Shabad: Satgur Jaagtaa Hai Deo by Dharam Singh Zakhmi
by Harnaak Singh
Guru Gobind Singh Ji edicted that Granth Sahib shall be our living Guru as Kesar Singh in Bansavalinama, in 1769 (source Link A) wrote
ਦਸਵਾਂ ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹ ਗੱਦੀ ਗੁਰਿਆਈ ਦੀ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਨੂੰ ਦੇ ਹੈ ਗਿਆ । from stanza 265
The tenth King has given the Guruship to the Granth Sahib.
Encyclopaedia of Sikhism Ed Harbans Singh (1998) on page 239 under “Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji” further explains this as follows.
Over the years, the holy book has received the honours due to the living Gurus. No Sikh assembly can properly speaking be so named unless the holy book be present in it. The holy volume in wraps or without wraps, which is but a rare occurrence, wherever located, commands the reverence that was shown the living Gurus. The Holy Book is the centre of all Sikh usage and ceremony. The Guru Granth Sahib some of the variations on the title being Adi Granth, Sri Adi Granth or Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib is today the living Guru for the Sikhs.
So without doubt we know that SGGS Ji is our LIVING GURU.
WHAT IS A METAPHOR AND HOW THE NINDAKS OF DASAM GRANTH VIEW SGGS JI
It is known that the Nindaks of Dasam Granth, the followers of Kala Afghana/ Ragi Darshan Deist Ideology support the view that SGGS Ji as a LIVING GURU is a METAPHOR. See a number of articles at Gurvichar related to this for example Link B and Link C
We will first understand what METAPHOR (Merriam Webster Unabridged Dictionary) means
A FIGURE OF SPEECH IN WHICH A WORD OR PHRASE DENOTING ONE KIND OF OBJECT IS USED IN PLACE OF ANOTHER TO SUGGEST A LIKENESS OR ANALOGY BETWEEN THEM.
Let us consider our case. The elements considered are
- The LIVING GURU is the word of phrase
- SGGS Ji is one kind of an object
- Person who is a Guru is another kind of object.
The word “Living Guru” suggests a LIKENESS of “SGGS Ji” to a “Person as a Guru”. Take note of the word LIKENESS. This means SGGS Ji is not truly considered as a LIVING GURU. I would say
- SGGS Ji is treated more as a Granth of Knowledge
- where one derives spiritual teaching from
if, one were to believe that the concept of “Living Guru” is a metaphor.
This, that SGGS Ji is a METAPHOR, is unfortunately subscribed to by Jagir and his cohorts. This has been pointed out in a number of articles at Gurvichar.
Claiming that SGGS Ji, our LIVING GURU “is a metaphor” is in opposition to what the Sikh Panth accepts presently as well as the edict of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
AN EXAMPLE SHOWING THE USE OF METAPHOR IN GURBANI
Let us understand this with an example using a verse from Gurbani.
We will analyse the verse quoted by Jagir (President of MGC) in his letter Reference No: MGC/OFF/282/05(11/17) dated 27-Apr-2017. The verse he quoted was
ਗੋਤਮ ਤਪਾ ਅਹਿਲਿਆ ਈਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਤਿਸ ਦੇਖ ਇੰਦਰ ਲੁਭਾਇਆ॥ SGGS 1344 Prabhati M:1 Dakhni
Ahalyaa was the wife of Gautam the seer. Seeing her, Indra was enticed.
ਸਹਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਚਿਹਨ ਭਗ ਹੂਏ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਪਛੋਤਾਇਆ॥੧॥
When he received a thousand marks of disgrace on his body, then he felt regret in his mind.
Notice the reference to the mythology, Gautam, Indra, Ahalia in the verse Jagir quoted. To truly appreciate what GuruJi is teaching us we have to know the history and details about mythology behind these references.
All we know from the verse that Ahalia was the wife of Gautam and Gautam is a hermit. And that’s it.
The history behind mythological references is not taught in SGGS Ji. These references are used to illustrate the message related to one (Kaam) of the five evils (Kam, Krodh, Lob, Moh, Hangkar); the assumption, in SGGS Ji, is that the historical basis of the reference is known.
Bhai Gurdas in Vaar 10 Paurdi 18 has a brief explanation of story behind the verse. A detailed explanation related to this verse is given in Dasam Granth Charitr Pakhyan Charitar 116 (see extract from English Adaption Charitro Pakhyan by Pritipal Singh Bindra attached PDF file).
Armed with this knowledge, we can easily understand the verse and the literal meaning is
GuruJi says that, Indra, who is God of the Devtas, was overcome by sexual desire when he saw Ahalia, wife of Gautam (a hermit). Gautam cursed Indra and the result was Indra’s body was marked by a thousand female sexual organs in which instance Indra regretted his lustfullnes.
A discussion of the above is important to understand the true contextual intended meaning.
