Bhagatbani and its Universal Message
Dr. Dharampal Singal
One who treads the path of spirituality ultimately aims at union with the Creator. Union with Him means to identify oneself with His entire creation – animate and inanimate, human beings, animals and birds, etc. Spiritual gain is an achievement whereby the distinction between big and small, high and low, rich and poor, man or woman, animal or bird, worms or wasps disappears. The aim of Gurmat and its eternal teachings, ‘Sabhai sanjhiwal sadaiyan, koye na disai bahra jio’ (Everyone is known as equal partner and none is outside the purview thereof), come to the fore in the form of unique attainment. It is for this reason that the great men of the country, faith and society belong to humanity as a whole because not only do they believe in equality, they see nothing as distinct from their own self or their conscious state of mind. A learned man said about the teachings of the famous Sufi Saint of Panipat, Abu Ali Shah Kalandar, ‘As a matter of fact despite religious distinctions, the spiritual path or the way to attainment of God is only one.’ A mahatma, or a faqir or a dervish may belong to any religion and to any country; their approach is one and the same. They remain aloof in the midst of all differences and divergences and free from the confines of religions. They stand for human unity and mutual love. Kabir has said:
Hadd tappai so aulia, behadd tappai so peer.
Hadd behadd dono tappai, taka naam faqeer.
One who crosses the boundary is an aulia
Who goes beyond boundlessness is a peer
Who goes beyond bounds and boundlessness
Is verily called a faqeer (mendicant)
In this way all these great men remain in a state of equipoise and through their own ideal way of living, they teach others to imbibe the same ideal code of conduct without distinction of caste or creed.
The other name of ‘Sant Sahit’ (writings of the saints) is the portrayal of truthful living and good moral character with an unshakable faith in God. Sant Sahit was born in that period of our history when the common man of this land was completely exploited socially, politically, religiously and culturally, was in a state of despair and suffered from an inferiority complex. Therefore, Sant Sahit, primarily being the spokesman of the political, social and religious conditions of the country, is considered literature that is mainly concerned with the aspirations and human qualities of people. To say the truth, it is emotional and self-experienced folk poetry. Sant Sahit is not simply spiritual poetry, but is the representative writing of the social awakening of the times in which comforts and discomforts, joys and sorrows, sentiments and feelings, difficulties and desires are vividly described.
Most of the saints of medieval times came from the so called lower classes of society, and for this reason, they did not represent only the middle class, lower middle class or the lower class, they were the least concerned with caste or creed, religion or rituals, faiths, fanaticism, ways of worship and devotion, caste system, religious philosophy or the teachings thereof, Brahminical ways, restrictions, etc. These saints were quite liberal believers, benevolent, kind, righteous and fully devoted to human service but free of ego, pure of thought and dedicated personages. They had transcended all sorts of bonds and embraced everyone as a human being and a brother and stood for peace. They belonged to no religion, no region and no language; they belonged to the entire country; and people belonging to all faiths were their own. They believed in purity of mind and action and moral and ethical values on the part of all human beings. Love, compassion, service, sympathy and humanism were their real faith.
A time came in the history of the country when there was unrest all round, external aggression and differences in the name of religion, language, class, religious fanaticism, distinction of caste and region and the religious rituals held sway. The preaching of ‘Santmat’ (Faith of the Saints) was undertaken in that difficult situation prevailing in the country. Swami Ramananda, Sant Nam Dev, Sant Tukaram, Sant Ravidas, Sant Kabir Das. Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Dhanna, Pipa, Sadhna, Mira Bai, Daddu Dayal, etc. caused the flow of the Bhagati stream on the one hand and Sheikh Baba Farid, Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, all Sufi saints, reduced religious fanaticism to a great extent on the other, and built a bridge between the faith of the rulers and those of the ruled. Most of them had come from the so-called lower classes of society. They were, therefore, in a better position to know the mind of the masses and their sufferings and hardships – physical, material and religious. This field of Bhagti was a common ground wherein all the differences, distinctions, worries and cares disappeared and everyone came to the same level of fraternity, thought himself as the offspring of the same father – God – and conducted himself or herself accordingly. It was the golden principle of Swami Ramananda’s Vaishnav faith – ‘Jati-pati poochhai nahi koyee, Hari bhajai so Hari ka hoyee.’ (No one enquires about one’s caste or creed. One who worships Him, becomes His Own.)
