shaheediyan Posted March 14, 2010 Report Share Posted March 14, 2010 (edited) Rehat - The Living of a Khalsa Rehat is one of the most precious aspect of a Nihang Singh’s life and is believed to be granted only by the grace of the Guru. As discussed in the introduction, rehat refers to the spiritual and worldly discipline or conduct of an individual. Rattan Singh Bhangu describes the personality of Shaheed Bhai Tara Singh Nihang who was one of the fiercest warriors to fight in the Khalsa army: ‘Resolutely performing penance and meditation while remaining ever chaste, he was of good rehat. He dressed in blue clothing and adorned his body with various battle ready weapons. Forever lovingly meditating upon the Gurus divine writings, his consciousness would remain focused on the Gurus holy feet. Whatever words he uttered from his mouth, he would remain steadfast to them and loyally fulfil all declarations.’ (Pracchin Panth Parkash, Part 1, page 520) The above passage exemplifies the ideal rehat of a Nihang Singh. Jathedar Baba Joginder Singh of Budha Dal further expresses the unparalleled importance of rehat: “Without rehat one cannot be a Nihang Singh. Read Gurbani, meditate on God and perform selfless service – without these vital components one cannot be a Singh of the Guru.” (Interview, August 2007) Jathedar Baba Joginder Singh Ji 96 Krori (left) and Baba Hari Singh Ji (right). Two contemporary Nihang Singhs renowned for their dedication towards the austere discipline prescribed by the Guru for a member of the Khalsa army. Nitnem - Routine An important component of a Nihang Singhs life is the routine or nitnem which they unwaveringly practise daily. Baba Hari Singh explains the routine of a Nihang Singh. “The rehat of a Nihang Singh is this: After 12am, it is time for a Singh to wake up. Whether they get up at 1am or 2am they should first perform ablution, have a bath and wash their mouth. They should then sit down in a steady posture for some hours and recite their prayers then contemplate on God in meditation. Throughout the day they should keep their mind focused towards God while going about their daily tasks.”(Interview, August 2007) One of the very first teachings given by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the Japji Sahib is to arise at Amritvela, the ambrosial hours before dawn and meditate on the Divine: ‘At Amritvela, contemplate on the greatness of the True Divine Being.’(Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 2) The early mention of Amritvela within Gurbani suggests that it is a fundamental and important practise for a Sikh to perform. The inclination for the mind is to stay absorbed in a state of rest, and therefore arising early in the morning appears a chore. Thus, early every morning a Singh encounters a battle with his mind to awake in the morning. Through difficulty and consistent practise, eventually arising early becomes an automatic process. The concept of Amritvela is not unique to the Sikh tradition, many religious groups and sects recognise the importance of meditating before sunrise. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji writes; ‘According to the instructions given in Ramayana, we should ever be in the service of the Lord; we should get up early in the morning and remember His Name; Through the glory of His Name, many mighty enemies are killed and the charities of innumerable types are bestowed; that Lord, also keeping his name on our heads, protects the ignorant people like us’.( Dasam Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1199) In the Choubis Avtar, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji mentions in the narration of Kalki Avtar the declining behavioural and living standards which shall be prevalent in the latter years of Kaljug (present Iron Age). The Guru writes; ‘Worshipping the stones, they will not meditate on the one Lord; there will be prevalent the darkness of many sects; they will desire for poison, leaving the ambrosia, they will name the evening time as early-morn; Absorbing themselves in all the hollow religions, they will perform evil deeds and reap the reward accordingly; they will be tied and despatched to the abode of death, where they will receive the suitable punishment.71.’ (Dasam Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1143) The above verse firstly metaphorically illustrates that shallow religious rituals without esoteric understanding or loving devotion shall replace meditation and contemplation on God, this will ultimately lead to spiritual darkness/ignorance. The parallel between poison and ambrosial nectar elucidates the trend of the present era where individuals indulge in vices over virtue. They obtain false enjoyment during the night at the expense of meditating in the early morning which leads to the attainment of ambrosial bliss. Ultimately indulging in vice and drinking poison bares its consequences on the individual. As upholders of Dharam, righteousness, it is vital that those following the teachings of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji actively seek to follow the opposite path of the world and not fall to the neglecting standards of spiritual living evident in Kaljug. Baba Ninder Singh Nihang states; “A Singh of the Guru must follow the opposite trends of society. At 12am when the whole world is sleeping a Singh must arise and meditate on the Guru, understanding reality while the world dwells in a dreamlike state. When the world awakes a Singh has a brief rest before beginning his work. At the evening after hard work, again we sit down to pray and meditate on God. Throughout the day a Singh should actively tune his mind with the divine frequency and thus it shall remain absorbed in God even in sleep. A Singh has complete control of his body and leads his mind whereas people of the world follow their mind.” (Interview, August 2009) Nihang Partap Singh sits reading Gurbani in a small secluded shrine of the Sixth Guru in Dyalpura, Punjab Nitnem, routine, serves several important purposes. Firstly