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Nirmala origin myth or reality?


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Sadh Sangat Jee,

I was going through old discussions at sikhnet to know more about Sikhism and came across following points regarding Nirmala. Let's try to discuss them as we have two Nirmalas on our forum.

Thank you!

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Source: http://www.sikhnet.com/sikhnet/discussion....51?OpenDocument

dear sikh net sangat jee, ssa,namshkar,aadesh.

some of u must have heard or read the sakhee that 10th NANAK sent 5(luckyFIVE!!) singhs/sikhs to learn SANSKRIT in KANSHI.some writers give their names also.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT the sakhee??

PONITS to keep in mind:

1. where did FIRST 9 GURUS (including guru GOBIND singh)learnt their SANSKRIT.

2. did ANY sikh form (1st - 9th) went to KANSHI(or some other place)for the same purpose.

3. with the blessing of 8th NANAK an illiterate person was able to translate saloks of GITA.(history)

4.Bhai Nand lal jee was well educated in FARSEE & SANSKRIT and many of the 52 KAVEES who had take ASYLUM in 10th Nanak Darbar (beacause music & poetry was banned,they were scared of the sword of Aurangzeb), also were well educated.

5.KASHMIR,(to learn SANSKRIT), if not better at least was equally good to KANSHI(at least in the eyes of Aurangzeb, he started killing of PANDITS there) .(moreover KASHMIR PANDITS owed it to GURU GOBIND singh for his father's head).

note worthy fact:

KABIR jee & RAVIDAS jee lived allmost all their life in KANSHI ,howcome they did NOT master their SANSKRIT skill from PANDITS of KANSHI.(tum tao paroo BA-ED(vedas) GA-ITREE gobind ridh-a humra.(Kabir)

ok, U may say, both belonged to LOW CASTE hence they were NOT ALLOWED to learn DEV BHASHA.It means guru GOBIND singh MUST have made sure that all five are form UPPER CLASS even after taking AMRIT.

I think the above made up story(SAKHEE) is the creation of same type of people who were preaching us NOT to learn FARSEE beacuse it is KAFIR BOLI, but they for got the FACT that 1st NANAK & 5th NANAK have used PURE FARSEE in RAG TILANG of GGS.

please note that i am NOT against ANY language, it is good to know SANSKRIT for better understanding of GURU GRANTH. A sikh should learn as many language as possible.

but KANSHI & SANSKRIT DE MAHNTA WALA ZULA(yoke)GURU GRANTH DE SIKH DE MOODA(shoulder) TE, why????

regards

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

The origins of the Nirmalas is quite hotly disputed by not only modern scholars, particularly of the McLeod fame, but also by many Nihangs, who view them (owing to the activities of a certain branch of Nirmalas based in Patiala) to be a creation of the British.

The questions below are perhaps not the most decisive in assessing Nirmalas from the angle of the above mentioned argument, however here are a few initial thoughts in response to the areas questioned.

One has to recall that there are in existence numerous sakhis relaying how Guru Nanak in particular, had acquired all forms of knowledge from a very early start, which was further expounded when he had his divine experience during his 3 days of disappearance. Likewise, where and from whom did Guru Gobind Singh learn the martial arts? This will only lead us around in circles.

As per Kashmir –vs- Kansi, their equal hold over Sanskrit is quite possibly true, however given the goings on in Kashmir, surely the whole purpose of sending the 5 Sikhs to Kanshi was to avoid the turbulent nature of events in Kashmir at the time and have them concentrate on learning the necessary Vidiya, which once again is not limited to just Sanskrit but also a whole array of classics.

The caste issue misses the point that Guru Sahib according to the sakhi actually sent these five Sikhs in bagwa-coloured bana (i.e. dressed as sadhus) hence, as Sadhus, they fall outwith the realms of the caste-hierarchy and such barriers no longer apply.

The matter over Farsi-vs-Sanskrit overlooks that injunctions against the learning of Farsi and other Islamic-related languages and cultural habits are made in the late 18th-century rehitnama literature given the nature of persecution meted out to the Sikhs by the then Islamic powers etc.

Interestingly, there is a school of thought which has linked various sampradyas and jathas to the Nirmalas from Gyani, Sants, Taksal and Nanaksar, however historically viewed, key figures like Baba Deep Singh was in fact a Nihang and quite possibly a Nirmala too, hence giving rise to the idea that Nirmalas could be an offshoot of Nihangs.

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Off course they existed:

Especially when bhai kahn singh nabha writes:

"When the Sikhs, the Nihangs, Sehaj Dhari, Nirmalla's, Namdharis, and Udasi's see themselves as the sons of the same father. The Gurudwara reform movement would be over".

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Neo,

I don't think it is question of doubting their existence, it's rather of when they came into existence and how, namely the element of facts surrounding the Kansi event.

Those who oppose the notion of the sampradayas, fail to acknowledge that these orders still exist today and hence have some lineage -whether that is back to the Gurus directly or otherwise is what remains to be discussed on a case by case basis.

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Also, Pundit Kirpa Singh Dutt was Sanskrit teacher of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and as well as good friend of Guru Tegh Bhadhur.

I don't think it is question of doubting their existence, it's rather of when they came into existence and how, namely the element of facts surrounding the Kansi event.

You are right SMS. And this was the reason that I posted those points, so we can get right anwser from Nirmala.

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McLeod's statement regarding the origin of the Nirmalay clearely states that he is basing his opinion purely on the fact that there is no textual reference until the late 18th early 19th century writings.

