According to the Sikh Rehat Maryada we should as part of our nitnem daily read Tav Prasád Svayé, Jáp Sahib and Benti Chaupaí. These are texts that are found in the ‘Dasam Granth’.
I think that Tav Prasád Svayé and Jáp Sahib are in tune with the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib, but I feel uneasy about Benti Chaupaí.
In this article I will highlight words or phrases in Benti Chaupaí that I do not understand. I hope that others will help me to come to a better understanding. I would prefer a dialogue about facts over a debate on opinions.
I will restrict myself to the discussion of the 25 verses that are specified in the Sikh Rehat Maryada as being part of the nitnem banis.
Hamré dust sabhai tum ghávho – Destroy all my enemies – 1st line of verse 2
Does dust mean wicked and ghávho stab ? Stab all the wicked ?
Sabh bairan ko áj sanghriyai – Destroy all my enemies today – 2nd line of verse 3
Sanghriyai = companions ? Bairan = alien ?
Chun chun satr hamáré máríhi – Kindly kill all my enemies after singling them out – 4th line of verse 4
The above translations are by Harban Singh Doabia. I am not convinced that he has translated correctly, and I wonder about these ‘enemies’ and the ‘killings’. These verses, whether they are written by Guru Sahib or not, date from the period when the Mughal regime saw the Sikhs as their enemies.
But Gursikhs see God’s presence in all, and have no enemies. Of course when those that see us as their enemies attack us or other communities we have not just the right, but the obligation to protect ourselves and others.
But even then, as the Bhai Ghanaya story illustrates, we keep seeing those ‘enemies’ as our fellow human beings.
Another way to look at these quotes is to consider the enemies as the five ‘thieves’ that steal away our balanced state of mind. Please let us know what you think.
I am not interested in a debate on whether these verses have been written by Guru Gobind Singh or by person or persons unknown.
I want to come to a better understanding of Benti Chaupaí, and want to establish whether it is in tune with the Guru Granth Sahib.
As we all should know it is Guru Gobind Singh who emphasised the key role of the Guru Granth as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs.
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