Karminder Singh PhD (Boston)
It cannot be that any Sikh would want to go back to 1468 – the year when Guru Nanak had not yet come to bless us with Godly ENLIGHTENMENT.
But some Sikhs, in their apparent unawareness – appear bent on doing just that: taking our spirituality back to the darkness and ignorance of 1468 and earlier.
There is a “Tsumani” in the making to achieve just that. The poster being distributed by the organizers shows Guru Nanak riding a wave; while the contents of the message accompanying the poster include the following:
The Invitation – to chant ‘Dhan Guru Nanak’ 10,000 times as our offering to Babaji before the Avataar Dihara coming this year on 21 November 2018. The yearlong program will continue through into 2019.
(T)he highlight of this program is the Guru’s Sangat joining together to chant “Dhan Guru Nanak” 550 times to the accompaniment of musical instruments, the Drums of Dasmesh, and the Battle Drums of the Ranjeet Nagaras brought in for this purpose.
10,000 clicker counters have been ordered and all members of the sangat who wish to participate in the chanting of ‘Dhan Guru Nanak’ 10,000 times over the next few months till the actual Gurpurab, can collect these clickers from our distribution tables set up for that purpose in the Lobby of Tatt Khalsa (on the evening of 31st August.)
National Theme – “Avo Sikh Satguru Kay Piario.”
What a Tsunami ! Of deviant practices, of course.
The full verse is ਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਖ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਪਿਆਰਿਹੋ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ SGGS 920. Avho Sikh Satgur Kay Pyareo, Gavho Sachee Banee. Meaning: Come, Beloved Sikhs of the Creator-connecting Guru, Lets Internalize the Creator-connecting Banee.
What Guru Amardas ji (author of the verse) is saying is “Come…Gavho Sachee Banee” But the Tsunami folk thought it wiser to OMIT the second part of the verse and leave it to the imagination of Tsunami believers. Perhaps to let some innocent Sikhs believe that the invite by the Guru was “Come….Lets click our 10,000 counters, or Come…lets chant 10,000 times.”
The question that needs answering is this: Is this the proper way to celebrate the Parkash Dihara of Guru Nanak Dev ji – the provider of ENLIGHTENMENT to the spiritual world.
Or is this a sure way of creating a wave that will sweep us back into the darkness that was 1468?
GURBANI ON THE ISSUE OF CONTING AND KEEPING COUNT.
Our Shabd Guru speaks on the issue of COUNTING & KEEPING COUNT. Note: the Gurbani word for “counting” is ਗਣਤੈ (Ganntey) from the root ਗਿਣਤ (Ginnet), or ਗਿਣਤੀ (Ginnetti.)
Here is a sampling of SEVEN verses from our Shabd Guru, SGGS ji
VERSE ONE ॥ ਮ: ੪ ॥ ਗਣਤੈ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥ SGGS 1246. Mehla 4: Ganntey Sev Na Hoveye Keeta Thaye Na Paye. Shabdey Saad Na Aiyo Sach Na Lago Bhao.
Meaning: Spirituality (Sev) does not get performed in keeping counts; such counting takes us nowhere (Thaye Na Paye). The essence of Shabd cannot be achieved (in such counting) and love for the Creator (Sach) cannot be inculcated (through keeping counts).
VERSE TWO. ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਬਿਖੁ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਹਿ ॥ SGGS 36. Haumai Sabbha Gannat Hai Ganntey Nao Sukh Nahey. Bikh Kee Kaar Kmavnee Bikh He Mahe Samaye.
Meaning: The practice of counting is an act in total (Sabbha) ego; there is no bliss (Sukh) and virtue (Nao) in keeping count. It is an act that earns the poison (bikh) of ego and one ends up being immersed in the ego of it (Mahe Samaye).
VERSE THREE. ਤੂੰ ਗਣਤੈ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਚੇ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ SGGS 140. Tu Ganntey Kinney Na Paiyo Sachey Alakh Apaara. Parihiya Moorakh Akhiyey Jis Labh Lobh Ahangkara.
Meaning: You cannot be realized through keeping counts/ counting O Creator; You are beyond measure and extent. Even if educated, one is considered (Akkiyey) foolish should one indulge in acts that inculcate ego and greed (keeping counts according to this verse).
