ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: Gurmukhi jaati paati sachu soi (sggs 560).

In Gurmat — Divine Teaching or Wisdom of the Gurbani, Sri Guru Granth Sahib — there is no place for the caste system. Baabaa Nanak introduced the concept of a society with no caste distinction - Jaat Paat etc. This concept was followed through by all Sikh Gurus. Yet, the madness of belief in castes has a very strong hold in Sikhs! In one hand the propagators of the Dharma mouth platitudes about a casteless society preached by the Sikh Gurus, but on the other hand, they practice it madly. What a paradox and hypocrisy!

Per Gurmat (the wisdom of the Shabad-Guru), any one who believes in Jaat Paat cannot be a true Sikh; for the castes only relate to the body; not to the True Self (Soul, Spirit, Truth, etc.). In other words, the caste-conscious person is a material being (Manmukh) who has confounded his True Identity for the physical body. Consequently, he identifies himself and others as Jatt Sikh, Saini Sikh, Bhaapaa Sikh, Rorra Sikh, Tarkhaan or Raamgarheeaa Sikh, Mazhabee Sikh, Khatree Sikh, Lavaanaa Sikh, Kookaa Sikh, Naamdhaaree Sikh, Nihang Sikh, Nirmalay Sikh, Brahmin Sikh, list goes on and on. Now, there seems to be a new class of Sikhs called Caucasian Sikhs (Gore or white Sikhs)! Consequences of this foolishness is as follows:

  • Most Sikh marriages are organized along the caste lines. Within Sikhs, if a boy or a girl from one caste marries someone from a different caste without mutual consent of their parents, it sometimes turns into a bloody tragedy. Thus, Jatt Sikh, Saini Sikh, Bhaapaa Sikh, Rorha Sikh, Tarkhaan or Raamgarheeaa Sikh, Mazhabee Sikh, Khatree Sikh, Lavaanaa Sikh, this Sikh or that Sikh, rarely intermarry.
  • Many Gurdawaaraa are built along the caste lines. In many Sikh villages in Punjab, Mazhabees or Dalits have their own Gurdawaaraa and even separate cremation grounds. Also, even in foreign countries, many places people have separate Gurdawaaraa based on caste system and discrimination.
  • Many Gurdawaaraa committees are elected along the caste lines.
  • Many Gurdawaaraa committee members are nominated along the caste lines.
  • If a group of Sikhs identifying with one caste looses control of management of a particular Gurdawaaraa to Sikhs identifying with another caste, they split and open up another Gurdawaaraa.
  • Many Gurdawaaraa, thus, are built based on ill feelings created by the madness of belief in Jaat-Paat rather than a genuine spiritual cause.
  • Many times people make donations to particular Gurdawaaraa strictly along the caste lines; rather than a just cause.
  • Many professional Bhais and Granthees are hired or selected along the caste lines.
  • Many professional Kirtan singers are invited along the caste lines.
  • Many social contacts are based on the caste lines.
  • Political elections are contested along the caste lines (in addition to party lines).
What a false pretension! The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) roars that the madness of false pride of caste results in Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attacment, pride...). In spite of such strong warnings and consequences, majority of the Sikhs are inflicted with this grave disease of Jaat-Paat. Having said that, it should not come as a surprise to see the prevalence of sin and corruption in the society; including the so-called religious places. In this context, this Gurbani Reflection will attempt to reflect on the following.
  • Origin Of The Pride Of Caste
  • Does God, Soul, Or The Self  Has A Caste?
  • Does Caste Help After Death?
  • Manmukh (materialist) And Jaat-Paat
  • Gurmukh (spiritual being) And Jaat-Paat
  • Low And High Caste: What Does It Mean?
  • The True Caste
  • Cure From The Disease of Jaat-Paat
Origin Of The Pride Of Caste

In Indian society, the word 'Harijan' (ਹਰਿਜਨ) is used for someone belonging to the so called lower caste. Even the Indian government uses this word in connection with caste (Jaat-Paat).

But not the Gurbani. That is, according to the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan of the Gurbani), the meaning of the word 'Harijan' (ਹਰਿਜਨ) indicates the one who has Realized the Lord within.

  • ਧਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਜਿਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥: Dhanu dhanu Hari Jan Hari prabhu jaataa (sggs 96).

Those having the false pride of caste are called "fool" and "ignorant" in the Gurbani. To put it otherwise, as the Gurbani indicates, those who practice caste distinction and feel pride of their belief in Jaat-Paat are foolish and spiritually ignorant beings.

  • ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਗਰਬ ਤੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਚਾਰੇ ਵਰਨ ਆਖੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬਿੰਦ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥ ਮਾਟੀ ਏਕ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਘੜੈ ਕੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰਾ ॥੩॥ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਾ ਆਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਵਧਿ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥੪॥: Jaat kaa garab n kar moorakh gavaaraa. Is garab te chalahi bahut vikaaraa ||1||Rahaaou||...: Do not be proud of your (higher or ਉੱਚੀ) Jaati, you ignorant fool! So much Bikaar comes from this pride. ||1||Rahaaou|| Every one says there are four Varan (four social classes or caste - Brahmin, Khatri, Vaish, Shoodar - but) all emanate from God's Seed (from One Light). ||2|| As the potter shapes all sorts of vessels, similarly, so is this entire universe (shaped from One Clay of God's Light). ||3|| The five elements join together, to make up the form of the human body. Who can say which has less (elements), and which has more (elements)? ||4|| (sggs 1127-1128).

But, what is ignorance? Material or body-consciousness, which gives rise to false ego (Haume), is the ignorance so much talked about in the scriptures. Opposite of the body-consciousness is the spiritual Consciousness.  Therefore, according to the Gurbani, spiritual ignorance or mntal blindness is the root cause of this madness called Jaat-Paat or false pride of caste.

  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਮਹਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਬਿਖੜਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਭਾਰਿ ਲਦਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥੭॥: Agiaanu andheru mahaa panthu bikhraa ahankaari bhaari ladi leejai ||7|| (sggs 1326).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪੜਦਾ ਦੂਰਿ ਪਈਆਸਿ ॥: Antar agiaan dukh bharam hai parradaa doori paeeaas: There is ignorance and pain of doubt within, like a separating veil (i.e., veil of ignorance) between the man and God (sggs 40).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਗਵਾਨੁ ॥੨॥: Haumai meraa jaati hai ati krodhu abhimaan. Sabadi marai jaati jaai jotee joti milai bhagavaan||2||: Ego and self-centeredness creates separatesness (between the man and God), (because of this) excessive anger and pride (arise in people). If one dies in the Shabad, then he is rid of this (ego and self-centeredness - separateness, ਵੱਖਰਾ-ਪਨ, etc.), and his (individual) light merges into the Light of the Lord. ||2|| (sggs 429).
All living entities are under the influence of the three modes of Maya's material nature (illusion, conditioned mind, ignorance, duality, etc.). It clings to everyone except the spiritual beings. It affects mortals many ways. And one of the ways Maya snares us into its illusion or hallucination is through our false pride of caste.
  • ਆਚਾਰ ਬਿਉਹਾਰ ਬਿਆਪਤ ਇਹ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: Aachaar biouhaar biaapat ih jaati: It (Maya) impinges upon us through our charactor, occupation, and Jaati (sggs 182).
Does God, Soul, or the Self Has a Caste?

Before we seek answer to this question, let's find out if there is any relationship between God, Soul or the Self. According to the Gurbani, in reality, there is no difference between these three. They are virtually synonymous.

  • ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਆਤਮ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥੭॥: Aatam Raam Raam hai aatam Hari paaeeai Sabad veechaaraa he ||7||: The soul is God, and God is the soul; by engaging in the Shabad Vichaar, God is found ||7|| (sggs 1030).

The Gurbani declares that God has no caste. Accordingly, our Soul or the Self is also casteless. If the Spiritual Father is casteless, so are His children. Thus names, shapes, forms, castes, religions, birth, death, etc., are of the temporary material body only. One's Mool (Origin...) is free from such limitations. We are time and again reminded by the Gurbani to know this Truth we are the casteless Joti-svaroopa.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5|| (sggs 441).

Then, why so many living entities are engulfed by the razing fire of madness of false pride of caste? It is so because the mortals, due to ignorance, identify themselves with the material body instead of the Mool (Source...). A spiritually blind cannot understand this. Why? Because the casteless Infinite Consciousness that the Gurbani talks about is not the subject of unmeaning rituals, lip worship, garbs, ceremonies, mundane history, culture, outer looks, material logic, scholarship, and speculations. Only a Gurmukh — a Self-realized person — knows it.

  • ਜਾਤਿ ਅਜਾਤਿ ਅਜੋਨੀ ਸੰਭਉ ਨਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਭਰਮਾ ॥: Jaat ajaat ajonee sanbhou naa tis bhaaou na bharamaa: God is casteless; He is unborn, self-illumined, and free of doubt and attachment (sggs 597).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: Gurmukhi jaati pati sachu soi:Truth is the (higher) Jaati and and ancestary (ਉੱਚੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਤੇ ਕੁਲ) of the Gurmukh (sggs 560).
  • ਵਰਨੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਚਿਹਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ਸਭ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੧॥: Varan jaati chihanu nahee koee sabh hukme saristi upaaidaa ||1||: God has no color, Jaati and mark; by His Hukam (Command...), He creates the whole world ||1|| (sggs 1075).

The above verses of the Gurbani make it very clear that the Truth or the Lord has no Jaati. Also, the Lord has no ancestry or family. Therefore, the Self or the Soul made in His True Image is also has no Jaati. After reading this, it should not be surprising to anybody as to why Baabaa Nanak introduced the concept of a casteless society!

Does Caste Help After Death?

In the end, the body of a Gurmukh (Spiritual being) as well as a wicked person meets the death. But there is a difference in the death of both entities  a pure devotee (Gurmukh) dies in God-Consciousness and links back to the Original Source. However, to the contrary, a wicked person full of worldly nonsense dies in Spiritual blindness (or material consciousness) and suffers repeatedly.

According to Indic scriptures, death means destruction of the material body, not the Spirit Soul. Upon death of the body, the bundle of memories or energy move on to the next field of experiences. And that new experience very much depends upon one's state of being at the time of death. The state of mentality at the time of death is determined by what we practice throughout our life!

  • ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥: Jit laago manu baasanaa anti saaee pragattaanee: That Vaasnaa, to which the mind is attached, at the end, becomes manifest (sggs 242).
Physical body, caste, material status, titles, power, beauty, name, fame, and so on, do not go along one's Soul. The Gurbani compares the pride of caste with poison. Since the poison's function is to kill, whoever tastes the poison of this false pride of caste dies in Spiritual blindness, and suffers the consequences.
  • ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥: Jaanahu joti na pooshahu jaatee aagai jaat na he: Recognize God's Light (within all), and don't ask or consider Jaatee, as there is no Jaati in the world hereafter (sggs 349).
  • ਦੇਹੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਿਥੈ ਛੁਟੈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਏ ॥: Dehee jaati na aagai jaae. Jitahi lekhaa mangeeai tithai chhuttai sach kamaae: Man's body and Jaati will not go with him to the world hereafter. Where one is called to answer for his account, there, he will be emancipated only by the practice of Truth  (sggs 112).
Why is it that the body, pride of caste, etc., do not count in the world hereafter? The reason being is that these things are external, hence, not the Real Essence. The Real Essence is the Truth, Waheguru, who is the Divine Substance in all things and beings. He is all there is. Therefore, focusing on external things would be meaningless if this inside Reality is ignored.

Manmukh And Jaat-Paat

According to the Gurbani, one who believes in Jaat-Paat is a Manmukh (egotistic or material being). He is Spiritually blind; hence, without Intuitive Wisdom. His life is perplexed due to ignorance of his True Nature, which is Pure Consciousness. In such a perplexed state of mind, a materialist thinks that this world is solid or permanent. However, the inside reality is to the contrary. The only thing that is permanent is the Spirit (Infinite Consciousness) that pervades within everybody and everything.

