The letter written by Mr, Gurham Singh printed in the March 4th issue of Sikh News gave us several good points to consider His letter criticized the editor of the World Sikh News for using “ethnic epithets” like “crooked Brahmin mind” and similar expressions. While we applaud Mr, Gurnam Singh’s fair-mindedness and good will, we would also like to share our insights on the matter. As Gurnam Singh puts it, “Nanak would condemn a person on the basis of what faith or caste he belonged to”. That is very true, but we may be missing a very important point. He did not condemn the Brahmins for worshipping stones and idols, although he clearly declared the absurdity that lead to social injustices. Religion necessarily has social and moral repercussions. While a Sikh, or any decent person recognizes the right of every person to freedom of religion, if the tenets of that religion include unethical and immoral practices, then those acts must be forbidden,
In the Sri Guru Granth Sahib we find verses (Bani) of many Bhagats. We may also take note that most of them were of the lower classes, and their prayers never suggest the philosophy as presented by the Brahminical cult. In fact, they all emphasized castelessness and the oneness of God. They did not consider themselves as Hindus. Any saintly person, in the ultimate issue, realizes that by creating artificial designations like Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, old, young, man, woman, one becomes entangled in illusion. The true Sikh in the pure sense is the self-realized should regardless of body, birth, and caste.
Guru Nanak vehemently denounced rituals and idol worship, caste consciousness, belief in many gods and goddesses. And he preached the oneness of God, He forbade the inhumane treatment of women, He condemned the practices of sati, purdah, and the murder of unwanted baby girls, these practices were a vital part of Hindu culture,
Let us examine the cult of Brahminism, and see if its philosophy has itself been the cause of countless social injustices, and the root of the problems facing not only the Sikhs, but all minorities and even the poor lower class Hindus.
The Manu Smriti is considered by the Hindus to be the law book of mankind. It was supposedly written by Manu, the Skaktavatar of Vishnu, and here we find the complete instructions for running the human society according to the Braminical culture. We find that if a low caste person is caught listening to the recitation of the scripture, molten lead should be poured into his ears. We also learn that there is severe punishment for killing a Brahmin, in fact if one even covets the property of a Brahmin, he is cursed to take 60,000 births as a worm in stool. If ‘one speaks ill of a Brahmin, then he is sent to hell where he will continually drown in an ocean of vomit, urine, and feces. Yet if a Brahmin by chance may kill a Sudra, he is admonished to perform a yagna in the same way as he would to atone for killing. A dog or an ass. All property belongs to a Brahmin; therefore, he may never be blamed if he usurps any one’s property. If a Sudra happens to so. Much as look at the food of the Brahmin, it must be thrown away, as it is now equal to eating feces. If a Sudra’s shadow falls on the food being prepared for the Brahmin, the food is rendered untouchable.
A woman whose husband has died must burn herself to death on his funeral pyre. If she does not, she becomes a curse to the family, and the source of unending in auspiciousness. Her presence will be the downfall of the family and all its ancestors. According to the famous Hindu Brahmin Chanakya Pandit, the women are enemies of the family and as dogs should be beaten regularly. The birth right of a woman is to serve the husband even if he is an immoral drunk, then if she is fortunate, in her next birth she may attain a male body.
Now, after examining the facts, we know that according to the cult of the Brahmins, social injustices and disregard for human life are part of a good religious life, does it seem strange that Hindu fascism has arisen as a logical conclusion? Immorality is found in the scriptures of the Brahminical cult whereby the higher caste Hindus is given sanction to perform atrocities in the name of religion. The whole society is subjugated and controlled by the higher castes by threats of hell, as well as punishments on earth. There is a general disregard for human dignity, which is replaced by worship of the cow and the Brahmins. Even if a Brahmin by birth is the most despicable person, he is worthy of worship, according to the Hindu scriptures. No wonder that they feel no guilt.
I cannot think that anyone who believes in the principles as above stated can be free of guilt. There may be many good souls born into Hindu families. However, not participating in social injustices is not enough. If one is silent while others are doing the dirty work, one is also guilty. Silence is tantamount to agreement. Let the good Hindus who believe in human rights and who do not wish to harm us, speak up and raise their voices in protest against the evil doers. When there were crowds of Hindus killing Sikhs during the riots, the majority of Hindus stayed home. Where were the crowds of Hindus protesting the carnage, and the persecution of a religious minority? There were some who gave help and shelter to their Sikh friends, and we salute their bravery, as they were a minute fraction. The majority either took part in the savage slaughter, or silently approved.
It will be interesting to note that the German Nazi fascists drew inspiration from the Hindu writings in developing their pseudoscientific racist theories. Hitler himself was an avid reader of Bhagavad Gita, and he used as his symbol the swastika, a reverse of the Hindu symbol used by Brahmins. His philosophy was based on the notion that there was a superior race of people, the Aryans (also a Hindu idea), that should be protected in its purity by all means, That included eliminating undesirable minorities to achieve this goal. His superior race should not intermarry with those of the inferior race.
We could now say that there were many good German people, and they should not all be blamed, just as all Hindus cannot be held at fault, However for the most part, the people of the world condemned the Germans because they stood by and watched the murder of over 6 million Jews and other minorities. Yes, most German people meant no harm, as most Hindus, but they remained silent and. cooperative, and that silence has earned them the eternal burden of guilt.
We agree that there have been “Sikh” public figures with reputations that are nothing to be proud of. However, we cannot say that the Sikh mentality is the cause of it. We find nothing in the Sikh scriptures that would encourage unethical and antisocial behavior, but it must be admitted that the Hindu writings in fact, do.
Guru Nanak was great social reformations, as well as a prophet. He was not meek in his criticisms of social wrongs, OF violation of human rights. Most of the monumental reforms of the Sikh Gurus were diametrically opposed to the Hindu system. Guru Amardasji shook up the Hindus with his Jangar institution, which was against all they had been taught in their scriptures. Interdining was taboo for them as was intermarriages, When Guru Gobind Singh Ji created the Khalsa he gave the Holy sacrament to the low class persons. Four of the five piaras were of the very low classes. Even women were invited to take part, whereas in Hinduism the sudras and women are allowed only marriage and funeral, but never Diksha. Remember in the Mahabharat account wherein Dronacharya, the Brahmin was furious when he found that he had instructed Karna, who he also believed to be a Brahmin, later to find that his father was a carpenter. This discrimination is inherent in Hindu belief.
Especially when a cultural Sikh is guilty of a wrong doing like accepting dowry, marrying only partners of the same caste (which should not exist for a Sikh), for reasons of discrimination, and mistreatment of women, these are evils not sanctioned by the Sikh scripture. In fact, it is as a result of the weak minded Sikhs absorption into the Hindu culture, whereby per se if a person of that community commits a crime like stealing or the like, however, if that Hindu kills his newborn daughter, or loathes minority religions, and discriminates against the lower caste persons, we do indeed blame it on the Hindu mentality, and the cult of the Brahmins who have made these practices socially acceptable.
The government Rajiv Gandhi is based on this highlighted Brahmin mentality, and it is due to his Mom’s Brahmin heritage that he has gained his disregard for human life. You can see how the philosophies of the Brahmins, mixed with a fanatical fascist personality like Indira Gandhi. is the formula for horrors as have rarely been seen before, with the exception of Hitler.
In conclusion, while the Sikh Gurus would even fight for the rights of the Brahmins to wear their Tilak or sacred thread, they also condemned the social practices that were against the principles of human dignity.
Satnam Kaur Khalsa
Sikh Religious Society
Mount Herb, Wisconsin