«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 ...»
Somebody wrote a third Rehitnama in the name of Bhai Nand Lall, published by Hew McLeod along with his version of Chaupa Singh’s Rehitnama. This is not a Rehitnama of Bhai Nand Lall but has been written in his name. The very language, expression and style reveals that 283 the great poet never wrote this. Bhai Nand Lall never wrote any prose except in his letters. Everything he wrote was in poetry bubbling with the light and life.
Other great contemporaries like Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Desa Singh and Bhai Chaupa Singh wrote Rehitnamas which were of a few pages. But either their descendents or some other scribes added so much material to them that the new and later versions cannot be called Rehitnamas of contemporaries, in any sense of the word. Many years ago the eminent scholar Sant Smpuran Singh published a 300 page manuscript entitled Sudharam Marag as Bhai Daya Singh’s Rehitnama. It is a historically useful document, prepared by some Nirmala scholar of early nineteenth century. Neither the language nor the contents can be attributed to Bhai Daya Singh.
The same is the case with the lengthy Rehitnama of Chaupa Singh which Hew McLeod has published with his own style of translation and his own pattern of motivated comments.
He says, the original copy of this document was destroyed in the Blue-Star attack on the Library. I have known it all along, on the information provided by two police officers and a peon on duty in the Golden Temple during the military attack, that the books and manuscripts were taken out and then the Library rooms were set on fire. This information came to-me from two police officers who packed over two hundred bags of precious manuscipts and books. On the day this chapter is being written the outgoing government has declared that these manuscripts will be returned. I have with me copies of other manu-scripts of Chaupa Singh’s Rehitnama lying in other libraries including Guru Nanak Dev University manuscript, which are identical in text.
It will be possible to comment on the authenticity of Hew McLeod’s version and other manuscripts which will be published in detail in some Journal in due course.
The Thirty Three Swayas of Guru Gobind Singh was the first Rehitnama in the Master’s own hand. The first verse
defines the Khalsa thus:
284 Awake to the Eternal Light (jyotl) Meditating day and night, The Name of the Lord;
Having no faith in any deity Except the One Lord;
Absorbed in His Splendour, Abosrbed in His Love;
Even in error Never believing, In fasts and worship of tombs Nor temples of idolatory;
Caring not even for Bathing in holy rivers and places, Nor for penances of yogis, Nor for ascetic practices of sannyasis.
Know such a Child of Light.
Such a paragon, such a complete Man, In whose heart ever shines, The Perfect Light of God To be the Khalsa.
Guru Gobind Singh, Thirty Three Swayas :
The point to be noted is that in the innumerableverses of Guru on the Rehit of Khalsa and a Perfect Sikh, emphasis is not on external symbols. The strongest stress is on inner life, Sikh meditations and prayers.
As we can see around us today there are countless people who call themselves Sikhs, and have hair, beard and other symbols. But they openly call themselves atheists, Marxists, materialists, hedonists (like Sant Nirankaris) and other cult preachers. They are neither Sikhs nor Khalsa in any sense of the word. These bearded and turbaned Sikhs with the suffix ‘Singh’ attached to them are the greatest enemies of Sikh religion, history and culture these days. The Delhi Rulers have given them high positions in political set up and in the universities to run down Sikhism and do as much damage as they can to Sikhs and Sikhism, but the game has reached the tether’s end.
A bitter reaction amounting to revolutionary protests has set in.
The Rehitnamas are not canonized documents. When a Sikh accepts baptism at the Akal Takht or any other authentic place, he is given the same oral instruction which 285 Guru Gobind Singh gave to the First Beloved Five. No baptized Sikh is officially handed over any particular Rehitnama in writing. Written Rehitnamas are of two kinds. One which are based on the historical and traditional Rahit instructions. They are basically the same but are published under different names.
The second type are the Cult -Rehitnamas, in which cults like Namdharis and Nirankaris or other Sants add to these traditional Rehitnamas their own innovations of dress, dietary and other things. These Rehitnamas may serve the purpose of cult-groups to some extent but they ultimately are ignored by the Sikh Sangats and like the cult group die a natural death.
Guru Granth gives the essence of Sikh Code of Conduct.
