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August 24, 2017

 

Kurukshetra Sakhi and Meat – Debunks the theory that Guru Sahib advocated meat eating at Kurukshetra through revealed Shabads of ‘Maas Maas Kar’.

 

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Kurukshetra Sakhi and Meat

Nirmalbir Singh

If there is any sakhi that is hotly debated on the issue of meat, it is the sakhi of Kurukshetra. During one of His odysseys, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji reached the town of Kurukshetra, Haryana at the time of a solar eclipse. A large fair was being held by the Hindus there, in which various religious rituals are performed in order to “save” the sun. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that two demons named Rahu and Ketu make devious attempts to swallow the sun during eclipses, thereby eliminating the sun’s nourishing rays and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable. In an attempt to counteract this, the Hindus keep fasts, and become engaged in taking religious baths in their Brahm Sarovar (God’s pool) and performing charitable deeds. In order to dispel ignorance and show the true and correct path to people, Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji decided to attend the fair.

Guru Ji and Bhai Mardana Ji arrived at the fair of Kurukshetra and sat beneath a tree just a little to the side of the Brahm Sarovar where the fair was going on. Soon after, Bhai Mardana Ji began playing the rebeck and singing Kirtan; Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji was seated, listening intently, immersed in the divine love of the Lord. As Shabad Kirtan was going on, the fleeing King Jagat Rai of Hansi, his mother, and royal servants approached the gathering on horseback. Some enemies of the kingdom had performed a coup, overthrown the young king and forcibly occupied his kingdom. The king’s intention was to meet a holy saint at the fair who could give blessings and allow him to regain his kingdom. Along their journey in exile, the king, had hunted and killed a deer and brought the dead corpse with him to the fair. He was oblivious to the rituals of the fair that considered it a sin to even light a fire, let alone cook and eat anything due to the rigid fasts during this time, moreover to the vegetarian Vaishnav Pandits at the fair of Kurukshetra, the notion of meat was utterly abhorrent.

As the king and his mother approached close to the fair, they saw and were drawn to Sri Guru Ji. They were so affected by the glowing radiance from Guru Sahib’s face that they immediately dismounted, bowed down in reverence, and paid their respects to Guru Sahib’s feet. Jagat Rai narrated his sorrowful tale of being dethroned to Guru Sahib, and prayed that may he regain his kingdom and be restored to power. Guru Sahib replied that if one considers a kingdom to be for one’s own selfish pleasure and comforts then it is nothing but a house of pain and cannot be considered a work of honest means. However, if a king considers a kingdom as an opportunity to do good and fair service to, and in, the interest of the people, and remembers the Lord’s Name then it can become a genuine and just occupation. Addressing the young king, Guru Sahib said, “O young king, if you do this; remember the Lord, and earnestly serve your subjects, then you shall regain your kingdom.” The king bowed to Guru Sahib’s advice and presented the hunted deer as an offering. The king’s royal servants were instructed to put the deer carcass in a large cauldron and to cook it on a large fire. The servants did as such.

The pilgrims taking baths in the Brahm Sarovar noticed the fire and smoke and soon an enraged crowd of people carrying sticks and stones came to confront Guru Sahib. The Pandits were furious as they believed it was a sin to cook anything whilst fasting during the solar eclipse. When they discovered that it was a deer being cooked inside the cauldron, the strict vegetarian Vaishnav Pandits became even more disgusted and someone in the angry mob shouted at Guru Sahib, “Who do you think you are to be cooking during a solar eclipse? How dare you kill and cook a deer during the period of fasting for solar eclipse!” Another person in the crowd exclaimed that there must be a human sacrifice to please the gods and prevent the demons Ketu & Rahu from devouring the sun. Sri Guru Ji calmly replied that if it is considered a sin to kill an animal during the solar eclipse then how is it considered virtuous to kill a human being?

The angry crowd became slightly calmer and thoughtful upon hearing Guru Ji’s cool and logical reply. However, this was not enough for the haughty and arrogant Pandits. They were too engrossed in their empty rituals and overly proud of their merit. They challenged Guru Sahib to debate with them on this issue. Many Pandits and scholars led by Vaishnav Pandit Nanoo gathered around Guru Sahib. Nanoo was quite shrewd and well versed in Hindu books. He had learned from his study of ancient scriptures and prophecies (Bhavishya Puran) that in this time of Kaljug a prophet named Nanak was going to come and redeem the world, so in order to attain fame and glory for himself he had changed his name to Nanak and began referring to himself as such. Nanoo had achieved a moderate following doing so and the respect and fame that came with it. Nanoo was surprised to meet someone else calling himself Nanak, it entered his mind that perhaps this could be the same Nanak that the scriptures had prophesised. Nonetheless, Nanoo initiated a debate with Guru Sahib.

To begin with, Nanoo claimed that if we (Pandits) do not offer our charitable deeds and ablutions then there is no chance the sun will survive the attack of the demons Rahu & Ketu during the solar eclipse. Sri Guru Ji replied that whatever rituals, practices, fasts, baths, and worship you have adopted are all bodily rituals. You do these simply for the ritualistic sake of doing them. They do not stop the mind from wondering or clean the dirt of vices on the mind. In fact, the only purpose that all that these rituals serve is to increase ego in a man. Guru Sahib explained that the solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon during which the elliptical orbits of the Earth, Moon and the Sun cross paths in such a way that the Sun and its rays become obscured by the Moon. The Sun is so far from here, how can any demons possibly attack it? Where are the demons? It is all your mistaken belief of fear of the demons. There are no such demons.

After this, Nanoo then raised the topic of eating or not eating meat. Nanoo argued that in Hindu scriptures, eating and serving meat is forbidden, and all of the Hindu ancestry were strict vegetarians. Sri Guru Ji fearlessly replied and exposed this as totally false. Quoting the relevant verses from the Vedas and Puran, Guru Sahib proved that Hindus had been killing, cooking, and sacrificing animal flesh in fire during the ritual of yajna (yagnas) for millennia. Guru Ji further explained that nowhere in any of the Hindu scriptures is meat forbidden. All the ancient Hindu kings, princes, and warriors (Aryans) ate meat. During marriages Khatris kill, cook, serve, and eat meat. These were and are the same Khatris that Pandits are happy to take charity from. Guru Ji asked how they could remain pure by taking the charity that is tainted by blood and killing. Guru Sahib said, “O Pandit, you have just become good at talking and arguing. Your mind and deeds are not pure. Your character is not good. One pandit argues in favour of eating meat, another argues against it. Who is the winner and who is the loser? Both lose, as they are both full of pride and ego. Neither is immersed in the love of the Lord, nor has the motive to do good for the people.”

At this time of debate with Nanoo at Kurukshetra, Guru Ji composed two Shabads, which were revealed to Him addressing the Pandit’s arguments and questions on the topic of meat. Proponents of meat use these very Shabads in an attempt to prove that eating meat is advocated in Gurbani. However, such is not the case. The Shabads expose hypocrisy of Pandits who hated the mere sight of meat and believed that just by avoiding meat they could attain salvation. The Shabads in general apply to all those who believe that just by avoiding meat and being strict vegetarians they can achieve the divine state of mind. Sikhs also avoid meat but they do not believe just by doing so that they will attain salvation, which is only possible through loving devotion to the Lord God. Being vegetarian, just like having a daily bath, is a part of being a Sikh, but the difference lies in the fact that Sikhs do not believe just by doing so they will be liberated. Both Shabads along with line by line translation are presented below with comments (in red) to show that both Shabads do not advocate consumption of meat. The discussion below is based on Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji’s Jhatka Maas Tat Gurmat Nirney.

ਸਲੋਕ ਮ: ੧ ॥

Shalok, First Mehl:

ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਨਿੰਮਿਆ ਮਾਸੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵਾਸੁ ॥

First, the mortal is conceived (through semen) in the flesh (of the womb), and then he dwells in the flesh (the womb).

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਜੀਉ ਪਾਇ ਮਾਸੁ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਹਡੁ ਚੰਮੁ ਤਨੁ ਮਾਸੁ ॥

When he comes alive, his mouth also takes to flesh (the tongue); his bones, skin and body are flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਮਾਸਹੁ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕਢਿਆ ਮੰਮਾ ਮਾਸੁ ਗਿਰਾਸੁ ॥

He comes out of the womb of flesh, and takes a mouthful of flesh at the breast.

