415.The Man in Blue – Damdami Taksal and Sant Samaj

I still have not got my head round the recent close cooperation between the Taksal and the Sant Samaj, with Baba Harnam Singh heading both groups.

Of course the Taksal and the Sant Samaj have things in common. They both do not believe in Guru Granth/Guru Panth as ordained by Guru Gobind Singh. They both think that the 1945 Rehat Maryada that came about after wide consultations of various Sikh institutions is no good.

They both believe in the story of Luv and Kush as the forefathers of the Gurus, they also both believe in rules not based on the Rehat Maryada and which are not based on the teachings of the Guru Granth.

The rituals of the Taksal and of the Sant Samaj differ, but both groups tend to emphasise on how to do things, instead of Guru’s emphasis on the intention with which you do things.  

Sants tend to tell their followers to give them the money and they will do the spiritual work for you. This does not agree with Taksal practice, unless ‘Baba Harnam Singh’ has changed that too.

The biggest difference between the two groups is in the political field. Most members of the Sant Samaj have been faithful servants of the various Delhi governments, while the Taksal was always a thorn in the side of Delhi.

That makes you wonder what the struggle between Bhai Ram Singh and Baba Harnam Singh was about. Was this new political direction behind the question of who should be the next Taksal Jathedar ?

I knew Bhai Ram Singh when he was one of the Granthis of Darbar Sahib. He was the only person of any weight there who helped me. That agrees with the way I was welcomed by Baba Thakur Singh when I came to take Amrit.  But Bhai Ram Singh seemed more open to Sikhs of other traditions, while in Mehta Chowk it was made clear that the Taksal way was true Sikhí.

The most amazing aspect of these new developments is that this Sant Samaj/Taksal combination works together with the Akal Takhat Jathedar and other puppets of the Badal Dal/BJP state government. That this  combination is powerful in Panjab I understand. But that educated people in the UK support this unholy alliance does surprise me.

Some groups in the UK think that a difference of opinion is an excuse to use violence. The Sikh Federation should realise that being seen together with violent groups and individuals will be used to justify the Indian anti-Khalistani propaganda. They also should realise that being together with the Sant Samaj and the Badal Dal is not a Panthic stance.       

Stop the use of violence

All Sikhs, Sikh organisations and Gurdwaré should undertake never again to use violence as a means to settle differences of opinion. There is no precedent from Guru’s days for this bad practice, the Guru taught us to stand up against injustice, not against opinions that we do not agree with.

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415.The Man in Blue – Akal Thakat, Panj Piaré, Hukamnamé

In the recent discussions about the ‘banning’ of Darshan Singh Ragi from the ‘Panth’ by the ‘Sikh Authorities’ in Amritsar, many participants showed that they did not fully understand where the authority in the Khalsa Panth rests.

Many talk about the authority of the Akal Takhat. When you think about it you must admit that thinking that ‘authority’ is vested in a building or a geographical location makes no sense whatsoever.

Guru Gobind Singh vested the Guruship in the Guru Granth and Guru Panth, not in a building, not in a geographical location, not in the Panj Piaré. Having institutionalised Panj Piaré made up of ‘Jathedars’ and ‘Mukh Granthis’ is nowhere near to what happened in 1699 in Anandpur Sahib. Panj Piaré should be independent minded model Sikhs.

The only period in which we had a more or less functioning Guru Granth / Guru Panth was the misl period after Banda Singh Bahadur and until Maharaja Ranjit (not so) Singh.

The authority was with the Sarbat Khalsa, which was flawed because it was a meeting of the Misl Jathedars and their adjutants and not a true ‘All the Khalsa’ meeting, but it was better than what we have now.

This meeting in case of conflicts would select Panj Piaré as mediators. Each party in the conflict would select two, which had to be approved by the other side, and the four would select the fifth. Obviously the ideal was to find five serious Sikhs who would have moral authority rather than power.

Any decision achieved was promulgated from Akal Takhat by the Jathedar of the Misl of the ‘veterans’. If the Sarbat Khalsa could not meet in Amritsar life got on. When I was with the IOSS in Chandigarh a member once said that Guru Hargobind took the Akal Takhat with him when he went to Kartarpur (Jalandhar) and later to Kiratpur (Anandpur Sahib).

The present set up does not fit in with anything that was practised in Guru’s time or during the Misl period. Even the Dhirmal followers who took over Darbar Sahib after the departure of Guru Hargobind, and who refused entry to Guru Teg Bahadur, did not think that they could issue hukamnamé on behalf of the Panth because they were in charge of Akal Takhat.

Darshan Singh Ragi has not been banned from the Panth and there is no hukamnama about not discussing the Dasam Granth, as these decisions were taken by people who have no authority to do so.

Being the leader of the Akali Dal and/or the Mukh Mantri of Panjab does not give you any authority over the Sikhs.

Appeal to stop the use of violence

All Sikhs, Sikh organisations and Gurdwaré should undertake never again to use violence as a means to settle differences of opinion. There is no precedent from Guru’s days for this bad practice, the Guru taught us to stand up against injustice, not against opinions that we do not agree with.

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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414.The Man in Blue – The Guru Granth Sahib

It is the Guru Granth Sahib that made me a Sikh, it is the Guru Granth Sahib as God’s word that I gave my head to when I took Amrit, and it is the Guru Granth Sahib that connected me with God.

Guru Gobind Singh made the Guru Granth the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. That does not mean that reading of other books is forbidden, but it does mean that the Guru Granth is The Granth, The Book, the one against which all other books are measured.

Read the Dasam Granth, the Sarbaloh Granth, Bhai Gurdas’ Varan or Bhai Nand Lal’s poetry, but the Guru Granth is your Guru, your benchmark. Read the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, Al Qur’an, or any other book of other religions or dharms, but the Guru Granth is your Guru, your benchmark.

The Guru Granth is your signpost to God. Reading the Guru Granth you will feel uplifted, you will be given strength, the strength you need to stay on that narrow path that leads to God. The strength you need to climb back on that narrow path after falling off.

The Guru Granth will change the fear of God into respect for God. The Guru Granth will change the respect for God into love for God. The Guru Granth will open your third eye, will make you see God, will make you feel the emotion of God and the always present and limitless Love of God.

Use all your faculties, your eyes, your ears, your nose, your emotions, your whole body and soul to hear God’s Shabad, God’s word.

Last night I was not feeling great. I have a job to do that I do not like very much, that I am not very good at. And when I had a go it went even worse than I expected.

I went to the Gurdwara, listened to the kirtan, read the original text and the translation of the sabads, sang along and felt a lot better, and decided to have another go and ask my colleagues for help.

Being with Guru does not mean that you have no more minor or major problems, but it does mean that you will find the strength to deal with them. I am not constantly in perfect balance or ‘sahaj’, but I have fewer highs and lows since I became a Sikh and get back to ‘sahaj’ much quicker.

Take your time when reading the Guru Granth Sahib. If you struggle with the original text then use a translation, use a Panjabi – English or a specific dictionary for the Guru Granth Sahib. Use a Stig or the Mahan Kosh. Try to feel the metre and rhythm, understand the poetic images, be moved, and be emotional about its beauty.

An appeal to stop the use of violence

All Sikhs, Sikh organisations and Gurdwaré in the UK should undertake never again to use violence as a means to settle differences of opinion. There is no precedent from Guru’s days for this bad practice, the Guru taught us to stand up against injustice, not against opinions that we do not agree with.