Gurbani and Medieval Sufism – A Comparative Study – Universal and Equal Partnership
Dr. Gurdev Singh
While examining the principle of fraternity as a religious concept it is found to mean universal fraternity or world-relationship. It is the coming together of entire humanity as a single community bound by a common purpose of co-existence; equality among peoples living in a participative spirit. It is accepted as a principle or a doctrine but some thinkers like Chamberlain, etc. regard this as a personal and inner perception, because according to them, it is largely the outcome of man’s emotional self and its geographical and material bases are missing. In human history of the eighteenth century, the concept of human equality was regarded as laudable but termed as an emotional idea, and hence negated. As against this, socialists asserted that it was necessary to accept the bitter truth that the concept of world community was only a figment of imagination. They believed that it was very difficult, rather impossible to give it a practical shape, as many of the happenings of the twentieth century proved. But there are certain thinkers, like Clarence S. Darrow, Arthur Powell Davies, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, etc. for whom a day is sure to come when the fighting of one nation against another would seem an aberration and be considered destructive to human life and property; it would be rejected outright and people would get together to work. According to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, if one man makes up his mind to become another man’s brother, a community would be formed. We will have to take pride in Lord Christ’s words when he says ‘I am the son of God, my father, and all of you are my brothers.’ All the people of the world can be inspired to come together through this and those inhabiting this world can be transformed into a family where everyone would be a brother – sons of God; the epitome of love. Till this happens, our dream of world peace would never be realized. World community would be the forerunner of world peace. The object of the study in hand is, in the light of this concept, to take a comparative look at Gurbani and Sufi thought and such elements as make for establishing an equal partnership at the world level.
Dr. Jit Singh Sital, talking of the common ground between Gurbani and Sufi thought, has commented that Gurbani and Sufism have been influenced by each other. In Gurmat literature, we find Sufi vocabulary in abundance and Muslim poets have made use of Gurmat vocabulary to the fullest. Sometimes it appears that these are not the views of a Muslim thinker but those of a Guru’s devotee and a Gursikh, full of devotion. Almost the same view is held by Dr. Taran Singh when he writes, ‘The poetic thought process, which is called Bani or Sufism, Gurmat, Bhagatmat, Siddhamat, etc. or mysticism, spiritualism or any other ‘ism’, are all basically one and the same; and at the top also they are the same; only their development in the middle – leaves, flowers, etc – may not be similar. He accepts the main points of Sikhism and Sufism as one and equal though the poetic style of both streams is different. Both streams have a common approach – ‘Gun-Govinda, ‘Nam dhuni’, ‘bani, Nam Bhagti, Guru Bhagti, mind and discipline, human values, truthful living and social welfare. ‘Brahm’, individual and the world (philosophy), Name, Guru and mind and social behaviour on the part of an individual or the welfare of society as a whole are features common to both. In other words, philosophy, religion and social science are equally present in both poetic genres.
Man was born first on this earth, and religion, country, caste and sects came into existence subsequently. If we delve deeper into the history of religions we would find that although all of them look different from one another externally, they aim at the same thing. All religions are basically the same. That is why Kabir has called all of them as ‘Ram ki ans’ (Progeny of God) and regarded them as born of the same light. Maulana Rumi has termed the human heart as God’s inn and accepted it as more precious than thousands of Ka’bas because it has been created by God Himself. Another Sufi thinker is of the view that one may worship in a thousand ways or refrain from prayers, observe fasts, offer namaz or stay awake the whole nights, but all of it would go waste if one hurts anyone’s feelings. Hafiz has gone to the extent of saying:
‘You may drink wine, burn the Qur’an,
set the Ka’ba on fire – do as you will –
but don’t hurt the human heart.’
The adherents of the various faiths, the Vedas and the scriptures have talked about the relationship between man and God, which is described as follows:
Praise God who has created the universe – Rig, 8,58, 6
The Creator has made all creation – Yajur, 29-9.
He alone is the creator and destroyer of the creation – Shvetashvatara.
He is Father of all the creation; He is the Creator –
Adhyaya 11, S. 44
Everything has been made by Him; nothing has materialized without Him.
All the Greatness is that of Allah who is the Rabul-al-meen (Master of everyone). Humanity is a fraternity. It is one and only one fraternity.
