«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 ...»
In every period and in every decade of five hundred and twenty years of its turbulent history, Sikhism and Enlightened Sikhs have firmly stood up against these hostile forces and calmly said, “Attain first the level of wisdom and spirituality of Sikhism and then take your pen to criticize us. Know the facts of our history, doctrines and moral code before you distort them and spread misleading lies about them.” We know that there are a considerable section of people who enjoy mischievous distortions and denigrating denigrating images of Sikhs, their prophets and their religion and culture. This section of the people, mostly Jealous and rival religious groups, and greedy sychophants and highly paid servile agents of hostile Delhi Rulers, who have changed the whole of Punjab into a vast 8 concentration camp, kept under police and para-military surveillance for over a decade and have spared no pains in alienating the Sikhs in their own country, insulting and humiliating them in their own Homeland, Punjab. But still there is no dearth of honest thinkers and intellectuals in the East and West who are prepared to uphold Truth, Justice and die Human Rights of the Sikhs and extend their unequivocal support to those high moral and spiritual values of Guru Nanak - Guru Gobind Singh with which the Sikhs have ultimately defeated and eliminated all dark and self-defeating hostile forces with the light and power of Truth and Will to live with honour and self-respect.
The Sikhs believe in dispelling darkness and light, eliminating the lies of manipulated distortions with fac-tual truth, and removing the gloom of doubts, delusion and confusion created by presenting conjectural and falsely constructed images about Sikhs and various aspects of Sikhism. The music, poetry and aesthetic philosophy and mysticism, of Sikh scriptures, and their glorious history, shining with the wisdom of great apostles, saints and schol-ars and the sacrifices of thousands of martyrs is an open Book of their 520 years of history for those who have eyes to see and read it with unprejudiced minds.
Astute students of occidental studies and Sikhism do not fail to notice that Dr Ernest Trumpp and Dr Hew McLeod are the only two outstanding products of Protestant Christian Missionary Institutions who have consciously and deliberately given not only highly biased studies, but their maladroit, left-handed, ungainly comments floundering from one fallacious argument to another, have perhaps achieved one thing: that those ignorant western readers who know practically nothing about Sikhism are likely to accept and believe all they have written in their hostile works released through prestigious publishers. Their super-structures of absurdities, their incorrect and misleading translations of sacred hymns, their distorted and clumsy interpretation of key-terms, and doctrines of Sikh religion, their damning criticism of original Sikh 9 sources has no doubt brought to them some cheap popu-larity for their brilliant intellectual feat in demolishing the integrity and historic image of Guru Nanak, the Founder of Sikhism and his nine equally great successors. They have attempted, each in his own way to expose to ridicule the most sacred Sikh institutions, the most precious articles of faith and worship in Sikhism paying here and there left-handed compliments to this religion. Al-though they have tried to inflict grave injury to Sikhs and Sikhism, their perverted studies and malicious attacks have boomeranged on them and they stand universally condemned for their biased approach and misleading conjectural statements.
Dr Trumpp was strongly criticized even by British scholars within two decades of the publication of his work. In spite of a well orchestrated support for his odd theories by his old colleagues of Batala-Berkeley groups and some protagonists of Saint cults of god-men, a strong reaction has set in against Dr Hew McLeod theories and comments on Sikhs and Sikhism.
Lovers of historical truth, sincere scholars of Sikh studies in the East and West have rejected all the absurd theories of Dr Hew McLeod and his group and are taking courageous steps to present the Truth about Sikhs and Sikhism, all over the world.
These hostile critics consider their own work rational and that of authentic scholars of Sikhism irrational. Pro-fessor Frits Staal, an outstanding scholar of oriental languages and mysticism rightly says, “A common Western prejudice has it that the West is rational and the East irrational. (strictly speaking, the prejudice is that everything which is not Western is irrational).
