All Sikh Gurus and Bhagat Sahibaan were revolutionaries. The Bani of all 35 writers incorporated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the proof of it.
Their actions and ‘Soch’ (Thinking) will keep challenging this system and our brain for centuries to come. They fearlessly raised their voice against:
- Social ills (ਸਮਾਜਿਕ ਕੁਰੀਤੀਆਂ).
- Injustice and inequality.
- Tyrant dictators.
- Oppression of people (‘ਜੋਰ ਜੁਲਮ’)
- Fraud of powerful and corrupt clergy or Pujaaree system.
- Nonsense rituals (Karamkaand).
- Religious corruption and goonism (ਧਾਰਮਕ ਗੁੰਡਾਗਰਦੀ) in the name of Dharma and counterfeit gods
- Madness of belief in Jaat Paat, dowry (Daaj or Dahej), Satee Prathaa (practice of a woman burning herself alive on her husband’s pyre),
- In addition, they even had to face opponents within their own families — opponents like Sri Chand (the son of Baabaa Nanak), Prithi Chand (the eldest son of Guru Ram Das), Ram Rai (the eldest son of Guru Har Rai), Dhir Mall (the elder son of Baba Gurditta and a grandson of Guru Hargobind), etc.
The Gurmat would like us to (1) acquire education (ਵਿਦਿਆ); (2) by acquiring education, become a ‘Vichaavaan‘ person (thoughtful, sensible, rational, thinker, etc.), a Wise person (ਗਿਆਨਵਾਨ), a reasonable person (ਤਰਕ ਕਰਨ ਯੋਗ), etc.; and (3) by becoming a ‘Vichaavaan‘ person, contribute to the formation of a beautiful society, contribute to the betterment of society, etc.
- ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Through the Grace of the Gur-Giaan, reflect on the “Vidiaa” (study, learning, knowledge…), read it repeatedly and you will obtain dignity (i.e., become Vichaarvaan-thoughtful…). (sggs 1329).
- ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ॥: (By acquiring education) the human being who has become a doer of good to others, then only understand that he has become a Vichaarvaan (i.e., a thoughtful person…) by acquiring education. (sggs 356).
- ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਦੁਹਹੂ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਨ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ਆਏ ॥ ਜੀਅ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਇਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਲੈਨਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥੨॥: ‘Jan’ (i.e., the Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas…) are not caught in birth and death (i.e., birth and death cycle of the mind); they come in the world to do good to others. They unite (others) in Bhagti by giving them the gift (of Giaan or Wisdom…), and thus enable them abide in ‘Hari’ (Mool, Source, Jot Saroop…). ||2|| (sggs 749).
Thus, the Gurmat (Giaan or Wisdom, Upadesh, Sikhiaa, Way of the SGGS) would like us to bring about real change in life — positive change in one’s intellect (Budhi), thinking, actions, attitudes, vision, mindset, entire outlook, understanding, and so on! Such positive change in each individual will result in transformation of the whole society for good!
Who is responsible for ills of society?
First off, who is responsible for the ills and deterioration of the society?
So called educated or learned people (ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ, scholars, etc.) are responsible for ills of the society.
After acquiring education — instead of becoming ‘Vichaavaan‘ — they become tricksters, crafty, corrupt, fraudulent, swindlers, cheat (Thugg-ਠੱਗ), wicked, cunning, selfish, vagrants, ungrateful, lazy bums, ਬੇਇਮਾਨ, etc.
Thus, after acquiring education, they misuse their education. They use it to fool people, defraud theme, make them brainless by infatuating their intellect (ਸਮਾਜ ਨੂੰ ਬੁਧੂ ਬਨਾਣਾਂ ਤੇ ਲੁੱਟਣਾਂ), etc.
Furthermore, the history tells us that corrupt clergy work in concert with the corrupt rulers, leaders and politician of the time. They all are responsible for the destruction of the fiber of the society:
- ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: Telling lies, the Qazi eats filth (of taking bribe and what pertains to others …). The Brahmin kills (inflicts pain on people by mistreating and misguiding them: ਆਤਮ-ਘਾਤੀ..), and then takes (cleansing, ਤੀਰਥ-ਇਸਨਾਨ) baths. The Yogi is (mentally or spiritually) blind, and does not know the way of life (ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਜਾਚ). These three are the cause of destruction of spiritual life (of their own and other people by leading them astray from the Way of Truth.) ||2|| (sggs 662).
The Gurbani explains to us how these learned tricksters cheat and plunder simpletons.
- ਹਰਣਾਂ ਬਾਜਾਂ ਤੈ ਸਿਕਦਾਰਾਂ ਏਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਫਾਂਧੀ ਲਗੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਫਹਾਇਨਿ ਅਗੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਥਾਉ ॥: Deer, falcons and leaders are known to be ‘learned’. When the trap is set, they trap their own kind; in future they find no peace (i.e., the trained deer and eagle trap their own brethren, just as the official sucks the blood of his own fellows human beings – ਬੇਇਮਾਨੀ ਨਾਲ). (sggs 1288)
Gurmat demands equality for all
The Gurmat demands all disparities be eradicated from the society. Accordingly, the Gurmat time and again asks us to transcend Maya, live by the One Hukam (Law of Nature), remove Haumai (false ego-sense), negativity, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc), and so on.
