SIKHISM AN ORIGINAL DISTINCT REVEALED AND COMPLETE RELIGION
Harnam Singh Shan
The word ‘Sikh’, as we know, is the Punjabised form of the Sanskrit word ‘Shishya’, meaning a disciple or a learner, especially a seeker of truth. It came to be used for the disciples of Guru Nanak Dev and his nine spiritual successors who graced humanity from 1469 to 1708 AD. in the Indian subcontinent. Thus, their religion, called Sikhism, literally means the path of discipleship and the new way of life taught by them. Their faith is the youngest and the most modern of the world’s religions. It originated in Punjab, the land of Five Rivers, about five centuries ago, during the Muslim rule of Lodhis followed soon by that of the Mughals in India.
Soon after the passing away, in 1708, of its Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, issued an imperial ordinance on the 10th of December 1710 from Delhi to “kill and finish them (the Sikhs) wherever they were found”1, rdering thus their wholesale destruction. That royal proclamation, outlawing the Sikhs and seeking their complete annihilation, was repeated by Emperor Farrukh Siyar and it remained in force for three long years in all parts of the Mughal Empire. “According to it, every Sikh or Nanakpanthi wherever seen was to be immediately arrested. He was to be offered only one alternative, either Islam or sword. He was to be executed there and then without any hesitation or loss of time. A schedule of valuable rewards was proclaimed. For every Sikh head Rs. 25 were to be given, and for a Sikh captive a sum of Rs. 100 was to be awarded. Their pretty girls were to be reduced to concubines, and other were to be made maid-servants. When a Muslim died, his grave was to be dug by the Sikhs or their Hindu sympathisers. For begar (unpaid labour) in place of cobblers, Sikhs were to be employed. The Emperor’s orders were strictly obeyed. The Governors of Sarhind,
Lahore and Jammu tried to surpass one another in persecution of the Sikhs in order to win the goodwill of Farrukh Siyar.”2 Later, in 1746, according to Syed Mohammad Latif, “The Governor (of Punjab), Yahya Khan, issued a proclamation for a general massacre of all Sikhs, wherever they could be found. Death was to be punishment of all persons who invoked the name of Guru Gobind (Singh), and a reward was offered for the heads of Sikhs. Thousands were put to death daily and their heads brought before the Subedar of Lahore for reward.”3 It was reported, on three occasions, to the authorities that the Sikhs had been exterminated root and branch. The Afghan invader, Ahmad Shah Abdali, during his invasion of India in 1762 and his continued campaign of the Sikhs’ extermination, killed about twenty five thousands of them4 in a single day’s battle.5 Besides, he ransacked their capital (viz. Amritsar) blew up their Harmandar (i.e. the Temple of God, better known as Golden Temple), and desecrated its Sudhasar (i.e. sacred pool) with blood, bones and entrails of cows, etc., and had it filled up with the debris.6
With the establishment, in 1849, of the British rule in Panjab, Dr. Ernest Trumpp, a German missionary, appointed by Her Majesty’s Government to translate sacred Sikh scriptures, asserted in 1877 that “Sikhism is a waning religion that will soon belong to history.” 7 Joginder Nath Bhattacharya rather prophesied in 1896 that “Under British rule, Sikhism is fast losing its vitality and is drifting towards amalgamation with the Hindu faith. In the course of a few more generations, Sikhism is likely to be superseded by one of those forms of Vaishnavism which alone have the best chance of success among a subject nation in times of profound and undisturbable peace. 8 Max Arthur Macauliffe also apprehended such a danger of amalgamation or absorption when he observed firstly in his essays and papers (1881-1906) 9 and lastly in his magnum opus (1909): “Truly wonderful are the strength and vitality of Hinduism. It is like the boa constrictor of the Indian forests. When a petty enemy appears to worry it, it winds round its opponent, crushes it in its folds, and finally causes it to disappear in its capacious interior.
In this way, many centuries ago, Hinduism on its own ground disposed of Buddhism which was largely a Hindu reformation; in this way, in a pre- historic period, it absorbed the religion of the Scythian invaders of Northern India; in this way, it has converted uneducated Islam in India into a semi-paganism; and in this way, it is disposing of the reformed and once hopeful religion of Baba Nanak. Hinduism has embraced Sikhism in its folds; the still comparatively young religion is making a vigorous struggle for life, but its ultimate destruction is, it is apprehended, inevitable without state support.”10 Gokul Chand Narang posing a self-prophetising question and answering it himself in a self-righteous manner, stated in 1912. “What is their (i.e. the Sikhs) future ? It is anything but dark. However, it is apparent that the best days of the Khalsa are altogether behind.11
During the all-out crusade of extermination started against its adherents (who are easily recognizable by their strikingly distinctive appearance sporting unshorn hair and colourful headgears) immediately before and after the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan on the 15th August 1947, thousands of them (the Sikhs) were killed at sight. The rest were uprooted, en masse, from their homes, lands and historic shrines; and were deprived of all other belongings in an unprecedented way.12
The horrendous holocaust reduced nearly half of their thriving community to a homeless, landless and seething refugee population. So much so that of all other persons, one of its own followers, Khushwant Singh, while prefacing his first book about them and their faith, observed in 1953: “The chief reason for my writing an account of my people is the melancholy thought that contemporary with my labours are being written the last chapters of the story of the Sikhs. By the end of the century, the Sikhs themselves will have passed into oblivion. Before that happens, it is proper that some estimate of their religion, history, traditions and political and cultural achievements should be made by someone identified with them by faith and association.”13 Gokul Chand Narang, a staunch Arya- Samajist, came out in 1960 with another self-fulfilling statement asserting that the “Sikhs have no political future as’ an independent community.”14 Fourteen years later, another highly learned Sikh, Kapur Singh, stated while concluding his speech on 7th of October 1974 at Vancouver: “While as Canadian citizens, the Sikhs may look forward to a hopeful and bright future; in India, their historic homeland, they now face the basic problems of their indentity and existence, since the control of their own history has been snatched out of their own hands and their historical potential has been submerged and throttled. And I add, that the Sikhs, want to live, as all living things do not want to die.”15
Only ten years after that last pronouncement, the Sikhs had to face still another holocaust in 1984, only thirty-seven years after the independence of India; for the attainment of which their sufferings, sacrifices and contribution far exceeded their numerical strength in their motherland.16 This too involved not only a multi-pronged attack on their historic shrines and institutions17 but also a genocidal campaign to slaughter thousands of innocent Sikhs, disgracing their women and burning their properties all over India, not accounted for to this date.18
But in spite of such recurrent persecution and treacherous onslaughts perpetrated on this religion by the rulers and the foreign invaders as well as the ongoing challenges and intimidating prophesies about its absorption, assimilation or disappearance, Sikhism has stood its ground and withstood all tests of the time. All nefarious efforts made, from time-to-time to suppress, subjugate or exterminate it, have gone up in smoke. All prophets of doom who predicted its extinction, had to bite the bullet and their prophesies have proven totally wrong. Even “the boa constrictor has failed to swallow it.”18a The fact remains that it has not only survived but is very much here to stay. Its followers are flourishing now in even larger numbers, not only in Panjab, its home-land, and in all other parts of India, but also in every part of the world. Despite various limitations, such as their unique appearance and ‘stateless status’ - the Sikhs have achieved a far greater success in all walks of life, contributing a lot to the progress of the communities they live in and wielding “an influence much in excess of their numerical strength” 19 everywhere in the world. So much so that, according to the renowned historian Arnold Toynbee, “they are the burliest men on the face of the planet, tough and capable, and slightly grim. If human life survives the present chapter of man’s history, the Sikhs for sure, will still be on the map.”20
This is so and shall remain thus; because the Sikhs, in spite of being about 2% of the population of India, their country of origin, profess one of the ‘higher religions’ of the World which is not only an original, distinct and independent faith; but is also an autonomous, complete and dynamic religion, born of a direct and definitive revelation like other major religions of the world. It is primary in its source and pure in its contents, as any other religion on the planet.
The authenticity of its dogmas, simplicity of its beliefs, exalted moral code, internal vigour, tenacity of purpose and sustained heroism together with the religious zeal, spiritual energy, unshakable faith and indomitable spirit as well as the enterprising and self-sacrificing nature of its followers have kept it intact and firm on its ground in many such crisis, during its 500 plus year-old history, raising it up again with greater strength and better prospect after every attempt to annihilate it.