People in material perplexities are called in the Gurbani by different names. Such names include Manmukh, Saakat (faithless cynics), Kusang (bad company), Aatam Ghaatee (self-murderer), Chor (thief), Mayadhaaree (Maya-stricken), Bimukhan (nonbeliever), Jhooth or Koorh (false or fake), nondevotee, demon, beast, idiot, fool, animal, material-being, spiritually ignorant, etc.

Thus, a Manmukh is a stubborn fanatic. Consequently, he suffers from the ailment of duality (Doojaa Bhaav), resulting in his separation from his Source, which resides in the cave of his heart. He has no Intuitive Understanding of the Shabad (Naam, Bani, Hukam or God's Will), the purpose of life, his relationship with God, and the Way of life. Due to such egotistic life, he suffers repeatedly.

  • ਅਗੈ ਨਾਉ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਇਸੀ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਖਾਤਾ ॥: Aggai naaou jaati na jaaisee Manmukhi dukhu khaataa: The name (ਵੱਡਾ ਨਾਮ) and Jaati will not go hereafter, and (consumed in these) the Manmukh suffers (sggs 514).
Gurmukh And Jaat-Paat

A Gurmukh is a Self-Realized person, completely free of the false ego-sense (Haume) and its menacing faults such as the madness of believing in Jaat-Paat. The Manmukh is the opposite of the Gurmukh.

The Gurmukh is linked to his Mool within (ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin Truth...), and ever remains so; he is contented in all situations (Sach Santokhee); he is the follower of the Truth; his mind is linked to Antar-Aatmaa; his Akal (ਅਕਲ , wisdom, intellect, reason, etc., follows the Gurbani; he restrains his mind instead of following his mind; his state is that of "ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ " - Ik Mani Ik Chiti; he is detached in the midst of Maya - ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ; he is established in Viveka-budhi - ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ; he knows all the "Way of the soul" ("ਜਾਨੈ ਆਤਮ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ", ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ, ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵਨ, ਹੁਕਮੀ ਜੀਵਨ); he is Jeevan Mukat (living Liberated or Enlightened); he is Aatam or Brahm Giaanee...

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Gurmukh houmai maareeai manu niramal hoee: Gurmukh houmai maareeai manu niramal hoee: By becoming the Gurmukh, the egotism (Haume) is killed, and (consequently) the mind becomes immaculately Pure (sggs 424).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh giaan praapat hovai timar agiaan andher chukaaiaa: O Nanak, the spiritual wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is attained by becoming the Gurmukh, and the pitch-black darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥: Gurmukhi jaati pati Naame vadiaaee: In Naam is "Jaati Pati" and honor of who has become the Gurmukh (sggs 230).
  • ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਭਗਤ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਣੇ ਰਾਮ ॥: Hari Bhagtaa kee jaati patii hai bhagat hari kai naami smaane Raam: "Jaati Pati" of the Lord's Bhagat is His Naam. Bhagat remain merged in the Hari Naam (sggs 768).
  • ਹਮਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਉ ॥: Hamree jaati pati sachu naaou: (O Lord) The True Name is my "Jaati Pati" (sggs 353).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰੀ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪਰਵਾਰੈ ॥: Naamu jaati Naamu meree pati hai Naamu merai parvaarai: Naam is my "Jaati", Naam is my "Pati", and Naam is my family (sggs 713).

Thus, the one who has become a Gurmukh (a Self-realized person) is beyond any mundane Jaati and related false pride. Because of his pure love and devotion the Lord's Naam (Aaatam Giaan...), he depends only on the Lord's Naam. For that, the Lord's Naam is his Jaati, honor, glory, family, etc. Low And High Caste: What Does It Mean?

It's not the family of birth, material wealth, name, fame, power, education, knowledge, external religion, titles, etc., that makes one low or high. Who is low and high depends solely on how one lives his life. For example, by merely taking birth in a so called Sikh or a Brahmin family, one does not become a Sikh or a Brahmin. If both of them act in material consciousness (Maya), they are not any better than a so called Shoodra (low caste beings). In fact, according to the Gurbani, one does not even become qualified to be called human being just because he is born in a human form, what to speak of low and high caste heredity!

  • ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਬ ਕੇ ਹੋਏ ॥ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਮਤ ਖੋਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥੪॥੭॥: Garabh vaas mahi kulu nahee jaatee || Braham bind te sabh outapaatee ||1|| Kahu re pandit baaman kab ke hoye || Baaman kahi kahi janam mat khoye ||1|| rahaao || Jau toon braahaman brahamanee jaaiaa || taou aan baat kaahe nahee aaiaa ||2|| Tum kat braahaman ham kat sood || Ham kat lohoo tum kat doodh ||3|| kahu Kabeer jo braham beechaarai || So braahaman kaheeath hai hamaarai ||4||7||: In the dwelling of the womb, no lineage is known. (One) Brahm is the Source of all ||1|| Tell me, O Pandit: since when have you been a Brahmin? Don't waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin. ||1||Pause|| (O Pandit!) If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn't you come by some other way? ||2|| (O Pandit!) How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low caste? Is it that I have blood (in my veins), and you have milk (in your veins)? ||3|| Says Kabeer, one who contemplates the Brahm, is said to be a Brahmin among us. ||4||7|| (sggs 324).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale: Binu boojhai pasu bhaye betaale ||6||: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
In the Gurbani, a Spiritually blind person is defined as a "low caste" or a low class wandering person, who is bewildered by the dualistic principle of the material nature. The intellect and other faculties of such person are characteristically confined to gross matter and concerns of materiality. The Gurbani compares such person with the worm of ordure. Such Spiritually blind individual is so very much attached to the world and its objects that he has no time or longing to practice true love for his Pure Self. In all sincerity, God's Name has no appeal to him. Thus, he is a first class hypocrite.
  • ਅੰਧੁਲਾ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ ਖਿਨੁ ਆਵੈ ਤਿਲੁ ਜਾਵੈ ॥: Andhula neech jaat paradesee khin aavai til jaavai: The spiritually blind, the low Jaati , keeps wandering, comes for a moment, and departs in an instant (sggs 731).
According to the Gurbani, a Gurmukh (Spiritually wise...) is the the best among all. He has the Pure Intellect and capacity to comprehend the Source of the universe. He is the True Being, the knower of the Divine. His perception is through intuition. Such Gurmukh or a true Sikh is the Self-realized or God-intoxicated person. Except for the Waheguru, he knows that everything else is of impermanent nature.
  • ਮੇਟੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੂਏ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥: Metee jaat hooe darabaar: Effacing my Jaati (through Bhagti), I have become the Lord's courtier (ਸਦਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਦਰ ਤੇ ਰਹਿਣ ਵਾਲਾ) (sggs 875).
A person who is spiritually so elevated is wisdom-guided; for he lives in Shabad-Surti (Unconditioned Consciousness). He sees God within and without. Such individual expresses God through his God-guided intelligence, discriminative thoughts (Bibek-Budhi)...

The True Caste

The preceding discussion reflects as to what constitutes a low class and a high class being. With the help of this understanding, we can try to know the real nature of a "true caste" or true class. It is not the family caste, social status, or the ancestry that gives a person the status of Supreme Dignity. It is the Unconditioned Consciousness — Shabad-Surti (Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi...) — that determines the true status of a person. Simply put: A person immersed in Divine Name (Aatam-Giaani...) is of High Class; to the contrary, a person immersed in material consciousness or Mayaic efforts is of a low class.

  • ਜਾਤਿ ਅਜਾਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਿਨ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਤਿਨ ਪਰਮ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Jaati ajaati Naamu jin dhiaaiaa tin param padaarathu paaiaa: Of high caste, or low one, whosoever meditate on the Naam, he obtains the Supreme Padaarath (sggs 574).
  • ਬਸਤਾ ਤੂਟੀ ਝੁੰਪੜੀ ਚੀਰ ਸਭਿ ਛਿੰਨਾ ॥ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਪਤਿ ਨ ਆਦਰੋ ਉਦਿਆਨ ਭ੍ਰਮਿੰਨਾ ॥ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਨ ਇਠ ਧਨ ਰੂਪਹੀਣ ਕਿਛੁ ਸਾਕੁ ਨ ਸਿੰਨਾ ॥ ਰਾਜਾ ਸਗਲੀ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਮਨੁ ਭਿੰਨਾ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਧੂੜਿ ਮਨੁ ਉਧਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਹੋਇ ਸੁਪ੍ਰਸੰਨਾ ॥੭॥: Basataa tootee jhumaparee cheer sabh chhinna. Jaati na pati na aadro ...: (One may) dwell in a broken-down shack, in tattered clothes, with no (high) Jaati, no honor and no respect; and wanders in the wilderness. (One may be) With no friend or beloved, no wealth, no beauty, no relatives or relations. Even so, he is the king of the whole world, if his mind is imbued with the Divine Name (Giaan..). With the dust of his feet, men are redeemed, because the Lord is very pleased with him ||7|| (sggs 707).

The Gurbani teaches us that there were no castes or social classes, no religious robes, etc., before the rise of the material world (Maya or conditioned consciousness). The so-called four castes — the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shoodras or Dalits — came into being afterwards. Like the Gurbani, no where in Vedic literature has it been stated that one is born Brahmin or Kshatriya or Vheshya or Shoodra or Dalit. So called four castes are nothing more than four general divisions which totally depended on quality of the person. Therefore, had nothing to do with the castes, race, creed, and skin-color as these are understood today. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, the real meaning of this diversity has been lost. 

In spite of the fact that no true scripture or spiritual teacher supports the caste system, there is a rigid caste system among the Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jain, and so on. For instance, in their villages, Shudras or Dalits are not even allowed to draw water from wells used by so-called upper castes, or enter the temples managed by the upper caste. What a shameful hypocrisy!

What went wrong? The weakness of our religions is that their propagators do not practice what they preach. As a result, what has remained of the great teachings of the Masters and the scriptures is the unmeaning rituals, lip worship, showoff spirituality, religious robes, dogmas, and so on. People indulge in so-called religious activities but hardly ever bother to better themselves, mend their own ways, change their own mentality or know "Who I am?". Consequently, the man is unable to embrace all mankind as one so preached in the scriptures.

Due to this stupidity of the propagators of religions, many people become converts, particularly those deprived, discriminated against and destitute tribal and the so called lower castes. It's equally shameful for other religions to manipulate and exploit such people by converting them into their respective religion for ulterior purposes. Is this the solution? No. Because, by converting others, all they are doing is magnifying the problem by creating more divisions, differences, discrimination, fanaticism, and hatred in the world. At the present, all organized religions are inflicted with error. In the words of a great one, "But religion is not always purely known — and even less often purely practiced — which gives rise to differences."

Tulsidaas says: "At the touch of the philosopher's stone, metals become gold. Likewise all castes, even the butcher and the untouchable, become pure by repeating the Divine Name. Without the Name the people of the four castes are but butchers."

Hence, to classify or identify a person with certain caste based on his heredity or family of birth is shear ignorance. The quality of the Jeeva (individual being) depends on one's attributes and actions. In other words, one's quality is determined by how he responds to the three modes of the material nature, not by heredity, race, caste, color, or some other nonsense notions.

As indicated in the Gurbani, all are equal in respect to the Spiritual Teachings. Therefore, the one who has become the Gurmukh, meditates on the Divine Name (Aatam Giaan...), and attains liberation while living in the body and obtains the Supreme Status. Other mundane qualifications do not matter a bit.

