«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 ...»
All three words are used in Guru Granth Sahib. The word then began to be used for Religious orders such as Nath Panth, Kabir Panth. For Sikhism the words used were Nirmal Panth, Sikh Panth, Gurmukh Panth during the life time of Guru Nanak. The word Khalsa Panth was used for the Khalsa Holy order and the whole Sikh nation which accepted the spiritual and poetical leadership of the four Takhats.
The word Nanak-Panthi was used by the Mughals and political 403 new writers for all the Sikh Gurus and evern for Banda, and it was never used for Guru Nanak and his followers alone.
Patit : apostate from Sikh religion; morally corrupt person. The doors of Sikhism are always open to apostate for re-entry if he repent and accepts baptism and the Sikh Code of Conduct.
Pir, Murshid, Sheikh :These are the three names given to spiritual Gurus in Sufism when a disciple (murid) learns about the mystical path by serving him with devotion and humanity. The Skeikh demands from the murid absolute trust,-sincerity and devotion as well obedience. The Skeikh in return bestows on the murid, knowledge enlightenment and peace of mind. The Skeikh or the Pir helps the murid to purify his heart and soul illumination till he reaches the higher state.
Raga : lit. colouring, feeling, passion, loveliness and beauty of a song, musical note, harmony, melody, musical mode or order of sacred or musical formula. Originally six, Sriraga, Bhairva, Kausika, Hindula, Megha, Depika. Guru Granth Sahib is compiled in chapters of 31 Ragas. Music and poetry are dominant features of Guru Granth.
Rehit : Moral code of conduct imparted by Guru to the Sikhs at the time of initiation. There are innumerable Verses in Guru Granth Sahib describing th moral code of conduct and the character of a Sikh. When the Khalsa Holy order was adressed by Guru Gobind Singh he imparted orally the basic moral code of conduct. The same is imparted orally to this day at all the ceremonies of baptism.
Rehitnarma : When under adverse circumstances and under the influ-ence of Hindu and Islamic society the Sikhs were not clear whether they should adopt or accept certain religious practices prevalent in society, the contemporary apostle like Bhai Daya Singh wrote Rehitnamas, putting on record what a Sikh should do and what he should not do. Earlier Rehitnamas are authenticated but many fake Rehitnamas were written in the name of Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Nand Lall and some Rehitnamas like that of Chaupa Singh were changed into family historical documents. The Sikhs read them with historical ethical interest, but never accept them blindly.
Many societies print and publish old Rehitnamas under new names giving the impression that Rehitnamas differ from time to time. In the 19th and 20th Centuries some Sikh sant cults tried to popular-ize their external forms and dietry rules as Rehit, but they are neither approved nor accepted by the Sikhs collectively.
Sahaj: The highest mystical state which is also known as Transcedent state after achieving which a Sikh leads a normal human life but yet lives in a state of ecstasy and vision of His Presence. The spiritual stage of sahaj can only be attained through a path known 404 as Sahaj Marag a natural path in which unsocial and abnormal ascetic activities are not necessary. A path of love, service, devotion coupled with patience, sincerity, humanity leads to the mystical state of Sahaj in which there is a perfect balance between the natural and supernatural, and no religious activity is either unsocial or anti-social like the hath-yoga practices.
Sahajdhari: Novices or unbaptized devotees of Guru Nanak are called Nam-dharik Sikhs. During the time of Guru Hargobind they were called Sahlangi. Sikhs (associated disciples), but during the time of Guru Gobind Singh they came to be known as Sahajdhari Sikhs. Many Sahajdhari Sikhs who were exclusively devoted to medita-tion and prayer have been respected as great saints. Even today Sindhi Sahajdhari Sikhs are far more respected for their devotion and services to Sikh ism than bearded and turbanned communists, athestics and corrupt and characterless Akalis and Congressites.
Sadh Sangat : Bhai Nand Lall in one of his verses in Zindgi-namah clearly states that a congregation of virtues and saintly persons alone is called Sikh Sangat or sadh sangat. A congregation of wicked and mischievous persons even when held at a holy place is neither Sikh Sangat nor Sadh Sangat.
Sant : an illumined and enlightened holyman who has saintly virtues and character.
