Panthic Weekly Staff Columnist
In an article from Punjab Monitor were reported comments on Sikhi by "Sikh" University students in Punjab. Reading the students’ statements was very worrying and disheartening. After 1984 and the early 90s, when the Sikh freedom movement was countered and then wiped out by the Punjab Police and Indian authorities, the Sikh nation faced a turbulent period of depression. During this period of depression, pakhandi (fake) Sants, Babé, and people claiming to be the Guru appeared. The groups which at one time were suppressed or remained quiet during the time of the Jhajaroo Singhs, such as the Radha Soami and Naqli Nirankari, were now flourishing and opening Deras throughout Punjab misling and leading people away from Guru Granth Sahibji & Guru Panth. Furthermore, the media and education systems misrepresented the Sikh people and religion in an attempt to sway Sikh youngsters from their glorious past. Now a large number of girls and boys from Sikh families are cutting their hair apparently because they are rebelling against their religion or doing so because they think they look more fashionable that way.
To gain further insight into this disturbing trend among university students, Gurinder Singh Johal has carried out a survey to explore the deeper reasons behind the defection of the Sikh students' from their faith. He found that they are disgusted with their leaders though most have respect for humanitarian religion of Guru Nanak Sahib jee. In the following series, The students' remarks and responses views, highlighted bold type will be shared with our readers followed by the Panthic Weekly staff's response to the students’ statements. What the students’ have to say is a true reflection of the disillusionment, distorted perspective and misrepresentation of the Sikh faith in the land of Punjab revered by Sikhs as the “Sikhs' birthplace and the land of Sikh Gurus.”
“Sikhism has very lofty concepts and I confess I can't reach to that height.”
- Gurdip Singh Padda, BA-III Khalsa Col Amritsar.
None of us are perfect. The whole point of Dharam is that it provides us a path to work on and gradually self-develop with the Guru’s Grace. “Believing is Seeing”. If you can’t believe that “Man Too Jyot Saroop Hai..” (O mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light) then how can we see it, how can you experience it?
Bulx AMdir sBu ko ABulu gurU krqwru ]
bhulaN andar sabh ko, abhul guroo kartar
“Everyone makes mistakes; only the Guru and the Creator are infallible.”
(Ang 61, SGGS)
Have faith in the Guru and the unreachable can become the reachable. Guru Nanak Sahib jee says in the 7th Pauree (stanza) of Japji Sahib:
kItw AMdir kItu kir dosI dosu Dry ]
nwnk inrguix guxu kry guxvMiqAw guxu dy ]
qyhw koie n suJeI ij iqsu guxu koie kry ]7]
Keetta Andar Keett Kar, Doshee Dosh Dharé.
Nanak Nirgun Gun Karé, Gunvantia Gun Dé.
Teha Koé Na Sujhe-ee, Jé Tis Gun Koé Karé
"Among worms, you would be considered a lowly worm, and even contemptible sinners would hold you in contempt. O Nanak, God blesses the unworthy with virtue, and bestows virtue on the virtuous. No one can even imagine anyone who can bestow virtue upon Him.”
Believe in the Guru and the impossible can become possible. Read your history and see how great your Guru is! Bhumia, a thief and crook became a Saint with the Guru’s Grace; Kaudda, a murderer and cannibal became a reformed man and Guru-orientated with the Guru’s grace. Raja Janak, an atheist king from South India, realised God and transformed himself for the good with the Guru’s Grace. Guru Arjan Sahib jee on Ang 750 in Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee:
igAwnu iDAwnu ikCu krmu n jwxw swr n jwxw qyrI ]
sB qy vfw siqguru nwnku ijin kl rwKI myrI ]4]10]57]
Giaan Dhian Kichh Karam Na Jana,
Sar Na JaNa Teri.
Sabh Té Vadda Satgur Naaak, Jin Kal Rakhee Meree.
"I knew nothing about wisdom (of Your Grace), spiritual understanding, how to attach mind consciousness to your Feet and do good deeds. But (with Your Grace) I met Guru Nanak jee who saved my honour in this Dark Age of Kali Yuga (through showing me the path to Waheguru.”
(Ang 749, SGGS)
“Religion means observation of certain principles. It is not necessary that you attain those principles after you are baptised or you show your externals.”
- Swinderpal Singh B. Tech. GNDU Amritsar.