: There is no mention or permission of eating meat. The line is explaining that a child is born out of the flesh of its mother’s womb, and when it drinks breast milk from the mother, that too is done through flesh. If it was in a child’s nature to eat meat then it would surely try to bite the mother’s breast, but that is not the case, the baby simply drinks milk from it.

 

ਮੁਹੁ ਮਾਸੈ ਕਾ ਜੀਭ ਮਾਸੈ ਕੀ ਮਾਸੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਾਸੁ ॥

His mouth is flesh, his tongue is flesh; his breath is in the flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Guru Sahib explains that the dietary and respiratory needs of a baby are fulfilled through flesh: the mouth is flesh, the tongue is flesh, and breaths are taken through flesh.

 

ਵਡਾ ਹੋਆ ਵੀਆਹਿਆ ਘਰਿ ਲੈ ਆਇਆ ਮਾਸੁ ॥

He grows up and is married, and brings his wife of flesh into his home.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. When the child grows older he marries and brings a wife (who is made of flesh) into his home. He brings the wife home, not to eat her flesh, but to start a family with.

 

ਮਾਸਹੁ ਹੀ ਮਾਸੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਸਭੋ ਸਾਕੁ ॥

Flesh is produced from flesh; all relatives are made of flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Flesh (i.e. human beings) are produced from flesh (the mother’s womb). All the people of the world are made of and come into existence from flesh.

 

ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਤਾਂ ਕੋ ਆਵੈ ਰਾਸਿ ॥

When the mortal meets the True Guru, and realizes the Hukam of the Lord's Command, then his journey of coming into the world is complete and worthwhile.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਆਪਿ ਛੁਟੇ ਨਹ ਛੂਟੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਚਨਿ ਬਿਣਾਸੁ ॥੧॥

Through his own power the mortal does not find release; O Nanak, merely through empty words and debates, one is ruined. ||1||

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

There is no permission given to eat meat anywhere in the above lines. In the first six lines, Guru Sahib explains that a human cannot escape its relationship to flesh because he comes from flesh, grows up from flesh and is related to flesh. This is how the creation continues to exist. If one argues that eating flesh is advocated in the Shabad then by the argument eating mother, wife and human body parts such as tongue and breasts are also permissible. First six lines explain the worldly affairs which offer no salvation. In the last two lines, it is explained that by meeting the Satguru one recognises the truth and achieves emancipation. The gist of the last couplet is that the only way to escape and become free from maas (flesh) is to attain union with God which frees the human from cycle of reincarnation. It is crystal clear that the Shabad itself is not at all about eating or not eating meat but about dispelling the prevalent ignorance of the Hindus who hated flesh. Sikhs being vegetarians is not the result of hating flesh but a part of the Satguru’s injunctions which require plain simple diet that is healthy to mind, body, and soul and helps in spiritual progression.

The second Shabad is as follows:

ਮ:੧॥

First Mehl:

ਮਾਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਝਗੜੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ॥

The fools argue about flesh and meat, but they know nothing about meditation and spiritual wisdom.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Guru Sahib states that those (in this case, to whom the Shabad was addressed – Vaishnav Pandits) who continually say “meat meat” whilst arguing yet being devoid of true wisdom and knowledge are fools.

 

ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਉਣੁ ਸਾਗੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਸਮਾਣੇ ॥

What is called meat, and what is called spinach? What leads to sin?

There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Guru Sahib asks what is sinful; spinach or flesh. The gist of the verse is that flesh or spinach itself is not sinful. In other words, sin is not inherent in flesh but in the act of eating it. Hindu Pandits hated flesh because they considered it inherently bad and full of sin but Guru Sahib clarified that no creation of God is inherently sinful and therefore, flesh has no inherent sin otherwise we (humans made out of flesh) would not be able to escape sin at all. On the other hand, sin lies in the act of eating meat. We must clarify here that Guru Sahib is not equating meat with spinach nor is he calling them equal but simply stating that be it flesh or vegetable, neither contains the sin. It is one’s good and bad deed alone that determines the sin i.e. consumption of meat (an act) leads to sin.

