Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 5/10)
Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 5/10)
Christian missionaries had discovered quite early in their
evangelical endeavours that the strength of Hindu society and
culture lay ultimately in the mainstream of Hindu spirituality as
expounded in the Vedas, the Puranas and the Dharmashastras. It
was this spirituality which had served Hindu society in meeting
and defeating several foreign invaders. The missionaries had,
therefore, subjected this spirituality to a sustained attack by
misnaming it as Brahminism and misrepresenting it as a system of
Polytheistie and idolatorous Paganism leading to sin in this
world and perdition in the next.
At a later stage, Western Indologists had joined forces with
Christian missionaries, sometimes inadvertently due to their
ignorance of Indian culture and sometimes deliberately due to
mischievous political motives. According to the "scientific
studies" carried out by the Indologists,'Brahmanism was an
alien imposition on India brought in by "Aryan invaders" who had
driven the "native Dravidians" to the South around 1500 B.C.
Their "higher criticism" had "revealed" that the core Brahminism
consisted of "primitive animism, puerile priestcraft and caste
oppression of the enslaved aborigines.- They Presented Buddhism
and Jainism as "revolts" against the social system created by
Brahminism. The "revolt" was stated to have been continued and
carried forward by some schools of the medieval Bhakti Movement
of which Sikhism was supposed to be the foremost.
It was now relatively easy for some Sikh theologians and scholars
to prove that Sikhism was closer to Christianily and Islam
than to Hinduism. They forced Sikhisim into the moulds of
Semitic theologies. Sikhism, they pronounced, was monotheistic while
Hinduism was Polytheistic. Sikhism had a Book in the Adi Granth
like the Bible and the Quran, while Hinduism had no Book.
Sikhisim, like Christianity and Islam, had an apostolic tradition
in its ten Gurus, while Hinduisim knew no Prophets.
Sikhism frowned upon idolatory while Hinduism was full of it.
Sikhism had no use for the Vedas, the Puranas and the social
system of the Dharmashastras which formed cornerstones of
Hinduism. And so on, this exercise in alienating Sikhism from its
parent Hinduism has been painstaking as well as perisitent.
No wonder that this perverted version of Sikhism should start
showing signs of fanaticism and bigotry which have all along
characterised monotheistic creeds like Islam and Christianity.
Monotheism is the mother of all closed societies and closed
cultures. It always divides mankind into believers and non-
believers, momims and kafirs, and sets the one against the
other. Sikh Gurus had struggled indefatiguably to rid this
country of this ideological barbarism brought in by Islamic
invaders. They had stood squarely for humanism, universalism and
pluralism which have always been the hallmarks of Hindu spiri-
tuality. By forcing Sikhism into monotheistic moulds Sikh
scholars have betrayed the Gurus. Sooner this scholarship is
disowned by the Sikh society at large, the better it will be
for its spiritual and cultural welfare.
There is no dearth of Sikh scholars who continue to see Sikh
spirituality in the larger and older spiritual tradition of the
Upanishads and the Puranas. But the dominant Sikh politicians who
control the SGPC purse have progressively extended their
patronage to the misinterpreters of Sikh scriptures. Let us hope
that it is a passing phase and that truth will triumph in the
long run. The Sikh scholars who cherish the spirituality
bequeathed by the Gurus should come forward and make themselves
heard more and more. Their voice is bound to ring true in the
heart of the Sikh masses--a heart which is still tuned to Sabad-
Kirtan, singing the ancient strains of Sanatana Dharma.
[To be concluded]
Authored by Sita Ram Goel. Courtesy: Voice of India.