Humne tumhe bachaya (we saved you)
Hamaare guruon ne tumhare Pandat bachaaye (Our Gurus saved your Pandits)
Hamaare Sikhon ne tumhari auraten bachaayin (Our Sikhs saved your women)
Hamaare Sikhon ne tumhaare Mandir bachaaye (Our Sikhs saved your temples)
Hindu apni ladaai khud nahi lad sakta tha, Sikhon ne unki ladaai ladi (Hindus couldn’t fight, Sikhs fought for them)
The ongoing ‘farmer protest’ has exposed everything that is wrong in country except farming. Yuvraj Singh’s father, a failed actor, Yograj Singh recently reminded us “how Hindu women were sold to Mughals in 2 Rupees and how Sikhs would save women of ‘weak Hindus'”. He is not alone. Gang of left joined ‘farmers’ with ‘free Umar Khalid’ posters. On 26 Jan, the gloves were off.
Who can’t see a genuine-looking farmer protest was vitiated with communal hatred for Hindus from Day one? ‘Farmers vs govt bill’ was deliberately made into ‘Sikhs vs India’ and ‘Sikhs vs Hindus’ thanks to celebrities, actors, dancers, politicians and Shaheen Bagh model.
When brothers fight, enemy ropes in. Pakistan – that came into being with declaration that Muslims & Hindus (including Sikhs) are two different races who can’t live together – is conducting 5 TV shows daily ‘in support of Sikh farmers’.
I am not the one who would blame Pakistan or Khalistanis sitting across world for the mess. I always believe outsiders can’t be the reason of fire. They can add fuel certainly. But cause is certainly deeper and internal. The ongoing ‘farmer protests’ mess or Sikh separatism in 1980s stemmed from same root that needs to be addressed now.
Distortion of history – root cause of Hindu-Sikh divide
In childhood, majority of Sikhs I knew were impossible to distinguish from Hindus except for physical appearance. I belong to a Punjabi Hindu family that migrated from Punjab to West UP few centuries ago. My family history shows some of my great grandmothers having surname ‘Kaur’ on both paternal and maternal sides. Even today, we have a Sikh married into our family. She is equally versed with history of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Vedic Mantras. She performs Yajna-Agnihotra better than any trained Purohit.
I grew up in refugee colony in West UP with Hindu-Sikhs who were driven out of today’s Pakistan’s Punjab and settled here with whatever was left of their families and relations. Every household had horror stories to tell. No family came to India unharmed. Some lost most women, some lost elders, some lost all kids, some lost everything, and all lost pride.
I was surrounded with Sikhs who would visit Salasar Ji, Vaishno Devi and apply Tilak on forehead with pride on Diwali Puja. They would come back with Prasad and distribute in Muhalla. Most Sikh shopkeepers had framed images of Lakshmi Mata, Lord Krishna & Lord Ganesh along with Guru Nanak Ji placed in their mini-temple installed just above the Galla (cash corner).
On Diwali, each temple and Gurudwara of the city would illuminate with same joy & light. I had Sikh friends who would recite Hanuman Chalisa in single breath. I played Sahibzada Fateh Singh (son of Guru Gobind Singh) more than once in school drama. There was not a single dry eye when Wazir Khan bricked 5 yrs old kid alive for not converting to Islam.
In a nutshell, a significant chunk of Sikhs was inseparable from Hindus. They believed themselves to be part of common glorious heritage of Vedas, Ram and Krishna. They took pride in the fact that Sikhs were those courageous first sons of every Punjabi Hindu household whose brave mothers volunteered to give them for the Hindu (Khalsa) army against Islamic invaders.
However, there is another view among many Sikhs. Another significant fraction believes Sikhism is a separate religion. Not just separate but superior religion that rebelled against oppressive Hindu faith by
- Challenging Brahmanical hegemony
- Rejecting rituals like Janeu, Tilak, Yajna
- Eradicating caste-system
- Rejecting idol-worship
- Rejecting polytheism and establishing worship of One True Supreme (quality that makes Sikhs closer to Muslims than Hindus)
- Embracing secularism by declaring – I am neither Hindu nor Musalman
The view that Sikhs are separate religion gained prominence of late. Plethora of literature was fabricated and history was rewritten with sole aim to dissociate Sikhs/Sikhism from Hindu/Hinduism. Some claims were made out of thin air and were repeated. Books, tracts, articles, media forums were flooded with the recently fabricated history with impunity. I will give some examples of how Janeu and Yajna were wiped out from Sikh history.
