Vaisnavism in Sikhism

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By Radhikakrpa Devi Dasi

This is a cover story for recent Indian BTG and that would help preaching all over the world.

———————

As Arjuna was blessed with “Divya Chaksu” (special eyes to see Krsna) ;Srila Prabhupada blessed me to fathom the depth of scriptures with the special eyes of real knowledge.
For me, accepting Krishna consciousness was not hard, but being in it became a challenge. I am a progeny of Sikh parents and married into a Hindu Punjabi family. My transformation from Randeep Anand to Radhika-kripa Devi Dasi was the most decisive moment of my life. I was quite apprehensive of taking a right path at that crossroad of life. Inspiration, courage, and determination played a vital role.
I had to confront queries, doubts, arguments that were often hit with a view to defy. Not ready to be defeated I stood the trial. I sought a solution which could pacify all, as I was amidst two different so-called man-made faiths. With the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and my spiritual master His Holiness Gopala Krishna Gosvami, I drowned myself into the ocean of scriptures.
I gravely engrossed myself in the study of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (the religious scripture of Sikhs) as well as Bhagavad-gita As It Is. I prayed to Sri Sri Radha Syamasundar to let me derive a conclusion that would satisfy all the rivals. They answered my prayers enlightening me to fathom the depth of both the scriptures. I could now clear most of the doubts and suspicions quite authentically quoting from the scriptures.
Here are some enlightening thoughts and quotes I would like to share that reveal a lot for the common intelligentsia.

The following are mystical lines unraveled from the sacred scripture of the Sikh faith Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is a compilation of verses sung in the praise of Hari, Govinda, Rama and guru. The scripture recommends the human being to become a “Sikh” (sishya), or a disciple of the spiritual master, in order to attain the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Sri Guru Grantha Sahib is composed in a poetic form in various classical ragas.

Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru, recites in the Raga Ramakali Mahala 1, Dakhni Omkar as follows:

Ik omkara satgur prasada
Omkara brahma utpatti
Omkara kian jin cit
Omkara sail jug bhaya
Omkara ved nirmaya
Omkara sabad udraya
Omkara gurmukh taraya
Onam akhar suno bicara
Onam akhar tribhuvan sara
Sun pandey kia likhau janjala
Likh rama nama gurmukh gopala

Translation:
God is one, realized by the grace of the guru.
Absolute Truth Om is the creator of Brahma.
Brahma kept Om in his heart, in his consciousness.
Absolute Truth is the creator of mountains, eras (yugas).
Absolute Truth is the one from whom Vedasa come.
Omkara is the word that liberates.
Omkara liberates the ones who follow the instruction of their spiritual master.
Om is the word you listen and ponder.
Om is the word—the essence of the three worlds.
Listen O pandita! Why you pen down all worldly deeds
Write only the name of Rama and Gopala attributed by the mercy of guru.

Lord Krishna declares in Bhagavad-gita (7.8), pranavah sarva-vedeshu: “I am syllable om in the Vedic mantras.”

Guru Grantha Sahib also mentions how Krishna is the source of Brahma.
Nabh kamal tey brahma upjaya ved padaya mukh kantt sawar
Ta ko antt na jai lakhna awat jat rahaye gubar
Pritam kiu visrahaymeray prana-adhar
Jaki bhagat karahay jan puray muni jan seway gur vicar||1|| Rahau
Ravi sai dipak ja key tribhuvan eka jyot murari
Gurmukh hoi su ahinis nirmal manmukh rain andhar

Translation:
After appearing from the lotus stem originating from Vishnu’s naval Brahma cleared his
throat and got absorbed in the Vedas. But he could not fathom the mysteries of the Supreme and was entangled in the cycle of coming and going (birth and death). O my beloved Lord! How can one forget the Supreme on whom all are dependant? The devotees are absorbed in His devotion. The sages, the saints under their guru’s instructions are engrossed in serving the Supreme. Sun, moon and stars all belong to Him and in all the three worlds only Murari is pervading. Only one who follows guru’s instruction is purified but the one who is a mental speculator always wander in darkness.
The lines below quite clearly portray the Supreme Lord leaving nothing to wild imagination.

