Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs
Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs
Since my college days in the 1950s I have heard and read brief mentions of Swami Dayanand’s disparaging remarks about Sikh Gurus, their teachings, and Sikhs in his The Light Of Truth (The Satyartha Parkasha). However, I have not seen the original remarks in totality. Many years later I asked the late Dr. Trilochan Singh in the 1970s, when he was visiting the United States, why Sikh scholars had not responded to what Dayanand wrote about Guru Nanak and his philosophy. “There is nothing to respond as what Dayanand wrote does not make any sense since he had no clue about Guru Nanak’s philosophy,” replied Trilochan Singh. More recently, my friend Colonel GB Singh (author of Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity) drew my attention to the English translation of Dayanand’s remarks about Guru Nanak and his philosophy. After reading this English version of Dayanand’s view about Guru Nanak, his philosophy, and the Sikhs, I fully agree with Trilochan Singh’s observation. However, I also feel strongly that a critical analysis is needed to rebut this malicious, vicious, and absurd propaganda as the followers of Dayanand have kept bringing new editions of The Light OF Truth in more and more languages since the first edition, and moreover, repeated lies are taken as truth by the ignorant, gullible and the simpleminded. Discussion
A learned person, a wise person, and an intelligent person passes judgment on someone else’s writings by properly studying it. However, Dayanand did the opposite. He did not know the Gurmukhi script or the Punjabi language, and yet he went ahead attacking Guru Nanak, his philosophy, and the Sikhs on the basis of mere hearsay. While doing so he threw out the window his own advice to the readers of his book, The Light Of Truth:
Whosoever, will read this book with a biased mind will fail to understand what the author’s aim (in writing this book) is:
There are four elements necessary to convey a complete sense of a passage, viz:
- Akankasha consists in entering the spirit of the speaker or author.
- Yogyata in the fitness of compatibility of sense. For instance, when it is said “water irrigates” there is nothing absurd in the mutual connection between the objects signified by the words.
- Assati consists in regarding or speaking words in proper sequence, i.e., without detaching them from their context.
- Tatparya is to give the same meaning to the word of a writer or speaker, which he intended that they should convey.
Yet, Dayanand had no compunction in putting his own word in Guru Nanak’s mouth by substituting Sanskrit for Punjabi to give erroneous interpretation to Guru Nanak’s thoughts. His brief write up “Sikhism – a sect of Guru Nanak” of less than four pages is mainly made up of false, absurd, and childish statements. His anger and hatred against Guru Nanak becomes quite obvious when we read the following:
In the twelfth chapter we have discussed the Charvaka faith as well as the Jain and Buddhist religions. The Charvaka greatly resembles the Jain and Buddhist religions in being atheistic creed and many other respects. It has greatly declined in our day but it is most atheistic of all; hence it is absolutely necessary to check its activity. If nothing be done to eradicate false ideas and practices, disastrous consequences are sure to follow (Introduction, p. 5). “He is an atheist, and a slanderer of the Vedas, who disparages their teachings, as well as the writings of true teachers in conformity with the Vedas. He should be excluded from good society, aye, even expelled out of the country (if necessary).” (Manu 2: 11; Chapter 3, p.50).
As per Dayanand, Guru Nanak should have been expelled from the Indian subcontinent and his philosophy and followers eradicated as well, because Guru Nanak committed an unpardonable sin by rejecting the ideology of the Vedas. But Dayanand was not in a position to eradicate Guru Nanak’s ideology or his followers because he was living under the British Colonial Empire, not in the “Aryavarta” – “the glorious Vedic kingdom where Vedas reigned supreme.” So he took out his frustration, anger, and hatred by attacking Guru Nanak and making fun of his philosophy and ridiculing the Sikhs.
Before I respond to “Sikhism – a sect of Guru Nanak” let me briefly describe the environment and circumstances under which Guru Nanak lived, and his philosophy (Appendix A) to help the reader understand my response clearly.
Environment and Circumstances
Nanak (1469-1539 C.E.) was born in a small village near Lahore, a town situated between two Muslim capitals, Delhi and Kabul. Most of north Indian subcontinent by then had been under oppressive Muslim rule for at least five centuries. The bigotry and oppression of Muslim rule had reduced the Hindu population to a level of mere slaves. They were deprived of human dignity according to both Hindu and Muslim writers.
Al-Biruni (973-1048/49 CE), the renowned Indologist, came to India in the wake of the invading forces led by Mahmud of Ghazni (1000-1030 CE). He spent many years observing Hindus and their culture, and studying their religion, literature and sciences. He writes: No Muslim conqueror passed beyond the frontier of Kabul and the river Sindh until the days of the Turks, when they seized power in Ghazna under the Samani dynasty and the supreme power fell to the lot of Nasiraddaula Sabuktagin. This prince chose the holy war as his calling, and therefore, called himself Al-ghazi (i.e. warring on the road of Allah). In the interest of his successors he constructed, in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads on which afterwards his son Yaminaddaula Mahmud marched into India during a period of thirty years and more. God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims.1
Reminiscing through history, Hari Ram Gupta, a well-known historian of Punjab University, elaborates on Al-Beruni's comments on the Muslim conquest of India. From the tenth century onwards, successive hordes of Muslim invaders had poured in from Central Asia. As the highway to Delhi lay through the Punjab, the greatest suffering had been caused to the people of this province. The Afghans and Turks established their rule and various Muslim dynasties ruled Northern India. Foreign rulers and their foreign functionaries ruled through their military strength. They exploited the people and fleeced them. They committed untold atrocities, imposed Jazia (a personal tax on all non-Muslims) and otherwise taxed them heavily. All avenues to higher services were closed to Hindus, who could not get employment except to the lowest posts. Hindu temples were razed to the ground and a large number of Muslim mosques were erected. Hindu schools were closed and every effort was made to crush Hindu culture and civilization. A great many Hindus were converted to Islam on the point of sword and the spirit of the people was crushed. There was wide gulf between the rulers and the ruled and between the Hindu and Muslim population -- so much so that Hindu Fakirs were subjected to all types of humiliations and were made to dress differently from Muslim Fakirs. There was complete segregation between the Hindus and Muslims -- their rites, customs and ceremonies and their way of living. The masses were greatly demoralized and emasculated. Not a single leader of note was produced by the Hindus during the last five centuries. All this time a very low status was assigned to the Hindus. They were required to put marks on their forehead or attach other distinguishing marks to their dress. They were forbidden to eat grain of a superior quality, to wear rich apparel or ride good horses, or in palanquins and carriages. In Dera Ghazi Khan District a Hindu could ride only a donkey. The law of blasphemy was strictly enforced and capital punishment was inflicted for any criticism of Islam. Bodhan Brahmin was executed by Sikandar Lodi (1485-1517) for saying that Hinduism was as good a religion as Islam. Conversion of Hindus was a frequent occurrence and it was done on a mass scale on occasions and in certain parts of the country.2
Quoting various historical sources, Daulat Rai, an Arya Samajist has described in Sahibe Kamal Guru Gobind Singh (Par Excellent Master, Guru Gobind Singh) the conditions of Hindus under Muslim rule as horrible, degrading, dehumanizing and pathetic. While Muslim invaders from Southwest Asia killed Hindus by the thousands, looted their properties and carried away thousands of men and women as slaves, the rulers let loose a reign of terror on terrified and demoralized Hindus. They destroyed Hindu temples, killed them and confiscated their properties at will, and imposed Jizya (poll tax on non-Muslims). Under some Muslim rulers, Hindus were not allowed even the comforts of good life like good clothes, good food, riding horses, wearing turbans or keeping good homes or valuables or even beautiful children or wives. They were allowed to have minimum possessions for mere survival. Often they were given two alternatives: convert to Islam or pay Jizya.3
