Mental energy which this retreat from religion released in the West, was primarily turned towards Natural Sciences, but the very methodology of these Sciences provided man with new tools for studying the history and phenomena of religion as such, and the methods of approach and the results obtained thereby are likely to mould and influence the direction of this newly awakened interest. It was the German philosopher, Hegel (1770-1831), who dominated the philosophical thought of the West during the nineteenth century. His assumption that the essential nature of the movements of human thought resembled vertical crawling of a snake wherein the first movement constituted the thesis, and the second the antithesis, the opposite of that assertion, and the third movement, the synthesis, in which both the first and the second movement were amalgamated. Hegel saw this basic characteristic of human thought as the essential nature of all movement of Reality, whether physical or mental, and he built his metaphysical system and his interpretation of human history this wise. This methodology of speculation is still the basis of, what is called, the Materialistic interpretation of History, and the Communist systems of thought, currently dominating a large part of the political globe. It was Hegel who made the assumption, unwarranted as is now demonstrably clear, that an “Age of Magic” preceded the “Age of Religion”. He asserted that in the History of mankind, there were periods when ancient and primitive human societies were preoccupied with ‘magic’ as their sole theory and activity of their understanding and adjustment in relation to the universe. Magic is a theory as well as a practice. The basic idea underlying the theory of magic is that the processes of Nature can be strictly controlled by man through spells and incantations. This theory is as old as the Vedas and is still held by the widespread tantrik practices in most parts of India. The practice of magic depends upon the way in which certain things are done and said for a given desired purpose by those who have the necessary knowledge and power to put the relevant supernatural force into effect. The specialist in this practice is the medicine-man or the magician, equivalent to the purohit of the vedic sacrifices. Sir James Frazer, in his famous book, The Golden Bough, and his other work, the Worship of Nature (1926), tries to uphold the theory that a time existed when man believed that they could coerce the forces of Nature to do what they wanted. He supposes that it was when this belief was no longer found as pragmatically sound that the Age of Religion dawned. Religion presupposes the existence of spiritual beings, external to man and the world around him, and that it is this spiritual Being or beings who control men’s affairs. These beings cannot be coerced or dictated to, and the proper method of approach towards them, therefore, is that of supplication and prayer. This is essentially the difference between magic and religion, that while magic is coercive and dictatorial, religion is supplicatory and propitiatory. Archaeological and sociological studies which have been conducted on a vast scale in the recent past, however, have yielded ample data to confirm the fact that magic is not related to religion chronologically, and that both existed simultaneously in ancient times, as they still do in modern times. The priest of religion, is not a lineal descendant of the magician, as Frazer had thought, and nor is religion the sequel to ineffective magic. They are both distinct activities, and mostly simultaneous, in which man indulges to achieve similar or identical objectives.
Sir R. B. Tyior (1832-1917) in his great book. Primitive Culture (1871), rested the entire structure of his history of religion on what he called ‘Animism’. His theory was that animism was the essence of religion, the minimum definition of religion, as he called it, the final source from which the whole paraphernalia of religion has developed. His argument was that from observation of such phenomena as dreams, trances and visions, man had transferred to the natural order, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and the rivers, a concept of animating spirits whereby these natural objects perform their functions in the universe like men and animals. In this way, as Sir James Frazer put it, man had located “in every nook and hill, every tree and flower, every brook and river, every breeze that blew and every cloud that flaked with silvery white, the blue existence of Heaven”, a spirit such as he believed animated his own corporeal frame. From this notion, man advanced to the stage, when eventually from these innumerable spirits, a polytheistic system of gods emerged which controlled the various departments of Nature. For instance, instead of a separate spirit for every tree, there was supposed and conceived a god of Woods in general, and similarly a god of the Wind with a distinct character and features. From this polytheism to strict monotheism is only a logical step.
Sir Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), a speculative philosopher, who has exerted much influence on the thought of the second half of the nineteenth century, believed and argued that the idea of God and religion in general had originated from the theory of ghosts and the practice of the worship of ancestors. He attempted to demonstrate that “the root of every religion” was in the worship of ancestors, which ancestors, after death, were believed to live in the form of ghosts and which later on were deified. Since these ancestors were regarded with awe and reverence during their life-time, they were apotheosised after their death, and consequently a complicated system of worship developed. This, he thought, was the whole story of religion.
This speculation was in line with the evolutionary thought which dominated the nineteenth century and this mode is still there in the popular mind and literature of today, although the evidence which has been painfully accumulated since, refuses to fit in with this theory of the origin of religion, as Andrew Lang, in his book. The Making of Religion (1898) was believed to have shown. There has been, as the irrefutable data now shows, no unilineal development from animism to polytheism and to monotheism, or from illustrious mortals to deified immortals.
The argument behind all such speculations was twofold: The first, that there has been evolution in religious thought i.e. there were certain phases of religious thought which were chronologically anterior to certain other phases; and, the second, that, these so-called later phases were, therefore, superior and higher than the former phases, it being a postulate of the Theory of Evolution that the later in time is qualitatively superior to the earlier.
It is this kind of speculation and argument which has occupied the minds of intelligent men during the last one hundred years or so in respect of religion, but it is now no longer dogmatically held that both, or either of these two propositions, are self-evident or demonstrably true.
It is not correct that, in fact, certain phases of religious thought and practice, such as magic or ancestor-worship, preceded, in the history of human society, the other phases. Viewed chronologically, they are often found to be simultaneous, and they run along side by side with each other. Secondly, it is fallacious to argue that chronology is a spiral measure of value. To argue that because ancestor-worship precedes polytheism, therefore polytheism is a superior religious practice to ancestor-worship, is a fallacious argument. That one is superior to or more excellent than the other, depends not upon whether its chronological origin is earlier or later. Its mode of assessment is quite different and it consists in a certain power of perception of quality, of evaluation, which forms the part of a properly developed, trained and a cultured mind. To argue that the origin of a thing determines its value, is the ‘naturalistic fallacy’. It is a fallacy which wrongly supposes that the value of a fact is dependent upon and is determined by its origin.
Whatever, therefore, may be the hang-over of these nineteenth century speculations and modes of approach in the popular mind of the uninformed, the intelligent minds have already perceived clearly that a true understanding and appraisal of religion can only be achieved through the interior religious experience itself and not through the discipline of other sciences and philosophy. This realisation has been made possible in the recent years, firstly by the analytical thought of logician and philosophers such as Dr. G. E. Moore, who in his Principia Ethica clearly explains the nature and implications of what has been called the, ‘naturalistic fallacy’, and it was Dr. Otto, who in his The Idea of the Holy (1928) clearly showed that the core of religious experience consisted of an awareness of non-moral holiness as a category of value, which was quite distinct from the aesthetic and the moral experiences. This category of value he called numina i.e. a spiritual experience of reality peculiar to religion. It is this numinous experience which is the core and base of religion; and its ingredients, awe and reverential wonder, abound in a religiously sensitive mind in relation to his apprehension of himself and the universe around him.
This word numina is etymologically related to the Samskrit word nāman, the English word ‘name’. Its antonym is phenomena. ‘Phenomena’ is that which appears as reality to the sensory motor apprehension of man, precisely the subject matter of investigation of Physical Sciences. ‘Numenon’ is that which lies at the root of the phenomena and which causes and supports the phenomena but which is not discernible either through sensory motor apprehension or even through speculative processes grounded in the data of the sensory motor apprehension. “They are not these, but other eyes, with which my Beloved may be seen”, says Guru Nanak the Fifth. (1) In other words, what the Physical Sciences investigate through observation and controlled experiment is all phenomena. The theories which the Physical scientist subsequently builds to explain the data which he thus collects is also phenomena-grounded. This data and these theories are both like-wise phenomenal and they, therefore, pertain to a category of reality which is not the subject matter of religion. The presupposition and basic postulate of all great religions is that this category of reality which the Sciences investigate into and speculate over, is illusory and not real and that the ultimate Reality is something which lies at the base of all phenomena, which is numenon, about which the Hindu Brihadārnyaka (III. 2. 12) says that when “a man dies, what does not foresake him, na jahiti, is his numenon, nāman.” It is this that is meant when it is said that the ultimate Reality is numenon and that numenon alone endures. The numenon alone endures, as the essence of the purified soul, as the divine light in the heart of man, and as the God of the Universe. “Nanak (approves of him) who holds steadfast to this Testament of the Guru, while actively operative in the vista-scope of the phenomenal forms, that the numenon, as explicit in the Self-realised man, as the Light and Guide of mankind and as the God Almighty, alone endures.” (2)
The real subject matter of all true religious activity is the apprehension of or an attempt to establish contact with this numenon, and the true religion tempts the man with nothing less than the vision of this ultimate Reality. Put thus there is no real antagonism between Science and Religion, as religion implicates an activity which is independent of scientific activity and relates to a category of experience which is neither confirmed nor falsified by whatever the scientific discoveries or speculations may reveal or establish.
Sikhism is essentially, and more than anything else, the religion of the Numenon, and throughout the voluminous Sikh Scripture, consisting of approximately 30,000 hymns, there are not many hymns or pages of this Book, where it is not asserted and brought home through repeated statements, literary similies and allusion, that the essence of true religious theory and practice is the Name: “There is nothing comparable to the Name in all religions.” (3) The Congregational Prayer of the Sikhs ends by fervently beseeching God to grant “progressive prevalence of the Religion of Name, preached by Nanak.” (4)
It is in this context that the historical epiphany of Sikhism is of interest to the modern man.
Sikhism is not a history-grounded religion, i.e. the truth and validity of Sikhism does not depend upon any event that has occurred in History, as is the case with certain other religions. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, all maintain and proclaim that there is, in their possession, a special and unique self-revelation of God through their own divinely appointed channels. It is a matter of history that the Nazarene Jew who is claimed as the Christ of God, or Abul Qasim who became “The Praised One”, Mohammad, and who is asserted as the prophet of Allah par excellence, or Moses, to whom God spake directly through a burning bush, appear as historical individuals. If, in fact, these special channels of the revelations of God did not exist in history, as is claimed, and are only myths or fictions, then the whole basis of the claim of these religions that their dogma carries its own validity with it, falters and falls to the ground. This is a point of strength in these religions in so far as it guarantees to them an element of psychological certitude and a historical continuity. But it is a weakness in so far as it binds these religions to a pre-determined interpretation of the reality. Thus, the Christian theologians would normally start with the postulate that there can be no advance on the Revelation, which is already fully given in the life and teaching of the Christ as the Son of God. The whole task of the Christian theologian is to render what has already been revealed, more explicit. The Muslim and Jewish theologians would proceed on similar lines in respect of their final terms of reference. Similarly, though in a somewhat different way, their Hindu counterparts in India, are circumscribed in respect of their final terms of reference in the form of the Veda which, though not conceived of as a self-revealing living God in the Western sense, nevertheless, is postulated as eternal and complete revelation of the final Truth. Sikhism, on the other hand, makes no such well-chiselled claim or any such draconian assertion. It merely asserts the following three simple, though fundamental, propositions:
(a) That the ultimate Reality is not comprehensible through the sensory motor perceptions or pure speculations of thought;
(b) That this ultimate Reality is continuous with and partakes of the religious experience of the numenon, which experience is the matrix of other values of Truth, Beauty and Good, and which experience is implicit in and inheres in the universal human religious consciousness.