It has been stated again and again in Suras ‘Hood’ Aiyet 119, ‘Alnahal’ Aiyet 94, ‘Alsura’ Aiyet 9, ‘Aljkhruf’ Aiyet 34 that entire creation formed one community but later on it got divided into sects, regions, nations, religions, countries and the Great Men had to come again and again to remind the people that all human beings are one; they are brothers. When Qur’an had said ‘Alroor-i-rabbi’ (God has created soul) it was not about the soul of the Momins or Kafirs but of the entire world and its religious leaders.
The foundation of Islam is One Allah. According to ‘Qalima-i-Pak’, ‘There is no God but one God (‘La illlah illilah’) and the Punjabi Sufi poets also emphasized His ‘Oneness’ repeatedly:
(a) Hun Ik Allah akh kai tun karao duayee – Bullah Say One God and then pray.
(b) Ik alaf parho, chhutkara hai – Bullah Read one ‘Alaf’ (Allah), and be liberated.
(c) Ilmo bas kari O yaar, iko alaf teira darer – Bullah Stop learning much now. Only one ‘Alif’ is required.
(d) Jinha Shoh Alif thin paya, Uh pher Qur’an na pardhdai hoo – Bahu
Those who have found God in ‘Alif’ do not read the Qur’an.
The entire writing of Sufi poetry, though different in form, is basically the same:
Jiwain dudh thin dahi tai makhan wehe Haider
Tiwain faraq na rab or zaat da ee – Ali Haider.
As from milk is made curds and butter, O Haider
There is no difference between God and His creation
Recognizing this similarity, a Sufi says –
Sabha man manik thahun mool machangva
Jey tau piriya di sikk, hiao na thahe kahi da
Farid, (SGGS, 1384).
All minds are precious like emeralds and rubies and therefore one should not injure others’ feelings. If you have a longing for the beloved one (God), don’t ride roughshod on the feelings of others.
Every heart is the abode of God and on this basis the Sufi emphasizes:
Chaudan tabaq dilai de andar,
tamboo wangoo tanai hoo.
Je koyee dil da mehram Bahu,
Soyee rabb siyanai hoo – Bahu
The fourteen skies (spheres) are within the heart
Pitched like a tent.
The one who knows about another’s heart, Bahu
Is the only one who recognizes God.
We are deluded by outer forms and we forget the inner truth:
Har har post de vich dost
Uh dost roop watavai
Dost tayeen na pahunchai koyee
Eh post cha bhulavai – Hasham
There is a friend in every poppy grain
Which is the changed form of poppy.
No one reaches the friend
Having been deluded by poppy.
Har surat vich didar ditham
Kul yaar agyar noon yaar ditham
– Ghulam Farid.
The beloved is seen in every form By the lover.
Adi Granth Gurbani begins with ‘Ik Onkar’. The Formless God belongs equally to all and not to a particular sect, caste or clan, faith or country. We find references in Gurbani:
Eik anek byapak poorak jat dekhou tat soyee…
Sabhg Govind hai sabh Gobind hai
Gobind bin nahi koyee (Namdev, SGGS, 485)
There is only One all pervading, seen everywhere.
All that is there is nothing but Gobind (the sustainer of the universe).
Sahib maira eiko hai. Eiko hai bhai eiko hai.1
(Assa M.1, SGGS, 350)
My Master is He, the one and only one.
Too antarjami jia sabh teira
(Maru Solhai 1, SGGS, 1038)
Thou art Omniscient, knowing everyone’s mind; all the creation is Thy own.
Eikas kai gun gao anant.
(Gauri M.5, SGGS, 289)
Sing the praises of One, the Infinite.
Ikas vin hore dooja nahi,
Baba Nanak ehu mat sari jio
(Majh M.5, SGGS, 108)
There is none else except He alone
This is what Baba Nanak proclaims.
Like other religious points of views, Gurmat too points to the basic truth and if we see in the light of that truth, we will come to the conclusion that if God belongs to us all, we are all associates vis-à-vis God, in equal measure.
Toon sanjha Sahib baap hamara.
