Shabad: Manas Ki Jaat Ekay Pehchanbo from Akaal Ustat by Dasam Granth – sung by Safqat Ali Khan
Shafqat Ali Khan sings Shabad from Dasam Granth. Extract from Celebrating 300 years of Birth of Khalsa in 1999 organised by SMW in Siri Fort Auditorium. Full video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHQ7x-SSgvA
Equality of Mankind
The following is extract from “IMPORTANCE OF THE TEACHINGS OF SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB IN THE PRESENT ERA” by Sardar Bhagwant Singh Dalawari at Institute of Sikh Studies Chandigarh
Where would you find the teaching of universal love, universal oneness, universal faith and universal prayer so indelibly impressed in any sacred text of any particular religion? Where would you find an instance of the most important shrine of a one religion having had the privilege of its foundation stone laid by a divine personality of another religion? Where would you find in the religious text of one religion, the sacred divine messages of the saints of other religions? Where would you find the religious prophets of other religions being given the same recognition as its own, expect in Guru Granth Sahib, declared as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs? And, where would you find that the sacred text of one religion approvingly referring to the methods of worship of other religions? You must be aware of Guru Gobind Singh’s often repeated words:
Manas ki Jaat sabhe eke pehchanbo
recognise whole human race as of one caste.
Deora masit soi, pooja namaz ohi
Temple and mosque are the same, pooja and namaz are the same
When we discuss the importance of the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib in the present era, it would be natural to talk of the views of Pearl Buck, Arnold Toynbee and other distinguished personalities but I think the best course would be to detail the ills that be devilled the times of our Gurus and the distress that the people faced when the universality of Guru Granth Sahib alleviated the sufferings of both Muslims and Hindus. As a matter of fact, the depredations of the foreign rulers, who happened to be Muslims, trampled upon the rights of Hindus on the one hand and on the other the Hindu priestly class robbed the poor of their religion with their false machinations. Guru Nanak, the apostle of Truth, saviour of the poor and the harbinger of universal love and harmony, came on the scene in the fifteenth century and brought succour to Hindus and Muslims, the latter also being hoodwinked by the Muslim priestly class. Thus, Guru Nanak, brought home to the people, the basics of true religion embodying truth, humility, Love, universality, selflessness and submission to one God of all. The relief that all the people – both Hindus and Muslims – felt at the time, continued to be provided by Guru Nanak’s successors, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Dass and the relative peace that both the communities experienced, encouraged Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, to lay permanent foundations of a universal, commmon brotherhood without distinctions between Man and Man with equal respect for women. He created Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, our highest seat of worship, installed Granth Sahib, the Holy Book as our Scripture with universality as the hallmark. Paradoxically, this humanitarian oneness so disturbed the bigoted Muslims and their ruler Jahangir, who was upset that a non-Muslim Divine personality should so impress all the people including Muslims. For these acts of peace and human unity, detailed below, Jahengir had Guru Arjan tortured to death. Incidentally, the Pothi that Guru set up became the Guru of the Sikhs at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh, in 1708 in Nanded, when he left the mortal frame.
- The foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir, a Muslim Divine, friend and disciple of Guru Arjan.
- The saints and bhagats included by Guru Arjan in his Pothi were, besides four earlier Gurus, Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid, Jaidev, Naamdev and others.
- There was no distinction of faith, worship or label in the selection of saints. All those who dwelt on Naam, as the universal emphasis in remembering the Lord, devoid of karam-kand
- The Golden Temple is absolutely open to all and has four doors on each side. There is no religious fixture about the direction of worship, to the East, to the West or elsewhere.
- All the people are welcome not only to worship in the Harmandir Sahib but also to participate in the community kitchen, the Langar, at all times.
When we talk today of the common heritage of man, common problems of Man, common exploitation of the downtroddon, common deprivation of the weaker sections and of women, we have already a perfect system of guidance in Guru Granth Sahib to dictate our path.
Let us see.
- Makes no distinction between Man and Man in its message to Mankind. Anyone — Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Brahmin, Shudra or anyone else — can dwell on its message, improve his human devotion and become a useful human being;
- Declares emphatically : Khatri Brahmin Sud Vaish Updesh Chau Varna Kau Sanjha (p. 748, SGGS). Whether one belongs to one varna or the other of Hindu society, Guru’s guidance is for everyone.
- Lays no divisions of caste, creed, sex or of any other kind between Man and Man. Jaat ka garv na kario koi (No one should boast about his caste). To obliterate all divisions of caste, Guru Arjan included saints which were foolishly considered belonging to lower castes, in Guru Granth Sahib. And then the third Guru made a condition for everyone to sit in Langar with the sangat before having his darshan. Thus the so-called high had to sit with the so-called low in devotion to the Guru.
- This Granth envisages that a Muslim can learn to be a good Muslim by following the messages of Guru Granth Sahib. A Brahmin can become real Brahmin by listening to the Guru’s advice : Brahmin sau jo brahm bichare (Brahmin is the one who meditates on God).
- Make no distinction between man and woman. In fact the Guru says : Sau kion manda aakyiye jit jammen rajan (how can you cal the one as bad, who gives birth to the kings?) – (Guru Nana Dev, Asa Di Var, p. 462)