Another prominent Arya Samajist, Gokul Chand Narang concurs with Daulat Rai when he says:
But the on rush of Islam spread such confusion and consternation among the Hindu ranks that all chances of reconsideration and reform came to an end. The instinct of self-preservation, in any form and at any sacrifice, became supreme and all-absorbing. The storm threatened to sweep every thing before it, and the Hindus, evidently, thought it more politic to preserve chaff as well as wheat than try to winnow and loose both. The priests, the hereditary guardians of Hinduism, lazy and lifeless like all hereditary incumbents of high position, could not unite all Hindus together so as by one united action to hurl back the waves of invasion.4 Ishwaro va Dillishwaro va “the Lord of Delhi is as great as God” had long been a maxim with the terrified Hindus. 5 Nanak had, no doubt greatly succeeded in reviving the dying Hindu society, which was fairly on the way to convalescence, but environments were still unfavorable, the orthodox priesthood being still so strong, that he feared a relapse, unless some one was appointed to look after the patient. Had Nanak died without a successor there would have been no Sikhism today or at best simply another Kabirism.6
The Varna Ashrama Dharma/the caste system fragmented the Hindu society into traditional four caste groupings – Brahman, Kashatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. They were further split into numerous tight social compartments of sub-castes. And the most despised, exploited and persecuted Antyajas (untouchables) were beyond the pale of the caste system. The atrocity and inhumanity of the caste system reduced the Sudras and Antyajas who constituted vast majority (80-90%) of the population to the level of dumb driven cattle. Furthermore, the caste system destroyed not only the vitality and creativity of the people but also the glue of love and compassion for fellow human beings, which is essential for a healthy and vibrant society. In due course of time Indian subcontinent was like a giant dead tree whose roots had been eaten by termites, waiting to be toppled by a wind gust or in Indian parlance like a sick Brahma bull ready to be devoured by wild dogs and vultures. Muslim adventurers from Southwest Asia marched into India at will, meeting very little resistance, thus resulting in the establishment of an Islamic Empire. The entire caste hierarchy, the Dwijas (twice born – Brahman, Kashatriya, Vaisya) stooped to such low levels of negligence that it shirked its responsibility for the common defense of the territorial integrity of various diverse nations inhabiting the Indian subcontinent. The cowardice as well perfidy of the Vedic warriors -- nurtured on Varna Ashrama Dharma, blessed by idols and fed on Tantra, mantra, astrology and horoscopes, wearing loin cloths and armed with Shiva’s trishools (tridents) and Hanuman’s gadas (a wooden club with a large wooden head) -- was exposed when they went to the real battle field against the Al-ghaziz, the But-Shikans (idol breakers). This has not gone unnoticed by historians. In the history of the fateful forty-five years (1295-1345) traced by us so far, the one distressfully disappointing feature has been the absence, in Maharashtra, of the will to resist the invaders. The people of Maharashtra were conquered, oppressed and humiliated, but they meekly submitted like dumb driven cattle.7 What is painful is that, sometimes, a handful of foreigners overran vast tracts of the land without countering any sizable resistance. Shihab-ud-din Gauri won the second battle of Tarain (near Delhi) in 1192, and within fourteen years his General, Bakhtiyar Khilji had reached the bank of Brahmaputra. Nadiya was occupied with an advance party of no more than eighteen horsemen and this opened the way for the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal.7 Moreover, it was the caste hierarchy that helped Muslim conquerors to consolidate their power and rule over the Indian subcontinent. And it was the Dwijas “twice born – Brahman, Kashatriya and Vaisya” employees of Muslim rules who persecuted the Sudras and Antyajas (untouchables) and their own kind as well. Guru Nanak observes:
gaU ibrwhmx kau kru lwvhu gobir qrxu n jweI ] DoqI itkw qY jpmwlI Dwnu mlyCW KweI ] AMqir pUjw pVih kqybw sMjmu qurkw BweI] CofIlY pwKMfw ] nwim lieAY jwih qrMdw]
You (Khatri official) are taxing the cow and Brahman whom you worship; you are mistaken if you think that cow-dung-coating of your kitchen floor would absolve you of your sins. You put-on a ritual mark on your forehead, wear a dhoti (cloth worn around the waist) and carry a rosary, but you eat the food of Muslims [you are dependent on the malesh (Muslim ruler) to make a living]. You perform Hindu worship secretly but you behave like a Muslim outside and you read Quran with them. Give up this hypocrisy! Salvation lies in practicing truth. AGGS, M 1, p. 471. The descendents of those Hindus who collaborated with despotic Muslim rulers used the titles conferred on their ancestor as family name with great pride: Chaudhary, Sarkar, Jagirdar, Diwan, Malik, Raizada, Rai, Raja, Shah, Mahajan, Munsi, Sarkar, Patra, Mahapatra, Deshmukh, Deshpande, Kulkarni, Desai and so on.
Responding to Dayanand’s allegations
I want to stress here that I am using the word God in a generic sense. It should not be construed as Semitic or Vedic God. Further, during Guru Nanak’s time Hindu religion was Varna Ashrama Dharma/Caste System and its strict observance --enforcement on the authorities of Vedas, Shastras, Simrities, Puranas and other scriptures. Guru Nanak’s concern was focused on the caste system and the interpretation of scriptures that was used to justify and enforce the caste system. Therefore, Guru Nanak’s comments on Hindu religion and scriptures should be looked at from this perspective.
Here is my point-by-point response to Dayanand’s statements that distort Nanakian philosophy and the Sikh history. Bulk of Swami’s statements are nonsensical and do not deserve my response. For the benefit of readers, I am using the English edition of The Satyartha Parkasha published in June 1984 by Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Dayanand Bhawan, New Delhi. 1. Dayanand himself makes up the question and then gives his own version of Guru Nanak’s philosophy in his own terminology and not that of the Guru. Dayanand states that Nanak taught the following Mantra.
“He whose name is Truth is the Maker (of the Universe), the all-pervading Being, who is Nirbhau (free from fear and enmity), is beyond the reach of time, is never born and is all-glorious Being. Worship Him (O’ Disciple!) May your preceptor help you to do it. The Supreme spirit lived in the beginning of the Creation, lives in the present and shall live in the future.” JAPAJAU PAUREE. First, there in no such term as “JAPAJAU” in Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). Besides, Guru Nanak’s composition Japu, commonly called Japji, which starts on page one, is not in paurees. Further, what Dayanand has quoted is incomplete and an erroneous interpretation of the “Opening Verse” of AGGS and the first two line of Japu (Japji). Second, there is no word in “Opening Verse” and the first two line of Japji that can be interpreted as “He”. And there in no word or verse or slok or sabad or any composition in the AGGS that is designated as mantra. Guru Nanak rejected the Hindu concept of mantra which, simply put, is a repetitious chanting/uttering of a word or phrase or verse or syllable to obtain one’s objective.
qMqu mMqu pwKMfu n jwxw rwmu irdY mnu mwniAw ] I know nothing of deceitful Tantric spells and mantras; I imbibe God/Truth in my heart. AGGS, M 1, p. 766.
Avru n AauKDu qMq n mMqw ] hir hir ismrxu iklivK hMqw ] There is no other medicine, Tantric spells or mantra, but Naam Simran (dwelling on God’s attributes) destroys evil. AGGS, M 1, p. 416.
Third, the interpretation of <> is missing in the aforementioned interpretation, however, in earlier editions <> is interpreted as “AUM” meaning Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It appears that Dayanand’s original writing is being changed deliberately in successive translations.<> (ikooh) means One and Only That (is Infinite). Guru Nanak designed this special symbol <> to represent the “One and Only” Entity that is infinite, ineffable and unfathomable – beyond human comprehension in totality.
Fourth, Dayanand grossly distorted the words: nirbhau, gur and parsad. The meaning of jugad sach is completely left out. In addition, the meaning of nirvair is combined with the erroneous interpretation of nirbhau.
Here is my interpretation of the three verses:
<> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ] One and Only -- that (is Infinite), known as Truth, Creator, Omnipresent, Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining (nirbhau), without enmity/non-retributive (nirvair), Timeless Entity (unaffected by time), does not incarnate (beyond birth and death), Self-existent (created by Itself), Enlightener and Bounteous. AGGS, Opening Verse, p. 1.
