Do We Know Latest World Religious Guru- Sikh Canon’s Doctrine?
by Raja Mrigendra Singh, Ph.D, Patiala (now in New York)
Holy Guru Nanak IV declared:
"2.0 Councillors (Pancho)! Those who hide their guru are not good persons.
They lose all profits inclusive of capital.
Originally, Nanak proclaimed (doctrine) Inductive-Deductively (agam-nigam)
Perfect Guru (God)’s Revelations (time to time) befell Him from above.
Such Perfect-Complete God’s praise pleased all (faithful) Guru-Sikhs:
But, such a (blessed) hour was not at hand to faithless (manmukh) ones."1
The Guru-Sikh Religion is the latest world religion.2 According to all major-minor Holy Canon’s internal evidence, its founder was Divine Guru Nanak (1469-1539). He formally ordained a successor who’s Canonical Consecration’s Convention continued to fulfill old prophecies to the tenth and last Holy (human) Guru Gobind Singh (1675-1708).3 Historically, all came at the fag-end of ancient Oriental Indo-Semitic religious canons and fulfilled their prophecies ordained earlier like unto myriad prophets4, who are verified in the Guru-Sikh Religious major-minor Holy Canons.
All ten Holy Gurus from the very outset over the last five centuries, time and again personally ordained ecclesiastics (bishops, ministers, preachers, etc.) to disseminate divinely revealed doctrine. That unbroken convention continues until now. The tenth and the last Holy Guru, Gobind Singh, personally ordained ministers and expanded their number to over one hundred; but three Holy Gurus rebel descendant Sikh cults and 55 liaison Masands (Masnad-I Ali) ministries were "anathematized."5 Also most Masands and all six Holy Gurus Fauj were totally disbanded on Solar Indian New Year, Baisakhi, 1699; great holy occasion. On that day’s elimination, old conventional ecclesiastics, inclusive of new ministries, totaled about three dozen. Since that day, Guru-Sikhs spread all over South Asia, and, within the last two-and-a-half to three centuries, continue to develop over a few thousand centers with many branches, each officially registered
in various erstwhile and independent Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and other national governmental revenue and municipal offices, as well as modern neo-Sikh Centers now recorded throughout the world.
Since Baisakhi (1699/1706-8), all conventional ministries very strictly continue to be bound by the Holy Canon’s "mandates."6 In unbroken continuity, convention never interpreted any major-minor Holy Canon’s passages or phrases out of "context."
Guru-Sikh Religious Faithful:
From the outset of 1699’s Baisakhi, the foundational and unbroken continuity of the Guru-Sikh religious faithful consisted of two lay Sikhs forms: the civil (Sahijadhari) and the military (Singh) Sikhs. Both groups by tradition are ministered by their respective types of Holy Guru’s ordained ecclesiastics, namely Civil Sikhs by the Civil Udasi Ministers, consisting of 10 ministry branches, and Civil & Military Sikhs by the tenth Holy Guru Gobind Singh’s personally ordained Nirmal-Singh Ministry, consisting of 15 basic ministries which have evolved to over 1,000 branches. In fact, the British loyal national ex-Div. Judge M.A. Macauliffe, who was born in 1837, carried out "Divide & Rule Policy" to serve the British befittingly well.7 Due to unavoidable historical evidence and with very far-sighted, ulterior, and political motive, he clearly wrote:
"There are two great divisions of Sikhs, Sahijdhari and Singhs
In the Singhs are included the Nirmalas and Nihangs.
The Sahijdhari include the Udasi"6
Yet, Judge Macauliffe also continually showered great praise upon traditional scholarship to clearly express that without professional guidance, none truly could understand Sikh scriptures. Also he implied that lay Sikhs are out of touch with the technicalities of old religious canons and that Sikhs are hearing puzzling paradoxes. Those ignorant of the canons’ languages (p.xv) are unacquainted with Indo-Semitic canons and later evolved denominations, sects, cults, etc. Without convention’s guidance, no interpretation of Guru-Sikh major-minor scriptures was possible. Judge Macauliffe was very reluctant to admit more in writing, and in doing so, he made future Sikh generations reliant upon his work. Yet, he never wished to tell Sikhs that they ultimately will leave blind faith, acquaint themselves to reason/common-sense (aqal)8 logic (Tarak:nigamagam), and learn arts (kala) and science subjects technically, thereby circumventing the need to acquaint themselves with the outmoded South Asian languages to understand properly their Holy Canons in "spirit."
Furthermore, Macauliffe wrote that understanding sacred literature would require learning linguistics, old-new forms of grammar, syntax, and semantics. Medieval scholars wrote works customarily, in poetry, which is grammatically never exact yet facilitates easy memorization. Thus, Sikhs must learn classical prosody (1 to 5; Tuke:2 to 16-Pade), convert phrases into logical propositions, then interpret them in spirit. Minimally, a Sikh must learn rules of literal, figurative, and metaphysical semantics in order to understand old canonical/literary forms in spirit. In other words, five forms of expression include: 1) Riddles (Kut Sabd); 2) Internal question-answer riddles (Antar alapaka); 3) External hidden riddle answers (Bahar alapka); 4) Prose and poetry’s connection with classical-country holy music (Rag); 5) Poetry’s music rhythm-times (Ghar) relation to 14 forms of devotion and so on.