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS demands equality, justice, peace, prosperity, etc., for all regardless of religion, race, color of skin, creed, social status, family of birth, or on any other ground. Despite all physical differences, the Gurmat preaches Oneness.
- ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ॥: Gobind (Universal Energy) is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere), Gobind is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere); without Gobind, there is nothing at all. (sggs 485).
Gurmat Teaches Oneness
Simply put: Gurmat Teaches there is but One Reality (Universal Energy). This one Universal Energy is the substratum (support or “Aadhaar“) of all. It is this Infinite Reality, the Homogeneous Oneness that runs in and through all beings.
- ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: The entire universe has taken place from One “Noor” (One Universal Energy, Hukam, System or Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤ ਦਾ ਨਿਯਮ). So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (sggs 1349).
Therefore, if we truly want to honor and spread their message then we should not look for Love or truth, deliver It! In true religion or spirituality, therefore, there is no competition with others; only cooperation in Love!
If a religion is just content with merely preaching this ideal then it is self-defeating. It must also inspire action (a life of practice, implementation, Karanee, Amal-ਅਮਲ) to make the Oneness real. Because action (practice, implementation) is needed to fulfill the intention of the Teaching. The Gurmat inspires such life — the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
- ਜੋਗੀ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰੈ ॥ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਕਾ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੩॥੧੧॥: The Yogi (forgetting the Divine) repeats Gorakh, Gorakh. The Hindu utters the Name of Raam (i.e., Hindu thinks his God is only in the idol of Raam). (Similarly) the Muslim considers only the Khudaa (as their God, somewhere up there in 7th sky). (However) Kabeer’s Divine is that which is pervading all over (ਫੈਲਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ, ਤੇ ਸਭ ਦਾ ਸਾਂਝਾ – the same one in all beings and everywhere) ||4||3||11|| (sggs 1160).
To uphold these noble ideals taught by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, the Gurbani does not hesitate intervening in the affairs of even State (rulers, leaders …). For example, consider a few verses as follows:
- ਜਿਨੀ ਸਚੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਰਾਜੇ ਸੇਈ ॥ ਏਹਿ ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Those who have realized the Truth, they alone are the true rulers. These mere earthly rulers are not to be called rulers; because they are in the love of duality (Maya etc.), and thus already suffering. (sggs 1088).
- ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਰੰਗ ਰਾਇ ਸੰਚਹਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Kings, rulers and monarchs enjoy sense pleasures and gather the poison of Maya (sggs 1245).
Gurmat asks each person change thinking
Therefore, the Gurbani’s edict is that the most wonderful miracle would be to change one’s own mind (a revolution within) — uproot it from Mayaic consciousness and root it back to its Source (Mool, True Nature or Jot Saroop…), within.
Since the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is meant for the human mind (ਸੋਚ-thinking), it asks that the mind be reformed (“ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ”) to recognize its True Nature (Mool, Jot Saroop…). Towards that end, we are given the spiritual Knowledge (Giaan, ਉਚੀ ਮਤ, ਸਮਝ… ) for mending the mind (thinking-ਸੋਚ), and thus changing our living style in the process. However, this will only happen if we thoroughly understand the Gurmat through Shabad-Vichaar and then apply it to our daily life. Hence, the SGGS asserts:
- ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: If (O man) you reform yourself, you will meet me, and meeting me, you will be at Peace. (sggs 1382).
There is no enemy or stranger, only friends!
In addition to ethics and morality, the Gurbani teaches us spiritual unity of mankind. It teaches us real love, friendship, universal brotherhood, and Oneness. It time and again points to the common bonds that exist among all of us.
- ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥: No one is my enemy, no one is a stranger, all are my friends. (sggs 1299).
- ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥: (Ours) is the only One Father (One Rabb), we are the children of the One Father, (then) you are (also) my Gurbhai (Bhai means brother). (sggs 611).
- ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਰਾਨ ॥੪॥: I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim. My body and breath of life belong to (whom Muslims call) Allah and to (whom Hindus call) Raam ||4|| (sggs 1136).
In short, according to the Gurbani’s Message, the WHOLE WORLD OR UNIVERSE IS ONE FAMILY! Let’s share this message of the Gurbani’s commitment to the all inclusive universal family.
Accordingly, a true Sikh selflessly prays daily for all to prosper and be happy — ‘SARBAT DAA BHALAA: ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ’-MAY ALL BE HAPPY!
- ਤੂ ਸਰਬਤ੍ਰ ਤੇਰਾ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: (O Rabb!) You are everywhere; all are Yours (sggs 998).
Gurmat is NOT just a declaration of intentions…
These words of the SGGS are not meant in-one-ear-and-out-the-other. We must fulfill those intentions of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS!
- ਸਭਸੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੋਰ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਉ ਨ ਸਗਲੀ ਛਾਰੁ ॥੨॥: Reflection on the Gur-Shabad is above all (other notions, speculations, calculations…). I don’t care for anything else, for all else (i.e., other than the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad) is just worthless. ||2|| (sggs 904).
