Thursday, 27 December 2012

Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel

The Sikh struggle for independence is often accused of being carried out by people who were mostly illiterate, but those people who wrote the chapters of the modern Sikh struggle with their blood, were true fighters, fully dedicated to the philosophy of the Guru’s from the bottom of their heart. To call them illiterate is the biggest sign of true illiteracy and lesser intellect.
To pull the public out of this true illiteracy, we present the life stories of those amazing Shaheeds (martyrs), which astonish even the biggest of the so-called scholars. Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh ‘Vakeel’ is one of those highly intellectual soldiers of Sikh struggle.
bhai jagdeep singh vakeel 1 Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel
Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh ‘Vakeel’
Bhai Jagdeep Singh was born on June 27, 1962 at ‘Roope ka Agwad’ in Purana Moga in Punjab to Sardar Bikar Singh and Mata Jagir Kaur. He had an elder sister – Charanjit Kaur, and a younger brother – Gurmit Singh.
Bhai Jagdeep Singh passed his matriculation from Bhupindra Khalsa Higher Secondary School (Moga) in 1978. He passed his higher secondary in 1979 and in 1981 he completed his Diploma from National Engineering College in Ludhiana before joining Punjab University, Chandigarh for his graduation. In February 1982 Bhai Jagdeep Singh wed Virpal Kaur, daughter of Sardar Harbans Singh at village Khare in Faridkot.
Meanwhile, the Narkdharis (a fake religious sect) had performed the massacre of 13 Singhs at Amritsar with the backing of the Indian government. The Sikhs were restlessly awaiting the time when they could avenge the murder of their brothers. Bhai Jagdeep Singh had became a father of two children – Lovepreet Singh and Ravinder Kaur, but now he was more inclined to fulfill his duty towards his religion than towards his family. Bhai Sahib joined the ranks of Khalistan Liberation Force and worked closely with Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana & Bhai Amar Singh Mann Kishanpura. Bhai Sahib preferred to remain undercover and performed his Panthic duties while still living at home.
In the course of the resistance movement many of Bhai Sahib’s companions attained Shaheedi, this often brought Bhai Sahib in a state of sorrow and he wished that he would be next to attain Shaheedi.
Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel
Shaheed Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala – General of Khalistan Liberation Force
In 1989, the police found out about Bhai Jagdeep Singh’s activities and contribution to the Sikh struggle but before police could arrest him, he went underground. Bhai Sahib performed some great actions while being underground and was considered the right-hand person of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala. Among his companions Bhai Sahib was nicknamed him ‘Vakeel’ (lawyer) as he always backed his talk with logical arguments.
In order to capture Bhai Jagdeep Singh the Police started arresting torturing his family members but the torture on his family could not sway the determination of Bhai Jagdeep Singh. The letter he wrote to his wife while he was underground caused some stir in journalist circles.
It is often assumed that the people who pick up weapons must be very stone-hearted. But this is completely untrue. In fact, in many cases they are the most soft-hearted. When we hear stories of the highest ranked generals in the Sikh struggle, it is amazing to learn that those who performed such huge actions were so much soft-hearted. Bhai Beant Singh, who killed Indira Gandhi, was so much soft-hearted that he would become distressed when his children were sick. That is exactly why he could not bear the sight of massacre of small children in Operation Bluestar and decided to punish Indira Gandhi. Another gentle and tender hearted fighter of the Sikh struggle is known to be Baba Manochahal, who was not able to eat if he heard the news that an innocent person had been killed. It is said that sometimes he used to visit his home at night and as they were asleep, he would pick the sleeping kids up and hug them repeatedly. It was such an emotional scene that anybody watching would have tears in his eyes. There is one such incident about Bhai Jagdeep Singh which shows his emotional side and tender heart. Bhai Jagdeep Singh met his family only twice whilst he was underground. Firstly at Gurudwara Nanaksar (Jagraon). At that time his son Lovepreet Singh was 6 years old. He asked his son to bring him water. The boy went away, taking small steps, and brought back water for Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib drank some water and secretly, threw away the rest of it and asked his son to bring some more. When he did this again, for the third time, his wife asked him why he was sending the kid to get water repeatedly if he doesn’t want to drink it. Bhai Sahib replies “he looks so beautiful when he walks with his small steps. I want to see him walking like that to my heart’s content. I don’t know if I will get this opportunity again”
Bhai Jagdeep Singh met his family for the second time when he went to his house with his companions at night. He spent some time with his family and kids for some time and then went away. This was to be their last meet. About 2 months later Bhai Sahib achieved martyrdom.
On November 20, 1990, Bhai Jagdeep Singh was traveling along with a companion when their Maruti car was involved in an accident. The Singhs were armed at the time and stopped a bus going from Moga to Chandigarh and boarded it. Upon boarding the bus the Singhs came under fire from a plain clothed police inspector traveling on the bus. Bhai Sahib anticipated the bus would be surrounded very soon and asked his companion to leave. Bhai Sahib shared his final Fateh with the Singh and attained Shaheed in the fire-fight. The police inspector was also badly injured in the return firing.
As the police arrived they took custody of Bhai Sahib’s body and after his identification, Bhai Sahib’s wife was brought in for confirmation. Bhai Sahib’s 5-year old daughter, who thought that her father was sleeping, walked towards the body but was not allowed to go near the body. The small child kept crying but the police did not allow her to meet her father for the last time and the police themselves cremated the body. The police declared that by killing Bhai Jagdeep Singh, they have cut the right hand of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala.
The letter of Bhai Jagdeep Singh, addressed to his wife, still reminds the freedom fighters and their families of their responsibilities.
bhai jagdeep singh vakeel 2 Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel
Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh ‘Vakeel’ & wife Bibi Virpal Kaur

