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Swami Dayanand & Satyarth Prakash (light Of Truth)


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Guest amar_jkp

Swami Dayananda (1825-1883) was a “giant figure” of the nineteenth century British-India. He is the founder of Arya Samaj.

The nineteenth century Punjab started off with a new era full of hope and peace under the kingship of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This was a significant event considering the centuries of persecution and bloodshed that had plagued the Punjab landscape under the onslaughts of foreign forces both pre-Islamic and Islamic. For roughly four decades, people of Punjab truly experienced a climate of peace and they thereby demonstrated the reservoir to freely interact and live at peace with their neighbors—a fine example of a true pluralistic society. After 1839, upon Ranjit Singh’s death, the ruling family and its elite propelled in a rapid downward spiral, as a result of which by 1849, a breed of new foreigners entered and colonized Punjab: the British administration, Christian missionaries by the busload, and the Bengali Babus--collectively changing the ruling mantle.

Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular were unprepared to face these new ruling actors. While the East India Company was consolidating its powers, the Christian missions opened new evangelical centers, and the Bengali Babus were pitching in to spread the gospel of modern Hinduism. This was simply too much for Punjabis to handle. Their lives were about to change irremediably: Punjab was set up for the next wave of ideological invasion. It started off with Swami Dayananda’s infamous journey to Punjab. With roughly three decades of western education, Christianity, and a new set of circumstances, the Punjabis had no inkling what was in store for them with this new man on the horizon. This debate will explore that. Swami’s itinerary in Punjab is listed here: (taken from: Life & Teachings of Swami Dayanand by Bawa Chhajju Singh)

Ludhiana

March 31, 1877

April 19, 1877

Lahore

April 19, 1877

July 5, 1877

Amritsar

July 5, 1877

August 17, 1877

Gurdaspur

August 17, 1877

August 26, 1877

Amritsar

August 26, 1877

September 13, 1877

Jullundhar

September 13, 1877

October 17, 1877

Lahore

October 17, 1877

October 26, 1877

Ferozepur

October 26, 1877

November 5, 1877

Lahore

November 5, 1877

November 7, 1877

Rawalpindi

November 8, 1877

December 26, 1877

Jhelum

December 27, 1877

January 13, 1878

Gujrat

January 13, 1878

February 2, 1878

Wazirabad

February 2, 1878

February 7, 1878

Gujranwala

February 7, 1878

March 3, 1878

Lahore

March 3, 1878

March 12, 1878

Multan

March 12, 1878

April 16, 1878

Lahore

April 17, 1878

May 15, 1878

Amritsar

May 15, 1878

July 11, 1878

Jullundhar

July 1878

July 1878

Ludhiana

July 1878

July 1878

At Amritsar, until September 13, 1877, the Swami stayed in a posh house near the Ram Bagh Gate as a guest of Sardar Dayal Singh of Majithia. The reader should take note from the itinerary that Swami stayed at Amritsar off and on for a good amount of time. You would at least expect Swami to have paid a visit to the Golden Temple. But he didn’t. Why is that important? In his Satyarth Prakash, (page 393) Swami’s own version of the Bible, he recorded this about Amritsar and the Golden Temple in a question-answer format:

Q.--- The lake at Amritsar is verily nectar itself. One half of a fruit of Sapindus Detergens is sweet (whilst the other half is bitter)…. Are these things also not worthy of belief?

A.--- No. that lake in Amritsar (Amrit—nectar, sar—lake) only. When the place (where the town of Amritsar is situated) was a jungle, the water must have been good and sweet, hence it was named Amritsar (lake) or a lake of sweet water. Had it been real nectar, no one (as held by the followers of the Puranas) ought to have died there….

While staying at Amritsar, Swami could have easily walked or taken a simple ride for a short distance to the Golden Temple to examine for himself his answer about the water. Or he could have verified whether his version of how Amritsar was named was indeed correct. Having failed to do so underscores his tragic lack of willingness to double check his version of facts. His narcissistic personality coupled with willful negligence and refusal to listen to others with opposing points of views sowed the seeds of inter-religious distrusts that finally axed Punjab. So many educated Punjabi Hindus instead of mounting effective countermeasures against him actually fell into his trap. The tragedy was double. Not only did Swami, a Gujarati man, fool the educated Hindu Punjabi elite, they reciprocated by following the dictates of self-destruction.

This is the first time an open skeptical inquiry is being held on the Swami. Making sure the debate is balanced I contacted who’s who of the Arya Samajists, inviting them for the purpose that they might wish to support the views of their savior Swami. A number of Arya Samajists were cordial and helped me earnestly to find someone within their ranks who could just do that: defend Swami’s bizarre outpourings against Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, and the Sikhs in general. To date, no Arya Samajist has come forward to debate this topic in the e-Symposium.

Swami’s visit to Punjab brought forth another facet. He noticed that Punjab was in the clutches of the Christian missionaries and with the meager exception of some rudimentary Hindu groups trying to counter them, the rest of the masses were blissfully sleeping. Swami’s prescriptions to counter the missionaries were overshadowed by other communal forces that he himself unleashed in Punjab.

What transpired between Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs etc. during the years after Swami’s departure are not under discussion here. Nor is the discussion of Swami’s hijacking of the Vedas via his concocted methodologies. In much fashion of our scrutiny, this debate’s parameter encircles Swami’s Punjab related activities and in particular analysis of his caustic remarks against the Sikh Gurus. Our inquiry is important for another reason that two biographies of the Swami authored by Lala Rajpat Rai The Arya Samaj, An account of its Aims, Doctrine and Activities with a Biographical Sketch of the Founder (1915), and Bawa Chhajju Singh’s, Life and Teachings of Swami Dayananda (1903), both Punjabi authors and both quite possibly connected with Sikh backgrounds totally ignored to spell a word of Swami’s remarks against the Sikh Gurus. In order to fully grasp the contents of this e-Symposium I urge readers to read the materials presented in the following sequence.

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Guest amar_jkp

Swami’s Literature & Satyarth Prakash

Swami Dayananda Saraswati had a flair for writing. During his somewhat short life, he produced quite a massive literature. Professor J.T.F. Jordens in his book “Dayananda Sarasvati: His Life and Ideas” compiled an exhaustive list of Swami’s voluminous literature. The following is an adaptation:

Books and pamphlets (in chronological order)

1. Sandhya, published by the Jwalaprakash Press, Agra, 1863. This book is not available.

2. Bhagavata-Khandanam, published in Agra in 1864. A copy of this work was discovered recently, and published with notes by Y. Mimamshak, Sonipat, 1971.

3. Advaitamat-Khandanam, published by the Light Press, Banaras, 1870. This book is

4. Satyarth Prakash, first edition, published by the Star Press, Banaras, 1875. Few copies are available.

5. Panchamahayajnavidhi, first edition, Bombay, 1875. This edition has not been recovered. A second revised edition was published by Lazarus Press, Banaras in 1878. Many reprints of this edition are available.

6. Vedaviruddhmatkhandana, published by the Nimaysagar Press, Bombay, 1875.

7. Vedantidhwantanivarana, published by the Oriental Press, Bombay, 1875.

8. Shikshapatridhwantanivarana, with a Gujarati translation by Shyamji Krishnavarma, published by the Oriental Press, Bombay, 1876.

9. Aryabhivinaya, published by the Aryamandal Press, Bombay, 1876.

10. Sanskarvidhi, first edition, published by the Asiatic Press, Bombay, 1877. Only very few copies of this edition are available.

11. Rigvedadibhashyabhumika, published first in sixteen fascicules, from 1877 onwards, by the Lazarus Press; the last two were published by the Nirnaysagar Press, Bombay, 1878. The best edition available is that edited by Y. Mimamshak, Amritsar, 1967.

12. Bhrantinivaralla, published in 1887, probably at the Arya-Bhushan-Yantralay, Shahjahanpur. Available in the edition published by Govindram Hasanand, Delhi, 1952.

13. Aryoddheshya Ratnamala, published by the Chashmanur Press, Amritsar, 1878.

14. Vedabhashya, published in monthly fascicules. The first fourteen issues were published by the Lazarus Press, Banaras, from 1877; the rest were published by the Vedic Yantralay, in 1880 in Banaras, in 1881-91 in Allahabad, and from 1891 in Ajmer. Fifty-one fascicules each of the Rigvedabhashya and of the Yajurvedabhashya were published during the Swami's lifetime. The publication of the remaining manus­cript continued after the Swami's death. It took another six years to publish the rest of the Yajurvedabhiishya, which covers the whole book. The Rigvedabhashya, which only goes up to RV.7.4.60, took sixteen years to complete. Both commentaries are available in the edition published by the Vedic Press, Ajmer, the former in four volumes, and the latter in nine.

15. Autobiography, written in Hindi by the Swami, and published in an English translation in The Theosophist in three installments: vol. 1 (Oct. 1879), pp. 9-13; vol. 1(Dec. 1879), pp.66-8; vol. II (Nov. 1880), pp. 24-6. The Hindi version was recently recovered by the Paropkarini Sabha, Ajmer, and was published with the English version from The Theosophist in Paropkari 17, no.5 (March 1975).

16. Ashtadhyayi-Bhashya, not completed, and not published in the Swami's lifetime. It has been partly published by Pandit Raghuvir, Ajrner, vol. I in 1927, vol. II in 1949.

17. Gotama-Ahalya ki Katha, was published by 1879, place unknown. Not available.

18. Sanskrit Vakya Prabodh, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras, 1880.

19. Vyavaharabhanu, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras, 1880.

20. Bhramocchedan, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras, 1880.

21. Anubhramocchedan, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras, 1880.

22. Vedangaprakash, published in fourteen parts by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras and Allahabad, from 1880 to 1883. All parts are available from the Vedic Press, Ajmer.

23. Gokarunanidhi, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Allahabad, 1881.

24. Satyarth Prakash, second revised edition, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Allahabad, 1884. Numerous editions are available.

25. Sanskarvidhi, second revised edition, published by the Vedic Yantralay, Allahabad, 1884.

Reports of disputations and lectures (in chronological order)

26. Shastrarth-Kashi, first published by the Light Prss, Banaras, 1869. Another version was published by Pandit Satyavrat Samashrarni in The Hindu Commentator of Dec. 1869.

27. Shastrarth-Hugli, first published in a Bengali version at Calcutta in 1873, which has so far not been recovered. Later a Hindi version was published by Harischandra Bharatendu at the Light Press, Banaras, in 1873, under the title Pratima-Pujan-Vichar.

28. Puna-Pravachana, first published in a Marathi version, and in a Gujarati translation, in 1875. Later translated into Hindi and published in Ajmer, 1893. None of these are available in full.

29. Shastrarth-Jalandhar, published at the Panjabi Press, Lahore, 1877.

30. Shastrarth-Mela-Chandapur, first published in Urdu in 1878, but this edition not been found. Later both a Hindi and an Urdu version were published by the Vedic Yantralay, Banaras, 1880, under the title: Satyadharm Vichar.

31. Shastrarth-Bareli, first published under the title Satyiisatya-Vivek in an Urdu version by the Aryabhushan Press, Shajahanpur, 1879.

32. Shastrath-Ajmer, first published in Hindi and Urdu in the Aryadarpan of Ajmer, June 1880.

33. Shastrarth-Masuda, first published in the Deshahitaishi of Ajmer, 1880.

34. Shastrarth-Udaypur, held in December 1882, not published during the Swami's lifetime. The manuscript notes of this discussion were recovered by Lekhram and published in his biography of Dayananda.

Letters and notices

35. Rishi Dayananda ka Patravyavahar. A collection of letters received by the Swami, and also of some written by him. Edited by Munshiram Jijnasu, Gurukul Kangri, vol. I in 1910, vol. 11 in 1935.

36. Rishi Dayananda Saraswati ke Patra aur Vijnapan. Collection of letters and notices written by Dayananda. First edition by Pandit Bhagavad­datta, Lahore, 1945; second revised and enlarged edition by Y. Mimamshak, Amritsar, 1955.

37. Rishi Dayananda Saraswati ke Patra aur Vijnapanon ke Parishisht, ed. Y. Mimamshak, Amritsar. 1958.

There had never been a doubt that of all Swami Dayananda’s corpus of literature, the Satyarth Prakash holds a special place; so much so it is the Bible of the Arya Samaj. I admit I had not been able to procure the copy of the first edition (1875) of Satyarth Prakash. Keep in mind that this first edition was published before Swami went to Punjab. However, the second edition (1884) of Satyarth Prakash, which was completed by Swami Dayananda in 1882, only a few years after he had completed his Punjab trip, is readily available. To date, I believe there are three English translations available which are:

1. “AUM An English Translation of the Satyarth Prakash” by Durga Prasad. This was published in 1908, and then republished in 1970.

Satyarth Prakash translated by Shri Durga Prasad

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2. “The Light of Truth, English Translation of Swami Dayanand’s Satyarth Prakasha” by Ganga Prahad Upadhyaya in 1956; the Kala Press, Allahabad.

3. “Om Light of Truth or an English Translation of the Satyarth Prakash” by Dr. Chiranjiva Bharadwaja. The date of the first edition is probably 1915; however, the 1984 edition is widely available.

For the benefit of the readers, I provide here the two English translations by Durga Prasad and Dr. Bharadwaja. These narratives specifically refer to what Swami Dayananda had written about the Sikh Gurus and the Sikhs in chapter 11 of his second edition (1884) of Satyarth Prakash. Please read them carefully

from Durga Prasad translation]

St. Nanak’s Religion

Q--- In the country of the Punjab St. Nanak taught a religion. He condemned idol-worship and saved the Hindus from conversion to Mahomedanism. He did not turn a monk but remained a family man. He taught the following formula of his creed, which shows that his object was good:

Om. He whose name is true, is the Creator, all pervading Being, free from fear and hatred, of deathless form, who is not bound by time or birth, self-glorious. Repeat His name by the favor of the Teacher. He existed from all beginning of eons, exists in the present, and, O Nanak, will exist in the future.

A--- St. Nanak’s motive was righteous, but he had no scholastic knowledge at all. However, he certainly knew the language of the country which prevails in villages. He did not at all know the Vedas and other scriptures and Sanscrit. Had he known the Sanscrit language, how could he write the word nirbhaya as nirbho? Another instance of his unacquaintance with Sanscrit is a Sanscrit prayer composed by him. He wanted to make an attempt at Sanscrit composition. But can Sanscrit be known without study? However, he might have passed as a Sanscrit scholar by making those Sanscrit verses among the villagers who had never heard a word of Sanscrit before. He would never have done it but for his desire for popularity, honor, and fame. He must have had a desire of honour, for else he should have preached in the language which he knew. He should have said that he never studied Sanscrit.

Since he had some pride, he wished to commit arrogance for the sake of honor and esteem. It is on this account that the calumniation and praise of the Vedas are found here and there in his book; for, had he not done so, some one would have asked the meaning of the Vedas, and had he not been able to tell it, he would have lost his respect. So he would sometimes speak from the first against the Vedas before his disciples. In some places he spoke in favor of the Vedas in his book, for if he had not said well of them, the people would have set him down for an atheist. Thus:--

Brahma died though versed in the Vedas, all the four Vedas are tales. O Nanak, the Veda does not know the greatness of a saint. The knower of the Brahman is himself the Great God.

Were the scholars of the Vedas no more and dead? Did Nanak and others consider themselves to be immortal? Are they not dead? The Veda is the treasury of all knowledge, but all his chatterings who calls the four Vedas tales, are myths themselves. Since ignorant men are called saints, they cannot know the worth of the Vedas. If St. Nanak had revered the Vedas only, his sect would not have come into existence, nor would he have become a teacher; for, he did not study Sanscrit, and how could he then teach it to others and make them his pupils? It is true that when St. Nanak lived in the Punjab, the country was destitute of the knowledge of Sanscrit and was oppressed by the Mahomedans. He saved some people from Mahomedanism at the time.

There were not many followers of Nanak in his time; for, it is a rule with the ignorant that they make their teacher saint after his death, and then magnifying his greatness apotheosise him. No doubt, St. Nanak was not a rich or noble man. But his disciples describe him to be a great saint and a very opulent man in the Nanak-chandrodaya, Janam-sakhi and other books. It is also written there that St. Nanak met Brahma and other gods, and had a long talk with them, who all honoured him. There was no counting of the number of his horses, chariots, elephants, and things studded with gold, silver, pearls, rubies, and other precious stones. Now, what are these things but pure fiction? In this matter it is the disciples to blame, and not St. Nanak.

Sects of Sikhism

Then the Udasi sect sprung from his son, the Nirmala sect following Ram Das and other teachers, and other sects established themselves as distinct churches. They composed verses and included them in the Granth (Bible of the Sikhs). No insertion of anybody’s verses took place after Guru Gobind Singh, their tenth teacher. But all the small books then extant were collected and bound in one volume. They wrote many verses after St. Nanak, and several of them made various kinds of mythical tales like those of Puranas. They set themselves up as in possession of the knowledge of God and so claiming to be God gave up doing good works & saying prayer, a Vedantic doctrine, to which their followers, the common Sikhs, were more and more attracted, and which brought on much deterioration. On the other hand, had they practised the teachings of St. Nanak who wrote much of devotion to and adoration of God, they would have fared well. Now as they are, the Udasis1 say that they are superior to all the rest, the Nirmalas2 claim the same right, the Akalis3 and Sutrasayis4 assert their superiority over others.