I totally agree that staying clean and pure inside (i.e. the mind) is the most important thing, not what you look like or what you are wearing. Gurbani says to us:
bwhrhu inrml jIAhu q mYly iqnI jnmu jUAY hwirAw ]
baharhu nirmal, jeeahu ta mailé, tinee janam jooai haria.
"Those who are outwardly pure and yet polluted within, lose their lives in the gamble."
(Ang 919, SGGS)
Let's take a look our Guru's history. Once Guru Sahib comes across a Maulvi (a Muslim who leads the Friday prayer).
"What are you doing Maulvi Sahib?" asked Guru Nanak Sahib.
The Maulvi said, "I am trying to clean my Kurta (clothes). Last night I slaughtered a goat. I didn't realise that the blood also stained my clothes. So I am quicly trying to wash the stain out before prayer."
Guru Nanak Sahib asked, "Why is that? Why not go back home and change into some clean clothes?"
Maulvi said: "I cannot do that. It is too late. If I go home, I will miss my prayer time, but with these blood stained dirty clothes I cannot go to pray."
Guru Jee replied, "Why can't you pray with your dirty clothes?"
The Maulvi answered: "According to Shari'a (Islamic Law) if you pray with dirty clothes on then your prayers will not accepted in the Court of Allah. Only those prayers said when a person is washed, clean and wearing clean clothes will be accepted in the Court of Allah."
Guru Jee then told the Maulvi: "What about if your mind is dirty? Well your prayers be accepted in the Court of Allah?”
Irrelevant whether your clothes are clean or dirty, only those prayers will accepted in Waheguru's court whose mind's are clean and pure."
Guru Sahib recited this shabad to the Maulvi:
sloku m: 1 ]
jy rqu lgY kpVY jwmw hoie plIqu ] jo rqu pIvih mwxsw iqn ikau inrmlu cIqu ]
nwnk nwau Kudwie kw, idil hCY muiK lyhu ] Avir idvwjy dunI ky, JUTy Aml kryhu ]1]
sholak m: 1.
jé rat lagai kapRai, jaamaa hoé paleet. jo rat peevehi MaaNsaa, tin kio nirmal cheet.
naanak naao kudaae kaa, dil hachhai mukh leho. avar divaajé dunee ké, jhoothé amal karehu.1.
Translation:- “Shalokh, First Mehl: If one's clothes are stained with blood, the garment becomes polluted (and the Namaz, Muslim prayer, cannot be read). (But) those who suck the blood of human beings (i.e. they earn a living through exploitation) - how can their consciousness be pure? (What, will the Namaz read with a polluted mind be accepted?) O Nanak! Chant the Name of God, with heartfelt devotion; (Apart from this) everything else is just a pompous worldly show. What you are doing is the practice of false deeds. ||1||”
(Ang 140, SGGS)
However, Guru Sahibans also stressed that a Sikh needs to follow the external Rehat as well as keeping oneself pure inside. When Guru Gobind Singh abolished charan pahul and instituted Khande ki Pahul for people to be initiated into the Sikh fold, he made it a permanent requirement to maintain the external rehet which forever gave Sikhs their distinct identity quite apart from Islam and Hinduism and that in behaviour and deed they must follow the teaching of Guru Granth Sahibjee. Thus the external and internal are wed together. So unlike what many Sikhs think, it is not enought that a Sikh retains the external roop of Sikhi to be a Sikh. A Sikh should not just be clean from the outside, but clean from the inside as well. As well as keeping the external (outwardly) Rehat (discipline), one should follow the internal (inwardly) Rehat as well.
For this reason Guru Amardasji Maharaj (Ang 919) says:
jIAhu mYly bwhrhu inrml ]bwhrhu inrml jIAhu q mYly iqnI jnmu jUAY hwirAw ]
jeeahu mailé, baharhu nirmal. baharhu nirmal, jeeahu ta mailé, tinee janam jooai haria.
"Inwardly polluted, and outwardly pure. Those who are outwardly pure and yet polluted within, lose their lives in the gamble.”
Meaning that those who pure from outside, but their minds are not, Guru Sahib says they are wasting their lives.