Letter of Bhai Jagdeep Singh to his wife

IkOnkar SatGurParsaad (One God. He is attained through the grace of true Guru)
Jau Tau Prem Khelan Ka Chau, (If you want to play the game of love)
Sir Dhar Tali Gali Meri Aau, (Place your head on your palm before coming my way)
It Maarg Per Dharije, (If you set your foot on the path I show)
Sir Deeje Kaan na Keeje (Be prepared to give you head, and pay attention to nothing else)
The path that I have chosen for myself, I know its destination. Walking on this path, we may help our nation to attain freedom, or we may also have to accept the death.
When a man marries a woman, he promises to be with her throughout his life. When a person decides to marry the bride of freedom, he also promises to be faithful to this cause until the last breath. I married you and in no way, I have ever been unfaithful to you. Life has brought me to such a scenario, that I have to leave you alone now. But this is also not the unfaithfulness since the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib, in front of whom I promised to be on your side forever, has motivated me to walk on this path.
You should also not have any kind of remorse. I expect a strong determination from your side too. I hope that you will never be hopeless or in low spirits and will always remain true to the path shown by Dashmesh Pita (The Tenth Guru/father). Following His orders, I may have to break up from the worldly relations but the relationship that I have formed with my nation seems much bigger.
I know that walking on this path, you, and kids, will have to face even more troubles than me; but anybody who decides to serve his nation has to leave his personal worries behind. Like you and more than you, countless women and children of our Sikh nation are facing many troubles. I have chosen this path for the betterment of all of them.
You have always been a great partner in our personal life. I expect you to be in high spirits in the future too. However huge the troubles, I cannot see you in despair. I can never be happy if you are not in high spirits. So I hope that you will always be optimistic, and keep the children in good spirit too. Our children have their mother, there are so many children in this world who are devoid of the love of both father and mother, but grow up as great personalities. I hope that you will also take good care of our children and make them into good personalities, capable of walking on the path of truth.
Whenever you feel disheartened, there is no other support bigger than the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib. You should recite Bani, and ask the children to do that too. All the troubles in this world can be cured by the Bani of Gurus. I have many small religious books in the cupboard at our house. Take them with you and read them when you get time. They will give you strength. You should never cry in front of children. Make them into strong, brave persons. If we have left everything to fight for the respect of our nation, we expect our families to never do anything that brings us dishonor; since we are the Singhs of Guru that has taught us to live with respect. I hope that you will never do anything that brings me dishonor. Whatever the hardships, life should be spent in the will of God and the principle of Sikhism should never be comprised.
I understand that you may also face financial troubles. Even if you have to sell the property or jewelry in such times, do not ask for money from anybody and try to keep these worries away from children. Pray to the Timeless Being (God) and never beg of any worldly authorities. Because any know that in this selfish world, nobody except the God is going to help you out.
When two countries fight, there is usually no objective other than the mad hunger for power. And the soldiers fight for some money and their monthly salaries. Still the families of these soldiers send them off with pride. We are not fighting for money and our struggle has an objective too. We are fighting for the independence of Sikh nation. You should not be remorseful, but proud.
Everybody is eventually going to die. Life should not only consist of spending time eating and having fun. We may live for a few days less, but we will die with pride instead of living in servitude. The coming generations will not call us bootlicking cowards. Life of slavery and cowardice is akin to a cup of poison, while our death for the pride of our nation will be like the blessed wine of martyrdom. Agreed that we will be no more, but our nation will never forget us. In our absence too, we will be present by the side of not only our families, but also our nation. Our souls will be blessed seeing you breathe in the air of freedom. We are but a grain of soil at the feet of Dashmesh Pita, who martyred his entire family for upholding the religion and nation. Walking on his path, if I had to leave you, it was nothing new or out of the ordinary.
No doubt, I will consider my struggle to be successful only when I will be able to uphold the principles of Sikhism to my last breath. I have also not forgotten you, but you are always there in my eyes and in my heart. But this historic struggle for freedom has left me with no option but to leave you. Life is full of hardships, do not take them to heart. Whatever has been written by the Timeless Being cannot be changed. So do not worry about the hard times and spend your life in the will of God with patience and gratitude. Never compromise on the pride of the Sikhism for anything. Otherwise I can never be happy in this life and after death.
Servant of the Guru’s panth,
Jagdeep Singh Moga
Article by Baljit Singh Khalsa, taken from Khalsa Fatehnama magazine, November 2007.
Translated by Sewadar (Gurbir Singh)

Gobind De Lal

In memory of the sahibzaadey of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Chaar Muye To Kya Hua Jeevat Kayi Hazaar

In Putran Ke Sees Par Vaar Diye Sut Chaar, Chaar Muye To Kya Hua Jeevat Kayi Hazaar
(I have sacrificed my four sons. So what if my four sons are dead, when thousands are alive)

- Dhan Guru Gobind Singh

Friday, 14 December 2012

Sikhism and Islam

By: Bijla Singh
This article will show how Sikhism is completely different from Islam and actually a separate religion.

