According to the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), belief in caste (Jaat Paat) is a sheer madness of the crazy mind! Propagated by the Bipar-Vaad (Brahmanism) in Sikhi, it is totally contrary to the Unique Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak or SGGS!
Notwithstanding, many who identify themselves as Sikhs — including the self-serving Sikh Pujaaree-Vaad (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc. — fanatically practice Jaat Paat! What a travesty of truth (ਸਚ) and Dharma!
Those who thus defy the Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak by considering themselves of higher caste (or superior) and others of low caste (or inferior), do they think that the color of their blood is white instead of red?
Bhagat Kabeer Ji posed this question to those (Pujaaree...) who considered themselves of higher caste and others like Bhagat Kabeer Ji of a lower caste:
- ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥: How is it that you are a Brahman, and I am of a low caste? Is it that I have blood (in my veins), and you have milk (in your veins)? ||3|| (sggs 324).
In the same breath, Bhagat Kabeer Ji posed an another question to those who considered themselves of higher caste and Kabeer Ji of a lower caste.
Caution: The Gurbani here uses a very strong language to hammer the truth into our spiritually sick, doubt-ridden minds:
- ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥: If you are indeed a Brahman, born of a Brahman mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| (sggs 324).
These logical questions of the Gurbani (SGGS) also apply to those who call or identify themselves as Sikhs and yet practice Jaat Paat like Brahmans/Pandits:
- if you think you are of a higher caste, ‘then why didn’t you come out of the womb by some other way?’
- or ‘Is it that I have blood (in my veins), and you have milk (in your veins)?’.
The Gurbani reminds the entire humanity that nobody knows his or her ‘Kul‘ (lineage) in the mother’s womb!
- 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॥: There are no caste distinctions for the fetus within the mother’s womb. All humans are created equal from the one material at conception. ॥1॥ So, tell me O Brahman, at what point did you become a Brahmin? Realize that living in false pride as a Brahman results in squandering of one’s life. ||1||Pause|| If you are indeed a Brahman, born of a Brahman mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| How is it that you are a Brahman, and I am of a low caste? Is it that I have blood (in my veins), and you have milk (in your veins)? ||3|| In Kabeer’s spirituality, a Brahmin is someone who contemplates on and realizes the Creator (Within). ||4||7|| (sggs 324).
The Gurbani also reminds that the the One Creator – has no particular lineage or social class!
- ਨਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਓਪਤਿ ਖਪਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਜਾਤੀ ਓਹੁ ਅਜਰਾਵਰੁ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਇਆ ॥੨॥: God neither goes through birth and death, nor has any ancestry or social status; He is exalted, never becomes old and is pleasing to the minds of all. ||2|| (sggs 1038).
In other words, one’s Original Nature (Jot Saroop or Mool) is ‘Abaran‘ (casteless, classless, etc.). Fr example, look at the innocent kids — they are more kind and caring to all beings. They don’t see color of skin or race etc. They don’t see dogmas or antagonistic adherents or structured rules and practices concocted by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy); this all-encompassing behavior of them is natural and spontaneous which makes them ‘spiritual.’
- ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਸਿਉ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ॥: (Those people whose) mind loves to know the high and low social class (caste…), (they) always speak in egotism (sggs 1162).
In a nutshell, the mind that believes in low and high caste speaks or behaves in false ego-sense (Haumai).
The Gurbani wants its Sikhs (learners of the SGGS) to become Enlightened (Gurmukh Mindset). For the one who has become Enlightened is beyond such madness and foolishness!
- ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨ ਕੁਲ ਸਹਸਾ ਚੂਕਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: ||1||: Doubt about Jaati, Varan, and Kul (caste, social class, lineage…) is eliminated by the Gurmat (following the Teaching of the Gurbani) through the Shabad-Vichaar ||1|| (sggs 1198).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥: In Naam is ‘Jaati Pati’ and honor of who has become the Gurmukh. (sggs 230).
There is a beautiful example given in the Gurbani as to how we can eradicate this madness of belief in casteism (Jaat Paat...). It goes like this:
- ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਦੀ ਪੀਰਤਨੁ ਹਰੈ ਚੂਨ ਚਿਹਨੁ ਨ ਰਹਾਇ ॥ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਇਹ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਉ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨੁ ਕੁਲੁ ਜਾਇ ॥੫੭॥ : Kabeer, the turmeric is yellow and wheat flour is white (but when mixed together they lose their individual color and a beautiful red color wells up); similarly one who loves God realizes God only when he sheds the considerations of both high and low caste. ||56|| (sggs 1367).
Let’s try to digest the foregoing verses. The turmeric (ਹਲਦੀ) is yellow in color, and the lime (ਚੂਨਾ) is white. Upon mixing the turmeric and the lime together, yellowness of the turmeric and whiteness of the lime disappear. Similarly, through Internalizing the Message of the Shabad Based loving Bhagti when one is linked to his Mool (Source, Jot…) within, he loses all his body-consciousness of caste, social class, lineage etc.
Seen thusly, it’s not one’s family of birth, material wealth, name, fame, power, education, knowledge, external religion, religious paraphernalia, religious robes, titles etc. that makes one low or high.
Instead, according to the Gurbani, who is of low and high caste or social status depends solely on how one lives his life — actions or deeds, thinking (Soch), Virtues (Gun).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥ ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: O Nanak! 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).
According to the Gurbani, the real outcaste (ਨੀਚ, Shoodar, lowly person…) is the one who is devoid of the Naam (Wisdom / Virtues).
