According to the Gurbani, belief in caste (Jaat-Paat) is a sheer madness of the crazy mind! Notwithstanding, many who identify themselves as Sikhs, fanatically practice Jaat-Paat! What a travesty of truth (ਸਚ) and Dharma!
Those who thus oppose the Teaching of the Gur-Shabad by considering themselves of higher caste (or superior, etc.) and others of low caste (or inferior, etc.), do they think that the color of their blood is white instead of red…?
Bhagat Kabeer Sahib posed the similar question to Brahmins/Pandits who considered themselves of higher caste and Kabeer Sahib of a lower caste.
- ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥: Ham kat lohu… ||3||: (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).
In the same breath, Bhagat Kabeer Sahib posed an another question to Brahmins/Pandits who considered themselves of higher caste and Kabeer Sahib of a lower caste.
Caution: The Gurbani here uses a very strong language to hammer the truth into our sick minds:
- ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥: (O Pandit!) If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| (sggs 324).
The Gurbani is also posing the same question to its Sikhs who practice Jaat-Paat. That is, if you think you are of a higher caste, “then why didn’t you come out of the womb by some other way?”
The Gurbani reminds us that nobody knows his or her “Kul” (lineage) in the womb! The Gurbani tells us that the One Brahm – the Source of all – has no particular lineage or social class!
- ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥: In the dwelling of the womb, no lineage is known. (One) Brahm is the Source of all (sggs 324).
- ਨਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਓਪਤਿ ਖਪਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਜਾਤੀ ਓਹੁ ਅਜਰਾਵਰੁ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਇਆ ॥੨॥; (sggs 1038).
In other words, Aatmaa (Soul) is “Abaran” (casteless, classless, etc.). This is why Aatmaa (Soul) loves all regardless of “Baran” (caste, class…). In nutshell, the mind that believes in low and high caste speaks in egotism (Haumai).
- ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਸਿਉ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ॥: (Those people whose) mind loves to know the high and low social class (caste…), (they) always speak in egotism (sggs 1162).
The Gurbani wants us to become the Gurmukh (one who understands the Gur-Shabad and lives it, a Mool-realized person, ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ…). For the one who has become a Gurmukh is beyond such madness!
- ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨ ਕੁਲ ਸਹਸਾ ਚੂਕਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: ||1||: Doubt about Jaati, Varan, and Kul (caste, social class, lineage…) is eliminated by the Gurmat (following the Teaching of the Gurbani) through the Shabad-Vichaar ||1|| (sggs 1198).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥: Gurmukhi jaati pati Naame vadiaaee (sggs 230).
There is a beautiful example given in the Gurbani as to how we can eradicate this madness of belief in low or high caste, low or high social class, low or high lineage, etc. (Jaat-Paat…). It goes like this:
- ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਦੀ ਪੀਰਤਨੁ ਹਰੈ ਚੂਨ ਚਿਹਨੁ ਨ ਰਹਾਇ ॥ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਇਹ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਉ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨੁ ਕੁਲੁ ਜਾਇ ॥੫੭॥ (sggs 1367).
Let’s try to digest the foregoing Salok. The turmeric (ਹਲਦੀ) is yellow in color, and the lime (ਚੂਨਾ) is white. Upon mixing the turmeric and the lime together, yellowness of the turmeric and whiteness of the lime disappear. Similarly, through the Loving Bhagti (Love of the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Aatm-Giaan…) when one is linked to his Mool (Source, Jot…), within, he loses all his body-consciousness of caste, social class, lineage, etc. (Jaat-Paat…).
Seen thusly, it’s not one’s family of birth, material wealth, name, fame, power, education, knowledge, external religion, titles, etc., that makes one low or high. Who is of low and high caste or social status depends solely on how one lives his life. According to the Gurbani, the real outcaste (ਨੀਚ, Shoodar…) is the one who is devoid of the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Gur-Giaan, Wisdom or Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani…).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਵੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਸਨਾਤਿ ॥੪॥੩॥: O Nanak, without Naam, (Jeev) are wretched outcasts (ਨੀਚ, low…). ||4||3|| (sggs 10).
Mool-realization (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਮਿਲਾਪ: the purpose of human life) has nothing to do with a high or low caste! Therefore, the Gurbani commands us to turn away (“ਉਲਟਿ”) from such Mayaic body-consciousness (which is false, corrupt, faulty…). By eradicating the false pride of Jaat-Paat, the Gurbani asks us to become the “Sevak” (serve by becoming the Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat, etc., as taught by the Gurbani).
- ਉਲਟਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਦੋਊ ਬਿਸਾਰੀ ॥: Oulati jaati kul do-oo bisaaree (sggs 1158).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲੀਨੁ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਹਹੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Jaati kuleenu sevak je hoi… (sggs 1256).
Simply put: Caste, social class, lineage, etc., of a Sikh is none other then the Gur-Upadesh (Teaching of the Gurbani). Nothing else can stabilize the foolish mind.
- ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਘਾਮ ਨਹੀ ਛਾਮ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਾਮ ॥: (That person who understands “He is me, I am Him”) is not affected by either high or low social class, sunshine or shade (i.e., duality). (But this Spiritual State) is obtained or Realized by taking the Sanctuary of the Gur-Giaan ( i.e., by the Grace of the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad), and nowhere else (i.e., by no other means). (sggs 1162).
The Gurbani’s ultimate Instruction (ਮੁਕਦੀ ਗੱਲ) to its learners (i.e., Sikhs) is: We all are the children of the One Lord! That is, all Jeeva are equal.
- ਕਬੀਰ ਕੋ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਭ ਸਮਾਨ ॥੩॥੧॥: All are equal to the Kabeer’s Suaamee (Mool…). ||3||1|| (sggs 1193).