Claim 1 : Guru Nanak rejected sacred thread (Janeu/Yajnopaveet) of Hinduism
Guru Nanak refused to wear Janeu when Brahman came to perform his Yajnopaveet Sanskaar (sacred thread ceremony). Guru said-
“The thread is spun of cotton, and Brahmin twists it; They kill a goat to eat and then ask one to wear [this thread]”
“The Brahmin throws not the sacred thread over his passions and lust for woman. Each morning is his face covered with shame. His feet and hands by the thread are not restrained; Nor his tongue and eyes. Unrestrained by the thread he moves along.” [Guru Granth Sahib]
1. If I see someone cleaning his hands with pure water and putting them in mud next moment, I would definitely call him an idiot. I will say – “Cleaning hands is of no use if you put them in mud again“.
In the above, did I condemn cleaning hands or putting hands in mud? Which sane person can infer rejection of cleaning hands from this? Similarly, when Guru Nanak said – “you kill/eat animals, you lust after women, you discriminate among people and then wear Janeu”, how does one conclude that Guru rejected Janeu? He simply pointed out contradiction in people’s conduct. His problem was with killing/eating animals, lust, and discrimination. Problem was certainly not with Janeu.
The lie that Guru Nanak rejected Yajnopaveet/Janeu is spread by quoting half text. Guru did question the priest regarding the ritual. But what he did next must be read in words of none other than Dr Kirpal Singh, author of Janamsakhi Tradition (stories from Guru Nanak’s life), former Professor & Head – Punjab Historical Studies Department, Punjabi University, Patiala. He is an authority on Guru Nanak’s history and Janamsakhis. Here is the full version of Guru’s Janeu incident verbatim from Dr Kirpal’s book – Janamsakhi Tradition
Religious Ceremony: Yajnopavit of Guru Nanak
“When Guru Nanak grew up to be of nine years, his parents thought of performing the ceremony of Yajnopavit i.e. investing the child with the sacred thread called janeu. The pandit brought along a janeu made of cotton. As per the practice, then prevalent, a special area was earmarked for the ceremony. The ground was sanctified by smearing it with a paste of cow-dung mixed with mud. Nanak was made to sit there, and it was whispered in his ear that it was the religion of Brahmins and Khatris to wear janeu. The ceremony was complete and all the relations who had come to see it went back. However, all this did not leave any special impact on Guru Nanak’s mind. The Guru has explained thus the real janeu in one of his hymns:
Make compassion the cotton, contentment the yarn; Continence the knot and purity the twist; Such is the true sacred thread of the self Thou Brahmin-priest! Put this on me shouldst thou have it. This thread neither snaps nor is soiled; Neither burnt nor lost. Said Nanak : Blessed are the beings that around their neck put this… [Guru Granth Sahib]”
Dr Kirpal further adds quotations from different Janamsakhis that prove Guru Nanak DID wear Janeu. He writes
“The Miharban and Mani Singh Janamsakhis say the ceremony of putting Janeu took place at the age of nine.. There is considerable difference of detail as regards the observance of his ceremony in the Janamsakhis of Miharban and Mani Singh. The latter refers to the performance by Kalu (Guru Nanak’s father) of a huge Yajna.. There are many details of janeu- ceremony, Gayatri mantras recited by Pandit Brij Nath.
Contrary to it, the former which is of much earlier date than the latter; mentions none of these details. The former version has been taken as correct. Mani Singh says that at the time of wearing Janeu Guru Nanak recited to the Pandit the hymn- ‘O Nanak! my body is a chariot and it has one charioteer’ whereas the Miharban version says that he recited the hymn– ‘Make compassion the cotton, and contentment the thread, continence the knot and truth the twist.’”
Reality is major Janamsakhis have covered Janeu/sacred thread ceremony of Guru Nanak with prominence. They differ in nitty-gritty of ceremony as to which Mantra was recited by Brahman/Guru Nanak and which food was served etc but all of them conclude that Janeu ceremony DID happen and Guru Nanak wore Janeu. There is ABSOLUTELY NO account of Guru Nanak not wearing Janeu in any authentic Janamsakhi. (All tall claims of Guru rejecting Janeu are only found on online forums like ‘SikhWiki and RaajKaregaKhalsa dot com’ that are anything but authentic)
On contrary, Guru Nanak explained true spirit of Yajnopaveet/Janeu behind the ritual which is to purify body, mind and Aatma. Threads of Janeu are symbols. Guru was absolutely spot on when he criticised Janeu being worn by wrongdoers, meat-eaters and womanisers. This only proves his love and devotion towards Janeu – Vedic symbol of purity. Don’t we have similar restrictions on wearing Janeu as per Shastras? Guru’s anger was on wrongdoings, hypocrisy and mindless ritualism and not on Janeu itself. That’s why he wore it after explaining the spirit behind. Similarly, lot of Brahman-bashing is done in name of Guru Nanak by separatists based on isolated half quotes. I will show in subsequent articles how on contrary Guru Nanak and Sikh Gurus loved and respected Vedas and Brahmans.
