by Dr Harnaak Singh

Gur Vichar was alerted to a video showing Harinder from Sikhri claiming that Guru Nanak did not start a religion. In the video he claimed that “the advent of Guru Nanak” was to start a RAJ not a religion quoting references from Guru Granth Sahib.

In Part 1 we examined Harinder’s Claim 1 that those who say Guru Nanak started a RELIGION are all wrong. We showed this to be FALSE and attributed this to his shallow Sikhi knowledge.

In this part we will examine the validity of Harinder’s Claim 2.

 Claim 2: The term ‘SIKHISM’ and ‘RELIGION’ are not ours and Guru Nanak vehemently denounces the word Dharam

Very interesting statement! Harinder is happy to use English to discuss Sikhism but is not happy that others use English words like RELIGION and SIKHISM. Does not this mount to HYPOCRISY?

Anyway, let us discuss what Guru Granth, primary source as Harinder terms it, says about SIKHISM i.e. what Sikhs follow (be it RAJ or RELIGION). What does Guru Granth say about what Sikhs follow or do i.e. SIKHI (ਸਿਖੀ). Let us look at some verses discussing Sikhi (ਸਿਖੀ).

ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਜਿ ਦਿਤਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਸਿਖੀ ਕੰਨੇ ॥ (SGGS 314 Gaurdi Ki Vaar M:3)

The Sikhs listen to the Teachings imparted by the True Guru.

ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ (SGGS 465 Asa M:1)

Contemplating the Guru, I have been taught these teachings.

ਸਿਖੀ ਅਤੈ ਸੰਗਤੀ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਨਮਸਕਾਰਿਆ ॥   (SGGS 968 Raamkali Satta Balwand Ki Vaar)

The Sikhs and all the Congregation recognize You as the Supreme Lord God, and bow down to You.

From the three verses we can essentially conclude that Sikhs LISTEN to the teachings imparted by the True Guru, CONTEMPLATE on these teachings (note contextually contemplate means to ponder and meditate) and then RECOGNISE and REALISE God through the Guru.

This is the essence of Sikhi. Gurbani, through the three verses, tells us, in a nutshell, that Sikhi is the process of learning to realise God.

This is further cemented by Bhai Gurdas who penned in Vaar 1 Paurdi 45

ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿਕਾ ਜਗਤ੍ਰਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇ

In the world, he established the authority (of his doctrines) and started a religion, devoid of any impurity (nirmal panth).

Through this verse Bhai Gurdas stated that Nanak (ਨਾਨਕ) started (ਚਲਾਇਆ) a pure religion (ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ). Pure means based on TRUTH.

Thus, the word SIKHI is ours. What about SIKHISM? … SIKHI (ਸਿਖੀ) + ISM (belief) … so SIKHISM is ‘SIKHI that Sikhs believe in’ i.e. the RELIGION of the Sikhs which is the process of learning to realise God. So, SIKHISM is also ours.

Who says SIKHISM is alien to Gurbani?

Note that in a RAJ the question of GOD does not arise … the ‘god of a RAJ’ is the main authority, a mortal and usually a King, of the RAJ.

Now that we know from Gurbani and related references, that SIKHI or SIKHISM is the process of learning to realise God. Without doubt, considering the meaning of religion (see above), SIKHISM is a RELIGION.

Does Harinder really understand the PRIMARY source he is talking about? Picking single verses to justify one’s distorted view without proper credible analysis is not a sign of a good Sikhi researcher nor of a Sikhi learned person.

Further Guru Nanak Dev Ji said (SGGS 1188 Basant M:1)

ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ॥

There is only one religion of Dharma; let everyone grasp this truth.

ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪੂਰਾ ਜੁਗਿ ਜੁਗਿ ਸੋਈ ॥

Through the Guru’s Teachings, one becomes perfect, all the ages through.

ਅਨਹਦਿ ਰਾਤਾ ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰ ॥

Imbued with the Unmanifest Celestial Lord, and lovingly absorbed in the One,

ਓਹੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰ ॥੪॥

The Gurmukh attains the invisible and infinite. ||4||

Guru Ji says the TRUTH is that (ਸਚੁ), through Guru’s TEACHINGS (ਗੁਰਮਤਿ), one becomes perfect (ਪੂਰਾ), imbued (ਰਾਤਾ) with and absorbed (ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰ) in God (ਏਕ) and thus REALISES (ਪਾਵੈ) God (ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰ). This is the one Dharam or RELIGION (ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ) we (ਕੋਈ) should adopt or internalise (ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ).

