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Satguru is Always Awake

Bijla Singh

Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scripture) is the supreme authority and true living Guru of the Sikhs. The Gurbani (message) that it contains was directly revealed by Akal Purakh (God) Himself through Guru Nanak Sahib for the whole of humanity to seek guidance and salvation from. It provides wisdom, spiritual awakening, enlightenment and guidance to true way of life. Guru Granth Sahib is the embodiment of same Divine Light that resided in all the preceding Gurus. This is why it was given the status of Guru and Sikhs love it dearly. Since Sikhs do not treat Gurbani casually, Guru Granth Sahib is ‘parkash’ (opened in the early morning) and ‘Sukh Aasan’ (closed at night) after conducting a special ceremony which has been the tradition since 1604. Muslims, ignorant of the Sikh traditions, have misinterpreted the Sukh Aasan ceremony as a way of putting Guru Granth Sahib to sleep in their article “The Sleeping Book”. Further, they claim that this ceremony is a form of idol worship. Muslims have not provided a single credible source to back up their claims. It is highly irrational to write something against a religious practice without truly understanding its significance. In this article we will clearify this misunderstanding and show that the real purpose of Sukh Aasan ceremony is very different from Muslims’ interpretation.

Gurbani is Guru

The word “Guru” is combination of two words Gu meaning Darkness and Ru meaning Light. So literally, Guru means “The Light (divine knowledge) that dispels darkness (ignorance).” The light is divine knowledge of the Shabad (Word). The Shabad is the true nature of Akal Purakh (God) Himself. The first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was imbued with the divine light of the Akal Purakh to fulfill God’s will and mission in the world.

ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਰੂਪ ॥

“Guru Nanak is embodiment of the Light of God.” (Ang 1192)

When Guru Nanak conferred Guruship on Bhai Lehna (later called Guru Angad), the same Jot or light was passed on and Guru Angad too became the embodiment of the Divine Light. In the same way, the Divine Light was passed to all the Gurus. They were all the repositories of the Divine Light.

ਜੋਤਿ ਓਹਾ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸਾਇ ਸਹਿ ਕਾਇਆ ਫੇਰਿ ਪਲਟੀਐ ॥

They shared the One Light and the same way; the King just changed His body. (Ang 966)

 

ਥਾਪਿਆ ਲਹਿਣਾ ਜੀਂਵਦੇ ਗੁਰਿਆਈ ਸਿਰ ਛਤ੍ਰ ਫਿਰਾਯਾ॥ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤ ਮਿਲਾਇਕੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਰੂਪ ਵਟਾਯਾ॥
ਲਖ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਸਕਈ ਆਚਰਜੇ ਆਚਰਜ ਦਿਖਾਯਾ॥ ਕਾਯਾਂ ਪਲਟ ਸਰੂਪ ਬਣਾਯਾ ॥45॥

During his life time he waved the canopy of Guru Seat on the head of Lahina (Guru Angad) and merged his own light into him. Guru Nanak now transformed himself. This mystery is incomprehensible for anybody that awe-inspiring (Nanak) accomplished a wonderful task. He converted (his body) into a new form. (Bhai Gurdas Ji)

In 1708, the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, conferred the Guruship on Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Holy Scripture), which too became the embodiment of Divine Light forever.  The complete essence, knowledge and power of the Divine Light are therefore enshrined and preserved in Guru Granth Sahib Ji. For the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the manifestation of the Gurus’ Spirit and through it the true Satguru lives on in the Sikh Faith. Shabad is the source of divine knowledge and provides salvation; therefore, Shabad is the Guru. The Shabad is eternal. The true Shabad is Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thus, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Living Guru.

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥

The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. (Ang 982)

 

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਣਹੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਹਹੁ ਕਢਾਏ ॥

O GurSikhs, know that the Bani, the Word of the True Guru, is true, absolutely true. The Creator Lord Himself causes the Guru to chant it. (Ang 308)

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਚਨ ਬਚਨ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਧਰੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਜਨਾਵੈਗੋ ॥

The True Guru is the Word, and the Word is the True Guru, who teaches the Path of Liberation. || (Ang 1309)

Furthermore, the true living Guru is out of the cycle of death and birth which is one of the many qualities of the true guru.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥

My True Guru, forever and ever, does not come and go. (Ang 759)

Status of Gurbani

Shabad is the word of Guru. All Shabads (hymns) are collectively known as Gurbani. As stated above, Gurbani is the true Guru of the Sikhs. It has been a firm belief of the Sikhs that the true Guru is the Shabad and not a human, idol or object. Shabad is not an idol because it has no shape or form. Furthermore, the true Guru never takes birth, dies, sleeps, and gets hungry or ages over time. It is the true knowledgeof Waheguru and provides guidance to live complete way of life.

