Guru Granth Guru Panth

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Guru Granth Guru Panth was a concept initiated by the Sikh Founder, Guru Nanak. These ideas were from the concepts of sangat, and gurbani. The philosophy of Guru Granth Guru Panth can also be seen in the idea of the Sarbat Khalsa. It is also very evident if one were to enter a Gurdwara, where the sangat is seen in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, and a member of the Panth is always seen attending the seva to the Guru Granth Sahib.

Article on Guru Granth Guru Panth

GURU GRANTH – GURU PANTH

Jaswant Singh*

This concept was initiated by Guru Nanak pursued by the successive nine Gurus, punctuated by Guru Hargobind as Miri Piri Concept and finally given a spiritual seal by Guru Gobind Singh. He Created Khalsa - panj pyaras and declared Adi Granth as Guru Granth Sahib - eternal Guru. Thus a philosophy of Guru Granth - Guru Panth has been handed down to us directly by our Gurus. Collective leadership of the Sikhs by selected panj pyaras under the aegis of Guru Granth was ordained by Guru Gobind Singh. The institution of Sarbat Khalsa, when Sardars of 12 Sikhs Misls used to collect at Akal Takht on Baisakhi and Dewali days in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, was quite popular and prevalent in 18th century when Sikhs were politically at the pinnacle. This exactly is the concept of Apex Body under Akal Takht. Whereas the agenda of the Apex Body will be discussed by other learned speakers, I will confine myself to two aspects of Guru Panth.


a) Status of women and female foeticide

b) Weaker sections of Sikhs — Lobanas-Vanjaras-Sikligars —and our role

Women’s Status

Women were held in high esteem in ancient Hindu society and no religious ceremony was sanctified without their presence. Then drift downward started, more so because of dowry accompanying girls’ marriage, girls’ vulnerability to male vultures , grooms’ high expectation from girls’ parents. Hindu poet Tulsi described Y'b rtko ;{dq gF[ Bkoh, ;eb skVB e/ nfXekoh. This degraded status was not accepted by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. His emphasis in Asa Di Var ...


Bµif jµmIAY, Bµif inµmIAY, Bµif mµgxu vIAwhu [[

Bµfhu hovY dosqI, Bµfhu clY rwhu [[
Bµfu muAw, Bµfu BwlIAY Bµif hovY bµDwnu [[ 
so ikau mµdw AwKIAY ijqu jµmih rwjwn [[
Bµfhu hI Bµfu aupjY BµfY bwJu n koie [[
nwnk BµfY bwhrw eyko scw soie [[

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 473

This downward trend in woman status has resulted in upsetting male / female birth ratio in India. Headlines like the following in the Hindustan Times show a very disturbing situation :

Four held for selling Girls in Hissar when young girls from Bangladesh, Maharashtra and Assam were brought to Haryana and sold to serve as wives - August 2003.

Not a girl’s best friend – Delhi is a misogynistic society – Oct 23, 2003.

UN shocked at adverse girl child ratio in India — New York Oct 29 as reported on 30th October, 2003.

These are manifestations of a deep malady. I was rudely shaken while going through an article in Gurmat Parkash journal wherein downward slide in female births for 1000 males in the last 10 years (1991-2001) is reported as follows:

Amritsar district 878 to 775

Muktsar district 858 to 807
Patiala district 871 to 770

I have the figures for all Punjab districts but I do not want to drown you in statistics. This situation is particularly grave in Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. I am most perturbed about Punjab, as it is a land blessed by our Gurus who advocated equal and dignified status for women. Our history is very recent, Mata Khivi, Mata Ganga, Mata Sundri, Mata Sahib Kaur, Mai Bhago are shining examples of women’s status. This decline is due to female foeticide after prenatal sex determination with the help of ultrasound technique. In the countryside of Punjab, this foeticide is being done by untrained dais in unhygienic setting as criminal abortions, whereas in cities it is practised by unscrupulous qualified doctors for monetary gains though it is forbidden legally. A girl child is considered a liability due to dowry system mainly. If this trend continues, Punjabi males will not find enough Punjabi girls for marriage. They will find recourse to girls from other provinces sold in Punjab. Only one son in a family may find a bride while others forced to remain bachelors. All these options are not healthy biologically or while others may be socially.

I suggest three remedial measures :


a) Religious measures;

b) Social measures; c) Government intervention. 

This august forum is a befitting platform for both religious and social measures. I cannot imagine a more committed and enlightened Sikh forum than this seminar to convey this message. I am confident my echo will go beyond this pandal, to every home and hamlet and reverse this downward trend to upward swing.

Lobanas, Vanjaras and Sikligars

These are our forgotten brethren. Dr Kharak Singh has been writing informative articles about these tribes. I was immensely perturbed to read about their plight in Gurmat Parkash October 2002 issue. I also wrote an article in the Abstracts of Sikh Studies Oct-Dec, 2003 issue. Most of my information is from Gurmat Parkash sharpened by discussion with Justice Harbans Singh and Dr Kharak Singh. I consider it a great responsibly to highlight the plight of these Sikh tribes and to suggest remedial measures under the aegis of the proposed Apex body.

