«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 ...»
The purpose of this chapter is to give convincing evidence about Sikhism as a Founded religion and its re-lation to illumined Bhaktas and Sufis. After his return from his missionary journey to Mecca and Medina and other centres of Semetic faiths, Guru Nanak established the Sikh Sangat (Church) at Kartarpur and institutional-ized it. It was to be a light-shedding and evolving instituionalized religion, enduring as a granite and consistent in her belief in divine guidance. It was to be the herald of God’s Word, His Light and Presence in the whole world throughout the centuries.
Sikhism was not to be a holy order of ascetics and 123 mendicants judged for piety by their formal renunciation and their robes of piety. It was to be a Brotherhood of those who professed their faith in God and Truth as uni-versally as Guru Nanak did, and as close and visibly indwelling as Guru Nanak experienced it. It had to dis-charge manifold temporal and spiritual functions which were neglected or ignored by other faiths. The Sikh temple was to be mediator between man and God. No caste or class was to be a privileged class. No rites and ceremonies were to be invested with magical efficacy. Any initiated Sikh, man or woman, could conduct the services if he was competent to do so. Holiness was not to be distinguished by dress but by character. The only and fundamental duty of the Sikh Church was to keep the Light of Truth burn-ing in its prestine glory through the Word of God and its doors were to remain open to all believers and non-be-lievers, to the rich and the poor and to the native and the foreigner. Even though some external forms were given to Sikhs to institutionalized Khalsa Holy Order and to dispense with human Gurus, these externals were never the end, but only the means to aid and inner religious and spiritual life.
of the poet in Gita Govinda and his spiritual state in the two hymns included in Guru Granth. A correct translation of these hymns with word to word annotation and commentary has been given. Most of the Sikh theologians have failed to interpret the hymns of Jayadeva in Rag Maru because of their inability to understand the Prakrit and Apabhramsa words in it. My book on Jayadeva will be published in winter 1993.
There is a political weapon called “Linguistic Imperialism”, which insensitive and powerful Rulers and Dominant majorities use against the political status and aspirations of minorities, in dictatorships and also democracies, which, in actual functioning, are far more ruthless than dictatorships. Such words as separatism, unity and integrity of the country, and sedition are freely used to black-mail numerically small and politically helpless minorities by such governments.
There is another weapon called “Linguistic autocracy” which Christian missionaries, Hindu and Muslim funda-mentalists have been using as a scholarly weapon to run down and give demeaning images of religions, other than their own, believing that their name and built-up popularity will be blindly accepted by the world and society in which their influence dominates and the stifled voice of the scholars of that religion will not reach the society in which they dominate; and if it does reach people, it can be dismissed with an organized autocratic disapproval of the organized media of the rulers.
In order to repeatedly prove that Guru Nanak was not a Prophet but a Sant of North Indian Nirgun Tradition, Dr Hew McLeod and his strongest supporters from Batala-Berkley Christian missionary group use terms which do not have the meaning and connotations which they give to them. Neither any dictionary of any language supports their contention; nor any Indian scholar ever attributes 126 these meanings to these terms. It is the capricious and arbitrary uses of these terms which forms the basis of Dr Hew McLeod’s clap-trap demeaning theories, in support of which he does not quote any internal or external evidence, either from Sikh scriptures or from Sikh his-tory. We first take up the accepted meaning and interpre-tation of these terms. Then we will quote verbatim from the writings of Hew McLeod and his supporters. We will then give factual interpretation of these terms in Sikh scriptures and history. The following are the major
TRADITION “The word ‘tradition’ means, etymologically, ‘handing over’. The conception of ‘tradition’, therefore, implies (a) a deposit, which is handed over and (b) deposi-taries i.e. persons who are in possession of the deposit, and are commissioned to preserve it and transmit it to successors. “1 “Tradition”, says The New Encyclopaedia Britannica” is the aggregate of customs, beliefs, practices that give continuity to a culture, civilization or a social group and this shapes its views taken in this sense, the laws and institutions signifies essential doctrines or tenets, that are not explicitly set down in sacred scriptures but are still accepted as orthodox and authentic, so that they have equal authority with sacred writings and are sometimes used to in terpret them.”2 Edmund Burke says, “A nation must have rules of behaviour to bring unity of purpose and of the mutual adaptation of conflicting interests and emotions; In time these unifying rules become prescriptive traditions that assign rights and privileges and transmit them to the next generation. It evokes profound respect because it embraces the accumulate collective wisdom of the age. Tradition must, therefore, be examined with great caution and ven-eration. “3 N.P. Williams, writing on Christian traditions says, “The Founders of Christianity and Islam did not believe 127 in the eternal continuation of Jewish tradition and by finding new Faiths they laid the foundation of a: New system of religious. tradition.”4 Similarly Lord Buddha and Guru Nanak were no doubt born in Kashatriya families, but the moment they founded new religions and faiths on the basis of their inner divine experience and,the Call, they completely broke away from the age-long Hindu traditions based on Manu’s..Simritis and Shastras. They did not accept a single religious law or rule of Manu Samritis or any other Hindu book of law, but built their own ‘social structure and codes of conduct. Most of these codes of conducts of Buddhism and Sikhism repudiated the fun-damental and most, satred laws of Hindu Samritis and Skastras.Guru Granth and the. writings of Guru ;Gobind Singh explicitly and implicitly set, down the principles and moral laws of this newly founded Faith, Sikhism.
