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  1. This is will be last post on this topic as I feel I'm just repeating myself, and rather then discussing history it's coming to personal attacks, that's not something I wanted. Fisrt of all Friend, I'm sorry if I've come across too candidly in some of my posts, I understand this obviously a sensative topic and should require more tact. I've already mentioned my thoughts on Mughal sources and Jahangirs account so I wont repeat myself. The only interesting point you raise is of " letters of the leader of Nagshbandi sect " - the sufis were a non-political entity in India, that were mainly not affected by the political climate of the time. You can also site Mian Mir -who was quite close to a few Gurus, in fact he also laid down the foundation stone of the Golden temple. However the problem you'll have is the Sufis also speak highly of Aurengzeb, calling him a devout and a pious Muslim who was a just ruler. And that proves my point, the issues between the Gurus and Mughals were entirely political, conveyed in religious language over the years to portray and religious dichotomy that never was. I don't know of the Sikh historian as he's book was never published - although you are right, I shouldn't say "proved" as he only put his own research/opinions forward, like everyone else. I stand corrected on that point. Ps. I don't think Guru Nanak was a Muslim, It's pretty clear that he wasn't. However I think he, like so many others in his time were influenced by some sufi ideas, which is pretty clear from his teachings. eg The teachings of falseness of the world, mirror's sufi poetry such as Kabir/Farid/Bulle Shah etc also the idea of the oneness of being/creation, unity of all religious etc can be seen in Arab Sufism that was reflected in Naqshibandi orders in India, hence why you see certain Naqshi sources being close to the Gurus, - also see the sufi influences on Hinduism Dvaita movement, and Sikhism (Guru Nanak) was influenced from that. you can see similarities with Akbar's din-e-elahi movement and the sufis of his court. etc etc My "agenda" was to open a dialogue to better understand religious bias that stem from particular historical narratives. I think I have what I wanted That's the end of my post on this topic, take care and Peace out
  2. @guest what's my agenda - if it's so transparent? I don't think I said John Briggs was a contemporary of the Guru, I just presented an alternative view. I never claimed he was an authority or unbiased himself - if you read my posts properly I was trying to make the point most historians are and it's hard to egt a clear view of what actually happened. Dr Fouja was the head of History at a university of Punjab - I think he had more resources then google to do his research.
  3. @IJJSingh Thanks for your response. I can appreciate if you would rather concentrate on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak rather then get bogged down with historical facts, but as I am a student of history and looking at Sikhism from a historical, theological and critical perspective, it is important to me. I do disagree with you on some of the things you said: History is anything but ugly, it’s exactly the opposite of what you said, it’s a battle for the truth against bias egos. I’m not sure where the hell you got that idea from. Yes the works of Guru Nanak to form the basis of the Sikh religion, however, Sikhs don’t consider the other 9 any less then Guru Nanak – all are revered and respected equally. The religion & the SGGS is not entirely the words of Guru Nanak but the collective words of the first 5 gurus. Not going into the added problem of the sabra loth and Dasam Granth's which are attributed to the last guru. You can’t pick and choose when history suits you – and ignore it when it’s an inconvenient truth. Yes you can find God by reaching inside yourself however when it comes to religious law, who you should marry, how you should dress, who and why you should fight with etc – these come from scripture which needs to be examined. @amardeep Did you read my post, not all the historians agree it was at the hands of the Mughals and even the ones that do, they disagree on the reasons why he was executed. Can you see you own bias in the statement? You can’t look at history with the view that if it agrees with that the Sikh historians / Gurus said it is OK but if it doesn’t then it’s biased. Btw Dr Fouja Singh is neither a Mughal nor a Muslim, and he didn’t see Guru Teg bahadur as a spiritual leader, more of a rebel, thief, outlaw etc - hence all the protests against him. You have defeated your own argument by proving the Jahangir needed justification to execute political prisoners. If his own brother was “officially” executed not for treason but blasphemy, what makes you think the official reason of converting Muslims was true – rather just used to justify a political opponent. And even then these manuscripts for Jahangir's were only discovered and made available centuries after – as late as the 18 century. There is no proof he wrote that himself, or it was the words of the scribe – similar issue to the Dasam Granth. That’s why you have to look at history via all the sources and come to a sensible conclusion. Well, criticising Sikh leaders or soldiers is not the same as talking about the Gurus. Dr Fouja Singh didn’t just refer to Tegh Bahadur as a rebel, but as a thief, outlaw – ones man freedom fighter is another mans terrorist. Another Sikh historian proved the 10th guru be a coward, that ran away from battles and was scared to fight – etc. a version so disrespectful to Sikhs he was banned from publishing the book. Yeah that’s the problem, Sikhs in the west have a very bias version of history, as soon as that is challenged then it’s we don’t care about history, it’s all unclear. Seems to me a lot of cherry picking. From my experience with Sikhs, I can divide them into two groups, the militant type, who have the worst understanding of history and ironically Sikh theology also – I like to call them the Guru Gobind group (simply because they think they are inclined towards his teachings). Then there are the peaceful, mystic type who actually are balanced and have a good understanding, and are not afraid to say I don’t know when they don’t know something – (the Guru Nanak group.) I think the first group will believe whatever they need to in order to justify their own ideas and beliefs – no point me even starting a discussion with them. The second group I can have a discussion with.
