Me and My God: Nanak Alerted Me That God Did Not Creat Man in His Image, Rather It Was The Other Way Around.

Harbans Lal, Ph.D. D.Litt. (Hons).

For centuries, we have been made to believe that God created man in His image. However, when Nanak took over to tell us the truth, he began to tell me that it was the other way around. In fact man created God in his image, an anthropomorphic god.

I am using this term, anthropomorphism, to describe a God with the attributions of a superhuman who exhibits humanistic characteristics; he is a perfect, all-powerful, and all-knowing superhuman. This God has a place of residence several skies away, with the capability of knowing everything that is happening with everyone on earth. Such God possesses powers to do justice through punishments and rewards.

He listens to prayers and accepts gifts to grant favors to the favorites or punish adversaries, and he also punishes those who do not believe. He determines and changes the destinies of people and nations. He has the ability to appear or disappear at will. He may be born outside of the womb and die at will.

close up photography hindu deity

Such an anthropomorphic God manages humanity through staff like angels, messengers, demons, devils, etc. His representations in various physical forms, such as prophets, scriptures, statues, and paintings need and accept materials that are there to meet human needs. They include clothing, food, temperature-controlled environments, flashy means of transportation, courtiers, fine music and dancers, etc.

To create an anthropomorphic God was man’s sure way to appoint himself as God’s agent and as his administrative authority. Further, this opened the way to create and deepen communal identities. It permitted retreat into the very segregated wedges and fractions between and among various faiths and faith communities.

The worst of all is that this anthropomorphic God made it easier to keep Man apart from the real Creator, God that was manifested in all creations. Nanak called it Ek Ongkaar.

Since the time that Nanak came on this earth, he began telling the truth. He gave me and others, without any discrimination, new and innovative eyes of knowledge with vision and wisdom. He let me examine the question of God more logically.

ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਦੀਆ ਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਨਿਹਾਲਿਆ ॥ SGGS, p.470

He taught me and given me the healing eyedrops of spiritual wisdom so that with my spiritual eyes, I visualize the Creation

As the benefacyor of the new wisdom, I began to call myself a Sikh, meaning a wisdom seeker. Then, I felt no need to be obsessed with an anthropomorphic god sitting on his throne in heavens and loaded with extensive secretariats as well as numerous other means of enforcing obedience among us to their god.

Nanak_Japji_teaching_2In contrast to man’s earlier exploits, Guru Nanak told me of the single virtual reality. Also, it was not far from my eyes; I could see it in nature and in the creations all around me, and all within me. He named this reality, Ek Ongkar, meaning, one virtual reality manifested in all creations. That, the forces of creations and the laws of nature actually maintained a beautiful world for me to relish. Here everything has been functioning meticulously since the time immemorial.

And, above all, I need not live in a fear of the angels of death, haughty and cruel, waiting to take me to imaginary heavens and hells. They are not there anymore to scare me and to torture me.  Instead, Nanak told me that this world is created for me to relish, and, that it will be always there in my service, not to fear but to rule. Nanak said,

ਅਵਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀ ॥ SGGS, p. 374.

Other living forms are your water carriers (servants); in this world, you are the ruler.

Guru Nanak told me that life was an opportunity to seek and merge with the Divine and her creation.ek-onkar-png-file-ek-onkar-png-800

Send all communications to:

Harbans Lal, Ph.D.; D.Litt (Hons)

Professor Emeritus & Chairman, Dept of Pharmacology & Neurosciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Professor Emeritus, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India.
President, Academy of Guru Granth Studies.


12 thoughts on “Me and My God: Nanak Alerted Me That God Did Not Creat Man in His Image, Rather It Was The Other Way Around.

  1. Here, again are the personal reflections of a sage, Dr. Harbans Lal’s excellent essay on Guru Nanak’s teaching having impact on the quality of his life and in turn enriching the life of many who came into contact with him as a colleague, teacher, mentor and a member of the community. Through your (Dr. Lal’s) writings, speeches and travels, you have been able to enlightened many more about the search for Truth (God) as envisioned by Guru Nanak. You have followed your bliss, as described by Professor Joseph Campbell in “The Power of Myths” and “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,”, i.e., “The Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names.”
    You have followed your tracks charted by Guru Nanak and his Gurbani which became an operating guide for a hero’s journey through your walks of life of learning, teaching and returning to the core of mentoring as Guru Nanak did. Through your blog, you have reached many who are enjoying the benefits of living the life as envisioned by Baba Nanak and Japuji. Thank you for all you have done!