Those who have not been able to study Sikhism properly or objectively or have been unable to understand rightly its nature, origin, essence, excellence, significance, psyche and spirit have often described it wrongly or misleadingly. Some of them, like Estlin Carpenter, have considered it not an original and distinct but an eclectie and ‘composed’ religion, maintaining that “the movement of Nanak which culminated in the Formation of a kind of church nation, was fed from two sources and attempted to establish a religion combining the higher elements of Hinduism and Islam alike.” 21 According to Rev. F. Heiler too, it is “a pure and elevated religion in which the best of Islam unite... Many elements of the Sikh religion...come very near the central truths of Christainity, though these glimpees of revelation are indeed blurred by the strong influence of Vedantic pantheism and Islamic fatalism. Above all, the element which robs the teaching of the Granth (i.e its sacred scripture, Guru Granth Sahib) of any creative power is its eclecticism, its continued oscillation between theism and pantheism.”22 In the words of Khushwant Singh, “Sikhism was born out of a wedlock between Hinduism and Islam.”23 It is “a synthesis’ of these two faiths.” 24 According to Bhattacharya, it may be described briefly as a Hinduized form of Mahomedanisrn or a Mahomedionized form of Hinduism,... is a mixture of Hinduism and Mohomedanism minus circumcision and cow-killing and plus faith in the Sikh Gurus. Even in outward appearance, a Sikh with his short trousers, flowing beard, forehead free from paint and neck without beads, looks more like a Mohomedan than a Hindu. The only visible sign by which he may be distinguished is the iron ring which he wears on the wrist.” 25 The Time has recently described him as “a member of a casteless religion that combines elements of Hinduism and Islam but scorns the caste system of the Hindus and the historical expansionism of the Muslims.”26
Some others, like Frederic Pincott, have also tried to identify Sikhism with Muhammadanism. According to him, “the religion of Nanak was really intended as a compromise between Hinduism and Muhammadanism, if it may not even be spoken of as the religion of a Muhammadan.” Concluding his article on Sikhism, included in the Dictionary of Islam, he observed, “It is enough for the purpose of this article to have established the fact that Sikhism, in its inception, was intimately associated with Muhammadanism; and that it was intended as a means of bridging the gulf which separated the Hindus from the believers in the Prophet.” 27 Tara Chand has even gone to the extent of asserting that “Nanak took the Prophet of Islam as his model and his teaching was naturally deeply coloured by this fact.” 28 Sri Rajagopalachari has described the Sikhs, as “no better than uncircumcized Mussalmans.”29-a Ascribing the theistical character of Sikhism to the influence of Islam, Monier Williams has stated, “Nanak was partially Islamised, to the extent at least of denouncing idolatry.”29 G.T. Battany has also mentioned this religion “having been largely influenced by the growing Mohammedanism.”30 But the Muslim writers, like Maulvi Insha UlIa Khan, 3 1 Maulvi Muhammad Ali,32 Khwaja Hasan Nizami,33 and Shaikh Muhammad Yusaf,34 have gone a step further even by claiming Guru Nanak as a great Muslim Faqir who, according to them, taught a religion which in itself was a form of Muhammadanism.35
On the other hand, according to Ernst Trumpp, “Sikhism has only an accidental relationship with Muhammadanism. It is a mistake if Nanak is represented as having endeavoured to unite the Hindu and Muhammadan idea about God. Nanak remained a thorough Hindu according to all his views.” 36 “Although precipitated by Islam,” asserts
Gokul Chand Narang, “Sikhism owes nothing to that religion. It is, on the other hand, a phase of Hindu religious revival and has in consequence retained all essential features of real Hinduism.”37 Mahatma Gandhi has even claimed that the “Sikhs are a part of the Hindu community. The Granth Sahib is filled with the Hindu spirit and the Hindu legends, and millions of Hindus believe in Guru Nanak.”38 Gandhi ji, tells Archer, “acknowledged that he had met some Sikhs who held themselves distinct from Hindus, but intimated that he would be pleased to find that the separate tendency is Confined to only a very few Sikhs and that the general body regard themselves as Hindus.”39 thus paving the way for Sikhism to be labelled as an offshoot of Hinduism.
There are still others who, like Muhammad Akbar, have even denied the distinct identity and separate entity of Sikhism by asserting that “Guru Nanak did not enunciate any new religion, but only wanted to reform Hinduism.”40 According to Guru Datt also, it is difficult to say whether Sikhs have any separate or distinct religion of their own. The faith they profess is the basis of the present-day Arya-Samaj.41 Nirad C. Chaudhuri has also identified Sikhism with Hinduism and has described it as one of its different forms.42
According to some others, like Marian Smith, Sikhism is a religious synthesis, she “finds a similarity between the reforms of Guru Nanak and those of Martin Luther. She calls Sikhism a religious synthesis, pointing out that Guru Nanak offered a doctrinal synthesis
which answered the challenge of Islam and aimed at the foundations of the top-heavy Brahmanical social structure.” 43
But those who have studied Sikhism thoroughly and have understood its origin, growth and gospel dispassionately have proclaimed, in the words of Duncan Greenlees, the celebrated author of the World Gospel Series, that “Sikhism is no disguised Hindu sect, but an independent revelation of the Truth of all sects; it is no variant of Muslim teaching… It too is a distinct religion like the other great religions of the world... The Sikh is not a Hindu or a Muslim; he is the disciple of the one Eternal Guru.”44 According to Edward Bittencourt, “Sikhism is a wholly new, original and genuinely monotheistic religion. It is an independent religion which naturally may be said to have a background of Hinduism and Islam much as Christianity has background of Judaism, and Judaism has a background of Akhnatonism and Zoroastrianism and previous Semitic Paganism.”45 M.A Macauliffe who devoted thirty long years on its study and research and produced a six-volume monumental work about its prophets, scripture, tradition etc., had already stated while introducing to the West this religion and its founder in the following words. “Guru Nanak was not a priest either by birth or education, but a man who soared to the loftiest heights of divine emotionalism, and exalted his mental vision to an ethical ideal beyond the conception of Hindu or Muhammadan. The illustrious author of Vie de Jesus asks whether great originality will again arise or the world would be content to follow the path opened by the daring creators of ancient ages. Now there is here presented a religion totally unaffected by Semitic or Christian influences. Based on the concept of the unity of God, it rejected Hindu formulations and adopted an independent ethical system, ritual, and standards which were totally opposed to theological beliefs of Guru Nanak’s age and country.”46
Hence he asserted, “It would be difficult to point to a religion of greater originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system.” 47 According to R.C. Majumdar too, the founder of this new and distinct religion, “cut himself adrift from all associations with prevailing sectarian religions.”48
It even fell away from allegiance to their respective codes and developed its own, as observed by Sir Lepel Griffin in 1870: “The Sikhs had abandonth the Hindu faith, and with it the system of law which is the basis of that faith, and which was inseparable from it. For a hundered and fifty years they had been governed, as far as chief ships were concerned, by another code altogether, and it was as reasonable for them to refer to Manu and the shastras as the source of legal authority, as it would have been for Muhammadans who had embraced Sikhism to appeal to the Shara.”49 So much so that, in the words of Prof. Indubhushan Banerjee, it “forged its own weapon, hedged itself behind newer forms and customs, in short developed individuality of its own.”50
And this is what Guru Arjan Dev, the holy compiler of its sacred scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, has himself stated, as under, in unambiguous terms as long back as in 1604 AD.:
I observe neither fasting (like a Hindu),
nor the month of austerity (like a Muslim).
For I serve God alone, Who saves all at the last.
Gosain of the Hindus and Allah of the Muslim are one to me
I have broken free from Hindus as from Muslims.
Neither I go to Mecca to perform Hajj (like Muslims)
nor I perform worship at pilgrim-places of Hindus
I serve only the sole Lord (i.e. God) and no other.
I neither perform the Hindu worship,
nor say the Muslim prayer
I bow to the one Formless Lord in my heart.
We are neither Hindus nor Musalmans,
Our body and soul belong to the One Supreme Being
Who alone is both Ram and Allah for us.51
A contemporary historian Mobid Zulfiqar Ardistani (popularly known as Shaikh Mohsin Fani), who happened to stay with his son and successor, Guru Hargobind, at Kiratpur Sahib, and who had been the first non-sikh writer to record an account of the Sikhs and Sikhism of those days and that too based on first-hand information, has recorded his statement in his famous work on comparative study of religions, entitled Dabistan-i-Mazahib, compiled in 1654 AD. Opening his chapter on the subject, Mohsin Fani observes: “the Nanak Panthis who are known as the Sikhs of the Gurus have no faith in idols and temples of idols.”52 Proceeding further, he states “They do not read the Mantras of the Hindus. They do not venerate their temples or idols, nor do they esteem their Avatars. They have no regard for the Sanskrit language which, according to the Hindus, is the speech of the angels.”53 Indicating Guru Nanak’s own attitude towards Avatars and divinities, he tells that Guru Nanak did not believe in divinities and incarnations.