  4. I have to say one thing that really touches me from the teachings of Guru Nanak, is this idea of searching for the truth. One of the meanings of Sikh is to be a student, a student is in a perpetual state of learning. Of constantly reassessing his/her own values/beliefs/ideas to reach the truth. It's what attracted me to learn about Sikhism in the first place, but I feel that idea really died with the Guru. Absolute truth is with God alone, and it's the job of the seeker/student to try and find it.
  5. @GurpreetKaur I think you misunderstood my post or maybe I wasn't clear enough in what I was trying to say. I never claimed that Mughal historians have the definitive word on history, my point was there are so many different accounts from Sikhs, Muslim, Hindu and Christian sources that it's really hard to tell what actually happened. My point was looking at all the different narratives of what happened, no one could definitely say the Mughals were responsible for the death of one or more Gurus. As you correctly pointed out none of us were really there so no one has the complete facts. So my question was if that's the case then why so many Sikhs You asked me why people thought there were internal issues that lead to the death of the Gurus and I've mentioned quite a few in the post. Although it's not an absolute fact that they were, but for me personally, reading all the various narratives, looking at political/social climate at the time, it's obvious to me what the problems were internal. The more research that is done on the topic the clearer it becomes. "You find it hard to understand why Educated western Sikhs believe in their version of reality not yours . why they won't take the label of cowardness instead of being Saint soldiers " If you read my post again: I never said what you claim I did. I said I could understand why Sikhs didn't accept the claims against some of the Gurus, (which were made by Sikh academics, not Muslim), but what I couldn't understand is when presented with proof of various accounts of history, they still cling on to their own version, knowing that it's not 100% certain. Like yourself, I don't have any issues believing all Mughals were tyrants, IF all the historical facts were conclusive, which they are not. I am a student of history and I do like to read around the subject, I was just presenting my research on the forum to see if someone with more historical knowledge could add to the conversation.
  6. @amardeep @gurpreet kaur I never denied that there were some reports mentioning Mughals kings being involved in the killing of the Gurus, there are some that definitely give evidence to that. However what I was stating is that there are so many different accounts (from early Sikhs and Muslims) historians that completely contradict each other. Making it impossible to definitely say what actually happened. What's ironic is that you seem to take the word of Mughal historians over those of the Sikh ones that were close to the Gurus. How do you know that Jahangir didn't simply take credit for killing the guru to seem more powerful to his enemies? Could have been a propaganda tactic common to many rulers at that time. History is nuanced and if you want a more accurate account of what happened you have to look at it through an unbiased glass. I'll point some further issues in historical accounts to further my point : Most Muslims historians largely ignore the Gurus in their historical accounts, Some only mentioned them in passing stating they were a "minor annoyance". Considering the population of Mughal India was somewhere between 25-40 million depending on who you ask, and the Sikh population at that time was in the thousands - you can see why they would consider it minor issues. The Mughals also saw rival family members as more of a threat than any rival religion. And if you look at these Gurus/Hindus/Muslims that sides with the rivals to the thrones to those that didn't - you can plainly see patterns. Some Muslims accounts of that era, such as Siyar-ul-Mutakhireen - does state that Tegh Bahadur was killed by the Mughal Sultan, however he writes: the Guru was executed (at Lahore) with his body cut into four pieces and each piece hung at the four gates of the walls (of Lahore), A version which most Sikhs reject themselves. So why was this written, was it based on rumours the historian had heard, was it fact or was it the "official" narrative given by the state to show Mughal might and power that would hinder possible enemies/rebels. Looking at historians outside the Muslim/Sikh view, take Lieutenant John Briggs, for instance, records historians from that era mentioning : Teg Bahadur Ji was a robber chief who subsisted on “repine and plunder,” “forsaking all means of honest livelihood” and for this offence he was executed under warrant from the Emperor This does mention that the Mughal emperor was responsible for killing the guru but for very for different reasons - again rejected by Sikhs for obvious reasons. Well maybe not all Sikhs entirely as Dr. Fauja Singh a Sikh historian who happens to be the head of the History Department of the Punjabi University at Patiala - in his thesis-published in the inaugural issue (1974) of the Journal of Sikh Studies, sponsored by the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar writes that Teh bahadur - whose, according to Dr Fauja Singh, real name was Tyaagmal - was a rebel, a revolutionary type militant - and it was due to these militant activities he was brought to justice and beheaded at Chandi Chawk in Dehli. He then goes on to prove Aurangzeb was not present at Dehli at the time, therefore wasn't directly involved in the execution, a view