In this way the saint poets of the Bhagti movement have made maximum contribution to foster the emotional integration of the country. The Alvaras founded the South Indian Bhagti movement, which was made meaningful and spread by Ramanuja in the 12th century and brought to North India by the great saint Ramananda, also a great reformer, with whom joined the other saints who aimed at reforming the social order of the country. The movement stood like a rock in North India. These saints strongly opposed the ritualism and the divisive stance adopted by the two major faiths, Hinduism and Islam. People belonging to all shades of religious faith began to admire and adore these saints. They played a meaningful role in bringing together the votaries of all faiths at the human level shedding their pride and prejudice in the matter of faith, language, caste and region. Their teachings contain a universal approach, touching all human beings without any discrimination and laid stress on good conduct. These saints were undoubtedly strong bridges linking Hindu and Muslim cultures. In their eyes it is not important as to how high a person is placed in a particular faith and among its adherents as the fact that all human beings are equal, all have the same divine spirit abiding in them, all are children of God and it is grossly incorrect to discriminate against anyone on the basis of being good or bad, high or low. How beautifully Sant Nam Dev expresses these sentiments!
Sabhai ghat Ram bolai. Rama bolai.
Ram bina ko bolai rey. 1. rahau
Eikal maati kunjar chiti bhajan hai bahu nana rey.
Asthawar jangam keet patangam, ghat ghat Ram samana rey.1. Eikal chinta rakh ananta aur tajahu sabh aasa rey.
Pranvai Nama bhaiye nihkaama ko thaur ko dasa rei. 2. (SGGS, 988)
It’s Rama (God) only Who throbs in every heart and none else.
He moulds the same earth into a mighty elephant or a tiny ant.
He pervades in the movable and immovable, worms and wasps, permeating in one and all in equal measure.
Give up all hope of others and pin thy hopes on the One and only One God Almighty.
Sayeth Nam Dev in all humility that there is no master nor a slave (in His Eye).
Awwal Allah Noor upaiya qudrat ke sabh bandai.
Eik Noor te sabh jag upjya, kaun bhale kaun mandai. 1
Loga bharam na bhoolahu bhai.
Khaliq khalaq khalaq mahi Khaliq
Poor rehyo sabh thanyee.1. rahau.
Maati eik anek bhant kar saaji saajanharai.
Na kachhu poch maati ke bhandey
Na kachu poch kumbharai. 2.
Sabh mahi saacha eiko soyee,
Tiska kiya sabh kuchh hoyee.
Hukam pachhanai su eiko jaanai
Banda kahiyai soyee. 3.
Allah alakah ne jayee lakhya
Gur Gurh deena meetha.
Kahi Kabir meri sanka naasi
Sarab Niranjan deetha. 4.3. (SGGS, 1349)
First of all He created His Light
And then His beings in the state of nature.
All are born of the same Light,
Who may be called good or bad?
Don’t be under any misapprehension, anyone.
The Creator is in the creation
And the creation in the Creator
He pervades everywhere, (the Omnipresent)
The same earth has been moulded into many forms
There is no flaw in any pot so moulded
Nor is there any flaw in the moulder (potter)
The Truth that He is, He abides in all.
Everything takes form in His Will.
One who comprehends this Divine Will (Hukam)
Is the real human being, Thy servant, verily.
God Almighty is beyond description indeed
This has been imparted very sweetly by Guru
And all my doubts have been removed, Kabir
I perceive Him everywhere in everyone,
Totally untainted by the impact (of Maya).
This everlasting message of Kabir is not hidden from any one. The concept of equality of man with man is beautifully seen in his hymns:
Gehna eik kanak te gehna taan main bhav na dooja
Kahan sunnan ko doye kar patai ik niwaj fik pooja.
Wahi Mahadev wahi Mohammad, Brahma aadik kahiyai.
Koyee Hindu, koyee Turk kahavai, eik zamin pa rahiyai.
An ornament is made of gold and there is no distinction between the two.
Both the pooja and namaz are the same.
Mahadeva, Mohammad and Adam are said to be the same, some are called Hindu and others Turks
They all live on the same earth (share the same bounty).
Baba Farid too says in the same strain:
Farida Khaliq khalaq mahi, khaliq wasai rabb mahi.
Manda kis noe aakhiai jaan tis bin dooja koyee nahi. (SGGS, 1381)
Sayeth Farid, the Creator is in the Creation,
And Creation is in the Creator.
Who should be called evil when He
Himself abides in all His creatures.
Farida man maidan kar, toye tibbai lahi.
Agge mool na avasi, dozakh sandi bhahi.
Keep thy mind at a plain level, removing dunes and lows
This way, thou shall not have to burn in the fire of hell.
The greatest of saints, Ravidas, sees no difference between Ram and Rahim or temple and mosque and exhorts us to worship only one primordial God, shedding pride in one’s caste and treating everyone at an equal footing, with an equal right to worship. He teaches us to adopt the path of service to humanity, righteousness, compassion, benevolence and non-violence. Some examples are given here:
Ravidas jiv kau mar kar kaise milai Khudaye,
Pir peighambar aulia, kouoo na kahi samjhaye.
Turk masit Allah dhoondhayee
Dehura Hindu Ram Gusayeen
Ravidas dhoondhya Ram Rahim koon,
Jehan masit dehur nahi.
How can you attain God by killing
His creatures, sayeth Ravidas.
Neither the prophets nor other aulias
Leaders of the faith can convince us.
The Turks look for God in the mosque
While the Hindus do so in the temples.
But Ravidas looks for Ram and Rahim
Who doesn’t dwell in temple or mosque.
Don’t kill His creatures, sayeth Ravidas
The One Master lives in all of them
The same soul abides in all the beings
And none else does dwell in them.
Narsi Bhagat, the great saint of Gujarat says:
Vaishnav jan te tainai kahiye
Jo pir prayee janai janai re.
A true Vaishnava is the one who knows about the pain of others.
In this small sentence, a basic principle that is shown is the way to know others’ pain and to remove it, to treat everyone equally, to imbibe the spirit of co-existence and forbearance. That is why Mahatma Gandhi used to sing this with utmost devotion in his prayer meetings. When Mahatma Tulsi Das says –
Siya Ram mahi sabh jag jaani,
Karhun pranam jor jug pani.
I see Sita and Ram in everyone
And bow joining both my hands.
His meaning is similar as he says that if there is Rama and Janaki everywhere and in all the directions, why should he not pay his obeisance with folded hands? Guru Nanak, while on one hand, exhorted his countrymen to take shelter in God’s protection to confront the foreign aggressors, on the other he strongly condemned the rituals which had cropped up in both the faiths. Making them aware of the fact that both of them had come from the same origin, he exhorted them to maintain mutual accord and amity. Some examples are given here:
Fakkar jati fakkar naon.
Sabhna jia ika chhao.
Aphu jai ko bhala kahaye.
Nanak ta par japai ja pat lekhai paye. (SGGS, 83)
The talk of high caste or high name
Is all humbug as the same Lord sustains all.
Anyone may call himself righteous
But blessed is the one honoured by Him.
Qadi kood bol mal khaye.
Brahman nhavai jio ghaye.
Jogi jugat na janai andh.
Tino ujarai ka bandhu. 2 (SGGS, 662)
The Qadi tells lies and eats trash.
The Brahmin takes a holy bath
But kills living creatures.
The Jogi is blind; doesn’t know the way
All three are leading towards devastation.
Nam Dev, the great saint, perceiving the supreme light in all creatures, tries to forge unity among all castes and creeds:
Eik anek biyapak poorak jat dekho tat soyee.
Maya chitra bachitra bimohit birla boojhai koyee. 1
Sabh Gobind hai, sabh Gobind hai,
Gobind bin nahi koyee.
