Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Parkash & Gurgadee Diharas

By Karminder Singh Dhillon, Ph.D (Boston) Kuala Lumpur.

Gurpurab[1] is the term Sikhs use to celebrate events relating to our Guru. The Gurpurab of the highest significance relates to our present Guru – Guru Granth Sahib Ji.  Sikhs celebrate two purabs relating to the Guru Granth Sahib – Pehla Parkash Dihara and Gurgadee Dihara.

The Parkash Dihara (literally installation day) refers to the incident when the Pothee Sahib (as the Granth Sahib was called then) was completed by Guru Arjun Dev Ji at Ramsar and installed for the first time at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Baba Budha Ji was installed the first Granthee (minister of the Granth). Guru Arjun Dev paid obeisance (matha tekna) and the Pothee became a permanent feature of Sikh diwans from then on.

The Gurgadee Dihara refers to the incident of Guru Gobind Singh re-compiling, at Sabo Ki Talwandee,  the Pothee Sahib (by adding the Banee of Guru Teg Bahadur) and installing it at Nader Sahib. The tenth Guru paid obeisance, installed Bhai Mani Singh as the Granthee, and declared that from then on, the Guru of the Sikhs would be in the form of the Shabad within the Guru Granth Sahib Ji

The months of September and October saw Sikhs all over the world celebrate these two Diharas. This article is written in the celebratory mood of these Diharas – particularly Gurgadee Dihara which sees its three hundred and fifth year in 2013 – with a view of providing a brief overview relating to Gurbanee and the Granth Sahib.

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Nanak Shah Faqir: A Controversy of Epic Proportions – Part II

Commentary by Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).

The SGPC and the Akaal Takhat have argued that Harinder Singh Sikka’s biggest bungle is that Nanak Shah Faqir violates the Sikh tenet of never portraying the character of Guru Nanak though an actor – something Sikka was aware of as he has openly claimed that computer animation and not an actor was used for Guru Nanak’s role.  

One could argue that portraying the character of the Guru is the least of Sikka’s bungles. The more serious botches are elements of his endeavour that appear manifestly anti-thesis to the principles of Guru Nanak – the very philosophy that his movie is attempting to portray.

  Continue reading “Nanak Shah Faqir: A Controversy of Epic Proportions – Part II”

Nanak Shah Faqir – An Epic of Sorts  – Part I

Commentary by Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).

Harinder Singh Sikka’s Nanak Shah Faqir banner makes the claim that it is an “epic” on Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The debate on its truth notwithstanding, one cannot help but notice that there are other “epics” at play in the making of this movie.
Continue reading “Nanak Shah Faqir – An Epic of Sorts  – Part I”

Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? – Part III

PART THREE: The Root Causes.  
Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).

There is no denying that the dysfunctionality of our Gurdwaras is deeply entrenched and widespread. 

There can also be no denying that the root causes are varied. Yet any discussion over the causes of the distortion and corruption of Gurdwara roles and functions must begin with those who (mis)manage our Gurdwaras – namely parbhandakhs.

Continue reading “Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? – Part III”

Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional – Part II

PART TWO: The Assessment.
Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).

To argue otherwise would amount to an exercise in deception.  

By and large, our gold plated structures, sprawling marble-adorned complexes, modern architectural constructs and beautiful buildings (and even their humble variants) are just that – physical structures that are admirable; are able to attract occasional large passive crowds and chalk up substantial incomes in the form of donations.

 A vast majority of our Gurdwaras do little more than organize weekly diwans that constitute kirtan by professional ragis, akhand path readings by professional pathis, the occasional katha or sermon also by a professional and conclude with the serving of langar.

With few exceptions, these “professionals” are largely disconnected from the sangats they serve and thus oblivious to the spiritual challenges facing their congregations. Their primary motive is to earn a living through their “professional” activities and so long as the sangat “enjoys” their “musical presentations” and gives them sufficient bheta, they are content.   

 A vast majority of our Gurdwaras have no primary function other than acting as a venue for the conduct of Anand Karajs, Antim Ardas and other functions where the sangat has no role other than passive and reciprocal attendance – we go because we fear that if we didn’t, then others will not come to our functions.

Yet the strongest evidence that our Gurdwaras are dysfunctional is that they are steadily emptying out of Generation Y and Z Sikhs; that our youth are become increasingly alienated from our Gurdwaras; and our children are beginning  to disconnect from Sikhi by the hordes.

 The root cause of such dysfunction lies in our wilful neglect of the original and rightful functions of Gurdwaras, as intended by our Gurus.  An assessment of each of these seven functions may be worth conducting.

