We all see and hear many self-claimed or self-appointed ‘Bhagat’, ‘Giaanee’, ‘Sant’, ‘Baabaa’, ‘scholars’ etc. The Gurbani says:
- ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਭਗਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ ॥ ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਬਿਆਪਾਰੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥: When (one) deems that (he) has become a Bhagat (the Gurmukh…), a Giaanee (One who possesses Giaan, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ…), then, in the world hereafter, the Master will have no regard for him at all. When he believes himself to be a sermoneer (ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਥਾ-ਵਖਿਆਨ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ), he is merely a peddler wandering over the earth (sggs 255).
- ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ ॥ ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥: Who have rosaries around their necks, and glittering jugs in their hands, (just because of such religious paraphernalia) they should not be called the Divine’s Sant — they are thugs of Banaras (i.e., religious conmen, robbers, cheats…). (sggs 476).
If you compare such egoistic conduct of these ‘peddler’ with the Gurbani’s Teaching, just imagine how unaware or ignorant of the basics of the Gurbani such people are!!!
No wonder the Gurbani calls such people ‘peddler’!
Because, for one thing, a peddler sells his stuff to others. Similarly, such self-claimed or self-appointed ‘Bhagat’, ‘Giaanee’, ‘Sant’, ‘Baabaa’, ‘scholars’ etc. sell the Gurbani and themselves to others. But, they themselves have nothing to show for (‘ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ’) hereafter!
Here is the Gurbani’s edict about those who sell this divine Bidiya (Giaan, Knowledge, Wisdom, ਵਿੱਦਿਆ…):
- ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਨ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬੇਚਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥: (O mentally blind! You) sell knowledge (learning, etc.) for the sake of Maya; your life is totally worthless (sggs 1103).
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਦਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਟੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥ ॥੫੩॥: The Manmukh sells his knowledge (learning, etc.); he earns poison (of Maya), and eats this poison (that brings him spiritual death). The fool does not Reflect on the Shabad. He has no understanding, no comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
- ਕੋ ਹੈ ਲਰਿਕਾ ਬੇਚਈ ਲਰਿਕੀ ਬੇਚੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Ko hau larikaa bechaee larikee bechai koi (sggs 1366).
However — without any regard to what the Gurbani says, many (who sell Gurbani – ‘peddler’) are decorated with titles such as ‘Panth Ratan’, ‘Bhagat’, ‘Giaanee’, ‘Sant’, and so on. What a fraud in the name of the Gurmat Wisdom, Sikhi or Dharma!
- ਮੂਰਖ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਜਤਿ ਸੰਜੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: The foolish Pandit, by their clever arguments (crafty tricks…), are fond of gathering wealth (Maya…). (sggs 469).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: Infatuated by (the hunger of Maya), (he) calls himself Pandit (sggs 231).
- ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸਦਾਇਦੇ ਮਨਹੁ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥: Outwardly, (Manmukh) call themselves Pandit, but mentally they are foolish and ignorant (sggs 1091).
Because, according to the Gurbani, what matters is not what someone has learned, but how he lives (i.e., his practice-ਕਰਣੀ, actions, conduct, performing duties etc.)!
A donkey is just a donkey whether loaded with gold, sandalwood, or Granth!! Similarly, our knowledge or learning is useless if not lived (ਅਮਲ). This is the Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ).
- ਚਉਣੇ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਖਾਵੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥: Though gold may be placed before a herd of cattle, but they will pick out the grass to eat (i.e., cattle have no appreciation for gold)! (sggs 143).
- ਚੰਦਨ ਲੇਪੁ ਉਤਾਰੈ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਗਰਧਬ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਭਸਮ ਸੰਗਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Donkey washes off the sandalwood paste (by rolling in the ash, because), donkey loves the ash! (sggs 267).
- ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਪੜੇ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੁ ਖਰ ਚੰਦਨ ਜਸ ਭਾਰਾ ॥: (O pandit!) What is the use of reading the Vedas and the Puraanas? It is like loading a donkey with sandalwood (If Mool is not understood…). (sggs 1102).
If a person lives a Mayaic life, that does not mean he is unaware of as to what is right (Satt) and what is wrong (Asatt). In spite of the fact that Jeeva (individual being) knows what’s right (Satt), he thinks himself to be too clever who can circumvent the Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ). In the Gurbani, this condition of the humans is compared with someone who in spite of having a lamp in his hand, still falls into a well!
- ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: Kabeer, the mortal knows everything (i.e., difference between right and wrong), and knowing all, he still makes mistakes (ਮੰਦੇ ਕੰਮ…). What good is a lamp in one’s hand, if, in spite of having a lamp in the hand, he falls into the well? ||216|| (sggs 1376).
- ਨਾ ਤਨੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਤੋਹਿ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਿਆਪਿਆ ਧੋਹਿ ॥: Neither your body nor your mind belong to you. (But, for the sake of this body and mind) attached to Maya, you are entangled in fraud (sggs 899).
- ਤ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਗੁਣਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ॥ ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਕਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਮੁੰਢਹੁ ਘੁਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Staying in Maya’s attachment, Sahaj (spiritual tranquility, Natural State of Being, Wisdom etc.) is not obtained, the three qualities (of Maya) lead to delusion and doubt. (In this deluded state) there is no point in contemplating, reading religious books and reciting them to others, if one loses his Mool and walks (on the wrong way of life). (sggs 68).
In nutshell, such people are religious con men who have reduced the Gurbani, Sikhi, or Dharma to a mere mundane business (‘ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ’ ਧੰਧਾ ). The Gurbani repudiates their conduct or life-style! The focus of such ‘Baanaarasi Ke Thug-ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ’ is to make money. The Gurbani says such Mayadhaaree ‘Thug-ਠਗ’ have nothing to give to others except cheating or deception.
- ਕਰਿ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਜਗਤ ਕਉ ਡਹਕੈ ਅਪਨੋ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰੈ: Practicing deception (ਵਿਖਾਵਾ, ਠੱਗੀ…), (he: who is gone insane with the intoxication of Maya) tries to cheat the world (ਠੱਗਣਾ), and so he fills his belly (with the money so swindled from others). ||1|| (sggs 536).
- ਅਸੰਤੁ ਅਨਾੜੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥ ਅੰਧੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ॥੨॥: Asant can never get the understanding of the spiritual life (Gurmukh Lifestyle). He (also) keeps on talking about Wisdom, and is also engrossed in Maya. (In such an attachment to Maya) a mentally blind and ignorant man (in never succeeds. (in the game of life). ||2|| (sggs 160).
Now, the question is: Why is it that these religious con men are bound to fraud…? Here is the Gurbani’s diagnosis and answer — it’s because, regardless of what they say, their mind and mouth are always filled with Maya. That is, they don’t practice what they know or sermonize!!!
- ਸਬਦੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਭੈ ਕਪਟ ਨ ਛੂਟੇ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (They) recognize the Shabad, but (still, they) are not free from fear and fraud; (because, their) minds and mouths remain filled with Maya.