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«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 ...»

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Although the medieval Bhaktas transcended Hindu-ism and Islam, yet their immediate followers kept them divided by geographical and caste barriers, and even when these Bhaktas belonged to lowest castes they were divided by their caste divisions.

Guru Nanak and his successors have not only saved their own most precious works from becoming extinct or distorted, but have preserved the authentic works of the Bhaktas and given them the same sanctity and spiritual status which they gave to their own writings. Sheikh Farid, the orthodox Muslim Sufi, Ravidas the cobbler born as pariah, disowned by society are as greatly revered as the Gurus themselves. Any Sikh who dares to say that the works of these Bhaktas are inferior in sanctity and spiritual status of Gurbani is excommunicated and thrown 148 out of the Sikh Panth; so dear and sacred are these Bhaktas and Sufis to us. Bhakti in the Sikh tradition was called Gurmukh Bhakti, Nirmal Bhakti, Nirankar Bhakti and even Allahki-Bhakti. Guru Amar Das expresses this uniqueness in the

following words :

bhagati niriili Allah ki japai gur vichar, nanak naw hirdai vasai bhai bhagati nau savar.

–  –  –

Bhakti according to Guru Nanak’s ideal is the moral and spiritual foundation of Sikh ism to this day. Bhakti, here means intense and pure love of God which transcends all self externals.

The sacred writings of the Gurus are unique and different in some ways from the works of these eminent Bhaktas. These Bhaktas wrote on mystical, ethical and a few social themes of protest against hypocricy, corruption and human degradation. Beyond these themes they never went in their writings. But the Sikh Gurus have given a complete philosophy of life. They have commented on 149 political, social and cultural challenges of their times. They have given profound reflection and doctrinal concepts bout the universe, the creation, nature, man in human society and all the problems of life and death - and also of existence beyond death.

Guru Nanak inspired a line of nine successors each of whom was great, unique and true embodiment of the Spirit of the Founder. There was one illumined-Consciousness in them working out the organi-zation and destiny of a nation. They differed in age, their methods of meeting the challenges, but they were one in Spirit and one in ideology and idealism. To dismiss the Sikh Gurus as petty Sants and present them as contradict- ing one another, as Hew McLeod has done is the height of intellectual dishonesty and academic absurdity, the evil intentions of which are clearly visible to those who have eyes to see, and knowledge to sift the truth from the false constructions of Hew McLeod and his organized group. I would like to conclude this chapter by saying that preju- diced and hostile writers like Hew McLeod and his group can fool some people for some time with their irrelevant, irrational and absurd theories about Sikh history and doc-trines but they cannot fool all the people all the time.

–  –  –

9. Anand K. Coomaraswamy, Buddha And the Gospel of Buddhism, p. 231.

10. Dr Hazari Prashad was Head of the Hindi Department, Punjab University, for some years. We met a number of times. He related to me this incident and many other beautiful anecdotes about the Poet and his experiences at Shantiniketan. Later when he was Vice Chancellor of Benaras Hindu University, he invited me to the University for lectures.

11. P.D. Barthwal, Nirgun School of Hindi Poetry, Preface, p. IX.

12. ibid., IX-X.

13. ibid., p. 32-33.

14. ibid., p. 89.

15. ibid., p. 216-217.

16. Parusram Chaturvedi, Uttari Bharat Ki Sant Parampara, p.


17. ibid.

18. RD. Ranade, Mysticism in Maharashtra Chapters on Gyandev and Namdev are indispensable sources on Namdev, Sena, Trilochan - the three Bhaktas whose hymns are found in Guru Granth (see part II, Ch apt. VII to IX) Professor Ranade’s comparison with Western mysticism and Bhakti move-ment is also very illuminating.

19. ibid., p. 425.

20. Hew McLeod, “Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion”, p. 229.

21. ibid., p. 151-53.

22. Besides Professor RD. Ranade’s book on Namdev, see: M.A.

Macauliffe: The Sikh Religion, Vol. VI; Nicol Mac: Psalms

of Maratha Saints,; Bhaktamal : Nabhadas, Mahapati :

Bhaktivijaya (Engl. Tr. by Justin E. Abbott) and N.R Godbola, Dr Prabhakar Machwe : Namdev’s Life and Philosophy.

23. RD. Ranade, Mysticism in Maharashtra, p. 32.

24. After the death of Giandev, his brother, Nivirtinath (who had become a disciple of Gorakhnath’s disciple and was also Guru of Giandeva) and the second brother Sopandev, his younger sister, Muktabai all passed away within a few months of each other. They were all in their twenties.

