Articles · International Media Reports · Latest News · The Sikh Bulletin

The God of Agendas

The God of Agendas

Karminder Singh Dhillon, Phd.

Agenda is the new god of religion in the world we live in. It’s a god whose existance requires the Creation of truths where none exist. It’s a god whose worship requires the Sustenance of rewriting history. It’s a god who seeks to Destruct all those who do not submit.

Every idea, action and event that counts as religious must fit into the Agenda.

The foundation stone laying event at Ayodhya on August 5th was no exception. The prime minister of a 1.2 billion secular nation prostrated to his Agenda god in clear and succinct language when he said in his public address:

“From Somnath to Kashi Vishwanath, from BodhGaya to Sarnath, from Amritsar to Patna Sahib, from Lakshadweep to Leh, the entire of India is Ram Maya.” In real terms what this head of state made clear was that the Agenda god of his religion comes complete with its trinity too: Conquest, Subjugation and Assimilation.

He continued: “There is Kamban Ramayana in Tamil; and Kumudendu Ramayana in Tamil, Oriya, and Kannada. If we go to Kashmir, there is Ramavatarcharit, Ramcharitam in Malayalam, Krittivasi Ramayana in Bengali, Guru Gobind Singh himself wrote Gobind Ramayana.”

One could be excused for wondering if these were the words of a head of state or a high priest. So great is the love and devotion towards the agenda that conjuring up historical facts pertaining to others and for others appears to have become the pooja of the poojari in chief.

Our Own Poojaris.

The Dalai Lama turned down the invite to be present. He is a man of wisdom. He surely had not forgotten what he had said at the height of the dispute: that the clashes over Ayodhya “caused me deep personal anguish.” He said that he considered the row as “an aberration” and he believed that “the issue could be resolved through mutual trust, mutual faith and mutual respect. If he attended, he would not only be standing over the rubble of a destroyed Masjid, but on the ashes of his own convictions.

The Christian, Muslim and Jaini leaders were nowhere to be found. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic could have acted as a polite excuse to stay away from an event that celebrated the destruction of one place of worship to build another. The 22-kilogram silver foundation brick notwithstanding.

But the logic-defying, position grabbing, and sacked polygamist former jathedar of Takhat Patna, Iqbal Singh found it fit to make his presence felt – and heard. He had acted as a high priest of his own Agenda god for a good 35 years. He has pursued his agenda of proving that Sikhs are Hindus, that Sikh Gurus worshipped Hindu gods and goddesses, that Sikhism was a mere offshoot of Hinduism, the sahibzadey were reincarnations of Hindu gods, and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was no more than an exegesis of ancient Hindu scriptures.

For 35 years as jathedar of Patna, he had taken pains to ensure the Takhat was indistinguishable from a mandir. He installed the Bachittar Natak in the sanctum sanctorum of the Takhat. He ensured a goat was slaughtered publicly, cooked and consumed daily by the poojaris under his control. And its blood applied as a tilak to the cache of weapons kept at the Takhat. He conducted arti pooja on a daily basis. And he issued nonsense filled statements on a regular basis.

What we had in Iqbal Singh was a rogue agenda dressed in the finery of a conviction; supported by the venality of the ruling class; and allowed to persist by the corrupt and decadent Sikh leadership at the SGPC and Akal Takhat. His agenda was paid for by the millions of gullible and credulous Sikhs all over the world who visited the personal shrine that this man had made the Takhat to be. These millions handed him the legitimacy for his agenda on a silver platter in the form of huge regular attendances and ever larger collections.

So why would Iqbal Singh want to give Ayodhya a miss. It was his best opportunity to further his agenda. And that he did without missing a heartbeat.

While the mandirs of Ayodhya were undertaking the akhand paths of the Ramayan; Ayodhya’s Gurdwara Brahamkund Sahib – at the behest of Iqbal Singh – decided to undertake the ritual of an akhand path of the Guru Granth Sahib to express gratitude for the construction of the temple. Iqbal Singh showed up to perform the ardas during the bhog of akhand path before proceeding to the mandir site.

At Ayodhya he declared that Sikh Gurus were descendants of Luv and Kush – the sons of Ram and Sita. In one sweeping concocted lie, he had ingratiated himself to his masters. In one move, he had plugged his ਕੂੜ Koor agenda into the larger umbrella one. Much like emptying his trash can into the bigger dumpster.

The stench of Iqbal Singh’s own trash blinded him to the shenanigans of inviting a Sikh leader to be present at the Ayodhya event. The event was a blatant attempt to sour Sikh – Muslim relations, a chance to show that Sikhs were part of the Hindu fold, and a sham attempt to show that the mandir construction had widespread acceptance amongst other faiths in India. But all of these were of no concern to Iqbal. It was of no concern to him that Sikhs themselves had suffered the humiliation of the destruction of their places of worship – the Darbar Sahib and Akal Takhat in 1984; and that Sikhs could never support the act of constructing places of worship by destroying those of other faiths.

It was of no concern to him that the court decision on Ayodhya had made a mockery of Sikhs, their Gurus and their religions. Pages 63,64 and 65 of the Addenda to the judgement recorded as “facts” deduced from testimony of “experts” that (i) Guru Nanak sought “darshan” of Ram Chander’s birth place at Ayodhya. (2) Guru Nanak got an “appearance of God” which prepared him to go see Ram Chander’s birth place and 3) Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh ji also sought “darshan” of Ram Chander at his “birth place” at Ayodhya.

One Hindu commentator put it succinctly: “it was almost as if Gurus Nanak, Teg Bahadur and Gobind Singh had come back from the beyond to give testimony on behalf of Ram Chander to the 5 judges hearing the Ayodhya case.”

Some Sikhs may have taken solace in the fact that at least the Akal Takhat and SGPC leaders of the Sikhs chose not to attend. But the solace is as hollow as the three claims made in the judgement. True, the acting jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh chose not to attend. But he has shown moral timidity in not stating publicly his reason for staying away. A truth that goes un-uttered in a timely basis is a worthless truth – akin to the barking of a guard dog after the thieves have left with the loot.

The Hindustan Times, on 4th August carried this report about Harpreet Singh. When asked if he would be attending the event on August 5, the jathedar said, “I have not read the invitation.” When told that the contents of the invitation had been published in the newspapers, he said, “I have not read the newspapers.” At the time of this writing, the jathedar has yet to say anything regarding Iqbal Singh’s attendance and actions.

Sikhs need to understand that truths are never invented to serve agendas, but that truths liberate us from them. Sikhs will never be able to move forward while stuck in backward agendas of the Iqbal Singh type. So what is the truth?

The Truth is Common sense.

That Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are Hindu just because they are descendants of the Indus is indeed the hogwash argument that is presented by the by BJP, Shiv Sena and RSS.

The same defective argument is applied by some skewed Jews who claim Christians and Muslims are breakaway or deviant Jews because they descended from the same civilization. Civilization and spirituality are not to be confused. Every prophet was born into an existing religion. Christ into a Jewish family. Buddha and Guru Nanak into Hindu families, Mohamed into an animist one. But they exited their inherited belief systems and started new and independent paths.

Just like every child is born of a mother. But the child is distinct and possesses a separate identity from the mother from the moment of birth. Only a puerile person would argue that we need to go to the mother to take her vital signs whenever the child needs treatment.

Sikhs are not Hindus. And our Gurus did not descend from mythological figures. Those who continue to propogate such humbug are the poojaris of the god of their Agendas.

Shabad Vichar

Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ

Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ

Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD.

This shabd of Guru Arjun is found on page 1429 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). Most Sikhs are familiar with it. Guru Arjun ji gave it a unique title which makes it the starting point of this essay. The full shabd is as follows.

ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ Mundavni Mehla 5

ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥

Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo Sat Santokh Vicharo.

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥

Amrit Nam Thakur Ka Payeo Jis Ka Sabhs Adharo.

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥

Jay Ko Khavey Jay Ko Bhunchey Tis Ka Hoey Udharo.

ਏਹ ਵਸਤੁ ਤਜੀ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਰਖੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੋ ॥

Eh Vast Tji Neh Jayi Nit Nit Rakh Ur Dharo.

ਤਮ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਚਰਨ ਲਗਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੋ ॥ ੧ ॥

Tam Sansar Charan Lag Tariay Sabh Nanak Bhrm Psaro. SGGS 1429

UNDERSTANDING THE WORD ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ MUNDAVNNI.

An examination of the teekas, translations and discourse by clergy – parcharaks, granthis, ragis and katha vachaks indicates that two meanings of the word Mundavni are in use.

The first is a “riddle.” Proponents of the “riddle theory” – primarily taksalis and derawadis – say that Guru Arjun – the author of this shabd – created a riddle in the first verse by saying Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo (there are three items in the plate) but mentioned only two (Sat and Santokh) in the second part of the first verse Sat Santokh Vicharo. So the riddle is for the Sikh to find the third item. The “riddle theorists” then say that the answer is found in the second verse Amrit Nam Thakur Ka. The third item is Amrit Nam; the “ambrosial name of the Lord.”

There are a three problems with translating Mundavni as riddle. The first is that there isn’t a dictionary that says ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ Mundavni means a riddle.

The second problem relates to the necessity of a riddle. Why is the Guru providing a riddle for Sikhs to solve? And then providing the answer himself in the next verse? Gurbani is about providing answers and solutions, not riddles. Sikhs don’t go to Gurbani to solve riddles. We go there to get spiritual solutions.

The third problem is that there really is no riddle. The first part of the first verse says there are three items in the plate Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo and the second part of the same verse mentions three items (Sat, Santokh and Vichar) as Sat Santokh Vicharo. The second verse Amrit Nam Thakur Ka Payeo Jis Ka Sabhs Adharo is not providing the third or fourth item – it is clearly saying that Nam is the basis of all three in the first verse. (Sabhs Adharo).

The second meaning of the word Mundavni that is provided by some translators is “seal.” The view is that when Guru Arjun completed the Pothi Sahib, he affixed a seal of completion. The meaning of Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo therefore is that “There are three items in the Pothi Sahib: Sat, Santokh and Vichar. This second meaning is derived from an old practice in the royal palaces whereby the food prepared for the King is put into a plate (Thaal) for serving and a trusted aide would affix his seal to the plate to prevent impurities or poisons from being added by any persons.