Ever since Sikhi came into existence, the Guru has always been the Shabad and not a human body. When Sikhs bowed to Guru Nanak Sahib, they bowed to the Shabad not to a physical body. Gurbani and Vaars of Bhai Gurdas Ji make it crystal clear that human body, an object or an idol is never to be worshipped and only Shabad is the true image of the Guru.

Meditate on the image of the Guru within your mind by letting your mind recognize the Word of the Guru's Shabad, as a Mantra. (Ang 864)

You should practice sustained mentation (dhyan) on the Word of the Guru, and consider it alone to be the image or statue of the Guru who is always with you. The seekers who are Guru-oriented acquire the knowledge of the Guru’s Word. This way they do not leave any space or distance between them and the Guru. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 3, Pauri 10)

The Word of the Guru is the image for worship; the Guru-oriented Sikhs listen to it and make use of the holy congregation as the metaphoric seat of the formless Creator. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 2, Pauri 11)

 

The Word of the guru is the physical body of the Guru. It becomes perceptible in the holy congregation. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 24, Pauri 25)

According to the Janamsakhis (the biographical accounts of the lives of the Gurus written by their contemporaries), Gurbani was written from the times of Guru Nanak Sahib and collected over time in the form of pothis (sacred compositions). These compositions were passed down to later Gurus. Guru Arjan Dev Ji took over the stupendous task of compiling the first Sikh Scripture called Pothi Sahib (later known as Aad Granth Sahib) by collecting hymns of earlier Gurus and other Sikhs. After the Pothi was compiled it was brought to Darbar Sahib, Sikhs’ holiest shrine, with a grand procession where it was formally read in 1604. Guru Sahib placed the Pothi Sahib at a higher place and himself sat on the floor as a mark of reverence to the revealed Shabad and signifying its status in the Panth. At night, ‘Sukh Aasan’ (closing of the Pothi Sahib) was done and it was taken to Kotha Sahib (built solely for this purpose). Guru Sahib slept on the floor while Pothi Sahib was placed on the bed.  This was to show the Sikhs how Gurbani must be revered, respected and treated. The same tradition has been in practice at Darbar Sahib ever since. This proves beyond the doubt that the Sukh Aasan ceremony was practiced and given to the Sikhs by the respected Gurus themselves as a sign of respect towards the great scripture.

Sukh Aasan is performed at night only when there is really no one to attend to Guru Sahib's saroop and no one who can do seva (service) or read the saroop. Guru Granth Sahib is taken from the Darbar (main hall) to a more secure room where the saroop is left overnight. When Akhand Path (continuous reading) of Gurbani is done, Sukh Aasan is not performed because there is always someone who is reading Gurbani and a guard is present to ensure that no interruptions occur. Guru Granth Sahib is not treated casually because it has the jot of Satguru Nanak Sahib resting within it. Sikhs recognize this fact and any respect they give to the saroop is not enough. So the finest resting area is created with the highest quality things.

There is nothing more precious than Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy word of God. That's why Guru Granth Sahib Ji is brought in with ceremony in the morning and Sukh Aasan is done at night. This is how highly Sikhs revere and respect the divine word of God. We must emphasize the fact that it is not a book and has never been treated such by Guru Sahib in human form or by any Sikh. It cannot be bought or sold at any book store, cannot be placed on any book shelf and cannot be carried like an ordinary book. It must be kept in a separate room where it is always placed above floor on a bed and covered in special clothes. One must perform ablution before reading it. Ever since it was revealed, Sikhs revered itto the highest degree because it is the holy word.

On the other hand, Muslims show little to no respect to their holy book Quran. If it really was word of God, how could it be sold for a few dollars in a book store? Why is it placed along with other books and treated no differently than a book? Anyone can carry it in their backpack or in an armpit and open it without washing their hands. How respectful is it to treat the word of God with such manners? This treatment alone shows that Quran is just a book whereas Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the true Guru.

Gurbani and Idol Worship

It is important to show that Gurbani speaks strongly againstidol worship. Idols do not give any knowledge and provide no guidance and spiritual benefit. Sikhs only worship the One Almighty Waheguru and none other.