1. Recluses, 2. The Pure, 3. Immortals, 4. Thread-wearers

Guru Gobind Singh

Of these successors of St. Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh was the bravest and most valorous. He wanted to avenge the pain and torture the Mahomedans had inflicted on his ancestors. But he had no means to achieve his end, and the Mahomedan power was at its height. He held a religious ceremony and gave out that he was given a boon and a sword by the Goddess who ordered him to wage war against the Mahomedans in which he was to gain victory. Whereupon many men followed him. He appointed five essentials, each beginning with K, to be always observed alter the manner of the Wam Marg sect, who keep five things beginning with M, and of the Chakrankit sect which observes five Sunscars or ceremonies. But his five k’s were useful in war. They are--1. the kesh or hair, which afford some protection against the blows of the sword or club in a battle; 2. the kangan or quoit, which the Sikhs keep on the head round the turbans, the karha, a bracelet worn on the wrist, protecting both the hand and the head; 3. the kachh or a pair of breeches, which protects & covers the buttocks and which is very convenient in running and jumping, as in the case of athletes in wrestling in the arena and the acrobats in their gymnastic exercises, guarding their vitals and offering no impediment; 4. the kanga or comb, which dresses the hair; 5. the kachoo or knife, which is used in a hand to hand fight with the enemy. Thus this custom was instituted by Guru Gobind Singh out of his great wisdom in consideration of those times. Now, the keeping of them in these days is of no use. But the Sikhs regard these things which, were useful for the purpose of war, as part and parcel of their religion.

Bibliolatry in Sikhism

Though they perform no idol-worship, yet they worship their Granth (Holy Writ) more idolatrously. Is it not idolatry? Idolatry is bowing to or worshipping any material object. They have done exactly the same thing as the idolaters, who have made idolatry a very lucrative business. Just as the idolaters, like so many shop-keepers exposing their things on the stall, exhibit their idols to the people at large and receive presents to their gods; so do the followers of the religion of St. Nanak worship the Granth, allow it to be worshipped, and receive presents to it.

These people, who follow the Granth, do not respect the Vedas as much as the idolaters. It is not improper to say that they have neither heard the Vedas, nor read them. What else can they do? When the wise men who are not begots and perverts, hear or read the Vedas, they adopt the Vedic religion, in whatever sect they may be. However, the Sikhs have cast off many absurdities in the matter of eating. In the same manner, as they have done here, if they give up sensuousness and wicked pride and promote the Vedic religion, they will do a world of good.

Satyarth Prakash translated by Dr. Chiranjiva Bharadwaja

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[from Dr. Chiranjiva Bharadwaja translation]

Q -- Nanak has founded a sect in the Punjab. He refuted idol worship and saved many people from embracing Mohammedanism. Moreover, he never became a Sadhu and instead remained a householder. He taught the following Mantra:-

“He whose name is Truth is the Maker (of the Universe), the all-pervading Being, who is Nirbhau (free from fear and enmity), is beyond reach of time, is never born and is all-glorious Being. Worship Him (O disciple!) May your preceptor help you to do it. The Supreme spirit lived in the beginning of the Creation, lives in the present and shall live in the future.”

Now the perusal of this mantra makes it quite clear that the object of Nanak in founding the sect was good.

A-- The aim of Nanak was, no doubt, good, but he did not possess any learning and was merely acquainted with the dialect of the (Punjabi) villagers among whom he was born. He was quite ignorant of the Vedas and Shastras and of Sanskrit, otherwise why he should have written Nirbhau instead of Nirbhaya. Another proof of his ignorance of the Sanskrit language is his composition called Sanskrit hymns (Satotras). He wanted to show that he had some pretention to the knowledge of Sanskrit. But how could one know Sanskrit without learning it? It is possible that he might have passed for a Sanskrit scholar before those ignorant villagers who had never heard a man speak Sanskrit. He could never have done unless he was anxious to gain public applause, fame and glory. He must have sought after fame or he would have preached in the language he knew and told the people that he had not read Sanskrit.

Since he was a little vain, he may possibly have even resorted to some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame, hence it is that his book called Grantha the Vedas have been praised as well as censured, because had he not done so, someone might have asked him the meaning of the Vedic Mantra and as he would not have been able to explain it he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people. Anticipating this difficult, he, from the first, denounced the Vedas here and there, but occasionally also spoke well of the Vedas, because had he not done so, the people would have called him a Nastika, i.e., and atheist or the reviler of the Vedas. For instance, it is recorded in the Grantha, “Even Brahma who constantly read the Vedas died. All the four Vedas are a mere fiction. The Vedas can never realize the greatness of a Sadhu.” Sukhmani, 7:8.

Nanak says that a man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God.” Sukhmani, 8: 6.

Q-- If the scholar of the Vedas like Brahma are dead, have not Nanak, etc. also shared the same fate. Did they consider themselves immortal? The Vedas are a mine of all kinds of knowledge. Whatever a man, who calls the Vedas mere fiction, says, is a mere fabrication. If the word Sadhus is another name for idiots, how can they ever understand the greatness of the Vedas? Had Nanak held up the Vedas alone as the supreme authority, he would have not succeeded in founding his sect, nor would he have been recognized as a Guru (master). As he was quite ignorant of Sanskrit, he would not have been able to teach others and thereby make them his disciples. It is true though that in Nanak’s time the Punjab was altogether destitute of Sanskrit learning and was groaning under the tyranny of Mohammedans. He did save some persons from embracing Mohammedanism. Nanak in his lifetime had not many followers, nor did his sect flourish much. But it is a habit with the ignorant that they make a saint of their Guru after his death, then invest him with a halo (of glory) and believe him to be an incarnation of God.

Nanak was neither a rich man, nor was he one of the aristocracy and yet his followers have written in Nanak Chandrodaya and Janamsakhi that he was a great saint who possessed miraculous powers, met Brahma and other (sages of yore), had long talks with them, all paid homage on the occasion of his marriage when he went to marry his bride, he had a long procession of horses, carriages and elephants ornamented with silver, gold, pearls and diamonds. All this is recorded in the above mentioned books. Now what are these but yarns spun by his followers. It is his followers who are to blame for this and not Nanak. After his death, the sect of Udasees originated with his son, while that of Nirmalas, with Ram Das etc. Many a successor to the throne of Nanak have incorporated his writings in the Grantha. The tenth Guru of the Sikhs was Guru Gobind. Since his time no addition has been made to it, but instead, all the smaller books that were extant then were collected to together and bound in one volume (and the name Granth was given to it).

The successors of Nanak wrote various treatises; some of them invented fictitious stories like those of the Puranas, and acting on the precept, “The man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God,” arrogated to themselves Divine privileges. Their followers renounced the practice of good works and Divine contemplation and, instead, paid their Gurus the homage due to God. Thus has been done a great mischief. It would have been very good had these men kept on worshiping God in the way pointed out by Nanak. Now, the Udasees claim to be superior to all others, while the Nirmalas make the same claim for themselves. The Akalees and Suthreshahees hold that they are above all. Gobind Singh was indeed a very brave man among the followers of Nanak. The Mohammedans had oppressed his people very much. He was anxious to revenge himself on them, but he had neither men nor the necessary material for the purpose whilst the Mohammedans were at the zenith of their power. He, therefore, resorted to a stratagem. He gave it out that the goddess had given him sword and a blessing: “Go forth and fight against the Mohammedans. You shall win.” He gained many supporters from amongst the people. He (appointed) five kakars, i.e., five articles all beginning with the letter K as the signs of his faith just like five makers of Vama Margis – and five Sanskars of Chakrankits. The five Kakars of the Sikhs were of great use in fighting. They are as follows: -

Kesha – long unshaven hair – this protects the head, to some extent, against blows from sticks and sword thrusts.

Kangan – a big iron ring worn by akalees on their turban, Kara – an iron bangle worn on the wrist which helps to protect the wrist and head.

Kachha – a kind of knickers used in running and jumping, very commonly used by wrestlers and acrobats for the same purpose. It protects most vital parts of the body as well makes the movements free.

Karda - a double edged knife useful in hand–to-hand fight with the enemy.

Kanga - a comb for dressing the hair.

Gobind Singh, through his wisdom, started the practice of wearing these five articles. They were very useful for the time in which he lived, but they are of no use at the present time. (It is strange--that) these things which were required to be used because of being of great use in fighting (with the enemy) have now come to be regarded as part and parcel of the religion of the Sikhs. It is true that they do not practice idolatry but they worship the Grantha even more than idols. Now is not this idolatry?

To bow down before a material object or worship it is idolatry. They ply their trade just like all other idolaters and make a good living by it. Just as the idolater priest show idols (in the temples) to the visitors and receive (gifts offered by them to idols). Likewise do the followers of Nanak worship the Grantha and teach others to do the same and receive what is offered to it. The followers of the Grantha do not show the same amount of respect to the Vedas as do the Puranics. Of course it can be urged in their defense, that these people had neither even read the Vedas, nor heard them being read, they could not, therefore, be blamed for showing scant respect to them. If they were to read the Vedas, or hear being read, those among them who are free from prejudice and bigotry, would no doubt embrace the Vedic religion. It is greatly to the credit of these people that they have done away with various troublesome and useless restrictions in the matter of eating and drinking, it will be very good thing indeed if they would also free themselves from sensualism, vanity and false pride and advance the cause of Vedic religion.

Guru Nanak & Sikhs as Perceived by Swami Dayananda

A Commentary

- G.B. Singh

Written in a dialogue form, Swami puts out a question and then answers it. I am not averse to this kind of narration. At the very outset, the Swami refers to <> (Ik-Ongkar) as OM, which of course is inaccurate. Swami didn’t know Punjabi language nor did he know the Gurmukhi alphabets. Given his total ignorance why Swami would set himself for ridicule? Was he really under any compulsion to resort to committing errors which he should have known would ultimately catch up to haunt his memory? Nevertheless, Swami seems to like the opening verses of Guru Granth within the framework of merely stating a question and then lashes out at Guru Nanak once he commences to answer.

It is obvious from what Dayanand wrote about Guru Nanak and the Sikhs that the Swami didn’t know about the existence of Punjabi language. How he reaches the conclusion that Guru Nanak was devoid of scholastic knowledge or even of the Sanskrit language is left unscratched. Dayanand alleges that Nanak was ignorant of the Vedas, and Shastras. With respect to Nanak’s lack of Sanskrit language, Swami provided two evidences: (1) because Nanak wrote the word “nirbhau” instead of “nirbhaya,” and (2) Nanak composed “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).”

I am baffled at the Swami. Guru Nanak being a Punjabi person is communicating in that language to the masses who understand that particular language well. Why would Swami penalize Nanak for speaking his mother tongue? Because the Guru used “nirbhau” which underscores Nanak’s love for his mother-tongue that in turn has absolutely no connotation (negative or positive) for any other language including Sanskrit. Swami is not being rational here, and I am afraid this is just the beginning. While giving his second evidence of Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit, Swami says that Nanak composed “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).” If Nanak truly composed these “satotras” then it is inherently clear that Nanak knew Sanskrit. The question is when and where did Nanak compose these Sanskrit hymns? Moreover, how did Swami know that these hymns are in Sanskrit because he could not read Gurmukhi? Did someone else read the so-called “satotras” to him? And, how did Swami conclude that they are in Sanskrit?

We have no evidence in place of Nanak composing “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).” First, Swami tells us unequivocally that Nanak was ignorant of Sanskrit. This is followed by two examples which negate totally his first supposition. This feat of irrationality and flawed logic is accomplished in the same paragraph within the confines of a few lines.

Additionally, Swami throws more jabs at Guru Nanak and the Punjabi people. In this process the Swami commits blunders by resorting to logical flaws. If Nanak wanted to show off his knowledge of Sanskrit—as Swami alleges—then there must have been audiences who were listening to Nanak and that particular audience must also known the Sanskrit language. How else would the audience be awed by Nanak’s knowledge of that language? Differently put, if Nanak didn’t know Sanskrit and wanted to show off to his village listeners, who themselves knew no Sanskrit, then is it really a show off? Wouldn’t it be silly for Nanak to resort to such fruitless deception? One may ask how is it possible for any person to attain fame, glory, and applause by speaking Sanskrit or even showing off to the ignorant masses of Punjab who knew nothing about Sanskrit?

Had there been an encounter between the Swami and Guru Nanak, the Guru would have politely reminded him that people of Punjab don’t speak Sanskrit; in fact Sanskrit is a foreign language for them. Let alone Punjab, if we think rationally it will dawn upon us that not a single regional language of the sub-continent has ever been Sanskrit.

Furthermore, it would have been commendable had Dayanand given us examples of Guru Nanak’s verses where the Guru has condemned the Vedas and also praised them. Swami appears to suggest that since Nanak used both avenues (praise and condemnation) of Vedas, the masses couldn’t call Nanak an atheist, and had he resorted to condemnation of Vedas only (without any praise) then he would have been called an atheist. In this imaginary scenario, logically flawed that it is, Swami has tried to give the impression as if Punjabi masses knew the Vedas, which also means that they were knowledgeable of Sanskrit language! Earlier Swami had told us that these masses in Punjab didn’t know Sanskrit. At this stage if you are getting confused because of profound inconsistencies and contradictions, you are not alone.

Regarding the absurdities of Swami’s direct quotes of the two verses from Sukhmani, I will ask the reader to read other critical commentaries incorporated in this e-Symposium. I might just make one comment here that Sukhmani was authored by Guru Arjan and not by Guru Nanak. This simply points to the fact that Swami’s knowledge of Guru Granth is negligible, and in all likelihood he relied on someone else for information related to the Sikh scripture.

I am aware of Udasis, Nirmalas, and Akalees, mostly fringe groups outside mainstream Sikhs, and I am at a loss as to who are Suthreshahees? Moreover, what is Nanak Chandrodaya? Didn’t Swami forget to mention Nihangs who had threatened to kill him upon his uttering disparaging remarks about Sikhism while in Amritsar? There are many such examples of Dayanand’s mindless ramblings, but I will now take a closer look at his comments on Guru Gobind Singh.

Reluctantly I can make a case that Swami somewhat liked Guru Gobind Singh, which is quite odd considering Swami’s unusual personality. On page 2 of chapter 11 (page number 330 of Satyarth Prakash translated by Bharadwaja), Swami remarked,

“… Shivajee and Gobind Singh rose against Mohammedan rule and completely annihilated the Muslim rule in India.”

Given Dayanand’s anti-Islamic rhetoric one can see why Swami has good words for Guru Gobind Singh who fought against Mughal tyranny. But don’t be deceived. These good words for the Guru are time restrained. They are strictly for the past as we shall see shortly. Consider Swami’s description of the 5Ks (in actuality he made it 6Ks) and how these “were of great use in fighting.”

1. Kesha (Unshorrn hair) — are there purely for the protection of head, be it from sticks and swords.

I am inclined to ask Dayananda if rishis, munis, yogis etc. have long hair for the protection of heads against attacks from sticks and swords?

2. Kangan — worn by Akalee on the turban.

Swami fails to describe Kangan and why it is supposedly worn on the turban. Had Dayanand given a thought he could make a better case for turban as “protection to head” against the sticks and swords. Notably Swami wore a turban during this phase of his life but he does not acknowledge this fact.

3. Kara — iron bangle worn on the wrist. Why? Swami alleges Kara is for protection of wrist and head. Protecting wrist via Kara may be plausible; however suggesting Kara to be protective of head is simply nonsense.

4. Kachha — Swami’s description of Kachha for athletic purposes is plausible and in some remote sense it is conceivable that Kachha might protect precious gonads. From his description, it implies that Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the wearing of Kachha to protect the vital gonads in times of war against Muslims? Swami does not elaborate on it .

5. Karda — “double-edged knife” for hand-to-hand fight against the enemy. It baffles me how a knife could be an appropriate tool to fight against those wielding swords or more lethal weapons. One can forgive Swami’s knowledge of warfare being nil; someone close to him at least should have corrected him that Kirpan is not a knife. Moreover, Swami is confusing this karda with Khanda, a double-edged sword.

6. Kanga — Swami says this is a comb for “dressing the hair.” Here is an example of one “K” which has seemingly no plausible utility in warfare. In keeping with consistency, Dayanand could have ascribed some military value to a comb; like the teeth of the comb can be extremely effective in hurting the enemy in close combat conditions!

Dayanand alleges these 5Ks had been useful in warfare of the past. However, he fails to describe for us how Sikhs used them on the battleground under Guru Gobind Singh and then triumphed. This crucial detail would have come handy today. Hindus too could have used these 5ks given their precarious conditions under Islamic rule. Why didn’t they? Something that easy to adorn, the 5Ks could have saved Hindus if indeed Swami was correct in his thesis. If a person or a community can be transformed into some sort of a warrior clan simply by dressing up with 5Ks, then I believe even Hindus would not have missed this prospect long before Swami's nonsensical utterances.

Needless to say if Dayanand was true to his views, he might have had ready made warriors with full 5Ks for the sole purpose of protecting himself against many enemies of his own making! Given these 5Ks as anti-Islamic, from Swami’s perspectives, and their alleged victory against Muslims, I am inclined to think that had Swami been alive today he might have been clamoring for more 5Ks to forge an alliance on the “Global War on Terror.” With anti-Muslim fervor prevalent among many educated Hindus, you would expect these Hindus to openly promote Khalsa-hood in India and abroad!

How absurd and devious is to compare the 5Ks with five markers of Vama Margis and five Sanskars of Chakrankits? Only Dayanand could navigate such uncharted territories. I need not dwell this deeper for sake of time and maintaining decorum and civility to this symposium.

There is no evidence in place where Swami had visited a gurdwara; I am not sure if he ever had seen a copy of Guru Granth and how Sikhs conduct their religious protocols inside the gurdwara. Yet, Swami alleges that bowing head in front of the Guru Granth amounts to idol worship. Again, as expected, Swami is wrong in adopting an improper terminology to the Sikh settings. If Swami had utilized the word “veneration” to describe Sikh mode of religious services, he would have been correct. Idol worship is simply not the correct term and abusing the Hindi language to describe the situation does not speak well of Dayanand. Today there are instances where some Sikhs employ “excessive veneration” to Guru Granth. Even that is not idol worship by any stretch of imagination, as Guru Granth has message that people can read and understand.

I believe I have proven my case that Swami was wrong at just about every level of his tirade against the Sikh Gurus. A man who was ignorant of the Punjabi language, ignorant of history, and utterly hopeless in making any solid argument, how and where did he get this false information? A little more digging provides the answer.