This meaning poses the following problems. First, if Mundavni is indeed the seal of completion by Guru Arjun, then why is there more bani after the seal? There is a Salok Mehla 5: Tera Keeta Jato Nahi(n) Meinu Jog Kitoyi after the seal of completion. If the practice of royal households is used, it would mean that food is added to the King’s plate even after a trusted aide has affixed his seal – thus negating the seal altogether.

Second, we know that Gurbani is spiritual to the core. Making a statement as to the contents of Pothi Sahib can amount to a summary description, but it is not a spiritual message. The Guru (or anyone else) telling us that the SGGS contains three items does not add to our spirituality. Spirituality can only be enhanced by understanding, believing, accepting, internalizing, habitualizing and becoming the messages that are directed at the disciple of Gurbani. It would be spiritual if the Guru told us that “the following three things need to be inculcated within the plate of your mind and conscience.” It would be spiritual if the Guru told us that “adopting divine virtues was a necessary pre-requisite to such inculcation.”

The truth of the matter is that this shabd is all about spirituality. It contains spiritual messages that are directed at the reader. It is not a description of the contents of the SGGS. It is one additional message within the SGGS – just like all the other messages – the purpose of which is to help us elevate our spiritual awareness and enlightenment.

APPLYING THE GURBANI FRAMEWORK.

The Gurbani Framework says that Gurbani defines Gurbani. So the meanings of concepts used within Gurbani must be located from within Gurbani.

Guru Amardas has composed a salok on page 645 that mirrors the Mundavni shabd of Guru Arjun – almost verse for verse and concept for concept. The third Guru’s salok is as follows:

ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮ: ੩॥ ਥਾਲੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਤੈ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਹਰਿ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਮਨੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਭੋਜਨ ਅਲਭੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਲਭੈ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਕਿਉ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਕਢੀਐ ਸਦਾ ਰਖੀਐ ਉਰਿਧਾਰਿ ॥ ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਲਧੀ ਭਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਸੁ ਬੁਝਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥੧॥੮॥

Salok M: 3. Thalley Vich Teiy Vastu Payio Har Bhojan Amrit Sar. Jit Khadhey Mun Triptiey Payeay Mokh Duar. Eh Bhojan Alabh Hai Santo Labheiy Gur Vichar. Eh Mudavni Kion Vicho Kadheay Sda Rakheay Urdahar. Eh Mudavni Satguru Payi Gursikha Ladhi Bhaal. Nanak Jis Bhujaye So Bujhsi Har Paya Gurmukh Ghaal.

The similarities are clear. Guru Arjun says Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo and Guru Amardas writes Thalley Vich Teiy Vastu Payeo. Guru Arjun says Jay Ko Khavey Jay Ko Bhunchey and Guru Amardas Jit Khadhey Mun Triptiey.

We can make the following conclusions pertaining to both the Salok of Guru Amardas on page 645 and the Shabd of Guru Arjun on page 1429.

One, both compositions are similar. The subject matter is the same. It is evident that Guru Arjun was aware of Guru Amardas ji’s salok when he composed his own.

Two – given that the subject matter of both compositions are the same – both Gurus mean the same thing when they use the word ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ Mundavnni and ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ Mudavnni even if they are spelt differently. Guru Arjun used the vowel (tippi) while Guru Amardas wrote it without the tippi. If both Gurus intended to use the words differently and with different meanings – the subject matter of their compositions could not remain the same.

Three, we can now deduce that Mundavnias used within Gurbani – does NOT mean riddle. And it does not mean seal either. If it meant “seal” then we will have to accept that Guru Amardas ji had put the seal midway in the Pothi Sahib. A seal on page 645 of the SGGS does not and would not make sense. If, on the other hand, Mundavni meant a “riddle” then, beyond the fact that the shabd has no riddle to begin with in both the compositions – Guru Arjun would be repeating a riddle that was already posed and replied to by Guru Amardas. What use is a riddle when it is narrated a second time within the same text? A spiritual message is worthy of repeating on any number of occasions, but the same cannot be said of a riddle. Once a riddle is narrated and solved (on page 645) it loses its ability to be a riddle again on page 1429 of the same text.

Four, for all the reasons above, even if the dictionary meanings of the words ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ Mundavnni and ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ Mudavnni may mean seal and riddle in any of the multiple languages that are used in the SGGS; neither of these two meanings are applicable when ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ Mundavnni and ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ Mudavnni are used in Gurbani.

SO WHAT DOES MUNDAVNI MEAN?

Guru Amardas says of Mudavnni – ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਕਿਉ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਕਢੀਐ ਸਦਾ ਰਖੀਐ ਉਰਿਧਾਰਿ ॥ Eh Mudavnni Kion Vicho Kadheay Sda Rakheay Urdahar. Guru Arjun says: ਏਹ ਵਸਤੁ ਤਜੀ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਰਖੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੋ ॥ Eh Vast Tji Neh Jayi Nit Nit Rakh Ur Dharo. The use of the words Kion Vicho Kadheay (Guru Amardas) and Tji Neh Jayi (Guru Arjun) – point to the fact that Mundavnni and Mudavnni both refer to something that is permanent and never goes away once it is obtained. The words Sda Rakheay Urdahar (Guru Amardas) and Nit Nit Rakh Ur Dharo (Guru Arjun) point to the fact that Mundavni and Mudavnni is obtained permanently (Sda and Nit Nit) within the Mind and Conscience (Ur dhar).

Once we look at the rest of the verses of Guru Amardas ji, we get more pointers. Mudavnni is provided by the Creator-Connecting Guru (Eh Mudavnni Satguru Payi) and it is spiritually satiating (Mun Triptiey).

The clearest definition of Mudavnni is in the final verse Har Paya Gurmukh Ghal. Har Paya means the Realization of the Omnipresent Creator Within.

The meaning of Mundavnni and Mudavnni – as derived from within the subject matter of the two shabds that use it in the SGGS – is thus clear. Mundavnni means The Spirituality of Realization Within.

We can now begin to try to understand the meanings of the individual verses of Guru Arjun’s shabd.

UNDERSTANDING THE SHABAD.

ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ Mundavnni Mehla 5

The Spirituality of Realization. Mehla 5.

ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥

Thaal Vich Tin Vastu Payeo Sat Santokh Vicharo.

Thaal – Lit. Plate. Metap. Container. Sp. Mind. Vich – Lit. In. Sp. Within, internalize. Tin Vastu – Three things, items. Payeo – Lit. Put, placed. Sp. Realized. Sat – From Sanskrit Satya, In Perpetual existance; Creator. Santokh – Temporal contentment. Vicharo – Lit. Discourse. Sp. Divine enlightenment.

The Mind That Has Internalized Three Realizations; The Creator, Temporal Contentment and Divine Enlightenment;

Note: The intimate relationship between all three realizations is the main stay and foundational basis of Sikhi, Gurbani and Gurmat. Realization of the Creator (Sat) cannot happen without first being content with the temporal world (Santokh). So long as one is content with the temporal world, temporal desires, greed for temporal wants, attachment etc can never be replaced by virtues such as gratitude and appreciation. And the way to bring about Santokh is Divine Enlightenment – which is another word for Gurbani and the messages within it.

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥

Amrit Nam Thakur Ka Payeo Jis Ka Sabhs Adharo.

Amrit – Lit. From A + Mrit, Beyond mortality. Sp. Spiritual Life. Nam – Virtues. Thakur – Lord. Ka – Of. Nam Thakur Ka – Divine Virtues. Payeo – Lit. Put, placed. Sp. Realized. Jis Ka – Of which, that. Sabhs – All. Adharo – Basis.

Is One Which Obtains Spiritual Life Through the Realization of Divine Virtues That Are the Basis of All of Spirituality.

Note: This second verse is a continuation of the first. Their translations must thus be read together as one complete idea. The Mind That Has Internalized Three Realizations; The Creator, Temporal Contentment and Divine Enlightenment; Is One Which Obtains Spiritual Life Through the Realization of Divine Virtues That Are the Basis of All of Spirituality.

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥

Jay Ko Khavey Jay Ko Bhunchey Tis Ka Hoey Udharo.

Jay Ko – One who, one which. Khavey – Lit. Consumes. Sp. Adopts. Bhunchey – Lit. Digests. Sp. Internalizes. Tis Ka – The one who, the one which. Hoey Udharo – Lit. Get saved. Sp. Attain the spiritual goal.

The Mind Which Adopts and Internalizes Divine Virtues Is the One That Attains its Spiritual Goal.

ਏਹ ਵਸਤੁ ਤਜੀ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਰਖੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੋ ॥

Eh Vast Tji Neh Jayi Nit Nit Rakh Ur Dharo.

Eh Vast – This thing, this Mundavni, this spirituality of realization. Tji – Discard, let go. Neh – Negate. JayiNit Nit – Lit. Daily. Metap. Permanently, eternally. Rakh – Lit. Keep, remain, retain. Ur – From Hirda – Mind and conscience, within. Dharo – Lit. Placed. Sp. Inculcated.

This Mundavni (Spirituality of Realization) Requires that Divine Virtues Be Never Discarded and Kept Permanently Inculcated Within.

ਤਮ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਚਰਨ ਲਗਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੋ ॥ ੧ ॥

Tam Sansar Charan Lag Tariay Sabh Nanak Bhrm Psaro.

Tam – Lit. Dark. Sansar – World. Tam Sansar – Lit. Dark World. Sp. Vices-filled world. Charan Lag – Lit. Fall at the feet. Metap. Surrender, submit. Tariay – Lit. Swim. Metap. Sp. Traverse life. Sabh – All, entire, completely. Bhrm – Creator. Psaro – Lit. Extended. Bhrm Psaro – Lit. Creator extended into everything. Sp. Omnipresent.

Life Within a Vices-Filled World Is Traversed by Submitting Completely to The Omnipresent Creator, Nanak.

CONCLUSIONS.

