panditSome years ago, a revealing and educative debate took place between a Neo-Sikh with a thick head on one hand and on the other hand a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma with a more lucid mind. The thread started with a Neo-Sikh posting some quotations from an English translation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), which criticises particular “Brahmins” (Hindu priestly class) of the time for a variety of very valid things.

What was shown to the Neo-Sikh is that he was quoting sacred texts with no understanding of the spirit behind the criticism – what really is it that is being criticised? A fool takes words in a sacred texts and parrots them without contemplation. The Neo-Sikh was shown that each one of the criticisms of the SGGS aimed towards “Brahmins” could easily be directed towards himself or Neo-Sikhs in general, or for that matter any follow of any religious or spiritual tradition who has false ego in their religiosity and places greater emphasis on externals than the true meanings which should animate these rituals and external symbols.  

Before proceeding, one further point should be borne in mind. The English translations of the SGGS is in the first instance very suspect. Words are changed by the translator to a slightly different meaning, to conform to the prejudices or ideology of the translator. However this is something we shall look into in a separate section of the website, for the moment we are working with the translations we have.

Quote from SGGS:

“There is no sacred thread for the sexual organ, and no thread for woman. The man’s beard is spat upon daily. There is no sacred thread for the feet, and no thread for the hands; no thread for the tongue, and no thread for the eyes. The Brahmin himself goes to the world hereafter without a sacred thread. Twisting the threads, he puts them on others. He takes payment for performing marriages; reading their horoscopes, he shows them the way. Hear, and see, O people, this wondrous thing. He is mentally blind, and yet his name is wisdom. ”

Response:

There is no turban for sexual organ, and no turban for woman. The man’s beard is spat upon daily. There is no turban for the feet, and no kaccha for the hands; no kripan for the tongue, and no kada for the eyes. The Sikh himself goes to the world hereafter without 5Ks. Twisting the turban, he puts them on others. He takes payment for maintaining a house for the Book, for running funny organizations and for opposing Sanatanis. Hear, and see, O people, this wondrous thing. He is mentally blind and is running after wine, liquor and disco, and yet his name is Sikhi.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“In the dwelling of the womb, there is no ancestry or social status. All have originated from the Seed of God. Tell me, O Pandit, O religious scholar: since when have you been a Brahmin? Don’t waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin. If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status? How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk? Says Kabeer, one who contemplates God, is said to be a Brahmin among us.(pg 324)”

Response:

In the dwelling of the womb, there is no Khatri, Jat, Ramgarhia, Amritdhari, non-Amritdhari, Sikh or Sanatani. All have originated from the Seed of God. Tell me, O Sikh, O Nanak panthis: since when have you been a Sikh? Don’t waste your life by continually claiming to be a Sikh. If you are indeed a Sikh, born of a Sikh mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? How is it that you are a Sikh, and I am of a low social status? How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk? Says Kabeer, one who contemplates God, is said to be a Gurumukh among us.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, modesty the knot and truth the twist. This is the sacred thread of the soul; if you have it, then go ahead and put it on me. It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, it cannot be burnt, or lost. Blessed are those mortal beings, O Nanak, who wear such a thread around their necks. You buy the thread for a few shells, and seated in your enclosure, you put it on. Whispering instructions into others’ ears, the Brahmin becomes a guru. But he dies, and the sacred thread falls away, and the soul departs without it.

Response:

Make compassion the hair, contentment the turban, modesty the kaccha and truth the kada. These are the 5Ks of the soul; if you have it, then go ahead and put it on me. It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, it cannot be burnt, or lost. Blessed are those mortal beings, O Nanak, who wear such a hair, turban, kaccha and kada. You buy the turban for a few shells, and seated in your enclosure, you put it on. Offering amrit to others you declare them khalsa. But he dies, and the 5Ks fall away, and the soul departs without it.

Quote from SGGS:

“The man-eaters say their prayers. Those who wield the knife wear the sacred thread around their necks. In their homes, the Brahmins sound the conch. They too have the same taste. False is their capital, and false is their trade. Speaking falsehood, they take their food. The home of modesty and Dharma is far from them. O Nanak, they are totally permeated with falsehood. The sacred marks are on their foreheads, and the saffron loin-cloths are around their waists; in their hands they hold the knives – they are the butchers of the world! Wearing blue robes, they seek the approval of the Muslim rulers. Accepting bread from the Muslim rulers, they still worship the Puraanas. They eat the meat of the goats, killed after the Muslim prayers are read over them, but they do not allow anyone else to enter their kitchen areas. They draw lines around them, plastering the ground with cow-dung. The false come and sit within them. They cry out, “Do not touch our food, or it will be polluted!” But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths. Says Nanak, meditate on the True Lord. If you are pure, you will obtain the True Lord.(pg 471)”

