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Sikh scholars of the past Vs Sikh scholars of the present


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One of the main problems we face as Sikhs today is our lack of knowledge on Gurbani. Given that gurbani is the very source of our existence, its not a good position to be in. Many of us have become sikhs of 'sikhi to the max' and not neccesarily sikhs of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. While we may be able to sing all night and give literal translations to the more popular shabads sang at rehnsbhai's, our depth of understanding doesnt seem to go much further.

One of the reasons why is because we have stopped reading.

Many will now say that you dont need to read teekeh and old granths, and that if guru ji wants he will bless you with understanding of the shabads. Seems strange why the elder sikhs therefore felt the need to read these pothia, wheras the modern super sikh will simply get blessed with understanding from the guru.

I found this list on the internet and it is said that these are the books/pothia/granths read and studied and in many cases made kanth by Sant Gurbachan Singh Ji Bhindranwale.

SIKHISM

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

Sri Dasam Granth

Sri Sarbloh Granth

Bhai Gurdas Diyan Vaaran’

Bhai Gurdas Kabit Svaiya

Sri Nanak Prakash

Siri Guru Pratap Suraj Granth

Parbodh Chander Natak

Bhagat Bani

Panj Granthi

Das Granthi

Mehima Parkash

Bhavrasamrit

SANATAN

Bhagawant Gita

Balmiki Ramayan

Tulsi Ramayan

Mahabharat

Rig, Yujar, Sham and Atharvan Ved

Gurar Puran

Yog Vashisht

Markanday Puran

Hanuman Natak

Vairag Shatak

Sarkutavali

Vichar Sagar

Bavikhat Puran

ISLAM

BHai Nand Lal Zindageenama

Bhai Nand Lal Gazla

Bhai Nand Lal Rubaiyat

Bhai Nand Lal Jindagee Nama

The Koran

The Anjeel

Parasbhag

Masnavi Bhakh

As many of us, including myself have never even heard of a large number of the above, please could somebody perhaps provide a bit more information on them? Could you also shed a bit more light on whether the sikhs of yesteryear did actually study these texts and when and why the sikhs have in general lost this knowledge.

Many thanks

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Please also have a quick look at the link below.

http://www.bharatvani.org/books/ohrr/ch07.htm

I cannot account for the source as it links from the 'voice of india' website and the book in question is 'on hinduism reviews and reflections' however this is an interesting section in this chapter which i have quoted below

In his Report on the Punjab, Leitner names hundreds of textbooks - Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and Gurmukhi - taught in Hindu and Muhammadan schools of different grades in the Punjab. For example, text-books taught to Sikh students of Gurmukhi schools are divided into two sections: those taught to the beginners and those taught to advanced students. To the first section belonged Balopdesha, Panj Granthi, Janam Sakhi, the tenth Guru's Panj Ekadash, Bhagvat, Tulsi Ramayana, Vishnu Purana, Pingal (10 parts), Ashwa Medha, Adhyatma Ramayana, Vichara Sagar, Moksha Pantha, Surya Prakash, the sixth Guru's Guru Vilas, Vashishtha Purana, and Daswan Askandha.

This must be embarrassing to the new-style, collaborationist Sikh intellectuals.

I feel the last comment in bold is a particularly nasty kick to the midsection in its painful but very truthful nature!!

So in addition to the texts in the post above, this article believes that older sikhs also studied

the tenth Guru's Panj Ekadash,

Bhagvat,

Tulsi Ramayana,

Vishnu Purana,

Pingal (10 parts),

Ashwa Medha,

Adhyatma Ramayana,

Vichara Sagar,

Moksha Pantha,

Surya Prakash,

the sixth Guru's Guru Vilas,

Vashishtha Purana, and

Daswan Askandha

again please could anyone provide any further info???!!?

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This is a very good topic. So many times you hear people who know next to nothing (myself included) going on and on about a certain aspect of Gurbani or history.

