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Apeeney Bhog Bhog Kay ਆਪੀਨੈ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ

Karminder Singh, PhD

ਆਪੀਨੈ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ

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Apeeney Bhog Bhog Kay

Karminder Singh, PhD

The Gurbani Framework calls for the use of GURBANI to understand, explain, translate and interpret GURBANI.

The Gurbani Framework is a response to a variety of distorted translations using Vedantic, Taksalee, Yogic and literal methods – all of which rely on use of sources OUTSIDE of Gurbani to interpret Gurbani.

This article interprets the following pauree from page 464 of the SGGS ji by applying the Gurbani Framework.

ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਆਪੀਨੈ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ ਹੋਇ ਭਸਮੜਿ ਭਉਰੁ ਸਿਧਾਇਆ ॥

Pauree. Apeeney Bhog Bhog Kay Hoe Bhasmar Bhaur Sidhaya.

ਵਡਾ ਹੋਆ ਦੁਨੀਦਾਰੁ ਗਲਿ ਸੰਗਲੁ ਘਤਿ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥

Vadda Hoa Duneedar, Gull Sangal Ghatt Chaleya.

ਅਗੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਵਾਚੀਐ ਬਹਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਝਾਇਆ ॥

Agey Karnee Kirat Vacheay Beh Lekha Kar Samjhayea.

ਥਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਪਉਦੀਈ ਹੁਣਿ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਰੂਆਇਆ ॥

Thaon Na Hove Paundayee Hunn Suneyeh Kya Ruaayea.

ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ॥

Munn Andhey Janam Gavayea.

One of the primary principles of the Gurbani Framework is that the Rahao verse contains the central thesis of a shabd. This verse needs to be understood first. The remaining verses of the shabd must be interpreted within the CONTEXT of the Rahao verse. This is because the rest of the shabd or bani revolves around the Rahao verse. The Rahao verse is the gist message while the remaining verses are illustrations, examples, cases in point, supporting arguments, justifications, and rationalizations. Or they are explanations, validations, clarifications and corroborations. In other words, they revolve around the Rahao verse which acts as the anchor of the entire narrative of the shabd or bani.

When it comes to Paurees, the FINAL verse of each Pauree functions as the Rahao verse. As the concluding verse it contains the gist of the entire Pauree and sets the context for the remaining verses.

The final verse of the Pauree under discussion is:

ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ॥ Munn Andhey Janam Gavayea.

The translation that is available interprets this verse as follows: The blind man has wasted his life away. (Sant Singh MD page 464).

The following three critical observations pertaining to the translation are in order.

FIRST, the underlined words in the translation DO NOT exist in the Gurbani Verse. There is no mention of “a blind man” in the verse. If one’s life was wasted away on account of one’s blindness, then blind human beings would have no chance for spirituality. Conversely, those who are not blind are thus not capable of “wasting their lives away.”

SECOND, the word ਮਨਿ Munn is omitted from the available translation.

THIRD, the word ਗਵਾਇਆ is present tense. So the translation “has wasted” is inaccurate. It should be “is wasting”.

The outcome of the above three errors therefore, is a distorted translation as above.

By using Gurbani to understand Gurbani one can gather the following two pointers.

FIRSTLY, Gurbani addresses our mind. The way to read this verse is therefore: Munn Andhey ! Janam Gavayea.

SECONDLY, the word ਅੰਧੈ (Adhey) in Gurbani does NOT refer to those who are blind; but those who are devoid of enlightenment (within their minds). As in

ਅੰਧਾ ਸੋਇ ਜਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਿ ਲੋਚਨ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ Andha Soey Je Andh Kamavey Tis Ridey Sey Lochan Nahi. SSGS 1289

Meaning: Blind are Those Who Acquire Ignorance; Whose MINDS Are Unable to Realize.

Also:

ਅੰਧੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਜਿਨ ਮੁਖਿ ਲੋਇਣ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਖਸਮਹੁ ਘੁਥੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ੧ ॥ Andhey Eh Na Aakhiey Jin Mokh Loen Nahi. Andhey Seyi Nanaka Jey Khasmho Ghuthey Jahe. SGGS 954

Meaning: Consider Not Blind Those Who Have No Eyes. The Blind, O Nanak, Are Those Who Are Lost On Their Journey of Spirituality.

Taking into mind the Gurbani Framework, then, the meaning of the concluding verse of the Pauree in question is:

ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ॥ Munn Andhey Janam Gavayea.

