The following is continuation of the narrative of our interview with Datuk Sucha Singh on his views and experience about the Malaysian Gurdwara Council and its formation. This is part 2 of the interview.
What do you think about the stand taken by M.G.C on Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani?
Datuk Sucha Singh
What STAND? Do they understand their own stand, that is if they have a stand? I do not know what their stand is? On the issue of Dasam Granth bani on the one hand they rightly state that in relation to the controversy surrounding Dasam Granth we should look towards our religious supreme authority, the Akaal Takhat to give final direction in this matter and at the same time they proceed to issue their own instructions and directions that the Dasam Granth Bani cannot be preached or recited in a Gurdwaras other than the 3 bani that is Jaap, 10 swayyas and Benti Chaupi without reference and regard to the Gurmatta and adivse of the Takhat on the matter.
Consider this. They approve the 10 sawayas but ban the rest of the bani IN PRAISE OF AKAAL, Akaal Ustat in which these 10 sawayas and other sawayas like 10 sawayas deenan are found. Is this not laughable?
The stand of the Akaal Takhat and the other Takths on Kirtan and Katha from Dasam Granth is very clear and unequivocal. It is explicitly and unequivocally clear that Kirtan & Katha from Dasam Granth is allowed, can be conducted and is necessary. Akaal Takhat has issued a Gurmatta stating that the controversy created about the Dasam Granth is absolutely unnecessary. The compositions from the Dasam Granth in relation to the Rehat Maryada, Nitnem, Amrit Sanchar have been accepted, nobody has the right to question this. The whole panth is put to notice that Sri Dasam Granth is an inseparable part of the Literature and History of the Sikh Panth. The other Takhats have also directed and advised that the Dasam Granth Sahib’s bani is accepted by the Panth (“Panth Parvanat”) and its Kirtan and Katha is necessary and can be conducted in presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Katha and Kirtan of the Dasam Granth has been conducted from early time (“puratan samey to he”) in Harmardar Sahib all the four Takhats and the historical Gurdwaras.
The prohibition and the ban on the Dasam Granth bani in the Gurdwaras or anywhere is therefore in defiance of Gurmatta of the AKAAL TAKHAT and the stand and advise of the other Takhats. It is undermining and usurping the authority of the Takhats and is a challenge to their authority. The Gurdwaras and the Sangat must take serious note of this.
In fact the Akaal Takhat Sahib by Mata No:2 on the 27-Nov-2006 decided and directed those and who are dedicated to the Guru Panth to answer and respond appropriately to the misleading (Gumrahkun) parchar against Dasam Granth carried out by mischievous elements.
Has M.G.C deviated from its original aim?
Datuk Sucha Singh
I do not need to say anything. With regards to Gurbani, Gurmattas, Mattas, Dasam Pita’s Bani, Rehetnamay, the Five Takhats and their decisions, Hukumnamay, Gurmattas, Mattas, Sandesh or Adesh the difference in the stand of the MGC then and now is there for everyone to see and judge.
By letter dated 12-Jul-2016 the MGC has directed Dasam Granth Bani cannot be recited and preached in a Gurdwara other than the 3 Banis, that is Jaap, 10 Sawayas and Benti Chaupai and have prescribed the Nitnem Dian Bania that can be read at Amrit Vela, evening and night. What is your opinion?
Datuk Sucha Singh
My spontaneous reaction to the ban on the Dasam Granth Bani is to ask MGC. How then do we do Ardas in the Gurdwaras now? The mandatory part of the Ardas includes Guru Gobind Singh JI’s Bani and is in Dasam Granth. Know that MGC has banned the Ardas in the Gurdwaras, how do you feel?
Sadly gurmat virodhi views and concepts, prohibitions and bans are also peddled in the name of Rehat Maryada and unity. I have mentioned the stand of the Takhat on the matter. Now what does the Rehat Maryada say?
I quote the Sikh Rehat Maryada (English Version) published by SGPC in 2000 and 2006 Chapter V, Article VI (c).
Kirtan (Devotional Hymn singing by a group or an individual).
In the congregation, kirtan only of Gurbani (Guru Granth’s or Guru Gobind Singh’s hymns) and for it’s elaboration, the compositions of Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal, may be performed.”
So Bani includes Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s hymns.
Further on Exposition of Gurbani (Sikh Holy scriptures) Chapter IX, Article III (c)
“c) The exposition can only be of the Ten Guru’s writings or utterances, Bhai Gurdas’ writings, Bhai Nand Lal’s, writings or of any generally accepted Panthic Book or of books of history (which are in agreement with the Guru’s tenets)”.
So don’t the writings and utterances of the TEN GURUS include Guru Gobind Singh’s writings and utterances? And where do we find the Dasam Guru’s writings and utterances? In Dasam Granth of course.
Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha in Mahan Kosh also defines Gurbani as the Bani of Guru Nanak and His Satguru Forms (“Guru Nanak ate ohna de roop Satguran di Bani”).
Can anyone deny that Guru Gobind Singh Ji is Guru Nanak’s Satguru Form, (Roop Satguran)?
Guru Sangat Ji, read the relevant provisions of the SRM and know that Dasam Granth Bani is allowed and can be conducted.
Therefore the prohibition and ban is against the letter and spirit of the Sikh Rehat Maryada also. Gurbani, Gurmat gives respect (satkaar) even to the dharam Granths of other faiths “Bed Kteb Keho Mat Jhuthe. Jhutha Jo Na Bichare” (SGGS). But some Sikhs condemn and insult the Granth our own Dasam Pita. Is it Gurmat or Durmat?
With regards to their prescription of which Bani can be recited as Nitnem at Amrti Vela, evening and night and their suggestion that if non-compliance by anyone makes him a Panth Drohi (against the Panth) then all Gurskihs and Amrtidhari Nitnemis, who recite more Bania than what MGC says can be recited, the world over will be Panth Drohis. They recite all the Amrit Sanchar Bania as Nitnem at Amrit Vela. Some recite even more Bania as Nitnem.
Back to Ardas I repeat. Does MGC know that they have banned the Sikh Ardas from the Gurdwaras? Gurdwaras now cannot do the Ardas because Ardas incldues Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani and it is in the Dasam Granth. How absurd can it be some people get in their application of the rules?
Anyway the supreme Authority of the Sikh Panth is the Akaal Takhat. SGPC is the creation of the act of Indian Parliament and charged with the management of certain historical gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pardes and Chandigarh and the SRM is a guide to the code of conduct and conventions prepared under the auspices of the SGPC and accepted by SGPC. No doubt for the sake of uniformity we accept and follow the SRM. During my time with MGC we also accepted it. But it is not a complete treatise on Gurbani and Gurmat. There is more to Gurbani and Gurmat than can be contained in a guideline tract (karda).
The probihition and ban on Dasam Granth Bani is in opposition to the Gurmattas, decisions, Sandesh and Adesh of the Takhats. It is also in contravention of the SRM and the MGC constitution as it is against the principles and the ESTABLISHED PRACTICES since the time of the Gurus.
The Akaal Takhat, Gurmat and established practices, Sikh Rehat Maryada and the Constitution give no authority to any person or council to prohibit or ban the Dasam Granth Bani in Gurdwaras.
The Ek panth Ek Granth Ek Maryada EPEGEM concept of Sikh Parchar which is against Gurmat is being carried out by M.G.C. What is your opinion?
Datuk Sucha Singh
I know nothing about this concept, who enunciated this concept , what M.G.C wants to achieve with it or what the agenda is. I do not want to know. We have the GURMAT and GURMAT according to Kahn Singh Nabha in Mahankosh is Satguru’s sidhant (concepts) Guru established Daram or niyam (rules).We need to understand Guru Ji’s sidhant (concepts) and rules. There is no duality in Gurmat. There is unity in Gurmat. Discard Manmat and Durmat. Embrace Gurmat and you have unity. Do we need these other concept which are questionable in application and agenda.
In the light of recent events in Ipoh and Seremban do you think the EPEGEM parchar is partly responsible for the unrest and protests taking place?
Datuk Sucha Singh
I really do not know what EPEGEM parchar is all about. What its purpose or agenda is?
I believe no one including those who support and respect the Dasam Granth questions the sole Guruship and sovereignty of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. So what is the problem?. What is sought to be achieved by this concept? Is it unity or disunity? or is it confusion?
As regard to the unrest and protest it is now common knowledge that certain elements are condemning, undermining insulting, belittling, denigrating and criticizing long held established foundational practices and traditions of the Sikhs such as Kirtan Simran Naam Japna Amrit bani and Ardas. Amrit has been administered without Jaap Sahib, Saweye and Benti Chaupai.Netnem Gutkas have been printed without these banis. They openly insult and challenge the authority of the Akal Takhat. Now it is not just the issue of Dasam Granth only. This is attacking and undermining the very basics and foundations of Sikhi. Even the Bania in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are being questioned and distorted. Ek Oangkar is changed to Ek Oh Beant and Ek Oangkar is referred to as a logo. It is said that the use of Waheguru for God is wrong.
The very basis of our faith in Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the LIVING GURU (JAAGDI JOT) is questioned when they say LIVING GURU is a metaphor. Metaphor is a word or phrase used in an imaginative way to apply to somebody or something which is not applicable, implying or suggesting that the Guru Granth Sahib is not really a LIVING GURU.
When these controversial elements are brought to Malaysia for Parchar and supported what do you expect? No controversy?