Continue reading “Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional – Part II”

Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? – Part I

PART ONE: The Roles and Functions of a Gurdwara.
Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).

There perhaps is no place on earth where a group of Sikhs reside but have not constructed a Gurdwara. From gold plated structures, sprawling marble-adorned complexes and modern architectural constructs to a variety of humble variants – our Gurdwaras have become the core institution of the Sikh way of life.  

But fair minded Sikhs would agree that constructing magnificent Gurdwaras and THEN ensuring they function in accordance with their intended roles are two starkly different things. 

Thinking Sikhs would also agree that a Gurdwara has to do more than merely organizing Sunday diwans that constitute kirtan by professional ragis, akhand path readings by professional pathis, the occasional katha or sermon also by a professional and conclude with the serving of langar.

 As an institution a Gurdwara has to be more than a place for the conduct of Anand Karajs, Antim Ardas and other functions where the sangat has no role other than staggered,  passive and casual attendance.  

Put plainly, given the investments of money, time and our collective energies that we Sikhs have put into our Gurdwaras, do we get adequate Returns of Investments (ROI) in terms of spiritual, social, and gurmat measures?

This question becomes critical as our Gurdwaras begin to steadily empty out of Generation Y and Z Sikhs; as our youth become increasingly alienated from our Gurdwaras; and as our children begin to disconnect from Sikhi.

The question posed above can only be answered with a full appreciation of the intended roles and functions of our Gurdwaras.

Continue reading “Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? – Part I”

FAQ- FACTS ON EGEPEM- EK GRANTH-EK PANTH-EK MARYADA

FAQ ON

EK GRANTH
EK PANTH
EK MARYADA

  1. What is EK GRANTH EK PANTH EK MARYADA?
    EK GRANTH EK PANTH EK MARYADA is the name of our slogan aimed at UNITING and UNIFYING Sikhs in Malaysia. The slogan has its origins in the Global Sikh Council’s (GSC) call for the Sikh Panth to unite under One Granth One Panth and take guidance from the 1945 Sikh Rehat Maryada.  It has been adopted by Sikhs who wish to see the Panth united as EK PANTH in its quest to derive spiritual guidance from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (EK GRANTH) and adopt the Panth- Parvanit and Akaal Takhat sanctioned Sikh Rehat Maryada (Ek MARYADA) as their chosen Maryada.

    Continue reading “FAQ- FACTS ON EGEPEM- EK GRANTH-EK PANTH-EK MARYADA”

The God of Dasam Granth – Part 3

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

In Part One and Two of the series aimed at examining the God of Dasam Granth (DG); the following facts were established from within the compositions of DG:
1. The primary God of the Dasam Granth (DG) is Mahakaal and the secondary God is Durga.
2. The authors of DG (Raam, Syam and Nul) belong to the Vaam Maragi SECT of Shivji; it is therefore natural that they attempt to portray their God as supreme.
3. Subjugation of other / rival deities is evident from within the rachnas of DG. Bhrama, Vishnu (and his 24 incarnations) including Ram, Krishen and also others such as Rishi Valmeek, Sita and the Gopis of Krishen are shown praying to to Durga and Mahakaal.
Continue reading “The God of Dasam Granth – Part 3”

The God of Dasam Granth – Part 2

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

In Part One of the series aimed at examining the God of Dasam Granth (DG); the following facts were established from within the compositions of DG:
1. The primary God of the Dasam Granth (DG) is Mahakaal and the secondary God is Durga.
2. The writers of a vast majority of DG are poets named Raam, Syam and Nul. Poet Syam’s name as the writer appears across 151 pages of DG while Ram’s appears across 14 pages. Their names also appear jointly across 15 pages of DG suggesting that they worked together. Poet Nul is the writer of one composition. Readers would note that the word “Nanak” as writer does NOT appear even ONCE in the entire DG.
3. The obeisance of these three writers to Mahakal and Durga (the male and female forms of Shivji) suggests that they are adherents of the Vaam Margee SECT of Shivji.
4. Large portions of the core rachnas o DG are lifted from the Markandey Puran and Shiv Puran. Both Purans are written in obeisance of Shivji. Markandey, a devotee of Mahakaal, Durga and Shivji – is highly revered amongst devotees of the Vaam Maragee SECT. The writers of DG have acknowledged such lifting, even mentioning the chapters that are lifted, at the end their rachnas.
5 . These purans – acting as the primary sources of DG – thus provide the LINK and CONTINUITY between the God of these purans (Shivji) and that of DG being the one and same. Shivji is the God of the two purans, and Mahakaal and Durga (two halves of Shivji) are the Gods of DG.
It is worth reiterating that the method of deriving the above mentioned facts relied on using the DG as a primary source. Such a choice of method is not dismissive of secondary sources. It is to allow the reader direct access to the verses within DG where the ideas of these series of essays are coming from.
Continue reading “The God of Dasam Granth – Part 2”

God of the Dasam Granth – Part 1

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

Who is the God of Dasam Granth (DG)? This is the primary question that will be examined in this article.

