Friday, December 02, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

15th September

 

1539 Jotti Jot, First Patshah, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

==> GURU NANAK (1469-1539):
In a world rife with falsehood, sunk in superstitions and plagued by all kinds of inequities and inequalities, Guru Nanak rang in the gospel of truth, universal love and brotherhood. The Founder Guru of the Sikhs and one of the greatest and saintliest of saviours, he redeemed the soul of a moribund society that had experienced a total eclipse, if not annihilation, of all abiding human values. The condition of the contemporary society has been vividly described by the First Master in the well -known words

This age is a knife, kings are butchers,
justice hath taken wings and fled.
In this completely dark night of falsehood
the moon of truth is never seen to rise.

Guru Nanak was born in a Bedi family at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib), near Lahore, in 1469. At an early age he learnt Sanskrit, Persian and the prevalent form of Gurmukhi. He was a precocious child with a pronounced penchant for religion. His father, Mehta Kalu, made vain efforts to woo him to a mundame mode of life. Accordingly, he was got employed in a Government store of the Nawab of Sultanpur where he served for 13 years.

It was in 1499 that the day of destiny of ecstatic communion with God came. While taking his daily bath in the rivulet Bain that flows near Sultanpur, Nanak had his illumination through a soul-stirring vision of Almighty God. It was here that the Guru delivered his great sermon in the memorable words: There is no Hindu, there is no Musalman. The spiritual enlightenment enjoined on him a mission to the propagation of which he consecrated his entire life. He set out on his great Udasi's (Missionary journeys) to deliver God's message to sinning and suffering humanity.

He toured the whole of India and many foreign countries, preaching the gospel of true religion and rooting out ignorance and evil. The great Guru undertook five major missionary journeys in this behalf.

In the course of his first long travel, Guru Nanak visited celebrated Hindu places of pilgrimage like Kurukshetra, Banaras and Jagnnath Puri. He taught people how to distinguish Dharma from Adharma and abandon such pretentious rituals and prayers as constituted the accepted religious practice of the times. During his second journey the Guru went as far as Sangla Deep and having done his ministry returned to the Punjab.

The Master's third missionary journey is known for his discussions with reputed Kashmiri Pandits and savants and for his visits to famous haunts of the Yogis, the Sidhas and the Nathas in the Himalayas. The Guru preached truth and righteousness wherever he went.

The fourth missionary journey comprised the Master's visit to prominent Muslim shrines in Mecca, Medina and Baghdad. After his return to the Punjab, the Guru set out on his fifth and final journey. This time he confined his travel to places nearer home such as Saidpur, Pakpattan, Multan, Achal Batala, etc. Saidpur had been sacked by Babar's forces. Deeply moved by spectacle of infinite human suffering resulting from the inhuman atrocities perpetrated by the Mughal invader, the Guru chanted hymns of Sorrow.

At Achal Batala, a renowned centre of the Yogis and Sidhas, the Guru preached the unity and equality of all religions. For twenty-two years Guru Nanak propagated his faith in India and abroad. During his 18 years' stay at Kartarpur, he incarnated into splendid deeds the lofty ideals that he had been preaching all his. life. Thus, by his own inspiring example, the Guru demonstrated how Raj and Yog, the worldly and the spiritual modes of life, could be happily and fruitfully conjoined.

During his extensive missionary journeys, Guru Nanak exhorted the benighted humanity to pursue the path of divine meditation. He stressed the significance of righteous living above all other things. The Guru made men realize that there is only one God Who is peerless. He held that through Nam Simran (Meditation of God's Name) and concentration on Shabad (the word) man could muster up courage enough to uphold truth in his life.

Guru Nanak cried down all cant and blind observance of soulless customs, rites and rituals. The Guru averred that they were a meaningless meandering unconnected with the attainment of man's spiritual destiny, Thus he rightly laid accent on pious practical living which alone constitutes true religiosity.

The quintessence of Guru Nanak's philosophy is enshrined in his mul mantra. He has aptly emphasized the imperative need of truth and beauty, freedom and fraternity. According to Guru Nanak, religion implies a communion between God and man. As a corollary to this, a person who devotes himself to Nam Simran is naturally virtuous and fearless. Unsullied by ill-will or enmity, he works for the amelioration of the weak and the down-trodden. His noble actions give an impulse to his aesthetic ability. A truely religious man of the Guru's conception is opposed alike to serfdom and masterdom. His life is radiant with love and humility, sweetness and light.

Indeed, Guru Nanak wanted to unite and organize his disciples in order to give religion true solidarity. To this end, he established sangat (congregations) at numerous places and appointed their chiefs. Besides, he compiled his writings in book form which he handed over to his successor, Guru Angad Dev.

The Guru established a sangat at Kartarpur and prescribed a set of values to be cherished and practised. He also founded the great institution of langar (free community-kitchen) and spent his earnings from land on running it. Thus, he gave a living form to his doctrine of work, Nam Simran and the Temple of Bread. The Guru nominated Bhai Lehna, his most beloved and trusted disciple, for the exalted office of the Guru after him. In the Adi Granth are enshrined 974 hymns by the First Master.

-Ref. Guru Granth Ratnavali, (pp. 38) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh
Mahan Kosh (pp. 111)

1843 Maharaja Sher Singh shot dead by Ajit Singh Sandalwallia while inspecting troops.

Dhian Singh signed the death warrants of Maharaja Sher Singh. Finding Sher Singh drunk one evening, Lord Ellenborough employed a crafty scheme where he had the warrants of Dhian Singh's death signed by the Maharaja. He then used these warrants to incite Dhian Singh into signing the death warrants for the Maharaja Sher Singh. Having secured the death warrants of Maharaja Sher Singh and Dhian Singh signed by each other, Lord Ellenborough now proceeded to enact his scheme.

Ajit Singh shot Maharaja Sher Singh while inspecting troops and then chopped off his head, while Lehna Singh killed the heir-apparant Partab Singh, aged 12. Subsequently they shot and killed Dhian Singh. Although, their complete plans to kill Suchet Singh and Hira Singh Dogra could not materialise, this sealed their fate and marked the breakup of Punjab.

1992 Discriminatory orders issed for Sikh's Registration of Land, for Sikhs. The below given order is issued from the Office of District Panchayat Officer, Bikaner. Note that Bikaner is in Rajasthan, where a large number of Sikhs own and till land, since the mid-1900's. Rajasthan is a state neighboring Punjab, in India.

No. Special/92/1845
Date: 15.09.92
Subject: Registration of Land

The above-mentioned are being served with the following orders and the orders should be strictly followed:

1. If any property is hypothecated as collateral security in a bank, then such property cannot be transferred till a N.O.C. (No Objection Certificate) is obtained from the bank regarding the payment of all due to the bank.

2. In case the purchaser or the seller of a property is a Sardar (member of the Sikh community), then no property should be registered till police verification is completed. The police verification must be carried out by the concerned S.D.O. The property should be registered only if the record and character of the Sikh is good (and in order).

(Signed)
District Panchayat Officer,
District Bikaner

[NOTE:- the original copy of this order is written in the Hindi language.]

1993 Punjab Police forces interrupted Akhand Path at Gurudwara Gurusar, Patshahi Sixth, at Gujrawal, Ludhiana. This event took place under Beant Singh's government.

 

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