Since it is obvi-ous that the term ‘rational’, whatever its precise meaning, cannot without straining it to be applied to a civilization which spends its greatest efforts on the destruction of Asian countries and their peasant populations, this rationality is conceived of as primarily exhibited by one particular creation of Western civilization, viz. science. The irrationality of the East, in contrast, is thought of as being 10 especially appropriate in the area of religion. This supports, and is supported by, another prejudice which is the product of a particular development within Western civilization - that religion and mysticism, are irrational. Christianity possessed from the earliest times an irratio-nalist tendency, which has been on the increase in recent centuries.”6 But Christian missionary scholars in the past two centuries have always overlooked the irrationality of their own religion, but have attacked oriental religions like Buddhism and Sikhism with all the discursive logic of hostile criticism at their disposal.
Anyone who approaches the study of Sikh religion with pre-conceptions and ingrained ideological bias, and pretends to study it with some half-baked and superficial knowledge of Punjabi language and Sikh historical source-books, but complete ignorance of the languages and dialects of Sikh Scriptures (prakrit, Apabhrarilsa, Persian, Avadhi, and various dialects of medieval Punjabi) will commit the same type blunders which Dr Ernest Trumpp and Dr Hew McLeod have highlighted in their writings, as products of their type of Western academics.
Their are obvious discrepancies and disconnections in the narratives of our historical records (janam-sakhis, Gurbilases, Sakhi Pothis) and no Sikh scholar from Guruperiod to the present day has accepted any historical work except those of Bhai Gurdas and Guru Gobind Singh un critically and without thorough investigation. None of the janam-sakhis, Gurbilases were canonized by the Sikh Gurus and declared authentic or sacred, and no statement in them is accepted un critically as gospel-truth. There are, however, no inconsistencies and contradictions in the authentic works of the Sikh Gurus and Bhaktas preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib and other canonized scriptures like the works of Bhai Gurdas, Bhai Nand Lal and of Guru Gobind Singh. In this respect Sikhism is in a much better position than Christianity and Buddhism because we have a number of copies of Guru Granth autographed and dated by the successors of Guru Arjun 11 the text of which is universally accepted as authentic.
Throughout our history the most orthodox Sikh theologians, philosophers and mystics have never shunned their responsibility of coming to terms with truth. They welcome all deep and profound studies of Sikhism and the Sikh people have always greatly respected and honoured serious non-Sikh scholars of Sikhism. But scholars disciplined in authentic knowledge and study of Sikh scrip-tures and history, whether Sikh or non-Sikh have reacted strongly and bitterly against all wilful distortions and falsifications of facts and truth of Sikh history and scriptures as Dr Trumpp and Dr Hew McLeod have repeatedly done in their works.
Except during the period of rise of Christian Mis-sionary power, and more so when Arya Samaj provoked counterattacks by abusing and insulting Christ, Mohammed and Guru Nanak, no Sikh scholar or saint has ever criticized or belittled any prophet of any religion. Even when the political relations between Sikhs and Mughal governments were at their worst, the relations of Sikh Saints and Scholars with Sufi and spiritualminded Muslims were extremely friendly and fraternal. Dr Ernest Trumpp’s attack on Sikhism in 1868-90 and Dr Hew McLeod’s assault on many aspects of Sikhism in 1968-93 came as a shock not only to Sikh scholars but Sikh intelligenstia have been provoked to form counter-attack groups against what is now known as Batala-Berkley Christian Missionary group, which has intensified its attack through Seminars organized only to promote such hostile views.
A number of articles were published in Sikh and University journals criticizing the views expressed by Dr Hew McLeod by Sikh and non-Sikh historians. Some of these articles dismantled all his theories, but Dr McLeod has never cared to answer this criticism of his untenable pre-suppositions. He has conveniently ignored them and he continues to repeat all his hostile attacks on Sikh doctrines in the same words but with renewed emphasis by 12 merely repeating everything he has said before, ostensibly because he, feels that the Batala-Berkley group of Christian missionaries, a few students and a few Sikh Marxists, materialists and agnostics in our Universities continue to back him in this game. These Marxists, materialists and aetheists carry some prestige of the University chairs, they have been occupying under the patronage of Delhi Rulers, whose destructive attitude towards the Sikhs and their sacred Institutions is known all over the world; and this prestige becomes colourful because they are Sikhs in name, and Khalsa Sikhs in appearance, even though some of them keep on putting their beards and turbans only to become acceptable in these Universities of the Punjab which are expected to promote authentic research work in Sikh history, religion and Scriptures. What they have done and achieved is before us.
