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  Gur Panth Parkash
Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh






‘Meeri-Peeri’ as the term itself implies, signifies in essence the blending of worldly sovereignity and spiritual sovereignity. It is such a rare phenomenon in Indian history, and is so much at variance with the current notions surrounding spiritualism vis-a-vis political power, that many a scholar fails to entertain the idea that the acquisition of political power for even a noble cause can at all be a legitimate spiritual pursuit. In fact, some of the scholars are so much pre-occupied with this obsession that they have gone to the extent of ignoring or twisting valid facts of Sikh history in order to fit them into their interpretation of it, corresponding to their presumed approach.

1. Guru Arjan’s martyrdom not the first or the sole cause
One such distortion of Sikh history is the hypothesis that the Sikh movement was a purely religious movement before it took a political turn with the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev. This hypothesis is factually incorrect. The concepts of ‘Sacha Patshah’ and’Meeri-Peeri’ mean virtually the same thing, i.e. the marriage of spiritual authority and worldly authority; and the ideal of ‘Sacha-Patshah’ came to be associated with Guru Nanak himself1 and the successor Gurus2 at a very early date. Mohsin Fani writes: ‘Sikhan Guru ha ra Sacha Padshah yani Badshah-i-haqiqat midanand,. 3 And the ideal of Sacha Patshah did not remain a harmless epithet or an airy ideal in the Sikh movement. It was institutionalized and had political ramifications. Guru Arjan used to hold assemblies which gave them the look of royal Darbars (Court); 4 and henceforth the Guru was looked upon by his followers as a worldly lord and a ruling sovereign. 5 In fact, “The Sikhs had already become accustomed to a form of self government within the Empire”.6

The significant point is that the ideal of ‘Sacha Patshah’ was not set up casually. That it was meant to be a deliberate challenge to the ruling authority is clear from the manner the Gurus stuck to it despite the serious consequences it invited. One of the reasons of Guru Arjan’s martyrdom was Jahangir’s charge that the Guru “noised himself as a worldly leader. 7 Ram Ral incited Emperor Aurangzeb with his allegation that Guru Teg Bahadur boasted of Badshahi-Karamat, i.e. kingship and miracle. 8 Khushwaqt Rai states that some of the Sikhs, apparently dazzled by the brilliance of the Guru’s darbar, were prompted to lay claims to sovereignity. 9 According to Risala-i-Nanakshah, Aurangzeb did enquire of Guru Teg Bahadur: Why People address you as Sacha Patshah? 10 Instead of trying to assuage the Emperor’s suspicions, the Guru replied that whatever it was, it reflected the Will of the Almighty, and the faqir was not concerned with the fame or defame it brought. 11 Irvine writes: “One of this Guru’s (Guru Teg Bahadur’s) crimes, in the Emperor’s eyes, may have been the style of address adopted by his disciples, who had begun to call their leader Sacha Padshah or the ‘True King’. This title was readily capable of two-fold interpretation: it might be applied as the occasion served in a spiritual or a literal sense. Its use was extremely likely to provoke the mistrust of a ruler even less suspicious by nature than the Alamgir”.12

Above all, we have the direct evidence of Jahangir, as cited above, that Guru Arjan “noised himself as a worldly leader”, and the contemporary evidence of Dabistan that the Sikh polity in his time ‘became a state within a state’. 13 Toynbee endorses the same fact that the predecessors of Guru Hargobind had already transformed the Sikh community “from an embryonic church into an embryonic state”.14 “There seems to have been an intermediate stage in the evolution of the Sikh military machine out of the Sikh religious fraternity which had been founded by Nanak about a h.undred years before Hargobind’s time. In the last quarter of the sixteenth century of the Christian Era the Sikh community seems to have assumed a form which was already political though it was not yet warlike”.15 And we have the glaring fact that Guru Arjan blessed Khusarau, the rebellious prince who contested the throne against Jahangir, and helped him with money. Not only money was given but the Guru also applied Tilak on his forehead as a token of blessing him for success in his enterprise of rebellion. This was direct political involvement by the Guru’ and the significance of all this was not lost upon Jahangir, who wrote: “He (Guru Arjan) discussed several matters with him (Khusrau) and made on his forehead a finger-mark in saffron, which in terms of Hindus is called Qashqa and is considered propitious”.16 A European contemporary of this event draws the same inference: “The Guru congratulated him (Khusrau) for assuming sovereignty and applied three marks on his forehead. Although the Guru was a heathen, and the prince a Mussalman, yet he was glad in putting on the prince’s forehead that pagan sign as a mark of good success in his enterprise ...” 17 And this was one of the charges which Jahangir levelled against Guru Arjan. It was not Guru Arjan’s martydom which gave a political turn to the Sikh movement; rather it was the political aspect of the movement which contributed to his martyrdom.