Dr Hew McLeod, Dr. Juergenmeyer and Dr N. Gerald Barrier invariably use the Word “tradition” for Sikh: reli-gion, implying through this linguistic autocracy, that Sikhism is ‘only a sect in Hindu tradition. While Dr Hew McLeod tries, to prove that it is a conspicuous tradition, Dr Juergenmeyer calls it a,’forgottentradition. Hew McLeod never ventures to define the word “tradition” the way he uses it, but Juergenmeyer translates it as “sampardaya”. The, word “tradition” in Sanskrit,means parampara and not sampardaya.The word sampardaya is translated by Sri Aurobindo as “Group” within a Religious Group or religious system.’5 BHAKTA (BHAGAT) Bhakti is intense love, faith, piety and devotion as religious principle or means of liberation. Narada Bhakti Sutra and Sandilya Bkakti sutra are the fundamental works on Vaishnava Bhakti ideals, both based on earlier works like Pancharatra and Bhagvata, Narada Bhakti Sutra not only surpasses Sandalya by its eloquence and fervid devotion but it may even be regarded as one of the best specimens of Bhakti literature that has ever been written. These Bhakti 128 Sutras preach nine forms of Bhakti-worship : (1) Shravan (hearing), (2) Kirtan (singing praise of the gods and god-desses,) (3) Simran (meditation or remembrance of the Deity’s name), (4) Pad sevan : worshipping the feet of the idol, (5) archana : worshipping the image of the Deity, (6)
vandana: salutation, (7) dasya: attendance, (8) sakhya :
friendship, (9) atamnivedan : Self-offering. This is called Navda Bhakti. Its principles are by and large rejected in Guru Granth. This Navda (nine kinds) Bhakti is rejected in Sikh Scriptures because it is related to specific idol worship.
Bhakti has always been associated with these nine principles in Hinduism. Even when saints and philosophers have attained and preached transcendent Monism (Advaita), they have never given up the idol-worship or image worship. In their transcendental state these saints and mystics have no doubt criticized idolatory or worship of lower Deities like Vishnu, Shiva. Bhaktas like Kabir and other low caste Bhaktas were never permitted to enter any Hindu temple. Kabir was a Muslim by birth and also influ-enced by Sufi traditions. So Bhaktas like Kabir built their own ashrams and congregational centres apart from Vaishnava Hindu temples. These Bhaktas achieved the highest illumination in quite an early stage. Bhakti is a path in which the traveller depend only on intense love of God.
SANT (SAINT) Just as a holyman is known as saint, people in all faiths and religions show tremendous reverence to saints of their faiths.
Popular views about saints are expressed in many ways.