  • ਅਗੀ ਪਾਲਾ ਕਿ ਕਰੇ ਸੂਰਜ ਕੇਹੀ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਚੰਦ ਅਨੇਰਾ ਕਿ ਕਰੇ ਪਉਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਧਰਤੀ ਚੀਜੀ ਕਿ ਕਰੇ ਜਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਪਤਿ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਪਤਿ ਰਖੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੨॥: Agee paalaa ki kare sooraj kehee raat ...: What can the cold do to the fire? How can the night affect the sun? What can the darkness do to the moon? What can Jaati do to air and water? What are possessions to the earth, from which all things are produced? O Nanak, he alone is known as honorable, whose honor the Lord preserves (so, pursue for such honor) ||2|| (sggs 150).
The Gurbani lists many Enlightened Beings who came from the so-called "low caste" families, but through the Divine Name (Giaan...), they all attained the Supreme Status. For example, Naamdeva, a calico-printer of little material worth, became worthy of Praise; Kabeer was of weaver caste, but by cherishing the Divine Love, he became the Treasure of Virtue. Ravidas, the cobbler, who carted the dead animals, abandoned the love of Maya; and became renowned; Sain, the barber, who was engaged in doing odd little things, became known when he enshrined the Transcendent Consciousness in the Mind; Dhanna, the farmer, also became dedicated to the God's Way, and he was ushered into the Divine Presence within; Bidura, the son of a maid-servant, became realized through the Name; Baalmeek became a sage; the list goes on and on.
  • ਓਛੀ ਮਤਿ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੁਲਾਹਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਲਹਿਓ ਮੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥੩॥: Oshee mat meree jaati julaaha. Hari kaa naamu lahio mai laahaa ||3||: Says Kabeer: mean is my understanding and I am a weaver by caste. I have reaped the profit of the God's Name (Giaan...) ||3|| (sggs 524).
  • ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਤਿਆ ਉਤਮ ਪਦਵੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਬਿਦਰ ਦਾਸੀ ਸੁਤੈ ਕਿਸਨੁ ਉਤਰਿਆ ਘਰਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਜਾਇ ॥: Neech jaati hari japatiaa outam padvee paai. Pooshahu bidar daasee suttai kisanu utariaa ghari jis jaai: Even of lower Jaati, by meditating on the Divine Name (Giaan...), one obtains the state of highest dignity (ਆਤਮਕ ਦਰਜਾ). (If it is hard to believe) Go and ask about Bidar, the son of a maid; Krishna himself stayed in his house (sggs 733).
  • ਰੇ ਚਿਤ ਚੇਤਿ ਚੇਤ ਅਚੇਤ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਨ ਬਾਲਮੀਕਹਿ ਦੇਖ ॥: Re chit chet icheti achet. Kaahe na Baalmeekahi dekh: Be conscious, be conscious, be conscious, O my unconscious mind. Why do you not look at Baalmeek? (sggs 1124).
Cure From The Disease of Jaat-Paat

In the mother's womb, no one knows one's caste. It is from the Seed (Shabad) of the same One Divine that the whole Creation comes into being. True is the One; and no one is separate from this Infinite Consciousness. He is here and now. His form is One, but manifestations are many. That casteless Essence abides within the body of each and every one of us as the Pure Self. Therefore, the one who calls himself a high caste loses the Merit of his human birth.

  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Jo deesai so taeraa roop: Whatever is seen, O God, is Your form (sggs724).
  • ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿਆਪਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਸੋਈ ॥... ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥... ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥: Ek anek biaapak poorak jatt dekho tatt soee ... Sabh Gobind hai sabh Gobind hai Gobind bin nahee koyee ... Ghat ghat antari sarab niranti keval ek muraaree: In the one and in the many, God is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is ... God is everything, God is everything; without God, there is nothing at all ... In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One God (sggs 485).

Thus, we know from the Gurbani that we are made in the True Image of One God. Still, we behave to the contrary. Why? Because our false ego-sense or pride stands in the way as a formidable wall. Contrary to this, those who are free of egoism, for them the One Truth is the easiest thing to know! They live in it, "here" and "now".

Therefore, one cannot know the Truth if his actions are egotistical. In other words, it is impossible to know the Truth by constantly feeding the fire ego (Haume). Therefore, the Gurbani teaches us that, in order to know the Truth, one has to starve the false ego (Haumai). Unfortunately, instead of starving it, most of us continually feed it!