Soot eik mani sat sahans jaise
Ote pote Prbhau soyee. rahau (SGGS, 485)
The One present in all the creatures
Is seen everywhere in all directions.
It is His creation, wondrous maya
Which is understood by very few.
There is God and God everywhere
No one or place is without True Lord
Like thousands of beads in one thread
He is there, here and everywhere.
The fifth Guru Sri Guru Arjan Dev says:
Na ko bairi, nahi begana,
Sagal sang ham kau ban aiyee
None is a foe and no one is a stranger
I have to live in amity with everyone.
Guru Gobind Singh says:
Manas ki jati sabai, eikaik pehchanbo.
Know ye the human race as one.
Guru Amar Das has exhorted us to give up pride and ego, and destroy the feeling of duality to know ourselves and has severely chided the feuding herds creating hatred and looting:
Soorai ehi na aakhiai, ahankaar mareh dukh paveh.
Andhai aap na pachhanani doojai pach javai.
Ati krodh sion loojhdai aage peechai dukh paveh.
Hari jio ahankar na bhavayee Ved kook sunavai.
Ahankaar mooye se vigatigaye mar janmeh phir aveh. (SGGS, 1089)
Brave are not those who suffer from the pain of ego
The blind don’t know themselves and believe in duality.
They fight with all the anger; suffer here and there
God doesn’t like ego, proclaim the Vedas so loudly
Those who die in anger, live a vain life, purposeless
They are born and face death again and again.
Guru Gobind Singh has described the supreme truth in his precious writings:
Dehura masit soyee, Puja au niwaz oyeee.
Manas sabhai eik pai anek ko bhramao hai.
Devta adaiv jachh gandhrab Turk Hindu
Niarai niarai desan ke bhes ko prabhao hai.
Eikai nain, eikai kaan, eika deh, eiko baan
Khak bad aatish au aab kau ralao hai.
Allah abhekh soyee, Puran au Quran oyee,
Eik hi sarup sabai, eik hi banao hai. 6.
Temple (Hindu) and mosque (Muslim) are the same
Just as worship (Hindu) and namaz (Muslim) prayer
All the human beings are one, though look different
Gods, demons, singers and musicians, Turks, Hindus
Appear to be different in dresses of different countries
Have same eyes, same ears, same bodies same tongue
All made of the same elements, earth, air, fire and water
He is the same Formless God, Qur’an-Puran are the same
All have one form and all have been made the same way.
Jaisai eik aag tai kanooka kot aag uthai
Niarai niarai hoye ke phir aag mai milaiyenge.
Jaise eik dhoor se anek dhoor poorat hai,
Dhoor kai kanooka pher dhoor hi samahenge.
Jaise eik nad tai tarang kot upjat hai,
Paan kai tarang sabhai paan kahayenge.
Taise biswa roop tai abhoot bhoot pargat hoye
Tahi tai upaj sabai tahi mai samahenge. (Dasam Granth, 19-20)
Just as millions of sparks rise from one fire
And different sparks again return to the fire.
Just as countless particles arise from sand
All the particles merge with the same sand.
Just as in one stream countless waves rise
All the waves would be still be called water
In the same manner, all the creatures of the
Entire universe shall merge with the Creator.
There has been a saint in Delhi, Charan Das, who has stated in the context of Guru’s grace:
Jati baran kul ashram, maan badayee khoye.
Jab Satgur ke pag lagai, saanch shishya hai soye.
A true disciple is the one who gives up the pride of his caste and class and touches the feet of Satguru (True Guide).
He says that all the four castes are one. It is wrong to call a person bad on the basis of his caste or class or on any other basis. According to him, a Brahmin cannot be a Brahmin merely by taking birth in a Brahmin’s family. Only one who realizes Brahma can be a true Brahmin. Therefore only such a caste, class or lineage is good wherein the light of His devotion shines:
Char baran mein maili budhi ka, ooch neech bhin hoyee.
Jo koyee jhoothi aasa rakhai, agat jayega soyee.
If an evil minded person is born in any of the four castes, with a sense of high and low and holds false hope, he shall go from the world without divine blessing.