Namdev was just 27 years old and he has expressed his sorrow in his abhangas. His devotees Goda and Vithal express their sorrow at his departure saying: “Nama has left Pundarpur. He has orphaned us.”

25. Goswami was an Acharya of Vaishnava sampardaya. The Punjabi word Gosain means Goswami. Ramananda belonged to Ramanya Vaishnava sampardaya which was puritan in 151

–  –  –




The Mughals, the Afghans, and following them many Hindu scribes of Mughal courts called Guru Nanak and all his successors, Nanak panthts. In the Mughal court records and the writings of non-Sikh scholars, the appellation “Nanak panthi” was attached not only to Guru Nanak and his immediate successors but even to Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh and Banda.

The well-knwon author of Dabistan-i-Mazahib who met Guru Hargobind and Guru Har Rai calls all the seven Gurus and their followers Nanak-panthts because this was the appellation with which the Muslim rulers addressed all Guru Nanak’s successors, who ascended the pontific throne of Guru Nanak and their followers. But in the very first sentence of this work he makes it clear that within the Sikh society they are known as Gursikhs and they are ideologically different and distirict from the Hindus. He says: “Nanak-panthis (the followers of Nanak), who are known as Guru-Sikhs (disciples of the Masters) have no faith in idols or temples of idols. Nanakaffirmed the Unity of God-head, and things spoken of in the Mohammedan Law, and he believed also in transmigration. He held wine and flesh of swine to be unlawful, and had given up animal food (meat-eating), and used to teach refraining from hurting all living beings. “ 1 In the ideal Sikh sangat or what is known as Guru-ka Langar, meat is still strictly prohibited. The impression which the author of Dabistan-i-Mazahib got was that Sikh monotheism and some spiritual doctrines resembled Islamic doctrines, but such doctrines as transmigration of soul which were predominantly Hindu in nature were also there. We will discuss this in details in Chapter 12 of this book on doctrines.

The Mughal records continued to refer to Sikh Gu-rus as Nanak panthis. In their eyes, Guru Gobind Singh, Banda and the Sikhs after that were all Nanak panthts. There are some letters of Aurangzeb in Rajasthan archives which refer to Guru Gobind Singh as Nanak panthi. The Newsletters written by Hindu and Muslim official news writers known as waqai-nawts, waqai-nigar, akhbar-nawts called Akhbar-iDarbar-i-Mualla preserved in ]aipur and Bikaner archives have now been published. We quote be-low some passages from the akhbars of Bahadur Shah, ]ahandar Shah and Farrukh-Siyar.2 October 30, 1708 - Saturday (26 Shaban, 2nd Bahadurshahi, A.H. 1120: “On the death of Guru Gobind Singh the emperor ordered that a mourning dress be sent to the son of the Guru - Nanak-panthi (Reference is to Ajit Singh adopted son of Mata Sundari).

April 28, 1710 - Friday (10 Rabi-ul-Awwal : 4th Bahadurshahi A.H. 1122) : Urgent orders should also be communicated to the faujdar of Eminabad that in col-laboration with Rustam Khan, the dewan of Lahore prov-ince, he should chastise all Nanak-panthis (followers of Nanak).

July 6, 1710 - Thursday (20 ]amadi-ul-Awwal, 4t h Bahadurshahi A.H. 1122) Hidayat Kesh, the chief newswriter, presented the following verse of rebel (Banda) azamat-i-Nanak Guru hamzahar O batun ast padshah-i-din-o-duniya ap Sacha sahib ast

–  –  –

submis-sion of Hidayat-ullah-Khan daroga of the harkaras, Shankar Rao harkara of Akbarabad, who was with the Emperor, was deputed to the contingent of Firozkhan who has been appointed to punish the Nanak-panthis.

August 14, 1710, Monday (29 Jamadi-ul-Sani, 4th Bahadarshahi A.H. 1122) : Sayyid Wajib-ud-din was de-puted for administering punishment to the Nanak panthis.

August 28, 1710, Monday (14 Rajab, 4th Bahadurshai A.H. 1122) : Farmans were issued in the name of the Zamindar of Srinagar (Garhwal) and Sirmur regarding the administering of punishment to the Nanak panthis.

December 17, 1710, Sunday (7, Zi Qada, 4th Bahadurhahi, A.H. 1122) : The Emperor ordered that Nanak panthis who were in captivity be released. In fu-ture, no Nanak panthis be accused, and whosoever was even openly a Nanak panthi, Jazia might not be realized from him at a double rate and he should not be interefered with.

