polarities of the ascetic and householder ideals.

“…the authors do an admirable job of contextualizing Guru Nanak both historically and religiously … The Socially Involved Renunciate is a welcome contribution to the small body of works on Guru Nanak. The sections on renunciation and the translation of the Siddh Gost in particular lend themselves to a comparative approach, and it is easy to envision this text being incorporated into a class on Indian religions.” — International Journal of Hindu Studies

“The authors venture to examine an interesting and hitherto unexplored area of Sikh study in the English language and deserve critical encouragement for writing an important work in this newly emerging field.” — Pashaura Singh, University of California at Riverside

Kamala Elizabeth Nayar is Lecturer in South Asian Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia, and author of The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations Amid Tradition, Modernity, and Multiculturalism.

Jaswinder Singh Sandhu is a psychotherapist in British Columbia.


About Kamala Elizabeth Nayar

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Published February 1, 2012 by SUNY Press. 198 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction