Slander vs. Speaking Truth

It should be noted and remembered that Sikhi or Sikh thought (ਸਿਖੀ ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ) came into being logically questioning the so called Brahmins, Jains, Yogis, Mullahs, Kazi, Pandits, leaders, sants, rulers, Khatris, religious rituals (Karamkaand), religious paraphernalia, traditions (ਪਰੰਪਰਾ), Sannyaasee (renunciates), Pujaaree-Vaad and Pujaaree systems etc.

Hence, the Gurmat Wisdom of Baabaa Nanak or the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is full of logical questionings (ਤਰਕ ਦੇ ਅਧਾਰ ਤੇ)!

Compositions carrying the universal Message of all the 35 contributors of the SGGS is based on questioning with Wisdom and logic (Tarak-ਤਰਕ, Bibek – rationale, reasoning, discerning or discriminating intellect…).

Speaking truth is not slandering

With Wisdom and logic, they questioned and challenged falsehood and corruption gripping the society (ਸਮਾਜਿਕ ਕੁਰੀਤੀਆਂ).

  • ਸਚ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਣਾਇਸੀ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਬੇਲਾ ॥੨॥੩॥੫॥ : Nanak speaks this Bani of the Creator (which is Creator pertaining/ relating/ connecting/ Realizing), proclaims the Creator (ਸਚ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਸਚ ਦਾ ਹੀ ਐਲਾਨ ਹੈ) that during one’s lifetime (time between birth and death =  ‘Belaa-ਬੇਲਾ’) one should bring about Realization of the Creator WITHIN (i.e. one should make his /her lifetime the Amrit ‘Belaa‘). (sggs 722).
  • ਬੋਲੀਐ ਸਚੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲੀਐ ॥: Speak the ‘Sachu’ Dharma (i.e. to speak Truth is Dharma), and do not speak falsehood (sggs 488).

When you directly speak the truth, one thing is sure to happen — you will vigorously be opposed, threatened, physical hurt, killed, crucified by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc. who have turned Dharma or Gurbani into a business transactions (ਧੰਧਾ) by twisting the truth, worthless rituals or Karamkaand, concocted narratives and traditions (ਪਰੰਪਰਾ), concocted myths, and so on. 

  • ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਬੋਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੂੜਾ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਵਈ ॥: Truth does not suit those who are permeated by falsehood. If someone speaks the Truth, the false (one) is burnt (irritated). (sggs 646).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਸਚਿ ਰਤੇ ਸਚ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਸਾਕਤ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਪਾਂਇ ॥: (Those who have) become the Gurmukhs do not like falsehood. They remain absorbed in Truth, (and remain united in the) Love of Truth (Sach). (But) Saakat does not like the Truth. False is any attainment of the false (fleeting, temporary etc.). (sggs 22).
  • ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਨ ਗਡਈ ਮਨਿ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਰਜਾਸਿ ॥: Check it out and see in your mind — falsehood does not mix in Truth. (sggs 313).
  • ਸੁਨੀ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਸਚੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਕਾਥਾ ॥ ਰਾਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਝੂਠੀ ਲਗਿ ਗਾਥਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Sunee n Jaaee Sach Amrit Kaathaa… (sggs 376).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਕੂੜੇ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵੈ ॥: Saakat Koorhe Sach n Bhaavai (sggs 109).

This happened before and during the time of the Gurus and Bhagats, and this is happening today and is certain to happen in the future as well! Bhagat Kabeer Jee questions:

  • ਜਬ ਹਮ ਏਕੋ ਏਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਤਬ ਲੋਗਹ ਕਾਹੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੧॥: When I realize ONE (everywhere and within everybody), why then should the people be upset? ||1|| (sggs 324).

We learn from the Gurbani that if we directly speak truth (ਸਚ-Sach), then it is not slandering (ਨਿੰਦਾ-Nindaa) or criticism; it is not condemnation or rejection somebody’s path or religion; it is not to be taken as hurting somebody’s feelings either etc.

Instead, the Gurbani criticizes and changes the twisters who have twisted the truth the self-serving Pujaaree-Vaad (clergy). 

If they don’t speak Truth then their claim of being Dhaarmic is a blatant Pakhand and fraud in the name of Dharma.

  • ਬੋਲਿ ਸੁਧਰਮੀੜਿਆ ਮੋਨਿ ਕਤ ਧਾਰੀ ਰਾਮ ॥: O you of the sublime Dharma! Why are you silent (from speaking Truth, Naam…)? (sggs 547).
  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu ore… (sggs 30).

A connection with ‘Truth’ can only be achieved if we become the masters of the true character instead of being blatant twisters of the Truth, back-biters (ChugalKhor-ਚੁਗਲਖੋਰ) or (Meesanaa-ਮੀਸਣਾਂ, ਮੀਣਾ). 

  • ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਚੁਗਲੀ ਚੁਗਲੋ ਵਜੈ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਰਤਿਆ ਓਸ ਦਾ ਸਭੁ ਗਇਆ ॥ : A person whose heart is filled with slandering (gossip, back-biting etc.) becomes known as a slanderer, all his (Dharmic or religious) acts go to waste. (sggs 308).
  • ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮਨਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਸਿ ਕਾਂਢੇ ਕਚਿਆ ॥੧॥: Those who have one thing in their mind, and something else in their mouth, are accounted false ||1|| (sggs 408).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦਿਸੈ ਚਾਨਣਾ ਦਿਲਿ ਅੰਧਿਆਰੀ ਰਾਤਿ ॥੫੦॥ : Outwardly, one may look bright (pious, Sufi etc.), but dark inside (but dagger in mind). ||50|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਮੀਣਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਪਿਰਥੀਆ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਤੋਂਡਕ ਬਰਲੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥: Prithy Chand (son of Guru Ramdas) came out as dissembling scoundrel and using his oblique nature (ਮੀਸਣਾਂ) spread his mental sickness all round. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 26, Paurhee 33).

In short, to directly call something or somebody as it is (i.e. true or Sach), is not slandering. It is Fearlessness as taught by the Gurbani. It is simply being factual, truthful and honest!

Also, to call truth (ਸਚ-Sach) as truth is not the praise of truth.

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

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

When Baabaa Nanak and Bhagat call the Pujaaree groups dishonest, fool, ignorant, greedy, Satan, bewildered or lost, traders of Maya, treacherous, harmful, deceptive etc., he is not  criticizing or slandering their religion. They are simply criticizing the twisted Pujaaree and telling truth about them (ਸਚ-Sach)!

  • ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥: O Pandit (i.e. Pujaaree, religious scholar etc.)! Do not tell lies, speak the Truth. (sggs 904).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਹੇ ਲੋਭਿ ਸਬਾਏ ॥: All Pandits are deluded by greed (sggs 370).
  • ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਛੁਰੀ ਵਗਾਇਨਿ ਤਿਨ ਗਲਿ ਤਾਗ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਘਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਨਾਦ ॥ ਉਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਭਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਓਈ ਸਾਦ ॥: The tyrants who take away the rights of humanity (i.e., tyrants who take what rightfully belongs to another; corrupt, bribe takers etc.), pretending to be religious, pray (five) times. The Khatris (and Brahmins), who serve the Muslim government, persecute their own brothers. However, these knife-wielders (i.e., those who tell lies, oppress others, hurt others, bring calamity upon others…) also wear religious symbols such as the sacred thread around their neck. In the homes of the persecuting Khatris, Brahmins prepare food (with Sucham-purification rituals) and eat; and pray for them. Brahmins seem to be doing the same thing as the tyrant and cruel Muslims and Khatris. (sggs 471).
  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had come to endure. (sggs 662).
  • ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ ॥: The Hindu is blind (mentally blind, spiritually unintelligent, etc., who has made-up phony stories and claims god is limited only to the temple…) and the Muslim is one-eyed (i.e., who has some intelligence – but claims Allah is limited only to the mosque, etc.). (sggs 875).
  • ਬਾਰਹ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਵਲ ਖਪਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਚਹੁ ਛਿਅ ਮਹਿ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਕਾਪੜੀਆ ਸਿਰਖੂਥੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਗਲਿ ਫਾਸੀ ॥੧॥: (Without the Shabad: Wisdom, Bibek, Upadesh…) Yogis in twelve sects are ruined and so are the ten sects of the Sannyaasees. Yogis in tatters and the Jains with their hair plucked out from their heads (they all keep getting ruined). Without the Shabad (Wisdom, Bibek, Upadesh…), the noose (of Maya) remains around their necks. (sggs 1332).

The Gurbani is also telling the truth when it condemns those who become lazy bums (i.e. Yogis, renunciates etc.), abandon their families, go to jungles or go sit on mountain tops or in caves.

  • ਪੂੰਅਰ ਤਾਪ ਗੇਰੀ ਕੇ ਬਸਤ੍ਰਾ ॥ ਅਪਦਾ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਤੇ ਨਸਤਾ ॥ ਦੇਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਪਰਦੇਸਹਿ ਧਾਇਆ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਚੰਡਾਲ ਨਾਲੇ ਲੈ ਆਇਆ ॥੪॥: You worship fire (ਧੂਣੀਆਂ ਤਪਾਂਣਾਂ) and wear saffron colored robes. Smitten by calamity (distress, trouble…), you run away from your home. Leaving your country, you wander in foreign lands. (But your Mayaic mind) brings the five pariahs (i.e., Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) with it. ||4|| (sggs 1348).
  • ਮਖਟੂ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਕੰਨ ਪੜਾਏ ॥: Makhtoo hoi Kai… (sggs 1245).
  • ਜਤੀ ਸਦਾਵਹਿ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਛਡਿ ਬਹਹਿ ਘਰ ਬਾਰੁ ॥ (sggs 469).

When Bhagat Kabeer Jee tells us abandoning the greedy and crafty Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree system, he is not cutinizing their religion. He is simply criticizing the twisted Pujaaree groups or the Pukaaree system by telling the truth (ਸਚ-Sach) — they are crafty, they do exploit people and enslave their minds! Here is the Gurbani’s Message to all its Sikhs (learners, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ):

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: ALL that the Pandit and Mullah Clergy have prescribed or presented to us, I have DISCARDED (while walking on the Path of Spirituality). I DISCARD IT ALL and have ACCEPTED NOTHING at all. ||3|| (sggs 1159).
  • ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Bhagat Kabeer Ji says) I have no conflict in my mind whatsoever — no struggle within me anymore. (I have achieved this state because) I have discarded all the claims of the clergy (Pujaaree). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1158).

When the Gurbani declares these so called ‘Sant‘ as Baanaarasi-Thugs (robbers, cheats: ਠੱਗ), he is not slandering them. Because, the Gurbani is telling truth about them (ਸਚ-Sach).

  • 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).

When Baabaaa Nanak and Bhagats expose the fraud and corruption that had (still now) become the resting ground for the religious places of worship and religious institutions and organizations, they are not criticizing any religion. They are simply exposing the twisted and corrupt Pujaaree by telling truth (ਸਚ-Sach).

  • ਗੰਗਾ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਦਾਵਰੀ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੇ ਕਾਮਾ ॥: Pilgrimages to (Teerath Asthaan like Ganges, Gaya and Godawari (etc.) are merely worldly affairs (sggs 1195).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਇ ਨ ਉਤਰਸਿ ਮੈਲੁ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸਭਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਫੈਲੁ ॥: Bathing at shrines of pilgrimage, filth (i.e., egotism, Bikaar…) is not washed off. Religious rituals (Karamkaand) are all just egotistical displays (sggs 890).
  • ਬਗਾ ਬਗੇ ਕਪੜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਮੰਝਿ ਵਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥ ਘੁਟਿ ਘੁਟਿ ਜੀਆ ਖਾਵਣੇ ਬਗੇ ਨਾ ਕਹੀਅਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥੩॥: Herons have white wings, they live only on Teerath (locations of pilgrimage). But those who swallow the living creatures are not said to be clean (i.e. they are crafty and scheming inside). ||3|| (sggs 729).
  • ਕਾਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਤ ਕਾ ਢਬੁ ॥ ਥਾਨਸਟ ਜਗ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਹੋਏ ਡੂਬਤਾ ਇਵ ਜਗੁ ॥: Kaal Naahee Jog Naahee… (sggs 662).

Babaa Nanak is not slandering Ragis (paid singers) when he tells them that it does not matter how many different ways they sing, but Rabb is not pleased by their singing in Ragas with musical instrument. 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, Rabb has nothing to do with all this.

  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously (sggs 465).
  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥: Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag (sggs 1285).
  • ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ਨ ਚੀਨਹਿ ਆਪੁ ॥: You sing the songs, but you do not understand your own self (i.e., your Mool). (sggs 903).
  • ਗੀਤ ਰਾਗ ਘਨ ਤਾਲ ਸਿ ਕੂਰੇ ॥: (Forgetting the Shabad: Vichaar, Giaan, etc., mortal indulges in) the various songs, Raag and rhythms, but these are all false efforts. (sggs 832).
  • ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਅੰਨਾ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਅੰਨਾ ਕੂੜੀ ਕੂੜੀ ਗਾਵੈ ॥: A person who is blind inwardly (i.e. mentally blind) and blind outwardly (from conduct or deeds: ਕਾਲੀਆਂ ਕਰਤੂਤਾਂ), sings (or recite scriptures) deceptively or falsely (ਝੂਠੀ ਮੂਠੀ). (sggs 960).
  • ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਸੁਣੈ ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਝੈ ਵਿਰਲੋਈ ।॥: Everybody just listen to ‘Raag and Naad’, but a very rare one understands Shabad-Surti (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 15, Paurree 16).

Baabaa Nanak in the following verse tells us that the whole world is ‘Rogee‘ (i.e diseased – with the negative impact of egotism and its faults like lust, anger, greed etc.). By saying so he is not slandering the whole world. But just telling the truth.

  • ਜਗੁ ਰੋਗੀ ਕਹ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਉ ॥: The whole world itself is sick (mind’s Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) thus whom should I seek and search to cure me? (sggs 1189).

When Baabaa Nanak declares that the leaders, religious or otherwise, are corrupt, he is not slandering them. He just telling the truth.

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 weak and the suppressed and the natural 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 ॥: ‘Kali’ (corrupt state of the mind) is like a sharp knife. Kings (and their officers) who protect the people are behaving like butchers (ਜਾਲਮ). The true principle of Dharma is as if taken wings and flown away. (sggs 145).

Baabaa Nanak called the emperor Baabar tyrannical (ਜਾਬਰ). This is not slandering of Baabar. Because, what Baabaa Nanak said 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 in the SGGS goes on and on.

The bottom line is: To call a thorn a ‘thorn’ is not slandering of the thorn; similarly to speak the truth is not slandering of the truth.

Thus, the Gurbani is not slandering or condemning anybody. It is simply factual.

Where the Gurbani praises the good qualities (Virtues or ਗੁਣ), there a thug is strongly called a thug. Whether that person is from the religious field or from the field of politics.

There are endless aspects of Gurbani through which the Pakhand of thugs and hypocrites have been exposed and the truth has been brought to light. We do not condemn this aspect of Gurbani but bow down and salute it.

Clearly, the Gurus and Bhagats had the guts and fearlessness to speak the truth!

Since we are the learners (i.e., Sikhs) of the Wisdom of the SGGS, we are also to Awaken similar guts and fearlessness!

The Wisdom of the Gurbani wants us to become like the 35 contributors of the SGGS, and have no fear when it comes to speaking the truth! The 35 contributors of the SGGS tells if speaking truth hurts somebody’s sentiments (ਭਾਵਨਾ), so be it!

  • ਕਰਿ ਆਚਾਰੁ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Sukh (Joy, Peace…) is obtained by living the Truth (sggs 931).

However, the Gurbani challenges us that one MUST comprehend the Divine Wisdom expounded in the Gurbani. No amount of religious garbs or symbols, 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).
  • ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਜੋ ਦੇਵੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਜੈਕਾਰੁ ॥: If a person considers Shabad-Vichaar in depth, then he will understand what is praise and what is slander (i.e. he will know right and wrong, bad and good, courtesy and wickedness etc.). Glory to the one who gives this Wisdom. (sggs 1331).

The Gurbani’s truth hits deep in the heart. Therefore, it gets avoided or compromised.

Instead, people enjoy lies, gossip, back-biting, cowardice etc. Because they are very comfortable. This is the reason, the Gurbani says falsehood draws crowds!

To the contrary, the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) says truth is always alone for it gets neglected. It gets neglected because truth is always shattering, bitter, unpleasant etc.

In this context, here is Bhagat Kabeer Jee’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! To follow ways of the enlightened beings, one must abandon the crowd (i.e. the stale and distorted path of falsehood, Pakhand, Karamkaand, superstitions…). There is a treacherous and rugged cliff on the way to becomingRaam‘ (i.e. becoming Kartaa, Hari, divine, enlightened, spiritual being…); Kabeer is climbing that cliff (alone!). ||165|| (sggs 1373).

If we understand the true Dharma as explained in the SGGS, then the illusion of slander will not bother us while speaking against social ills, corruption and evil.

  • ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਕਰਮੁ ॥: Of all Dharma, the best Dharma is ‘Naam(u) Japi’ (gain understanding, Wisdom, Virtues etc and apply i.e.) do Pure Karma (righteous deed, pure conduct, ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਆਚਰਣ…). (sggs 266).

What is slander?

Essentially slandering is to tell lies (ਝੂਠ) about a person or a group.

In nutshell, slandering or defamation is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation. It’s to victimize or ridicule the other person.

  • ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਐਸੇ ਹੀ ਝਰਿ ਪਰੀਐ ॥ ਇਹ ਨੀਸਾਨੀ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਲਰ ਭੀਤਿ ਗਿਰੀਐ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਉ ਦੇਖੈ ਛਿਦ੍ਰੁ ਤਉ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਉਮਾਹੈ ਭਲੋ ਦੇਖਿ ਦੁਖ ਭਰੀਐ ॥ ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਚਿਤਵੈ ਨਹੀ ਪਹੁਚੈ ਬੁਰਾ ਚਿਤਵਤ ਚਿਤਵਤ ਮਰੀਐ ॥੧॥: O Brother, listen: This is the distinctive sign of a slanderer — he collapses like a wall of saltpetre. Thus, the slanderer crumbles away (from his spiritual Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ – in other words, his habit of slandering is like saltpetre to his spiritual Life). When the slanderer sees a fault in someone else, he is pleased. Seeing goodness, he is depressed. Twenty-four hours a day, he plots (to harm someone), but nothing works. (Even if he cannot succeed in his planning) the evil man dies, constantly thinking up evil plans. ||1|| (sggs 823).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਭਲੀ ਕਿਸੈ ਕੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਰੰਨਿ ॥ ਮੁਹ ਕਾਲੇ ਤਿਨ ਨਿੰਦਕਾ ਨਰਕੇ ਘੋਰਿ ਪਵੰਨਿ ॥੬॥: It is not good to slander anyone, but the foolish Manmukhs still do it. The faces of the slanderers turn black (bad name or reputation, tumult, Dukh, depression, no self-esteem-ਢੈਂਦੀ ਕਲਾ…), and they fall into the horrible hell (i.e., they live hellish life Here and Now). ||6|| (sggs 755).

Certainly, if you are ever slandered by an another individual or a group, one option is to just to ignore and walk away from that situation.

Also, as the Gurbani points out, we can make it to work to our advantage if we want!

In this context, Baabaa Nanak’s life teaches us very important lesson. For example, foolish Manmukhs contemptuously would call Baabaa Nanak names such as Bhootanaa‘ (ਭੂਤਨਾ, spirit), ‘Betaalaa‘ (ਬੇਤਾਲਾ, demon), ‘Vechaaraa‘ (ਵੇਚਾਰਾ: wretched, helpless, poor, etc.), etc. They also called Baabaa Kabeer ‘Bauraanaa’ (insane, mad, foolish…). Here are Baabaa Nanak and Baabaa Kabeer’s own words:

  • ਲੋਗੁ ਕਹੈ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਬਉਰਾਨਾ ॥: People say that Kabeer has gone insane (for he rejects Karamkaand…). (sggs 1158).
  • ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਭੂਤਨਾ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥ ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਆਦਮੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ॥੧॥: (For not following the worldly ways…) Some call (Nanak) ‘Bhootanaa’ (a ghost…); some call ‘Betaalaa’ (demon…); Some call ‘Vaechaara’ (wretched, helpless, poor…). ||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 ॥: I will not forsake Raam 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).
  • ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਓਹੁ ਮਲਭਖੁ ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ॥: By slandering, the slanderer washes other’s filth, but in the process a Mayadhaaree (one attached to Maya himself becomes used to) eating the filth. (sggs 507).

