The following speech was presented at the Sikh Gurdwara DC on Guru Hargobind’s Gurpurab celebrations on July 7, 2013. It was translated from Punjabi by SikhNN. The words in paranthesis are editorial additions, for clarification.
In a country where we are just 1.5 percent, in India, those who are in the seats of power - our jathedaars, our leaders, and the Shiromani (Gurdwara Parbandhak) Committee managers - they are like remotes. That country (India) is controlling these remotes. Through them, the channels are being changed. Sometimes the channel is on Dasam Granth. Sometimes the channel is on the Nanakshahi Calendar.
They are trying to, in one way or the other, to (pollute) Guru Granth Shahib, which we consider the word of God. (They want) that revelation to be polluted through misprints.
Why would they do this? Because we did not consider it our responsibility to read it. I have to study to earn medical degrees, but religion is something we expect to be readymade, (handed out to us.) Guru Granth Sahib is our religion, (Gur)baanee is our religion. We have never understood our Baanee.
Slowly, slowly - whether it’s our history or Banee – (they are) establishing a new granth. This is what we are observing. We still have to tell everyone that our Guru is Guru Granth Sahib. Christianity prospered for a thousand years after Jesus Christ. The Bible was compiled later, and there are so many versions. They (Christians) never proclaim that the Bible is their Guru. But whenever Christians talk about religion, they refer to quotes from the Bible. When we talk about Mohamed sahib…(inaudible). The Quran was compiled after Mohamed was gone. When Muslim scholars, whether they are (inaudible names), when they talk about their religion, they never use references from a story. They always use references straight from Quran-e-Sharif. But Mohamed sahib never said that the holy Quran is their Guru.
Only Guru Granth Sahib is proclaimed as the Guru, as written in the poetry of Bhai Prahlad, “Guru Maaneo Granth.” Guru Granth is the Guru for us. The Guru (Gobind Singh) himself wrote this. It did not come to exist after the Gurus.
We are such an unfortunate (Sikh) nation that whenever we talk from the stage, we wander around outside of Guru Granth.
They (our leaders and the Indian government) have judged us. When Buddhism began to spread, they (Brahmins) screamed out to save them: “We are dying; the Buddhists are preaching against our rituals.” The people that we (Brahmins) were fooling and plundering on the basis of the caste system and creating so many gods, now there is this new Gautam Buddha who has finished our base (foundation).
Chanakya (ancient philosopher) was very cunning. There are two books: Neethee and Sutra. The present-day political Hindus use these books. And I’m not talking about common Hindus – we have no quarrel with common Muslims and Hindus, we are friends with everyone. I am talking about the political Hindus who are fanatics, who want to convert the minorities into the majority.
(In) Chanakya’s Neethee, when the pandits came running to him complaining about the Buddhists’ expansion, he told them to convert to Buddhism. The pundits were upset with him. Why was he telling them to convert to Buddhism? Chanakya told them: “I cannot tell you why I am saying that, but come back in eight months for the answer.” So they became Buddhists, they cut their religious ponytails (bodhees).
Eight months later, they told Chanakya that they have become Buddhists but their hearts have not changed. He told them to wait for another four or five months. Then, when they went back to Chanakya, he told them: “Now it’s okay. You will remain Buddhists. Now go inside their temples and start chanting your mantras (Hindu magical words), start worshiping your Hindu gods and goddesses.” And they began doing that. Those who were Buddhists now changed and became Brahmins.
The same thing is happening to us. We have long beards, blue turbans on our heads and Kirpans in our hands. and we Sikhs continue to respect them (our leaders), welcoming them on stage with garlands around their necks. These are our leaders, the leaders of the Panth. In the appearance of being Sikhs (roop), these impersonators are implanted among us. And by following them, we are forgetting the concept of our religion. Under their influence, we are forgetting that Guru Granth Sahib is our Guru. The (Akal) Takhat is the symbol of our political freedom.
Professor (Darshan Singh) sahib has talked about this topic in a very brilliant way. When I point my finger up, it means that you look up into the stars, not grab them. The Takhat is a symbol like that finger pointing up.
And now there is another takhat, in a smaller room, which they are making today. Why are they making it? They will eventually pull down the real Takhat. Will they rebuild it? No. They will demolish it from within our minds. They have build a small takhat where they sit and make deals.
Why are they doing this? Why is this happening? We give importance to the sangat and Panthic concepts. We want to be Panthic. We have to live by the Panth. And what is Panth? It is the substance within the Guru Granth Sahib. And when an issue arises within the Panth, they (leaders) announce a hukamnaamaa in the guise of being a Panthic body. We want to oppose that order, and we don’t want to sanctify that order. They continue to do that, and why are they doing that? Because they want to confuse us.
So how can we save ourselves? We must understand the real Takhat. We must understand the real principles of Guru Granth Sahib. If we understand these teachings within the Guru Granth Sahib, and it becomes part of our lives, we can escape these entanglements.
Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru of those who surrender themselves to the Guru. Mathaa tayknaa is a great jesture. In Punjabi, mathaa tayknaa has two meanings. One is, when you want to get rid of someone. When you have unwanted guests, you do mathaa tayknaa to get rid of them, for example. The other meaning is, to surrender.
We need to decide whether we want to do mathaa tayknaa to get rid of the Guru or to surrender to the Guru. If it is to surrender to the Guru, then we have offered all our abilities and honesties to the Guru – not offered to any leader or jathedaar. We accept only the Guru Granth Sahib, and the Panth that follows it.
Today, I have come here to listen to kirtan by professor sahib, not to speak. Yesterday, there was a seminar in Baltimore. I was invited to speak there. I thank this gurdwara committee for asking me to speak here. I will not speak very long because it was not in the schedule.
I pray that we do mathaa tayk to Guru Granth Sahib with the thought of surrendering to it.
From Sikh News Network archives.
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