2. The Second Major Misinterpretation
Another major misinterpretation being projected by some scholars is that Guru Hargobind, by taking up arms, deviated from the path of ‘Nam or Nam Marg’ followed by the earlier Gurus. Deviation from which view of Nam?

‘Nam’ is essentially an internal spiritual experience which cannot be communicated to others through words. “Says Kabir, a dumb person, on tasting sweet, is unable to convey his experience to others” . 18 Hence, this experience can be visualized intellectually, if at all, only inadequately. Secondly, whereas there is a clear demarcation between religions which reject the world totally and which do not, there are; variations, about the religious goals and the associated practical conduct, within the orbit of what Max Weber calls ‘inner-wordly asceticism’. “As we have already stated at a number of points, the specific character of the certification of salvation and of the associated practical conduct is completely different in religions which differently represent the character of the promised salvation, the promise of which ensures blessedness” . 19

To come to the specific case of Nam Marg, besides the Sikh Gurus, Nam Dev, Kabir, Ravi Das, Tirlochan, Sadna and some of the other Radical Bhaktas claim in their hymns to be votaries of Nam, and they are believed by their followers to have experienced Nam in their own lives. But, there is a clear difference between the approaches of the Sikh Gurus, on the one hand, and those of the’ Bhaktas named above, on the other, towards the vital issues of Ahimsa and the socio-religious status of women. 20 Again, within the circle of these Radical Bhaktas itself, none other condemns the caste so unequivocally as do Nam Dev and Kabir. In other words these reputed standard-beares of Bhakti Marg react differently towards issues which are socially vital and have far-reaching historical consequences. Hence, there is no common criterion for knowing, much less for asserting, what is compatible and what is not compatible with the experience of Nam in its social and historical manifestations, excepting, perhaps, that these votaries of Nam supported in broad outline humanitarian values and goals. Guru Hargobind explained to the Maharashtrian saint Ram Das that he was internally an ‘ascetic’. 21 Yet, some scholars presume to know better than him that the taking up of arms, even for a noble cause, was not accordant with Nam Marg. Guru Nanak condemned the rulers and the administration of his times for their oppression of the ryot, and was pained to see the suffering caused by Babar’s invasion. The Sikh Panth became virtually ‘a state within a state’, atleast by Guru Arjan’s time. And Guru Hargobind took up arms to defend that ‘embryonic state’. Where do such scholars draw the line as to what is in harmony withNam Marg and what is not? And on what basis? Max Weber’s thesis, from which we will give here some excerpts, might be of help in clarifying some of these issues.

3. Max Weber’s thesis
(a) ‘World-rejecting asceticism’ and ‘inner-worldly asceticism’: “Concentration upon the actual pursuit of salvation may entail a formal withdrawal from the “world”, from social and psychological ties with the family, from the possession of worldly goods, and from political, economic, artistic and erotic activities, in short from all creaturely interests. One with such an attitude may regard any participation in these affairs as an acceptance of the world, leading to alienation from God. This is “world rejecting asceticism” (Waltablehnede Askese).

