The Source Book On Sikhism (Sikh Guru Period To 1947) For Sikh Youths and Adults April 2000 Sikh Guru Period 1469 - 1708 Struggle against Oppression 1708 - 1799 Maharaja Ranjit Singh 1799 - 1839 Loss of Sikh Empire 1839 - 1849 Revival of Sikh Identity 1849 - 1947
Dr. S.S. Sodhi, Halifax
Dr. J. S. Mann, Fullerton, California
Produced by Sikh Sangat of North America
with the help of many Guru Ghars and individuals
Box 25111, Halifax, NS, Canada
1839 - 1849
Forward It is with SATGURU’S HUKAM and His will that human life gets created. It passes through various stages of growth and attachments. After a while the “things that used to brighten one’s days” start looking like “illusions” or “Maya”.
As new immigrants to Canada, the first generation passes through stages of “mourning” and “becoming”. In the process of “becoming” we try to sublimate our power and safety needs through becoming rich and sometimes arrogantly egotistic. We become MANMUKHS. As “need deficit people” we try to hide our alienation, and loneliness by becoming cynical and critical of people and institutions.
WE LOSE TOUCH WITH SATGURU.
It is a known fact that North American Society (dominant culture) that surrounds us and our children is somewhat materialistic, instrumental, pragmatic, organized, credentially oriented, permissive and willing to accommodate newcomers if they follow the rules. First generation immigrants spend most of their time learning and trying to follow the rules. Some of us reduce our ontological insecurities by just doing that.
In spite of stress, anxiety and “double living” SATGURU’s grace blesses us with children. We get busy showing them ethics of hard work, stress to them academic excellence and at times drown them with unconditional love. Also, we teach them our mother tongue PANJABI. We take our children to Gurdwaras in an attempt to make them spiritually inclined. In short, we make every attempt to shape the realities of our affectionate “Co-Co-Nuts” to match and become congruent to our realities. We do not want them to “grow up absurd” thinking we have abandoned them.
This volume is one such attempt to guide our children. It is felt that this will help us transmit our glorious Sikh heritage to our children and will help them internalize Guru’s Grace and will also make them learn about the Sikh concepts of “Big Wisdom”, BHANA, HUKAM, Nam Simran, Sahaj, Kudrat and Guru Parsad as developed by the Gurus. It is hoped that by doing so they will become GUNIGHIRAS and Apples of our SATGURU’s eye.
Surinder Singh Sodhi, Ph.D.
Retired Professor/Registered Psychologist
Halifax, NS (902) 443-3269
For suggestions and obtaining more copies of this publication please telephone Dr. S.S. Sodhi at the number listed above.
Some articles are courtesy of The Sikh Courier International and The Abstract of Sikh Studies.
YOU ARE - I AM
You are - Universal, Supreme, Eternal and Infinite.
I am - A movement of egoistic ignorance
My mind is Maya, a SAT-ASAT
You are - Unknowable, Absolute, Self of all Beings,
All Beautiful and All-Blissful
I am - A self, craving and seeking the fruits of my work.
Chapter 47: The Rise of the Sikh Empire, the Times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799 –
1839), Dr. S.S. Kapoor……………………………………………………………..….466
Chapter 48: Healing and Uplifting Power of Sikh Ardas (Prayer), Dr. S.S. Sodhi……477
Chapter 49: Psychology of a Productive-Spiritually Inclined KHALSA, Dr. S.S. Sodhi…………………………………………………………………………………....481
Chapter 50: Punjabi is as old as Sanskrit and Prakrit (1), Om Parkash Kahol ……..…486
Chapter 51: Sikhs Today and Academic Challenges of the 21st Century (A Community
Perspective, Dr. J.S. Mann……………………………………………………………...496
Chapter 52: Sikh Faith Studies in the West: An Analysis, Gurbakhsh Singh, Taranjeet
Chapter 53: Eurocentrism and Khalsa-centrism, Dr. S.S. Sodhi, Dr. J.S. Mann………516
Chapter 54: Pathology of pseudo-Sikh researchers with linear, myopic, left brain, and
mystified Western realities, Dr. S.S. Sodhi, Dr. J.S. Mann…………………………….543
Chapter 55: Dr. Fenech’s Analysis (Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1994) of Baba Dip
Singh’s Martyrdom, Dr. S.S. Sodhi……………………………………………..……..551
Chapter 56: The First Sikh War – June 1628, Pritpal Singh Bindra…………………..560
Chapter 57: Implications of Not Teaching Panjabi to Sikh Children in Canada, Dr. S.S.
Chapter 58: Shaping The Future of Panjabi, Principal Amar Singh………..………….573
Chapter 59: Mystic is the Image of the Person To Be, S.S. Sodhi………………….…576
Chapter 60: Biography of Koh-i-Noor, Rajender Singh………………………………578
Chapter 61: Khalsacentrism A Life Affirming System, Dr. J. S. Mann, Dr. S.S. Sodhi………………………………………………………………………...………….592
Chapter 62: A Note on Pashaura Singh’s M.A. Thesis Dr. S.S. Sodhi, Dr. J.S. Mann..599
Chapter 63: Adi Granth Our Living Guru is not for Research, Dr. S.S. Sodhi……..…604
Chapter 64: S. Hari Singh Nalwa & Subjugation of North-western Frontier, Dr. Kirpal Singh……………………………………………………………………………………609
Chapter 65: Naam Simran Made Easy, Dya Singh (Australia)… ……………...……..622
An Introduction to Sikh Belief
By P.M. Wylam (Manjit Kaur)
When Guru Nanak first began to preach his message, it was not with the intention of starting a new religion. He was such a gentle person, full of selflessness and humility that it was not in his nature to arrogate to himself the position of a leader. He never stopped to think or calculate about the impact on the world which his teaching would make. He was, as he often asserted himself, a humble servant of God and he was only concerned with doing God's will in the world; with suggesting practical ways of countering the evil, ignorance and superstition which had laid hold of the common people. Guru Nanak was, in fact, primarily concerned with the spiritual welfare of the common people. He understood well enough the complicated beliefs, religions and philosophies currently held by the Brahmins, various holy men and Muslim quazis, and he could converse and argue with these on equal terms. However, religion, he believed should be equally accessible to the ordinary man, the simple potter, the peasant, the shopkeeper or even the lowest outcasts. Therefore, Guru Nanak taught only one simple belief, and only one simple religious practice which, once imbibed into the heart of a sincere devotee, could save him from all evil and temptation. The belief was in the One-ness of God, the Creator, and the practice was in the constant remembrance of His Name, with the ultimate aim of achieving salvation.
The Oneness of God
Like the people of ancient times, the common people of Guru Nanak's day paid tribute to a number of minor gods and goddesses, which were then known to Hinduism. They were attached to these in superstitious bondage and fear evolved over the centuries, and which had no relation at all to religion as such. Instead of deriving comfort, therefore, such adherents suffered more from fear and worry. Superstitious ceremonies were encouraged by Brahmin priests and astrologers who made handsome profits out of the gullibility of the people. It was to exterminate these practices and to counteract these evil influences that Guru Nanak emphasized strict monotheism in his teachings. He, therefore, composed the Mool Mantra and taught it to all his followers:
True even now, Nanak, and forever shall be true. (Japji, Mool Mantra)
His devoted follower, Lehna, who was destined to become the second Guru, took this verse seriously to heart. Lehna, on becoming Guru Angad, propagated this thesis, and said that it was intended to be learned and understood and repeated by all Sikhs in order to remind them of God's One-ness and of His other most important attributes.
God is Everything to the Sikh: His attributes are endless and all goodness, mercy and love are contained in Him. He has created all things and remains enshrined within them as both mind and matter. He is immanent. He is also transcendent; for He can and does exist without creation, above and beyond everything. He is All-powerful; nothing exists or happens without His knowledge or without His permission; He sees into all things and directs even the smallest affairs of His creatures. God is the Divine Father who cares for His children, bestows upon them all the manifold blessings of this world and listens to their prayers. He knows the most secret desires of every heart and is the essence of love and forgiveness. God is directly accessible to everybody and man's soul itself is a part of the Immortal One.
As belief in the All-pervading Unity is the basic belief of Sikhism, similarly, simran, or the remembrance of God's Name by constant repetitions, is the basic practice. This is more important and fundamental than any of the ceremonies forms and symbols which are, in fact, only supplementary to the religious practice. This remembrance consists of the constant and regular application of the mind to the many different aspects of God by which He is known to mankind. God's attributes are, in fact, so numerous and great that it is beyond the power of man's mind to encompass them all. The voluminous Sikh scriptures (The GURU GRANTH and the DASM GRANTH) are largely devoted to the enumeration and praise of God's attributes, so that learning and repeating of passages from the scriptures is one way of remembering Him. In Sukhmani, Guru Arjan says:
"The praise of His Name is the highest of all practices;
It has upraised many a human soul.
It slakes the desire of the restless mind,
And imparts an all-seeing vision.
To a man of praise Death loses all its terrors;
He feels all his hopes fulfilled;
His mind is cleaned of all impurities;
And is filled with the ambrosial Name.
God resides in the tongue of the good.
O that I were the slave of their slaves." (Sukhmani 1.4)
The Divine remembrance may also be effected by the repetition of one particular name, such as "Waheguru" meaning "Wonderful Lord," which is in common use among Sikhs. However, a mere mechanical repetition, i.e., without having "heart and soul" in it, should be avoided. The very object of remembrance is to bring the devotee into closer contact with God and it should, therefore, be performed with love for the Master and longing of the soul to be nearer to Him, and yet nearer. It is this contact between the human soul and the Eternal Soul which is essential; however small and tenuous it may be at first, it is, nevertheless, the first step on man's road to salvation and perfect peace. In this way, the Sikh will in time, become conscious of the working of God in all aspects of his life; the consciousness of His presence will eventually become natural to him, so that even in the midst of all pleasures or pain, or all the various activities of life, he will be aware of the goodness of God and the manifold blessings with which He endows the creatures of His creation.
Although Guru Nanak had great sympathy with Islam, he accepted the Hindu idea of rebirth rather than the idea of one earthly life followed by either heaven or hell. In the Japji, he says:
"By His writ some have pleasure, others pain,
By His Grace some are saved,
Others doomed to die relive and die again;
His will encompasseth all, there be none beside,
O Nanak, he who knows, hath no ego and no pride." (Japji 2)
Man's soul, being a minute part of the Eternal Soul, has existed from the time of Creation, and until the time it is re-absorbed into Him, it remains separate and has to change the form which is inevitably subject to death and rebirth. The ideas on reincarnation that emerge from the Sikh scriptures, are derived mainly from Hinduism, but they contain certain modifications in their Sikh adaptation. Guru Nanak believed very firmly that God is accessible to all people whatever the circumstances of their birth; poor or rich, beggars or rulers, male or female. In the sight of God, all human beings are equal and are the children of one family with God as their Father. The inequalities which occur between one person and another, are partly because of man's own behaviour-he pays for his bad actions and reaps the rewards of his good acts. However, if a person is born in poor circumstances, he still has the right, and indeed, the obligation, to try to improve himself, both spiritually and socially.