Nau nidh bharai teirai bhandara. 1
Jist toon deh so tript aghavai,
soyee bhagat tumara jio. 2
Sabh ko aasai tairi baitha.
Ghat ghat antar toon hai wootha.
Sabhai sanjhiwaal sadayen,
too kisai na dissai bahra jior 3
(Majh M.5, SGGS, 97)
Thou art our common Father.
Thy nine treasures are inexhaustible.
One who is the recipient of Thy Grace
Feels satiated as he is Thy true devotee.
Everybody pins his hope in Thee.
Thou dwelleth in all the hearts.
All are called equal partners in Thy Grace
And none is perceived as an outsider.
If He is our Universal Father, all of us are brothers, indeed.
Bal tis bapai jin hau jaiya
Pancha tai meira sang chukaya
Panch maar pava tal dinai
Hari simran meira man tan bheenai. 2
Pita hamarau wad gosayee.
Tis Pita peh hau kyokar jayee.
Satgur milai ta marag dikhaya
Jagat Pita meirai man bhaya. 3
Hau poot teira too baap maira.
Eikai thahar duha baseira
(Assa Kabir, SGGS, 476).
The Mighty Father has given me birth.
He helped me get rid of the five evils
Those five were trampled underfoot
Dwelling upon His True Name have
My mind and body become fragrant. 2
Our Father is a Great Master.
How can I reach that Father?
Only a True Guide shows the way
And I recognized the Universal Father. 3
Thy son am I, Thou art my Father
Both of us dwell on the same plain.
Eik pita eikas kai ham barrik
Toon maira Gur hayee (Sorath M. 5, SGGS, 611)
Of one Father are we the children
Thou art my True Guide indeed.
Nanak pita mata hai Hari prabhu
Ham barik Hari pritiparai 4.6.18.
(Ramkali M. 4, SGGS, 882)
Sayeth Nanak, God is our father and mother
We are His children and He brings us up.
Ham barik pita Prabhu data.
Bhoolahe barik anik lakh baria
An thaur nahi jeh jata
(Malhar M. 5, SGGS, 1266)
Benevolent God is our Father
The ignorant children err a million times
But they have no other place to go to.
When there is universal brotherhood and all human beings are accepted as the offspring of the same Father and we see Him in everyone, where is the question of thinking or talking ill of one another? We should fear our Father if we do. When all human beings are our own and there is no other, how can anyone be bad? All the scriptures and intellectual thought centres around one point – all human beings are beads of the same rosary; the rays of the same light:
Awwal Allah noor upaiya, qudrat de sabh bandai.
Eik noor tai sabh jag upjya kaun bhalai ko mandai.1.
Loga bhram na bhoolahu bhai.
Khaliqu khalaq, khalaq mahi khaliq
poor raya sabh thaiyee. 1. rahau.
Maati eikh anek bhanti kar saaji saajanharai.
Na kachhu poch mati keh bhandai, na kachh poch kumharai.2.
Sabh mahi sacha eiko soyee, tis ka kiya sabh kachhu hoyee.
Hukam pachhanai so eiko janai, banda kahiyai soyee.3.
Allahu alkah na jayee lakhya, Gur gurh deena meetha.
Kahi Kabir mari sanka naasi, sarab Niranja deetha.
God’s Light was there in the beginning
And all human beings are the creation of nature.
The entire universe has come from One Light
Then who can be called good or bad? 1
Don’t get swayed by illusion, O people.
The Creator lives in the creation and creation
in the Creator, pervading everywhere. Pause.
The same earth has been moulded into different forms
By the Great Potter; without any flaw in the pots or the potter. 2
The same True One, the doer of everything dwells in everyone.
One who realizes this Truth of His creation is the real devotee.
That Allah (God) is beyond description, can’t be comprehended
Has been described to us by the Guru, in such a sweet manner.
Sayeth Kabir, all the doubts in my mind have disappeared when
I have been enabled to realize Him, the unborn, without a Lineage and untainted by the effect of maya (illusion).
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).
Sabh antarjami Brahm hai, Brahm wasai sabh thaiye.
Manda kis noe aakhiai sabad weikho live laiye.
Omniscient Lord, knows everything in
Everyone’s mind. He is all pervading.
Concentrate on His Name to realize
That none can be dubbed as an evil one.
Manda kisai na akhiai, parh akhar eiho bujhiai
Don’t call any one an evil being,
This is learnt by reading the Word.
Jia jant sabh tis de sabhna ke soyee
Manda kis noo akhiai jai dooja hoyee.
All the creatures are His own
And He belongs to all of them.
Who can be called an evil when none
Is other than His own Creation?
Aap upaiye Nanaka aapai rakhai vek
Manda kis noo akhiai jaan sabhna Sahib eik
He Himself creates, sayeth Nanak, keeps in different forms.
Which one can be termed bad, when He’s the Master of all?
Manas ki jati sabai eiko pehchanbo.
Karta Karim soyee, razak rahim ohi,
Doosro na bhed koyee bhool bhram manbo.
Eik hi ki sev sabh hi ko gurdev eik
Eik hi saroop sabai eikai joti janbo.
(Akal Ustat, 15, 85)
The entire human race is one without distinction of caste.
He is the Doer, Compassionate One, sustainer and Kind
Don’t entertain any other idea about Him erroneously.
The One and Only One has to be served, the Guru of all
Know ye that He dwells in all, and He is the same Light.
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.
(Akal Ustat, 15,85)
Just as from one fire millions of sparks rise
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 still be called water
In the same manner, all the creatures of the
Entire universe shall mingle with the Creator.
Dehura masit soyee, pooja au niwaz oyee,
Manas sabhai eik pe anek ko bharmao hai.
Devta adev jachh gandharb Turk Hindu
Niarai niarai desan ke bhes ko parbhau hai.
Eikai nain, eikai kaan, eiko deh eiko baan
Khak baad atish au aab ko ralau hai.
Allah abhekh soyee au Qur’an oyee,
Eik his saroop sabai eik hi banao hai.
(Akal Ustat, 16.86)
Temple and mosque are the same
As also pooja (worship) or namaz
All the human beings are the same,
Though they appear to be different
Gods, demons, devotional singers.
Musicians, Turks, Hindus – all wear
Dresses of their own countries
Have same eyes, same ears,
same bodies same tongues,
all made of same elements,
earth, air, space, fire, water.
He is same Formless God,
The Qur’an too is the same
All have the same form
and are born the same way.
Sufi thought is exactly the same as Gurmat in this regard:
Weham doyeer ka mit gayo man tai,
eikankar ke sodhan sai – Miran Shah Jalandhri.
The illusion of separateness has gone from my mind
By Dwelling on the Name of the One Creator.
Har soorat vich jalva roshan,
suraj wang damkai ri – Miran Shah Jalandhri.
Thy light shines in everyone like the sun.
Ik phikka na galaye sabhna mai sacha dhani.
Hiyao na kehi thahi, manak sabh amolvai.
Farid – (SGGS, 1384)
Don’t talk ill of any one as the
The True One dwells in every one
With all His treasure of virtues,
Entire priceless and pure gold
Farida Kkaalaq khalaq, kahlak wasai Rab mahi
Manda kis noe aikhiai, ja tis bin koyee nahi.
Sayeth Farid, The Creator abides in the creation
And creation in the Creator.
Who can then be called evil when there is none without His presence in him.
Gurmat perceives God in every particle:
Sagal banaspati mahi besantar, sagal doodh mahi ghiya.
Occh neech mahi joti samani, ghat ghat madhou jiya. (SGGS, 617)
There is fire in all the woods (vegetation), just as there is butter oil in all the milks;
His Light pervades all, high and low
The Master dwells in all the hearts.
Therefore if only we are able to recognize our origin, we can glimpse Him:
Man too joti saroop hai, apna mool pachhan
You are His Own light, my mind
Just try to recognize your origin.
He pervades everywhere as Formless and with Form. As he dwells in friends and foes, Gurmat regards both as equal:
App aakar aap nirankaar (SGGS, 863)
He has Form and He is Formless.
