Bhagats & Bani. An Introduction. Some questions you may have?. How does one religious movement explicitly incorporate the writings of others into its scriptures? Who are the Bhagats? Why were some writings chosen and why were some rejected?
Bhagats & Bani An Introduction
Some questions you may have? How does one religious movement explicitly incorporate the writings of others into its scriptures? Who are the Bhagats? Why were some writings chosen and why were some rejected? Is the same message delivered or does it clash with main scripture?
Bhagat ? Sant ? • The word “sant” is derived from the word “sat- (to be and true)- meaning one who knows truth comprehends reality • Not the same as Christians- “saint” – no sainthood in Sikhism • Bhagat- Sanskrit root- “bhaj” to share • Sikhi- 1. devotee or worshiper
Who are the Bhagats & Sants? • Caste not an issue!- namdev- “chimba- cotton printer, ravidas “chamar”-cobbler • Brahmins – Ramanand,Parmanand, Surdas • Location- bengal (jaidev) Kabir (benaras) • Muslim Kabir/Farid- 2 different types • Shahedi – Jaidev/sadhna/Kabir? • Time- Farid- 12C AD Mardana 16C AD • Amount- Kabir -292 hymms Pipa 1 hymm 8.2% • SGGSJ sees beyond, time, caste, region, • Guru Ravidass: Guru or Bhagat?
Collection of Bhagat Bani ? • 4 major theories • 1.poet/sants bhakti movement • Travelled village to village singing songs • Adapted to the location, rythhm and language • Working men and women began to sing & remember them • Via this tradition that the Guru’s obtained the message.
Theory 2 • 1604- What happened / who was the scribe? • Was his work included ? • Mira Bai (in addtion to other bhagats and their works ) approached Guru Arjan Devji for their inclusion into SGGSJi • Some accepted , some rejected • 4 rejected – Kanha, Chhju Pilo and Shah Hussain- non conforming to spiritual tone of Gursikhi. (different reasons) • Many of the bhagats lived before Guru Arjan Devji could result in difficulties in understanding their works • Not Solely responsible for the inclusion
Theory 3 • Guru Nanak introduced Bhagat bani to SGGs Ji • Guru Nanak Uddasis’s introduced him to works of various sants • Punjab- Farid • Bengal- jaidev • Benaraes- Kabir/Ravidass
Theory 4 • Guru Amar das-who was he ? • Previous life Vaninshav Caste Hindu • 1st Guru to actively use names of Bhagats in own works ”Kabir/Namdev” • Emphasis of continuity and differences with signature to scripture. • “namdev and kabir obtained their spiritual status from the perfect Guru” M3.Siri Ragu SGGSp67
Which theory is correct? • All are correct in some form! • Guru Arjan dev Ji did have a selection process on sants bani • Guru Amardas Ji was a vanishav caste and did comment on bhagats bani • Guru Nanak did travel far and wide • Bhakti movement of singing songs of poets did exist • Sikhs should accept it as so!
Why was Bhagat Bani included? • 1.Universe of Discourse • 2.Divine Name • 3.Religious Pluralism • 4.Self Definition • 5 Feelings and emotions
Universal discourse Bhakti movement start 7thC spread north to Punjab Two different groups– Nirguna vs Saguna Included different religions into this tradition (Kabir & Jaidev) Groups locked in man made limits- names for god , modes of worship, language 7 dietary codes Theological differences in beliefs and practices provide foundation for different identities and ideologies of different groups Sikhism attempts to transcend man made barriers and focus on common ideals and goals. Gita for the Hindu’s Koran for the Muslims SSGGS for ALL
Divine Name • All had a vision of “Akal Purakh • All followed discipline of the Bhagat and Nam Simran • Farid “they who forget the divine name become a burden on earth” Jaidev “gods name is the sole ambrosia and essence of life” • All yearn for Naam • 5999 times Naam appears in sggsji “name is the total expression that is god (Sat Naam- his/her name is true) • Name of God and Names of God • Ram,Hari,Govind,Parmeshavar- all hindu ? • Allah, Khuda,,Rahim,Karim- all muslim ? • All designated names of different traditions only – Satnam goes beyond these.
Religious Pluralism • Co-existence of many religions in society we live ? • Sikhism born in environment of Hindu/Muslim tension ? • Guru Nanak respected both and rejected both • Defined true Muslim/hindu/yogi- emphasised the divine truth- karam not dharma! • Is Sikhism and mix of Hinduism & Islam? • Bhagat Bani contains some element which contradict main ideals. • Is Sikhism a way of Life? • Genuine focus of allowing us to interact with all, races ,creeds, faiths and castes- but not forgetting ourselves
Self Definition • People have to identify themselves via key beliefs & practices- bedrock of religious identity • Guru Nanak devji made a distinction of his teachings to other paths. • Rag ASA 465/6- (not the full quote) • “The Muslims praise their law and they read and dwell upon it” The Hindu’s praise the infinite forms to see the divine, the yogi’s dwell upon the void. Says Nanak: the true devotees hunger to praise the divine; the true name is their only support.