(c) That there is a way of cultivating and making explicit this consciousness of the numena such as leads to the vision of God.
The founders of the Sikh religion have merely asserted that there is a technique and there is a discipline, which is called the Practice of the Name in the Sikh Scripture, which is more suitable and efficacious for achieving this vision of God than others in the present Age and in the current mental climate of mankind. There is no other claim which Sikhism makes and there is no other dogma which it asserts as basic to its teachings, and in a way, therefore, the time-point of the epiphany and the historical origin and growth of Sikhism is not strictly relevant to the truth or validity of Sikhism.
The epiphany and the history of the Sikh faith, however, is of interest in another respect. In recent years, in Europe, a school of thought has arisen which goes by the name of Phenomenology, the study of the development of the human consciousness and self-awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence. Its adherents seek to determine the meaning of what has happened in history on the presumption that all knowledge is phenomenon and all existence is phenomenal. They have adopted this term from Edmund Husserl (1859-1939) who inaugurated a philosophy which is passionately interested in the tiniest details of experience as providing a clue to art, law, religion, history and all other aspects of the Universe. Husserl insists that philosophy which he calls “Pure phenomenology”, is distinguished from all empirical sciences in its peculiar method which, though not easy to expound, is a form of intuition concerned not with the appearance of facts but with their essences, forms or structures. These structures are not the perceived aspects of things or the ideas of them; they are obscurely akin to the Sambhogkāyā of the Trikāyā doctrine of the Mahayana Buddhism, and intuitive prehension of these accounts in the historical events and human experiences is stated as the true task of philosophy to be accomplished through an intricate process of phased perception, analysis and meditation, called “presuppositionless method”, an exposition which remains somewhat obscure even in the texts of Husserl’s Ideas, General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. When, however, this term, Phenomenology, is applied to the investigation of the structure and significance of religious phenomena, independently of its setting in a particular culture or at a particular time, it is used in a somewhat different sense from that of Husserl. The method employed is to collect material from all ages, states of culture and parts of the world without laying stress on chronology, environments, function in society or validity. That what appears, i.e. appears as a phenomenon, is collected and correlated for the purpose of pure description without making any attempt to pass a judgment on it. Since God does not fall within the purview of the ‘presuppositionless method’ either as a subject or an object, a phenomenologist would describe it as beyond his scope of enquiry. This, he would say, is the business of theology and not philosophy, as his sole aim is to understand the religious fact as it appears to the religious man and as he reacts to it. It is, thus, a method of enquiry to assess the meaning and significance of religious phenomena; and Phenomenology, therefore, concerns itself with the study of the history of a religion for its material postulating that this study of history of a religion is itself conditioned by the results of historical research and, as such, the inner religious experience, and the outward manifestation of the phenomena are really complimentary aspects of the same whole and discipline. It is on the basis of some such approach that Malinowsky, B. in his Magic, Science and Religion and other Essays, concedes that, “The comparative science of religion compels us to recognise religion as the master force of human culture. Religion makes man do the biggest things he is capable of, and it does for man what nothing else can do; it gives him peace and happiness, harmony and sense of purpose; and it gives all this in an absolute form.”
It is in this context that a bird’s eye-view of the history of Sikhism is of special interest.
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1539), who was born in that part of the Punjab which is now in Pakistan. His nine Successor-Nanaks (1539-1708) exegetised, developed and applied to concrete socio-political situations, what Guru Nanak had revealed and taught and they, thus, tried to demonstrate what these teachings mean and amount to in the life of man as lived in an organised civilised society. These founders of Sikh religion are called the Gurus, ‘the Shafts of Light for the guidance of mankind.’ (5) and it is the fundamental article of Sikh faith that all the ten Nanaks were, in fact, “one light, one Policy, which successively manifested itself in different corporeal frames.” (6) The term guru, in common parlance, signifies a teacher, a guide, but etymologically it has a deep and profound meaning. Bhai Mani Singh, the Martyr (d. 1737) claims that it was the last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh (1666-1708), himself who taught him that the meaning of the word guru is as follows: gu means, inertia, matter, nescience; ru means, the Principle of light which illumines consciousness. Guru, therefore, means nothing less than the Divine Light implicit in every human heart progressively revealed to him through a proper cultivation of his religious intuition. The historical Sikh Gurus claim no more than that they can help man, through teaching, to cultivate this religious intuition so as to awaken the Divine Light within. The Last Sikh Guru, sternly proclaimed that, in all the Sikh Gurus it was the same Light and the identical Spirit that historically and successively manifested itself, and that although the mortal frames changed the identity of the Spirit, the Light remained intact. After the tenth Guru, this Light has been deposited in the Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth and the Spirit continues to operate in the historically permanent Mystic Body of the committed Sikhs, the Holy Congregation of those who follow this Light. This is the Sikh doctrine of the Condominium of the Granth and the Panth.
This is, in short, the whole essence of Sikh History.
Guru Nanak was born on April 15,1469, in the war-like Kshatriya clan of Hindus in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, the holy Birth place of Nanak, about forty miles to the south-west of Lahore in Pakistan. His father was a village Accountant, and at the age of seven Nanak was put to the village school from where he learnt three R’s. Islam, as a political force, had already entrenched itself in the whole of northern India for the last four centuries and Islamic culture and religious lore was already a part of the ethos of the people of this region. A considerable number of Hindus had already been converted to Islam, either through the sword and political coercion or by pragmatic choice. The father of Guru Nanak engaged a Muslim teacher to teach his son Persian and Islamic literature, the knowledge of which had a direct politico-economic value. Nanak supplemented these rudiments of education thus acquired by travel and self-study and by association with the learned men of all schools of thought, Hindus and Islamic, both, not only in the whole of India but in the entire Middle East, i.e. Arabic Messopotamia and Afghanistan. Thus he became a truly learned and cultured man, as is evident from his revelations now preserved in the Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth. His hymns and compositions, revealed pronouncements and spiritual statements, are replete with literary allusions, sophisticated and subtle references to ancient writers and classics of both Hindus and Muslims and all his poetic revelations are characterised by a rich acquaintance with literary conventions and styles of his times and are permeated with deep learning and astonishing common sense. He, however, was careful to assert and explain that the validity of what he testified in the form of spiritual revelations was not dependent upon any source or matrix outside his own interior and authentic experience through which God Himself had confronted and communicated with him. This is the true justification of Guru Nanak being the Founder of Sikh religion, namely, that he claimed that God had directly, without any other’s intercession, revealed Himself to him; that what he spoke was directly from God Himself, unalloyed and undistorted. It was in the year A.D. 1496, when Guru Nanak was twenty seven years old, that he had the unique experience of having a full and direct vision of God, when he perceived that he stood before the Throne of the Almighty and received from Him the commission to preach the new religion for the coming Age, the Religion of the Name.
Guru Nanak is the first prophet ever born in the long and rich spiritual history of India. Before him there had arisen in this great land of spiritualism seers and inspired teachers of religion, the rishis who sensed and grasped ‘the eternal sounds’, śruti, coeval with the original act of creation and āchāryās who exegetised upon and decoded these ‘eternal sounds’. On this anonymous and amorphous mystical phenomenon and its decodation, the entire grand superstructure of Hinduism and Hindu spiritual deposit rests. A direct confrontation between God and man for the purpose of revealing a new religion for the guidance of mankind is not there in Hinduism. Even in the Semitic traditions of inspired declarations of Divine Will and purpose, that is, in Judaism and Islam, the communication between God and man is indirect, through the veil of ‘burning bush’ or the angel Gabriel, and in Christianity, it is the ‘word made flesh’, wherein there is merely manifestation but no communication based on encounter between man and God. “What is important in mysticism is that something happens. What is important in a prophetic act is that something is said.” (7)
Guru Nanak spent the rest of his life in travelling and teaching throughout India, and in the Middle East, and during the closing years of his life he settled as a farmer in a newly set up community-centre, called “Kartarpur” founded on the banks of Ravi, now left in Pakistan. After appointing Guru Angad (1505-1552) his successor, Guru Nanak left his mortal frame and it became a matter of dispute between the Hindus and the Muslims as to which parochial community the Guru truly belonged, for, his message was perceived to be such that both claimed it as the very essence of their own. Guru Angad was followed by Guru Amar Das (1479-1574), both of whom continued preaching the message of Guru Nanak and applying the Sikh teaching to the social contexts of their day. It was Guru Angad who gave a definitive distinction to the teachings of Guru Nanak and got them recorded in a special, modified and perfected script of ancient origin, now called Gurumukhi. It was Guru Amar Das who developed the institution of common dining, which in the social context of duplex Hindu-Muslim social complex of India, meant a profound social revolution of such dimensions that it shook the very foundations of the Hindu caste-system and Muslim social arrogance. Guru Amar Das not only took this truly revolutionary step of attacking and anaesthetizing the hell-heaven roots of Hindu caste, but he also took some other seismic steps that laid firm foundations for the Sikh ecumenical church and brought about fundamental transformations in the social structure of religion and cartography of religious consciousness, for the first time in the religious history of mankind. He enlarged upon the doctrine, already laid down by Guru Nanak, that unaided human reason was altogether incompetent to provide true guidance to man on matters of his existential situation and stereological destiny (8) and that extra-terrestrial revelation was his only and ultimate hope. (9) He expounded the basic doctrine of Sikh dogmatics that this Revelation was the exclusive altar of the prayerful homage for man and it was to be deemed as distinct from religion itself, the former being the God’s self-revelation to man, while the latter is the product of human culture and aspirations, not to be identified with the saving revelation, as salvation can only come from God and not from man. He clarified that this Revelation descends exclusively on and through the human individual who is ‘more than man’, the guru, (10) and not through a pretender or a false claimant, no matter how clever and gifted. (11) He pinpointed this Revelation as the Guru’s Word, gursabda, gurbānī, distinguishing it from all other human or non-human literary creations and compositions. (12) Through his lengthy poesy Anand, he gave a new dimension to the highest conceptualisation achieved by mankind about the penultimate characteristics of the ultimate Reality. Sat, Ćit, Ānand Being, Consciousness, and Bliss have been held as the coeval marks of the ultimate Reality and ānand, Bliss, has been variously identified with the turiyā, the dreamless sleep nir-bījasamādhī, the seedless trance, the śunya, utter emptiness of higher Meditation, or the yab-yum, maithuna, the split second sex-orgasm of tāntric yoga in the profound developments of Hindu metaphysical thought. Guru Amar Das rejected firmly all these identificatory speculations as misconceived (13) and declared that the point of contact between Man and God, as conceived by Sikhism, was true ānand, the heart- component of the ultimate Reality. Again Guru Amar Das mapped out the blue-print of organisation of Sikhism as a World Religion by appointing twenty two Sikh bishops over as many bishoprics coterminous with the temporal Mughal Indian empire. (14) Further, Guru Amar Das, by appointing some women-bishops as well, for the first time in the history of organised, ordained religions and ministries of the world, conceded the right of men and women/both, to preach and supervise religious preaching, on equal footing. Guru Amar Das condemned and forbade the institutionalised coercive custom of suttee (15) immolation of a widow on the burning pyre of her husband to demonstrate the deathless, seamless union between the partners in a marriage that emboldened and encouraged the Great Mughal emperor Akbar to outlaw the practice of suttee through secular law. Again it was Guru Amar Das who declared as perverse the ancient Hindu system of dowry publicly displayed (16) at the bride’s marriage to mark her final and absolute disinheritance from her share in ancestral property, the true implications of which religious declaration were conceded on the secular plane in India, for the first time, by the Hindu Succession Act of 1954. He was succeeded by Guru Ram Das (1534-1581) who founded Chak Ramdaspur which, later on, became the hub of Sikh activity. Guru Arjun (1563-1606) was the fifth Sikh Guru who not only completed the holy tank begun by Guru Ram Das but also erected a temple in it, now famous as the Golden Temple. Apart from this he collected, compiled and edited the hymns and revelations of the predecessor Sikh Gurus as also of certain contemporary men of religious perception, thereby creating the Sikh Bible called the Adi Granth. The hymnal and pious compositions of a large number of low and high caste Hindus and Muslims, contemporary and near contemporary, were purposely included to provide a back-drop of pre-dawn spiritual awakening that heralded the epiphany of the Light of Sikhism and its relevance to Sikhism was particularised so as to make Sikhism more fully comprehensible to men. It was this Adi Granth to which certain additions and slight alterations of arrangement were made by the last Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh in 1706; and which was then invested with the status of the Guru Granth i.e. the Revealed Spirit of the Gurus.
