Sikhism on Idol Worship

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ਤਾਕੌ ਕਰਿ ਪਾਹਨ ਅਨੁਮਾਨਤ ॥ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂੜ੍ਹ ਕਛੁ ਭੇਦ ਨ ਜਾਨਤ ॥
The fool considers Him a stone, but the great fool does not know any secret; (Guru Gobind Singh, Chopai Sahib)

Idol worship may refer to worship of a cult image or an object that is venerated as the representation of a deity. Sikh Gurus denounced idol worship of all forms. Among other factors, it was believed to be a means for manipulation of the ordinary masses by the priestly castes to keep the power in their hands. Through their writings, the Sikh Gurus and Bhagats rejected such practices, stating them to be fruitless and delusional, and encouraged the people to rather focus their spiritual energies within the self.

References to Idolatry

Guru Granth Sahib

The practice of idol worship is addressed several times by Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan, the two Gurus who contributed the largest number of verses to the Guru Granth Sahib, as well as the Bhagats Kabir and Namdev, whose sums of verses make up the two biggest non-Sikh contributions to the Guru Granth Sahib. The verses of Bhagats, who comprised both Hindus and Muslims, who wrote devotional poetry in a style that was acceptable to the Sikh belief system, were included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

The following quotes do not constitute an exhaustive list.

Guru Nanak

Page 470
Gurmukhi Translation
ਪੜਿ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਸੰਧਿਆ ਬਾਦੰ ॥

ਸਿਲ ਪੂਜਸਿ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧੰ ॥
ਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਭੂਖਣ ਸਾਰੰ ॥
ਤ੍ਰੈਪਾਲ ਤਿਹਾਲ ਬਿਚਾਰੰ ॥
ਗਲਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਲਿਲਾਟੰ ॥
ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਪਾਟੰ ॥
ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥
ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
ਵਿਣੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਵਾਟ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥

You read your books and say your prayers, and then engage in debate;

you worship stones and sit like a stork, pretending to be in Samadhi.
With your mouth you utter falsehood, and you adorn yourself with precious decorations;
you recite the three lines of the Gayatri three times a day.
Around your neck is a rosary, and on your forehead is a sacred mark;
upon your head is a turban, and you wear two loin cloths.
If you knew the nature of God,
you would know that all of these beliefs and rituals are in vain.
Says Nanak, meditate with deep faith;
without the True Guru, no one finds the Way.

Page 556
Gurmukhi Translation
ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੂਲੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਅਖੁਟੀ ਜਾਂਹੀ ॥

ਨਾਰਦਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਿ ਪੂਜ ਕਰਾਂਹੀ ॥
ਅੰਧੇ ਗੁੰਗੇ ਅੰਧ ਅੰਧਾਰੁ ॥
ਪਾਥਰੁ ਲੇ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਮੁਗਧ ਗਵਾਰ ॥
ਓਹਿ ਜਾ ਆਪਿ ਡੁਬੇ ਤੁਮ ਕਹਾ ਤਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥

The Hindus have forgotten the Primal Lord; they are going the wrong way.

As Naarad instructed them, they are worshipping idols.
They are blind and mute, the blindest of the blind.
The ignorant fools pick up stones and worship them.
But when those stones themselves sink, who will carry you across?

Page 637
Gurmukhi Translation
ਜਲਿ ਮਲਿ ਕਾਇਆ ਮਾਜੀਐ ਭਾਈ ਭੀ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥

ਗਿਆਨਿ ਮਹਾ ਰਸਿ ਨਾਈਐ ਭਾਈ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥
ਦੇਵੀ ਦੇਵਾ ਪੂਜੀਐ ਭਾਈ ਕਿਆ ਮਾਗਉ ਕਿਆ ਦੇਹਿ ॥
ਪਾਹਣੁ ਨੀਰਿ ਪਖਾਲੀਐ ਭਾਈ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਬੂਡਹਿ ਤੇਹਿ ॥੬॥

Rubbing with water, the body is cleaned, but the body again gathers dirt.

Bathing with the great elixir of gnosis the soul and body are rendered pure.
Why worship goddesses and gods O brother; what can one ask from them and what can they give him?
The stone gods are washed with water, O brother, but they themselves sink in water.

