- 1 Introduction
- 2 Following of Hindu principles
- 3 Following Hindu traditions
- 4 Important quotes
- 5 Sikh-Hindu iconography
- 6 See also
- 7 External resources
- 8 References
Guru Nanak founded Sikhism. He was followed by a succession of nine more Gurus. The pontifical tradition ending with Guru Gobind Singh. Sikhism accepts only one God and God endowed with his power maya is the creator of the universe. Maya has the peculiar power of concealing God and give rise to five evils: Kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha(infatuation), and ahankara(ego.)
"The most honoured names in Hindu history, above even those of the heroes, are the names of seers, sages, saints, and mystics — Vyasa, Valmiki, Yajnavalkya, the Buddha, Bhagvan Mahavira, Shankara, Ramanuja, Gorakhnath, Kabir, Nanak, Tulsidas, Mira, Ramakrishna, Raman — to mention only the most notable in a galaxy of great names."
So "the kinship of the religions of India stems from the fact that Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs look back to Hinduism as their common mother."
The Sikh tradition was begun by Guru Nanak or Nanakdas in the Punjab as an attempt to unify worshipers of God and end religious conflicts caused by differences. Guru Nanak has been described as a "Hindu Sufi" by scholar N.D. Ahuja in his The Great Guru Nanak and the Muslims (P. 46).
Scholars R.V. Russell and R.B.H. Lai in their text Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India (P. 278), wrote that the Hindus under fanatical Mughal law found it convenient to be Hindus under the teacher Nanak because they worshiped the One God.
Although the Sikhs were peaceful towards the Muslims the Islamists still wanted to rid Sikhism. On 13 Azar His Majesty traveled towards Goindwal on elephant back. Crossing the Beas River he camped with his armies in Guru Arjan's place. Guru Arjan Dev is a well-known Hindu preacher and His Majesty was extremely glad to have met the Guru.
As Gurbachan Singh once proclaimed : "The responsibilities assigned from time to time to prophets like Noah, Rama, Krishna, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, Kabir, Nanak, and Dayal have now been put on shoulders by my predecessor Baba Avtar Singh."
Sikhism recognizes the damaged caused by militant Islamists that invaded India. "Having attacked Khuraasaan, Babar terrified Hindustan" (Rag Asa, pg. 360). There are also Hindus that believe in the teachings of Nanak obviously, as Hindus view Nanak not as a beginner of anything new but a re-teller of the true principles. There are Hindu groups that hold Nanak Patshah as their guru. For example, Mirchandanis along with many Amils and Bhaibunds migrated to Sind from Punjab and are Guru Nanak’s Sikhs (disciples) in addition to being Hindu.
Following of Hindu principles
Followers of the Sikh Panth also practice many Hindu principles. Many Sikhs still follow icons such as Ravidas the Bhakti period devotee of God. Almost all of the was Guru Granth Sahib was written by Vaishnava saints.
Sant Kabir had said that Guru Nanak and his followers were followers of the "Nirguna Sampradaya" or "formless-God sect."
Sikhs believe in the Law of Karma. Many Sikh gurus even aimed to achieve Moksha, a union with God - hence they practices Hinduism. The Guru Granth Sahib states, "Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha follow God's devotee like shadow." Sikhism heavily bases itself on Karma yoga (the science of actions) and states that if an individual acts only on good deeds, selfless acts with a pure devotion to God, they can achieve the ultimate state of existence.
According to Veda Vyasa the earth is created from the dead remains of demons who were vanquished by the gods. This concept can be understood if one looks into the philosophy of maya, this however is not the purpose of this paper. This concept of the earth's creation is restated in the Dasma Granth, "Chaupai 14". The Tenth Guru made it easier for the common layman to comprehend this philosophy by putting it in a less abstract form.
Many Sikhs also read Hindu scripture. For example, at Dhamana, resident Kashmir Singh says about his baba:
"He never spoke against anyone's religion. Every year we used to have a reading of the Guru Granth Sahib and the Gita together. A lot of people did not like that. It is true he wrote the Bhavsagar Granth, but that was not to belittle anyone else's faith. Tell me, if the police are interested in justice, why don't they arrest the people who burned our Granth, or looted the Bhaniara Dera?"
Many Sikhs also visit Hindu temples and worship God or Akal in the form of a Hindu god.