Mitra, satru jaa kai eik samanai (SGGS, 362)
Friends and foes are the same for Him
Jealousy, confrontation and duality have ceased to exist and all belong to us:
Bisar gayee sabh taat parayee,
jab tai sadh sangat mohi payee. rahau
Na ko bairi nahi begana
Sagal sang ham ka bani aiyee. 1
Jo Prabhu kino so bhal manyo
Eih sumat sadhu tai payiyee. 2
Sabh mahi ravi rahya Prabhu eiko
Pekh, pekh Nanak bigsayee. (SGGS, 1299)
The feeling of separateness from others is gone
Ever since I found the company of holy men
No one is now an enemy nor a separate one
I have to live in peace with everyone.
To accept His Will in every way
Has been taught to me by those blessed ones.
The Same One dwells in the hearts of all
And Nanak feels delighted perceiving this.
Joining the congregation of the righteous ones helps in driving away the feeling of separateness and the entire gathering becomes a single existence where there is no distinction or sense of feeling apart and all seem to be close to us. Without the congregation of the true ones and without the Guru’s exhortation, this transformation cannot be achieved in one’s mind that God dwells in everyone.
How great is the importance of ‘sadh sangat’ (company of the righteous)! In Sufi poetry, this company (with the auliya) has been lauded greatly and explicitly. There are some indications about their congregation. Some such indications are given below:
Aao faqiro melai chaliai, aarif ka sun waja rai
Let’s go to the congregation, dear mendicants,
Hearing the clarion call given by the holy one.
Aao sahio ral dio wadhayee,
mai bar paiya Ranjha mahi. – Bullah
Come, my friends to congratulate me
I have found *Ranjha, my spouse
Zaal zikar ral aashiq kardai,
waang patangai shama par mardai
– Umar Bakhsh Dervish
Zaal (Persian alphabet ‘Z’), Lovers talk together of love
And like a moth day dies in the flame of the candle.
Mitraan the mizmani khatir,
dil da lahoo chhanida. – Shah Hussain
To play host to beloved ones
One has to sieve the blood of heart.
The Sufis have made use of many words found in Gurmat writings and Indian religion and philosophy:
Surt ke tana nirt ka bana
Har Har kappra bun jindai ni – Shah Hussain
Weave the cloth of God’s Name, my life,
With warp of attention and woof of dance.
Boliai sach dharam jhooth na boliai.
JoGur dassai vaat muridaan joliai – Farid
Let’s speak the truth honestly, and not tell lies.
Disciples have to tread the path shown by Guru
Dhun kai dhinai apni dhun,
prayee dhun ke pap na bun
Teri rooyee mai char binolai,
sabh say pehlai in ko chun.
Rooyee ko chun kai, soot bana kai,
paag piyarai pi ki bun.
Acchi to jab dhunki jaiye,
sagri dhaat bajai tun tun.
Tera piya to maha guni hai,
kar lai too bhi koyee gun.
Jo toon chahai Hari ko Farid,
aankh kaan ko kar lai sun.
– Farid. (From the annual number of the monthly Yadgar. Lahore, 1958)
Fix your mind on the point of your contemplation
Don’t choose the sin of paying attention to others
Firstly, pick up the good seeds in your raw cotton
Then make thread and weave a turban of the beloved
Let the instrument of thy mind be attuned to Him
Thy consort is virtuous, have some virtue you too
If thou wisheth to attain Him, stun thy ears and eyes.
Sukh roop akhand chetan hain toon,
Bullai Shah pukardai Ved sarai – Bullah
All comforts lie in Thee, Immutable One
All the Vedas declare this emphatically.
Bullah Shah sambhal jab aap dekha,
Sada sohang prakash hoeya jhulda ai – Bullah
Sayeth Bulla when I saw myself carefully
I saw Him pervading around in His Light
Patiyaan likhoongi mai Sham noon,
Piya mainu nazar na awai.
Aangan bana dravna,
kit bidhi rain vihaabai – Bullah
I’ll write letters to Sham (My beloved God – Murshid)
‘Cause I can’t see Him anywhere
My courtyard scares me,
How would I spend the night?
Bullehya achhai din pichhai gaye,
jab Harise kiya nah het.