“If one lives according to the Guru’s Rehit His evil propensities (vikara) Gradually diminish and disappear.”20 Guru Granth, Guru Arjun, Gauri, p. 259
16. Bhai Mani Singh, Janam Sakhi, Litho copy p. 1.
17. 1. Dr Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, Vol. I, p. 201.
2. Dr N.K. Sinha writes “In their struggle for independence Sikhs suffered much molestation because of these people, whose one aims was to ingratiate themselves into the favour of the Durranis. They would even point the Sikh boys and women, hiding in corn fields, so that the Durranis might drag them out. To enumerate only a few most important cases, it was on the information of a Niranjani that a very prominent Sikh Sukha Singh was arrested in 1753, it was a Niranjani Harmukh Das who supplied information leading to the arrest of Taru Singh in 1746; it was a Niranjani who had supplied information leading to the persecution of the family of a prominent Sikh, Mehtab Singh.
N.K. Sin ha, Rise of the Sikh Power, p. 34.
18. Prof. R.S. Verma’s paper in Proceedings of Punjab History Confer-ence (March (1970) should be read along with his article on the same subject in Sikh Review - Guru Nanak Birth Quin-Centenary, Vol. I, 1970. W.H. McLeod’s quotations are from his book Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, (1968) p. 88, 126.
19. rahio sarit hauri toh siidh bahutere dilhe s a n n y a s i tapasiyah, mukhun eh Pundit mi!he baras ek haun phiro kinai nah parchai layio. kahtyeh kahati sun Rehit ko khushi na ayio. hari nam chod dujai lage tin gun haun kia kahun guru daya milayio bhikhia jiv tun rakhai tin rahaun Bhikha’s Swayai, Mahalla Three
20. Rehit Rhiti Rahi jae bikara.
“If you will not be Christians, be at least men, treat us as you would, if having only the weak light of Justice, which nature bestows, you had not a religion to conduct and a revelation to enlighten you.
“If you have this truth, hide it not from us by the manner in which you prepare it. The characteristics of truth is its triumph over hearts and minds and not that importance which you confess, which would force us to receive it by condemnation and torture.
It is necessary that we shoull! warn you of one thing, that is, if anyone in times to come shall dare to assert this that the age in which we live, the people of Europe were civilized, you will be cited to pronounce that they were barbarous, and the idea they will have, if you will be such as will dishonour your age, and spread hatred over all your contemporaries.
Montesquieu, ‘The Spirit of Law’
THUS SPAKE GURU GOBIND SINGHSome call themselves Hindus, Others call themselves Muslims;
Some consider themselves Shias;
Some consider themselves Sunnis;
Of the Imam Shaft’s School;
Recognize mankind to be one human race;
There is but One God of all.
Who is the ‘Creator and Compassionate’ of Hindus He is the ‘Sustainer and Merciful’ of Muslims.
All humanity worshiPs One and the same God.
The Eternal Lord is the Enlightener of all.
Know Him to be One Beauteous Spirit.
Know Him to be One Splendrous Light.
Akal Ustat, 85 Guru Nanak was the Founder of this dharma : Sikhism;
He gave a New Way of Life for all seekers of Truth, Those who walk on Guru Nanak’s Path Would never suffer from inner affliction and sorrows Foolish and ignorant people consider, All Sikh Gurus to be different in mind and Spirit.
Few enlightened saints and seers, Have comprehended them to be One in Spirit;
Only those who understand this eternal Truth, Acquire spiritual enlightenment and perfection.
Without understanding this mystical Truth, One cannot achieve any spiritual perfection.
Autobiography, Ch. 5, 10 289
COMPARISON BETWEEN ERNEST TRUMPP AND HEW
MCLEOD’S EXPOSITION OF SIKH RELIGION,
HISTORY AND SCRIPTURESIt is the misfortune of a tiny but vigorously assertive and manifestly visible ethnic minority like the Sikhs to become a soft target of the Pundits and learned Academics of hostile Christian Missionary Groups on the one hand and Dominant Majority Rulers of Delhi whose repression of the Sikhs has attracted world-wide attention on the other. While the books written by the hostile Christian Missionary Groups have created bitter reaction in the minds of knowledgeable and sensitive Sikhs every where, the Caesarism of the Dominant Majority Delhi Rulers has been responsible for the torture and death of thousands of Sikh men, women and children since 1984. These learned Christian Missionary scholars have concentrated all their energies and ex-hausted all their tricks of their brand of historical method-ology of distorting truth by presenting utterly false and unsubstantiated exposition and analysis of Sikh history and doctrines.