1) In Sikhism everyone is equal. All people of different color, religion, caste, creed, race and sex are equal in the eyes of God. No one is high or low. All are children of God created by God and God loves them all. Sikhism teaches that everyone should live a peaceful life and love each other as human beings. Sikhism teaches love, humility, equality, humbleness and how to live a peaceful life.
"The temple or the mosque are the same, the Hindu worship or the Musalman prayer are the same; all men are the same; it is through error they appear different. Deities, demons, Yakshas, heavenly singers, Musalmans and Hindus adopt the customary dress of their different countries. All men have the same eyes, the same ears, the same body, the same build, a compound of earth, air, fire, and water. Allah and Abhekh are the same, the Purans and the Quran are the same; they are all alike; it is the one God who created all. The Hindu God and the Muhammadan God are the same; let no man even by mistake suppose there is a difference." (Guru Gobind Singh, Akal Ustat, pg. 275)

First, Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings. From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1349)

    This clearly shows that from one light of God everyone came into existence. So if everyone comes from the same creator who will you call good and bad?

    On the other hand, Islam does not teach equality. Islam teaches hatred, inequality and killing of those who do not believe in Islam and the Prophet Mohammad. Islam teaches that only Muslims, who believe in Mohammad being the last prophet, are superior beings to others. Muslims are taught to live with love with each other but not with others. The following is a passage from the Quran.
"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers." (5:51, Quran)
"Mohammed is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (48:29, Quran)
"When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and pay the alms-tax, let them go their way. Allah is forgiving and merciful." (9:5, Quran)
2) Again, Sikhism teaches equality of all human beings including women. Women are given very high status in Sikhism by the Sikh Gurus. Women are given not only equality but they are also given rights to do everything that men can. For example, women can participate and lead the congregation. Women can go to Sikh temple and worship there. Women can play a role of priest, lecturer, singer and whatever there may be. The third Guru, Guru Amardaas Ji, appointed many missionary priests that were sent all over India to preach Sikhism and fifty two of them were women. Read the following points and see it yourself how Sikhism is proved to be lot better than Islam when it comes to women’s rights.
Sikhism says this:
"We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings? The woman is born from woman; there is none without her. Only the One True Lord is without woman" (Guru Nanak Dev, Var Asa, Ang 473)
"Woman is one half the complete personality of man, and is entitled to share secular and spiritual knowledge equally." (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Var 5, Pauri 16:59)
Quran says this:
"Man have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them." (4:34, Quran)
    Even beating of women is permitted in Islam, and men are given a higher status.
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means: For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Quran, 4:34)
Sikh women can go to Sikh Temple (Gurdwara), say their prayers and worship accordingly. Women can also take the role of a priest and any other role. Women can lead the congregation and are encouraged more to participate in congregations. But Islam teaches totally the opposite. Women not only have fewer rights than men, but they are also prohibited to go to a Muslim church, called mosque, and worship. Women cannot say their prayers at mosque. Women can go to some graves of holy saints to pray there. When they are at home they have to stand behind men to say their prayers.   
The Gurus gave Sikh men and women the same dress. Five symbols Kes (hair covered with turban), Kara (an iron bracelet), Kirpan (sword), Kangha (wooden comb) and Kacherra (an under short) are give to both men and women. Both are required to say the same prayers, live same way of life and wear the same dress. Everything is exactly the same. Sikh women are also not required or forced to wear a veil.
"Stay, stay, O daughter-in-law - do not cover your face with a veil. In the end, this shall not bring you even half a shell." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 484)
But in Islam it is different. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot even drive cars. Women have to cover themselves up from head to toe. Women cannot go out without asking their husbands and when they do, they have to be accompanied by someone else (a male). In other words, women cannot walk freely outside their house. Women are considered to be property of men. If Islam teaches equality then why don’t men have to cover themselves up from head to toe as well? One incident that is worth mentioning follows: A few years ago, an eleven years old girl was raped by an old man. However, even though that innocent girl was raped, the man did not receive any punishment, because according to Islamic law, it was the girl who provoked it by not covering herself up. Thus it was claimed that if she had properly covered herself, this incident would not have happened. This is but one real world example of the equality Islam teaches.
Islam teaches that women are not only inferior by birth but impure due to their monthly cycles. The Quran says women are impure during menstruation and men are forbidden to go near them until they purify themselves. Read some Ayeh (quotes or lines) yourself and see how ridiculous it sounds.
They ask thee concerning women's courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by Allah. Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves. (Quran, 2:222)
          This entire Ayeh does not make sense and states that women are dirty for a natural occurrence. Menstruation is part of the female anatomy and completely natural. This is an important function for women to bear children. How can such an event be dirty? If women are impure because of their monthly cycles then how can they purify themselves because it is part of their body? If women are impure then so are all men because it is women who gave birth to all humankind.  Muslims like other religions believe that God created men and women. Therefore, why should God tell his prophet Mohammed that men should avoid women during their menstruation period? Why would anyone consider his own creation bad and dirty?  God told Mohammed that his own creation, women are filthy and must be avoided seven to ten days a month during a good portion of their life. Frankly, I don’t understand what does a woman's menstruation have to do with the last sentence.  Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.  Does this mean that God loves women who clean themselves or men that go into women after they are cleaned? It is not clear.