Behavior of an Enlightened person (Gurmukh Mindset) is beyond the understanding of an ordinary human being of limited vision (the vision impaired by the cataract of Maya).

Dragon and the Slanderer

Due to corrupted psyche, a slanderer develops evil instincts toward others such as faultfinding, backbiting, hatred, resentment, cruelty, and so on.

The Gurbani asks us to abandon our own faults, and form a partnership with Virtues.

However, the slanderer can neither share in goodness of others nor abandon his own faults. Like a serpent’s venom; this habit of his destroys his body, nature, and personality.

  • ਅਰੜਾਵੈ ਬਿਲਲਾਵੈ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ॥ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਬਿਸਰਿਆ ਅਪਣਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਪਾਵੈ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋਈ ਉਸ ਕਾ ਸੰਗੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਲੇ ਲਏ ਸਿਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਣਹੋਦਾ ਅਜਗਰੁ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਏ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਅਗਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਜਲਾਵੈ ॥੧॥: The slanderer cries out and bewails… (sggs 373).

Being slandered is beneficial to the victim

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 Manmukh-Saakat- Mayadhaaree – those in love with Maya). Because, according to the Gurbani, being slandered or criticized is in fact beneficial! How’s so?

Slanderers help one become aware and alert 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!

The key is to use it (1) to see our shortcomings; and (2) then remove them without any prejudice or partiality.

In this context, consider the following Shabad:

  • 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॥: Slander me, slander me – go ahead, people, slander me (by telling lies about me). Slander is pleasing to ‘Jana’ (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat…)… (sggs 339).

On the other hand, the slanderer bears total loss — increases his demerits, sinful propensities, pollution of the mind, foolishness, suffering …)! Like a janitor or a dragon, a slanderer carries his huge, useless loads (of slandering), and burns in his own fire (of slandering). ||1||

  • ਨਿੰਦਕ ਕਉ ਫਿਟਕੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਕਾ ਮੈਲਾ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥: The world curses the slanderer. (Because the world knows that) false are the dealings of the calumniator. (By calumniating) the calumniator’s own lifestyle becomes filthy (corrupt, Bikaaree…). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1151).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਹਲਕਾਏ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਏ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੂਠਾ ਚੇਤੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਬਹੁਤੀ ਰਾਹੀ ॥੨॥: Within (the Pujaaree) is greed and they wander about like mad dogs. They slander others and carry loads of (slandering) upon their heads. Beguiled by Maya, he does not think of the (Divine Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). Deluded by doubt, he goes astray in many ways. ||2|| (sggs 372).
  • ਐਸੇ ਝੂਠਿ ਮੁਠੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦੈ ਮੁਝੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਨਿੰਦਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਦਰਿ ਨੀਸਾਣੈ ॥: Such is the falsehood (worthless activities, corrupt thinking, ਝੂਠੇ ਵਿਚਾਰ, etc.) that’s plundering the worldly people (of their spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). The slanderer slanders me, but even so, I love him (because he helps me improve). ||1||Pause|| He alone knows the Way of life, who is being slandered. Through the Shabad, he is approved at the Divine Door (Naam: Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). (sggs 1330).
  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਧੜੇ ਬਹਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਛਿਦ੍ਰੁ ਅਟਕਲੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਵਧਾਵੈ ॥: Mithiya Doojaa Bhaou… (sggs 366).

8 comments

  1. …the practice still continues

    Let’s find an answer from the Gurbani:
    • ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਸੂਧੋ ਕਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਾਨ ਧਰੈ ॥ (sggs 536).

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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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