which many traditional Sikhs like to put forward. The problem with traditional Sikh Historians is that the take the view of certain albeit controversial scriptures like Dasam Granth to be the definitive word on history. Rejecting all other historical accounts as nonsense. If a historian - Sikh or otherwise disagrees with the zafarnama or says something about the later gurus that is contrary to Sikh history, there is a violent opposition to that voice. As Dr Fauja found out. And I personally think it's due to this culture of fear that more Sikh historians are not giving their honest views of what actually happened. One obvious problem for Sikhs is that unbiased historians will mention accounts of the Guru's that are not only challenging the historical narratives that are commonplace but also challenge core beliefs. For example, many Sikh historians channelling the authenticity of the Dasam Granth or stating that Teg Bahadur or Tyaagmal was a militant and rebel or one Historians alluded to Guru Gar Gobind and Har Rai as being spendthrifts- the later taking 7 wives - or a historian who I can't recall now but described Guru Gobind as a coward, and gave some historical evidences that he ran away from battles - again challenging both common Sikh history and profoundly channelling Sikh beliefs. Due to threats from Sikh protests I think that book was never published. If these are the views of some Sikhs historians now, you can imagine the differences the Gurus' family members must have had about each other when they were fighting each other. I can fully understand why Sikhs would reject that latter claims of hedonism and cowardice etc that's fully understandable. After all, they could have been made by rival family members as an attempt at character assassination - to try and gain power. There are of course other accounts of the Gurus' character from Muslim sources that are very positive. However what I find hard to understand is that educated western Sikhs tend to reject all other historical evidences and support a narrow and bias history after knowing all the problems those accounts have. Maybe it's because Sikhism in the west thrives on this strong idea of victimhood, fighting oppression, the idea of the saintly Sikh warrior fighting a much larger oppressive tyranny. If you change that narrative by putting into question the historical events those views were built on, then it also undermines the Sikh identity ? I don't know, I was trying to understand the reasons by posting the question on this forum. PS. I apologise for candidly mentioning some historical views of the Gurus character, my intention is not to offend - I missed them out in my first post for this reason but decided to include them in this post simply to state the huge differences in historical views.
  7. Thanks for the replies. @GurpreetKaur I don't have all the sources at hand but as far as I can see: The first Guru to be killed was Guru Arjun. In one narrative he was killed by at the hands of the Mughals. Another variation is Prithi Chand son of Ram das had a hand behind it. Maybe because Prithi chands version of the granth had Hindu deities in which Ajrun left out, but there were definite issues between the two. then we have another narrative from Chaupa Singh who placed the blame on Chandu lal, a Hindu official in Lahore, who Chaupa Singh accused of having the Guru arrested and executed after he turned down Chandu Shah's offer of marriage between Chandu's daughter and Hargobind. Others say he was indeed killed by Jahangir not due to his religious beliefs but aiding Prince Khusraw against the sultan - which would have been treason under any countries ruler. other reports say Brahmins were behind the killing, maybe due to him leaving the hindu Gods out of his adi granth. But there are too many contradictory evidences to give any support to simply say the mughals killed him. second guru to be killed was Tegh Bahadur, again there is evidence he was killed by Ram Rai (who should ironically have been the 8th guru), although through Aurungzeb. whilst others say it was Prithi chands son Miharban who kept Tegh bahadur from ever entering Amritsar. The civil war again was a strong proponent of him getting killed. and lastly Gobind singh who according to the main narrative was killed by the mughals. others same Jamshed Khan killed him not from the order of the sultan. He also had serious issues with rival gurus - having brutally put down the masnads himself. I've read as mentioned above a large part of his force was Muslim, he was saved by muslims nabi and ghani khan - the descendants were recently given huge land in Punjab by Sikhs to thanks their family for what they did. Others site that Aurengzeb was protecting Amritsar (where other sikhs who were at war with Gobind singh, were ruling), so why would Aurenzeb try and forcefully convert some sikhs and protect the others? That doesn't make sense. I again think it may have been under political lines where gobind singh sided with Muslims who were with opponents of the Sultan. I've read other reports but can't find where I read them. Also a lot of the stuff around this period is under question by sikhs themselves, the zafarnama for example is in the dasam granth which many sikhs have proven is fabricated,which brings into question a lot of the history the way Sikhs portray it. @amardeep The Sikh "empire" brutally killed each other off in the space of a few years, the exception being Raja Ranjit Singh. Who was punished by other sikhs on numerous occasions for having a hedonistic playboy lifestyle - hardly what guru nanak preached. Popular Sikh history ignores all that and portrays him as the lion of the punjab.
