Slander Me Well, O People!

All the Gurus and the Bhagats were linked with Truth (ਸਚ). They always spoke truth; and truth hurts many like hell! Being established in the Mool (Source, Jot…), they cared less if and when they were slandered by people. Nothing could deviate them from the Way of Truth.

  • ਭਲੇ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਭਲੇ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਭਲੇ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਲੋਗੁ ॥ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਮ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਜੋਗੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Bhale Nindaou bhale nindaou bhale nindaou logu …: Slander (me) well, slander (me) well, slander (me) well, O people. (My) body and mind are for the Beloved Lord (ਮਨ/ਬੁਧੀ ਰਾਮ ਪ੍ਯਾਰੇ ਨੂੰ ਅਰਪਨ…). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1164).
  • ਸਗਲ ਕਲੇਸ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਭਇਆ ਖੇਦੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਰਾਇਨ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ॥੨੮॥੧॥੧੦॥: Sagal kales nindak bhaiaa khedu. Naame naaraain naahee bhedu (sggs 1166).

Similarly, those who have become the Gurmukh and are attuned to the Gur-Shabad, here and now, they also always speak truth, which hurts many like hell! But they care less as well if and when they are being slandered by the foolish Manmukhs (“ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ”). Why do they care less? Because, according to the Gurbani, the Gurmukh Lifestyle demands ignoring both slander and praise (“ਦੋਊ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ”):

  • ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਖੋਜੈ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਨਾ ॥: Oustati nindaa douoo tiaagai khojai padu nirabaanaa (sggs 219).
  • ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਤਜਹੁ ਮਾਨੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ॥: Oustati nindaa douoo bibarajit tajahu maanu abhimaanaa (sggs 1123).

In this context, Baabaa Nanak’s life teaches us very important lesson: ignore slanderers and keep treading on the Path of Truth. For example, people contemptuously would call Baabaa Nanak names such as “Bhootanaa” (ਭੂਤਨਾ, spirit), “Betaalaa” (ਬੇਤਾਲਾ, demon), “Vechaaraa” (ਵੇਚਾਰਾ: wretched, helpless, poor, etc.), etc.

  • ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਭੂਤਨਾ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥ ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਆਦਮੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ॥੧॥: Koee aakhai bhootna ko khai betaala. Koee aakhai aadami Nanaku vechaaraa. ||1||: (For not following the worldly ways-ਦੁਨੀਆ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀਆਂ ਸਾਂਝਾਂ ਨਾਹ ਪਾਣ ਕਰ ਕੇ) Some call (Nanak) a ghost; some call (Nanak) a demon. Some call (Nanak) Vechaara (ਵੇਚਾਰਾ: wretched, helpless, poor, etc.) ||1||. (sggs 991).

Did this sort of worldly nonsense cause Baabaa Nanak or Bhagats to give up Bhagti or the Path of Truth? No!

  • ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਛਾਡਉ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਭਾਵੈ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਲੋਗੁ ॥: Bhagti na cchaadayu raam kee bhaavai nindaou logu: I will not forsake Raam’s Bhagati even if people slander (sggs 1366).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਨਿੰਦਹਿ ਨਿਗੁਰੇ ਪਸੂ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥੨॥: Hari kee bhagti kare tin nindahi nigure pasoo… (sggs 1138).

Behavior of the Gurmukhs is beyond the understanding of an ordinary human being of limited vision (the vision impaired by the cataract of Maya).

If people can call Baabaa Nanak demon, etc., then what to speak of us! The Gurbani says that an aspirant should not be concerned about being slandered by “Manmukh Mugadh ” (foolish Manmukhs, Mayadhaaree – those in love with Maya). Because, according to the Gurbani, slandering or criticism is in fact beneficial to a devotee!!

  • ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਓਹੁ ਮਲਭਖੁ ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ॥: Nindaku nindaa kari malu dhovai ohu malbhakhu… (sggs 507).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਜੂਰੀ ਭਾਰੁ ਪਹੁਚਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Nindaa kari kari bahu bhaaru outhaavai… (sggs 118).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਭਲੀ ਕਿਸੈ ਕੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਰੰਨਿ ॥: Nindaa bhalee kisai kee naahee… (sggs 755).

Therefore, the Gurbani’s advice to all of us is to think it to be for your own best if anyone does the mean act of talking ill of you! How’s so?

Slanderers help one become aware of his negativity and defilement — one’s weaknesses become magnified when slandered. If taken constructively, once aware of his weaknesses, one can do something about them. Thus, in a way, the person who talks trash about someone helps him remove his demerits. However, if one reacts negatively to the act of being calumniated by someone, then obviously he has nothing to gain (because then he is no different than the slanderer). For one’s negativity + other’s negativity is not equal to positivism! In fact this is the formula for ruin. In short, it all depends on how we react to being tarnished by anyone. Certainly, as the Gurbani points out, we can make it to work to our advantage if we want. The key is to use it (1) to see our shortcomings; and (2) then remove them without any prejudice or partiality. On the other hand, the slanderer, the Manmukh fool, bears total loss (increases his demerits, sinful propensities, pollution of the mind, foolishness…)! Therefore, like Bhagat Kabeer Sahib, we must also love those people who tarnish us; for they do us a great favor!!

