Gurbani Debunks Casteism

Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) asserts God created human beings in His own image (i.e. Jot Saroop). SGGS is the embodiment of principles by which a Sikh should live. It states that a ‘Sikh‘ (learner, student) has no caste (Jaat Paat). However, a closed minded, self centered, egoist section of the Sikh society is bent on destroying that image by creating caste system within this casteless society of human beings.

Possibly, during Baabaa Banda Singh Bahadur’s land reform period (by taking land away from established non-Sikh landholders and redistributing it to smaller peasant) a large number of people became Sikhs NOT because of any understanding of the essentials of Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak but for ulterior motives — (1) sheer economic gain as they acquired land and became farmers during this period, (2) acquired a privileged social status in Sikh society while many of them were considered of low social status in the Hindu society, (3) and thus many Sikhs were attracted to Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak more by the allurement of improving their economic and social status compared to what they had in Hindu society THAN by genuine understanding and practice of the Guru’s Message of sublime EQUALITY.

With the development of Sikh society after the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Mazhabi Sikhs have got the bad rap of all. As a result, sadly, the Mazhabi Sikhs being compelled to have their separate Gurdwaras because they are not allowed to participate as equals at the Gurdwaras controlled by other castes, Deraas etc.

Originally invented by the self-serving Pujaaree (Brahman clergy), which has been debunked by Baabaa Nanak, the structure of caste system or ‘Varna Ashrama Dharma’ is supported by the Pujaaree’s concocted concepts of karma and reincarnation (transmigration). The Pujaaree invoked divine sanctions to perpetuate the caste system for eternity. Hindu scriptures proclaim that God ordained the four castes. This was followed by the invention of the doctrine of ‘karma and reincarnation’ to desensitize people’s sense of justice against the atrocities committed by the so called superior castes on the masses to enforce the caste system. According to the law of karma, one reaps the fruit in this life for the deeds performed in the previous life. So, if a person is subjected to injustice and cruelty in this life, it is due to one’s own actions in previous life, not due to the perpetrators of cruelty and injustice. The Pujaaree tells people that by observing the caste rules strictly and serving the superior castes faithfully one can earn the reward for the next life! In fact, The land where the Varna Ashrama Dharma of caste system was not established was regarded impure by the Pujaaree!

Casteism (Jaat Paat) is a toxic reality. The outcome of this type of toxic thinking is that a big segment of the human society is considered inferior by others without any justification.

Those who consider themselves of high caste — again, without any justification — usually ridicule, condemn, discriminate, and oppress the so called ‘lower’ caste (i.e. Shoodar) or the weak.

Sikh‘ means a learner/student of the sublime Message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), and follow it as Directed in the SGGS. The meaning of following the Direction of the SGGS is to internalize the spiritual Message of the Shabad Guru and then live daily life accordingly (practice-ਅਮਲ).

Any Sikh imbued with the true essence of our Gurus’ Universal and egalitarian Message, finds it impossible to understand how Sikhs can continue to be mired in the shackles of casteism, totally antithetical to Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak.

Baabaa Nanak’s Unique and Revolutionary spirituality – untainted by the pre-1469 belief system – is the spirituality of Inner Enlightenment, Equality, Humanity, and divine Virtues. It is oriented to liberation from all kinds of superstitions, rituals, baser instincts basic follies, and so on.

  • ਹੁਣਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੋਆ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਣ ਦਾ ॥ ਪੈ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕਿਸੈ ਰਞਾਣਦਾ ॥ ਸਭ ਸੁਖਾਲੀ ਵੁਠੀਆ ਇਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਰਾਜੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੩॥ : Now the Merciful (Truth-Creator) has issued His Hukam (System-Law-Rule-Order of Nature) that no one would be persecuted or harassed by anyone. All would live happily in peace under the benevolent Cosmic Rule. ॥13॥ (sggs 74).