The Hindus have forgotten the Primal Lord; they are going the wrong way. As Naarad instructed them, they are worshipping idols. They are blind and mute, the blindest of the blind. The ignorant fools pick up stones and worship them. But when those stones themselves sink, who will carry you across? ||2|| (Ang 556)

The faithless cynic wanders around, deluded by doubt. He churns water, and after wasting his life away, he dies. ||1||Pause|| That stone, which he calls his god, that stone pulls him down and drowns him. (Ang 739)

 

Their service is useless. Those who fall at the feet of a stone god their work is wasted in vain….The stone does not speak; it does not give anything to anyone. Such religious rituals are useless; such service is fruitless. (Ang 1160)

 

You wash your stone gods and worship them. You offer saffron, sandalwood and flowers. Falling at their feet, you try so hard to appease them. Begging, begging from other people, you get things to wear and eat. For your blind deeds, you will be blindly punished. (Ang 1240)

So what if you worshipped statues, monuments or pictures? Worshiping these, your soul has been tired (meaning you are close to death) but you have not found anything…Oh fool! What do you get out of performing these rituals? What can a stone give you? If this stone had life, then it would have been able to give you something. Think this over and start reciting God’s praises, then you will know the right path and you will know that without God, you cannot get away from this cycle of birth and death. (Shabad Hazaray, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

While worshipping stones some people are bowing before them and some others are withholding idols of stones in their necks. Some people have faith that God is in the south while others consider God, is toward the west and they are bowing their heads in those directions. Some people are worshiping idols foolishly while others are adoring the dead. The whole world is busy in such false performances without knowing the secret mystery of God. (Akal Ustat, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

 

Why do you worship stones? The Lord-God is not within those stones; you may only worship Him, whose adoration destroys clusters of sins; with the remembrance on the Name of the Lord, the ties of all suffering are removed; ever mediate on that Lord because the hollow religious will not bear any fruit. (33 Swayeas, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

Many more quotes can be given but it is clear enough the Sikhs are not idol worshippers. Sikhs only worship Waheguru through meditating upon the Shabad. Sikh Gurus never raised any temple where an idol was installed. Sikh Gurdwaras do not carry any form of idols or pictures to be worshipped. If revering word of God is idol worship then Muslims should discard Quran.

Sleep in Sikhi

In this section we briefly explain what ‘sleep’ really is in the light of Gurbani. The purpose of the Sikh way of life is to wake up from the true sleep which is the illusion of the physical world and its effects such as lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment and egotism. One goes to sleep at night, has dreams and then wakes up in the morning. This is the daily routine of an ordinary human being. Guru Sahib teaches that although one has woken up from the physical sleep in the morning, they still are sleeping because they have not realized the truth. A person never realizes the fact that this life is a mere illusion and like a dream it shall pass.

Like a dream and a show, so is this world, you must know. None of this is true, O Nanak, without God. ||23|| (Ang 1427)

It is the delusional sleep that misleads humans into thinking that this world is permanent and gives the illusion that the physical body, family, wealth, wife, children, car, house etc we have are ours.

Wake up, O mind! Wake up! Why are you sleeping unaware? That body, which you were born with, shall not go along with you in the end. ||1||Pause|| Mother, father, children and relatives whom you love, will throw your body into the fire, when your soul departs from it. ||1|| Your worldly affairs exist only as long as you are alive; know this well. O Nanak, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord; everything is like a dream. ||2||2|| (Ang 726)

That day which comes, that day shall go. You must march on; nothing remains stable. Our companions are leaving, and we must leave as well. We must go far away. Death is hovering over our heads. ||1|| Why are you asleep? Wake up, you ignorant fool!...Meditate on the Lord, and renounce your egotism and self-conceit. Within your heart, contemplate the Naam, the Name of the Lord, sometime. ||2||….don't you realize, that this world is the house of death?! ||3||2|| (Ang 793)

The entire world is asleep in the illusions, only One Almighty Waheguru remains awake.

I gaze upon the world, the confluence of the three qualities; God is awake and aware in each and every heart. (Ang 857)

 

Only the Guru is awake; the rest of the world is asleep in emotional attachment and desire. (Ang 592)

Since God remains awake, so does His divine word. Guru Granth Sahib is the revealed word of God which means that God and Guru always remain awake since both are one. The Divine Word is the only true Guru and the image of God. So we ask the Muslims to prove how could the divine word of God fall sleep? How is it possible for God to remain awake but His revealed word to fall sleep? How could a word by which the whole world including day and night was created, fall sleep at night? They are lost without the true Shabad and do not realize that the Waheguru and His word are beyond day and night and above from worldly effects. Only a physical body can get tired and requires rest but the divine word is beyond the physical world. Shabad is beyond birth and death and hence cannot fall asleep.