In 1877, coinciding with Swami’s arrival in Punjab, there was published the first English translation of Guru Granth by Ernest Trumpp, titled, “The Adi Granth: or, The holy scriptures of the Sikhs /translated from the original Gurmukhi with introductory essays by Ernest Trumpp” published by Wm. H. Allen and N. Trübner, London. Ernest Trumpp (1828-1885) was a German missionary who by his own account challenged the reliability of his own translation when in frustrations he left the project incomplete. Only one-third of Guru Granth was translated in English. Reading the contents of Trumpp’s book and matching them with what Swami wrote, it appears likely that the false information lodged in the Satyarth Prakash originated from Trumpp’s book. Since Swami didn’t know English at all, did the Swami have an intermediary (today that person’s identity remains unknown) who passed the incorrect ideas to him? That in of itself doesn’t absolve the Swami of his errors and culpability. Still, it was Swami’s moral and ethical responsibility to make sure what he wrote was correct, which of course he neglected pathologically not once but on many other occasions.

Before I conclude, I mentioned elsewhere that Swami had written his first edition of Satyarth Prakash in 1875, about two years before coming to Punjab. Obviously there are marked changes from that edition compared to the second edition published in 1884 which he had concluded after his Punjab journey. I am interested in reading what Swami wrote about Sikh Gurus in his first edition of 1875. All my attempts to procure a copy of that edition have failed. However, I am thankful to Prof. Jordens who had read the first edition and from reading his book I learned that in the first edition the Swami had accused Guru Nanak of bibliolatry. In other words, Swami before coming to Punjab held a belief that Guru Nanak adored the Bible and worshipped it as an idol!

While at one place Dayanand asked Sikhs to follow Guru Nanak’s teachings, without spelling out what Nanak taught, at the same time he depicts Nanak as a fraud. Without a doubt, Swami would like Sikhs to follow the Vedic religion. Irrespective of the interpretations of the Vedic literature, Vedas have not been at the forefront of mainstream Hindus. What incentive Sikhs have to follow the Vedas? Ironically the Hindu Diaspora has built mega temples and all that you can find in them is a smorgasbord of idols. The choice is yours which idol you wish to worship or worship them all, if you so desire. Idol worship has been taken to new heights and it only shows how many Hindus of many persuasions have truly rejected the Swami. Personally I believe that idol worship is “superior” to the dangerous interpretations that Swami rendered of the ancient Vedic literature.

Conclusion

The most tragic scope of Swami’s error-ridden expose against Sikh Gurus and Sikhs is not confined to what he himself wrote but how it inspired a new breed of some fanatical Punjabi Hindu followers who were bent upon surpassing Swami’s foolishness and sloppiness. They concocted and published more wild stories against the Sikh Gurus and in the process created a climate of mutual distrust and communal animosities at the expense of seeking objective truths. At another time we should open the pages of these few important Punjabi Hindu followers and their unrelenting pursuit of inflicting heavy wounds on their fellow Punjabi Sikhs as well as on others. This was the legacy that Swami left behind.

It hardly matters whether Dayanand had intended to leave this kind of negative heritage or not, one thing is clear that he and his outlandish preaching left an indelible mark of bitter taste on Punjab’s psyche. There might be a glimmer of light here. Reading Sangat Singh’s The Sikhs in History, I learned that Swami before his untimely death decided to expunge some of the derogatory comments especially against Guru Nanak. Perhaps because of the strains of tragic last days he failed to finalize and see through his wish incorporated in the finished product of the second edition of Satyarth Prakash. Would Swami’s followers carry out his wish? I doubt it.

Undermining of Guru Nanak by Swami Dayanand

1. Bhai, Bhau, and Dar

- Devinder Singh Chahal, Prithipal Singh Saluja, and Abnash Singh

Introduction

A critical analysis of literature on Sikhism reveals that history of the Sikhs and Gurbani, incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) [1], are continuously, subtly, stealthy, and insidiously being undermined by Sikh as well as by the non-Sikh scholars. Some scholars are doing it intentionally to undermine the uniqueness and universal acceptability of the Nanakian Philosophy. Others are following such scholars without testing their writings on Gurbani, science, and logic – the touchstones of truth.

There are many such examples that undermine Gurbani. Here we will report only one, which is very old one and has been perpetuating for the last 100 years now. Recently it came up in our Discussion Group. This group has been meeting on first Sunday of every month but now it has been shifted to the second Sunday of every month after the langar at 1:30 PM in the Diwan Hall of Gurdwara Sahib Quebec, Montreal. This is a forum, which is open to Sikh youth and the elders of Montreal.

Undermining of Gurbani in Satyarth Prakash

The current topic of ‘Undermining of Gurbani’ by Swami Daya Anand {in his book, Satyarth Parkash (in Hindi)} was brought in for discussion by Mr Prithipal Singh Saluja. Although Satyarth Parkash was first published about a hundred years ago but still its reprints are appearing and spreading misinformation about the Gurbani and Guru Nanak. Therefore, it was decided to make the Sikhs aware of Swami Daya Anand’s nefarious activities of undermining of Gurbani and ridiculing Guru Nanak.

Remarks of Swami Dayanand

He wrote the Commencing Verse (commonly called Mool Mantra) of AGGS as follows (Hindi in Roman):

“Oum satnaam karta purakh nirbhau nirvaer akal murat ajuni sehbhan gur parsad. Jap adi such jugadi such hai bhi such Nanak hosi bhi such.”

Then he wrote: “Nanak has good thought but was without any education. He knew the Bhasha (language) of the villagers. He did not know Veds and Shashtars, and Sanskrit. If he knew Sanskrit he would have not written ‘nirbhau’ instead of ‘nirbhae’. This shows that he did not know Sanskrit. He wanted to enter into Sanskrit scholars but how can he learn Sanskrit without studying it. He wrote some Sanskriti words to impress the villagers, who had never heard Sanskrit.”

Dr Sahib Singh [Ref # 3 Vol. 10 – pp. 731-746] had tried to justify the use of Bau by Guru Nanak by saying that BA, By, Bau are Prakrit and Punjabi forms of Sanskrit word BX. We do not agree with his justification because Prakrit and Punjabi are ancient languages that are older than Sanskrit. It is based on the fact that Panini codified the spoken language of the Punjab (ancient Punjabi) and named it Sanskrit (adorned) and the spoken language was named as Prakrit (not adorned). Therefore, Punjabi and Prakrit are older languages than Sanskrit. (See article on “Language and Script of the AGGS” of this debate.)

Our Response (OR) to the above criticism by Swami Daya Anand (SDA) is given as follows:

SDA: He used ‘Oum’ instead of <> (should be pronounced as ‘Ik Oh ∞’, but commonly pronounced as ‘Ik Oanakaar’) while writing the Commencing Verse.

OR: He intentionally used ‘Oum’ instead of <> because many Hindu scholars had refused to accept that < is a unique and original logo devised by Guru Nanak. They have undermined it to the level of ‘Oum’ the ancient name (ikrqm nwm – specific/descriptive name) for God, which indicates the Trinity, a combination of Brahma – the Creator, Vishnu – the Sustainer, and Shiva –the Destroyer. On the contrary Guru Nanak has challenged the existence of God as Trinity because for him God is <> (‘Ik Oh ∞’ - One and Only, Oh, Infinite) [2]. It is unfortunate that many Sikh scholars of Gurbani have accepted <> as ‘Oum’ to which 1 has been added by Guru Nanak. Their concept is absolutely wrong [2].

SDA: Guru Nanak did not know Sanskrit.

OR: SDA should be aware of the fact that Guru Nanak specifically selected Punjabi, the spoken language of the masses of the Punjab to convey his philosophy, over Sanskrit. However, he had also used some Sanskrit-like words, which were commonly used by the then common people in one of his Bani. That Bani has been entitled as Sehskriti Sloks on page 1343 of AGGS to distinguish it from the rest of his Bani written in Punjabi. (For details discussion, please see article on “Language and Script of the AGGS” of this debate.)

SDA: Had Guru Nanak known Sanskrit he would have not written ‘nirbhau’ instead of ‘nirbhae’.

OR: SDA shows his poor knowledge of Punjabi language because inrBY ‘nirbhae’ is a Sanskrit word whereas inrBau ‘nirbhau’ is a Punjabi word. Any person with little knowledge of Punjabi can find out that these words are negative forms of two Punjabi words, BY ‘bhae’ and Bau ‘bhau’ which have been extensively used in Gurbani. In fact BY has been used many more times than Bau. An intelligent scholar will not criticize the work of others if he is not expert in the language in which the work to be criticized is written. It is a pity that SDA has failed very badly to understand the following Punjabi words and their meanings when used in Gurbani:

Bhau (Bau) and Nirbhau (inr + Bau –= inrBau),

Bhae (BYY) and Nirbhai (inr + BY = inrBY), and

Dar (fr)

Let us discuss these Punjabi words as used in the Gurbani.

Bhae (BY) and Bhau (Bau); Nirbhae (inrBY) and Nirbhau (inrBau)

In general ‘Bhae’ and ‘Bhau’ both means ‘fear’ and their negative forms ‘Nirbhae’ and ‘Nirbhau’ both mean ‘without fear’. But according to Dr. Sahib Singh [3] ‘Bhae’ means ‘fear’ but this ‘fear’ also means ‘fear of respect or love or regard’. For example,

mn ry scu imlY bau1 jwie ]

BY2 ibnu inrBau3 ikau QIAY gurmuiK sbid smwie ]1] rhwau ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 18. [1]

Hey mind! On realizing the Ever-Existing Entity one can get rid of fear1.

Without love/respect2, how can one comprehend the Fearless One3;

To achieve this, the Guru-oriented must immerse in (understand) the Sabd.

In the above phrases Bau has been used as ‘fear’ and BY as ‘fear for love/respect, and inBau as ‘Fearless’ for God. Same meanings are applied for BY and inBau in the following phrases:

BY ivic inrBau pwieAw ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 599.

Through the love/respect1 one attains the Fearless One2 (the God).

BY ric rhY su inrBau hoie ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 223.

Those who remain immersed in the love/respect of God become fearless.

khqu nwnku BY Bwv kw kry sIgwru ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 357

Nanak says! Adorn yourself with the love/respect (to realize the God).

BY (Bhae) also Means Laws of Universe and (BY) has been used to symbolize the Laws of Universe as is evident from the following verse of Guru Nanak:

BY ivic pvxu vhY sdvwau ] BY ivic clih lK drIAwau ]

BY ivic Agin kFY vygwir ] BY ivic DrqI dbI Bwir ]

BY ivic ieMdu iPrY isr Bwir ] BY ivic rwjw Drm duAwru ]

BY ivic sUrju BY ivic cMdu ] koh kroVI clq n AMqu ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 464.

The wind and breeze blow under the Laws of Universe.

Thousands of rivers flow under the Laws of Universe.

Fire performs* work under the Laws of Universe.

The earth is holding together (in a compact form) under the Laws of Universe (with the gravitational pull in the center).

The clouds move across the sky under the Laws of Universe.

The (so-called mythical) Righteous Judge of Dharma is also under the Laws of Universe.

The sun and the moon are moving millions of miles without any end under the Laws of Universe.

* Fire can be used to create energy to perform various works.

fr (Dar)

In addition to ‘Bhae’ and ‘Bhau’ there is another word ‘Dar’, which has been used as ‘fear’ in Gurbani at most of the places in the AGGS. For example,

hir iqsu ibnu koeI nwih fru BRmu Bau dUir kir ]

AGGS, M 3, p. 83.

There is no other than that of God who can remove your fear, superstition and dread.

In the above phrase ‘fr’ and ‘Bau’ have been used and both words means ‘fear’, however, ‘Bau’ means ‘fear, intense fear, dreadful or even mixed feelings of fear, wonder and reverence’. There are some more examples of fr as ‘fear’ as follows:

siq kry ijin gurU pCwqw so kwhy kau frdw jIau ]3]

AGGS, M 1, p. 101.

One who has recognized2 the Guru by practicing the righteousness1; why should he be afraid.

so fru kyhw ijqu fir fru pwie ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 151.

What sort of fear is that, which is attained with fear?

frIAY jy fru hovY horu ]

fir fir frxw mn kw soru ]1] rhwau ]

AGGS, M 1, p. 151.

Be afraid, if you have fear other than that of fear (of love/regard) for God.

(Otherwise) Living in fear, the mind is held in emotional turmoil.1. Pause.

so frY ij pwp kmwvdw DrmI ivgsyqu ]

AGGS, M 3, p. 84.

The one who commits sins lives in fear, while the one who lives righteously rejoices the life.

qUM scw Awip inAwau scu qw frIAY kyqu ]

AGGS, M 3, p. 84.

You (God) are True, and true is Your justice; why should anyone be afraid of You?

siqguru ijnI iDAwieAw iqn jm fru nwhI ]

AGGS, M 3, p. 88.

Those, who have realized the True Guru, are not afraid of the messenger of death.

Conclusions

The above discussion clearly indicates that Bau , BY , fr are Punjabi words meaning ‘fear’ and according to Dr. Sahib Singh [3] BY also means ‘fear of regard, respect’ that means ‘love’. inrBau and inrBY are the negative forms meaning ‘without fear’. All these are common Punjabi words, which were commonly spoken by the masses at the time of Guru Nanak. And Guru Nanak used the language spoken by the masses for writing his Bani. inrBau and inrBY is not a Sanskrit word as had been claimed by SDA and suggested that Guru Nanak should have used inrBY in place of inBau if he new Sanskrit. Although both these words means ‘without fear’ but inrBau covers broader spectrum of negative form of ‘fear’– meaning ‘without fear’, ‘intense fear’, ‘dread’ or even ‘mixed feelings of fear, wonder and reverence’. It could be easily inferred from the above discussion that Guru Nanak has used inBau as the most appropriate word of Punjabi as an attribute for God in the Commencing Verse.

SDA also intentionally refused to accept inBau (pronounced as ‘Ik Oh ∞’) as a unique and original logo devised by Guru Nanak instead he replaced it with ‘Oum’ , which represents God in Trinity, whereas God in Trinity is not recognized by Guru Nanak. Similarly, many Hindu scholars have followed SDA to equate <> to Oum (see Ref # 2 for details).

We strongly condemn the irresponsible, illogical, un-academic and unethical act of Swami Daya Anand (SDA) by which he tried to undermine the Gurbani and ridicule Guru Nanak. We also request the Sikhs in general and the Sikh scholars in particular to be vigilant about such work that undermines Gurbani and Sikhism, which is being carried on very actively in these days in the media as well as in Gurdwaras throughout the world.

We recommend that the Sangat (congregation) of each Gurdwara should have such Discussion Groups to understand Gurbani and Sikhism in their real perspective and make the Sangat aware of such nefarious activities of preachers in Gurdwaras.

Evaluating Dayanand's Views on Guru Nanak & the Sikhs

- Baldev Singh

Introduction

Since my college days in the 1950s I have heard and read brief mentions of Swami Dayanand’s disparaging remarks about Sikh Gurus, their teachings, and Sikhs in his The Light Of Truth (The Satyartha Parkasha). However, I have not seen the original remarks in totality. Many years later I asked the late Dr. Trilochan Singh in the 1970s, when he was visiting the United States, why Sikh scholars had not responded to what Dayanand wrote about Guru Nanak and his philosophy. “There is nothing to respond as what Dayanand wrote does not make any sense since he had no clue about Guru Nanak’s philosophy,” replied Trilochan Singh. More recently, my friend Colonel GB Singh (author of Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity) drew my attention to the English translation of Dayanand’s remarks about Guru Nanak and his philosophy. After reading this English version of Dayanand’s view about Guru Nanak, his philosophy, and the Sikhs, I fully agree with Trilochan Singh’s observation. However, I also feel strongly that a critical analysis is needed to rebut this malicious, vicious, and absurd propaganda as the followers of Dayanand have kept bringing new editions of The Light OF Truth in more and more languages since the first edition, and moreover, repeated lies are taken as truth by the ignorant, gullible and the simpleminded.

Discussion

A learned person, a wise person, and an intelligent person passes judgment on someone else’s writings by properly studying it. However, Dayanand did the opposite. He did not know the Gurmukhi script or the Punjabi language, and yet he went ahead attacking Guru Nanak, his philosophy, and the Sikhs on the basis of mere hearsay. While doing so he threw out the window his own advice to the readers of his book, The Light Of Truth:

Whosoever, will read this book with a biased mind will fail to understand what the author’s aim (in writing this book) is:

There are four elements necessary to convey a complete sense of a passage, viz:

1. Akankasha consists in entering the spirit of the speaker or author.

2. Yogyata in the fitness of compatibility of sense. For instance, when it is said “water irrigates” there is nothing absurd in the mutual connection between the objects signified by the words.

3. Assati consists in regarding or speaking words in proper sequence, i.e., without detaching them from their context.

4. Tatparya is to give the same meaning to the word of a writer or speaker, which he intended that they should convey. (Introduction, p.7)

Yet, Dayanand had no compunction in putting his own word in Guru Nanak’s mouth by substituting Sanskrit for Punjabi to give erroneous interpretation to Guru Nanak’s thoughts. His brief write up “Sikhism – a sect of Guru Nanak” of less than four pages is mainly made up of false, absurd, and childish statements. His anger and hatred against Guru Nanak becomes quite obvious when we read the following:

In the twelfth chapter we have discussed the Charvaka faith as well as the Jain and Buddhist religions. The Charvaka greatly resembles the Jain and Buddhist religions in being atheistic creed and many other respects. It has greatly declined in our day but it is most atheistic of all; hence it is absolutely necessary to check its activity. If nothing be done to eradicate false ideas and practices, disastrous consequences are sure to follow (Introduction, p. 5).

“He is an atheist, and a slanderer of the Vedas, who disparages their teachings, as well as the writings of true teachers in conformity with the Vedas. He should be excluded from good society, aye, even expelled out of the country (if necessary).” (Manu 2: 11; Chapter 3, p.50).

As per Dayanand, Guru Nanak should have been expelled from the Indian subcontinent and his philosophy and followers eradicated as well, because Guru Nanak committed an unpardonable sin by rejecting the ideology of the Vedas. But Dayanand was not in a position to eradicate Guru Nanak’s ideology or his followers because he was living under the British Colonial Empire, not in the “Aryavarta” – “the glorious Vedic kingdom where Vedas reigned supreme.” So he took out his frustration, anger, and hatred by attacking Guru Nanak and making fun of his philosophy and ridiculing the Sikhs.