2. While opposing Janeu under influence of separatist bigotry and false history, the separatists forget to take away crux of entire episode. Guru’s message was – “Your Janeu is of no use if you eat meat, have lust for other women etc..”
What separatists remembered is – “Your Janeu is of no use” deliberately chopping off latter part. Instead of rejecting meat, lust and discrimination, they rejected Janeu. This is similar to rejecting habit of cleaning hands instead of habit of putting them in mud.
3. Guru Nanak’s question of mindless ritualism on Janeu is equally valid on Panj Kakars also. If Guru considered meat-eating, lust and discrimination as greatest sins that pollute and defeat pious purpose of Janeu, same would pollute and defeat pious purpose of Panj Kakars too. Have separatists – many of them being meat-eaters, having lust for women, having strong superiority complex of being Jatt, the worst kind of casteism (half of Punjabi songs/movies revolve around Jatta’s supermanship) – rejected Panj Kakaars just like they rejected Janeu? If rituals of Panj Kakaars are followed despite these possible misconducts, there is no reason why Sikhs shouldn’t wear Janeu.
4. Guru Nanak not just wore Janeu but also considered it, along with Shikha/Choti, as symbol of pious people, seekers and saints. Guru Granth Sahib (Asa Ghar 4 Mahla 1) says
ਖਲੜੀ ਖਪਰੀ ਲਕੜੀ ਚਮੜੀ ਸਿਖਾ ਸੂਤੁ ਧੋਤੀ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ॥
ਤੂੰ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਹਉ ਸਾਂਗੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਣਵੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੈਸੀ ॥੪॥੧॥੩੩॥
खलड़ी खपरी लकड़ी चमड़ी सिखा सूतु धोती कीन्ही ॥
तूं साहिबु हउ सांगी तेरा प्रणवै नानकु जाति कैसी ॥४॥१॥३३॥
The yogis and the celibates live their disciplined lifestyle.. For Your sake, O Lord Master, they are imbued with love.. They raise (Shikha/Choti) their hair in tufts and wear (Yajnopaveet/Janeu) sacred threads and loin-cloths. You are the Lord Master, I am just Your puppet. Prays Nanak.. ||4||1||33||
Claim 2 : Guru Nanak rejected Seven Rounds (Saat Phera) ritual of Hinduism in marriage
Guru Nanak challenged all major rituals of Hinduism. To prove that rituals mean nothing, Guru Nanak went around sacred fire of Yajna 4 times instead of prescribed 7 times in his marriage. This proves that Guru Nanak didn’t follow Hinduism.
1. This claim is an admission that Guru Nanak performed Yajna and married as per Vedic ritual! What do you call a person who wears Janeu, performs Yajna and takes Pheras around sacred fire? Don’t we call him Hindu?
2. This is a self-goal by separatist historians anyway. As per Paraskar Grihya Sutram – the ancient book of Vedic rituals, a Vedic wedding has only four Pheras not seven! Most Vedic weddings actually happen with four Pheras only! Separatist enthusiasts confused four Pheras (circumambulation around Yajna) with Saptapadi (7 steps in straight line, another ritual in wedding). Here is the proof [Kand 1, Kandika 7, page 85]
This only proves that Guru Nanak not just performed Vedic Yajna but also followed ritual of four Pheras perfectly as per Shastras!
3. Another thing to note is Yajna isn’t performed without wearing Janeu/Yajnopaveet. So if Guru Nanak performed Yajna no matter with 4 or 7 Pheras as accepted undisputedly, he must be wearing Janeu at that time! This again negates bogus claim regarding Guru Nanak rejecting Janeu in childhood!
4. Separatists argue that Guru Nanak was not a Hindu since he rejected symbols of Hinduism such as Janeu. This is false as established above. Even for argument’s sake if it’s true, he still performed Yajna at his marriage ceremony which proves beyond doubt that Guru Nanak was a follower of Vedic Dharma. He could have rejected Yajna just like Janeu. Why didn’t he? Clearly he followed Vedic Dharma.