Man's soul evolves through all stages of existence, beginning with the most primitive forms of life, until finally, it receives the supreme fit of human form. In this latter form, he is blessed with the attributes of communication and reasoning, and is consequently enabled to appreciate the works of his Creator and to make conscious efforts to seek a reunion with God. Guru Arjan says:
"Since you have now acquired this human frame, this is your opportunity to become one with God:
All other labours are of no use;
Seek the company of the holy and glorify God's name." (Rehiras 9)
The ancient Hindu philosophy envisaged that every man must remain in the station of life to which he had been born, and he was therefore forbidden by social sanctions, to change from it; in other words, the caste system formed a rigid part of religion. Guru Nanak taught that every human being-even though he were a poor man with a menial occupation, had dignity and value in the sight of God, consequently, every person had the inherent right to change his religion, his occupation or his station in life, if he so wished. Not only that, the Guru himself, on occasions, performed manual labour, and by his example he demonstrated that every honest occupation was honourable.
The Gurus believed that there are many worlds besides the world we know, and that there are many planes of existence. This can be interpreted in both the spiritual and the physical sense; also, heaven and hell are not necessarily abodes for the good and the evil respectively, nor are they future states to be experienced after death, but they can be experienced here and now in our earthly life. Birth and death are merely changes in the course of life; as a snake casts of its old skin, so the soul leaves the old body and enters a new one. It is a matter of good fortune that the burdens of past memories, regrets and guilt are cast off too, and the being is elevated into a fresh atmosphere.
He is the Unity and Himself the Diversity." (Sukhmani XX11.1)
According to Sikh theology, therefore, it is clear that man's soul is, itself, a part of God. It is obvious, however, that human beings are, generally, unaware of the divine spark in themselves; they are far less conscious of the purpose of their existence. According to Guru Nanak, the purpose of human life is to enable the being to appreciate the face
of his relationship with the Eternal Spirit and to facilitate his becoming reunited with Him. When man begins to remember God with love in his heart, his evaluation of worldly pleasures and attachments is inevitably altered. By modelling his life on the perfection of God, and believing in the will of God, he hereby wins God's grace; on attaining this, he is released from the cycle of births and deaths and is reunited with God in perfect bliss:
"Whomsoever He chooses He unites with Himself;
And the chosen one applies himself to His love and sings His praises;
He comes to believe in Him with hearty faith.
And knows that all action proceeds from the One alone." (Sukhmani XX11.3)
Illusion and Suffering
Man, says the Guru, is led astray by Maya, or illusion. The world itself is real enough; its unreality is mirrored only from the way in which man looks at it. Thus, when man begins to see God within himself, in others and in the whole world about him, he breaks the bonds of illusion; and gains peace of mind. Man suffers for two reasons; first because he either did not appreciate God's creation or he has chosen to forget His existence; secondly, his mind is not under control with the result that it is fixed on worldly pleasures, wealth, power, and self-indulgence. He is then led into an endless chain of actions which are not according to the ways of God, but properly consist of sin and selfishness, for which he has to pay the price of misery and suffering. The farther he remains from God, the more he suffers.
The entire span of human life, whether long or short, is a testing ground for the spirit. Having been endowed with a soul, which is essentially a spark of the Divine, man is initially innocent and free from impurities. Such innocence, however, has no virtue, since the human being has not yet the opportunity of trying its higher attributes. Experience, knowledge and wisdom are only gained by hard work and a dedicated life. As steel, tempered in the fire, comes out tough and unbreakable, so the soul, after being tempered in the fire of a good life, comes out the readier for its final task. In the various ups and downs of life, when the human being goes through the trials of toughness, resilience, courage and temptations; strength and weakness, ignorance and knowledge, happiness and sorrow, harmony and discord, the soul finally exerts its divinity and leads man on the path of goodness to his eternal goal. Guru Nanak said:
"Adversity is a medicine and comfort a disease, because in comfort there is no yearning for God." (Asa di Var X11.1)
These, then are the underlying beliefs and the basic philosophy upon which all subsequent Sikh thought has developed. It may take one lifetime or longer to achieve these, but there is hope for all mankind. The creator does not forsake His created ones, but constantly facilitates their progress with a view to their final salvation. Guru Nanak and his successors did their best to educate the people to bear this in mind. It would be well for us to follow their teachings.