Those who swear that they will not go in to their wives should wait four months; so if they go back, then Allah is surely Forgiving, Merciful. (Quran, 2: 226)
          Does this mean that if a man got angry at his wife, he should not sleep with her for four months and if he does sleep with her in those months then Allah will forgive him?  For what? Why is it the business of Allah if a husband or wife sleep with each other or not?
          On the other hand, Sikhism says women are as pure as men. The Gurus teachings say that one cannot be pure by washing his body but purity of mind is the real pureness. I think only one quote would do the job but you can find many if you want to do more research.  
They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds the Lord abides. ||2|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)
3) Marriage Beliefs and Policies.
The Gurus regarded marriage a very spiritual state of life. Marriage is given very high respect by the Gurus.
They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies. ||3|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 788)
Furthermore, a man and woman can have only one partner at a time. The only way for someone to remarry is if his/her marriage partner has died or he/she is divorced. In Sikhism, the marriage ceremony is very simple and the same every time. It does not matter whether it is ones first or fifth marriage.
But in Islam it is not only different but very unfair to women. A man can have up to four wives at the same time.
Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. (Quran, 4:3)
Muslims say this is true only during wartime but I do not see anything that mentions or implies this from the quote. Also, why cannot women fight? In Sikhism women have always fought alongside with men. This has been true since the times of the Gurus. Not only that, women have led the Sikh armies into the battle field and received martyrdom with glory. The message of Islam clearly shows that women are considered weak and incapable of fighting. But the Sikh Gurus gave women equal rights and made men and women both saints and warriors at the same time. If men are given sword to fight for themselves then women are given a sword too so they will not have to look upon men to protect them.  Sikh Gurus taught Sikhs to be prepared to fight oppression and injustice at all  times. Thus, Sikhism is totally different than Islam.
          If we investigate further, we find that not only polygamy is permitted in Islam but also marriage with your adopted son’s wife is also permitted. Prophet Mohammad himself asked his adopted son to leave his wife so prophet could marry her himself. When his followers questioned him by saying that he was his son and his son’s wife his daughter so he could not marry her. But Mohammad said, it was not his real son but adopted. In Islam marrying your biological son’s wife is prohibited, but marrying your adopted son’s wife is acceptable.  Prophet Mohammad married anywhere from 38-45 women, the youngest being 6 years old, who became pregnant at the age of nine. Her name was Ayesah.
Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah." But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And Allah.s command must be fulfilled. (Quran, 33:37)
          In Sikhism, divorce in marriage is done with the consent of both couples and it is very straight forward. But in Islam there are hard rules for women. All a man has to say is Talaak (divorce) three times and they are divorced. If he wants to remarry her then his wife has to marry someone else and spend a night with her other husband. Then if her newly husband gives her divorce by saying the word divorce three times she can remarry her old husband. Now you can see, what a woman has to go through in a marriage life. Such a ridiculous way of marriage in Islam does not fit the modern way of life.
4) In Sikhism God is all pervading and is in all directions. God is omniscient, omnipotent and loves all. Sikhs do not face any particular direction to say their prayers. But in Islam Muslims face Mecca because that is the house of God. Muslims in India face west which is why Guru Sahib referred to Allah of Muslims living in the west and rejected this foolishness.
If the Lord Allah lives only in the mosque, then to whom does the rest of the world belong? According to the Hindus, the Lord`s Name abides in the idol, but there is no truth in either of these claims. ||1|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang1349)
The God of the Hindus lives in the southern lands, and the God of the Muslims lives in the west. So search in your heart - look deep into your heart of hearts; this is the home and the place where God lives. ||2|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1349)
5) Sikhism does not believe in fasting or pilgrimages.
"The mind is not softened by fasting or austerities. Nothing else is equal to worship of the Lord's Name." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 905)
"The pilgrimage to shrines, fasting, cleanliness and self-mortification are not of any avail, nor are the rituals, religious ceremonies and hollow adoration's. Deliverance, O! Nanak! is in the devotional service of God. Through duality the mortal is engrossed in worldliness. (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 75)
I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines. I serve the One Lord, and not any other. ||2|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136)
I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. ||1|| The One Lord, the Lord of the World, is my God Allah. He adminsters justice to both Hindus and Muslims. ||1||Pause|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136)
          Contrary to Sikhism, Islam teaches Muslims to fast during the special month of Ramadan. It is this month that Muslims have the opportunity to get closer to God. But my question is: why this special month? If this is the only month to get closer to God then what is point for Muslims doing five prayers a day for the rest of the eleven months?
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” (Quran, 2:185)
“The Brahmins observe twenty-four fasts during the year, and the Muslims fast during the month of Ramadaan. The Muslims set aside eleven months, and claim that the treasure is only in the one month”. ||3|| (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1349)
6) Sikhism rejects the idea of dowry which is a common practice in Islam.
“Any dowry which the perverse offer for show, is only false egotism and a worthless display. O my father, please give me the Name of the Lord God as my wedding gift and dowry”. (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 79)