Before I respond to “Sikhism – a sect of Guru Nanak” let me briefly describe the environment and circumstances under which Guru Nanak lived, and his philosophy (Appendix A) to help the reader understand my response clearly.

Environment and Circumstances

Nanak (1469-1539 C.E.) was born in a small village near Lahore, a town situated between two Muslim capitals, Delhi and Kabul. Most of north Indian subcontinent by then had been under oppressive Muslim rule for at least five centuries. The bigotry and oppression of Muslim rule had reduced the Hindu population to a level of mere slaves. They were deprived of human dignity according to both Hindu and Muslim writers.

Al-Biruni (973-1048/49 CE), the renowned Indologist, came to India in the wake of the invading forces led by Mahmud of Ghazni (1000-1030 CE). He spent many years observing Hindus and their culture, and studying their religion, literature and sciences. He writes:

No Muslim conqueror passed beyond the frontier of Kabul and the river Sindh until the days of the Turks, when they seized power in Ghazna under the Samani dynasty and the supreme power fell to the lot of Nasiraddaula Sabuktagin. This prince chose the holy war as his calling, and therefore, called himself Al-ghazi (i.e. warring on the road of Allah). In the interest of his successors he constructed, in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads on which afterwards his son Yaminaddaula Mahmud marched into India during a period of thirty years and more. God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims.1

Reminiscing through history, Hari Ram Gupta, a well-known historian of Punjab University, elaborates on Al-Beruni's comments on the Muslim conquest of India.

From the tenth century onwards, successive hordes of Muslim invaders had poured in from Central Asia. As the highway to Delhi lay through the Punjab, the greatest suffering had been caused to the people of this province. The Afghans and Turks established their rule and various Muslim dynasties ruled Northern India. Foreign rulers and their foreign functionaries ruled through their military strength. They exploited the people and fleeced them. They committed untold atrocities, imposed Jazia (a personal tax on all non-Muslims) and otherwise taxed them heavily.

All avenues to higher services were closed to Hindus, who could not get employment except to the lowest posts. Hindu temples were razed to the ground and a large number of Muslim mosques were erected. Hindu schools were closed and every effort was made to crush Hindu culture and civilization. A great many Hindus were converted to Islam on the point of sword and the spirit of the people was crushed. There was wide gulf between the rulers and the ruled and between the Hindu and Muslim population -- so much so that Hindu Fakirs were subjected to all types of humiliations and were made to dress differently from Muslim Fakirs. There was complete segregation between the Hindus and Muslims -- their rites, customs and ceremonies and their way of living.

The masses were greatly demoralized and emasculated. Not a single leader of note was produced by the Hindus during the last five centuries. All this time a very low status was assigned to the Hindus. They were required to put marks on their forehead or attach other distinguishing marks to their dress. They were forbidden to eat grain of a superior quality, to wear rich apparel or ride good horses, or in palanquins and carriages. In Dera Ghazi Khan District a Hindu could ride only a donkey. The law of blasphemy was strictly enforced and capital punishment was inflicted for any criticism of Islam. Bodhan Brahmin was executed by Sikandar Lodi (1485-1517) for saying that Hinduism was as good a religion as Islam. Conversion of Hindus was a frequent occurrence and it was done on a mass scale on occasions and in certain parts of the country.2

Quoting various historical sources, Daulat Rai, an Arya Samajist has described in Sahibe Kamal Guru Gobind Singh (Par Excellent Master, Guru Gobind Singh) the conditions of Hindus under Muslim rule as horrible, degrading, dehumanizing and pathetic. While Muslim invaders from Southwest Asia killed Hindus by the thousands, looted their properties and carried away thousands of men and women as slaves, the rulers let loose a reign of terror on terrified and demoralized Hindus. They destroyed Hindu temples, killed them and confiscated their properties at will, and imposed Jizya (poll tax on non-Muslims). Under some Muslim rulers, Hindus were not allowed even the comforts of good life like good clothes, good food, riding horses, wearing turbans or keeping good homes or valuables or even beautiful children or wives. They were allowed to have minimum possessions for mere survival. Often they were given two alternatives: convert to Islam or pay Jizya.3

Another prominent Arya Samajist, Gokul Chand Narang concurs with Daulat Rai when he says:

But the on rush of Islam spread such confusion and consternation among the Hindu ranks that all chances of reconsideration and reform came to an end. The instinct of self-preservation, in any form and at any sacrifice, became supreme and all-absorbing. The storm threatened to sweep every thing before it, and the Hindus, evidently, thought it more politic to preserve chaff as well as wheat than try to winnow and loose both. The priests, the hereditary guardians of Hinduism, lazy and lifeless like all hereditary incumbents of high position, could not unite all Hindus together so as by one united action to hurl back the waves of invasion.4

Ishwaro va Dillishwaro va “the Lord of Delhi is as great as God” had long been a maxim with the terrified Hindus. 5

Nanak had, no doubt greatly succeeded in reviving the dying Hindu society, which was fairly on the way to convalescence, but environments were still unfavorable, the orthodox priesthood being still so strong, that he feared a relapse, unless some one was appointed to look after the patient. Had Nanak died without a successor there would have been no Sikhism today or at best simply another Kabirism.6

The Varna Ashrama Dharma/the caste system fragmented the Hindu society into traditional four caste groupings – Brahman, Kashatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. They were further split into numerous tight social compartments of sub-castes. And the most despised, exploited and persecuted Antyajas (untouchables) were beyond the pale of the caste system. The atrocity and inhumanity of the caste system reduced the Sudras and Antyajas who constituted vast majority (80-90%) of the population to the level of dumb driven cattle. Furthermore, the caste system destroyed not only the vitality and creativity of the people but also the glue of love and compassion for fellow human beings, which is essential for a healthy and vibrant society. In due course of time Indian subcontinent was like a giant dead tree whose roots had been eaten by termites, waiting to be toppled by a wind gust or in Indian parlance like a sick Brahma bull ready to be devoured by wild dogs and vultures. Muslim adventurers from Southwest Asia marched into India at will, meeting very little resistance, thus resulting in the establishment of an Islamic Empire.

The entire caste hierarchy, the Dwijas (twice born – Brahman, Kashatriya, Vaisya) stooped to such low levels of negligence that it shirked its responsibility for the common defense of the territorial integrity of various diverse nations inhabiting the Indian subcontinent. The cowardice as well perfidy of the Vedic warriors -- nurtured on Varna Ashrama Dharma, blessed by idols and fed on Tantra, mantra, astrology and horoscopes, wearing loin cloths and armed with Shiva’s trishools (tridents) and Hanuman’s gadas (a wooden club with a large wooden head) -- was exposed when they went to the real battle field against the Al-ghaziz, the But-Shikans (idol breakers). This has not gone unnoticed by historians.

In the history of the fateful forty-five years (1295-1345) traced by us so far, the one distressfully disappointing feature has been the absence, in Maharashtra, of the will to resist the invaders. The people of Maharashtra were conquered, oppressed and humiliated, but they meekly submitted like dumb driven cattle.7

What is painful is that, sometimes, a handful of foreigners overran vast tracts of the land without countering any sizable resistance. Shihab-ud-din Gauri won the second battle of Tarain (near Delhi) in 1192, and within fourteen years his General, Bakhtiyar Khilji had reached the bank of Brahmaputra. Nadiya was occupied with an advance party of no more than eighteen horsemen and this opened the way for the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal.7

Moreover, it was the caste hierarchy that helped Muslim conquerors to consolidate their power and rule over the Indian subcontinent. And it was the Dwijas “twice born – Brahman, Kashatriya and Vaisya” employees of Muslim rules who persecuted the Sudras and Antyajas (untouchables) and their own kind as well. Guru Nanak observes:

gaU ibrwhmx kau kru lwvhu gobir qrxu n jweI ]

DoqI itkw qY jpmwlI Dwnu mlyCW KweI ]

AMqir pUjw pVih kqybw sMjmu qurkw BweI]

CofIlY pwKMfw ]

nwim lieAY jwih qrMdw]

You (Khatri official) are taxing the cow and Brahman whom you worship; you are mistaken if you think that cow-dung-coating of your kitchen floor would absolve you of your sins. You put-on a ritual mark on your forehead, wear a dhoti (cloth worn around the waist) and carry a rosary, but you eat the food of Muslims [you are dependent on the malesh (Muslim ruler) to make a living]. You perform Hindu worship secretly but you behave like a Muslim outside and you read Quran with them. Give up this hypocrisy! Salvation lies in practicing truth.

AGGS, M 1, p. 471.

The descendents of those Hindus who collaborated with despotic Muslim rulers used the titles conferred on their ancestor as family name with great pride: Chaudhary, Sarkar, Jagirdar, Diwan, Malik, Raizada, Rai, Raja, Shah, Mahajan, Munsi, Sarkar, Patra, Mahapatra, Deshmukh, Deshpande, Kulkarni, Desai and so on.

Responding to Dayanand’s allegations

I want to stress here that I am using the word God in a generic sense. It should not be construed as Semitic or Vedic God. Further, during Guru Nanak’s time Hindu religion was Varna Ashrama Dharma/Caste System and its strict observance --enforcement on the authorities of Vedas, Shastras, Simrities, Puranas and other scriptures. Guru Nanak’s concern was focused on the caste system and the interpretation of scriptures that was used to justify and enforce the caste system. Therefore, Guru Nanak’s comments on Hindu religion and scriptures should be looked at from this perspective.

Here is my point-by-point response to Dayanand’s statements that distort Nanakian philosophy and the Sikh history. Bulk of Swami’s statements are nonsensical and do not deserve my response. For the benefit of readers, I am using the English edition of The Satyartha Parkasha published in June 1984 by Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Dayanand Bhawan, New Delhi.

1. Dayanand himself makes up the question and then gives his own version of Guru Nanak’s philosophy in his own terminology and not that of the Guru. Dayanand states that Nanak taught the following Mantra.

“He whose name is Truth is the Maker (of the Universe), the all-pervading Being, who is Nirbhau (free from fear and enmity), is beyond the reach of time, is never born and is all-glorious Being. Worship Him (O’ Disciple!) May your preceptor help you to do it. The Supreme spirit lived in the beginning of the Creation, lives in the present and shall live in the future.” JAPAJAU PAUREE.

First, there in no such term as “JAPAJAU” in Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS). Besides, Guru Nanak’s composition Japu, commonly called Japji, which starts on page one, is not in paurees. Further, what Dayanand has quoted is incomplete and an erroneous interpretation of the “Opening Verse” of AGGS and the first two line of Japu (Japji).

Second, there is no word in “Opening Verse” and the first two line of Japji that can be interpreted as “He”. And there in no word or verse or slok or sabad or any composition in the AGGS that is designated as mantra. Guru Nanak rejected the Hindu concept of mantra which, simply put, is a repetitious chanting/uttering of a word or phrase or verse or syllable to obtain one’s objective.

qMqu mMqu pwKMfu n jwxw rwmu irdY mnu mwniAw ]

I know nothing of deceitful Tantric spells and mantras; I imbibe God/Truth in my heart.

AGGS, M 1, p. 766.

Avru n AauKDu qMq n mMqw ]

hir hir ismrxu iklivK hMqw ]

There is no other medicine, Tantric spells or mantra, but Naam Simran (dwelling on God’s attributes) destroys evil.

AGGS, M 1, p. 416.

Third, the interpretation of <> is missing in the aforementioned interpretation, however, in earlier editions <> is interpreted as “AUM” meaning Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It appears that Dayanand’s original writing is being changed deliberately in successive translations.<> (ikooh) means One and Only That (is Infinite). Guru Nanak designed this special symbol <> to represent the “One and Only” Entity that is infinite, ineffable and unfathomable – beyond human comprehension in totality.

Fourth, Dayanand grossly distorted the words: nirbhau, gur and parsad. The meaning of jugad sach is completely left out. In addition, the meaning of nirvair is combined with the erroneous interpretation of nirbhau.

Here is my interpretation of the three verses:

<> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]

One and Only -- that (is Infinite), known as Truth, Creator, Omnipresent, Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining (nirbhau), without enmity/non-retributive (nirvair), Timeless Entity (unaffected by time), does not incarnate (beyond birth and death), Self-existent (created by Itself), Enlightener and Bounteous.

AGGS, Opening Verse, p. 1.

Awid scu jugwid scu ]

hY BI scu nwnk hosI BI scu ]

Primordial Entity That exited during the ages, exists now, and, O Nanak, It shall be forever.

AGGS, Opening Verse, p. 1.

Nirbhau means Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining, and not “free from fear and enmity” as said by Dayanand. Besides it is the word nirvair that means “without enmity.”

2. To argue that Guru Nanak was ignorant of Sanskrit, Dayanand says that if Guru Nanak knew Sanskrit he would have used the word “Nirbhaya” instead of “Nirbhau.”

This argument reflects Dayanand’s ignorance of Punjabi rather than on Guru Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit. First, why would Guru Nanak, who wrote down his thoughts in Punjabi, use a Sanskrit word when an appropriate Punjabi word is available? Second, the Sanskrit word “Nirbhaya”, as interpreted by Dayanand, is not same as the Punjabi word “Nirbhau.” “Nirbhau” means “Sovereign and Self-sufficient/Self-sustaining” whereas Nirbhaya, according to Dayanand, means “free from fear and enmity”.

3. Furthermore Dayanand asserts, “Another proof of Guru Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit language is his composition called Sanskrit hymns (Satotras).”

Although there are Sanskrit words in the hymns composed by the Gurus, none, however, wrote hymns in Sanskrit. Both Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan wrote hymns in Sahaskriti, one of the languages that evolved from Prakrit.9 It seems neither Dayanand nor the translators of The Light Of Truth knew the difference between Sahaskriti and Sanskrit. Notably, the word “Satotras” is not found in AGGS; it may be a Vedic term or a concoction by Dayanand.

I challenge those who regard Guru Nanak as ignorant and illiterate and consider Punjabi as a crude language to match the poetic beauty and message of the following quartet in so few words using any of the world’s languages! Commenting on the futility of arti, a Hindu mode of worship of idols with lights, incense, flowers etc., Guru Nanak draws their attention to the awesome and harmonious worship of the Creator inherent in Nature (Cosmos).

ggn mY Qwlu riv cMdu dIpk bny qwirkw mMfl jnk moqI ]

DUpu mlAwnloo pvxu cvro kry sgl bnrwie PUlMq joqI ]

kYsI AwrqI hoie BvKMfnw qyrI AwrqI ]

Anhqw sbd vwjMq ByrI ]

gagan mehn thaal rav chand deepak bane tarika mandal janak moti.

dhoop malaanlo pavan chavro kare sagal banrae fulant joti.

kaisee artee hoae bhavkhandna teree artee.

anhta sabad vajant bheree.

The sky is the salver, the sun and the moon are the lamps and the stars in the constellations are the pearls. The wind carrying sandalwood fragrance from the mountains is the incense, air is the fan and all the vegetation is the offering of flowers to the Luminous One. What a wonderful and beautiful worship is this? O the Emancipator, this is your worship. The unending cosmic music is the sound of temple drums.

AGGS, M 1, p. 663.

4. Continuing his diatribe against Guru Nanak, Dayanand wrote.

Since he was little vain, he may possibly have even created some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame, hence it is that in his book called Grantha the Vedas have been praised as well censured, because had he not done so, someone might have asked him the meaning of the Vedic Mantra and as he would not have been able to explain it he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people.

Anticipating this difficulty, he from the first, denounced the Vedas here and there, but occasionally also spoke well of the Vedas, because had he not done so, the people would have called him a Nastika, i. e., and atheist or the reviler of the Vedas. For instance it is recorded in the Grantha, “Even Brahma who constantly read the Vedas died. All the Vedas are a mere fiction. The Vedas can never realize the greatness of a Sadhu.” Sukhmani, 7:8.

“Nanak says that a man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God.” Sukhmani, 8: 6.

First, Guru Nanak was not afraid of being called a Nastika, (atheist)--he was called far worse by those who saw his ideology as a threat to their way of life (Appendix B) .

koeI AwKY BUqnw ko khY byqwlw]

koeI AwKY AwdmI nwnku vycwrw]

BieAw idvwnw swh kw nwnku baurwnw]

hau hir ibnu Avru n jwnw]

Some say that Nanak is an evil spirit; others say that he has gone astray, and still others say that he is a helpless poor man. But I, Nanak whom the people call insane, am madly in love with my Lover. I know of none other than God/Lover.

AGGS, M 1, p. 991.

Second, knowing that Guru Nanak rejected all essentials of Hinduism,8 it is difficult to believe Dayanand’s claim that the Guru praised the Vedas? Further, Dayanand did not know that in the AGGS, Vedas is spelled as Bed or Ved and it means knowledge or truth, or Veda the scripture. There is praise of knowledge and truth but not of Vedas the scriptures.

Third, Dayanand alleges that Nanak was a vain person who belittled the Vedas in order to gain publicity and fame. To support his views he quotes the following two verses from Sukhmani.

“The Vedas can never realize the greatness of a Sadhu. Sukhmani, 7:8.”

“Nanak says that a man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God. Sukhmani, 8: 6.”

Apparently, Dayanand and his translators were ignorant of Sukhmani, which is Guru Arjan’s composition. In using the words sadh and brahamgyani, Guru Arjan implies the Supreme Being and not the Brahminical meaning as intended by Dayanand. According to Guru Arjan:

A Sadh is the one who has restrained Haumain (self-centeredness) and is free from the evil influences of worldly temptations: Kam (lust, sexual drive), Kroadh (anger), Lob (covetousness, economic drive), Moh (attachment) and Ahankar (egotistical pride). A Sadh contemplates on God/Truth all the time. A Sadh is one with God and sees God in all. He liberates others from evil thoughts and unites them with God. In Sadh’s company enemies are transformed into friends. A sadh is an embodiment of compassion, humility and forgiveness.

AGGS, M 5, p. 272.