Question is why have Sikhs stopped performing Yajna that Guru Nanak himself performed? If Sikhs don’t wear Janeu because Guru Nanak rejected (which he didn’t) it, why don’t Sikhs perform Yajna at marriage which Guru Nanak did? Why are we following Guru Nanak in parts? Is there any justification other than blind hate for the parent faith – Vedic Dharma?
Claim 3 : Guru Tegh Bahadur saved faith of weak Hindus. It’s duty of Sikhs to protect weak. That doesn’t make him/Sikhs Hindu
Reality : Guru Tegh Bahadur gave his life for his Dharma of Tilak and Janeu – Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Nanak’s love for Janeu, Tilak, Yajna and Vedic Dharma was inherited by Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru Gobind Singh writes in his Dasham Granth’s Bichatar Naatak-
तिलक जंजू राखा प्रभु ताका। कीनो बड़ो कलू महि साका।।
धरम हेत साका जिनी कीया। सीस दिया पर सिरर न दीया।।
Meaning – Guru Tegh Bahadur gave his head but kept Tilak and Janeu (sacred thread) for his Eeshvar. He did greatest work in Kaliyug for his Dharma. (Guru Gobind Singh doesn’t mention any weak Hindus or faith of Hindus here)
Who can match this greatest sacrifice for Dharma? Guru Tegh Bahadur was son of Vedic Dharma and he died protecting it. Of course, Guru died protecting Hindus because he himself and ALL Gurus were Hindus. Every son of faith worth his salt would give his head in return of Dharma. Guru Tegh Bahadur died for his mother faith- Vedic Dharma. Mother Dharma and all Hindus (includes real Sikhs) are extremely proud of her Balidani son.
Here is a beautiful Bhajan – Tilak Janju (Janeu) on these legendary lines by Guru Gobind Singh. Listen to this in background and keep reading.
Guru Gobind Singh used to wear Janeu/sacred thread
Panth Parkash – one of the most comprehensive works on Sikh history written by legendary historian Giani Gian Singh in 1880 describes Guru Gobind Singh on his day of marriage in following lines
पीत पुनीत उपरना धोती जोति नविय व छवि छाजै।
पीत जनेऊ मनो वदन सासि पै बिजरी भ्राजे।।
English – Guru Gobind Singh wore clean yellow Dhoti and yellow Janeu-Yajnopaveet/sacred thread at the time of wedding.
Majority of Guru Gobind Singh’s literature is reproduction of Hindu Puranas, Ramayan and Mahabharat in simple words for masses. All his life, he invoked Shakti, Devi & Shiva to destroy Turks/cow-killers. Read Dasham Granth if you don’t believe.
This love of Gurus for Janeu and Dharma is still alive in many Sikhs. Revolutionary Sardar Bhagat Singh (whose pictures communists carry these days for no reason) wrote in his tract ‘Why I am an atheist’ how his grandfather Sardar Arjan Singh – a staunch Sikh, follower of Vedas and Swami Dayanand – wore Janeu and performed daily Yajna. Bhagat Singh also remembers how he would chant Vedic Mantras for hours daily. Sardar Arjan Singh Ji also authored a book – “Guru Saheban Vedon ke Pairo the (Sikh Gurus were followers of Vedas)”.
There are thousands of instances of Sikh Gurus that prove they were followers of Vedic Dharma. I will bring more truth in upcoming articles on Gurus, their Vedic ancestry, Sikh philosophy, warriors and history that will counter the trash of distortion, separatism, extremism and lies.
Gurus conducted Yajnas, wore Janeu, died for Janeu, created army of Hindus for protection of Hindus. Sikh/Khalsa was army of the Hindus by the Hindus for the Hindus. First Sikhs of the world were the first sons of Hindu mothers. Remember when you take jibe of ‘we saved you/your women’ at any Hindu, you are insulting Hindu mother/father of Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind and all Gurus, your own mother, your entire clan and the mother who gave her first child f(or Khalsa Hindu Army) who later became your great grandfather. If Gurus are to be followed, a true Sikh has to be a true Hindu and vice versa.
What should a Sikh do? Follow Gurus. Guru Gobind Singh carried his mighty bow on one shoulder and Janeu on the other. Every Sikh who loves Gurus must carry both traditions on his shoulders. A tree remains green only till it’s connected with roots. Let’s remember this always.
About Author – Dr Vashi Sharma, studied at IITB, taught at IITK, Energy Science, Defence, Religions, history, Pakistan.
Twitter – @DharmaOfVedas