News & Views
– Frame Rules for Award, Demand Sikh Scholars –
Amritsar, December 6. The Akal Takht may have bestowed the Panth Rattan Fakr-e-Quam award on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, but Sikh intellectuals feel that there should be a proper procedure to choose a personality for such an honour.
Talking to The Tribune, Bhai Ashok Singh Bagaria from the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, said: “A set of guidelines should be framed by the Sikh high priests who should take various Sikh organisations into confidence for choosing a personality for the award.”
He said political leaders who had worked for the Panth alone should be considered for the honour. On Badal getting the award, Bagaria said the CM had recently been involved in several controversies.
“The whole exercise was undertaken in haste and the award was bestowed on the CM just a few days of the announcement,”he observed.
He said public opinion should have been taken into consideration before announcing the award. “ The Akal Takht suo motu can’t give away such an award and if it says it has done so on the SGPC’s recommendation, then it further lowers the status of the Takht”, he held.
Former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta said an independent committee comprising Sikh scholars and intellectuals should be entrusted with the job of framing the guidelines for the award. “The committee should comprise eminent Sikh personalities,” he said. Gursharanjeet Singh, Head, Guru Nanak Studies, GNDU, said in view of the controversy that had erupted following the honour bestowed on the Chief Minister, the SGPC and the Akal Takht should work towards framing norms in this regard. (Courtesy: The Tribune, Dec 7, 2011)
Fateh Burj Dedicated to People
Chappar Chiri (Mohali), November 30. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today inaugurated a Rs 35-crore Baba Banda Singh Bahadur war memorial at a colourful ceremony here. The presence of several decorated soldiers led by former Chief of Staff and Arunachal Pradesh Governor Gen (retd) J.J. Singh, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri and BJP leader Rajnath Singh enhanced the prestige of the occasion.
Amidst confetti and fireworks, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, led by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, dedicated the 328 ft-tall victory tower (Fateh Burj), the tallest monument in the country, to the people. The monument was a tribute to the valour and sacrifices made by the Sikh warriors for the sake of humanity, the Chief Minister said.
All through the ceremony as the Nihangs, referred to as ‘Guru ki fauj’, displayed their martial skills, the CM, accompanied by Giani Gurbachan Singh, Sri Keshgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Tarlochan Singh and Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, took the distinguished dignitaries on a round of the 21 acre war memorial complex in open Gypsies.
The Chief Minister unveiled the statues of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Fateh Singh, Bhai Ram Singh, Bhai Aali Singh and Bhai Maali Singh, who scripted the victory of Chappar Chiri against the Mughals, amid the beating of drums by the Nihangs.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Local Bodies Minister Tikshan Sud, Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria, Member of Parliament Sher Singh Ghubaya, former MP Tarlochan Singh, former Canadian MP Ruby Dhalla and first Sikh policeman in Canada Baljit Singh Dhillon. (Courtesy: The Tribune, December 1, 2011)
Letters to Editor
Reincarnation is not Recognised by Sikh Philosophy
I have been reading the Essentials of Sikhism by Daljeet Singh found on the website Global Sikh Studies and was now investigating the article related to “Bachittar Natak – Strange drama” by Baldev Singh also found on the website Global Sikh Studies.
It is stated by the two authors above that reincarnation is not recognised by Sikh philosophy. Why then do the masses in Sikhism believe that reincarnation is a part of Sikh teaching from the Gurbani that after 84 lakh births you have the chance of becoming human. It is implied by the masses that at the most, every 84 lakh births one takes human form, this could account for many previous human births for the individual whereas the authors reject this analysis. So where are these translations coming from? Most of the English translations of Gurbani are using the words reincarnation as follows:
ਨਾਨਕ ਸਿਝਿ ਇਵੇਹਾ ਵਾਰ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਜਨਮੜਾ ||
O Nanak, be successful this time, and you shall not be reincarnated again.
Further if there is only opportunity (after many other life forms) to become human as the authors of the two pieces above state, then not everyone will have the opportunity to live by virtuous deeds (i.e. babies who die young, persons with mental impairment etc). where does that leave the laws of Karma or those who do not fulfill virtuous deeds.
I would be grateful for some clarification.