This definition is in contrast to the inequality promoted through Varna Asharama Dharma, which is based on the principles enshrined in the Vedas. Let us now examine the verses cited by Dayanand.

swD kI mihmw byd n jwnih ]

jyqw sunih qyqw biKAwnih ]

swD kI aupmw iqhu gux qy duir ]

The Vedas do not know the greatness of Sadh (God) as they describe only what is written in them. The greatness of Sadh (God) is beyond the material world – beyond human understanding in totality.

AGGS, M 5, p. 272.

bRhmigAwnI sB isRsit kw krqw ]

bRhmigAwnI sd jIvY nhI mrqw ]

bRhmigAwnI Awip inrMkwr ]

Brahamgyani is creator of the Cosmos. Brahamgyani is Eternal -- never dies. Brahamgyani is the Formless One.

AGGS, M 5, p. 273.

Fourth, there are no citations from the AGGS for the statement: “Even Brahma who constantly read the Vedas died.” However, the 1908 (1960) English translation of Satayartha Parkasha by Durga Prasad cites the following verse:

byd pVq bRhmw mry cwry byd khwnI ]

Sukhmani, Pohri 7, chowk 8.

Sukhmani is the composition of Guru Arjan and it is made of asatpadees (a poem or hymn consisting of eight stanzas) not pohris. Besides, I do not know what “chowk 8” is as it is not found in the AGGS. Furthermore, the verse quoted by Dayanand does not exist in Sukhmani, nor even in the entire AGGS. Regretably, it appears that Dayanand himself made this hymn. However, there are verses by Guru Arjan about Brahama and the Vedas.

byd pVy piV bRhmy hwry ieku iqlu nhI kImiq pweI ]

After exhaustive studies of the Vedas many a brahmas (learned persons) grew weary without realizing even an iota of God’s worth.

AGGS, M 5, p. 747.

In AGGS, Brahma means a learned person, a creative person, and Brahama of the Hindu trinity.

mihmw n jwnih byd ]

bRhmy nhI jwnih Byd ]

Vedas do not know the greatness of the Creator and brahmas do not know Its mystery.

AGGS, M 5, p. 894.

Fifth, Sikh Gurus did not say, “All the Vedas are a mere fiction.” On the contrary they regarded Vedas as the foundation of Varna Ashrama Dharam/caste system and Hindu beliefs, customs and culture i.e the Hindu way of life.

Sixth, Guru Nanak points out that it was the caste system that is responsible for the moral degradation and social disintegration of the Hindu society. He held the caste system and its hierarchy (Dwijas) responsible for disunity. It was the disunity of Hindus that caused their defeat by the Muslim invaders. And he reminded the Hindus that when people lose self-respect by submitting to tyranny and injustice without moral resistance, all efforts to subsist are fruitless. In a poetic interpretation of the problem, he says, “Only a whole grain germinates to bear fruit, not a split one.”

PkV jwqI PkVu nwau ]

sBnw jIAw iekw Cwau ]

Awphu jy ko Blw khwey ]

nwnk qw pru jwpY jw piq lyKY pwey ]

Worthless is the caste and worthless is the status attached to it as the Protector of all is One. O Nanak, one may consider oneself high due to caste status, but it is found out if it meets God’s approval.

AGGS, M 1, p. 83.

sic kwlu kUVu vriqAw kil kwlK byqwl ]

bIau bIij piq lY gey Ab ikau augvY dil]

jy ieku hoie q augvY ruqI hU ruiq hoie ]

nwnk pwhY bwhrw korY rMgu n soie ]

Truth has vanished and falsehood prevails everywhere, as the society has gone astray due to immorality of the age. The Hindus have lost their honour due to their own actions (disunity). Now how can they restore their honour? It is only the whole grain that germinates when sowed in proper season. O Nanak, raw fabric can’t be dyed in permanent colour without first mercerizing it. (In other words, it is only when the Hindu society is united as one and fights for a common purpose with steadfastness that it can restore its honour).

AGGS, M 1, p. 468.

Seventh, Guru Nanak compares the Hindu elite, Dwijas (twice born) who worked for Muslim rulers, with trained animals and birds that are used to trap their own kind. It was the Hindu elite that helped Muslim rulers to expand and consolidate their power over Hindus.

hrxW bwjW qY iskdwrW eynw piVHAw nwau ]

PWDI lgI jwiq Phwiein AgY nwhI Qwau ]

Hindu government officials are like captive trained falcons and deer that are used to trap their own kind. Such people have no place/honor in the court of God/Truth.

AGGS, M 1, p. 1288.

kil hoeI kuqy muhI Kwj hoAw murdwru ]

kUVu boil boil Baukxw cUkw Drmu bIcwru ]

ijn jIvMidAw piq nhI moieAw mMdI soie ]

iliKAw hovY nwnkw krqw kry su hoie ]

In this age of greed people (custodians of society/elite) behave like dogs that eat carcasses (unlawful earning has become their way of life). They keep speaking lies because they do not reflect on truth. Those who live without honor are also remembered as such after death. O Nanak, whatever the Creator does, happens according to Its Hukam (Cosmic Law).

AGGS, M 1, p. 1242.

jy jIvY piq lQI jwie ]

sBu hrwmu jyqw ikCu Kwie ]

If one submits to injustice or tyranny without moral resistance then all efforts to subsist are fruitless.

AGGS, M 1, p. 142.

5. Dayanand shows his ignorance of Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) when he writes:

Since he was little vain, he may possibly have even created some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame, hence it is that his book called Grantha the Vedas have been praised as well censured, because had he not done so, someone might have asked him the meaning of the Vedic Mantra and as he would not have been able to explain it he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people….

Many a successors to the throne of Nanak have incorporated his writings in the Grantha. The tenth Guru of the Sikhs was Guru Gobind. Since his time no addition has been made to it, but instead, all the smaller books that were extant then were collected to together and bound in one volume (and the name Grantha was given to it). The successors of Nanak wrote various treatises: some of them invented fictitious stories like those of the Puranas, and acting on the precept “The man versed in Divine knowledge is himself God,” arrogated to themselves Divine privileges.

It was Guru Arjan, the fifth Nanak, who compiled the first Sikh Scripture by incorporating the banis (hymns) of his four predecessors, his own and that of Bhagats (sages) and Sufis, and the resulting codex is called Adi (Eternal) Granth (Awid grMQ). Later Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth successor to the house of Nanak added his composition in the Adi Granth and the resulting sacred text is called Damdami Bir. In 1708, before his death, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth successor to the House of Nanak, abolished the personal line of Guruship, and instead he conferred Guruship jointly on the Damdami Bir and the Panth (corporate body of Sikhs). The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which is responsible for the printing and distribution of the Sikh Scripture has named it as “Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.” In literature it is referred to as Guru Granth Sahib or Guru Granth or Aad Guru Granth Sahib or Granth or Sikh Scripture or sometimes as Sikh Bible.

6. About Guru Gobind Singh, Dayanand wrote:

Gobind Singh was indeed a very brave man among the followers of Nanak. The Mohammedans had oppressed his people very much. He was anxious to revenge himself on them, but he had neither men nor the necessary material for the purpose whilst the Mohammedans were at the zenith of their. He, therefore, resorted to a stratagem. He gave it out that the goddess had given him sword and a blessing: “Go forth and fight against the Mohammedans. You shall win.” He gained many supporters from amongst the people.

First, the statement, “The Mohammedans had oppressed his people very much. He was anxious to revenge himself on them,” is a distortion of both Sikh history and Sikh philosophy. God in Sikhism in Nirvair (without enmity), non-retributive, and non-revengeful and that is the message of the Sikh Gurus.

jsBy swJIvwl sdwiein qUM iksY n idsih bwhrw jIau ]

All are partners in Your (God) commonwealth and You do not look at anyone as a stranger.

AGGS, M 5, p. 97.

nw ko bYrI nhI ibgwnw sgl sMig hm kau bin AweI ]

All are Neither we regard anyone as enemy nor stranger, living in harmony with all is our creed.

AGGS, M 5, p. 1299

Guru Hargobind‘s father Guru Arjan was tortured to death on the orders of Emperor Jahangir under the influence of intolerant Muslim clergy and the defenders of the caste system.10, 11 Guru Hargobind did not seek revenge against Jahangir, instead he forgave the emperor.12 The Guru built a mosque for the Muslims in Hargobindpur (Sri Gobindpur), which is a testimony to the attitude of Sikh Gurus toward Muslims.13 This mosque is preserved as a historical site and it is called “Guru Ki Masit. Similarly, Guru Gobind Singh forgave Emperor Aurangzeb for the death of his father, mother, four sons, and thousands of Sikhs.14, 15

Second, the Swami claimed that “He [Guru Gobind Singh] gave it out that the goddess had given him sword and a blessing: “Go forth and fight against the Mohammedans. You shall win”. By making such false claims Dayanand attempted to distort Sikh history and Nanakian philosophy. Dayanand was himself against the worship of gods and goddesses, but he had no compunction in saying that Guru Gobind Singh was blessed with a sword by the goddess. Perhaps, Swami was unaware of the categorical rejection of Hindu God, gods, and goddesses in Aad Guru Granth Sahib.

ihMdU mUly BUly AKutI jwNhI]

nwrid kihAw is pUj krwNhI]

AMDy guMgy AMD AMDwru ]

pwQru ly pUjih mugD gvwr]

Eih jw Awip fuby qum khw qrxhwru]

Hindus are utterly mistaken and going on the wrong path. They worship whatever Nard told them to worship. They are spiritually blind and dumb and groping in the darkness. The ignorant fools worship stones. How could a stone that itself sinks in water help a human being cross the ocean of worldly temptations (corrupting influences)?

AGGS, M 1, p. 556.

dyvI dyvw pUjIAY BweI ikAw mwgau ikAw dyih ]

pwhxu nIir pKwlIAY BweI jl mih bUfih qyih ]

O brother, you worship gods and goddesses. What can you ask of them and what can they give to you? O brother, the stones/idols you wash with water sink in water (in other words how could these stones help you cross the ocean of worldly temptations).

AGGS, M 1, p. 637.

qU khIAq hI Awid BvwnI ]

mukiq kI brIAw khw CpwnI ]

You (Brahman) say that Bhawani (goddess Durga) is the source of all power, but where does she hide when her devotees ask for liberation (from the tyranny of Muslim rulers)?

AGGS, Namdev, p. 874.

Third, Dayanand and his translators turned a blind eye to the fact that Hindus have been worshiping this goddess (Bhawani/Durga) for thousands of years but she did not help them against Muslim conquerors and later Christians who came as traders but ended up colonizing the sub-continent. Moreover, it was the diehard worshipers of Bhawani/Durga, the Rajput rulers of Shivalik Hills, who declared war on Guru Gobind Singh and collaborated with Mughals to eradicate Sikhs and Sikhism from the face of earth. Moreover, Rajput rulers, who were responsible for defending the Hindu Dharama (caste system) and the territorial integrity of Indian subcontinent, were no where to be found when Yaminaddaula Mahmud invaded India repeatedly during a period of thirty years in the first half of 11th century.1

Further, the Brahman who was the kingpin, ideologue and the center of Hindu Dharma, missed being a raj mantri (minister of state), raj guru (religious advisor to the king) and raj prohit (family priest of the king) after the defeat of Rajput rulers. He was not satisfied with the status quo and turned to Chanakya (Kautilya) niti16 (policy of perverse morality -- morality turned upside down), instead of seeking moksha (salvation) in Baikunth (heaven). During the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar, instead of praying to goddess Durga, he turned to the goddess in flesh (Rajput princess) in order to get back not only into the Mughal court but also into the Mughal palace. He advised the royal Rajputs to give their daughters in marriage to Emperor Akbar. Now, it is an anathema even for an ordinary Rajput to marry his daughter to a non-Rajput Hindu, not to speak of a royal Rajput marrying his daughter to a Muslim, whom he considers as malesha (polluted/defiled). But this case was different as this matrimonial alliance was blessed and sanctified by the Brahman. Rajput rulers led by the Ambar family accepted this proposal without blinking an eye17 and thus opened the door for Brahmans, Rajputs, Khatris, Banias and Kayasthas in Akbar’s administration. Let us not forget that Birbal and Todar Mal were among the “jewels” of Akbar’s court, and Raja Man Singh was a very distinguished and decorated commander in the Mughal army. In gratitude, Akbar cancelled the Jizya (poll tax on non-Muslims) imposed by earlier Muslim rulers. The Rajputs played a major role in the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire supported by the Brahman who chanted a new mantra, Ishwaro va Dillishwaro va, (The emperor of Delhi is as great as God).5

Akbar’s Rajput in-laws made it sure that there was no royal Rajput left who would taunt them by saying: “You have sent your daughters to the haram (concubine quarters) of a malesha.” The only Rajput sovereign, who refused to kowtow to Akbar was Maharana Partap. Interestingly, all the Rajput vassals joined Akbar in defeating this valiant man.17

Fourth, to examine Dayanand’s false (Brahmanical) assertion that Guru Gobind Singh’s fight was against Mohammedans, I will briefly narrate events from Sikh history. Let me make it clear right here that it was the martyrdom of Guru Arjan in 1606 CE, at the hands of Emperor Jahangir, that started the long and bloody conflict between Mughal rulers and the Sikhs that lasted for almost a century and a half when Sikhs defeated the Mughals in 1750s to establish Khalsa (Sikh) rule over Punjab and adjoining territories. However, it was not a conflict between Sikhs and the Muslim populace or Islam. On the other hand it was the caste hierarchy (Dwijas) who started opposing Guru Nanak the moment he declared his solidarity with the downtrodden masses and rejected the caste system and the Vedas. Citing Manu, Dayanand implies that Guru Nanak should have been eliminated from the Indian subcontinent.

“He is an atheist, and a slanderer of the Vedas, who disparages their teachings, as well as the writings of true teachers in conformity with the Vedas. He should be excluded from good society, aye, even expelled out of the country (if necessary), Manu 2: 11.” (Chapter 3, p. 50).

However, during Guru Nanak’s time the followers of Manu were powerless and living like slaves under Muslim rule. So they could not do any physical harm to Guru Nanak or stop him from preaching his message of love, respect, justice, and equality for all. Nonetheless, as the Sikh movement grew stronger, these twice-born Hindus started harassing Sikhs. They would not allow Sikhs to fetch water from their community wells and ponds or allow them to live in their neighborhoods. The Sikh Gurus established their own towns and dug up wells and ponds. Since the rulers of the country were Muslims, Hindus could not take any direct action against the Sikh movement, which was growing stronger by the day. Therefore, they complained to Emperor Akbar that Guru Amar Das was defiling the traditions and religion of their forefathers by abolishing the caste distinctions among his followers.

Thy Majesty is the protector of our customs and the redressor of our wrongs. Every man’s religion is dear to him. Guru Amar Das of Goindwal has abandoned the religious and social customs of the Hindus and abolished the distinction of the four castes. Such heterodoxy hath never before been heard of in the four ages. There is now no twilight prayer, no gayatri, no offering of water to ancestors, no pilgrimages, no obsequies and no worship of idols or of the divine Saligram. The Guru hath abandoned all these and established the repetition of Waheguru instead of Ram, and no one now acteth according to the Vedas and the Smritis. The Guru reverenceth not Yogis, Jatis or Brahmins. He worshippeth no gods or goddesses, and he ordereth his Sikhs to refrain from doing so for even more. He seateth all his followers in a line and causeth them to eat together from his kitchen, irrespective of caste – whether they are Jats, strolling minstrels, Mohammadans, Brahmins, Khatris, shopkeepers, sweepers, barbers, washermen, fishermen, or carpenters. We pray thee, restrain him now, else it would be difficult hereafter.18, 19

Guru Amardas sent his trusted and devoted Sikh, Bhai Jetha to answer these allegations. Bhai Jetha explained to the emperor, “We have abandoned the traditions and religion of our forefathers not to offend any body, but to practice the universal religion of Guru Nanak -- kindness, love, respect, justice and equality for all.”20, 21 The Emperor found no merit in the complaint and dismissed it. Later the emperor paid a visit to Guru Amar Das in Goindwal. He was so much impressed with the concept of Langar (community kitchen) that he granted revenue of several villages for the maintenance of the community kitchen.21

Akbar’s relations with the Sikh Guru were very cordial, however, Guru Arjan's growing influence and popularity was irksome not only to upper caste Hindus, but also to the conservative Muslim clergy. People like Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi22 complained to prince Salim about the growing influence of Sikh faith, which was becoming an obstacle in the Islamisation of India. On the other hand upper caste Hindus saw Sikhism as a challenge to their way of life particularly the caste system. They conspired with Hindu government officials like Chandu, Birbal, Raja Mann Singh (maternal uncle of Salim) and Salim’s Rajput mother against Guru Arjan.

