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Comments On Bachitar Natak
Q. It is written in the Naatak that at the time of the birth of Gobind Rai, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was on a pilgrimage (visiting holy places to take a dip), and when He learned about the birth of His son, He gave donations to the Brahmans for several days at Tribaini (Allahabad) to express His joy. 7/1 Mur Pit Purab kiyas payana. Bhaant bhaant ke tirath nahana. Jab hi jaat Tribaini bhaye. Poon daan din kert bitayye. All this is completely against the Principles of Gurbani and of Guru Tegh Bahadur Himself. The other Gurus also visited holy places, but not to take dip or to give donations. They did so because there are hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the holy places, and the Gurus used that opportunity to educate them. The Gurus did donate money on other valuables to some people, not because they were Brahmans, but because they were needy and poor. Visiting holy places because they can rid you of sins or giving donations to Brahmans has been condemned by the Gurus. The following sacred Shabads play down the importance of any pilgrimage and donations to the Brahmans. Kote tirath majan ishnana is Kal mein mail bhareejai. Sadh sang jo Har goon gavai so nirmal ker leejai. (Suhi M:5) Na bheejai roopeen maaleen rang. Na bheejai tirath bhaviyan nang. Na bheejai daateen keetai poonn. Na bheejai baahar bathiyan soonn. (Vaar Samag M:1) Ja mein bhajan Ram ko nahi Tirath katie bert phoon rakhe neh manua bas ja ko. Nihfal dherm tahi tum manou saach kehat main ya ko. (Bilawal M:9) Tirath bert er daan ker mun mein dharre guman. Nanak nifal Jaat tih Jioun kuncher ishnan. (Salok M:9) The Tenth Master Himself was not convinced that any pilgrimage on donations can help one in his spiritual journey. He writes - Tirath kote keeye ishnan deeye bahu daan maha bert dhaare Des phiriyo ker bhes tapo dhan kes dharre na mille Har piyare. (TuvPersad Savayye.Patshahi 10) When the Tenth Master Himself does not believe in the importance of any pilgrimage and donations, why would He write that His father was on a pilgrimage? Also, what is so special about Tribaini (Allahabad). In fact, according to Bhai Vir Singh’s “Kalgidhar Chamatkaar” Guru Tegh Bahadur was in Assam, and not in Allahabad, when He heard the news of the birth of His son, Gobind Rai. He was a guest of Rajah Ram Rai in Assam So, clearly, the Naatak has been written by someone who has a strong belief in pilgrimage and donations to Brahmans. He even lied, or twisted the historical facts that the Ninth Guru was in Allahabad, to support his belief.
A. There is not an iota of Truth in giving the historical facts, nor in the interpretation of Guru Gobind Singh’s verse in question. Punjabi University, Patiala published a book during 1975 titled “Guru Tegh Bahadur, Martyr and Teacher” written by Professors Fauja Singh and Gurbachan Singh Talib, revealing the new discoveries made on the basis of Bhat Vahis and Panda Vahis and related works, sources of first rate historical importance untapped thus far. The findings have been endorsed by the Vice Chancellor Inderjit Kaur Sandhu of the University and ex Vice Chancellor, Sardar Kirpal Singh Narang, Dr. Ganda Singh and Prof. Taran Singh. These are given below.
In 1644 C.E. Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Guru at the time of his demise at Kiratpur, advised his wife, Mata Nanaki to move to Bakala in Amritsar district, along with her son Tegh Bahadur and his wife Mata Gujri to take up residence there. Mata Nanaki did accordingly. At Bakala lived Bhai Hari Chand Lamba, and Hardevi, father and mother of Mata Nanaki. Baba Tegh Bahadur was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind, and was born on April 1, 1621. After staying at Bakala for more than 12 years, Baba Tegh Bahadur along with his wife and mother proceeded on tour of East to visit the sacred places of Hindus and meet with the Sikh Sangats there. They first went to Kiratpur, from where other persons also joined the party. They started the tour in 1656 C.E. The party visited Kurukshetra, then went to Hardwar and were there till March 29, 1657. They were at Prayag (Tribeni - Allahabad) on April 19, 1661, visited Banaras (Varanasi) on June 21, 1661 and after few months reached Patna. Mata Gujri gave birth to a child on December 18, 1661, who became to be called Guru Gobind Singh. At that time Baba Tegh Bahadur was not the Guru, but became Guru later on August 11, 1664, after demise of the 8th Guru Hari Krishan.
