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Rehitnama of Bhai Desa Singh

Bhai Desa Singh was son of the great Sikh martyr Bhai Mani Singh. We hear of one Bhai Desa Singh, who lived in Amritsar and Patna Sahib for some time. I cannot say whether the two were the same or different persons. Both were contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh, if they were different. The following is the translation of the Rehitnama:

  1. The primary rule of the Sikh Path is that the Sikh should get baptized according to the Amrit baptism of the Two- Edged Sword.
  2. A Sikh should get baptized by five Sikhs, who are found competent to baptize, and whatever Rehit (Code of Conduct) they enunciate, it should be strictly followed.
  3. The Sikhs should keep away from those, who kill infant daughters. They should be socially boycotted and given penitentiary punishment, if they wish to be accepted in Sikh society. One should devote himself to the reading and understanding of the Sikh Scriptures and discard back¬biting and calumny.
  4. Let a Sikh continuously utter Vahi-Guru. Let him enshrine the Name, Vahi-Guru ever in his heart. One should greet others saying: “Vahi-Guruji-ka Khalsa, Vahi-Guru ji-ki Fateh: The Khalsa is of the Almighty Lord; Victory ever is of God: Vahi-Guru.”
  5. A Sikh should bring home earning, which is earned by the sweat of his brow (lit. by the ten nails of his hands). He should give tithes for the humanitarian cause of the Guru.
  6. He is a disciplined Sikh (Rehitvan Sikh) of the Guru, who considers other people’s daughters to be his own daughters, and considers other people’s wives as his sisters or mothers (if elderly), and is attached to his own wife.
  7. A Sikh should never renounce the ethical principles of moral enlightenment according to the established Code of Conduct: Rehit-bibek. In the battlefield he should fight face to face with the enemy and never run away from the battlefield. The Khalsa is the image of the Guru (prophet), serving whom supreme happiness is obtained.
  8. Let a Sikh take up farming, trade and work of artisan or any other job that suits his tastes. Let him take up a profession in which he has acquired proficiency, and with determination and efficiency do his work. He should never indulge in theft or exploitation of another’s labours.
  9. Prostitutes, street-walkers, characterless women, who loiter about in lust hunger should be discreetly avoided. A Sikh should not bestow his affection on any undesirable woman. If he does so he will suffer. So a man of divine knowledge should keep away from them.
  10. A Sikh should completely discard:
    1. Huka: (hooka) a tobacco pipe in which smoke is drawn through water and a long tube (Mughal Style Pipe).
    2. Kutha: meat cut according to Muslim rites.
    3. Charas: exudation of flowers of hemp collected with the dew and prepared for use as intoxicating drug.
    4. Tambacoo: tobacco
    5. Ganja: hemp plant (cannabis sative); the leaves and young buds of the hemp plant. The frutification when nearly ripe is bruised and smoked in order to produce intoxication, the dried leaves are ground and mixed with water and drunk for the same purpose; in this later stage it is called bhang.

He who never touches these drugs is a devout and disciplined Sikh.

  1. Let a Sikh never go about without weapons. He should be ever ready in defense preparedness.
  2. A Sikh should not eat any such food, which has been partly eaten by Sannyasins, Vairagis, Udasis, Yogis, Jangams, or Tantric Yogis (Sakti Cult). Most of these Hindu mendicants used to order large quantity of food and take some food out of it, and give the remains of their plate called (juth) to their disciples. The Sikhs were prohibited from eating such leavings (juth) of any holy man.
  3. Let a Sikh learn from another Sikh Gurmukhi letters i.e. reading and writing the Punjabi language and script of major Sikh Scriptures. If he can learn any other language or acquire any other system of knowledge to broaden his intellectual acquaintance, he should do it.
  4. A Sikh should memorize hymns both from Adi Guru Granth and Dasam Granth.
  5. On auspicious days like the birthday or the ascension day of Guru Nanak, a Sikh should prepare some sacramental food and Langar and feed other people.
  6. A Sikh who is rich and wealthy should look to the needs of those who are poor and destitute. If he sees a person from far off country or lands, he should willingly extend his hospitality towards him.
  7. A Sikh should be courteous and sweet of speech and give opportunities of employment to his brother Sikhs. All Sikhs should live in fellowship and love, remove all ill-feelings from amongst them.
  8. A Sikh should shun these five evils:
    1. adultery,
    2. gambling,
    3. lies and falsehood,
    4. theft,
    5. wine.
  9. Once in a battlefield, a Sikh warrior should never run away, but like a true Sikh he should fight unto death.
  10. He should never give up humility and courteous behaviour. He should discreetly avoid the company of mischievous people.
  11. Let a Sikh reduce day by day the passions of lust, wrath, greed, pride and vanity. He should never tell a lie and discipline himself in humility, righteousness and ethical wisdom: vivek or bibek.
  12. A Sikh should consider wealth, material happiness, political power, children, wife, knowledge to be gifts of God and the Guru, and should not be proud of them.
  13. A Sikh should never act as a false witness, nor should he take bribe, nor should he fail to do justice.
  14. A Sikh should never speak disparagingly of other religious paths or creeds in the world.
  15. Food should be taken in a clean place and with clean hands. None should take his meals without sharing it with others.
  16. A disciplined Sikh (Rehitvan) should take his meals from his own earnings, and never under any circumstances use money from temple offerings or charitable funds. This is the greatest sin.
  17. If a Sikh is posted as a priest of a temple and permitted to use temple offerings for his livelihood, he should take only the amount absolutely necessary for his needs. All surplus money should be used for charitable purposes.
  18. A Sikh should disassociate himself from those persons who have committed acts of apostasy. He should live in peace and joy of his righteous and disciplined living.
  19. He who lives according to the Guru’s Code of Conduct (Rehit), shall ever abide in the Divine Presence of the Guru in this life and even after death.
  20. Guru Gobind Singh gave a lasting assurance:

