Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Guru Harkrishan Ji – Symbol of Utmost Conviction

I have been into knowing Sikhism for quite a while now and the more I go deeper I am amazed by the sense of determination and courage with which Sikh Gurus protected the sanctity of their religion. Most recently I have known about Sri Guru Harkrishan Ji, The youngest of all Gurus who took Guru Ship on 23 July 1656. He was just five but had the ability to lead the Sikh sangat and take it further. 

“The Sikhs recognized him as the picture of Guru Nanak. They saw on Guru Har Krishan's handsome face the same light as must have been on Guru Nanak's. Guru Har Krishan had a rare ability in explaining passages from the HolyGranth. He delighted the hearts of his disciples by his commentaries. He reminded them to cherish the One God alone, and asked them to discard passions and learn the virtues of patience, charity and love. Thus Guru Har Krishan carried on the teaching of the Gurus and preserved intact the legacy he had inherited from them.”

 But Guru Harkrishan Ji led a very short span of his life with which he could take forward the religious tenets of Sikhism as taught by first Guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Harkrishan ji left us on 30 March 1664. During his Guruship when Guru Sahib Ji was at Kiratpur, the then emperor of Delhi, Aurangzeb, sent up his message that he wanted Guru Ji to visit Delhi and also meet him in his court. Although Guruji accepted his invitation on the advice of Baba Gurditta Ji, Bhai Dargah Mal Ji and Bhai Mani Singh Ji but never went to Aurangzeb’s court to meet him. Such was his conviction to pay respect to his father Guru Har Rai Ji of not meeting the emperor under any circumstances.  

Guru Harkrishan Ji’s elder brother Ram Rai was disowned by his father, Guru Har Rai Ji for showing miracles in Aurangzeb’s court and therefore Guru Har Rai Ji advised his younger son Guru Harkrishan sahib of not meeting the emperor ever in his life. On reaching Delhi, Aurangzeb wished to see the Guru but Guru Harkrishan Ji had already announced his decision of not meeting Aurangzeb under any situation, and the Guru was ready to face any consequence for his refusal to meet Aurangzeb. This further infuriated the arrogant ruler, Aurangzeb.

When Guru Harkrishan Ji was in Delhi, the city was plagued by the gruesome epidemic of small pox and every other house got affected by it. As the disease was contagious, people started falling sick and the disease was spreading like wild fire. Guru Harkrishan Ji possessed divine powers which he used only to help the needy in trouble. Guruji decided to take the disease on him. This was the only possible solution to save people of Delhi and also foiled Aurangzeb’s plan of meeting the Guru. Guruji’s conviction to save mankind and his decision of meeting the Guru shows his sense of determination and respect for his father and also his responsibility to safeguard his religion. We salute you Guruji was the priceless gift of life you gave to all those suffering from smallpox.

Guruji’s mother Mata Sulakkhani, was very sad and unable to see his son in such a state, she said, "Son, you occupy the gaddi of Guru Nanak. You are the healer of the world's sorrows and sufferings. Your very sight removes the ailments of others. Why do you lie sick now?" Guru Har Krishan Ji replied, "He who has taken this mortal frame must go through sickness and disease. Both happiness and suffering are part of life. What is ordained must happen. This is what Guru Nanak taught. Whatever He does is His order. One must walk in the light of His command." 

These were his last words- “None in this world live forever. The body is mortal. In the Granth abides the Guru' s spirit. Daily bow your head to it. So will you conquer your passions and attain liberation." Guru Ji endured all the pain of the disease and left us all on 30th March 1664. Guru Ji taught us the meaning of utmost determination and conviction towards what is true and right and never accept any kind of oppression. We bow to our Guru and pray for the well being of all.

To know more about Guru Harkrishan Ji and his teachings please visit http://www.sikhbookclub.com/books/guru-har-krishan-ji-books-english/1656/2896

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Satwant Kaur - English

Satwant Kaur is a story which imbibes in the reader’s mind the Sikh faith founded by the godly figure, reverend Guru Nanak Dev Ji backed by the religious support of the leaders who propagated Sikhism to a great extent to make it more known among the masses. Sikhism and its faith as proclaimed by Shri Guru Nanak Dev had a life span of 5 centuries and was less known in the later period. Sikhism is one of the ten great religions of the world. It possessed within its principles of monotheism, egalitarianism and the feeling of strong martyrdom. This religion also led to the development of great philosophies. 

Bhai Vir Singh was a great writer, poet and thinker of his times. Considered as the modern Doyen of the Sikh world of letters, he made people aware of the Sikh culture and their ways of life, and living together with a feeling of universal brotherhood with all and especially with people belonging to the Sikh religion.  Among his great works is ‘Satwant Kaur’, the story of a heroic lady who always went a step ahead in helping people a Muslim soldier who worked under Amir, the tyrannical ruler. It was translated to perfection by Mrs. Bimal Kaur. She helped the soldier from drowning inside a well but later was abducted by the same to lead the life of a slave in the household of Khan Sahib.  

