As learners of the Teaching or the Divine Wisdom of Sri Guroo Granth Sahib (SGGS), all Sikhs — young or old — whether living in India or in other countries must know that SGGS is strictly against the caste system (Jaat Paat). The Sikh Guroos have been strong supporter of equality, and rejected casteism (Jaat Paat).
In fact, the timeless and universal Teaching of the SGGS (i.e., Gurmat) dispels our ignorance, doubt (Bharam), Haumai, etc., that lead to evil conduct such as madness of belief in casteism (Jaat Paat). The Divine Wisdom of the SGGS instructs all to consider all humans equal, regardless of their class, color, race, gender or religion. Gurmat (Teaching or Wisdom of the Gurbani) respectfully disagrees with the Brahminical practice of casteism, which divides the mankind. To the contrary, the Sikh tenets abolish such divisions!
- ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Whatever is seen is Your form (sggs724).
- ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: From this One Light, the entire universe has welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (sggs 1349).
- ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥: Recognize the Light (Jot within all), and don’t ask or consider Jaatee, as there is no Jaati in the world hereafter (sggs 349).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਗਰਬ ਤੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Do not be proud of your (higher or ਉੱਚੀ) Jaati, you ignorant fool! So much Bikaar comes from this pride. ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 1127-1128).
Therefore, Sikhs who practice or believe in the madness of caste system (Jaat Paat) are fraud or phony Sikhs in disguise. The reason they are fraud Sikhs because they are anti-Gurmat forces (anti-teaching of the Gurbani) who want to propagate Brahminical thinking (ਸੋਚ), distort Sikh tenets, corrupt Baabaa Nanak’s teaching which disagree with the Brahminical practice of caste system. In other words, they simply want to superimpose the crafty Brahminical practices onto the Divine Teaching of the SGGS.
- 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॥: In the womb, no lineage and caste is known. (One) Brahm is the Source of all ||1|| (Kabeer Sahib questions) since when have you been a Brahmin? Don’t waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin. ||1||Pause|| If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| 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 other words, those so called Sikhs who practice or believe in the madness of casteism (Jaat Paat) are in fact either followers or children of the crafty Brahmins bent on poisoning the pure teaching of the SGGS (“ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ”). It would be complete travesty of truth to deny or shy away from the fact that there has already been distortion of the Teaching (Upadesh) of the SGGS.
The Gurbani indicates that the caste (Jaat Paat) relates only to the body; not to one’s soul!
- ਦੇਹ ਨ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: “Deh” (i.e., subtle body – soul) has no name or “Jaati” (sggs 1257).
In other words, The SGGS tells us that the caste-conscious person is simply a Manmukh (Saakat, Mayadhaaree, Asant…) who has confounded his True Identity (Jot -Saroop) with the non-Jot or the physical body-frame. Consequently, he identifies himself and others as this Sikh or that Sikh (the list goes on and on).
- ਅਗੈ ਨਾਉ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਇਸੀ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਖਾਤਾ ॥: The name (ਵੱਡਾ ਨਾਮ) and Jaati will not go hereafter, and (consumed in these) the Manmukh suffers (sggs 514).
- ਸਾਕਤ ਨੀਚ ਤਿਸੁ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥੭॥: Saakat (the one separated from his Mool) is wretched (low, out-caste…), (as a result, his status of) lineage and caste do not remain. ||7|| (sggs 239).
- ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਨਾ ਬੋਲਾ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਸੁਣਈ ਬਹੁ ਰੋਲ ਘਚੋਲਾ ॥: One who is attached to Maya is (spiritually) very much blind, and deaf (to the Gur-Shabad…). (In such conditioned state), he is unable to listen (i.e., don’t pay attention…) to the Shabad; (but, in love or hunger of Maya) he makes much uproar and tumult (ਰੌਲਾ-ਗੌਲਾ, noise, chatter, etc.). (sggs 313).
The negative side of having some power (e.g., pride or superiority complex of higher caste) for a while is that it gets to one’s head. Anything you practice for a long time becomes a core part of your identity. This is the problem with the Brahmins. Also, this is the problem with Sikhs who believe in the madness of casteism (Jaat Paat) as the Bramins do.