“Just as he praised the Mohammadans, so has he praised the incarnations and the gods and goddesses of the Hindus. But he considered them all to be the created (makhluq) and not the Creator (khaliq). He denied the doctrines of Halool (i.e. direct descent from or incarnation of God), and Ittihad (i.e. direct union of the All-pervading God with any particular body).”54
Bhai Gurdas, the amanuensis who wrote the Holy Granth at the dictation of Guru Arjan who himself was a great scholar and writer and whose ballads and couplets are regarded as the ‘key’ to an understanding of Sikh scriptures, tenets, practices, etc. has Categorically stated :
The Guru’s Panth is distinct
And cannot be mixed with others.55
Basing his conclusion on numerous references and statements contained therein, Owen Cole has, therefore, observed, “Hinduism at all levels is rejected and replaced by the practices which hate come to be the essential-part of Sikh ceremonial, use of the Adi Granth and celebration of the anniversaries of the Gurus (Gurpurbs).”56
Qazi Nur Muhammad who came to India from Baluchistan in the invader’s train to record the events of the seventh (dt. 1764) invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali and who completed his “invaluable”57 Jang Namah in 1765, has also expressed similar views which are based upon his personal observations and close contacts. Speaking of the religion of the Sikhs against whom the said expedition had been set in, Nur Muhammad tells us that religiously they were absolutely separate from Hindus:
“The Sikhs are the disciples of the Guru and that august Guru lived at Chak (Amritsar). The ways and manners of these people received their impetus from Nanak who showed those Sikhs a separate path (i.e. taught them a distinct religion). He was succeeded by Gobind Singh from whom they received the title of ‘Singh’. They are not from amongst the Hindus and have a separate religion of their own.”58
J.D. Cunningham (1812-1851), who happened to be the firstever Westerner to write and publish in 1849 the first full-fledged history of Sikhism, after fighting fierce and decisive battles with its followers, therefore observed in 1849: “The last apostle of the Sikhs did not live to see his own ends accomplished, but he effectually roused the dormant energies of a vanquished people, and filled them with a lofty although fit belonging for social freedom and national ascendancy, the proper adjuncts of that purity of worship which had been preached by Nanak. Gobind saw what was yet vital, and he resumed it with Promethean fire.” The result of the miracle that the Tenth Master wrought is, tells Cunningham, that “A living Spirit possesses the whole Sikh people, and the impress of (Guru) Gobind (Singh) has not only elevated and altered the constitution of their minds, but has also operated materially and gives amplitude to their physical frames. The features and external form of a whole people have been modified, and a Sikh Chief is not more distinguishable by his stately person and free and manly bearing, than a minister of his faith is by a lofty thoughtfulness of look which marks the fervours of his soul, and his persuasion of the near presence of the Divinity.” Asserting that the people marked by such high spirits and changed features belonged to a distinct faith, altogether different even from that of their other countrymen, Cunnigham added: “Notwithstanding these changes, it has been usual to regard the Sikhs as essentially Hindus, arid they doubtless are so in language and everyday customs, for Gobind (Singh) did not fetter his disciples with political systems or codes of municipal laws; yet in religious faith and worldly aspirations they are wholly different from other Indians, and they are bound together by a community of inward sentiment and outward object unknown elsewhere. But the misapprehension need not surprise the public nor condemn our scholars, when it is remembered that the learned Greece and Rome misunderstood the spirit of those humble men who obtained a new life by baptism. Tacitus and Suetonius regarded the early Christians as a mere Jewish sect, they failed to perceive the fundamental difference and to appreciate the latent, energy and real excellence of that doctrine which has added dignity and purity to modern civilization.”59 Sir Charles Elliot acclaimed it, therefore, as “a religion of special interest (to mankind), since it has created not only a political society, but also customs so distinctive that those who profess it, rank, in common esteem, as a separate race.’60 Guru Gobind Singh’s “ordinances”, he added, ‘’were successful in.... creating a nation”61
Recognizing and acclaiming this amazing fact of history, the Sage-Scholar of Pondicherry, Sir Aurobindo, has similarly observed: “A more striking instance was the founding of the Sikh religion, its long line of Gurus and the novel direction and form given to it by Guru Gobind Singh in the democratic insitution of Khalsa.”62 Explaining it earlier, he has stated: “The Sikh Khalsa was an astonishingly original and novel creation, and its face was turned not to the past but to the future.” 63 Nirmal Kumar Jain has likewise asserted that those who consider this religion as an off-shoot of Islam “are as mistaken as those who think Sikhism to be an off-shoot of Hinduism. Like every original religion, it is born of a direct revelation. It is not based on any scripture. As it does not derive from any established creed, it does not fight any preceding religion.”64 In the same vein, maintains Ishwari Prasad that “Guru Nanak declared that there was no Hindu or no Mussalman. He set aside the Vedas and the Quran and asked his followers to repeat the name of God.” 65 Hence said Dorothy Field, “Pure Sikhism is far above dependence on Hindu ritual. A reading of the Granth strongly suggests that Sikhism should be regarded as a new and separate world religion, rather than a reformed sect of the Hindus.”66 It is similarly not a sect or a form of Muhammadanism. It is neither a mixture of the both nor a compilation of good points selected from the Hindu and Muslim faiths. It has not been formed, as alleged above, by combining some rational and acceptable rituals, beliefs and dogmas of the Hindus and Muslims. “The teachings of Guru Nanak have,” says Geoffrey Parrinder, the eminent author of the World Religions, “commonly been represented as a syncretic blend of Hindu tradition and Muslim belief. This is a gross simplification, and when expressed in terms of a mixture of Hinduism and Islam, it must be totally rejected. The teachings of Guru’ Nanak do indeed represent a synthesis, but the elements which constitute the synthesis can never be defined, however, loosely, as Hinduism and Islam.” 67 Thus Sikhism can, in no way, be termed as an eclectic religion, composed of selections made’ from various systems, doctrines, Sources, etc.
The order of the Khalsa “from its very birth has claimed the status of a new Way of Life, the Third Panth, a separate community, and distinct people from the two Ways of Life, already known and largely practised by the peoples of East and West and the inhabitants of India: the Way of the Aryans, represented by Hinduism and its heterodox forms, Buddhism and Jainism; and the Semitic Way of Life, represented primarily by the Christians and the Mussulmans.” 68 “That such was the unambiguous claim made for his new order of the Khalsa by the Guru (Gobind Singh) himself, cannot be in doubt, as the Guru’s own assertions on this point amply support the testimony of the contemporary non-sikh historians and writers.”69
This is also quite clear from the proclamation he made in the great gathering of the Sikhs at Anandpur Sahib, soon after baptising the first five members of the Order of the Khalsa, knighting them as Singhs and calling them his Beloved ones, OH the historic Baisakhi day of the 30th March 1699. “According to the Persian historian Ghulam Muhia-ul-Din, the newswriter of the period, sent the Emperor (Aurangzeb) a copy of the Guru’s address (which) is dated the first of Baisakh Sambat 1756 (Ad. 1699) and is as follows :”70
‘I wish you all to embrace one creed and follow one path rising above al differences of the religions as now practised. Let the four Hindu castes, who have different rules laid down for them in the Shastras abandon them altogether and adopting the way of mutual help and co-operation, mix freely with one another. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Do not follow the old scriptures. Let none pay heed to the Ganga and other places of pilgrimage which are considered to be holy in the Hindu religion, or worship the Hindu deities such as Rama, Krishna, Brahma and Durga; but all should cherish faith in the teachings of Guru Nanak and his successors. Let men of the four castes receive my baptism (of the Double-edged Sword) eat of the same vessel, and feel no aloofness from or contempt for one another.”71 The newswriter of the Mughal Court who was present there on the occasion when for Warding this proclamation to his master, submitted his own report: “When the guru had thus addressed the, crowd, several Brahmins and Khatris stood up, and said that they accepted the religion of Guru Nanak and of the other Gurus. Others, on the contrary, said that they would never accept any religion which was opposed to the teachings of the Veds and the Shastras, and that they would not renounce at the bidding of a boy the ancient faith which had descended to them from their ancestors. Thus, though several’ refused to accept the Guru’s religion, about twenty thousand men stood up and promised to obey him, as they had the fullest faith in his divine mission.” 72 About eighty thousand men, tell Ahmad Shah Batalia and Bute Shah, received the Baptism of the Double-edged Sword and joined the Order of the Khalsa during the first few days.73
Their names were changed and “they were given one family name ‘Singh’ for thenseforth their father was Gobind Singh (so renamed after his own baptism), their mother Sahib Devan, and their place of birth Anandpur. The baptism symbolised a rebirth, by which the initiated were considered as having renounced their previous occupations (kirt nas) for that of working for God; of having severed their family ties (kul nas) to become the family of Gobind; of having rejected their earlier creeds (dharma nas) for the creed of the Khalsa; of having given up all ritual (karm nas) save that sanctioned by the Sikh faith. Five emblems were prescribed for the Khalsa. They were to wear their hair and beard un~horn (kes); they were to carry a comb (kangha) in the hair to keep it tidy; they were always to wear a kneelength pair of breeches (kach), worn by soldiers of the tiples; they were to carry a steel bracelet (kara) on their right wrist; and they were to be ever armed with a sabre (kirpan). In addition to these five emblems, the converts were to observe four rules of conduct (rehat): not to cut any hair .on any part of their body; not to smoke or chew tobacco, or consume alcoholic drinks; not to eat an animal which had been slaughtered by being bled to death, as was customary with the Muslims, but eat only jhatka meat, where animal had been despatched with one blow, and not to molest the person of Muslim women. At the end of oath taking the Guru hailed the converts with a new form of greeting:” 74
‘Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa
Wahiguru ji ki Fateh’.
Hail the Khalsa who belongs to Lord God !
Hail the Lord God to Whom belongs the victory !
The very first ordinance issued by the Founder of the Khalsa to the Sikh congregations through out the subcontinent, Kabul and Ghazni confirms the75 above and his definition of the Khalsa corroborates all that further as under in his own words:
“He whose mind dwells, night and day, on the Ever-effulgent Light,
and never swerves from the thought of one God;
He Who is full of love for God and faith in Him,
and believes not, even mistakenly,
in fasting and worship of the graves of Muslims or sepulchres of Hindus;
He who recognises the one God and not another,
and does not believe in pilgrimages, customary charities,
preservation of all forms of life, penances and austerities;
And he whose heart is illumined when by the Light of the Perfect One,
he is to be recognised then
as a pure member of the Order of the Khalsa.” 76
All that ushered in a complete break with the past of all those who joined the Order of such Khalsa. It also marked “the culmination which had crowned Guru Nanak’s revelation.”77 It also pronounced the complete independence and distinctiveness of the Sikh religion. “That such has been the stou, belief and the basic impulse of the Sikhs and their history can be readily ascertained by any dispassionate person who would take pains to enquire with an open mind.” 78 He or she would surely come to a similar conclusion.