Ambrose Bearce in his “Devils Dictionary” defines a Saint as, “ a dead sinner, revised and re-edited. “Emerson says,” A saint is a sceptic once in every twenty four-hours”. “The world venerates dead saints and persecutes the living ones”. A similar
idea is expressed in Guru Granth :
In Islam says Hujwiri, “the principle and foundation of Sufism and knowledge of God rests on saintship.” “The word usually translated as “saint”, wali, means someone who is under special protection, a friend.” “The Auliya Allah, the ‘friends of Gods’ are mentioned in the Koran several times, the most famous occasion being Sura 10:63.”Verily, the friends of God, no fear is upon them nor are they sad.”6 The perfect Saints who initiated disciples and imparted illumination to their disciples (murids) were know as “Sheikh”. The disciples completely surrendered themselves to the Pir and the Pir supervised every breath of the murid. “A later mystic has compared the MasterSheikh in Arabic, Pir in Persian - to the prophet (for a tradition says that “the Sheikh in his group is like the prophet in his people.” All the prophets have come in order to open people’s eyes to see their own faults and God’s perfection, their own weakness and God’s power, their own injustice and God’s justice.’” Thus an enlightened Sheikh is a Saint and a perfect Man.
In Buddhism, Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened One is the Prophet, while Buddhisattva and Arhat are the saints of highest rank. “Whereas the Arhat strives most earnestly for Nirviina, the Buddhisattva firmly refuses to accept the final release.” For as much as there is the will that all sentient beings should be altogether made free, I will not forsake my fellow creatures.”8 “Those are specially called Budhisattvas who with specific determination dedicate all the activites of their future and present lives to the task of saving the world. They do not merely contemplate, but feel, all the sorrow of the world, and because of their love they cannot be idle but expend their virtues with supernatural generosity.’’9 130 In Hinduism, the concept of “Prophet” does not ex-ist, becaust Hinduism is not a founded religion. The sages hose wisdom forms the earliest religious literature of Hinduism were called Rishis. These Rishis were great thinkers, contemplatives and saints in the real sense. They were what we call sanctified sages inspired poets and singers of hymns. There were seven orders of Rishis, most of whom were ascetics: Devarishis, Brahmarishis, Rajarishis, Maharishis, Paramrishis, Srutarishis and Kardarishis. The word Bhakta (Bhagat) was used for those who became perfect mystics of love, and their excellence was judged by their devotion and spiritual achievements.’ The word “Sant” began to be used by,Hindi writers of our century like my friends, ‘Dr Hazari Prashad Dwedi, Dr Ram Kumar Verma, and by Dr P.N. Tiwari, Dr P.D. Barthwal, Dr Parusram Chaturvedi first for Kabir and then for saints of all religions including Sufis and Sikh Gurus. At times they divided these sants into Nirgun and Sargun (Sagun) : monotheists, and saints who worshipped avataras like Rama and Krishna.
At first even Kabir’ did not find respectable place in Hindi literature. It goes to, the credit of Kshiti Mohan Sen and Rabindranaih Tagore for giving this high status to Kabir which the scholars of Hindi belt had denied to him, earlier.
After Tagore’s earlier ‘poems of Kabir became popular and attracted international attention, Rabindranath decided to start Hindi Department in Shantiniketan. Dr Hazari Prashad Dwedi “,as selected for the post and Tagore asked,him to start work on Kabir. Hazari Prashad ji told me, that he frankly told Tagore that Kabir was considered a Ganvar Kavi (a rustic poet) and any work on Kabir may not attract the attention of the Hindi scholars towards the Hindi Department in Shantiniketan.
Kabindranath Tagore was greatly shocked and deeply hurt and embittered on hearing this Tagore said, he had started the department for the study of Poet-saints like Kabir and if Hazari Prashad did not consider Kabir a refined Hindi Poet he could go 131 back. He would rather close down the department than allow the study of any Hindu literature minus, Kabir and Ravidas. Dr HazariPrashad Dwedi then studied those very poems out of Kshiti Mohan Sen’s selection which the Poet has translated.10 In the Hindi literary world the word’ Sant’ began to be used for all religious prophets and saints and even for Sufis and Sikh Gurus; The use of word ‘Bhakta’’ virtually disappeared. The clean division of Santinto Nirg;un (strict monotheists) and Sargun(sagun) worshipping avataras as God, became popular but is an, arbitrary classification into which Sufi-Saints and,Sikh Gurus cannot be legitimately included, because of their different doctrines. ‘We give below the views of two leading Hindi scholars, Dr P.D. Barthwal and Parsuram Chaturvedi.