The Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). contains compositions of the 35 contributors. Inclusions of compositions of all Bhagats and Bhattas was NOT based on their Jaat Paat (caste), or their religion! Their Bani was included based on their pure Soch (thinking or Virtues or Gun-ਗੁਣ…).
In short — according to the unique and new Wisdom of the SGGS — as is one’s Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ), so is his Jaat (ਜੈਸੇ ਗੁਣ ਵੈਸੀ ਜਾਤ)!
- ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: (Jaat Paat of a person) is as he acts (sggs 1330).
- ਆਚਾਰ ਬਿਉਹਾਰ ਜਾਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨੀਆ ॥: (To live by the divine) Virtues is my Karamkaand (formalities), conduct and Jaat (i.e., higher caste). (sggs 715).
Understandably, the SGGS strongly rejects (ਖੰਡਨ) the madness of belief or practice of Jaat Paat based on one’s family of birth, etc.
- ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਗਰਬ ਤੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Do not be proud of your (higher or ਉੱਚੀ) Jaati, you ignorant fool! So much Bikaar comes from this pride. ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 1127-1128).
- ਚਹੁ ਵਰਨਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਾਗੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਮੈ ਕਾਲੈ ਤੇ ਛੂਟੈ ਸੋਇ ॥5॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੬॥੨॥: Of the four castes, whoever remains awake and aware, is released from Jamm (i.e., Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) ||5|| Says Nanak, that humble being remains Awake and Aware, who applies the ointment of Wisdom to his eyes (i.e., inner eyes: the mind). ||6||2|| (sggs 352).
In the end, we all are destined to depart from this world to be relegated to the dustbin of existence, clueless about who we really are! Death kills all equally — rich and poor, low and high, etc. In other words, death of the body-frame makes Jaat Paat disappear; all become the same when dead (ਇੱਕ-ਸਮਾਨ).
- ਰਾਜਾ ਪਰਜਾ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਰੈ ਐਸੋ ਕਾਲੁ ਬਡਾਨੀ ਰੇ ॥੨॥ : The king and his subjects are equally killed by death; such is the power of death. ||2|| (sggs 855).
In the Gurmat Wisdom the SGGS, there is no distinction of social titles or status, material wealth, nationality, color of skin, family of birth, name, fame, power, education, knowledge, work titles, type of work, etc.
In other words, anybody in the world can read the SGGS and churn the Wisdom from it; and anybody can come to a Gurdwara and take the Wisdom of the SGGS. Because, the Gurdwara is the school of Sikhi. Those who say otherwise are fraud Sikhs!
Addressing the ego-mind, the SGGS asserts:
- ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੀਐ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Listen to the Gurmat and renounce the mind’s intellect (corrupt thinking that creates divisions, faulty understanding-ਮਾੜੀ ਸੋਚ …) . ||1||Pause|| (sggs 814).
- ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਭਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ ਹੋਰਾ ॥ ਵਰਮੀ ਮਾਰੀ ਸਾਪੁ ਨ ਮਰਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਸੁਨਈ ਡੋਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : The intellect to unite with ‘Gobind‘ (Mool, Truth…) is different. If one does not listen to the Naam (then his external religious Karamkaand is akin to beating the snake-hole instead of the snake, but, by just) beating the snake-hole, the snake is not killed. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 381).
Yet, the madness of belief in non-essentials like Jaat Paat has a strong hold in Sikhs! In one hand, the paid clergy and phony propagators of the Dharma mouth platitudes about a casteless society preached by the Gurus and the Bhagats, but on the other hand, they practice it madly. What a paradox and hypocrisy!
Similarly, any one who discriminates others based on criteria like ‘low’ or ‘high’ caste, poor or rich, nationality, color of skin, family of birth, etc., cannot be a real Sikh because the SGGS does not support such foolishness.
