MONTREAL (TIP): An International conference was held in MontrealSept 20- 22, 2013to formulate methodology for interpreting hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib. The conference was dedicated to the Max Arthur Macauliffe Centennial. Scholars from Canada, USA and UK made presentations to highlight the inadequacies of the available translations of the Sikh scripture on Sept 20-22, 2013. They discussed the criteria that must be met when interpreting the scripture of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In his Keynote Address Dr. Devinder Singh Chahal quoted Max Arthur Macauliffe who first time pointed out the lack of understanding of the universal message of the Guru. Macauliffe was the first to serve as the gateway to promote Sikh teachings to the West. Dr. Avtar Singh Dhaliwal from North Carolina, USA stressed “Explicative Methodology for Interpreting Gurbani”. Dr. Kulbir S Thind, from California, USA titled his presentation as “Some Pitfalls of Translation of Aad Guru Granth Sahib into English”. Prof. Davinder Singh Chahal, from Laval, Quebec, Canada discussed “Application of Science and Logic in Interpreting Gurbani”.
Max Arthur Macauliffe, born in Ireland is best known as English translator of the Sikh scriptures and historian of early Sikhism. The International Conference on interpreting Gurbani held in September, 2013 in Montreal was dedicated to the Max Arthur Macauliffe Centennial.
Dr. Harbans Lal, from Texas, USA stressed that translations must always be consistent with Gurmat doctrines. Using many illustrations he stressed that the Guru’s hymns use metaphors to make their meanings relevant to all cultures and all times. Dr. Lal dedicated his paper to the Macauliffe Centennial. Devinder Singh Sekhon, from Brampton, Canada illustrated examples of incorrect splitting of Larivar (continuous text) caused errors in the interpretation of Gurbani. There were other presentations such as “Exploration of Gender Equality in Sikhism” by Lovpreet Kaur from Wolverhampton University, UK; “Amrit Bani as a Trajectory of a Distinct Identity” by Charan Singh of Ashwa, Canada. Prof. P.S. Bhandari, Montreal, Canada presented a slide show depicting of photos the Guru Granth celebrations in Montreal. The conference was organized by the Institute for Understanding Sikhism (IUS) and supported by local Gurdwara. It started with informal discussion at a dinner on September 20 and ended with a roundtable discussion on September 22, 2013.
The conference unanimously passed two resolutions.
1. It was resolved that ‘Formulation of Methodology for Interpreting Gurbani’ by world class scholars is urgently needed. The resolution was moved by Dr. Kulbir Singh Thind, San Mateo, USA and seconded by Dr. Teja Singh, Brampton, Ontario, Canada and approved unanimously by the attendees with voice vote.
2. It was unanimously passed to bestow the honorific title of GYANI upon Max Arthur Macauliffe for his contributions to Sikhi (Sikhism) and introducing Sikhism to the English speaking people of the West. He will now be known as Gyani Max Arthur Macauliffe. The resolution was moved by Dr. Harpal Singh Buttar of Ottawa, Canada and seconded by Dr Teja Singh of Brampton, Ontario, Canada and was passed unanimously.