Historically, Sikligar name was given by Guru Gobind Singh to those descendants of Bhai Ram Singh who made weapons for war and polished them - sikli means to polish. Rathores, Pawars, Chauhans are three Marwari tribes, who shifted from Rajasthan during Guru Harboind’s time, manufactured weapons. Thereafter peace prevailed, they returned to Marwar, were disowned by those Marwaris and thus became roaming artisans – Vanjaras. Again during Guru Gobind Singh’s time weapons were required, these artisans joined the Sikh mainstream. For practical purposes Lobanas, Vanjaras and Sikligars fall in the same category.

According to Dr Harbhajan Singh of Punjabi University, they number about 5 crores, are settled in 20,000 clusters called tandas. Makhan Shah Lobana’s role in the ‘Guru Ladho Re’ episode, is well-known. Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara cremated the martyred body of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Bhai Udai Singh and Bhai Bachittar Singh both brothers were Vanjaras. The latter attacked the drunken Mughal elephant. Vanjaras and Sikligars helped Banda Singh Bahadur in his Punjab especially Sirhind Campaign, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Ex-President of SGPC belongs to Lobana community.

Role of Apex Body in Improving Their Lot

A Vanjara Trust under Presidentship of Justice Harbans Singh with Dr Kharak Singh as the main functionary and secretary, Sardar Mohinder Singh as treasurer, is busy ameliorating their condition. It is suggested that one of the wings of the proposed Apex Body either directly or through SGPC take up this Herculean task :

a) They should provide granthis and preachers after establishing gurdwaras. It is interesting, sometimes they perform their Anand Karaj around a gutka - they have no Bir of Guru Granth Sahib.

b) Children should be given basic teaching in Punjabi language.

c) Vanjaras have lands but no means of cultivation. Financial help is required. Two batches of Vanjaras, were recently brought from their villages, and were shown around the countryside of Punjab. The farmers were keen to employ them as farm hands, but they never returned to take up these jobs.

d) Small scale industries be started for Sikligars.

e) Preference be given to Sikh Vanjaras as labour force.

f) Their women folk be trained in tailoring, knitting and day-care help for children.

A seminar on the theme was recently organized in Gurdwara Sector 34, Chandigarh to highlight their plight. As an immediate response, Gurmat Parsar Seva Society with Sardar Narinder Bir Singh as its President placed one missionary preacher, a product of the society, in Rajasthan, and Col Rajinder Singh undertook to pay his monthly salary of Rs 6000 from the gurdwara, a brave effort. This is just a drop in the ocean but then oceans are made up of infinite drops. Seminars are good, they become wonderful if followed by concrete practical measures.

Guru Manyo Granth


Also See: Guru Maneo Granth
The idea of Guru Granth and Guru Panth is evident also from the dohra that Sikhs read everyday.

"Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koe Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe."

Translation: 

"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns. The pure shall rule, and impure will be no more, Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved."

First part of the Dohra

The first part of the Dohra is Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Pavitar Bachan (Holy Saying) recorded in BHAI PRAHLAAD SINGH's Rehitnama. This was written at the time when Guru Ji said this bachan by Bhatt Vehi who was one of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji's poets at Hazoor Sahib. Giani Gian Singh later found it and copied it ino his literature's "Twarikh Guru Khalsa" and "Panth Parkash":

  • Agya Bhai Akal Ki Tabe Chalyo Panth
  • As was ordained by the Timeless, thus was established the Panth.
  • Sabh Sikhan Ko Hukam Hai Guru Manyo Granth
  • To all Sikhs, let this be the order, recognize the Granth as your Guru.
  • Guru Granth Ji Manyo Prakat Guran Ki Deh
  • The reverend Guru Granth is the visible body of the gurus
  • Jo Prabh Ko Milbo Chahe Khoj Sabad Mein Leh
  • Those that seek to meet with Vaaheguru, delve into the Shabad

Second part of the Dohra

The second part of the Dohra is Guru Gobind Singh Jee's Pavitar Bachan (Holy Saying) recorded in Bhai Nand Lal's Tankhahnama.

"The Sikh people shall remain free and sovereign, always, non-challenging this position. For, all shall realize, after bitter frustration, that there is no redemption except in the way of the life that the Khalsa upholds!"

Third part of the Dohra

The last part of Dohra: "Raj Karega Khalsa, Aki Rahe Na Koe. Khuar Hue Sabh Milenge, Bache Saran Jo Hoe" is also recorded at the end of Bhai Nand Lal Singh's Rehitnama.

See Also


Guru Maneo Granth
Guru Granth Sahib
Khalsa Panth