“You have lost your self-discipline, you fool, and you have accepted an offering under false pretenses. The daughter of the alms-giver is just like your own; by accepting this payment for performing the wedding ceremony, you have cursed your own life.” (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 435)

7) Sikhism is not merely a religion but a way of life. This way of life is filled with love of God. The Gurus taught Sikhs to follow and worship God out of love. Sri Guru Granth Sahib places greater emphasis on love of God as the main motivation for man.
"Within my heart, I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, and celebrate the Word of the Lord's Shabad. The Lord Himself is pervading and permeating the world; so fall in love with Him!" (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 790)
"Remembering Him in meditation, one abides in peace; one becomes happy, and suffering is ended. Celebrate, make merry, and sing God's Glories. Forever and ever, surrender to the True Guru." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 386)
But the Quran puts more emphasis on fear of God. Quran teaches you to follow God not out of love but out of fear because otherwise He will get angry, and you will burn in the fire of hell.
"Truly, none will take heed but the wise: those who keep faith with Allah and do not break their pledge; who join together what He has bidden to be united; who fear their Lord and dread the terrors of Judgement-day; who for the sake of Allah endure with fortitude..." (13:18, Quran)
"Allah's reward is great. Therefore fear Him with all your hearts and be attentive, obedient, and charitable. That will be best for you." (64:13, Quran)
8) Sikh Gurdwaras (Temples) are open to everyone regardless of color, race, caste, creed, gender and religion. Free food is served to everyone on a daily basis. There is no discrimination. Everyone is treated the same way with love and equality. Non-Sikhs are allowed to visit and enter the most sacred shrine of the religion, Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple). But this is not true in Islam. Non-muslims cannot even go to a mosque let alone going to Mecca.
"Believers, know that the idolaters are unclean. Let them not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year is ended" (9:28, Quran)
"Blessed is the place, and blessed are those who dwell there, where God's Name is meditated upon. The sermons and songs of God's praises are sung there and there is nothing but peace, poise and tranquility." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 816)
"If the Lord Allah lives only in the mosque, then to whom does the rest of the world belong? “The God of the Hindus lives in the southern lands, and the God of the Muslims lives in the west. So search in your heart - look deep into your heart of hearts; this is the home and the place where God lives." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1349)
9) In Sikhism eating meat is prohibited. Sikhism rejects the killing of any animal by evoking a prayer or by slow death. But it is permitted in Islam.
"Yet holding the knife, the world they butcher. Wearing blue the rulers approval they seek; With money derived from mlechhas the Puranas they worship. Goats slaughtered over the unapproved Muslims texts they eat." (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)
“Make virtue your bread, good conduct the ghee, and modesty the meat to eat. As Gurmukh, these are obtained, O Nanak; partaking of them, one`s sins depart.” (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 553)
"Kabeer, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent, if it is flavored with salt. Who would cut his throat, to have meat with his bread?

10) Sikhism rejects the idea of circumcision. Sikhs believe in living a natural way of life the way God created us. Muslims believe that one can only be a Muslim through circumcision. This means a woman cannot become a Muslim. This is why women are considered property of men.
"Because of the love of woman, circumcision is done; I don't believe in it, O Siblings of Destiny. If God wished me to be a Muslim, it would be cut off by itself. If circumcision makes one a Muslim, then what about a woman?" (Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 477)
Above points show that without any doubts Sikhism is a separate religion and differs from Islam not only by beliefs but by practice, philosophy and way of life.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Royal Houses Of Punjab 1

The Five Sikh Houses of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Kapurthala and Faridkot along with the Muslim state of Malerkotla all carry the Blessings of the Guru Sahiban.
The Phulkian states of Patiala, Jind, and Nabha all descend from Phul of the Brar Bans, born AD 1627 .After the Battle of Gurusar (AD1631), Phul came to Guru Hargobind Sahib with his brother Sandaali and his 'chacha' , Uncle, Kala. In the diwan of Guru Sahib, Phul began to beat his belly to indicate he was hungry. Guru Hargobind Sahib gave Phul the blessing that Guru Nanak would bless Phul with the capacity to feed thousands and he would one day have a kingdom. Guru Har Rai Sahib also blessed Phul on his travels in Malva (AD 1646)
The sons of Phul - Tilokh Singh and Ram Singh were blessed with Khande di Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib - They were blessed with the 'Apaar kirpa' of Guru Gobind Singh - evidence of this can be seen in the Patiala Hukumnama sent by Guru Sahib in 1696