Shabad is the only medium through which humans can wake up from the sleep of illusion and ignorance. Gurbani teaches that by obtaining Naam from Satguru, one comes to know the real Self, sees the reality of the world and attains salvation. By meditating upon Naam, one wakes up and realizes that everything is temporary and this physical body is given to us by Waheguru as a chance to do good deeds and achieve salvation. Gurbani teaches to physically live in the world but mentally stay above it. Gurbani teaches to stay attuned to Naam and attach the mind to One Almighty Waheguru. Hence, this illusion of the world can only be removed by seeking the sanctuary of Satguru, the true Guru. Since the only Satguru in the world is Guru Granth Sahib one cannot wake up from the illusionistic sleep without becoming its disciple.

Desire is stilled, and egotism is gone; fear and doubt have run away. I have found stability, and I am in ecstasy; the Guru has blessed me with Dharmic faith. ||1|| Worshipping the Perfect Guru in adoration, my anguish is eradicated. My body and mind are totally cooled and soothed; I have found peace, O my brother. ||1||Pause|| I have awakened from sleep, chanting the Name of the Lord; gazing upon Him, I am filled with wonder. (Ang 814)

One whose heart lotus blossoms forth upon meeting the Guru, remains awake and aware, night and day. (Ang 964)

Therefore it is crystal clear that only Waheguru and Satguru (Gurbani, the revealed word) is always awake and those who obtain Naam from Satguru are able to wake up from the real sleep of ignorance. Without becoming Sikhs of Guru Nanak Sahib, Muslims will always be lost and never be able to realize the truth and wake up from the falsehood of Quranic sleep.

A Vilified Statement

In the chain of continuous attacks on Sikhi, Muslims are calling holy Guru Granth Sahib an “object”. To back up their claim they quoted the following verse from Quran:

"And whoever worships along with Allaah any other object of worship [like SGGS], have NO PROOFS for that. His judgment will be with his Lord. Indeed the disbelievers will never succeed." (Qur'an 23:117)

This is simply a futile attempt to disapprove something without giving any rational proofs. Muslims have not only become foolish but traitors to Islam by misinterpreting their own holy book. The verse is misused and taken out of context. It does not apply to Guru Granth Sahib at all. The verse condemns idol worship. But where does the verse even mention Guru Granth Sahib let alone implying that it is an object?

We have already proven that Gurbani is the Guru which is the source of the true divine knowledge. Gurbani itself speaks against idol worship. Guru is not paper, ink or the binding but the revealed word of God. It gives knowledge and provides guidance to the true path whereas an idol serves no purpose. Gurbani (the divine word) has the power to enable human being to subjugate the five vices (lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment and egotism), turn thieves into saints and transform the oppressed into true warriors and defenders of the faith. Through the power of the Shabad one rises above the duality of the world, eliminates fear of death and becomes protector of oppressed and weak. Only by the power of the Shabad can one be truly awakened, remember Waheguru by singing His praises and achieve salvation. How then is the divine word an object? Do Muslims not praise Allah through words? Do they not speak words when they pray? Do they not recite Quran? If yes then why are they going through an object to praise God? Why not disregard Quran altogether since anything that has revealed words of God is an object and therefore not worth any reverence? It is simply ridiculous and unimaginable that Muslims would stoop to such a low level of misinterpreting their own holy book just for the sake of demeaning another religion.

Gurbani (revealed word) is not inferior to Waheguru but His true representation and therefore also worthy of being revered. His revealed words deserve great reverence and thereby Sikhs do not treat them like ordinary words of a book which is why Gurbani is not considered a book. Muslims may consider Quran a regular book and its words may not hold any significance to them, but Sikhs do not follow this example of disrespect. Revealed Shabad deserves reverence, respect and exceptional care. This is why Sikhs hold Gurbani dearer to their lives and are ever ready to sacrifice themselves to uphold its status.

Idol Worship in Islam

Looking at the Muslim practice of ‘hajj’ an astonishing fact comes to light which clearly shows that Muslims are idol worshippers and revere lifeless objects in their ‘house of God’.