These cynical critics aim at hurting the Sikhs and Sikhism by imputing to this religion what is strongly criticized in its scriptures. Their lopsided irrational arguments are always dressed in pretentious posture of authentic knowledge of Sikhism. They puzzle and confuse those who have some appreciative knowledge of Sikhism. Their books published by prestigious publishers are enthusiastically used by some who are ignorant of the original and reliable sources of Sikhism. This is the only merit of their work 290 and the so called research work in a religion for which they have neither any reverence nor even formal respect. Whoever comes to know about the truth of Sikh doctrines and history would not even touch such books with a pair of tongs in times to come.
Out of the hostile Hindu critics of Sikh Gurus and Sikh religion the name of Swami Dayananda, the Arya Samaj leader is conspicuous. Nearly all the battles of Hindus against Sikhs in Punjab in the field of religion, culture and politics have their roots in the inherent and inbred hostility of Arya Samajists against Sikhs. The organized campaign of Hindu Punjabis against their mother-tongue and all that has followed the basic Sikh struggle for their fundamental freedoms have been unashamedly led by Arya Samaj leaders. This Vedic scholar, Swami Dayanand, who did not know a word of any lanuguage used in Guru Granth declared that Guru Nanak was a ganwar (an illiterate rus-tic) because he did not know Sanskrit, the language of Hindu gods and wrote poetry in his mother-tongue, a rus-tic language. He even attacked Christ and Mohammed much more contemptuously, using vulgar and unprintable language for them.1 Giani Dit Singh, a low caste Hindu convert to Sikhism and a great Sanskrit scholar noted that Swami Dayanand was only making a fool of Punjabi Hindus, Sikhs, Chris-tians and Muslims who did not know Sanskrit. He accepted Swami Dayananda’s challenge for a debate. He not only defeated the Swami on the issues raised by him about Vedas and Sikh religion, but was hooted down and had to suffer humiliation in the debate. He left Lahore for a long time. Giani Dit Singh has recorded all this in his booklet “Mere SadhuDayanand Nal Sambad”: (My Debate with Sadhu Dayananda). This booklet set in motion an intellectual wave of reform movement known as “Singh Sabha move-ment “.
Some years later this attitude of Arya Samaj movement again created communal conflicts by publication of Rangila Rasul (Pleasure-loving Prophet) by Swami 291 Shardhananda leading to Hindu-Muslim riots in 1924. Swami Shardhanand was murdered in 1929 by two young Muslims, an act that was widely acclaimed in the Muslim community. The Sikhs did not get involved in these Hindu Muslim conflicts and riots.
The Christian Missionaries were very active all over Punjab. Their reports to their superiors show their ignorance about Sikh history and religion, and their observations are based on hearsay and crude information by their informers.
Anyway, Christian Missionaries were the first to realize that it was easy to spread the message of Christ through the mothertongue of the people. They concentrated on the study of regional languages. Some missionaries were deeply impressed by the Sikh Scriptures. Their perceptions of the moral and spiritual fervour of Guru Granth is as enlightened and noble as that of a knowledgeable Sikh devotee.
Out of the Christian Missionaries, Ernest Trumpp, who was the first and oustanding scholar whose work was patronized, published and highly praised by interested British Imperialists and like-minded Christian Missionar-ies, who propagated their faith by running down religions other than their own. The attitude of these British Imperialists remained the same towards the scholarly six vol-umes of Max Arthur Macauliffe during his life time.
The anti-Sikh Hindu Pundits tried to induct caste-system and Hindu ceremonies into Sikh Society among the ignorant Sikh masses for whom the Guru Granth be-came a closed Holy Book because printed copies of this Sacred work were not available, and the readers, reciters and interpreters of Sikh Scriptures became still more rare. These Pundits tried to win some illiterate or semi-literate Sikh Princes, so that they could impose these Hindu caste system and ceremonies already rejected by the Sikh Proph-ets in these states and control the polity and religion of the Sikh State with all their age-old Brahmanical strategy and nefarious designs of Brahmanical Hindu hegemony.