«AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION O thou that buttest the high mountain, seeking to dislodge it with thy horns, take pity, not on the mountain but on thy head ...»
For example, to speak from personal experience early in my graduate work, I was discouraged from focusing on Sikh tradition because, it was said, such a speciality would limit my employment prospects. As a consequences, I set aside my original interest for a different speciality and have only sporadically been able to put my energies into Sikhism.”20 I believe that Sikhs in America, who even though highly educated in many professions, have failed to train their younger generation for religious and historical stud-ies. If they could spend half the money they waste in stuffing their stomachs with all brands of wine, chicken and turkey they could provide all the good books neces-sary for enlightening American scholars of religion and even provide them facilities to visit libraries in India. On the other hand, American youth and even professors in some Universities, as I noted during my sojourn in USA. are interested more in cult-religious leaders (most of them firstrate hypocrites) who offer them fake spiritual exercises and meditations to enable (hem to be transported into the highest heaven within a week or at the most a month. I have not seen blind-faith working so effectively anywhere else as it has been in the cult-ash rams and in University campuses in U.S.A.
Serious interest in religion IS confined to a few scholars.
In this book I have devoted twelve chapters to the critical analysis and false construction of Sikh history and scriptures in Dr Hew McLeod’s books. In each chapter I have given authentic factual background of the themes 90 on which Hew McLeod comments and then given analysis of his statements which are not supported by any docu-ment or scripture. It is now for the genuine seekers of truth to know and judge. If I am wrong in giving any exposition about the Truth of Sikh history and Scriptures, I stand corrected. Corrective criticism is welcome and suggestions will be incorporated in the next edition of this book. No one knows better than Dr Hew McLeod that there has never been even a trace of ill-will between us. Nor do I hope this criticism of his irresponsible and irrelevant comments of my religion to the study of which I have devoted a whole life time create any ill-will between us in the future. Dr Hew McLeod always asserts in his books that the opinions expressed in them are his own; but the opinions expressed in this book are of all Sikh and non-Sikh scholars who have studied Sikhism deeply.
I do not claim them to be my opinions alone.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. George Forster, A journey From Bengal to England, Letter XI.
London, 1798, pp. 253-95.
2. My father, S. Dhanna Singh was posted as Train Examiner and then as Loco Foreman in Maymyo, the Summer Capital in the Shan Hill States of Burma many years before my birth. He was fond of meeting and serving with food, clothing and money, lamas, hermits, yogis and wandering sadhus who were attracted to this hill station for its spring season all the year round, and its beautiful waterfalls and lakes. My father met Sadhu Sunder Singh when he came to deliver sermons near the market-place under a huge tree. He described Sadhu Sunder Singh as an inspired saint, aflame with the mystic fervour of his love and devotion to Christ.
He described him as Christian by faith but Sikh in his cultural habits and temperament who did not care much for official Chris-tian Churches and Missions. There were American Baptist and Catholic Churches not far away from our bungalow. When I asked father “How did the Saint differ from the Missionary Fathers whom we all knew?” He said: “These missionaries cannot produce saints. They are like our own Granthis and Priests. They never go deep into religion. We have good many Saints in Punjab who are spiri-tually great men. Father had great respect for Tibetan Lamas and Buddhist monks who spent all their lives in studies, and medita-tion in monastries.
3. He (Michael Madhusudan Dutta) was nothing of a Bengali scholar”; said Rabindranath once, when we were discussing the Meghnadbadh, he just got a dictionary and looked out all high sounding words. He had great power over words. But his style
has not been repeated. It is not Bengali.” Edward Thompson:
Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Dramatist, p. 15.
4. ibid., p. 10.
5. It was in 1954 when I delivered my first lecture in Brahmo Samaj Hall, Calcutta, the President was kind enough to present to me the works of Keshav Chander Sen, the best Brahmo Samaj Scholar and orator of the time and Brahmo Prayer book in which selections from Guru Granth probably translated by Rabindranath Tagore’s father are given. The traslation of Adi Granth selections is far better than many produced during our own time.
6. Murray T. Titus, Indian Islam, O.U.P., 1930, p. 225.
7. Professor AJ. Toynbee, The Value of Oriental History for Historians, journal of the Punjab University Historical Society, Lahore Dec. 1960, Vol. XII, p. 17.