Page 904
Gurmukhi Translation
ਸਾਹਾ ਗਣਹਿ ਨ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥

ਸਾਹੇ ਊਪਰਿ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ॥
ਜਿਸੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥
ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥੧॥
ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥
ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਬਦਿ ਘਰੁ ਲਹੀਐ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਗਣਿ ਗਣਿ ਜੋਤਕੁ ਕਾਂਡੀ ਕੀਨੀ ॥
ਪੜੈ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨੀ ॥
ਸਭਸੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
ਹੋਰ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਉ ਨ ਸਗਲੀ ਛਾਰੁ ॥੨॥
ਨਾਵਹਿ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਸੈਲਾ ॥
ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਮੈਲੋ ਮੈਲਾ ॥

You calculate the auspicious days, but you do not understand

that the One Creator Lord is above these auspicious days.
He alone knows the way, who meets the Guru.
When one follows the Guru's Teachings, then he realizes the Hukam of God's Command.
Do not tell lies, O Pandit (religious scholar); speak the Truth.
When egotism is eradicated through the Word of the Shabad, then one finds His home.
Calculating and counting, the astrologer draws the horoscope.
He studies it and announces it, but he does not understand reality.
Understand, that the Word of the Guru's Shabad is above all.
Do not speak of anything else; it is all just ashes.
You bathe, wash, and worship stones.
But without being imbued with the Lord, you are the filthiest of the filthy

Page 1170
Gurmukhi Translation
ਸਾਲ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਬਿਪ ਪੂਜਿ ਮਨਾਵਹੁ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਤੁਲਸੀ ਮਾਲਾ ॥

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਬੇੜਾ ਬਾਂਧਹੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਹੁ ਦਇਆਲਾ ॥੧॥
ਕਾਹੇ ਕਲਰਾ ਸਿੰਚਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੁ ॥
ਕਾਚੀ ਢਹਗਿ ਦਿਵਾਲ ਕਾਹੇ ਗਚੁ ਲਾਵਹੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

O Brahmin, you worship and believe in your stone-god, and wear your ceremonial rosary beads.

Chant the Name of the Lord. Build your boat, and pray, "O Merciful Lord, please be merciful to me."
Why do you irrigate the barren, alkaline soil? You are wasting your life away!
This wall of mud is crumbling. Why bother to patch it with plaster?

Page 1240
Gurmukhi Translation
ਘਰਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਸਭਾ ਨਾਲਿ ॥

ਪੂਜ ਕਰੇ ਰਖੈ ਨਾਵਾਲਿ ॥
ਕੁੰਗੂ ਚੰਨਣੁ ਫੁਲ ਚੜਾਏ ॥
ਪੈਰੀ ਪੈ ਪੈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਮਨਾਏ ॥
ਮਾਣੂਆ ਮੰਗਿ ਮੰਗਿ ਪੈਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਖਾਇ ॥
ਅੰਧੀ ਕੰਮੀ ਅੰਧ ਸਜਾਇ ॥
ਭੁਖਿਆ ਦੇਇ ਨ ਮਰਦਿਆ ਰਖੈ ॥
ਅੰਧਾ ਝਗੜਾ ਅੰਧੀ ਸਥੈ ॥੧॥

In your home, is the Lord God, along with all your other gods.

You wash your stone gods and worship them.
You offer saffron, sandalwood and flowers.
Falling at their feet, you try so hard to appease them.
Begging, begging from other people, you get things to wear and eat.
For your blind deeds, you will be blindly punished.
Your idol does not feed the hungry, or save the dying.
The blind assembly argues in blindness.

Guru Arjan

Page 739
Gurmukhi Translation
ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥

ਗਲ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਹਣੁ ਲੈ ਲਟਕਾਵੈ ॥੧॥
ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥
ਨੀਰੁ ਬਿਰੋਲੈ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮਰਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਹਣ ਕਉ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਹਤਾ ॥
ਓਹੁ ਪਾਹਣੁ ਲੈ ਉਸ ਕਉ ਡੁਬਤਾ ॥੨॥
ਗੁਨਹਗਾਰ ਲੂਣ ਹਰਾਮੀ ॥
ਪਾਹਣ ਨਾਵ ਨ ਪਾਰਗਿਰਾਮੀ ॥੩॥
ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥
ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਪੂਰਨ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ॥੪॥੩॥੯॥

Within the home of his own self, he does not even come to see his Lord and Master.