Sarbat Khalsa :As assembly of the representative of all Sikhs having regional and organizational representation. Such assemblies were held at Akal Takhat on Baisakhi and Diwali.
Shabad : See Yak Siddha : Perfect attaining yogic powers.
Simran : lit: Recitition, remembrance. As in Sufism so in Sikh ism remembrance of His Presence by reciting or meditating on His Name is the most important spiritual excercise. Ritual repetition or muttering of His Name is not Simran. The upanishadic repetition of Om was in theory Simran but it aimed at Brahminical concept of the Absolute an abstraction. The Vaishnava, Shaiva repetition of Name aimed at reaching the divinity of Dieties like Krishna, Rama, Shiva, which are creatures and created beings.
The Sikh Simran aims at the divine Presence of God as love, beauty and truth and leads to a true vision of the light of God.
Simran of the Guru’s Word resounds with inaudible Unstruck Music (Anhad Shabad) and revelition of His Light in the tenth sect of our con-sciousness.
Singh Sabha Movement: A moderate religious revivalist movement the sole aim of which was to remove once for all encroachment of Sikh Society by Brahmanical rites and ceremonies and dominance of Hindu cultural hegemony on illiterate Sikhs who were in a state 405 of shock after loss of their independence. The movement was slow but achieved much.
Thug: In some parts of India the Thugs are styled as stranglers; The Tamils call them Moslem Nooslers. The Thugs were members of a religious fraternity of professional assassins once active in centeral northern provinces of India and in Deccan. Though the date of their origin is unknown they were active in the seventeenth cen-tury according to Hsuan Tang, the Chinest Buddhist pilgrim.
Tiratha : Pilgrimage: Every religion has its principles of pilgrimage. In Hinduism rivers mountains and mythical places have become places of pilgrimage. In Sikhism only places historically connected with the lives of the Gurus and the Sikhs martyrs are holy places where pilgrims go to pay respect to these historical personalities.
In every place of pilgrimage participation in prayers, worship and meditations prescribed complete the pilgrimage. Unless pilgrimage to a holy place is no supplemented with the interior pilgrimage to contemplation and meditation it is incomplete.
Vak : Shabad (Latin Vox) comes from root vach; to speak the Word (Shabad), cosmic Ideation, divine word, also called kavao in Japji which means God’s utterance on emanation. keta pasao eko kavao From one utterance of God the creation manisfested itself.
In Hebrew the word for Light is “Aur” God said let there be Light (Aur) and there was Light.
Shabad : (Word) is used for the Name of God as the word for the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib, and for celestral music which one hears in higher states.
Yuga : The time cycle in Indian Astrology is divided into four yugas 1. Satya Yuga 1,728,000 2. Treta Yuga 1,296,000 3. Dvapara Yuga 834,000 4. Kali Yuga 432,000 The descending number represents a moral and physical deterioration in each age. Pargitar says, This theory applies to India only. Satyayuga is distinguished by Truth, compassion and penance. In Treta there is falsehood, violance and discontent.
In Dvapara greed, lack of mercy and fight for petty issue comes.
In Kaliyuga duplicity, mendicity, excessive violence, sleep, fear, wretchedness prevail. In one of hymns Guru Nanak says, in all these yugas the same sun, moon, sky are there; the same rivers mountains and forests are there. What is that changes a Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga? Only human and moral values which change the age and not the nature. De-generatiori immorals change an age. Human beings can creat a Sat Yuga (Kingdom of God) by improving moral character and spiritual ideals.
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In the early 1960s in Uganda I was trying to teach Great Scriptures of the World to my Amrican students. I very much wanted them to have the benefit of knowing something of the Guru Granth Sahib but finding a serviceable and handy translation seemed impossible until I came upon a copy of the UNESCO Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs of which Dr. Trilochan Singh was the premier translator and editor. Since then I have tried to read everything he has written on Sikh ism in English. His is a powerful and beautiful English prose second to no other on Sikhs themes during this century.
But in addition the deep profundity of his understanding of Sikh mysticism, his grasp of the inner meaning of Sikh spirituality and the dimensions of his love for the teaching of the Gurus, put him high in the ranks of those who have tried to promulgate the Sikh message in English.