Aptly, the SGGS debunks the Bipar’s concocted narratives of false belief of casteism (Jaat Paat). In fact, in Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak or SGGS we are all brothers (Bhai Bhai-ਭਾਈ ਭਾਈ) or equal — NO Jathedaar, NO sant, NO high, NO low etc.

The Gurus not only rejected almost all the cardinal beliefs of the caste society, they also repudiated the authority of the Vedas and allied scriptures, discarded the theory of Avtarhood, disowned all its sectarian gods, goddesses and Avtars, and condemned idol worship, formalism, ritualism, ceremonialism, and so on.

  • ਹੋਇ ਇਕਤ੍ਰ ਮਿਲਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥ : O my brothers, let’s get together and join the pious company, and remove our sense of duality by focusing our mind (conscience) on the Creator within. (sggs 1185).
  • ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿਕਾ ਜਗਤ੍ਰਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇਆ ।: In the world of spirituality, the Panth of Nanak has its Trademark in its Uniqueness as being ‘Nirmal‘-uncontaminated (by existing pre-1469 beliefs). (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar1, Pauree 45).

In fact the Gurbani (SGGS) time and again talks about Bhagats who came from the so-called ‘low caste’ families, but through Naam (Wisdom/Virtues), they all realized the Supreme Status — Bhagat Namdev a calico printer, Bhagat Kabeer a weaver by caste, Bhagat Ravidas the cobbler, Bhagat Sain a barber, Bhagat Dhanna a farmer etc.

Furthermore, the history teaches us that the ‘Panj Pyare-ਪੰਜ ਪਿਆਰੇ ‘ were from different caste and different regions of India – three of them were from the so-called low castes, a Kstriya, and a Jat. Back then, it was no less than a miracle that Guru Gobind Singh Ji inspired individuals belonging to different castes and regions of India and speaking different languages to renounce differences and come together:

  • Daya Ram became Bhai Daya Singh – A Khatri by caste from Lahore, West Punjab, now in Pakistan.
  • Dharam Chand became Bhai Dharam Singh – A Jat (farmer) by caste from U.P. state
  • Mohkam Chand became Bhai Mohkam Singh – A Chheemba-Darzi (tailor-dyer) by caste from Gujrat state.
  • Himmat Rai became Bhai Himmat Singh – A Kumhar (potter) by caste from Odisha formerly Orissa state.
  • Sahib Chand became Bhai Sahib Singh – A Nai (barber) by caste from Karnataka state.

Apparently, we Sikhs have become so dependent on other’s pre-1469 concocted narratives (i.e. Bipar-Vaad) that we haven’t learnt anything from either our Sikh history or from the Wisdom of the Shabd-Guru: SGGS!

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬਾਰਿ ਪਰਾਇਐ ਬੈਸਣਾ ਸਾਂਈ ਮੁਝੈ ਨ ਦੇਹਿ ॥ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਏਵੈ ਰਖਸੀ ਜੀਉ ਸਰੀਰਹੁ ਲੇਹਿ ॥੪੨॥ : Says Farid, O God (for the sake of the things of this world), please do not put me sitting at some other’s door — do not make me dependent on anyone else except the Door of Sabad Guru: SGGS. If You are going to keep me like this (i.e. dependent on others) then take the life out of my body. ||42|| (sggs 1380).

We blindly keep going to Gurdwaras and blindly keep celebrating the Purabs, without Internalizing the spiritual Message embedded in the Guru’s Shabad. Before bowing towards SGGS next time, just think what the Gurbani (SGGS) teaches us, NOT what the self-serving Pujaaree teaches us (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.

  • ਨੀਚਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਨੀਚੀ ਹੂ ਅਤਿ ਨੀਚੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਾਥਿ ਵਡਿਆ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਰੀਸ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਨੀਚ ਸਮਾਲੀਅਨਿ ਤਿਥੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਖਸੀਸ ॥੪॥੩॥ : Those human beings who are the lowest and those who are called lowest of the low (downtrodden, with little accumulated material, so called low caste…), Nanak associates with them and not going to emulate with those who are privileged. (O God) there is the grace of Your Blessings where downtrodden people (unrepresented, under-represented etc.) are taken care of. ||4||3|| (sggs 15).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰੀ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪਰਵਾਰੈ ॥ : The Naam is my caste, the Naam is my honor, and the Naam is my family. (sggs 713).
  • ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਾ ਆਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਵਧਿ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥੪॥ ਕਹਤੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਜੀਉ ਕਰਮ ਬੰਧੁ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਭੇਟੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੫॥੧॥ : The five elements join together, to make up the form of the human body. Who can say which is less (inferior or bad), and which is more? (Superior or good) Says Nanak, the living being is bound by its actions. Without meeting the Satgur, it is not liberated. ॥5॥1॥ (sggs 1128).

However, to the contrary curse of casteism among those who call themselves or identify themselves as Sikhs is no less than in Bipar-Vaad.

It is particularly eulogized by the self serving and institutionalized Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.

The influence of Bipar-Vaad on Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak is so apparent that many Gurdwara are being run and built along the caste lines; alliances (religious, political etc.) are forged along the caste lines; marriages are arranged along the caste lines; some don’t even hesitate killing their daughters for having married into another caste against their wishes regardless how perfect the match may be, and so on!

For example, look at the make-up of SGPC – since its inception, it always has been dominated by members belonging to ‘Jatt‘ community! Apparently, it does not practice Gurmat or Instructions of the SGGS. This is a bitter truth.

Furthermore, Toxicity of Jaat Paat in Deraas is so prevalent that – who for the sake of outer purity etc. – many cook their own separate food! They don’t let anybody touch it or partake in it. Clearly, the Message of the Bani that is read everybody is either ignored or not considered important:

  • ਗੁਰਾ ਇਕ ਦੇਹਿ ਬੁਝਾਈ ॥ ਸਭਨਾ ਜੀਆ ਕਾ ਇਕੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਵਿਸਰਿ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੫॥ : O my Guru, please bless me with this understanding that I may never forget there is ONLY ONE Provider (Hukam) to all living beings. ||5|| (sggs 2).
  • ਸਭੇ ਸਾਝੀਵਾਲ ਸਦਾਇਨਿ ਤੂੰ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਦਿਸਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥ : (O God!) All are partners in Your commonwealth. You do not look at anyone as a stranger. ||3|| (sggs 97).
  • ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥: O Guru, You have Enlightened me that we are All the Creation of the One Creator. (sggs 611).
  • ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਰਾਨ ॥੪॥: We are not Hindus, nor are we Muslims (i.e. for the guidance of spiritual life, we do not depend on them). My body and breath of life belong to (whom Muslims call) Allah and to (whom Hindus call) Raam ||4|| (sggs 1136).

Evidently, we seem to have fallen back into the same pre-1469 swamp from which the Unique and Revolutionary spirituality of Baabaa Nanak rescued us. Bhai Gurdas describes this condition of our minds as follows:

  • ਕੁਤਾ ਰਾਜ ਬਹਾਲੀਐ ਫਿਰਿ ਚਕੀ ਚਟੈ। : If a dog is seated on the throne even then it will (like to) lick the flour mill. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 35, Pauri 1).

An assumed religious appearance or religious garb/robes (ਭੇਖ ਧਾਰਨਾ) to hold the grip over Golak (controlling money, Gurdwara-funds) or power (ਝੂਠੀ ਚੌਧਰ ਵਾਸਤੇ) is neither Sikhi nor grandeur (ਵਡਿਆਈ) of the Gurbani or the Gurus. The Gurbani tells us that a true Sikh does not even come near such deceptive people!

  • ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body (sggs 467).
  • ਜਿ ਠਗੀ ਆਵੈ ਠਗੀ ਉਠਿ ਜਾਇ ਤਿਸੁ ਨੇੜੈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਿ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਮਨੁ ਮੰਨੇ ਕੰਮੁ ਕਰਾਏ ਸੋ ਜੰਤੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥: The GurSikh does not come close to the person who comes and goes to deceive. Nanak proclaims and announces this true Wisdom (‘Brahmu Beechaaru’) that a person who is not pleasing to the Mind of the ‘Satigur‘ (i.e. True Wisdom) may get his way (by deceptively making Gursikhs to serve him), but that being will only suffer in terrible pain. ||2|| (sggs 317).

How can then one call himself/herself a Sikh if not willing to even accept and follow the Directions of the Shabad Guru (SGGS)?

  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਲਘਾਏ ਪਾਰਿ ॥ : Sikhi is contemplation on Guru’s teaching (Instructions, Wisdom, Counsel, Guide, Upadesh, Giyan-Wisdom, Bibek) and acting on it. Being blessed by the Grace of the Guru’s teaching one then crosses the ocean of worldly temptations and their corrupting influences (Bhav Saagar). (sggs 465).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Guru has instructed (Upadesh) me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giaan – ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).

In short, one’s belief in casteism is UN-GURMAT, and a person with such false belief cannot be a true Sikh, because the castes only relate to the physical body-frame not one’s true Self or Jot Saroop.

According to the Gurbani, the real outcaste (ਨੀਚ, Shoodar…) is the person who is separated from the divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). This is the edict of the SGGS:

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਕਾ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without the Naam, all are low class, like maggots in manure (sggs 426).
  • ਖਸਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਹਿ ਤੇ ਕਮਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਵੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਸਨਾਤਿ ॥੪॥੩॥: Those who forget the Divine (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) are of low life. O Nanak! without the Divine Naam (Virtues, Wisdom, Truth…), they are wretched outcasts (ਨੀਚ, lowly beings) ||4||3|| (sggs 10).

Since the Gurbani addresses the human MIND, one becomes Sikh at the level of the MIND (Shabad-Surat), NOT at the level of the physical body-frameBaabaa Nanak Guides us that the mind or Conscience (Surat – ਸੁਰਤ) is the disciple (‘Sikh‘, learner, seeker), NOT the physical body-frame. 

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The SHABAD is my GURU, and my consciousness (Surat) is the disciple (of this SHABAD GURU). (sggs 943).

As tirelessly emphasized in the Gurbani, Sikhi is BECOMING THE GURBANI by internalizing the practical Spirituality of the Shabad (Inner Enlightenment, Gurmukh Mindset …).

  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਸਚੁ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: the one who has applied to his (Inner or spiritual) eyes the ointment of the Guru’s Wisdom; Inner Enlightenment has dawned within him and his darkness of ignorance has been dispelled. (sggs 124).

In short, Sikhi is a Way of life – Inner Path (‘ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ’).

  • ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੋਲਾ।: listening to the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom, Upadesh..), Gur-Sikh become Wise within and simple (innocent) without. (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 17).

Therefore the game of Sikhi has to be played in the Sahaj Maarag (Natural State of Being, Enlightened State of the Mind or Giaan Avastaa – ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ…), within.

Clearly there is more to the Gurbani and its Sikhi than what the majority of us (if not all!) have been told or led to believe by the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ)!

The real Sikhi is in Internalizing the Message of the Shabad and then live it in daily life.

But such Gurmukh Sikh is very ‘rare‘, rest of us are all mere traders (‘ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ’ – ਵਪਾਰੀ, ਸੌਦੇ-ਬਾਜ, ਮਤਲਬੀ, Karamkaandee, Maya’s traders…).