Awid scu jugwid scu ] hY BI scu nwnk hosI BI scu ] Primordial Entity That exited during the ages, exists now, and, O Nanak, It shall be forever. AGGS, Opening Verse, p. 1. Nirbhau means Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining, and not “free from fear and enmity” as said by Dayanand. Besides it is the word nirvair that means “without enmity.” 2. To argue that Guru Nanak was ignorant of Sanskrit, Dayanand says that if Guru Nanak knew Sanskrit he would have used the word “Nirbhaya” instead of “Nirbhau.” This argument reflects Dayanand’s ignorance of Punjabi rather than on Guru Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit. First, why would Guru Nanak, who wrote down his thoughts in Punjabi, use a Sanskrit word when an appropriate Punjabi word is available? Second, the Sanskrit word “Nirbhaya”, as interpreted by Dayanand, is not same as the Punjabi word “Nirbhau.” “Nirbhau” means “Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining” whereas Nirbhaya, according to Dayanand, means “free from fear and enmity”. 3. Furthermore Dayanand asserts, “Another proof of Guru Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit language is his composition called Sanskrit hymns (Satotras).” Although there are Sanskrit words in the hymns composed by the Gurus, none, however, wrote hymns in Sanskrit. Both Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan wrote hymns in Sahaskriti, one of the languages that evolved from Prakrit.9 It seems neither Dayanand nor the translators of The Light Of Truth knew the difference between Sahaskriti and Sanskrit. Notably, the word “Satotras” is not found in AGGS; it may be a Vedic term or a concoction by Dayanand. I challenge those who regard Guru Nanak as ignorant and illiterate and consider Punjabi as a crude language to match the poetic beauty and message of the following quartet in so few words using any of the world’s languages! Commenting on the futility of arti, a Hindu mode of worship of idols with lights, incense, flowers etc., Guru Nanak draws their attention to the awesome and harmonious worship of the Creator inherent in Nature (Cosmos).
ggn mY Qwlu riv cMdu dIpk bny qwirkw mMfl jnk moqI ] DUpu mlAwnloo pvxu cvro kry sgl bnrwie PUlMq joqI ] kYsI AwrqI hoie BvKMfnw qyrI AwrqI ] Anhqw sbd vwjMq ByrI ] gagan mehn thaal rav chand deepak bane tarika mandal janak moti. dhoop malaanlo pavan chavro kare sagal banrae fulant joti. kaisee artee hoae bhavkhandna teree artee. anhta sabad vajant bheree. The sky is the salver, the sun and the moon are the lamps and the stars in the constellations are the pearls. The wind carrying sandalwood fragrance from the mountains is the incense, air is the fan and all the vegetation is the offering of flowers to the Luminous One. What a wonderful and beautiful worship is this? O the Emancipator, this is your worship. The unending cosmic music is the sound of temple drums. AGGS, M 1, p. 663.
4. Continuing his diatribe against Guru Nanak, Dayanand wrote. Since he was little vain, he may possibly have even created some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame, hence it is that in his book called Grantha the Vedas have been praised as well censured, because had he not done so, someone might have asked him the meaning of the Vedic Mantra and as he would not have been able to explain it he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people. Anticipating this difficulty, he from the first, denounced the Vedas here and there, but occasionally also spoke well of the Vedas, because had he not done so, the people would have called him a Nastika, i. e., and atheist or the reviler of the Vedas. For instance it is recorded in the Grantha, “Even Brahma who constantly read the Vedas died. All the Vedas are a mere fiction. The Vedas can never realize the greatness of a Sadhu.” Sukhmani, 7:8. “Nanak says that a man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God.” Sukhmani, 8: 6.
First, Guru Nanak was not afraid of being called a Nastika, (atheist)--he was called far worse by those who saw his ideology as a threat to their way of life (Appendix B) .
koeI AwKY BUqnw ko khY byqwlw] koeI AwKY AwdmI nwnku vycwrw] BieAw idvwnw swh kw nwnku baurwnw] hau hir ibnu Avru n jwnw] Some say that Nanak is an evil spirit; others say that he has gone astray, and still others say that he is a helpless poor man. But I, Nanak whom the people call insane, am madly in love with my Lover. I know of none other than God/Lover. AGGS, M 1, p. 991. Second, knowing that Guru Nanak rejected all essentials of Hinduism,8 it is difficult to believe Dayanand’s claim that the Guru praised the Vedas? Further, Dayanand did not know that in the AGGS, Vedas is spelled as Bed or Ved and it means knowledge or truth, or Veda the scripture. There is praise of knowledge and truth but not of Vedas the scriptures. Third, Dayanand alleges that Nanak was a vain person who belittled the Vedas in order to gain publicity and fame. To support his views he quotes the following two verses from Sukhmani. “The Vedas can never realize the greatness of a Sadhu. Sukhmani, 7:8.” “Nanak says that a man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God. Sukhmani, 8: 6.” Apparently, Dayanand and his translators were ignorant of Sukhmani, which is Guru Arjan’s composition. In using the words sadh and brahamgyani, Guru Arjan implies the Supreme Being and not the Brahminical meaning as intended by Dayanand. According to Guru Arjan: A Sadh is the one who has restrained Haumain (self-centeredness) and is free from the evil influences of worldly temptations: Kam (lust, sexual drive), Kroadh (anger), Lob (covetousness, economic drive), Moh (attachment) and Ahankar (egotistical pride). A Sadh contemplates on God/Truth all the time. A Sadh is one with God and sees God in all. He liberates others from evil thoughts and unites them with God. In Sadh’s company enemies are transformed into friends. A sadh is an embodiment of compassion, humility and forgiveness. AGGS, M 5, p. 272. This definition is in contrast to the inequality promoted through Varna Asharama Dharma, which is based on the principles enshrined in the Vedas. Let us now examine the verses cited by Dayanand.
swD kI mihmw byd n jwnih ] jyqw sunih qyqw biKAwnih ] swD kI aupmw iqhu gux qy duir ] The Vedas do not know the greatness of Sadh (God) as they describe only what is written in them. The greatness of Sadh (God) is beyond the material world – beyond human understanding in totality. AGGS, M 5, p. 272.
bRhmigAwnI sB isRsit kw krqw ] bRhmigAwnI sd jIvY nhI mrqw ] … bRhmigAwnI Awip inrMkwr ] Brahamgyani is creator of the Cosmos. Brahamgyani is Eternal -- never dies. Brahamgyani is the Formless One. AGGS, M 5, p. 273. Fourth, there are no citations from the AGGS for the statement: “Even Brahma who constantly read the Vedas died.” However, the 1908 (1960) English translation of Satayartha Parkasha by Durga Prasad cites the following verse:
byd pVq bRhmw mry cwry byd khwnI ] Sukhmani, Pohri 7, chowk 8. Sukhmani is the composition of Guru Arjan and it is made of asatpadees (a poem or hymn consisting of eight stanzas) not pohris. Besides, I do not know what “chowk 8” is as it is not found in the AGGS. Furthermore, the verse quoted by Dayanand does not exist in Sukhmani, nor even in the entire AGGS. Regretably, it appears that Dayanand himself made this hymn. However, there are verses by Guru Arjan about Brahama and the Vedas.
byd pVy piV bRhmy hwry ieku iqlu nhI kImiq pweI ] After exhaustive studies of the Vedas many a brahmas (learned persons) grew weary without realizing even an iota of God’s worth. AGGS, M 5, p. 747. In AGGS, Brahma means a learned person, a creative person, and Brahama of the Hindu trinity.
mihmw n jwnih byd ] bRhmy nhI jwnih Byd ] Vedas do not know the greatness of the Creator and brahmas do not know Its mystery. AGGS, M 5, p. 894. Fifth, Sikh Gurus did not say, “All the Vedas are a mere fiction.” On the contrary they regarded Vedas as the foundation of Varna Ashrama Dharam/caste system and Hindu beliefs, customs and culture i.e the Hindu way of life. Sixth, Guru Nanak points out that it was the caste system that is responsible for the moral degradation and social disintegration of the Hindu society. He held the caste system and its hierarchy (Dwijas) responsible for disunity. It was the disunity of Hindus that caused their defeat by the Muslim invaders. And he reminded the Hindus that when people lose self-respect by submitting to tyranny and injustice without moral resistance, all efforts to subsist are fruitless. In a poetic interpretation of the problem, he says, “Only a whole grain germinates to bear fruit, not a split one.”