On the other hand, “‘the unique concentration of human behaviour on activities leading to salvation may require the participation within the world (or more precisely: within the institutions of the world but in opposition to them) of the religious. individual’s idiosyncratically sacred religious mood and his qualifications as the elect instrument of God. This is “inner-worldly asceticism” (inner-weltliche Askese). In this case the world is presented to the religious virtuoso as his responsibility. He may have the obligation to transform the world in accordance with his ascetic ideals, in which case the ascetic will become a rational reformer or revolutionary on the basis of a theory of nature rights.” 22

(b) As a tool of God “Salvation may be viewed as the distinctive gift of active ethical behaviour performed in the awareness that God directs this behaviour, i.e., that the actor is an instrument of God. We shall designate this type of attitude toward salvation, which is characterized by a methodical procedure for achievingreligious salvation, as “ascetic”. This designation is for our purpose here, and we do not in any way deny this term may be and has been used in another and wider sense”.23

“Nevertheless, the world as a creation of God, who comes to expression in it despite its creatureliness, provides the only medium through which one’s unique religious charishma may prove itself by means of rational ethical conduct, so that one may become and remain certain of one’s own state of grace:’

“Hence, as the field provided for this active certification, the order of the world in which the (inner-worldly) ascetic is situated becomes for him a vocation which he must fulfil rationally”.24

“In contrast to asceticism, contemplation is primarily the quest to achieve rest in God and in him alone. It entails inactivity, and in its most consistent form it entails the cessation of thought, the nemisis of everything that in any way reminds one of the world, and of course the absolute minimization of all outer and inner activity” .24A

“For the (inner-worldly) ascetic too, the perception of the divine through emotion and intellect is of central importance, only in his case it is of a “motor” type, so to speak. the ascetic’s assurance of grace is achieved when he is conscious that he has succeeded in becoming a tool of his God, through rationalized ethical action completely oriented to God. But for the contemplative mystic, who neither desires to be the God’s “instrument”, but desires only to become the God’s “vessel”, the ascetic’s ethical struggle, whether of a positive or a negative type, appears to be a perpetual externalization of the divine in the direction of some peripheral function. For this reason, ancient Buddhism recommended inaction as the precondition for the maintenance of the state of grace, and in any case Buddhism enjoined the avoidance of every type of rational, purposive activity, which it regarded as the most dangerous form of secularization. On the other hand, the contemplation of the mystic appears to the (inner-worldly) mystic as indolent, religiously sterile, and ascetically reprehensible self-indulgence - a wallowing in self-created emotions prompted by the deification of the creaturely” 25

“For the Buddhist monk, agriculture is the most reprehensible of all occupations …….Yet the alms he collects consist principally of agricultural products” 26

In any case, the typical mystic is never a man of conspicuous social activity, nor is he at all prone to accomplish any rational transformation of the mundane order on the basis of a methodical pattern of life directed toward external success” . 27

(c) Social and Historical Implications “The decisive historical difference between the predominantly oriental and Asiatic types of salvation religions and those found primarily in the accident is that the former usually culminate in contemplation and the latter in (inner-worldly) asceticism” 28

“Moreover, only in the accident was the additional step taken - by ascetic Protestantism - of translating rational asceticism into the life of world. The inner-worldly order of dervishes in Islam cultivated a planned procedure for achieving salvation, but this procedure, for all its variations, was oriented ultimately to the’ mystical quest for salvation of the Sufis... The asceticism of the dervishes is not, like that of (inner-worldly) ascetic Protestants, a religious ethic of vocation, for the religious actions of the dervishes have very little relationships to their secular occupations, and in their scheme secular vocations have at best a purely external relationship to the planned procedure of salvation.” 29

“But an unbroken unity integrating in systematic fashion an ethic of vocation in the world with assurance of religious salvation was the unique creation of ascetic Protestantism alone. Furthermore, only in the Protestant ethic of vocation does the world, despite all its creaturely imperfections, possess unique and religious significance as the object through which one fulfils his duties by rational behaviour according to the will of an absolutely transcendental God. When success crowns rational, sober purposive behaviour of the sort not oriented exclusively to worldly acquisition, such success is construed as a sign that God’s blessing rests upon such behaviour. This inner-worldly asceticism had a number of distinctive consequences not found in any other religion. This religion demanded of the believer, not celibacy, as in the case of the monk, but the avoidance of all erotic pleasure; not poverty, but the elimination of all idle and exploitive enjoyment of unearned wealth and income, and the avoidance of all feudalistic, sensuous ostentation of wealth; not the ascetic death-in-life of the cloister, but an alert, rationally controlled patterning of life, and the avoidance of all surrender to the beauty of the world, to art, or to one’s own moods and emotions. The clear and uniform goal of this asceticism was the discipiliningand methodical organization of the whole pattern of life. Its typical representative was the “man of vocation”, and its unique result was the rational organization and institutionalization of social relationships.” 30