And yet, around his neck, he hangs a stone god.
The faithless cynic wanders around, deluded by doubt.
He churns water, and after wasting his life away, he dies.
That stone, which he calls his god,
that stone pulls him down and drowns him.
O sinner, you are untrue to your own self;
a boat of stone will not carry you across.
Meeting the Guru, O Nanak, I know my Lord and Master.
The Perfect Architect of Destiny is pervading and permeating the water, the land and the sky

Page 1100
Gurmukhi Translation
ਤਟ ਤੀਰਥ ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵਾਲਿਆ ਕੇਦਾਰੁ ਮਥੁਰਾ ਕਾਸੀ ॥

ਕੋਟਿ ਤੇਤੀਸਾ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਸਣੁ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੈ ਜਾਸੀ ॥
ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬੇਦ ਚਾਰਿ ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸ ਸਮਾਸੀ ॥
ਪੋਥੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗੀਤ ਕਵਿਤ ਕਵਤੇ ਭੀ ਜਾਸੀ ॥
ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀਆ ਸਭਿ ਕਾਲੈ ਵਾਸੀ ॥
ਮੁਨਿ ਜੋਗੀ ਦਿਗੰਬਰਾ ਜਮੈ ਸਣੁ ਜਾਸੀ ॥
ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਵਿਣਸਣਾ ਸਭ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਬਿਨਾਸੀ ॥
ਥਿਰੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੋ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਥਿਰੁ ਹੋਸੀ ॥੧੮॥

River-banks, sacred shrines, idols, temples, and places of pilgrimage like Kaydarnaat'h, Mat'huraa and Benares,

the three hundred thirty million gods, along with Indra, shall all pass away.
The Simritees, Shaastras, the four Vedas and the six systems of philosophy shall vanish.
Prayer books, Pandits, religious scholars, songs, poems and poets shall also depart.
Those who are celibate, truthful and charitable, and the Sannyaasee hermits are all subject to death.
The silent sages, the Yogis and the nudists, along with the Messengers of Death, shall pass away.
Whatever is seen shall perish; all will dissolve and disappear.
Only the Supreme Lord God, the Transcendent Lord, is permanent. His servant becomes permanent as well.

Page 1136
Gurmukhi Translation
ਸਗਲੀ ਥੀਤਿ ਪਾਸਿ ਡਾਰਿ ਰਾਖੀ ॥

ਅਸਟਮ ਥੀਤਿ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਜਨਮਾ ਸੀ ॥੧॥
ਭਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਨਰ ਕਰਤ ਕਚਰਾਇਣ ॥
ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਤੇ ਰਹਤ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਕਰਿ ਪੰਜੀਰੁ ਖਵਾਇਓ ਚੋਰ ॥
ਓਹੁ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰੈ ਰੇ ਸਾਕਤ ਢੋਰ ॥੨॥
ਸਗਲ ਪਰਾਧ ਦੇਹਿ ਲੋਰੋਨੀ ॥
ਸੋ ਮੁਖੁ ਜਲਉ ਜਿਤੁ ਕਹਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਜੋਨੀ ॥੩॥
ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੧॥

Setting aside all other days, it is said,

that the Lord was born on the eighth lunar day. ||1||
Deluded and confused by doubt, the mortal practices falsehood.
The Lord is beyond birth and death. ||1||Pause||
You prepare sweet treats and feed them to your stone god.
God is not born, and He does not die, you foolish, faithless cynic! ||2||
You sing lullabies to your stone god - this is the source of all your mistakes.
Let that mouth be burnt, which says that our Lord and Master is subject to birth. ||3||
He is not born, and He does not die; He does not come and go in reincarnation.
The God of Nanak is pervading and permeating everywhere.

Page 1160
Gurmukhi Translation
ਜੋ ਪਾਥਰ ਕਉ ਕਹਤੇ ਦੇਵ ॥

ਤਾ ਕੀ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੇਵ ॥
ਜੋ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀ ਪਾਂਈ ਪਾਇ ॥
ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਘਾਲ ਅਜਾਂਈ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥
ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਸਦ ਬੋਲੰਤਾ ॥
ਸਰਬ ਜੀਆ ਕਉ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਦੇਉ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥
ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਪਾਵੈ ਫੰਧੁ ॥
ਨ ਪਾਥਰੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਦੇਇ ॥
ਫੋਕਟ ਕਰਮ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਹੈ ਸੇਵ ॥੨॥
ਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਚੜਾਵੈ ॥
ਉਸ ਤੇ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਵਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
ਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਰੁਲਾਈ ॥
ਤਾਂ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥

Those who call a stone their god-

their service is useless.
Those who fall at the feet of a stone god-
their work is wasted in vain. ||1||
My Lord and Master speaks forever.
God gives His gifts to all living beings. ||1||Pause||
The Divine Lord is within the self, but the spiritually blind one does not know this.
Deluded by doubt, he is caught in the noose.
The stone does not speak; it does not give anything to anyone.
Such religious rituals are useless; such service is fruitless. ||2||
If a corpse is anointed with sandalwood oil,
what good does it do?
If a corpse is rolled in manure,
what does it lose from this?


Page 479
Gurmukhi Translation
ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਮਾਲਿਨੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਜੀਉ ॥

ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਉ ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਹਨ ਨਿਰਜੀਉ ॥੧॥

You tear off the leaves, O gardener, but in each and every leaf, there is life.

That stone idol, for which you tear off those leaves - that stone idol is lifeless.

Gurmukhi Translation
ਪਾਖਾਨ ਗਢਿ ਕੈ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਦੇ ਕੈ ਛਾਤੀ ਪਾਉ ॥

ਜੇ ਏਹ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਸਾਚੀ ਹੈ ਤਉ ਗੜ੍ਹਣਹਾਰੇ ਖਾਉ ॥੩॥
ਭਾਤੁ ਪਹਿਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਲਾਪਸੀ ਕਰਕਰਾ ਕਾਸਾਰੁ ॥
ਭੋਗਨਹਾਰੇ ਭੋਗਿਆ ਇਸੁ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਮੁਖ ਛਾਰੁ ॥੪॥

The sculptor carves the stone and fashions it into an idol, placing his feet upon its chest.

If this stone god was true, it would devour the sculptor for this! ||3||
Rice and beans, candies, cakes and cookies –
the priest enjoys these, while he puts ashes into the mouth of the idol.

Page 654
Gurmukhi Translation
ਬੁਤ ਪੂਜਿ ਪੂਜਿ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੂਏ ਤੁਰਕ ਮੂਏ ਸਿਰੁ ਨਾਈ ॥

ਓਇ ਲੇ ਜਾਰੇ ਓਇ ਲੇ ਗਾਡੇ ਤੇਰੀ ਗਤਿ ਦੁਹੂ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥੧॥

Worshipping their idols, the Hindus die; the Turks (Muslims) die bowing their heads.

The Hindus cremate their dead, while the Muslims bury theirs; neither finds Your true state, Lord

Page 1371
Gurmukhi Translation
ਕਬੀਰ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਮੋਲਿ ਲੇ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਹਿ ॥

ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸ੍ਵਾਂਗੁ ਧਰਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਭਟਕਾ ਖਾਹਿ ॥੧੩੫॥
ਕਬੀਰ ਪਾਹਨੁ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਪੂਜੈ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥
ਇਸ ਭਰਵਾਸੇ ਜੋ ਰਹੇ ਬੂਡੇ ਕਾਲੀ ਧਾਰ ॥੧੩੬॥
ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਗਦ ਕੀ ਓਬਰੀ ਮਸੁ ਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਪਾਟ ॥
ਪਾਹਨ ਬੋਰੀ ਪਿਰਥਮੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ ॥੧੩੭॥

Kabir, men purchase and worship the god-idol and through their mind's obstinacy go on pilgrimage.

Seeing one another, they wear religious robes, go astray and wander at large.
Kabir, setting up stones as god, all mortality worships it.
They, who abide in this belief, are drowned in the sable stream.
Kabir, the religious books form the prison and the ink of rituals its shutters.
The stone-gods have drowned the world and the Pandits have plundered it on the way.


Page 525
Gurmukhi Translation
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤ ਸਹਸਾ ਜਾਈ ॥

ਕਿਸੁ ਹਉ ਪੂਜਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਈ ॥੩॥
ਏਕੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀਜੈ ਭਾਉ ॥
ਦੂਜੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਧਰੀਐ ਪਾਉ ॥
ਜੇ ਓਹੁ ਦੇਉ ਤ ਓਹੁ ਭੀ ਦੇਵਾ ॥
ਕਹਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੪॥੧॥

Meeting the True Guru, doubt is dispelled.