Guru-Sikh Religious Theocratic Power
As a natural corollary, growth of Guru-Sikh religious theocratic powers needs emphasis.9 From time immemorial, religious and political leaders have applied "four" basic rules of polity:
Retain unity (Sam), to be conciliatory in times of discords;
Offer trade, remuneration (Dam), barter, or pay ransom "to keep peace;"
"Divide" separatist (Bhed) polity to hold power at all cost;10 and
Punish (Dand) individuals, in case of collective trouble, to establish righteousness (dharm yudh).11
Now, few Sikhs realize after three generations that Judge Macauliffe laid a foundation for the evolution of neo-Sikhism. He visualized the British Empire’s might, global growth and its English language evolving globally. With foresight, he believed that westernized Sikhs will evolve. Hence, he created an entirely covert Christian Monotheist Church based on a neo-Sikh system to teach Guru-Sikh scriptures and neo-Sikh politics. Indeed, Sikhs now basically follow his translations of Holy Guru-Sikh canons and interpretation of Sikh history. Obviously, contemporary writers, inclusive of many, accept Judge Macauliffe as a pioneer, like Dr. McLeod, with western neo-Sikh scholars interpreting Holy Guru-Sikh canons on his work. Those who do so are totally ignorant of tradition, thereby keep on inaccurately interpreting crucial theological points.
Note: Evidently modern neo-Sikhs seem unaware that the English language of William Shakespear’s (1564-1616) dramas was contemporaneous with the reign of King James I (1603-1625), who patronized the Holy Bible’s Revised Version (1611). Shakespeare wrote in that time’s spoken lingua franca. Evidently, ‘that’ old English language is not prevalent today, neither is the Queen’s Royal Court language nor erstwhile British Empire’s spoken/written colonial English. In fact, unquestionably, the old English language’s idiom, syntax, and grammar are different and distinct from our contemporary English world over.
Holy Guru Nanak (1469-1539) belonged to the same era that witnessed adoption of the King James Bible. Surprisingly, modern Sikh scholars do not frequently consider linguistic traditions of the five-hundred-year old Holy Guru Sikh Canons. The reader should note that this lack of understanding of traditional text is only a recent trend. For instance, the two-hundred-year old classical works of Bhai Santokh Singh and the century old Nirmal Sant by Tara Singh Noratam’s are written in Gurumukhi script,12 and these works represent old Canons Lingua Franca (Ruri Bani)!13 These works are just as distinct from all modern Gurumukhi script’s Westernized Panjabi language as has evolved from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The fact is: Modern Panjabi language is a new language. Its idiom evolved due to Western printing, published literatures, and the dissemination of many translations, factors that heavily influenced Indian languages and changed all Indic regional languages presentation. Indeed, the Panjabi language was no exception. Our new Panjabi structure is not the same as five-hundred years back, neither is the Panjabi language half a century ago.
Guru-Sikh Religious Canons Theological Interpretation Rules
I. Obviously, modern neo-Sikhism scholars are largely unacquainted with the original canonical theological convention: 1) five-hundred-year old Holy Guru-Sikh canonical language; 2) theology; 3) East-West philosophy; and, 4) Old Indo-Semitic canonical technical Theo-Philosophy’s hermeneutic methodologies necessary for communication. Hence, modern scholars often put square pegs in round holes. Claimant scholars must resolve all canon paradoxes whether they appear together within a passage or those that lie separately. Neo-Sikh scholars may wonder whether they ever considered these past-present factors of: language; idiom; syntax; prosody; or contexts. For example, in Holy Canons, many apparent contradictions (virodhabhas) are present , such as
1. Guru Nanak I: "The world is false, to whom can this be explained?"14
2. Guru Nanak V: "Seeing (world’s) false contents: (many) believe them to be TRUE"15i Again: "Thine (world’s) contents are true/real (existent (?))"15ii
How could these Holy canons’ paradoxes be resolved?
II. Conventional scholars may interpret "Sache! Tere Khand"16 as "Thy worlds are true". Oh! Term "Sache" is not "world’s" pronoun: but God’s vocative tense (He Sache):
"Sache! Tere Khand, Sache! Brahmand. Sache! Tere Loa, Sache! Akar. jo mari jame su kachnikach"
"O Ture-One worlds art Thine (Tere Khand). O True-One! Universe (brahmand) art Thine. O True-One! Regions (Tere Loa) art Thine. O True-One!
Forms (akar) art Thine" Last Line: "That eschatologies (perishes) and evolves (born) are rawest of raw (false/not True)." Passages’ contexts culminates in the last line in spirit and is the befitting meaning.
III. For nearly a century scholars translated the term "Karta" to only mean "Creator," following Macauliffe’s Christian covert brainwashing view. Yet, in fact, Holy Gurus time and again assert: "God is Doer, Creator, Preserver, Eschatoler and even more all in one. All Holy canons state:
"Opat Karta, Paralo Karta" translation: "Doer is Creator; Doer is Eschatological."17
IV. Finally, neo-Sikh lay scholars and writers since three-quarters of a century tried very hard to show that Sikh Religious Holy Gurus at every step differed from old Indo-Semitic Atheist-Theist traditional doctrines in order to project other points of view. This is very good. But, until now, not one neo-Sikh writer or scholar of fundamental issues has come forward to properly and logically present any such acclaimed canonical doctrine. None have given any cross references within the context of any religious tradition. Nor have any presented correct logical assertions to interpret Holy canons and are out of touch with old linguistic understanding. Neo-Sikhs may blow their separatism’s trumpets. But, is this at all enough without any old or new canonical proof? Bias and prejudices still remain, it will not do in our modern 21st century. Neo-Sikhs must develop a position, come forth and command (not demand) respect and authority universally! Truly, neo-Sikh scholars must answer all paradox problems within context, properly interpret all canon terms, proposition by denotation and connotation and appropriately translate texts giving English synonyms, etc., be open to seminar discussions, and encourage dialogue.