A cursory study of the Dasam Granth (DG) brings forth obeisance of its authors to two primary entities – Mahakaal and Durga. Both have a plethora of names. Mahan Kosh author Kahn Singh Nabha on pages 201 and 674 describes Durga as the consort of Shivji (the devta of death) and provides more than a dozen names for her including Kalka, Shera Walee, Maha Mayee, Chandika, Seetla, Parvati, Chandee, Shiva and Jug Maata.

Mahakaal is another name for Lord Shivji. Readers can gain further insights on the philosophy here: http://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/why-is-lord-shiva-called-mahakaal
Continue reading “God of the Dasam Granth – Part 1”

Dasam Granth – Miter Pyare Nu

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

This composition is sung in Gurdwaras by ragis and kirtanias as kirtan.

We have been told that  Miter Pyare Nu depicts a prayer Guru Gobind Singh ji made to God during his moments alone in the jungles of Machiwara.

We have also been told that the terms “Miter Pyara” (my beloved friend) refers to “God” and that the “tenth Guru is narrating his solitary situation in Machiwara after the final battle of Chamkaur.”

Pictures such as the following, showing Guru Gobind Singh ji resting alone on the floor, barefooted, and injured are normally found printed with verses from Mitar Pyare Nu .  The   four verses of this composition are said to describe this situation.

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Dasam Granth: Plucking “Moral” Messages from Thin Air.

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

In both my previous articles in this series, I and many of those commenting have asked two simple questions.

  • WHAT are the so called “moral messages that are found in each Chritar” as claimed by Gurmukh Singh.
  • WHERE exactly WITHIN the Charitar are these messages to be found.

Not a single verse from any Chritar containing any “moral message” has thus far been produced. Loud and repeated claims of “Yes, there are moral messages, IF you read beyond the literal,” is code for “there are no messages, really.”

The inability to answer this first question has led  Gyani Jarnail Singh Arshi to ask “IF indeed there ARE moral messages, why are they BURRIED under a heap of dung?

A very un-palatable word indeed.
Continue reading “Dasam Granth: Plucking “Moral” Messages from Thin Air.”

Dasam Granth: Twisting Bones Till They Snap

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

Reading Gurkukh Singh’s response to my “Father’s Day and Dasam Granth” article brought Fiction Factory lyrics to my mind: Twisting the Bones Till they Snap.

Trying to justify 404 Chritars  or tales of sexual debauchery that are written in crude, graphic and often times vulgar detail; presented as abhorrently derogatory to women; and based on accounts as immoral and decadent as one can imagine; does indeed require one heck of a lot of twisting.

Especially because such repulsive tales sit as the central core of the Dasam Granth (DG) – occupying one third of this book under the title of Chitro Pakhyaan (CP) and spread over a full 578 pages from page 809 till 1386.

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Father’s Day and Dasam Granth

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

What do the two have in common? Nothing of course. But some people have a way of creating connections where none exist. Hence this commentary.

I am referring to the following Father’s Day message that found its way into my mail box Sunday.

The couplet comes from the Dasam Granth (DG), and appears on page 842.

Continue reading “Father’s Day and Dasam Granth”

Nagar Kirtan and Sikhi

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

Nagar Kirtan (literally: neighbourhod kirtan) has over the past few decades become standard fare for Gurpurabs. As more and more gurdwaras rush to jump on the bandwagon of taking the Guru Granth Sahib (and accompanying kirtaneas) on a display ride on the streets of their townships, and as more and more sangats compete to make their processions larger, longer, grander, and more entertaining, it may be worth weighing this concept from the point of view of Gurmat and Gurbanee.  What are we trying to achieve? What, if any are the tangible benefits of the investment of time, money and energy into this moving exhibition of our Guru, the broadcasting of kirtan onto the streets of the city’s commercial districts, and the display of our accompanying sangat at popular/ tourist designated places? Is this “parchar” in form only and devoid of substance? And most important, what, if any is the spiritual basis of this “kirtan on wheels” practice? Have Sikh leaders in general and gurdwara  parbhandaks in particular become so debased in Gurmat that it does not matter anymore so long as they latch on to the latest trend, satisfy the entertainment needs of their sangats, and contribute to their local council’s hunger to create events for their tourists? 

This article attempts to discuss the above questions and related issues.
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