SIKH PYARA OR REHAT PYARI?
“Rehat Pyari Mujhko Sikh Pyara Nahi.” It is a Sikh’s code of conduct that I love, not the Sikh without it. This is a quote often heard at Vasakhi semagams and everyone assumes that these words were uttered and written by Guru Gobind Singh ji himself. However research reveals that they are just written by someone else as part of a ‘Rehatnama!’
This verse is not Gurbani; meaning it is not from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji but that does not automatically mean we disregard it. But it does mean that we interpret it (and everything else that is not Gurbani) on the kasvatee (benchmark) of Gurbani, on the basis of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. If it is in line with the teaching in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji we accept it. If it is not in line we reject it.
If the question is which is primary and paramount, then the position of Rehat Pyari Mujhko Sikh Pyara Nahey suggests that it is the outward rehat(code of conduct) that is paramount. And that the Sikh will be sacrificed on account of what is lacking on the exterior. But the position of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is that what is within is more important than what is on the outside and that Guru ji would stand by any Sikh who has Sikhi within.
So the choices we have regarding accepting Sikh Pyara Nahey are two:
A)reject the quote as not being in accordance to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji or
B)reject the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and look for other corrobrating sources outside the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
There is of course a third choice of twisting till the bones break. This involves trickery in re-defining rehat and giving “new” definitions to the word Sikh. But this is best left to the Henchmen and the Harry Potters.
Which would a Sikh who gives primacy and supremacy to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji in the real, absolute and complete sense choose? Yes, he will opt for choice (A). Why? Let’s look at two Gurbani verses.
SGGS p 1299 (Rag Kaanra M: 5)
ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥੧॥
Naa Ko Bairee Nehee Bigaanaa Sagal Sang Ham Ko Ban Aaee ||1||
No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger.
I get along with everyone. ||1||
SGGS p 1349 (Rag Parbhati Bhagat Kabir)
ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥
Eaek Noor Thae Sabh Jag Oupajiaa Koun Bhalae Ko Mandhae ||1||
From the One Light, the entire universe welled up.
Who is good, and who is bad? ||1||
Verses like these in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji explain it all — that our Guru ji is all embracing. All are equal in his eyes. Our own deeds and Sikhi values define whether we are a “Pyara Sikh” or not. Hence Rehat should really refer to the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and adopting it in our lives, “Gurbani suno, Gurbani paro, Gurbani bano.”
Gurbani provided above is in the context of the relation between Sikh-and-Sikh and Sikh-and-other humans. Hence ‘na ko bairee nahin begana’. However the context of “Sikh pyara nahey” is pertaining to the relation between Guru-and-Sikh (if we assume that the word mujhko is in reference to Guruji). So there are two different contexts to consider.
Here are two verses in Asthpadee 18 of Sukhmani Sahib that refer to Guru-and-Sikh in the same context as ‘Sikh pyara nahi.’
SGGS p 286 (Rag Gauri Sukhmani M: 5)
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਕਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲ ॥
Sathigur Sikh Kee Karai Prathipaal ||
The True Guru cherishes His Sikh.
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਿਖ ਕੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਾਟੈ ॥
Sathigur Sikh Kae Bandhhan Kaattai ||
The True Guru cuts away the bonds of His Sikh.
So we are reminded that our Guru ji cares for and protects the Sikh and frees him from spiritual entanglements to enable the Sikh to refrain from spiritual mis-steps.
We know that Sikhi is for the within and that Sikhi has elements for the external as well. The context now is to affirm that in Sikhi what is within is more important than the external appearance. So on to more Gurbani verses for guidance.
SGGS p 476 (Rag Asa Bhagat Kabir)
ਗਜ ਸਾਢੇ ਤੈ ਤੈ ਧੋਤੀਆ ਤਿਹਰੇ ਪਾਇਨਿ ਤਗ ॥
Gaj Saadtae Thai Thai Dhhotheeaa Thiharae Paaein Thag ||
They wear three-and-half-yard long loin-cloths and triple-wound sacred threads.
ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ ॥
Galee Jinhaa Japamaaleeaa Lottae Hathh Nibag ||
They have rosaries around their necks, and they carry glittering jugs in their hands.
ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥
Oue Har Kae Santh N Aakheeahi Baanaaras Kae Thag ||1||
They are not called Saints of the Lord – they are thugs of Benares. ||1||
Here the external emblems – clothes and religious symbols – all are critiqued as being pretentious if we don’t have God within us.