Text of the Hukumnama ;

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ । ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀਉ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਤੇਲੋਕਾ ਭਾਈ ਰਾਮਾ ਸਰਬਤ ਸੰਗਤ ਗੁਰੂ ਰਖੈਗਾ ਤੁਧ ਜਮੀਅਤ ਲੈਕੇ ਅਸਾਡੇ ਹਜੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਉਪਰਿ ਬਹੁਤ ਖੁਸੀ ਹੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਹੈ ਤੁਥੁ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਦੇਖਦਿਆ ਹੀ ਛੇਤੀ ਅਸਾਡੇ ਹਜੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਅਸੈ¹ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਿਤਾਬੀ ਹੁਕਮ ਦੇਖਦਿਆ ਹੀ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੁਸਾਂ ਅਸਵਾਰ ਲੈਕੇ ਆਵਣਾ ਜਰੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਉਤੈ ਅਸਾਡੀ ਭਾਰੀ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨਗੀ ਅਸੈ ਤੈ ਆਵਣਾ ਇਕ ਜੋੜਾ ਭੇਜਾ ਹੈ ਰਖਾਵਣਾ ਭਾਦੋਂ ੨. ਸੰਮਤ ੫੩।” (੧੭੫੩)

Translation (from the 2003 Dix Noonan Webb sale catalogue for the Sale of the 'Nishan-i-Phul')

There is one God. The Guru is great. It is the order of the Guru. Bhai Rama and
Bhai Tilokha, the Guru will protect all. You are required to come with your contingent. I am much pleased with you. Your house is my refuge. On seeing this letter you should come in my presence. Your house is my refuge. You should come to me immediately. On seeing this letter you should arrive with horsemen. Do come. I have sent one robe of honour. Keep it with you.

Written order, hukamnama, from Guru Gobind Singh to the brothers Rama and Tilokha, dated 2 August 1696.

In the Hukumnama the brothers are asked to come to Anandpur with Soldiers, arms and horses ( as all Sikhs were ordered to ) to help Guru Sahib in his Battles with the Hill Rajas - Guru Sahib states that "Your house is my refuge" - 'Tera Ghar Mera Asey' - This has become the Patiala motto - seen on the 'order of Phul' and other medals and decorations. It is said that it is because of this blessing from Guru Sahib that the 11 Missals never attacked the Phulkian States despite some 'dubious' behaviour on their part.

Ram Singh went on to form the House of Patiala and Tilokh Singh the Houses of Nabha and Jind. These Houses are from the Brar Bans , Patiala being Sidhu-Brars, the house of Faridkot is also Brar - In the Zafar Nama Guru Gobind Singh states to Aurangzeb that 

" ਹਮਹ ਕ਼ੌਮ ਬੈਰਾੜ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਮਰਾਸ੍ਤ " - 'The Brars are with me and are under my command' - evidence of the special blessing of Guru Gobind Singh.

The House of Kapurthala descends from Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia born AD 1718 - the Sardar of the Ahluwalia Missal - leader of the Dal Khalsa. He was brought up by and received the "Ashirwaad" - Blessing, of Mata Sundari Ji (Wife of Guru Gobind Singh ji) in Delhi. On his return to Punjab he received a 'Gurj' - Mace , sword, a shield, a bow and a quiver full of arrows, a dress and a silver staff from Mata Ji - predicting that he would rise to eminence. Jassa Singh Alhuwalia succeeded Nawab Kapoor Singh - who had adopted him as a son and taught him Shastar vidia - Kapoor Singh gave him the sword of Guru Gobind Singh Ji - now kept in the Kapurthala treasury. Jassa Singh was well respected by all - it is he who blessed the Maharaja of Patiala - Amar Singh with Khande di Amrit.

Jassa Singh had no heir and was succeded by Bhag Singh his cousin.

The House of Faridkot was founded by Bhallan - who had helped Guru Hargobind Sahib at the battle of Mehraj. His descendent Kapura declined to help Guru Gobind Singh by not allowing the use of his fort at KotKapura - because he feared angering the Mughals - however he did help in a covert fashion at the battle of Muktsar in 1705.

The House of Malerkotla - is a Pathan Muslim state - The Nawab of Malerkotla,Sher Mohammed Khan, was present when the Cchote Sahibzadas were sentenced to death by his relative Wazir Khan in Sirhind - he lodged his protest saying it was against the tenets of Islam and walked out of the Durbar in protest. When Guru Gobind Singh Ji came to hear of this, he blessed the nawab with a hukumnama and a sword . It is because of this blessing that Malerkotla saw no sectarian violence during Partition in 1947 and still remains a predominately muslim area in East Punjab.