Thus throughout these records, long after the pass-ing away of Guru Gobind Singh in 1707 and the death of Banda on June 10, 1716, the Sikhs were called Nanak panthis, and Sikhs (Khalsa, Udasis and other groups) were considered to be one people and the one Panth that is Nanak panthi in the terminology of the Muslim rulers.

Hew McLeod quotes verses 4-6 from Guru Gobind Singh’s autobiography chapter 5 in his first book (PV) without translation of these verses. In all the books written after this he contradicts and refutes what is stated by Guru Gobind Singh in these verses and uses all his inge-nuity of distortions, misstatements to project fantastic theo-ries about the relations and ideals of the ten Gurus and gives to his reader a completely perverted view of the Evolution of Sikhism in Guru-period and subsequently. The following translation of Bachiter Natak verses of Guru Gobind Singh, out of which 4, 5, 6 are quoted by Hew McLeod, refute and dismantle all the theories he has put forward to create confusion about the Evolution of Sikh ism and oneness of the Spirit and doctrines of the Gurus.

155 1 Dissension and bitterness increased day by day, Within the ruling dynasty of Bedi kings.

No one could control their inevitable destiny.

The course of karmic fate took such a turn That they lost a large portion of their kingdom.

2 Such was the moral degeneration of times, The character of the Brahmins was debased to that of shudras The Kshatriyas lost their will to fight for dharma And took up the profession of Vaishyas.

Some Vaishyas took up the profession of Kshatriyas.

The shudras aspired to act like Brahmins.

3 The Bedis now possessed just twenty villages;

In these villages they lived by farming.

Many years passed in this way.

Then came the time of Guru Nanak’s birth.

4 In this historic family of Bedis, Was born the Apostle of God, Nanak Rai.

He gave spiritual enlightenment and peace, To all his disciples and devotees.

He always bestowed on them his benediction And helped them in their need and affliction.

5 Guru Nanak was Founder of this Religion: Dharma He gave a New Way of Life to seekers of Truth.

Those who entered Guru Nanak’s Path: marag Are never afflicted by sins and sorrows.

6 God dispelled the sorrows and afflictions Of those who enter the Path of Guru Nanak..

They are never troubled by sorrow and agony They never fall in the snare of death.

7 The Light and Spirit of Guru Nanak Was infused in the body of Guru Angad.

Who developed the Master’s Panth in abundance.

Then Guru Nanaks’ apostalic Spirit Came to be known as Amar Das;

It was a unique spiritual transfiguration:

One replendent Lamp lighting another lamp.


–  –  –

He is Guru Gobind Singh Who verily is Nanak.

The Divine Word (Shabad’) of the Gurus Are precious jewels and pearls.

Bhai Nand Lall, Jot-Bigas, 23-30 Kavi Sainapati another court poet of Guru Gobind Singh writes in “Cur Sobha Granth” of spiritual and mysti-cal oneness of all Gurus.

You are Guru Nanak, You are Guru Angad;

You are Guru Amar Das, You are Guru Ram Das, You are Guru Arjan, You are Gur Hargobind, You are Guru Hari Rai, Hari Krishan also You are, The ninth Guru in this dark kali-age Controlled His spiritual powers You are Tegh Bahadur Who covered the shame of the country By becoming a protective sheet (chaddar) of all You are the tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh You have come, Lord, as a Saviour of the world.

You are glorified O Tegh Bahadur In all the three worlds You have saved the honour of the destitute And given protection to The tilak, the sacred thread and the temples of Hindus.

Mercifully you have immortalized Your sacrifce For dharma, righteousness, You went to heaven;

Gobind Singh became the Guru thereafter.

Kavi Sainapati, Gur Sobha Granth, p. 65. 68 Hew McLeod bases his theories of first calling Guru Nanak and his successors as Nanak panthis, and splitting even these into those who were pure Nanak panthi - like Guru Angad and then calling Amar Das and Ram Das as those who re-introduced Hindu ideals, purely on conjec-ture, prejudice and slander. He ignores authentic original sources, dismissing them as orthodox views, and like Emest Trumpp has the audacity of calling his irrational, unten-able and historically absurd statements scientific history. The minimum anything which claims to be scientific must have is “intellectual honesty and reputation of wellestab-lished historical facts by giving new valid evidence.

Hew McLeod is unexcelled in cavilling, posing irrelevant 158 and fatuous questions and making his unhistorical and unauthentic statements, his crude and obnoxious theories, which, either those who are inherently prejudiced against Sikhism will believe, or those who are utterly ignorant and blind to factual truth about Sikhism may accept.

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