PkV jwqI PkVu nwau ] sBnw jIAw iekw Cwau ] Awphu jy ko Blw khwey ] nwnk qw pru jwpY jw piq lyKY pwey ] Worthless is the caste and worthless is the status attached to it as the Protector of all is One. O Nanak, one may consider oneself high due to caste status, but it is found out if it meets God’s approval. AGGS, M 1, p. 83.
sic kwlu kUVu vriqAw kil kwlK byqwl ] bIau bIij piq lY gey Ab ikau augvY dil] jy ieku hoie q augvY ruqI hU ruiq hoie ] nwnk pwhY bwhrw korY rMgu n soie ] Truth has vanished and falsehood prevails everywhere, as the society has gone astray due to immorality of the age. The Hindus have lost their honour due to their own actions (disunity). Now how can they restore their honour? It is only the whole grain that germinates when sowed in proper season. O Nanak, raw fabric can’t be dyed in permanent colour without first mercerizing it. (In other words, it is only when the Hindu society is united as one and fights for a common purpose with steadfastness that it can restore its honour). AGGS, M 1, p. 468. Seventh, Guru Nanak compares the Hindu elite, Dwijas (twice born) who worked for Muslim rulers, with trained animals and birds that are used to trap their own kind. It was the Hindu elite that helped Muslim rulers to expand and consolidate their power over Hindus.
hrxW bwjW qY iskdwrW eynw piVHAw nwau ] PWDI lgI jwiq Phwiein AgY nwhI Qwau ] Hindu government officials are like captive trained falcons and deer that are used to trap their own kind. Such people have no place/honor in the court of God/Truth. AGGS, M 1, p. 1288.
kil hoeI kuqy muhI Kwj hoAw murdwru ] kUVu boil boil Baukxw cUkw Drmu bIcwru ] ijn jIvMidAw piq nhI moieAw mMdI soie ] iliKAw hovY nwnkw krqw kry su hoie ] In this age of greed people (custodians of society/elite) behave like dogs that eat carcasses (unlawful earning has become their way of life). They keep speaking lies because they do not reflect on truth. Those who live without honor are also remembered as such after death. O Nanak, whatever the Creator does, happens according to Its Hukam (Cosmic Law). AGGS, M 1, p. 1242.
jy jIvY piq lQI jwie ] sBu hrwmu jyqw ikCu Kwie ] If one submits to injustice or tyranny without moral resistance then all efforts to subsist are fruitless. AGGS, M 1, p. 142.
5. Dayanand shows his ignorance of Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) when he writes: Since he was little vain, he may possibly have even created some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame, hence it is that his book called Grantha the Vedas have been praised as well censured, because had he not done so, someone might have asked him the meaning of the Vedic Mantra and as he would not have been able to explain it he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people…. Many a successors to the throne of Nanak have incorporated his writings in the Grantha. The tenth Guru of the Sikhs was Guru Gobind. Since his time no addition has been made to it, but instead, all the smaller books that were extant then were collected to together and bound in one volume (and the name Grantha was given to it). The successors of Nanak wrote various treatises: some of them invented fictitious stories like those of the Puranas, and acting on the precept “The man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God,” arrogated to themselves Divine privileges. It was Guru Arjan, the fifth Nanak, who compiled the first Sikh Scripture by incorporating the banis (hymns) of his four predecessors, his own and that of Bhagats (sages) and Sufis, and the resulting codex is called Adi (Eternal) Granth (Awid grMQ). Later Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth successor to the house of Nanak added his composition in the Adi Granth and the resulting sacred text is called Damdami Bir. In 1708, before his death, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth successor to the House of Nanak, abolished the personal line of Guruship, and instead he conferred Guruship jointly on the Damdami Bir and the Panth (corporate body of Sikhs). The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which is responsible for the printing and distribution of the Sikh Scripture has named it as “Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.” In literature it is referred to as Guru Granth Sahib or Guru Granth or Aad Guru Granth Sahib or Granth or Sikh Scripture or sometimes as Sikh Bible. 6. About Guru Gobind Singh, Dayanand wrote: Gobind Singh was indeed a very brave man among the followers of Nanak. The Mohammedans had oppressed his people very much. He was anxious to revenge himself on them, but he had neither men nor the necessary material for the purpose whilst the Mohammedans were at the zenith of their. He, therefore, resorted to a stratagem. He gave it out that the goddess had given him sword and a blessing: “Go forth and fight against the Mohammedans. You shall win.” He gained many supporters from amongst the people. First, the statement, “The Mohammedans had oppressed his people very much. He was anxious to revenge himself on them,” is a distortion of both Sikh history and Sikh philosophy. God in Sikhism in Nirvair (without enmity), non-retributive, and non-revengeful and that is the message of the Sikh Gurus.
jsBy swJIvwl sdwiein qUM iksY n idsih bwhrw jIau ] All are partners in Your (God) commonwealth and You do not look at anyone as a stranger. AGGS, M 5, p. 97.
nw ko bYrI nhI ibgwnw sgl sMig hm kau bin AweI ] All are Neither we regard anyone as enemy nor stranger, living in harmony with all is our creed. AGGS, M 5, p. 1299
Guru Hargobind‘s father Guru Arjan was tortured to death on the orders of Emperor Jahangir under the influence of intolerant Muslim clergy and the defenders of the caste system.10, 11 Guru Hargobind did not seek revenge against Jahangir, instead he forgave the emperor.12 The Guru built a mosque for the Muslims in Hargobindpur (Sri Gobindpur), which is a testimony to the attitude of Sikh Gurus toward Muslims.13 This mosque is preserved as a historical site and it is called “Guru Ki Masit. Similarly, Guru Gobind Singh forgave Emperor Aurangzeb for the death of his father, mother, four sons, and thousands of Sikhs.14, 15
Second, the Swami claimed that “He [Guru Gobind Singh] gave it out that the goddess had given him sword and a blessing: “Go forth and fight against the Mohammedans. You shall win”. By making such false claims Dayanand attempted to distort Sikh history and Nanakian philosophy. Dayanand was himself against the worship of gods and goddesses, but he had no compunction in saying that Guru Gobind Singh was blessed with a sword by the goddess. Perhaps, Swami was unaware of the categorical rejection of Hindu God, gods, and goddesses in Aad Guru Granth Sahib.
ihMdU mUly BUly AKutI jwNhI] nwrid kihAw is pUj krwNhI] AMDy guMgy AMD AMDwru ] pwQru ly pUjih mugD gvwr] Eih jw Awip fuby qum khw qrxhwru] Hindus are utterly mistaken and going on the wrong path. They worship whatever Nard told them to worship. They are spiritually blind and dumb and groping in the darkness. The ignorant fools worship stones. How could a stone that itself sinks in water help a human being cross the ocean of worldly temptations (corrupting influences)? AGGS, M 1, p. 556.
dyvI dyvw pUjIAY BweI ikAw mwgau ikAw dyih ] pwhxu nIir pKwlIAY BweI jl mih bUfih qyih ] O brother, you worship gods and goddesses. What can you ask of them and what can they give to you? O brother, the stones/idols you wash with water sink in water (in other words how could these stones help you cross the ocean of worldly temptations). AGGS, M 1, p. 637.