- 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).
Mool-Abidance (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਮਿਲਾਪ: the purpose of human life) has nothing to do with casteism (Jaat Paat) etc.!
Hence the Gurbani asks us to turn away (‘ਉਲਟਿ’) from such Mayaic body-consciousness (which is false, corrupt, faulty, full of vices…). By eradicating the false pride of Jaat-Paat, the Gurbani asks us to become the ‘Sevak‘ (the Daas, Bhagat, Gurmukh Mindset etc.).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲੀਨੁ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਹਹੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: If a human being of high caste or high social standing (leaving the ego of caste and social standing) becomes a ‘Sevak’, what can you say about him (i.e., he cannot be fully praised). (sggs 1256).
- 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).
Simply put: Caste, social class, lineage etc. of a Sikh is none other then the Gur-Upadesh (Giaan-Wisdom of the Gurbani). Nothing else can stabilize the foolish mind.
- ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਘਾਮ ਨਹੀ ਛਾਮ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਾਮ ॥: (That person who understands ‘He is me, I am Him’) is not affected by either high or low social class, sunshine or shade (i.e., duality). (But this Spiritual State) is obtained or Realized by taking the Sanctuary of the Gur-Giaan (i.e. by the Grace of the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad), and nowhere else (i.e., by no other means). (sggs 1162).
The Gurbani’s ultimate Instruction (ਮੁਕਦੀ ਗੱਲ) to its learners (i.e., Sikhs) is: We all are the children of the One God! Hence all Jeeva are equal.
- ਕਬੀਰ ਕੋ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਭ ਸਮਾਨ ॥੩॥੧॥: God of Kabeer is equally pervading in all. ||3||1|| ||3||1|| (sggs 1193).
Thank you bhai Sahib Jio for sharing Vichaar!
ੴ repeated 568 times in Sri Guru Granth Sahib & this is the 1st word announced from the mouth of Guru Nanak. It means GOD is one & we all are his son
ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥ if our father is ONE then we all are from same cast.
There may be 1oo or more persons as dr singh .Now what should be the specific identification
for a particular drsingh. Certainly one would add some extra identification for specific recgogination.One may use the Name of his Village/Name of his Father or any other like that,
So one should try to see the utility of the system without being prejudiced.
Thank you for this article. I’m always amused when Sikhs express wisdom on ‘Jaat-Paat’ yet continue to use ‘jaat’ associated surnames […].
This also happens at ‘panthic’ gatherings in so called ‘panther gurdwaras (the ones associated with Khalistan or Akhand Kirtani Jatha), where the pardhan will openly declare his ‘JAT-ness’ by being known as Mr Sandhu, Gill or Purewal……food for thought.
There is a very stron message in SGGS ji pp440 as
“GuROO SIKHu SIKHuGuROO EKO GuR UPDES CHALAYAE”
Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for incessantly sharing the Shabad-Vichaar.
• ਕਬੀਰ ਸੋਈ ਕੁਲ ਭਲੀ ਜਾ ਕੁਲ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਦਾਸੁ ॥ ਜਿਹ ਕੁਲ ਦਾਸੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਸੋ ਕੁਲ ਢਾਕੁ ਪਲਾਸੁ ॥੧੧੧॥ (sggs 1370).
• ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੁ ਨੀਚ ਕੁਲੁ ਸੁਣਹਿ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਉਧਰਹਿ ॥੨॥ (sggs 238).
Bhai Sahib T Singh jio,
Gurbani quotations put across by you for our understanding leave no doubts in our mind on the prevalent topic. I wish Guru’s ideology becomes our own opinion, then we wouldn’t live in duality. ‘ Mera mujh mey kash nahi, jo kujh hai sabh tera, tera tujh ko sonp de kya lage mera’. Avall allah nur upaia——, reminds us about brotherhood, love and respect for all alike.
Yes Veer Ji. Your point well taken.
Thank you Veer Jio for your continual sharing.
Respected T Singh ji,
I am sure you also agree to the point that Gurbaanee should be understood from within Gurbaanee only.If I am not wrong .
Respected T singh ji,
I fully agree with your point of views that here we are not to prove anything or someone as wrong .We all are certainly going to differ but my intention is that all gurbaanee disicussions should be restricted to Gurbanne only thenonly we can truely live with SGGS ji.Once an intrusion starts it can not be stopped..Is there any need to verify the auhenticity of message of SGGS ji from any other source.?
Bhai Sahib Prakash S Bagga Ji, the sole purpose behind this Website is to try removing doubt and confusion, not inflate them. We all are learning from each other. And we want to keep learning from each other.
All quoted verses are “in line with SGGS ji”. If they weren’t “in line with SGGS ji”, they would not have been quoted or included herein!
Here is an another verse from the Dasam Granth “in line with SGGS ji”
• ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਰਾਫਜੀ ਇਮਾਮ ਸਾਫੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਿਚਾਨਬੋ ॥: Hindu turk ko-oo raafjee imaam saafee maanas kee jaati sabai ekai pahichanbo
Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji.
Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji admired Bhai Gurdas ji’s VARAN as blissful key message of Gurbani for us. It cannot be set aside, it simply opens up and re-asserts the complex meaning of Guru’s message of humanity. Bhai T Singh has expounded on this topic by giving various examples. It is my opinion, when we object to Guru’s word, there remains some reservation in our mind; which restricts us from submission to God. I would submit unconditional to Gurbani for true development of my mind.
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