“Kanval nain madhur bain kot sang sai sobh kahat ma yasoda jisaih dahi bhata khai jiu
Dekh rupa ati anupa moh maha mug bhai kinkni
Sabad jhanatkara khayl pahi jiu

kala kalam hukam hatha kahuhu kaun mayt sakai eis braham jnana dhiyana dharat hiay chaeh jiu
sat sac srinivasa adi purukh sada tuhi vaha guru vaha guru vaha guru vaha jiu ||1||6||

Rama naam parama dhama sudh budh nireekar baysumar sarbar ka-o kahi jio
Suthar cit bhagat hit bhekh dhari-o hirnaksha hari-o nakh bidara jiu

sankha-cakra-gada-padma- apa ki-o chadama aprama para parbhrama a lakha-ee kaun tahey jiu

sat sac srinivasa … ||2||7||

pita basan kund dasan priya sahit kanth mala mukuta sisa mor pankh cahih jiu

bey vazir bade dhira dharma ang alakh agam khel kia apna-i uchah jiu

akath katha na ja-i tina lok rahiya samae sutah sidh rupa dhario sahan kai sah jiu

sat sac srinivasa … ||3||8||

Translation:
Lord has lotus eyes, speaks sweet words like honey, millions are in His congregation, glorifying Him and Mother Yasoda feeds Him with curd and cooked rice.
Seeing the beauty of most beautiful and listening to the melodious sound of anklets and the waistband, she (Yasoda) captivated by the motherly love plays with Him.
The pen that writes the order of death is in Your hand O Lord!
Tell! Who can escape it? Siva and Brahma with a happy heart learn knowledge and want to meditate upon You.

You are the Absolute Truth. Goddess Laxmi is Your maidservant and You are the oldest person (adi purusha) parabrahman and I glorify You. You are vaha guru vaha guru vaha guru. ||1||6||

Rama’s name is the ultimate abode. You are pure wisdom, You are infinite and can take any form. Who can match You?

For the love of Your devotee You disguised to kill Hiranyakasipu with Your nails.

You created the conch, disc, mace, lotus to bind by Your spell. O Infinite Supreme God who can know You ?

You are the Absolute Truth…………………………||2||7||

You wear yellow clothes, Your teeth look like jasmine buds; You enjoy with Your consort (Srimati Radharani).You wear a long garland and a crown decorated with peacock feathers.

You require no minister to render advice, most patient; You are inaccessible, creator of the whole play O Lovable!

O king of the kings, lovable, Your story cannot be narrated; You are pervading in the three worlds, and You can adopt any form You desire.

You are the… ||3||8||

Nestled in the Swayyaa Mahalley 4 on page 1402 of the scripture these lines quoted above define and glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is addressed here as vaha guru.

The meaning of word vaha guru is well put forth by Bhai Gurdasa ji who is a contemporary of the fifth Sikh guru Arjun Dev ji. He is the one who penned down the Granth Sahib while the fifth guru recited it.
Bhai Gurdasa has authored a book called ‘Vaara’ where he elaborates on the compilation of the mantra vaha guru.
In his book in the section of 1 Varaa, Pauri 49 he says:

Satyuga satgur vasdev va-va vishna nama japavey
duapara satgur hari krishna ha ha hari hari nama japavey
trete satgur rama jii ra ra rama jape such pavey
kaliyuga nanak gur govinda ga ga govinda nama alavey
care yagi cahu yugi panchin vic jai samavey
caro akshara ik kar vahaguru jap mantara japavey
Jaha te upjia phir taha samavey

Translation:

In Satyayuga to attain the Lord, meditation on the Vasudeva form is advocated. The letter ‘v’ of vaha guru reminds of Vishnu. In Dvapara yuga Hari Krishna appeared; the letter ‘h’ of vaha guru reminds of Hari. In Treta yuga Rama appeared; the letter ‘r’ of vaha guru reminds of Rama. In Kali yuga came Nanak as a guru to make others chant Govinda. The letter ‘g’ of vaha guru reminds of Govinda.
Thus the four yugas have concluded this.
The four letters combined together to form this mantra (vaha guru)
By chanting this mantra the living entity goes back from where he has come.

