SHUNNING BIGOTRY IS MUST

You do not care for others, you are a religious fanatic,
and so your life is of no account at all (sggs 483).
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Each human being has a freedom of choice, to either be beastly or godly. Caused by unspiritual civilization, bigotry or fanaticism is beastly. It is a phase of man's unripe ego-sense, the Haume. Indeed,  it is disgusting to any sober-minded people.

As defined in the English dictionary, the word bigot means as follows: "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices". Therefore, bigotry is simply "the state of mind of a bigot or acts or beliefs characteristic of a bigot". The term bigot is also synonymous to "fanatic, fiend, freak, maniac, nut, zealot, bug".

Let alone the scriptures, even this dictionary meaning of the term "bigotry" leaves no shred of doubt as to how despicable is the life of a bigot or a fanatic! Why is it so? Here is the Gurbani's diagnosis — bigots are unaware of God's Presence within; they do not care for others; they are religious fanatics or zealots; and so their lives are worthless.

  • ਕਾਜੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਏਕੁ ਤੋਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਤੇਰਾ ਸੋਚਿ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ਨ ਦੇਖੈ ॥ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਕਰਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਬਉਰੇ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਲੇਖੈ ॥ : Kaajee saahib ek tohee mahi teraa soch bichaar na dekhai. Khabar na karahi deen kay baouray taa tay janam alekhai: O Qazi, the same One God is within you, but you do not behold Him by thought or contemplation. You do not care for others, you are a religious fanatic, and so your life is of no account at all (sggs 483).

Bigots "Do Not Care For Others".

The reason bigots do not care for others is that bigotry lacks Inner Love, vision of Oneness or true understanding. There are so many people who do not care for those who do not belong to their particular religion, creed, caste, race, social class, country, state, region, language, and so on. In fact bigots do not even care for themselves! If they did, they would be much more loving!

It is the habit mind that makes people behave this way. Man's instinctive mind is a bundle of habits and negative emotions such as material lust, fear, anger, enviousness, greed, attachment, selfishness, self-conceit, deception etc. The power of such habits is very strong in one's life in that these habits, in turn, form tendencies, moods, desires and fears. Early habits formed in the childhood create significant influence on one's growing up. Other factors that influence shaping our habits include environment and company we keep.

Simply put, bigotry is an another dimension of the conditioned mind, which is slave to routine, wont or customs. Once mind becomes accustomed to a habit, it then likes to go on doing it. Eventually, habits become like "grooves" in which actions run, like a locomotive. More a habit is indulged in, it becomes much easier for the mind to run in that familiar groove. After more repetitions, it begins to enjoy it. After that, the mind never wants to leave these beaten grooves or path.

  • ਜਿਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਸਰਮਿੰਦਾ ਇਹਾ ਕਮਾਨੀ ਰੀਤਿ ॥: Jih karnee hovahi sarmindaa ih kamaanee reeti: You have made it your habit to practice those deeds which will bring you shame (sggs 673).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਇਓ ਮੋਟੀ ਲਾਗੀ ਖੋਰਿ ॥: Kabeer Raam na dhiyaayiyo motee laagee khor: Kabeer, I have not meditated on the Lord; such is the bad habit I have developed (sggs 1368).

To care for others is to selflessly Love others. To Love others simply constitutes true understanding and the vision which is all-inclusive. Ordinary human love is hollow as well as hypocrisy. In reality, a finite entity can neither love nor it can be loved! It is so because the finite object of love decay every second, and man's mind changes every moment!

So there cannot be a real Love but in the Divine Self. The practical implication is this: if we want to practice true Love, we must see God in people, and Love them as God! This is the Gurbani's edict. We cannot conceive of any higher happiness and joy then this.

This is why the Gurbani (and many other scriptures) never gets tired of telling us the essence of God is Love. If we cannot practice Universal Love, we cannot understand God. Love is the Word. It's Divine. It's the heart of the Pure Mind. It conquers all. It melts away the negative forces. It removes barriers; for it's the Source of understanding. It's the Inner Self. It's the trust and total surrender (of egoism or false-self) to the Higher Being. It's seeing the same One God in all — vision which is All-inclusive. All of this is beyond apprehension of a bigot. Accordingly, as declared in the Gurbani, bigots "do not care for others"!

  • ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਨੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਅਨਭਉ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਦਰਸੈ ॥ ਲੋਹਾ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਹਿਰਨ ਹੋਇ ਕੈਸੇ ਜਉ ਪਾਰਸਹਿ ਨ ਪਰਸੈ ॥੧॥ ਦੇਵ ਸੰਸੈ ਗਾਂਠਿ ਨ ਛੂਟੈ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਇਨ ਪੰਚਹੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਲੂਟੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Parheeai guneeai naam sabh suneeai anabhaou bhaaou n darsai. Lohaa kanchan hiran hoi kaisae jaou paarasahi n parasai ||1|| Dev sansai gaanth n shootai. Kaam krodhh Maya mada matasar in panchahu mil loote ||1|| Rahaaou || (sggs 973-974).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਜਗਤੁ ਪਰਬੋਧਦਾ ਨਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Doojai bhaai jagat parabodhadaa naa boojhai beechaar: In the love of duality, they try to teach the world, but they do not understand themslves (sggs 86).
  • ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ॥: Jinaa andar koorr varatai sach na bhaavee (sggs 646).

