Idol worship and Sikhism

Guru Nanak

ਪੜਿ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਸੰਧਿਆ ਬਾਦੰ ॥
ਸਿਲ ਪੂਜਸਿ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧੰ ॥
ਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਭੂਖਣ ਸਾਰੰ ॥
ਤ੍ਰੈਪਾਲ ਤਿਹਾਲ ਬਿਚਾਰੰ ॥
ਗਲਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਲਿਲਾਟੰ ॥
ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਪਾਟੰ ॥
ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥
ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
ਵਿਣੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਵਾਟ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
You read your books and say your prayers, and then engage in debate;
you worship stones and sit like a stork, pretending to be in Samadhi.
With your mouth you utter falsehood, and you adorn yourself with precious decorations;
you recite the three lines of the Gayatri three times a day.
Around your neck is a rosary, and on your forehead is a sacred mark;
upon your head is a turban, and you wear two loin cloths.
If you knew the nature of God,
you would know that all of these beliefs and rituals are in vain.
Says Nanak, meditate with deep faith;
without the True Guru, no one finds the Way.

As we can see, Nanak-panthis, who are known as Guru-Sikhs or disciples of the Gurus [Nanak and his successors] have no belief in idols and idol-temples. (Source: Wikipedia)

On the other hand:

It is the easiest way to instill faith and devotion in people.

As an abstract concept, God may be appealing to the intellectual minds. However, ordinary people who are busy with their own lives and who are not well versed in the scriptural knowledge or religious scholarship, may find it difficult to grasp the deeper knowledge of the Self or the abstract notions of an invisible, formless God. For them, idols and concrete images are extremely useful and convenient to express their simple devotion and connect to the idea of God at the mental and emotional levels and on the most personal terms. An image can directly appeal to a devotee and instantly draw him into a reverential and devotional state. In his mind it comes to life according to his imagination and expectations. It becomes a living presence in his consciousness, representing all that he holds in great esteem about him in his thoughts as the compassionate giver of boons and blessings, who responds to his woes and supplications and helps him in difficulties. (source: hinduwebsite)

So should we as Sikhs find a middle ground between these two arguments?

Should we create symbols to replace the imaginary painted images of Gurus created in the mind of the artist?

We all know ‘Ek Onkar’ as the symbol of Sikh religion. Why not create symbols for each Guru !

Here is an idea:

  • We can start by making list the qualities of all our 10 Gurus and their contributions to the Sikh religion.
  • Publish all the data on a website.
  • We can start a competition where artists as well as the public can help us create these symbols and win prizes.
  • The project comes with a fixed date for submitting the entries.
  • We let the public vote on the best symbols.
  • We give prizes and recognition to the artists preferably in a public ceremony.
  • The winning symbols will be provided to the public free of Copyrights.

Please can you help us with your input and better ideas to make this project a success.