All through this time, however, a fundamental change had occurred on the Indian political scene.
Islam as founded by Abul Qasim, “Mohammad, the Praised One”, had already become the State religion of Arabia when Mohammad died in A.D. 632, aged sixty two years. Not long after this, the desert Muslim tribes, spread Islam from India to Spain, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Gibralter Peninsula and Constantinople, all of which fell before the advance of Muslim ecclesiastical empire. It was in A.D. 1732 that this tide was stemmed, when Charles Mortel of France gained “the great victory” over the Arabs at Tours and thus saved Western Europe for Christianity. In their advance, the Muslim people had unwittingly lent strength to the Roman Papacy by destroying the Patriarchates of Alexanderia, Jerusalem and Antioch, as well as by the removal of the Bishop of Carthage and by weakening the Patriarchate at Constantinople. As this Religious empire of Islam spread, ancient languages were obliterated, ancient cultures were persecuted and extirpated; and beautiful mosques, dream court-yards and palaces, the remains of which can still be seen at Cordoba, Granada and Seville in Spain to Badshahi Masjid at Delhi, and the Taj Mahal at Agra, sprang in the wake. The learning and sciences of these advancing Muslims were far superior to those of the Europeans and so far as culture and science are concerned, it is, therefore, legitimate to opine that the view taken of the “Great Victory” at Tours is more patriotic than of benefit to culture and civilisation. Even in the sphere of religion, the element of greatness in the victory of Tours can only be discerned through a finely grounded parochial microscope, for Islam, after all is essentially the proclamation of the heresy of the Christian bishop Arius who, in the fourth century A.D., propounded the doctrine that, “there is no God but God”, implying that Jesus, the Christ, was a human figure, “a creature ex-nihilio, and not God-incarnate.” The rival opponent of bishop Arius, Athanasuis, led the opposition to this Christian theological doctrine at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in A.D.325 and Arius lost by a rather small number of votes, in favour of the Logos doctrine that God and Christ were one. The victory of Tours merely fortified and perpetuated the prevalence of the Athanasuis orthodoxy in the Christian religion, and no more. This all-consuming and all-absorbent tide of Islam was stemmed in India near the mouth of Indus for 300 years, but it made a fresh onslaught in the beginning of the eleventh century through the Khyber and Bolan passes of the Hinduksh range of mountains which means/the Hindu’s Frontier’, (and not Hindukush, interpreted as ‘Slaughterer of the Hindus’), till it secured a permanent footing at Delhi, which literally means, “the Threshold of Hindu Sanctorum’, by the dawn of the fifteenth century, by the coming in of the Mughals, when Sikhism made its debut. The Hindus of northern India, led and inspired by the great Rana Sanga of Mewar, made a last bid to remove the heavy foothold of Islam from the Threshold of Hindu Sanctorum through the subtle strategy of inviting the Mongol adventurer, Babur, from Central Asia who defeated the Pathan King of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodhi, at Panipat in A.D. 1526. But the next move of Rana Sanga to expel these Mongol predators from the threshold of the Hindudom failed at the battle of Kanwa on March 17, 1527, when two hundred thousand Hindu braves melted away from the battle-field to leave it in the hands of mere thirty thousand Central Asian Mongols under Zahir-ud-Din Babur, and thus the Mughal Empire was firmly established in India. Guru Nanak was an eye-witness of this invasion of Babur, the Mongol, and has made pungent, poignant references to the sufferings and misfortunes of the people of north India,this invasion caused. History has confirmed his judgment that the conquest of India by the Mughals in the sixteenth century was “a marriage imposed by the forces of Evil and Inequity and solemnised by the Devil”. (17)
India had a civilization, a culture, as ancient as any in the world and its peculiar set of values, enshrined in the Hindu concepts, traditions and institutions of Dharma, Karma, Samskār and Māyā were not only peculiar but possessed a vigour and a perennial character which has withstood and survived the greatest and crudest, severest onslaught that any culture has had to face in the history of mankind, namely, the onslaught of political Islam. The first four Sikh Gurus were the contemporaries of the Mughal Emperors, Babur (1483-1530), Humanyun (1508-1556) and Akbar (1542-1605) and although the revolutionary religion which they founded and the social transformations they brought about, did not fail to attract governmental attention, no serious clash occurred between the new religion and the civil government, which was, in theory, an Islamic theocratic government, sometimes taking its vocation seriously and at other times being more practical than fanatical. Akbar, the Great, tried to modify and dilute the theories and practices of political Islam both as respects the governance of India, which was and has remained essentially a non-Mohammedan country, but the guardian angels of Islam called the ulemā, regarded these trends with frank disfavour, considering them as tantamount to disavowal of the certitudes of Islam, meriting perdition in this world as well as the next, and they held any compromise, no matter how statesman-like, as despicable weakness, and mere secular politics as an affront to the penultimate viceregent of God, Mohammad, and his followers. The statesmanship of Akbar, which duly recognised that the political theories and institutes of Islam which are essentially the constituents of preponderantly Muslim society, are inapplicable to India, was openly ridiculed by them as despicable apostasy and their chagrin at their failure to persuade Akbar to play the role of a Muslim fanatical monarch was only matched by their despair at their own political ineffectiveness. It was at this time that, in the year 1563, a person later on known as Sheikh Sirhindi, was born in an immigrant Muslim family at Sirhind, meaning ‘the Apex of India’, the military cantonment of north western India of those days. He grew up into a fanatical Muslim theologian, and in his thirties he declared that he had been appointed by God as the Paracelete of God, i.e., the Holy Ghost, commissioned to regenerate and renew Islam. He assumed the grandiose title of Mujaddid-Alif-Sānī, that is, the Regenerator of the Religion in the Second Millennium (A.H.). This man lived upto the age of sixty two years and died at Sirhind in A.D. 1624 at the same age at which Mohammad had died, his last admonition to his followers, on his death bed was, “hold sharīat” (i.e. the a politico-social dogma of Islam)” tight with your teeth.” Following the footsteps of his Master, Prophet Mohammad, he engaged in proclaiming his ideas and his interpretation of Islam to politically powerful persons around him, and the largest number of letters which he wrote during his life time, now collected and published, bore the title of Muktūbāt-i-Imām-i-Rabbānī, addressed to a Mughal grandee, Sheikh Farid Bukhari. This Sheikh Farid Bukhari had earlier distinguished himself in warfare against the Afghans in Orissa and he had been promoted to the command of 1500 Horses during the reign of Akbar. He was also appointed as Mīr Bakhshī, the Imperial Accountant General, under Akbar and for a time he held charge of the daftar-i-tāwān. Excise and Revenue, in the Imperial Government also. Akbar had also conferred upon him the grand title of Sāhib-us-saif-w-al-qalm, meaning, the master of the Pen and the Sword. Akbar died in A.D. 1605 and Jahangir, his son, ascended the Imperial throne. Father Du Jarric in his book, Akbar and the Jesuits, tells us that, “Accordingly, the leading noble, Sheikh Farid Bukhari, having been sent by the others as their representative came to the Prince (Salim, entitled Jahangir), and promised in their names to place the Kingdom (of India) in his hands provided that he would swear to defend the law of Mohammad.” (18)
V.A. Smith in his, Akbar, (19) and Sri Ram Sharma in his, Religious Policy of Mughal Emperors, (20) confirm that a promise had been extracted from Jahangir before he was helped to ascend the throne, to defend Islam, which in practice means to make political Islam prevail with the aid of the sharp edge of the sword. In only seven months after Jahangir had assumed kingship, his son, Khusrau, a person of cultured disposition and tolerant religious views, was forced to flee for his life, from the Islamic arm of the state. This flight for freedom of prince Khusrau, was described as rebellion in the political parlance and Khusrau was pursued by the Imperial hosts to be captured and liquidated. Sheikh Farid Bukhari, ‘the Master of the Pen and Sword’, rendered conspicuous services in the capture and liquidation of the royal prince and thus he earned the title of Murtazā Khān, a military rank, for his services to the Imperial throne. His rank was increased to the command of 6,000 Horses, according to the Tuzuk-i-Jahīngīrī.