Guru Gobind Singh has mentioned about his father’s first journey toward East in his auto-biography, ‘Bichitar Natak’ as under -
“mur pit purab kias payana, bhant bhant ke tirath nana jab hi jat tribheni bhio, pun dan karat bitaio. Tehai parkas hamara bhio, patna shair bikhai bhao lio”Most of the writings of Guru Gobind Singh are of metaphorical nature and cannot be translated literally. While translating the Compositions of the Gurus it must be borne in mind as to what the basic Sikh Teachings are and in no case the translation should be in contradiction to the basic Sikh Teachings. Most writers have translated these verses as - “My father departed for the East, and bathed at the various places of pilgrimage. When he arrived at Tribeni, passed his days in doing meritorious works, such as giving alms. I was conceived there and born in Patna City.”
This is wholly incorrect. Performance of meritorious works as a religious duty makes one egocentric, which is greatly deprecated in Sikh Teachings. This is not the way to union with God. The Gurus never went to pilgrim stations for taking bath in sacred waters to be one with God, this practice too has been condemned as a useless ritual. The word “nana” here means varied types, not taking bath. The Guru has used words “bhant, bhant and nana”, all these words mean of varied types, the emphasis is on numerous types of pilgrim stations, he visited to impart Sikh Teachings to the people there. None of these words is laudable to give any sanctity. The charities too are of different types. Alms giving is not the only charity. Further, alms cannot be given to every body. The Most Highest type of Charity practiced by the Gurus was NAM DAN, giving discourses on Love of God to every one they came across. This was the Real Wealth the Great Guru distributed, when he visited varied pilgrim stations. THIS ALONE WAS THE PURPOSE OF UNDERTAKING TOUR OF EASTERN PART OF INDIA BY THE PARTY. The correct translation of the said verses would be -
“My father departed for the East and visited varied types of pilgrim stations. When he arrived at Tribeni, he passed his days in preaching God’s Name to the people. I was then conceived and took birth in Patna City.”
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A. This is verse 12 of Chapter 3, not verse 11 of Chapter 3. This Chapter deals with the battle fought between the descendents of LUV and Kush for attainment of power. The result of the battle was that the descendents of Luv came out victorious; and the descendents of Kush fled away and settled at Banares. The Guru has been giving various similes in describing the battle between the two contesting forces, in verse 12 he gave the beautiful simile, which only persons of letters can only appreciate, not the mean, faithless Guru Akal Purkh Slanderers, like Kala Afghana.
Dr Jodh Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala has translated the verse as -
“Thousands of fairies from sky having assumed the form of death are moving on earth for their select hunts, and are shouting the cries of ‘kill, kill.’”All the persons of some understanding will appreciate the simile applied here by the Divine Guru – In other words the Death Angels were busy taking the life of the dying warriors in the battlefield.
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A. It is “Hasse maashari” – which means that all flesh eaters are rejoicing (to see the availability of plenty of flesh), and the massive ghosts are dancing, yet the stubborn are crying ‘kill, kill.’ Again this is the proper translation of verse 30 of Chapter 3, NOT as mischieviously stated by the critics by twisting the facts, as – “Goblins and vultures were screeming with joy. We have seen thousands of corpses of humans and other animals completely in tact unless some carnivores found them. No ghost or goblin has even been found to eat human flesh.” The Guru did not state that ghosts were eating the flesh!!! This is the meanest character of the critics who have let loose campaign to malign GURU AKAL PURKH.
