Understanding Sikhism, on Internet (http://www.iuscanada.com) and in some of my articles that Sikhism is scientifically and logically sound religion of the world and it should be represented scientifically. Although some scholars are in an agreement with my philosophy, while the others, sticking to traditional Sikhism, believe that science and logic have nothing to do with Sikhism. Nevertheless, the theologians will soon realize that only scientific and logical approaches can represent Sikhism in its real perspective to the young generation. Once Sikhism is freed from the ancient mythology and unauthentic writings and is represented in its real perspective as was formulated by Guru Nanak, nobody would dare to write anything against the uniqueness and independent identity of Sikhism among the world religions.">

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LET US PRACTICE TRUE SIKHISM

Prof. Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD

I highly appreciate the efforts of Dr. I.J. Singh to save Sikhism from superstitions by writing a timely guest editorial in The Sikh Review, May 1997. I have often pointed out in my communications to Sikh scholars and the Sikh institutes and also through my Homepage, Understanding Sikhism, on Internet (http://www.iuscanada.com) and in some of my articles that Sikhism is scientifically and logically sound religion of the world and it should be represented scientifically. Although some scholars are in an agreement with my philosophy, while the others, sticking to traditional Sikhism, believe that science and logic have nothing to do with Sikhism. Nevertheless, the theologians will soon realize that only scientific and logical approaches can represent Sikhism in its real perspective to the young generation. Once Sikhism is freed from the ancient mythology and unauthentic writings and is represented in its real perspective as was formulated by Guru Nanak, nobody would dare to write anything against the uniqueness and independent identity of Sikhism among the world religions.

The attempt of Bhai Mahavir to misrepresent Sikhism and to club it with Hinduism (The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, March 16, 1997) is not the first one. Many scholars or writers have exploited the information given in Bachittar Natak and other such writings incorporated into the Dasam Granth or elsewhere. Such unauthentic writings have been wrongly assigned to Guru Gobind Singh. It will not be out of place to cite a few statements, based on such unauthentic writings, from an article entitled, "Guru Gobind Singh: In Line of Rama and Krishna" by P. K. Nijhawan (Pragati-Montreal, March-April 1995) which contends that:

  1. The Guru decided to make Sikhism a new way of life with mythology and philosophy, rituals and worship as its main components. And in the Indian context mythology and philosophy had to come from the Hindu sources.

  2. The clues to what Guru Gobind Singh achieved are to be found in his autobiographical poem Bichitra Natak (the Resplendent Drama). The most interesting formulation in the Bichitra Natak is that the Guru Panth is an extension of the great Raghu dynasty to which Rama belonged, that Guru Nanak is a direct descendant of Kush, the elder son of Rama, and Guru Gobind Singh himself is a direct descendant of Lav, the younger son of Rama.

  3. Four things in the main need to be explained in this context:

    The first is the concept of Sant-Sepahi (saint soldier). In the Indian tradition, the first model Sant-Sepahi was created by Lord Rama in the person of the monkey god Hanuman. He knew only two things - remembering the name of Rama all the time and keeping himself ready for the greatest sacrifice at the bidding of his mentor.

    The second is the creation of Khalsa uniform in the image of Narsinha Avtara - the half man, half lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Guru's Khalsa had to modify the image a little. They had to keep their hair unshorn and make Singh as part of their proper names.

    The third in this line is the creation of the Panj Piaras (the beloved five). The ultimate authority now vested in the will of the five loved ones. Even the Guru had to bow before them. Lord Rama had also vested the final authority in his chosen five while sending out the "monkey" warriors to find out where Sita was. His beloved five were Hanuman, Angad, Nala, Neel, Jambvant.

    The fourth and last is the amulet of victory contained in the aphorism "Raj Karega Khalsa". Modern psychologists tell us that success comes to those who don't think failures.

  4. Such thoughts, ideas and statements could not have been formulated by the Guru without deep roots in Hindu tradition.

    Such interpretations appear in press because many Sikh scholars. theologians, preachers, kathakars, kirtanwlas, sants, gianis, granthis, etc. quote extensively Bachittar Natak, and other unauthentic writings and very little is cited from the authentic source, i.e., the Gurbani of the Sikh Gurus incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) while representing or constructing Sikhism. Until and unless we stop quoting such unauthentic writings and free Sikhism from the ancient mythology, concepts and rituals, some scholars (Sikh and Non-Sikh), knowingly or innocently because of blind faith in such writings, will continue to push Sikhism into the folds of Hinduism.

    A couple of years ago the Sikh Missionary College of Ludhiana has issued a booklet, 'Dasam Granth Bare' in Punjabi for educating the Sikh masses about some writings mischievously or ignorantly assigned to Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Nanak. It is important reading for every Sikh to explore the truth. Information given in this booklet is based on the research of Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi, Bhai Bhag Singh of Chandigarh and Shamsher Singh Ashok. The following scholars agree with their research: Dr Kartar Singh Solan, Bhai Sahib Bhai Ardaman Singh Bagrian, Sirdar Manohar Singh Marco, Sirdar Man Singh Mansarovar, Prof. Jagjit Singh Chandigarh, and Giani Amritpal Singh Jammu. Their findings are:

    a. Some banis wrongly assigned to Guru Nanak: Rattan Mala, Nasiatnama, Pantish Akhari, and "Jit dar lakh Mohamand ."

    b. The following writings have been wrongly assigned to Guru Gobind Singh: Sri Prem Marg, Prem Sumarg, Sarbloh Granth, and Parchian Prem Bhagatan Kian.

    c. The following banis, incorporated in Dasam Granth are wrongly assigned to Guru Gobind Singh: Apani Katha (Bachittar Natak), Chandi Charitar 'Ukat Bilas', Chandi Charitar Duja, Caubis Avtar, Brahma Avtar, Rudar Avtar.... etc., Var Durga ki, Charitropakhian (Triacharitar), Sastarnam Mala, Hakaiatan (after the Zafar Nama).

    d. It is doubtful whether the following banis actually belong to Guru Gobind Singh: Sabd Hazare and Gian Parbudh.

    e. Most scholars agree that the following banis were written by Guru Gobind Singh: Jap Sahib, Akal Ustat (without chhand # 201 to 230), Tetis Swayae, Zafarnama. (Khalsa Mehma is recorded here but it belongs to category (d) as discussed in the booklet).

In this booklet the Sikh Missionary College has suggested to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to formulate a committee of intellectuals to give the final decision on this research. I don't think that the SGPC would be able to take any decision on this issue during the next decade, because it did not take any action on the findings of Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi and Giani Bagh Singh for the last 35 years and 21 years, respectively, since their research was published. Moreover, the SGPC is now busy in Gurmat Chetna Lehar at least for the next two years, i.e., until Vaisakhi of 1999. The irony is that most of the teachings for the Gurmat Chetan Lehar are also based on some writings assigned to Guru Gobind Singh that are not authentic according to the above scholars and other ancient writings, the information given there cannot be authenticated by the touchstones of Gurbani, science and logic. By the time the SGPC starts thinking on this issue enough damage would have been done to basic principles of Sikhism through the fast electronic media. However, I want to bring my concern, and feelings, to the notice of the readers of The Sikh Review to study this situation carefully and to give their opinions how to represent Sikhism in its real perspective for the young Sikhs of the 21st century.

 

Reproduced from:
Members Forum, The Sikh Review, Calcutta. 45 (October) pp 69-72, 1997