Guru Arjun, in the Ādi Granth had made the uncompromising declaration that the political Islam which seeks to destroy and extirpate ancient languages and cultures, civilization and peoples with their own ways of life, was wholly unacceptable to the people of India, i.e. non-Muslims adding that “coercive rule of one people over another was against God’s will as now revealed to mankind through Sikhism, and all governments, henceforth, should exercise power, through persuasion and mutual consent and not otherwise.” (21) Sikhism, as the defender of the oppressed Hindus and as the entelechy of the spirit of Hinduism had. Guru Arjun declared, no quarrel with Islam as a religion, a way and technique of Man’s relationship with God, but it stoutly refused to accept the Arabic socio-political pattern of life, based on tribal ethical norms of Islam. The Revelation in the Sikh Scripture contained the call that, “Let a Muslim be compassionate in heart. Let his Islam consist of cleansing the impurities of his soul. But he must not confuse his religion with a desire to dominate and subjugate others. Such a Muslim only we accept as worthy of being our compatriot and as socially pure.” (22)
Prince Khusrau, apparently agreed with the justice of this demand and he held the Guru in great esteem otherwise also on account of his spiritual eminence. In his flight from the hordes of Jahangir, the Prince crossed the river Beas at the ford of Goindwal which was then the seat of Guru Arjun. Guru Arjun, well aware of the consequences it might entail, succoured the unfortunate prince by providing his companions with meals and with words of spiritual consolation, and Jahangir made this a pretext for passing a ‘death sentence with severe tortures’ on the Guru according to the barbaric Mongol laws of the Yāsā. He admits in his Tuzuk, that ‘ever since his ascendance to the throne, it had been his intention either to force Guru Arjun to accept conversion to Islam, or to punish him with death, as the Guru was preaching a religion which was growing popular amongst “simple minded Hindus” and “foolish Muslims.” (23) It was Sheikh Farid Bukhari, the Murtazā Khān, to whom Jahangir handed over the person of Guru Arjun, “to be destroyed by killing him with severe tortures, in accordance with the Mongol law of the Yāsā”. It was this Murtazā Khān to whom Sheikh Sirhindī, the Mujaddid-i-Alif-i-Sānī had jubilantly written that the accession of Jahangir to the throne “was auspicious for Islam in India.” (24) In another communication this ‘Regenerator of Islam’ perorated to the Murtazā Khān saying: Now when the Emperor has got no sympathies with the non- Muslims, Kafirs, the prevalance of heretical practices which were introduced in the past is very loathsome to Muslims, It is the duty of every Muslim that the Emperor should be informed of the evils of the rites of the unbelievers and all true believers should make efforts to remove these evils because it is just possible that the Emperor may not know the evils of heretical innovations. (25)
This ‘Regenerator of Islam in the Second Millennium’, paid several visits to Sheikh Farid Bukhari, the Murtazā Khān, at the imperial court of Jahangir and his proclamations and numerous letters (26) make no secret of his dynamic hatred against non-Sunni Muslims in general and non-Muslims in particular, and it is clear that he had no sympathy, whatever, with any one outside the orthodox Sunni fold of Islam, and he regarded tolerance as a tacit compliment to evil and heresy. It is the rise and growth of Sikh religion and the activities of the Sikh Gurus tending to convert and encompass the intelligent and sincere minority of the Hindus and Muslims, both, which particularly disturbed the afflated soul of the ‘Regenerator’ and it is, therefore, Sikhism, the ‘heretical innovation’, which he particularly desired the Emperor to destroy and which desire the emperor, later on, himself owns as his long cherished aim in the Tuzuk, when justifying his handing out of death sentence on Guru Arjun. In another letter written to a Mughal grandee, Jahangir Kuli Khan, alias Lallā Beg, a Commander of 4,000 Horses, the Mujaddid gave out that, If from the very start of the reign (of Emperor Jahangir) Islam gets a footing and the Muslims establish their prestige, well and good, but if the matter is delayed the task (of restoring political Islam in India) will become very difficult. (27)
This Lallā Beg was another fanatical follower of ‘the Regenerator’ and he and the Murtazā Khān were his two chief agents for the purpose of employing the Imperial power to destroy Sikhism so that “Islam gets a footing” in India. It was without doubt, this Sheikh Sirhindi, ‘the Regenerator of Islam in the Second Millennium’, who, through Sheikh Farid Bukhari, the Murtazā Khān and Lallā Beg, had extracted a promise from Prince Salim, who later became the Emperor Jahangir, that the Emperor would suppress the Sikhs and Liquidate Sikhism by destroying Guru Arjun, and it is to this promise that Jahangir makes a cryptic reference in his Memoirs, the Tuzuk. It was in execution of this promise that Guru Arjun was put to death with tortures on a framed-up pretext, under orders of Jahangir in the year 1606 and it was in pursuance of the politico-Islamic policy, embodied in the oft-proclaimed dictum by the Mujaddid, ‘ash-shara tahtus-saif,’ that is, Islam enjoins that its politico-social system must be enforced through sword on all peoples who fall under the subjugation of Muslims. Islam had come to India as a divisive and destructive influence from the eleventh century onwards, but the Mughal period had begun by striking a note of integration, a tendency towards mutual understanding and unification to replace bitterness and hatred with political and cultural cooperation. This political climate of harmony continued in a conspicuous form under Babur, Sher Shah, Humayun and Akbar, but the movement was deliberately reversed under Jahangir on account of the powerful influence of the Mujaddid; and the intolerance of the Mughal Emperor, thereafter, mounted with their growing decrepitude. From now onwards, the Sikh religion and the political Islam in India were engaged in a life and death struggle and the issue involved was no less than the right of the peculiarly Aryan values and traditions to survive. After a bitter struggle for a century and a half, Sikhism succeeded in inflicting a final defeat on the pretensions and arrogance of political Islam in its aims of destroying the culture and spiritual values of the politically | defeated. The story of this struggle, in which the Sikh Gurus, from Guru Arjun onwards, guided and presided over Sikhism, and the Muslim ulemās inspired and directed the political Islam, is somewhat obscure but one of the most significant episodes of the history of mankind, pregnant with immeasurable consequences for the future.
The Sixth Nanak, Guru Hargobind (1596-1644) in compliance with the directive and will of the Fifth Nanak, brought about conspicuous change in the character of the Sikh movement by claiming for the Sikh people the status of spiritual-cum-secular sovereignty in relation to all secular authority by giving currency to and legitimatising the concepts of the rightful sovereign’, sachchā padishāh, ‘governance’, rāj ‘seat of government’, ta kht, ‘Privy Council Hall of the State’, darbār, as structural ideas of Sikh movement, and he established the custom of ‘sitting in state’, wearing two swords, the emblems of unicentral spiritual and temporal sovereignty. When the Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, ordained the order of the Khalsa in 1699, pledged to make every sacrifice to ensure the prevalence of Sikhism and its growth into a Global Brotherhood of Man, it was this emblem of Two-Swords, the Double-edged Disintegrator, Khandā, which became the central object of the Mystery of initiation for the members of the order. These activities of the Sixth Nanak, did not escape the notice of the Mujaddid, it seems, for the Emperor, on being apprised of “the evils of these acts of the unbelievers”, ordered that Guru Hargobind be incarcerated as a political prisoner in the fort of Gwalior during the pleasure of his Majesty. It was more than likely that Guru Hargobind would have either ended his whole life in prison, or more likely still, he might have been beheaded for the “offence” of refusing to accept Islam, an offence of which, in a truly Islamic state, if not every non-Muslim, at least every non-Jew and non-Christian, outside the narrow confines of the “People of the Book”, is always and continuously guilty. But, precisely at this period, another development took place. Bloodthirsty Mujaddid, through his pet Mughal grandees, the Murtazā Khān and the Lallā Beg, made Jahangir order the execution of a highly learned Muslim theologian on the sole ground that he was not of the orthodox Sunni sect, but was a Shi’a, a ‘heretic’, and therefore deserved to die. Rauzat-ul-Qaiyūmiyāh, the Arabic document of the Mujaddid cult, informs us that the sole offence of this condemned Muslim theologian, Qazi Nurullah, was that he had written an Arabic polemic, Ahvāl-ul-Haque (1273 A.H.), in which the author had the temerity to argue that the Shi’a doctrine was the true Islamic doctrine. Qazi Nurullah, who was a Persian, Irani, a native of Shuster, Tehran, paid with his life for a similar “offence” for which Guru Arjun had been tortured to death and the accusing finger in both the cases was that of the Mujaddid. And the Mujaddid had become very powerful and influential in the state by now, from behind the scene, and on this very account he suffered a set back. As a contemporary Persian document (28) records, during this period, the Mujaddid paid numerous visits to the Murtazā Khān and was also summoned to Agra by Jahangir for consultations in matters of State policy. But the execution of Qazi Narullah of Shuster made the powerful Asaf Khan, the brother of the Imperial Consort, Nurjahan, an enemy of the Mujaddid, and Asaf Khan was, at this time, the Prime Minister of the Empire. Asaf Khan warned Jahangir that the Mujaddid had gained such powerful influence with the soldiery that he had become a danger to the state. The apprehension was well founded. Jahangir records in the his Tuzuk that the Mujaddid was ‘very adversely reported to him’ and that, therefore, the Emperor handed him over to Anirai Singh Dalan, to be imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior, where the Sixth Nanak, Guru Hargobind, had been previously incarcerated, and since Guru Hargobind had fallen under displeasure because of the instigation of the Mujadid, when the Mujaddid came under displeasure, the Guru was released. An old Persian manuscript, (29) however, tells us that this Imperial displeasure was only temporary and the Mujaddid was soon rehabilitated to be accepted once again as a special advisor to the Emperor for many years to come. Soon after this release of the Guru from the Fort-prison, however, the Lallā Beg, on his own authority, or more correctly, on the authority of political Islam as expounded by his mentor, the Mujaddid, suddenly attacked the Guru with a formidable force often thousand horse-men in 1691 BK/A.D. 1634 at the place now commemorated as Gurusar Sadhar, Mahiraj, in the Ferozepur (now in Ludhiana) district of the Indian Punjab, with the object of destroying the Guru, whose existence was “very loathsome to Muslims”, but Lallā Beg himself became a casualty on the battle-field along with five thousands of his seasoned soldiers.
Jahangir had been succeeded by Emperor Shahjahan by this time. As the Sikh Guru thus asserted the true character of Sikhism more and more visibly, the political Islam represented by the Mujaddid and with the Mughal Emperors as its spear-head, grew more and more relentless in its determination to destroy this new world-religion. The Seventh Nanak, Guru Har Rai (1630-1661), and the Eighth Nanak, Guru Hari Krishan (1656-1664), were subjected to persistent unwelcome attention of the Mughal Emperors and concerted attempts were made to encourage schism and deviation, confusion and corruption in the basic trends of the Sikh movement, hoping that where the dagger had failed, the poison might work, and the Seventh and the Eighth Nanaks, therefore, had to concentrate on consolidating and amplifying the spiritual reservoir of Sikhism through expansion of proselytising activities. The Seventh Nanak, Guru Har Rai, maintained twenty two hundred horsemen soldiers as his body-guard entourage avoiding military clash with the civil authorities. But during the war of succession, after the deposition of Emperor Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj, a rival brother of Aurangzeb, when pursued by the latter’s forces, fled to the seat of the Guru at Goindwal Ford of the Beas river and requested the Guru to prevent his being captured. This fugitive prince, Dara Shikoh, was a well educated and well read Muslim and he, was also an admirer of Sikhism, in which he recognised the syndrome of a higher religion capable of bridging the gulf between the Hindus and Muslims in terms that all good men could accept, and thus he was out of sympathy with the political Islam of the ulemā, of which, bigoted Aurangzeb was a strong proponent. Guru Har Rai deployed his body-guard horsemen to hold the passage of the Ford at Beas against the pursuing army of Aurangzeb until the refugee Prince escaped, and this Aurangzeb never forgot or forgave, even if he could forget this heroic challenge of Sikhism to the mighty political Islam. As soon as he was secure on his throne after murdering his three brothers and putting his royal father in prison, he summoned the Guru to his presence. The Guru, relying on his rights as a sovereign in his own rights, sent his eldest son, Ram Rai, as his emissary to the Imperial court, and when Ram Rai exegetised a line in the Revelations of Guru Nanak, by giving a diplomatic twist to just one word, so as not to annoy the Emperor, the Guru publicly disowned his emissary son and recalled him, whereupon Aurangzeb conferred upon the latter, the freehold of the whole valley of Dehradun in the Himalayas, with the object of fostering schism in the Sikh movement. When the Eighth Nanak, Hari Krishan, became the Guru, he was only six years old physically, but his mental age was that of a fully matured and spiritually evolved man. He refused to obey the summons of Aurangzeb to present himself in the Imperial court; and when the Emperor tried to seize his person, while he was staying at the bungalow of Raja Jai Singh Swai, the Commander-in-chief of the royal forces at Delhi, the Guru by his yogic powers, induced high fever and infectious pox on his body, as a deterrent to unfriendly hands wishing to seize his person, and he gave up his ghost, rather than present himself in the Imperial court.