In this book Dr Trumpp’s and Dr Hew McLeod’s pet theories and findings have been studied in the light of factual truth based on original sources and the truth about all doctrines and historical events studied by them has been discussed in detail. Wherever the author is wrong, he stands corrected by others who are better equipped and informed and he will be grateful to them for more knowledge and light on these issues of great importance. The object of this book is to remove the dark errors and misconceptions created about Sikhs and Sikhism and to create authentic understanding and appreciations of Sikh history and doctrines. Sikh history, philosophy, mysticism, sociology and pol-ity are vast subjects and no single individual can master them all in their profound depth in one life-time. Many eminent theologians, historians and mystics have given profound insights in each field in their works in Punjabi or Braj. But none of these precious works have been trans-lated into English or any other Indian or foreign lan-guage. Even our present day University lecturers and scholars try to study Sikhism without studying these monumental original sources.
13 But the prejudiced analytical studies by Christian missionary scholars of the category of Dr Ernest Trumpp and Dr Hew McLeod have achieved nothing beyond creating bitterness and wilful injury. Dr Ernest Trumpp’s work lies in the grave of oblivion, though it is picked up now and then by Ph.D. students to do some padding in their foot-notes. When Dr Hew McLeod’s hostile attacks and exposition stand exposed in the light of historical truth and doctrinal facts, serious scholars of Sikhism, Western or Eastern, will not accept any of his prejudiced and unauthenticated analysis and criticism.
Prof. Puran Singh rightly pointed out way back in 1925 “Beware of the magic of Brahmanical philosophic analysis of everything, even the most secret and complex infinities of faith, life and love. It killed them, it shall kill you. Analysis is the opposite pole of feeling. I worship my mother, I love my wife, but what would they be if I wished to know them byanalysis”7.
Positive analysis helps all seri-ous studies in the field of religion and philosophy; negative analysis causes considerable harm to the subject and blackens the face of the analyst.
The Sikhs are proud of the fact that at no period of their history did they lack genuine serious observers, scholars of Sikh history and religion amongst Christian,,Muslims and Hindus. While many Hindu scholars from Bengal and South India have seriously and very sincerely studied Sikh religion and history and their insights surpass the assessment of many living Sikh scholars, many writers and political leaders from the Hindu belt of India work-ing for Hindi and Hindu Imperialism over Punjab, Kash-mir and other linguistic states, have been campaigning against Sikh history, religion and culture exactly as British Imperialism did after its occupation of Punjab. This has only roused Sikhs and Sikhism to preserve their roots of Political, religious and cultural freedom with their traditional resistance and determination known to all students of Sikh history and religion. The challenges of hostile critics like Dr Ernest Trumpp and Dr Hew McLeod will 14 keep on coming. Scholars who understand and know Sikhism from its depths will keep on meeting these challenges and revealing the truth about this sublime and unique religion and its great prophets.
There is no such tradition or belief in Sikh religion that only ordained priests or official theologians are competent to write about Sikh scriptures and history. Nor is the interpretation given by some orthodox theologian or saint, the last word.
The doors of healthy discussions and profounder investigations are open to all. No one is given the status of eccelsiastical importance attributed to Pundits and Mullas or to the pope, Cardinals and Archbishops. Those who turn against the basic doctrines of Sikhism are disowned or at the most excommunicated. But no physical harm is ever done to anyone who chooses a different path. The doors of repentence and forgiveness are also kept open. Only when some sects like Handaliyas and Niranjanias joined the Mghan invaders and participated in armed attack on the Sikhs, the Sikh armies attacked their strongholds with armed forces. Murder of heretics by slaying them or burning them on the stakes was com-mon place in Christianity and Islam. The Sikh Gurus stood for complete freedom of worship for all.