Thursday, September 29, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Udasis
Descendants of Baba Sri Chand, son of Guru Nanak

"Let us sing the praises of Nanak, King of kings of both worlds
The whole world is His temple, congregations sing sweet songs in His praise
Millions of goddesses kindle holy lights in His honor
All the gods sing psalms of His praises
All wash His lotus feet
The Sun and moon illuminate Him with their radiance
He is garlanded with mountains of flowers
The True Master, the fountain of Light is merciful to the poor
The king of the winds fans Him while saints and sages meditate on His holiness
The whole universe vibrates with His celestial song
The bells ring out - Onkar
Continuously illuminating the heavens
He is one with God whose name is Truth
In Nanak saints find their support
Siri Chand, Nanak's son, declares Nanak is unattainable,
unfathomable, unshakeable and pure
Whoever sings Emperor Nanak's praises resides in heaven and achieves complete salvation
Oh kind master: give protection to those who seek your shelter.
Oh Nanak: You are the savior we are just your children"

These beautiful words of praise for Guru Nanak are the words of Baba Siri Chand ji written in praise of his father, Guru Nanak and sung by him and the entire sangat as they welcomed the great Guru home from his third Udasi (world pilgrimage) with flowers and candlelight.

Not only was there a great love and devotion between Baba Siri Chand ji and Guru Nanak, but over the 149 years of his life there was great love and respect with the ensuing five Sikh Gurus.

Guru Nanak Dev ji left Baba Siri Chand ji in charge of Kartarpur during his later Udasis and following his final Udasi bestowed the dress and duty of Udasi (Pilgrim/Missionary) on Baba Siri Chand ji himself. Thus Baba Siri Chand ji was given the responsibility of uniting the various Sadhu samaj (ascetic schools) and integrating them with the "householders" (devotees who led a worldly life). Throughout his life he helped householder and sadhu alike. One could say that Babaji himself was a householder since he adopted and raised his nephew Dharm Chand ji and arranged his marriage. He directed all his followers to love Guru Nanak Dev ji and in addition to Arta composed "Guru Nanak Sahansar Nama" (1000 Names of Praise for Guru Nanak) praising Guru Nanak Dev ji in his cosmic form as "All pervasive, Creator, Master of the World". Babaji concluded his Matra Sahib, which is still recited today by all Udasis, with "I bow again and again on the feet of Siri Guru Nanak."

It is a historical fact that all the Gurus loved and respected Baba Siri Chand ji. Guru Amar Das ji gave his eldest son, Baba Mohan ji to serve Baba Siri Chand ji. Guru Hargobind Sahib offered his son, Baba Gurditta, the father of Guru Harkrishan ji (7th Guru) to be Baba Siri Chand ji's devotee and successor. Baba Siri Chand ji gave the name "Amritsar" that is used today to the city that had been called Ramdaspur. And the place where Guru Arjan Dev ji waited daily for his meetings with Baba Siri Chand ji and his resting place are still marked by the historical sites of Thamb Sahib and Manji Sahib at the village of Barath. Babaji also gave water from his baoli (spring) for the Sarovar (sacred pool) at Tarn Taran.

When Guru Arjan Devji recited the first 16 astpadis (stanzas) of his Sukhmani Sahib (Hymns of Peace) for Baba Siri Chand ji, Babaji appreciated them so much that he said there should be more. Guru Arjan Devji then requested Baba Siri Chand to give the opening lines of the 17th astpadi. So Baba Siri Chand, following his father Guru Nanak Dev ji's example, recited "Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai bhi Sach, Nanak Josi bhi Sach..." True in the beginning, Eternally True, God is True now and will always be True This line appears as given by Babaji in Guru Granth Sahib ji and is recited as bani today.

The historical annals of Jehangir show that Baba Siri Chand was considered the Fakir of all Fakirs in India and had the greatest following of anyone at that time. While history is full of treachery and betrayal, Babaji did not take advantage of his position when Jehangir conspired to have Baba Siri Chand ji take over the Gurgaddi (the seat of the Guru) when Guru Hargobind Sahib was imprisoned in Gwalior. Babaji clearly told the Emperor that he had best free Guru Hargobind Sahib as the Guru was the true and rightful successor to Guru Nanak's throne. Other wise there would be grave consequences. The Emperor heeded his warning.

During the years when Sikhs had to live in the jungles, it was the Udasis who maintained and spread the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. They also selflessly maintained Sikh Gurdwaras (temples) and guided the sangat (congregations). Baba Pritam Das is a legend at Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) for holding Guru Granth Sahib on his head for 12 years while he sat in meditation. It wasn't until the Akali and Singh Sabha movements that the rift created over ownership of Gurdwara property caused the Udasis to withdraw, most willingly, from the politics of the Panth. But with the now famous Anandpur Sahib resolution of 1973, it was passed that all Udasis and Nirmalas who had been alienated from the Panth be reunited. Then in 1978 at the All India Akali Conference held at Ludhiana with Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi presiding, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the S.G.P.C., introduced a resolution that Sikhs should recognize Udasis as an integral part of the Panth, which was seconded by Parkash Singh Badal, and passed unanimously in the presence of a sangat of over 400,000. Earlier in the year 1995 at the major conference called by the Jathedar of Akal Takhat, on the future of the Sikh Panth, Udasis were represented and spoke.

In 1988 and 1989 seminars were held at Punjabi University Patiala and at Gobind Sadan, New Delhi in which major scholars from every (Sikh) university presented their research on the life of Baba Siri Chand ji and the contribution of the Udasis to the spread of the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. All expressed that Baba Siri Chand ji and the Udasis should be considered an integral part of Sikhism. This did much to dispel the misconceptions about Babaji especially among Sikhs.

The year 1994 marked the 500th anniversary of Baba Siri Chand ji's birth, and to honor him Door Darshan (Indian National Television) produced a 45 minute special on Babaji's life which included historical information which further dispelled any misconceptions.

All this and more is documented, indisputable historical fact. But the most convincing argument about Baba Siri Chand ji's greatness and the love and respect that existed between him and the Gurus is a spiritual one. We as Sikhs are taught and accept that the Light that is Guru Nanak Dev ji is the same Light which became Guru Angad Dev ji and passed from Guru to Guru until Guru Gobind Singh ji and ultimately became enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. If Baba Siri Chand ji in any way found disfavor with his father Guru Nanak, how could the Light of Guru Nanak which became Guru Amar Das ji go to pay respect to Baba ji and offer his son in service?. How could the Light of Guru Nanak in Guru Ram Das ji and Guru Arjan Dev ji and Guru Hargobind Sahib show so much love and devotion to one whom the Light had rejected? And how could anyone who disrespected his father ever compose "Arta", a hymn of such praise in his honor?

Anyone who has followed Baba Siri Chand ji's example has become an ideal Sikh of Guru Nanak, dividing their time between meditation, work, and service to those in need.

Source: By: Ralph Singh, Syracuse, New York
Gobind Sadan - Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion

WorldGurudwaras.com
Worldgurudwaras.com will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

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.
SearchGurbani.com
SearchGurbani.com brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas . You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.
TheSikhEncyclopedia.com
Encyclopedias encapsulate accurate information in a given area of knowledge and have indispensable in an age which the volume and rapidity of social change are making inaccessible much that outside one's immediate domain of concentration.At the time when Sikhism is attracting world wide notice, an online reference work embracing all essential facets of this vibrant faithis a singular contribution to the world of knowledge.
TheSikhEncyclopedia.com