“To Max Weber the examplar among such religious movements that ‘change the world’ was Puritan... none in his opinion had influenced in such a revolutionary manner as had Puritanical religiousity.’31

4. The Sikh View of ‘Nam, 32
We cannot presume to delineate ‘Nam’ in its entirity. “Nam sustains the whole animal life” (‘’Nam ke dhare sagle jant”);... ‘’Nam sustains the entire creation” (‘’Nam ke dhare saga I akar”). 33 We restrict ourselves here, for a particular purpose, to only those aspects of Nam, which are related to the main points covered by the excerpts given in the earlier section, and which are amply vouchsafed by the hymns of the Gurus and their life-accounts.

(a) Not World-rejecting34 For the Gurus, the world is true and not a thing to be rejected or to be escaped from.

“True are thy worlds and thy universes,
true are the forms Thou createst.’. 35
“True is He; True is His creation. ,, 36
“Deride not the world, as it is the creation of God.’37

The Gurus have explicitly condemned all ascetic or escapist practices. “One reaches not Truth by remaining motionless like trees and stones, nor by being sawn alive.’38 “yogi, you are sitting in a trance, but you discriminate and have a sense of duality. You beg from door to door, are you not ashamed of it?, 39 “Jainic asceticism, or even if the body were cut into bits, would not efface the dirt of ego.” 40

All the Sikh Gurus, excepting the eighth, who passed away at an early age, were married house-holders, and the third Guru issued an injunction that no recluse or ascetic could be a Sikh. 41

(b) As a Tool of God ‘To abide by God’s Will’ is the summum bonum of Sikhism, as this is the ultimate goal to which all spiritual or religious aspirations and strivings must converge. Mukti and heaven (in the traditional sense) is not the Sikh ideal. “One who is fond of seeing God, what has he to do with Mukti or heaven? (Dar dainshan ka pritam hove mukat baikunthe kare kia).,, 42 After negating certain current paths followed for attaining salvation, Guru Nanak clinches the issue, by first posing the question: “How to become True, and how to tear the veil of falsehood?”; and then by answering it: “By abiding by (God’s) Will.’. 43 In fact, ‘Moving by God’s Will’ is so central to Sikhism that this theme is emphasized again and again in Guru Granth Sahib. Secondly, no methodology has in it an in-built compulsive force to achieve salvation in its own right. It all depends on God’s Grace. The very opening line of Guru Granth Sahib, enumerating the attributes of God, ends with the stipulation that He is attained through ‘Gur-parsad’ (Le. Guru’s or God’s Grace). Guru Arjan, in one of his hymns, gives a long list of methods for God-realization (including ascetic practices of yoga) tried and found wanting: “I tried many methods of meeting God and failed. Frustrated, I surrendered myself to God and begged to be granted enlightenment” 44 “Nam, the immaculate, is unfathomable, how can it be known? Nam is within us, how to get to it The perfect Guru awakens your heart to the vision of God. It is by the Grace of God that one meets Guru.’, 45 "By His Gracealone is He ever remembered (Simrya Jui).” And to become a tool of God’ is the way to e arn God’s Grace and ‘Nam’. “Service in the world leads to approval in the Court of God.,, 46 “He who serves God gets bliss and is absorbed in Nam, without straining himself (sehja).” 47

