Gurbani Teaches That Speaking Truth Is Not Slandering

We learn from the Gurbani that if we speak the truth (ਸਚ-Sach) about something or somebody, then it is not slandering (ਨਿੰਦਾ-Nindaa) or condemnation of it.

That is, to call something as it is (i.e., true or ਸਚ-Sach) is not slandering. In other words, to call truth (ਸਚ-Sach) as truth (ਸਚ-Sach) is not slandering the truth. It is Fearlessness as taught by the Gurbani. It is simply being factual.

To put it in a simple Punjabi: ਸਚ ਨੂੰ ਸਚ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ.

The Gurbani is filled with examples in this context. However we cannot quote all of theme here from a space point of view. Let’s consider few as follows:

When Baabaa Nanak calls the Pujaaree-Group (priests, Pandits…) liers, fool, ignorant, Satan, bewildered or lost, traders of Maya, greedy, treacherous, harmful, deceptive, etc., he is not slandering them. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about them is true (ਸਚ-Sach) — the Pujaaree-Group is crafty by nature!

  • ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥: O Pandit! Do not tell lies, speak the Truth (sggs 904).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਹੇ ਲੋਭਿ ਸਬਾਏ ॥: All Pandits are deluded by greed (sggs 370).
  • ਕਾਜੀਆ ਬਾਮਣਾ ਕੀ ਗਲ ਥਕੀ ਅਗਦੁ ਪੜੈ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ ॥: Kajjeeaa baamanaa.. (sggs 722).
  • ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਛੁਰੀ ਵਗਾਇਨਿ ਤਿਨ ਗਲਿ ਤਾਗ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਘਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਨਾਦ ॥: Maanas khaane karahi nivaaj… (sggs 471).

When Baabaa Kabeer Sahib tells us for abandoning the greedy and crafty Pujaaree-Group, he is not slandering the Pujaaree-Group. Because, what Baabaa Kabeer Sahib is saying about them is true (ਸਚ-Sach) — the Pujaaree-Group is crafty and they exploit people! Here is the Gurbani’s Teaching to all its Sikhs (learners, students, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ of the Shabad…):

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan have written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat…), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Pandit mullaan chhade douoo (sggs 1158).

When Baabaa Nanak declares these so called “Sant” as Baanaarasi-thugs (robbers, cheats), he is not slandering of them. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about them is true (ਸਚ-Sach).

  • ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥: They are not called Hari’s Saints — they are the Baanaarasi-thugs (robbers, cheats). (sggs 476).

When Baabaaa Nanak exposes the fraud and corruption that had (still is) become the resting ground for the religious places of worship and religious institutions and organizations, he is not slandering. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about them is true (ਸਚ-Sach).

    • ਕਾਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਤ ਕਾ ਢਬੁ ॥ ਥਾਨਸਟ ਜਗ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਹੋਏ ਡੂਬਤਾ ਇਵ ਜਗੁ ॥: No, no, this is not the Time (to close and hold nostrils); this is not the way to the Divine Union and higher behavior. (In this way, people’s) holy Hearts become polluted and in this way, the world gets drowned (in Bikaar) . (sggs 662).

Babaa Nanak is not slandering Ragis (professional singers) when he tells them that it does not matter how many different ways they sing, but “Hari” (Mool, Source, Raam…) is not pleased by these. Baabaa Nanak says that these mentally blind Ragis do all this for the sake of “bread” (“ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ”) . Babaa Nanak is Just telling the Ragis and the rest of us the truth. Because, Parmaatam has nothing to do with all this.

  • ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥: Koee gaavai raagee naadee … (sggs 450).
  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥: Iki gaavahi raag pareeaa raagi n bheejaee (sggs 1285).
  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: Roteeaa karani poorahi taal (sggs 465).

Baabaa Nanak in the following verse tells us that the whole world is “Rogee” (i.e, diseased –  with egotism…). By saying so he is not slandering the whole world. But just telling the truth.

  • ਜਗੁ ਰੋਗੀ ਕਹ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਉ ॥: Jagu rogee… (sggs 1189).

When Baabaa Nanak declares that the leaders, religious or otherwise, are corrupt, he is not slandering them. Also, when Baabaa Nanak says that their officials on account of greed behave as dogs and harass innocent people, he is not slandering them. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about all of them is true (ਸਚ-Sach) — they plunder people and resources as lions plunder their pray.

  • ਰਾਜੇ ਸੀਹ ਮੁਕਦਮ ਕੁਤੇ ॥: The kings are like tigers, and their officials are dogs (sggs 1288).

