«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 ...»
Guru Nanak bestowed Guruship on Angad about six months before he passed away and watched him and helped him to shoulder his responsibility. But Guru Gobind Singh decided about eight years before his death that no individual should carry the pontific responsibilities of the Sikh Panth. He organized the Khalsa Brotherhood to shoulder the individual pontific responsibilities of the Eternal Guru (manifest in the ten Gurus) collec-tively and democratically. For eight years he watched and disciplined this Khalsa Brotherhood and many times kept his just and wise counsel and divine wishes subservient to the collective wishes of the Khalsa Panth. The very word Jat does not Occur anywhere in his vast writings in the Dasm Granth where he mentions many Indian races and tribes and also foreign nations like French, Chinese, Manchurians, Arabs, Persians, Greeks and Portuguese.
The uninitiated or those who are devotees and devout followers but did not accept initiation because of their inability to shoulder the difficult life of the Khalsa Brotherhood were called Sahajdharis. In Sikh history there have not only been Sahajdhari Sikhs, but also Sahajdhari saints whose devotion and dedication and even spiritual achievements have been great and profound.
They have always been greatly respected and they shall always be respected. There have been Hindu Sahajdharis and Mus-lim Sahajdharis. Upto 1947, out of the fifteen Kirtanjathas (hymnsinging groups) employed in the Golden Temple, seven were Muslim Sahajdhiiris, who were gifted musicians and singers and knew and interpreted Gurbani better than ordinary Khalsa Sikhs.
In view of these facts all the absurd monstrosities constructed by a hostile critic like Hew McLeod and his group in the name of academic historical investigations are heaps of false and nonsensical pro-nouncements which keep themselves confined to deliber-ately spun web of misstatements, distortions and lies.
Throughout his writings Hew McLeod never ventures to step into the region and domain of honest historical study and analysis and presentation of authentic evidence and truth about Sikh religion, history and culture.
A few words about the crude and irrelevant defini-tion of ‘Panth’ which Hew McLeod gives in his works. He calls it a sectarian community. But the Sikh scriptures dearly explain all the meanings of the words “Panth”. In the Sikh scriptures and other historical works, interpreta-tion of Sikh Panth, Gurmukh Panth and Khalsa Panth is also given.”
INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD PANTH IN SLIM SCRIPTURESThe word “Panth” is a Sanskrit word, which has been often used in Upnishads and Mahabharata like the other common words “Panch” or Pank, which continued to be used in Sikh Scriptures in dictionary meaning and also in their newly oriented meanings in the context of Sikh doc-trines and ideals. Panth or Path means the road, the path and the way.
During the medieval period the word began to be used mostly for religious orders which had their own dis-tinctive religious organizations like the twelve Panths of the Yogis and the ten Panths of the Sannyasis. These were well-knit ascetic religious orders distinguished by their different ascetic practices, externals and internal forms and practices. Bhai Gurdas refers
to them thus:
1. sannyasi das nav dhar jogi barah panth chalaya.
Sannyaysis have ten while yogis have instituted twelve panths.
In this sense the word is used in Guru Granth also in a number of places. In his Siddh Gosht, Guru Nanak clearly records the persuasive dialogue and intention of the Yo-gis to attract young Guru Nanak to one of their twelve Panths. In the Guru Granth it is also recorded that the Nath Panth which had gained prominence was Ayi Panth. Originally it was known as Mai Panth, a yogi order led by a woman, who was addressed as Mother (Mai); and then the letter ‘M’ was dropped and began to be called “Ayi” which in Apabhrams means “First, Primal, Prominent, Out-standing: a position which it still helds among the Yogis. Guru Nanak refers it to in Japji pauri 28.
When Guru Arjun’s elder brother Prithi Mal formed a parallel Guruship, and installed himself as the head of a rival Panth, Bhai Gurdas called him and his successors Minas (Highway robbers) and condemned the fake Panth they had organised as Nark-Panth; the religious order doomed to be condemned to hell.13 He compared them to jackels, owls, and hypocrites who promise heaven to their devotees, like a mirage but actually led them to hell.
He completely condemns them as a counterfeit coins.
