image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Guru Nanak Parkash 550 series: Lumping Sikhi with so Called Dharmic Faiths (Part II)

Is Rama of Ramayna a heroic figure in Sikhi?

     One Website describes Dharmic religions as mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. That these religions are similar in core beliefs, modes of worship and associated practices. That they share common rituals like cremation of the dead the wearing of vermillion (scarlet red colour) on the head by married women and the marital rituals. That the main four Dharmic faiths have similar thoughts about karma, dharma, samsara, moksha and Yoga and that Rama is a heroic figure in all these religions.

   The question is if the above is true about the Sikhi path shown by Nanak Sahib? Does Sikhi share core beliefs and rituals with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and is Rama of the Ramayana, a heroic figure in Sikhi?

Continuing from last week, the Council of Dharmic Faiths UK would have seemed like a good idea for some Sikhs. The objective is stated as the representation of the United Voice of Dharmic Traditions. Over the years, the group led by Brahmanic influence has increasingly become a political lobbying group which makes Sikhs a party to it. The problem is that this grouping can give the wrong impression about the independent Sikhi thought of Guru Nanak Sahib. Sikhs cannot be included in any particular group of religions to the exclusion of other religions. So, what about Muslims, Christians and Jews? After all the Sikhi of Guru Nanak has as much or as little to do with these Abrahamic religions as with Hinduism, Budhism and Jainism or other Eastern religions.

Guru Nanak promotes universal human values shared by many religions. Therefore the saying during His time: Nanak shah faqeer Hindu ka guru Musalman ka peer. Otherwise, no one religion or group of religions, Dharmic or others, have any exclusive claim to Sikhi, the path of truthful conduct which demands willingness to make any sacrifice as a pre-condition.

Gurbani makes independent Sikhi position clear in a Shabad: I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. The One []]called] Gosaeen []]by Hindus], Allah []]by Muslims] is my Lord. He administers justice to both Hindus and Muslims. I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines. I serve the One Lord, and not any other. I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers. I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart I humbly worship Him there. I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim. My body and breath of life belong to []]the One Lord &ndash call him] Allah or Raam. (SGGS A. 1136)

With such clarity in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the sovereign ideology and identity of the &lsquoniara&rsquo Khalsa cannot be lumped with any one group of religions. We have to ask: Why are we still ensnared in this Vedic-Vedanta web despite continuity of One Jot-Jugat Guru from Guru Nanak Sahib, through the ten Guru-persons to Sri Guru Granth Sahib? We should no longer be confused 550 years after Guru Nanak Sahib illuminated the liberating path of Sikhi away from the rituals and superstitions of Vedic tradition.

Gurmukh Singh OBE