Consequently, he identifies himself and others as Jatt Sikh, Saini Sikh, Bhaapaa Sikh, Rorra Sikh, Tarkhaan or Raamgarheeaa Sikh, Mazhabee Sikh, Khatree Sikh, Lavaanaa Sikh, Kookaa Sikh, Naamdhaaree Sikh, Nihang Sikh, Nirmalay Sikh, Brahmin Sikh, list goes on and on.
Now, in the West, there seems to be a new class of Sikhs called Caucasian Sikhs (Gore-ਗੋਰੇ or white Sikhs)! Consequents of this madness of belief in Jaat Paat are many. For example:
- Most Sikh marriages are organized along the caste lines. Within Sikhs, if a boy or a girl from one caste marries someone from a different caste without mutual consent of their parents, it sometimes turns into a bloody tragedy. Thus, Jatt Sikh, Saini Sikh, Bhaapaa Sikh, Rorha Sikh, Tarkhaan or Raamgarheeaa Sikh, Mazhabee Sikh, Khatree Sikh, Lavaanaa Sikh, etc., rarely intermarry.
- Many Gurdawaras are built along the caste lines (i.e., Jatt Gurdwara, , Saini Gurdwara, Lavaanaa Gurdwara, etc.).
- In many villages in Punjab (India), Mazhabees or Dalits who are considered lower caste by some (fraud Sikhs) have their own Gurdawaras and even separate cremation grounds.
- Many Gurdawara, thus, are built based on ill feelings created by the madness of belief in Jaat-Paat rather than a genuine spiritual cause. The corrupt and illiterate Pujaaree groups, the Pujaaree system, the Deraa-Vaad, organized religious parties, etc. have exacerbated the problem.
Because of his Julaahaa Jaat (weaver caste), Bhagat Kabeer Jee was treated as a lowly being (Shoodar…) by those who considered themselves of higher caste. In the following Sloak, Bhagat Kabeer Jee repudiates this madness.
- 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).
Who is low or high depends solely on how one thinks (Soch) or acts in life. For example, by merely taking birth in a so called Sikh or a Brahmin family, one does not become a Sikh or a Brahmin. If both of them act in a corrupt manner, they are in fact Shoodras themselves (of low caste, wretched…).
In fact, according to the Gurbani, one does not even qualify to be called a human being just because he is born in a human form, what to speak of ‘low’ and ‘high’ caste heredity, etc.!
- ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਬ ਕੇ ਹੋਏ ॥ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਮਤ ਖੋਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥੪॥੭॥: In the womb, no lineage and cast is known. (One) Brahm is the Source of all ||1|| (Kabeer Sahib questions) since when have you been a Brahmin? Don’t waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin. ||1||Pause|| If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low caste? Is it that I have blood (in my veins), and you have milk (in your veins)? ||3|| Says Kabeer, one who contemplates the Brahm, is said to be a Brahmin among us. ||4||7|| (sggs 324).
A person may be a so called Sant, Baabaa, Brahmin, etc., but when he is in dire need of blood transfusion to survive, then nobody will inquire if that blood comes from a poor, or a rich, or a Brahmin, or a Amritdhaaree, or a clean shaven, or a Shoodar, etc.
Furthermore, when they buy stuff like clothes, food, etc., they never ask who have touched that stuff prior to them buying it, or eating it, or wearing it!
Those having this pride of ‘high’ caste are called ‘fool’ and ‘ignorant’ in the Gurbani. To put it otherwise, as the Gurbani asserts, those who practice Jaat Paat and feel pride of their belief in Jaat Paat are stupid and ignorant.
The Gurbani wants us to transform the mind from Manmukh-hood to Gurmukh-hood (follower of Truth, Divine Life…). And, according to the Gurbani, the Jaat and Paat (ਉੱਚੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਤੇ ਕੁਲ) of a Gurmukh is none other than the Naam (Giaan, Wisdom, Quality, ਸਮਝ…).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥: In Naam is ‘Jaati Pati’ and honor of who has become the Gurmukh (sggs 230).