O Un-Enlightened Mind! My Life Is Being Squandered as A Result (Of Your Unenlightened State).

We now know (from the final verse acting as the Rahao verse) that the context of this Pauree is about Human Life being led astray as a result of a mind that is un-enlightened in Gurbani.

Now let’s look at the first verse, ਆਪੀਨੈ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ ਹੋਇ ਭਸਮੜਿ ਭਉਰੁ ਸਿਧਾਇਆ ॥ Apeeney Bhog Bhog Kay Hoe Bhasmar Bhaur Sidhaya.

Sant Singh MD translates it as: Enjoying his pleasures, one is reduced to a pile of ashes, and the soul passes away.

The following three critical observations pertaining to the translation can be made.

FIRST, the underlined words in the translation DO NOT exist in the Gurbani Verse. There is no mention of “soul” or “passing away” meaning death.

SECOND, there is the issue of literal translation of words. ਭਸਮੜਿ Bhasmar is translated literally as “reduced to a pile of ashes.”

THIRD, Sikhi concepts are CHANGED to Vedic / Yogic concepts. This verse and the entire Pauree is about LIVING, but the Vedic translation makes it appear as if it is about LIFE AFTER DEATH.

The outcome of the above three errors therefore, is a distorted translation as above.

By using Gurbani to understand Gurbani we can get the meanings of the primary words and concepts that are used by Guru Nanak in this verse.

ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ Bhog Bhog Kay means living a life engulfed solely in material and worldly matters. As in:

ਮਿਰਤੁ ਨ ਆਵੀ ਚਿਤਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਭੋਗੈ ਭੋਗੁ ॥ Mirt Na Avi Chit Tis Ehnes Bhogey Bhog. SGGS 71.

Meaning: One Lives a Live Engulfed Day and Night in Material; Forgetting Death Even.

ਹੋਇ ਭਸਮੜਿ Hoey Bhasmar (root ਭਸਮ Bhasam) is idiomatic language for “reducing life’s worth to nothing” As in:

ਸਭ ਤੇ ਆਪ ਜਾਨੈ ਬਲਵੰਤੁ ॥ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਇ ਭਸਮੰਤੁ ॥ Sabh Tay Aap Janey Balwant. Khin Mey Hoey Jaey Bhasmant SGGS 278

Meaning: One Thinks One Is Most Powerful. But (When Compared to The Creator) Such Power Is Worth Nothing Even for One Second.

ਭਉਰੁ Bhaur (root ਭਵਰ Bhavr) is metaphorically used to reflect the roaming characteristic of the human mind. Bhaur is a butterfly; and in Gurbani it is used to depict the non-focused, un-stilled, fleeting and anguished mind. A mind that moves from one desire to another. As in:

ਭਵਰਾ ਫੂਲਿ ਭਵੰਤਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਅਤਿ ਭਾਰੀ ਰਾਮ ॥Bhavra Ful Bhavanteya Dukh Att Bhari Raam. SGGS 439.

Meaning: The Mind Wanders Like a Butterfly from Flower to Flower; In Spiritual Anguish.

Given the context of the Final verse and using the Gurbani Framework, the meaning of the above verse is as follows.

ਆਪੀਨੈ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਿ ਕੈ ਹੋਇ ਭਸਮੜਿ ਭਉਰੁ ਸਿਧਾਇਆ ॥ Apeeney Bhog Bhog Kay Hoe Bhasmar Bhaur Sidhaya.

Living A Life Anchored in Worldly Pursuits Dictated by an Anguished Mind That Wanders from One Pursuit to Another, My Spiritual Journey Is Being Reduced to Nothing.

Now let’s examine the second verse: ਵਡਾ ਹੋਆ ਦੁਨੀਦਾਰੁ ਗਲਿ ਸੰਗਲੁ ਘਤਿ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥ Vadda Hoa Duneedar, Gull Sangal Ghatt Chaleya.

Sant Singh MD translates it as: He may be great, but when he dies, the chain is thrown around his neck, and he is led away. Prof Sahib Singh translates it as ਦੁਨੀਆ ਦੇ ਧੰਧਿਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਫਸਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਜੀਵ (ਜਦੋਂ) ਮਰਦਾ ਹੈ, (ਇਸ ਦੇ) ਗਲ ਵਿਚ ਸੰਗਲ ਪਾ ਕੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਲਾ ਲਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ. Engulfed in the deeds of worldliness, when the human dies, chains are put around his neck and he is led away.