  1. ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ Mundavnni and ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ Mudavnni are used in Gurbani with a distinct and unique meaning to explain a spiritual concept of Sikhi and Gurmat; namely the Spirituality of Realization.
  2. The Spirituality of Realization (Mundavnni) is a state within the mind.
  3. The state of Mundavnni comes to exist when the Mind Internalizes Three Realizations; The Creator, Temporal Contentment and Divine Enlightenment. (Verse one)
  4. The basis of Mundavnni is the permanent adoption and internalization of Divine Virtues. (Verses two, three and four).
  5. The state of Mundavnni is kept alive by complete submission to the omnipresent Creator.
  6. Translating this wonderful spiritual concept of Mundavnni as “a riddle’ or “a seal of completion” would mean we would lose the magnificently spiritual messages that are contained within the shabd. Riddles and seals are never about spiritual growth and elevation. Realization of the Creator, Contentment and Divine Enlightenment is the essence of Gurbani based spirituality.
  7. May every seeker of Gurbani be blessed with the state of Mundavnni.

End.

Articles

Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ

Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey

Karminder Singh Dhillon PhD.

This salok of Guru Ramdas ji appears on page 305 of the SGGS. It is often presented by our clergy – ragis, granthis, parcharaks and kathakars – as well as writers and intellectuals as a definition of a Sikh. They further present it as containing the practices a Sikh must do to be able to call oneself as a Sikh.

The full salok is as follows.

ਮਃ ੪ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥

Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey So Bhalkay Uth Har Nam Dhiavey.

ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥

Udm Krey Bhalkay Parbhati Esnan Krey Amrit Sar Naveiy.

ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥

Updesh Guru Har Har Jup Japey Sabh Kilvikh Pap Dokh Leh Javey.

ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥

Fir Charrey Divas Gurbani Gavey Behdian Uthdian Har Nam Dhiavey.

ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥

Jo Sas Giras Dhiaey Mera Har Har So Gursikh Guru Man Bhaveiy.

ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥

Jis No Dyal Hovey Mayra Suami Tis Gursikh Guru Updes Sunnaveiy.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥ ੨ ॥

Jun Nanak Dhurr Mangey Tis Gursikh Ki Jo Aap Jpeiy Avreh Nam Jpaveiy.

The Salok is generally translated as follows:

One who calls one’s self a Sikh of the Satguru shall rise early in the morning and meditate on God. He should make an effort every morning to bathe in Amritsar. The instructions of the Guru are to chant Har Har so that all his sins are removed. Then, upon rising of the day he should sing Gurbani and meditate on God sitting and standing. The Sikh who meditates on God at every breath and every bite of food, that Gursikh is desirable to the Guru’s mind. One upon whom my master is compassionate – to that Gursikh the Guru delivers his teachings. Nanak asks for the dust of the Gursikh who chants and gets others to chant the Nam.

This is clearly a literal translation and is problematic on at least the following six grounds.

First, if “bathing at Amritsar” as the translation of Esnan Krey Amrit Sar Naveiy is going to be accepted as one of the requirements of being a Sikh, then a huge majority of Sikhs would fail just on this one criteria alone. We also know that Gurus Har Rai, Har Krishen, Teg Bahadur and Gobind Singh never entered Amritsar. So how would these 4 Gurus rate on this criterion then? Will we deny them the right to “call themselves” Sikhs too?

The question would arise as to what was special about the water “at Amritsar.” So much so that Guru Ramdas ji would make it a requirement within Gurbani that to qualify as a Sikh, one had to bathe in Amritsar? Amritsar is after all a place, a location, a city. Gurmat advocates that spirituality is not location dependent; as indicated by the following verse from the SGGS

ਸਭਨੀ ਘਟੀ ਸਹੁ ਵਸੈ ਸਹ ਬਿਨੁ ਘਟੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥

Sabhni Ghatee Sho Vseiy Sehe Ben Ghat Na Koey. SGGS 1412.

There is not a location within which the Creator does not exist.

The notion that certain locations are holy and others evil is a bippar concept. The brahmins for instance, propagated a belief that death in Kashi (Benares) took one to heaven and one who died at Maghar would become a donkey in his next life. This is what Kabir had to say on page 326 of the SGGS.

ਕਾਸੀ ਮਗਹਰ ਸਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਓਛੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਕੈਸੇ ਉਤਰਸਿ ਪਾਰੀ ॥

Kashi Maghar Sum Bichari. Ochi Bhagt Kaisay Utras Paree.

Meaning: Kashi and Maghar are of Equal Stature. How could Pretentious Spirituality become Fruitful (simply based on location).

He then goes on say that he was moving to Maghar on his last days of life.

 

ਮਰਤੀ ਬਾਰ ਮਗਹਰਿ ਉਠਿ ਆਇਆ ॥ Marti Baar Maghar Uth Aiya. SGGS 326

If one takes the meaning of “bathing at Amritsar” to mean “bathing at the sarovar (pool) at Darbar Sahib” – we still have all the problems mentioned above; plus, three additional ones. (i) A large portion of the Sikhs within Amritsar itself would become non Sikhs given that even the Sikh residents of the city do not “bathe and cleanse” themselves at the sarovar. (ii) The sarovar was not constructed during the times of Guru Ramdas ji – the author of this salok. Aren’t we then implying that the Guru is creating a condition pertaining to a pool that did not even exist when he wrote the salok? (iii) Additionally, if Amritsar means the pool of Darbar Sahib, then it would mean that amongst the Gurus, only two (Arjun and Hargobind ji) would meet this criterion for being a Sikh!

In any event, this notion of “bathing at particular pools” is also a bippar concept that is negated within Gurbani. Guru Nanak says on page 473 of the SGGS.

ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ ॥

Athsath Teerath Jay Naveh Utrey Nahi Meil.

Meaning: Bathing at All 68 Places of Pilgrimage Will Not Rid One of One’s (Inner) Impurities (Vices).

If one is of the view that Guru Ramdas ji is setting the ground for the 69th place of pilgrimage as an acceptable teerath for Sikhs in his salok above, then the following verse of Guru Arjun – the architect of the sarovar will help provide perspective.

 

ਕੋਟਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਮਜਨ ਇਸਨਾਨਾ ਇਸੁ ਕਲਿ ਮਹਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ॥

ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥ ੨ ॥

Koat Teerath Majan Esnana Es Kal Meh Meil Bhreejay.

Sadhsang Jo Har Gunn Gaveiy So Nirmal Kar Leejay.

Meaning: The Inner Impurities (Vices) Remain even after Bathing at Millions of Teeraths. Inner Cleansing Comes Upon Internalizing Divine Virtues Obtained from My Guru.

The sarovar of Darbar Sahib may be excluded from the 68, but it will have to be included in the “millions of teeraths” that Guru Arjun is discoursing about.

Second, if the translation of Esnan Krey Amrit Sar Naveiy is to be done literally, then the translation would have to have the word “bathe” twice in the sentence. The literal meaning of Esnan is bathe. The literal meaning of Naveiy is also to bathe. It makes little sense for the Guru to be using the word “bathe” twice – once before and once immediately after the word Amritsar? The truth can only be that the Guru is not referring to “bathing” at all. Hence neither Esnan nor Naveiy refers to bathing.

Third, the literal translation provides us with a sequencing problem. The first sentence (literally translated) says “Rise early in the morning and meditate on God.” The second tells us to “bathe in Amritsar.” If the literal translation was correct, then the “bathing at Amritsar” should be instructed before the meditation.

Fourth, the fourth sentence of the literal translation instructs the Sikh to “sing Gurbani upon rising of the day.” What then would one say of the Gurbani that Sikhs sing before the rising of the day or in the night? One could also ask – what has the rising or setting of day got to do with singing Gurbani?

Fifth, the translation of Jo Sas Giras Dhiaey Mera Har Har So Gursikh Guru Man Bhaveiy (verse five) as The Sikh who meditates on God at every breath and every bite of food is desirable to the Guru’s mind raises two questions. (i) What is the importance of “every bite of food” and (ii) what exactly is meant by the “Guru’s mind” given that the Guru is Shabd.

Finally, the sixth sentence of the literal translation One upon whom my Master is compassionate – to that Gursikh the Guru delivers his teachings is problematic from a logical stand point. Such a translation puts a condition on the Guru, which is that the Guru will only deliver his teachings to me if and when God is compassionate on me. This puts the cart before the horse. Because the reason and objective of me wanting to obtain the Guru’s messages is to be able to Realize the Compassionate Creator. And if the Guru is going to wait for the Master to be compassionate on me first, then this suggests that the Master is selectively compassionate and the Guru is also selective in who he delivers his teachings to. Gurbani tells us that the Creator is compassionate to the entirety of His Creation and that the Guru does not discriminate when sharing his spiritual messages.

REJECTING THE LITERAL TO GET TO THE SPIRITUAL.

It is clear therefore that the literal translations that are used by our clergy and translators are not only wrong and illogical, but advocate principles that are contrary to Gurbani and Gurmat.

It follows therefore that if the literal meanings of concepts such as Isnan, Amritsar, Navey, and Chrrey Divas are to be rejected, then the literal meanings of the other concepts (ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ Bhalkey Uth, ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ Bhalkey Parbhati, ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ, Charrey Divas ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ Behdian Uthdian, ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ Saas Giras and ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ Dhoorr Mangey) need to be rejected too.

There is a need to strive to get to the spiritual messages that Guru Ramdas ji is providing for us in this salok. The way to derive that is to find the context of the salok.

DERIVING THE CONTEXT OF THE SALOK.

The salok is contained within Gauree Ki Vaar Mehla 4 that runs from page 300 to 318. The Vaar consists of 33 paurris with two to four saloks added to each paurri. The salok under discussion – Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey – is the second of two saloks of paurri number 11. Given that the context of saloks attached to a paurri comes from the paurri itself – there is therefore a need to understand the messages within the 11th paurri. The final verse of a paurri acts as the concluding verse and is thus the equivalent of the Rahao verse.