Brahmin so jo Brahm pachhanai, bahir jata bhitar aanai.
Pancho bas kar jhooth na bhakhai, daya janeyu hirdai rakhai.
Jati baran kul soyee niko, ja kai hoye bhagti parkasha
Guru Sukdeo kahat hai to kou, Hari jan sevhi Charan hi Dasa.
Brahmin is the one who realizes Brahma
And he brings back his thoughts going out
He controls the five vices, and keeps in mind
The noble principle of compassion (thread).
Blessed is the caste or lineage indeed
Wherein burns the light of His devotion.
Verily says to you guru Sukdeo Charan Das
O Charan Das, to serve and worship Him.
There has been another saintly person, Paltu Sahib, who belonged to Vaishya caste. He was tormented very badly by the high caste Brahmins taunting him as to how could he, being a bania (shopkeeper) worship God? Sant Paltoo taught such misguided brethren to imbibe the spirit of mutual love, fraternity and equality, unity and wisdom, though he had to get burnt to death in the fire with which the Brahmins had torched his hut. How wonderfully does Paltu say that in a low caste are seen all the demerits, but because of the Grace of His Name the so-called low caste devotees get transformed (into noble souls). On the other hand, one who does not sing His praises, is the low one in the real sense:
Paltu jatin neech main sab augun ki khaan.
Naam kerey pratap se, bhaye aan ke aan.
All demerits are seen in a low caste but with
Grace of His Name, they get transformed.
Paltu Hari jas naa sunai, tako kahiai neech.
One who has no ear for God’s praise is the low one.
Paltu neech se ooch bha, neech kahai na koye.
Neech kahai na koye, gaye sab te sarnayee.
Sayeth Paltu that one rises to high pedestal
No one calls him low, no one does call him so
And all seek shelter under his benevolence.
Sab mahi eik jaan, aur ko dooja nahin.
Khoon gosht hai eik, maulvi zibah na chhajai
Know the only One in all, and none else
The same blood and flesh in every one
As sees the maulvi in the slaughtering.
Hari ko bhajai so bada hai, jati na poochhai koye
Jati no poochhai koye Hari ko bhagati pyaree.
He alone is great who worships Him
And none is concerned with caste.
Yes, caste is not asked. God loves devotion
Musalmaan rabbi meri Hindu bhaya kharif.
Hindu bhaya kharif, doyoo hai fasal hamari.
In ko cahai leye kaat kai baari baari.
Sal bharai meh mili hamko jagiree.
Thakur bhayo hazoor kaun ab karai tagiri
Doono ko samjhaye gyan ka daftar kholai
Sab qael hoye jaiye, amal dai koyoo na bolai.
Musalman rabbi meri, Hindu bhaya kharif.
The Mohemmedan is my winter crop and Hindu is the summer crop.
Yes Hindi is the summer crop; both are my crops.
These crops are harvested in due time by turns.
This is the gift of land given to us for the year.
When I remain in God’s court in attendance humbly, who can question me?
Both need be told by opening the office of wisdom (knowledge)
So that all get convinced, turn practical without question. Yes, Muslim is my winter crop and the Hindu the crop of summer.
Paltu preaches the gospel of equality and fraternity and explains the basis of unity and equality:
Dukh aur sukh phir dusht amrit ko,
eik samdrist ik bhav bharna
Das Paltu kahai Ram kaho balkai,
Ram kahu Ram kahu Sehaj tarna.
Regard comfort and discomfort as nectar of
His Grace, remain in equipoise, envision equally
Say Ram ye child, say Ram, for easy salvation.
Kach kanchan seti bhet na rakhhi,
dusht amrit ko eik janai
Ninda ustat seti pith de baithhi,
bhali au buri kachhu nahi janai.
Regard gold and glass as equal,
As also foes and friends indeed
Turn your back on praise and ridicule,
Without distinction of good and bad.