The Sikh Gurus conceive of God as a God of Will, who is creative and whose Will is operative in the world with a direction and purpose. For man, therefore, the ideal is to carry out His Will by doing creative activity in the universe as God’s instrument. The ideal is not blissful union as an end in itself, but union with a view to knowing His Will and carrying it out. Accordingly, to be linked to Nam means ‘to become God’s instrument’ and to share the responsibility of a creative and virtuous development in the world.’ 48 “May I have millions of hands to serve Thee. Service is the way to cross the hurdles of life.’. 49 “Serve God every moment and relax not.” 50

Janam-sakhis (life-accounts of Guru Nanak) record that Guru Nanak received a two-fold prophetic mandate from God at the moment of his enlightenment to propagate Nam (Nam japaona) and to establish a new Panth. 51 In other words, in Guru Nanak’s mission, Nam Marg was inextricably joined to sharing responsibilty of a creative and virtuous development in the world. Again, when Guru Nanak found Guru Angad wholly absorbed in meditation, he (Guru Nanak) reminded the latter to become engaged in carrying out the mission of organising the Panth., which he had been entrusted with. 52 This does not mean pitting Nam Marg (or spiritual bliss) versus god-oriented worldly responsibility, or excluding one at the cost of the other. What it means is combining the two for the purpose of transforming the world in accordance with God’s purpose.

(c) Social and Historical Implications Without going into all the social and historical developments of the Sikh movement, we need only to point to two of these here. H,H. Rislay in his book, The People of India, likens, though in an exaggerated, graphic style, the breaking of caste-barriers to the overcoming of the gravitational force. Of all the votaries of the Bhakti Marg, only the Sikh movement succeeded in establishing the egalitarian Sikh Panth as a separate, distinct entity outside the caste society by overcoming such a tough negative force. This indicates the seriousness and tenacity of purpose for bringing about social equality generated by the distinctive Sikh view of Nam Marg. Another indication is that ‘the lowest of low in Indian estimation’ shared political power under Banda, 53 and none higher than the Jats (on the border-line of Vaisyas and Sudras). Carpenters (Sudras), and Kalals (lower than the Sudra) shared political power in the Missal period. 54 This compares favourably even with most of the modem revolutions, for Brinton writes: “None of these (English, American and French) revolutions quite substituted a brand-new ruling class for the old one”atleast not unless one thinks of class without bothering about the human beings, who make up the class;..” 55 Of course, other votaries of Bhakti Marg in India could not even conceive of bringing about such a politicalproletarien revolution as they were wedded to the doctrine of Ahimsa.

(d) A paralled Development One should not expect an exact parallelism between social and historical developments, especially between those separated by considerable time or space. What we want to emphasize, by putting the Sikh view of Nam in juxta position with the excerpts from Max Weber’s thesis given in the previous section, is that ‘to become God’s instrument in carrying out His Will and purpose in this World’ is a distinct religious ideal as well as a means of securing spiritual bliss or salvation. This ideal was shared by Protestant Christianity and Sikhism, and this led, in both cases, to far-reaching social and historical developments. However, there was one vital difference. Pacifism, non-violence or Ahimsa came to be, somehow, integrally asociated with Christianity; and, despite the Calvinist attempts to correct this one-sided tilt, it inhibited the complete fulfilment of the revolutionary potential of Christianity. Neither the Sikh doctrine, nor the movement inspired by it, had any such inhibitions.

5. The Use of Force
It is not to our purpose to enter into a discussion of theological and ethical issues in their heoretical abstractions, for there can be no end to hair-splitting. What is relevant for us is the stand of Sikhism on the issue of Ahimsa, as illustrated by the hymns of the Gurus and their lives.