This is the verse that provides the context for both saloks that accompany paurri number 11. This final verse is[1]:

ਓਇ ਹਾਜਰੁ ਮਿਠਾ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਵਿਸੁ ਕਢਹਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਘੋਲੇ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਦਯਿ ਵਿਛੋੜੇ ॥ ੧੧ ॥

Oey Hazr Mitha Boldey Bahar Vis Kadhey Mukh Gholey. Mun Khotey Deiyi Vichorray.

The message is about the stark and unambiguous contrast of what is spiritually explicit and what is implicit; of the spirituality that is put on display for the world (Hazr) and the one that exists within when one is out of public scrutiny (Bahar). The message is about the contrast between the spirituality for show as being sweetly pious (Mitha Boldey) and the one within as being the spewing of poison (Vis Khadey) for one’s mind and conscience (Mukh Gholey). The message is about spirituality that leads to a spiritually bankrupt mind and conscience (Mun Khotey). The message is also about the outcome of such bankruptcy – the eventual non-Realization of the Creator (Deiyi Vichorray).

This then is the deep and rich context within which both saloks that are accompanying paurri 11 must be interpreted. This context is critical and must be taken into consideration for every verse of the salok. The focus of this essay in on the second salok[2]Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey – A Sikh of the Guru’s Messages or A Disciple of the Shabd’s Messages.

 

ਮਃ ੪ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥

Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhayey So Bhalkay Uth Har Nam Dhiavey.

Gur – The messages of the Guru; messages of the shabd. SatgurSat + Gur. Sat is derived from the Sanskrit word Satya meaning ‘in perpetual existance,’ Creator; Gur refers to the messages of the Guru. Satgur therefore means the Creator-connecting shabd Guru. Ka – Of. Jo – One, a. Sikh (with aungkar) – Disciple, a Sikh. Akhayey – From ਆਖਾ ਮੰਨੇ, ਆਖਾ ਮੰਨਣ ਵਾਲਾ Aakha Maney, Aakha Manun Vala; follower of the command and message; abides. So – One’s. Bhalkay – ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਦਿਨ, ਵਰਤਮਾਨ ਦਿਨ ਤੋਂ ਅਗਲਾ ਰੋਜ Aun Vala Din, Vartman Din To(n) Agla Roj. (Mahan Kosh). Tomorrow, every day after tomorrow; permanently, enduringly. Uth – Lit. Get up. Metap. Awaken. Har (with sihari) – Of the Omnipresent Creator. Nam – Virtues. Har Nam – Divine Virtues. Dhiavey – Inculcate, internalize.

A Sikh of the Messages of the Shabd Abides by the Command Therein to Enduringly Awaken Towards the Inculcation of Divine Virtues.

Note: The context that is provided by the final verse of the paurri to which this salok is attached needs to be kept in mind. Guru Ramdas ji providing the stipulations for genuine spirituality that leads to realization of the Creator within. Genuine spirituality thus requires that the Sikh awaken permanently and enduringly towards abiding by the messages and command of the shabd which pertain to becoming divine virtues.

ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥

Udm Krey Bhalkay Parbhati Esnan Krey Amrit Sar Naveiy.

Udm – Effort. Krey – Do, perform, undertake. Bhalkay – ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਦਿਨ, ਵਰਤਮਾਨ ਦਿਨ ਤੋਂ ਅਗਲਾ ਰੋਜ Aun Vala Din, Vartman Din To(n) Agla Roj. (Mahan Kosh). Tomorrow, every day after tomorrow; permanently, enduringly. Parbhati – Lit. Early part of the day; beginning of the day. Metap. Early part of life; Here and Now. Note: The usage is not for the Parbhat of the day, but Parbhat of Spiritual life. The Parbhat of Spiritual life is HERE and NOW. Esnan Krey – Lit. Bathe. Note: The Esnan of Gurbani is Cleansing of the mind. The impurities of the mind are vices. Cleansing of the mind is by replacing human vices with divine virtues (Nam). The following verses in Gurbani provide us with the meaning of Esnan. ਨਾਮਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸਬਦੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਈ ॥ Nam Esnan Krey Say Jun Nirmal Shabdey Meil Gvayi. SGGS 809. ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਮਜਨ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ Nam Hamarey Majan Esnan. SGGS 1145. ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਧੂੜਿ ਕਰਉ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ Gur Ki Dhoor Karo Esnan. SGGS 1270. ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥ ੧੩ ॥ ਨਾਮਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸਬਦੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਈ ॥ ੧੪ ॥ Eh Sareer Sarvar Hai Santho Esnan Krey Liv Layi. Nam Isnan Kreh Si Jun Nirmal Shabdey Mael Gvayi. SGGS 909. Note the words “Nam Esnan” in all these verses make clear its spiritual meaning: Cleansing of the mind through divine virtues. Amrit – Lit. Nectar; Sp. Gurbani; shabd. ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ Nanak Boley Amrit Bani. SGGS 877. Sar – From Sarovar. Lit. Artificial pool of water. Metap. Reservoir. Naveiy– From the word Nam, of Nam, of Divine Virtues.

A Sikh of the Messages of the Shabd Makes an Enduring Effort in the Here and Now to Cleanse the Mind of Human Vices Through Divine Virtues that are Contained Within the Reservoir of Gurbani.

 

Blue: Context from the previous verse and paurri.

ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥

Updesh Guru Har Har Jup Japey Sabh Kilvikh Pap Dokh Leh Javey.

Updesh – Advice, counsel; guidance. GuruShabd. Har Har – Omnipresent Creator. Jup Japey – Become realized. Sabh – All, entire. Kilvikh – Lit. Sorrow. Pap – Lit. Sin. Dokh – Lit. Pain. Kilvikh Pap Dokh – Sp. The anguish of human vices. Leh Javey – Remove, eliminate.

The Shabd Guides in Eliminating the Anguish of My Vices Towards Becoming Realized of the Omnipresent Creator.

ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥

Fir Charrey Divas Gurbani Gavey Behdian Uthdian Har Nam Dhiavey.

Fir – Then, at. Charrey Divas – Lit. Dawn. Sp. Dawn of Spiritual life. Gurbani Gavey – Lit. Singing of Gurbani. Sp. Internalize, become. Note: The spiritual meaning of Gavey is NOT Singing. Mere singing (and listening) is of little use if we don’t adopt, inculcate, internalize and become. Gurbani makes this point clear in ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥ ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਪਟੁ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਤਿਨਾ ਰੋਇ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਰੋਗ ਹਥੁ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਜਿਨਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਿਰਦਾ ਸੁਧੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥ ੪ ॥ Koee Gavey Ragi Nadee Bedi Bhau Bhaant Kar Nahi Har Har Bheejay Raam Rajey. Jinna Antar Kapet Vikaar Hai Tina Roey Kya Keejay. Har Karta Sabh Kich Jaanda Serr Rog Hath Deejay. Jinaa Nanak Gurmukh Hirda Shudh Hai Har Bhagat Har Leejey. SGGS 440. Meaning: Passionate Singing of Praises Alone is of Little Spiritual Worth if One’s Intent Within is Suspect; to the Extent that the Passion Itself Is a Cover Up Our Inflictions, Disease and Intent. These verses make it clear that the ultimate intent of singing and listening is to adopt, inculcate, internalize and become. Behdian Uthdian – Lit. Sitting and standing. Metap. At all times, permanently. Har Nam – Divine Virtues. Dhiavey – Inculcate.

Spiritual Life Then Dawns with The Internalization of Gurbani and The Inculcation of Divine Virtues Permanently.

Note: The context – Genuine spirituality that leads to realization of the Creator within – that is provided by the final verse of the paurri to which this salok is attached needs to be kept in mind. The Dawn of Spiritual Life is when the internalization of Gurbani happens. This is the hallmark of genuine spirituality of the shabd. In its absence, the Sikh is still engulfed by the darkness of pretentious spirituality.

ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥

Jo Sas Giras Dhiaey Mera Har Har So Gursikh Guru Man Bhaveiy.

Jo – One, who. Sas. Lit. Breath. Metap. Source or life. Giras –Lit. Sustenance. ਆਪੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਜੀਅਨੁ ਆਪੇ ਆਕਾਸੁ ॥ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਪੇ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਇਅਨੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੇ ਦੇਇ ਗਿਰਾਸੁ ॥ Apey Dharti Sajian Apey Akas. Vich Apey Junt Upayean Mukh Apey Dey Giras. SGGS 302. Meaning: He Created Life and its Sustenance. Sas Giras – Metap. The source and sustenance of life. Dhiaey – Inculcate. Mera – My. Har Har – Omnipresent Creator. So – That. Gursikh – Sikh of the Messages of Shabd. GuruShabd. Man (with sihari) – Within the mind; within. Bhaveiy– Lit. Pleasing, acceptable.

The Sikh who Considers the Inculcation of the Omnipresent Creator as the Source and Sustenance of Spiritual Life Accepts the Messages of the Shabd Guru Within the Mind.

ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥

Jis No Dyal Hovey Mayra Suami Tis Gursikh Guru Updes Sunnaveiy.

Jis No – One who. Dyal – Bless, grace. Hovey – Becomes. Mayra Suami – My Creator Master. Tis – That. Gursikh – Sikh of the shabd’s messages. Guru Updes – Advice, counsel; guidance of the shabd. Sunnaveiy – Lit. Brings one’s self to listen. Sp. Brings one’s self to abide, internalize.

The One Who is Graced by My Creator Master is the Sikh of the Shabd’s Messages; And Who Brings One’s Self to Internalize the Guidance of the Shabd.

Note: The impact of this verse is worth noting. Guru Ramdas ji is describing the meaning of being blessed or graced by the Creator. To be graced is to be a Sikh of the Shabd’s messages. And to be graced is to bring one’s self to internalize the guidance of the shabd.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥ ੨ ॥

Jun Nanak Dhurr Mangey Tis Gursikh Ki Jo Aap Jpeiy Avreh Nam Jpaveiy.

Jun – Devoted seeker of realization, devotion. Dhurr – Lit. Dust. Metap. Humility. Mangey – Seek. Tis Gursikh Ki –Of the Sikh of the Shabd’s messages. Jo – Who. Aap – Self. Jpeiy – Realizes. Avreh – And, in addition to. Nam – Divine Virtues. Jpaveiy – Causes realization, brings about realization.