  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੪੦॥ : Only a RARE Gurmukh (Enlighted State of the Mind) Reflects on Gurbani. This Bani is of the Satguru and through it, one abides in his own True Self within. ||40|| (sggs 935).
  • ਕੋਟਿ ਮਧੇ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Out of millions, hardly anyone is (Your attendant) ‘Sewak’. All others are mere traders (selfish, i.e., their religiosity is only for show off or business). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 495).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਸਦ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਜਿਨ ਏਕ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੪॥੯॥: Nank I am forever a sacrifice to one realizes the MESSAGE OF THE SHABAD pertaining to the One Creator. ॥4॥9॥ (sggs 879).
  • ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਹੁ ਸਚਾ ਇਹੈ ਸੁਆਉ ॥: O GurSikhs! Listen to the Upadesh (Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad). This alone is the true purpose of life (sggs 963).

As time and again asserted in the Gurbani, in the State of Realization of the One Creator within, there remains no body-consciousness, let alone the memory of caste distinction or Jaat Paat. And, the SGGS wants Sikhs to Realize the Gurmukh State of the Mind.

  • ਦੇਹ ਨ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: Neither the body, nor glory, nor one’s caste carry any value in God’s presence. (sggs 1288).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ॥: To the Gurmukh (Enlightened Mindset), God Himself is his social class, status and honor. (sggs 117).
  • ਙੰਙਾ ਖਟੁ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਹੋਇ ਙਿਆਤਾ ॥ ਪੂਰਕੁ ਕੁੰਭਕ ਰੇਚਕ ਕਰਮਾਤਾ ॥ ਙਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਤੀਰਥ ਇਸਨਾਨੀ ॥ ਸੋਮਪਾਕ ਅਪਰਸ ਉਦਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਹੇਤਾ ॥ ਜੋ ਕਛੁ ਕੀਨੋ ਸੋਊ ਅਨੇਤਾ ॥ ਉਆ ਤੇ ਊਤਮੁ ਗਨਉ ਚੰਡਾਲਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਹ ਮਨਿ ਬਸਹਿ ਗੁਪਾਲਾ ॥੧੬॥: Through the letter ‘ਙੰਙਾ’, the SGGS gives us the lesson that one may have the knowledge of six Shastras (i.e. Saankh, Niyaaye, Visheshik, Mimaasa, JOG or Yoga and Vedant); one may practice Pranayaam actions of breathing in (‘ਪੂਰਕੁ’), holding the breath in (‘ਕੁੰਭਕ’), and breathing out (‘ਰੇਚਕ’); one may be engaging in religious debates, practicing meditations and bathing at many Teerath or pilgrimage places; (for the sake of external purity) who cooks his own food (‘ਸੋਮਪਾਕ’), doesn’t let anyone touch him nor touches anyone or anything (‘ਅਪਰਸ’) and may live in jungles (‘ਉਦਿਆਨੀ’) as hermit; but if such person does not have Love for RaamNaam in his mind; then consider all his religious actions (described before) as useless or worthless. Even (a so called untouchable pariah or) lower caste person is better than that person. (253 sggs).

The Gurbani asserts those who believe in Jaat-Paat give bad name to the Omnipresent God, who is mentioned in the Shabad-Guru to be pervading all beings, equally.

The Gurbani repudiates stupidity of such people who, in fact, deep down don’t believe in Gurbani (Shabad Guru). The reason they don’t believe in Gurbani is that it rejects their deceptive conduct or lifestyle (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਕਰਤੂਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਖਿਲਾਫ ਬੋਲਦੀ ਹੈ!).

  • ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਜਾਤੀ ਕਹ ਕਰਉ ਪਾਤੀ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਉ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: What do I have to do with casteism? What do I have to do with ancestry? I simply Internalize the divine Naam, day and night. ||1||Pause||(sggs 485).
  • ਛੀਪੇ ਕੇ ਘਰਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੈਲਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਭੈਲਾ ॥: Even though I was born in the family of a calico printer, but (my mind) inculcated the Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom. (sggs 486).
  • ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥ ਏ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਢੇਢ ਕਹਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੈਜ ਪਿਛੰਉਡੀ ਹੋਇਲਾ ॥੨॥: (O God!) If You liberate me (from vices, outer domination etc.) after I am dead, no one would know about that liberation granted by You (i.e. that’s why I do not believe or accept such phony liberation). These pandits (i.e. clergy-Pujaaree) are calling me a person born in low caste, and in this way actually Your own honor is decreasing. ||2|| (sggs 1292).
  • ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਟ ਬਾਂਢਲਾ ਢੋਰ ਢੋਵੰਤਾ ਨਿਤਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸੀ ਆਸ ਪਾਸਾ ॥ ਅਬ ਬਿਪ੍ਰ ਪਰਧਾਨ ਤਿਹਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਡੰਡਉਤਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ ਸਰਣਾਇ ਰਵਿਦਾਸੁ ਦਾਸਾ ॥੩॥੧॥: The people of my caste (or social class) live around the outskirts of Banaras, they thrash and cut leather and transport the dead animals every day; but O God! Your devotee Ravidas from that low social class has sought refuge in Your Naam, now even the distinguished Brahmins bow before Your low caste devotee. ||3||1||(sggs 1293).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਕਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਹਸਨੇਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਇਸ ਜਾਤਿ ਕਉ ਜਿਹ ਜਪਿਓ ਸਿਰਜਨਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥: O Kabeer! Everyone laughs at my caste (ਮਖੋਲ ਕਰਨਾਂ). (But) I am a sacrifice to this caste (I consider it topmost, because), (by taking birth) in which I have Understood the Creator (System of Nature or Law of Nature). ||2|| (sggs 1364).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਖਾਲਕੁ ਖਲਕ ਮਹਿ ਖਲਕ ਵਸੈ ਰਬ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਮੰਦਾ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਾਂ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੋਈ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੭੫॥ : Fareed, the Creator (Universal Energy…) is in His Creation, and the Creation is in the Creator (i..e the Creator is Realized within His Creation). What of Creation can I deem bad when there is none without Him within. ॥75॥ (sggs 1381).

The SGGS compares the false pride of caste with poison. Since the poison’s job is to kill, whosoever tastes the poison of pride of caste faces spiritual death. The Gurbani teaches until the egoistic intellect (ਹੰਕਾਰੀ-ਬੁਧਿ) has departed, the divine Wisdom or Virtues will not Awaken within. Because, it is the departure of the egoistic intellect that makes room for the Divine Wisdom within!

  • ਜਾਤੀ ਦੈ ਕਿਆ ਹਥਿ ਸਚੁ ਪਰਖੀਐ ॥ ਮਹੁਰਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਹਥਿ ਮਰੀਐ ਚਖੀਐ ॥ : What merits is in the caste? It is the Truth that is to be assayed. If someone consumes poison he/she will die (i.e. Pride in caste is like deadly poison, whosoever consumes it, surely he/she will face the spiritual death). (sggs 142).
  • ਹਮ ਬਡ ਕਬਿ ਕੁਲੀਨ ਹਮ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਮ ਜੋਗੀ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਗੁਨੀ ਸੂਰ ਹਮ ਦਾਤੇ ਇਹ ਬੁਧਿ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਨਾਸੀ ॥੨॥ ਕਹੁ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਸਭੈ ਨਹੀ ਸਮਝਸਿ ਭੂਲਿ ਪਰੇ ਜੈਸੇ ਬਉਰੇ ॥ : Some people claim that they are great poets, some boast about their high caste, while others say that they are pundits, yogis, recluses, wise, virtuous, brave or givers; their such conceited thinking never ends. ||2|| Ravi Das says, they all are mistaken like mad persons and don’t understand the reality (that God alone is the real support in life). (sggs 974).
  • ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਦੀਰਘੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਉਰਨ ਕਉ ਲਗ ਮਾਤ ॥ ਮਨਸਾ ਬਾਚਾ ਕਰਮਨਾ ਮੈ ਦੇਖੇ ਦੋਜਕ ਜਾਤ ॥੨॥ : You believe that you yourself are great, and that others are of no consequence. Those who are false in thought, word and deed, I have seen them resorting to hellish existence (here and now). ||2|| (sggs 1105).

