«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 ...»
I will help all true seekers in their aspirations, I will bless all true seekers with Light and Wisdom.
Guru Nanak humbly replied:
“Am I, O Lord, equal to this great Mission?
I am but Thy humble creature O Infinite One.
Could I carry such Light and Inspiration As to change the outlook of the whole world?
Great is Thy mission, Lord, so humble am I, I will not forget Thy Word even for a moment Be Thou my Guru and my Voice, Lord Be Thou my Power and Light, O Eternal Father.
Bhai Nand Lall, Ganjnama, Saltnat-aval Bhai Nand Lall, who was born and brought up in Ghazni, had achieved enviable stature as a Persian poet and Arabic scholar which raised him to a high position in Mughal administration. Then, his search for truth and illumination tempted him to resign his post and spend the last twenty years of his life with Guru Gobind Singh.
The first collection of verses which he offered to Guru Gobind Singh was given the title “Bandgi Namah” The 105 Psalms of Devotion and Worship. Guru Gobind Singh changed the title to Zindgi Namah: The Psalms of Life. The foregoing verses are quoted from his Prose and Poetical portraits of the Mystical Personality of the Gurus and their
relation to God and the human world, entitled Ganj Namah:
Psalms of Hidden Spiritual Treasures. The nearness and the love of Guru Gobind Singh he achieved is profound and sub-lime. In every verse he presents Guru Gobind Singh as the greatest Apostle of all times, the spiritual sovereign of both the worlds, the dust of whose feet is sought by all the avatars of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All the Gurus who have committed their experiences to writing have com-mented on the historic and divine personality of Guru Nanak as the Supreme Prophet of Kali age. We will give a number of quotations in other chapters in various differ-ent contexts. Here we may just give one quotation
from Guru Arjan, the compiler of Adi Granth:
balio chiragh aildhyaar mahi sabh kali udharai ik nam dharam pargat sagal hari bhavan mahi jan nanak gur parbhrahm.
In Sikhism they have been recognized by their character, deeds and contribution in some field. Sikhism has produced very eminent saints and seers who were theologians, musicians, scholars, reformers and worked in various fields. Many Sikh saints suffered in British prisons; many were great interpreters of Sikh Scriptures. Sikhism has survived and has come out unscathed by stormy attacks on its very existence, and repeated onslaughts by those who vowed to annihilate them. But the Sikh saints who were found in the heart of society, in the centre of religious world and in the battlefield, saved the Sikh Panth from the wrath of Pundits, Mullas, Mughal and Mghan conquerors. The Light and Power of the Wisdom of the Sikh Prophets worked through these enlightened and gifted Sikhs during the last three centuries.
Dr Hew McLeod and his Batala-Berkley Christian missionary groups have repeatedly tried to denigrate the Sikh Prophets by calling them monotheistic Hindu Saints, and building utterly artificially constructed false structures and theories without showing even rudimentary academic respect for irrefutable historical facts, and by completely ignoring evidence provided by Sikh Scriptures. They have carried their campaign of misinformation and distortions of Sikh history into the territory of open lies, and lies whether recorded in history or politics have no legs. Cynical falsifications, maliciously distorted translations con-cocted to feed their prejudice - the well framed preju-dices of this group; about a religion they have not cared to study seriously, has helped them to build a campaign against Sikhs and Sikhism, through a few books and seminars controlled and stage managed by this group. But even scholarly false constructions and lies told about Sikh history and doctrines when dressed in academic robes cannot distort or falsify irrefutable truth. The truth about Sikh doctrines is like unfading and undying Light. No one who knows even the basic facts of Sikhism will ever give conscious support to such lies and misstatements as found in the writings of Dr Hew McLeod. Any knowledgeable 107 person who reads these books will know their gan-grenous boundries built by these hostle groups led by Dr Hew McLeod and his companions.
In this chapter we have discussed the spiritual status of the Sikh Gurus as Prophets. In the next chapter of this book, we will discuss the distinct name, form doctrinal contents which the Sikh Guru gave Sikh philosophy, which cannot even be remotely identified with any Sant cult or Sant movement, though they share the highest ethical and spiritual experiences with enlighted Bhaktas and Sufis. In chapter 6 we will discuss the much trumpeted Nirgun Sant Sampardaya as presented by Dr Hew McLeod which became subject of a few thesis in Hindi literature in the thirties. It has never had any existence outside the provin-cial Hindi literature, and all the imaginary superstructures built by Dr Hew McLeod and scholars like Dr P.D. Barthwal, on whose Ph.D. thesis published in Banaras in 1936, all these theories are built, will be examined in detail.
These scholars have just tried to put a huge square peg in a round hole where it can never fit in. It is clear from the writings of scholars like Dr Barthwal that they did not care to go through the works of Guru Nanak, the Guru Granth or the works of Guru Gobind Singh even once.
“The Prophets arise”, says Dr. George Galloway; “from the ranks of the people; lonely and commanding figures, whose eyes pierce the veil of appearance, and whose lips speak the things they know. They signalize the advent and the power of the personal factor in religion, the principle destined to play so important a part in higher religion.”l The Prophets liberated new ideas, presented new mystical experiences and vision of life. They purified and vitalized existing religious situation and infused a new ethical and spiritual consciousness. The aim of Guru Nanak was not only to found a new religion, a new church, and a new institutionalized faith, but also to vitalize existing religious faiths, throw new light on traditional religious and cultural themes. Religions, both Hinduism and Islam had become mechanized, and the worship of the Eternal Spirit of God was depressed by a burden of observances and prohibitions and in many places it had become a tyranny of sheer observances.