Sant Dadoo, who belonged to Gujarat but made Rajasthan the sphere of propagating his gospel, was a contemporary of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. His followers are found far and wide in the country. Sant Chaturbhuj calls him as an equal of Nam Dev, Kabir and Ravidas in his book ‘Nirgun Sagar’ –
Chatarbhuj meirai desh ke, Nam Kabira doye
Ki Dadoo Raidas hai, Ik sam hor na koye.
Says Chaturbhuj, in my country,
Nam Dev, Kabir, Dadoo and
Ravidas are equally great.
Dadu Daya’s teachings are full of concern for human unity, fraternity and equality. Some examples:
Dadu sam kar dekhiai, kunjar keet saman.
Dadu dubidha door kar, taj aapa abhiman.
Dadu, regards an ant and an elephant equally
Vanish duality of mind and give up thy pride.
Dadu pooran Brahm bichariyai, tab sakal atma eik.
Kaya ke gun dekhiai, tau vana varan aneik.
Ponder over the greatness of Brahma, Dadu
And see that the same soul abides in all.
Look for virtues in man, in different classes.
Allah-Ram chhoot gaya bharaam maira
Hindu Turk kachhu bhed nahin, dekho darshan teira.
Soyee praan pind pun soyee, soyee lohee maasa.
Soyee nain nasika soyee, sehjai keen tamasa.1
Sravania sambad bajta suniai, jibhya mitha lagai.
Soyee purakh saban ko vyapai, eik jugat soyee jagai.2
Soyee sandh bandh pun soyee, soyee sukh soyee pira
Soyee hast pav pun soyee, soyee eik sarira.
Eih sabh khel malik Hari terai, tum hi eik kari leena.
Dadu jugat jaan kari aisi, tab yahu praan patina.
The illusion of difference between Allah and Ram has gone.
There is no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim; in both do I perceive Thee.
They have the same breath, same body, same flesh and same blood;
The same eyes and same nostrils; all are acting in divine design. 1
The ears hear the sound and noise the same way, and the tongue tastes sweet.
All are governed by the same principle of life and in the same manner.
All have the same sense of relationship and the same sensitivity to pain and comfort.
They have the same hands and feet, the same physical body.
O God, all this is Thy play, Thou art doing all this in the spirit of unity.
Sayeth Dadu, realizing thus His ways, do I perceive Him as the sustainer of my breaths.
Kahai koon dukh dijiai, sayeen hai sabh mahin
Dadu eikai atma, dooja koye nahin.
Why cause pain to anyone, He dwells in all.
Dadu, the same soul, none else, sustains them.
Saint Darshan says that no one is high or low because of his caste or religion; only one who remembers Him is the righteous one. Even the lowest one who dwells on His Name is a blessed one and the so called high caste person is mean and low if he does not remember Him. Caste, creed and lineage are all born of ego and this ego becomes the cause of total destruction. If you want to attain God, don’t ridicule any one nor should you cause pain to anyone because all are His own creatures. See these views, expressed by Saint Darshan in his words:
Badi jati aru pati, bada bhaya kulwan.
Darshan bhala ju dhedh hai, jo simrahe Hari Naam.
Of high caste, high class, and high lineage.
Darshan even the lowliest is a blessed one
Who dwells on His Name.
Haun te jati jati pati, hau te hote kul naas.
Darshan Ravan hau kari, sahi kutamb binaas.
Ego gives birth to the caste feeling of high and low
Ego leads to destruction of the lineage.
Ravana fell victim to egotism, Darshan,
This led to the destruction of his entire clan.
Terai prem bina Ram! Neech pashu ke saman
Bura na alaye na dukhaye kahin koon.
Taan rab devi jhakri.
Without Thy Love, God, one is low like an animal.
Don’t talk ill of others and don’t do them harm
Only then will you have a glimpse of the Lord.
Of Dadu Dayal’s famous disciples, the views of Sant Balak Ram, Sant Khem Das, Sant Baba Wajid are worth noting. One example by all the three saints is given here. This helps in knowing the entire thought process of Dadu Panth. Of Dadu’s disciples, Rajjab, Wajid, etc. were among the many Muslim saints also. That is why these examples would be worthy of note. Sant Balak Ram says that no distinction can be made among the five elements – water, fire, air, sky and earth. They are the common elements made by nature and these five elements go to make a human being. Then why should there be a distinction?