Consequents of such madness perpetuates social inequality, divisions, separateness, “Baad Bibaad” (strife, conflicts, ਝਗੜੇ, ਵੈਰ-ਵਿਰੋਧ), and so on. It’s a curse. For example, the casteism is practiced so blindly in some rural parts of Punjab that people have established caste-specific Gurudwaras, cremation grounds, wells, places of congregation, and so on.
Then why so many Sikhs practice this madness? The Gurbani provides us with an answer — it’s because of one’s doubt (Bharam), Haumai (false ego-sense), Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, and their countless variations)…
- ਉਤਮ ਮਧਿਮ ਜਾਤੀਂ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: High and low, caste and status – the world wanders lost in doubt (ਉੱਚੀਆਂ ਨੀਵੀਆਂ ਜਾਤਾਂ ਤੇ ਕਿਸਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਭਰਮ / ਵਹਿਮਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਖੁਆਰ ਹੋਣਾਂ). (sggs 1243).
- ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥: Haumai, self-centeredness (ਮੈਂ ਮੈਂ, ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ) and “Jaati” (pride of being superior, separate, different…), (gives rise to) too much anger and pride (i.e., all Bikaar). (sggs 429).
Furthermore, the Sikh Pujaaree-Group (clergy class) is succeeding in their alliances with management to convert Gurdwara programs into Brahamanic practices just like they were prevalent before Baabaa Nanak. The Gurdwara programs are restricted to only singing and recitations without Shabad-Vichaar. If there is any Shabad-vichaar, it is only by the illiterate or crafty Pujaaree-Group (clergy class) and not by those with true apprehension of the Gurbani (Gurmukhs, Dass, Jan, Bhagat). All of this is similar to what was prevalent before Baabaa Nanak (Golak!). Sikh Guroos introduced a major shift in the religious practices by promoting Vichaar to replace all rituals. But, alas, we are reverting back to pre-Guroo’s times!
According to the Gurbani, the cure is in removing doubt, Haumai, or Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride…) — become the Gurmukh (follower of the Truth or Brahm-Giaan of the Gurbani…).
- ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਗਵਾਨੁ ॥੨॥: (If) died through the Shabad (i.e., becoming absorbed in Naam, Hukam, Shabad-Vichaar, Wisdom….), then “Jaati” (pride of being superior, separate, different…) goes away, (and then one’s) light merges into the (Supreme) Light and (he) Realizes “Bhagwaan” (Mool, Parmaatam…). ||2|| (sggs 429).
- ਸਬਦੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਸਚੈ ਮਹਲਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇ ॥੪॥: Through the Shabad, conquer your ego, and in the True Mansion of the Lord’s Presence, you shall find peace. ||4|| (sggs 429).
- ਹਮਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਉ ॥: (O Lord) The True Naam is my “Jaati Pati” (sggs 353).
- 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 ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ॥: Gurmukhi Jaati Pati sabhu aape (sggs 117).
In fact, according to the Gurbani (NOT according to the fool-o-sophy), it’s the absence of Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Divine Wisdom or Brahm-Giaan of the SGGS) which constitutes one being of low caste (ਨੀਚ, “ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ”, “ਸਨਾਤ”).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਵੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਸਨਾਤਿ ॥੪॥੩॥: O Nanak, without Naam, (Jeev) are wretched outcasts (ਨੀਚ, low…). ||4||3|| (sggs 10).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਕਾ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without the Naam, all are low class, like maggots in manure (sggs 426).
Relatively the older Sikh generation may not change for they feel comfortable and are used to casteism. Also, with old age, their Haumai (false ego-sense) has become stubborn, strong, bloated…
- 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).
However, the young Sikh generation all around the world should educate themselves of the true meanings of the Gurbani and become self-aware of challenges. On the basis of the Universal Teaching of the SGGS, youngsters should come forth and challenge and break this mad practice of casteism (Jaat Paat) in Sikhi. They must come forth and confront those who are trying to propagate this evil practices in the Gurdwaras, homes, communities…
ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥ ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: O Nanak! Do not ask about (someone’s) “Jaati” or birth (family). (If you must ask, then ask) how to realize Truth in the Heart. (Jaat Paat of a person) is as he acts (sggs 1330).