Sikhism as a “founded religion”, was the “outcome of a personal experience” of Guru Nanak and it reflected his vision and outlook on life and the world. He spoke against external piety which concealed criminal minds, and wicked souls who exploited religion, while devoted obedience to spiritually enlightened saints was encouraged. Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh condemned hypocritical and insincere submission and mechanical obedience to any faith.
110 It is not difficult to probe into the ethical and spiri-tual depths of divine person like Guru Nanak or Guru Gobind Singh who have left a complete and vivid record of their thoughts and experiences in their own writings. There are almost as many philosophical and mystical verses of Guru Gobind Singh in Dasm Granth as of Guru Nanak in Adi Guru Granth. The thoughts, the doctrines and ex-periences of the first and the last prophet of the Sikhs are absolutely identical and crystal clear to a scholar who understands the languages in which they are written. To a scholar who does not understand them, or only pretends to understand them they are Greek and unintelligible.
For Guru Nanak, founding of Sikhism was not based on any intellectual synthesis, nor was it an extension and cultoffshoot of any existing faith as is generally imagined by extremely superficial non-Sikh observers or by Sikhs who are Sikhs only in name and appearance, and have never cared to seriously study either the history or the writings of the Gurus.
This has already been made clear in the last chapter on the basis of scriptural evidence.
The Will and Divine Command to found the new faith, Sikhism, came as a Call from God. It was revelation, which Guru Nanak describes in many ways in his hymns. The average common thinker or intellectual may not know how this revelation came from the Unseen and the Unknown. This is how a philosopher of religious studies describes the phenomenon.
“The mountain peak first catches the light of the rising sun; and so it is the Prophet, standing high above the crowd of men, who receives the revealing light of God and then reflects it to the many. The Prophet and the spiritual leader became the organ of higher revelation communicating their own vision of divine truths to the society around them. When the religious life has grown stagnant and worship has become mechanical, when human hearts led captive by the desire of this world have forgotten the heavenly goal, through these elect souls the divine quickening comes and men are braced for the 111 fulfilment of their divine vocation. The, great crisis and he farreaching new movements of man’s spiritual development have had the temporal origin in these revealing experiences. In this way, the religious life of society has time and again been delivered from the bondage of the world and directed anew to the transcendent God. So, despite human failure and error, the true ideal of the spirit victoriously asserts itself. Some means of testing these claims to revealed truth will be found in the manner in which they maintain and justify themselves in the course of religious development. What truly reveals God will have revealing value for souls: if the Light is divine, it will be the Light of life.”2 Behind the historical figures of prophets like Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh there is a supra-historical personality which is inseparable from the historical per-sons in the temporal world. It is the mental and spiritual communion with the suprahistorical personality which takes the disciple and the initiate into the realm of mys-tical experiences. When the Chroniclers do not have first hand accounts of these mystical experiences, the writers on these prophets introduce myths and legends.
Histori-cal research can untangle the web of these myths and legends otherwise they stick to the life of the prophet as miracles, even when they are not miracle stories.
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion and his nine successors were conscious of the fact that their God-inspired faith based on revelation and experience, was in many ways distinct and different from the message given by other religions on the world-scene, though it had many common features of earlier monotheistic mystical faiths in which God-mysticism was placed far above Nature-mysticism and soul-mysticism, inspired by devotional worship (Bhakti) of gods and goddesses of Vaishnavas, Shivites, Lingites, and Chandi-worshippers.
Some of these Vaishnavas and Shaivas who were deeply mystical were led by their inner experience to transcend their earlier mode of worship and seek the Light 112 and Presence of God and God alone. Although their so-cial and cultural living in their traditional surroundings did not change much, they turned against idolatory, wor-ship of deities like Vishnu and Shiva and gave themselves upto intense monotheistic mysticism on the basis of their new experiences.
Traditional Hinduism turned against them, resented their new postures and they in turn turned against traditional Hinduism.
There was a similar move-ment in Islam as Islamic mysticism (Sufism) which even though orthodox in its Islamic practices moved away from dogmatic and intolerant postures of the Muslim theolo-gians. Sufism was denounced by orthodox Islam and vir-tually eliminated by Aurangzeb and his successors.
Mono-theistic and anti-Brahmin mystics of Bhakti movements were disowned by orthodox Hinduism. As both these had some common features based on spiritual, social and cul-tural experiences, they were owned by Guru Nanak and his successors and their authentic writings preserved in Adi Guru Granth.
Without a sincere and intense love of God, inward-ness in a religion cannot become a self-reliant province and cannot rise above the superficial attractions of the external world in which human beings desiring to lead an animal life alone are attracted. Without healthy associa-tion of religion with a sound social philosophy, aesthetic culture, and a passion for complete freedom from all types of social and political slavery, a religion loses its specific moral and spiritual content and threatens to sink into mere subjective disposition. The making of political free-dom an inseperable part of religious consciousness of the Sikhs, has made them outstanding champions of social and political liberty. Few people have suffered so much or shed so much blood for their own liberty and for the liberty of other peoples’ faiths and culture as the Sikhs have done during the last four hundred years.
Throughout their history Sikhs have realized from their tragic experiences and struggle for survival, that curtailment of one aspect of Sikhism, causes an injury to 113 the other. Sikhism aims to fill to the brim its devotees with an energy of spirit and transform the whole human existence of its followers to its very roots.
All the Sikh Gurus from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh disciplined their followers, each in his own way, to face different historical circumstances in different peri-ods. They never tried to escape or run away or shut their eyes to the natural and man-made catastrophies in society and the country.
Any Sikh or any member of the family, be he son or elder brother who compromised with the forces of tyranny and oppression, or diluted and distorted Sikh doctrines to compromise with decadent and defeated forces of Hinduism or despotic threats of Mughals and Mghans were disowned and discarded till they repented. This national discipline has existed to this day in morally and spiritually inspired Sikhs.