«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 ...»
Mter the Enlightenment he made extended preach-ing tours as far as Assam in the East, Ceylon in South, Nepal, Tibet in the North and Mecca and Baghdad in the West. There is an inscription in Baghdad commemorating the visit of the Divine Master Faqir Auliya in 1521. His message was one of peace and reconciliation: There is no Hindu and no Musalman i.e. in the eye of God. This was the heart of his mission which aimed at the reconciliation of these two warring communities to form a New Brother-hood. His teaching and preaching methods were uncon-ventional and dramatic.”31 Guru Amar Das “The third Guru Amar Das served as Guru for twenty-two years. He organized the Sikhs, now rapidly increasing in number into parishes under lay preachers. He gave great impetus to langar or free kitchen and refectory attached to all important gurdwaras (Sikh temples). This unique institution of Sikhism goes back to Guru Nanak. Free meals are served usually twice a day to any and all regardless of caste or social position on the one condition that they all sit down to eat with everybody else. The 329 Guru and the Central Gurdwara at Goindwal was famous as a leveller of men, and every visitor, even the Emperor Akbar, it is said, had to eat at this common refectory before the Guru would see him.
His court at Anandpur in the Himalayan foothills of the Punjab became a literary centre.
A story is told of the Guru’s teaching methods that reminds one of a scene from the New Testament. He was talking with the Emperor Bahadur Shah about religion. The emperor maintained that whoever repeated the Is-lamic Creed would find salvation, whatever his character might be. The Guru held that something more was neces-sary, namely genuine faith. To prove his point he sent a servant off to the Bazar with a bad rupee on which the creed was stamped. The money lenders of course refused to honour it. The creed, the Guru reminded the emperor, even in the royal market-place was of no value on a counterfeit rupee.
The Guru Granth Sahib It is necessary now to describe the Granth (the Book) 330 and the Panth (the Sikh Congregation). The tenth Guru declared the future Guruship to be invested in the Adi Granth, which is now known as the Guru Granth Sahib. When the Sikh congregation of representative leaders, pass resolutions in the presence of the Guru Granth these decrees are supposed to be binding on all Sikhs, as the Will of God. This aspect of the Granth reminds one of the ancient Ark of the Covenant of Hebrews.34 The Adi Granth is a book of religious poems, includ-ing exhortation, instruction, religious dialogues and the ‘mystical rhapsodies on God that bulk so large in the Granth (Hume).
Historical narratives or prose teachings such as are found in the New Testament is altogether lacking. In general, the poetry of the Granth resembles that of the Psalms and Proverbs of the Bible with many passeges that remind one of the Song of Songs.35 “Under the title, “Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, “some of the favourite poritions of the Adi Granth have been translated into English by noted Sikh Scholars. This is part of UNESCO’s major project”. In the Foreword Dr Arnold Toynbee well says: “This translation is the first that has made the Adi Granth accessible, in more than short extracts, the English speaking public. The Adi Granth is part of mankind’s common spiritual treasure. A book that has meant, and means, so much to such a notabale community the Sikh Khalsa deserves close study from the rest of the world.”36 The Granth of the Tenth Guru “The Granth of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh, some-times officially called, “The Holy Granth of the Tenth Sovereign” is a granth almost equal in length to the Adi Granth.” “One might compare the Adi Granth to a temple, where God’ praises are sung, and the Tenth Granth to a fortress resounding with imminent attacks of the army with perhaps a small chapal near the entrace where God’s assistance is invoked and his praises sung.”37 331 Islamic Influence on Sikhism “Like other Founders of religions, the Sikh Gurus were influenced by the religious trends of their day and adopted them to their own needs. Two great religious movements have influenced Sikhism, namely Hindu Bhakti and Islamic Sufism.
