Nowadays a lot have been said and printed
about Sikh religion becoming the fifth largest religion of the world.
Most of the preachers today are delivering sermons of Sikhism being the
different kind of religion than all other religions. Some Sikh schools
of thought have printed literature describing ethics of Sikh religion (
and how Guroo Nhanhk started Sikh religion. The Sikh code of conduct
issued by SGPC doesn’t says anything about Sikh religion but in
definition of a Sikh it says a Sikh is one who don’t believe in any
While trying to find the true identity of a
Sikh and concept of Sikh religion, a thought struck my
that why not ask the one and only true teacher of humanity, Sri Guroo
Grnth Sahib ji. I was awestruck to find that the words Sikh and Dharma (ਧਰਮ)
never appears together in Sri Guroo Grnth Sahib ji. Wherever the word
Dharma appears in Gurbani it always means Righteousness (ਫਰਜ).
The correct choice between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lie
is Dharma. This correct choice can be made with true knowledge from true
Usually we make choices based on the knowledge we get from
our parents, friends and social life of others. Today, media like TV and
Internet (social media) have the larger effect on our minds. The
question is that if our parents, friends and media knows everything than
what is the need of schools, colleges, teachers and trainers.
At the age of 10, Guroo Nhanhk refused to wear janeu (cotton
thread) and follow the orders of his father. Was he wrong in taking a
stand against his own father and useless rituals? Where does he got the
courage to do so? We know he was studying both Indian and western
literature in childhood. He implied the Truth in practicality which he
came to know through studying. This took him to higher truths and
ultimately to the supreme Truth. We didn’t have the courage to do such
things so we end up suffering. Its a fact that if we speak truth and
imply it in our lives, our family has to support us sooner or later.
The one who implies true knowledge in his life, doesn’t get involved in
ritualistic worshipping (religion). The one who implies true knowledge
in his life, keeps relation with righteousness.
It was obvious that curiosity aroused to find out how the
meaning of the word Dharma changed to religion. Wikipedia says that the
word RELIGION got recognition in 17th century when British
started their expansion and created a policy to rule the whole world.
The words “Sikhism “, “Buddhism “, “Hinduism “ etc come to existence in
19th century. It is easy to rule people when they are divided
into groups with contradictory views.
ਪੰਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਮਾਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਜਿਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥
Guroo Nhanhk, pg-6, SGGS
All humanity is supreme religion. Whoever wins his own mind, wins the
Further studying the Sri Guroo Grnth Sahib ji it
becomes obvious that Gurbani is against the concept of religions as
religion divide people and create hatred. The word Sikh-Dharma is
first mentioned in books of Sikh History which are written in later half
19th century when British come to power after the felling of
the empire of maharaja ranjit Singh. Most of these writers of Sikh
history were loyal to British crown except for few writers like
G.W.Leitner who wrote the Truth.
ਰਸ ਭੋਗਣ ਬਾਦਿ ਹਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਸੀਗਾਰ ਵਿਕਾਰ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੇਦੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਸੋਹੈ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਧੁੰਨ ਸੁਹਾਗਣੀ ਜਿਨ ਸਹ ਨਾਲਿ ਪਿਆਰ॥੫॥੧੩॥
Guroo Nanak. Pg-19. SGGS
Indulging in every pleasure is futile. Corrupted are all ways of
Unless the word has pierced (understood), how can you become dignified
Nanak, Praiseworthy is the spouse, who is in love with husband Lord.
Literally the meaning of Gurdwara is passage to Education, doorway to
knowledge, teacher's door.
In the book "History of indigenous education in the Punjab"
written by G.W. Leitner in 1882 C. E., he says that the whole of North
India which was then Punjab, including the areas now in Pakistan was the
most educated place on Earth at that time. He further says that every
mandir, gurdwara and masjid in that area was a education centre of
formal Education. This pattern of mass education was started by
Guroo Sahiban. Prior to that only children of affluent or powerful
families used to get proper education, so that to keep the power to
rule within their family. But Guroo Sahiban changed that with their
The writer says that during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit
Singh, the people who didn't sent their children to school, get
punished. But the whole seen changed after East India company acceded to
power. They burned down all book libraries, which were present in each
and every village of Punjab. The Indian priests helped the British in
doing so, as they were most affected by this education system. They had
to shut their shop of ritualistic worshipping because common people got
The writer himself was British yet he wrote against the
British apathy. That's why he didn't get much recognition. And today we
Sikhs teach our children the history which was written by the hired
writers of East India company and the priests.
So basically what our Guroo
Sahiban started was the most advanced mass education system of that
time. But ironically the system of the Gurdwaras as we see
today is the carbon copy the ritualistic worshipping places which
existed prior to Guroo Sahiban.
Now onus lies with today’s preachers to show the correct path
to current generation of Sikh youth which is in accordance with the
ethos of Gurbani. From the oldest recorded Gurbani of Baba Sheikh Farid
(10th century) to Guroo Tegbahadur sahib ji (17th
century), all Guroo Sahiban and Bhakt Sahiban have a common agenda in
their bani (words of wisdom) of getting the whole humanity educated.