According to the Gurmat Wisdom the SGGS, to eradicate the notion of low and high is to recognize the One Universal Energy in everyone and everywhere.
- ਅਰਧ ਉਰਧ ਬਿਚਿ ਸਮ ਪਹਿਚਾਣਿ ॥ ਨੀਚ ਊਚ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨ ਅਮਾਨ ॥: Recognize the (the Universal Energy) alike in ‘Aradh’ (i.e., the Mayaic mind, Mann…) and ‘Uradh’ (i.e., Chitt, the Divine Consciousness – when the mind turns away or transcends Maya, it becomes ‘Uradh’…)?. (Then, for you, there will be) no high or low (ਨੀਵਾਂ ਜਾਂ ਉੱਚਾ), no honor or dishonor (ਆਦਰ ਜਾਂ ਨਿਰਾਦਰੀ). (sggs 344).
In nutshell, the Gurbani tells us that the madness of belief in Jaat Paat indicates one’s doubt-ridden condition (ਭਰਮਾ, ਵਹਿਮਾ ਦਾ ਪਟਿੱਆ ).
- ਉਤਮ ਮਧਿਮ ਜਾਤੀਂ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: High and low, caste and status – the world wanders lost in doubt. (sggs 1243).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਅਜਾਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਿਨ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਤਿਨ ਪਰਮ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Whether of high or low caste, one who meditates on the Naam (Wisdom) realizes the supreme wealth (of Naam, Wisdom…). (sggs 574).
- ਕਉਨ ਵਡਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥ ਸੋ ਵਡਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਰਾਮ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Nobody is great (High, big…) by the greatness of Maya (material wealth). (He) alone is great, who is attuned to Raam (Source, Reality, Mool). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 188).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥ ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Do not ask about (someone’s) ‘Jaati’ 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).
In nutshell, therefore, until the deluded head is given up (faulty thinking, …), none can play the Divine Game (or the Divine Life) of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS!
- ਉਲਟਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਦੋਊ ਬਿਸਾਰੀ ॥ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਹਜ ਮਹਿ ਬੁਨਤ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Turning (the mind) away (from the worldliness, Maya, Bikaar…), I have forgotten both my social class and ancestry (i.e., now I understand that the Divine life is beyond Jaat-Paat). I’am now weaved in spiritual stillness (i.e., established in a state beyond Bikaar, Maya…). ||1|| (sggs 1158).
- ਜਾਤੀ ਦੈ ਕਿਆ ਹਥਿ ਸਚੁ ਪਰਖੀਐ ॥ ਮਹੁਰਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਹਥਿ ਮਰੀਐ ਚਖੀਐ ॥ ਸਚੇ ਕੀ ਸਿਰਕਾਰ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨੇ ਸਿਰਦਾਰੁ ਦਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਣੀਐ ॥: What merits is in the caste? It is the Truth that is to be assayed. (Pride in one’s caste) is like poison. If one has poison (even of any caste) if he eats poison then he will die. Know that this justice of the Truth (Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) applies throughout all the ages (i.e., pride in caste has not been regarded or sided with at any time). He who lives by the Hukam becomes a noble in the Divine Court (i.e., Naam-consciousness…). (sggs 142).
Again, Baabaa Nanak reminds us:
- ਫਕੜ ਜਾਤੀ ਫਕੜੁ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਸਭਨਾ ਜੀਆ ਇਕਾ ਛਾਉ ॥ ਆਪਹੁ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭਲਾ ਕਹਾਏ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਜਾ ਪਤਿ ਲੇਖੈ ਪਾਏ ॥੧॥: (Pride in) caste is empty; (pride in) personal glory (of superiority etc.) is useless. All beings have one shade (one Light, Jot…). A being may call himself good (based on his caste, BUT, that does not make him good); O Nanak! (A being) will only be known good when honor is approved in the Divine Account (i.e., when he lives a Divine Life – Gurmukh Lifestyle, here and now)! ||1|| (sggs 83).