Nanak aimed at the fusion of Hindu-ism and Islam in a New Faith.” “The Dabistan (whose author met Guru Har Gobind) attributes Nanak’s conversion and entrance upon his mission to a Sufi Dervish. He writes, A Dervish came to Nanak and subdued his mind in such a manner that he, Nanak, having entered the granary, gave away the property of Daulat Khan and his own, whatever he found there and in the house. Daulat Khan was struck with astonishment at hearing this, but recognizing in Nanak the mark of a dervish, he withheld his hand from hurting.” (Dabistan : Tr. Shea and Tny. Vol. 11, 247- 8).38 Some of the figures of speech used by the Sufis are familiar to readers of the Sikh scriptures, such as the Name of God and the value of its repetition, the scent of the musk deer, sacrifice for God as the Beloved, with the devotee as the lover;
the fish gasping without water, Celes-tial light, purifying power of love, predestination of fate, spirituous as a figure for spiritual intoxication. The verse from the Koran XVII, 109 is used both by Kabir and tenth Guru Gobind Singh.39 Character of the Sikhs “A Sikh is a man or woman who believes in the one Immortal Being, the ten Gurus, the Holy Granth Sahib and the Word and teachings of all the Gurus; the tenth Guru’s baptism and who does not believe in any other religion.40 “The Sikh faith was born in the fire of tyranny and persecution, for the Punjab was being devastated by a series of alien invasions and struggles for power under Mghan and Mughal emperors.” “The Sikh faith did not escape the consequences of 332 being in this tyrannical environment. Of the ten Gurus, Arjan the fifth and Tegh Bahadur the ninth were martyred for their faith. Once again in the long history of religions it was to be shown that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
And how many humble followers of the Gurus gave their lives for their faith will never be known, but they are remembered in the Prayer, the Sikhs recite daily so their lives were not sacrificed in vain.”41 “The Sikhs are intensely loyal to their Gurus. This is vividly examplified in Malerkotla a Muslim city some twenty miles south of Ludhiana. The Nawab of Malerkotla had interceded for the two young sons of Guru Gobind Singh at Sirhind where they had been put to death. A Sikh historian says that due to a sense of gratitude of loyalty to their Guru the Sikhs have never molested Malerkotla even when the whole surrounding country was devastated. If this was true when Guru’s words were fresh in the memory, it is still more amazing that the city of Malerkotla with the Muslim population was not molested in the terrible communal riots attending the Partition of India in 1947.”42 Sikhs and Christians: People of the Book “As we have seen the Sikhs are in a special sense a ‘People of the Book’, since the Granth now takes the place of the Guru, Christians are also ‘People of the Book’. The Bible is one of the chief attraction of the Sikhs. The New Testamerit especially the Gospels which resemble the Janam Sakhis (Biographies of the Guru) and the heroes of the Old Testament has an appeal to hero-worshippers.” “However, with a divided Church full of obvious im-perfections, what can we say when others ask” where is the ‘Sermon on Mount’ fulfilled in any Christian Church.” With the Sikhs at any rate, who judge by the fruit of the tree and who ever might claim that Sikhism is the fulfilment of Christianity, being later in time, and we might as well abandon fulfilment as an immediate approach, however, much we may believe in it as the culmination of all history. We are left then with an attitude of 333 Dialogue and Co-operation based on mutual repect. Here we are on solid ground for the Sikhs seem ready to work together with a community holding congenial beliefs, a community which will not try to dominate them. The main trouble in practising co-operation may come from the Christians, who may be either suspicious, or jealous, or fearful or losing their privileged position in the Church.43
DR LOEHLIN AND DR HEW MCLEODIn the light of nearly thirteen Chapters written on Hew McLeod we have given a few extracts from Dr Loehlin’s last book on the “Christian Approach to the Sikh”. These extracts cannot be dismissed by Hew McLeod and his Group as those of an orthodox Sikh, but they are the views of an orthodox Christian who understands Christianity a thousand times better than them and has spent nearly half a century among Sikhs and seen Muslims living in every Sikh village and Sikhs living in every Muslim village for centuries past. He has also learnt from Christainity how to respect and treat other religions.
He was the Principal of the College where Hew McLeod and his like minded companions (Dr Juergensmeyer, G. Barrier Webster et al.) were only lecturers for a few years (maximum eight or ten years). One mayor may not understand their arrogance, and ignorance compared to Dr Loehlin’s correct perceptions of Sikh character and history, but one finds it difficult to understand why they have maintained a conspiracy of silence about the views of Dr Loehlin which are anti-thesis of their views as will be clearly seen from the few extracts I have given above. This only reveals their Machiavelian skill in picking and choosing what they actually needed for the nefarious game of demeaning and debasing Sikh history and doctrines. One feels sorry for those good intentioned Western scholars who, out of ignorance of the original and even correct seconday sources, accepted their distortions as scholarly contributions just as eminent scholars like Dr Monier Williams were misled to believe that Trumpp had 334 made a signal contribution by his work. The illusion in both cases has lasted only for about a decade.
DR TARA CHAND’ S VIEWS Dr Tara Chand is neither a Sikh nor a Muslim. He is a scholar known for his many contribution to Indian History and is one the few scholars who has given an irrefutable account of the Impact of Islamic Culture in all Indian States, particularly North India and Maharashtra. Being a Punjabi he has first hand knowledge of the history of the Sikhs. On Guru Nanak he says.
“It is clear that Nanak took the prophet of Islam as his model, and his knowledge was deeply coloured by this fact.
He was a mystic in the sense that he had a lively realisation of the Presence of God, but he was not an enwrapt visionary like Kabir. His spirit took occasional flights to the sorrowless and where the Divine Palace is illumined by His Light which exceeds the light of millions of moons, lamps, suns and torches, and where from behind the curtain of the Unknown (ghaibi) the sound of the bells is heard, but he does not ravel in the transcen-dent joys of that illumined abode. His Spirit draws its inspiration from that vision, but it is far too deeply inter-ested in the fate of his fellow-beings upon earth to linger long in the rare mystic region.”44
DIALOGUE IN THE LIGHT OF REVERENCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF
RELIGIONS OTHER THAN OUR OWNWhile Sikh warriors and political leaders might have fought political battles to achieve territorial gains, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there have been countless Sikh and Muslim saints who have maintained unbreakable religious and cultural ties with each other. We give one among countless examples.
Bhai Sahai Singh was an illumined saint living in Kot Isa (Pakisatan) in the second decade after Guru Gobind Singh. It was a region where more than seventy per cent population was Muslim. Every Muslim, Sikh and Hindu 335 flocked to him for blessings and peace. Some one sug-gested to Bhai Sahai Singh that many dervishes, yogis and ascetics living in that region might starve if all offerings pour to his ashram where every penny was used for feed-ing and clothing the poor..