Khwaja Mohammad Ma’soom, (1007-1079 A.H.) was the third son of Sheikh Sirhindi, the Paracelete, and it was this Ma’soom who succeeded ‘the Regenerator of the Second Millennium’. At the death of his father, Khwaja Ma’soom continued the policy of his illustrious father with a remarkable vigour, and he maintained and continued a prolific correspondence with men of eminence in the state and society. He wrote letters even to rulers outside India, such as the ruler of Balkh, in Central Asia, and as the writer of the Rauzat-ul-Qaiyumiyah, (30) a detailed compilation on the lives and miracles of Sheikh Sirhindi and his three immediate successors, testifies, Aurangzeb, as a prince, became the disciple of Khwaja Ma’soom. After his accession to the throne, the Emperor expressed a wish for initiation into the mysteries of Islamic Sufism by Khwaja Ma’soom, but since the latter had become too old by then, he sent his son, Khwaja Mohammad Saifud-din (1044-1096 A.H.) for the spiritual illumination of the Emperor to Delhi, and Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin remained in constant attendance on Aurangzeb throughout his long military campaigns in Deccan. The letters written by Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin are collected in the publication called Maktūbat-Ma’soomiyah. It includes a letter (No. 221) sent by Emperor Aurangzeb to Khwaja Mohammad Ma’soom expressing his gratitude for “the favour”, that is, for sending Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin to instruct Aurangzeb in the mystical lore of Islam. Saifuddin kept his father informed about the spiritual progress made by the Emperor, and besides, the Emperor himself maintained a regular correspondence with Khwaja Mohammad Ma’soom. A perusal of this correspondence makes an illuminating reading and throws, hitherto, un-suspected light on the true nature of the dynamics of the Muslim history in India in relation to the Sikh movement. Emperor Aurangzeb regularly consulted Khwaja Ma’soom on points of Muslim Theology in its particular relevance to his State policies. It would appear that Khwaja Ma’soom was well satisfied with the avowed anti-Hindu state policy of Aurangzeb. In a letter in the Maktūbāt-Ma’soomiyah, the reverend Khwaja informs the Emperor that,
This humble faqir offers his respects and expresses his gratitude for the glory of Islam and the stability of Islamic Principles (resulting from the policy of the Emperor). He always prays to God for a long life, prosperity, and his all round success as he has had a deep attachment and close association with him, the Emperor, for a long time past. (31)
A modem Muslim scholar. Dr. Mohammad Yasmin of Lucknow University, in his recent publication, A Social History of Islamic India, truly says that, It will not be an exaggeration to say that Aurangzeb’s State policy was prompted by the voice of the Sirhindi from behind the scene. (32)
The same scholar endorses our conclusions regarding the martyrdom of the Fifth Nanak, Guru Arjun, when he says that, Occasional outbursts of bigotry on the part of Jahangir and his anti-Hindu sentiments may ultimately be traced to the influence of the Mujaddid on the fickle minded Emperor. (33)
Aurangzeb, according to the contemporary records, Ma’āsir-i-Alamgīrī, issued a general ukase to his provincial Governors, in A.D. 1669 that all the temples and teaching seminaries of the non-Muslims should be demolished and forcibly closed. (34) The news of this fresh onslaught of political Islam on the Hindus and the Sikhs both reached the Ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675) while he was touring and preaching in Assam. The Guru, there-upon, returned to the north western India post-haste, and went about from place to place encouraging and heartening people, asking them to organise and resist this Imperial tyranny. It was, there is little doubt, under the influence and at the suggestion and instigation of Khwaja Mohammad Ma’soom that Aurangzeb decided upon the death and destruction of Guru Tegh Bahadur and accordingly the Guru was arrested, and on his refusal to become a Mohammedan, was put to death on the forenoon of 11th November, in the year 1675, in front of the Mughal Police Station of Old Delhi, where now the memorial Gurdwara of Sis Ganj Stands. The Jesuit Father, Manucci Niccolao, tells us that the last words of Aurangzeb at his death bed were, I die happy, for, at least the world will be able to say that I have employed every effort to destroy the enemies of Mohammedan Faith. (35)
It may be reasonably surmised that the Emperor had the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, in particular, in his mind besides, other things, at his last hours on earth, firmly believing that by ordering the execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur and by persecuting the Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, he had committed a deed of such high merit as will ensure his reception in the Paradise of Mohammad as promised in the Qurān to those who engage themselves in fighting the opponents of the Faith, as well as a memorable niche in the World History, which to his closed mind merely meant the history of political Islam.
When Guru Tegh Bahadur was publicly beheaded in the Silvery Esplanade, the Chandni Chowk, of the Mughal Delhi on the eleventh of November, 1675, on his refusal to accept Islam to save his life, his son, who then became the Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, was only nine years’s old. In his unfinished autobiography, called, ‘This life is wonderful’, Bachitranātak, he has evaluated this martyrdom of his father in the following words: Tegh Bahadur broke the mortal vessel of his body by striking it at the head of the Emperor of Delhi and retreated to his ‘Original Abode’, the God. Truly incomparable is this great deed done to assert and protect three basic human rights: the first, to secure for every man the liberty to worship; the second, to uphold the inviolable dignity of every man’s private and personal point of contact with God and his right to observe dharma, what he conceives as basic principles of cosmic or individual existence, and the third to uphold every good man’s imprescriptible right to pursue his own vision of happiness and self-fulfilment. (36)
Guru Gobind Singh, thereafter, retired for some years to the Himalayan hills in the Hindu principality of Nahan, where he built a fortified establishment near a strategic ford of the river Jamuna, and gave it the picturesque name of ‘The Bracelet’, Paonta, for, here the river encircles the spur of the mountain like a bracelet. The Guru spent a number of years at this place in acquiring self-education and he thus completed the academic tuition his father had begun. He acquired mastery of Samskrit language and delved deep into its literature, besides the vernacular literature and he also acquired acquaintance with the Arabic and Persian languages and their respective literatures. He did a great deal of creative literary work besides organising the religious and social activities of the Sikhs but his plans were interrupted by a sudden and concerted attack on his camp by the local levies reinforced by a contingent of the Imperial troops, no doubt, under orders of Emperor Aurangzeb who was then campaigning in Deccan. The Guru repulsed the attack by inflicting heavy losses on the enemy but he decided to transfer his seat of residence from ‘The Bracelet’ to the old village founded by his father, Anandpur, near the banks of the Sutlej. It was at Anandpur that Guru Gobind Singh proceeded to mature his plans for the regeneration of his people and for organising them into a power that would ensure liberty of worship and a dignified living for all peace-loving people. He organised an Academy of Letters, which employed over four dozen full-time scholars, whose job it was to translate into the vernacular of the people, the extant books on arts and sciences. The fruits of these labours were compiled together into a sort of encyclopaedia of knowledge, under the title Vidyāsāgar, ‘The Oceans of Knowledge’. This is the first Encyclopaedia produced in the world during the modern times, in Asia or Europe, but unfortunately the manuscript which is reputed to have weighed over seventy kilograms was lost in the spated rivulet Sirsa, in 1704, when the Imperial forces of Aurangzeb evicted the Guru out of the fortified town of Anandpur. It was on the Hindu New Year day, the 30th March, 1699, that the Guru inaugurated the Order of the Khalsa in a manner, at once dramatic and mystical. Before a gathering of over a hundred thousand Sikhs from all over India, he unsheathed his sword and asked for volunteers to lay down their lives in the cause of human decency and dignity. Truth and Religion. Each volunteer, on presenting himself, was taken to an enclosure, out of which the Guru emerged, each time, with his sword dripping with blood, and when five volunteers had, thus, been accepted, the Guru presented all of them to the audience in new uniforms, and ordained them as the first Five Knights of the Order of the Khālsā. These Five Knights were administered the Sikh baptism through a ritual which seeks symbolically to reproduce the mystery of parthenogenetic creation of the first things, out of the Primis Water. The Guru then called upon all able bodied major Sikhs who, by then, numbered in millions throughout India, and Central Asia, to join the Order of the Khalsa; and the chronicler records that, within a short time, more than 80,000 men and women joined it. As soon as the news of this event reached the Imperial ears of Aurangzeb down south, he felt a deep concern and issued fresh orders, obviously under the advice and spiritual guidance of the grandson of the Mujaddid, Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin, reaffirming his previous rescript of November 20,1693, in which he had directed his Military Governors in the north to the effect that, Gobind declares himself to be the Nanak, all military commanders concerned are ordered to prevent him from assembling his followers. (37)
It was in pursuance of these orders that the Military Governor of Sirhind and the Military Governor of Lahore, joined by the Hindu forces of the semi-autonomous Himalayan states, invaded the fortifications of Anandpur in 1701. The Guru kept this combined Imperial military might of the whole of north-western India at bay for over three years till in the winter of 1704 he was prevailed upon to vacate the forts at Anandpur under a solemn promise of safe conduct, which promise was treacherously broken as soon as the Guru opened the gates of the fortifications and came out with his few remaining followers. The two sons of the Guru lost their lives in fighting against this treacherous enemy, and the other two younger sons, seven and five years old, were captured alive and entombed in a brick wall at Sirhind, to die the death of martyrs, on their refusal to abjure their religious faith in favour of Islam. Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin was at this time, back at Sirhind, available as special advisor and confidant, to its military governor Bayazīd Khān, the Bajīdā of the folk-lore. While the two infant sons of the Guru were bricked under orders of this ‘Bajīdā’ as advised by Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin, the last words which the elder brother addressed to his younger brother are recorded as saying: “Think of our great great grandfather, Guru Arjun, our illustrious grandfather, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and our incomparable father, and the glorious religion of Guru Nanak. We must not do anything ill befitting”. But Guru Gobind Singh himself refused to fall into the hands of his Imperial enemies, and he boldly struck his way into the desert part of the eastern region of the Punjab where large number of new members of the Order of the Khalsa gathered under him, with whose aid he repulsed all the subsequent attacks on him by the pursuing Imperial troops. In 1706, the Guru prepared the final collection of the Sikh scripture, the Ādi Granth earlier prepared by the Fifth Nanak, Guru Arjun, and declared that there shall be no more human successors to the line of the Nanaks after him and that, henceforth, the Light of God shall operate on earth through the dual agency of the Corporate Body of the Order of the Khalsa and the Word of the Guru as enshrined in this finally edited Ādi Granth. Henceforth the title of ‘Guru’, came to be attached to the book and the Corporate Body, both; the first is called. The Guru Granth, and the second, the Guru Panth, i.e. the Light, and the Way. The Guru then journeyed towards Deccan where he met a Hindu ascetic, mature in yogic skills and firm of mind, by the name of Madho Das, who as soon as he met the Guru was transfixed into a trance out of which he feebly and gradually came out to make the question: “Who art thou?”