In short, per the Gurbani, the highest and purest person is whose mind constantly remembers and lives the divine Virtues — Truth (ਸਤ), honesty (ਇਮਾਨਦਾਰੀ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), humility (ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ, ਬੁਧਿ ਗਰੀਬੀ), sweet speech (ਮਿਠ ਬੋਲੜਾ), etc.
- ਮਨ ਰੇ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਸਾਰਿ ॥: O mind! Day and night, enshrine Hari’s Divine Virtues (sggs 21).
- ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
- ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਸੂਦ ਵੈਸ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਚਾਰਿ ਆਸ੍ਰਮ ਹਹਿ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਵੈ ਸੋ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ॥: (O mind! Indian society is divided by the Pujaaree as) Brahman, Khatri, Vaish, Shudar – these are the four (famous Jaat) ‘Varan’ or castes; (Brahmacharaj, Grihast, Vanprast, Sannyas – these) are the four (famous) ‘Ashram’ or stages of life. (However) whichever of these human beings remembers ‘Hari’ (-Gun or Virtues), he is the ‘Pardhaan‘ or most sublime person (not because of caste etc.). (sggs 861).
Also, per the Gurbani, the low life (ਨੀਚ) person is who does not remember and live the divine Virtues (Hari-Gun):
- 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).
How to break out of this prison of so called lowly Jaat?
According to the Gurbani, one can break shackles of so called lowly Jaat by understanding (ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ, ਗਿਆਨ, Wisdom…) ‘Hari’ — ONE Universal Energy, Rabb, Mool, or Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature) that has become everything (ਜੋ ਸਾਰਾ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ, ਨਿਯਮ, ਕੁਦਰਤ ਦਾ ਵਿਧਾਨ…).
If it’s hard to believe, just look at Bhagat Ravidas, Namdev, Kabeer, etc., whom people called of lower caste. But they were individuals of supreme Wisdom, Quality, self-confidence, and understanding (ਸਮਝ) that attracted the people of all higher castes to seek their guidance.
So, the Gurbani’s advice is to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop blaming your lower caste.
- ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਤਿਆ ਉਤਮ ਪਦਵੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਬਿਦਰ ਦਾਸੀ ਸੁਤੈ ਕਿਸਨੁ ਉਤਰਿਆ ਘਰਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਰਵਿਦਾਸੁ ਚਮਾਰੁ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਨਿਮਖ ਇਕ ਗਾਇ ॥ ਪਤਿਤ ਜਾਤਿ ਉਤਮੁ ਭਇਆ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਪਏ ਪਗਿ ਆਇ ॥੨॥ ਨਾਮਦੇਅ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਗੀ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਤੀ ਲੋਕੁ ਛੀਪਾ ਕਹੈ ਬੁਲਾਇ ॥ ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਪਿਠਿ ਦੇ ਛੋਡੇ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਲੀਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਇ ॥੩॥: Even of lower Jaat, by understanding ‘Hari’ (‘ਹਰਿ’ ਨੂੰ ਸਮਝ ਕੇ), one obtains the state of highest dignity. (If it is hard to believe) go and ask about Bidar, the son of a maid; (it’s said that) Krishna himself stayed in his house (instead of Durjodhan’s palace. Why? Because of Bidar’s Wisdom and Qualities-ਗੁਣ, ਸਮਝ). Ravidas, the tanner, lived every moment by Hari’s virtues and understanding (ਸਮਝ). Though of lowly caste, (Ravidas) become sublime and the people of four castes came and fell at his feet (Because of his Wisdom, Quality…). Namdev, whom called a calico-Printer, embraced affection for Hari (understanding, virtues, Wisdom, ਸਮਝ…). Khatris and Brahmans turned their back on ‘Hari’, and Namdev was embraced (because of his Wisdom, Qyality, ਸਮਝ). (sggs 733).