“...prophetic revealation involves, for both the prophet and for his followers... a unified view of the world derived from a consciously integrated and meaningful attitude towards life. To the prophet, both the life of man and the world, both social and cosmic events, have a certain systematic and coherent meaning. To this meaning the conduct of mankind must be oriented if it is to bring salvation, for only in relation to this meaning does life obtain a unified and significant pattern Moreover, it always contains the important religious conception of the world as a cosmos which is challenged to produce somehow a “meaningful”, ordered totality, the particular manifestations of which are to be measured and evaluate according to this requirement.” 56

Guru Nanak’s view about Ahimsa, as expressed in a long hymn, 57 can be appreciated in the perspective of this concept of the world as a meaningful totality. The Guru emphasizes in this hymn that the whole life process has a common source. No animal life is possible without the use of flesh in one form or the other. He points out the fallacy of those who make a fetish of the question of eating meat; but have no scruples in ‘devouring’ (exploiting) men. all distinctions between non-vegetarian foods being impure and the vegetarian being pure are arbitrary, because the source of life is the same elements. He chides the Pandit and the Sanyasis for their false notions. Guru Nanak himself cooked meat at Kurukshetra, 58 and meat was served in the Langer of Guru Angad and his successor Gurus. 59

The prohibition against -non-vegetarian diet arose as a corollary of the doctrine of Ahimsa, which had two implications. First, the use of non-vegetarian diet or the use of force, was supposed to militate against the spiritual progress of a religious person. Secondly, it prohibited the person seeking Moksha from entering the sodo-political field for the objective of undoing social, political or economic aggression, if necessary by the use of force. Guru Nanak’s hymns, and the partaking of meat by the Gurus, completely repudiate the doctrine of Ahimsa and its socio-political implications. Because, “The universal mood of pity, extending to all creatures, cannotbe the carrier of any rational behaviour and in fact leads away from it.’. 60 To stick to Ahimsa at all costs would have amounted to sacrificing the ‘meaningful, ordered totality’ of life at the alter of an arbitrarily formulated norm.

6. The Doctrine of Meeri-Peeri
Meeri and Peeri are both essential and are entwined components of this doctrine.
(a) Why Meeri is an essential component. In the first place: “Every religiously grounded unworldly love and indeed every ethical religion must, in similar measure and for similar reasons, experience tensions with the sphere of political behaviour. This tension appears as soon as religion has progressed to anything like a status of equality with the sphere of political associations.’, 61 In other words, there is inherent conflict, at all levels, between ethical religions and political authority based on social, political, or economic stratification. The degree to which this conflict surfaces, or flares up, would depend upon the extent to which an ethical religion challenges a political status quo, or upon the measure by which the political authority compromises or yields to such a challenge.

Secondly, when a movement motivated by ethical religion seeks a revolutionary change in any of the systems of stratification, it does not limit itself to piecemeal reconstruction of an existing system. Entrenched systems of stratification might be amenable to reform, but would not surrender without an armed struggle when their very existence is at stake. And, as all systems get entrenched, in the last analysis, on the basis of political and military sanctions, religious and ethical movements seeking radical changes in the status quo, as the Sikh movement did, have to be political and militant. The political dimension of a revolution “figures both with respect to goals and to means. The goal of a revolution in fact may be a new political order, while political methods are unavoidable no matter what the stakes of revolution may be. This double importance of political power gives it some claim to be considered the most important factor, though not the exclusive factor involved.” 62 “Subordinate relationships universally and for ever pose a political problem. the issue of subordination is more pervasive than that of exploitation, to which Marx tried to limit it” 63 “The revolutionary process itself is in the first instance a struggle for political power. And whatever may be the deeper driving forces of a revolution, the struggle for the state always appears as the immediate content; indeed to such an extent that the transformation of the social order often appears not as the goal of the revolution, but simply as means used by revolutionaries to conquer or to exercise power.” 64 “Finally, our definition of revolution considers recourse to violence as essential rather than accidental to it. The magnitude and the abruptness of change involved in revolution always produces violence in some form.” 65

Not only that. Even a radical social change in the status quo cannot be brought about, or maintained, without a corresponding political set-up. One of the important factors, why the votaries of the Bhakti Marg did not institutionalize their anti-caste ideology into a separate social identity outside the caste society, could be that they did not attempt to create a corresponding political order: Within the Sikh movement itself, it was because of political power that the Jats of the Sikh tract came to regard themselves as superior to the Rajputs’66 en masse and permanently. The carpenters (Sudras) could raise their social status and transform themselves into Ramgarhias, and Kalals (lower than the Sudras) could become Ahluwalias, because they shared political power in the Missals.And the Rangretas, though given equal status in the Oal Khalsa, 67 could not retain it because they missed the bus in the race of acquiring political power in the Missal period.

