naa ham hi(n)dhoo n musalamaan
I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim
poojaa karo n nivaaj gujaaro
I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers.
eaek nira(n)kaar lae ridhai namasakaaro
I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly worship Him there.
– Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136
In today’s advanced age and time, more and more people have access to education and information than ever before. This has plunged majority of them into the lofty heights of self-acknowledgement. Though this is not a new breed of people (such false preachers and self-proclaimed wise men exited since the beginning of civilization), they philosophies spread their net on people of weaker judgement and victimise them into believing their poisonous preachings. The people of Truth have always been in the minority, because I believe that is the very intention of God. If the people of Truth were in the majority, the minority would be oppressed – like the Mughals did when they spread their faith by the sword. God’s purpose to keep the men of Truth in the minority is to prove that no matter the opposition, Truth’s might triumphs – its takes time, sacrifices and faith to win over the enemy.
The day Nanak was born, only the village Pandit and the midwife instantly recognised the divine soul. Extremely few saw the Diving Light in Nanak, while the rest remained ignorant until the day Nanak merged into the Divine. The ignoranced did not end there – opposition against the House of Nanak continued through the successor Sikh Gurus and still exists today. But today’s ignorance of Sikhi is prevalent not just in non Sikhs, but in many Sikhs as well. Sikhi has proved to me, beyond doubt, that when Truth comes face-to-face with you, the face of the enemy can be seen as Truth reflects only that what we really are. Truth is a mirror – it never reflects what the one facing it isn’t. When I face Guru Granth Sahin (as Shabad), I see what I really am – if I am earnestly following the Shabad, then the picture is pretty, otherwise it is disgusting – and it’s mine, whether I like it or not.
No wonder, that since the advent of Sikhi, with the birth of Nanak, the amount of opposition has been piling up. The greatest opposition to the message of Nanak was that Sikhs are are part of Hindus. It’s a strange claim because on the one hand the Hindus want to own the Sikhs as Hindus, and on the other hand oppose Nanak’s teachings that speak against idol-worship and the caste system. then we have the Muslims who also lay claim on Guru Nanak as one of their own. This is a remarkable scenario, unparalleled in the history of religion where one man is claimed as their own by more religions that the one he founded. Is it not strange to hear the song over and over again that ‘Sikhs are Hindus’ when the people procaliming it do not even believe Guru Nanak’s proclamation that he was neither Hindu nor Muslim? What we miss here is that Nanak as the man is not the entity to be accepted (if we do not want to), it is the Shabad that he revealed to us that is to be followed. The fact is that anyone and everone is a sikh (learner, student) because they follow the teachings of their respective religions. But the Sikhs are those who follow the teachings of the 10 Sikh Gurus as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which includes the worship of one God. Besides this, Sikhs cannot be Hindus because Nanak may have been born in a Hindu family, but was not born as a Hindu – he rejected the Janeu at such a tender age. That alone does not prove that Nanak was not a Hindu: He worshipped only one Akaal Purakh (Hindus worship 33 million gods); he grew his kesh and protected it with a dastaar (Hindus cut their hair); he was casteless; he did not fast (Hindus fast); he studied the Vedas but was not a follower of them (Hindus follow the teachings of the Vedas and Puranas); he did not take the mandatory dip in the River Ganga (Hindus are instructed to bathe in the River Ganga at least once in their life time); and he did not follow the Hindu festivals of Raksha Bandhan, Karva Chauth, belief in Vishkarma, astrology and numerology (which all Hindus are devotees of).
The last point above has been separated because it applies to those Sikhs who have allowed themselves to revere certian Hindu customs and rituals which have prompted the Hindu activists to stamp Sikhs as part of Hinduism. What the Hindu activists forget is that even Hindus visit the Harimandir Sahib but no Sikh tells them that it makes them Sikhs. It is just the Hindus that take the exception only because they feel threatened and insecure (just like the Hindu Hill Rajas felt when they saw the flourishing congregation of Guru Gobind Singh Ji), lest the Hindu faith loses on what keep the caste system dominating over the lower castes. Sikhi is so free of dogmas and the worship only one Akaal Purakh, that the Hindus feel the most offended for it challenges centuries of their blind rituals. They forget that the faith of Nanak does not condemn their rituals, but merely awakens them to Truth. No Sikh Guru ever denounced Hinduism, but the opposite is what is happening with the Hindus for they can simply not accept Sikhism as a new faith.