Nanak, My Devotion is Humbled by The Sikh of the Shabd’s Messages Who Realizes the Self and Brings About Realization of the Creator Within the Self.

Blue – Context from final verse of paurri 11.

CONCLUSIONS.

  1. It is clear that this salok is not about defining a Sikh. It is not about certain things one has to do to be able to “call or declare one’s self a Sikh.” This is a wrong premise to begin with. Once we begin with this wrong premise – we begin to look for the one, two and three things that one needs to do and the order, timing and place for doing them – waking up at dawn, bathing at a certain location, meditating till sunrise, singing after sunrise, chanting and causing others to chant etc. Such lists of do’s and don’ts relegate the deeply spiritual messages of the salok into no more than a laundry list of activities or a check list. The seeking of such do’s and don’ts prevents us from going beyond the literal understanding of the salok – even though such an interpretation creates glaring inconsistencies (both logical and sequential) such as the six listed at the beginning of this essay. Limiting ourselves to the literal reduces the value and worth of the messages of Gurbani. Such superficial do’s and don’ts were already being done by people at the time and Gurbani is a critique and a stinging rebuke of such posturing. Gurbani is not about creating a new list of do’s and don’ts. It is about cajoling and coaxing the seeker to seek the real and substantive aspect of spirituality – the BECOMING of divine virtues.
  2. The word Sikh is used in the salok as a descriptive term for a disciple or a follower of the messages of the shabd; not as a proper name for a group of people belonging to the Sikh faith. A proper examination of the messages within each verse (as attempted above) by applying the context of the paurri brings this out.
  3. The context of the paurri (and by extension the two saloks attached to the paurri) is “genuine versus pretentious spirituality.” This second salok focusses on genuine spirituality. The content of the salok is as heavy as its language is intricate and richly metaphoric. There is a purpose for this. And that is to reflect the serious and substantive nature of genuine spirituality that leads to realization of the Creator within.
  4. Genuine spirituality is thus being laid out for the disciple as one that requires one to Permanently Awaken Towards the Inculcation of Divine Virtues (verse one), Cleanse the Mind of Human Vices in the Here and Now (verse two); Be guided by the Shabd in Becoming Realized of the Omnipresent Creator (verse three); Bring About the Dawn of Spiritual Life with The Internalization of Gurbani (verse four); Consider the Inculcation of the Omnipresent Creator as the Source and Sustenance of Spiritual Life (verse five); and Bring One’s Self to Internalize the Guidance of the Shabd.
  5. The stamp of genuine-ness on such a spiritual journey is placed by Guru Ramdas ji in the final verse. Nanak, My Devotion is Humbled by The Sikh of the Shabd’s Messages Who Realizes the Self and Brings About Realization of the Creator Within the Self. Such spirituality is genuine to the point that the Guru finds it necessary to say he is humbled by it.

End.

 

 

 

 

  1. The paurri in full is as follows. ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਇਦੇ ਸੇ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਥੋੜੇ ॥ ਜੋ ਮਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ਇਕੁ ਅਰਾਧਦੇ ਤਿਨ ਕੀ ਬਰਕਤਿ ਖਾਹਿ ਅਸੰਖ ਕਰੋੜੇ ॥ ਤੁਧੁਨੋ ਸਭ ਧਿਆਇਦੀ ਸੇ ਥਾਇ ਪਏ ਜੋ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਲੋੜੇ ॥ ਜੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵੇ ਖਾਦੇ ਪੈਨਦੇ ਸੇ ਮੁਏ ਮਰਿ ਜੰਮੇ ਕੋੜ੍ਹੇ ॥ ਓਇ ਹਾਜਰੁ ਮਿਠਾ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਵਿਸੁ ਕਢਹਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਘੋਲੇ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਦਯਿ ਵਿਛੋੜੇ ॥ ੧੧ ॥ SGGS 305.

  2. The first salok is as follows: ਸਲੋਕ ਮਃ ੪ ॥ ਅਗੋ ਦੇ ਸਤ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਦਿਚੈ ਪਿਛੋ ਦੇ ਆਖਿਆ ਕੰਮਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਅਧ ਵਿਚਿ ਫਿਰੈ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ਗਲੀ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੁ ਕੂੜੀ ਆਵੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੇ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਤਾਂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਦਰੀ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਤਾ ਅਪਿਉ ਪੀਵੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੇਰਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਾੜਾ ਅੰਦੇਸਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਚੁਕਾਵੈ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦਿ ਰਹੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ॥ ੧ ॥ SGGS 3015.

International Media Reports · The Sikh Bulletin

The Sikh Bulettin – Vol 2/2020 (April-June 2020)

Dear Readers of The Sikh Bulletin,

We are pleased to deliver the latest issue of THE SIKH BULLETIN – VOL 2/2020 (April – June 2020). The contributions within this Issue are as follows:

1. The EDITORIAL titled Taking Sikhi Back to 1468 provides a poignant observation pertaining to the consequences of defective translations of the SGGS. Joint Editor Karminder Singh Dhillon PhD argues that flawed translations help ensure that the unique re-interpretation of pre-1468 spiritual concepts into new meanings by our Gurus are all lost on us permanently. This in turn ensures that we take Sikhi back to 1468 both in our understanding and practice.

2. The Shabd Vichar for this Issue is Guru Arjun’s Shabd in Sri Bhairon ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਸਨਾ ਕਹਹੁ ॥ Har Har Har Har Rasna Kaho. Karminder Singh Dhillon PhD attempts to apply the Gurbani Framework to understand, explain, translate and interpret the richly divine messages of the Shabd for readers.

3. Gulbarg Singh Basi critically examines the traditional pronunciation and meaning of the root symbol of Sikh –ੴ; in his thought provoking article ੴ IKKO as Its Proper Pronunciation.

4. Moninder Singh explores the meaning of a popular Gurbani shabd in his Punjabi essay ਸੁਖੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਦਿਤਾ ਲਹੀਐ ॥

5. Economist and former policy advisor to the Canadian Government Amrik Singh Rakhra, PhD visualizes the nature and type of the economy that would be in keeping with Guru Nanak’s philosophy in his article Vision of Guru Nanak’s Economy.

6. Scientist and Professor Devinder Singh Chahal PhD provides a well-researched essay titled: SIKH AND SIKHI: Their Relationship with the Age of Enlightenment.

7. Harpreet Kaur writes a moving essay on the lessons in spirituality and humanity that can be learnt from the care and death of a pet – even if both are never within the domain of an animal – in her piece titled All in a Dog’s World: Creatures of a Lesser God.

Your PERSONAL COPY of VOL 2/2020 in PDF Format is attached. You may also access the LATEST issues and archived copies of The Sikh Bulletin at www.sikhbulletin.com. Other Sikhi related content may be accessed at www.sikhivicharforum.org

Kindly feel free to pass on the Issue and or the above links to your contacts. Thank you for your continued support of The Sikh Bulletin.
Warm Regards, The Editorial Team at THE SIKH BULLETIN.

Articles

Photos of Gurus – Aesthetic Experience or Distorting Sikhi?

Photos of Gurus – Aesthetic Experience or Distorting Sikhi?

Karminder Singh, PhD.

The following comment on social media provides a seemingly valid argument pertaining to portraits of our Gurus. My response follows.

An artist is able to express what philosophies cannot. An Artist has an aesthetic experience in which he/she surrenders to “it” with no other intention than the beauty of that experience in itself. Given, our Gurus were human beings and expressed likewise doesn’t mean they’re belittled or have become icons of murti pooja (idol worship), but rather part and parcel of our everyday lives. And just as photos of our loved ones are displayed in our homes so too are the portraits of our Gurus.

My Response.

The argument is defective when it comes to a philosophy (Gurmat) that strives to draw a line between the message and the messenger. In Sikhi, the philosophy is paramount; the philosopher reduces himself to nothing. The message is supreme, the messenger desires a status of non-entity. The value and belief is everything; the messenger reduces his position to nothing-ness. This notion is found all over the philosophy of Gurbani and within the messages of the Shabd.

ਹਉ ਆਪਹੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਮੈ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਹੁਕਮਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥ Haon Apho Bol Na Jannda Mein Kaheya Sabh Hukmao Jio. SGGS 763.

ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਹਉ ਨਹੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਆਹਿ ਨ ਮੋਰਾ ॥ Mein Nahi(n) Kach Hao(n) Nhi Kich Ahe Na Mora. SGGS 858.

ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ Sabh Gunn Teyrey Mein Nahi(n) Koey. SGGS 4

ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਆਹਿ ਨ ਮੋਰਾ ॥ Mei(n) Nahi(n) Kach Ahe Na Mora. SGGS 337

ਤੂੰ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਾ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ Tu Karta Karnna Mein Nahi(n) Ha Hao(n) Kree Na Hoyi. GGS 469

ਜਬ ਹਮ ਹੋਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੂ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਬ ਤੂਹੀ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ Jub Hum Hotey Tan Tu Nahi(n) Ab Tuh(n) Mein Nahi(n). SGGS 657

ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰਾ ॥ Mein Nahi(n) Prabh Sabh Kich Tera. SGGS 827

From the above sampling of verses, one gets the clear message that Gurmat is a philosophy that strives hard to obliterate the status, position and standing of the messenger. Mein Nahin –I am not, I am nothing, the messenger is of no significance.

None of the 35 writers of Gurbani left even the faintest of clues as to their full names, that of their parents, their spouses, their families, their place of birth etc. None of our Gurus indulged in having their portraits created. Surely amongst their followers, there would have existed many a good artist as there were poets, musicians and skilled persons in other arts to record details of their physical likeness. It is not that they could not. But that they were disallowed.

It is the tragedy of Sikhs that instead of linking with the messages, we have strived to link with the physical identity of the messengers – the identities they sought so hard to obliterate. They sought to obliterate their own personal human identities so that we could learn to do the same to ours and not indulge in the egoistic inflation of our own.

