The God of Dasam Granth – Part 2
|Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.
In Part One of the series aimed at examining the God of Dasam Granth (DG); the following facts were established from within the compositions of DG:
1. The primary God of the Dasam Granth (DG) is Mahakaal and the secondary God is Durga.
2. The writers of a vast majority of DG are poets named Raam, Syam and Nul. Poet Syam’s name as the writer appears across 151 pages of DG while Ram’s appears across 14 pages. Their names also appear jointly across 15 pages of DG suggesting that they worked together. Poet Nul is the writer of one composition. Readers would note that the word “Nanak” as writer does NOT appear even ONCE in the entire DG.
3. The obeisance of these three writers to Mahakal and Durga (the male and female forms of Shivji) suggests that they are adherents of the Vaam Margee SECT of Shivji.
4. Large portions of the core rachnas o DG are lifted from the Markandey Puran and Shiv Puran. Both Purans are written in obeisance of Shivji. Markandey, a devotee of Mahakaal, Durga and Shivji – is highly revered amongst devotees of the Vaam Maragee SECT. The writers of DG have acknowledged such lifting, even mentioning the chapters that are lifted, at the end their rachnas.
5 . These purans – acting as the primary sources of DG – thus provide the LINK and CONTINUITY between the God of these purans (Shivji) and that of DG being the one and same. Shivji is the God of the two purans, and Mahakaal and Durga (two halves of Shivji) are the Gods of DG.
It is worth reiterating that the method of deriving the above mentioned facts relied on using the DG as a primary source. Such a choice of method is not dismissive of secondary sources. It is to allow the reader direct access to the verses within DG where the ideas of these series of essays are coming from.
UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUALITY OF DEITISM AND SECT-ISM WITHIN INDIAN TRADITIONS
When examining SECT-ism within Indian spiritualties, the following three principles stand out:
1. Full and UNCONDITIONAL obeisance towards the primary Deity of the Sect. This means that while there is a plethora of devi devatas within Indian the spiritual system; a Sect is based on a single devta as its primary Isht (God, protector and object of obeisance and prayer).
A follower of a Shivji Sect would therefore consider Shivji as its primary Isht or God, and his selected avtars/ incarnations the secondary God/(s).
2. Rejection of Other Deities. SECT-ism further requires the devotees of a particular Sect to REJECT, as far as possible, other deities of their obeisance. This second principle augments the first. A follower of a Sect of Shivji would be fully loyal to Shivji, but would NOT, for instance, pay obeisance to Vishnu or Bhrama (or any of their avtars/incarnations).
3. SUBJUGATION or co-option of other spiritualties. When sects get established and institutionalized, the need to subjugate other rival Sects becomes necessary. This is generally accomplished through two basic ways:
a) Making rival deities appear to be adherents / disciples of the Deity of the Sect and / or
b) Making rival deities to be in obeisance to the primary / secondary Deity of the Sect.
A follower of a Sect of Shivji would thus strive (much at the chagrin and displeasure of other Sects) to (i) make other deities and their incarnations appear to be disciples of Shivji, and (ii) show other deities and their incarnations as paying obeisance, coming before, or seeking assistance from Shivji.
Such subjugation or co-option can usually be found within the spiritual literature as well as oral traditions of the Sect that is undertaking the subjugation.
It can also involve a mix of RE-WRITING or RE-INTERPRETING of the spiritual narratives of other Sects. It can involve DISTORTION of the spiritual truths of other Sects. It can further involve the creation of “new truths” or “previously non-existent realities” pertaining to the other rival Sects. The overall objective remains the same, namely subjugation, irrespective of the method employed.
EXAMINING THE PRINCIPLES OF DEITISM AND SECT-SISM WITHIN DASAM GRANTH
Given that Part One of this series postulated that Mahakaal and Durga were the primary and secondary Ishts or God of DG, (who are also the Gods of the Vaam Marag Sect of Shivji) it remains for examination if the above three principles are found within the writings of DG.
PRINCIPLE: REJECTION OF OTHER DEITIES.
An instance of the rejection of Hindu Gods considered rivals to Shivji within the spirituality of DG is captured on page 309 as follows:
ਚੌਪਈ॥ ਮੈ ਨ ਗਨੇਸਹ ਪ੍ਰਥਿਮ ਮਨਾਊਂ Chaupayee. Mein Na Ganeshey Pritham Manaun.
I do not accept Ganesh as my primary God.
