Professor Darshan Singh Khalsa

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Professor (Prof.) Darshan Singh Khalsa
Prof-darshan-singh-khalsa.jpg
Full Name : Darshan Singh Khalsa
Birth : 1940 [1]
Parents : -
Spouse : Bibi Manjit Kaur
Children : -
Death : -
Other Info: Presently living Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa (also referred to as Singh Sahib - his title when in seva at Shri Akal Takhat) is a well known Sikh keertani (performer of Kirtan), lecturer (katha performer) and a prolific author. An ex-Jathedar of the Shri Akal Takhat Sahib, he is married to Bibi Manjit Kaur and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sangat usually refers to him as professor due to his teaching style of the Guru Granth Sahib ji. He is a strong supporter of the Guru Granth Sahib as the only Guru (spiritual guide) of the Sikhs and does not support the idea of any other Granth being given the same stage or prominence as the Sikh holy Granth.

Besides teaching classes on the interpretation of Gurbani, both in person and over the internet, each Friday night and Saturday morning, Professor Singh performs many discourses on Gurbani from a small hall on the first floor of his residence in Canada. Many CDs and Cassette tapes on Gurbani have been produced by Bhai sahib over the past 25 years or so; his contribution to the dissemination of Sikh principles both through personal performances, appearances on radio, TV and via media like CDs, Cassettes, etc has been enormous. He has been a respected Giani (person with high spiritual knowledge) by the Sikh community worldwide; many hundreds of thousands of Sikhs have listened to his Kirtan and Kathas.

Recently, he was excommunicated from panth for not reciprocating his tankha. In addition, he and all other's who were "excommunicated" from the panth were called back to be given pardon, he denied, saying that going would give the jathedar's the pleasure of assuming that he agrees with their excommunication; namely, him not attending Akal Takhat to reciprocate his tankha. He said that there was evidence of him going there and this was merely a way to dis-character him. [2]

Introduction

Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa was born in November of 1940 in the village of Sur Singha, in undivided Punjab. He has been doing keertan and katha sewa for the past 40 years. He remained at seva of Shri Akal Takhat Sahib during one of the most turbulent times of the 20th century for Sikhs, from 1987 - 1990. [1]

During the partition of India when West Pakistan was carved out of the Punjab, the threat of religiously driven mob violence forced thousands of Sikh and Hindu families to either die or abandon their ancestral homes. Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa was one of those, who was forced to move to India when he was only eight years old. His grandfather, a scholar and ragi , served as bhai sahib's teacher and guide. As a young child his grandfather taught him to memorize a multitude of topics and writings; such as Gurbani kirtan, sakhi's and katha. [3]

By the time he was he was nine years old, he had done his first kirtan.

Over time, sangat began to enjoy his style of kirtan and he was in turn, inspired to learn more. [3]

Kirtan Seva & Philosophy

Darshan ragi-2.jpg
At a very young age he began to memorize gurbani quickly. He seemed to know so much that one could hear a new shabad from him daily without him having to reference the Guru Granth Sahib ji. Eventually, based on his abilities and level of interest in Gurbani, kirtan and katha became his way of life. His goal, at this point in his life, became to fully comprehend the Guru Granth Sahib ji, not only to have memorized it.

[3]

During the period of 1984 he realized that Gurbani taught him to stand up for the panth. He was bestowed the seva of Jathedar of Shri Akal Takhat because he had a dynamic voice and only required the authoritative foundation for expressing the panth's needs. His priority during that period was to maintain the foundation of the Guru Granth Sahib ji and that of the panth. [3]

He eventually stepped down from that seva; his major reasons for leaving were the aggressive politics and unfair dealings that lurked within those committees. For three years of his seva, he did not ever leave the country as he knew the panth was in need. Today he believes that a conflict against panth or the Guru Granth is also his conflict. This explains why he spends half of his year in Canada and the rest in India. [3]

Started Guru Granth Sahib Academy

To continue his seva (to bring the message of the Guru to the panth), he realized that the use of online media would be an appropriate solution. So in 2004, the "ggsacademy.com" website was created; Sukhmani Sahib and Kabir ji's Bani have been taught ever since, through the use of this website at: ggsacademy.com. [3]

Since having moved from Punjab to Canada he has busied himself by founding, in the first floor of the large home, the Guru Granth Sahib Academy ggsacademy.com. In a recent article (featured on sikhchic.com) by the wordsmith T. Sher Singh, Singh describes his joy over finding out that the former Jathedar, raagi and Sikhi Pracharak, who he had admired for a long time, in his words:

for his spirituality and intellectual discourse has moved from Punjab, crossed the proverbial Seven Seas, and plunked himself down in a quiet rural community. [4]