  1. Ka’ba

Ka’ba, a cube shaped building, according to Islamic belief was built by Abraham for the purpose of establishing a place of worship in the world. It is the same building that Muslims face during their prayer time and circumambulate during hajj. Furthermore, it is covered with a special made cloth with Quranic verses written on it. For any true religious person, God should be the center of life but Muslims take rounds around Ka’ba which means a man-made building is the center of their lives. This is a clear sign of idol worship by idolizing God since an idol should hold no significance in the religious way of life.

  1. Black Stone

Black stone, according to Islamic view, fell from heaven at the spot on which God commanded Adam and Eve to build first temple on Earth. During hajj, Muslims touch, kiss and even bow to this stone. This tradition has been in practice since the time of Mohammad, who followed this pre-Islamic custom to appease the Meccans in the hope that they would allow his cult to flourish there and who himself kissed the black stone. This is purely an act of idolatry because any reverence given to an idol is idol worship. What is the purpose of bowing to a stone which holds no power, life or divine knowledge? Muslims have no reasons to justify such an act of sheer blindness other than it was done by Mohammad. What good, divine knowledge or spiritual experience can come from an inanimate object which was in all likelihood a simple meteorite?  If revering the revealed word of God is idol worship then what would Muslims say about bowing, kissing and touching a stone as part of religious ritual, which clearly is idol worship? While Quran clearly rejects any form of idol worship, Muslims turn a blind eye to their own holy book and worship the black stone in the Ka’ba.

  1. Pebbling Satan

Pebbling Satan is part of the hajj practice. In this ritual a Muslim gathers seven pebbles and throws at a stone which signifies his defiance of the devil’s influence. One cannot but laugh at this act of stupidity and barbaric practice. Muslims are the real idol worshippers yet deny it outright. They consider one stone holy and at the same time another stone a representation of the devil. It is simply ridiculous to believe that throwing few pebbles at a wall will rid the mind of satanic influence. Little do Muslims know that the real devil is not a red giant sitting in some place called hell but the immoral thinking that sprouts in the mind of a merciless and stone hearted person. It is influence of lust, anger, greed and egotism that causes a person to perform inhuman and immoral acts. Rape, murder, robbery, violence etc are all result of devilish thinking that comes from the mind of a person who has no moral guidance. Throwing some pebbles will not make anyone a better person. If that was true then numerous Muslim invaders like Mahmood Gaznavi, Babar, Mohammad Tuglaq, Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah, Mir Mannu, Zakriya Khan and Aurangzeb would not have brutally murdered and oppressed hundreds of thousands of innocent people in India in the name of religion. They took thousands of Hindu women as slaves and concubines and sold them in their own countries. The Muslim rulers should’ve been merciful, kind and wise and should’ve treated everyone in their kingdoms equally had their minds been free from devil but such did not happen. This alone shows that even after throwing pebbles, Muslims could not be free from the real devil (mind).

Giving up immoral acts such as rape, murder etc, helping everyone equally, feeding the poor and needy, and fighting for justice and truth is the true sign of renouncing the devil. Sikhs like Bhai Kanheya Ji distributed water to everyone in the battlefield be they Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs. He saw God’s light in everyone. Muslims on the other hand are always stuck in the physical world and cannot rise above it. They see the physical appearance of a person to determine one’s inner religious state which leads them to assume that anyone who doesn’t look like a Muslim is an irreligious and immoral person. Muslims have idolized God in the form of a stone and walk around it and at the same time idolize Satan in stone and throw pebbles at it. A stone is a stone no matter what form, color or shape it is in. No good can come from worshipping it and no harm can come from walking over it. Hence, it is clear that Muslims themselves revere idols and idol worship is part of their religious life.

Conclusion

Muslims worship idols during hajj and revere them as holy or satanic. One stone is worshipped and considered holy while the other is thrown pebbles at to show defiance of the devil. Hence, Muslims are the real culprits who are still engaged in the barbaric and blind practice of idol worship. A stone is an inanimate object and no harm or benefit can come from treating it with respect or disrespect.

On the other hand, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Satguru and the holy word of God. It is an embodiment of God Himself which is why it is revered by the Sikhs and given the same respect and status as given to God. Any disrespect or casual treatment towards Guru Granth Sahib Ji is considered a grave matter and cannot be tolerated. It is not an idol or an object because the divine word provides true knowledge, spiritual enlightenment and moral guidance. Satguru is beyond birth and death and hence cannot go to sleep because it is not a physical body. Therefore, reverence of the holy divine word is not idol worship.

Satguru is the only savior in the world.

There is no other way to perform devotional worship, except through the Teachings of the True Guru. ||1|| (Ang 22)