Further authentication to this stance has been duly provided by John Clark Archer who, after conducting a critical and comparative study of the Aryan and Semitic religions and recognizing the separate entity and identity of Sikhism, has maintained that “Indeed Sikhism in itself reveals something of what in the last analysis religion is…” It is “an independent and conspicuous order of its own, with a character worthy of comparison with that of Hinduism and Islam, and with Christianity in particular… The five centuries of Sikh history provide many lessons in human thought and action which are of more than passing value...:Sikhs may stand, therefore, as symbols and examples of all who search for God and Truth They preserve among themselves a hardy tradition of religious and political activity and enjoy among Hindus, Moslems, Christians and other peoples an extraordinary prestige.”79 The dispassionate ellquirer would also find like an American convert, Ralph Singh,’ that the followers of this distinct faith “have their own Prophets who brought a new divine revelation to earth which is enshrined in their own sacred scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, regarded as the living Word of God.”80 But a biased enquirer, Like Hew McLeod, who has, according to Justice Gurdev Singh “attacked most of the Sikh traditions, institutions and beliefs, questioned their validity and striven to create doubts about others,” 81, would, on the other hand, maintain on flimsy props and erroneous conclusions that “Sikhism does not deserve much consideration as it is only a rehash of a minor effete Hindu creed” and that Guru Nanak was not the founder of this religion “as he did not originate a new school of thought or set of teachings.” McLeod has even gone to the extent of choosing not to accept the aforesaid account of the birth of the Khalsa and the five emblems and rules of Conduct prescribed for it by Guru Gobind Singh himself on the Baisakhi of 1699, “not because he finds any evidence to falsify it but by simply refusing to believe it,” saying, “Our knowledge of this (18th) century is still limited. Traditions abound but so too do compulsive reasons for scepticism. What we do know, however, indicates that traditions relating to the period of Guru Gobind Singh must be, in some considerable measure, set aside. The slate must be wiped clean and must not be reinscribed until we have ascertained just what did take place’during the eighteenth century.”82
But the history and tradition of a religion cannot and should not be “set aside,” discarded or “wiped clean” on the mere suspicions or unjustified scepticism of an ex-employee of a Christian Mission. Such scepticism is unwarranted particularly in the case of a religion, viz. Sikhism, which was born just about five centuries back and which has survived so gloriously through this eventful period of the modern world in full gaze of history. More so, when it has been duly recognised not only as an original and distinct but also as an independent and autonomous higher religion of the world. Besides, as already stated, this is a prophetic religion. It is born of a direct and definitive revelation like all other great and ‘higher religions’ of the world, “Instead of drawing authority and inspiration from any revealed scripture, such as the Hindu Puranas and Smritis do, Guru Nanak depended on his own mystical experience.” 83 The revelation did not also come to him as an ‘external inspiration’ (called Wahi Zahir) which “was used for the production of Quran” during whose process “the mind of Muhammad was passive and message, an external one, was brought to him by Gabriel.”84 On the other hand, “It seems certain”, says Duncan Greenlees, “that his (Guru Nanak’s) views welled up from the deeps of inspiration in his own heart and owed little or nothing to what he received from others, either through books or through their words.”85 Guru Nanakhim self vouchsafed this fact and has himself recorded those experiences and revelations, received directly from God himself, in his own Bani or Word Revealed, preserved till today in its original and undefiled form, singling out his religion, thereby, “from, most other great theological systems as regards the authenticity of its dogmas.”86 He has defined this as Khasam-ki-Banf (i.e. the “Word of the Lord”) in one hymn, and Eh Bani Mahan Purakh Ki (Le. “this word of the Supreme Being”) in another.87 The spiritual and religious truths which Guru Nanak preached had been revealed to him “through a direct encounter with God at some level of consciousness” and he preached what he had been told and taught by God himself. He conveyed only those words to the world which God had wished him to give forth as his divine message, as stated by him in verses such as the following:
“As the Lord’s Word descends to me So I express it, Lalo !”88
“I have uttered only what You, O’ Lord! Have inspired me to utter.”89
Guru Nanak has also mentioned in another hymn that he was an ordinary minstrel who was commissioned and blessed by God with his service. Describing his first audience with the Supreme Being the Guru sang aloud thus in words which read as under:
“I was an idle bard, God assigned to me a rewarding task, And commanded me to sing His praises night and day. He summoned me to His Eternal Mansion, bestowed on me the robe of holy laudation, And feasted me on the holy Name ambrosial... The Supreme Being is attained, say Nanak, by laudation of the holy Eternal.” 90
As is well known to the students of comparative religion, contents of a revealed religion are conveyed to the people by the Supreme Being through His special messengers either by calling them to His presence, as in the case of Moses, or by communicating His messages to them, as in the case of Prophet Muhammad. As regards Sikh ism, God is stated to have been pleased to use direct ways to convey His Words, Laws and Commandments to its founder,91 as stated above by the first Sikh Prophet, Guru Nanak, himself in his own words.
His successors in the Apostlic Lineage have not only endorsed this fact but have also recorded their own experiences and audiences, as under, in their respective writings, complied in 1604 by the Fifth Master in the holy book. Guru Granth Sahib, and preserved intact to this day:
I. By Communication:
1. As stated by Guru Amar Das, the Third Master;
“God is Sole and Supreme, none is His equal.
I speak as and when He makes me speak, my utterance is directed by Him.” 92
2. As confirmed by Guru Ram Das, the Fourth Master;
(i) “To Nanak the Truth was revealed by the Lord
So he relates mysteries of the Divine Portal.” 93
(ii) “Know the utterance of the holy Preceptor to be pure and true.
Disciples of thy Master:
For, the Lord-Creator Himself makes him utter by his mouth.” 94
(iii) “The Lord has appointed me, the unsophisticated to His task.”95
3. As affirmed repeatedly by Guru Nanak Arjan Dev, the Fifth Master:
(i) “Inaccessible, unperceivable, my eternal Lord,
Nanak speaks as we inspire him to speak.”96
(ii) “By myself I do not know what to say;
I have stated all by his command.”97
(iii) “This servant of the Lord while Conveying the Divine word,
Speaks as the Lord directs him.”98
(iv) “What can I utter? I know nothing to utter;
As the Lord Wills so He makes me utter.” 99
II. By Audience:
1. As stated by Guru Ram Das, the Fourth Master;
“I, a minstrel of the Lord-God, came to the Divine Portal.
The Lord inside listened to my supplication, and called me into His Presence.
Addressing me, He asked me,
‘What brings you here, My Minstrel ?’
I prayed, ‘Confer on me, O, Gracious Lord;
the boon of ever abiding on your Name Divine.’
The Bountiful Lord granted my prayer,
conferred on me meditation on the Name
and blessed me with a robe of honour.”100
2. As affirmed by Guru Arjan Dev, the Fifth Master:
“As I have attained the Lord sought-after
illumination and joy have filled me.....
I have been fully blessed by the Perfect Lord
who has come, in His grace; to His servant.” 101
That is………. The Lord-God called me into His Mansion
wherein I consumed nectar (of Immortality).102
Such important disclosures, solemn statements, persistent affirmations and firm conviction in the existence and beneficence of God prove beyond doubt that Sikhism is a revealed religion. It is so, because it has been directly revealed by God through a line of Ten Prophet-teachers who after receiving its contents directly from Him, presented it to mankind in word and deed. They reproduced it in exactly the same original form; and also recorded it in their sacred writings. It is so, because It still remains primary in its source and pure in its contents.’ It is neither selective or elective in its nature; nor secondary in its source; nor adulterated in its content. Hence, says M. Mujeeb, “the revelation that came to Guru Nanak must have been as direct and immediate and as independent of history and social circumstances as the religious literature of the Sikhs show it to be.”103
That being so, Sikhism can in no way be called an admixture or juxtaposition of various doctrines gathered from this religion or that theological system by its Prophet-teachers who were genuine massengers of God. Its tenets and teachings have been borrowed neither from Hinduism nor from Islam nor from any other such source as has been alleged by those who have not been able to study or understand its essentials properly or dispassionatley. It is true, in the words of R.C. Majumdar, that “his was the first and also the last successful attempt to bring together the Hindus and Muslims in a common fold of spiritual and social brotherhood.”104 The first words he uttered when called to take up the mission of his life after the aforesaid Audience with God were:
“Nah ko Hindu Nah Mussalman.”
“There is no Hindu, there is no Mussalman.”105
On the face of it, this cryptic phrase was “a simple announcement and yet a significant one in the context of India of his day.106 To a society torn by107 conflict, he brought a vision of common humanity …….a vision which transcended all barriers of creed and caste, race and country. He reminded men of their essential oneness. The terms, ‘Hindu’ and ‘Mussalman’, included Jainas, Buddhists, Jews, Christians and so on. Guru Nanak was asking men of all faiths and denominations to look beyond external divisions and distinctions to the fundamental unity of mankind. In proclaiming the unity which lay beyond particularisms, Guru Nanak was not overruling any existing religious designation or tradition. His intention was more radical: “he wanted to point men beyond their accepted condition to a new possibility a human community with a true spirit of fellowship and justice, with that deep ethical and spiritual commitment which expresses
itself in concern for fellowmen. Nor was he seeking a syncretistic union between Hinduism and Islam or striving to achieve in his teaching a judicious mixture of elements from both to be acceptable to all. His equal attention to Hindu and Muslim identities and use of some of their religious vocabulary have led some to depict him as the reconciler of the two faiths, and to see Sikhism as “a deliberate mingling of Hindu and Muslim practices. To do so will mean missing much of his individual genius and misinterpreting the historical development issuing from his revelation.”108 The beginnings of the Sikh faith, in fact, go back to this revelation which Guru Nanak brought to light around 1469 AD soon after his enlightenment and just before his departure for his preaching odysseys in India and abroad.
Sikhism is, above all, a complete religion in all respect like all other original and revealed religions of the world. That is, like Islam for instance.
1. It is Ahl-al-maqam,109 having its own spiritual and political Capital, viz. the holy city of Amritsar (as Mecca is for Islam), with its world-famous Harmandir (Golden Temple and Akal Takhat) which are its focal point and for its followers the highest seat of spiritual and temporal authority, besides being “the centre of a World-religion meeting-ground of the various facets of the human-spirit and a profound symbol of future confluence of the World-cultures into a universal culture for mankind.”110
2. It is Ahl-al-kitab,111 possessing its own holy book, viz. Guru Granth Sahib (as Quran is for Islam), which is not only the Guru Eternal of its adherents but is also unique among the world’s sacred scriptures.
It has been acclaimed as “the only non-denominational scripture,”112 the “scripture of universal religion” and “part of mankind’s common spiritual treasure,” which, according to Amold Toynbee, “should be brought within the direct reach of as many people as possible” and which also “deserves close study from the rest of the world.”113
It is Ahl-al-milla114 being a true religion revealed by Guru Nanak and having its own fellowship of faith and a cohesive community, called Sangat and Panth. The Turkish and Persian connotations of the word will mean a ‘nation’, a ‘people’ and a ‘state.115 Sikhs are a casteless democratic society, assuring equal status and respect for all. It is for this society that Guru Gobind Singh, while expressing his great love and respect for it, declared publicly that…“Whatever is available in my house, my wealth, my body, my mind, even my head Are ever at the disposal of my people.”116 Paying his tribute to their selfless, services, contributions and achievements, he also stated without any reservation that: —-“It is through their favour that I have won my battles, and gifts been bestowed. It is through their favour that I have overcome my troubles and my stores are filled. It is through their favour again that I have acquired knowledge and have smothered my enemies. It is also through their favour that I am exalted and have attained this position; Otherwise, there are millions of humble persons like myself going about.”117 After administering Khande di Pahul118 to the First Five, knighting them as Singhs119 and proclaiming them as his Panj Piare120 the inaugrator of that ‘self-abnegating, martial and easteless’ Fellowship of Faith, Guru Gobind Singh, himself besought to be baptized by them in the same way as he had baptised them. Having been initiated and admitted as such to their brotherhood, called Khalsa,121 he later announced that he had created the Khalsa in his own image under the direct command of God, the Timeless Being:
“The Khalsa is my alter ego, my other self,
The Khalsa is my embodiment,
in it I have my being.
