I just saw this video from Professor Darshan Singh; he has been an eminent Sikh lecturer and musician. In more recent years he has thrown himself into some controversy on religious texts. It seems his mission in life has become to grow doubt in people’s minds about the authenticity of the Dasam Granth, the name given to the collected works of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. Many people have not agreed with his view over the years, and some have. His new argument is if people don’t want to join him in denouncing this book, why not at least confirm that the Guru Granth Sahib (a collection of poems singing about oneness) is the ONE and ONLY superior holy book for the Sikhs.
Thats a problematic statement for anyone who understands the poems contained within the Guru Granth Sahib. These poems are about the absolute truth, and cannot be constrained for only the Sikhs. To me that is vehement attack on the very soul of Guru Nanak which sings of equality.
Although I have been personally touched by Professor Darshan Singh because he encouraged me to memorize the poems from the Guru Granth Sahib that I have grown to love, I have not really understood the vehement opposition to the Dasam Granth. Professor Darshan Singh’s position is that there are some parts of that book that were inserted by Hindus to propagate their religion — or to cast a doubt on the authenticity of Guru Gobind Singh.
I claim no knowledge of Dasam Granth’s authenticity, but I still don’t like the professor’s arguments. My thinking is that even if one poem in the treatise was written by Guru Gobind Singh, it is fruitful to study every poem to find it. And once you have read any one poem from the Guru Granth Sahib (and all of them are really pointing to the same Ek Omkaar), you should not have any trouble deciphering which portion of the Dasam Granth has the soul of Guru Nanak. The same is true with the Old Testament or New Testament, or Koran.
In my opinion any claims of superiority of any religious doctrine, book or work cannot be made by the soul of Guru Nanak which believes only in Ek Omkaar.
There is a story where Guru Nanak once meets Mia Mittha a sufi poet who tells him to recite the kalma. Guru Nanak asks him what he wants him to say. Mia Mittha asks the Guru to repeat these words:
Pehla Naam Khudai ka, dooja naam rasool.
Nanak kalma je paden, taan dargeh paveh kabool.
First name is God’s, second is Prophet Muhammad
If you read this prayer, you will be accepted in heaven.
Guru Nanak abjectly refused to accept this. How can anyone who believes in equality or even one God not refuse this thinking? In Guru Nanak’s view there are thousands of Muhammads lining at God’s door. In a different poem, he reminds us that God’s door is in our own heart. The idea of having a lineage — God on top, messenger just below and the rest of the universe under them — does not fit well with the teachings of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak himself never claimed to be only second to God. In different poems he calls himself a slave or a dog.
The sikh supremists have created a Guru with a body and an ego. They treat the Guru Granth Sahib like a deity. They offer prayers to it and want to claim there is no other book or thing in this world that is as pious.
What is in the book that can revolutionize our thinking is largely ignored. What is really cool and different about the Guru Granth Sahib is the homogenous focus on Ek Omkaar and on equality for all. There is no claim of superiority and that these truths cannot be found elsewhere; there is no such ego here. This is what makes this book of poetry more beautiful than other self propagating religious texts.
What is the difference in the idiotic thinking of superiority of the Guru Granth Sahib and the equally idiotic thinking of God having only One son, or God having a last messenger. Its quite idiotic. Our leaders today are taking us down an idiotic path and we keep feeding our and their egos. Guru Nanak’s essence is lost in such thinking.
Guru Nanak’s word is not constrained by the Guru Granth; he didnt stop writing once he had finished the Japji Sahib. Guru Nanak continues to write and sing today. And I hear him all the time. He calls himself a dog. There is no air about him. No supremacy.