There will be hurt feelings, anger and protest. Then there will be blame game and name calling. And the Sangat is blamed. But who is responsible? Who is bringing them to Malaysia for parchar and who is supporting them? Is the MGC directly or indirectly weighing in, in favour and support of these Gurmat Virodhi elements or is involved or associated with any organization or council with Gurmat Virodhi views or who support these elements or whose stand is opposed to that of the Takhats. The Sangat is intelligent. They will surely judge.
The serious split in the Malaysian Sikh Sangat that M.G.C has caused with their divisive and deviationist stand on Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani is affecting everyone. What is your opinion?
Datuk Sucha Singh
They say the other side is divisive and deviationists. Events are still unfolding Let the Sangat judge.
I note however that M.G.C has directed all Gurdwaras that the Dasam Granth Bani cannot be preached or recited at the Gurdwaras other than the (3) three bani that is Jaap, 10 swayyas and Benti Chaupai. And the ban is in the name of unity and the rehat maryada Waheguru, Waheguru.
Does that mean that the Panth including the Five Takhats are and have been wrong all through the ages contravening and flaunting the Gurmat and going against the teachings of the Ten Guru’s? The Dasam Granth Bani is also recited and sung in Harminder Sahib, in historical Gurdwaras, Gurdwaras and by Gursikhs all over the world.
On the other hand as I have said earlier the M.G.C has rightly stated that with regards to controversial issues surrounding the Dasam Granth we should look towards our religious institution of the supreme authority, the Akaal Takhat to give us the final direction. So why don’t they get the decision or directions from the Akaal Takhat first that is if the think the Akaal Takhats has not already given their decision. Why the unholy haste to ban the singing and parchar of the bani of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji long cherished by the Sikhs through the ages? To achieve unity? Let’s try to figure it out. Guru Gobind created the Khalsa and Sant-Sepahi. Prohibit ban and take away His Bani, compositions and teachings, demean Amrit Sanchar and Amrit Bania. Sepahi removed!! Only Sant is left. Then demean distort and create doubts in the basics and fundamentals of Guru di Sikhi and Gurmat like Ek Oangkar, Guru Granth as a Living Guru, Naam Japna, Simran and Kirtan.And you have Guru di Sikhi reinvented and reformed. All in the name of Sikh Rehat Maryada and Unity. Is this the objective and purpose of GSC and MGC.
Akaal Takhat has not imposed any prohibition or ban on these banis. They are read, sung and preached at the Takhats as well as Harmandir Sahib, in historical Gurdwaras, in Gurdwaras and by the Sikhs worldwide. How do you achieve unity with such prohibitions, bans and actions?
Akaal Takhat has issued clear and unequivocal instructions and directions by their Gurmatta with regards to Dasam Granth. And so have the other Four Takhats given clear direction and advice on the matter. All are bound to respect the Akaal Takhat and other Takhats and comply with the Gurmattas, Sandesh and advise? No individual, organisation or council is bigger than the Akaal Takhat.
Why do you think that MGC is attacking Niketan and SGGS Academy so vigorously for respect, support and parchar of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani. They are being labelled as deviationists.
Datuk Sucha Singh
You should ask the MGC leaders.
I am not involved or associated with Niketan or SGGS Academy. For me it is not about Niketan and SGGS Academy. It is about Guru Gobind Singh Ji, His Bani, Gurmat and established Sikh practices.
But if they are being attacked and labelled deviationists just because of their respect, support and parchar of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani does that also make all the Five Takhats deviationists? Are all the Takhats in transgression of the Sikh Rehat Maryada. The Takhats that every Sikh in his daily ardas remembers “dhian dharke” and say “Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru”. The Dasam Granth Bani is also recited and sung in Kirtan in Harmandir Sahib, in the historical Gurdwaras, Gurdwaras and by Sikhs worldwide. Then all the Nihang Jathebandian, The Panthic Jathebandian worldwide, the Gursikhs mahapurakhs, preachers past and present indeed the panth, who respect and revere Dasam Pita’s Bani will be all deviationists.
Let it be clear, none of the above, indeed no one questions the sole Satguruship and sovereignty of SGGS Ji. Nobody claims Sri Dasam Granth as the Satguru or equal in status to SGGS Ji. There needs to be a correct and right perspective. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is our Eternal Living Guru (Jaagdi Jot). Guru Gobind Singh Ji bestowed the Gurgaddi on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and placed His Jot in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
We also have our temporal seat of Supreme Authority The Akaal Takhat with the other four Takhats. Then we have our secondary authorities and sources of knowledge and learning, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani, Rehetnamay, compositions of Bhai Gurdas Ji, Bhai Nand Lal Ji, Lifes and Hukumnamay of Guru Sahibans. So what is the problem?
…. to be continued