To this the Guru made the answer: “Look within thy-self and find out”.
The ascetic then slowly came out with the question: “Art thou Guru Gobind Singh?”
The Guru nodded and the ascetic prostrated himself at the Guru’s feet in submission, saying, “I am thy slave, your bandah, at your bidding and command”. (38)
This ascetic was initiated into Sikhism and was then knighted as a member of the Order of the Khalsa, and was appointed as the Commander of the Sikhs. Soon after, on October 7, 1708, the Guru, while resting in his mid-day siesta in his tent at Nanded in South India, was treacherously stabbed by a Pathan assassin, who, on the pretence of seeking spiritual illumination had gained admittance into the tent of the Guru. This assassin had been sent, all the way, from Sirhind, by Bajīdā, instigated by the fanatical Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin, the Spiritual guide of Aurangzeb and the grandson of the Mujaddid, who by now, had returned to and settled down at Sirhind. It was the hidden hand of Khwaja Mohammad Saifuddin that procured Imperial orders for the siege of Anandpur in 1701, its sack and destruction by treachery in 1704, and the barbarous death to which the two infant sons of the Guru were bricked alive at Sirhind. The stabbing of Guru Gobind Singh was a link in the chain. Although the Guru despatched the assassin on the spot and his other companion was killed by the Guru’s bodyguard, the Guru refused to allow his stomach wounds, stitched up to heal, declaring, according to a tradition, We have no further use of this stitched up corporeal frame. That what was assigned to us by the God Almighty has been accomplished. The Order of the Khalsa is now already nine years old, which is the legal age of majority for warriors. We now must go back to where we came from, for such is the Will of God. (39)
Thereafter, as all accounts agree, the Guru had a funeral pyre of odoriferous wood, sandal, made up, and after conferring his last benedictions on mankind as a whole and speaking words of comfort to his beloved Order of the Khalsa, he set this funeral pyre aflame through the all-consuming cosmic fire emitted through his nostrils, and no relic of his body was found within the cold ashes, which were curiously probed into, against the Guru’s instructions. The chronicler records that the last words which the Guru uttered while sitting in the lotus posture on the funeral pyre, were: Wāhigurū jī kā Khālsā, Wāhigurū jī kī Fateh, that is, “the Order of the Khalsa is of God, to whom the final victory for ever and for ever more.” (40)
A year later, Commander Banda Singh, on whom the title of Bahadur had been conferred by the Guru, arrived in northern India, where gathered around him thousands of the Knights of the Order of the Khalsa, in compliance with Guru Gobind Singh’s written directives communicated through Banda Singh, to declare an open war against the Imperial authority of the Mughals. In the war-manifesto he issued, he declared, inter alia, that, The Guru has done me the honour of appointing me as his slave, a bandah, to chastise the foreign depredators, the Turks. In fulfilment of my mission, I propose to meet condign punishment to the criminal Governor of Sirhind and to destroy his military base with the ultimate object of making the people free from the yoke of tyrants. (41)
Thus the Sikh Doctrines preached by Guru Nanak fully blossomed into the concept of the Order of the Khalsa which was to be a closely-knit society of voluntary members and selected on the basis of special qualifications, disposition and character, pledged to make the Sikh way of life prevail, with the ultimate objective of establishing a plural, free, open, global society grounded in a universal culture. Arnold Toynbee, in his monumental work. A Study of History, is quite right in assessing that the Order of the Khalsa is the true prototype of the All Russian Communist Party of Lenin, though he is mistaken in his judgement that the Slave-household of the Ottoman Padishah, and the Qizilbash fraternity of the devotees of the Iranian Safawis were permeated with a similar ethos as inspires the Order of the Khalsa, or as animates the Communist Party of Russia. (42) The Order of the Khalsa is the first human society in the world-history, organised with the deliberate object of and pledged to bring about an ecumenical human society, grounded in a world-culture, which represents a free and organic fusion of the various strands of the spiritual heritage of Man. The members of the Order of the Khalsa are pledged to work in a spirit of self-abnegation and a dedicated life (43) for the realisation of this objective which is grounded in spiritual value, but which is this-earthly, to be realised in the mundane life of human beings to flower eventually into a World Society and a World Culture.
The basic commandment of the Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, to the Knights of the Order of the Khalsa is, “Thou shalt not submit to slavery, in any form whatever”. (44)
The distinguished historian Arnold Toynbee, is quite wrong in supposing, in his Historian’s Approach to Religion, that, Sikhism fell from (its) religious height into a political trough, because the Sikh Gurus, Hargovind and Gobind Singh succumbed to the temptation to use force. (45) There was no succumbing here to any temptation whatever, for the Order of the Khalsa, as conceived and founded by Guru Gobind Singh, was a logical consummation of the teachings of Guru Nanak. All higher religions are founded on the concept of what they conceive to be the summum bonum for man and they attempt to hold out a vision of the man who has realised this end, the Ideal Man. Guru Nanak, while describing the true nature of Reality and the Discipline through which it may be approached and contacted, has given unmistakably clear clues, couched in the vakrokti, the ancient tortuous speech, which reveals the penumbra of the mystery, as to the nature and status of this Ideal Man, by revealing that this Ideal Man is a human being who, after he has achieved a new integration of his personality and his ultimate harmony with the Reality, operates and functions in and through the socio-political context on this earth. These doctrines are laid down in the concluding four stanzas of the Japu, and when Guru Gobind Singh founded the Order of the Khalsa, he merely gave a concrete form to these doctrines of Guru Nanak and did not just attempt to meet any contingent situation such as, “a decision to fight the Mughal ascendancy with its own weapons”, as Arnold Toynbee concludes. If Banda Singh Bahadur raised the standard of revolt against the Mughal ascendancy in the north west of India, it was an accident and not the ultimate aim or raison-d’etre of the Order of the Khalsa. The original writings of Guru Gobind Singh, such as have been salvaged out of his huge literary output destroyed by the minions of the Mughal Emperor of India, make it clear that his view of the ultimate Reality, and the true function of Religion, interpreted the concept “force” in a manner that did not admit of the unpleasant associations attached to it in the history of some other religions, the religions which bifurcate, sever and separate the life on this earth and the life hereafter. He was not a worshipper of the Energy, a Shākt in the traditional Hindu sense, but he revealed a concept of God and religion in its relation to the life of Man, which implicates that the use of “force” in a properly disciplined manner is not only desirable but imperative. Guru Nanak had clearly perceived, as Thrasymachus is shown to have held in the Republic of Plato, that violence may, some time, succeed on the sole ground that it is violent enough, and thus, violence may win for its practitioners all the powers and glories of this world, and Guru Nanak, therefore, taught that although it was evil to practise violence for gaining power for its own sake, it was also evil to let violence prevail through passiveness of its victim, and Guru Nanak, therefore, enjoined that before violence becomes successful enough to clothe itself in trappings of morality, it should be resisted and defeated, destroyed or contained by all good men, by violence, if necessary. Sikhism attaches such high significance to the worth of the individual, that it is uncompromisingly anti-totalitarian, opposed to all universal busy-bodies, whether of political Islam or welfarism and Sarvodaya of the secular Hindu by state coercion. It is from this teaching of Sikhism that the Sikh concern with politics and socio-political life arises and the commandment, “Thou shall not submit to slavery”, is also grounded in this teaching, and this teaching has far reaching political and social implications, as it has constituted the basic impulse of the Sikh history throughout the past centuries and unless it is understood thus, any proper understanding of the original Sikh impulse and the Sikh history is necessarily mistaken.
It is a basic conception of the Sikh religion that the Ideal Man operates in and functions through the socio-political human society. Ii is a fundamental postulate of Sikhism that such a man is a free man. He is a free man in the sense that he has transcended the limitations of his little ego, the individual self. He has identified or he strives to identify himself with the Universal Self, the God. As such, his existence is incompatible with subjugation or slavery. He, therefore, must never submit to slavery. A Sikh chronicler, Rattan Singh Bhangu, in his Prāchī Panth Parkāsh (early 19th century) quite rightly defines a Sikh as one “who owes allegiance to no mortal and thus is politically sovereign.” (46) The Order of the Khalsa is a Society of such Sikhs, who voluntarily agree to join it and are deemed fit to dedicate their lives for creating necessary conditions for the prevalence of the Sikh way of life culminating in a plural, open and tolerant World Society and a World Culture. Achieving political effectiveness at the decision-making levels, therefore, is the purpose and destiny of the Khalsa, and the privileges and duties of this destiny are specifically bestowed on the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh. (47)
The special discipline of wearing uncut hair, and certain other symbols, and the commandment to insist on enjoying the unlicensed right to wear arms freely, is a part of the discipline made mandatory for the Knights of the Order of the Khalsa, and not for every Sikh, as such. A Sikh, who for some reason, which by its very nature can only be personal and expediential, does not voluntarily enlist in the Order of the Khalsa, remains a Sikh nevertheless, and is sometimes known by the designation of Sahajdhārī, which means ‘slow adopter’, but this is “a mistaken notion. Throughout the Sikh literature, before the dawn of the twentieth century, the word Sahajdhārī has always been used for a genuine Sikh by faith and conviction, and never for a malingerer, as the term “slow adopter” insinuates. The word sahaj is used in the basic Sikh writings, the Guru Granth itself, in the meaning of the highest state of spiritual equipoise. Sahaj is a condition of the mind in which it has gained its pristine harmonic balance which is the state of emancipation. This indeed, is a description of the Ideal Man as conceived in Sikhism, and a sahajdhārī, therefore, is a Sikh in the true sense of the term, a Sikh by word and deed, a Sikh who genuinely strives for the attainment of the highest spiritual vision which Sikhism holds out to man. He is distinguished from a Knight of the Order of the Khalsa only by his non-adoption of certain visible symbols and insignia, which a member of the Order of the Khalsa must wear, and thus his political commitment is not total. In the current Communist jargon, he is a ‘fellow-traveller’, but not a ‘ticket-holder’ and thus he is entitled to ail the privileges of the Sikh society except that he may not claim the right publicly to represent the Sikhs concerning their collective affairs. Thereby, he becomes no less a Sikh in relation to his personal status, and it is implicit in this view of Sikhism that a considerable proportion of the Sikh world population might remain sahajdhārīs, and it is only those with special aptitude and dispositions, those who have achieved a high degree of emotional integration that befits them for a life of dedicated and self-sacrificing work, who may join the Order of the Khalsa. But the true and conclusive test of a sahajdhārī being, a genuine Sikh and not a Trojan-horseman, or an opportunist is, and has all along been so accepted by the Sikh society, that it requires a sahajdhārī to acquire clear credibility by his personal life and public behaviour through his demonstrable and firm intention to become, as soon as may be, a fully baptised Sikh himself and also by persuading his family to do so.