Indra, being God of Devtas, was a high and mighty powerful person. Note that he, though being in such a position, was still overcome by sexual desire (Lust Kaam) when he saw Ahalia who was the wife of Gautam a hemit. Gautam, a hermit, who was spiritually elevated, was not happy with what happened and he cursed Indra. Due to this curse Indra’s body was covered with a thousand female sexual organs. Note that, though Indra was the God of Devtaas, he was still subject to punishment. This shows that spirituality is more important that temporal power. Indra, having been served the punishment, regretted his action of succumbing to lust.
The message Guru Ji has for us in this verse (after study of the whole stanza) is that one should control Kaam, which can easily overcome one who may be in a very elevated and powerful position. One will definitely be punished for non-virtuous actions done irrespective of status or power. The consequences of this will not be good and one will regret the action. Being God conscious helps us to be virtuous and is a very important state because it is with the grace of God that we will not succumb to non-virtuous activities.
So we learn that only God realisation will help us in taking the right decision in such circumstances.
This message applies universally for all the five evils. Anyone who succumbs to one or more of the five evils will sooner or later pay the consequences and regret.
METAPHORS ARE ONLY USEFULL FOR THE PURPOSE UNDERSTANDING THE VERSES
Notice how in the crux of the message the mythology is not referred to, BUT we must know sufficient information about this mythology to understand the message Gurbani is teaching us. This background information is briefed in Vaaran Bhai Gurdas and detailed in the Dasam Granth. The true knowledge, after being stripped of the metaphorical references becomes no more temporal but for our spiritual upliftment. This is also precisely what is meant when we say that SGGS Ji teaches us Nirgun (transcendent) related knowledge. The mythology part is referenced merely as a metaphor. Therefore a metaphor is only an aid to understanding.
THIS IS THE REASON WHY SGGS JI, OUR LIVING GURU, IS NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A METAPHOR.
SGGS JI IS OUR LIVING GURU, “PERIOD”, just like Guru Nanak or any of our Gurus during their time.
NEED FOR REFERENCE TO OTHER GRANTHS (E.G. DASAM GRANTH) TO UNDERSTAND SGGS JI
Another very important point to note is that to correctly and properly understand the verse we had to refer to Dasam Granth and Vaaran Bhai Gurdas. This shows the importance of our other spiritual literature besides the SGGS Ji. Without these other Granths it would be easy to misinterpret the verse.
This is the reason why I questioned “Jagir, can you direct me to where I could find the explanation of these in the SGGS Ji?” I knew he could not. The answer lay elsewhere. But one thing for sure is that Jagir does not understand the true teaching in SGGS Ji is “food for our soul” nor does he understand the true intended meaning of the verse he quoted.
Rejecting the Dasam Granth is sheer IGNORANCE.
AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE TAKES THE LIVING GURU AS A METAPHOR
There is another very important point to take note of. Jagir and his cohorts, followers of Kala Afghana/ Ragi Darshan Deist Ideology, have been very critical of the installation of Dasam Granth in the presence of SGGS Ji and even state that those who do this are in transgression of the SRM. These includes the Takhats Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib; Jagir states that Takhats PATNA SAHIB AND HAROOR SAHIB are in TRANSGRESSION OF THE SRM.
The problem is because these people do NOT take the SGGS Ji as a LIVING GURU, accepting it only a METAPHOR. So essentially, for them the SGGS Ji is merely a Granth (book of knowledge) that they use to acquire our Gurus teachings. Their connection to the SGGS Ji is devoid of SHARDA because their connection is limited to logic/ reason and critical thought.
So when there is an installation of the Dasam Granth in the presence of SGGS Ji, they consider both as Granths (books of knowledge) and then interpret this as being ON PAR. For their learning they have decided to accept only one book of knowledge and that is the SGGS Ji. In my opinion even this thinking is flawed because as shown above example of Jagir’s own quoted verse (which he claims to understand, which I have my doubts he does) there is a need to refer to Dasam Granth to fully appreciate the references in the verse.
On the other hand the Sikh Panth who accepts the Dasam Granth, BELIEVE that SGGS Ji is their LIVING GURU. Therefore an installation of Dasam Granth in the presence of SGGS Ji is NEVER CONSIDERED ON PAR BECAUSE SGGS JI IS A LIVING GURU AND DASAM GRANTH IS NOT.
By this virtue the Dasam Granth, however installed in the presence of SGGS Ji can NEVER be ON PAR.
We have seen that SGGS Ji as a LIVING GURU cannot be considered a metaphor. This is because a metaphor is only an aid to understanding the teaching in the SGGS Ji.
The example of a verse Jagir used clearly shows how the true meaning comes out after stripping the metaphorical references. However a full understanding of the metaphorical references is necessary to understand the true meaning. In the case of SGGS Ji the metaphorical references are explained in our other scriptures e.g. Dasam Granth.
Without reference to these supporting Granths, the true meanings may not be apparent resulting in misinterpretation. The example of the installation of Dasam Granth is a classic example of misunderstanding.
Taking the Living Guru as a metaphor leads to misinterpretation and hence, the ignorant and misleading stand taken by Jagir and his cohorts.