In the entire Guru Granth Sahib, the Vedas are respected and referred to as sacred. Guru Gobind Singh states that the Vedas originated from Brahma and the path of the Vedas is the only path for the people to follow:
Iconography and customs
The "Chaupai 197", states "Brahma char he ved banaie Sarab lowg tih karam chale" translating as "Brahma created the Vedas For all people to follow. Guru Gobind Singh even goes further to state that the Vedas came from the mouth of God: Chaupai 24 Disa vidi sayan jimi asman Chatur ved kathyn karan purana. All directions (or religions), actions, and the sky, so says the Wise One (God) All came from the four Vedas so says the Puranas.
Further similarities between Sikhs and Hindus are evident in practices and rituals of the Sikh Gurus. It is a documented fact that Guru Nanak worshiped Krishna. Guru Nanak also recited the famous arti (song of worship) of Ek Omkar which he composed in praise of Lord Jaganath of Puri. He also went on pilgrimage to Badri Nath which is sacred to Hindus. Guru Tegh Bahadur, tn pilgrimage to Jwalamukhi in Kangra. Guru Gobind Singh worshiped Durga and fought the mughals to free Ayodhya Masjid (the controversial mosque of Ayodhya.) Guru Ramdas wore a Vaishnava tilak on his forehead.
The name of 'Singh' is adopted from the Rajputs (a martial race of the Hindus.) The Kirpan (dagger) is also adopted from the martial tradition of the Rajputs carrying the Katar. The turban is a common headdress of the Hindu people of India and is not exclusively Sikh. The turban was actually worn by many spiritual Hindu figures such as Swami Jalarama, Swami Vivekananda, and many others. The concept of uncut hair was introduced by the tenth Guru and not before.
Being recognized as Hindu
Even though many believe that Sikhism had been founded and was meant to be founded as a separate religion from both Islam and Hinduism, many people including Sanatan Sikhi believe that Guru Nanak went about to found the "Sanatan Sikh Dharma" rather than a separate religion.
"On 13 Azar His Majesty traveled towards Goindwal on elephant back. Crossing the river Beas he camped with his armies in Guru Arjan's place, Guru Arjan Dev is a well-known Hindu preacher and His Majesty was extremely glad to have met the Guru."
The intolerant Mujaddid could not let the Sikhs go unpunished because to all intents & purposes he considered the Sikhs as dangerous Hindus and complained that they had constructed a big Gurdwara in Thanezar. (Letter no. 92)
This is what Emperor Jahangir wrote in his diary called the "Tuzuk-i-Jahagiri", which translates to "Memoirs of Jahangir" "In Gobindwal, which is on the river Biyãh (Beas), there was a Hindu named Arjun, in the garments of sainthood and sanctity, so much so that he had captured many of the simple-hearted of the Hindus, and even of the ignorant and foolish followers of Islam, by his ways and manners, and they had loudly sounded the drum of his holiness. They called him Guru, and from all sides stupid people crowded to worship and manifest complete faith in him. For three or four generations (of spiritual successors) they had kept this shop warm. Many times it occurred to me to put a stop to this vain affair or to bring him into the assembly of the people of Islam.
Sikhism too recognizes that this world is Maya and that one has to strive to achieve the truth. Sikhism sees lust, greed, anger, attachment and pride as evil as the Bhagavad Gita too declares.
Following Hindu traditions
Most Sikhs also show respect to their elders by bowing down to them. For example, if an uncle or an older cousin, or even an older visitor is met, they will bow down to them.
Many Sikhs too, like many Hindus as entering their home, pay respects to the essence of God Almighty in the "Dwar" or step.
Most Sikhs also believe in avatars as the sons of Guru Nanak, Siri Chand (a Yogi) is believed by Sikhs to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, while Nanak Patshah's second son, Lakshmi Chand is believed to be of Lord Vishnu. Even Hindu figures whom the Hindus do not regard as avatars, the Sikhs do; Jalhandara of Vishnu and according to the Sanatan Sikhi Dasam Guru Durbar text, Valmiki is of Lord Brahma in the material world.
Worship of Hindu gods
Near the end of "Chandi Charitra I", (Dasam Granth, written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji), occurs this well known shabad:
- O Shiva (God addressed in the form of Shiva), grant me this boon,
- that I may never avoid doing a good deed,
- never fear the enemy when I go into battle,
- but surely go on to victory;
- that I may teach myself this greed alone,
- to sing only of thy praises.
- and when the last days of my life come,
- I may die in the mighty field of battle.
As can betold from the "Chandi Charitra I" portion of the Ad Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh is a devoted person to Hindu deities. The name "Chandi Charitra I" indicates that he is a Shakta bhagat.
