Sri Dasam Granth and The Sikh Thought
Giani Sant Singh Maskeen
ੴਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace ||
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
A person always has some sort of expectation of reward everytime he/she performs any action (karam). If that reward is not recieved by committing to that action , it is like a sown seed could not develop at all, like a planted tree could not bear any fruit. A gardener, who dedicatedly takes care of the flowers and plants he planted, feels really disappointed if his plants dry up despite his efforts. We get up and perform our daily actions of doing Nitnem in the morning, the reward or fruit of these actions according to Gurbani is presented as follows:
There are approximately 150 or so questions in the Dasam Granth. Each of these questions, found in the Akaal Ustat, is extremely valuable and important. These questions are the very questions a seeker of Truth often faces on his journey from time to time. But, the Bani only puts forth the questions and does not provide any answers. People who have had the fortunate opportunity to see (darshan) of Dasam Granth Ji will know this, although these days people don’t even seem to have time to visit Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
I would like to clarify the doubts as to why Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji Maharaaj did not register his Bani in the Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The point that I often put across to explain this are these:
1. Firstly, the entire Bani of Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj is about Brahm Gyaan, pure Knowledge of God. However, in Dasam Granth Ji, Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s own discourse and story is also present.
ਅਬ ਮੈ ਅਪਨੀ ਕਥਾ ਬਖਾਨੋ ॥ ਤਪ ਸਾਧਤ ਜਿਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਮੁਹਿ ਆਨੋ ॥
Now I relate my own story of how God sent me in the world while I was absorbed in meditation. (Panna 132, Sri Dasam Granth Ji)
This is the autobiographical discourse by Guru Gobind Singh Ji like, where and why he was born, how he spent his childhood, and the wars he fought which are explained in vast detail in the Bani Bachittar Natak. In Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji, however, is pure Brahm Gyaan, one will not find any mention of any historical facts, for example where and when was Guru Nanak Dev Ji born and so forth. Therefore, keeping this fact in consideration, Guru Gobind Singh Ji chose not to register his Bani in Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj.
2. The second argument often given is this: Why did Guru Gobind Singh Ji write his life story himself? In general, the life story of prophets and great religious figures (Avtaari Purash) has been written by people other than themselves. For example, the story of Sri Ram was written by Tulsi and Valmiki and people like Pandit Hirda Ram, etc. Similarly, the entire life history of Sri Krishna was written by Ved Vyaas, and by people like Kavi Nirotam, Kaisho Dutt and others. So, the question that is asked is while there were people who could write the life history of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, why did he choose to write it himself?
A writer who wishes to write about any avtaari purash needs both the true feeling and knowledge about him. If the story is told with pure emotional feelings, the work would be nothing but wrong meanings. I have read books written by such people, and they were full of emotional exaggerations with no real knowledge behind it, so much so that miracles have been attached to even the trivial of things. For example, Tulsi, in his emotional outburst has written saloks where he has gone as far as calling Sri Ram the God incarnate. In the same fashion, Surdaas, Nirotam and others write about Sri Krishan and call him God. However, if even deep knowledge has no emotional element attached to it, then arguments take place. So, there has to be a proper balance between both these two elements.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji was aware of the difficulty of keeping the right balance. He was concerned that some Sikh, flowing in the sea of emotions, might end up equating him with God while writing his life history. That is why, Guruji decided to write his autobiography, and wrote the following in it:
ਜੇ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਉਚਰਿ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਨਰਕ ਕੁੰਡ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਿ ਹੈ ॥
Those who call me God, will fall into the pit of hell.
ਮੋ ਕੌ ਦਾਸੁ ਤਵਨ ਕਾ ਜਾਨੋ ॥ ਯਾ ਮੈ ਭੇਦ ਨ ਰੰਚ ਪਛਾਨੋ ॥ 32 ॥
Regard me as a humble servant of the Lord and have no doubt about it.
ਮੈ ਹੌ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੋ ਦਾਸਾ ॥ ਦੇਖਨ ਆਯੋ ਜਗਤ ਤਮਾਸਾ ॥
I am a slave of the Supreme Being and have come to witness the drama of the world. (Bachittar Natak, Sri Dasam Granth)
God is the supreme power, and Guru Gobind Singh Ji clearly states that he is not God, but just a human being.