Bhagat Kabeer Ji also challenges Bipar for his madness of believing in casteism:

  • ਹਮ ਘਰਿ ਸੂਤੁ ਤਨਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਤਾਨਾ ਕੰਠਿ ਜਨੇਊ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ॥ … ਤੂੰ ਬਾਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਨੁ ਮੈ ਕਾਸੀਕ ਜੁਲਹਾ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਮੋਰ ਗਿਆਨਾ ॥ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਤਉ ਜਾਚੇ ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਹਰਿ ਸਉ ਮੋਰ ਧਿਆਨਾ ॥੩॥੪॥੨੬॥ : O Brahmin! (If think you are superior than me just because) you wear a ‘Janaeoo’ (a thread) around your neck, (which I don’t wear, but) in my house (you can see I have plenty of) thread (with that I) daily stretch the warp. …  I agree that you are a Brahmin and I am but a weaver from Kashi, but try to appreciate my divine Giaan-Wisdom. You go and beg from the kings and emperors, whereas I am attuned to God Himself. ||3||4||26|| (sggs 482).

The Gurmat considers  one’s ‘Jaat‘ (low or high caste…) and ‘Paat‘ (honor, dignity…) based on one’s deeds or actions which are the louder expressions of one’s thoughts (Soch).

  • ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥ ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: O Nanak! Do not ask about (someone’s) ‘Jaat‘ 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).
  • ਹੁਕਮੀ ਉਤਮੁ ਨੀਚੁ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੁਖ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਈਅਹਿ ॥ : The consequences – joys and sorrows – of my deeds – good and bad – are within the Creator’s Hukam. (sggs 1).

As logically explained by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, the madness of belief in casteism is all due to ‘Bharam: ਭਰਮ’ — delusion, doubt, misconception, superstitions, illusion, confusion, error, perplexity, concocted narrative or myth etc. (ਭਰਮ / ਵਹਿਮ ਦਾ ਪਟਿੱਆ ਹੋਇਆ).

  • ਕਥਾ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਆਣੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਦੇ ਦੇ ਲੈਣਾ ਲੈ ਲੈ ਦੇਣਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰ ॥ ਉਤਮ ਮਧਿਮ ਜਾਤੀਂ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: The narrative given to the world by the Vedas is that there are sinful deeds (‘Paap‘) and pious ones (‘Punn‘) — to give (Daan) more than one receives, and to receive more that one gives is the basis for becoming a resident of ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’. (Through this teaching of the Vedas) the world is lost and steeped in superstitions of high and low social class. (sggs 1243).

How can this ‘Bharam‘ (delusion, superstition etc.) be gotten rid of? According to the SGGS, without the storm of Wisdom shackles of superstition, doubt or confusion will not and cannot break:

  • ਦੇਖੌ ਭਾਈ ਗ੍ਹਾਨ ਕੀ ਆਈ ਆਂਧੀ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਉਡਾਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਟਾਟੀ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਾਂਧੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O brother, the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Enlightenment has struck my mind. (This storm of Wisdom) has blown away my mind’s Bharam (doubts, confusion, superstition etc.) and bonds of Maya like the thatched walls of my hut. ||1||pause|| (sggs 331).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕਥਾ ਤੂੰ ਸੁਣਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਇ ॥ ਇਹ ਮਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਥਿਰੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਭਰਮੁ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O mind! Listen to the Divine sermon (Divine Virtues, Giaan or Wisdom…), and enshrine the Shabad (Upadesh, Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues…) within the mind. (As a result) your intellect will remain stable and steady (i.e., will stop wandering around), and then doubt will depart from within (the mind). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 491).