8. Jacques Maritain, On the Philosophy of History, New York, p. 32.
9. Professor Graham, journal of Punjab University Historical Society, Lahore, December 1960, Vol. II, p. 5-16.
11. Mark Juergensmeyer, The Forgotten Tradition, Sikh ism in the Study of World Religions, Paper in “Sikh Studies”. Berkley Religious Studies 1979.
12. Edward Conze, Buddhism: Its Essence and Development, Harper, New York, p. 11, 12.
13. The Life and Letters of Frederick Max Muller, Vol. II, p. 464.
14. S. Radhakrishnan, East and West in Religion, p. 33.
15. Or Fauja Singh’s Review on “The Evolution of the Sikh Community by W.H. McLeod published in The Punjab Past and Present, Vol. XI, Pt I, April,1977, p. 178.
16. Gurdev Singh : Imprimis in Perspective on the Sikh Tradition, p. 10.
17. Noel Q. King, Orientalism, Critical Scholarship and the Sikh Religion, Essay contributed to “Perspective on Sikh Tradition”, Ed. Gurdev Singh, p. 51.
18. ibid., p. 47.
19. ibid., p. 50.
20. James R. Lewis, Misrepresentation of the Sikh Tradition in World Religious Textbooks, Essay in “Advanced Studies in Sikhism”; edited by Jasbir Singh Mann and Harbans Singh Saraon.
GURU NANAK: PROPHET AND FOUNDER OF
SIKHISM AND NOT A HINDU SANTThe term ‘Prophet’ is not a Semetic but a Greek word which explains the charisma and personality of an inspired religious genius who is completely absorbed in the Eter-nal Spirit which controls it. His personality is filled with Light and Spirit of God to such an extent that he is never separated from Him even for a moment in mind and Spirit. The Light of God infused in him replaces his personal individuality in order to speak through him completely unhindered. He is imbued with a powerful consciousness of his destiny and mission. A prophet is a saint and holy man, but no saint or holy man however perfect is accepted as a prophet. The spiritual status, the mystical vision and the divine authority of a prophet is much higher than that of a saint or a seer or a religious reformer.
Dr Hew McLeod and his Batala-Berkley Group of hostile critics of Sikh history, religion and culture repeatedly assert that Guru Nanak was not a prophet who founded a new religion, Sikhism, but only a wandering Hindu Sant of “Nirgun School of Poetry of North India”. They neither define the word prophet, nor a Sant, but erroneously give the higher status to “Sants” than the Bhaktas. Through the type of linguistic despotism and anarchy which still prevails in the Hindi belt of India, they spin irrelevant theories and baseless conjectural analytical ideas in support of their pre-conceptions of Sikhism. The self-contradictions, the abuse of historical facts, and other misstatements are so glaring and shocking, that scholars who know about this period (eleventh to 93 sixteenth century), can easily see through the ugly game of Hew McLeod, and his Group of about half a dozen biased Christian missionaries, and become at once aware of their sinister design, to denigrate Guru Nanak and his successors. They paint Sikhism as a Hindu sect, politically noisy and morally and spiritually bankrupt. Those who do not have access to authentic sources and literature on Sikhism are either upset by the confusion he creates about the generally accepted impressions of Sikhs and Sikhism, or feel that there must be some hidden disgraceful things about Sikhs and their religion which the demeaning tactics of Dr Hew McLeod are slowly revealing to the world, through their knowledge of hitherto unknown sources.