He wrote in the Sikh text, "I do not praise or hail Ganesh nor do I let the thought of Vishnu or any incarnations of Vishnu enter my mind. I know of their existence, but I do not ever worship them. May my prayers and thoughts always be in the immaculate, holy feet of the Lord (the one and only.)" So he worshiped Goddess Durga with great devotion while believing that the other deities recieved from the Mother Goddess Durga. "Request" Sri bhagauti ji sahe May Sri Bhagauti Ji be always on our side. Var Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki Patshahi 10 The ode of Sri Bhagauti as sung by the Tenth Master. Pritham bhagauti simari kai gur nanak lain dhiai First call up Bhagauti in your mind, then meditate on Guru Nanak.
Well-known Sikh devotees
Hardyal Singh M.A., a famous Punjabi revolutionary during the time of the British Raj, said that "If you were to remove every page that contained the name of Bithal or Ram from the Granth, you will be left with nothing more than a few pages and the book case." The Guru Granth Sahib clearly states that Bithal is the Lord.
Guru Arjun, who compiled the Granth Sahib, writes in the fifth Granth "O God you are as great as you adopted the form of Vamana [fifth incarnation of Vishnu], you are also Ram Chandra [seventh incarnation of Vishnu] but you have no form or outline." This "no form or outline" concept can also be found in the Divine Manifestations, the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna states He has a form and is beyond form. Guru Arjun goes on to make references to Narsimha [fourth avatar], Warha [second avatar], Krishna [eight avatar] and Kach [third avatar].
It is well known, especially from reading the Ad Guru Granth Sahib that Guru Nanak was a worshiper of Lord Rama; Lord Rama was his Akal. Guru Gobind Singh was a militant Sanatan Sikhi. To avenge the death of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur, he created a strong Sikh force and created a powerful threat to Islamists.
Maharajah Ranjit Singh was a worshipper of Baba Balak Nath (patron saint of Kangra) and Durga. Hari Singh Nalwa, the General of Maharajah Ranjit Singh was also a worshiper of Baba Balak Nath and Durga.
The royal families of Faridkot, Nabha, and Patiala are all of Sikh nobility. They all engaged Brahmin priests and Hindu temples were built for family use. Maharajah Pupinder Singh offered bali (sacrifice) of a waterbuffalo to the temple of Kali in Patiala which he built. Every year the Maharajah of Patiala donates a nose ring and gold bracelet to the River Sarsa which is directed by the Brahmin priests and in accordance to Hindu traditions.
Reference is made to the avatars of Vishnu in the Granth Sahib. There are ten major avatars referred to as the Dasha Avatars, there are fourteen minor avatars as well. All these avatars are recognized in the Guru Granth Sahib even if Hindus of different sects may not recognize them all. The Dasma Granth deals with all the avatars beginning on page 169. Volume two of the Dasma Granth is exclusively based on Krishna. It is accepted that Guru Gobind Singh was a staunch believer in Durga Mata (Mother Goddess) as many of his hymns such as 'Deh Vo Shiva' are directed towards Shiva (not the male god but his female consort also known as Shakti or Devi who at times is referred to by His name.)
In the modern times, there was the Sanatan Sikh Baba Sundar Singh Ji Nirmala.
|Guru Nanak||Some sing the praise of His power -- He is all powerful, omnipotent. Some sing of His benefaction and munificence -- He is the supreme giver. Some sing of the glory of His attributes, His beauty -- He is the most beautiful. Some cll Him truth, some call Him Shiva, some call Him the beautiful.|
|Guru Gobind Singh||There I worshiped and did penance to seek Kali.||
|Guru Gobind Singh||The story of Ram is immortal and everyone should read it. Ram went to heaven along with the whole city. Whoever listens to or sings His story, will be free of sin and sorrow.||
|Guru Gobind Singh||The Khalsa sect will roar around the world. Hinduism will awaken, its enemies will flee.||
|Guru Tegh Bahadur||Hindus, do not fear, Guru Tegh Bahadur is Guru Nanak's successor. If Muslims bother you, I'll take care of them. For I am the protector of Hinduism.||
|Guru Tegh Bahadur||My religion is Hindu and how can I abandon what is so dear to me? This religion helps you in this world and that, and only a fool would abandon it. God himself is the protector of this religion and no one can destroy it.||
Sikhs and mainstream Hindus also share many common symbols.