Guru Nanak Sahib Jee’s salokh reminds us not to forget that in Waheguru’s Court, every person’s good and bad deeds (actions) will be judged. The following are Satguru’s bachan (words) (Ang 8):
cMigAweIAw buirAweIAw vwcY Drmu hdUir ] krmI Awpo AwpxI ky nyVY ky dUir ]
changiaeea buriaeea, vachai dharam hadoor. karmee apo apNee ke neRai ke door.
"Good deeds and bad deeds, the record is read out in the Presence of the Lord of Dharma. According to their own actions, some are drawn closer, and some are driven farther away.”
The same command was given by Dhan Kalgidhar Pita, Guru Gobind Singh Jee. An instance noted in Sikh history is when Aurangzeb’s son, Emperor Shah Jahan and the Guru became friends. Emperor Shah Jahan himself would ask Guru Gobind Singh jee to sit next to him on his throne.
Once Bahadar Shah asked Guru Gobind Singh Jee:
“In Islam it is believed that if any person, despite how deviant, evil or sinful becomes a Muslim and instills withing faith on the Prophet Muhammad, reads the Kalma (verse from the Qu’ran) that in the Court of Allah that person's sins and misdeeds will be washed away. Guru Sahib what are your views on this?”
Before answering, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib pulled out a coin from his pocket. He then gave it to his Sikh and signaled him to buy something from the Bazar (Market) with it.
A few minutes later, the Sikh returned back from the market. The Sikh came to Guru Sahib and said:
“Maharaj, this coin was not accepted at the Market.”
Satguru Jee picked up the coin and looking at said, “Why is this coin not accepted at the Bazar? It is made by the Emperor’s mint, and Bahadar Shah’s stamp is on it. Its outward appearance is also okay. So why wasn’t it accepted at the Bazar? Pass the coin to Bahadar Shah for him to have a look at it ask him to tell us what is wrong or lacking in this coin.”
It is said that while holding and examining the coin, Bahadar Shah said to Guru Jee, “Maharaj it is true that this coin was minted in my taksal (mint), that it is has been stamped and that the print is perfectly correct. Everything is okay. However despite this, the coin will be accepted in the Market because however the amount of pure gold there should be coating the coin, is insufficient in this one . Basically its inside is false, wrong.”
Guru Gobind Singh Jee then said to Bahadar Shah, “Badshah, you have now received the answer to your question.”
“Maharaj, I don’t understand. Please explain to me in deeper detail.”
“Despite, whichever taksal (mint) the coin is minted and stamped by, If the coin is “kohtta”, false or inaccurate inside, it will not be accepted in the market. Similiarly if a person is “kohtta”, false, inside then he will not be accepted in the Court of Waheguru, despite whether he has the stamp of being a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. Whether stamped as Christian or labelled as another religion, if we are not pure inside then we are not worthy of being accepted in God’s court.”
Repeatedly, in so many Gurbani passages and recorded historical instances, Gurujee stressed that in Gurmat a person should equally pure inside as on the outside.The previous historical example illustrated the importance this point. A plain metal disc, no matter ho precious its metallic compostion, is not a true piece of currency if it does not bear the mint's outward stamp. Likewise, if the stamp is merely deffective, the coin is unacceptable and is usually pulled out by the minter before it goes into circulation. If the coin's metallic composition is likewise not accurate, despite its correct stamp, is likewise rejected.
Similarly Guru Gobind Singhjee's order to us is along these lines. It is true that a Sikh should be pure within in thought, deed and action but not unlike the composition of the coin which must be true to the minter's approved composition. In this case the minter being the Guru, action, deeds and thought must be done according to the Guru's instructions only. Like the coin also, the Sikh's exterior also has the Guru's stamp which is equally as compulsory and paramount and identifies the Sikh as a product of Gurujee's mint. As the true coin, inwardly and outwardly is acceptable to the minter, a Sikh is accepted, only when whole, in the Guru’s court.
Hence Guru Sahib illustrates this concept in the following hukam:
rihq ipAwrI muJ kau, is`K ipAwrw nwih]
rehat piaree mujh kau, sikh piara naahe.
Guru Sahib says that he is not pleased by merely seeing a Sikh, by seeing his outer Sikh persona. The Guru is pleased if his Sikh’s Rehat, conduct, actions and way of life are according to the Guru's instructions. Therefore, though a Sikh’s outside Rehat may be complete, his or her inside Rehat must be just as complete
To be continued…