ਸਿਵ ਸਿਵ ਕਰਤੇ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
Shiv Shiv Kartey Jo Nur Dhiavey
Corrupted Clergy, Corrupted Spiritualties.
Karminder Singh, PhD (Boston).
This Shabd is found on page 874 of the SGGS ji.
First, the CONTEXT.
The systematic corruption of spirituality by the clergy is a phenomenon that cuts across all major spiritual thought systems. Within the parameters of traditional Indian spiritualties, the clergy-created corruption can be seen to have taken place along three basic lines.
FIRST, the clergy aspired to convert spiritual philosophy into religious dogma to be led by him and for followers only. He thus created the “us versus them” separation where none existed. SECOND, the clergy created and propagated rituals that were unrelated – and oftentimes contrary to the original philosophy. In this way the clergy put itself as the custodians of these rituals. THIRD, the clergy adulterated the original spiritual philosophy by replacing it with false, unsubstantiated, cooked up and self-serving mythological narratives that were oftentimes derogatory to the founders of the original philosophies.
The end result is a mockery of the original spirituality and its founders. The outcome is a “religion” that is totally divorced from the original spirituality.
The objective of the clergy is fivefold. One, to put itself in the epi-centre of the corrupted and adulterated religious dogma. Two, to exercise control over the adherents of the spiritual seekers mostly through fake narratives of fear and reward in the clergy-concocted afterlife. Three, to make a living off the misled and confused followers largely though the performance of complex rituals. Four to become the upholders of the corrupted spirituality. And Five, to place themselves as agents of the clergy-concocted “gods” – “gods” who were corruptible and subservient to the clergy.
Gurbani offers a stinging critique of the clergy-initiated corruption with an equally robust rebuke of the clergy in question. The bhagats of the SGGS are particularly strident in taking on the clergy (the Pundit, Brahmin, Bippar) in exposing their misdeeds.
Readers of Gurbani will note that the reprimand and telling-off is for the clergy, and the clergy created dogma, narratives and ritual – and NOT the philosophy per se. Any discourse on the original philosophies is conducted on a different plane altogether.
Guru Nanak and Guru Arjun – in selecting and including these shabds of bhagats within the SGGS respectively, did so on three primary grounds. FIRST, there is clear truth in the bhagats’ critique. SECOND, the Gurus agreed with the critique – adding their own where necessary. THIRD, the critique against the clergy was in line with a basic principle of Sikhi in that Sikhi rejects the need for clergy. Our Gurus did not want Sikhi to be corrupted by clergy, even if they called themselves “Sikh clergy.”
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