Holy name
Non different to the maha-mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, the Granth Sahib describes the glories of singing: “Hari Hari Hare …Hare Hrishikesa Hare…,Hare Govinda Hare Govind…,Hare Nar Narhare Nar Narhare…is the highest devotion.
The Granth Sahib in Var, Raga Kanra Mahalla: 4 recites;

Rama nama nidhan hai hari gurmat rakh ur dharad
dasan dasa hoay rahu hau-may bikhi-a mara
janam padarath jiti-a kaday na avai hara
dhan dhan vadbhagi nanka jin gurmat hari rasa sara
govinda govinda govinda hari govinda guni nidhan
govinda govinda gurmat dhiai-ai ta dargah pai-ai mana

govinda govinda govinda jap much ujla para dhana
… Sabh kahhu mukhahu hari hari hare hari hari hare hari bolat sabh papa lahogia

Translation:
The name of Rama is the treasure; in the wisdom of the guru keep it in mind
Live as a servant of His (Rama’s) servants, and kill the poison of false ego from within. Thus you will win the wealth of life and never face defeat
Nanak says, “Those deeply blessed are greater than the great and who in wisdom of the spiritual master enjoy the nectar of Hari.”

Recite Govinda Govinda Govinda, one gains purity and radiance…
All join together to chant Hari’s (Krishna’s) name and Hare (His internal potency) as this would lead to the forgiveness of the past sins.

Further it says:

hari hari hari hari nama hai gurmukh pavai ko-ay
hau-may mamta nasa ho-ay durmat kadhay dho-ay
..sabh kahhu mukhahu hrishikesa hare hrishikesa hare jit pavahi sabh fal falna

Translation:
Only some are fortunate enough to be blessed by the spiritual master with the name of Hari Hari Hari Hari as this is the only name.
By chanting this, the false ego, worldly ties and bad qualities get cleansed…Let us all chant Hrishikesa (one of the many names of Krishna) and Hare (His consort) so as to obtain all rewards.

Vaishnava
A Vaishnava has the topmost human consciousness as described in the scriptures. Same has been advocated in the Granth Sahib. In the 9th verse (Astapati) of a hymn Sukhmani Sahib composed by Guru Arjun Dev, the word vaishnava has been well defined: “who is bound to attain parama gati, the highest destination.”

It recites as:

mitha nahi rasna paras
mann mein prita niranjan daras
par stri rupa na pekhey netr
sadha ki tahal satsang heyt
karan na suneh kahu ki ninda
sabh tay janay apas ko manda
gur prasad bhikhi-da parharay
mann ki vasna mann tey taray
indrijita panch dokh tey rahata
nanak kotmadhay ko aisa apras ||1||
vaishnava so jis upara suparsan
bishan ki maya tay ho-ay bhinn

karma karat hovai nihkarama
tis vaishno ka nirmal dharma
kaho phal ki ichcha nahi ba-cacai
kayval bhagat kirtana sung rachay
mann tan antar simran gopala
sabh upar hovat kirpala
apa driya avroh nama japavai
nanaka oh vaishnava parama gati pavay

bhag ut bhagvant bhagat ka rung
sagal tiagay dusat ka sung
mann tay binsaisagla bhrahm
kar pujay sagla parbhraham
sadh sung papa mal khovay
tis bhagat ki mat utam hovay
bhagvant ki tahal kay nit nita
mann tan arpay bishan ki parita
hari kay carana hridaya basavay
nanak aisa bhag uti bhagvant ko pavaya

Translation:
A vaishnava is the one whose tongue does not touch falsity.
In mind who loves the Lord and longs for His glimpse.
Whose eyes don’t see the beauty of other women.
Who serves the saints and remains in their association.
Who doesn’t do or listen to any criticism.
By the grace of the spiritual master he is able to remove the covering of illusion.
Lust leaves his mind as he conquers his senses and saves oneself from those five enemies (the senses).
Nanak says, “One among millions is such a detached soul”.
Such a Vaishnava is the one with whom the Lord is pleased.