To say that Guru Nanak was not a prophet and founder of a unique religion, “Sikhism”, but was only a Hindu Sant of Hindu Nirgun sampardaya of North India, whose list and study they have never given in their works, is like saying that Christ was neither a prophet and founder of Christian religion nor a Saviour, but only an unordained adventurous Rabbi of Judaism, who started his own sect within Judaism but was disrespected and rejected by the Jews. It is like saying, Mohammed and Buddha were not prophets, but petty monks and saints who can be called reformers at their best. It is a fact that western readers and intellectuals (particularly Americans) are still quite ignorant about the history and doctrines of Sikhism for which Sikhs themselves are to be blamed considerably. But it does not mean that western scholars can be misled by such campaigning books and seminars which Hew McLeod and his American friends have been organizing. The negative elements of their hostile analysis is now clearly visible to the naked eye. Although Buddhism was state religion in many countries, little was known about Lord Buddha in the West before Edwin Arnold’s “Light of Asia” was published. This little book inspired many scholars to devote their lives to Buddhist studies, and it is the western scholars who have produced excellent translations of original sources of Buddhism.l Inspite of the 94 maligning campaigns of our present Delhi Rulers against Sikhs in every country abroad, genuine interest in Sikh studies is growing, and such hostile expositions of Sikh religion and history as presented by Dr Hew McLeod will die their natural death, much sooner than one may expect.
The eminent scholars of all founded religions like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism have defined what a Prophet is, and they have also defined what a saint is, in their faith, though known by different names. Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh were not only prophets by their own right, but they have both vividly portrayed, as perhaps no other prophet has given, Face to Face commun-ion and mystical dialogue with God in human language. While placing Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh in the long line of prophets, Guru Gobind Singh in his Bachiter Natak clearly states that God blessed all prophets as His Sons and Messengers. Guru Nanak, his successors and he himself were also sent as prophets of this Age with a distinct and clear message which the Guru has recorded in his Autobiography (Bachiter Natak)2. Bhai Gurdas, the co-compiler of Adi Granth and Bhai Nand Lall the poet mystic who knew Guru Gobind Singh far more intimately than any other Sikh scholar, have firmly and repeatedly protrayed the position of Guru Nanak - Guru Gobind Singh as Prophets par-excellence.3 Except a few janamsakhis cor-rupted by Minas (Meharban and his sons), Handaliyas or those based on them, all other old janamsiikhzs uphold Guru Nanak’s status and authority as an illumined Prophet. The word “Sant” or Nirgun Sampardaya does not even occur in these janamsakhis and early Sikh his-torical documents. We will now define the word Prophet, the Enlightened Messengers of God, and the various terms used for prophets in each higher religion. Perhaps the best definition
of a Prophet and saint are given by Shabistari and Tarmidi:
The Prophet, resplendent in his perfection, Is the Sun’s bright Light;
95 And the saint, concealing his saintship Is as the subdued light of the Moon.
By fellowship the saint Is intimate with the Prophet;
And finding entrance to that secret chamber He loves and is beloved by the Truth.
Mahamud Shabistari: The Secret Rose Garden:
Tr: Florence Lederer, p. 54.
The steps of the Prophet end, Where those of the saint begin Al. Hakim at Tarmidi The word ‘prophet’ from linguistic point of view is taken from the Greek. Among the Egyptians and Jews the word prophet was invariably used for the priests. Even in some primitive societies a prophet is someone who is able, as a matter of course, to exert or pour out his orenda (the inner spiritual power) and thereby know the secrets of the future. We thus know legendary figures of pre-history like orpheus, and temple prophets and seers who appear in classical western poetry. In early history Zarathustra was the first to carry the message of the God, and speak of divine revelation recorded in his conversation with Ormezd himself in heaven where the Lord bestowed on him di-vine wisdom. Islam believes there have been 124000 prophets (nabi). Muhammed is regarded the final and ultimate prophet. The appearance of true prophets at intervals of centuries has given rise to so many false prophets in each age, that when a true prophet appears people do not easily recognize him, because he is generally hidden be-hind simplicity and humility. People took Christ and Guru Nanak to be mad men.
Joachim Wach clearly distinguishes between tradi-tional religions like Judaism and Hinduism and founded religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. The origin of the traditional religions is not known. It grows out of men of great spiritual insight called Rishis in 96 India from the unknown past, and seers with great vision like Moses.
Mentioning the names of great prophets like Christ, Buddha, Muhammed, Mani, Confucius and Laotse, Joachim says, “Each one of these sacred names stands for a unique experience and has become an uninter-changeable symbol of human faith and hope; over and against all superficial equation and comparison this fundamental fact must be stressed. On the other hand, we have seen that there are striking parallels and similarities in the biographies of the great founders. The integrating power of the personality and of the message of the founders of religions is a fascinating topic for comparative sociological study.”4 Joachim Wach brings out the following