In our own desire for self-indulgence and self-grandiose, we have sought to transfer the same to our Gurus. In our own egoistical desire for portraits, pictures, paintings and drawings of our own selves, we have sought to create the same for our Gurus. To the extent that we have accepted artists’ impressions that are as fake as the one artist who created a self-portrait and passed it off as Guru Nanak’s. All of us Sikhs. including our premier institutions such as SGPC were fooled into giving this fake portrait a place in our homes, gurdwaras and psyche.

Guru Nanak as painted by artist Sobha Singh or a Self Potrait of Sobha Singh passed off as Guru Nanak?

The statement that “an artist is able to express what philosophies cannot” needs to be examined to expose the falsity of the premise. In the case of our Gurus, our artists have expressed what our philosophy did not want to express. The portraits of Guru Nanak are shown ordained with rosaries, offerings and ornamentations that have been critiqued in their messages. The portraits of Guru Nanak tell the lie of a non-existent companion Bhai Bala. The wide acceptability of these portraits help establish the lie of the Janm Sakhis under the name of Bhai Bala. The eventual outcome is a philosophy that exists within the message of the Gurus side by side a contradictory philosophy that the artists have created for us in their portraits.

The statement that “an artist has an aesthetic experience in which he/she surrenders to “it” with no other intention than the beauty of that experience in itself,” holds the biggest lie when it comes to Sikhi. What aesthetic experience can an artist have – if he has not read or understood the crux of the messages of the Guru that he paints? What kind of surrender can one talk about in the act of an artist painting the image of an individual who expressly forbade such in the first instant? The only intention that remains is either a monetary reward from the sale of such fakery or a purposive one to corrupt the philosophy of Gurmat.

Gurpurab: In the story of Guru Nanak and his companion Bhai Mardan ...

The mythical entity in the person of Bala was made into a “historical reality” – thanks to the “aesthetic” experience of the artist. The acceptance of the non-existant Bala led to the acceptance of another heretical and blasphemous text called Bhai Baley Wali Janm Sakhi.

To say that our Gurus have not been “belittled or become icons of murti pooja given that our Gurus were human beings,” is an expression of ignorance of what our Gurus said, preached and wrote out for us – as human beings. A study of Gurbani in relation to morti pooja will point out the fallacy of such a view.

The statement that “and just as photos of our loved ones are displayed in our homes so too are the portraits of our Gurus,” is defective because it is the case of comparing apples with bananas. We want our photos to be displayed, and we understand that our loved ones wanted them to be. We go to great lengths to create our own photos to leave behind, so that they can be displayed. Such is the essence of our fallible human-ness; one that is centred on our innate ego.

On the other hand, our Guru have told us amply – both through their messages and their own conduct – that they wanted no such thing. And if our Gurus did go to great lengths to do anything – it was to ensure their pictures, paintings, and sculptures were never made.

 

An artist is able to express what philosophies cannot? This is one case of an artist expressing what Sikh philosophy DID NOT want expressed. While Gurbani tells us that God is Within us, this artist has been able to imitate a portrait of another prophet depicting our Guru “praying to a God sitting high up in the heavens”!

Here is another case of an artist who has relied on a propaganda poster of Napoleon Bonaparte to express something Sikh philosophy never needs. Napoleon’s portrait is an attempt by a 5 feet tall general to give himself a false stature of height and power. The picture of him on a horse with its fore limbs up gives him just that. He had an artist paint the background showing dark clouds – to show he was leading France away from dark times. He had his finger pointed upwards to show he was leading France into the future.

Do we need such a “philosophy “to be associated with Guru Gobind Singh? Be we have, thanks to the “aesthetic experience” of a plagiarist artist.

Finally, if painted portraits of our Gurus are fine, then what do we say of stone, metal or wooden statues of them. Going one step further, what about human beings who claim to be embodiments of our Gurus?

 

 

PUNJABI ARTICLES

The Goal Of a Sikh – Piri or Miri ?

ਕੀ ਹੈ ਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਟੀਚਾ? ਪੀਰੀ ਜਾਂ ਮੀਰੀ

Sardar Moninder Singh

ਕੀ ਹੈ ਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਟੀਚਾ? ਪੀਰੀ ਜਾਂ ਮੀਰੀ

ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਕੁਝ ਸੱਜਣਾ ਅੰਦਰ, ਇਕ ਖਿੱਚ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਸੁਨੇਹੇ ਨੂੰ ਇੰਨ੍ਹ-ਬਿੰਨ੍ਹ ਸਮਝਣ ਦੀ, ਬਾਬੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਰਾਹ ਉਤੇ ਚਲਣ ਦੀ, ਆਪਣੇ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਵਾਲੇ ਵਿਰਸੇ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਂਭਣ ਦੀ ਜਾਂ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦੀ ਨਿਰੋਲਤਾ ਨੂੰ ਢਾਹ ਲਾਉਣ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਸ਼ਕਤੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਨਜਿੱਠਣ ਦੀ। ਸਿੱਖ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦੇ ਅਜੋਕੇ ਹਾਲਾਤਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦਾ ਦਰਦ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕੋਈ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ਹੰਭਲਾ ਮਾਰਨ ਲਈ ਮਜਬੂਰ ਕਰ ਦਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ। ਪਿੱਛੇ ਝਾਤ ਮਾਰੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਪਤਾ ਲਗਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਕੋਸ਼ਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਦੀ ਕਦੇ ਵੀ ਕਮੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹੀ। ਸਗੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਮੁੱਦਾ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਕੋਸ਼ਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਕੁਝ ਹੀ ਸਾਰਥਕ ਸਾਬਤ ਹੋਈਆਂ ਜਦੋਂ ਕਿ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਉਪਰਾਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਚੋਂ, ਵਧੀਆ ਅਤੇ ਨੇਕ ਇਰਾਦਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਵੀ ਉਹ ਸਿੱਟੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਨਿਕਲੇ ਜੋ ਨਿਕਲਣੇ ਚਾਹੀਦੇ ਸਨ। ਸਗੋਂ ਕਈ ਵਾਰ ਤਾਂ ਭਲਾ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ-ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਕੌਮ ਦਾ ਵੱਡਾ ਨੁਕਸਾਨ ਵੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ। ਗਲਤੀ ਸ਼ਾਇਦ ਟੀਚਾ ਮਿੱਥਣ ਸਮੇਂ ਹੀ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ।

 

Continue reading “The Goal Of a Sikh – Piri or Miri ?”

Articles

SIKHISM AND MIRACLES

A Saga of Mythological Stories and Misinterpreting Gurbani.

Karminder Singh, Phd.

 

SIKHISM AND MIRACLES

A Saga of Mythological Stories and Misinterpreting Gurbani

Karminder Singh, Phd.

A recent article titled Sikhism and Miracles[1] calls for a response. The basic argument by the author of that article Bhai Manjit Singh is that “miracles abound in Sikhi; these miracles must be understood in the context of Gurbani, and for those with Nam, the laws of nature are changed by God.”[2]

The basic argument of this response is that the foundation stone of Sikhi is Hukm. Guru Nanak’s command on page 1 of the SGGS establishes this. ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ੧ ॥ Hukm Rajayee Chalnaa, Nanak, Likhiya Naal.[3]

Naam for a Sikh is to acquire the ability to understand His Hukm, Internalize His Hukm, to Abide by the Hukm and to Live His Hukm.

To say that “for those with Nam, the laws of nature are changed by God” is not only anti-Gurmat and anti-Gurbani; it is boloney propagated by our dera sants and babey who make false claims that their sants and babey can perform miracles because “they have Nam inside them.”

Bhai Manjit Singh says: If the Sikh facing the crisis has Naam in him, God Himself appears to rescue him. The ordinary laws of physics do not apply to Him. He can do anything. Strange logic this is. Didn’t Guru Nanak say Hukmey Ander Sabh Ko, Bahar Hukm Na Koye? Funny that first God creates a crisis, then God appears to rescue him? If the Sikh had “Nam in him” why was there a crisis in the first place?

Didn’t Guru Nanak tell us God is WITHIN us? So from which heaven up there does this God “appear to rescue him.”?

Guru Nanak says on Page 144 of the SGGS: ਸਚਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਣਿਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਸਚੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ॥ Sacha Tera Hukm Gurmukh Janeya. Gurmutte Aaap Gvayey Sach Pehchaneya. The verse makes clear that Hukm is in permanent in existence – Sacha Tera Hukm. This means Hukm cannot be changed or violated. The entire notion of Miracles KRAMAAT is anti theis to Hukm at its core. The words “Gurmukh Janeya” establish that the Guru himself realized the permanence of Hukm. The words ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ Aaap Gvaey establish the fact that Guru Nanak is diminishing his own identity to come to this realization of the permanence of Hukm. All of these points collectively establish that the Gurus REALIZED the permanence and perpetuity of Hukm and thus did not venture to go against it under any circumstances.

GURU NANAK AND MIRACLES

The Sidhs who had gathered at Shirvat da Mela at Achal Batala in March of 1539 asked Guru to perform a miracle. The request is recorded by Bhai Gurdas in Pauree 42 Vaar1 as follows:

ਸਿਧ ਬੋਲੇ ਸੁਨ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਤੁਹਿ ਜਗ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਾਮਾਤ ਦਿਖਲਾਈ। ਕੁਝ ਦਿਖਾਈਂ ਅਸਾਨੂੰ ਭੀ ਤੂੰ ਕਿਉਂ ਢਿਲ ਅਜੇਹੀ ਲਾਈ। Sidh Boley Sun Nanaka Tuhe Jug Nu Kramaat Dikhlayee. Kujh Dikha(n)yee Asanu Bhee Tu Kion Dhil Ajehi Layee.

Show us your ਕਰਾਮਾਤ Kramaat miracles – why are you causing delay?

Guru Nanak’s response is in the next pauree of Bhai Gurdas – Pauree 43 of Var 1.

ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲੇ ਨਾਥ ਜੀ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਸਚ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਅਲਾਈ । ਬਾਜਹੁ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਦੇ ਹੋਰ ਕਰਾਮਾਤ ਅਸਾਥੇ ਨਾਹੀ Baba Boley Naath Ji Shabd Sunho Sach Mukho Alahee.Bajho Sachey Naam Dey Hor Kramaat Asathey Nahin.

Guru Nanak makes it clear: “Listen O Nath, Beyond the Realization of Divine Virtues, I have no ਕਰਾਮਾਤ Kramaat miracles” and calls on the Sidhs to engage in a dialogue based on the Shabd (Shabd Sunho) pertaining to the Creator (Sach).

Since this event happened six months prior to Guru Nanak’s demise in September of 1539, are we saying that till the very end of his life, Guru Nanak did not have Nam in him? -the kind of Nam that causes God Himself to appear and rescue him?

Are we saying that miracles did not “abound in Guru Nanak”? That God could not or would not “change the laws of nature” for Guru Nanak? That the dera sants and babey “with Nam inside them” are able to do what Guru Nanak could not?

But there in the second verse Bhai Gurdas is saying Guru Nanak replied Bajho Sachey Naam Dey Hor Kramaat Asathey Nahin. Meaning: Other than NAM, I have no Kramaat? So Guru Nanak DID have NAM in him, but no miracles?

This one single fact rubbishes the claim of Bhai Manjit Singh that If the Sikh facing the crisis has Nam in him, God Himself appears to rescue him. Why didn’t God appear to rescue Guru Nanak from the Sidhs’ demand then?

(MIS) FITTING GURBANI INTO FALSE CLAIMS OF MIRACLES.

Of particular interest in Bhai Manjit Singh’s article is the claim that “miracles must be understood in the context of Gurbani.” When someone says “statue worship must be understood in the context of Gurbani” or that “bathing of teeraths must be understood in the context of Gurbani” or that “cheating and lying must be understood in the context of Gurbani;” then one can rest assured that Gurbani is going to suffer a process that involves (i) being presented as half verses; (ii) misrepresented; (iii) twisted in meaning; (iv) jumbled with mythological stories; or (iv) plainly misunderstood.

How else does on use Gurbani to “prove the existance” of something that is rejected within the FIRST and most basic principles of Sikhi – Sacha Tera Hukm and Hukm Rajayi Chalna.

This part about the use (and misuse) of Gurbani needs elaboration. One principle worth knowing about how to understand and interpret Gurbani is known as ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ Prordawad in Sanskrit (and Punjabi). Its English equivalent is “Speaking or Writing in the Vernacular.”

 

ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ PRORDAWAD OR VERNACULAR WRITING.

 

ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ Prordawad is defined as the USE of prevalent language, idioms, mythological stories to make one’s OWN point. All 35 writers in Gurbani have used this technique.

The prevalent stuff is used by our Gurus and Bhagats because the stuff is popular, in common usage, and people identify with it. Our Gurus and Bhagats do NOT agree, accept or believe in the prevalent stuff. They are merely USING it to MAKE and deliver their OWN UNIQUE spiritual messages.

In other words, they are saying: You people believe that MYTH. Let us tell you WHAT we accept. You people have YOUR MYTH. But this is OUR SPIRITUAL MESSAGE.

Our task as Sikhs of Gurbani is to search, discover and LINK with the spiritual messages; NOT indulge in the prevalent mythological stories.

THE MYTHOLOGY OF PREHLAD

The Sikhism and Miracles article begins with a shabd of Bhagat Namdev on page 1165 of the SGGS to “prove that miracles exist in Sikhi.”

The article quotes this one verse ਗਿਰਿ ਤਰ ਜਲ ਜੁਆਲਾ ਭੈ ਰਾਖਿਓ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਫੇਰੀ ॥੩॥ Gir Tar Jal Juala Bhaey Rakheyo Raha Ram Maya Feri and translates is as “He was thrown off a hill (gir), drowned in water (tar jal), hurled into fire (joala) and frightened (bhaye rakhiyo). But he survived.

Now this is the MYTH that Bhagat Namdev is USING. Mentioning the myth is NO proof of any miracle. It is not proof that Bhagat Namdev accepted the “miracle” of Prehlad. It is THE MYTH that is being stated.

Applying the principle of ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ Prordawad or Writing in the Vernacular we know that Bhagat Namdev is using the PREVALENT MYTH to deliver his own unique message.

Where is that UNIQUE message of Namdev? In the Rahao Verse of course. AND in the FINAL verse too.

The Rahao verse is ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਜਪਿਬੋ ਕਰੈ ॥ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਜੀ ਕੋ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਧਰੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Ram Nama Japbo Karey. Hirdey Har Ji Ko Simran Dhrey.

The word NAMA in the Rahao verse refers to Namdev HIMSELF and indicates that this is WHAT NAMDEV did.

Bhagat Namdev is effectively saying: How Prehlad survived and what Prehlad went through is YOUR myth. YOUR story, YOUR belief, YOUR faith. YOUR miracle stuff. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT IS MINE.

And that’s the Rahao Verse; translated it means” Namdev (Nama) Realized the Ominipresent Creator (Ram). I Keep (Dhrey) the Remembrance (Simran) of the Omnipresent Creator (Har Ji) in my Mind and Heart (Hirdey).

In the FINAL verse, Namdev says: ਕਹਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਮ ਨਰਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਵਹ ਰਾਮੁ ਅਭੈ ਪਦ ਦਾਤਾ ॥ Keh Namdeo Hum Narhar Dhiavey Ram Abety Pad Daata. Namdev says, I Contemplate on God (Narhar) the Omnipresent (Ram) WHO IS MY PROTECTOR.

 

THE PREVALENT MYTH

BHAGAT NAMDEV’S MESSAGE

ਗਿਰਿ ਤਰ ਜਲ ਜੁਆਲਾ ਭੈ ਰਾਖਿਓ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਫੇਰੀ ॥੩॥ Gir Tar Jal Juala Bhaey Rakheyo Raha Ram Maya Feri

He was thrown off a hill (gir), drowned in water (tar jal), hurled into fire (joala) and frightened (bhaye rakhiyo). He survived it all. What a miracle!

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਜਪਿਬੋ ਕਰੈ ॥ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਜੀ ਕੋ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਧਰੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Ram Nama Japbo Karey: Hirdey Har Ji Ko Simran Dhrey.

Namdev (Nama) Realized the Omnipresent Creator (Ram). I Keep (Dhrey) the Remembrance (Simran) of the Omnipresent Creator (Har Ji) in my Mind and Heart (Hirdey).

ਕਹਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਮ ਨਰਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਵਹ ਰਾਮੁ ਅਭੈ ਪਦ ਦਾਤਾ ॥ Keh Namdeo Hum Narhar Dhiavey Ram Abety Pad Daata.

Namdev says, I Contemplate on God (Narhar) the Omnipresent (Ram) WHO IS MY PROTECTOR

What we DON’T want to link with

What we WANT / NEED to link with

Bhai Manjit Singh wrongly translates the Rahao verse as “Prehlad kept on reciting Ram’s Name; and in his heart he focussed upon the Lord. The Lord intervened and changed the laws of nature. Water could not drown, fire could not burn, falling off a mountain he was unhurt. Why? Because the Lord changed the nature of the elements. Is that not a miracle?

This is a clear case of confusing the MYTH and the MESSAGE to prove a false premise of Miracles.

The Rahao Verse CLEARLY says it was NAMDEV who Realized the Omnipresent Creator (Ram). I Keep (Dhrey) the Remembrance (Simran) of the Omnipresent Creator (Har Ji) in my Mind and Heart (Hirdey).

The MYTH says Prehlad was saved by the MIRACLE.

The MESSAGE of Bhagat Namdev is “ I DON’T NEED NO MIRACLE.” I have the Creator’s Remembrance Within Me at All Times.

The MYTH says Prehlad was protected by the MIRACLE.

The message of Namdev in the FINAL verse is “My Omnipresent Creator is My Protector.

I need no miracle. I need no Kramaat. That is YOUR MYTH.

If each and every verse that is quoted in the Miracles and Sikhism article is put the test of proper interpretation (including applying the principle of ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ Prordawad or Writing in the Vernacular – we will come to the following TWO conclusions

First, the miraculous stories being mentioned are PREVALENT MYTHS.

Second the MESSAGES being delivered WITHIN the same shabd tell us that those prevalent myths of miracles are REJECTED.

We cannot confuse the MYTH and the MESSAGE.

PROVING POINTS WITH WRONG CONCEPTS.

Bhai Manjit Singh quotes this verse from Asa Di Vaar.

ਏਹ ਕਿਨੇਹੀ ਦਾਤਿ ਆਪਸ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾ ਕਰਮਾਤਿ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਤੁਠੈ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ ॥੧॥ Eh Kinehi Daat Aapas Te Jo Paaiye. Nanak Sa Karmat Sahib Tuthe Jo Miley. SGGS Page 474.

The translation that is provided is “What great gift is there if we take it ourselves; O Nanak it is indeed a miraculous gift when the Lord gives as He is Pleased. The word “karmaat”, (miracle) is used here.”

The verse is indeed correct, but the word is ਕਰਮਾਤਿ (Karmat); NOT ਕਰਾਮਾਤ (Kramat).

There is a world of difference between the two. Karmat (which is the word used in the verse) is a Persian word that originates from ਕਰਮ Karm – meaning GRACE or BLESSING, the Punjabi translation of which is ਕਿਰਪਾ Kirpa, ਮੇਹਰ Mehr, and ਬਖਸ਼ਸ਼ Bakshish. That is why the word ਦਾਤਿ Daat (Gift) is used in the first part of the couplet. That is why ਸਾਹਿਬ ਤੁਠੈ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ Sahib Tuthey Jo Miley is used in the second part to mean Grace is received (Jo Miley) when the Master (Sahib) is Gracious (Tuthey)

These two verses do not prove that Gurbani supports miracles, or that miracles happen in Gurbani. As a matter of fact, these two verses have NOTHING to do with miracles. The word MIRACLE is not even used in these verses.

USING SIKH MYTHS.