In the words of Guru Nanak Sikhi or SIKHISM is a RELIGION.

Who can dispute what Guru Nanak himself states? Only the HALF-BAKED ones will.

NOTE that in the Gurbani verses above, which talk about Sikhi (Sikhism) and Dharam (religion), nowhere is there mention of RULE, REIGN, REGIME or GOVERNMENT.

However, a RAJ can adopt the tenets of SIKHI or GURMAT (Guru’s inspiration), whence the RAJ or Reign/Regime will be basing its governance and rules on the foundation of TRUTH, resulting in a righteous RAJ. This is exactly what Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was the controlling authority of the Sikh RAJ did.

By the RAJ adopting the tenets of a religion, the RELIGION does NOT become a RAJ. Nor does a RAJ become a RELIGION by adopting the tenets of the Religion.

There are about 60 references to RAJ (ਰਾਜ, ਰਾਜੁ) in Gurbani and in the region of 80% of these present RAJ negatively. We can say that, by and large, Gurbani in fact denounces RAJ. For example SGGS 70 Sri Raag M:5 Guru Ji says

ਰਾਜ ਮਿਲਕ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀਆ ਰਸ ਭੋਗਣ ਬਿਸਥਾਰ ॥   (Verse 1 of Stanza 6)

You may possess empires, vast estates, authority over others, and the enjoyment of myriads of pleasures;   …. … …

ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਤਾ ਸਰਪ ਕੀ ਜੂਨਿ ਗਇਆ ॥੬॥   (Verse 4 of Stanza 6)

-and yet, if you do not come to remember the Supreme Lord God, you shall be reincarnated as a snake. ||6||

Guru Ji is telling us: You may have, control (ਮਿਲਕ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀਆ) and enjoy (ਰਸ ਭੋਗਣ ਬਿਸਥਾਰ) a RAJ (ਰਾਜ) but if you DO NOT REMEMBER (ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਇਓ) GOD (ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ) you will be (ਤਾ) reborn as a (ਕੀ ਜੂਨਿ ਗਇਆ) snake (ਸਰਪ). These are hardly words to use if Guru Ji was setting up a RAJ.

What about Guru Ji setting up a RELIGION? What does Guru Ji have to say? Let us see.

There are more than 200 references to Dharam (ਧਰਮ, ਧਰਮੁ) RELIGION and ALL i.e. 100% of these present Dharam RELIGION positively. So Guru Ji is for (not against) Dharam RELIGION. For example, Guru Nanak Dev Ji says (SGGS 224 Gaurdi M:1)

ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਧਰਮੁ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਇ ॥

Following the Guru’s Teachings, one obtains Dharmic faith, composure and the Lord’s Name.

Here Guru Ji is telling us: Being faithful to RELIGION (ਧਰਮੁ), one abides by Guru’s teachings (ਗੁਰਮਤਿ), and acquires PATIENCE and SERENITY (ਧੀਰਜੁ) and God’s (ਹਰਿ) NAAM (ਨਾਇ) (fruitful meditation on God’s word NAAM which will lead to God realisation). There you go, Guru Ji says RELIGION i.e. RELIGIOUS faith is what will bring you towards God realisation. This is essentially what SIKHI or SIKHISM is.

I am amazed how anyone can claim that Guru Nanak denounced Dharam, that too without quoting satisfactory and sufficient credible references.

Does Harinder Sikhri think that those listening to him are fools?

 Conclusion on Harinder Sikhri’s Claim 2:

What can we conclude then?

Guru Nanak professed a DHARAM (Religion) which he termed SIKHI (Sikhism) not a RAJ. However, a RAJ can adopt the tenets of Sikhi to become a RIGHTEOUS RAJ.

Let us see Harinder Sikhri disputing this conclusion and proving that Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Satta/Balvand and Bhai Gurdas were lying.


This is a serious matter and could involve financial aid for Sikh religion. We would like to call Mr / Dr? Harinder for an open discussion on his claim that Sikhism is not a religion. The most economical is through online means. We urge those interested to contact Gur Vichar. The appropriate time for this discussion is after completion of Part 3.