One of the examples that I can think of from top of my head is that Sikhs (and 'nonsikhs' like Namdharis alike) have gotten so bad that majority of us don't even know anything or have never heard in our lives about Guru Gobind Singh changing the tuk 'Neel Bastar Le Kapre Pehray' to 'Neel Bastar Le Kapre Pharay' as was a common knowledge in the time of writing 'Suraj Parkash' by Kavi Santokh Singh for example... This is such an important issue if you think about it that such a simple Sakhi and an important one too for that matter is not known to anyone in its complete picture.. I remember even great scholars like Shaheediyan had to ask me where it was written but I'm sure it maybe just to get me to provide the source to my claim which ofcourse I did... now sure someone like me with a twisted mind would speculate it is due to a certain establishment's effort to downplay such important topics but you can't not blame the general idea that you mentioned that "guruji will automatically bless u wiv knowledge yo! don't sweat it!" type of mentality. This just leads people on a path of being ignorant.

Good topic.. hope more people will participate and especially with points about the reliablility of each Granth. Just a small thing I want to add, In atleast one of the Granths mentioned in the list,Mahima Parkash to be exact, the foreword itself says it is quite unreliable if I'm not mistaken, Been a long time, sorry, so such a source should be compared with others thoroughly.

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OK, in your 'sikhism' section you should know most of that. Kabit Svayay are sadly no longer studied that much, but are quite beautiful. Prabodhchandoyanatak is an old sanskrit naatak (play) by krishna mishra using allegorical figures to convey vedant/brahm vidya. The one studied traditionally is the braj bhasha rendition by Pandit Gulab Singh Nirmala. Mehima Prkash you should know is Sarup Das Bhalla's early historical writings. Bhavrasamrit is by Pandit Gulab Singh ji. you can find a post about it on this forum. While we're talking about him, 'Moksha pantha' in the leitner list is Moksh Panth Prakash, Pandit Gulab Singh ji's masterpiece. Very difficult until you've kind of worked your way up through vedanta and other darshanas, but its comprehensive including a critical commentary on everyone including the teachings of jains and buddhists. it then moves onto some very specific discussion of bhamati and vivaran schools of advaita, and specific things like videhmukti, etc.

On to 'sanatan', a lot of that is stuff you can find on the internet. Some of the adhyatmic stuff you again can find translated by nirmalay, sevapanthis and udasin into braj bhasha such as yog vasistha, ramayan, etc. In there are also texts which are not quite so 'snatan' at all, but from the bhagat movement - saruktavali is a braj bhasha text by kavi hardyal ji (who had a link to the Guru Sahiban), vichar sagar is the braj bhasha difficult discussion of vedant written by Pandit Nehchal Das Dadupanthi, vichar mala is by Udasi Anath Das, vairag shatak is by bartihari. Hanuman Natak is also later, again in braj bhasha, a copy of which Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji was given. In the 'islamic' section, both masanavi bhakhaa (the opening section of rumi's masnavi translated by sevapanthis) and parasbhag (al-ghazzali's work also translated by sevapanthis) are classic sufi works which can be read about here;

http://www.sewapanthi.org/htmls/sahit_translations.html

on to the second list adhayatam ramayan is also a braj bhasha rendition of this sanskrit text by pandit gulab singh, and the rest are straight shaastra, apart from pingal which i assume to be on grammar along the lines of rup deep granth. 'sixth guru's guru vilas' is obviously gurbilas chhevin accredited to kavi sohan.

hope that helps.

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i remember asking my vidya guru " there are so many texts and knowledge within sikhi that most people could never get round to reading or listening to them all."

he replied " in your lifetime, read Aad Guru Dasam Guru and anything else will be a bonus."

now i have have made a little atempt to read them. still at the start mind you, but the list given above could only be completed by someone who has time on their hands. I dont think that in my lifetime i would probably get round to reading many or any of the above texts.

is it practical tho to expect a perosn to have read all of the baove texts?

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No I dont think everyone can be expected to read them, thats not the issue. The issue is about 'Sikh Scholars' - who surely should have sound knowledge of our literature. The majority of so called 'Sikh Schoars' take it for granted that what is written in most texts is false. This has lead to majority of Sikhs following in the teachings of their scholars/leader (reformist seems a better word) and rejecting the vedas and the upanishads and other ancient sources of knowledge - making way for the 'Sikhism is a brand new religion unrelated to anything before' theory.