Neither of these first two lines contains permission to eat meat. It is anybody’s guess how people have somehow concocted that meat eating is permissible in Sikhi from these two lines. Guru Sahib preaches that one does not become a sinful person by merely seeing meat nor does one become a religious person just by being a vegetarian. It is not a good deed to hate meat. The meaning behind the two verses is that to have continuous arguments with people who are mistaken about the religious stance on meat, is a foolish act. There is not even a hint that meat is acceptable to eat. It is just beyond comprehension how some people can fabricate support for their evil acts. The Shabad explains that just by uttering the word “meat”, or looking at meat, one does not automatically become a sinner.

Let us continue with the analysis of the second Shabad:

ਗੈਂਡਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਕੀਏ ਦੇਵਤਿਆ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੇ ॥

In order to please gods, people used to sacrifice rhinoceros, and make a feast of the burnt offering which were considered acceptable practices to gods.

: This line makes clear that the holy books of the Hindus; the Vedas and the Shastras, mention that the animal sacrifice of the rhinoceros was done to please the Hindu deities. Therefore the killing and ritualistic sacrifice of animals is indeed a component of the Hindu religion which the Pandit Nanoo denied.

 

ਮਾਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਬੈਸਿ ਨਕੁ ਪਕੜਹਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ॥

Those who renounce meat, and hold their noses when sitting near it, devour meat at night.

: It is hypocritical of those who, in public, for the sake of impressing people, claim to renounce meat and be vegetarian, hold their noses so that they do not even have to smell meat, yet at night secretly devour meat. In other words, they do not feel shameful while having illicit relations with another woman and make schemes to exploit people. The gist of the verse is that just by giving up meat while committing other immoral sins does not make one a religious person. The permission for eating meat is still not given anywhere in the last two lines. Only hypocritical behavior is criticized here.

 

ਫੜੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੋ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥

They practice hypocrisy, and make a show before other people, but they do not understand anything about meditation or spiritual wisdom.

: The condition of the people described in the preceding line is elaborated on. They are hypocrites and pretenders; they have no knowledge of spiritual matters. There is no permission given for eating meat.

 

ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਧੇ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ ॥

O Nanak, what can be said to the spiritually blind people? They cannot answer, or even understand what is said.

: Guru Nanak Dev Ji is stating that it is not even worth trying to explain to these blinded people, even if one tries to explain they will still not understand. Still, there is no teaching given to eat meat.

 

ਅੰਧਾ ਸੋਇ ਜਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਿ ਲੋਚਨ ਨਾਹੀ ॥

They alone are blind, who act blindly. They have no eyes in their hearts.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Those who do the deeds of blind people (without wisdom) are blind. They do not have the divine wisdom illuminating their hearts.

 

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਕੀ ਰਕਤੁ ਨਿਪੰਨੇ ਮਛੀ ਮਾਸੁ ਨ ਖਾਂਹੀ ॥

They are produced from the blood of their mothers and fathers, but they do not eat fish or meat.

: The arguments of the meat eating people are discredited here. The support of meat eating cannot be obtained under any means from this line. The incorrect meaning that some people derive from this line is that for those who are born from the blood of their mothers and fathers, eating fish is not forbidden. This interpretation is false; as if this were the case then they may as well eat and drink the flesh and blood of their parents as well. Even if this interpretation is accepted, then the exception is only eating for fish and not for all types of meat, compared to other animals a fish has no or very little blood and could therefore be deemed acceptable, however this has already been expressly forbidden in Gurbani (ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ॥੨੩੩॥). The line is addressing the Vaishnav Pandits who detest the smell and sight of fish and meat however they forget that they were also made from the blood of their mother and father. The practice of hating flesh is not a Gurmat principle.

 

ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਪੁਰਖੈ ਜਾਂ ਨਿਸਿ ਮੇਲਾ ਓਥੈ ਮੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਹੀ ॥

But when men and women meet in the night, they come together in the flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Here the sexual relations of a man and woman that lead to the birth of a child are discussed. These relations also occur in flesh. The man and woman may kiss and lick each other but they certainly do not eat each other’s flesh. The implication of this line is that one cannot escape from flesh and one should not hate the mere sight, name, or touch of flesh, as doing that equates to hating the process that leads to one’s conception.

 

ਮਾਸਹੁ ਨਿੰਮੇ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਜੰਮੇ ਹਮ ਮਾਸੈ ਕੇ ਭਾਂਡੇ ॥

In the flesh we are conceived, and in the flesh we are born; we are vessels of flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh. Once again the hypocrisy of merely hating flesh is exposed as the whole process through which one is conceived and born is through flesh and our entire bodies are made of flesh.