qU khIAq hI Awid BvwnI ] mukiq kI brIAw khw CpwnI ] You (Brahman) say that Bhawani (goddess Durga) is the source of all power, but where does she hide when her devotees ask for liberation (from the tyranny of Muslim rulers)? AGGS, Namdev, p. 874. Third, Dayanand and his translators turned a blind eye to the fact that Hindus have been worshiping this goddess (Bhawani/Durga) for thousands of years but she did not help them against Muslim conquerors and later Christians who came as traders but ended up colonizing the sub-continent. Moreover, it was the diehard worshipers of Bhawani/Durga, the Rajput rulers of Shivalik Hills, who declared war on Guru Gobind Singh and collaborated with Mughals to eradicate Sikhs and Sikhism from the face of earth. Moreover, Rajput rulers, who were responsible for defending the Hindu Dharama (caste system) and the territorial integrity of Indian subcontinent, were no where to be found when Yaminaddaula Mahmud invaded India repeatedly during a period of thirty years in the first half of 11th century.1 Further, the Brahman who was the kingpin, ideologue and the center of Hindu Dharma, missed being a raj mantri (minister of state), raj guru (religious advisor to the king) and raj prohit (family priest of the king) after the defeat of Rajput rulers. He was not satisfied with the status quo and turned to Chanakya (Kautilya) niti16 (policy of perverse morality -- morality turned upside down), instead of seeking moksha (salvation) in Baikunth (heaven). During the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar, instead of praying to goddess Durga, he turned to the goddess in flesh (Rajput princess) in order to get back not only into the Mughal court but also into the Mughal palace. He advised the royal Rajputs to give their daughters in marriage to Emperor Akbar. Now, it is an anathema even for an ordinary Rajput to marry his daughter to a non-Rajput Hindu, not to speak of a royal Rajput marrying his daughter to a Muslim, whom he considers as malesha (polluted/defiled). But this case was different as this matrimonial alliance was blessed and sanctified by the Brahman. Rajput rulers led by the Ambar family accepted this proposal without blinking an eye17 and thus opened the door for Brahmans, Rajputs, Khatris, Banias and Kayasthas in Akbar’s administration. Let us not forget that Birbal and Todar Mal were among the “jewels” of Akbar’s court, and Raja Man Singh was a very distinguished and decorated commander in the Mughal army. In gratitude, Akbar cancelled the Jizya (poll tax on non-Muslims) imposed by earlier Muslim rulers. The Rajputs played a major role in the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire supported by the Brahman who chanted a new mantra, Ishwaro va Dillishwaro va, (The emperor of Delhi is as great as God).5 Akbar’s Rajput in-laws made it sure that there was no royal Rajput left who would taunt them by saying: “You have sent your daughters to the haram (concubine quarters) of a malesha.” The only Rajput sovereign, who refused to kowtow to Akbar was Maharana Partap. Interestingly, all the Rajput vassals joined Akbar in defeating this valiant man.17 Fourth, to examine Dayanand’s false (Brahmanical) assertion that Guru Gobind Singh’s fight was against Mohammedans, I will briefly narrate events from Sikh history. Let me make it clear right here that it was the martyrdom of Guru Arjan in 1606 CE, at the hands of Emperor Jahangir, that started the long and bloody conflict between Mughal rulers and the Sikhs that lasted for almost a century and a half when Sikhs defeated the Mughals in 1750s to establish Khalsa (Sikh) rule over Punjab and adjoining territories. However, it was not a conflict between Sikhs and the Muslim populace or Islam. On the other hand it was the caste hierarchy (Dwijas) who started opposing Guru Nanak the moment he declared his solidarity with the downtrodden masses and rejected the caste system and the Vedas. Citing Manu, Dayanand implies that Guru Nanak should have been eliminated from the Indian subcontinent. “He is an atheist, and a slanderer of the Vedas, who disparages their teachings, as well as the writings of true teachers in conformity with the Vedas. He should be excluded from good society, aye, even expelled out of the country (if necessary), Manu 2: 11.” (Chapter 3, p. 50). However, during Guru Nanak’s time the followers of Manu were powerless and living like slaves under Muslim rule. So they could not do any physical harm to Guru Nanak or stop him from preaching his message of love, respect, justice, and equality for all. Nonetheless, as the Sikh movement grew stronger, these twice-born Hindus started harassing Sikhs. They would not allow Sikhs to fetch water from their community wells and ponds or allow them to live in their neighborhoods. The Sikh Gurus established their own towns and dug up wells and ponds. Since the rulers of the country were Muslims, Hindus could not take any direct action against the Sikh movement, which was growing stronger by the day. Therefore, they complained to Emperor Akbar that Guru Amar Das was defiling the traditions and religion of their forefathers by abolishing the caste distinctions among his followers. Thy Majesty is the protector of our customs and the redressor of our wrongs. Every man’s religion is dear to him. Guru Amar Das of Goindwal has abandoned the religious and social customs of the Hindus and abolished the distinction of the four castes. Such heterodoxy hath never before been heard of in the four ages. There is now no twilight prayer, no gayatri, no offering of water to ancestors, no pilgrimages, no obsequies and no worship of idols or of the divine Saligram. The Guru hath abandoned all these and established the repetition of Waheguru instead of Ram, and no one now acteth according to the Vedas and the Smritis. The Guru reverenceth not Yogis, Jatis or Brahmins. He worshippeth no gods or goddesses, and he ordereth his Sikhs to refrain from doing so for even more. He seateth all his followers in a line and causeth them to eat together from his kitchen, irrespective of caste – whether they are Jats, strolling minstrels, Mohammadans, Brahmins, Khatris, shopkeepers, sweepers, barbers, washermen, fishermen, or carpenters. We pray thee, restrain him now, else it would be difficult hereafter.18, 19 Guru Amardas sent his trusted and devoted Sikh, Bhai Jetha to answer these allegations. Bhai Jetha explained to the emperor, “We have abandoned the traditions and religion of our forefathers not to offend any body, but to practice the universal religion of Guru Nanak -- kindness, love, respect, justice and equality for all.”20, 21 The Emperor found no merit in the complaint and dismissed it. Later the emperor paid a visit to Guru Amar Das in Goindwal. He was so much impressed with the concept of Langar (community kitchen) that he granted revenue of several villages for the maintenance of the community kitchen.21 Akbar’s relations with the Sikh Guru were very cordial, however, Guru Arjan's growing influence and popularity was irksome not only to upper caste Hindus, but also to the conservative Muslim clergy. People like Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi22 complained to prince Salim about the growing influence of Sikh faith, which was becoming an obstacle in the Islamisation of India. On the other hand upper caste Hindus saw Sikhism as a challenge to their way of life particularly the caste system. They conspired with Hindu government officials like Chandu, Birbal, Raja Mann Singh (maternal uncle of Salim) and Salim’s Rajput mother against Guru Arjan. When Salim (Jahangir) became the Emperor after Akbar’s death (October 1605), he ordered the execution of Guru Arjan by torture in May 1605, within seven months after ascending the throne.10 It was Chandu Khatri, a government official who carried out the order.30 23 Shortly after that, government officials of Lahore and the Khatris started hostile activities against Guru Hagobind Sahib who was the successor of Guru Arjan Dev. In the ensuing skirmishes Guru Hargobind scored decisive victories. Most notably, the Guru’s army also had a contingent of Muslims. Bhagwan Das Gherar, his son Rattan Chand, and Chandu’s son Karam Chand were killed in action. Later, the Guru built a mosque for Muslims in the village of Hargobindpur.24 In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa Order which would be a well-disciplined force of saint-soldiers. When he gave a clarion call to the downtrodden masses to enlist in the Khalsa force in order to fight the oppression of Mughals and the tyranny of the caste system, Rajput chiefs of Shivalik hills declared war against the Guru. In the battle of Bhangani a Muslim divine, Pir Budhu Shah helped Guru Gobind Singh.25 The Pir lost two sons and many followers in the battle. After a bitter defeat the Rajput vassals appealed to Emperor Aurangzeb for military aid. The Khalsa force was no match against the combined forces of Rajputs and the imperial Mughal army. When many Sikhs including Guru Gobind Singh’s two older sons and three Piaras (beloved ones) courted martyrdom, the Sikhs asked Guru Gobind Singh to leave the battlefield and move to the safety of Malwa region. Muslim friends and followers like Nihang Khan, Qazi Charag Ali Shah Ajneria, Inayat Ali Noorpuria, Qazi Pir Muhamad Salowala, Subeg Shah Halwaria, Hussan Ali Mannu Majria, Nabi Khan, Ghani Khan, Rai Kalah and others helped Guru Gobind Singh at this critical juncture.26 On the other hand Guru Gobind Singh’s one time household employee, Gangu Brahman (Ganga Dhar Kaul), a Kashmiri Brahman betrayed Guru’s mother and his six and eight years old sons. He handed them over to Wazir Khan, the Mughal faujdar of Sarhind.27 Nawab Sher Mohamad of Malerkotla was against the two small children of the Guru being put to harm as that was against Islam. On the other hand Diwan Sucha Nand (Bhandari Khatri) was emitting venom against the Guru and Khalsa. On their refusal to accept Islam, the two young boys were tortured for four days before being bricked alive. Since the wall fell down when it reached their neck, their throats were slit on December 12, 1705. The Guru’s mother died of shock on hearing the news.28 During the early part of the eighteenth century the Mughal rulers and their collaborators, Dwijas (twice born Hindus) carried out systematic extermination of the Sikh population. There were two major massacres of the Sikhs known as small and big Ghalooghara (holocausts) carried out by Diwan Lakhpat Rai and Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1746 and 1762, respectively.29 Diwan Lakhpat Rai took a vow to eradicate Sikhs.30 “The upper caste Hindus (Dwijas) emerged as the greatest beneficiaries of the Mughal-Sikh conflict, and rather developed a vested interest in it both for keeping their positions and carrying on their war against Sikhism,” writes Sangat Singh.31 When the Mughal authorities put price on the heads of Sikhs, head-hunting became a gainful occupation of anti-Sikh Hindus. The prominent Hindus who conducted organized raids for Sikhs heads were Karma of Chhina, Ram Randhawa of Talwandi, Sahib Rai Sandhu of Noshera Dalla, Harbhagat Naranjania, Sain Das of Jandiala, Dharam Das Topi of Jodh Nagar, Chuhar Mal Ohri of Amritsar, Deva Chaudhary and his Brahman Diwan Har Sahai of Patti, Sahib Rai the Chudhary of Noshera, Pahar Mal grandson of Raja Todar Mal, and Massa Rangar of Mandiala who was a Muslim.32 Farrukhsiyar granted Gangu Brahman’s son Raj Kaul land near a nehar (canal) at Andha Mughal, a suburb of Delhi. He changed the family name Kaul to Nehru, probably to escape harm from the Khalsa forces.33 Fifth, Dayanand’s statements about the Khalsa are also false. It was Guru Nanak who established the Khalsa panth (community) and Guru Gobind Singh institutionalized it by creating a well disciplined cohesive military force subject to strict code of conduct and dress. Bhai Gurdas, a nephew of Guru Amar Das, amanuensis of Adi Granth, poet par excellence, literati, and an eminent theologian, remarked that Guru Nanak became prominent (made his mark) in the world by establishing a panth of the pure (nirmal/khalsa).