ਕਸਿਨ ਬਸਿਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਨਹ ਧਆਿਊਂ॥ Kishen Bishen Kabhu Neh Dhiayu
I will not ever worship Krishen and Vishnu.
ਕਾਨ ਸੁਨੇ ਪਹਚਾਨ ਨ ਤਨਿ ਸੋ॥ Kaan Suney Pehchaan Na Tin So
I hear of them with my ears, but I recognize them not.
ਲਵਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਮੋਰੀ ਪਗ ਇਨ ਸੋ॥ ੪੩੪॥ Liv Lagee More Pug En So.
My contemplation is on the feet of the following entity.
It is clear that the author of verse 434 (Poet Syam) is REJECTING the obeisance of other (rival) deities and Gods. The author seems bent on his conviction given the contemptuous language of the third verse – I hear of them with my ears, but will not recognize them.
The verse immediately following this contemptuous one states clearly where the author’s spiritual loyalty lies.
PRINCIPLE :UNCONDITIONAL OBEISANCE TOWARDS DEITY OF CHOICE
ਲਵਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਮੋਰੀ ਪਗ ਇਨ ਸੋ॥ ੪੩੪॥ Liv Lagee More Pug En So.
My contemplation is on the feet of the following entity.
ਮਹਾਕਾਲ ਰਖਵਾਰ ਹਮਾਰੋ॥ Mahakaal Rakhvaar Hamaro
MAHAKAAL is my protector.
ਮਹਾਲੋਹ ਮੈ ਕੰਕਰ ਥਾਰੋ॥ Mahaloh Mein Kinker Tharo
It’s on Mahaloh (another name of Mahakaal) that I place my obeisance
ਅਪਨਾ ਜਾਨ ਕਰੋ ਰਖਵਾਰ॥ Apna Jaan Karo Rakhvaar
Accept me as your own and protect me
ਬਾਹ ਗਹੇ ਕੀ ਲਾਜ ਬਚਾਰ॥ ੪੩੫॥ Bah Gahe Kee Laaj Bichar.
Take my arm and protect my honor.
POINTS TO NOTE: Sikhs who believe that the above verses were composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji may want to ponder on the following questions:
1. By the time Guru Gobind Singh Ji became Guru, Guru Nanak’s Sikhi had already lived for some 200 years. In these two centuries Sikhi principles were abundantly clear on the fact that the God of Sikhi was Ek Oangkar, Satnam, Karta Purakh, Nirbhau, Nirvair, Akaal Moorat, Ajooni, Saibhang, Gurparsaad. It was also abundantly clear that Sikhi for those 200 years had NOTHING to do with any of the deities of Indian spiritualties.
2. None of these deities or others were considered rivals to EK Oangkar – the God of SGGS. So what is the need for Guru Gobind Singh ji to be selectively and contemptuously REJECTING Ganesh, Kishen and Vishnu but NOT Shivji? All 33 crores of them were already rejected in the 200 years of Sikhi. Guru Nanakji had done so in Jap banee itself by submitting that the trinity of Hinduism was subject to One God. Furthermore, contempt is never the language of the SGGS.
3. And why is obeisance being paid to Mahakaal? Mahakaal is not even mentioned ONCE in the SGGS as the God of Sikhi. The two words Maha and Kaal do appear separated in ONE SINGLE verse in the GGS as ‘ultimate’ (Maha) and ‘death’ (Kaal) meaning spiritual death.
ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਜਪਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਲਾਲੁ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤੂ ਜੀਵਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਨ ਖਾਈ ਮਹਾ ਕਾਲੁ ॥ ੧ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ GGS 885
Ramkli Mehla 5: Jup Gobind Gopal Lal. Ram Nam Simar Tu JEVEH Fir Na Khayee Maha Kaal. Rahao.
Realize God the Loving Protector. By remembering the Omnipresent’s Nam/virtues, you will obtain SPIRITUAL LIFE; and not ever be consumed by (the fear of) ULTIMATE (spiritual) DEATH.
It is clear that in this one SINGLE instance where Mahakaal is used in the SGGS, it (i) comes as two words, not one; and (ii) refers NOT to God but to spiritual death. The word “Khayee” is feminine in gender and refers to death which is feminine.
The word “Jeeveh” means life and it appears as the antonym of the word “Kaal” which means death.
The word KAAL (death) has an aungkar below it. This means it is a noun. The word Maha (great) is therefore an adjective of this noun. There are different kinds of deaths – physical death is one, but it is the lesser death in Sikh parlance. The greater death is spiritual death, or death of one’s conscience.
