1. Beginner’s Nam-Jap
2. Sikhs and Sikh FAith
A Review by Gajindar Singh
Author & Publisher: Dr Kulwant Singh Khokhar
Pages: 72 (Beginner’s Nam-Jap); 56 (Sikhs and Sikh Faith)
Ediition: 2nd (Beginner’s Nam-Jap); 1st (Sikhs and Sikh Faith)
Price : Free Ciculation
These two slim booklets are an introduction to Sikhism. Beginner’s Nam-Jap leads to appreciation of the value and initiation of a novice to the methodology of the Sikh way to spiritual quest and Sikhs and Sikh Faith again explains the essentials of the Sikh faith. The author has taken pains to explain in minute details the fundamentals of remembering God and the art of meditation. In both these books, he has suggested the importance of neatness of body and environment, explained the word Vahiguru and its scope as well as the mool mantra. The author has many books on Sikh Religion to his credit and he spreads the message of his faith free to anyone desirous of enquiry. Such philanthropic efforts are laudable. The intentions of the author in reaching out to the lay average Sikh are highly commendable.
There are notes of caution and acknowledgment by the learned author about the presence of certain steps which are not favoured in Sikhism but are practised in common, like the virtual adoration of the pictures of Gurus, discarded in our religion as much as the negation of idol worship. The author seems to let it pass. It may be remembered that one false step of the initiate can lead astray to wrong surmises. Similarly, he affirms that rosary is not favoured in the Sikh ethos but gives details to its use. The mid-brow or the tip-of-nose concentration and breath control exercises are reminiscent of the yogic ida-pingla-sukhmana discipline and kundalni yoga, equally rejected in gurbani.
Concentration and meditation by strenuous efforts like self hypnotism is another method disfavoured by the Gurus which is elaborated by the author. The basic urge of Nam Jap in the individual signifies the love of God as the Beloved. Any induced effort at concentration cannot recreate a similar sense of longing and yearning for fusion with the Lord. That fine distinction distances the Sikh postulates from the ancient techniques. Focusing on the mid-brow or nose-tip meditation is the well-known Hath yoga technique which strengthens egotistic attitude in the individual, rejected in Sikhism. A person in love does not keep count on fingers, on japmali rosary or simrana, the number of times one repeats the beloved’s name, nor does it require a push to meditate on it. Pure love automatically leads to extended periods of ecstasy and rapture, creating a will to imbibe God’s truthful nature, a craving to eradicate vices and adopt virtues.
Another point to consider is the common assumption, a carry over from ancient religions that by hypnotic concentration, man’s evil nature turns by itself to virtuous acts. It is not so: Vin gunn kite bhagt n hoe- Jap. A person desirous of taking up meditation must first surrender his/her haume voluntarily, hukam razai chalna,(Jap) and by hoe saban ki renuka tau aao hamare pas, otherwise, there are any number of egotists who are regular life-long meditation practitioners, which does not change their self-centered, maya tainted, manmukh nature.
Guru Nanak preached honesty of purpose throughout, in one’s life. What is being usually catered by the Sikh Babas and holy men is a distillation of oft-repeated Hindu yogic lore, without understanding the damage they are causing to the spirit of Guru Nanak’s faith. In Raga Maru, He clearly spells it:
ਵਾਚਹਿ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਵੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਬਹਿ ਸੁਨਹਿ ਸੁਨਾਵਹਿ ਕਾਨਾਂ ॥
ਅਜਗਰਕਪਟੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਖੁਲ@ੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ੧੧ ॥
ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ਲਗਾਵਹਿ ਭਸਮੈ ॥ਅੰਤਰਿਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਚੰਡਾਲੁ ਸੁ ਹਉਮੈ ॥
ਪਾਖੰਡ ਕੀਨੇ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ੧੨ ॥
ਤੀਰਥਵਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕਰਹਿ ਉਦਿਆਨਾ ॥ ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕਥਹਿ ਗਿਆਨਾ ॥
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ੧੩ ॥
ਨਿਉਲੀ ਕਰਮ ਭੁਇਅੰਗਮ ਭਾਠੀ ॥ ਰੇਚਕ ਕੁੰਭਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਮਨ ਹਾਠੀ ॥
ਪਾਖੰਡ ਧਰਮੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ੧੪ ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1043
The crux of the matter is: how to shed vices and adopt blemishless (nirmal) character. A pure soul is the basic requirement in adapting and traversing the path of gurmat.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All