When Salim (Jahangir) became the Emperor after Akbar’s death (October 1605), he ordered the execution of Guru Arjan by torture in May 1605, within seven months after ascending the throne.10 It was Chandu Khatri, a government official who carried out the order.30 23 Shortly after that, government officials of Lahore and the Khatris started hostile activities against Guru Hagobind Sahib who was the successor of Guru Arjan Dev. In the ensuing skirmishes Guru Hargobind scored decisive victories. Most notably, the Guru’s army also had a contingent of Muslims. Bhagwan Das Gherar, his son Rattan Chand, and Chandu’s son Karam Chand were killed in action. Later, the Guru built a mosque for Muslims in the village of Hargobindpur.24

In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa Order which would be a well-disciplined force of saint-soldiers. When he gave a clarion call to the downtrodden masses to enlist in the Khalsa force in order to fight the oppression of Mughals and the tyranny of the caste system, Rajput chiefs of Shivalik hills declared war against the Guru. In the battle of Bhangani a Muslim divine, Pir Budhu Shah helped Guru Gobind Singh.25 The Pir lost two sons and many followers in the battle. After a bitter defeat the Rajput vassals appealed to Emperor Aurangzeb for military aid. The Khalsa force was no match against the combined forces of Rajputs and the imperial Mughal army. When many Sikhs including Guru Gobind Singh’s two older sons and three Piaras (beloved ones) courted martyrdom, the Sikhs asked Guru Gobind Singh to leave the battlefield and move to the safety of Malwa region. Muslim friends and followers like Nihang Khan, Qazi Charag Ali Shah Ajneria, Inayat Ali Noorpuria, Qazi Pir Muhamad Salowala, Subeg Shah Halwaria, Hussan Ali Mannu Majria, Nabi Khan, Ghani Khan, Rai Kalah and others helped Guru Gobind Singh at this critical juncture.26

On the other hand Guru Gobind Singh’s one time household employee, Gangu Brahman (Ganga Dhar Kaul), a Kashmiri Brahman betrayed Guru’s mother and his six and eight years old sons. He handed them over to Wazir Khan, the Mughal faujdar of Sarhind.27 Nawab Sher Mohamad of Malerkotla was against the two small children of the Guru being put to harm as that was against Islam. On the other hand Diwan Sucha Nand (Bhandari Khatri) was emitting venom against the Guru and Khalsa. On their refusal to accept Islam, the two young boys were tortured for four days before being bricked alive. Since the wall fell down when it reached their neck, their throats were slit on December 12, 1705. The Guru’s mother died of shock on hearing the news.28

During the early part of the eighteenth century the Mughal rulers and their collaborators, Dwijas (twice born Hindus) carried out systematic extermination of the Sikh population. There were two major massacres of the Sikhs known as small and big Ghalooghara (holocausts) carried out by Diwan Lakhpat Rai and Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1746 and 1762, respectively.29 Diwan Lakhpat Rai took a vow to eradicate Sikhs.30

“The upper caste Hindus (Dwijas) emerged as the greatest beneficiaries of the Mughal-Sikh conflict, and rather developed a vested interest in it both for keeping their positions and carrying on their war against Sikhism,” writes Sangat Singh.31

When the Mughal authorities put price on the heads of Sikhs, head-hunting became a gainful occupation of anti-Sikh Hindus. The prominent Hindus who conducted organized raids for Sikhs heads were Karma of Chhina, Ram Randhawa of Talwandi, Sahib Rai Sandhu of Noshera Dalla, Harbhagat Naranjania, Sain Das of Jandiala, Dharam Das Topi of Jodh Nagar, Chuhar Mal Ohri of Amritsar, Deva Chaudhary and his Brahman Diwan Har Sahai of Patti, Sahib Rai the Chudhary of Noshera, Pahar Mal grandson of Raja Todar Mal, and Massa Rangar of Mandiala who was a Muslim.32

Farrukhsiyar granted Gangu Brahman’s son Raj Kaul land near a nehar (canal) at Andha Mughal, a suburb of Delhi. He changed the family name Kaul to Nehru, probably to escape harm from the Khalsa forces.33

Fifth, Dayanand’s statements about the Khalsa are also false. It was Guru Nanak who established the Khalsa panth (community) and Guru Gobind Singh institutionalized it by creating a well disciplined cohesive military force subject to strict code of conduct and dress. Bhai Gurdas, a nephew of Guru Amar Das, amanuensis of Adi Granth, poet par excellence, literati, and an eminent theologian, remarked that Guru Nanak became prominent (made his mark) in the world by establishing a panth of the pure (nirmal/khalsa).

mwirAw is`kw jgq ivc nwnk inrml pMQ clwieAw[

Nanak became renowned in the world by establishing a nirmal (Khalsa) Panth.

Bhai Gurdas, Varan Bhai Gurdas, 1, p. 18.

It was the tyranny of the caste system and bigotry and oppression of Muslim rule that had reduced the Indian masses to the level of dumb driven cattle. Guru Nanak denounced the elite, both Hindu and Muslim, and declared his solidarity with the masses. He launched a campaign to awaken the masses to fight for justice and equality.

duKu ivCoVw ieku duKu BUK ]

ieku duKu skqvwr jmdUq ]

One pain is the separation from God (lack of morality), second pain is the grinding poverty and third pain is the tyranny of the ruler. (It should be noted that vast majority of the human population is still facing these three problems!)

Bhai Gurdas, 1, p. 18.

He gave a clarion call to the masses to join his movement with an explicit warning that it would require supreme sacrifice.

jau qau pRym Kylx kw cwau]

isru Dir qlI glI myrI Awau]

iequ mwrig pYru DrIjY]

isr dIjY kwix n kIjY]

If you want to play the game of love (follow the righteous path) then follow me and be prepared to sacrifice your life. Once you step on this path, do not hesitate to offer your head.

AGGS, M 1, p. 1412.

This proclamation is central to the Sikh revolution; it is the basis of Miri-Piri (temporal and spiritual sovereignty) and the evolution of the noble Khalsa Order. Only a moral person (gurmukh) can be a mir-pir (Khalsa). Inspired by Nanakian philosophy (Gurmat), the Khalsa forces forged mostly from the downtrodden stock of the Hindu society, Sudras and the Untouchables, fought against three formidable foes namely the mighty Mughals, the caste hierarchy, and the foreign invaders for about half a century. Eventually the Khalsa panth (Sikhs) established a kingdom over a vast tract in the Northwest region of the Indian sub-continent about which Baron Hugel, an Austrian traveler, wrote:

The state established by Ranjit Singh was “the most wonderful object in the whole world.” 34

Dayanand misunderstood and misinterpreted the Khalsa movement and gave a Brahmanical version of the objective of the institutionalization of the Khalsa Order. The Mughals were watching the activities of the Sikhs very closely, as they saw in the growing Sikh movement both a political threat and also a major impediment to islamization of India. Ghulam Mohyiuddin who witnessed the initiation of the Khalsa Order on the Baisakhi day of 1699 reported to Emperor Aurangzeb that in spite of opposition from the orthodox, thousands of men and women accepted the Khalsa Order by partaking khande di pahul. Mohyiuddin write,

He [Guru Gobind Singh] has abolished caste and customs, old rituals, beliefs and the superstitions of Hindus and banded them into a single brotherhood. No one will be superior or inferior to another. Men of all castes have been made to eat from the same bowl. Though orthodox men have opposed him, about twenty thousand men and women have taken baptism of steel at his hand on the first day. The Guru has also told the gathering: ‘I’ ll call myself Gobind Singh only if I can make the meek sparrows pounce upon the hawks and tear them; only if one combatant of my force faces a legion of the enemy.35

It is surprising that neither Dayanand, nor his translator, nor the publisher mentions the location of the “Vedic world” or its boundaries. For the sake of argument suppose that the “Vedic world” was at the zenith of its glory 5,000 years ago then the Vedas have to be much older than 5,000 years. However, it was Panini the great genius, a grammarian who constructed/synthesized Sanskrit (adorned, cultivated, perfected) language in the fourth century BC from languages/dialects, collectively called Prakrit (not adorned or arranged/refined) spoken in the ancient kingdom of Gandhara.

There is no definite information about Panini and his life, not even the century he lived in. Scholarly mainstream favors a 4th century BC, corresponding to Achaemenid Gandhara with Pushkalavati as its capital, contemporary to the Nanda Dynasty ruling the Indo-Gangetic plain, but a 5th or even late 6th century BC date cannot be ruled out with certainty. According to legend, Panini was born in Shalatula, a town beside the Indus River, in Gandhara, which is in the modern day the Attock District of Pakistan's Punjab province, located between Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

The kingdom of Gandhara included the area that is now called Pakistan, part of eastern Afghanistan, parts of eastern Iran, Kashmir and the Indian Punjab up to river Satluj.

So the language of ancient Vedas is not the Sanskrit of Panini. And if the modern Vedas are in Panini’s Sanskrit then their language is malesh bhakha because Gandhara has been ruled by maleshas one after another since 6th century BC when Gandhara became a part of the Persian Empire that included Greece under Cyrus the Great. Panini used the word Yavan for the Greeks and Yavanani for their language. The Vedic people called Greeks malesha and their language as malesh bhakha. The territory north of Ghaghar River was malesha land for the followers of Vedas.

The Punjabi language that Guru Nanak spoke and used to express and write his thoughts evolved from Prakrit like all other northern Indian languages including Sanskrit and Sahaskriti.

Sanskrit the beautiful created by the great genius Panini as a gift to mankind, was monopolized by another genius –- the Brahman mind set -- that converted it into stagnant well-water instead of the ever flowing mighty Ganges –- the lingua franca of the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusion

In sum, Dayanand’s commentary on Guru Nanak and the Sikhs is false, absurd, and childish. It appears an outburst of a psychologically troubled mind.

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DAYANAND SARASWATI: A Prophet of Modern Hinduism

- G.B. Singh

More than thirty-five years ago I graduated from D.A.V. College in Amritsar. Credit truly goes to this fine institution that I still cherish my fond memories of the educational experience. Even though D.A.V. College is named after a man called “Dayanand”, most students knew next to nothing about him and nor were we taught anything about him. Then in the early 1970s a minor incident occurred that surprised many of us. The Punjab Government decided to realign some colleges to affiliate with the newly created Guru Nanak University located in Amritsar. A number of colleges including those in Amritsar were included in this transfer category and surprisingly this decision caused uproar among them. Apparently these colleges were content with their affiliation with the Punjab University in Chandigarh, and resented strongly being reassigned to Guru Nanak University. As a young student I heard distressing rumors that these D.A.V. colleges didn’t think much of the name of Guru Nanak, which to me was baffling all the more because I held D.A.V. colleges in high esteem just as I held Guru Nanak’s name. I graduated and moved on but the question remained in my remote memory as to why such institutions of higher learning like the D.A.V colleges resented being linked to the name of Guru Nanak via a university affiliation.

After commissioning in the U.S. Army and weeks before leading to the 1984 tragedies affecting the Sikhs in India, I read a few reports highlighting the role that Arya Samaj played in the breakdown of Punjabi society both before and after Punjab’s partition in 1947. Swami Dayananda about whom I did not know much at that time founded Arya Samaj. I have always exercised caution while reading news authored by various Indian groups including the Sikhs. Finally the circumstances had descended for me to begin unveiling the mystery of Arya Samaj and its founder Swami Dayanand. Little was I prepared when in 1991 I read the Satyarth Prakash, Dayananda’s master literature, which left me stunned for days. Before I dwell further on the Swami, let me say a few words on modern Hinduism, an understanding of which is essential here.

What is modern Hinduism?

With the introduction of British colonialism in the Bengal region of India a new ideology took birth that was to transform classical and/or popular Hinduism. In other words, modern Hinduism (also referred to as reformatory Hinduism) is a reinterpretation of Hindu scriptures or Hindu ideas based upon the following six competing aggressive factors: (1) European colonialism; (2) Christian missions; (3) Western education & technology; (4) Western means of propaganda & disinformation; (5) Theosophy; and (6) Freemasonry. Over the years various interpretations had appeared on the horizon starting with the Brahmo Samaj and its various tributaries. Men who brought forth these new interpretations are the ones whom I call “Prophets of modern Hinduism.” They range from RamMohan Roy in Bengal to Mahatma Gandhi of Gujarat. In fact among the cadres of these prophets, all hailed from Bengal with the exception of two from Gujarat namely Swami Dayananda and Mahatma Gandhi. It should be noted that both Gandhi and Dayanand exerted far-reaching negative impact on Punjab. While popular imagination is entrenched in thinking that modern Hinduism is after all a reformatory movement and therefore a far better alternative to its predecessor, I contend that modern Hinduism is far more precarious ideologically with its unending mutations at any given opportunity and it can, and has, seriously undermined both the Hindus and their neighbors including the Sikhs. This characteristic of modern Hinduism is absolutely essential to unfolding the mystery surrounding Swami Dayananda and his legacy.

I have been researching Swami Dayananda off and on for the last sixteen years. Dayanand was a big man full of unending supply of inner energies, determinations, zeal, resolve, and so forth. He cherished a sincere desire to seek answers to many mysteries that grapple a thinking person, and he would travel extraordinary distances often in unfriendly territories hoping to find answers. Imbued with that hungry spirit, amazingly Swami would seek debates with his opponents and open the books including the Hindu scriptures. All in all this man, while on road, carried a significant load of reading materials plus other items. Such was his unquenchable thirst to learn. There are more admirable qualities about him but I think you got the idea.

Dayanand’s story began in a small town of Tankara, Gujarat in 1824; born with a name of DayaRam Mulshankar, the Swami was nicknamed Mulji. Expectedly his Brahman parents were deeply religious within the Shaivite tradition and rightly so harbored great aspirations for Mulji. By the age of 22 years (1846) Mujli’s life was anything but stable; there was a storm brewing inside of him and he ran away from home. Shortly thereafter he was bestowed with the coveted title and he became Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Life away from home and barely existing on the dusty road and back alleys for the next 15 years in faraway inhospitable places as a sannayasi pursuing yoga and surviving by begging is no easy lifestyle. Then, why pursue such a life? The Swami’s answer would be moksha. I suspect Mulji was already experiencing psychological challenges, but I can’t cast a definitive critical eye on his early years (evidence is lacking). The Swami’s life as a yogi is a specimen for closer examination, however.

If Dayanand’s younger years at home were healthy (suspicion is otherwise), I believe yoga seriously undermined Swami’s critical faculties, and possibly afflicted him with a bipolar-like personality disorder. Swami devoted significant time and effort to master the yoga, a task fraught with dangers. Reading his biographies one can’t escape turmoil the Swami was in. Here is an example: While on the banks of Ganges, upon seeing a corpse floating, Swami jumped and dragged the body out to examine it’s inside using his pocket knife. He cut open the body to inspect the heart, head, neck, etc. trying to verify the yoga anatomical details. Not finding them the frustrations grew. One can imagine Swami’s mental framework! It should come as no surprise to know that he could not find the chakras and the nadis via gross anatomy, which leads me to believe that Swami hadn’t been reading the yoga scriptures carefully. Nonetheless this wild experience should have convinced him to reevaluate the field of Hindu spirituality. But I can’t find that moment; all I find is more turmoil in him.

Further down in time, Swami found himself poisoned and he at once resorted to applying Neoli-karm, apparently one of the yogic dhoutis. Swami descended into the Ganges water, swallowed large quantities of this polluted water and passed it out via his anus in an attempt to flush his entire gastrointestinal system. By this way we are told, Swami saved his life. If this incident is true it points to the fact that Swami was deep into the yoga practices and no surprise to those of us who study Yoga that such yogic complex techniques point to his psychological instabilities. If this were not enough Dayanand acquired the habit of ingesting bhang.

As stated earlier these roughly fifteen years of pursuing yoga devastated the Swami especially his mental health if not the physical health. Swami needed a quick rescue and in 1860, Swami Virjanand Saraswati (1779-1868) of Mathura is credited for saving Dayanand. For the next three years, Mulji received instructions and then was commissioned to restore glory to Aryavarta and reestablish pristine Vedic knowledge at the expense of all other false religions. To put it mildly, as Arthur Koestler would sum it, Swami was tasked to become a Yogi and the Commissar – a perfect blend of both politics and religion. The image of Swami Dayananda that we have inherited as a reformer had its roots at this stage of his life. At this time, I will stop the biography and concentrate on Swami’s important teachings.

VEDAS & the Vedic Literature

Dayanand considered Vedas to be eternal, meaning they existed before the universe came into being and authored by God himself. Using his brand of hermeneutics, Swami radically altered the teachings of Vedas thereby bringing them in conformity with the Semitic religions of Islam and Christianity. This of course didn’t go well at many places, especially where scholars and prominent people knew Sanskrit. In Punjab, however, the situation was different due to the susceptibility of educated Hindu Punjabi Khatri and his receptiveness to the new Vedic interpretation. Neither knowing Sanskrit and nor being versed in the Hindu scriptures these Punjabi Hindus swallowed the whole of Swami’s Vedas. Sensing his incredible successes in Punjab, Swami contacted the Punjab government to lay validity to his Vedic commentary. Hardly a surprise, the Punjab government along with its cadre of Vedic scholars rejected the Swami. Even Max Muller commented,

“By the most incredible interpretations Swami Dayanand succeeded in persuading himself and others that everything worth knowing, even the most recent inventions of modern science, were alluded to in the Vedas.”

One man named Shiv Narayan Agnihotri (later, Satyananda Agnihotri) emerges as an intellectual giant of Punjab. Based upon his intense dealings with the Swami, Agnihotri accused him of (1) embezzlement, (2) hypocrisy, (3) the teachings of immorality (4) arrogance, and (5) misrepresentations of the Vedas. Unfortunately, the Punjabi Hindu, brainwashed in Arya Samaj, was in no mood to listen to Agnihotri. Incidentally, this is the same Agnihotri who almost forty years later warned Punjabis and other Indians to beware of Mahatma Gandhi. Agnihotri was the first Indian to recognize that race hatred is the modus operandi by which Gandhi worked his politics. The tragedy is that in both cases he failed to convince his fellow Punjabis of these two Gujaratis in their midst.

Bhai Ditt Singh (1853-1901) had a singular honor of joining the ranks of Swami during his Punjab journey. Ditt Singh experienced another rare fortunate incident when he renounced the Swami upon learning uncomfortable version of his sermons. During this up close sessions, Singh literally witnessed how intricate and methodical the Vedic interpretations were made:

Swami Dayanand reflected a considerable amount of flexibility in changing his interpretation of Vedas according to the need of the hour. For instance, in one of his discourses at Lahore, he said that the sun revolved around the earth. Back home, his admirers told him that people will think poor of Vedas as the latest scientific knowledgeable reveals that earth revolves around the sun. The following day, Swami Dayanand revised his interpretation of Vedas accordingly.