Here is a collection of Photographs - some of my favourite images - that document the Lavish Lifestyle of the Maharajas of Punjab. They are beautiful images captured by some of the worlds finest photographers.

Gurudwara NanakSar, Hakimpur

This Gurudwara is situated at village Hakimpur of tehsil Banga district Nawanshahr which is at 5 Km south from Bahiram railway Station and two yards towards east from village Hakimpur. Guru Hari Rai Sahib ji rested here for few days while he was going from Kartarpur to Kiratpur Sahib. Peepal and Neem trees where Guru ji’s horses were knotted, exists presently. "Mahan Kosh", written by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha at page 692 states "Beautiful Gurudwara has been built. This Gurudwara was build by Maharaja Ranjit Singh also know as the "Lion of Punjab". A Sikh is a priest. There is a beautiful pond at the eastern part of Gurudwara." Which has now been disposed off and new pond has been build at the western part of Gurudwara. Gurudwara has neither any property nor any wealth to his name. This has also been said that Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji came at this place.

The book "Yatra Asthan, Parampara Te Yaad Chinh" written by Famous laureate Dr. Fauja Singh ji states that Shri. Guru Nanak Dev Ji rested here for three days.Guru. Hari Rai Ji, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji often came at this place from village Chak Guru. The last doings of wife of Baba Banda Bahadur has been done at this noble place. There has been a mausoleum for her remembrance. But because of the construction of the new building of the Gurudwara, that mausoleum has been disposed off. Birth of the elder son of Guru Hari Rai ji has taken place at this Gurudwara Sahib.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Guru Nanak Dev Ji & Maskeen

On one of his travels Guru Ji came to a town and stopped at the house of an old Sikh called Chundhwadi. He was very poor and was in a fluster as to what food to place in front of Guru Ji. He went to the local town not knowing what to do. While he was there he saw a gathering of people and went to see what was happening. 

It was a wrestling match and the local Nawab was parading his champion. Now, the champion was called Maskeen and was tall and muscular and was undefeated. He stood while the proud Nawab challenged all the town if there was any person who would take on his champion. Maskeen strode into the middle of the large circle flexing his muscles. No one dared step forward for fear of serious injury. When Chundhwadi heard that the prize was 50rps he thought that if he could get the money he could use it to buy provisions to place in front of Guru Ji. He stepped into the ring and declared his intention to wrestle Maskeen. All fell about laughing, how could such an old man who was just skin and bone take on the mighty Maskeen? 

As the two opponents came close Maskeen asked “What are you doing old man? You have no chance against me, what possesses you to fight me, you are going to get seriously hurt” 
Chundawadi said “Oh champion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji is coming to my house today and I have no food to place before him, my only chance is to beat you and use the prize money.”

Maskeen fell into thought, “I have heard of Guru Nanak” he said “they say he is Khudha himself. I would also like to meet him.” After much soul searching he said “Old man, if I let you win will you take me to see Guru Nanak?”

“Yes” said Chundawadi “but what will become of you? If you lose, and lose to an old man your patronage will end and what will become of you?” But Maskeen did not hear this, all he could think about was meeting Guru Nanak. 

So it happened that after a few moves Maskeen fell to the ground with a thump and as planned the old man put his foot on his chest and claimed the prize. 

There was pandemonium, there was a riot, the proud Nawab was humiliated and disowned his wrestler. Maskeens reputation was ruined, he knew that he would be turned out of his house. His family were even more livid, when they heard what had happened they planned to do away with him. They hastily dug a trench under his munja and stuck in spikes and covered the whole thing with large palm leaves, they planned to murder him and then plea with the Nawab to let them stay at the house. 

As Maskeen finally got away from the crowd he could not find Chundawadi in all the commotion and wondered home. His favourite daughter met him on route. She had seen what was happening and told her father. But Maskeen was a broken man, he did not care what happened to him, he shuffled to his house and went straight to the munja and lay on it fully expecting the whole thing to collapse into the hole underneath, but nothing happened. His little daughter ran to him and peered underneath “Papa, I can see a man in robes holding up your munja” she shouted. He knew, he just knew. Maskeen jumped off the bed and before he knew it Guru Nanak Dev Ji stood before him. He fell to his knees placing his head on Guru Jis feet. Guru Ji sat him down. “Oh Maskeen, you were willing to lose everything for me, I am now here for you” 

Guru Sahib Ji blessed him and said that he would be remembered for always. 

Fifth saroop, Guru Arjan Dev Ji adds Maskeens name to the 15th Sloke in Sukhmani Sahib Ji – “ Sukhi vasay Maskeenia aap nivaar tallay, wudday wuddy hunkarian Nanak garab gallay. 

Elisabeth Meru - The Journey Home

June 13, 2012 by Guruka Singh - Elisabeth Meru 

Posted ImageElisabeth Meru is a very unique individual. She was born in Hamburg, Germany and now lives in Munich. She has written short stories, journalistic pieces and poetry for radio stations and several newspapers and journals.
The Guru's miracle manifested in her life after 24 years spent searching for God when she visited the Gurdwara in Munich, Germany for the first time and first heard Gurbani Kirtan. 
In this moment she knew: "I'm coming home."