This story also revolves around the notion of unity among the Sikh Jatha (group). Once an Afgan saw a bunch of Sikhs sitting and discussing something. He asked them the topic of their discussion. They explained that two Sikh brothers had a distinction of opinion and that they were helping them to come to a conclusion and sort things out. The Afghan asked them why they were so concerned and what good is there is interfere in their matter. The Sikhs replied that they will make sure that everything is fine between those two Sikhs since they are all a big family belonging to the same community. In this way we will stay sturdy jointly and will not get divided amongst ourselves. This shows however the love and concern the fellow Sikhs.

The story points out with another instance, the unity of the Sikhs that prevailed in those times. It was known as Gurumatta. There were times when important decisions were taken with great precision by the group that went according to group acceptance for situations like deciding whom to attack, once to attack, the way to shield themselves etc..All important decisions were made after prior consultation with the senior member of the Jatha for their Gurumatta after which prayers and religious scriptures were read which was known as Ardas (Prayer to the Lord).

Bhai Sahib narrates however Sikhs never stopped craving for their lost ones and continually pray for his or her safety. Bhai Vir Singh goes on to elucidate and narrate the meeting of Satwant Kaur with her family who were ever since searching for her. Her family had that faith that if their girl is alive she is going to stay a Sikh and can come to them and if she isn't alive she would have died a Sikh.

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Friday, 25 March 2016

Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar

http://www.sikhbookclub.com/books/bhai-vir-singh-books-hindi/1656/1450Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar is based on the miraculous life of Guru Gobind Singh Ji who was also known as Kalgidhar. ‘Kalgidhar’ means the holder of the Kalgi (Plume) which is made up of feathers and have pearls studded to make it look beautiful. Once a woman devotee gifted Guru Gobind Singh a beautiful Kalgi. The Guru’s mother, Mata Gujri attached it to his turban. The child looked so good that words of praise were the only thing in the air and everyone called him the lord of the Plume. Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar brings forth the words and his message to the common man.
This book depicts the true words of Guru Gobind Singh who was the lord of the Plume for all his disciples and followers. The book efforts its way to make the readers understand that to recite the Lord's name amorously by the tongue is paying attention of the mind towards the Lord. The Lord is that the living non secular power. He has no form. It is by his name that we know him. The Guru has aforementioned that Name is that the non secular energy, Supreme knowledge, Divine love and Divine music.

“Let us recite: '0 Lord, 0 Lord, 0 Lord, 0 Lord'
'Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru'
Let us start with at least five minutes a day.”

The super consciousness is an energy that's there in every  creature we see. It is the outer mind in our body that feels the pleasures and pains and additionally has desires. Besides this is often the intellectual mind can’t decide what's smart and what's bad however it cannot transcend.  The intellectual mind will solely draw inferences from whatever thought engulfs our minds. 

Guru Gobind Singh Ji says- Today! Once the sun has up high enough, what we tend to see is that a tall and thin person is sitting in meditation with eyes closed. At that very moment there is hardly any flesh on the body. He sounds like a refined bony figure but his meditative state is full of splendor with vigor and radiance. He has done intense meditation. His vision will rise higher than the sphere of your time and space, remains absorbed in thoughtlessness, whoever desires to immerse his body soul within the Supreme soul. The Supreme soul has first-bestowed grace on him so sent him from the unseen world to the visible world with some miraculous motive. The stones and mounts are all in meditation. That facet the musing soul is rising similar to water mixing with water from a different source. Here the soul meets with the supreme soul. The body soul will therefore reach the ultimate sphere of ecstasy, to an unseen world not explored.

The Lord ordained:

I am in you, you are in me. This is incessant meeting.
This meeting will ever remain. It shall never break.
I shall be your support in the world.

This and more shall be the guiding light for many readers who add ‘Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar’ reading as part of their daily routine. The true words will thereby imbibe in us more courage, determination and absolute belief on the Providence above.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Bhai Vir Singh Adhunik Punjabi Sahit De Pitama -Punjabi

http://www.sikhbookclub.com/books/bhai-vir-singh-books-english/1656/85Named the most influential Sikh of the 20th century in a survey conducted by leading English daily, Hindutan Times, Bhai Vir Singh is revered as truly the Father of Modern Punjabi Literature, as the title of the this book suggests. Born in 1872 around the time when the seeds for the influential Singh Sabha Movement were sown, Bhai Sahib understood pretty early in his life, the distinct cultural and theological identity of Sikhism, and the need to re-invigorate Sikhism according to the changing modernizing influences of those times.

This book is important not only as a biography of Bhai Vir Singh but also as a key to his literary work. Bhai Vir Singh’s life and creations need to be read and understood in the contexts of the times they were written in. Those were the times witnessing great upheavals in the socio-political milieu In Punjab, as well as all over India. After the dissolution of the Sikh empire, the socio-cultural autonomy of the Sikhs was increasingly under attacks from the proselytizing Christian Missionaries. On the other hand, the failed mutiny of 1958 had precipitated the larger anti-British sentiment nationally. Also the influences of the foreign culture were beginning to reflect in the changed social urges of the times. This only led to strengthening of Bhai Vir Singh’s conviction in Sikhism. It was no surprise then that he went on to play a leading role in the advancement of Singh Sabha Movement.