The following three critical observations pertaining to both the above translations can be made.

FIRST, the underlined words in the translation DO NOT exist in the Gurbani Verse. There is NO mention whatsoever about DEATH here.

SECOND, critical words and concepts such as ਦੁਨੀਦਾਰੁ Duneedar is omitted from Sant Singh’s translation. Duneedar means someone who is LIVING IN THIS WORLD. It is probably omitted because it contradicts the Vedic translations’ obsession with life after death.

THIRD, words are wrongly translated. ਹੋਆ Hoa – is translated as “MAY BE”. Whereas its meaning is “is.” The word ਚਲਾਇਆ Chaleya is mistranslated as LED AWAY, perhaps again, to keep the focus on life after death. The notion that chains are put around “the neck” after death make absolutely no sense given that “the neck” is either buried or cremated with the rest of the body during the funeral.

ਚਲਾਇਆ Chaleya is a verb in the present tense meaning; “being conducted or being run.” Both translations above therefore are operating under the shadows of Vedic paradigms of life after death.

The outcome of the above three errors therefore, is a distorted translation as above.

By using Gurbani to understand Gurbani, we get the meanings of the words

ਗਲਿ ਸੰਗਲੁ means the shackles of the human vices. As in

ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਪਰਹਰੁ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਜਿ ਹੋਹੁ ਨਿਚਿੰਦਾ ॥ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾ ਸੰਗਲੁ ਤੋੜਿ ਨਿਰਾਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ੧ ॥ Kaam Krodh Parhar Par Ninda. Lab Lobh Taj Hoh Nichinda. Bhrum Ka Sangal Torr Nirala Har Antar Har Rus Paiya.

Meaning: Discard Desire, Anger and Slander. Remove (From Your Mind) The Effect of Greed. Break Free from Their Illusory Shackles, And Be That Unique Mind Within Which Godly Realization Resides.

ਵਡਾ ਹੋਆ ਦੁਨੀਦਾਰੁ means “living one’s worldly life in ego of being in control.”

Using the Gurbani Framework and keeping the CONTEXT (Human Life being led astray as a result of a mind that is un-enlightened in Gurbani) the meaning of the second verse is:

ਵਡਾ ਹੋਆ ਦੁਨੀਦਾਰੁ ਗਲਿ ਸੰਗਲੁ ਘਤਿ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥ Vadda Hoa Duneedar, Gull Sangal Ghatt Chaleya.

I have lived my worldly life in the illusion that I am in control; but (in reality) my life is being run as bound in shackles to human vices.

Now, let’s examine the third verse: ਅਗੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਵਾਚੀਐ ਬਹਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਝਾਇਆ ॥ Agey Karnee Kirat Vacheay Beh Lekha Kar Samjhayea.

Sant Singh MD translates it as: There, his good and bad deeds are added up; sitting there, his account is read. Sahib Singh translates it as ਪਰਲੋਕ ਵਿਚ (ਭਾਵ, ਧਰਮਰਾਜ ਦੇ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਵਿਚ, ਵੇਖੋ ਪਉੜੀ ੨) ਰੱਬ ਦੀ ਸਿਫ਼ਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ ਰੂਪ ਕਮਾਈ ਹੀ ਕਬੂਲ ਪੈਂਦੀ ਹੈ, ਓਥੈ (ਜੀਵ ਦੇ ਕੀਤੇ ਕਰਮਾਂ ਦਾ) ਹਿਸਾਬ ਚੰਗੀ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ (ਇਸ ਨੂੰ) ਸਮਝਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ. In Parlok (meaning in the court of Dharm Raj) only the praise of God done is accepted. There the accounting of (the being’s deeds) is properly explained.

The following two critical observations pertaining to both the above translations can be made.

FIRST, both translations attempt to keep the focus on death and life after death – contradicting the true message of the shabd (as ascertained from the final concluding verse) which is about human life lived HERE and NOW.

SECOND, there is the issue of wrong translation of words. ਅਗੈ Agey is not a location where something happens. Under the Vedic influence, Sahib Singh adds the words “in the court of Dhrm Raj” even.