In Chapter 8 of Bichitar Natak, the Guru described the Battle of Bhangani fought by him with the Shivalik Hill Rajas. In Verse 18, the Guru stated -
“The sound of trumpets and the beat of drums were echoing. The brave warriors began roaring from both the sides and they with full power of their arms continued to hit with their weapons. In the battleground, the shrieks of Chammund goddess and her attendant witches were heard. (18).It is their extremely prejudiced vision, full of hatred and jealousies, that these unscrupulous slanders, who would twist the obviously clear verses and slander Guru Akalpurph.
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A. Penis is the male uro-genital organ so commonly used whenever it is considered necessary, without hesitation. No one raises his eye brows. Even in the religious literatures, in scriptures also the male sex organ is named as such. Even in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sri Guru Nanak Dev has in a Slok Varan tai Vadik, Slok 1, page 1410, has stated -
“O you with swollen breasts, let your consciousness become deep and profound. O mother-in-law, how can I bow? Because of my stiff nipples, I cannot bow. O sister, those mansions built as high as mountains - I have seen them come crumbling down. O bride, do not be so proud of your nipples.”1.Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee has, in ths Slok, used the name of female breasts (a sex organ) thrice, twice in Rag Aasa by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Shaikh Baba Farid Ji – “Dooda THANI na aavei –“. What is wrong in it. Why feel shy in using the name of the sex organs, which are as much parts of the body as other organs are. All Psychologists state that “Shyness” is a disease in persons, who have inner inferiority feelings and feel insecure in stating the truth, are the most corrupt and indulgent persons. They exhibit their inferiority by exhibiting hyper piety and purity of themselves – counter reaction. These critics have no moral character, and have stooped to the lowest level in calling even Names to Guru Akalpurkh. What else can be expected of these wicked persons!!
“Otangi paiohari gheri gumbhiri. Susar suhiaa kiv kari nivan na jaey THANI. Gach je laga girhvarhi sakhiey dholhari. Sai bhi dhendai dhith mai mund na garab THANI.”
The translation of the Guru’s verse is -
“God is attained neither by observing silence, nor a show of humility, nor through religious garb, nor close-cropping of the head. He can be attained neither by wearing matted hair, nor by wearing a hard wooden necklace. Hear ye all, I utter nothing but Truth; by seeking the Refuge of the Compassionate One alone, and by single minded devotion to Him, God enters into us; nay it is not through circumcision or the ritual of cutting the foreskin of penis, that God is pleased.” (100)
Chapter 1, Bichittar Natak.
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A. Sword and other weapons are used as Symols to signify Our Creator Lord’s All Pervading Authority in all spheres of human life, nay all life; He alone is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of all – the DOER (Karta Purkh). “Chatur dis kino Bal Apna, sir ooper kar dhario.” (Rag Dhanasari,M.5). Symbols of faith are manifestations of the Divine in things and events, in persons and communities, in words and documents. The whole realm of sacred objects is a treasure of symbols. Holy things are not holy in themselves, but they point beyond themselves to the source of all holiness, that which is of ultimate concern. Sikhs are not required to worship the material Sword or weapons, but draw inference toward the Lord’s Infinte Might, Authority and Virtues; and to love our Great Creator of All Virtues.
The fundamental symbol of our ultimate concern is God. All the qualities we attribute to Him, power, love, justice, compassion. etc. are taken from finite experiences and applied symbolically to that which is beyond finitude and infinity. When we call God as Almighty and Garib-Nivaz (Compassionate to the Poor), human experience of power and compassion are symbolized of their infinite concern. Guru Gobind Singh calls Him as “Sarab Loh” – All Steel in Composition, Sri Akal Ustat. Steel is the strongest metal known, and also the cheapest of all metals. By calling God as "Sarb Loh", we are attributing to Him as of the Ultimate Mightiest Power to do justice and award punishment to the evil doers, yet Compassionate to the humblest of the humble creatures. We should go after the qualities of the Steel, and get inspiration of these which we should see in our Creator only; not ever to think that our God is Steel; which metal is to be worshipped as the Hindus do. Again in Sri Akal Ustat, the Guru calls God as “Sarb Kal Ji di rachia hamnai” I have the protection of the Timeless One, as Almighty God Who destroys every one, is one of His attributes. By calling God as “Sarb Kaal”, Maha Kaal, Kalka, and other such attributes of THE GREAT DESTROYER OF ALL, we do not call “Death” as our God, or love “Death” as such, we attribute to God, Who alone has the capacity to destroy all, whenever He considers. He is both the Life Giver as well as the Destroyer, and the Giver of All Virtues to all, none else. So it is with all other qualities and with all the actions, past, present and future, which people attribute to God and use the Symbols for Him. These are the symbols taken from our daily experience. Faith is the acceptance of symbols that express our ultimate concern in terms of Divine actions.