It is vital to understand this, for, on account of lack of this understanding, a great deal of confusion about Sikhism has arisen and many unnecessary resistances have been generated in the minds of many well-intentioned people about Sikhism as a World religion, and its future as a spiritual ecumenical impulse.
The Sikhs, under the command of Banda Singh Bahadur, occupied Sirhind, the redoubtable Mughal military cantonment of north western India, in May 1710, and conquered the whole of the adjoining region soon after. Thereafter, formal sovereignty was assumed by the Sikhs with their capital at Muhkhlispur, renamed, the Steel Fort, Lohga rh, in the hilly area of the present Ambala District, and the coin was struck with the following legend inscribed on it, The sword of the central Doctrine of Nanak destroys the evils of both the worlds, the poverty and slavery on this earth, and the sickness of the soul hereafter, and we hereby proclaim our sovereignty over both the worlds, the seen and the unseen. The final victory in our struggle has been vouchsafed by Guru Gobind Singh, the Harbinger of the good tidings of the ever present Grace of God. (48)
It was not to be supposed that this audacious and seismic proclamation would, there and then, destroy the Mughal empire in India, with its roots of almost a thousand years of Islamic power stuck in the heart of the land. But once the Sikhs had made this proclamation of their ultimate faith in victory and their immediate objective of political sovereignty, they never flinched or wavered under the crudest persecutions that were inflicted on them for more than half a century after this. Banda Singh Bahadur was captured and was literally sliced, bit by bit, to death, near the world famous Qutb Minar of Delhi in 1716, and though slowly sizzled alive, by hot iron pincers, this mature yogi, the conqueror of the flesh and its pains, and the Chosen of the Guru, did not twitch a muscle, and his last words, in answer to a question, as to whether “you now realise that you were mistaken in your ways” were, as have been recorded by an eye witness, to the following effect: I was privileged and I am proud that my Master, Gum Gobind Singh, chose me as His instrument to inflict punishment on the heads of those on whose inequities even the heavens were asleep. (49)
Before Banda Singh was executed with unspeakable tortures, he was asked by the Mughal emperor, Farrukhsiyyar, as to ‘how he would like to die’. The reply of Banda Singh was: “the same way as you wish to die”. And sure enough, Farrukhsiyyar met his end with tortures soon after, while imprisoned in the royal hell-hole prison of the Red Ford, Tripoliā, where Banda Singh had been kept captive.
From 1716 till 1765, a period of half a century, a tiny band of Sikhs, organized into the Order of the Khalsa, faced persecutions, pogroms and well-planned genocide campaigns organised and executed by the mightiest Empire of the times, the Mughal empire and the Pathan empire, and of some the greatest generals of Asia, such as Ahmad Shah Durrani, but they neither flinched nor abjured their faith, and nor did they ever relent or waver in their profession and aim of freeing themselves of all political tyranny and social slavery, with the ultimate object of gaining decision-making political power to employ it as a lever for creating conditions in which a free, and just Society can arise and function. During this period, they were hunted like wild beasts after having been outlawed as a People, and a price was put on their heads, making them liable to be killed at sight, but history does not record a single instance of voluntary apostasy or wavering in the face of these terrible persecutions, and the Sikh martyrs constitute some of the brightest jewels in the necklace of religious martyrdoms that graces the Neck of God, emits effulgence of the glory of Man. In the year 1765, the Sikhs took possession of Lahore, the seat of the regional imperial authority in the north western India and again struck the coin of their sovereignty with the same legend on it adopted earlier by Banda Singh Bahadur, in compliance with the instructions of Guru Gobind Singh.
The consolidation of the political power of the Order of the Khalsa over the whole of north western India, including Kashmir and little Tibet during the earlier part of the nineteenth century, is a matter of recent history, but what is not generally known, is that the political Islam as represented by its ulemā, with their apotheosis in the Mujaddid of Sirhind, continued its efforts relentlessly to oppose, and if possible to destroy Sikhism. The story of the hidden hand of the Mujad-did behind the execution of Guru Arjun, the incarceration and intent to kill Guru Hargobind through a full scale military operation, the persecution of Guru Har Rai, the enforced exit of Guru Hari Krishan from his mortal frame, the public decapitation of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the cruel killings of the infant sons of Guru Gobind Singh, and infliction of grievous wounds on the Guru’s own body, has been told in brief, and this story now must be further told.
Like the Murtazā Khān, the real murderer of Guru Arjun, and Lallā Beg, who with his army made a murderous attack on Guru Hargobind, the Sayyids of Bā rah were also fanatical followers of the Mujaddid. Who were these Barah Sayyids? True Sayyids are the sons of Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, and strictly speaking, they are only those as descended from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet. But there are ulvī Sayyids, descended through other wives of Ali. Barah Sayyids ascribe their origin to one Sayyid Abdul Farrah Wasti Ibn Sayyid Da’ood who came to India in 389 A.H. This Abdul Farrah had four sons who settled in Chhat Banur near modern Patiala, and they derive their name from the twelve villages, their chief strong-hold in the Muzaffarnagar District of the Gangetic plains. They served under Akbar with great fidelity. These Sayyids were strong protagonists of the political power and ascendancy of Islam in India, from the very beginning, and we learn from Akbarnāmah and from Badauni that they served under Akbar with great distinction. (50) Their disappointment and frustration with the policy of toleration pursued by Akbar when he became secure on his throne, must have been great, for they rallied around the Mujaddid, as soon as he declared himself the Regenerator of Islam in the second millennium, and it was under the influence of the Mujaddid that they sided with Jahangir and fought against Prince Khusrau. In the Tuzuk Jahangir showers hearty praises on the Barah Sayyids. “Some people make remark about them”, he says, “and question their lineage, but their bravery is a convincing proof of their being Sayyids.” Jahangir proceeds, “Mirza Aziz Koka always said, ‘the Sayyids of Barah were the averters of the calamity to this dominion, and such indeed is the case.’ (51) During the war of succession amongst the sons of Shah Jahan, they sided with Dara Shikoh and thus remained suspect with Aurangzeb. The Sayyids of Barah must be fairly counted amongst the active powers of political Islam which had laid it down, as a pre-condition for support to the cause of Jahangir, that Guru Arjun must he liquidated and Sikhism destroyed by the Sword of the State, in the interests of “the glory of Islam in India” as the Mujaddid conceived it. It was for this reason that even before attacking the stronghold of Sirhind in 1710, Banda Singh Bahadur deemed it desirable to sack Chhat Banur on the way, so as to chastise these Barah Sayyids. Two Sayyid brothers of Barah, one of whom, Sayyid Hassan Ali Khan, who became Qutb-ul-Mulk Abdulla Khan, was made the Prime Minister of Emperor Farrukhsiyyar, and the other called Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan, grew so powerful that it is these two brothers who put Farrukhsiyyar at the throne of Delhi arid were the instigators of the genocide decree against the Sikhs. Such was their power and influence that after the death of Aurangzeb, they were known as ‘kingmakers’ bādishāhgar. When Emperor Bahadur Shah, the son and successor of Aurangzeb, died in 1712, his effeminate son, Jahandar Shah, ascended the imperial throne, it were these two Barah Sayyid Brothers, the bādishāhgar, who deposed Jahandar Shah to make Farrukhsiyyar the Emperor of Delhi. These ‘king makers’, like their ancestors, were ardent followers of the doctrines of the Mujaddid and it was under inspiration from the current successor of the Mujaddid who had, by now, fled to Delhi after the sack of Sirhind by the Sikhs, that all the resources of the Empire were drawn upon to make an all-out assault at the mud-fortification of Banda Singh Bahadur at Gurdasnangal near the Kashmir border, as a result of which Banda Singh was captured and hacked to death at Delhi in 1716.
These Barah Sayyids were, in the forties of the eighteenth century, rendered impotent and relegated to obscurity by the Sikhs, through subjugation and destruction of their estates and headquarters in the trans-Jamuna tract, particularly the region of Muzaffarnagar, but the flames of political Islam which the Mujaddid had lit and directed against Sikhism, were by no means extinguished.
By A.D. 1760, the greatest Hindu Power of the day, the Marathas, had spread their influence upto Indus, and the Marathas, therefore, had become as odious to the political Islam in India as expounded by the Mujaddid, as the Sikhs and Sikhism. It was Shah Wali-Ullah Dehlvi, an ālim and a staunch follower and successor of the Mujaddid, with his seat at Delhi, to which place the. Mujaddid headquarters had been moved ever since 1710, who worked tirelessly for instigating Najibuddaulah, the Rohilla Chief, and Ahmed Shah Durrani, the King of Kabul, to join hands to extirpate the “evil of the unbelievers”, from the country of India, as a result of which the fifth invasion of the Durrani took place, culminating in the historic battle of Panipat, fought on January 14, 1761, which sealed the fate of the expanding Maratha power in India. But the Sikhs still remained alive and kicking, and Shah Wali Ullah, therefore, sponsored the sixth invasion of the Durrani as a result of which over thirty thousand Sikhs, men, women and children, were suddenly pounced upon and massacred by the Afghan invaders, near Malerkotia in the Indian Punjab on February 5, 1762. Believing that thereby he had completely broken the back of the Sikh people for ever, as he had done that of the Marathas, Ahmed Shah Durrani, guided by the advice of the successor of the Mujaddid, Wali Ullah, proceeded to blow up and level down the Central Temple of Sikhism at Amritsar, which, however, the Sikhs rebuilt the next year.
Even when, by the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the Sikh political power was securely and firmly established in the Punjab, Afghan, Frontier Province, Kashmir and the little Tibet, the followers of the Mujaddid were still active against the Sikhs. One Ahmad Shah Barelvi, a successor of the Mujaddid, with his headquarters further removed to Bareli, a town in the Gangetic plain under the wings of the British and secure from the reach of the Sikhs as Delhi was no longer so, undertook an extensive tour of Arabia and other neighbouring Islamic countries in the twenties of the nineteenth century with a view to canvass support for organising a holy Muslim war , jehād, against the Sikhs, and with the tacit sympathy of the British rulers of India, he was enabled to organise and collect, in 1831, a formidable and well equipped force of more than two hundred thousand fighting men near Naushera on the Afghan Frontier, then a Sikh frontier-town, to destroy the Sikh political power. In the resultant contest, however, it was the reverend Ahmad Shah Barelvi, who perished, and the task of finishing the Sikh political power fell to the lot of another people who had little sympathy, whatever, with the ideas and ideals of the Mujaddid of Sirhind.