Who else should I worship? I can see no other. ||3||
One stone is lovingly decorated,
while another stone is walked upon.
If one is a god, then the other must also be a god.
Says Namdev, I serve the Lord.

Guru Gobind Singh

The Dasam Granth, or tenth book, a tome of writings attributed to Guru Gobind Singh compiled after his death, allude to idolatry. The veracity of the Dasam Granth as a whole is the subject of intense debate in Sikhism, but the writings containing the following passages are fairly well established in the Sikh tradition.

in Shabad Hazare
Gurmukhi Translation
ਇਕ ਬਿਨ ਦੂਸਰ ਸੋ ਨ ਚਿਨਾਰ ॥

ਭੰਜਨ ਗੜ੍ਹਨ ਸਮਰਥ ਸਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੈ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਕਹਾ ਭਇਓ ਜੋ ਅਤਿ ਹਿਤ ਚਿਤ ਕਰ ਬਹੁਬਿਧਿ ਸਿਲਾ ਪੁਜਾਈ ॥
ਪਾਨ ਥਕੇ ਪਾਹਿਨ ਕੱਹ ਪਰਸਤ ਕਛੁ ਕਰ ਸਿੱਧ ਨ ਆਈ ॥੧॥
ਅੱਛਤ ਧੂਪ ਦੀਪ ਅਰਪਤ ਹੈ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਖੈ ਹੈ ॥
ਤਾ ਮੈ ਕਹਾਂ ਸਿੱਧ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਜੜ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਛੂ ਬਰ ਦੈ ਹੈ ॥੨॥
ਜੌ ਜਿਯ ਹੋਤ ਦੇਤ ਕਛੁ ਤੁਹਿ ਕਰ ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕਰਮ ਬਿਚਾਰ ॥
ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਸ਼ਰਣਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਬਿਨ ਯੌ ਨਹਿ ਕਤਹਿ ਉਧਾਰ ॥੩॥੧॥

Do not recognize anyone except ONE;

He is always the Destroyer, the Creator and the Almighty; he the Creator is Omniscient.
Of what use is the worship of the stones with devotion and sincerity in various ways?
The hand became tired of touching the stones, because no spiritual power is accrued.
Rice, incense and lamps are offered, but the stones do not eat anything,
O fool! where is the spiritual power in them, so that they may bless you with some boon.
Ponder in mind, speech and action; if they had any life they could have given you something,
None can get salvation in any way without taking refuge in the one Lord.

in Akal Ustat
Gurmukhi Translation
ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਪਾਹਨ ਪੂਜ ਧਰਯੋ ਸਿਰ ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਲਿੰਗ ਗਰੇ ਲਟਕਾਇਓ ॥

ਕਾਹੂ ਲਖਿਓ ਹਰਿ ਅਵਾਚੀ ਦਿਸਾ ਮਹਿ ਕਾਹੂ ਪਛਾਹ ਕੋ ਸੀਸੁ ਨਿਵਾਇਓ ॥
ਕੋਉ ਬੁਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਸੁ ਕੋਉ ਮ੍ਰਿਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਨ ਧਾਇਓ ॥
ਕੂਰ ਕ੍ਰਿਆ ਉਰਿਝਓ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਕੋ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ॥੧੦॥੩੦॥

Someone worshipped a stone and placed it on his head. Someone hung the phallus (lingam) from his neck.

Someone visualized God in the South (Hindus) and someone bowed his head towards the West (Muslims).
Some fool worships the idols and someone goes to worship the dead.
The whole world is entangled in false rituals and has not known the secret of Lord-God.

in Bachittar Natak
Gurmukhi Translation
ਤਾਹਿ ਪਛਾਨਤ ਹੈ ਨ ਮਹਾ ਪਸੁ ਜਾ ਕੋ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪੁ ਤਿਹੰ ਪੁਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥

ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਕੈ ਪਰਸੈ ਪਰਲੋਕ ਪਰਾਹੀ ॥
ਪਾਪ ਕਰੋ ਪਰਮਾਰਥ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਪਾਪਨ ਤੇ ਅਤਿ ਪਾਪ ਲਜਾਈ ॥
ਪਾਇ ਪਰੋ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕੇ ਜੜ ਪਾਹਨ ਮੈ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੯੯॥

O foolish beast! Thou doth not recognize Him, Whose Glory hath spread over all the three worlds.