Similar to the Hindu "Bhagwa Dhwaj" the Sikh flag is triangular and saffron in color.
Balpreet Singh has then proceeded to use the Bhat Vehis as a source for his justification of blue not only being an acceptable colour (which as stated, I cannot see being contested in the works of Amrit Pal Singh) but one which received special significance for the Khalsa – (addressed below.)
Bhai Amritpal Singh has said: "Furthermore, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji left for his heavenly abode, he was also in saffron ('Kesree') attire. 'Gur Bilaas Paatshaahee 10' written by Bhai Kuyer Singh clearly mentions the colour of Guru Ji's clothing, when he left for the 'Sachkhand' ": - "Aap Snaan Karyo Sah Kesan, Kesree Khyom Patam Pahraaye."
From the foregoing analysis of various texts, we can conclude that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wore clothing of various colours and that to assert that he wore only blue attire after the inauguration of the Khalsa in 1699 is wholly incorrect.
The Pranava or Omkar symbolized the Lord Supreme. It is a Sanskrit syllable which writes as "aum." The Sikhs call the One God, "Ek Onkara".
Bhai Buddha, who raised the four gurus from Guru Amardas to Guru Hargobind, put the tilak on their foreheads.
Balwan and Setta wrote: Nanak placed the Guru's canopy over Angad's heads, and they drank the nectar [nam amrit] by singing the Lord's praise, He placed the soul-illuminating, all-powerful sword of the gurbani in his mind. He put the tilak mark of authority on his forehead.
The holiest pilgrimage site for the Sikh is Amritsar which is where the Prag Raj lies. It is a confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the subterranean Saraswati, the most sacred place of pilgrimage. fig. it refers to the confluence within, of the Ida, the Pingla and the Sushmana, the three channels as they join together at the sacred pool of Amrit-saar (Aab-e-Hayat), Here the pilgrim-soul, free from trappings, gets completely purified and shines in its own radiance.
Chobis Avatar - accounts of twenty-four incarnations of the Vishnu, according to the Hindus, and Brahmavatar and Rudravtdr, selected because of their warlike character.
This is the name given to the seventh Bani in the second holy scriptures of the Sikhs called the Dasam Granth. This text spans from page 643 to page 1343 of the 1478 pages for this holy book of the Sikhs. (The original text is over 1428 pages)
Chaubis Avtar, a collection of twenty four legendary tales of twenty-four incarnations of the Vishnu, forms a part of Bachitra Natak, in Guru Gobind Singh's Dasam Granth. The complete work contains a total of 4,371 verse units of which 3,356 are accounted for by Ramavtar and Krishnavtar. The shortest is Baudh Avatar comprising three quatrains, and the longest is Krishnavtar, with 2,492 verse units, mostly quatrains. The introductory thirty-eight chaupais or quatrains refer to the Supreme Being as unborn, invisible but certainly immanent in all objects. Whenever evil predominates, saviours of the humanity or avatars emerge by His hukam (i.e., order, to reestablish righteousness.) They fulfill His will and purpose. Kal Purash who creates them ultimately subsumes them all in himself. The poet asserts his monotheistic belief here and while enumerating the avatars discountenances any possibility of their being accepted as the Supreme Being (i.e., Akal Purakh.) In the epilogue to one of the episodes in Krishnavtar occurs a statement repudiating the worship of popular deities like Ganesh, Krishna and Vishnu. The Supreme Being, called in the Guru's authentic idiom, Mahakal (the Supreme Lord of Time) is acknowledged as the Succourer to whom prayer is made to keep operative the defensive might and dispensing of charity. Thus is set forth the basic principle of the Sikh faith amid a long literary exercise. The poet asserts that he, having descended from the martial Kshatriyas, cannot think of adopting the attitude of a recluse towards the disturbed conditions of his time. The greater part of the tales of Ramavtar and Krishnavtar are taken up with battle scenes evoked through many alliterative devices with the clash and clang of arms constantly reproduced. At the close of Krishnavtar, in a kind of postscript, is proclaimed the warrior's creed, which is ever "to remember God, to contemplate holy war; and, unmindful of the destruction of the perishable body, to embark the boat of noble repute." The poet has thus extracted the element of heroism from the prevalent stories without projecting the attitude of a worshiper, with the sole purpose of inspiring his followers with the resolve to fight for Dharma (i.e., to uphold righteousness.) Chaubis Autar does