Besides teaching classes on the interpretation of bani, both in person and over the internet, each friday night and saturday morning professor sahib performs in a small hall on the first floor. More information on this can be found at: [1]

Words such as; Gem, source of inspiration, lighthouse of Sikhi, 'icon', Panth Ratan" are used to describe Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa in the comments written in response to Singh's article. [4]

One person, who gives his name as Rajinder (from San Francisco, U.S.A.), reminds us that (after the invasion of the Harmandir Sahib in 1984) when every politician, intellectual and gyani decided to keep quiet to save themselves from persecution by the Goverment of India, Prof. Darshan Singh stood tall and sang a very emotional shabad, "Jab baan lagyo, tabe ros jagyo" , in New Delhi.

The whole article, The Gift may be read at: Sikh Chic [4]

Akat Takht Edict & "Dasam Granth" Controversy

On December 5 2009, Bhai Sahib was declared Tankhaiya (no longer a Singh/outcast from Sikhi) by the Akal Takht[5]; a move that is deemed highly controversial within the Sikhi community worldwide.

He said that he is a Sikh of the Guru and that no external force can snatch Sikhi from him. His comments mirror those of Kala Afghana who said much the same, regarding his excommunication. Prof. Darshan Singh still has high spirits.

The Excommunication Decision by Officials

In a highly controversial move, instigated behind closed doors and without any open debate or panthic (community-wide) discussions, the "supreme Sikh institute", the officials of the Akal Takhat, on December 5 2009, declared Bhai Sahib a Tankhaiya (no longer a Singh/an outcast from Sikhi)[5]. This decision coming soon after the previous highly disputed action by the same officials on the Nanakshahi Calendar which still remains raw, is going to test the fragile and floundering position of these officials and the position of the Akal Takhat, which in the times of the Gurus was dearly loved and totally and globally supported for the adept and righteous ways in which it conduct its decision-making.

Instead of the common practise of making decisions in the open and in sangat, as was common in the past, the officials have resorted to "behind doors" policy which is deemed by the global Sikh community to a be a step backwards in a faith system which has always prided itself on openness and fairness in all avenues of life; many prominent Sikh leaders have spoken openly against this move by the present officials and this process is melting away the historic respect that the Sikhs have had for this supreme institute.

In a religion system, which has a growing and increasing presence outside Punjab, the officials of the Akal Takhat are seen to have failed to adopt the very basic principles of Sikhi that they are supposed to promote; the officials are deemed to have failed to address the position of Sikhi globally; have failed to sort the views of the common Sikhs everywhere; have failed to provide any reliable and compelling reasoning based on Gurmat for making their decision; and appear to be enslaved in the local political system of Punjab. It is felt by the growing number of Sikhs outside Punjab that this entrapments of the officials does not do justice to Sikhi as promoted by the Sikh Gurus.

This decision will bring much debate and will test the mettle of the present officials and their commitment to the global Panth; all the recent officials holding this office have completely failed to nurture and protect the sanctity of this elite organisation. By failing to rise to the high level of spiritual and moral dimension required, the officials have failed to maintain the high standards that are essential; have failed to maintain the quality of their decision-making and have successively resulted in eroding the deep love that was held by Sikhs for this elite office of Guru Hargobind.

Prof Darshan Singh Attacked

19th Jan. 2010, Asansol in West Bengal: Prof Darshan Singh was attacked at Asansol when he arrived for a speaking engagement. The Gurmat Prasar Sabha of Asansol had invited Prof Darshan Singh in defiance of a Hukumnama of Akal Takht and incumbent Sikh clergy that had directed the Sikh sangat not to invite the Ragi (Prof Darshan Singh) because of his views against the Dasam Granth. However, many sections of the Sikh Panth have refused to abide by the edict, as they believe that the directive was motivated by political vested interests.

The World Sikh News sources said one Bhai Harpal Singh, a nominated SGPC member, was instrumental in garnering support to stop Prof Darshan Singh's program. As soon as prof Darshan Singh reached the venue, a group of people surrounded his car and humiliated him, abusing him for allegedly opposing the Akal Takht. Prof Darshan Singh's associate and private secretary Tejpal Singh was also with the Ragi at the time of the incident. [6]

Only last Sunday, the Hoshiarpur district administration had banned a programme of the Proffesor's at Garhshankar in a move that was widely being seen as direct state interference in Sikh affairs.