We know that the spiritual focus of Sikhi is the MIND. ਅਗੈ Agey thus has to be translated in such a context. ਸਮਝਾਇਆ Samjhaiya cannot be translated as “is read” (Sant Singh) or is “properly explained” (Sahib Singh). One can question the logic of “reading out” or “properly explaining” by asking “to whom” given that “reading” and “explaining” are HUMAN functions of the SENSES and the MIND – ALL OF WHICH CEASE TO EXIST UPON DEATH.

The outcome of the above two errors therefore, is a distorted translation as above.

By using Gurbani to understand Gurbani we get the meanings of the crucial words and concepts that are used in this verse as follows.

ਅਗੈ Agey translates as “future, forward, progress or objective) as in

ਅਗੈ ਗਇਆ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਵੇਕਾਰ ॥ ੩ ॥ Agey Gayea Janeeay Vinn Navey Vekaar. SGGS 16.

Meaning: Moving Forward (On The Journey of Spirituality) One Realizes That a Life Without Godly Virtues Is Wasted.

ਕਰਣੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ Karnee Keerat. Karanee translates as “actions and deeds that we conduct.” And Keerat as “praiseworthy.” Together it means “praiseworthy deeds.”

ਵਾਚੀਐ Vacheay (root Vachey) means “to study, to analyze, to assess.” As in:

ਪੰਡਿਤ ਵਾਚਹਿ ਪੋਥੀਆ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ Pandit Vachey Potheya Na Bujhey Vichar. SGGS 56

Meaning: The Pundit Studies and Analyzes the Religious Books, But His Discourse Brings About No Realization.

ਲੇਖਾ Lekha refers to the continuous and cumulative acts or deeds that are positive. These are of course undertaken during one’s lifetime. As in

ਸੇ ਕਰ ਭਲੇ ਜਿਨੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਲੇਖਾ ॥ Say Kar Bhaley Jinee Har Jus Lekha. SGGS 103

Meaning: Benevolent are the hands that accumulate praiseworthy deeds.

ਸਮਝਾਇਆ Samjhaiya means to create an understanding. As in

ਕਰਹੁ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਚੂਕਈ ਮੈ ਸੁਮਤਿ ਦੇਹੁ ਸਮਝਾਇ ॥ Karho Kirpa Bhrum Chukayee Mein Sumat Deh Samjhaye. SGGS 346.

Meaning: Bless Me with The Ability to Remove My Doubts, and an Intellect That Will Bring About Understanding.

Using the Gurbani Framework, the meaning of the third verse is:

ਅਗੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਵਾਚੀਐ ਬਹਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਝਾਇਆ ॥ Agey Karnee Kirat Vacheay Beh Lekha Kar Samjhayea.

O Mind, Do Understand That Progress On the Journey of Spirituality Is Assessed / Weighed On the Accumulation of Praiseworthy Deeds.

Let’s look at the fourth verse: ਥਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਪਉਦੀਈ ਹੁਣਿ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਰੂਆਇਆ ॥ Thaon Na Hove Paundayee Hunn Suneyeh Kya Ruayea.

Sant Singh MD translates it as: He is whipped, but finds no place of rest, and no one hears his cries of pain. Sahib Singh translates it as: ਓਥੇ ਮਾਰ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਨੂੰ ਕਿਤੇ ਢੋਈ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਿਲਦੀ, ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਇਸ ਦੀ ਕੋਈ ਭੀ ਕੂਕ-ਪੁਕਾਰ ਸੁਣੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾਂਦੀ । As he is beaten there no support comes his way, at that point none of his cries of agony can be heard.

The following two critical observations pertaining to both the above translations can be made.

FIRST, the underlined words in the translation DO NOT exist in the Gurbani Verse. There is no mention of “whipping” in the verse. The root of ਰੂਆਇਆ Ruaayea is ਰੋਣਾ – weep, but there is no mention of “cries of pain” or “cries of agony” in the verse.

SECOND, there is the issue of wrong translation of words. ਥਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ Thaon Na Hove is wrongly translated as “no place of rest.” As said above, the final verse makes clear the Pauree is about Life being led astray as a result of a mind that is un-enlightened in Gurbani. It is NOT about life after death. Hence the words “no place to rest” distorts the message because it is derived from the Vedantic / Yogic paradigms.

The outcome of the above two errors therefore, is a distorted translation as above.

By using Gurbani to understand Gurbani we get the meanings of the words

ਥਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ Thaon Na Hovee means “not get any respect or dignity.”