Response:

The man-eaters recites Adi Granth. Those who wield the kripan speak sweet words of Gurus. In their homes, the Sikhs worship Guru Granth They too have the same taste. False is their capital, and false is their trade. Speaking falsehood, they take their food. The home of modesty and Dharma is far from them. O Nanak, they are totally permeated with falsehood. The turban on their head, and the kaccha on their waist; in their hands they hold the kripan – they are the butchers of the world! Wearing blue robes, they align with muslims. Accepting arms from muslim rulers they kill Sanatani Hindus and they still worship the Guru Granth. They eat tandoori chicken and even beef to prove that they are not Sanatani Hindus. They draw lines around them, you are amritdhari, you are jat, you are non-amritdhari, you are nihang and so on. The false come and sit within them. They cry out, “Don’t call me Hindus, or I will be polluted!” But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths. Says Nanak, meditate on the True Lord. If you are pure, you will obtain the True Lord.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“In my house, I constantly weave the thread, while you wear the thread around your neck, O Brahmin. You read the Vedas and sacred hymns, while I have enshrined the Lord of the Universe in my heart. Upon my tongue, within my eyes, and within my heart, abides the Lord, the Lord of the Universe. When you are interrogated at Death’s door, O mad-man, what will you say then? I am a cow, and You are the herdsman, the Sustainer of the World. You are my Saving Grace, lifetime after lifetime. You have never taken me across to graze there – what sort of a herdsman are You? You are a Brahmin, and I am a weaver of Benares; can you understand my wisdom? You beg from emperors and kings, while I meditate on the Lord.(pg 482)”

Response:

In my house, I constantly weave the thread, while you wear the turban around your head, O Sikh. You read the Guru Granth and sacred Gurubani, while I have enshrined the Lord of the Universe in my heart. Upon my tongue, within my eyes, and within my heart, abides the Lord, the Lord of the Universe. When you are interrogated at Death’s door, O mad-man, what will you say then? I am a cow, and You are the herdsman, the Sustainer of the World. You are my Saving Grace, lifetime after lifetime. You have never taken me across to graze there – what sort of a herdsman are You? You are a Sikh, and I am a weaver of Benares; can you understand my wisdom? You beg from emperors and kings, while I meditate on the Lord.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“When someone of low social class chants the Lord’s Name, he obtains the state of highest dignity. Go and ask Bidar, the son of a maid; Krishna himself stayed in his house. Listen, O humble Siblings of Destiny, to the Unspoken Speech of the Lord; it removes all anxiety, pain and hunger. Ravi Daas, the leather-worker, praised the Lord, and sang the Kirtan of His Praises each and every instant. Although he was of low social status, he was exalted and elevated, and people of all four castes came and bowed at his feet. Naam Dayv loved the Lord; the people called him a fabric dyer. The Lord turned His back on the high-class Kh’shaatriyas and Brahmins, and showed His face to Naam Dayv.(pg 733)”

Response:

When someone of low social class chants the Lord’s Name, he obtains the state of highest dignity. Go and ask Bidar, the son of a maid; Krishna himself stayed in his house. Listen, O humble Siblings of Destiny, to the Unspoken Speech of the Lord; it removes all anxiety, pain and hunger. Soordas, the blind bhakta, praised the Lord, and sang the Kirtan of His Praises each and every instant. Although he was of low social status, he was exalted and elevated, and people of all four castes came and bowed at his feet. Soordas and Mirabai loved the Lord; the people called them blind and mad. The Lord turned His back on the high-class Khatris and Khalsas, and showed His face to Soordas, Mirabai and Ramkrishna Paramhansa.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“Why, O my Brahmin, do you not chant the Lord’s Name? If you don’t chant the Lord’s Name, O Pandit, you will only suffer in hell. You think that you are high, but you take food from the houses of the lowly; you fill up your belly by forcibly practicing your rituals. On the fourteenth day, and the night of the new moon, you go out begging; even though you hold the lamp in your hands, still, you fall into the pit. You are a Brahmin, and I am only a weaver from Benares. How can I compare to you? Chanting the Lord’s Name, I have been saved; relying on the Vedas, O Brahmin, you shall drown and die.(pg 970)”

Response:

Why, O my Sikh, do you not chant the Lord’s Name? If you don’t chant the Lord’s Name, O Khalasa, you will only suffer in hell. You think that you are high, but you drink alcohol and dance in discos; you fill up your belly by forcibly practicing your rituals. On every night you go out to nightclubs; even though you call yourself a Singh, you get fall into the pit drunk. You are a Sikh, and I am only a weaver from Benares. How can I compare to you? Chanting the Lord’s Name, I have been saved; relying on the Guru Granth, O Sikh, you shall drown and die.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“No one should be proud of his social class and status. He alone is a Brahmin, who knows God. Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool! So much sin and corruption comes from this pride.(pg 1127)”

Response:

No one should be proud of his social class and status. He alone is a Sikh, who knows God. Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool! So much sin and corruption comes from this pride.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“O Brahmin, you worship and believe in your stone-god, and wear your ceremonial rosary beads. Chant the Name of the Lord. Build your boat, and pray, “O Merciful Lord, please be merciful to me.” Why do you irrigate the barren, alkaline soil? You are wasting your life away! This wall of mud is crumbling. Why bother to patch it with plaster?(pg 1170)”

Response:

O Sikh, you worship and believe in your Guru Granth, and wear your 5Ks. Chant the Name of the Lord. Build your boat, and pray, “O Merciful Lord, please be merciful to me.” Why do you irrigate the barren, alkaline soil? You are wasting your life away! This wall of mud is crumbling. Why bother to patch it with plaster?

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Brahmins study and argue about the scriptures; they perform ceremonial rituals, and lead others in these rituals. Without true understanding, those self-willed manmukhs understand nothing. Separated from God, they suffer in pain.(pg 1332)”

Response:

The Sikhs study and argue about the Guru Granth; they perform ceremonial rituals, and lead others in these rituals. Without true understanding, those self-willed manmukhs understand nothing. Separated from God, they suffer in pain.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“Kabeer, the Brahmin may be the guru of the world, but he is not the Guru of the devotees. He rots and dies in the perplexities of the four Vedas.(pg 1377)”

Response:

Kabeer, the Gurus may be the guru of the world, but they are not the Guru of the devotees. He rots and dies in the perplexities of the Guru Granth.

 

Quote:

“The Lord is my festive dish, of rice balls on leafy plates; the True Name of the Creator Lord is my funeral ceremony. Here and hereafter, in the past and in the future, this is my support. The Lord’s Praise is my River Ganges and my city of Benares; my soul takes its sacred cleansing bath there. That becomes my true cleansing bath, if night and day, I enshrine love for You. The rice balls are offered to the gods and the dead ancestors, but it is the Brahmins who eat them! O Nanak, the rice balls of the Lord are a gift which is never exhausted.

Response:

The Lord is my Langar dish, of rice balls on leafy plates; the True Name of the Creator Lord is my Amrit ceremony. Here and hereafter, in the past and in the future, this is my support. The Lord’s Praise is my Harimandir pond and my city of Amritsar; my soul takes its sacred cleansing bath there. That becomes my true cleansing bath, if night and day, I enshrine love for You. The offerings are made to the Gurudwara but it is the Granthis and manmukh Gurudwara prabandhak committees who eat them! O Nanak, the rice balls of the Lord are a gift which is never exhausted.

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandits, the religious scholars, read their books, but they do not understand the real meaning. They give instructions to others, and then walk away, but they deal in Maya themselves. Speaking falsehood, they wander around the world, while those who remain true to the Shabad are excellent and exalted.(pg 56)”

Response:

The Sikhs, the Amritdharis, read their books, but they do not understand the real meaning. They give instructions to others, and then walk away, but they deal in Maya themselves. Speaking falsehood, they wander around the world, while those who remain true to Harinaam are excellent and exalted.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandits, the religious scholars, read and read, and shout out loud, but they are attached to the love of Maya. They do not recognize God within themselves-they are so foolish and ignorant! In the love of duality, they try to teach the world, but they do not understand meditative contemplation. They lose their lives uselessly; they die, only to be re-born, over and over again.”-pg 86

Response:

The Amritdharis, the Khalasas, read and read, and shout out loud, but they are attached to the love of Maya. They do not recognize God within themselves-they are so foolish and ignorant! In the love of duality, they try to teach the world, but they do not understand meditative contemplation. They lose their lives uselessly; they die, only to be re-born, over and over again.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The self-willed manmukhs read and recite; they are called Pandits-spiritual scholars. But they are in love with duality, and they suffer in terrible pain. Intoxicated with vice, they understand nothing at all. They are reincarnated, over and over again.(pg 12)

Response:

The self-willed manmukhs read and recite; they are called Sikh-spiritual scholars. But they are in love with duality, and they suffer in terrible pain. Intoxicated with vice, they understand nothing at all. They are reincarnated, over and over again.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“Read that which is written on your forehead, O Pandit, and do not teach wickedness to others.(pg 434)”

Response:

Read that which is written on your forehead, O Sikh, and do not teach wickedness to others.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandits are deluded, attached to duality, and they deal only in Maya. They are filled with thirst and hunger; the ignorant fools starve to death. Serving the True Guru, peace is obtained, contemplating the True Word of the Upanishads. Hunger and thirst have departed from within me; I am in love with the True Name.(pg 647)”

Response:

The Sikhs are deluded, attached to duality, and they deal only in Maya. They are filled with thirst and hunger; the ignorant fools starve to death. Serving the True Guru, peace is obtained, contemplating the True Word of the God-Realised sages. Hunger and thirst have departed from within me; I am in love with the True Name.

 

Quotation from SGGS:

“You read the scriptures, and the commentaries, but the Perfect Lord does not dwell in your heart. You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach. O Pandit, O religious scholar, contemplate the Vedas. Eradicate anger from your mind, O Pandit. You place your stone god before yourself, but your mind wanders in the ten directions. You apply a ceremonial tilak mark to its forehead, and fall at its feet. You try to appease the people, and act blindly. You perform the six religious rituals, and sit wearing your loin-cloth. In the homes of the wealthy, you read the prayer book. You chant on your mala, and beg for money. No one has ever been saved in this way, friend.(pg 887)”

Response:

You read the Guru Granth, and the commentaries, but the Perfect Lord does not dwell in your heart. You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach. O Sikh, O Khalasa, contemplate the Vedas. Eradicate anger from your mind, O Sikh. You place your Guru Granth before yourself, but your mind wanders in the ten directions. You put turban on you head and kripan on your back, and fall at its feet. You try to appease the people, and act blindly. You perform the Amrit, and sit wearing your 5Ks. No one has ever been saved in this way, friend.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandits, the religious scholars, read, study and discuss the arguments; they do not understand. Engrossed in corruption, they wander in confusion; who can they possibly instruct, O Siblings of Destiny?(pg 909)”

Response:

The Sikhs, the Khalasas, read, study and discuss the arguments; they do not understand. Engrossed in corruption, they wander in confusion; who can they possibly instruct, O Siblings of Destiny?

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandit, the religious scholar, reads and instructs others, but he does not realise that his own home is on fire. Without serving the True Guru, the Naam is not obtained. You can read until you are exhausted, but you shall not find peace and tranquility.(pg 1046)”

Response:

The Sikhs, the Khalasas, reads and instructs others, but he does not realise that his own home is on fire. Without serving the True Guru, the Moksha is not obtained. You can read Guru Granth until you are exhausted, but you shall not find peace and tranquillity.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“O Pandit, O religious scholar, in what foul thoughts are you engaged? You shall be drowned, along with your family, if you do not meditate on the Lord, you unfortunate person. What is the use of reading the Vedas and the Puraanas? It is like loading a donkey with sandalwood. You do not know the exalted state of the Lord’s Name; how will you ever cross over? You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the most excellent sage; then who would you call a butcher? You are blind in your mind, and do not understand your own self; how can you make others understand, O brother? For the sake of Maya and money, you sell knowledge; your life is totally worthless.(pg 1102)”

Response:

O Sikhs, the Khalasas, in what foul thoughts are you engaged? You shall be drowned, along with your family, if you do not meditate on the Lord, you unfortunate person. What is the use of reading the Adi Granth and Dasam Granth? It is like loading a donkey with sandalwood. You do not know the exalted state of the Lord’s Name; how will you ever cross over? You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the Khalasa; then who would you call a butcher? You are blind in your mind, and do not understand your own self; how can you make others understand, O brother? For the sake of Maya and money, you wear 5Ks; your life is totally worthless.

 

Quote from SGGS:

“The Pandits, the religious scholars, have grown weary of making fire-offerings and sacrifices, making pilgrimages to all the sacred shrines, and reading the Puraanas. But they cannot get rid of the poison of emotional attachment to Maya; they continue to come and go in egotism.(pg 1417)”

Response:

The Sikhs, the Khalasas, have grown weary of reciting Guru Granth and offering Langar, making pilgrimages to all the Gurudwaras, and reading the Dasam Granth. But they cannot get rid of the poison of emotional attachment to Maya; they continue to come and go in egotism.

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