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Prof. Hardev Singh Virk

Guru Nanak Dev University is committed to propagating and disseminating Guru Nanak Sahib’s teachings and philosophy all over the world and this is stated in the University Act also. But now literature designed to undermine Guru Nanak’s philosophy and Gurbani is being freely distributed. The booklet entitled ‘Hindutva and Environment’ carries a picture showing a calf suckling a cow on its title page. By printing Guru Arjan Dev’s ‘bani’ ‘Puta mata Ki asees’ on top of the picture, great disrespect has been shown to Gurbani.

Will the Sikhs tolerate disrespect to Gurbani? Every Sikh can find the answer from out of the pages of Sikh history.

Towards the end of 19th century and in the beginning of 20th century, the-Arya Samajists started a campaign against Sikhism in the Punjab. To slight the Sikh scriptures, Gurbani was described as a by-product of Hindu scriptures, and by starting a ‘Shudhi’ (purification) movement; Sikh students were urged to become apostates. Prof. Gurmukh Singh and Giani Dit Singh held debates with the Arya Samajists and laid great stress on the distinct entity of Sikh religion. The Singh Sabha movement brought about regeneration among the Sikhs and they faced the new challenge bravely and resolutely. Bhai Vir Singh and Prof Puran Singh explained Sikhism at the intellectual level. Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha’s book ‘Hum Hindu Nabin’ [We are not Hindus] was written during this very period.

Age of Science
Twentieth century has proved to be an age of science and scientific discovery. Inventions/discoveries of science dealt a blow to religious convictions. In the west, Christianity was shaken to its plinths. Atheism and Marxism ruled supreme in Europe. Age of Western education had been ushered in India and the Punjab too. Some young men from Punjab also went abroad for higher education. Prof. Puran Singh had returned from Japan after receiving higher education in Chemistry in the beginning of 20th century. After abandoning his Sikh identity, he became a Vedantist. But as a result of Bhai Vir Singh’s personality, he returned to the fold of Sikhism. The credit for explaining Gurbani and Sikh faith intellectually and scientifically goes to Prof. Puran Singh. Being a Vedantist, he was well acquainted with Hindu scriptures scientific education produced the qualities of reason and analysis in him and natural proclivity for Sikhism caused a spiritual storm in him. The tight meaning and explanation of Sikh philosophy and revolution are naturally found in the writings of Prof Puran Singh.

Prof Puran Singh described Punjab’s culture as Sikh-culture or Guru-culture. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were the custodians of this common culture:

‘Punjab is neither Hindu, nor Musalman,

Punjab lives by the strength of Guru’s name

Puran Singh described the Punjab blessed by the Gurus at the emotional and intellectual level. He described Gurbani as beneficial to modern man. He urged the Hindu brethren to realise that in the present age, Guru Granth is the repository of the knowledge of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita minus their ritualism and jingoism. His book ‘The Spirit of the Sikhs’ affirms repeatedly that only the path of Sikhism as laid down by Guru Nanak -Guru Gobind Singh can prove beneficial for the Hindus in India and that Guru Gobind Singh and not Lord Krishna is the hero of the new Gita now.

Concept of Khalsaism
The idea or concept of Khalsaism will prove to, be a highway not only for the people of Punjab or India but for the entire mankind also. The Khalsa was created to prepare the preface and context of international brotherhood in he future. The Khalsa commonwealth is surely an ideal and in the coming times, the dream of Khalsaism is bound to become a reality. Some countries of the world have already tasted a working model of the concept of Khalsaism. As for example, Soviet Russia and some east European countries. But owing to the absence of spirituality in this model, it could not attain success there. The Khalsaism of Guru Gobind Singh is attracting the people of America ‘and it is quite probable that the prophecy of Prof. Puran Singh may come out to be true.

In ‘The Spirit of the Sikhs’, the challenges confronting Sikhism have been clearly mentioned. By citing historical references, it has been mentioned that Brahminism destroyed Buddhism that had spread all over India. Buddhist monasteries were demolished and Buddhist monks were burnt alive. Mahatma Buddha was given the position of an ‘avatar’ (re­incarnation) of a Hindu god. While in Japan, Prof. Puran Singh had become a follower of Buddhism. Therefore, he was an advocate of the creative power of Buddhism, which opened the path of equality for the people of India. After Mahatma Buddha, it was Guru Nanak who brought the message of equality for the people. Brahmanism shall under no circumstances tolerate Sikhism and its revolutionary message and teachings. It will always be on the look out for an opportunity to infiltrate into Sikhism and prove it to be inferior to Hinduism and thus mislead the Sikhs back into Hindu fold. Prof. Puran Singh even warns that while this despicable act will continue to be a challenge for Sikhism, it can also prove fatal to Hinduism as well as India. What is quite essential is that the Hindus of India should accept the Guru’s ideals and embrace Sikhism.

Now, let us discuss the challenges presently confronting Sikh religion.

Brahmainistic tendencies

(A) The first challenge is the Sikhs’ indifference towards Sikh ideals. If the followers of Sikhism themselves are going away from Guru’s teachings and Sikh ideals, God alone can save Sikhism! Dr. Man Singh Nirankari in his book ‘Understanding of Sikhism’ has raised some such issues. Sikh religion has now fallen a prey to Brahininistic tendencies. The divine ‘Bani’ of Guru Granth Sahib has become a Vedic chant. Sikhs in Canada and America very much like the Sikhs in India, get ‘paths’ (reading of Gum Granth Sahib) [vowed by them for the fulfillment of their desires] performed at Hazur Sahib and Harmandir Sahib by sending required sums of money and manage to receive the Guru’s edict by post and then display it in their drawing rooms after getting the same framed in glass. In many gurdwaras series of 101 ‘paths’ are performed. Neither the reader nor the listener can concentrate on it. ‘This is nothing less than showing gross disrespect’ to Gurbani. In many gurdwaras, the granthis give ‘charms’ also for warding off evil ‘Shabads’ are distributed for providing ~cure~ and fulfillment of wishes. Masya, Panchmi, Sangrad, thit-var (day and date of the week) etc. are not recognised or given any importance in Guru’s abode, as they are an expression of Brahministic tendencies. Even about pilgrimages, Gurbani states clearly:

‘Why should I go to bathe at a place of pilgrimage!

God’s Name is the real place of pilgrimage.

My pilgrim stations are Name’s meditation and the inner divine knowledge.’ (P. 687)

Gurbani always stops us from observing rituals and lays stress on the pilgrimage center within one’s self Then why do Sikhs bathe, particularly at ‘Dukh Bhanjáni Beri ? The need of the hour is to provide true knowledge of Gurbani but no Sikh preacher is ready to give the right direction. Now. Sikh faith has come under the spell of such persons, as are deliberately misleading the Sikhs and encouraging Brahmanistic tendencies.

Miri-Piri doctrine

(b) In Sikhism, the doctrine of ‘Miri-Piri’ (close relationship between religion and politics) is the gift of Sri Guru Harboring Sahib. Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and Sri Harmandir Sahib are its symbols. Jathedar of Akal Takhat has all along been guiding the Sikh Panth in accordance with ‘Gurbani’. In the present age, some cunning politicians are using this doctrine for their vested interests when they assert that Sikh religion and politics move side by side. From Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the present time, politicians have used this doctrine more for serving their own selfish ends than for the progress and prosperity of the Sikh Panth. Rethinking on the subject of co­ordination between religion and politics is essential, otherwise politicians will continue to degrade and slight SII& religion. Honour and traditional authoritative of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib have to be restored. The conduct and behaviour of our religious and political leaders that has been witnessed by the Sikh world during the last three-four years is nothing but disappointing and distressing. There was a time when Christians and Muslims too used to advocate a close relationship between religion and politics, but now except at the Vatican and in Khomeini’s headquarters, this concept has totally been discarded in all other countries. The Sikhs will have to be vigilant and work this out within some. limits otherwise politics will overshadow 7religion. Sikh politics has infiltrated into gurdwaras and this has done great harm to Sikhism in Punjab, India and foreign countries also. This problem will have to be resolved by making necessary amendments in the Gurdwara Act.