Dear Mr Jatinder Shoker,
You have raised a query which requires a volume to go into its depth. I will try to cover all points in a few words. The concept of “reincarnation’ is blurred in antiquity, but it is a mere speculation in Hinduism and Buddhism, more firmly established during the sway of Buddhist ideology along with its strange preference for the figure “Eighty Four.” There are eighty four thousand dhammakkhandhas, sections and paragraphs, chapters and verses, eighty four siddhas, eighty four Buddhist sacred places of pilgrimage (stupas) and eighty four lakhs species of life on land and water, eighty four hells, eighty four asanas of yogis. Given the limited intellect level of the animal kingdom and the bacteria born of four distinct ways of creation, described in ancient scriptures, namely, andage, jerage, utbhuj and seitaj, it is not explained, how and when can the non-human creatures have the opportunity to do penance in eighty four lakhs re-births in the animal state, when even the events of the past life are not remembered? Since the process of creation started, how many creatures have gone extinct which continue to be included in the static figure of eighty four lakhs species! How much period would it take to complete one cycle of eighty four lakhs reincarnations to reappear in human form and till then, will the merit of good actions and bad deeds wait to be fully judged? Hindu belief is that for good actions, one has sojourn in devaloka and for wickedness, one has to spend time in narak. Does not that complete that account; where is the question of reincarnation? Buddhists, Jains and hindus make a case of eighty four lakhs births in animated and unanimated states to regain human birth so that Moksh becomes a distant dream. The Jains do not believe in ataman and contend reaction to every action brings re-birth. It would be evident that the concept of karma is not thoroughly probed and developed, but has caught the fancy of the Indians.
Then there are variants some claiming each species remaining in their respective genus so that animals are reborn as animals and humans as humans. The ancient Hindu texts prescribe penance for the female to be born in the next incarnation as male to qualify for moksh. The European spiritualists argue that ataman disintegrates into atoms at death and may not be reborn as the same personality but merge into various new individualities so that the unfinished tasks are distributed to different souls on re-birth.
The sabds of Guru Granth Sahib are collected from different sources as the Gurus preached to different congregations of various backgrounds. These sermons were delivered in the frame of understanding of those groups for easy conveyance of the central theme. In the sabd quoted (page 1096) it is clear that the Guru is advising not to explore the how and why of the past but to act now for salvation ahead so that there remains no reason for the concept of reincarnation. It is said:
ਕਤ ਕੀ ਮਾਈ ਬਾਪੁ ਕਤ ਕੇਰਾ ਕਿਦੂ ਥਾਵਹੁ ਹਮ ਆਏ ॥
ਅਗਨਿ ਬਿੰਬ ਜਲ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਨਿਪਜੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੰਮਿ ਉਪਾਏ ॥ ੧ ॥
ਮੇਰੇ ਸਾਹਿਬਾ ਕਉਣੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ॥ (SGGS, p. 156)
The Sikh Gurus preached inculcating virtues to create a proficient society where evil is extinguished.
1, ਸਚੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣੁ ਰਹਾਈ ॥ (SGGS, p. 1234)
2. ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਿਵ ਮਰਹਗੇ ਕੈਸਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਹੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤਾ ਸਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ (SGGS, p. 555)
3. ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਿਆ ਆਗੈ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਸੋਈ ਹੂਆ ॥ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕਰਣੈ ਵਾਲਾ ਦੂਆ ॥ (SGGS, p. 154)
4. ਸਭਨਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਆਇਆ ਵੇਛੋੜਾ ਸਭਨਾਹ ॥
ਪੁਛਹੁ ਜਾਇ ਸਿਆਣਿਆ ਆਗੈ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਕਿਨਾਹ ॥
ਜਿਨ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਵਡੜੀ ਵੇਦਨ ਤਿਨਾਹ ॥ (SGGS, p. 595)
The Sikhs have had no respite from forces of disruption and had to depend on seemingly sympathetic sehjdharis to look after their shrines who played havoc with the message of the Gurus, planting and propagating the Hindu philosophy in their interpretations. The result is confusion in the minds of the laity, reinforced by the semi-literate Sant Babas and ignorant clergy. To begin with, Karm was the Vedic procedure of havan as per prescribed rules, the karm kand, rejected by the Gurus as superstition; which later signified as action in general, but mostly used in gurbani as the Persian word for kindness, mercy, gratefulness.
Sikhs have faith in God’s dispensation, so the law of karma does not hold good. You can either have faith in your own will (manmat) or in God as the Doer (gurmat). In real sense, a Gurmukh is the real Sikh in operation. A Gurmukh is sans any blemishes and is rid of malevolence and sin. Therefore there is no adverse account (lekha) to contend with. On the other hand, the manmukh basking in mayaic triguna behaviour may have to reap bitter fruit of his life-long egoistic actions on rebirth as per Buddhist-Hindu speculation or the Judgment on the Doomsday of the Semitic conjecture.
Editor, Abstracts of Sikh Studies
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2012, All