Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 2/10)
Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 2/10)
There is not a single line in the Adi Granth which sounds
discordant with the spirituality of Hinduism. All strands of
Hinduism may not be reflected in Sikhism. But there is nothing in
Sikhism, its diction, its imagery, its idiom, its cosmogony, its
mythology, its stories of saints and sages and heroes, its meta-
physics, its ethics, its methods of meditation, its rituals -
which is not derived from the scriptures of Hinduism. Ragas
to which the hymns and songs of the Adi Granth were set by
the Gurus are based on classical Hindu music. Parikrama ( Peram-
bulation ) performed by Sikhs round every Gurudwara, the
dhoop(incense), deep(lamp), naivaidya(offerings) presented by the
devotees inside every Sikh shrine, and the prasadam (sanctified
food) distributed by Sikh priests resemble similar rites in every
other Hindu place of worship. A dip in the tank attached to the
Harimandir is regarded as holy by Hindus and Sikhs in particular
as a dip in the Ganga.
It is this sharing of a common spirituality which has led
many Hindus to worship at Sikh Gurudwaras as if they were their
own temples. Hindus in the Punjab regard the Adi Granth as the
sixth Veda, in direct succession to the Rik, the Sama, the
Yajus, the Atharva and the Mahabharata. A Hindu does not have to
be a Sikh in order to do homage to the Adi Granth and participate
in Sikh religious rites. Similarly, till recently Sikhs
visited temples of various other Hindu sects, went to Hindu
places of Pilgrimage and cherished the cow together with many
other symbols of Hinduism. Religion has never been a cause
of conflict between Sikh and non-Sikh Hindus.
Sikh History Guru Nanak's message came like a breath of fresh
breeze to Hindus in the Punjab who had been lying prostrate under
Muslim oppression for well over five centuries. They flocked
to the feet of the Sikh Gurus and many of them became initiated
in the Sikh sect. The sect continued to grow till it spread
to several parts of the Punjab, Sindh and the North-West Frontier.
Gurudwaras sprang up in many places. The non-Sikh Hindus
whose temples had been destroyed by the Muslims installed the
images of their own gods and goddesses in many Sikh Gurudwaras.
The Hindu temples which had survived welcomed the Adi Granth in
their precincts. In due course, these places became community
centers for Hindu society as a whole.
This resurgenee of India's indigenous spirituality could not
but disturb Muslim theologians who saw in it a menace to the
further spread of Islam. The menace looked all the more serious
because Sikhism was drawing back to the Hindu fold some converts
on who Islam had sat lightly. The theologians raised a hue and
cry which caught the ears of the fourth Mughal emperor, Jahangir
(1605-1627 A.D.), who had ascended the throne with the assistance
of a fanatic Islamic faction. He martyred the fifth Sikh Guru,
Arjun Dev, for "spreading falsehood and tempting Muslims to apostay."
Hindus everywhere mourned over the foul deed, while Muslim
theologians thanked Allah for his "mercy." Guru Arjun Dev was
the first martyr in Sikh history. Muslim rulers continued to
shed Sikh blood till Muslim power was destroyed by resurgent Hindu
heroism in the second half of the 18th Century.
The sixth Sikh Guru Har Govind (1606-1644 A.D.), took up
arms and trained a small army to resist Muslim bigotry. He was
successful and Sikhs escaped persecution till the time of the
sixth Mughal emperor. Aurangzeb ( 1658-1707 A.D. ), who was a
veritable fiend in a human form so far as Hindus were concerned.
He summoned the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur (1664-1675 A.D.),
to the imperial seat at Delhi and marryred him in cold blood on
his refusal to embrace Islam. Some followers of the Guru who
had accompained him were subjected to inhuman torture and torn to
pieces. This was as it were a final signal that there was some-
thing very hard at the heart of Islam - a heart which the Gurus
had tried to soften with their teachings of humanism and univer-
salism. Sikhism had to accept the challenge and pick up the sword
in defence of its very existence.
[To be concluded]
Authored by Shri Sita Ram Goel. Courtesy: Voice of India.