  8. I've been reading around political history around the mughals - Sikh, Muslim and western accounts of certain events or general accounts. It seems to be a lot of sikhs (not all) are really biased when it comes to narrating history. some issues of come across: Making it seems as if the mughals were behind the murder of 3 of the 10 gurus, when the historical evidence points to internal family problems - rivals to the guruship making the problems between mughals and some gurus out to be issues of religion,when they seem like more politically motivated issues. For example Aurengzeb was protecting Amritsar -which was controlled by Ram Rai - and Guru Gobind sing had a large amount of Muslims in his army (I've read accounts of upto 20-25% - need citation for this as I don't know where it come from) The British / RSS changing or trying to change Sikhism, not much historical evidence that there was a conscious effort to change the religion, but there is some to stay the later Gurus had different views to the initial ones. (with the exception of the Dassam granth which came later and there are strong evidences from what I can see a lot of ideas crept in from outside the faith) The role of a Sikh "empire" one one had it was a great empire on the other it wasn't on Sikh principals - I'm a bt confused as I get different answers from different people. The role the some Sikhs played helping the British empire take control of India - ie suppressing the great mutiny why is it that there is much bias on so many issues, I've seen some Sikhs on this forum that fight the bias and point out inaccuracies but the vast majority tend to have their own version of history. I see a bid difference in the way the older Sikhs view some things to the younger ones. Or how religious sikhs view history to the more secular ones. I can understand differences in the way religion is interpreted but historical facts ? Any ideas.
  9. I still don't agree with your answers but at least I can see where you are coming from. It still seems how a guru can be selected due to his family lineage AND be divinely chosen. Seems to be the later came in after to justify the decision. But thanks for answer Amardeep. :)
  10. Lets say Im a pakistani Jatt as you claim I am - so what does that prove? How does that help you better understand my questions? The only reason I'm not mentioning my religion, is that those people who can't answer the questions hide/ dodge that by then asking questions about my faith. I didn't come here to debate but to have a discussion on Sikhism. I take truths from all faiths actually. What interested me about Sikhism, I was told Sikhs believe there is truth in all religions, however, they believe their religion is the most perfect of them all. So I was intrigued and started to ask questions. Initially, I started to ask slightly tough questions to see the reactions. As seekers of the truth don't get offended, rather they rectify their own positions. Which I haven't seen here. I've seen some obvious issues with Sikhism (obvious to me) so I've asked about them, maybe I had misunderstood. But it seems it has some serious flaws. That's why it failed to spread. It's interesting I get asked about my faith by people who have guests accounts. I've at least made one and have written things about myself that give some indication of why I'm on this forum. why don't you start with that.