The Caste System and Racism

Although on the surface Dayanand looked reformed, however, on closer inspection he appears casteist and downright racist. In other words, the caste system stays intact, perhaps more solidified, if Swami’s prescription of Hindu totalitarianism were to be implemented. On page 266 [bharadwaja’s translation] of Satyarth Prakash, we read him by citing the Atharva Veda:

“The Dwijas (the twice-born)—Brahmanas, Ksyatriyas, Vaishyas—are called Aryas, while the Shudras are called Anaryas, or Non-Aryas.” Swami continues his racial rhetoric:

In the face of these Vedic authorities how can sensible people believe in the imaginary tales of the foreigners. In the Devasura wars, Prince Arjuna and King Dashratha and others of Aryavarta used to go to the assistance of the Aryas in order to crush the Asuras…. But the war which Ram Chandra waged in the south against Ravana—the king of Ceylon—is called … war between the Aryas and Rakshasas. Besides, Manu also corroborates our position. He says, “The countries other than Aryavarta are called Dasyu and Maleschha countries.” The people living in the north-east, north, north-west and west of Aryavarta were called Dasyus, Asuras and Malechhas, while those living in the south, south-east and south-west were called Rakshasas. You can still see that the description of Rakshasas given therein tallies with the ugly appearance of the Negroes of today….

Hindu reformers like Dayananda would play with words and the concepts giving out different images of caste reforms without ever acknowledging that deceptive rhetoric is meant to throw off others by creating confusion. Careful reading of Swami’s political ideas throws some light insofar as his idea of a Hindu totalitarian state. One can only imagine the creation of state’s bureaucracy handling the caste matters! Dr. Rudolf Hoernle (Principal, Banaras Sanskrit College) made the following remarks:

The [caste] the reformer [Dayananda] considers only as a political institution made by the rulers for the common good of society and not a natural or religious distinction…. The castes are simply different professions or guilds (adhikaras), established by the state to guard against confusion and mutual interference, and for the better establishment of the different works. Each class was made into a guild and furnished with its rights and privileges and made hereditary. But, as the whole classification is a creation of the state, any Sudra, who is deserving of the promotion, can be made by the state a Vaisya or Kshattriya or Brahmana, if he qualifies for the work of the respective class. Likewise any Brahmana, who deserves the degradation can be made by the state a Sudra. In fact, any Brahmana who is disqualified for the work, becomes at once a Sudra de jure, and a Sudra, who qualifies for it, becomes at once a Brahmana de jure; though neither can become so de facto also either by his own will or the will of others, as long as the state does not make him so.

On the surface Swami has made a reform here because seemingly the idea of hereditary castes is no longer Vedic and, the non-hereditary caste system is to be run and maintained by the State. In other words, what sounded as reform turned out to be no reform: If the caste system cannot be protected by claiming the religious doctrines for whatever reasons then come up with the political design to accomplish the same. The end result is still the same. There is no evidence in place where Swami as an authority ever crossed the caste lines to intermingle or eat with the lower castes. At one time he refused to dine with Sayed Ahmed Khan, and on another occasion he refused to eat a Brahmo’s food because it had been prepared by a low-caste female. Once in Banaras, Swami left a room where a Muslim was present to have a drink of water.

Immoralities

Swami remained single throughout his life. Whether he experienced any sexual encounters of any variety is hard to tell since the literature is silent on this fact. For sake of understanding, let’s say you are married and you find out your wife is pregnant. Given your beliefs, consider that you must refrain from any sexual activity until your wife delivers a baby. In the meantime how do you handle your sexual urges? Swami has an answer: Go ahead with sexual intercourse with someone else provided you do it according to the Vedic instructions -- read page 140 of Satyarth Prakash. In no way this recommendation is different from Islam’s sanctioning of “temporary marriage” called Mutah. Swami spelled out a wild doctrine of niyoga. I ask the reader to browse through pages 130 to 140 of Satyarth Prakash to grasp what niyoga is. Many fair-minded Hindus and others were incensed at the Swami for uttering such immoral nonsense. Manusmriti sanctions sex outside the norm in a narrowly prescribed manner. But the Swami, being never a careful reader, overextended Manu’s sanctions and created a scandal against him. His brainwashed followers brought suit against those ridiculing the niyoga. I am thankful to John Campbell Oman for bringing to my attention the following: “Courts pronounced the tenets of the Arya Samaj in regard to Niyoga to be undoubtedly immoral.”

Sex

You will never conceive of Swami being a sex therapist. The details are interesting and I will ask the prospective student to procure Swami’s Sanskara Vidhi along with Satyarth Prakash to dig deeper and extract the juice. Here my aim is different. On page 106 of Satyarth Prakash, Swami takes you on a sweet road:

Let the husband follow the proper method of discharging semen and the wife that of drawing it up. As far as possible, they should never waste their reproductive elements perfected and preserved by the practice of Brahmacharya, because the children born of the union of such reproductive elements (male and female) are of a very superior order. When during the act of sexual intercourse the semen is about to be discharged, let them be quite still, let the nose of one be quite opposite to that of the other, and the eyes of one to those of the other and so on; in other words, their bodies should be quite straight, and their minds perfectly happy. Their bodies should not bend one way or the other. Let the husband relax his body, and the wife, as soon as the semen enters her <admin-profanity filter activated>, draw up her breath, pull together her genitals and draw up the semen, so that it finally rests in the uterus. An enlightened woman will know at that very moment if she has conceived.

I could not stop thinking as to where in Vedic literature Dayanand picked up these ideas? As it turned my suspicion was correct and indeed it is Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad. This Upanishad is the largest and probably the most important of all Upanishads. Swami’s quote is eerily similar to what is prescribed in Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad.

If there is an example of a Vedic sex specialist, Swami would fit the picture well. Prof. Jordens wrote this paragraph, “For instance, he [Dayananda] specified the particular nights of a woman’s menstrual cycle when intercourse would lead to the conception of a male or of a female child; he also prescribed a special diet that would ensure impregnation if it did not occur promptly enough.”

Jordens referenced this paragraph from “Rishi Dayananda Saraswati ke Patra aur Vijnapan,” 2nd edition (1955) pages 451-52. Obviously Swami believed in more Vedic-derived ideas recorded beyond the confines of his Satyarth Prakash. Again I felt that Jordens’ above paragraph also jarringly resembled those teachings sprouting from Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad. I have been contemplating about Swami Dayananda and wondering what more did he truly believe out of this famous Upanishad. For reasons that will become clearer and I prefer not to comment on it any further, but I will suggest you read the following entire twenty-eight verses dealing with “incantations and ceremonies for procreation,” of the fourth Brahmana—section of SIXTH ADHYÂYA of Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad: (Specific to the red colored section, I forewarn this may not be suitable for some readers)

1. Verily, of created things here earth is the essence; of earth, water; of water, plants; of plants, flowers; of flowers, fruits; of fruits, man (purusa); of man, semen.

2. Prajâpati ('Lord of creatures') bethought himself: 'Come, let me provide him a firm basis!' So he created woman. When he had created her, he revered her below.--Therefore one should revere woman below.--He stretched out for himself that stone which projects. With that he impregnated her.

3. Her lap is a sacrificial altar; her hairs, the sacrificial grass; her skin, the soma-press. The two labia of the vulva are the fire in the middle. Verily, indeed, as great as is the world of him who sacrifices with the Vâjapeya ('Strength-libation') sacrifice, so great is the world of him who practises sexual intercourse, knowing this; he turns the good deeds of women to himself. But he who practises sexual intercourse without knowing this-women turn his good deeds unto themselves.

4. This, verily, indeed, it was that Uddâlaka Âruni knew when he said:--

This, verily, indeed, it was that Nâka Maudgalya knew when he said:--

This, verily, indeed, it was that Kumârahârita knew when he said: 'Many mortal men, Brahmans by descent, go forth from this world, impotent and devoid of merit, namely those who practise sexual intercourse without knowing this.'

[if] even this much semen is spilled, whether of one asleep or of one awake, [5] then he should touch it, or [without touching] repeat:--

'What semen has of mine to earth been spilt now,

Whate'er to herb has flowed, whate'er to water--

This very semen I reclaim!

Again to me let vigor come!

Again, my strength; again, my glow!

Again the altars and the fire

Be found in their accustomed place!'

Having spoken thus, he should take it with ring-finger and thumb, and rub it on between his breasts or his eye-brows.

6. Now, if one should see himself in water, he should recite over it the formula: 'In me be vigor, power, beauty, wealth, merit!' This, verily, indeed, is loveliness among women: when she has removed the clothes of her impurity. Therefore when she has removed the clothes of her impurity and is beautiful, one should approach and invite her.

7. If she should not grant him his desire, he should bribe her. If she still does not grant him his desire, he should hit her with a stick or with his hand, and overcome her, saying: 'With power, with glory I take away your glory!' Thus she becomes inglorious.

8. If she should yield to him, he says: 'With power, with glory I give you glory!' Thus they two become glorious.

9. The woman whom one may desire with the thought, 'May she enjoy love with me!'--after inserting the member in her, joining mouth with mouth, and stroking her lap, he should mutter:--

'Thou that from every limb art come,

That from the heart art generate,

Thou art the essence of the limbs!

Distract this woman here in me,

As if by poisoned arrow pierced!'

10. Now, the woman whom one may desire with the thought, 'May she not conceive offspring!'--after inserting the member in her and joining mouth with mouth, he should first inhale, then exhale, and say: 'With power, with semen, I reclaim the semen from you!' Thus she comes to be without seed.

11. Now, the woman whom one may desire with the thought, 'May she conceive!'--after inserting the member in her and joining mouth with mouth, he should first exhale, then inhale, and say: 'With power, with semen, I deposit semen in you!' Thus she becomes pregnant.

12. Now, if one's wife have a paramour, and he hate him, let him put fire in an unannealed vessel, spread out a row of reed arrows in inverse order, and therein sacrifice in inverse order those reed arrows, their heads smeared with ghee, saying:--

'You have made a libation in my fire! I take away your in-breath and out-breath (prânâpânau)--you, so-and-so!

You have made a libation in my fire! I take away your sons and cattle--you, so-and-so!

You have made a libation in my fire! I take away your sacrifices and meritorious deeds --you, so-and-so!

You have made a libation in my fire! I take away your hope and expectation--you, so-and-so!'

Verily, he whom a Brahman who knows this curses--he departs from this world impotent and devoid of merit. Therefore one should not desire dalliance with the spouse of a person learned in sacred lore (s'rotriya) who knows this, for indeed he who knows this becomes superior.

13. Now, when the monthly sickness comes upon anyone's wife, for three days she should not drink from a metal cup, nor put on fresh clothes. Neither a low-caste man nor a low-caste woman should touch her. At the end of the three nights she should bathe and should have rice threshed.

14. In case one wishes, 'That a white son be born to me! that he be able to repeat a Veda! that he attain the full length of life!'--they two should have rice cooked with milk and should eat it prepared with ghee. They two are likely to beget [him].

15. Now, in case one wishes, 'That a tawny son with reddish-brown eyes be born to me! that he be able to recite two Vedas! that he attain the full length of life!'--they two should have rice cooked with sour milk and should eat it prepared with ghee. They two are likely to beget [him].

16. Now, in case one wishes, 'That a swarthy son with red eyes be born to me! that he be able to repeat three Vedas! that he attain the full length of life!'--they two should have rice boiled with water and should eat it prepared with ghee. They two are likely to beget [him].

17. Now, in case one wishes, 'That a learned (pandita) daughter be born to me! that she attain the full length of life!'--they two should have rice boiled with sesame and should eat it prepared with ghee. They two are likely to beget [her].

18. Now, in case one wishes, 'That a son, learned, famed, a frequenter of council-assemblies, a speaker of discourse desired to be heard, be born to me! that he be able to repeat all the Vedas! that he attain the full length of life!'--they two should have rice boiled with meat and should eat it prepared with ghee. They two are likely to beget [him], with meat, either veal or beef.

19. Now, toward morning, having prepared melted butter in the manner of the Sthâlîpâka, he takes of the Sthâlîpâka and makes a libation, saying: 'To Agni, hail! To Anumati, hail! To the god Savitri ('Enlivener,' the Sun), whose is true procreation 3 (satya-prasava), hail!' Having made the libation, he takes and eats, Having eaten, he offers to the other [i.e. to her]. Having washed his hands, he fills a vessel with water and therewith sprinkles her thrice, saying:--

'Arise from hence, Vis'vavasu!

Some other choicer maiden seek!

This wife together with her lord ----'

20. Then he comes to her and says:--

'This man (ama) am I; that woman (sâ), thou!

That woman, thou; this man am I!

I am the Sâman; thou, the Rig!

I am the heaven; thou, the earth!

Come, let us two together clasp!

Together let us semen mix,

A male, a son for to procure!'

21. Then he spreads apart her thighs, saying: 'Spread yourselves apart, heaven and earth!' Inserting the member in her and joining mouth with mouth, he strokes her three times as the hair lies, saying:--

'Let Vishnu make the womb prepared!

Let Tyashtri shape the various forms!

Prajâpati--let him pour in!

Let Dhâtri place the germ for thee!

O Sinîvâlî, give the germ;

O give the germ, thou broad-tressed dame!

Let the Twin Gods implace thy germ--

The Asvins, crowned with lotus-wreaths!

22. With twain attrition-sticks of gold

The As'vin Twins twirl forth a flame;

'Tis such a germ we beg for thee,

In the tenth month to be brought forth.

As earth contains the germ of Fire (agni),

As heaven is pregnant with the Storm (indra),

As of the points the Wind (vâyu) is germ,

E'en so a germ I place in thee,

So-and-so!'

23. When she is about to bring forth, he sprinkles her with water, saying.--

Like as the wind doth agitate

A lotus-pond on every side,

So also let thy fetus stir.

Let it come with its chorion.

This fold of Indra's has been made

With barricade enclosed around.

O Indra, cause him to come forth--

The after-birth along with babe!'

24. When [the son] is born, he [i. e. the father] builds up a fire, places him on his lap, mingles ghee and coagulated milk in a metal dish, and makes an oblation, ladling out of the mingled ghee and coagulated milk, and saying-

'In this son may I be increased,

And have a thousand in mine house!

May nothing rob his retinue

Of offspring or of animals!

Hail!

The vital powers (prâna) which are in me, my mind, I offer in you.

Hail!

What in this rite I overdid,

Or what I have here scanty made--

Let Agni, wise, the Prosperer,

Make fit and good our sacrifice!

Hail!'

25. Then he draws down to the child's right ear and says 'Speech! Speech!' three times. Then he mingles coagulated milk, honey, and ghee and feeds [his son] out of a gold [spoon] which is not placed within [the mouth], saying: 'I place in you Bhûr! I place in you Bhuvas! I place in you Svar! Bhûr, Bhuvas, Svar---everything I place in you!'

26. Then he gives him a name, saying: 'You are Veda.' So this becomes his secret name.

27. Then he presents him to the mother and offers the breast, saying:--

'Thy breast which is unfailing and refreshing,

Wealth-bearer, treasure-finder, rich bestower,

With which thou nourishest all things esteeméd--

Give it here, O Sarasvatî, to suck from.'

28. Then he addresses the child's mother:--

'You are Ilâ, of the lineage of Mitra and Varuna!

O heroine! She has borne a hero!'

Continue to be such a woman abounding in heroes--

She who has made us abound in a hero!'

Of such a son, verily, they say: 'Ah, you have gone beyond your father! Ah, you have gone beyond your grandfather!'

Ah, he reaches the highest pinnacle of splendor, glory, and sacred knowledge who is born as the son of a Brahman who knows this!

Homa (Havan)

Of late the world is witnessing increasing pollution; in India this problem is even more severe. For reasons already discussed it shouldn’t be difficult and surprising to learn that Swami’s prescription of sacred sacrifice of burning the woods in a religious ceremony, if carried through true to the spirit, would have doomed humanity a lot quicker. Bhai Kahan Singh (1861-1938) after reading chapter 3 of Satyarth Prakash explored the Homa quandary in his “Sikhs: We are not Hindus”:

In the jungle, on the bank of a river, morning and evening, take a pot that is sixteen fingers (12 inches) deep and of the same width, perform Havan by burning wood. Read Mantras and make offerings by pouring butter, etc. in the fire. The Havan purifies air. By not performing Homa there is sin, because bad smell originates from humans and that makes the air unclean, and becomes the cause of disease. If Homa were to be performed like old days all the maladies of India will disappear. There should be more ghee (melted butter) used in Homa than for eating. Every person should make, at least, 16 offerings of Ghee, each of six Mashas (about 5 grams) he have to consider this, if we need to purify air, why not perform Haven in the House? Air in the jungle is already fresh and pure. What is the significance of the special size of the pot for Havan? … If every one of the family, morning and evening, burns only 8 measures then a family of ten will need 160 tolas (about 2,240 grams) ghee everyday. What is required for food will be greater. The benefit that Dayanand foresees through Homa for the country is beyond our comprehension.

Swami also believed that performing Homa sacrifice will increase the rainfall!

Political Activism

Performing his role as a political agent and as agitator was probably the most effective methodology that Swami had swung into motion. And it had enduring side-effects much of it, if not all, turned negative. Three case reports should illustrate the point.

a. Munshi Indramani, an Arya, and a known writer especially against Islam, lost a court case against him brought by Muslims. The issue got out of hands thanks in part because the Swami personally got involved inciting Hindus and sought funds to help Indramani. This was the first time Swami succeeded in getting the Aryas deeply involved in an agitation where Arya Samaj’s activism was promoted as defender of Hinduism vis-à-vis Islam. This was the beginning of a new brand of low politics that was to reshape Hindu-Muslim relations.

b. The idea of “Cow Protection” steadily grew in Swami’s mind and eventually turned into a fury full of rage and momentum. Again this confrontational agitation turned and pitted against Muslims covering from local level to nationwide implications. Dayananda rationalized many reasons to safeguard the cows including the ideas that it promotes “better rainfall and a purer atmosphere.” It is mind boggling to read the extent to which Swami would travel against cow slaughter. Besides the merits or the demerits of Swami leading off this aggressive movement, clearly as an outcome, it cemented chilling relations with the Muslims.

c. Swami left no stone unturned to promote the Hindi language while turning against Urdu. By 1870s, the movement for Hindi had already adopted an intriguing argument connecting language, religion, and nation. Hinduism as a religion and Hindi as a language couldn’t have been fortuitous in the sense that it was merely in roughly 1850s that the European colonials had coined both terms: Hindi and Hinduism. While the Bengali elite somehow entangled themselves first to promote the idea of Hindi as a national language, it was Swami himself whose agitations encompassing his entire spread out Arya organizations and publishing vehicles transformed the Hindi campaign to a higher pitch nationwide. Upon his death, thanks largely to the Swami, he left behind a politically inspired active functioning team.