Al-though, with the assistance and patronage of the rulers, they survived for three or four generations, they ended like a stream meandering into a hot desert. But the Sikh Panth of the Gurus was given a distinctive name and its uniqueness, and interior and outer distinctiveness was emphasized. According to Bhai Gurdas it embraced all religions and panths but yet it main tained its uniqueness and distinct identity by its high moral and spiritual character. It was not just called “Panth”, but Gursikh Panth, Gurmukh Panth, Nirmal Panth, which is translated as Khalsa Panth.
gurumukh panth agam hai mar mar jivai jae pachanai Unfathomable and profoundly deep is the Gurmukh Panth The devotee dies and relives, he dies and is reborn Till he achieves realization of God.
Bhai Gurdas, VaT 40; 19:4
Bhai Gurdas, VaT 28, Pauri 9 Bhai Gurdas repeatedly calls it Sacha Gurmukh Panth, Gursikh Panth, Uttam Panth, Nirmal Panth. Guru Gobind Singh gave many new Attributive Names to God such as Allsteel, One whose banner is the Sword, the Infinite Sword. He also gave a new name to the Gurmukh Panth : The Khalsa Panth. The ideal Sikh Gurmukh was the Khalsa and the Khalsa was Gurmukh. The Gurmukh Khalsa carried with it additional responsibilities of the eternal Guru collectively. Just as merely externals or outward piety did not make a person Gurmukh, so also merely externals do not make a person Khalsa. No matter how much confu-sion is built around these terms by superficial and prejudiced observers and critics, the ideal of the Gurmukh,Brahm Giani, true Sikh, true Khalsa is made clear in hundreds of hymns in Guru Granth and Dasm Granth.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. Dobistan-i-Mazahib, Tr. Sardar Umrao Singh Majithia. Sardar Umrao Singh Majithia prepared this translation from the Paris manuscript which he found in the Paris Asiatic Society, in April 1930 when he was staying in Paris. It is the most correct and authentic translation. It was first published in Khalsa Review.
2. The Bikaner collection of Akhbar-i-Darbar Mualla has been translated by Dr Bhagat Singh of Punjabi University and published in Punjab Past and Present, XVIII, Part 2, October 1984.
3. Hew McLeod has given this translation of the same verse in two of his books: “The Sikhs”, and “Who is a Sikh 7”, both published in the same year, 1989. Hew McLeod does not 170 translate the 8th line of the verse which explains the seventh line and both of these interpret the majestic moral and spiritual personality of Guru Hargobind.
4. tike na tikaya, Literally, cannot be persuaded to stay in one place or does not rest in one place even when persuaded to stay in his pontific city Amritsar.
5. garh-chariah, mounted his fort. This refers to his building the Lohgarh fort and mounting it with guns which according to the allegation against him by his critics provoked Emperor Shah Jahan to attack Amritsar.
6. Patshah charh-aya, The Emperor (Shah Jahan) charh-aya :
Came and attacked him with an army. Guru Hargobind had built the Lohgarh fort and mounted his guns on it. This defence prepara-tion is what the people called mounted his fortress. The word charh-aya does not mean imprisoned in the fort garh charhaya is followed by the mounting of attack by the Emperor Shah Jahan.
7. natha Phire: Guru Hargobind did not fight any battle with Jahangir. The misunderstanding created in the mind of Jahangir about Guru Arjun was obviously removed by Mian Mir, Wazir Khan and his own son who survived to tell the truth. The imprisonment in the fort of Gwalior lasted only for a few months or at most a year. After this short imprisonment the relation between Jahangir and Guru Hargobind were very cordial. It is only fifteen to eighteen years after the imprisonment that clashes with Shah Jahan’s armies took place in Punjab. These battles and open clashes which took place after 1628 have nothing to do with his short imprisonment in Gwalior fort. There is no word in the text which can even remotely be translated into “imprisoned in the fort”.
8. The imperial forces tried to frighten the Guru with superior military power and mighty armies but he did not show any sign of either fear but on the other hand encouraged everyone with fear-lessness. During these years of armed confrontation with the Mughal armies, the Guru had to move from one place to another for strategic reasons. Even his slanderers bear witness to his fear-lessness. Even the mightiest Mughal Rulers could not strike fear in him.