Renowned as a theologian, a poet, a scholar, a novel and short story writer, Bhai Vir Singh’s writing credentials are multi-faceted. And in all, he set new grounds, breaking away from the existing moulds, in terms of both the style of writing, as well as the subjects he took up. Even his earlier romances can’t be discarded just as that, because there too, his historian soul was at play, placing his characters in the morally excruciating contexts of those evolving times, and giving their characters strength to overcome the odds, as we see in Bijay Singh, Sundri and Satwant Kaur. It was under the initiatives of Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, and the cooperation of the writer that these books could be made available for the Punjabi readers of Bhai Vir Singh. Sikh Book Club takes it further by presenting digitized version of the books in the form of e-books.

Translated to Punjabi by Surinder Singh Narula, the text which formed the content of this book was first published as a part in The Encyclopedia of Sikhism by Harbans Singh. It was under the initiatives of Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, and the cooperation of the writer that this book could be made available for the Punjabi readers of Bhai Vir Singh.

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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Sundri –The First Novel by Bhai Vir Singh


‘Sundri’ came out in the year 1898 narrated and authored by Bhai Vir Singh who was himself known as a colossus of modern Punjabi Literature to help in reiterating and restoring the Sikh culture. Sundri was the first book authored by the man of principles, Padam Bhushan Bhai Vir Singhji which is based on a popular folk song and set in a time when the Sikhs were the witness and prey to the atrocities committed by the Nawabs to fulfill their selfish ends. They practiced annihilation of Sikhs and were lustful and tyrannical.
Sundri is more of a didactic approach with a purpose to remind every person who belongs to the Sikh religion, the fine points of Sikhism and its teachings and principles that are so rich spiritually and vivid. It inculcates in the young minds of how a Sikh blood is so aware of his rights and uses his sword to end any sort of tyranny and barbarism of any system that tries to rule unfairly, suppresses the innocent, go to all unacceptable measures prove his powers and strength.

Sundri taught that no individual of the Sikh community will ever stand, losing his self respect in the hands of any order which oppresses you and make you accept their terms. Any person of the Sikh religion has an immense belief in the teachings of his Guru and does what is told by his religious mentor. Even when he struggles and fights, a sense of Charity prevails within him. This sense of charity is shown to fellow people with similar beliefs, relatives of the oppressor and even to the oppressor. This is what his religion has taught him.

Sundri symbolically represents an era very difficult for the girls belonging to the Sikh community as they were abducted by the Nawabs and forced to persecution in the hands of the tyrannical rulers. Sundri was earlier addressed by the name Surasti and was subject to the atrocities committed by a Mughal official and was abducted. She later earned great respect from the Sikh community members, also known as ‘Jatha’ in Punjabi when she was baptized.

Authored by Bhai Vir Singhji it was an effort to awaken the masses with the story of Sundri and her transformation into a fighter for her rights and religion. Bhai Vir Singh, surcharged with the spirit to redeem the long forgotten glory, denied and not known by many, made use of his knowledge to write voluminous literature of didactic nature. He imbibed in minds, the practical aspect of Sikh religion. Sundri is about the struggle and awakening of a girl to fight for her rights and inculcate universal brotherhood in the minds of other people of common faith.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dhuppan Ate Va Varolian Da Ghosna Pattar – Punjabi

Dalip Singh has continued his legacy of portraying village culture with this Punjabi novel ‘Dhuppan ate Va Varolian Da Ghosna Pattar.’ Set in late 60’s, the novel starts with a village named ‘Husainpur.’ Written in first person, the early chapters deal with the life and times of the narrator and his friends at school. It also leads us to a phase when child marriage was very prevalent especially in ‘backward classes.’ The story which is divided in fifty one good chapters, in later parts, takes the narrative view of ‘Chandigarh City’ where our protagonist finds job and seeks to adjust in the hustle and bustle of urban life. In the end, after working for almost two years, he loses his job and returns to his village where his parents, only son and wife reside. He attempts to adjust among other villagers but only to return ‘Chandigarh.’

Initially titled ‘Hadd Beetiyan’ by the author, and renamed ‘Meri Jeewan Kahani’ by the publishers, this book contains within its pages the autobiography of the illustrious life of one of the most loved Punjabi author of 20th century, Prof Sahib Singh. Interpreter, historian, theologian, linguist, there were many robes adorned by Prof Singh in his life as a widely read writer.

He had started writing, what later became the first part of this book, in 1923 as notes of his memories. But the real push towards publishing his life story came in 1964 by the editor of a newspaper ‘Vartamaan’, who wanted to publish his life stories in the form of newspaper columns. Prof Sahib Singh managed to pen most of his inspirational life just before Parkinson’s snatched away his ability to write and from him towards the end of his life. Savor it at www.sikhbookclub.com