mwirAw is`kw jgq ivc nwnk inrml pMQ clwieAw[ Nanak became renowned in the world by establishing a nirmal (Khalsa) Panth. Bhai Gurdas, Varan Bhai Gurdas, 1, p. 18. It was the tyranny of the caste system and bigotry and oppression of Muslim rule that had reduced the Indian masses to the level of dumb driven cattle. Guru Nanak denounced the elite, both Hindu and Muslim, and declared his solidarity with the masses. He launched a campaign to awaken the masses to fight for justice and equality.
duKu ivCoVw ieku duKu BUK ] ieku duKu skqvwr jmdUq ] One pain is the separation from God (lack of morality), second pain is the grinding poverty and third pain is the tyranny of the ruler. (It should be noted that vast majority of the human population is still facing these three problems!) Bhai Gurdas, 1, p. 18. He gave a clarion call to the masses to join his movement with an explicit warning that it would require supreme sacrifice.
jau qau pRym Kylx kw cwau] isru Dir qlI glI myrI Awau] iequ mwrig pYru DrIjY] isr dIjY kwix n kIjY] If you want to play the game of love (follow the righteous path) then follow me and be prepared to sacrifice your life. Once you step on this path, do not hesitate to offer your head. AGGS, M 1, p. 1412.
This proclamation is central to the Sikh revolution; it is the basis of Miri-Piri (temporal and spiritual sovereignty) and the evolution of the noble Khalsa Order. Only a moral person (gurmukh) can be a mir-pir (Khalsa). Inspired by Nanakian philosophy (Gurmat), the Khalsa forces forged mostly from the downtrodden stock of the Hindu society, Sudras and the Untouchables, fought against three formidable foes namely the mighty Mughals, the caste hierarchy, and the foreign invaders for about half a century. Eventually the Khalsa panth (Sikhs) established a kingdom over a vast tract in the Northwest region of the Indian sub-continent about which Baron Hugel, an Austrian traveler, wrote: The state established by Ranjit Singh was “the most wonderful object in the whole world.” 34 Dayanand misunderstood and misinterpreted the Khalsa movement and gave a Brahmanical version of the objective of the institutionalization of the Khalsa Order. The Mughals were watching the activities of the Sikhs very closely, as they saw in the growing Sikh movement both a political threat and also a major impediment to islamization of India. Ghulam Mohyiuddin who witnessed the initiation of the Khalsa Order on the Baisakhi day of 1699 reported to Emperor Aurangzeb that in spite of opposition from the orthodox, thousands of men and women accepted the Khalsa Order by partaking khande di pahul. Mohyiuddin write, He [Guru Gobind Singh] has abolished caste and customs, old rituals, beliefs and the superstitions of Hindus and banded them into a single brotherhood. No one will be superior or inferior to another. Men of all castes have been made to eat from the same bowl. Though orthodox men have opposed him, about twenty thousand men and women have taken baptism of steel at his hand on the first day. The Guru has also told the gathering: ‘I’ ll call myself Gobind Singh only if I can make the meek sparrows pounce upon the hawks and tear them; only if one combatant of my force faces a legion of the enemy.35 It is surprising that neither Dayanand, nor his translator, nor the publisher mentions the location of the “Vedic world” or its boundaries. For the sake of argument suppose that the “Vedic world” was at the zenith of its glory 5,000 years ago then the Vedas have to be much older than 5,000 years. However, it was Panini the great genius, a grammarian who constructed/synthesized Sanskrit (adorned, cultivated, perfected) language in the fourth century BC from languages/dialects, collectively called Prakrit (not adorned or arranged/refined) spoken in the ancient kingdom of Gandhara. There is no definite information about Panini and his life, not even the century he lived in. Scholarly mainstream favors a 4th century BC, corresponding to Achaemenid Gandhara with Pushkalavati as its capital, contemporary to the Nanda Dynasty ruling the Indo-Gangetic plain, but a 5th or even late 6th century BC date cannot be ruled out with certainty. According to legend, Panini was born in Shalatula, a town beside the Indus River, in Gandhara, which is in the modern day the Attock District of Pakistan's Punjab province, located between Rawalpindi and Peshawar. The kingdom of Gandhara included the area that is now called Pakistan, part of eastern Afghanistan, parts of eastern Iran, Kashmir and the Indian Punjab up to river Satluj. So the language of ancient Vedas is not the Sanskrit of Panini. And if the modern Vedas are in Panini’s Sanskrit then their language is malesh bhakha because Gandhara has been ruled by maleshas one after another since 6th century BC when Gandhara became a part of the Persian Empire that included Greece under Cyrus the Great. Panini used the word Yavan for the Greeks and Yavanani for their language. The Vedic people called Greeks malesha and their language as malesh bhakha. The territory north of Ghaghar River was malesha land for the followers of Vedas. The Punjabi language that Guru Nanak spoke and used to express and write his thoughts evolved from Prakrit like all other northern Indian languages including Sanskrit and Sahaskriti. Sanskrit the beautiful created by the great genius Panini as a gift to mankind, was monopolized by another genius –- the Brahman mind set -- that converted it into stagnant well-water instead of the ever flowing mighty Ganges –- the lingua franca of the Indian subcontinent. Conclusion In sum, Dayanand’s commentary on Guru Nanak and the Sikhs is false, absurd, and childish. It appears an outburst of a psychologically troubled mind.
1. Qeyamuddin Ahmad (Ed.). India by Al-Biruni. National Book Trust, India, third reprint, 1995, p. 10. 2. Hari R. Gupta in Guru Nanak: His Life, Time & Teachings, Ed. Gurmukh Nihal Singh. New Delhi: Guru Nanak Foundation, 1969, pp. 27-28. 3. Daulat Rai. Sahibe Kamal Guru Gobind Singh (Hindi). Amritsar:
Gurmat Sahit Charitable Trust, 7th reprint, 1993, pp. 25-64.
