Sunday, December 04, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Consequences of altering Gurbani

Emperor Aurangzeb was on a crusade againt Hindus. Jealous persons within the Emperor’s court tried to extend this crusade further to the Guru’s Sikhs. To find out further about the Guru, Guru Har Rai Sahib Jee, Aurangzeb summoned Him to his presence in Delhi. The Guru had vowed not to see the Emperor. Instead he sent his eldest son Ram Rai to Delhi, instructing him to rely on the divine ower of the Gurus, not in any way recede from the principles of his religion, and in all his words and actions to fix his thought on God, everything would prove successful.

When the Emperor was informed that the Guru had not come himself but sent his son, he thought that if his object in trying the Guru was not fulfilled by his son, he would send for the Guru himself. Ram Rai performed seventy miracles. The Emperor sent him poisoned robes which he wore but was not hurt. In one interview a sheet of cloth was spread over a deep well so that Ram Rai when asked to sit, would fall into the well. The sheet did not give way and Ram Rai was miraculously preserved. The Emperor was shown the sight of Mecca while sitting in Delhi. After seventy such miracles were shown, Aurangzeb was almost convinced of Ram Rai's powers and became friendly to him. Then came the last question. The Qazis' asked Ram Rai," Ram Rai, your Guru Nanak has written against the Muslim religion. In one place he has said,

'Mitti Musalman ki peirei paee kumiar; Ghar bhandei itan kia, jaldi karei pukar.' (Asa Mohalla 1, p-466)
'The ashes of the Mohammadan fall into the potter's clod; Vessels and bricks are fashioned from them; they cry out as they burn.'

What is the meaning of this?"

Ram Rai had won Aurangzeb's respect so much that he perhaps did not want to displease him and forgot his father's parting injunctions not to recede from the principles of his religion. So in order to please the Emperor, Ram Rai replied," Your Majesty, Guru Nanak wrote, 'Mitti beiman ki', that is the ashes of the faithless, not of the Musalmans, fall into the potter's clod. The text has been corrupted by ignorant persons and Your Majesty's religion and mine defamed. The faces of the faithless and not of the Musalmans, shall be blackened in both worlds." All the Mohammadan priests were pleased with this reply. The Emperor then conferred a mark of favor on Ram Rai and dissolved the assembly.

The Sikhs of Delhi immediately sent an envoy to Kiratpur and informed the Guru of the pomp and honor with which Ram Rai had been received in Delhi, and detailed miracles he had exhibited. The envoy then explained how he had made an alteration in a line of Guru Nanak in order to please the Emperor. The Guru was much distressed at the insult and remarked that no mortal could change the words of Guru Nanak and that 'the mouth which had dared to do so should never be seen by me.' The Guru decided that Ram Rai was not fit for Guruship. He confirmed," The Guruship is like a tigress's milk which can only be contained in a golden cup. Only he who is ready to devote his life thereto is worthy of it."

After Ram Rai had resided in Delhi for some time, he decided to go to Kiratpur and try to convince his father to reverse his decision regarding him. He pitched his camp near Kiratpur and wrote to his father for permission to visit him. He confessed that he had suffered for his sins and desired forgiveness. The Guru replied,"Ram Rai, you have disobeyed my order and sinned. How can you aspire to become a holy man? Go whither your fancy leads you. I will never see you again on account of your infidelity."

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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