The Khalsa is my beloved ideal.”122
Hence there was to be no difference between him, the Guru and the Khalsa, as created and initiated by him, in his own image. All this is unheard of in the annals of the religious and spiritual history of the world.
4. It is AhI-i-kalam,123 having firm faith in the doctrine of the ‘Shabad’124 the holy word, and the ‘Shabad-Guru’, i.e. the Word is Guru and Guide.125
“God permeates the celestial music of the Word.”
“The Word is the essence of
all meditation and discipline.” 126
“God’s Name is cherished in One’s heart by means of the Word.
The supreme state, realization and Uberation is attained by means of the Word.” 127
“The Word alone can fenny us across the Ocean of Existence.”128
“The holy Word is the true Preceptor
the Guide, the Mystery profound and inserutable.
And it is the Word the absence of which
results in spiritual confusion.” 129
5. It is Ahl-al-Zaban, having its own language, viz. Panjabi (as Arabic is for Islam), with its own specific script called Gurmukhi, in which its scripture, annals and chronicles, etc. stand recorded right from the beginning.
6. It is Ahl-al-Nishan, having its own distinct flag or banner, called ‘Kesri Nishan Sahib’, with ‘Khanda’ (the Khalsa emblem) inscribed and or installed thereon (as the parcham, is for Islam). It keeps on waving over all Sikh temples, called Gurdwaras.
7. It is AhI-al-Shahad130 cherishing a long and unique line of great martyrdoms like those of its two prophets (viz. the Fifth, viz. Guru Arjan Dev and the Ninth, viz. Guru Tegh Bahadur), the Sahibzadas (e.g. Babas Ajit Singh, Fateh Singh, Zorawar Singh and Jhujar Singh) and their followers (such as Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Mani Singh).
8. It is Ahl-al-Shamshir, possessing the ceremontal sword, called Kirpan, as a symbol of power sovereignty and weapon of defence and justifiable offence in time of need. This specific weapon is a significant part of the required uniform of a member of the Khalsa Brotherhood, being one of the Five K’s or symbols of the Sikh faith, obligatory for him to always keep on his body. “Since a member of the Khalsa Brotherhood is pledged not to accept any alien restrictions on his civic freedom, he is enjoined to insist on and struggle for his unrestricted tight to wear and possess arms of offence and defence.” 131 According to a quotation attributed to Guru Gobind Singh:
“The political power and the State rest on armaments.
And without political sovereignty,
the good way of life cannot securely prevail in society.” 132
As he created the Khalsa “to establish the ever-persisting community of saint-soldiers” who could assist in the fulfilment ‘of Guru Nanak’s revelation and Guru’s mission, it was considered essential to equip them with an “instrument of offence and defence and as an emblem of power and dignity which India had lost and which Guru Gobind Singh wanted to restore.”133
At same time, he approved and allowed recourse to the Sword as ‘the last reson of a reasonable man for settling conflicts when all other means have failed in due course. In his letter to emperor Aurangzeb, he therefore made it quite clear by writing that “When an affair is past every other remedy, It is just and righteous to draw the Sword.”134 It is obvious that the Creator of the Khalsa created this new metaphor of the Sword “to give a new orientaHon to the minds of men given to passivity.”135
9. It is AhI-al-Sunnah136 as well, having its own usages, customs and a distinctive code of conduct recorded in its scripture, compositions of Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal, various Rahitnamas137 and Rahit-Maryada.138
Describing the Sikh way of life, these works cover not only the spiritual discipline and moral code but also the social behaviour of the community whose members “are requried to observe a distinctive code of conduct, one which specifies normative behaviour, outward appearance, and social obligation.”139
Sikhism is, thus a complete and perfect religion, not only because of its having such prominent features, elements and essentials of a ‘higher-religion’, but also because it was established, as its Founder stated, to carry out a specific command of the Lord-God Who Himself is, as also proclaimed by him in the following couplet, All perfection or Perfection-incarnate.
“All that the Perfect One; has made is pedect.
There is nothing lacking or excessive in its making.”140
It is dynamic, stable and eternal too as, according to the holy compiler of its sacred scripture,
“The holy preceptor has laid the immutable foundation of the faith
That never and in no way shall shake.” 141
Rather, it becomes firmer and firmer with the passage of each day, as stated below:
“The eternal foundation laid by Guru Nanak,
Is ever ascendant.” 142
According to the following assertion of the contemporary bards,
Rai Balwand and Satta minstrel,
“Guru Nanak founded the True
Dominion of God.
He raised the citadel of Truth
on firm foundations.” 143
On these foundations was raised a glorious spiritual and temporal edifice by Guru Gobind Singh who imparted his “stern Olympian air” to the followers of his who are recognizable till today by their distinctive appearance and are distinguished by their ever. Present high
spirits, particularly in a period of adversity and crisis. That is so because “‘His impress not only elevated and altered the constitution of their minds, but contrary to the experience of ethnological expertsit also operated materially and gave amplitude to their physical frames. They came to be regarded as models of physical beauty and stateliness of manner. A tremendous change was effected in the whole tone of their national character. Even those people who had been considered as dregs of humanity were changed, as if by magic, into something rich and strange. The sweepers” barbers and confectioners, who had never so much as touched the sword and whose whole generation had lived as grovelling slaves of the so-called higher classes, became, under the stimulating leadership of Guru Gobind Singh, doughty warriors who never shrank from fear and who were ready to rush into the jaws of death at the bidding of their Guru.”144
This revealed, distinct and complete religion of such self-sacrificing saint-soldiers is a universal world faith with all-embracing appeal and elevating message for all mankind. “It is the faith of the New Age,” says Rev. Bradshaw, “It is the summum bonum145 for the modem man. It completely supplants and fulfils all the former dispensations of older religions. The other religions contain Truth, but Sikhism contains the fullness of Truth. The older faiths were good in their day, but that day is now past; and we are living in the dispensation of Guru Nanak. Just as we appreciate the discovery of modem living and do not want to exchange our modem jet airlines, automobiles and electricity for the horse-drawn carriages and candles of the past, we do not want to exchange the New Age Faith of Guru Nanak for any of the old age systems and their antiquated philosophies.
The Sikh faith is the universal religion for the present space age.
The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of the modem man.146
And it “is the only living faith,” according to Bittencourt,
“that gives the healing outlook on life.” 147
As regards its potential and prospects in the religious domain of the world, it was Macauliffe, who, while addressing the Quest Society in 1910 at London, stated: “The Sikh religion (as compared to other religions) presents no mysteries and embraces an ethical system such as has never been excelled, if indeed it has ever been equalled. It offers fewer points of attack than any other theological system, and if patronized and cherished as its religious and political importance deserves, by a powerful government, it might become one of the first religions on this planet.”148
Dorothy Field observed as follows in 1914, “Sikhism is capable of a distinct position as a world-religion, so long as the Sikhs maintain their distinctiveness. The religion is also one which should appeal to the accidental mind. It is essentially a practical religion. If judged from the pragmatical stand-point, which is a favourable point of view in some quarters, it would rank almost first in the world. Of no other religion can it be said that it had made a nation in so short a time. The religion of the Sikhs is one of the most interesting at present existing in India, possibly indeed in the whole world. That it should have transformed the outcaste Indian-a notoriously indolent and unstable person — into a fine and loyal warriour is little short of a miracle.” 149 It was Arnold Tyonbee again who prophesied, therefore, as recently as in 1960: “Mankind’s religious future may be obscure; yet one thing can be foreseen. The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before in the days of increasing communication between all parts of the world and all branches of the human race. In this coming religious debate, the Sikh religion, and its scripture the Adi Granth will have something of special value to say to the rest of the world.”150
This will indeed be so, because it will have the opportunity of sharing that sort of experience to which the Nobel-Iaureate Pearl S. Buck had gained when she observed, after going through4-volume English translation (by Dr. Gopal Singh) of that Holy Book: “I have studied the scriptures of other great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modem about these scriptures and this puzzled me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modem, compiled as late as the 15th century, when explorers were beginning to discover that the globe, upon which we all live, is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to persons of any religion or of none. They speak for the human ‘heart and the searching mind.”151 And they do speak in verses such as these which, indeed, indicate that unique concept of unity and universality:
“The One Lord is our Father,
We all are children of that One.” 152
“None is our enemy,
Nor is anyone a stranger to us.
We are in accord with all...
The one God is pervasive in all creation
At the sight of which Nanak is in bloom of Joy.”153
These and many other hymns contained in the Holy Granth, clearly visualize and preach a religion which knows no ethnical, racial or regional limitations; recongizes no distinction on account of birth, sex, caste, creed or colour, embodies universal respect and concern for all, and regards all as equals. This is testified by its first and last prophets, Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh, in the following words:
“There is Light among all and that Light is God’s Own.
Which pervades and illuminates everyone.”154
“Some one by shaving his head
becomes a Sanyasi, another a Yogi,
and yet another passes for a monk or ascetic.
Some call themselves Hindus,
other claim to be Muslims;
among these some are Shias and some are Sunnis.
Recongise all as belonging to the one race of humanity
God as Creator (for the Hindus) and God as Good (for the Muslims)
God as Sustainer and God as Merciful
is all one and the same God.
Recognise not another even in error or in doubt.
Worship that One alone
as He is the Supreme Lord of us all.
It is only His form, His Light
that is diffused in one and all.” 155
Hence the followers of this universal faith conclude their daily prayers to that One God, in the name of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev, with the following couplets:
May Your holy Name,
be ever in ascendant.
May peace and prosperity
come to all !!
In Your Will
By Your Grace;!!156
They, thereby, ask for God’s blessings in favour not only of their own community but also of the entire humanity, for the maximum good of each and every creature in the world.
Thus, apart from being such a distinct monotheistic faith, Sikhism is also a social and fraternal religion, standing equally for the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man’, guaranteeing equal status to all human beings and asserting that normal family life lived with virtuous conduct and firm faith in God leads to the path of salvation.