ਪਉਦੀਈ Paudayee comes from the words ਪੈਦੀ ਜਾਂਦੀ Paindee Jandee. It means “being put into.” Here is means “descending” or being put into an increasingly negative position.

ਹੁਣਿ ਸੁਣੀਐ Hunn Suneya means to ‘listen instantly, now, without delay”

ਰੂਆਇਆ ॥ Ruaayea. The root of ਰੂਆਇਆ Ruaayea is ਰੋਣਾ – weep, cry, and shed tears; but the context of the pauree is spiritual. In Gurbani spirituality the word “weep or cry” is used as an expression of deep regret. As in

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਰੋਵੈ ॥ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਧੋਖਾ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਸੋਵੈ ॥ Hukm Na Janey Bahuta Rovey. Andur Dhokha Neend Na Sovey. SGGS 85.

Meaning: Not Understanding the Creator’s Hukm, One Regrets; His Inner Spirituality Suffers Deceit and He Gets No Peace and Solace.

Using the Gurbani Framework, the meaning of the fourth verse is

ਥਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਪਉਦੀਈ ਹੁਣਿ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਰੂਆਇਆ ॥ Thaon Na Hove Paundayee Hunn Suneyeh Kya Ruayea.

My spiritual life is descending into disrespect and indignity, listen without delay, will you O mind! and not regret later.

ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ॥ Munn Andhey Janam Gavayea.

O un-enlightened mind! my life is being squandered as a result (of your unenlightened state).

Compare this to the Vedic / Yogic / Literal Translation: The blind man has wasted his life away.

 

POINTS TO NOTE.

The following four points are worth nothing in the interest of getting to authentic Tatt Gurmat based interpretations of Gurbani.

FIRSTLY, that Gurbani is talking about LIFE HERE and NOW. And that translations adopting the Vedic / Yogic – knowingly or unknowingly – end up steering Gurbani into LIFE AFTER DEATH. The primary concerns of the Vedic / yogic systems are indeed connected intrinsically with matters of LIFE AFTER DEATH; whereas Gurbani is primarily focused on LIVING LIFE.

SECOND, that Vedic, Taksalee and Yogic translations DISTORT Gurbani to the extent that they hijack the UNIQUE spiritual messages of Gurbani; slanting them towards REJECTED non-Sikhi belief systems. The ultimate outcome of these mistranslations is the almost complete hijacking of Sikhi. Large majorities of Sikhs today accept these Vedic and Yogic concepts as Sikhi tenets.

THIRD, the hijacking of Gurbani interpretation happens through the following methods which may be deliberate or by error – all of which are illustrated in the defective translations presented of the five verses of the Pauree under discussion above.

a) Wrong Translation of Words. (ਅੰਧੈ (Andhey being translated as ‘blind’ instead of un-enlightened)

b) Changed Concepts (The utility of Guru Nanak’s spirituality for the HERE and NOW being presented as one focused on life AFTER death).

c) Adding (in the translation) what is NOT contained in the Verse being translated. (Adding the words “the soul passes away” to the translation of verse one, adding “when he dies” and “in the court of Dhrm Raj” in verse two, and adding “he is whipped” in verse four.)

d) Changing the original words in the verse to suit the hijacking.

e) Presenting downright Illogical stuff. (The notion – from verse 2 – that chains are put around “the neck” after death make absolutely no sense given that “the neck” is either buried or cremated with the rest of the body during the funeral. The logic – from verse 3 – of “reading out” or “properly explaining” also makes no sense given that “reading” and “explaining” are HUMAN functions of the SENSES and the MIND – ALL OF WHICH CEASE TO EXIST UPON DEATH.

There is therefore a need to interpret Gurbani as Gurbani; using Gurbani as the only source of reference if we intend to get to the messages that were intended by the authors of Gurbani.

Gurbannee Videos - Sidh Goshat

The Advent of Guru Nanak

Karminder Singh, PhD (Boston)

ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿੱਕਾ ਜਗਤ ਵਿਚ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਯਾ॥           MARIYA SIKKA JAGAT VICH NANAK   NIRMAL   PANTH CHALEYA.

 

The Advent of Guru Nanak

Karminder Singh, PhD (Boston)

Guru Nanak was born on 1 Baisakh 1469. The corresponding date on the Gregorian calendar is 15 April, 1469. Historian Karam Singh established – more than one century ago and beyond any doubt – that the date was altered into Katik di Puranmasi by a gamut of non-Sikhs, anti-Sikhs and others with other agendas.