When Baabaa Nanak calls kings the butchers, thieves, sense-blind, full of hunger for Maya, corrupt, etc., he is not slandering them. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about them is true (ਸਚ-Sach).

  • ਕਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਰਾਜੇ ਕਾਸਾਈ ਧਰਮੁ ਪੰਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਡਰਿਆ ॥: Kal kaatee raaje kaasaayee… (sggs 145).

Baabaa Nanak called the emperor Baabar tryrannical (ਜਾਬਰ). This is not slandering of Baabar. Because, what Baabaa Nanak is saying about him is true (ਸਚ-Sach).

  • ਪਾਪ ਕੀ ਜੰਞ ਲੈ ਕਾਬਲਹੁ ਧਾਇਆ ਜੋਰੀ ਮੰਗੈ ਦਾਨੁ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ ॥: Paap kee janjh… (sggs 722).

We will stop here, for the list of such examples goes on and on. The bottom line is: To call a thorn “thorn” is not slandering of the thorn; similarly to say the truth is not slandering of the truth (i.e., ਸਚ ਨੂੰ ਸਚ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ). Thus, the Gurbani is not slandering or condemning anybody. It is simply factual.

As evident by their Baanee in the SGGS, the Guroos and Bhagats had the guts and fearlessness to speak the truth! As the learners (i.e.,students or Sikhs) of the Divine Wisdom or Brahm-Giaan of the Shabad, we are also to awaken similar guts and fearlessness!

  • ਕਰਿ ਆਚਾਰੁ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Sukh (Joy, Peace…) is obtained by living the Truth (sggs 931).
  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥: Sacahahu orai sabhu ko… (sggs 62).
  • ਕੂੜ ਨਿਖੁਟੇ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਓੜਕਿ ਸਚਿ ਰਹੀ ॥੨॥: Koorh nikhute Nanaka…(sggs 915).

However, the Gurbani challenges us that one MUST comprehend the Divine Wisdom (Brahm-Vichaar) expounded in the Gurbani to be established in the Truth. That is, no amount of religious garbs or robes, no amount of hypocrisy or pretending (Pakhndvaad), no amount of religious rituals (Karamkaand) or show off or dogmas, etc., will do the trick!!!!!!

  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: (One who) understands the Bani, gets absorbed in the Truth (sggs 412).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Jan Nanak utters the Brahm Vichaar (Divine Wisdom…).

The Gurbani’s truth hits deep in the heart. Therefore, it gets avoided or compromised. Who wants truth? People like lies, for lies are very comfortable. Accordingly, the Gurbani says falsehood draws crowds! To the contrary, truth is always shattering, bitter. As a result, the Gurbani says truth is always alone, for it gets neglected. In this context, here is Baabaa Kabeer Sahib’s one more gutsy and fearless declaration:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗਏ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਰੀ ਬਹੀਰ ॥ ਇਕ ਅਵਘਟ ਘਾਟੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਹ ਚੜਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧੬੫॥: O Kabeer! The crowds follow the path which the Pandits have taken (the path of falsehood, Pakhand, Karamkaand…). (But) There is a rugged or precipitous cliff on the way to “Raam” (Mool, Source, Truth…); Kabeer is climbing that cliff (alone!). ||165|| (sggs 1373).

8 replies on “Gurbani Teaches That Speaking Truth Is Not Slandering”

Gurbaanee is very clear in context of all ritual practices established by self interested people .It is true all such practices do exist even today even as greater shows.
When Gurbaanee tells as “HAINi VIRALE NAAHEE GHANE FAIL FUKAR SANSAAR” this state is going to exist . But only few can remain away from the effects of man made rituals who are truly graced by THE LORD.
THE LORD itself has created two ways I…WAY TO MAYA and 2..WAY TO NAAMu
Ultimately it is THE WILL of THE LORD controlling the whole game of Gurmukh v/s Munmukh

It seems there is very very thin line that distinguishes between the Gurmat and Manmat, what is that truth, speaking that is not Ninda/Slander? It will be interesting to explore what could be that objective measurement that can encourage seekers to accept and follow the truth. For example – it has always intrigued me that even when GuR NaNK challenged the water throwing to the sun ( Suriya Namaskar), the practice still continues

…the practice still continues

Let’s find an answer from the Gurbani:
• ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਸੂਧੋ ਕਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਾਨ ਧਰੈ ॥: Like a dog’s tail, this (mind) cannot be straightened; it will not listen to what (anybody) says (any Advice…). (sggs 536).

Nice post T Singh Ji. It seems as our masters were beyond duality, there is no good and bad in what they say, it just is.

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