“Contemplation of the True Lord brings illumination
Which enables one to remain unattached
in the midst of evil.
Such is the greatness of the True Preceptor
(that through His grace and guidance)
one can attain fullness.
while living with one’s wife and children.”157
Hence it is the religion of our time, modern in outlook, scientific in analysis, rational in approach and practical in adaptability; suited to the needs, aspirations and conditions of the modern man and his social set-up. It is a religion which is concerned with the creation of a just social order and is committed to social equality and peaceful coexistance, as proclaimed by its Fifth prophet, Guru Arjun Dev, in the following verse:
The Gracious Lord has now promulgated His ordinance;
None shall dominate over others or cause pain;
AIl shall abide in peace and happiness.
As the governance shall be gentle and affectionate.158
Sikhism enjoins on its followers social responsibility involving
both social service and social action.
“He who does dedicated service in the world
gets a place at His Portal”159
“They alone understand the right way
who eat the bread of their labour
and share it with others”160
The above directives of Guru Nanak, (couched in his own pithy aphorisms: Nam Japo, Kirt Karo, Vand Chhako) are indeed “the foundation of a spiritually oriented, dynamic social life:’161 His frequent exhortation to follow the under-mentioned six-sided discipline cultivates and follows the virtues associated with it and leads further to the enrichment and fulfilment of such an ideal life:
Nam : Devotion in the Divine Name.
Dan : Giving to others, particularly to the needy.
lsnan : Purity of mind, body and environment. 162
Seva : Service of mankind.163
Simran : Contemplation and rememberance of God.164
Satsang: Fellowship or company of true believers: Association with holy men.165
Sikhism is thus based on humanistic and universal values of the purest form; human freedom and, diginity, self-realization and selfconfidence, and service and sacrifice have been the essential elements of its ethos. The history and heritage of this religion, whether in its principles, doctrines, and sacred pronouncements, or in the practical lives of its founders and followers, “has been one of exhortation to liberation from all kinds of degrading bondage, mental, spiritual and social. Long before the modern idea of social freedom was evolved in the West, Sikhism had brought to mankind the message of freedom. In its social aspects, it was a movement of freedom from feudalism and caste tyranny. While spiritually it brought to man liberation from feudalism and caste tyranny, spiritually it brought to man freedom from suppression and those false beliefs which enslaved man to a selfish or ignorant priest-craft whether the priest was called Brahmin, Yogi or Mullah.” The founder of the holiest Sikh shrine and the compiler of the Sikh Scripture, Guru Arjan Dev, has himself recorded the impact of this unique movement in the following verse:
“The egg-shell of doubt has shattered
and the mind is illumined ;
The Master has freed us from bondage
by cutting off fellers from our feed.” 166
This is the verse which Macauliffe while recognizing its lasting significance, reproduced on the title-page of each of the six volumes of his magnum opus, The Sikh Religion, published in 1909 by the Oxford University. This is also the verse on the basis of which Banerjee stated, seventy years later: “The fetters of ritualistic religion were cutoff and the captives were… freed; and the foundations of the Spiritual Empire were laid. On these foundations was raised an imposing structure of Temporal Empire, blessed by Guru Gobind Singh’s neverto- be forgotton utterance: ‘RAJ KAREGA KHALSA’.
1 Its operative clause, in the original, reads as follows: “Nanak prastan ra har ja kih bayab
and baqatal rasanand.” Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla (cf. A Brief Account of the Sikh People, by Prof. Dr. Ganda Singh, Amritsar-1956; reprint, Delhi-1971, p. 29)
2 Gupta, Prof. Dr. Hari Ram, History of the Sikhs Vol. II, 3rd. revised edition, New Delhi- 1978, p. 39. See also Browne, James History of the Origin and Progress of the Sikhs (India Tracts), London-1788, Vol. II p. 13; M’Gregor, W.L., The History of the Sikhs, London-1846, Vol. I, pp. 113-114
3 Latif, Syed Mohammad, A History of the Panjab from the Remote Antiquity to the Present Times, Ca1cutta-1891, p. 213
4 Miskin, Tahmas Khan, Tazkirah-Tahmas Miskin, also called Tahmas Namah, MS. No.1918 of British Museum, London, dated 1779-80 AD., Forster George, A Journey from
Bengal to England, London-I798, Vol. I, p. 319
5 That fearful bloody carnage which occurred on 5th February 1762 at Kup, near Malerkotla, is known as Dooja Wadda Ghalughara, i.e. the Second great Holocaust
6 Nur-ud-Din, Husain Khan, Sayyed, Tarikh-e-Najib-ud-Daulah, also called Ahwal-i- Najib-ud-Daulah, MS. No. 24410 of B.M., London, f.57a (cf. English Translation by Sir
Jadu Nath Sarkar in the Islamic Culture, 1933-34); Khushwaqt Rai, Tawarikh-i-Sikhan, also called Kitab-i-Tawarikh-i-Panjab, MS. No. Or. 187 of B.M., London, dated 1811, f. 95
7 Trumpp, Dr. Ernest; The Adi Granth, London-1877, p.vi
8 Bhattacharya, Joginder Nath, Hindu Castes and Sects, Calcutta-1896, p.5H; reprint-
1968, p. 404
9 Macauliffe, M.A., The Sikh Religion under Banda and its Present Condition in the Calcutta Review, Calcutta-I881, Vol. CXLV,. p. 168; The Sikh Religion and its Advantages to the State, Simla-I906, p.28; How the Sikhs became a Militant Race? Simla-1906, pp. 26-27
10 Macauliffe, M.A., The Sikh Religion, Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors, Oxford- 1909, Vol. I, p. Lvii
11 Narang, Dr. Sir Gokul Chand, Transformation of Sikhism, Lahore-1912; 2nd. ed. Lahore- 1945, p. 350
12 For details see Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Panjab by Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib, Amritsar-1950; Divide and Quit by Mr. Penderal Moon. London -
1961; The Partition of Panjab by Dr. Kirpal Singh, Patiala-1978
13 Khushwant Singh, The Sikhs, London-1953, p.7
14 Narang, Transformation of Sikhism, op. cit., p. 350
15 Kapur Singh’s speech entitled, Sikhs and Sikhism, Vancouver, 7th October 1974, p. 26
16 “Of the total number of persons martyred during the Independence Movement, 75 percent were Sikhs; of the number sent to gallows, 81 percent were Sikhs; and those exiled and deported to Andamans, a deadly and uninhabitated island in Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, 80 percent were the Sikhs.” (cf. Sikhism by Prof. Dr. Ujagar Singh, Washington-1988, p.22)
17 Under ‘Operation Blue Star’, stated to be “the biggest and the, most significant army action against its own countrymen ever taken in the world,” and used as the “Code name for the Indian army’s move into Punjab against the Sikhs” during the first week of June 1984. (Gurmit Singh, Dr., History of Sikh Struggles, Vol. III, p. l). “On 5th June 1984, the Indian army began its attack on the complex at Amritsar which housed the two most sacred shrines of the Sikh Community, the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht, ...tanks were ordered in and the Akal Takht was virtually reduced to rubble.” (Mark Tully & Satish Jacob, Amritsar: Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle, Delhi-1985, p. i). For some details see Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab by Citizens for Democracy, Bombay- 1985
18 History of Sikh Struggles,. op. cit., Vol. III, pp. 28-29, 34-39. For some details refer to the Reports to the Nation published under the auspices of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights; People’s Union For Civil Liberties (entitled Who Are The Guilty?, New Delhi-1984) and the Citizens For Democracy (entitled Truth About Delhi Violence,
Delhi-1985);Army Action in Punjab: Prelude and Aftermath, New Delhi-1984: Report
53 of the Citizens’ Commission: Delhi-31 Oct. to 4 Nov. 1984, New Delhi-1985
18a Bannerjee, Prof. Dr. Anil Chandra, Guru Nanak; The Teacher of Man, Chandigarh-1979, p. 23
19 Parrinder, Prof. Geoffrey, World Religions from Ancient History to the Present, New
York-1983, p. 260
20 The Hindustan Tunes, New Delhi-2 June 1957. See also Kapur Singh, Sikh and Sikhism, op. cit., p.3
21 Carpenter, J. Estlin, Theism in Medieval India, London-1921, p. 489
22 Heiler, F., The Gospel of Sadhu Sunder Singh, London-I927, pp.35-36
23 Khushwant Singh, The Sikhs Today, New Delhi-1959; reprint, 1969, p. xiii
24 Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Princeton-1963, Vol. I, p. 17
25 Bhattacharya, Hindu Caste and Sect; op. cit., 1st. ed., pp.497, 510; reprint, pp. 393,403
26 Time, New York, dated 12 November, 1989, p. 53
27 Pincott, Frederic, Sikhism, in the Dictionary of Islam by Rev. T.P. Hughes, London-
1885, p. 583. & 594
28 Tara Chand, Dr., Influence of Islam on Indian Culture. Allahabad-1946, p.169
29-a A Rajagopalachari, Sri. Vaisnava reformers of India
29 Williams, Monier, Brahmanism and Hinduism, London-19, p. 64
30 Battany, G.T., Encylopaedia of World Religions, London-19...,p. 246
31 cf. Insha Ulla Khan, Maulvi, Sikhon aur Mussalamonon Ke Ruhani Tualqat, Lahore-
32 cf. Muhammad Ali, Maulvi, The Founder of Sikhism, Lahore-1919
33 cf. Nizami, Khawaja Hassan, Sikh Qaum our unke Bani ki nisbal Mussalamanon Id
Muhabbal-amez Rai Batala-1919
34 cf. Muhammad Yusuf, Sheikh, Baba Nanok Ko Mazhab, Qadian-1919
35 Qadiani, Mina Ghulam Ahmed, SaIa Bachan, Batala 2nd. cd. 1902, pp. 4377-4504
36 Trumpp, The Adi Granth, op. cit., ch. III, p. ci
37 Narang, Transformation of Sikhism, op. cit., p. 379
38 Gandhi, M.K., Young India, May-l924, p. 829. Ahmadabad
39 Archer, Prof. Dr. J.C., The Sikhs, in Relation to Hindus, Moslems, Christians and
Ahmadiyas: a Study in Comparative Religion, Princeton-1946, p. 30l.