He is untouched by the worldliness created by the Lord .
He acts without any worldly motive.
Vaishnava religion is purity.
He works with no aspiration for fruits.
He is engrossed in devotion and kirtana of the Supreme.
In his mind and body always resides Gopala.
He is compassionate to all.
He himself chants and makes others also to so.
Nanaka says, “Such a Vaishnava attains the holy abode”.

The devotee is engrossed in the Lord’s love—the adorable
He abdicates the company of the wicked.
All doubts vanish from his mind.
He performs puja (worship) of the Lord .
In the association of saints he washes the dirt of his sins.
On such a devotee, the wisdom shall reign.
He always serves the Lord .
He surrenders his mind, body at the altar of the love of Vishnu.
He adorns Hari’s lotus feet in his heart.
Nanaka says, “Such a devotee is blessed to meet the Lord”.

These revelations put at rest all the antagonistic sentiments; instilling thus a novel, innovative approach. Vaishnavism is no wonder the language of Sikhism. Such literary endeavors build up bridges and break walls leading to communal harmony resulting in peace and universal brotherhood, with no doubt the core being Krishna consciousness.

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1 Unregistered

Wonderful article. Thank you. From what we learn here Sikhs are natural candidates for participation in Mahaprabhu’s Sankirtan movement.
Your servant,
Paradhyeya Das

Comment posted by Paradhyeya das on July 16th, 2009
2 Unregistered

Excellent.

Can be used as a great preaching tool.

It was my understanding that there was some aspects of impersonalism prominent in the Sikh tradition. I am somewhat aware of this in from some understandings from the Radha Swami Satsang which I suppose is an offshoot of Sikhism. Any information there would be very useful.

Thank you
Ys
Rasaraj das

Comment posted by rasarajdas on July 16th, 2009
3 Unregistered

Hare Krishna!

My mother bought the book “Vaisnava Teachings in Sikhism” (and I am sure it is yours) last year or so from Mathura. We are also Sikhs so it is very nice to hear that our great great great ancestors were devotees also.

Ys,
Bhakta Ravinjay Kuckreja

Comment posted by Ravinjay on July 22nd, 2009
4 Unregistered

I beg to disagree. Nanak was a wandering mendicant who concocted a religion from bits and pieces borrowed from here and there. The religion he founded has a foundation of fundamental Muslim ideologies of ‘one God’ and other basic tenet and an overall flavor of goody two shoes morality.

For instance, ‘Ek Omkar,’ is a combination of ‘Ek’ or one, the fundamental Judaic-Muslim monotheistic realization of ‘one Supreme,’ with ‘Omkar,’ which is the elevated sound representation of the Supreme, and borrowed from the Vedic literatures. The incongruity here is, while the ‘Ek’ may be said to have been borrowed from nursery rhyme textbooks, the ‘Omkar’ is definitely from a PhD paper! This inexpert juxtapositioning expose the exponent as a novice spiritualist.

‘Wahey Guru’ does not have the convoluted explanation that you have given it! In truth, ‘Wahey’ in ‘Wahey Guru’ is merely an exclamatory declaration of faith in the guru as in ‘Jai’ in ‘Jai guru dev!’ and unfortunately has little spiritual significance as a name to represent the Supreme. Bewilderingly, the Sikhs call God ‘Wahey guru.’ And when you consider that the Granth Sahib does in fact contain numerous potent and wonderful names of the Lord, such as Ram, Hari, Govinda, etc., you realize that corruption has reached the core and it time to find another religion.

But yes, the Granth Sahib does have some very exotic vaishnava ideologies enshrined in it! They found its way into the Granth Sahib because of its open-door policy of borrowing ‘vani’ from various spiritual teachers.

And if the question is asked, just exactly who borrowed these vaishnava tenets and from whom, a very wonderful answer emerges! Unbelievably, the Vaishnavaism contained in the Granth Sahib comes straight from a most exalted Vaishnava acharya! They are genuine twenty-four carat verses from Jayadeva Goswami himself! Guru Nanak had been to Puri, and there he came into contact with Jayadeva’s poetry. Nanak was quick to realize that this was pure gold, and assiduously drunk in Jayadeva and happily incorporated some of his verse verbatim in his texts!

All glories to Jayadeva Goswami!

Comment posted by jamini on August 3rd, 2009

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