The deluded mind creates divisions. Consequently, the ignorant mind is the greatest enemy of an egotistical person. To the contrary, the same mind is the best friend of a person who has eradicated his false ego from within. Accordingly, to realize the Mool (Source...), the deluded mind needs to be dissolved. As long as there is this contending mind, one will be controlled by the ego. How can one free himself from all these road blocks in the Way to realize Truth? One thing is for sure: The outer looks, mere focus on mundane culture and history, empty rituals, and all superficial and shallow practices compared to the Real Essence will not do the trick! If anything, such egotistical practices will sink one more and more and more into "darkness".

The Gurbani provides us with the sure cure and remedy. It teaches us as to how one can turn the "inverse lotus" upwards, and awaken the inner Light and see the All-pure in all. As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, the key is in becoming Spiritual Being (the Gurmukh).

  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਹਰੀ ॥: Hari Hari karat jaati kul hari: Uttering God's Name, (one's false pride of) Jaati and lineage are effaced (sggs 874).
  • ਨਾ ਮੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਨਾ ਮੈ ਥੇਹੁ ਨ ਥਾਉ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਕਟਿਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਆ ਸਮਝਾਇ ॥੨॥: Naa mai jaati na pati hai naa mai thehu na thaaou. Sabadi bhedi bhramu katiaa Gur Naamu deeaa samjhaai: I have no Jaati or honor; I have no place or home. Pierced through by the Shabad (-Vichaar, Aatam-Giaan...) my doubts have been cut away. The Guru has inspired me to understand the Naam (Giaan...). (sggs 994).
  • ਹਰਿ ਭਇਓ ਖਾਂਡੁ ਰੇਤੁ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਖਰਿਓ ਹਸਤੰ​‍ੀ ਚੁਨਿਓ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਮੀਰ ਕੁਲ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਾਂਤਿ ਤਜਿ ਚੀਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਚੁਨਿ ਖਾਈ ॥੨॥੩॥੧੨॥: Hari bhaio khand ret mahi bikhrio hasatnee chunio n jaayee. Kahi Kabeer ...: The Lord is like sugar, mixed with the sand; the elephant cannot pick it up. (But) an ant can separete sugar from the sand and eat it; (similarly) says Kabeer, (one can meet the Lord by) giving up (false pride of) ancestry, Jaat (caste), and (honor of) family or dynasty (ਖਾਨਦਾਨ) ||2||3||12||(sggs 972).
Those turned God wards belong to the caste of the True God; for they abide in their True Nature, their bosom-friend.  Accordingly, the Gurbani teaches us to ever abide in the Divine Name (Divine Knowledge, Giaan...).
  • ਆਚਾਰ ਬਿਉਹਾਰ ਜਾਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨੀਆ ॥: Aachaar biouhaar jaati hari guneeaa: The Lord's Praise is my good conduct, occupation and Jaati (sggs 715).
The madness of cast distinction can be eliminated by the true love of the Lord; for the Lord's true lovers are ever casteless! By removing the "dirt" of hatred, desires and fear from our heart. The Gurbani declares that loving Bhagti is the only essential thing. That is to say, one attains Divine love by constantly keeping the Divine Name (Giaan...); which purifies the Inner Shrine of the Heart within. We cannot see our reflection in a dirty water. However, once the dirt is removed from water by a purifying agent, one sees his reflection in it! The Divine Name (Giaan...) is the purifying agent!

God is one, but He is known by many names. Therefore, what is to be remembered is that there is only one God, and that He dwells within all, equally. If this simple truth is realized, then the entire humanity will become a one family of single race and caste!

  • ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਰਾਫਜੀ ਇਮਾਮ ਸਾਫੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਿਚਾਨਬੋ ॥: Hindoo Turak kooo Raaphjee Imaam Saaphee maanas kee jaat sabhai ekai pahchaanvo: Someone is Hindu and someone a Muslim, then someone is Shia, and someone a Sunni. Recognize all mankind as one (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Dasam Granth 51).

— T. Singh

Updated on Saturday, August 24, 2013 9:11 PM (PST)

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