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I think that we need to make a distinction between a scholar/kathavachak/pracharak and a typical sikh living a grisht jeevan. I think that a pracharak/kathavachak should read and understand literature of other mats. However, for practical reasons, I must agree with chatanga's post that reading Satguroo's bani is enough, and anything above is a bonus. I think two more points need to be made here the:

1) Reflection on bani is required...personally I think sangat of Gursikhs, katha by mahapurkhs and steeks are a good way of going about this. Listening to people that are well learned, and are practicing gurmat is very important. It is Guru Gobind Singh Jee's hukam for a Sikh to listen to katha everyday.

2) I think it should be understood that reading bani is not easy ("any idiot" cannot do it). Anyone that has done any amount of santhiya can tell you this. Learning how to read bani can be quite difficult in itself and it takes tons of effort and maharaj's kirpa to become a good paathi. From personal experience, I feel that it is very difficult to reflect on bani without first learning how to read it.

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  • 9 months later...

Silence bro, I think that the problem with our panth is that we no longer have any respect for Gyan and authentic Gyanis. Ideally a Sikh should do Bhagti, have Rehet and Gyan. Today, we have neither of these. We only have men who wear chollay but if you get to know them closely most do not have Amritvela, don't even have their Nitnem Kanth and have only superficial knowledge of Gurmat.

Look at the past Sants of Taksal. They and their students not only wore Chollay, but they also had ALOT of Gyan about Dharm, they were strict in Amritvela and Rehet, plus they all always had atleast the Panj Granthi memorised. How many Sikhs today have all these qualities? Very very few. You could probably count them on your finger tips.

We need and should respect Gyanis in our Panth because they have preserved our old knowledge. We shouldn't just ridicule them as being "Pandit".

Also the term Pandit should be respected. A Pandit is someone with knowledge. Many Sikhs of the past who had knowledge of Sanskrit were also called Pandit.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

One of the main problems we face as Sikhs today is our lack of knowledge on Gurbani. Given that gurbani is the very source of our existence, its not a good position to be in. Many of us have become sikhs of 'sikhi to the max' and not neccesarily sikhs of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. While we may be able to sing all night and give literal translations to the more popular shabads sang at rehnsbhai's, our depth of understanding doesnt seem to go much further.

One of the reasons why is because we have stopped reading.

Many will now say that you dont need to read teekeh and old granths, and that if guru ji wants he will bless you with understanding of the shabads. Seems strange why the elder sikhs therefore felt the need to read these pothia, wheras the modern super sikh will simply get blessed with understanding from the guru.

That is a major assumption you have made that modern Sikh scholars lack knowledge of Gurbani? I would argue that many of the so called religious scholars may know one liners in Gurbani, and be able to recite them parrot fashion, but not have any deep understanding.

Many Sikhs of old have fallen into the trap of not understanding the context of which a shabad was written and rely heavily on Sakhi's, of which many are simply not true.

Now when I say this, I do not mean all old Sikh scholars, as there are many of note who are very good (eg Dr Gopal Singh), and there are some modern ones who are equally as good.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Silence bro, I think that the problem with our panth is that we no longer have any respect for Gyan and authentic Gyanis. Ideally a Sikh should do Bhagti, have Rehet and Gyan. Today, we have neither of these. We only have men who wear chollay but if you get to know them closely most do not have Amritvela, don't even have their Nitnem Kanth and have only superficial knowledge of Gurmat.

Look at the past Sants of Taksal. They and their students not only wore Chollay, but they also had ALOT of Gyan about Dharm, they were strict in Amritvela and Rehet, plus they all always had atleast the Panj Granthi memorised. How many Sikhs today have all these qualities? Very very few. You could probably count them on your finger tips.

We need and should respect Gyanis in our Panth because they have preserved our old knowledge. We shouldn't just ridicule them as being "Pandit".

Also the term Pandit should be respected. A Pandit is someone with knowledge. Many Sikhs of the past who had knowledge of Sanskrit were also called Pandit.

Look at the sikhs of the past they lived in jungles and attacked at night. When was their amritvela? Slavery, and lack of rule is turning us dogmatic instead of pragmatic. It is happening around the world to deen; we are the only ones with a system to reverse it.

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^^^

I'd say our encounter with the British and the rub of European Christianity played more than a small role in that.

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