Hindu Turk na bhoom, Turk Hindu nahi paani.
Hindu Turk na agni, samajh bin dukhi agyani.
Hindu turk na pawan, Turk Hindu na akasa.
Chand Sur nirpachhai din kateh parkashaka.
Aru eik atma saran mahi, Hindu Turk na janiai
Kahi Balam Rak paiyo param, varnasam bhoom maniai.
Laying emphasis on oneness of the two faiths of the time, Sant Khem Das says –
Hindu aru Turk khudaye ka jehaan sabh,
Begaana na koyee bhayee khes kar janiai
Doye farzand eik baap kari janai koyee
Dono ka dard doye dil main na aaniai.
Hindus and Muslims are children of God
On this earth and no one is different
from the other, bear this in mind.
Both are the sons of the same Father
Both shouldn’t be caused pain at all.
See the principle of unity as enunciated by Baba Wajid:
Kunjar kiri adi sarab soon het hai
Hirdai upja gyan dukh nahi det hai.
He loves all from an ant to an elephant
One who knows this doesn’t cause pain.
The common basis of the teachings of the Bhagats and Sants is the condemnation of the caste-system, rejection of outer rituals and idol worship and other superstitions and being the sons of one God, created of five elements and putting no faith in high and low, Hindu or Muslim, rich and poor, man or woman. Sant Nam Dev says that the highest religion is God’s Name; His Name helps in getting rid of all superstitions, illusions and ever since he has taken shelter in God’s Name, no distinction of caste or creed ever comes to his mind. God is like the stick of the blind:
Hari Hari karat mitai sabh bharma.
Hari ko Naam lai uttam dharma.
Hari Hari karat jati kul hari.
So Hari andhulai ki lakari. (SGGS, 874)
Hindu annah, turkoo kaana. Duhaan te gyani syana.
Hindu poojai dehura Musalmaan maseet
Namai sei sevya Jeh dehura na maseet. (SGGS, 875)
The Hindu is blind and the Muslim is one-eyed.
Only the enlightened one is the wisest indeed.
The Hindus worship in temple, Muslims pray in mosque
Nam Deo serves the Lord, neither in temple nor mosque.
The hymns of the saints have the effect of making our soul blossom, give strength to our heart and help our mind in restraining ourselves from thinking or doing evil and inspire us to love Him and sing His praise. These teachings are eternal; for all time to come. That is why Bhagat Bani has been incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib because it too contains, like the essence of Gurmat, its aims and objectives, the message of universal brotherhood, its aspirations. That is why the importance of these hymns is ingrained in our mind repeatedly:
Bhagat jana ki uttam baani, jug jug rahi samayee.
Baani lagai so gati paye, sabadai sach samayee
The hymns of the highest order are those of Bhagatas
Which give the eternal message, for all time to come.
Whosoever imbibes the teachings, gets attuned thereto
Bhagat jana ki uttam baabi gavahe akath katha nit niyari.
Safal janam bhaya tin kera, aap tarai, kul taari.4
The supreme teaching is given in Bhagats’ hymns
Uniquely singing the songs of The Indescribable.
Only they make their life a success
They get across the ocean along with ancestors.
Katha puratan eion suni, bhagtan ki baani.
Sagal dusht khand khand kiyai jan liyai maani.
It is an old adage that the hymns of the saints
Destroy all evil and all foes are cut to pieces.
The common features which can be deduced on the basis of the Bhagatbaani, can be explained in this way – Emphasis on dwelling on His Name, devotion of love, rejection of caste and creed, superstitions, illusions and idolatry, inculcating a universal spirit of human oneness by forging unity among Hindus and Muslims, that is establishing humanism, purity of heart, importance of a good moral character, the philosophy of Satguru’s Grace and the need of Guru, worship in equipoise and unity among the masses, love, compassion, kindness, etc. It can thus be concluded easily that that the central idea of the entire Bhagatbaani is unity of the human race and equality between man and man where caste, creed or way of worship do not stand in the way of this concept of universal equality.