For want of proper ideological awareness and comprehension, the Khalsa Commonwealth by now had degenerated, in fact, into a Monarchical system of government, with the result that they fell a prey, though by no means an easy one, to the predatory onslaughts of the Western adventurers, in the middle of the nineteenth century and their homeland and their dominions became a part of the British Indian Empire in the year 1849. But, as an enemy writer and an eye-witness, Joseph Davy Cunningham, generously records in his History of the Sikhs, at the battle field, while abandoned by their Hindu controlled Civil Government, and treacherously abandoned by their pseudo-Sikh military Generals; and although assailed on either side by squadrons of horse and battalions of foot, no Sikh offered to submit, and no disciple of Gobind asked for quarter. They everywhere showed front to the victor and stalked slowly and sullenly away while many rushed singly forth to meet assured death by contending with a multitude. The victors looked with stolid wonderment upon the indomitable courage of the vanquished. (52)
Then followed a hundred years of British subjugation for the Order of the Khalsa, during which century its knights neither forgot the use of arms which the Guru had commended them never to neglect, nor their resolve to be sovereign, although the art and the aim could not be coordinated in view of the circumstances in which they were placed. This too was the Will of the Timeless Person, the Gurū-Akālpurukh, subserving Divine Design!
The exit of the British from India in 1947, once again saw the Sikhs engulfed in the resultant fury, which was a hangover from the centuries-old struggle between Sikhism, in its determination to survive, and the political Islam, of which the Regenerator for the Second Millennium was a symbol, in its aim of destruction of “the evil of the unbelievers”, and, as a result, two hundred thousand Sikhs perished in the communal fury of the partition of the country, in which they struck as many blows as they received.
It may now almost be said that Sikhism has successfully withstood the fury and onslaughts of the political Islam in India, and with the spiritual Islam it never had any fundamental serious quarrel, and this has made possible an understanding and mutual accommodation, genuine and sincere, between Sikhism and Islam, such as was the original aim and wish of the Founder of Sikhism.
From its traditional role of the Protector of the Hindus and its historical role of a defender of the basically Hindu values of life, Sikhism has now been placed in the position of a nominally subordinate partnership, but in practice, complete subjection, with a politically resurgent Hinduism, which finds it difficult to tolerate any non-conformity, or to accept and concede the right of others to exist in their own right and to forgive those whom it has already and grievously wronged. In away, Sikhism is an afflation of Hinduism, its flower and entelechy, and, thus, there is no question of a genuine quarrel between Hinduism and Sikhism. But the reality of the neo-socio-political Hinduism, as it has manifested in recent years, in its attitudes towards Sikhism, lends some colour to the genuine fears of some keen observers that in the second half of the twentieth century, Sikhism, faces a real crisis, a possible consequence of which might be its diffusion in spirit and physical dispersion abroad, obliging it to seek refuge, for its sheer survival, in some political arrangements that promise a haven of safety. But it is also likely that, as time passes, a saner, a less parochial strain in the Hindu mind, might assert itself such as does not deem crafty subtlety as wisdom, cruelty as firmness, narrow self-interest as statesmanship, and legalism and casuistry as the true essence of Hinduism, and which no longer regards intention as unrelated to moral responsibility, as it regards malice and malafides legitimate dynamism of mature human conduct.
However, Sikhism, as a World religion, and as spiritual, impulse will have failed to establish its claim as such unless it can successfully meet the challenge that is implicit in their present situation and predicament as successfully as it did in the past in its encounter with the formidable political Islam.
That this situation is not an easy one, particularly in view of the notions that political Hinduism now entertains about its abiding and inalienable prerogative always to remain the top dog, and in view of the positive purpose and vocation by the existing order; but from the unseen, concealed world, still hidden beneath the surface but indicated and revealed by Guru Gobind Singh as the will of God, (53) of the Sikh people a derivative not from the calm regular course of things, sanctioned will be conceded on all sides, irrespective of what hopes and fears about the future of the Sikhs and Sikhism they choose to have.
1. nānak se akhrīā(n) beann(i) jinī disando mā pirī. – Vār Mārū, M5 AG, 1100.
2. nām(u) rahio sādhū rahio, rahio gurgobind, kahu nanāk is jagat mairih kin(i) japio gurmant(u). – Sloka, M9, AG, 1429.
3. nām(u) tul(i) kachh(u) avar(u) na hoe. – Gau rī, M5, AG, 265.
4. nānak nām(u) cha rhdi kalā. – Ardās (Daily Prayer)
5. gur(u) bin(u) ghor andhar. – Rāg Āsā, Vār M1, AG, 463.
6. jot(i) ohā jugat(i) sāi, sah(i) kāyā pher(i) palatīai. – Rāmkaī, Vār, Rāi Balwand, AG, 966.
7. Abraham Herschel, J, The Prophets, p. 364.
8. pāvai ta so jan(u) dehi jis no, hor(i) kiā karhi vechāriā. – Rāmkalī, M3, Anand, AG, 917.
9. es nau hor(u) thāo[n] nāhī, sabd(i) lāg(i) savārīā. -Ibid.
10. sat(i)guru binā hor kachi hai bānī. -Ibid., 920.
11. kah[n]de ka[ch]che sunde ka[ch]che ka[ch]chīn ākh(i) vakhānī. -Ibid., 920.
12. chit(u) jin kā hir(i) laiā māiā, bolan(i) pae ravāni. -Ibid., 920.
13. i) ānand(u) ānand(u) sabh(u) ko kahai[n], ānand gurū te jāniā. – Ramkali, M3, Anand, AG, 917.
ii) anand(u) bhaiā merī māe, satgurū main pāiā. -Ibid.
14. dvivinśati dillī umrāiv, itī sikfi manjīs(ti) bithāiv . – Vide Mahān Kosh, 2 nd ed. , 634.
15. satiān eh(i) na ākhīan(i) jo ma riā lag(i) jalann(i). – Sūhī, Vār M3, AG, 787.
16. hor(i) manmukh dāj(u) ji rakh(i) dikhlāhi, so kū r(u) ahamkār(u) kach(u) pājo. – Srī Rāg, M4, AG, 79.
17. pāp kī janj lai kābulaho[n] dhāiā, jorī mangai dān(u) ve lālo,…
qājīā bāhmanā kī gal thakkī, agad(u) pa rha saitān ve lālo. ….
-Tilang, M1, AG, 722.
18. Du Jarric, Father Pierre, Akbar and the Jesuits, (Tr. H Payne), p. 204.
19. Akbar, the Great Mughalt, p. 322.
20. p. 71.
21. hun(i) hukam(u) hoā miharvān dā, pai koi na kisai ranjāndā,
sabh sukhālī vuthiā, ih(u) hoā halemī rāj(u) jīo.
– Sri Rag, M1, AG, 74.
22. Musalmān(u) mom dil(i) hovai,
antar kī mal(u) dil te dhovai,
duniā rang na āvai ne rai,
jio kusam pāt(u) ghio pāk(u) harā.
– Maru, M5, AG, 1084.
23. Vide Note dated 22 Safar, 1015 A.H.
24. Maktūbāt-i-Imam-i-Rabbānī, I.47.
25. Maktūbāt, I.193.
26. See Maktūbāt, I.54, 80, 163, 165, 193.
27. Maktūbāt, I.81.
28. Sheikh Badrud-din Sirhindi, (Khwaja Ahmad Hussain), Lahore, (Mansur Steam Press) 1908.
29. Vide Mohammad Hashim Kishmi Burhanpuri, Zubdat-ul-Muqāmāt, (MS No. 1827, Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna.)
30. Rauzat-ul-Qaiyūmiyah (in original) is an Arabic work by Khwaja Kamalud-din Mohammad Ehsan, who was a descendant of the Regenerator.
31. Maktūbāt-i-Ma’soomiyah , Letter No. 6.
32. A Social History of Islamic India, p. 171.
33. Ibid., p. 157.
34. Ma’āsir-i-Alamgīrī (Urdu Translation), p. 54.
35. Manucci Niccolao, Storia do Mogor (1653-1708) (tr. William Irvine.) p. IV. 308.
36. tilak janjū rākhā prabh(u) tā kā, kīno bado kalū mahi[n] sākā.
sādhan(i) het(i) itī jin(i) karī, sīs dīā par sī na ucharī.
dharma het(u) sākā jin(i) kīā,, sīs dīā par sirr(u) na dīā. – Bachitranātak, DG, 54.
37. Akhbārāt-i-Darbār-i-Mu’allā, Royal Asiatic Society, London. Vol. I. 1677-1695. Entry dated, November 20, 1693.
38. Ganda Singh, Life of Bandā Singh Bahādur, p. 15.
39. tab(i) samādh(i) sat(i)gurū lagāī, yoga agn(i) tūran upjāī.
– Santokh Singh, Gurpratāp Suryoday, Rut 6, Ain 2, Ansu 24. 18.
40. wāhigurū jī kī bahu fateh, bār bār bolat(i) sukh(i) mate.
41. levan turkan te nij bair, pathio mujh ko guru ne kar bandā;
main kar khwār vajīre ko mār sirhind ujār, karaihun suchhandā.
– Gyan Singh Gyani, Sri Guru Panth Prakāsh, p. 360.
42. A study of History (Abridgment). Vols. VII-X, pp. 187-188.
43. khālsā so jis āpnā tan man dhan gurū nū saunpiā.
– Rahatnāmah Bhāī Chaupā Singh.
44. rāj karhin ikke la r mare hain.
– Rattan Singh Bhangu, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh.
45. Clifford Lectures (1952-1953), p. 110.
46. kis hūn kī ih kān na rākhat,
sāhinshāh khud hī ko bhākhat.
– Rattan Singh Bhangu, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh.
47. tab singhan ko bakhsh kar, bahu sukh dikhlāi.
phir sabh prithavi ke upare, hakam thairal,
tin jagat sambhāl kar(i), ānand rachāi,
tab bhaio jagat sabh khālsā, manmukh bharmāi.
– Bhai Gurdas II, Vār 41, 19, p. 669.
48. sikkah zad bar har do ālam, tegh-i-nānak vāhib ast,
fatah-i-gobind singh shāh-i-shāhān, fadl-i-sachchā sāhib ast.
49. Kāmvar Khān, Tazkirāt-i-Chughtāiyān, (also known as Tazkirāt-us-Salātin-i-Chug hatiya) MS. 1723., f. 180; Mirza Mohammad Hārisī. Ibrtnāmah. MS., f. 62.
50. Akbarnāmah (tr. Beveridge), III.225, 224; Badauni, Abdul Qadir, Muntakhab-ut-Tawārīkh (tr. W.H. Lowe) III.225, 224, II.237.
51. Tuzuk-i-Jahāngīrī, p. 269.
52. J.D. Cunningham, History of the Sikhs, p. 285.
53. āgyā bhaī akāl kī tabhā chalāio panth…
rāj karegā khālsā āqī rahai na koi…
– Ardās (Daily Prayer)
The author descends into an exploration of what connects her most to Vaisakhi and its roots. She shares her deep connection to Sabad while acknowledging that she has yet to be graced with the “Five Gifts.”
The author descends into an exploration of what connects her most to Vaisakhi and its roots. She shares her deep connection to Sabad while acknowledging that she has yet to be graced with the “Five Gifts.”
For the Sikhs globally, 1 Cet 553 is the Nanakshahi new year’s day. Cet or Chet is the month. 553 is the Nanakshahi year. Do you know about Nanakshahi?
For the Sikhs globally, 1 Cet 553 is the Nanakshahi new year’s day. Cet or Chet is the month. 553 is the Nanakshahi year. Do you know about Nanakshahi?