VERSE FOUR. ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਗਣਤੈ ਘੁਸੀਐ ਦੁਖੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥ SGGS 314 Satgur Kee Ganntey Ghuseay Dukhey Dukh Vihaye.
Note the word ਘੁਸੀਐ (Ghuseay) is used in a negative connotation as ਘਸੋੜਨਾ (Ghasorrna) in our everyday usage. It means “to push in with force”.
Meaning: Indulging / Pushing oneself (Ghuseay) towards keeping counts with regards to the Satguru is to end up being swept away (Vihaye) by spiritual sorrow.
VERSE FIVE. ਗਣਤੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਰਮੀਤਾ ॥ SGGS 510. Ganntey Prabhu Na Paiyeay Dujey Bharmeeta.
Meaning: The Creator is not realized / attained (Paiyeay) by keeping counts; it (counting) takes one into the other (dujey) realm of waywardness (Bharmeeta).
VERSE SIX: ਮ: ੪ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਤੀ ਗਣਤ ਜਿ ਰਖੈ ਹਲਤੁ ਪਲਤੁ ਸਭੁ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਗਇਆ ॥ Satgur Seytee Gannat Jey Rakhey Halat Palat Tis Ka Gya.
Meaning: One who keeps count towards the Creator Connecting Guru (Satguru) lose in their temporal and spiritual lives.
VERSE SEVEN: ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਹੁ ਚੀਨਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਾਈ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਗਣਤ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥ SGGS 1028 Satgur Milho Cheenho Bidh Sayee. Jit Prabh Pavho Gannat Na Kayee.
Meaning: Consult / Meet with the Creator connecting Guru (Satguru) to learn the method (of realizing the Creator. Those who realized the Lord do not do so through the sediment of counting.
The final para in the “Tsunami” message invitation says:
Let us come together and make this a truly memorable event. This will strengthen our Sikhi ties, promote compassion and understanding as we lead our families in the footsteps of our great Guru.
The “footsteps of our Great Guru” are contained in the sampling of Seven verses provided above. Chanting 550 times or 10,000 times or for any other specific number – with or without chanting meters – does not seem to be in line with Guru Nanak’s “footsteps”. In fact such ritualistic practices are being critiqued in the six verses presented above.
TSUNAMI BACK TO 1468?
Guru Nanak Ji came in 1469 as the Embodiment of Enlightenment. His enlightenment (and that of the remaining Gurus) is contained in the Gurbani of the SGGS ji.
Guru Nanak has a total of 947 Shabds in the SGGS ji. The question we should ask ourselves is this: Have we read, understood, internalized, believed, accepted and become the messages that are enshrined in these shabds?
Are our Parkash Dihara efforts geared towards creating such awareness?
If the answer is Yes, then Guru Nanak has indeed come into existence into our lives. Guru Nanak has indeed been born into our spirituality.
If the answer is No, then we have to accept that Guru Nanak has yet to be born into our spiritual lives. We are thus spiritually living in 1468 still; even if physically in the 21st Century.
If our answer is not just No, but that we also want to move in the OPPOSITE direction; then may the Guru bless us with wisdom.
Sikhs are invited to ponder if the “Tsunami of Chanting” will carry us on at tidal wave of Haumai (Ego), sweep us into the river of waywardness (Bharmeeta), and drown us in the ocean of spiritual foolishness.
Other than being able to CLAIM that we have said something 10,000 times, we would have achieved little else.
Sikhs are invited to contemplate if they wish to “Ghussey” (Verse Five above) in practices rejected by our Shabd Guru – the Guru that is Enlightenment, the Guru that is the up-lifter of our minds; and the Guru that is liberating from the discarded and worthless rituals (chanting being one of them).
HOW THEN DO WE CELEBRATE THE PARKASH DIHARA OF GURU NANAK JI?
Any way that helps us in KNOWING Guru Nanak through his messages in the 947 Shabds would be acceptable.
The question then is: How Well do we KNOW Guru Nanak. Readers are invited to read the article titled KNOWING GURU NANAK which can be found here: http://www.sikhivicharforum.org/?p=1936