(b) ‘Peeri’ : ‘ Peeri’ is not merely an essential component of ‘Meeri-Peeri’, it is the fulcrum around which ‘Meeri’ must revolve.Because, in the Gurus’ concept of ‘Meeri-Peeri’, the exercize of Political power was valid only so long it was employed in transformmg the world in accordance with God’s purpose. It ceased to be valid the moment it was used merely for its secular enjoyment by any agency, whether Khalsa or any other. The Akal takhat was meant not to be the seat of worldly political power, it was the throne of God only. Guru Hargobind, addressing his army on to eve of a battle, said: “Brother Sikhs, this contest is not for empire, for wealth, or for land. It is in reality a war for religion’68 The creationof the Khalsa was just an extension of the doctrine of Meeri-Peeri”. Whereas Guru Gobind Singh had declared that he did not aspire for raj (political authority) for his own person, 69 it was he who blessed the downtrodden Jats and Sudras) to attain raj at a time when his sons were alive. 70 ‘The Khalsa was God’s own, and its achievements were God’s achievements’ (‘Wahiguru jee ka Khalsa, Wahiguru ji kee fateh’). In the contemporary work of Sri Guru Sobha, it is made clear that “The Khalsa was created to destroy the evil-doer and to remove distress.” 71

What is more important for consideration here is that, in the same work, Nam is made an integral part of the Khalsa discipline. “One should participate in Sangat (religious congregation) and sing God’s praise; the Khalsa prays for the gift of Nam. 72 Similarly, the obligation of the Khalsa to bear arms to serve God’ s cause, and the obligation to link oneself to Nam, are both emphasized, in the Tankhahnama of Bhai Nand Lal (which contains the often-cited line “Raj Karega Khalsa”, Le. “The Khalsa shall rule”), side by side in the same stanza.

“Khalsa is one who overcomes the five evils;

Khalsa is one who gives up ego;

Khalsa is one who does not discriminate;
. .. . .. .

Khalsa is one who protects the poor;

Khalsa is one who does Nam simran; Khalsa is one who fights the evil-doer;

Khalsa is one who links himself to ‘Nam’;

Khalsa is one who destroys the evil-doer” 73

In other words, the obligations to bear arms and to link with ‘Nam’ were considered by the Khalsa to be complementary and not mutually exclusive. In fact, the Sikh doctrine regards ‘Haumen’ (ego) to be the root-cause of all evils, discriminations, stratifications, domination, agression, etc; and’ the remedy it suggests is to substitute self-centredness by God-consciousness, which can be done only through the realization of ‘Nam’ by the Grace of God. 74

7. Conclusion
There is no dichotomy either in the Sikh doctrine or in the movement.inspired by it during the Guru period. Sikhism is not wedded to the doctrine or the norms of Ahinsa, as other Bhagats In India were. The Sikh view of Nam embraces the totality of life, and it inspires participation in God-oriented worldly activity with a view to creating a “meaningful, ordered totality” in the world. Hence, the very premises of judging and interpreting the Sikh doctrine and the Sikh movement, from a narrow view or the norms of Ahinsa, are not valid; because, otherwise, it would amount to weighing the Sikh view of Nam and the movement it inspired in the scale of non-Sikh ideals and values.