In a nutshell, the UNIQUE Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak asks us to develop and realize that STATE OF MIND in which ‘ਦੋਮ ਨ ਸੇਮ ਏਕ ਸੋ ਆਹੀ – No one is treated there as a second or third class citizen, all are considered EQUAL‘. To put it otherwise, it’s all about BECOMING:

  • ਬੇਗਮ ਪੁਰਾ ਸਹਰ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਦੂਖੁ ਅੰਦੋਹੁ ਨਹੀ ਤਿਹਿ ਠਾਉ ॥ ਨਾਂ ਤਸਵੀਸ ਖਿਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਮਾਲੁ ॥ ਖਉਫੁ ਨ ਖਤਾ ਨ ਤਰਸੁ ਜਵਾਲੁ ॥੧॥ ਅਬ ਮੋਹਿ ਖੂਬ ਵਤਨ ਗਹ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਖੈਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਾਇਮੁ ਦਾਇਮੁ ਸਦਾ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ॥ ਦੋਮ ਨ ਸੇਮ ਏਕ ਸੋ ਆਹੀ ॥ ਆਬਾਦਾਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਮਸਹੂਰ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਗਨੀ ਬਸਹਿ ਮਾਮੂਰ ॥੨॥ ਤਿਉ ਤਿਉ ਸੈਲ ਕਰਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਹਰਮ ਮਹਲ ਨ ਕੋ ਅਟਕਾਵੈ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਖਲਾਸ ਚਮਾਰਾ ॥ ਜੋ ਹਮ ਸਹਰੀ ਸੁ ਮੀਤੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥੩॥੨॥: (Bhagat Ravidas says) ‘Baygum Pura‘, ‘the city without sorrow’ — SPIRITUAL STATE OF MIND — in which I now reside. In that place or state of mind (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਵਸਥਾ) there is neither any suffering nor worry. In that state of mind there are no worries and no taxes on possessions (because there is no worldly property). In that state of mind there is no fear of committing sins, or any dread of spiritual decline. ||1|| Now I have found a very pleasant place to reside, where there is always peace and calm. ||1||Pause|| This state of mind is an everlasting dominion. No one is treated there as a second or third class citizen, all are considered EQUAL. That city or state of mind is populous and eternally famous. Those who live there are so blessed with the wealth of Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) that they feel themselves wealthy and satiated. ||2|| In that state of bliss they go about as they please. They are familiar with God’s presence, therefore, nobody prevents them from realizing Him. Ravidas, a cobbler who has been liberated, says, whosoever lives in this town (i.e. state of mind) is my friend. ||3||2|| (sggs 345).

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4 comments

  1. Thank you Vir Ji, for sharing your Vichaar.
    • ਬ੍ਰਹਮਨ ਬੈਸ ਸੂਦ ਅਰੁ ਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਤ੍ਰੀ ਡੋਮ ਚੰਡਾਰ ਮਲੇਛ ਮਨ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਭਗਵੰਤ ਭਜਨ ਤੇ ਆਪੁ ਤਾਰਿ ਤਾਰੇ ਕੁਲ ਦੋਇ ॥੧॥: Brahman bais sood aru… (sggs 858).
    The typo has been corrected Ji. Thanks again.

  2. So very true . Belief in Cast / Creed is an illusion. Gurbani says that in plain simple terms.
    And only a limited few are making sincered concerted efforts to bring that message home.

    It’s ironical that those who are palced at vantage (pujaari group etc) to spread the true interpretations of Gurbani, are either ignorant themselves or worse, as you rightly brought out, refuse to believe in Gurbani ‘deep within’ for their vested interests.

    Thanks again for sharing the Gurbani Wisdom.

    Deep Regards.

    PS: A typo appears to have crept in, in the line – The Gurbani indicates that those who beliew in Jaat-Paat give bad name to Parmeshar.

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