Self Definition • Guru Arjan dev Ji furthered this process. • Treatment of Bhagat Bani – to agree use of signature – Kahai Kabir/ kahai Nanak • Kabir full on rejected hindu/muslim faiths and practices • Guru Arjan Devji- “I do not keep the Hindu fasts or the Muslim fasts” I do not go on Hajj or worship Hindu temples, I offer neither Hindu Puja nor Muslim Namaz, My body and soul belong to the one who is called Allah and Ram, Kabir has uttered the truth” (sggs p1136 not the completed quote) • Emphasises continuity and similarities with Kabir • But reject both main religions and asserts Sikh own identity.
Feelings and emotions • Different people have different experiences of the same divine being • Bhagat Bani has different themes that sometimes agree with Guru’ teaching but sometimes can be seen to contradict. • Life is full of different experiences and feelings SGGs Ji know them all • Everyone has a different spiritual path- Hukumnama for all
Sheikh Farid • Muslim Pir born 1173 AD • Understood the Koran by aged 8 yrs old • Lifetime of study and then became an Islamic Missionary via Sufi movement • He had several wives, 5 sons, 3 daughters and innumerable devoted followers • Lived a life of prayer, fasts, • Strict adherent of Islamic way of life • 1st Punjabi poet of the land of 5 rivers
Sheikh Farid in SGGSJI • DEATH- “For that young girls marriage, the day was fixed, Twisting and cracking the frame, he forces life out, The soul is the bride, and death is the bridegroom finer than a hair is that bridge of hell, How can they who have been led astray by Satan turn their mind to God? • Bridge ? Death ? Bridegroom? Satan? Sikhi? • Designed to make people remember death and not to over indulge.
Sheikh Farid in SGGSJI • SEPERATION: “I slept not with my husband last night; my body is pining away” • People talk of the agony of the beloved’s separation but for me, O love it is the lord of life, for the body in which such agony does not spring, is like a crematorium • Similar to Guru Angad Dev JI
Sheikh Farid in SGGSJI • Development of virtues ”speak never a rude word to any one: break no heart as every heart is a priceless jewel”, honesty, humility, • True devotees “They who are soaked in god’s love remain imbrued with his vision” • Farid employs God as: Infinite, inaccessible, great, real, a judge and omnipotent. • He also uses Muslim names for God, Allah, Khuda, Rabb.
Guru Nanak & Farid • Grace: Farid- Gods gift is only via personal effort of devotee’s. (fasts, prayers, charity) • Guru Nanak Dev Ji- God’s grace is free for all, and separate from all. • Divine Union via self-torture Farid- strict self torture- walk on firewood to meet the beloved. • Guru Nanak Dev Ji- why harm the beautiful body that God has given? Live a life of moderation.
Guru Nanak & Farid • Death: Farid: purely Islamic, fire of hell, angel of death, and Satan • Guru Nanak Dev Ji: reincarnation & transmigration • Punishment & Forgiveness: Farid- god is a punisher on wicked and offenders • Guru Nanak Dev Ji: compassionate God, boundless gifts & boons.
Guru Nanak & Farid • Divine Union: Farid- only after the torture of life itself • Guru Nanak Dev Ji- Its here and now , one can achieve a mystical union now and full union at death. • Farid- pessimistic about , Life, society, • Guru Nanak Devji Optimistic about Life and society.
Guru Amar Dass & Farid • Age:Farid – must be of a certain age to follow God’s path of love- when hair is black or its too late. • Guru Amar dass- divine grace dictates not personal effort- what is the irony? • Ascetic: Farid- separate from society, wear certain clothes, reject fine silks- to purify the body • Guru Amar Dass- Good intention/action purify the soul, not clothes, within a family life- positive contribution to society.
Guru Arjan & Farid • Gloomy view of life- Farid- “if you cut of my throat had been cut on the same day as navel string, I should not have so much trouble and hardship” • Guru Arjan dev Ji- “world is a garden, Farid, in which some poison –bearing plants grow, but they for whom the master cares do not suffer at all” • Life is a magnificent opportunity! Simran & Seva,
Bhagat Jaidev • Born around 12C AD Bengal – lack of material • Brahmin, later became a wandering ascetic devoted to “Jagannath (Lord of the world) changed to lead family life once married • Followed the Hindu scriptures, Idol worshiping • Suffered for his faith Hands were Cut off and he accepted Gods Will!