  2. You are right. Man created God to create fear in people to stay away from criminal activities; that God is going to punish them. Man was created through evolution as per science and as per SGGS 176
    ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਭਏ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਜ ਮੀਨ ਕੁਰੰਗਾ ॥
    ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਰਪ ਹੋਇਓ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਹੈਵਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਖ ਜੋਇਓ ॥੧॥
    ਮਿਲੁ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਮਿਲਨ ਕੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਇਹ ਦੇਹ ਸੰਜਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
    ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸੈਲ ਗਿਰਿ ਕਰਿਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਰਭ ਹਿਰਿ ਖਰਿਆ
    ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸਾਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਜੋਨਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਇਆ ॥੨
    After Big Bang ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਹੋਏ ਲਖ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ SGGS 3
    Life started from non life, stones and mountains ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸੈਲ ਗਿਰਿ ਕਰਿਆ ॥
    It took uncountable years for human being from unaccountable number of different species ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਇਹ ਦੇਹ ਸੰਜਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ

  3. I totally disagree with the interpretation presented here by Respected Dr.Harbans Lal Ji. Anthropomorphic (1793) is the adjective of noun Anthropology(1553). “ANTHROPOMORPHIC”.meaning attributing human qualities or form to gods, animals, and things,(1827) formed in English from earlier anthropomorphism,, the anthropomorphous suffix – ic is an Anglicization of late Latin anthropomorphous having the human form (anthropos-human being +morphe-form)
    As per Gubani Teachings, it is REPEATEDLY mentioned ” ROOP NA REKH NA RANG KISH THER GUN TAI PRABH BHIN”. Also, Ultimate Reality is AGAM,- unapproachable and AGOCHAR – Inapprehensible, Akuleeinn- Quintessence form that pervades in all beings and everywhere (Omnipresent).
    He/She is outside birth & death and is always KIND, Compassionate, Virtuous, therefore, does not punish anyone. It is our own thoughts and actions of our own MANMUKH mind that result in punishments. If I start quoting Gurbani verses to prove my points it would take a lot of space here and long explanations. In the interest of brevity, I better stop here. If we try to interpret Gurbani on the basis of Scientific terms a lot of things become crystal clear.
    It does not matter whether the man is in the image of Eternal One or the Eternal One is in the image of Human beings.

    Ajit Singh Sahota,
    Brampton, Canada.

  4. Amarjit S. Chahal
    The views expressed by Dr. Harbans Lal are the well considered and studied views of a learned man. He has well understood the meaning and teachings of Gurbani as practised by the Gurus in their mortal frames. Human knowledge, so far attained, fully supports these views. It is in the interests of religious authorites and preachers to continue to follow and spread the established ideas about so called super powers. Religion has successfully used the well known theory of ‘Sticks and Carrots’ affording protection and rewards to its adherents and punishment to the non believers. Theories of hell, heaven, ‘Jam’ and ‘Devgan’ are the extension of and tools of the punishment and reward principle. Similarly theory of ‘Reincarnation’ was propounded alongwith ‘Paap, and ‘Punn” and consequent propagation of ‘Jaat, Paat’ in the society. The ‘Creative Principle’ whatever it is, crteated it and is merged with ‘Nature’ and eqully present in ‘Living’ and ‘Non Living’ creation. I thank and appreciate Dr. Harbans Lal who has shared his views and shed light on this mostly un-understood topic.

  5. Respected Dr. Harbans Lal Ji:
    Guru Fateh
    CERRITOS, CA 90703.

  6. An awesome article on the concept of God as propounded by many religion, along-with the Sikh perspective. It raises many questions on the existence of God and proposes answer in terms of Nanakian philosophy.

  7. Amazing insight Ek Ongkaar – Guru Nanak told me that life is an opportunity to seek and merge with the divine and her creations…what an explanation and understanding of divinity within us and the nature/ creations . Uss Guru ki Wah Wah… Wahe Guru.
    Very well Professor ji what an insight of pure spirituality.
    Thank you .

  8. Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

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