Aiye thei Naam japan ko,
aur vich litai maar – Bullah
Good days have now remained behind
When you did not fall in love with God
You had come here to meditate on Him
But you had totally gone wayward
Having attained great heights in the spiritual realm, Bullah has become indifferent to prayers in the mosque and worship in the temple; neither the fast (Hindu) nor the roza (Muslim) has any use for him. He has perceived his Handsome Beloved for whom he is ready to sacrifice everything that he has because union with Him alone has helped him to rise above the distinctions of faiths and the differences in their teachings. Exactly in accord with the experience of Guru Nanak – ‘Na ko Hindu na ko Musalmaan’ (Neither is there a Hindu nor a Muslim) – the Sufi saints say the same thing – that having reached such a spiritual height, they do not wear the cloak of a Hindu or a Muslim; they do not go to rub their forehead at the temples nor do they bow in prayers in the mosques because every breath of theirs is spent in remaining in tune with Him and this union with Him is continuous and uninterrupted. Whether it is Bahu or Bullah or any other Sufi saint, after their spiritual experiences of the highest level, they all come to the same conclusion that for them Hindu-Muslim, heaven-hell, life-death, Shia-Sunni, etc. all the differences have come to an end:
Na main Hindu na main Muslim,
na main mulla qazi hoo
Na dil dozakh mangain mera,
no shauq bahishti razi hoo – Bahu
I am neither a Hindu nor a Muslim,
nor a mulla nor qazi.
My mind doesn’t crave hell,
nor does it care for heaven.
Na uthai kufar Islam di manzil,
na uthai maut hyati hoo – Bahu
Neither falsehood is the destination, nor is death or life.
Hindu nahi na Musalmaan,
bahi trinjan chhad abhiman.
Sunni na nahi ham Shiya,
Sulahkul ka marag liya.
Bullah Shah jo Hari chit lagai
Hindun turk doojan tyagai. – Bullah
Neither Hindu nor Muslim; shed ego, mingle with the spinners.
I’m neither Sunni nor Shia, I have adopted His path of peaceful co-existence, indeed.
Sayeth Bullah one who merges with God, has no Hindu-Muslim duality.
Musalmaan sivao ton dardai,
Hindu dardai gor
Dovain aise de vich mardai,
eiho dohaan di khor
Kitai Ram Das kitai Fateh Mohammad,
eiho qadimi shor
Mit gaya dohaan da jhagra,
nikkal peya kujh hor. – Bullah
Muslims fear the cremation ground,
Hindus, the graveyard.
Both of them are consigned there,
so ignorant they are.
One is Ram Das,
Other Fateh Mohammad,
Both are busy making noise.
Feud between the two ends
when reality dawns on them.
Ral mil saiyaan trinjan lavaan, has ras geet vasal de gavaan
Charkha manga de rangla, saanoon yaar pava de bangla. – Miran Shah Jalandhari.
The friends have a spinning meet,
and to sing songs of union.
Friend, get us a multi-coloured
spinning wheel and a bungalow.
All human beings are equal. We have heard this slogan raised for ages but man has fallen so low that he is not prepared to accept even now that the unlimited bounties of nature belong rightfully to entire humanity and not only to a particular sect, region or some specially titled high dignitaries. What right does anyone have to lead a free and easy life and enslave others and rule over them? Why should all people not be free? Why should everyone not be a master? All would be free when there is equality. Nature has formed everyone alike. Then why should there be differences of class, race, colour, nationality. If we have faith in religion, we will have to accept that all of us are descendents of Adam and Eve and belong to the same human race. All the people in the world should be aware that everyone would have the feeling of equality only when they all enjoy equal rights. If equality is denied continuously, people would rise to fight for it. Does the rising sun try to discriminate between a white nation and a coloured one in regard to giving its light, and does that light have to be for the white people and not the non-whites? If the power of the sun is equal for all, the other elements of nature too accept the concept of equality between man and man. To usher in this equality, we will have to grant constitutional freedom and equal civil rights so that man does not suffer from an inferiority complex in relation to other men. We will have to grant political freedom so that the responsibility to perform his duties also would devolve on him. Let us see what has been said by our elders:
Mil Jagdish Milan ki bariya.
Chirankal ehu deh sanjaria. 1. Rahau
Now is the time to meet God; this body was formed long ago.
Lakh chaurasi jon sabayee.
Manas kau Prabh diyee wadyayee.
Is pauri tey jo nar chookai
So aiye jaiye dukh paiyeda.