 

ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਕਛੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਚਤੁਰੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਪਾਂਡੇ ॥

You know nothing of spiritual wisdom and meditation, even though you call yourself clever, O religious scholar.

: The Pandits are devoid of Gurmat knowledge and wisdom, they claim to be clever by debating the issue of meat but in actuality are not. Once again no permission to eat meat can be obtained from this line.

 

ਬਾਹਰ ਕਾ ਮਾਸੁ ਮੰਦਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਘਰ ਕਾ ਮਾਸੁ ਚੰਗੇਰਾ ॥

O master, you believe that flesh on the outside is bad, but the flesh of those in your own home is good.

: There is no permission given to eat flesh. Guru Sahib is addressing the Pandits and questioning their hypocritical belief that eating meat at home is permissible but eating meat outside the home is not allowed. The fact of the matter is that the Pandits secretly eat meat at home but when in public maintain a vegetarian pretense to impress and teach others that eating meat is bad. It is not possible that the meat of the house is acceptable yet the meat from outside is not. They are both meat. If they are going to eat meat at home then why should they bother abstaining from meat outside the home? If they do not hate the meat that is prepared at home then why, do they, whilst in public, make a great show of despising meat?

 

ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭਿ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਹੋਏ ਜੀਇ ਲਇਆ ਵਾਸੇਰਾ ॥

All beings and creatures are flesh; the soul has taken up its home in the flesh.

: All beings and creatures are made of meat. The soul resides inside the body made of flesh but soul itself is not made of flesh. There is no permission or mention of eating flesh.

 

ਅਭਖੁ ਭਖਹਿ ਭਖੁ ਤਜਿ ਛੋਡਹਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਜਿਨ ਕੇਰਾ ॥

They eat the uneatable; they reject and abandon what they could eat. They have a teacher who is blind.

: This line describes the condition of those who have not adopted the True Guru’s wisdom. Their Guru is not the True Guru and therefore is blind. These people under the influence of their blind teachers continue to eat all kinds of things. They eat what they should not eat and they refuse to eat what they should eat. This also refers to food which is obtained through honest living which is acceptable, yet is not eaten, and food that is obtained through dishonest income which is unacceptable, but is eaten.

 

ਮਾਸਹੁ ਨਿੰਮੇ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਜੰਮੇ ਹਮ ਮਾਸੈ ਕੇ ਭਾਂਡੇ ॥

In the flesh we are conceived, and in the flesh we are born; we are vessels of flesh.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਕਛੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਚਤੁਰੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਪਾਂਡੇ ॥

You know nothing of spiritual wisdom and meditation, even though you call yourself clever, O religious scholar.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਮਾਸੁ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਤੇਂਬੀ ਚਹੁ ਜੁਗਿ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਮਾਣਾ ॥

Meat is allowed in the Puraanas, meat is allowed in the Bible and the Koran. Throughout the four ages, meat has been used.

: This line explains that the consumption and distribution of meat has been going on throughout human history. It is mentioned in the Puraanas, Bible, and Koran and is therefore a part of, and permitted within the Hindu, Christian, and Muslim religions. It does not state anywhere that the practice of meat-eating itself is acceptable or that it is permissible in the Sikh faith and therefore cannot be taken as such.

 

ਜਜਿ ਕਾਜਿ ਵੀਆਹਿ ਸੁਹਾਵੈ ਓਥੈ ਮਾਸੁ ਸਮਾਣਾ ॥

It is featured in sacred feasts and marriage festivities; meat is used in them.

In the world, meat is served at feasts and wedding celebrations. This is not an instruction to do so, but a description of the fact that this practice occurs in the world.