4.Gokul C. Narang. Transformation Of Sikhism. New Delhi: New Book Society of India, 5th edition, 1960, p. 19. 5. Ibid., p. 98. 6. Ibid., p. 27. 7. Jagjit Singh. The Sikh Revolution: A Perspective View. New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 4th reprint, 1998, pp. 148-150. 8. Baldev Singh. “Responding to Reverend Zekveld’s ‘A Comparison Between the Two Credos: Christian and Sikh’”. SikhSpectrum.com, May 2006. 9. C. Shackle. “The Sahaskriti Idiom in the ‘Adi Granth’”. Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 41 (2), 1978, pp. 297-213. 10. J. S. Grewal. The Sikhs Of The Punjab. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 60-61. 11. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, pp. 37-39. 12. Ibid., 43-44. 13. Max A. Macauliffe. The Sikh Religion (Vols. III & IV). Delhi: Low Price Publications, 1993, Vol. IV, p. 119. 14. J. S. Grewal. The Sikhs Of The Punjab. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 78-79. 15. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, pp. 78-81. 16. Ibid. pp. xvi, 75, 118, 290,532, 542-43. 17. Jagjit Singh. The Sikh Revolution: A Perspective View. New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 4th reprint, 1998, pp. 213-18. 18. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, p. 26. 19. Max A. Macauliffe. The Sikh Religion (Vols. I & II). Delhi: Low Price Publications, 1993, Vol. II, pp. 102-06. 20. Ibid., pp. 106-08. 21. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, p. 27. 22. Ibid., pp. 36-37, 42. 23. Ibid., p. 39. 24. Ibid. pp. 45, 46. 25. Jagjit Singh. The Sikh Revolution: A Perspective View. New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 4th reprint, 1998, pp. 111-14. 26. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, p. 76-79. 27. Ibid., p. 76. 28. Ibid, p. 76. 29. Ibid., pp. 102, 105. 30. Bhangu, R. S., Prachin Panth Parkash (Punjabi), Ed., Bhai Vir Singh 4th ed., 1962, pp. 321-323. 31. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, pp. 94-95. 32. Ibid., pp. 96-97, 100-01. 33. Ibid., p. 94. 34. J. S. Grewal. The Sikhs Of The Punjab. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 113. 35. Sangat Singh. The Sikhs In History. New Delhi: Uncommon Books, 4th edition, 2001, pp. 72-73.
Appendix A cited in Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs
1. Guru Nanak’s unique, revolutionary and liberating philosophy of universal humanism - love, respect, justice and equality — is applicable for all. Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike have written abundantly about him and on his philosophy in Punjabi, English and some other languages. Regrettably, most if not all, is addressed in a superficial, superfluous and contradictory manner-so much so that some authors in the spirit of ignorance -- even exercised repudiation of Nanak’s precious thoughts which are enshrined in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS), the only authentic source of the Nanakian philosophy (Gurmat).
2. To my knowledge Guru Nanak is the only one among the founders of major world religions, who wrote down his teachings. His immense contribution to the development of Punjabi language and literature has been eclipsed by his spiritual greatness and gone unnoticed by scholars. There is no evidence that before Guru Nanak there was any writer of prose or poetry in the Punjabi language. As a matter of fact Punjabi literature was nonexistent except for the small poetic composition (slokas) of Baba Sheikh Farid in Multani, a dialect of Punjabi. Guru Nanak is indeed the father of Punjabi poetry and literature. Before him it is fair to say that Punjabi was the spoken language of all Punjabis, except the Muslim elite (rulers and Ashrafs). He enriched the Punjabi language by adding words from Indian, Arabic, and Persian languages. He transformed the rustic Punjabi language to the language of philosophy and poetry by incorporating religious terminologies of other faiths and folklore and idiom of Punjab to expound his own thoughts. He was a poet par excellence. His poetry covers a wide spectrum of Punjabi dialects set in tunes of classical Indian musical modes of ragas and rhythms. No Punjabi poet has so far matched the beauty of his poetry, wide range of subjects he discussed, and his effectiveness and efficiency of use of words, idioms and metaphors.
Further during Guru Nanak’s time, Persian was the language of the rulers, (both Muslim elite and the government) while Sanskrit was the monopoly of Brahmans, the highest caste, who had exclusive right to teach, preach and study religion. The Punjabi Brahmans (priests) used Punjabi in daily life and Sanskrit only for conducting religious services. Guru Nanak wanted to communicate his message in the languages of the populace. Therefore, he rejected Sanskrit and Persian languages and their scripts for expressing and writing his thoughts. He and his successor, Guru Angad constructed a new script, Gurmukhi, from existing crude scripts. According to recent research there are words of more than twenty-five languages in AGGS, which is written in verse form and its language is understandable to a large section of the Indian population.
God It must be acknowledged at the outset that the concept of “One God” was known long before Guru Nanak. However, that “one God” idea is nothing more than a “tribal god.” In addition to millions of gods/goddesses, Hindus also believe in a “God” who communicates only through the Brahmans (highest caste) and then there is a “God” for the chosen people, the Jews. The Christian “God” is approachable only through His only son, Jesus Christ, whereas the Muslim God, Allah is accessible only through Mohammed--Allah’s final Prophet in a long line of prophets. Muslims claim that theirs’ is the only true prophetic religion. On the other hand Guru Nanak proclaimed that the “One and Only” Entity, the Cause of all causes and Source of all sources, That is manifest as the Cosmos, is beyond the scope of Hindu and the Semitic texts. Guru Nanak fundamentally differs with earlier religious traditions on the concept of God. To refute the notion of the exclusive nature of God or exclusive path to God and the coercion or manipulation of others to follow that exclusive path, Guru Nanak emphasizes very clearly again and again the infinite, ineffable and unfathomable nature of God.
kyqy AwKih AwKix pwih ] kyqy kih kih auiT auiT jwih ] eyqy kIqy hoir kryih ] qw AwiK n skih kyeI kyie ] jyvfu BwvY qyvfu hoie ] nwnk jwxY swcw soie ] How many speak of God and how many are attempting to describe It? How many have departed doing the same. If God were to create as many more as already created; even then they would not be able to describe how great God is. God is as great as It wants to be. O Nanak, the True One alone knows Its greatness. AGGS, Jap 26, p. 6.
swcy nwm kI iqlu vifAweI ] AwiK Qky kImiq nhI pweI ] jy siB imil ky AKx pwih ] vfw nw hovY Gwit n jwie ] If all the people get together even then after their best efforts they can’t describe even an iota of God’s greatness. And then what they say does no enhance or diminish God’s greatness. AGGS, M 1, p. 349.
Mathematically/scientifically speaking, a finite entity can’t define or estimate an infinite entity.
byd kqybI Bydu nw jwqw ] Neither the Vedas (four Hindu texts) nor the four Katebas [Semitic texts: the Torah, the Zabur (Psalms), the Injil (Gospel), and the Quran] know the mystery (of the Creator of the Cosmos). AGGS, M 1, p. 1021.
bwbw Alhu Agm Apwru ] pwkI nweI pwk Qwie scw prvidgwru ] rhwau ] qyrw hukmu n jwpI kyqVw iliK n jwxY koie ] jy sau swier mylIAih iqlu n pujwvih roie ] puiC n swjy puiC n Fwhy puiC n dyvY lyie ] AwpxI kudriq Awpy jwxY Awpy krxu kryie ] sBnw vyKY nidr kir jY BwvY qY dyie ] O baba (Sir), Allah is unreachable and infinite (beyond human comprehension in totality). Sacred is Its name and sacred is Its abode and It is eternal and cherisher of all. Pause. Even the power of Its immutable Hukam (Cosmic Law) is indescribable, no one could write it down. If hundred poets get together to try to describe it, they could not describe even a tiny bit of it after racking brains. Allah does not consult anyone when It builds or destroys, or when It gives or takes away. Allah alone knows Its qudrat (power and creation -- naturalism). It alone is the Doer. It watches over all kindly and provides them according to their needs. AGGS, M 1, p. 53.