He alone is my true Sikh,

Who lives according to Moral Laws: Rehit.

Know him to be my Master.

I am a humble disciple of such a Sikh.

He who does not live according to Moral Laws Has no right to call himself a Sikh.

The blows on his fate keep on knocking at his door.

He who lives not according to the Rules of Sikh Moral Laws Can never know peace and happiness.

So everyone should live according to these Moral Laws,

And thoroughly imbibe the spirit of moral and spiritual life.

  1. The hair is the ornament of human personality. To have beard and hair is to accept naturally what God has given us. A person without hair is like a bird without wings. He is like woman without ornaments. Only with the hair the human personality is complete.
  2. The author says that he saw Guru Gobind Singh in his mystical vision. This was the period when Dasani Granth was being compiled. Bhal Desa Singh says that in his mystical vision Guru Gobind Singh gave him the following message which he honestly records:

Spake Guru Gobind Singh:

“Listen Desa Singh to what I say: First, I composed the Japii, then Akal Ustat'i. Consider these compositions to be like Vedas: Book of Divine Wisdom. Then I composed Bachitar Ndtak, in which I described the Sodhi Family’s history. Then I composed Chandi Charitar in various types of poetic forms. Then I wrote Gyan Prabodh, the recitation of which inspires a person to reach the highest spiritual state. I composed the history of 24 Avatars of Visnu, and of Siva like Dattatreya. Then I composed Sabad Hazare and Triya Charitar. I have also written much on the Rehit of the Khalsa.” (128-138).

Note: This statement of an eminent contemporary of the Guru strongly indicates that all the writings of Dasam Granth were written by Guru Gobind Singh, and there is no truth in the misleading and sweeping statements of some of the writers in the recent past that: (i) The history of Dasam Granth is non-existent; (ii) Bhai Mani Singh did not compile Dasam Granth: (iii) Dasam Granth cannot be regarded as composition of Guru Gobind Singh; (iv) there is no contemporary or near-contemporary record to support that Dasam Granth is the composition of Guru Gobind Singh etc.1 There is no doubt that copyists have corrupted some texts.

Notes

  1. Some writers against Dasam Granth:
    1. Daljlt Sirigh, “Dasam Granth: Its History,” Abstracts of Sikh Studies, July 1994, The Sikh Review, August 1994.
    2. Jagjlt Singh, “Fictional Identity of Dasam Granth,” The Sikh Review, August 1994, “Dasam Grarith: Real Issues,” Abstracts of Sikh Studies, July 1994.
    3. Principal Harbhajan Singh, Dasam Granth Bare Chonve Lekh, The Spokesman, Charidigarh.
    4. Avatarvad te Dasam Granth, a pamphlet published by a group of 24 like-minded persons.
    5. Harinder Singh Mehboob, Sahije Rachio Khalsa.
    6. Prof. Gurtej Singh, “Two Views on Dasam Granth: An Appreciation of Ashtas and Jaggls Approach,” Fundamental Issues in Sikh Studies.
    7. Diwan Singh, His book on Bachitar Natak, Chandi Charitar.

It is surprising that these writers maintain that Dasam Granth is not the composition of Guru Gobind Sirigh, yet most of them have quoted passages from the Dasam Granth in their books. When we are casting doubts on the compositions, being recited to prepare Amrit Pahul: Khande ka Amrit for baptism of the Sikh novices since the time of Guru Gobirid Sirigh, we are also casting doubt on the ceremony of Sikh baptism on the eve of Tercentenary Celebrations of birth of Khalsa Brotherhood.

Source - The Turban and the Sword of the Sikhs by Dr. Trilochan Singh