Like charity, Love also begins at Home. First, we must learn to Love the Self within. Second, we need learning Love our spouses, children, parents, etc., without attachment or bondage. Then we must go out and encompass the entire universe, without expecting anything in return. The Self in me is the Self in all is the underlying message of all world scriptures.

  • ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਵਸੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੋ ਸੋਇ ॥ : Sabh mahi vasai prabh eko soi: One God abides within all (sggs 663).

Bigots "Are A Religious Fanatic"

Those with angry mind practice superficial religion of hypocrisy, reactionary spirituality and fanaticism. Narrow-minded zeal for one's creed or group renders one unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters, and unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights. To put it otherwise, limited vision makes one unable to endure.

It is the ignorance or non-understanding that begets fanaticism. In other words, a fanatic (i.e. bigot) is the most ignorant person in the world; for the sun of his soul is covered over with clouds of ignorance. Misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the spiritual texts is alone responsible for bigotry, persecution, lies, mischievous doctrines, creeds, intolerance, hatred, cruelty, differences, conflicts, wars, deceptions, frauds, trickery and corruption in the world. It should come as of no surprise why the world is full of fanatics and liars!

  • ਖੁਦੀ ਬਕੀਲੀ ਤਕੱਬਰੀ ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣ ਕਰੇਨ ਧਿਙਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੱਚ ਕਿਨਾਰੇ ਰਹਿ ਗਯਾ ਖਹਿ ਮਰਦੇ ਬਾਮਣ ਮਉਲਾਣੇ ॥ ਸਿਰੋਂ ਨ ਮਿਟੇ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣੇ ॥: Khudee bakeelee takaabaree khinchotaan karen dhinnaane. Sach kinaare rahi gayaa khahi marade baaman moulaane. Siron na mite aavan jaane: The members of both religions are selfish, jealous, proud, bigoted and violent. Truth remains hidden from both; the brahmins and maulvis kill one another by their animosities. Neither sect will find liberation from transmigration (Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Vaar 1).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).

Dogmatic fanaticism makes Love die in meaningless sentimentalism. Consequently, bigotry only tears people apart and takes them farther away from Truth. The essence of the Gurbani (and other true scriptures for that matter) is that every being is divine, is God. So it is the duty of every being to treat, think of, and behave to other beings as such, i.e. God, and not to hate or hurt them by any manner or means.

  • ਕਰਿ ਪੂਜੈ ਸਗਲ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ॥: Kar poojai sagal paarbarahm: (The true devotee) performs devotion as everything is God (sggs 274).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Bin preetee bhagti n hovayee bin shabde thaai n paai: Without love, no Devotion is possible; and without Shabad or Naam, no one finds acceptance (sggs 67).

But in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. For example, on account of dogmatic fanaticism, it's all right for a Muslim to pray keeping in mind Mecca and the black stone in it. But if someone else prays keeping a different image in the mind then he is an infidel or "Kafir"! A Christian may think it's all right to pray keeping Jesus and image of the shape of the church in mind. But if someone else prays keeping "Waheguru", "Raam", "Hari", "Gobind", etc. in mind , then he is a "nonbeliever" or "devil"! It is equally embarrassing for the rest of us (Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhist, Jains, etc.) as well. This is the state of fall, wherein one's mind is bent upon ignorance born bigotry. Please note the intent here is not to criticize anybody, but simply to depict the reality.

  • ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਕਹੁ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਕਹੀਐ ਸਗਲੇ ਜੀਅ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Buraa bhalaa kahu kis no keheeai sagale jeea tumhaare ||1||Rahaaou||: Tell me, who should I call good or bad, since all beings are Yours? ||1||Pause||(sggs 383).

Believing and realizing are two different things. We can believe in anything we like. What the important thing is what we have realized. In other words, it will do nothing to us believing in Nanak, Raam, Jesus, Muhhamad, Buddha, Mosses, Krishna, etc. unless we ourselves become Nanak-like, Raam-like, Jesus-like, Muhammad-like, Buddha-like, Mosses-like, Krishna-like, and so on! This is the edict of the Gurbani, to Be.

  • ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਰਲਿ ਏਕੋ ਹੋਏ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਜੀਉ ॥: Har jan prabh ral eko hoye har jan prabh ek samaan jeeou: God's servants meet with God and merge into That Oneness. God's servant and God are one and the same (sggs 447).