All of Swami’s “active measures” promoting himself and his Arya Samaj to the forefront of artificially labeled national causes embittered the Muslim population. In fact a case can be made that Swami Dayananda is really the father of modern Hinduism who had planted anti-Muslim politics in India. In a recently published (2004) book, “Identity and Religion: Foundations of anti-Islamism in India,” Professor Amalendu Misra, though missing Dayananda altogether, marshaled a compelling research on some of the other prophets of modern Hinduism and their devastated consequences. Following the tragic 1947 partitions, the Arya political machine dominated by the Punjabi elements turned more self-destructive: they went after their own Punjabi mother tongue while promoting Hindi with a religious zeal. Arya’s politicization of language causes had delivered a mortal blow to Punjab’s already vulnerable psyche.

The last two chapters of Satyarth Prakash solely deal with Swami’s critical analysis on both Islam & Christianity. Written in the early 1880s, his reading and analysis of both the Koran and the Bible shows Dayananda’s deep interest in these topics for number of years before he penned his comments. These commentaries imparted some utility values at the time of writing and shortly thereafter. But today with the advent and rapid advances of modern Biblical and Islamic scholarships, Swami’s write ups are crude, unsophisticated, and outdated. They serve hardly any useful purpose.

Swami’s untimely death in 1883 at which time he was barely 59 years old shocked everyone. Some believe he was poisoned by a prostitute; I am not sure what killed him. But the evidence is convincing that with so many doctors attending to him, literally left the medical case grossly mismanaged.

Conclusion

What do we make of Swami Dayananda? What to do with Arya Samaj? With the benefit of hindsight, today there are no easy answers. Just the other day, a friend asked me if Swami always uttered nonsense. My answer was no. For him to be recognized as a credible founder and interpreter of ancient Vedas, he had enough intelligence to sway and guide a portion of relatively educated Hindus, especially in Punjab. Very few of these Punjabis had the sense of healthy skepticism and tenacity to go and double check the Swami. To be blunt, Swami had much more difficult task to con those non-Punjabi Indians (for example Bengali educated class) who were familiar with the Hindu texts and knew of Sanskrit. Like his sole Gujarati successor in the field of modern Hinduism, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami was an unstable man who learned to thrive on chaos.

His damage done to Punjab is beyond repair. I understand why many Sikhs, Muslims, and some Hindus express an aversion for the Swami and his followers.

I look at Arya Samajists (or Aryas) with a degree of hope. I recognize serious troubles with Dayananda. What he had unleashed was really troublesome that we all must face. I have known and befriended many Aryas. These men and women are hard working and honest people. Like other politically inspired ideologies, Arya Samaj has given birth to its own fair share of fanatics. But again I must stress many Aryas are law-abiding and will never hurt anybody irrespective of what Swami’s legacy has been. In my own education at D.A.V. College, I have seen Aryas behave at their best. What is lodged inside the pages of Satyarth Prakash is really a huge problem for the Aryas and that burden is theirs and should stay that way. How they handle the substantive errors and many other outdated things is their internal business. Sikhs should not ask them to remove just three or four questionable pages on Sikh Gurus and be content to leave the rest intact. I think the problem is much bigger than those just few questionable pages.

The problem of Dayananda is part of a bigger mess--the issue of modern Hinduism. Modern Hinduism has not served well the interests of Hindus. Additionally in the process, it has inflicted pains upon Sikhs, and other Indian religious groups as well. We must face the fact that modern Hinduism had never been a reform movement; in fact it has made Hinduism a malignant force, and ushered far more deadly fundamentalism consistent with those coming out of the Semitic religions. While eroding away many of Hindusim’s classical polytheistic worldview and multiple value-systems, Arya Samaj replaced it with new wild interpretations concocted to face the Christian missionaries of a bygone era. Now the times have changed and with that politics even more so. I believe traditional and popular Hinduisms have enough reservoirs to handle the missionary and colonial threats of the future. Again the burden to transform modern Hinduism back to traditional and popular roots of Hinduism rests with those who call themselves Hindus. It is their burden. This won’t be an easy going-back sort of transformation. Hindus are people with deeper internal strengths and resourcefulness and I have full confidence they will take appropriate measures in months and years to come. Before I close, I think Hindus (and others) should benefit from the well-informed comments of Rev. T. Williams on the true nature of Dayananda as recorded in a pamphlet published in 1894, “A Farce—a religion professedly based on a book, which, as translated for that religion, has no existence.”

But in point of fact POLITICAL MOTIVES are at the bottom of the whole Arya Samaj movement, whether the members be flesh-eaters or non-flesh-eaters. A religious character was given to it by Dayananda simply as a means to this end. Political motives are really those that have attracted even the rank and file. The members of the Arya Samaj are not one whit more religious—rather less so in my opinion—than their confreres of the old system. The reply usually given by the Aryas as to why they follow Dayananda is that he sought THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE COUNTRY (mark, not THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE RELIGION). It is, I repeat, a political movement, and Dayananda sought to bind all his countrymen into one compact whole by giving ONE shastra and ONE religion, even though he had for this purpose to forge them both.

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Dayanand and his Arya Samaj were very offensive to the Sikh Gurus, he wanted Sikhs to become Hindus.

Written in a dialogue form, Swami puts out a question and then answers it. I am not averse to this kind of narration. At the very outset, the Swami refers to <> (Ik-Ongkar) as OM, which of course is inaccurate. Swami didn’t know Punjabi language nor did he know the Gurmukhi alphabets. Given his total ignorance why Swami would set himself for ridicule? Was he really under any compulsion to resort to committing errors which he should have known would ultimately catch up to haunt his memory? Nevertheless, Swami seems to like the opening verses of Guru Granth within the framework of merely stating a question and then lashes out at Guru Nanak once he commences to answer.

It is obvious from what Dayanand wrote about Guru Nanak and the Sikhs that the Swami didn’t know about the existence of Punjabi language. How he reaches the conclusion that Guru Nanak was devoid of scholastic knowledge or even of the Sanskrit language is left unscratched. Dayanand alleges that Nanak was ignorant of the Vedas, and Shastras. With respect to Nanak’s lack of Sanskrit language, Swami provided two evidences: (1) because Nanak wrote the word “nirbhau” instead of “nirbhaya,” and (2) Nanak composed “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).”

I am baffled at the Swami. Guru Nanak being a Punjabi person is communicating in that language to the masses who understand that particular language well. Why would Swami penalize Nanak for speaking his mother tongue? Because the Guru used “nirbhau” which underscores Nanak’s love for his mother-tongue that in turn has absolutely no connotation (negative or positive) for any other language including Sanskrit. Swami is not being rational here, and I am afraid this is just the beginning. While giving his second evidence of Nanak’s ignorance of Sanskrit, Swami says that Nanak composed “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).” If Nanak truly composed these “satotras” then it is inherently clear that Nanak knew Sanskrit. The question is when and where did Nanak compose these Sanskrit hymns? Moreover, how did Swami know that these hymns are in Sanskrit because he could not read Gurmukhi? Did someone else read the so-called “satotras” to him? And, how did Swami conclude that they are in Sanskrit?

We have no evidence in place of Nanak composing “Sanskrit hymns (satotras).” First, Swami tells us unequivocally that Nanak was ignorant of Sanskrit. This is followed by two examples which negate totally his first supposition. This feat of irrationality and flawed logic is accomplished in the same paragraph within the confines of a few lines.

Additionally, Swami throws more jabs at Guru Nanak and the Punjabi people. In this process the Swami commits blunders by resorting to logical flaws. If Nanak wanted to show off his knowledge of Sanskrit—as Swami alleges—then there must have been audiences who were listening to Nanak and that particular audience must also known the Sanskrit language. How else would the audience be awed by Nanak’s knowledge of that language? Differently put, if Nanak didn’t know Sanskrit and wanted to show off to his village listeners, who themselves knew no Sanskrit, then is it really a show off? Wouldn’t it be silly for Nanak to resort to such fruitless deception? One may ask how is it possible for any person to attain fame, glory, and applause by speaking Sanskrit or even showing off to the ignorant masses of Punjab who knew nothing about Sanskrit?

Had there been an encounter between the Swami and Guru Nanak, the Guru would have politely reminded him that people of Punjab don’t speak Sanskrit; in fact Sanskrit is a foreign language for them. Let alone Punjab, if we think rationally it will dawn upon us that not a single regional language of the sub-continent has ever been Sanskrit.

Furthermore, it would have been commendable had Dayanand given us examples of Guru Nanak’s verses where the Guru has condemned the Vedas and also praised them. Swami appears to suggest that since Nanak used both avenues (praise and condemnation) of Vedas, the masses couldn’t call Nanak an atheist, and had he resorted to condemnation of Vedas only (without any praise) then he would have been called an atheist. In this imaginary scenario, logically flawed that it is, Swami has tried to give the impression as if Punjabi masses knew the Vedas, which also means that they were knowledgeable of Sanskrit language! Earlier Swami had told us that these masses in Punjab didn’t know Sanskrit. At this stage if you are getting confused because of profound inconsistencies and contradictions, you are not alone.

Regarding the absurdities of Swami’s direct quotes of the two verses from Sukhmani, I will ask the reader to read other critical commentaries incorporated in this e-Symposium. I might just make one comment here that Sukhmani was authored by Guru Arjan and not by Guru Nanak. This simply points to the fact that Swami’s knowledge of Guru Granth is negligible, and in all likelihood he relied on someone else for information related to the Sikh scripture.

I am aware of Udasis, Nirmalas, and Akalees, mostly fringe groups outside mainstream Sikhs, and I am at a loss as to who are Suthreshahees? Moreover, what is Nanak Chandrodaya? Didn’t Swami forget to mention Nihangs who had threatened to kill him upon his uttering disparaging remarks about Sikhism while in Amritsar? There are many such examples of Dayanand’s mindless ramblings, but I will now take a closer look at his comments on Guru Gobind Singh.

Reluctantly I can make a case that Swami somewhat liked Guru Gobind Singh, which is quite odd considering Swami’s unusual personality. On page 2 of chapter 11 (page number 330 of Satyarth Prakash translated by Bharadwaja), Swami remarked,

“… Shivajee and Gobind Singh rose against Mohammedan rule and completely annihilated the Muslim rule in India.”

Given Dayanand’s anti-Islamic rhetoric one can see why Swami has good words for Guru Gobind Singh who fought against Mughal tyranny. But don’t be deceived. These good words for the Guru are time restrained. They are strictly for the past as we shall see shortly. Consider Swami’s description of the 5Ks (in actuality he made it 6Ks) and how these “were of great use in fighting.”

1. Kesha (Unshorrn hair) — are there purely for the protection of head, be it from sticks and swords.

I am inclined to ask Dayananda if rishis, munis, yogis etc. have long hair for the protection of heads against attacks from sticks and swords?

2. Kangan — worn by Akalee on the turban.

Swami fails to describe Kangan and why it is supposedly worn on the turban. Had Dayanand given a thought he could make a better case for turban as “protection to head” against the sticks and swords. Notably Swami wore a turban during this phase of his life but he does not acknowledge this fact.

3. Kara — iron bangle worn on the wrist. Why? Swami alleges Kara is for protection of wrist and head. Protecting wrist via Kara may be plausible; however suggesting Kara to be protective of head is simply nonsense.

4. Kachha — Swami’s description of Kachha for athletic purposes is plausible and in some remote sense it is conceivable that Kachha might protect precious gonads. From his description, it implies that Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the wearing of Kachha to protect the vital gonads in times of war against Muslims? Swami does not elaborate on it .

5. Karda — “double-edged knife” for hand-to-hand fight against the enemy. It baffles me how a knife could be an appropriate tool to fight against those wielding swords or more lethal weapons. One can forgive Swami’s knowledge of warfare being nil; someone close to him at least should have corrected him that Kirpan is not a knife. Moreover, Swami is confusing this karda with Khanda, a double-edged sword.

6. Kanga — Swami says this is a comb for “dressing the hair.” Here is an example of one “K” which has seemingly no plausible utility in warfare. In keeping with consistency, Dayanand could have ascribed some military value to a comb; like the teeth of the comb can be extremely effective in hurting the enemy in close combat conditions!

Dayanand alleges these 5Ks had been useful in warfare of the past. However, he fails to describe for us how Sikhs used them on the battleground under Guru Gobind Singh and then triumphed. This crucial detail would have come handy today. Hindus too could have used these 5ks given their precarious conditions under Islamic rule. Why didn’t they? Something that easy to adorn, the 5Ks could have saved Hindus if indeed Swami was correct in his thesis. If a person or a community can be transformed into some sort of a warrior clan simply by dressing up with 5Ks, then I believe even Hindus would not have missed this prospect long before Swami's nonsensical utterances.

Needless to say if Dayanand was true to his views, he might have had ready made warriors with full 5Ks for the sole purpose of protecting himself against many enemies of his own making! Given these 5Ks as anti-Islamic, from Swami’s perspectives, and their alleged victory against Muslims, I am inclined to think that had Swami been alive today he might have been clamoring for more 5Ks to forge an alliance on the “Global War on Terror.” With anti-Muslim fervor prevalent among many educated Hindus, you would expect these Hindus to openly promote Khalsa-hood in India and abroad!

How absurd and devious is to compare the 5Ks with five markers of Vama Margis and five Sanskars of Chakrankits? Only Dayanand could navigate such uncharted territories. I need not dwell this deeper for sake of time and maintaining decorum and civility to this symposium.

There is no evidence in place where Swami had visited a gurdwara; I am not sure if he ever had seen a copy of Guru Granth and how Sikhs conduct their religious protocols inside the gurdwara. Yet, Swami alleges that bowing head in front of the Guru Granth amounts to idol worship. Again, as expected, Swami is wrong in adopting an improper terminology to the Sikh settings. If Swami had utilized the word “veneration” to describe Sikh mode of religious services, he would have been correct. Idol worship is simply not the correct term and abusing the Hindi language to describe the situation does not speak well of Dayanand. Today there are instances where some Sikhs employ “excessive veneration” to Guru Granth. Even that is not idol worship by any stretch of imagination, as Guru Granth has message that people can read and understand.

I believe I have proven my case that Swami was wrong at just about every level of his tirade against the Sikh Gurus. A man who was ignorant of the Punjabi language, ignorant of history, and utterly hopeless in making any solid argument, how and where did he get this false information? A little more digging provides the answer.

In 1877, coinciding with Swami’s arrival in Punjab, there was published the first English translation of Guru Granth by Ernest Trumpp, titled, “The Adi Granth: or, The holy scriptures of the Sikhs /translated from the original Gurmukhi with introductory essays by Ernest Trumpp” published by Wm. H. Allen and N. Trübner, London. Ernest Trumpp (1828-1885) was a German missionary who by his own account challenged the reliability of his own translation when in frustrations he left the project incomplete. Only one-third of Guru Granth was translated in English. Reading the contents of Trumpp’s book and matching them with what Swami wrote, it appears likely that the false information lodged in the Satyarth Prakash originated from Trumpp’s book. Since Swami didn’t know English at all, did the Swami have an intermediary (today that person’s identity remains unknown) who passed the incorrect ideas to him? That in of itself doesn’t absolve the Swami of his errors and culpability. Still, it was Swami’s moral and ethical responsibility to make sure what he wrote was correct, which of course he neglected pathologically not once but on many other occasions.

Before I conclude, I mentioned elsewhere that Swami had written his first edition of Satyarth Prakash in 1875, about two years before coming to Punjab. Obviously there are marked changes from that edition compared to the second edition published in 1884 which he had concluded after his Punjab journey. I am interested in reading what Swami wrote about Sikh Gurus in his first edition of 1875. All my attempts to procure a copy of that edition have failed. However, I am thankful to Prof. Jordens who had read the first edition and from reading his book I learned that in the first edition the Swami had accused Guru Nanak of bibliolatry. In other words, Swami before coming to Punjab held a belief that Guru Nanak adored the Bible and worshipped it as an idol!

While at one place Dayanand asked Sikhs to follow Guru Nanak’s teachings, without spelling out what Nanak taught, at the same time he depicts Nanak as a fraud. Without a doubt, Swami would like Sikhs to follow the Vedic religion. Irrespective of the interpretations of the Vedic literature, Vedas have not been at the forefront of mainstream Hindus. What incentive Sikhs have to follow the Vedas? Ironically the Hindu Diaspora has built mega temples and all that you can find in them is a smorgasbord of idols. The choice is yours which idol you wish to worship or worship them all, if you so desire. Idol worship has been taken to new heights and it only shows how many Hindus of many persuasions have truly rejected the Swami. Personally I believe that idol worship is “superior” to the dangerous interpretations that Swami rendered of the ancient Vedic literature.

Conclusion

The most tragic scope of Swami’s error-ridden expose against Sikh Gurus and Sikhs is not confined to what he himself wrote but how it inspired a new breed of some fanatical Punjabi Hindu followers who were bent upon surpassing Swami’s foolishness and sloppiness. They concocted and published more wild stories against the Sikh Gurus and in the process created a climate of mutual distrust and communal animosities at the expense of seeking objective truths. At another time we should open the pages of these few important Punjabi Hindu followers and their unrelenting pursuit of inflicting heavy wounds on their fellow Punjabi Sikhs as well as on others. This was the legacy that Swami left behind.

It hardly matters whether Dayanand had intended to leave this kind of negative heritage or not, one thing is clear that he and his outlandish preaching left an indelible mark of bitter taste on Punjab’s psyche. There might be a glimmer of light here. Reading Sangat Singh’s The Sikhs in History, I learned that Swami before his untimely death decided to expunge some of the derogatory comments especially against Guru Nanak. Perhaps because of the strains of tragic last days he failed to finalize and see through his wish incorporated in the finished product of the second edition of Satyarth Prakash. Would Swami’s followers carry out his wish? I doubt it.

Copyright©2008 G.B Singh. About the author

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