I would prefer to focus on his expositions of the life and teaching of the Gurus but in the meantime a sad skir-mish has arisen to throw up a dust storm which gets in the eyes of poor scholars coming to do reverence to Sikhism and study the Gurus.
Dr. Trilochan Singh has for years given close attention to the way in which foreign scholars have studied and written about Sikhism.
Since at the moment the cloud of misunderstanding is increasing in density, he has decided to publish at once that part of his findings which deals with two notable scholars from abroad who most clearly illustrate some of the utterly sad and tragic mishaps which have befallen one of the most exciting cultural encounters in history, that is, the meeting between the teachings and life of the Sikhs and the mind of Western xiv scholarship. His purpose is to clear the dust and to promote understanding. I very much hope he will soon complete and publish the full scale work in which the work of Cunningham and Macauliffe will sweeten and temper the whole.
My western friends and colleagues for all their open mindedness and willingness to learn will be angry. They will within their own methodologies accept some points and deem others unfounded or unfair. But they will overall reject the brunt of what is being said. But this is a work to be likened to the genre “A Mirror to Princes.” An honest, clear-thinking Sikh somehow still unbrainwashed by western academic method, with his mind saturated with traditional Sikh scholarship and his life permeated with a praxis which goes back in unbroken succession to the Gurus themselves, is telling us something. He may seem innocent of our kind of critical demolition of the tradition as received but he is logical in his own kind of logic and he is steeped in an understanding of the whole literature in the original which no foreign scholar can hope to equal. He is holding a mir-ror to certain persons, certain groups, and saying “This is how you look to a beholder.” Dr. Trilochan Singh’s book is not only “A Mirror to Princes,” it is the presentation of a tragedy after the fashion of Kalidas, Aeschylus and Shakespeare. The main personae “persons” in the drama, wearing their “prosopa “, “personalities” “masks”, outfits as seen by the outside observer,” are three. There is Dr Ernest Trumpp. Dr Trilochan Singh depicts him as the lackey of the missions and the British, the victim of his own arrogance. He also shows him to us as the scholar who first accurately revealed the Guru Granth Sahib as an unsurpassed treasury of clues to the history of the North Indian languages. He clearly presents and rejoices in Trumpp’s achievement in so acutely and accurately explaining some of the metrical secrets of that great Scripture. At the same time he sets out the scene in which Trumpp vitiated his own endeavor by insulting the Holy Book and xv the Granthis and Gianis. He tells of the Preface Trumpp wrote so heedlessly and needlessly: one of greatest stillcirculating monuments to European racist arrogance. Its pages from then till now have brought misfortune on the work and memory of Ernest Trumpp.
If we look at the official German biographical refer-ence works concerning Professor Trumpp we read of a son of the Manse born in 1828 who achieved a brilliant student career in Theology, Greek and Latin. He followed up with Sanskrit.
Because of his part in the liberal revolutions of 1849 he had to get out of Germany. He found a job as an Assistant in the East India Company Library. In 1852 the Church Missionary Society was looking for a language expert and lexicographer and sent him to India, the land of his fantasies and dreams.
Perhaps Karachi never has been a dream village but there he did great things in Sindhi and “Neo-Persian” (Urdu).
In a pilgrimage visit to Jerusalem he met his first wife who within a year died in circumstances he associated with the last great struggle of pre-colonial India to throw off the outsider.
Trumpp crept home broken in body and mind. Within a few years, thanks to the loving care of his second wife who cherished and strengthened him throughout everything, he had recovered enough to go again to India. At Peshawar he did fundamental work into Pashtu and the relationship of the Iranian and Indian languages. Yet again his health broke down and he struggled home.
Some ten years later the British government of India asked him to do a translation of the Holy Book of the Sikhs. Trumpp sensed that the Books and notes he had would not be enough and he would need local help. Despite medical advice he went to Lahore’ Dr Trilochan singh tells us of how the British agents convened a meeting of Sikh gianis and granthis who met with Dr Trumpp as he was trying to understand the Holy Book.
Apparently he lit a cigar and in other ways showed total disregard for elementary good manners and decorum.