Bhagat Jaidev in SGGSJi • 2 Major works in SSGSJI • Both are Niruguni in Nature whilst his major “Hindu” works are predominantly “sarguni” • Gitagovind – Famous Hindu- Large following among the Vaishnava’s. This shows how the Guru’s were selective • Use of various names of God , Hari, Govinda,in a non incarnated sense
Bhagat Jaidev in SGGSJi • Famous phrase “rama-nama (God’s Name) used by the Guru’s for the discipline of meditation on divine name. • “Hari Bhagati”- devotion to God must overflow in one’s thoughts, words and deeds. • Praises the householders way of life? • Is his work really his own?
Bhagat Jaidev in SGGSJi • Major work- Maru Ragu- talks about regulated breathing in yoga positions to become one with God • He is appealing to God for help to overcome his 5 internal enemies • Controversy- Influenced Hatha Yoga/Yogi Bhajan, and the Alpha Punjabi dude • Do Sikhs believe in yoga as a path to enlightenment?
Bhagat Kabir Ji in SGGS Ji • Born Benaras beginning of 15C AD • Belonged to family of so-called low cast weavers that recently converted to Islam (Islamic Sufi) • As a child he was rejected by both the Hindu's and Muslims (Ram Ram, Kafir) • Several attempts made to torture him by Muslims and the Hindu’s- (elephant, drowning) • Famously rejected circumcision- “If circumcision makes a man a Muslim what about a women”? • Basics- belief in one god, all to remember him, must obey his will, god treats all the same as one. EVERYTHING IS GOD’S CREATION.
Bhagat Kabir Ji in SGGS JiRejected Hinduism- • Idol worshiping, • Brahmins- Castism • pointless rituals,(food, and bathing). • God only realised via the Brahmin and via Sanskrit • Pilgrimage to Ganges,Orissa, Benares • Yogic practices – (God is in the Heart not the forest) • What can Sikhs learn from this?
Bhagat Kabir Ji in SGGS JiRejected Islam • Islam/Koran not the only way forward • Pilgrimages • Fasting for a month only • Sole Usage of Islamic names for god • Diet- you chant god’s name then kill a chicken? • What Sikhs can learn from this?
Bhagat Kabir Ji in SGGS Ji • Separated himself from all! • “I have discarded the writings of Pandits and Mullahs, I have taken nothing out of them. If purity is in your heart you can behold the lord” • Declares himself as a “child” of one who is known by different names • True religiousness is inwardly denounces all external observances • Biraha- talks of the pain of being separated from true spouse - GOD • Devotion is a solitary one- nobody can halt or delay or influence his path to enlightenment. • What happened to the Saad Sangat? “Sarbat Da Bhala”
Bhagat Kabir Ji in SGGS Ji • Rejected his Family and Job as a Weaver and resorted to praying and begging “Kabir has given up setting the loom and weaving: On his body he has written the name of Ram” • What does Guru Nanak tell us to do? 3 key rules?
Guru Amar Dass & Kabir • Divine Grace: Kabir- “ I have crushed and grounded my own self, yet YOU O Beloved, never had a word for me” • Losing patience after his efforts? • Amar Dass:- “this cup of love belongs to the lord, and he himself gives it to him • Divine grace is as a result of selfless devotion, with no gain in mind, • Personal effort alone does not equal salvation? • Dying whilst living, surrender ourselves to the Hukum.
Guru Amar Dass & Kabir • Karma & Rebirth: Kabir- Your chance of human life does not come again and again, once a ripe fruit falls you can’t stick it back on the tree. Unique opportunity of human life, to break birth and death cycle. • Amar dass- this life is unique, and that one can achieve liberation , yet again by obeying God’s Hukum and only via his grace. • Agreement with Kabir but distinguished SIKH belief of Gurprassad.
Guru Amar Dass & Kabir • Sahaj State: Kabir- develop on your own, withdraw from society and life in the world. He also rejected his family business. “Whatever I propose, God disposes, so why propose and scheme? For whatever GOD proposes, He does” Accepts divine will with a negative, escapist attitude Amar Dass- “He puts care (chinta) in us, he makes us carefree, (achint) give praise to that one who takes care of all. One can participate in the world and let God take care of all of our affairs.
Guru Arjan & Kabir • Saints & Sinners: Kabir- strongly opposed to association with sinners, describes them as “Meat Eaters, drinkers,” By touching a blackened Vessel, one is sure to get stained” • For Kabir the door of liberation is now closed for them. • One must stay away from bad moral influence of sinners? • Sikhs are positive, must stay in the sangat and achieve salvation, must work, and surrender ourselves to god with no thoughts of gains!
Guru Arjan & Kabir • Saints & Sinners: Amar Dass- Every Sinner is a potential Sant. • Door of the holy sangat is always open. • In the correct context, one must stay away from bad places , bad people i.e. PUB’s CLUBS and BHANGRA GIGS. • Balanced approach, one should neither flee from sinners nor indulge in their company.
Conclusion • 1.Universe of Discourse • 2.Divine Name • 3.Religious Pluralism • 4.Self Definition • 5 Feelings and emotions