There is much more to the Gurmat and social change. We will stop here to keep this post short and sweet, and may try covering more in separate posts.
Fearlessly work for good of mankind and society
The entire Gurbani challenges us to fearlessly work for the betterment of the fellow human beings and society.
The entire Gurbani tirelessly inspires us to bravely expose the ills of the society and those responsible for it.
Just for an example, consider the following Shabad in which Bhagt Baynee (ਬੇਣੀ) Ji exposes ills of the society. Being a Brahmin himself, here he is fearlessly exposing a fellow Brahmin Pujaaree for his fraud, deception, craftiness, etc. Calling him ‘Lampat’ (a lewed, depraved, or lustful man), he asks:
- ਤਨਿ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਪਾਤੀ ॥ ਰਿਦ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਰ ਤਲ ਕਾਤੀ ॥ ਠਗ ਦਿਸਟਿ ਬਗਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਦੇਖਿ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਮੁਖ ਭਾਗਾ ॥੧॥ ਕਲਿ ਭਗਵਤ ਬੰਦ ਚਿਰਾਂਮੰ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੂਰ ਦਿਸਟਿ ਰਤਾ ਨਿਸਿ ਬਾਦੰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਿਤਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਸਰੀਰੰ ॥ ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਰਮ ਮੁਖਿ ਖੀਰੰ ॥ ਰਿਦੈ ਛੁਰੀ ਸੰਧਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਪਰ ਦਰਬੁ ਹਿਰਨ ਕੀ ਬਾਨੀ ॥੨॥ ਸਿਲ ਪੂਜਸਿ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਗਣੇਸੰ ॥ ਨਿਸਿ ਜਾਗਸਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਵੇਸੰ ॥ ਪਗ ਨਾਚਸਿ ਚਿਤੁ ਅਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਏ ਲੰਪਟ ਨਾਚ ਅਧਰਮੰ ॥੩॥ ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਆਸਣੁ ਤੁਲਸੀ ਮਾਲਾ ॥ ਕਰ ਊਜਲ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਕਪਾਲਾ ॥ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੰਠਿ ਰੁਦ੍ਰਾਖੰ ॥ ਰੇ ਲੰਪਟ ਕ੍ਰਿਸਨੁ ਅਭਾਖੰ ॥੪॥: (O lewed man) you rub your body with sandalwood oil, and place basil leaves on your forehead. However, thou hold a knife in the hand of your heart (within you is cheat, deception…). (You: lewed) look like a thug; pretending to meditate, you pose like a crane. But you look like a Vaishno, as if even the breath has come out of your mouth (meaning, you pretend look very kind, contemplative, etc.). ||1|| (O lewed man) You are sunk in ‘Kali’ (-nature: lewed nature, etc.) but you make obeisance for a long time before idol. Your gaze (i.e., intention) is crooked and day and night you are engrossed in Mayaic affairs or conflicts. ||1||Pause|| (O lewed man!) You bathe your body every day, you keep two loin cloths, you perform Karamkaand and (pretend) only take milk products, however, in thy heart you have drawn a scalpel to stab others. You have a habit of snatching others wealth. ||2|| (O LampatL lewed man!) You worship stone (idols), on the body you have made the marks of Ganesha, you remain awake at night to show (i.e., pretend) as you are engaged in Bhagti, there you dance with your feet but your mind remains engrossed in evil deeds. O ‘Lampat’ (i.e., lewed man)! This dance is not (a work) of Dharma. ||3|| You (use) the seat of deer skin and tell the rosary (Maalaa) of Tulsi. Clean your hands you put Tilak on the forehead. You have a rosary (Maalaa) of Rudrakh around your neck, but there is deceit (ਠੱਗੀ) in your Heart. (O Lampat: lewed man!) You are not remembering the Divine (i.e., this is not Simran!). ||4|| (sggs 1351).
For now, we leave you with this thought: Whenever someone updates or reforms an existing product (e.g., car, software, tv, etc.), nobody objects to it.
However, whenever someone tries to bring about update, change, or reform in ills inflicted on the society by religions or their Pujaaree systems, they will be all over you! They don’t want you to mess with their freeloading and luxurious lifestyle of no-investment, but all gains (Golak, ਧੰਧਾ, ਐਸ਼-ਪਰਸਤੀ, ਗੁੰਡਾ-ਗਰਦੀ…)!
Being the social reformers, the Sikh Gurus and Bjagat Sahibaan had to face the wrath of the Pujaaree-Vaad!
Fittingly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS demands removal and abandonment of the Pujaaree-Vaad for better society
The Gurbani asserts falsehood does not mix in Truth.
Since the Gurbani speaks Truth (Sach), it’s Truth does NOT suit the fraud or wicked individuals for it upsets and irritates them!
- ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ॥: Truth does not suit those who are permeated by falsehood (sggs 646).
- ਜੇ ਕੋ ਬੋਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੂੜਾ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਵਈ ॥: If someone speaks the Truth, the false (one) is burnt (irritated). (sggs 646).