40 Ibid., p. 302; Akbar, Dr. Mohammad, The Pan jab Under the Mughals, Lahore-1943; reprint, Delhi-1979, p. 187
41 Kenneth, W.J., Journal of Asian Studies, transl in Singh Sabha Patrika, Amritsar-January, 1974, pp. 92-94
42 Chaudhuri, Nirad c., The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, London1951, pp.
43 Smith, Marian W., Synthesis and other Processes in Sikhism in the American Anthropologist vol. 50, No.3, Pt. I, July-September, 1948, pp. 457-62; Marenco, Ethne
K., The Transformation of Sikh Society, New Delhi-1976, p. 24
44 Greenlees, Duncan, The Gospel of the Guru Granth Sahib, Madras-1952, p.216
45 Bittencourt, Dr. Edward Ade., in his ‘Foreword’ to the Sikh Way of Life by Ranbir
Singh, New Delhi-1968, p. vi
46 Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, op. cit., Vol. I, p. Liv
47 Ibid., Vol. I., Introduction, p.l.v. Lv
48 Majumdar, Dr. R.C., The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. VI, Bombay I960; 2nd. ed.-1967, p. 569
49 Griffin, Sir Lepel, Rajas of the Punjab, Lahore-1879, p.338
50 Banerjee, Prof. Indubhushan, Evolution of the Khalsa, Calcutta-1936, Vol. 1, p. 182
51 Arjan dev, Guru, Guru Granth Sahib, Amritsar – 1604, A.D., Rag Bhairo M. 5, p. 1136
52 Mohsin Fani, Shaikh, (Ardistani, Mobid Zalfiqar), Dabistan-I-Mazahib dated 1654 AD, 1904, p. 223
53 Ibid., p. 233
54 Ibid., p. 223 See also Ganda Singh, Prof. Dr Nanak Panthis, extracted translated and edited with notes, Amritsar-1990, pp 4, 5, 10, 11; Nanak panthis or the Sikhs and Sikhism of the 17th Century, in the journal of Indian History, Vol XIX, pt 2
55 Gurdas, Bhai, Varan, composed around 1600 AD., Var No 3, pauri no 5
56 Cole, W. Owen, Sikhism and its Indian context (1469-1708), New Delhi- 1984, p. 251
57 For the history of the Sikhs in particular, and a knowledge of the country and people in 1764", according to Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar in his ‘foreword’ to the jangnamah, (fn. No. 58)
58 Nur Muhammad, Qazi, Jang Namah, Gunjaba-1765, ch. XLI, pp. 156-159 edited and
translated into English by Dr Ganda Singh, Amritsar – 1939, pp. 158-59(of the text), pp.
58-59 (of the English renering).
59 Cunningham, Capt. J.D.,A History of the Sikhs from the Origin of the Nation to the
Battks of Sutlej, London-l849; reprint, Delhi-1985, pp. 75-76. See also Elphinstone,
M., Hislory of lndia; Rise of the British Power in the East, Vol. II, London-1887, pp.
60 Elliot, Sir Charles, Hinduism and Buddhism, London-1921 Vol II, p. 267; reprint-1954, p. 272
61 See also Malcolm, Lt. Col, Sketch of the Sikhs: A Singular Nation who inhabits the
Provinces of the Punjab, London-1812, pp. 129, p. 148; Burnes, Alexander, Travels into
Bukhora, London-1834, Vol p. 285, Vol II, p. 39; Barth, A, Religions of India, Paris-1882; London-l906, pp. 242 & 249
62 Aurobindo, Sri, The Foundation of Indian CultUre, Pondicheny, 1959, pp. 150-151
63 Aurobindo, Sri, A Defence of Indian Culture, Religion ad Spirituality, published in The Arya, Vol Vi, No. 1-1920
64 Jain, Nirmal Kumar, Sikh Religion and Philosophy, New Delhi-1979, p. 1
65 Ishwari Prasad, Dr. The Mughal Empire, AIlahabad-1974, p. 30
66 Field, Dorothy, The Religion of the Sikhs, London-1914, p. pp. 34,10
67 Parrinder, Edward Geoffrey, World Relil:ions, from Ancient History to the Present,
1983, p. 251
68 See Bachitar Natak by Guru Gobind Singh, Anandpur Sahib-1696, cont. VI; Chaubis
Avtar, Verses 2-27, 2488; etc. (Ramkali Var Patshahi Daswen ki, dated 1700 AD. (1),
stanza no. 16). See also Panth Parkash by Giani Gian Singh, Delhi-I880, ch. 85
69 Kapur Singh, Parasarprasna or The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh (An Exposition of
Sikhism), Jalandhar-1959, pp. 8-9; 2nd. ed., Parasarprasna, Amritsar 1989, p. 4
70. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 93.
71. Bute Shah alias Ghulam Muhay-ud-Din, Tawarikh-i-Panjab, MS. Ludhiana-
1848; pp. 405-406; Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, op. cit., Vol. V, pp. 93-94; Teja Singh, Prin. & Ganda Singh, Prof., A Short History of the Sikhs, Bombay-1950, pp. 68-69; Kapur Singh, Parasaraprasna, op. cit., pp. 2-3.
72. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 94.
73. Batalia, Ahmad Shah, Tawarikh-i-Hind, MS. dated 1818; Bute Shah Tawarikh.i.Panjab, op. cit., 406.
74. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Princeton-I963; 7th impr.-1987, Vol. I, pp.
75. See Saina Pati, Sri Guru Sobha, Anandpur Sahib-17B, Chs. V & VII; Santokh Singh,
Bhai, Sri Gurpratap Suraj Granth, Kaithal-I843, III. 21.
76. Gobind Singh, Guru, 33 Swaiyyei, Sw. no. I. in the Dasam Granth op. ch.
77. Harbans Singh, Prof., The Heritage of the Sikhs, New Delhi-1983; 2nd. ed., 1985, p. 95.
78. Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh, op. cit., p. 9.
79. Archer, The Sikhs in Relation to Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Ahmadiyas, op. cit., pp. I, v, viii.
80. Ralph Singh, Sikhism, New York-1988(c.), p.l.
81. Gurdev Singh, Justice, Perspectives on the Sikh Tradition, Patiala-1986, pp. 5, 8-9, See McLeod, W.H., Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, Oxford 1968; The Evolution of the Sikh Community, Delhi-1975; Earo/ Sikh Tradition, Oxford 1980. 22-23.
82. McLeod, The Evolution of the Sikh Community, op. cit., pp. 16-18; Gurdev Singh,
Perspectives on the Sikh Tradition, op. cit. pp. 22-23.
83. Banerjee, Guru Nanak, The Teacher of Man, op. cit. p. 44.
84. Hastings, James, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, New York-1914; lastest ed.
1971, Vol. VII, p. 354.
85. Greenlees, The Gospel of Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., p. 37.
86. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, op. cit. Vo. I, p. iii.
87. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Rag Tilang, M.I., p. 722 and Rag Ramkali, M.I, p. 935.
88. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Rag Tilang, M.I., p. 722.
89. Ibid., Rag Wadhans, M.I., p. 566.
90. Ibid., Rag Majh; M.I., p. 150. See also p. 148.
91. This has been duly mentioned by the earliest chroniclers of Sikh religion; such as by
Bhai Gurdas (1551-1629) in his var no. Ipauri no. 24; Puratan Janamsakhi (1634 c), pp.
17-18; Sodhi Meharban (1581-1640) in his Sach khand Pothi (dt.1620c.), pp. 88-89;
Bhai Nand Lal (1633-1741) in his Ganj Namah, ch. I, verses 48-50.
92. Ibid., Rag Sri, M. 3, p. 39.
93. Ibid., Rag Gauri, M. 4, p. 308.
94. Ibid., Rag Gauri, M. 4, p. 308.
95. Ibid., Rag Asa, M. 4, p. 449.
96. Ibid., Rag Suhi, M. 5, p. 743.
97. Ibid., Rag Suhi, M. 5, p. 763.
98. Ibid., Rag Sorath, M. 5, p. 629.
99. Ibid., Rag Sarang, M. 5, p. 1203.
100. Ibid., Rag Sri, M. 4, p. 91.
101. Ibid., Rag Sarang, M. 5, p. 1237.
102. Ibid., Rag Wadhans, M. 5, p. 562
103. Mujeeb, Prof. M., Guru Nanak’s Religion, Islam and Suflsm, in Guru Nanak: His Life, Tunes and Teachin[;S. ed. by Prin. Gurrnukh Nihal Singh, New Delhi-I969, ch. VII,
104. Surendra Nath Banerjee as quoted in The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. IX (ii), Bombay-1977, p.481.
104 Majumdar, Prof. R.c., Ibid., Vol. VI Bombay-196O; 2nd.ed.I967, p.569.
105. Fora detailed account see Guru Nanok: The World-Teacher (Jagat Gurubaba), Chandigarh- 1979, pp. 30-32; and Teachings of Guru Nanak, Chandigarh-1984. pp. 31-32 - both by Dr. Harnam Singh Shan.
106. According to Dr. Mohan Singh, “No teacher of the populace had uttered words of that import and significance, since the time of Upanishads. Those forewords at one stroke
felled the giant structures of caste, credal, sectional and religious differences.” (cf. Sri Guru Nanak Dev and Nation building, Tarn Taran-I934, p.8.