1 Varan Bhai Gurdas, Var 24, Pauri iii
2 Macauliffe, Max Arthur: The Sikh Religion, Vol in, p.76
3 Dabistan
4 M. Gregor, W.L.: The History of the Sikhs, Vol. 1, p.54; Latif, Syed Mohammad: History of the Punjab, p.253
5 Latif, p.253
6 Dabistan; Gokai Chand Narang; Transformation of Sikhism, p.45
7 Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri, Trans. by Alexander Rogers, p.72
8 Bute Shah: Tawarikh-i-Panjab; Gurbax Singh, Punjab History conference, Feb. 1976, (Proceedings), p.70
9 Cited by Gurbax Singh, Punjab-History Conference, Feb. 1976 (Proceedings), pp.77-78
10 Ibid., p.75
11 Ibid.
12 Irvine, William: Later Mughals, p.79
13 Cited by Gokal Chand Narang: p.45
14 Toynbee, A.J., A Study of History, V, p.665
15 Ibid.
16 Tuzuk-e, Jahangiri, Cited by Hari Ram Gupta: History of the Sikh Gurus, p.100
17 Early European Accounts of the Sikhs, edited Ganda Singh, p.184
18 Guru Granth Sahib, p.334
19 Max Weber: The Sociology of Religion, p.164
20 Daijeet Singh: The Sikh Ideology, Singh Brothers, Bazar Mai Sawan, Amritsar: pp.122, 123, 127, 128, 132-135,141-143
21 Dabistan
22 Max Weber: The Sociology of Religion, p.166
23 Ibid., p.l64. As this is likely to cause confusion, we are adding within brackets, the word “inner-worldly” to the term “asceticism” used by Weber in his restricted sense, in order to distinguish it from world-rejecting or contemplative asceticism
24 Ibid., p.167
24a Ibid., p.169
25 Ibid., p.171
26 Ibid., p.I72
27 Ibid., p.176
28 Ibid., p.I77
29 Ibid., p.182
30 Ibid., p.182-83
31 Mommsen (p.311) cited by S.N. Eisenstadt: Sociology of Religion, edited by Roland Robertson, p.305
32 Daljeet Singh: Sikhism, pp.186-87; The Doctrine of Nam, Journal of Sikh Studies, August, 1975
33 Guru Granth Sahib, p.284
34 DaIjeet Singh: Sikhism, Chapter 15
35 Guru Granth Sahib, p.463
36 Ibid., p.294
37 Ibid., p.611
38 Ibid., p.952
39 Ibid., p.886
40 Ibid., p.265
41 DaIjeet Singh: Sikhism, p.270
42 Guru Granth Sahib, p.360
43 Ibid., p.1.
44 Ibid., pp.641-642
45 Ibid., p.1242
46 Ibid., p.26
47 Ibid., p.l1
48 Daljeet Singh: Sikhism, pp.215-216
49 Guru Granth Sahib, p.781
50 Ibid., p.77
51 lanam-Sakhi Meharban wali, edited by Kirpal Singh, p.89
52 Sarup Das Bhalla: Mehma Parkash, Part One, p.326
53 Irvine: J.A.S.B., Vol. 63 (1894), p.124
54 Prinsep, Henry T.:Origin of the Sikh Power in the Punjab, p.24
55 Brinton, Crane: The Anatomy of Revolution, p.270
56 Max Weber: The Sociology of Religion, pp.58-59
57 Guru Granth Sahib, trans. by Gopal Singh, pp.1230-1231
58 Janam-Sakhi, Balewali, edited by Surinder Singh Kohli, p.277
59 Mehma Parkash, ii, pp.49,64,609
60 Max Weber: The Sociology of Religion, p.267
61 Ibid., p.223
62 Hagopian, M.N.,: The Phenomenon of Revolution, p.3
63 Bernard de jouvenal, cited by Jacques Ellul, B.: Autopsy of Revolution, p.l08
64 Borkenon, F.: Sociological Review, 29 (1932), p.41
65 Hagopian, MN.; Phenomenon of Revolution, p.3
66 Ibbetson, Sir Denzil: Punjab Castes, Sec. 437
67 The Sikh Revolution, p.205; Bhangu Rattan Singh, Prachin Panth Parkash, pp.216, 469
68 Macauliffe, Vo1.iv, p.255
69 Koer Singh: Gurbilas Patshahi Das, p.99
70 Ibid., pp.131, 139
71 Sri Gur Sobha, edited by Ganda Singh, p.21
72 Ibid., p.25
73 Tankhahnama of Bhai Nand Lal; Rehtname, compiled by Piara Singh Padam, p.59
74 Daljeet Singh: Sikhism, Chapters 16, 17


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