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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374.The Man in Blue – From whom do we receive ‘Khande di Pahul’ ?

This article was inspired by something I was told, but which might not be true. According to my source one of our leading Gurdwaré flew over Sikhs from Panjab to be the Panj Piaré for the Vaisakh Khandé di Pahul ceremony.

This reminds me of how various swamis and other charlatans whisper your own personal mantr in your ear. Those that read the Guru Granth Sahib know that our Guru does not give us a mantr, Guru wants us to keep ‘nám’ in our minds, and act there on.

You can learn to see ‘nám’ (Godly essence) in nature, you can find it in Guru’s sabads, in words like Vahiguru or in what I have heard call Guru’s signature, Ik Ongkar Satguru Prasád (or Ik Ongkar Sat Nám Satguru Prasád / Ik Ongkar Kartar Purkh Satguru Prasád) or in the full nine descriptions of God starting with Ik Ongkar and ending with Gur Prasad.

These are all gifts from God, part of the Divine Understanding that comes to us through Guru’s sabad. This gift is there for all, this gift is not owned by Jathabandis or Deras, this gift is not owned by Sikhs, it is God’s gift to all.

Similarly ‘Khandé di Pahul’ is Guru’s gift. It is a contract between the individual and Guru. Our part of the ‘bargain’ is to offer our heads, to commit ourselves to living a Sikh life, a life of service, a life of honesty, humility. We are weak, we keep making mistakes, but we keep trying.

Guru’s part of the ‘bargain’ is that because you stop living for Maya, stop looking for fulfilment through having more, more and more again, because you start looking for inner peace, inner joy instead of joy given by artificial stimulants, you will become truly happy.

In the process of taking Amrit the Panj Piaré represent Guru and that makes it important to find people who are truly committed to following Guru’s way. They do not need to be perfect (I am 62 years old and so far have not met any perfect persons). They do not need to be part of any particular group within Sikhí. They should be seriously committed to living Guru’s life.

But more important is the commitment and understanding of the person undergoing the Khandé di Pahul. If you are seriously committed to follow the teachings of the Guru Granth, if you are truly committed to living a Sikh life, it does not really matter all that much who the Panj Piaré are.

The practice that Panj Piaré can impose their own rules, or the rules of their dera or jathabandi, on people undergoing Khande di Pahul is just not right. We should follow Guru. If our Panj Piaré think that they or their dera or their sub-group has the authority to change Guru’s teachings they are badly mistaken !

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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