Thou worshippest those as God, by whose touch thou shalt be driven far away from the next world.
Thou art committing such sins in the name of parmarath (the supreme truth) that by committing them the Great sins may feel shy.
O fool! Fall at the feet of Lord-God, the Lord is not within the stone-idols.

in 33 Swaiye
Gurmukhi Translation
ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਪੂਜਤ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਉ ਕਛੁ ਪਾਹਨ ਮੈ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ॥

ਤਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਪੂਜ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਕਰਿ ਕੇ ਜਿਹ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੀ ਅਘ ਓਘ ਮਿਟਾਹੀ ॥
ਆਧਿ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਕੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੇਤਕ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਲੇਤ ਸਬੈ ਛੁਟਿ ਜਾਹੀ ॥
ਤਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਧਯਾਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਨ ਸਦਾ ਇਨ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਫਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੨੦॥

Why do you worship stones, because the Lord-God is not within those stones

You may only worship Him, whose adoration destroys clusters of sins
With the remembrance on the Name of the Lord, the ties of all suffering are removed
Ever mediate on that Lord because hollow religiousity will not bear any fruit.


The Zafarnama, or letter of victory, was written in Persian to Aurangzeb in 1705 after the battle of Chamkaur. The 95th couplet, in Persian, describing his battles with the Sivalik Hills rajas, reads:

Zafarnama, couplet 95
Persian Gurmukhi transliteration Roman transliteration Translation

منم کشتہ ام کوہیاں پُرفتن
کہ آں بت پرستدو من بت شِکن

ਮਨਮ ਕੁਸ਼ਤਹਅਮ ਕੋਹੀਆਂ ਪੁਰਫਿਤਨ ॥

ਕਿ ਆਂ ਬੁਤ ਪਰਸਤੰਦੋ ਮਨ ਬੁਤਸ਼ਿਕਨ ॥੯੫॥

Manam kushteham kohiān purfitan,

Ki ān but-parastand o man but-shikan

I slew the deceitful (rajas) of the hills,

They are idol worshippers and I am an idol-breaker

Dabestan-e Mazaheb

The Dabestan-e Mazaheb, an examination and comparison of religions and sects of its time, is believed to have been written by Muhsin Fani, a Zoroastrian Persian, in 1655. The second chapter expounds upon South Asian religious traditions. Included is one of the oldest references to the Sikhs, referred to by the author as Nanak-panthis. Among the first details mentioned of the faith at the time is:

Nanak-panthis, who are known as Guru-Sikhs or disciples of the Gurus [Nanak and his successors] have no belief in idols and idol-temples.

It goes on to state that:

In short, the disciples of Nanak condemn idol-worship. Their belief is that all their Gurus are Nanak, as has been said. They do not read the Mantras of the Hindus. They do not venerate their temples or idols, nor do they esteem their Avtars. They have no regard for the Sanskrit language which, according to the Hindus, is the speech of the angels.

And further on, an anecdote of Guru Hargobind popular among his followers is relayed. He had been the Guru around the time of the writing of the treatise:

In short, after the battle of Kartarpur he went to Phagwara. As his residence in places like Lahore was difficult, he hastened from there to Kiratpur, which is in the foothills of the Punjab. That land belonged to Raja Tara Chand who did not walk on the path of submission and service to Emperor Shah Jehan.

The people of that place worship idols. On the summit of a mountain, they have raised an idol to the goddess named Naina Devi. The rajahs (petty rulers of the hill states) used to go to that place and performed the rites of pilgrimage. When the Guru came to that place, one of his Sikhs, Bhairo by name, went to the temple of the idol and broke the nose of the Devi (goddess). The rajahs having received the news complained to the Guru and named him [Bhairo]. The Guru sent for Bhairo. Bhairo denied. The attendants of the rajah said: “We recognize him.” He replied: “Oh rajahs, ask the goddess, if she name me, you (may) kill me.” The rajahs said: “Oh fool, how can the goddess speak?” Bhairo answered smilingly: “It is clear who the fool is. When she cannot prevent the breaking of her own head and cannot identify her own injurer, what good can you expect from her and (why) do you worship her as divine?” The rajahs remained tongue-tied. Now most of the people of that land are disciples of the Guru.

Also in the account:

Among the Sikhs there is nothing of the austerities and worship according to the religious laws of the Hindus. In eating and drinking they have no restrictions [like the Hindus].

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