Shabad “Waho Waho Banee Nirankar Hai” by Bhai Harjinder Singh Ji
We thank Vegetarian Taksali Blogger for permission to share this article exposing the attempt to change the SGGS Ji. Keep up the good work Taksali Blogger Ji. May Vaheguru Bless you with all wisdom.
by Vegetarian Taksali Blogger
This article is written in response to a paper by Professor Devinder Singh Chahal titled ‘Oankar or Omkar – The Misunderstood Word Annotation By Guru Nanak’ written in 2005. The proposition by the learned Professor that the current “mispronunciation” of the ੴ ‘ਇਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ’ Ek Oangkar (which he calls a logo) is rooted in the Hindu religion and should be discarded to his proposed version of ‘Ek Oh Beant’. This article attempts to debunk the reasons and arguments given by the Professor, through research based on Gurmat literature that is available to me.
The paper by the Professor has been criticized by prominent and genuine scholars like Dr Anurag Singh (Click here for Dr Anurag’s article) as a ‘Mischievous Attempt by Malech Khalsa to present distorted version of two concepts of Guru Granth Sahib’. The paper is a blasphemous attempt to change not only the original pronunciation as ordained by the Guru himself but also a sinister attack at the fundamental doctrines of the Guru’s teachings, that if left unanswered may wreak havoc in the Minds of innocent Sikhs.
Another article on Gurvichar. com that is related to the paper highlighted the involvement of Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) with the Professor giving a lecture on Pronunciation of Sikhi Logo over a skype session. The Sikh Sangat of Malaysia will never tolerate such act of betrayal by MGC. (Click here to read the article).
The MGC is already being accused by the Malaysian Sikhs for being anti Gurmat and anti Dasam Granth by way of their involvement with another Panth Dokhi Organisation called Global Sikh Council. The MGC has also been labelled as ‘Malech Council’ by Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib for their anti Dasam Granth stand where they issued a ban on Sri Dasam Granth Banis in Malaysian Gurdwaras. It is generally feared that elements of anti panth such as Kala Afghana ideologist have taken a firm grip on the MGC management that are out to destroy and change the original concepts and teachings of Sikhism.
As a response to the above, I felt a need to shed some Gurmat light on to this article to prove it’s deviation from the real and original doctrines of Sikhism. I am not a scholar nor an expert in religious matters, but merely a lover of Sikhism who is seeking Truth and one wishes to see justice is done and upheld. If any of the arguments given in this article are in contradiction to Gurmat, please feel free to leave your views in the comments section. I will surely attend to them soonest.
Analysis of Page 17 of Chahal’s Paper:
Below is an extract from the paper that is discussed below.
The word, ੴ , with which the Commencing Verse commonly called as Mool Mantra) of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS)  starts, is a unique and original logo coined by Guru Nanak [2, 3]. The irony is that it is mispronounced as Ek Oankar or Ek Onkar or Ek Omkar and is misunderstood to be originated from OM (Oam/ Aum) by majority of the Sikh scholars and the Sikhs at large. The Sikh literature indicates that Bhai Gurdas  was the first, who has introduced that ੴ is coined by Guru Nanak by placing ‘One’ (1) before the ‘Oora’ ਓ (Open Oora with extended end) and pronounced it as ‘ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ’ (Oankar/Omkar).
Analysis Point 1
The Professor has made a grave mistake of referring to the ੴ as a logo. The entire writings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is the Word of God.
ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ॥
The Bani of His Word emanated from the Primal Lord.
ਤਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਮਿਟਾਈ ॥
It eradicates all anxiety.
Furthermore, the Bani or the Word is the Living Guru which means the Word is a Conscious Entity Itself.
ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥
The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained.
One of the meanings of the Word also called Shabad, is Brahm (God) or Kartar (Creator) (੫. ਬ੍ਰਹਮ. ਕਰਤਾਰ. “ਸਬਦ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ. “(ਸਿਧਗੋਸਟਿ). The Shabad is also the Guru while the concentration of the Mind, the disciple.
From the above we can summarise as follows.
- The Word (Shabad) is the Living Guru
- The Word (Shabad) is a Conscious Entity
- The Word (Shabad) is Brahm (All Pervading God)
Hence, it is hypothesised that The Shabad (Guru) is the embodiment of the Conscious Entity God i.e. Guru is the Sargun Saroop of God Himself.
Gurbani bears testament to this hypothesis in the following verses from the SGGS Ji.
ਆਪਿ ਨਰਾਇਣੁ ਕਲਾ ਧਾਰਿ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਵਿਰਯਉ ॥
The Lord Himself wielded His Power and entered the world. (SGGS Ang 1395)
ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਧੇ ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਬੇਦ ॥
Nanak has studied the Simritees and the Vedas.
ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦ ॥੪॥੧੧॥੨੪॥
There is no difference between the Supreme Lord God and the Guru. (SGGS Ang 1142)
ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣੁ ॥
Know that the Guru and the Transcendent Lord are One. (SGGS Ang 864)
ਸਿਤਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥
The True Guru is my Transcendent Lord. (SGGS Ang 884)
The fact that the Word emanated from the Primal Lord means, by connecting to the Word (Shabad Guru) one will be connected to It’s source, The Conscious Primal Lord Himself. If the Word is a Conscious Entity and if the ੴ are part of the Word, then to refer to it as a logo shows either the lack of understanding of the fundamental principles of Sikhism or possibly a purported refusal to accept the SGGS Ji as a Living Guru with a hidden intention to reduce Him (The Guru) to nothing more than a metaphor or guide to Sikhi Living.
Analysis Point 2
The professor boldly states that The irony is that it is mispronounced as Ek Oankar or Ek Onkar or Ek Omkar and is misunderstood to be originated from OM (Oam/ Aum) by majority of the Sikh scholars and the Sikhs at large…
The Professor then goes on to categorise a Brahm Giani like Bhai Gurdas Ji as one of those who misunderstood the origins of Ek Oangkar, by saying that Bhai Gurdas  was the first, who has introduced that ੴ is coined by Guru Nanak by placing ‘One’ (1) before the ‘Oora’ E (Open Oora with extended end) and pronounced it as ‘ਓਅੰਕਾਰੁ’ (Oankar/Omkar).
Firstly let’s look at the correct pronunciation of the word ੴ . The word can be divided into three parts.
‘1’= Pronounced as ਇਕ (Ek), + ਓੰੰ = Pronounced as ਓਅੰ Oang), +
= Pronounced as ਕਾਰ (Kar)
Defining the ‘੧’
The SGGS Ji starts with the numeral ‘1’ written as ‘੧’ in Gurmukhi, pronounced as ਇਕ. Why did the Guru choose a digit instead of writing ਇਕ. After all don’t they both mean the same thing, which is the unitary entity Oangkar (God)? Let’s look at the meaning of ਇਕ in Mahan Kosh (MK).
Meaning from Mahan Kosh.
ਇਕ ਸੰ. ਏਕ. ਵਿ- ਗਿਣਤੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਹਿਲਾ. (First in count) ਦੇਖੋ, ਫ਼ਾ. [یک] ਯਕ ੨. ਇਕੱਲਾ (alone) ੩. ਲਾਸਾਨੀ. ਅਦੁਤੀ (wihout duality) ੪. ਸੰਗ੍ਯਾ- ਕਰਤਾਰ (Creator). ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ. (Formless God beyond time and space) “ਇਕ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਇਕ ਮੰਨਿਆ. ” (ਵਾਰ ਗਉ ੧. ਮਃ ੪) ੫. ਸਰਵ (All). ਕੋਈ. (A few)
As we can see the word ਇਕ can be subject to various different meanings and interpretations that can be used by miscreants and irresponsible scholars to mislead the innocent sangat.
Example 1: Let’s take the first meaning ‘first in count’. Hence, ੴ written as
can be interpreted as ‘First in count Oangkar’ or ‘First in Count God’. This interpretation then gives rise to the question, ‘Does that mean there is a second in count God? Is there more then one God?’ This interpretation would mean the Sikhi belief is based on the existence of more than one God and therefore will be considered as a polytheistic religion, similar to Hinduism
Example 2: For demonstrative purpose, let’s take the fifth meaning given above in MK, ‘All’. So now
can be interpreted as ‘All God(s)’. Again this means there is belief of polytheism in Sikhi.
However the numeral ‘੧’ is a precise and mathematically accurate representation of the Oangkar. The digit ‘੧’ means singular, single or one. Its meaning cannot be challenged or misrepresented through linguistic advocation. Guru Sahib has left no room for anyone to misrepresent the fundamental belief or doctrine of Sikhi which is, One or Singular Entity (One God). Hence Sikhi is a Monotheistic religion.
Conclusion & Summary
- The ੴ is not a logo but Word or Gurbani that was revealed to Guru by God. To imply it as logo is nothing less than blasphemy that cannot be tolerated by Sikhs. The Gurbani or Word is the Living Guru who is the Conscious Entity God.
- From the above critical analysis we can safely conclude that the numeral ‘੧’ (ਇਕ) represents unitary nature of God.
The analysis of the remaining parts of the ੴ will be continued in Part 2 where it will be proven that the pronunciation is unique and the meaning in stark opposition to the Hindu granths, thus debunking the claims by Prof. Chahal.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.