Sikhs are stuck with a spiritual leadership that has sold its soul; institutions that are under the control of anti-Sikh forces; clergy that has taken Sikhi back to 1468; intellectuals who are silenced by the weight of their financial grants; a religion that has been hijacked by the deras, sants, babas, cults and deviant sects; and a general body that is largely lethargic. We stand crippled against correcting this one single error of celebrating the birth of our Guru on the wrong day.

But the distorted birth date of Guru Nanak is just one instance of a long list of wrongs that have been inflicted on Guru Nanak. His life story, bani, teachings, philosophy and messages stand adulterated to the point of being totally diluted of its authenticity, originality and uniqueness: the distinctiveness that Bhai Gurdas depicts in his seminal verse

ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿੱਕਾ ਜਗਤ ਵਿਚ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਯਾ॥

MARIYA SIKKA JAGAT VICH NANAK NIRMAL PANTH CHALEYA.

In the world of spirituality, the Panth of Guru Nanak had its trademark in its uniqueness as being un-contaminated (by existing / un-enlightened beliefs).

The source and fuel of the adulteration are some 2,000 odd stories that we euphemistically call Sakhis, and are repeated by our clergy – parcharaks, preachers, kirtanias, dhadees as well as our writers and historians.

The origin of these sakhis are a variety of books called Janam Sakhis – the oldest being composed in 1733 by Dya Raam and illustrated with pictures by Alam Chand Raj. This Janam Sakhi – also called the B40 Janam Sakhi, (after its Accession Number assigned by the India Office Library in London) is thus written 264 years AFTER Guru Nanak’s advent.

The most popular Janam Sakhi amonst Sikhs is Bhai Bala’s Janam Sakhi – purportedly written by Guru Nanak’s Hindu companion Bala. Bhai Bala is a fictitious character. He did not exist. Guru Nanak’s companion was Mardana. How many Sikhs know of this basic untruth – that their entire story of Guru Nanak is written by a non-existent character?

Viewed collectively, these Janam Sakhis paint Guru Nanak as a mystic, a miracle performer, a faith healer, a magician, a purveyor of superstitious beliefs, a practitioner of super-natural powers, a recluse, an ascetic, an unproductive child, a neglecting father, demanding blind faith and so much more. Snakes come over to shade him as he slept while his cows ate the fields of others. His father slaps him for wasting his hard earned money. In the wink of an eye he brings back to life fields eaten by his cows. Elsewhere he drowns in a river and comes back to life three days later. He brings dead people back to life, and stops a mountain of a stone hurled at him with his palm. He flies over the mountains to meet Yogis and Sidhs residing there. He orders his son to hang out clothes to dry in the middle of the night and tells his disciple Bhai Lehna to eat a corpse. This is the Guru Nanak that Sikhs seem to know. The non-existent one, of course.

What could be worse than the Sikh world having tolerated a contamination to Guru Nanak’s name even.

Sir Ullama Mohamad Iqbal, PhD (Ludwig, Germany) captures the source of the wrongs that have been inflicted upon Guru Nanak in his Urdu lanuage book Bang-e-dra.

Shama-e Huq Se Jo Munavar Hai Ye Voh Mehfil Na Thee

Barshey Rehmat Hue Lekin Zamee Kabil Na Thee.

Nanak was the lamp of enlightenment, but the audience was not one which prized illumination – it was blind. Nanak brought along the rain of mercy that poured from the heavens, but the land was not one which cherished rains – it was utterly barren.

Aaah Budkismat Rahey Awaaze Huq Se Bekhabar

Ghafil Aapney Ful Kee Sheereene Sey Hota Hai Sazar.

Poor wretched people – they never did awaken, remaining oblivious to the call of Reality. Just like a mighty tree whose essence is dead to the awareness of the sweetness of its own fruit.

Dr. Iqbal’s lament is an accurate depiction of the Sikh psyche in relation to Guru Nanak. Put plainly: The Sikh psyche is blind to the enlightenment of Guru Nanak and the Sikh heart is barren to the blessings of Guru Nanak.

Put even more plainly, the Sikh heart and mind is incapable of appreciating Guru Nanak. Put even more plainly – the coming of Guru Nanak is a waste to the people of India. Dr. Iqbal captures this waste in the following verse:

Hind Ko Lekin Khyalee Falsafey Pur Naaz Thaa.

