Vismäd: The Third Alternative Is Not Only A Book But A Relevant Universal Message


By Dr. Sawraj Singh

Bhai Harsimran Singh asked me to write the foreword for his book Vismäd: The Third Alternative. However, my participation in the book does not end with writing the foreword. I want to be a part of the ongoing effort in propagating and projecting the ideas brought out in the book. We have to present the Sikh philosophy as a comprehensive philosophy of life as well as present it as a third alternative model of development to the Capitalist and the Marxist models of development. In the present context, it is also an alternative to the cultural imperialism of the West and the Shariat homogeneity of Islam which the radicals and fundamentalists are trying to impose. We also want to invite those people who want to propagate the philosophy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib as a source of universal human values. They should join the efforts to spread the universal message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib based upon universal concern, universal welfare, love, tolerance, pluralism, peaceful coexistence and of unity in diversity. These are the principles which can save mankind and the planet from a most destructive Third World War which can even become nuclear. These principles can also help today’s alienated and confused man, who is feeling fearful, anxious and insecure, to experience eternal bliss, Vismäd.

The Capitalist model of development has been the dominant model in the last two centuries. However, in the twenty-first century, it has practically evolved to the cultural imperialism of the West under the pretext of Globalisation. Marxism came into existence as an alternative to Capitalism. However, it mostly lost its original spirit and zeal and was mostly reduced to economism. Therefore, it ceased to be a viable alternative to Capitalism and was perceived as irrelevant and redundant by many. In the last decade of the twentieth century, for all practical purposes, Marxism ceased to be a real challenge to Capitalism. Unchallenged, Capitalism had the whole world opened for itself. Under the garb of Globalisation, Capitalism has evolved to Western domination and hegemony. Therefore in reality, Western Capitalism has become Western Cultural Imperialism, which is threatening the very existence of other cultures. The other cultures, concerned about their survival, started resisting the dominant Western culture.

Out of this resistance grew the movement for Islamic revival. However, it seems that this movement has been mostly hijacked by Islamic radicals and fundamentalists, who instead of resisting the Western homogeneity, are trying to impose their own Shariat homogeneity. This situation has created the need for a philosophy which upholds merits and virtues of heterogeneity, and which promotes pluralism and multiculturalism.

Uniformity or homogeneity will not lead to unity. It will only deepen the division between different cultures. Unity can be achieved by accepting diversity of heterogeneity. Sri Guru Granth Sahib advocates the concept of unity in diversity. Unity can only be achieved by tolerating and accepting diversity. It should be clear that uniformity and unity are not the same, but are completely different. Multiculturalism and multipolar world promote unity, while uniformity and unipolar world will lead to Clash of Civilizations.

Bhai Harsimran Singh says that by going in the lap of Nature, one experiences Vismäd, life security and joy in the form of blossomed life. On the same lines, Vismäd inspired Vismädi philosophy creates an inclusive life model by creating a Nature-oriented society and the Vismädi World State Order. The traditional eastern thinking always promoted the concept of living in harmony with Nature. This concept has also reached its climax in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We have to live in harmony with Nature. In Western Capitalism, instead of living in harmony with Nature, the concept of conquering Nature is prompted. However, man cannot conquer Nature. Therefore, any attempt to conquer Nature is bound to fail and only leads to frustration and dejection in the end. On the other hand, those people who will live in harmony with Nature will achieve peace, tranquillity and equipoise.

The present Globalisation lacks a true global perspective. It is only economic Globalisation and lacks an ethical aspect. This Globalisation has only served the interests of the elite, rather than the majority of the people. The majority of the people have been deprived of the benefits of the present Globalisation.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib can impart a true global perspective and an ethical aspect to the present Globalisation, which it is lacking. The benefits of such Globalisation will be shared by all the people of the world. Moreover, in this Globalisation, all the problems and challenges before the world and mankind can be addressed and solved by pooling of the intellectual resources and collective wisdom. This can be accomplished by the concept of true dialogue rather than endless debates. Bhai Harsimran Singh, by interpreting the common bonds between the Universe, Nature and Mankind in their entirety, has called upon the world collective wisdom to initiate such true dialogue for the sake of a bright and secure future of Mankind.

Bhai Harsimran Singh has tried to make the priceless philosophical treasure of Sri Guru Granth Sahib available to mankind at large by writing the book Vismäd: The Third Alternative. With the help of Vismädi philosophy, today’s man can experience a life without fear, anxiety and insecurity. He can experience the supreme bliss in life, the Vismäd. The Western consumerist capitalist philosophy makes him run after petty things in order to seek instant gratification, missing the most precious source of eternal bliss, which, as a human being, he is entitled to but cannot get, because of not being connected to his true self. Similarly, mankind can evolve an order based upon the principles of equality, justice, freedom and universal brotherhood based on universal concern and universal welfare, with the help of the Vismädi philosophy. In such a new World Order, there will be no exploitation, no discrimination and no oppression. People will consider themselves as a part of Nature. Therefore, there will be no environmental damage. People will be free of selfishness and greed. Therefore, there is no risk of wars. People will live in peace and harmony. They will prosper together in Vismädi environment.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].

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