When we mention about God, “O SWORD”, then all the Functional Qualities of His, we read in both the Sacred Granths, come to our mind. Could this be anything simpler than this? It is just like when we see sign or symbol of anything, the whole of the scenario of the thing or event comes to our mind.
Guru Gobind Singh, it is said, kept the symbol of Kirpan in miniature form all the time. Surely, the Guru intended that Kirpan in miniature form should be kept by all for its symbolic value. A large number of artisans had settled in Anandpur, the abode of Guru Gobind Singh. They had opened factories for manufacture of various types of arms. The arms were needed by the Guru as the Hindu hill rajas would not allow him to live in peace, as the Sikh preaching of Equality of All were not to their liking. Guns of all types were manufactured in Anandpur. Two artillery guns manufactured in Anandpur in 1688 C.E. are still exhibited in the Lahore museum. It is, therefore, incorrect to state that the Sikhs were commanded by the Guru to keep sword with them all the time for the purpose of self defense, as is the common belief. Sword was not to be effective means of defense during the Guru’s time even, what to say of the modern times.
In Var Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki, Guru Gobind Singh states that God first created the Double Edged Sword, and later created the Universe – “khanda prithmai saj kai sab sansar opaya.” This means that God first established His Authority by disseminating the Knowledge of Himself, when He created the Universe. Unfortunately, none of our translors have done justice to the Superb Gurbani in translating the verse, and many others. This is our great misfortune!!
Let this be understood that holy things are not holy in themselves, but they point beyond themselves to the source of all holiness, that which is of ultimate concern (God).
Sword and kada (Iron Bangle) together depict Infinity of Knowledge of
God, Who is Almighty, Kind and Compassionate to the lowliest. Sword and
Ring are also put on the Sikh Flag – The Basic Creed of Sikhism.These two
symbols are for the inspiration to draw; while non-indulgence in the Four
Breaches of the Conduct, is the real inner life of a true Sikh. Surely,
only those do not indulge in the Four Breaches of the Conduct, who actually
live with God; otherwise without His Grace, it is hard too hard, to abstain
from indulgence in these Breaches. This is the reason why most people hesitate
to receive Pahul of the Double Edged Sword, and the Sikh character is on
SWORD, THE SYMBOL OF AUTHORITY - AN INTERESTING HISTORICAL FACT
An interesting historical event in this context appears most relevant, and is given. Prince Salim, who later became Emperor Jehangir, had rebelled against his father, Emperor Akbar, had even given poison to hm to hasten his death in order to occupy the throne. Akbar was greatly displeased with Salim and wanted his grandson Khusru to succeed him instead of Salim. Salim to win the support of the Courtiers, took two solemn oaths, binding him in the fist place to Defend the Muhammadan Religon, and in the second place to refrain from inflicting any penalty or injury on the persons who had supported the cause of Khusru. Thus the Courtiers played the part of the King Makers, when Akbar was on death bed.
“Salim, when he had taken the oaths-mentioned and was assured of the support of the nobles, ventured into his father’s presence. Akbar then could not speak, although he retained consciousness and understanding. When Salim had prostrated himself and risen, the dying emperor made a sign that he should put on the imperial turban and GIRD HIMSELF WITH THE SWORD OF HUMAYUN which hung at the foot of the bed. His silent commands having been obeyed, another sign directed the prince to leave the room. He complied gladly, and was received outside with the applause of the crowd.”Please read for details in the book titled, “SWORD – SYMBOL OF DIVINE AUTHORITY”, written by this writer(Dalip Singh).
(p. 233-234, Akbar, The Great Mogul – by V.A. Smith.)
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