But the people of Hindustan were content to hold on, with (false) pride to their hollow and fictional spiritualties.

Powerful words. Equally powerful a slap to the spiritual face of Sikhs of Guru Nanak. Powerful but true. Necessary even.

In the absence of leadership from Sikh Institutions; and in the dearth of courageous intellectuals and thinkers of sufficient standing and adequate numbers towards reversing the onslaught of against the spiritual legacy of Guru Nanak, the burden falls upon the shoulders of the ordinary Sikh to enlighten himself, awaken and take a stand.

 

Articles · International Media Reports

Crossing Over the Literal to the Real Messages of Gurbani

Crossing Over the Literal to the Real Messages of Gurbani

Karminder Singh, PhD.

The Spirituality of Gurbani does not have a language intrinsic and inherent to it. The objective and focus of the messages of Gurbani are to bring about a realization of the Creator within the human conscience. The language of our daily usage does not have the required vocabulary for this core Gurmat concept, for its process, outcome and objective.

Bhagat Kabir has captured this reality in one of his verses in a Bani in Gauree Rag titled Bavan Akhri (52 alphabets).

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Articles · Shabad Vichar

Eh Jug Meet Na Dekhiyo Koyee ਇਹ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਿਓ ਕੋਈ

ਇਹ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਿਓ ਕੋਈ ॥ Eh Jug Meet Na Dekhiyo Koyee.

Karminder Singh PhD

The shabd is composed by Guru Teg Bahadur ji and is contained on Page 633 of the SGGS. The complete shabd is as follows:

ਸੋਰਠਿ ਮਹਲਾ ੯॥ Sorath Mehla 9

ਇਹ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਿਓ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤੁ ਅਪਨੈ ਸੁਖਿ ਲਾਗਿਓ ਦੁਖ ਮੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Eh Jug Meet Na Dekhiyo Koyee. Sagl Jagt Apney Sukh Lageyo Dukh Mei Sang Na Hoyee.

Continue reading “Eh Jug Meet Na Dekhiyo Koyee ਇਹ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਿਓ ਕੋਈ”

Articles · Shabad Vichar

Kahey Poot Jhagrut Haon Sang Baap.

ਕਾਹੇ ਪੂਤ ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ

 

ਕਾਹੇ ਪੂਤ ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ ॥

Kahey Poot Jhagrut Haon Sang Baap.

Karminder Singh, Phd.

This deeply spiritual and divine shabd is composed by Guru Ramdas ji and is contained on page 1200 of the SGGS.

The literal translation of the first verse is: O Son, Why Do You Argue with Your Father. It is a Sin to Argue with The One Who Fathered You and Raised You. (Sant Singh MD Khalsa)

The common interpretation of the shabd is that it was composed by the fourth Guru both as a reprimand as well as advise to his elder son Prithi Chand. Professor Sahib Singh, in his Darpan writes the following towards the end of his translation of this shabd.

ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਿਆਈ ਮਿਲਣ ਤੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਥੀ ਚੰਦ ਨੇ ਪਿਤਾ-ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਵਿਰੋਧਤਾ ਕੀਤੀ । ਤਦੋਂ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤਾ । Translation: Prithi Chand opposed his Father-Guru upon the conferment of Guruship to Guru Arjun. This (shabd) was the advice given to him at that point.

The origin of this story is a book titled ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka. The meaning of the word ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka is “introductory information.” According to Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha’s Mahan Kosh (Encyclopaedia) Uthanka is a book whose author is unknown and it contains the “reasons and circumstances” behind the composition of selected shabads.

There is no denying that Prithi Chand opposed Guru Ramdas ji’s decision pertaining to the transition of Guruship to Guru Arjun because he wanted the position for himself.

He had been entrusted with major responsibilities by Guru Ramdas ji pertaining to the finances, logistics and administration of the Ashram of the fourth Guru at Amritsar. He had thus expected that the Guruship would be handed down to him.

He turned on his father after the announcement that his youngest brother Arjun was appointed Guru instead.

The issue that needs examination is whether this deeply rich and spiritually meaningful shabd has anything to do with the behaviour of Prithi Chand; and whether it is addressed to him.

 

Continue reading “Kahey Poot Jhagrut Haon Sang Baap.”