I was reading a book by Khushwant Singh in which he writes there are about 84 people in India who call themselves Bhagwaan, that includes people like Rajneesh. Sadly, there are few others, like the Nirankaaris, who like to be called as Nirankaars. Blindly, fools started following them without even realising the meaning of the word ‘Nirankaar’. Nirankaar word means One that has no form, then how can someone made of five elements be a Nirankaar? Such people are in our panth as well who call themselves Gurus and Sants and persuade people to follow their royalty and their own ways. Such people try and break people from our Guruji rather than bonding them closer to the true Gurus. Anyhow, sooner or later, maybe in the next century, the whole world will have to accept the fact that a human being made of flesh and bones can never be God. Anyone who attracts people to his own belief system is a cheat. Our Ten Gurus never told us to worship them and treat them as God. Instead, the whole effort of Gurus is to connect us to the words written in the praise of God.
Now, I would like to present some really beautiful thoughts written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Sri Dasam Granth in regards to various aspects of life and religion. Another reason that Guru Gobind Singh Ji did not add bani in Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj is that Guruji has done teeka of various other religious scriptures, the philosophies of which Guruji do not endorse, it is just a teeka of the religious texts for understanding.
ਦਸਮ ਕਥਾ ਭਾਗਉਤ ਕੀ ਭਾਖਾ ਕਰੀ ਬਨਾਇ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਨਾਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਧਰਮ ਜੁੱਧ ਕੇ ਚਾਇ ॥੨੪੯੧॥
I have composed the discourse of the tenth part (Skandh) of Bhagavat in the vernacular; O Lord ! I have no other desire and have only the zeal for the war fought on the basis of righteousness.2491. (Panna 1133, Sri Dasam Granth)
As you might be aware, Banis like Ram Avtar, Krishna Avtar, as well as discourses on Chaubees Avtar are present in Sri Dasam Granth. The discourses on the twenty four avtars was originally completely written in Sanskrit. In those days, a brahmin used to teach Sanskrit to fellow brahmins only because they used to believe that understanding of Sanskrit is right of only the brahmins. As such, common man was unable to decipher what was written in those texts. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, with his infinite wisdom, did teekas of all the 24 avtars at Sri Paonta Sahib so that even the common man could know what it is all about. Even though Guruji wrote these texts, he made it absolutely clear that these are not his thoughts. For instance, after completing Krishna Avtar, Guruji wrote:
ਮੈ ਨ ਗਨੇਸ਼ਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਮਨਾਊਂ ॥ ਕਿਸ਼ਨ ਬਿਸ਼ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਨਹ ਧਿਆਊਂ ॥ਕਾਨ ਸੁਨੇ ਪਹਿਚਾਨ ਨ ਤਿਨ ਸੋਂ ॥ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਮੋਰੀ ਪਗ ਇਨ ਸੋਂ ॥੪੩੪॥
I do not adore Ganesha in the beginning and also do not mediatate on Krishna and Vishnu; I have only heard about them with my ears and I do not recognize them; my consciousness is absorbed at the feet of the Supreme Kal (the Immanent Brahman).434. (Panna 732, Sri Dasam Granth)
The reason Guruji felt the need to write these lines after Krishna Avtar is to dispel any thought that Guruji worships Krishna. Sadly, some people still misunderstood, like Bhagat Chela Ram. He has written a book called ‘Murali Mehma’. He writes in the preface of the book that Guru Gobind Singh Ji has accepted Krishna as the most superior amongst all the Avtars. And although he could not continue to go into detail, but he did let his intentions know. Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to let the masses know what the ‘secret’ knowledge is all about, because brahmins used to claim that nobody else except them have the right to gain this knowledge.
Before the Chaubees Avtar Bani comes the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, called ‘Bachittar Natak’. In Akal Ustat, there is no mention of any kings, it is pure praises of Akal Purakh. There are a few questions in Akal Ustat that I would like to present before you:
ਕੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਕਵਨ ਕਹਾ ਜੋਗ ਕੋ ਸਾਰ ॥
Who is hero and who is beautiful? What is the essence of Yoga?
ਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਵਨ ਕਹੋ ਬਿਚਾਰ ਅਬਿਚਾਰ ॥੧੦॥੨੧੦॥
Who is the Donor and who is the Knower? Tell me the judicious and injudicious.10.210. (Panna 78, Sri Dasam Granth)
Guruji talks about the things in this world that atrracts and influences a person. Similarly, Guruji asks:
ਕਹਾ ਨੇਮ ਸੰਜਮ ਕਹਾ ਕਹਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਅਗਿਆਨ ॥
What are the observance and restraint? What are the knowledge and nescience. (Panna 78, Sri Dasam Granth)
There are many more questions that Guruji puts forward, and all of them are the topics which we are not always clear about, and often misunderstand and misinterpret their real meanings. However, anyone who has understood these questions and has found the answers to them, consider such a person as having the knowledge of all the four directions of the Dharam.
Lets discuss the following question:
ਕੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਕਵਨ ਕਹਾ ਜੋਗ ਕੋ ਸਾਰ ॥
Who is hero and who is beautiful? What is the essence of Yoga?
So, who is brave? One that has got great strength in his body? Or someone who is ready to take others’ turbans off all the time? No. The peak of Bhagti is:
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਖਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵਉ ॥
Says Kabeer, I am now immersed in intuitive peace and poise
ਆਪਿ ਨ ਡਰਉ ਨ ਅਵਰ ਡਰਾਵਉ ॥੩॥੧੭॥
I do not fear anyone, and I do not strike fear into anyone else. ||3||17|| (Ang 327, Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji)
Guru Teg Bahadur Ji says:
ਭੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਦੇਤ ਨਹਿ ਨਹਿ ਭੈ ਮਾਨਤ ਆਨ ॥
One who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid of anyone else
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਖਾਨਿ ॥੧੬॥
– says Nanak, listen, mind: call him spiritually wise. ||16|| (Ang 1427, Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji)
It is said that the answers to these questions were originally present in Sri Dasam Granth, but somr part of it has been lost. Wise men believe that a part of Dasam Granth was lost during the time when wars were being fought against Mughals. Yet another set of scholars believe that Guruji has embedded subliminal answers to these questions within the questions themselves. Such a shabad by Bhagat Kabir Ji is in Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, where question is the answer and answer is the question.
ਜਉ ਤੁਮ ਅਪਨੇ ਜਨ ਸੌ ਕਾਮੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
if you require any work from Your humble servant. ||1||Pause||
ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਬਡਾ ਕਿ ਜਾ ਸਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥
Is this mind greater, or the One to whom the mind is attuned?
ਰਾਮੁ ਬਡਾ ਕੈ ਰਾਮਹਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥੧॥
Is the Lord greater, or one who knows the Lord? ||1||
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਡਾ ਕਿ ਜਾਸੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥
Is Brahma greater, or the One who created Him?
ਬੇਦੁ ਬਡਾ ਕਿ ਜਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥
Are the Vedas greater, or the One from which they came? ||2||
ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਹਉ ਭਇਆ ਉਦਾਸੁ ॥
Says Kabeer, I have become depressed;
ਤੀਰਥੁ ਬਡਾ ਕਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੁ ॥੩॥੪੨॥
is the sacred shrine of pilgrimage greater, or the slave of the Lord? ||3||42||(Ang 331, Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji)
Those who have the knowledge of the grammar of Gurbani and those familiar with this style of writing will know that the questions have got the answers within them. Kabeer Ji says the one whose mind has agreed to Akal Purakh is greater. Similarly, the one who has known Akal Purakh is greater, because one might never know God exists if there are no Sants around who have found the True Creator. A great soul came on this earth in a small village Talwandi, only then it became Nankana Sahib, it never existed before Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Similarly, Sheesh Ganj in Chandni Chowk, where Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji gave Shaheedi became a pilgrimage, otherwise it was just a ordinary place. So, has that place given importance to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji or has Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji has given birth to that place? It is Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s Shaheedi that created that place.