(Maroo M.5, SGGS, 1075)
Eighty four hundred thousand species of creatures are there.
But human beings are the best of them all.
Whosoever misses this rung of the ladder
Would suffer the pain of dying and being born again.
Laisafi jaanati hall banaiya,
ashraf insaan banaya – Bullah
The best of my creation is the human race
But it has to strive to be worthy of heaven
(Said God to man)
Fidaye ton sanam baya baya kih ton har soortai
Kih mi aiyee maney khoob misnasam – Sarmad
I sacrifice myself unto Thee.
In any form, do come to me
And I will recognize Thee.
According to Gurmat, there are five realms of spiritual attainment: ‘Dharam Khand’ (Realm of Duty), ‘Gian Khand’ (Realm of Knowledge), ‘Saram Khand’ (Realm of Effort), ‘Karam Khand’ (Realm of Grace) and ‘Sach Khand’ (Realm of Truth).
According to Sufi ideology, there are five stages of spiritual journey – ‘Shariyat’, ‘Tareeqat’, ‘Mawrfit’, ‘Haqiqat’, ‘Fana’ (or ‘Baqa’). According to both Gurmat and Sufism, the True Guide or Murshid leads and bears witness in this journey. The Guru or Murshid bestows on the devotee, knowledge and practice, discipline and good conduct, patience and fortitude, submission to His Will, and Fear leads him towards mendicancy and love. Abu Bakr Shibli says ‘Tassawuf’ means controlling base instincts’. According to Gurmat:
Indri jit panch dokh te rehat.
Nanak kot madhai aisa aparsh. (SGGS 274)
One whose senses remain free of five vices
Sayeth Nanak such a being is one in a million.
Abu Al Hasan Noori accepts ‘Tassawuf’ as ‘purity of conduct and truthful living’ and according to Gurmat also:
Sachahu urai sabh ko upper sach aachar. (SGGS, 62)
Everything is below truth; above truth is truthful living.
Both Gurmat and Sufism lay emphasis on hard work and a practical, action-oriented life. Gurmat has called this world ‘karam bhoomi’ (an arena for action) and ‘Dhart kaya sadh kai bich dei karta biyo’ (prepare the earth of your body with due care and sow the seed of His Name). The Sufis too express a similar thought in this manner:
Farida amal je kitai duni vich dargah aiye kam (SGGS, 1383)
Sayeth Farid, your own deeds in life
Stand by you at the time of reckoning.
Amla uttai nibera kya sufi kya bhangi – Shah Hussain
The deeds alone matter,
Whether one is a Sufi or a scavenger.
Panj niwaja wakhat panj, panja panjai nau.
Pehla sach hilal doye tija khair khudai.
Chauthi niyat raas man pnjwin sift sanai.
Karni kalma aakh kai ta muslmaan sadai.
Nanak jetai kuriaar, koorai koori paiye.
Five prayers five times with five Names
First truth, second honesty, third His Grace
Fourth good intentions, fifth is His praise.
Say Kalima of good deeds, become a Muslim.
Nanak, all the untruthful ones fall in dust
The outer garb has been condemned by both:
Bagga bagai kaparai, teerath manjh wasann
Ghut ghut jia khavnai,baggai na kahiyan (SGGS, 729)
The so-called white robed ones at holy places are
Butchers; they kill mercilessly and aren’t holy.
Farida kann musalla, soof gal dil kati gur vaat.
Bahar dissai channa dil andhyari raat. (1380)
With your prayer mat, Farid, a black scarf round your neck
Mind is like a dagger but the tongue is sweet
Bright light outside, but the mind is dark as night.
To die before death – ‘moot qiblant moog’ (The Holy Qur’an) or to become indifferent to material gains means attaining the stage of ‘Fana’. It is the prime aim of a Sufi that his soul may merge with the Higher Soul (Allah). Such indications are found in Punjabi Sufi poetry:
Maran thi mar gaye aggai Bahu, taan matlab noo paya hoo.
Those who defied death, Bahu, attained the real aim
Jiondiyaan, mar rehna hovai, taan vais faqiraan bahiai hoo.
Je koyee suttai guddar koora, waang aroori sahiai hoo.
Living like the dead only, should you don mendicant’s robe.