 

ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਪੁਰਖ ਨਿਪਜਹਿ ਮਾਸਹੁ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ਸੁਲਤਾਨਾਂ ॥

Women, men, kings and emperors originate from meat.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਜੇ ਓਇ ਦਿਸਹਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਤਾਂ ਉਨ੍ ਕਾ ਦਾਨੁ ਨ ਲੈਣਾ ॥

If you see them going to hell, then do not accept charitable gifts from them.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਦੇਂਦਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਲੈਦੇ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਧਿਙਾਣਾ ॥

The giver goes to hell, while the receiver goes to heaven - look at this injustice.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਲੋਕ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਪਾਂਡੇ ਖਰਾ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥

You do not understand your own self, but you preach to other people. O Pandit, you are very wise indeed.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਪਾਂਡੇ ਤੂ ਜਾਣੈ ਹੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਥਹੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਉਪੰਨਾ ॥

O Pandit, you do not know where meat originated.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਤੋਇਅਹੁ ਅੰਨੁ ਕਮਾਦੁ ਕਪਾਹਾਂ ਤੋਇਅਹੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਗੰਨਾ ॥

Corn, sugar cane and cotton are produced from water. The three worlds came from water.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਤੋਆ ਆਖੈ ਹਉ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਛਾ ਤੋਐ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਕਾਰਾ ॥

Water says, ""I am good in many ways."" But water takes many forms.

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਛੋਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਵਿਚਾਰਾ ॥੨॥

Forsaking these delicacies, one becomes a true Sannyaasee, a detached hermit. Nanak reflects and speaks. ||2||

: There is no mention or permission of eating flesh.

 

The remainder of the Salok is translated and presented above. It can also be concluded from these extracts that the killing of animals is an evil act and is a great sin. Under no circumstances can any instruction to eat meat be gained from these two extracts.

Nowhere in either of Shabads that Guru Sahib revealed at the fair of Kurukshetra is the permission for eating meat given. Rather it was a discourse exposing the pretences of the Vaishnav Pandits. Firstly the proponents of Jhatka cannot cite this as an example in favour of it, because by their own definition Jhatka must be executed by a Sikh and cutting the head off in one deft blow. The deer that King Jagat Rai offered to Guru Sahib was hunted and killed by a non-Sikh and would thus not qualify as Jhatka on two accounts. Furthermore, Guru Sahib never cooked or distributed the meat Himself. In fact it is written in the historical accounts that after the discussion, Guru Sahib did bhog to (consecrate) the cauldron which contained the deer and when the time came for distribution it was in fact kheer (rice pudding) inside that was served to the entire congregation. If Guru Sahib either did not mind whether meat was eaten or not, or was in favour of eating meat, surely then He would have just allowed the distribution of the deer flesh to congregation. However this was not the case, as Guru Sahib mystically changed the contents of the cauldron to kheer and only then allowed the distribution of it.

Some supporters of meat-eating make a superfluous claim that Guru Sahib must have distributed meat to all the pandits and made them eat it to ensure that they had certainly changed their viewpoint about meat. However, this is nothing more than a fabrication and not supported by any evidence. All historical records that mention this sakhi are unanimous that meat was not distributed. Further, the claim itself fails when evaluated against other sakhis of Guru Sahib. For example, at Hardwar, Guru Sahib did not make anyone throw water in the opposite direction, or force any Muslim to lay with his feet towards the Kaa’ba to ensure that they had properly understood God’s omnipresence. Guru Sahib’s intent and purpose was to preach the truth and enlighten the minds of all who were on the path of falsehood. It was not a test by any means. Therefore, the meat was not distributed. Gurbani is clear that simple food is most suitable for a spiritual person rather than food obtained by method of killing.

Pandit Nanoo was won over by Sri Guru Ji’s flawless arguments and discussion. Nanoo fell at Guru Sahib’s feet and said, “My beliefs and views were incorrect and false. Hearing your words, a deep sense of longing has welled up in my mind and body. I was falsely claiming myself to be the Nanak that the scriptures spoke of, I know now that you are the only Nanak. I will revert back to old name of Nanoo only from now on.”

Bibliography

  1. Bhai Sahib Veer Singh Ji, Sri Guru Nanak Chamatkar Volume I, Chapter 13, New Delhi: Bhai Veer Singh Sahit Sadan.
  2. Bhai Sahib Veer Singh Ji, Guru Balam Sakhiyan. 2007, New Delhi: Bhai Veer Singh Sahit Sadan.
  3. Principal Satbir Singh, Balio Chiraag, 10th Edition, 2011, Jalandhar: New Book Company.
  4. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji, Jhatka Maas Tat Gurmat Nirney. Amritsar: Khalsa Brothers.