(C) The greatest of the challenges is being posed by the party, which is an ally of the Akali Party in Punjab Govt. and at the Center. Now this alliance has become so strong that Akali ministers have started visiting temples to pay obeisance to the idols of gods and goddesses as well as holding ‘Sampat’ paths (reading or recitation) of the Ramayana. Taking undue advantage of this friendship and alliance, BJP’s doctrinaire sister, the RSS has started interfering in Sikh religion both directly and indirectly. The Sikhs should always remember Prof Puran Singh’s warning sounded by him eighty years ago: “The Hindus will never let a philosophy and ideal higher than their own flourish in India. They will describe Sikhism as a branch of Hinduism and will make every effort to absorb the Sikhs into their faith by patting tern on their backs.”

Earlier, the government at the center used Nirankari and Radha Soami Seminaries to infiltrate into Sikhism. But now the central government is indulging in direct interference. Rashtri Sikh Sangat is the younger sister of the RSS and now its network has spread in all educational institutions in the state —from village schools and colleges to Punjab’s universities. Akali Ministers and high officials even though fully aware of this are keeping mum over it. Jathedar of Akal Takhat has taken note of this development, but so far no effective steps have been taken. A week before the Founder’s day was celebrated in Guru Nanak Dev University, the RSS workers distributed a booklet among students and teachers, it contains quite ridiculous statements in support of Hindu dogmas. They are free to write all this because in the modern age of science, such baseless assertions about a religion only undermine its influence and lower its prestige. For example, see page 5 of the booklet entitled:

‘Protecting and rearing the cow.’ Scientific importance of the cow

1. Cow’s milk contains greater strength for protection against radiation. This is stated by a Russian scientist Chiro Vich.

2. The cow may eat any kind of fodder and even if the grass is poisonous, its milk will remain unaffected and will be free of any harmful ingredient.

3. The houses, which are plastered with cow-dung, remain free from the effect of radiation.

4. Cow’s milk prevents heart disease.

5. Cow’s milk strengthens the body and makes one energetic and agile.

6. It increases one’s memory.

7. Fumigation with cow’s ghee (butter) or burning it in a sacrificial fire saves the atmosphere from atomic radiation.

8. The lowing of the cow and other bovine animals cures many mental ailments.

9. According to research done by Dr. King of Madras, cow dung has the strength to destroy cholera germs.

10. If T.B. patients are kept in a cows’ pen, the smell of cow dung and urine has a curative effect.

11. By performing ‘yagya’ with one tola of cow butter (11.664 gins), a tonne of oxygen gets purified.

12. According to a research published in Russia, slaughterhouses increase possibilities of earthquakes.

13. In the cow’s vertebra is a ‘Suraj-Ketu’ vein which is activated with Sunlight’. When the vein is activated, it gives out a yellow matter that is why cow’s milk is yellowish in colour. This element - Kirotin -destroys all. ailments and serves as an antidote to all poisons.

14. By burning cow butter with rice, extremely important gases such as Ethylene Oxide anti Proplin Oxide are formed. Ethylene Oxide being microbe -immuniser (Or microbe -insulator) is used in the operation theatres as well as in making life­saving drugs. Scientists regard Proplin Oxide as the basis of artificial rains.

These claims made in the name of science are completely false and baseless which can mislead the common people.

Guru Gobind Singh’s picture appears on their books, posters. Below his picture are printed these words: cow protector, Sarbans-dani (one who sacrifices his all) Tenth Guru’. On the last page is printed a poem in order to show that Guru Sahib was a ‘cow-protector’. It is said to have been taken from the ‘Dasam Granth’ (?). Besides this booklet, many others have also been distributed on the title pages of which are printed pictures of the Gurus or those pertaining to Sikh history. The motive of this exercise is to convince the Sikhs that whatever the Gurus did was a part of Hindu beliefs and tradition. Towards the end of a book is printed a Sanskrit Sloka, under which it is written that the Guru’s edict gives the same sermon. In other words, it is an attempt to falsify the originality of the Sikh doctrine.

Guru Nanak Dev University is committed to propagating and disseminating Guru Nanak Sahib’s teachings and philosophy all over the world and this is stated in the University Act also. But now literature designed to undermine Guru Nanak's philosophy and Gurbani is being freely distributed here. The book entitled ‘Hindutava and Environment carries a picture showing a calf suckling a cow on its title page. By printing Guru Arjan Dev’s ‘Bani’ ‘Put mata Ki asees’ on top of the picture disrespect has been shown to Gurbani.

Will the Sikhs tolerate disrespect to Guru Ji?