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In this 'Botched Translations of Guru Granth Sahib ji' series, I want to highlight shabads, poems from Guru Granth Sahib, that have been translated incorrectly, which give the reader the wrong impression about the belief system of the author or about the message in Guru Granth Sahib ji. When I read the English translation of Guru Granth Sahib ji. I notice that there are certain mistakes embedded in these translations that are over-looked by most sikhs, who rely on them to make out the meaning of the shabad. These incorrect beliefs then become internalized and lead to incorrect understanding. The incorrect understanding is then propagated in real life and in online forums, it seeps into discussions and the mindset. One of the oft-quoted shabads of Nam Dev ji has him slowly paint a scholar into a corner, only to give him a lesson. Each time Nam Dev ji questions him, the scholar changes his religion. Bhagat Namdev ji notices this pattern a lot in native Indians, Hindus. There is a buffet of spiritual religious traditions laid out in front of them, and they take a little here and there. They wander through multiple Indian faiths, without learning anything. Namdev ji says, that unlike the Muslims who are strict to their faith, the Hindus are not strict on one faith. They keep tasting here and there on the buffet of faiths and this leads to their detriment. Nam Dev ji says it is good to stick to one religion and to practice its teachings. However this is only one eye. He adds that the one who has gyan is better than the one who is simply following a religion. The practical, the experiential knowledge of Atma, pure consciousness, is the second eye and the one who has both eyes is the most exalted in Namdev ji's view. He sets a high bar for Hindus and Muslims to strive for gyan and be strict to the faith they have chosen. However this shabad is twisted into something else, as told by Amardeep below. It is used to put down Hindus and Muslims, and it becomes a practice of Ahankar rather than something to strive for. There's a lot of misinformation about Bani of Nam Dev ji in Guru Granth Sahib. His words are twisted to mean things that he is simply not saying. The botched translation we will be looking at today is not itself botched but severely incomplete. So the meaning that is taken from the incomplete translation is often wrong. In this thread, we will delve into Bhagat Nam Dev ji's words and uncover the correct meaning. ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਗੋਂਡ ॥ बिलावलु गोंड ॥ Bilāval gond. Raag Bilaval Gond ਆਜੁ ਨਾਮੇ ਬੀਠਲੁ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਮੂਰਖ ਕੋ ਸਮਝਾਊ ਰੇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ आजु नामे बीठलु देखिआ मूरख को समझाऊ रे ॥ रहाउ ॥ Āj nāme bīṯẖal ḏekẖi▫ā mūrakẖ ko samjẖā▫ū re. Rahā▫o. Today, I, Namay, saw Vitthala, (another name of omni-present pure consciousness), and I will explain to those who haven't seen him. Bhagat Nam Dev ji converses with an ignorant scholar. ਪਾਂਡੇ ਤੁਮਰੀ ਗਾਇਤ੍ਰੀ ਲੋਧੇ ਕਾ ਖੇਤੁ ਖਾਤੀ ਥੀ ॥ ਲੈ ਕਰਿ ਠੇਗਾ ਟਗਰੀ ਤੋਰੀ ਲਾਂਗਤ ਲਾਂਗਤ ਜਾਤੀ ਥੀ ॥੧॥ पांडे तुमरी गाइत्री लोधे का खेतु खाती थी ॥ लै करि ठेगा टगरी तोरी लांगत लांगत जाती थी ॥१॥ Pāŉde ṯumrī gā▫iṯarī loḏẖe kā kẖeṯ kẖāṯī thī. Lai kar ṯẖegā tagrī ṯorī lāŉgaṯ lāŉgaṯ jāṯī thī. ||1|| Panday, I saw your Gayatri (another name of omni-present pure consciousness), grazing in the fields. Gayatri is a divine mantar that connects the chanter to the pure consciousness, thus it eats up negative actions, like a cow grazes a field. Since Gayatri took away all suffering, like a mother who cuddles her child, she was later personified as a Mother Goddess. Gayatri was also associated with the form of a cow, as the cow was a symbol for motherhood. So the farmer, thinking, Gayatri was a stray cow, beat her and broke her leg until she limped away. The scholar had no experiential knowledge of Gayatri, he did not really understand Gayatri to be able to defend her from Nam Devji criticism. So upon hearing this caricature of Gayatri, the Hindu scholar says he worships Mahadev, the God of Gods. Surely Namdev ji couldn't caricature Mahadev? ਪਾਂਡੇ ਤੁਮਰਾ ਮਹਾਦੇਉ ਧਉਲੇ ਬਲਦ ਚੜਿਆ ਆਵਤੁ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਥਾ ॥ ਮੋਦੀ ਕੇ ਘਰ ਖਾਣਾ ਪਾਕਾ ਵਾ ਕਾ ਲੜਕਾ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਥਾ ॥੨॥ पांडे तुमरा महादेउ धउले बलद चड़िआ आवतु देखिआ था ॥ मोदी के घर खाणा पाका वा का लड़का मारिआ था ॥२॥ Pāŉde ṯumrā mahāḏe▫o ḏẖa▫ule balaḏ cẖaṛi▫ā āvaṯ ḏekẖi▫ā thā. Moḏī ke gẖar kẖāṇā pākā vā kā laṛkā māri▫ā thā. ||2|| Panday, I saw your Mahadev (another name of omni-present pure consciousness), who was riding the bull. In the Parbati's house, the food was ready. She was going to take a bath. To guard her door, she took the turmeric paste applied on her body, and made a man to guard her. Meaning - Mother Nature created man out of matter. Then Mahadev came to the house to meet his wife. However this created man, did not recognize Mahadev and would not let him enter the home. Meaning - Pure Consciousness as Divine Father Spirit came to meet Mother Nature. Man was ignorant of his Divine Father, he could not recognize the Divine and would not let him enter his mind, due to his ignorance, wandering mind. Mahadev cut off his head. And later replaced with the head of an elephant, giving birth to Ganesh. Meaning - so the Diving Father destroyed man's ignorance and gave him enlightenment, transforming him into a transcendent being. The scholar had no knowledge of the deeper meanings to the stories of Mahadev. He had no actual faith in Mahadev. He thought who would kill a person for no reason? So then he says that he worships Ram. ਪਾਂਡੇ ਤੁਮਰਾ ਰਾਮ ਚੰਦੁ ਸੋ ਭੀ ਆਵਤੁ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਥਾ ॥ ਰਾਵਨ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਰਬਰ ਹੋਈ ਘਰ ਕੀ ਜੋਇ ਗਵਾਈ ਥੀ ॥੩॥ पांडे तुमरा रामचंदु सो भी आवतु देखिआ था ॥ रावन सेती सरबर होई घर की जोइ गवाई थी ॥३॥ Pāŉde ṯumrā rāmcẖanḏ so bẖī āvaṯ ḏekẖi▫ā thā. Rāvan seṯī sarbar ho▫ī gẖar kī jo▫e gavā▫ī thī. ||3|| Panday, I saw your Ram Chandra (another name of omni-present pure consciousness). His wife was kidnapped by Ravan. The scholar had no faith in Ram either; he could respond to this. So upon hearing this, the scholar realizes he doesn't worship any of them. He never had faith to begin with. He had no experiential knowledge, no deeper knowledge about the stories he read and analyzed. Bhagat Nam Dev ji then says ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ ॥ਦੁਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ हिंदू अंन्हा तुरकू काणा ॥ दुहां ते गिआनी सिआणा ॥ Hinḏū anĥā ṯurkū kāṇā. Ḏuhāŉ ṯe gi▫ānī si▫āṇā. Hindu has no eyes but Muslim has at least one. However Enlightened being is the most intelligent. This use of the word ਸਿਆਣਾ and previous discussion gives context to what ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ really means What eyes, or lack thereof, is Bhagat NamDev ji talking about? The Hindu does not have a religion, and he does not understand the deeper meaning. So the Hindu has 0 eyes. The Muslim at least has his religion however he does not have deeper knowledge. So the Muslim as 1 eye. However the Enlightened being, also practices religion and has deeper knowledge, that he has acquired through spiritual practice. So the enlightened one has both eyes. ਦੁਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ Within Hindus and Muslims, those who develop deep knowledge are the most exalted. ਹਿੰਦੂ ਪੂਜੈ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਜਹ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਨ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥੪॥੩॥੭॥ हिंदू पूजै देहुरा मुसलमाणु मसीति ॥ नामे सोई सेविआ जह देहुरा न मसीति ॥४॥३॥७॥ Hinḏū pūjai ḏehurā musalmāṇ masīṯ. Nāme so▫ī sevi▫ā jah ḏehurā na masīṯ. ||4||3||7|| The Hindu worships the temple and the Muslim worships the mosque. Namay worships that where there is no temple nor mosque, meaning turiya avastha, state of pure consciousness. Isn't Nam Dev ji criticizing Hindus? Isn't he slandering their religions? Remember Namdev ji is criticizing his own people, Hindus are his own people. He has fought for them and he has represented them in front of kings. He wants to see them improve. He wants Hindus to follow a particular faith and stick to it. He wants his own followers to stick to the path that he has given them. In the previous shabad, he tells his followers to worship Ram, as instructed by the Bhagwad Gita. ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਗਹੁ ਮੀਤਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵੈ ਨਾਮਾ ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਗੀਤਾ ॥੫॥੨॥੬॥ So Namdev ji is not trying to slander any religions here. He is not putting down the Gaytri, Mahadev, Ram, etc, as it is often interpreted by so-called "scholars". Instead, he is trying to paint the ignorant scholar into a corner and get him to admit that he is not really worshiping anybody so that by recognizing what he lacks, he may improve himself in that area. Nam Dev ji is trying to get him to adopt a certain path and do spiritual practice to gain deeper insight. Criticizing his own people? Where has Namdev ji represented Hindus? http://www.sikhawareness.com/topic/17024-muslim-sultan-tries-to-kill-namdev-ji-for-worshipping-vishnu-ji-translation/
So one of the things that Bhagat Namdev ji taught was that Vishnu ji always protects his loved ones. Namdev ji gave the example of how he protected Prahlaad as the terrifying Narsingh. Prahlaad was being tortured for following a different religion. At the last moment when Prahlaad was about to be killed, Narsingh bursts out of the pillar and destroyed Harnakash. A similar event took place in Namdev ji's own lifetime. He was imprisoned due to his wide-spread influence. The local Sultan could not stand it. He ordered that Namdev ji be attacked by his elephants. Namdev ji's life was in grave danger, however he kept chanting Ram naam, and in this way, was saved by Vishnu ji. ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਪੂਛੈ ਸੁਨੁ ਬੇ ਨਾਮਾ ॥ ਦੇਖਉ ਰਾਮ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ਕਾਮਾ ॥੧॥ ਨਾਮਾ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੇ ਬਾਧਿਲਾ ॥ ਦੇਖਉ ਤੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਬੀਠੁਲਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Muslim Sultan asks Namdev ji to show him Namdev ji's god "He says show me your Hari (common name of Vishnu), your Veethala (incarnation of Vishnu) and your Ram (incarnation of Vishnu)." ਬਿਸਮਿਲਿ ਗਊ ਦੇਹੁ ਜੀਵਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਤਰੁ ਗਰਦਨਿ ਮਾਰਉ ਠਾਂਇ ॥੨॥ (The king knows God is without form so) As a sign, revive this killed cow (bismil, halal slaughtered cow), or I will cut off your head" ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹ ਐਸੀ ਕਿਉ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਬਿਸਮਿਲਿ ਕੀਆ ਨ ਜੀਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੩॥ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਹੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੋਇ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੪ Namdev ji says that he cannot revive a slaughtered cow, that whatever happens is according to Ram's wishes. ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹੁ ਚੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਓ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਗਜ ਹਸਤੀ ਦੀਨੋ ਚਮਕਾਰਿ ॥੫॥ The king's ego bloats up and he sends an elephant to trample over the chained up Namdev ji. ਰੁਦਨੁ ਕਰੈ ਨਾਮੇ ਕੀ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਛੋਡਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਕੀ ਨ ਭਜਹਿ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥੬॥ Seeing this horrific view, Namdev ji's mother cries and pleads him to leave Ram and worship Allah, at least you will survive. ਨ ਹਉ ਤੇਰਾ ਪੂੰਗੜਾ ਨ ਤੂ ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪੜੈ ਤਉ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਇ ॥੭॥ To that Namdev ji responds, " I am not your son and you are not my mother. Even if I die, i will sing Hari's praises." ਕਰੈ ਗਜਿੰਦੁ ਸੁੰਡ ਕੀ ਚੋਟ ॥ ਨਾਮਾ ਉਬਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਓਟ ॥੮॥ The elephant attacks Namdev ji with his trunk but Namdev ji survives, saved by Hari. ਕਾਜੀ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਲਾਮੁ ॥ਇਨਿ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਲਿਆ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੯॥ The king says, "Qazis and Mullahs do salaam to me, but this Hindu has disobeyed me" ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਸੁਨੇਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਸਰ ਭਰਿ ਸੋਨਾ ਲੇਹੁ ॥੧੦॥ The people said "O king, please accept our request, take equivalent of Nama's weight in gold pieces and release him" ਮਾਲੁ ਲੇਉ ਤਉ ਦੋਜਕਿ ਪਰਉ ॥ ਦੀਨੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਕਉ ਭਰਉ ॥੧੧॥ King says "If I take the gold, I will end up in hell. It would mean I have left religion and become materialistic. ਪਾਵਹੁ ਬੇੜੀ ਹਾਥਹੁ ਤਾਲ ॥ ਨਾਮਾ ਗਾਵੈ ਗੁਨ ਗੋਪਾਲ ॥੧੨॥ Nama shakes his chains and locks, plays a melodious beat! and he sings the praises of Gopal, all chained up! ਗੰਗ ਜਮੁਨ ਜਉ ਉਲਟੀ ਬਹੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਨਾਮਾ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਰਹੈ ॥੧੩॥ Even if Ganga and Yamuna, the biggest rivers in India, were to flow backwards, even then Nama will chant Hari's name. ਸਾਤ ਘੜੀ ਜਬ ਬੀਤੀ ਸੁਣੀ ॥ ਅਜਹੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਧਣੀ ॥੧੪॥ 7 phases of the day just gone by, at the 8th phase, Namdev ji would be killed. Yet the Master of the Three Worlds, Shri Vishnu, was nowhere to be seen. ਪਾਖੰਤਣ ਬਾਜ ਬਜਾਇਲਾ ॥ ਗਰੁੜ ਚੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਆਇਲਾ ॥੧੫॥ (When suddenly Shri Vishnu arrived!) The melodious sound of Garud's wings could be heard! Riding the Garud, came Govind! ਅਪਨੇ ਭਗਤ ਪਰਿ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲ ॥ ਗਰੁੜ ਚੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਆਏ ਗੋਪਾਲ ॥੧੬॥ He kept the honour of His bhagat; Gopal came riding on his Garud! ਕਹਹਿ ਤ ਧਰਣਿ ਇਕੋਡੀ ਕਰਉ ॥ ਕਹਹਿ ਤ ਲੇ ਕਰਿ ਊਪਰਿ ਧਰਉ ॥੧੭॥ Shri Hari says "If you ask, I will tilt his land and render it useless, or take it and put it over him (the king)." ਕਹਹਿ ਤ ਮੁਈ ਗਊ ਦੇਉ ਜੀਆਇ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਦੇਖੈ ਪਤੀਆਇ ॥੧੮॥ "If you say I will revive this cow, and convince everyone of your divinity." Namdev ji request that the cow be revived and Hari did just that. ਨਾਮਾ ਪ੍ਰਣਵੈ ਸੇਲ ਮਸੇਲ ॥ ਗਊ ਦੁਹਾਈ ਬਛਰਾ ਮੇਲਿ ॥੧੯॥ Nama signalled that the calf be united with its mother and he proceed to milk the cow. ਦੂਧਹਿ ਦੁਹਿ ਜਬ ਮਟੁਕੀ ਭਰੀ ॥ ਲੇ ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹ ਕੇ ਆਗੇ ਧਰੀ ॥੨੦॥ When the milk filled the matka/pot, he took the pot and placed it in front of the King. ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹੁ ਮਹਲ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਅਉਘਟ ਕੀ ਘਟ ਲਾਗੀ ਆਇ ॥੨੧॥ The king's worldview shattered! He went back to his palace in utter shock. He felt deeply troubled and agitated. ਕਾਜੀ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਬਿਨਤੀ ਫੁਰਮਾਇ ॥ ਬਖਸੀ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੈ ਤੇਰੀ ਗਾਇ ॥੨੨॥ He sent a message through his Qazi and Mullah. "Forgive me Hindu, I am your cow from now" ਨਾਮਾ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਬਾਦਿਸਾਹ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਤੀਆ ਮੁਝੈ ਦਿਖਾਇ ॥੨੩॥ ਇਸ ਪਤੀਆ ਕਾ ਇਹੈ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥ ਸਾਚਿ ਸੀਲਿ ਚਾਲਹੁ ਸੁਲਿਤਾਨ ॥੨੪॥ Nama says "Listen great king, have I done this miracle? (I haven't done this). The meaning of this event, is for you, king, to now be truthful-humble (peaceful)." ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਸਭ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਮਿਲਿ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਸਭ ਨਾਮੇ ਪਹਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੨੫॥ ਜਉ ਅਬ ਕੀ ਬਾਰ ਨ ਜੀਵੈ ਗਾਇ ॥ ਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਵ ਕਾ ਪਤੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੨੬॥ Namdev ji became famous everywhere. The Hindus gathered around Nama and said, "if you hadn't revived the cow, our faith in you would have been lost" ਨਾਮੇ ਕੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਭਗਤ ਜਨਾਂ ਲੇ ਉਧਰਿਆ ਪਾਰਿ ॥੨੭॥ In this manner, Namdev ji became famous, and he carried many with him to liberation. ਸਗਲ ਕਲੇਸ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਭਇਆ ਖੇਦੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਰਾਇਨ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ॥੨੮॥੧॥੧੦॥ The slanderer King became very troubled in his mind, very agitated. And Nama was recognized as indistinguishable from Narayan.