  11. @amardeep I woudl like to start by saying I like your posts - they seem unbiased and show you are actually trying to understand / have a true conversation. Which is what a true "sikh" is supposed to be. "I think there were practical reasons for mainting the gurgaddi within the family also. The early Gurus set the example that virtue is always above blood relations. It does'nt matter what family ,caste or lineage you belong to - what makes you worthy of Guruship and leadership is your personal virtues. " You admit that the latter Gurus were selected for particular political reasons. This then goes against the notion that all the Gurus were Divinely chosen, or divine themseleves (depending on your sect). The first Gurus here only refering to the first 3, all the others were related . It seems their message of "virtue is always above blood relations. It does'nt matter what family ,caste or lineage you belong to" is abrogated by the majority of Gurus. It matters who your blood relashionship is, not simply virtue alone. I'm suprised you fell into the same trap most Sikhs fall into and that is blaiming all their problems on the Mughals. It's like the "go to" for all the issues that happened in that era. I'm sure the law of the land was that children inhert the properity/wealth of their parents (as was and is the law internationally) however thats only in regards to material wealth, not spiritual authority. And the idea family memebers were selected to stop infighting is a weak one, as the infighting was made worse after the guruship was kept in the family. take for example; Prithi chand wanted to kill his brothers son (Guru Arjun son Har Gobind) - he founded an early Schism in Sikhism -the Minas. His son stopped the 9 guru from ever entering Amristar. They were close to the Mughals and used them to exert influence over rival family members fighting over the guruship. It's interesting how some Sikhs ignore this bit of history and simply blaim the mughals, kind of like how they are blaim the RSS for the infighting in India now. Guru Har Rai's older son Ram Rai -who would have been the next guru, instead of taking the guruship he joined the Mughals, which lead to the very contravertial decsion of the next guru being the younger son at the age of 5. Upon his death at the age of 7 huge issues arose within familiy memebers of who should be the next guru. Ram Rai also had guru Tegh Bahadur killed. his followers apoosed guru gobind singh - who inturn tourtured and killed them. The tactic of keeping the Guruship within the family doesn't seem to have worked at all. it was worse in the latter Gurus time the it was in the time of the first 3 Gurus. Doesn't this cause a problem in terms of knowing that the last 7 gurus were chosen due to political reasons over spiritual / religious superiority. ? How can they still be regarded as divine if they were so clearly chosen out of political reasons? Why is it that some Sikhs who were non Gurus (say Bhai Gurdas) seemed to be more learned and have done more for Sikhism then Some gurus themselves. Say for example Guru Krishan who didn't really do anything. ( I hope the above answers your quesion "Guest") How do you reconcile this? I'm not trying to offend anyone, or personal beliefs. I'm asking question to understand some things that don't make sense to me and I couldn't find in books.
  12. My own religion is of no consequence as I'm not here to preach or convert anyone. I'm here to learn and understand different religions. I'm asking questions about Sikhism to Sikhs, rather than making up my own conclusions. Islam is the fastest growing religion is Europe as mentioned by Amardeep. Please refer to his posts as they seem better thought out than yours. I've put some videos of other religious chanting Gods name: Hindu / jainism / Bhuddism Buddhist: Christian: Being the largest religion in the world, Christians have the most diverse forms of chanting/saying Jesus's name: I won't paste all the different forms; here is just one: Muslim Like Christianity , Islam being such a large religion has so many different forms of "Zikr" remembrance of God, I'll post one here : Judaism Hare Krishna / Hinduism I hope this helps.
  13. Hi all, I have recently re-visited biographies of the 10 Gurus, one thing that struck me this time round was this strong presence of nepotism in later gurus. The first Guru, Guru Nanak rejected his own children to favour an outsider, after putting him through really testing tasks. However, the later Gurus seemed to bestow Guruship to their family members only without any sort of stringent tasks such as the ones set by Guru Nanak. This of course was the reasons for much internal fighting and the root cause of many schisms within Sikhism, the lasting effects of which the Sikh community still feels today. How do Sikhs reconcile this problem?
  14. Sorry I've not had the chance to go on the internet for a while, just saw the comment thought I'd at least reply to it. Mr Guest, having a viewpoint that disagrees with the common narrative or status quo is not biased. I don't need to give a lesson on language. How exactly have I insulted or offended anyone here ? Please do elaborate ? " the pure emphasis on Gods name alone as sanctifying/saving a person is only mirrored in Gaudy Vaishnavas in Bengal" - seriously brother. You really need to learn about other faiths, and not in a biased way. Christians say the name of Jesus as a source of power, central to their faith, Muslims chant the name of Allah as a central source of their connection to God, Jews say the name of their God Eloh and so on - Naam Japna isn't unique to Sikhism, it was there before Sikhism in most major faiths. "Where is this 'sufi mysticism' influence " - you know I don't think I'm even going to respond to some of these, as your lack of knowledge doesn't permit me to have a decent discussion about this topic. There seems to be this narrative that Islam spread by the sword, if that be so- then why is the religion still the fastest growing in Europe / UK? And why did Christianity spread so much, didn't Roman genocidal campaigns against them have anything to do to stop them? If you want a serious discussion then please do reply to my posts by of you are hurt or the truth is too bitter and reply of accusation are the only ones you can muster - then it's better that you leave this forum.
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