Brahmins in Sikhism
Sikhism does not endorse caste based distinctions in society that lead to unequal opportunities for some people. In fact, Sikhism completely rejects class or race based distinctions between humans, that leads us to make an inequitable society. Such distinctions have surfaced only due to ill interests of certain section of people, who, on the pretext of making a society more manageable through these classifications, eventually paved the way to an unequal grouping within the human race. This article is just for information purpose and to share how people from different castes came into the Sikh fold. So, please treat this article as a source of general information about this issue and kindly do not amend this article to highlight this important underlying Sikh principle. If you have any comments, please discuss them appropriately here
In Sikh philosophy, a Brahmin is a person who contemplates on Brahm - The Inner Soul. Thus in Sikh tradition, Bhagat Ravidas Ji, Bhagat Kabir Ji, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Bhagats, the Gurus, and Gursikhs all are considered Brahmins. The term can be used interchangeably with Gurmukh. Following are few quotes which focus on the actual meaning of Brahmin in Gurmat philosophy:
- ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥੪॥੭॥
Says Kabeer, one who contemplates Brahm, is said to be a Brahmin among us. ||4||7|| (Kabir)
- ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬਿੰਦੇ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਜਿ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਏ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੁਛੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਾਏ ॥
One who understands Brahm, who lovingly centers his mind on the Lord night and day, is called a Brahmin. Consulting the True Guru, he practices Truth and self-restraint, and he is rid of the disease of ego. (Nanak 5)
- ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਜੋ ਬਿੰਦੇ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਤੀ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਭਨਾ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਜਾਤਾ ॥
He alone is a Brahmin, who knows the Brahm, and is attuned to the Love of the Lord. God is close at hand; He dwells deep within the hearts of all. How rare are those who, as Gurmukh, know Him. (Nanak 3)
- ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਤਰੈ ਸਗਲੇ ਕੁਲ ਤਾਰੈ ॥੩॥
He alone is a Brahmin, who contemplates Brahm. He saves himself, and saves all his generations as well. ||3|| (Nanak 1)
- ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਭਲਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
To read the horoscope of the mind, is the most sublime joyful peace. He alone is called a good Brahmin, who understands God in contemplative meditation. (Nanak 3)
The Varna System so prevalent in Hindu society that cements ones place in society, dictating superiority or inferiority solely on the basis of Birth, plays no part in Sikh Philosophy.
A majority of people born as Brahmins in india consider themselves superiors then other Varnas. They have even controlled all places of worship and control every ritual. These brahmins have created an unequal society and have even tried to keep other varnas from gaining access to Spiritual wisdom. Such brahmin is equivalent to Saakat. For such brahmins many lines comes in Adi Granth:
- ਲੇਪੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੋ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮੂਲਿ ॥ ਦੁਸਟੁ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਮੂਆ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਸੂਲ ॥੧॥
The poison had absolutely no harmful effect. But the wicked Brahmin died in pain. ||1|| (Nanak 5)
- ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥
The Qazi tells lies and eats filth; the Brahmin kills and then takes cleansing baths. The three of them devise their own destruction. ||2|| (Nanak 1)
- ਐਸੇ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਡੂਬੇ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਨਿਰਾਪਰਾਧ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਬੁਰਿਆਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Such Brahmins shall drown, O Siblings of Destiny; they think of doing evil to the innocent. ||1||Pause||
- ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥
If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn't you come by some other way? ||2|| How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status? How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk? ||3|| (Kabir)
But there were those who, though born to Brahmin Varna, men who contemplated on brahm, accepting Sikh faith and Gurmat philosophy. These men have also contributed a lot to Sikh faith, a partial list:
- Ramanand: born a Kanyakubja Brahmin, he gave up idol worship and accepted Gurmat philosophy after taking guidance from Kabir. His hymn is present in the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Jaidev - born a Brahmin who accepted Gurmat philosophy. his two hymns are present in Adi Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Kalshar - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 54 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Balh - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 5 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Bhalh - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 1 Swaiyaa are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Bhika - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 2 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Gayand - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 13 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Harbans - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 2 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Jalap - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 5 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Kirat - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 8 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Mathura - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 14 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Nalh - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 16 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Bhatt Salh - born a Sarswat Brahmin, whose 3 Swaiyaas are present in Adi Gur Granth Sahib
- Hira Nand - born a Mohyal Brahmin, get in touch with Guru Har Gobind and also fought wars with him.
- Aru Ram: born a Saraswat Brahmin accepted Gurmat, accompanying Guru Har Rai.
- Bhai Mati Das: born a Mohyal Brahmin, he accepted Gurmat and was martyrd at Delhi with Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- Bhai Sati Dass: born a Mohyal Brahmin he too accepted Gurmat and was martyrd at Delhi with Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- Kirpa Ram: born a Saraswat Kasmiri Brahmin he accepted Gurmat znd was martyred in the Second battle of Chamkaur Sahib. A baptized Khalsa he was, as well, a teacher of Guru Gobind Singh in Puranic studies. He play role in creation of Dasam Granth by suggesting Guru Gobind Singh to sanctify puranas to tell people that puranas was about spiritual facts not worldly or temporal facts and are against idol worship in any form.