9. With the exception of Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das no Guru merely sat in one place and preached their teachings.
Guru Nanak travelled even after settling in Kartarpur. Guru Amar Das inspite of his old age went to Kurukshetra and Hardwar and a number of other places. Guru Arjun was continuously under attack and his own writings reveal that his detractors and enemies forced three Mughal military leaders to attack him and eliminate him, but he had providential escape and as Guru Arjun puts it, divine 171
10. Hunting was a part of military training.
11. Guru Arjun’s elder brother Prithimal who had been denied primogenitor right of succession for which he was struggling had started writing half-plagiarized hymns with the signature line Nanak the Sixth (Mahalla Sixth). To stop the Sikhs from misunderstand-ing them as genuine composition of Guru Hargobind, the young Guru publically declared that he would not compose any hymn all his life and all Bani issued by the Mina Guru under Nanak Sixth was fake Bani and should be discarded by the Sikhs. This is exactly what happened.
12. dokhi dusht agu muh laya, The word dokhi (Sk. doshi) means sinful, guilty of offences against (Mughal) laws, rebels agains law; dusht means, spoilts, corrupted, wicked, offensive, culpable. dusht dokhi : means rebels who were offensive against established law (of Mughal govt.); the word agu. means leader. Guru Hargobind’s army had been trained by many seasoned warriors who were disciples of Guru Arjun and had been persuaded by the Guru to leave the service of the Mughals and train Hargobind. These were the military leaders who dominated in political and military affairs. The religious and cultural administration was still in the hands of eminent sage-disciples like Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Buddha. Hew McLeod’s translation: “this one encourages scoundrels”, is a ma-licious and distorted translation. Scoundrels can never be either warriors or agu, leaders. The word muh laya is a Punjabi idiom which means patronizing, fostering, honouring them.
13. nark panth hai miniyan mil nark nibahai:
Bhai Gurdas, 36 : 6.
CONCEPT OF TRUE GURU AND TRUE SIKH IN
SIKH SCRIPTURES AND THEIR AUTHETIC
EXPOSITIONS : PLACE OF PROFESSIONAL
CLASSIC AND CASTES IN SIKH SOCIETYThink of an intelligent person calling himself an intellectual and a scholar, claiming to know Arabic, and also claiming to have first hand knowledge of the text of Koran. I wonder what would Muslim and non-Muslim scholars say if he declares that there is no clear-cut definition of a Muslim or Islam in the Koran.
If in order to create confu-sion about the different manners, behaviours, habits, life-style of Muslims, he takes as his sample of Muslims, a cab driver from Cairo, a camel driver from Arabian desert, a pleasure loving millionnaire from some Emirate, a glutton from Morocco, a black Muslim from U.S.A.
or Mrica and a Muslim Indian politician aping Gandhi cap; if he highlights the differences of these Muslims who all go to mosques, read the Koran and compare their habits with the Shariat abiding Muslims in different countries, each loving his race, his tribe, his class, his profession, such a scholar can certainly write books after books, to create confusion about the unity of religious and social concepts, moral and spiritual ideals of Islam and say Islamic literature leaves a Muslim and Islam undefined; and the seventy-two sects, acknowledged even during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are seventy-two castes which have multiplied since then.
Anyone who has read the Koran or Islamic literature or the lives and practices of Muslim saints ofvahous countries 173 will at once come to the conclusion that such an intellectual and scholar who arrogates to himself first hand knowledge of Islamic literature and writes such rubbish in the name of analytical sociological, historical or anthro-pological research of the religion of the Muslims is a hostile writer who is using his literary talent and investiga-tive ingenuity only to blackmail and malign all that is precious, sacred and vitally important to Islam.
This is exactly the way Hew McLeod goes about Sikh Literature, its original sources and this is exactly how he starts describing Sikhs to interpret Sikh ism with a cab-driver in Delhi and ends up by quoting in support of his views turbanned and bearded Sikhs scholars, born in Sikh families, having Sikh names but committed openly to Marxism, Communalism, hedonism, naked atheism, occu-pying prestigeous chairs in the Universities with the ex-press connivance of Delhi Rulers whose hostility and de-structive attitude towards the Sikhs is now internationally known.