  • ਨਿੰਦਉ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਲੋਗੁ ਨਿੰਦਉ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਜਨ ਕਉ ਖਰੀ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਬਾਪੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਮਹਤਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਬੈਕੁੰਠਿ ਜਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਬਸਾਈਐ ॥ ਰਿਦੈ ਸੁਧ ਜਉ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਹਮਰੇ ਕਪਰੇ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰੈ ਸੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਮਾਹਿ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਸੋ ਜੋ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਰੈ ॥ ਹਮਰਾ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਲੋਰੈ ॥੨॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਮਰੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਮਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਉਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਨ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਉ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਡੂਬਾ ਹਮ ਉਤਰੇ ਪਾਰਿ ॥੩॥੨੦॥੭੧॥: Nindaou nindaou mo kaou logu nindaou…: Slander me, slander me – go ahead, people, slander me … (sggs 339).
  • ਐਸੇ ਝੂਠਿ ਮੁਠੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦੈ ਮੁਝੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਨਿੰਦਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਦਰਿ ਨੀਸਾਣੈ ॥: Masat karo moorakh jag kaheeaa …: (sggs 1330).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਭਖੈ ॥: Nindaa karadaa pachi muaa vichi dehee bhakhai (sggs 315).
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6 Comments On This Post

  1. Karamjeet Singh

    Thanks for another thought provoking reflection on Gurbani.

    I had often wondered how being slandered by someone benefits us. Your piece successfully attempts to explain this but there is still a situation that may need more elaboration.

    In the instance where someone is being ‘incorrectly’ slandered, then there’s nothing to ‘magnify the limitation’ as the ‘limitation’ simply does not exist. In such a situation, chances of being upset with the slanderer are pretty bright. So how does the ‘slandered’ get benifitted here? In my opinion, learning to ignore strengthens one’s endurance and also the associated element of the virtue of forgiveness gets a boost. Perhaps that’s big enough a benifit.

    But I am sure there is perhaps a better explanation about an innocent ‘slandered’ being benifitted a a result. Your take please.

    Deep Regards.

    • Karamjeet Singh Ji,

      In my opinion, learning to ignore strengthens one’s endurance and also the associated element of the virtue of forgiveness gets a boost. Perhaps that’s big enough a benifit.

      Thank you brother for taking the time to share your Vichaar with all of us.
      “strengthens one’s endurance”, tolerance, humility, forgiveness, etc. And, in turn, weakens Haumai (ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀ ਆਕੜ)…
      ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਮਰੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ (sggs 339).
      ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦੈ ਮੁਝੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 1330).

  2. Jyoti

    This was helpful and clarified somethings. Recently I was in a situation that prompted me to tell this person that he was being arrogant. His response? He became even louder and repeatedly told me he was not arrogant. I stayed quiet. I tried to explain why I used this particular word but could not get in a word edge wise. So, later I was very confused on how to think or feel about the whole situation. I don’t feel so bad anymore about speaking the truth. However maybe there was a more effective way of communicating it? I don’t know.

  3. bsingh

    It is very difficult to understand what is slander. Once maskeen ji told that to say flower to flower is not slander but to say thorn to flower is slander(ninda).
    But if tell a blind man that you are blind is also slander . I am saying truth that is calling blind to a blind . but i am saying his avgun infront of him.
    Once a bhagat brought servant at his home. servant told that i will work at your home but i am eating more this is my habit by birth. if you are your wife slander me in presence of other peaople that i am eating more in front of other people i will leave your house.

    Very difficult to understand the slander. when one can not understand what is slander then how to get rid of slander.
    *in previous post some mistakes, so i reposted

    • Thank you Vir Ji for sharing your Vichaar.

      Very difficult to understand the slander.

      In nutshell, slander is to present Truth (Sach-ਸਚ) as false (Jhooth-ਝੂਠ). ਭਾਵ, ਸਚ ਨੂੰ ਝੂਠ ਕਹਿਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ.

      when one can not understand what is slander then how to get rid of slander

      Of course a slanderer knows when he is slandering! His Inner Voice (ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਆਵਾਜ) tells him – one’s All-Pervading Mool is situated within, he knows and hints him. However, our dull senses may not listen to subtle instructions of this Inner Voice (ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਆਵਾਜ), that’s an another story!!
      • ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਉਸ ਤੇ ਕਹਾ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥੩॥ (sggs 381).
      • ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਸਿ ਲੁਕਾਇਦੜੋ ਸੋ ਵੇਖੀ ਸਾਥੈ ॥: (sggs 461).
      • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੈ ਮਿਲੈ ਹਉ ਜੀਵਾ ਸਦੁ ਸੁਣੇ ॥੨॥ (sggs 1317).

      how to get rid of slander

      First, we need to know who is it that is ever restless to slander, and enjoy slandering? Gur-Shabad reveals it is the mind ridden with Haumai (false ego-sense, Bikaar, Maya…). Hold on to that thought (suppress or mend the ego-mind…), the ghost of the slandering mind will fold its tent and disappear. But, the Gurbani indicates that a very rare one conquers his Mayaic mind!!
      • ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਤਜਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: (sggs 29).
      • ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਡੂਮਣੀ ਕੁਦਇਆ ਕਸਾਇਣਿ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਘਟ ਚੂਹੜੀ ਮੁਠੀ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਚੰਡਾਲਿ ॥: (sggs 91).
      • ਨਰ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਲੋਭੀ ਮਨਿ ਕਠੋਰ ॥: (sggs 1170).
      • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: (sggs 665).

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