If someone throws filth on you, bear it like a rubbish heap.
Bahu baajh Fana rabb hasil nahi.
Without decimating oneself God can’t be attained, sayeth Bahoo.
Moye bajh na sohandi alifi, aivai gal vich pavain hoo.
Tadon naon faqir hai sohanda bahoo
Je jiondiyaan mar jawai hoon.
Without dying, the robe doesn’t look nice
You wear it round your neck unnecessarily.
Bahu, only then the name ‘Faqir’ behoves
When one dies while living (killing the self).
Main taan kujh nahin, sabh toon hain toon.
Te, – toon aj bhi te kal bhi, toon bhalkai parson
Bhi toon hi toon hi.
Asin aggai bhi kujh nahin, hun bhi kujh nahin,
Kal vatt parson bhi toon hi, too hi.
I’m nothing; its Thee and only Thee.
Thou art today, tomorrow, and day after.
We have been nothing in the past and nothing now
Thou art today, tomorrow and day after tomorrow.
Moot qablant moot hoeya,
Moeyan noon maar jivalio, yaar.
Death has occurred before dying,
Revive the dead, dear friend.
Umar Bakhsh Dervish
Jamal piya tad kariai.
Marnai te pehlaan mariai.
Let’s die before death
Then celebrate the union
‘Moot kalbat moot’ parh vey jag beh nahi rehna.
Marnon agge mar vey parh vey jag beh nahi rehna.
Qabar ban alai ghar veh parh vey jag beh nai rehna.
Read this ‘Death has occurred before dying’,
One has to die. Die before death, read this,
One has to die. Dig your grave at home, read this,
One has to die.
According to Gurmat also, the soul has to transcend all physical limits before mingling with the Eternal Soul.
Kabir jis marnaio te jag darai merai man anand.
Marnai hi te paiye pooran parmanand. (SGGS, 1365)
Sayeth Kabir, the death which the
People are afraid of, gives joy to me.
By dying only is perfect bliss attained.
Kabira marta marta jag muaa
mar bhi na janai koye
Aisi marni jo maraai,
bahur na marna hoye. (SGGS, 555)
Kabir, the world has been dying all along
But none accepts death as freedom from attachment.
One who dies such a death in life, does not die again.
Jani vichhunrai mera maran bheya
dhrig jiwan sansarai.
Jiwat marai so janiai,
pir sachrai het pyarai. 6 (SGGS, 580)
Separation from the spouse is verily like dying in life.
Cursed is such a life (of separation). One who dies while in life (By killing one’s ego) does truly love the Lord.
Marnai te jag darai, jiwatiya lorai sabh koye.
Gur parsadi jiwat marai, hukmai boojhai soye.
Nanak, aisi marni jo marai taan sad jiwan hoye.2 (SGGS, 555)
People are afraid of death,
everyone desires to live.
One who kills his ego by Guru’s grace
Does really follow His command.
Dying such a death, one lives forever.
Jiwat mooye, mooye se jiwai. Hari Hari Naam
Avkhadh mukh paiya Gur sabdi ras amrit pivai.1. rahau. (SGGS, 374)
One who kills his ego, does actually live.
He has the remedy of His Name on his lips
Through the Guru’s words, He drinks the nectar.
Freedom is the birthright of everyone, every nation, above all, of humanity. In a democratic set-up, freedom guarantees equality of opportunity. If we cannot grant equal rights to individuals, democracy would be nothing but a laughing stock. The real importance of freedom is not only for those minorities who wish to express themselves, but also for the majority that is not ready to listen to anyone. The more we suppress human freedom, the more it would erupt with greater force like a spring to assert itself. The more we associate one and all as equal partners in freedom, the more powerful we would become. If we wish to see our freedom on a very strong footing, we would have to bring in equilibrium at the international level, the national level, and among different social forces; and we would have to prevent one force from overpowering others. If we really want to establish a powerful social order at the international and national level and to safeguard it, we will have to take a firm vow that no one section of people, whether proletariat or capitalist, landlord or land worker, a bank, or army, or religion or government – should possess unlimited power at any cost. By doing so, or arranging to do so, we can establish a national community and advance towards formation of a world community. This was exhorted to the world by the great personages of the past.