107. Harbans Singh, Prof., Berkeley Lecwns on Sikhism, New Delhi-I983, pp. 9-10: That terrible conflict grew from the fact that the “impact of Islam on north western India in the 11th centuty had been through militaty conquest and sword and this had created reactions in the proud and sensitive Hindu mind such as resulted in impassable barriers of hatred and prejudice between the two World Culture currents, and their mutual contacts have, therefore, left irritating and unfortunate monuments of bigotty and misunderstanding, spiritual and historical; that still mark the Indian scene. The Sikh Prophets, the Nanaks desired to level down these barriers with a view to discover and provide a common spiritual ground for the two, Hinduism and Islam, where Hinduism gets over its injured superiority and sense of exclusiveness, and Islam, its arrogance and self centricity born out of militaty superiority. The Nanak V declared: Let Muslims rediscover the truth that the true essence of religious practice is compassion and its goal, the purification of soul, and that political utilitarianism and expedience is not basic to Islam, as such, and let the Hindus concede that Islam, thus understood, is as respectable and ceremoniously pure as the flowers, the silk, the deerskin and the butter-fat.” (Guru Granrh Sahib, op. cit. Rag Maru, M. 5, p. 1084; 1J’e Golden Temple: Amritsar, a paper read by S. Kapur Singh at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, on 24 Oct. 1977, p.2).
108. Harbans Singh, Prof. Berldey, Lectures on Sikhism, New Delhi-1983, pp.10.
109. Ahl in Arabic originally meaning those who occupy with one the same tent, thus family inmates, Therefore, ahl-al-bait means the household of the Prophet Muhammad, his descendents. But this word is often connected with other notions, meaning so much as
sharing in a thing, belonging to it or owner of the same, etc. (see 183 Encyclopaedic of Islam etd. by M. Th. Houtsma & others, Leyden-1913, Vol. I, p.183 .Maqam means place or glorious station. (see Quran, ch. 17, V. 81.)
110. The Golden Temple: Amritsar, op. cit., p. 3.
111. Ahl-al-kitab the people of the Book. Muhammad calls so the Jews and Christians, in distinction (rom the heathens, on account of their possessing divine books of revelation, (Tawrat = Torah; Zabur = Psalter; Indjil = Gospel).” See lbid, p. 184, “According to T.P.
Hughes, it is a term used in the Quran for Jews and Christians, as believers in a revealed religion.” (See his Dictionary of Islam, London-1885, p. 12).
112. Khushwant Singh, The Sikhs, Varanasi-1984, p. 21.
113. Tyonbee, Unesco’s Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, op. cit., p. 9.
114. Milia in Arabic means religion, rite, “In, Kur’an the Prophet speaks of ‘Abraham’s Milia, by which he means the original revelation in its purity with the article, ai-milia means the true religion revealed by Muhammad and is occasionally used eliptically for ahl-al-milla, the followers of the Muhammadan religion.” (See Shorter Encyclopaedia of
lslom, ed by HAR Gibb & lA. Kramers, Leiden-1953, p. 380). According to the [(jtab ‘t-Tarifat, “it is expressive of religion as it stands in relation to the Prophet, as distinguished
from Din, which signifies religion as its stands in relation to God., from Mazhab which
signifies religion with reference to learned doctors.” (See Dictonary of lslam, op. cit., pp.
115. See Glasse, Cyril, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Francisco-l989, p. 269.
116. Khalsa Mahima, Swaiyya no. 3, p. 717
117. Ibid., Swaiyya no. 2, p. 716.
118. That is, Baptism of the Double-edged Sword.
119. That is, the lions, used as surname by all male followers of Sikhism.
120. That is, the Five Beloved Ones, Three out of them belonged earlier to the so-called low-castes (viz. Muhkam Chand, washerman from Dwarka; Himmat; a cook from Jagannath; Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar, the fourth (viz. Daya Ram, a Kshatriya or Khatri by caste, from Lahore), the fifth (viz. Dharam Das, a Jat from Delhi).
121. ‘Khalsa’ means the pure baptised and initiated Sikhs; Sikh brotherhood. The aim of
Guru Gobind Singh in founding the Khalsa was to build up a nation of the purified Ones
who would be free from the evils of religion and society. (Teja Singh & Ganda Singh, A History of the Sikhs, op. cit., p. 72).
122. See Sarab Loh Granth, ch. Khalsa Parkask
123. Kalam in Arabic means word; speech. “The first technical use of Kalam seems to have been in the phrase Kalam Allah meaning either the Kuran or Allah’s quality (Sifa) called speech.” (See Short Encyclopaedia of Islam, op. cit., p. 210 Dictionary of Islam, op. cit., p. 260).
124. “The majesty of the mystic sabda (Shabad) which we come across in the Sikh scripture,” tells Dr. R.K. Arora, hardly finds any parallel in the fullness...It has been associated with God without attributes. As the Guru is the repository’ of all spiritual jewels, so in him enshrines the Sabda and he also imparts it to the devotee. Sabda is the means by which one gets wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord. ‘By the Sabda of the guru one recognises the abode of the Lord within’. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 364) He is one with Nama and Sabda, the two most profound concepts jn the Sikh faith.” (See The Sacred Scripture: Symbol of Spiritual Synthesis, New Delhi-1988, pp. 35,45,103,109).
125. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Raga Asa, M.1. p. 351.
126. Ibid., Raga Dhanasari M.1, p.661.
127. Ibid., Raga Parbhati M.1, p. 1342.
128. Ibid., Raga Ramkali M. 1, p.943.
129. Ibid., Raga Sorath M.1, p. 635.
130. Shuhada in Arabic means testimony, evidence and martyrdom. The meaning martyr is not found for Shohid in the Koran. It is only later commentators that have tried to find it in the Sura iv. The development of the meaning of Shahid to martyr took place under
Christian influence... The martyr who seals his belief with his death, fighting against the infidels Shahid through out the Hadith literature and the great privileges that await him in heaven is readily depicted in numerous haditbs... In the book of Shihad martyrdom is praised quite in the style of the hadith... The praise of Shahada (martyrdom) led to a real longing to meet a martyr’s death and even Muhammad and ‘Omar longed for it.’ (see The Dictionary of Islam, op. cit., p. 571; Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, op. cit. p. 515; Encyclopaedia of Islam, op. cit., Vol. IV, p. 259-60. Penrice, John, A Dictionary and Glossary of the Quran, New Delhi-1978, pp. 79-80).
131 Kapur Singh, Parasaroprasna, op. cit., p. 108.
132 As stated by Bhai Santolch Singh, in his Gurpratap Suraj Granth, Kaithal1844, Ansu 36; Parasarsprasna, op. cit., p. 41. 133 Teja Singh, Prin., Sikhism: Its deals and Institutions, 322, Amritsar-l938, reprint-I978, p. 34, Essays in Sikhism, Lahore-1941; reprint-l988, p. 168.
134 Guru Gobind Singh, Zafarnamoh, Dina Kangar-1706, Verse Wo. 22.
135 Heritage of the Sikhs, op. cit., p. 90.
136 Sunna or Sunnah means “custom, use and wont, statuet.” (See another Encyclopaedia of Islam. op. cit., p. 552)” According to H.P.T. Hughes, “lit a path or way; a manner of life. A term used in the religion of the Muslims to express the custom or manner of life. Hence the tradition which records either the sayings or doings of Muhammad. Consequently all traditional law is divided into (1) what Mohammad did; (2) or what Muhammad enjoined; (3) or that which was done or said in the presence of Muhammad and which was not forbidden by him.” (see his Dictionary of Islam, op. cit., p. 622).
137 By Ramt we mean the distinctive Sikh code of conduct or discipline which is “a feature of fundamental importance to the life of the Panth,” that is the Sikh religion. The manuals in which this code is recorded are called Rahitnamas.
138 That is, the Sikh Code of Conduct compiled by a committee appointed in 1931 by the
Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Amritsar, with Prin. Teja Singh as convener. It was approved by it in 1945 and has since been accepted as an authoritative manual and regarded as the standard guide for the whole community.
139 McLeod, Dr. W.H., Textual Sources for the Study of Sikhism, Manchester 1984,
140 Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Slok Varan te Vadhik, M.I, no. 33, p. 1412.
141 Ibid., Raga Sarang, M.V, p. 1226.
142 Ibid., Raga Gujari, M.V., pp. 500-501.
143 Ibid., Ramkoli ki Var, Rai Balwand tatha Sattei Dum akhi st. 1, p. 966.
144 A Short History of the Sikhs, op. cit., pp. 71-72.
145 That is, the chief good, especially as the end on the ultimate determining principle in an ethical system.
146 Bradshaw, H.L, Sikhism, in the Sikh Review, Calcutta.
147 Bittencourt, The Sikh Way of Life, op. cil., p. vi.
148 Macauliffe, MA, The Sikh Religion :A Lecture, London-19l0, p. 25.
149 Field, The Religion of the Sikhs, op. cit., p. 9, 34-55.
150 Toynbee, Unesco’s Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, ‘Foreword’, pp. 10. 11.
151 Buck, Mrs. Pearl. S., in her Opinion as published in Vol. I of Sri Guru Granth Sahib,
English Version by Dr. Gopal Singh, Delhi-l960, p. xiv.
152 Guru Gramh Sahib, op. cit., Raga Sorath, M.V, p. 611.
153 Ibid., Raga Kanara, M.V, p. 1299.
154. Ibid., Raga Dhanasari, M.I, p. 663.
155. Guru Gobind Singh,Aka Ustal in Sri Dasam Granth, op. cit., Kabit no. 15/85.
156. See Ardas, that is the Sikh congregational prayer to God which is a basic religious activity in Sikh religion. Its version is available in various Gutkas (i.e. anthologies of hymns meant for daily and occasional prayers etc.) and Sikh Rahit Maryada, q.v.
157. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Raga Dhanasari, M.I, p. 661.
158. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Rag Sri M.V., p. 74.
159. Ibid., M.I. Rag Sri, p. 26
160. Ibid., Rag Sarang, M.I, p. 1245
161. Mujeeb, Prof. M. in his ‘Foreword’ to Guru Nano.k in His Own Words by Dr. Hamam Singh Shan, Amritsar-I969, p. xiii.
162. Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit., Rag Maru, M.5, p. 1002.
163. Ibid., Rag Asa, M.I, p. 419.
164. Ibid., Rag Asa, M.I, pp. 354, 468.
165. Ibid., Rag Asa M.I, p. 9, Rag Ramkali, p. 944.
166. Ibid., p. 72; Rag Sorath, p. 598.
Copyright Institute of Sikh Studies, All rights reserved.
Designed by Jaswant (09915861422)