not appear to be the work of one period. It was a long project which was in execution for a decade or more. While Krishnavtar is stated in verse 2,49091 to have been composed in Samvat 1745 (1688 CE) at Paonta when Guru Gobind Singh was residing there, Ramavtar, according to verses 86061 was composed at Anandpur in Samvat 1755/AD 1698 near the temple of Nainadevi, close to the bank of the River Sutlej. Another component of the Chaubis Autar is Nihkalankavtar which is a sustained expression of appearance of Nihkalank who would destroy evil and establish righteousness. An interesting phenomenon observable in Krishnavtar is the sliding of the poet from Krsna's mythical career into his own contemporary scene. Among the heroes mentioned some bear medieval Rajput names (Gaj Singh, Dhan Singh, Surat Singh); some Muslims like Nahar Khan, Tahir Khan, and Sher Khan. In verse 1602 'Malechh' which was the pejorative term used for Muslims is used. The name of the city of Delhi appears, which is an anachronism. Such anachronisms indicate how the poet's consciousness was touched by the turmoil in contemporary Mughal times. The texture of the language is neoclassical Braj. The poet has employed a variety of metres, and made them responsive to the passing moods or emotions and changing situations. The metres are alternately short and long in consonance with the increasing and lessening of the fury of battle. Blank verse in Punjabi has been inserted for the first time by the poet in the Sirkhand metre Punjabi words keep cropping up as in the heading of a Krishnavtar episode lukmichan (hide and seek) and in referring to a king condemned to be incarnated as a lizard. At one place in Ramavtar Persian words are blended with Hindi to make rekhta: the language that was the precursor of modern Urdu. The range of vocabulary thus becomes vast and varied.
The second largest work within Dasam Guru Durbar covering 5297 verses, it recounts the 24 incarnations of Vishnu: Machh, Kachh, Rudra, Jallandar, Bisan, Sheshmai, Arihant, Dev, Manu Raj, Dhanantar, Nar, Narayan, Mohini, Varaha, Narsingha, Baman, Parshuram, Brahma, Suraj, Chandra, Ram Krishan, Arjan, Buddha, and Nehklanki (Kalki.)
The entire chapter is very narrative and speaks Dharam always being protected by the Almighty and how this has occurred through the various eras. The section covering Krishan Maharaj, Ram, and Nehklanki are the longest. Each Avtar brings with him a special technique or method of warfare to defeat the enemy he is facing. It is this aspect that appeals to the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa as much of this forms the basis for the higher martial art skills within Shastar Vidiya (click here for more information). The avtars can be categorized as being either: i) Shastardhari (using weapons and battle techniques to uphold Dharam, [i.e., Narsingha]), ii) Shaastardhari (using wisdom to overcome unrighteousness [i.e., Buddha]), iii) Kalyaandhari (who change their environment through great deeds, [i.e., Machh.])
The ballad enforces the view that although each Avtar has great powers and carried out great deeds, they all succumbed to egotism. The 'Atma' (soul) of these great beings still derived its strength from 'Parmatma' (Highest of all Souls [i.e., the Almighty.]) The chapter also reinforces the Sanatan Sikh philosophy than none other than the Almighty Nirankar (formless) God is to be worshiped.
Following the Chaubis Avtar are 2 ballads: Brahm Avtar (343 verses) and Rudra Avtar (498 verses). The first of these described the egotism within Brahma and how excessive vanity lead to his 7 incarnations on Earth: Balmik, Kashyap, Shukra, Brahaaspati, Vyas, Sastrodhaarak, and Kalidas. In the second section, the lives of 2 incarnations of Rudra (also known as Shiva) are described namely, Dattatreya and Parsnaath. Rudra, as his counterpart Brahma also was the victim of excessive uncontrolled ego and was banished to Earth (by taking the form of the 2 incarnations.)
Forty-five km from Nahan lies Paonta Sahib on the western banks of river Yamuna. It is believed that Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, had lost his Paonta (ring) here while taking bath in Yamuna River. Thence onward, this place is known as Paonta Sahib.
- Religions of the World S. Vernon McCasland, Grace E. Cairns, David C. Yu
- Guru Granth Sahib 1320
- Guru Granth Sahib 480
- Bhagavad Gita 5:23
- Cole, William Owen, P. 104, The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs
- Cole, William Owen, P. 104, The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs
- At the www.gobindsadan.org site
- Chaubis Avtar, verses 43440
- Chaubis Avtar, Ramavtar chapter, verses 46770
- Chaubis Avtar verse 65768