Sikhism was introduced by Baba Nanak and the complete journey of the revelation of the Shabad Guru was continued via nine other human teachers. This is an indisputable fact.
However a poser here is this. Why was ‘Gurgaddi’ (Guruship) not passed on to the offsprings of the first three Sikh gurus? Why did the ‘Gurgaddi’ elude the sons of Baba Nanak, Bhai Lehna and Baba Amar Das? Why were they overlooked and the leadership passed on to an outsider?
We are led to believe in stories that Guru Nanak Sahib ji ‘tested’ Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das and found them wanting in the qualities he was looking for! Testing is done when someone does not know another’s stand. We test to find out where other people stand in accordance with our own beliefs. But our Gurus never needed to test anyone or anybody.
When Bhai Satta and Balwand ji say ‘puthree koul na paaliou’ it is a reference to the offsprings of the Gurus.
SGGS p 967 Rag Ramkali Var Balwand Tattha Satta
ਪੁਤ੍ਰੀ ਕਉਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਲਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਪੀਰਹੁ ਕੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮੁਰਟੀਐ ॥
Puthree Koul Na Paaliou Kar Peerahu Kannh Muratteeai ||
His sons did not obey His Word; they turned their backs on Him as Guru.
ਦਿਲਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਆਕੀ ਫਿਰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਬੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਚਾਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਛਟੀਐ ॥
Dhil Khottai Aakee Firanih Bannih Bhaar Ouchaaeinih Shhatteeai ||
These evil-hearted ones became rebellious; they carry loads of sin on their backs
Bhai Gurdas Ji (whose hymns are permitted for use in Kirtan) states the following in Vaar 1, Pauri 38 of 49 :
ਪੁਤਰੀ ਕਉਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਲਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਆਕੀ ਨਸਿਆਰਾ।
Putaree Kaol Na Paaliaa Man Khotay Aakee Nasiaaraa.
The sons did not obey the commands and their minds turned hostile and unstable.
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਾਰ ਅਥਰਬਣਿ ਤਾਰਾ ॥ ੩੮॥
Guramoukhi Bhaari Adarabaani Taaraa ॥38॥
The Gurmukh (Nanak) saved the people from the clutches of tantra, mantra and Atharvaveda.
In Vaar 26, Pauri 33 of 35 of the same text, Bhai Gurdas Ji goes on to tell about the character of the sons of the first four gurus.
* Guru Nanak – Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das * Guru Angad – Datu and Dasu * Guru Amar Das – Mohan and Mohari * Guru Ram Das – Prithi Chand and Mahadev
He describes them as :
ਚੰਦਨ ਵਾਸੁ ਨ ਵਾਸ ਬੋਹਾਇਆ ॥੩੩॥
Chandan Vaasu N Vaas Bohaaiaa ॥33॥
They all were like bamboos that though living near sandalwood – Guru, yet could not become fragrant. However the youngest son of Guru Ram Das became the fifth guru Guru Arjan, as he was different.
The word ‘kaol’ refers to commitment and adherence to a core message or the basic principle. The ‘kaol’ of Sikhi is Gurbani. Thus both Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Satta and Balwand ji are stating that the guru’s offsprings refused to accept Gurbani.
Bhai Lehna accepted Gurbani (the Shabad Guru) and became Gurbani. By accepting Gurbani’s teachings he became Angad (Ang – literal limb), of Guru Nanak. As the selected successor, he was then able to compose Gurbani, continuing now as the JOT (light) of Nanak.
The other contenders (sons) did not accept Gurbani in a similar extent (that they became Gurbani) so Guru Nanak Sahib ji needed no silly tests to ascertain this. The stories of Guru Nanak Sahib ji testing Lehna ji by ordering him to eat a corpse, to shake a tree and pick jalebis out of it are all concocted up by people (especially the writers of Bhai Balley Walee Janam Sakhi) who could not understand that Guruship is all about Gurbani and not about some skewed sort of allegiance.
Our Gurus never asked for such blind allegiance. The faith of Sikhi is an enlightened faith. It is a faith of acceptance based on the enlightenment of Gurbani. Acceptance is of two basic kinds. The first kind is described in a verse in Sukhmani Sahib.
SGGS page 275 Rag Gauri Sukhmani M: 5
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਹਿਤਾਵੈ ॥
Prabh Kee Aagiaa Aatham Hithaavai ||
One who, in his soul, loves the Will of God.
ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋਊ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥
Jeevan Mukath Sooo Kehaavai ||
He is said to be Jivan Mukt – liberated while yet alive.
The key word is ‘hithaavai’. It consists of two words “hith” (meaning love) and “aavai” (meaning in the presence of). This is the acceptance of Gurbani. Accepting within the presence of love within us.
Then there is the word ‘aatham’ (soul / mind). And this adds to the depth of love. Acceptance in the presence of love from the deepest recesses of our mind and soul. This then is Gurbani’s definition of acceptance. A simple term for such acceptance can be positive acceptance.
The second kind of acceptance happens when we have no choice but to accept (death /disease); when we fear the consequences of not accepting (accepting traffic rules for example); accepting when we see the benefit or rewards of acceptance (accepting authority) and accepting to keep the peace (bad / negative behaviours of loved ones). Much of this is negative acceptance.
Such acceptance – while having some practical value in our daily lives (keeping the peace in our family and society, keeping us safe etc) has little value in the Gurbani sense. The standards of acceptance taught to us by Gurbani are much higher.
The basic/initial message in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji in the ‘manglacharan’ (preamble to invoke divine blessing) states ‘ajooni‘ (beyond birth). Whereas writings such as in the Bachittar Natak and other such stories contradict this principle by trying to portray Sikh gurus as ‘avtars’ (incarnations) of others such as Ram, who they declare to be God!
So what it really amounts to is the redefining of Sikhi according to the teachings of our Gurus as enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji because the entire gimmick of Sikhi as imparted hitherto in ‘sakhis’ mostly based on hearsay or possibly even cooked up and concocted is questionable. Gurbani itself is not in question.
At the moment all our Gurdwara programmes are mainly adult-oriented. But do these include critical thinking or just passively listening to ‘sakhis’ by Panjabi-speaking preachers who themselves have little or no indepth knowledge of authentic Sikhi? The inevitable result is that many adults without a sound knowledge of Sikhi blindly fall for these wrong interpretations. Remember, ‘a little knowledge is a potential danger’.
What about the youths? Is there a parallel programme for our youths? The reality is that a large number of youths now are already well-armed and influenced by stories of saints, miracles and mythological stories that extoll the exact opposite of texts in Shabad Gurbani!
The amount of wrong ‘parchaar’ (indoctrination) being given to Sikh youths needs to be addressed to avoid casualties of conditioning that may result in irreversible harm. That is a reality we cannot forget especially with the present immense amount of unnecessary pressures on our children from within and outside our own Panth.
In the past we had ‘Thirmalls’ and many others out to destroy all that was Sikhi and today we have many more in disguise who are doing the same by laying emphasis on passivity and a blind acceptance to rites, rituals, meaningless chanting of mantras and fake scriptures.
When the Sangat starts to understand the basic principle that the ‘kasvatti’ (benchmark) of Sikhism is Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, this kind of questionable ‘parchaar’ will be rejected. What is needed is the true understanding of Gurbani amongst Sikhs of all ages.
The path of truth has never been easy. Our Guru jis invested 238 years and countless sacrifices to stand up to the government of the day to uphold the sanctity of the divine gift of truth in the Shabad Guru.
Sikhs who have an enlightened faith in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji cannot and will not be led astray. NOT EVER!