There were PREVALENT MYTHS that the 35 writers of Gurbani roped in to deliver their UNIQUE Spiritual Messages. We were supposed to link with the Messages and to steer clear from the myths.

That we DIDN’T quite do. What’s worse, we created additional myths of our own. Bhai Manjit Singh relies on a few of these home grown myths to establish the point that miracles exist in Sikhi. He says: when we hear the sakhi of Vali Ghandari hurling a huge boulder at Guru Nanak, it is not surprising that the hard rock becomes soft like wax and the imprint of the hand gets set in the rock as it hardens again. Is that not a miracle in the context of what Gurbani says?

This entire Vali Ghandari tale is a myth. Our myth. Someone carved out a palm print on a rock, created the myth in a sakhi, and built a structure around it. The Sikh world bought the fake tale lock, stock and barrel and donated well. What we got was one of the biggest and richest gurdwaras in Pakistan. And Sikhs bowing to that rock.

Sane people have asked – if the rock was hurled from the top of a mountain and stopped midway by the Guru’s hand, then where is the mountain top now? Where is the mountain? Why isn’t the stone stopped midway? Why is it lying flat on the ground? Why would people go up a mountain to get water when water always runs down on its own? A whole bunch of questions, but no answers.

The question at the end of the para by Bhai Manjit Singh is interesting: the hard rock becomes soft like wax and the imprint of the hand gets set in the rock as it hardens again. Is that not a miracle in the context of what Gurbani says? Certainly NOT, because Gurbani does not say anything about this rock turning into wax and hardening again against the Hukm of the Creator.

Then there is another Sikh Myth being used. Bhai Manjit Singh says: In this context, when we look at Paunta Sahib, we notice the Yamuna river raging and flowing behind the Gurdwara. But Guru Gobind Singh Ji had declared “Yamuna, ethey shaant ho ke jaya kar”As you can see for yourselves the river Yamuna flows quietly for the distance of the Gurdwara and gushes forth after that.

The Guru commanding a river to flow quietly? Really? A Guru who was the tenth embodiment of the Guru who declared Hukm Rajayi Chalna, Nanak Likhya Nal and Scha Tera Hukm? Aren’t we insulting our Guru’s spirituality? How do we know the exact words: Yamuna, ethey shaant ho ke jaya kar were uttered by the Guru? Were they recorded in the SGGS?

Aren’t we unknowingly putting down our Guru to the level of the mindless Don Quixote who ordered the windmills of Holland to calm down?

The one river that needed to be calmed was Sarsa. Guru Gobind Singh, his family and thousands of Sikhs crossed it in the middle of the night on 6th December 1704. The wild and rough waters of the river took the lives of thousands of Sikhs, swallowed up tons of Sikh literature and treasure that was being transported, and caused the family of Guru Gobind Singh to be separated and eventually sacrificed. Why didn’t the Guru say Sarsa, Tu ethey shaant ho ke jaya kar? Sarsa, flow calmly and let us all cross?

Bhai Manjit Singh also says The turning of the mandir in Bhagat Namdev Ji’s case and so many other miraculous events are stated in Gurbani.

The Bhagats of Gurbani were revolutionary spiritual seekers. This are the four things they stood for. (i) The total rejection of the then existing clergy. (ii) The complete discarding of all clergy-sanctioned ritual. (iii) Repudiation of the clergy-sanctioned idol worship, and (iv) The wholesome rejection of the primary institution of the clergy – the mandir, dehora, maseet and temple as the “pathway to spirituality”.

In any case, the mandir was out of bounds to the bhagats on account of their ‘low’ caste. The mandir’s doors were secured shut to the “castes” of weaver, cobbler, tailor and other shudras that our Bhagats were. The doors did not open for those bhagats who were not shurdras either – the mandirs were shut to them as well – as pay back for their stinging criticism of the custodians of these places as frauds and pretentious beings.

So what was Bhagat Namdev (a Shudar by brahmin standards) doing in a Mandir?

Let’s ask Namdev himself. He says on page 875 of the SGGS as follows: ਹਿੰਦੂ ਪੂਜੈ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਜਹ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਨ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥ Hindu Pujey Dehora Musalman Maseet. Namey Soee Seyvia Jeh Dehora Na Maseet.Meaning. The Hindu Seeks Him through the Worship at the Dehora and the Musalman in the Maseet. Namdev Has Realized the One Who Is Neither in The Dehora Nor Maseet.

The inference is clear. Namdev NEVER went to the Dehora (Mandir) nor the Maseet. Why would he go someplace where he says he KNEW God did NOT reside?

So what is left of this fictitious tale of Namdev going to a mandir to pray and the idols in the mandir all miraculously turned 180 degrees to face him?

The MYTH is created by writers of Bhagat Maal. The primary objective of Bhagat Maal is to corrupt the legacy of the bhagats. Its method is to embroil the bhagats in brahminwaad and portray them part and parcel of the bippar clergy.

If the bhagats undertook a damning denunciation of the existing clergy, the Bhagat Maal portrays the bhagats as relying on the clergy for their enlightenment. If the bhagats enunciated a total rejection of all clergy sanctioned ritual, the Bhagat Maal shows the bhagats as having reached God through ritual. If the bhagats repudiated the clergy sanctioned idol worship, the Bhagat Maal portrays bhagats worshipping idols; albeit with full faith and love. (The fake story of Bhagat Dhanna extricating God out of a stone is case in point).

And if the bhagats announced their wholesome rejection of the primary institution of the clergy – the mandir, dehora, maseet and temple as the “pathway to spirituality” the Bhagat Maal narrates stories of bhagats praying at mandirs. The fake story of bhagat Namdev ji going to a mandir to pray, being ejected by the Brahmins there, and causing the mandir to spin around miraculously to face the bhagats is case in point.

APPLY ਪ੍ਰੋਢਾਵਾਦ PRORDAWAD OR VERNACULAR WRITING, AGAIN.

When we apply the principle of Vernacular Writing then we know the “spinning” that Namdev is talking about IS A PROCESS THAT HAPPENS WITHIN OUR MIND-SETS – not to some statutes in some mandir.

When we apply the principle of Vernacular Writing then we know the “dead cow that Namdev revived upon being put under torture by a cruel king was not a “four legged milk-providing cow.” But a “cow” that is defined in Gurbani by Guru Nanak on page 1329 of the SGGS. ਦੂਧੁ ਕਰਮੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਘੀਉ ਕਰਿ ਐਸਾ ਮਾਂਗਉ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ 3 ॥ ਖਿਮਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਕਰਿ ਗਊ ਲਵੇਰੀ ਸਹਜੇ ਬਛਰਾ ਖੀਰੁ ਪੀਐ ॥ Dudh Karm Santokh Ghio Kar Aisa Mango Dan. Khima Dhiraj Kar Gaoo Laveyri Shejey Bhachra Kheer Piyey.

Namdev brought to life the Cow of forgiveness and Compassion (Khima Dheeraj Kar Gaoo Laveyri). This was the “Cow” that was dead in the cruel king’s heart and mind.

This “Cow of forgiveness and compassion is Laveyri – meaning its gives milk aplenty. But not the milk that we drink. The milk of Grace (Dudh Karm). This was the milk that came out of the cow of forgiveness and compassion that came to life in the king’s mind. He was full of grace for the same Namdev that he wanted tortured and killed.

And from the Milk of Grace came the butter of Contentment (Santokh Ghio).

All the above happened not by any miracle, but by Namdev’s discourse with the King.

You see Pyareo. The miracle is truly in the way both Guru Nanak and Bhagat Namdev are teaching us such superior spiritual messages pertaining to Divine Virtues.

It would be sad indeed, if we were going to MISS these messages and hold on instead to myths and so called meaningless miraculous tales that Gurbani is trying to reject in the first place.

WHAT THEN IS THE POSITION OF MIRACLE IN SIKHI?

Gurbani’s position on “miracles” can be distilled from the following verse on page 1103 of the SGGS. ਰਿਧਿ ਸਿਧਿ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਫੁਰੀ ਤਬ ਕਾਹੂ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਕਾਜ ॥ ਤੇਰੇ ਕਹਨੇ ਕੀ ਗਤਿ ਕਿਆ ਕਹਉ ਮੈ ਬੋਲਤ ਹੀ ਬਡ ਲਾਜ ॥ ੧ ॥ Ridh Sidh Ja Kao Furee, Tab Kahun Sio Kya Kaaj. Terey Kehney Kee Gutt Kya Kho, Mein Bolat He Budd Laaj.

Ridh Sidh is the term for miracles. The damning critique in the second verse is worth pondering – “The claim about miracles is absolutely embarrassing and shameful (Budd Laaj) within the parameters of genuine spirituality.”

Sikhi is not about waiting for miracles to happen. Sikhi is not about expecting miracles to take place.

Sikhi is about BECOMING the miracle. Being Divine in the ugly world we live in is to BECOME the miracle. Gurbani tells us repeatedly – acquire Divine Virtues. BECOME Divine Virtues.

Love is a Divine Virtue. Service to Humanity is another. Courage is yet another. Contentment yet another. The SGGS speaks of many other Divine Virtues.

The world we live in is full of hatred, animosity, and abhorrence. To live in such world with Love for Humanity is to LIVE the Miracle of Sikhi, to BECOME the Miracle of Divine Virtue.

Humanity – of which we are part of – is full of selfishness, self-centredness and self-regard. To live within such conditions with the Virtue of Service to Humanity is to LIVE the Miracle of Sikhi, to BECOME the Miracle.

Similarly, to SPEAK UP and STAND with the downtrodden within society WITH COURAGE; and to LIVE with CONTENTMENT in a world full of greed and self-indulgence is to LIVE the Miracle of Sikhi, to BECOME the Miracle that our Gurus and Bhagats within Gurbani teach and want us to become.

END.

  1. Bhai Manjit Singh Malaysia, Sikhism and Miracles https://manjeetsinghmalaysia.com/sikhism-and-miracles/ March 26, 2020.

  2. Paragraphs 18 and 19 of the article.

  3. Meaning: The Way to Realize the Creator Within Is to Remain Within the Confines of and Abide in Sehej (Chalna) Of His Hukm, As Contained Within Me.