Bigot's "Life Is Of No Account At All"

Shunning bigotry is essential because, as declared here in the Gurbani, a bigot's "life is of no account at all." Bigotry makes one abandon Truth and cling to falsehood — Maya or illusion, material cleverness, misunderstanding, false ego-consciousness or "I-am-ness", absence of true meditation on God within, etc. Bigots live for themselves. They are selfish; thus misappropriate everything in the world. They believe the world and everything in it is permanent. Such faulty thinking gives rise to sense-slavery and mental blindness.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂੜ੍‍ ਜਲਤ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਦੁਖਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਈ ॥: Manmukh moorrh jalat ahankaaree houmai vich dukh paaee. Aavat jaat birathaa janam gavaaiaa dukh laagai pashutaaee: The foolish Manmukh (ego-being) burns in the fire of egotistical pride; he suffers painfully in egotism. In repeated suffering, he wastes his life uselessly; afflicted with pain, he regrets and repents in the end (sggs 1265).
  • ਸਾਚ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਝੂਠਹ ਲਾਗਿਓ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਕਾਰਥੁ ਖੋਇਓ ॥ : Saach shaad kai jhoothah laagio janam akaarath khoio:  Abandoning Truth, man clings to falsehood; uselessly wasting away his life (sggs 633).
  • ਜਨਮੁ ਬ੍ਰਿਥਾ ਜਾਤ ਰੰਗਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ॥: Janam brithaa jaat rang Maya kai: Man squanders his life uselessly in the love of Maya — illusion, ignorance, bondage, unripe ego, etc. (sggs 12).

Being a person of false knowledge, a bigot lacks Love, affection, compassion, humility, conviction, real understanding, the vision of Oneness and earnest desire to know the Truth. The crux of the matter is this: if one is possessed by bigotry or fanaticism springing from false knowledge, such a person would be unable to awaken full Divine Grace or realize his Natural State of Being (Sahaj Avasthaa, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ...) within.

  • ਹਮ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਗਿਆਨਹੀਨ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਿਉ ਚਾਲਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਥਾ॥ : Ham andhule giaanaheen agiaanee kiou chaalah maarag panthaa: I am (mentally) blind, ignorant and without knowledge; how can I walk on the right Path? (sggs 696).

Being blinded by reactionary spirituality, a bigot does not see God's Beauty in everything created. Generally, Bhakti or devotion is considered mere chanting of God's Name or concerted meditation on Him or practicing non-attachment. Although these are essential components of devotion, but the basic premise is shunning bigotry. Thus all components or rungs of devotion must lead one to shunning bigotry and attaining the vision of Oneness. If you try to thrust a basketball into a small bottle, you would not be able to do so no matter how hard you try; however no effort is required to dip a bucket into a well of water. Here world is the metaphor for Oneness and the bucket for individual being (Jeeva). In nutshell, spirituality is none other than to recognize "Oneness" of all beings, and thus seeing Unity in diversity. The basic truth that is to be recognized is that there is only one "Self" in all.

  • ਇਕਸੁ ਤੇ ਹੋਇਓ ਅਨੰਤਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਏ ਜੀਉ ॥: Ikas te hoio anantaa Nanak ekas maahi samaaye jeeou: From Oneness, He has brought forth the countless multitudes. O Nanak, they will merge into the same One once again (sggs 131).
  • ਪੂਰਨ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਏਕੁ ॥: Pooran poor rhiaa prabh ek: The Perfect One God pervades all (sggs 89).

Breeding fanaticism bars further progress, Spiritual and earthly. Therefore, one's undivided loyalty to his religion or mode of worship should not lead to intolerance of those who worship differently because all are different forms of the same Reality. Bigotry or dogmatic fanaticism has been the bane of religion in practice leading to communal hatred, sectarian strife and violence in society, which retards progress.

The Gurbani indicates it is necessary then to first understand this pitfall a seeker should avoid; otherwise the whole exercise of adopting the spiritual path will become counterproductive. Accordingly, the scriptures ask us to adopt the conduct and behavior free of narrow-mindedness, enmity or quarrel with anyone. This involves broadening one's vision to look upon the entire creation as the manifestation of One God — the sense of Oneness. Once we see one God in all beings, bigotry and cruelty disappear.

  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).
  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥ : Naa ko bairee nahee bigaanaa sagal sang ham kayu ban aaee: No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me. I get along with everyone (sggs 1299).
  • ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥: Ghat ghat antari sarab niranti keval ek muraaree: In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One God (sggs 485).

How can we attain such pure understanding? According to the Gurbani, the unsullied Spiritual Wisdom arises within when one becomes "cool-minded". To become cool-headed is simply to silence the mouse of false ego-sense scurrying around within — realization of True Nature, Sahaj, Gurmukhtaa, total mind-control, Intuitive Peace, Spiritual Silence ("Sunn"), and so on.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਭਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Kabeer man seetal bhaiaa paaiaa brham giaan: Says Kabeer, when you become cool-minded; you attain Self-knowledge — God-conscious (sggs 1373).
  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Mani jeetai jagu jeet: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 6). 

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org