There are a number of problems with this:

1) Nirmala textual evidence - Pandit Sudaa Singh's sanskritic commentary on Madhusudan Saraswati's Advait Siddhi was written in 1767 in Benaras. Pandit Gulab Singh ji, a very important early Nirmala, completed in 1777 the Bhaavrasaamrit.

2) Pandit Gulab Singh ji himself refers by name in Mokh Panth Prakash to his nirmala gurdev in it's opening mangalaacharn, to Pandit Maan Singh Nirmala. This Maan Singh is the same (correct me if I'm mistaken shaka) who was with Guru ji at Hazoor Sahib.

3) Sant Dargaahaa Singh, who was also with the Guru at Sri Hazoor Sahib, ji is acredited with establishing the first Nirmala akhara in Kankhal, Haridwar in 1710.

4) In 1805 John Malcolm refers by name to the Nirmala Samprda.

5) Nirmala tradition records ten further events (bakshishes - gifts) beyond the 1686 event at Paonta Sahib when Guru ji sent five to Kashi, in which he gave his blessing and guidance to individuals to establish the Nirmala samprda.

6) The original location at which the five sent by Guru ji stayed in Benaras still exists today as a functioning akhara and is called Sri Chetan Math. I had the pleasure of visiting and spending time there in July with Sri Mahant Inderjit Singh ji. There is evidence of it's age and origin here.

7) Even by the late 1700s an aspect of the objective of Guru ji had been achieved with Pandit Sudaa Singh being honoured as one of the most learned sanskrit scholars of his age by those in Benaras.

RE - The views of some Nihangs that Nirmalay were a British invention are at odds also with tradition. The more learned among Nihangs that I have met accept that they existed from the time of the Gurus. Malcolm's text directly contradicts such a view. One possible reason for this view held by modern Nihangs maybe the events at Sri Hazoor Sahib in the late 1800s involving Nihangs and Nirmalay.

Furthermore, it is generally viewed that Guruji gave the panth shaastr and shastr, therefore rather than nirmalay being 'an offshoot of the nihangs', I would state that they both existed with the Guru's blessing.

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Im not a scholar, but just as a general viewpoint..why in the frogs are people so hell bent on manufactering relegious disciples? For the love of god, we're all unique.

The fact the gurus encouraged individualism, to me is beautiful. The diversity of our sikh panth is unseen in other faiths. All these insitutes and people (sampardas) are beautiful examples of how unique our gurus were. They recognised, that we all have SKILLS. We have people like bahader veera to help educate the likes of me, and we have certain brothers in the panth, who like cutting poo (i guess its seva if the singh wants it done) :P

Va-hai guru!

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Lalleshwari wrote:

That is why, to beat Brahmins on their own field and capital, Guru Gobind SIngh sent five Jatt Sikhs (considered shudras by Brahmins) to Benares (the Heart of Smarta orthodoxy) to lean Sanskrit (their speciality) and enable the whole Panth to have access to high culture.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this story was just made up by some Jatt 200 years ago while sitting around a camp fire trying to tell his son how Guru Jee favored the Jatt people over all others. :LOL:

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It has also been stated to myself that the Nirmalay have akin to other 'true' sadhu samprdas had members from all castes, both 'high' and 'low', but with a majority of jats. As has been stated elsewhere the possible unspoken clause that only a jat can be Sri Mahant is actually quite the opposite to what others may see as caste discrimination.

To exemplify what I'm talking about just look to Shirdi Sai Baba. During his lifetime he was a Sufi who spoke and preached using predominantly Islamic terminology, who had a functioning mosque in his shirdi dera, whose catchphrase was 'Allah Mallik Hai' but later after his death has been completely brahmanised beyond recognition. In fact his new brahmin followers have even concocted stories about a brahmanical heritage, have installed brahmin priests at the shrine, have got rid of the masjid, have installed murtis of devtay, pushed to have his dera recognised as a mandir solely, ended any qawwali, and refused to publish Sai Baba's own works which contain the truth of his beliefs and style of language. Although his message was of unity, he has become another tool of brahmanical hegemony.

In this kind of atmosphere, such a clause seems to serve a very different function to the one envisaged by others who doubt the credentials of the Nirmala samprda.

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By Lalleshwari, Guru Jee did not care about casteism. He wouldn't care if a Jatt, Labana, Khatri, Brahman, or even a Habshi went. In his eyes all were one. Guru Jee would not act so self-indulgent so as to send ONLY Jatts just to annoy a couple of Brahmans in UP.

This just sounds like a story some Jatt made up to stay in power and to show how Guru Jee favoured his people over all others.

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But Lalleshwari, if Guru Jee wanted to send them just to make them into supposed "scholars" then why wouldn't he just send those "Jatts" to Kashmir to study with the Kashmiri Pandits who were known all over India as the cream of Brahman society and intellectualism?

Ah dont know, this story of Nirmala 'origins' just sounds so fake and made up.

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Why just Jatts? Why not also send a Chamar, Mazabi, lobana, Ramgaria and other so-called shudras? Sending five Jatts then justifying it by saying that only a Jatt can be a leader of this sampradah sounds a little fishy doesn’t it… why would Guru Jee send ONLY Jatts who after taking Amrit have no caste? or are you trying to say that Guru Gobind Singh Jee even acknowledged their caste after they took amrit?

This Sakhi (probably made up by some Jatt) sounds so fake. It’s nothing new. It’s only natural that a Nirmala would want to believe in a fairy tale sakhi like this which talks about how the nirmalas were created by Guru Jee and sent to Kashi to become the future Vidwaans/priests (Brahmans) of the Sikhs.

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