In pauree 27 and 28 of Japji the outer symbols and ‘rehat’ of the yogis is discussed and the conclusion is that what is within (values such as santokh and saram) are paramount and of higher standing in the eyes of God than the external symbols themselves.
SGGS p 6 (Japji Pauri 28)
ਮੁੰਦਾ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰਮੁ ਪਤੁ ਝੋਲੀ ਧਿਆਨ ਕੀ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ॥
Mundhaa Santhokh Saram Path Jholee Dhhiaan Kee Karehi Bibhooth ||
Make contentment your ear-rings, humility as your begging bowl, and meditation the ashes you apply to your body.
ਖਿੰਥਾ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੁਆਰੀ ਕਾਇਆ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ॥
Khinthhaa Kaal Kuaaree Kaaeiaa Jugath Ddanddaa Paratheeth ||
Let the remembrance of death be the patched coat you wear, let the purity of virginity be your way in the world, and let faith in the Lord be your walking stick.
ਆਈ ਪੰਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਮਾਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥
Aaee Panthhee Sagal Jamaathee Man Jeethai Jag Jeeth ||
See the brotherhood of all mankind as the highest order of Yogis; conquer your own mind, and conquer the world.
It is pertinent to note here that whenever Guruji used ‘mujhko, main, mera,’ it always has been as ‘main paapi, hum mailae, hum nirgun, hum neech, main nahi, hum avgun bhare.’ Nowhere will we find Guruji claiming anything to be of his own. So it goes against the whole concept of Gurbani shabad whenever we read a ‘quote’ that claims Guruji is relating to his personal matters. The point is, it never was and isn’t about Guruji himself. It has always been and always is, and always will be, about God manifested as Truth as proclaimed in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
SGGS p 1 (Jap)
ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥
Aadh Sach Jugaadh Sach ||
True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages.
ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥ ੧॥
Hai Bhee Sach Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach ||1||
True Here And Now. O Nanak, Forever And Ever True. ||1||
Accordingly Gurbani teaches the Sikh to be truthful in both external and internal behaviour and warns against duplicity in words and actions. The true Sikh of the guru is not to be deceitful.
SGGS p 268 (Rag Gauri Sukhmani Asthpadi 5 M : 5)
ਰਹਤ ਅਵਰ ਕਛੁ ਅਵਰ ਕਮਾਵਤ ॥
Rehath Avar Kashh Avar Kamaavath ||
He says one thing, and does something else.
ਮਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਗੰਢ ਲਾਵਤ ॥
Man Nehee Preeth Mukhahu Gandt Laavath ||
There is no love in his heart, and yet with his mouth he talks tall.
SGGS p 601 (Sorath M : 3)
ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥
So Sikh Sakhaa Bandhhap Hai Bhaaee J Gur Kae Bhaanae Vich Aavai ||
He alone is a Sikh, a friend, a relative and a sibling, who walks in the Way of the Guru’s Will.
We say we don’t doubt our Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Do we say this in words only or do we show this in our actions as well? To say that something is the order of Guru Gobind Singh ji, but which is clearly against the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is disrespectful to both the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and to our tenth Guru.
How is it disrespectful to Guru Gobind Singh ji? Because the tenth Guru would never say something that goes against the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji which he himself ordained as our Guru. And to keep insisting that he said ‘Rehat pyaree Sikh nahi’ is disrespectful.
How is it disrespectful to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji? Because we want to keep believing in something that is clearly contravening the messages of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji does not support the view of ‘Sikh pyara nahi’ under any conditions as we have already discussed above.
‘Sikh pyara nahi’ is a quote from the rehetnama of Bhai Desa Singh. It is not written by Guru Gobind Singh ji. It is the view of a Sikh ; albeit an important Sikh. However no Sikh is higher than the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
As for a Sikh’s rehat, the defining principles must come from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Yes there is Khalsa rehat outside the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. We accept it. But its acceptability must be such that it is in line with Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. At the very least it must not contradict anything in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
SGGS P 594 (Salok M: 3)
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥
Sathigur No Sabh Ko Vaekhadhaa Jaethaa Jagath Sansaar ||
All the living beings of the world behold the True Guru.
ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
Ddithai Mukath N Hovee Jichar Sabadh N Karae Veechaar ||
One is not liberated by merely seeing Him, unless one contemplates the Word of His Shabad.
If the kasvatee (benchmark) is Gurbani then vichaar (contemplation) is necessary. But if kasvatee is appo aapnee (our own) then there’s no need for vichaar. And the journey does not stop at vichaar. It goes on to assimilating the understanding from that vichaar into our daily life until we become what gurbani guides us to become – GURBANI BANEEAY!