Summing up Guru Nanak’s commentary on Vedas, Guru Angad declared unequivocally that:
kQw khwxI bydI AwxI pwpu puMnu bIcwru ] dy dy lyxw lY LyY dyxw nrik surig Avqwr ] auqm miDm jwqI ijnsI Birm BvY sMswru ] It is the teachings of Vedas, which has created the concepts of sin and virtue, hell and heaven, and karma and transmigration. One reaps the reward in the next life for the deeds performed in this life -- goes to hell or heaven according to one’s deeds. The Vedas have also created the fallacy of inequality of caste and gender for the world. AGGS, M 2, p. 1243.
Guru Nanak rejected the reincarnation of God, Hell and Heaven, Karma and Transmigration, Varna Ashrama Dharma/Caste System and, the Hindu and Muslim concepts of Soul and Salvation. Guru Nanak also rejected the notion of miracles and denounced those who claim to posses supernatural powers and perform miracles.
Further Guru Nanak glorified and sang the praises of the “One and Only" Entity by proclaiming that It is accessible(understandable) to all seekers of “Truth” irrespective of their creed, caste, gender, color, ethnicity and geographical consideration. He did not assign any specific gender or name to the Entity; he called It Gur (Enlightener), Satgur (True Enlightener) or Nirankar (Formless One) or Kartar (Creator) or Sach (Truth). And he used the prevalent Islamic names for Allah and those used by the Hindus for their respective deities without any distinction along with adding and addressing new names of his own. Besides, most often in the AGGS, the Entity is described by Its attributes like -- Transcendent, Omnipotent, Merciful, Loving, Forgiving, Bounteous, Protector, Emancipator, Infinite, Ineffable, Great, Almighty, Supreme Being, Master, King, True King, Husband, Lover, Sabad (Knowledge), Naam (attributes of God) or simply as True One, One or You or Oh meaning That or He/She. In the opening verse of AGGS, Guru Nanak has given some of the attributes of the “One and Only" Entity that constitute the foundation (creedal statement) of his philosophy.
< siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ] One and Only -- that (is Infinite), known as Truth, Creator, Omnipresent, Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining, without enmity/non-retributive, Timeless Entity (unaffected by time), does not incarnate (beyond birth and death), Self-existent (created by Itself), Enlightener and
AGGS, Opening Verse, p. 1.
== APPENDIX B
Appendix B cited in Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs ==
Guru Nanak was not afraid of anybody, he called spade a spade. For example while the custodians of Christianity were investing despots with “divine rights,” the Muslim ruler (khalifa or caliph) was regarded as the representative of Prophet Mohammad and the Hindu elite was calling even tyrannical Muslim rulers as Ishwaro va Dillishwro va (the king of Delhi is as great as God)5 Guru Nanak denounced the bigoted and cruel rulers and their allies. He called for the establishment of rule of justice. He proclaimed that the ultimate source of spiritual as well as temporal power is God. He declared spiritual and temporal sovereignty and freedom of conscience/religion by pledging his allegiance only to God.
jy dyhY duKu lweIAY, pwp grh duie rwhu rqu pIxy rwjy isrY aupir rKIAih eyvy jwpY Bwau ] BI qUM hY swlwhxw AwKx lhY n cwau ] If my body was to be afflicted with pain under the influence of unlucky stars (reference to Hindu myth) and blood-sucking rulers were to hold power over me -- even under this situation, I would still love You (God) and praise you and, my longing to adore you would not diminish. (In other words, I will not waver from the path of righteousness). AGGS, M 1, p. 142.
iqsu ibnu rwjw Avr n koeI ] There is no other King, except the Almighty. AGGS, M 1, p. 936.
eyko qKqu eyko pwqswhu ] There is one celestial Throne and one King. AGGS, M 1, p. 1188.
qKiq bhY qKqY kI lwiek ] pMc smwey gurmiq pwiek ] He alone sits on the throne who is a gurmukh - who has control over worldly temptations - lust, anger, greed, attachment and egotistical pride. AGGS, M 1, p. 1039.
Young Nanak rejected the Janeu (sacred thread) which was mandatory for a Khatri boy and when he grew up he denounced the the caste system and caste hierarchy and openly declared his solidarity with the down-trodden.
dieAw kpwh sMqoK sUqu jqu gMFI squ vtu] eyhu jnyaU jIA kw heI q pwfy Gqu] Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, continence the knot and truth the twist. O pundit (priest), a thread of this type awakens the inner-self (conscience). If you have such a janaeu (thread), then go ahead and put it on me? AGGS, M 1, p. 471.
nIcw AMdir nIc jwiq nIcI hU Aiq nIcu] nwnku iqn ky sMig swiQ vifAw isau ikAw rIs] ijQY nIc smwlIAin iqQY nidr qyrI bKsIs] Nanak will stand by the lowest of lowest, not with the elite. Societies that take care of the downtrodden have the blessing of God. AGGS, M 1, p. 15.
PkV jwqI PkVu nwau ] sBnw jIAw iekw Cwau ] Worthless is the caste and worthless is the status attached to it as the Protector of all is One. AGGS, M 1, p. 83.
He denounced the Khatris and exposed the nexus between Khatris, Brahmans and Muslim rulers.
KqRIAw q Drmu CoifAw mlyC BwiKAw ghI ] isRsit sB iek vrn hoeI Drm kI giq rhI ] Ast swj swij purwxu soDih krih byd AiBAwsu ] ibnu nwm hir ky mukiq nwhI khY nwnk dwsu ] The Khatris have abdicated their duties. Instead they have adopted the language and manners of their masters (Muslim rulers), whom they consider as malesh (defiled/polluted). As a matter of fact the whole Hindu society has degenerated abdicating moral obligations. The Brahman is busy talking about the “rule of eight” to study and analyze the Puranas and Vedas. But Nanak submits humbly that without contemplation on God, there is no liberation (from ignorance, falsehood and vices). AGGS, M 1, p. 663.
mwxs Kwxy krih invwj ] CurI vgwiein iqn gil qwg ] iqn Gir bRhmx pUrih nwd ] aunw iB Awvih EeI swd ] The man-eaters (Muslim rulers) perform Namaz (Muslim prayer). The ones who carve out the flesh for them wear the sacred thread around his neck (Khatris). The Brahmans blow the conch in the Khatris’ homes to sanctify their doings. The Brahmans shares the ill-gotten bread of the Khatris. AGGS, M 1, p. 471.
He denounced the bigotry and oppression of Muslim rulers at the time when the caste hierarchy was seeking favor from the Muslim rulers and helping them in consolidating their power and hold over Indian territory.
kil kwqI rwjy kwsweI Drmu pMK kir aufirAw] kUV Amwvs scu cMdRmw dIsY nwhI kh ciVAw] It is a murderous age, the kings are butchers and righteousness has taken on wings. It is the dark night of falsehood and the moon of truth do not rise anywhere. AGGS, M 1, p. 145.
rwjy sIh mukdm kuqy] jwie jgwiein bYTy suqy] cwkr nhdw pwiein Gwau ] rqu ipqu kuiqho cit jwhu] The rulers are like tigers/lions and their officials as dogs, who harass and persecute the innocent subjects. The claws of the dogs (government servants) inflict wounds on the public. The rulers suck the blood of the public through these dogs who lick the wounds. AGGS, M 1, p. 1288.
hku prwieAw nwnkw ausu sUAru ausu gwie ] gur pIru hwmw qw Bry jw murdwru n Kwie ] glI iBsiq n jweIAY CutY scu kmwie ] mwrx pwih hrwm mih hoie hlwlu n jwie ] nwnku glI kUVIeI kUVo plY pwie ] To violate or usurp someone’s right or to take away something that rightfully belongs to others is like eating pork for a Muslim and beef for a Hindu. The Guru or pir (spiritual guide) would standby only if the follower does not make unlawful living. Mere talk does not lead to paradise; salvation lies in right conduct. If you add spice to unlawfully earned food, it does not become halal (lawful). Nanak, falsehood begets only falsehood. AGGS, M 1, p. 141.
- Guru Nanak and the Sacred Thread
- The Hindu Sacred Thread, Janeu
- Guru Nanak
- Sikhism and Ritualism
- Raksha Bandhan
- Guardian of human rights
- Why did Guru Nanak reject the Janoy
- Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs
- Var Haqiqat Rai
-S. Baldev Singh-