it is the basis of spiritual development – it is both the root of and structural support for the follower of a religious path. Even after attaining the true essence of divine understanding, the many Mahapursh (divine beings) within the Nihang armies do not abandon their routine as a result of age, ill health or any other reason. They strenuously follow this tapasya or penance. Many following a spiritual path are likely to fluctuate in their tapasya, nitnem ensures that a minimum level of practise exists. Furthermore, saints teach that by forcing the mind to follow a routine even when it resits, it increases ones mental strength to defend against surges of negative thoughts arising from the frailty of the mind. Essentially, nitnem when practised strenuously and consistently is a form of Tapasya, penance, which is an important Gun (virtue) for a Khalsa to possess. Gun & Avgun – vices and virtues In the Sri Sarbloh Parkash Granth, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji writes many passages with direct instuctions to members of the Khalsa. The tenth Guru describes the ten qualities (gun) that a Khalsa should seek to possess. These are termed Das Grahin the ten virtues to be grasped and sets high standards for those aspiring to become Khalsa. Ten Guna (virtues) that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji directs the Khalsa towards are; 1. Compassion 2. Charity 3. Forgiveness 4. Cleanliness 5. Control of mind 6. Purity 7. Appreciation of truth 8. Spiritually accomplished being 9. Warrior 10. Devotee to God and no other Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji then lists the Das Tyagi, the ten avgun (vices) which the Khalsa is to renounce; 1. Mentality against contemplation and meditation 2. Indiscriminate violence 3. False pride 4. Laziness 5. Miserliness 6. Impurity 7. Heartlessness 8. Stupidity 9. Wearing dirty clothes 10. Evil heart Clearly there is a promotion of Satvic qualities and denunciation of Tamastic vices. Tamogun is considered the mode of inertia which detains the mind from understanding its true identity and promotes darkness/ignorance. Laziness, false pride and actions resulting from absent mindedness are typical tamastic qualities. These limit the minds understanding to the level of sthool sareer (gross body), which must be transcended in order to experience higher levels of reality and the self. Satogun, the mode of purity involves actions and thoughts which benefit spiritual practise. These are associated with the sookham sareer or the subtle body which carries on existing even after ones has physically died. The purpose of practising Satogun is to direct oneself to a path of understanding reality and practising acts which reflect this desire to truly understand the self. For further analysis and commentary on the Das Grahi, click here to read an article by Bhai Tirath Singh Nirmala. In the 18th century Jathedar Baba Gurbax Singh Nihang was leader of the Shaheedi Misl after Jathedar Baba Deep Singh Shaheed, he is still today considered one of the great figures of Sikh history. Rattan Singh Bhangu highlights that he was a complete Nihang Singh who possessed the qualities ordained by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji for the Khalsa; ‘That man calls himself a Nihang whose body parts are indifferent to pain and comfort. Not recognising bodily pain or comfort, one remains detached from their physical body. He was well resolved in his faith, firmly chaste, chanter of Divine praises, a charitable being and a complete warrior. Even when noblemen or the wealthy would come to see him, he would remain carefree.’ (Pracchin Panth Parkash Steek, Part 2, page 514) Nihang Singh Baba Gurbax Singh Rehatname - Passing down of rehat The rehat prescribed by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji has been passed down through generation both orally and in the written form. Guidelines on how Sikhs are to live their life can be found in a serious of texts collectively known as rehatname. In Gurbani one finds important guidance on spiritual development and mental conduct which facilitates this, this is a Sikh’s primary source for Rehat. With regards to Sikh rituals, personal conduct, specific discipline and societal behaviour, these topics are dealt with specifically by the rehatname. For example, detail regarding the Amrit Sanchar, the initiation ceremony which all members of the Khalsa go through is mentioned in the rehatname rather than directly in Gurbani. The Rehatname were often written by well learned Sikhs or those close to the Gurus. Bhai Nand Lal Ji, a poet and close devotee of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, transcribed a conversation that he had with the Guru. He asked the Guru to elucidate on what actions where acceptable and prohibited for Sikhs. Bhai Nand Lal scribed the Gurus response and the subsequent text is known as the ‘tankhahnama’. The Guru began my stating three core principles of a Sikh: Naam - meditation on the greatness of God, Daan - performing charitable acts and Ishnan – cleansing and inner purification. Guru Sahib further proceeds to describe which actions a Sikh should avoid: ‘A Guru’s Sikh that doesn’t bath in cold water (except for medical reasons). One who eats breakfast without reciting Sri Japji Sahib Ji or doesn’t recite Sri Rehrass Sahib at Dusk. One who sleeps at night without reciting Sri Kirtan Sohila Sahib. One who causes hindrance in someone’s success through backstabbing and cheating; damns the essence of his/her human birth and loses the path of ‘Dharma’. One who does not adhere to their word. So says Guru Gobind Singh, he/she will never find peace of mind. One who eats meat for taste. One who sings words that is not in accordance with Guru’s Shabads (Gurbani) or who listens to the music that is lustful and seductive. [says Guru Gobind Singh Ji] Listen O Nand Lal, that person is bound to go to hell. One who does his/her daily deeds without Ardas or eats anything without thanking Akal Purakh- the giver of food. One who accepts something that was given away for charity (or abandoned). One who has lustful feelings for women other than his wife (vice-a-versa for women). One who does not donate to the needy and homeless will never receive respect in the court of Akal Purakh. One who doesn’t enjoy listening to keertan or katha (Guru’s sermon). One who speaks ill about Saints and Sikhs or who earns money through slandering and gambling. They receive severe punishment for such misdeeds.’ (Verse 15-20 Jathedar Baba Surjeet Singh of the Budha Dal, a bastion of the Khalsa traditional rehat, flanked by loyal warriors - attentively listening to Gurbani. Other important rehatname include writings by Daya Singh, Choupa Singh, Prehlada Singh and Desa Singh. The Rehatnama by Bhai Daya Singh is considered one of the most important rehatnama. Bhai Daya was the Jathedar (leader) of the panj pyarai (five beloved Singhs). His Rehatnama again contains teachings uttered from the tongue of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Importantly it also contains a section on the Akali outlining the important characteristics or of a Nihang Singh. Among the practises of a Nihang Singh, the Guru instructs they should wear blue clothing, eat from iron utensils, carry various weapons, constantly recite Gurbanis by heart, remain immersed in the immortal elixir of Gods name, remain chaste and forever keep repeating Gurmantr (contemplation of ‘Vaheguru’) constantly in his mind. The Guru says those who follow these principles are true Akalis (worshippers/form of Akal – timeless God) and states; ‘He who lives by this rehat is my very form. Between he and me or me and he there is no difference, he has become my form.’ (Bhai Daya Singh Rehatnama, Verse 18) Passages on Rehat are also contained in wider historical literature. Rattan Singh Bhangu notes in the Pracchin Panth Parkash some of the instructions given to the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh Ji having blessed them with baptism of the double edged sword; ‘With as much energy as you have donate to the Guru’s Golak (treasury). Prepare Karah Parshad* and offer it to the Khalsa. Wear a Kasherra (special briefs) and a tie a turban on your head. Remain attached to the teaching of the Guru Granth Sahib. Giving these teachings the Guru then presented swords to the Singhs. The Guru further said keep knives and quilts around your turbans. Read Gurbani at all times. Read Japji Sahib and Jaap Sahib twice a day and also read Anand Sahib and Rehras Sahib (in evening). Read Chandi Bani while standing. Tie your turban afresh twice a day. Drink the Guru’s nectar and practise hunting and preserve the art of using weapons however you can. Eat goats only after performing Jhatka on them, do not go near any other type of other meat especially halal. Look after your unshorn hair on your head and do not cut any hairs from your body. Leave behind the ways of the Brahmins and forever keep your focus on the Gurus holy feet. Whatever Singh strays from the path and performs bad actions, be sure to administer a punishment upon him.’ (Pracchin Panth Parkash Steek, Part 1, Page 110)) *Karah Parshad is a special sweet dish which is given as a holy offering. It is made from water, flour sugar and butter.* The 18th Century text 'Guru Kian Sakhian' written by Bhatt Saroop Singh states that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji instructed the Khalsa that; ‘Oh Sikhs, do not strike fear into anyone and be afraid of none. Have faith in one Akaal Purakh (timeless being) alone and they will be on hand to forever assist. Earn an honest living and give one tenth of your earnings to the Guru. Keep the Guru’s treasury in your homes, considered the mouth of the poor to be the Guru’s treasury – have no doubt in this... Arise in the ambrosial hours of the morning, brush your teeth and take a bath. Chant the name of God and teach others to do so too, read Gurbani and teach others to read too. When the day begins take part in the holy congregation. Wash your kesh- unshorn hair (atleast) every four days, comb your hair with your wooden kangha twice a day and look after your kesh. Never touch your kesh with unclean hands, respect your kesh equal to the Guru.’ (page 124) A further important reference to rehat can be seen in the Suraj Parkash Granth. Kavi Santokh Singh narrates the teachings which Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji instructed the Khalsa with before the physical departure from earth. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji reminded their followers never to forget the importance of rehat for this is the primal quality of a Sikh of the Guru. The Guru stated; ‘I do not love ones external form, nor am I concerned with ones caste or social standing. It is rehat which I greatly love and Sikhs with firm internal faith and devotion who are my most dearly beloved.’ (Rut 5, Ansu 38) An image depicting Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Hazoor Sahib, Nander instructing their closest followers and Nihang Singh army before their physical departure in 1708. Conclusion Rehat is evidently a fundamentally important aspect of a Nihang Singhs life. The necessity of arising early in the morning is emphasised many times in Gurbani and wider Sikh literature. Nihang Singhs seek to live by a strict routine and conform to both external and internal discipline. Satogun qualities are emphasised which direct an individual to experiencing a higher layer of their existence. The rehat of the Khalsa has been passed own down both orally and written over the centuries and Nihang Singhs have dedicated themselves to preserving these teachings. In the Gutka Sahib (religious prayer books) published by Nihang Singhs, a code of conduct is written which draws upon Gurbani, rehatname and oral tradition. This will be available shortly on the website with English translation and commentary. Nihangsingh.org Edited March 14, 2010 by shaheediyan 0 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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