Years of listening and seva followed. She converted to Sikhism (after 7 years) and in collaboration with other Sikhs, wrote her first book about this religion.
Elisabeth Meru taught herself Gurmukhi. She also has a knowledge of writing, reading and talking Hindi.

The book "From the Heart of Sikhism - Guru Nanak Dev Ji - In your quiet rose garden" was written by Elisabeth Meru for Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 540th birthday. This book contains legends about the ten Gurus, their wisdom and teachings as well her own poems, fables and a fairytale in German style.

For her book "Sikhs und Sikhismus, Religion, Riten und der Goldene Tempel" ("Sikhs and Sikhism. Religion, rites and the Golden Temple", 2006) she worked together with other Sikhs living in Germany.

On November 13, 2009, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, in Amritsar, Punjab, India, bestowed the Siropa on Elisabeth Meru in recognition of her work and her service to Sikhism.

In her own words....
The Rainbow Road 
During my long search (24 years) for GOD I found Sikhism by myself, just as I adopted the Salvar Kamiz, my favourite clothes even when I am in Germany, without anyone influencing me. When I became a vegetarian more than twenty years ago, Indian cuisine was the logical thing to turn to. Among my favourite dishes are Mattar Caval, Makkhan Parantha and Alu Parantha. As I absolutely love sweet foods, my favourites, apart from German chocolate, are Jalebi, Kheer, Kulfi and a sort of small yellowish globules, whose name I keep forgetting.

Once I turned to Sikhism, I regularly went to the Gurdwara. There I met a Sikh and we married. I taught him German and built a new life for him. Without either of us being aware of it, his immense knowledge made him my teacher in all things related to Sikhism, and I introduced much of what I learned from him into my first book, "Sikhs and Sikhism, Religion, Rites and the Golden Temple." But before I could write this book, almost seven years passed also with Seva. While I was still working on the book together with other Sikhs, my husband left me. Fortune will run its course, but I kept part of my Sikh-family in the Punjab and still have a home there. After I had finished my book, I parted ways with the Sikhs.

I was on my own after that, but my heart kept crying steadily for Guru Nanak Dev Ji – maybe this was the reason that I was allowed to write the book "From the Heart of Sikhism – Guru Nanak Dev Ji – In your quiet rose garden."

While looking for suitable illustrations I asked some Sikhs from the Sangat for help, without much success. After a long time I finally found all the pictures I wanted in the fantastic libraries of our Munich University. My book contains over thirty pages with full-colour illustrations, among them Wood and ivory mosaics in the Golden Temple, and Front Elevation of the Carved Door in Amritsar, Gates from the Punjab (17th century), flowers and birds. The oldest picture dates from 1749. Also included were many smaller illustrations.

There is no market in Germany for books on Sikhism, and there is hardly a publisher that will invest in Sikhism. Therefore my mother, a good friend and her mother bore the expenses for my small team of collaborators, for the graphic design, the printing (the German version was printed in offset) and everything else related to my book.
When my book "From the Heart of Sikhism – Guru Nanak Dev Ji – In your quiet rose garden" was published I got a wonderful flyer from my graphic designer.
Posted Image
After that, I wrote my book "Sikhism – Wellspring of Love." This book also was paid for by German friends and with the help of an unexpected amount of money, but when I turned to the Sikh Sangat with my wonderful flyer, I received a surprising amount of help. In the end, two Sikhs sponsored illustrations.

Then something incredible happened: A Sikh living in Germany had read my last two books and contacted me to offer me financial support for writing a new book on Sikhism. This book should be addressed to the young Sikh generation living in Germany who are cut off from their roots as a growing number of them speak only little Panjabi, cannot read Gurmukhi and can hardly speak enough English to be able to read good books on Sikhism. Thus I could write the book "Guru Granth Sahib Ji Essence and Sikh Terminology from A to Z", which I had already been working on but lacked the money to publish. My Sikh sponsor, who prefers to remain nameless, is not rich, and I asked him for money only for my small team and for costs related to the book, but not for myself. What could I have taken for work that lasted months? This book as well I regard as Seva.

But the positive things kept coming: As I turned for help to the Sikh Sangat, the resonance was huge and a Canadian Sikh Institute translated about 600 names and religious terms from Sikhism into Gurmukhi script, as I wanted to give all these terms correctly. This was a huge amount of work. I then prepared everything for my friend, an Indologist who is fluent in Punjabi / Gurmukhi, but cannot check her translations. I should also mention my team, among whom are another Indologist, a translator with a Ph.D. in English Literature, a linguist, a musician and some students of Indology.

But let me get back to the Sikh Sangat. I found the cover picture for "Guru Granth Sahib Ji Essence and Sikh Terminology from A to Z" via a Sikh Heritage. The important thing about this picture was that it did not pander to clichés, but I left the final decision to my Sikh sponsor.

The next thing I want to work on is a book on Sikh martyrs, whose structure is already clear to me. Some of the chapters from this book have appeared here on SikhNet.