Press Release by Prof. Darshan Singh

Singh Sahib Professor Darshan Singh Khalsa (Ex-Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Amritsar) PRESS RELEASE (6 December, 2009)


Another Massive Attack on the Principles of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

First, it was the attempt to install a Guru from the Bacchitar Natak, parallel to Guru Granth Sahib, and then came an attempt to create a parallel Harmandar Sahib. And now is the worst of all - an attack on the throne of justice itself: a small office in a nondescript street behind the Nishaan Sahib has been designated as the ‘Office of The Akal Takht‘. This office is in competition to The Akal Takht and now its Jathedar does not recognize an appearance at the Akal Takht as legitimate; only an appearance at [this newly designated office in a back street] is deemed appropriate where people are kept in dark about the decisions made - as has been happening over the past many years.

It has been explained in their press release by the Jathedars that the issue of the attendance of one summoned to The Akal Takht is heard only at the ‘secretariat‘. It is also said that this policy of a closed door hearing was adopted ten years ago and is now their our policy. This is proof of the fact that this policy dates from the past ten years and that Surjeet Singh Barnala's case was heard in open public setting, consistent with earlier policies.

I want to clarify that those who are unfamiliar with our old traditions, they may acquiesce to these closed door hearings and then come to some arrangements with you. But, with the Guru's grace, I had cleared this matter with you that we have only one Akal Takht and I will appear only before that Akal Takht. In their note of 17 November, they asked me to appear before The Akal takht; so on 5 December, I appeared there in the presence of the press and the sangat. But today, they do not recognize The Akal Takht and instead recognize only their closed [back-alley office]. I do not to, and will not recognize any such closed room as The Akal Takht.

I had previously fully clarified my position that reverence for Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a matter of significance to the whole Sikh community. Therefore it should be explored at The Akal Takht in the presence of the Panth, not in any closed room. Today, I am still of the same belief. That is why I appeared today at The Akat Takht and waited for almost an hour, so that the truth could be brought before the community. Some responsible brothers - Dalmegh Singh, Secretary; Jasvinder Singh, Advocate; Giani Kewal Singh; Chairman Tarsem Singh and Paramjeet Singh Sarna, Chairman, Delhi Committee, repeatedly tried to bring the Jathedars to The Akal Takht but the latter lacked the courage to face the truth and did not come; they continued to insist that their [back-alley] office would serve as The Akal Takht. After waiting an hour, I ascended the steps to The Akal Takht and presented my file before the Guru Granth Sahib; I prayed for the ability to reverse the insult that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is subjected to at some gurdwaras. After spending about two hours on the premises of Darbar Sahib, I returned.

Almost an hour and a half later [after I had departed], the Jathedars did turn up at the Akal Takht; hiding their own weakness in lies, they accused me of not coming to The Akal Takht, claiming they had been waiting, even though the sangat and the press witnessed the whole episode. Despite this, they did not hesitate to lie at The Akal Takht and, to please their masters, shamelessly declared me a "tankhaaiyya."

The press statement of those who have labelled me selfish and egotistical clearly confirms that:

"Professor Darshan Singh did present his statement before the Guru Granth Sahib; we have not yet read it nor will we send for it to be read by us."

Let the sangat decide who is full of ego and selfishness. Those who think of themselves as higher that Sri Guru Granth Sahib and cannot even pick up and read the file left in front of the Guru Sahib - how can they render such judgment against me?

People need to wake up, recognize and challenge this new danger - and ensure that these Jathedars, at the behest of their masters, do not set up a competing Akal Takht in a closed room, to compete with the one that was bestowed by Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib.

December 6, 2009

(The above is a rough translation of the original that was written in Punjabi, to English, by Dr. I.J. Singh)


External links

Media

Audio & Video

  • ggsacademy.com – The website of the Guru Granth Sahib Academy, Ontario, Canada, which contains many recordings by Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa
  • sikhnet.com – Sikhnet has some recordings by Prof. Darshan Singh Khalsa

Pictures

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.ggsacademy.com/volunteerteam "Prof Darshan Singh Khalsa" in Volunteer Team
  2. ^ http://ggswebacademy.blip.tv/file/3795648/ "Prof Darshan Singh Khalsa" interview by Sikh News Network
  3. ^ a b c d e f Prof. D. S. Khalsa, public presentation, August, 2008
  4. ^ a b c http://www.sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=217&cat=12
  5. ^ a b official reference required
  6. ^ http://worldsikhnews.com/20%20January%202010/community%20shocker%20prof%20darshan%20singh.htm

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