Just because the number of ignorant Sikhs who follow Hindu customs and rituals (like astrology, numerology, fasting, Raksha Bandhan, Diwali, Dushera) is growing in numbers is no proof that Sikhs are Hindus. What is true is that those Sikhs that follow Hinduism as well will one day relapse into Hinduism itself – for they cease to be Sikhs as they have ignored the teachings of their faith and chosen to follow their own manmat which our Gurus rescued us out of.
Just like anyone can dress up like a policeman and commit crimes in its guise, likewise, it is just as easy for any Hindu propagandaist to adorn the roop of a Sikh and try to proove the Hindu-ness of Sikhs by doing Hindu things. The perfect example is the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) which has began to create rifts into the Sikhs by founding a wing of their Sangh under the name of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat which does everything Hindu and denounces Sikh beliefs because the very mission of RSS is to promote their language (Hindi), rule of their faith (Hindu) and return India to the land of Hindus only (Hindustan). This is nothing short of the ambition of the Mughals when they dreamed of turning Hindustan into a fully Islamic State. The Mughals failed in their ambition because it was based against the very nature of God. The very cause of the agenda against Sikhs is the fact that while every other religion considers itself as the supreme over the others, the Sikh religion is the only one that confers equality to all and does not consider itself higher or lower than another religion. Besides the Sikh religion, all other religions squirm to admit equality because of their over-zealous ambition to dominate and claim of exclusivity. The Christians consider non-Christians as inheritors of Hell, the Muslims consider non-Muslims as kafirs (non-believers) and now the Hindus consider all religions as part of Hinduism. Sikhi is the biggest thorn in the flesh of these major religion because of its message of equality and distinct code of conduct.
The greatest weapons of the RSS and other Hindu propaganda groups are the splinters ‘sects’ of Sikhi – the Naamdharis, Radha-Soamis, Nirankaris and Darshan Das. Because they all claim the heritage of Nanak (through their references from Guru Granth Sahin Ji, they do not, however, believe in the Code of the Khalsa (Sikh Rehat) and this is the weakness of the Sikhs that the propaganda activists have taken advantage of and hijacked to turn the attention of the world and ‘proove’ to them that ‘Sikhs are no different from Hindus’. But try as much as they may, Nanak will remain what he was – neither Hindu, nor Muslim.
The point of this article is not to prove that as a Sikh, I consider my faith more beautiful than the others, but to emphasise on the respect we all deserve. When some group treds on insulting our Gurus, our beliefs and practices and then go as far as debunking our faith, then it simply crosses the limit and we need to awaken to what the people around us up to. All the other religions glorify themselves – Christianity, Islam and now Hinduism, but only the Sikh faith refrains from self-glory because the House of Nanak sees all as equal. Our greatest challenge is the rising apostasy, corrupted Sikh leadership and general apathy in regard to our heritage and teachings. Our strength is in disassociating with anyone Sikh or Sikh group that twists the teachings of our Gurus and belittle the authority of Guru Granth Sahib because they become enemies of the House of Nanak. We let them be, but do not allow them to interfere with our beliefs. Sikhs have never been known to speak against any religion, no matter what attrocities they may have committed on the Sikhs – that is the beauty of Sikhi.
The tragedy of our predicament is that we have not recognised our own selves and that is why we are victimised and we hardly even notice it. There was a reason for which Nanak was born and there still is a reason why we need to uphold the values of his teachings. When we forget them is when we become exposed to those that have been the enemy of the House of Nanak for the last 500 years. The enemy never dies but Truth never gives up either.
hi(n)dhoo a(n)nhaa thurakoo kaanaa ||
The Hindu is sightless; the Muslim has only on
-Bhagat NaamDev Ji, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 874