God in the SGGS is gender free but referred to in the masculine tense. So if Mahakaal was referring to God, then the verse should be “Fir Na KHAYA Maha Kaal.”
IF indeed Mahakaal in this SGGS verse above was one word and refers to God, then what can we understand from “Fir Na Khaya Mahakaal”? That ‘Mahakaal the God” would NOT devour or consume or eat (Khaya/ Khayee) you? The God of SGGS is never the devouring kind.
If indeed Mahakaal was the God of SGGS shouldn’t this word be ALL OVER the SGGS, appearing hundreds or thousands of times, instead of just one single time?
The words EK OANGKAR SATNAM appear together a FULL 574 times across the SGGS. The word AKAAL appears 47 times as clear an unequivocal reference to God. Now this is the God of SGGS.
ਤੂ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਾਲਾ ॥ SGGS 1038 Tu AKAAL Purakh Nahi Ser Kaala.
You are AKAAL PURAKH, You are Beyond Kaal (Death).
PRINCIPLE: SUBJUGATION OF OTHER SPIRITUALITIES
The second para of the 55 para Durga Kee Vaar as contained within DG, written in obeisance to Durga captures the essence of subjugation of other deities and sects as follows:
Tain Hee Durga Saaj Key Dainta Daa Naas Kareya
It is you who created Dugra and had the demons killed
Taithon Hee Bul Raam Ley Naal Baana Dehsir Ghaiya
Ram too got his strength from you to kill Ravan through arrows
Taithon Hee Bul Kishen Ley Kans Kesin Pakar Giraiya
Krishen too got his strength from you to grab Kans from his hair and felled him.
The question of who is the “you” as referred to in the above para (and elsewhere) must be answered applying the following two principles:
(i) It must be derived from within the text of DG.
(ii) It must be derived in conjunction with the principle of unconditional obeisance to the deity of the Sect as mentioned above.
There is no doubt that from within the text of DG, the God of DG is Mahakaal as Shivji’s male form.
The fact that Durga was born out of the lightning bolt out of the weapons of Mahakaal (as Raaj Kumari Dulha Devi/ Kalika), is captured in Chiritar 405 (verse 1 – 43) on page 1349 of DG. So the first verse “It is you who created Durga” must be understood in this context.
It is clear therefore that the above verses are one of subjugation. The essence of the verses is that Mahakaal / Shivji is portrayed as the ultimate God. The correct and contextual translation of the above verses is thus:
Mahakaal created Durga. Mahakaal is the source of spiritual strentgth of Raam Chander’s victory over Ravan ! Mahakaal is the source of Krishen ji’s triumph over his uncle Kans.!
This is subjugation, clear and present. It is also clearly revolting to the devotees of Raam and Krishenji. But that is how subjugation presents its ugly self.
SUBJUGATION OF BHRAMA & VISHU
The war that Durga fought is described repeatedly four times in four separate rachnas in DG. Chandee Chritar One, Chandee Two, Durga Kee Vaar and Triya Chritar 405. Chritar 405 explicitly states the objective of the war.
The purpose was to slay the evil Daent as condition for her to marry Mahakaal. This Chritar mentions the war to be 20 years long and horrific in which all the major devatas including Bhrama and Vishnu were involved.
What is interesting is the manner in which the fighting abilities of Bhrama and Vishun are described, as follows in verses 81-90
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸ਼ਨ ਸਭੈ ਡਰ ਪਾਨੈ, ਮਹਾਕਾਲ ਕੀ ਸ਼ਰਨ ਸਿਧਾਨੇ। Bhrama Bishen Sabhey Dar Aaney, Mahakaal Kee Sharan Sidhaney.
Bhrama and Vishnu became consumed with fear (of the war). They both went to seek refuge of Mahakaal.
This is what Bhrama and Vishun say to Mahakaal.
ਤੁਮ ਹੋ ਸਕਲ ਲੋਗ ਸਿਰ ਤਾਜਾ, ਗਰਬ ਨਾ ਰਾਜ ਗਰੀਬ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ। Tum Ho Sakal log Sir Taja, Garab Na Raaje Gareeb Nivaza.
You are King of the entire kingdom. Please protect us because you are the protector of those who seek refuge.
These verses are clearly aimed at subjugating Bhrama and Vishnu to Mahakaal. The two deities are made to look fearful of the Durga war and are shown running to Mahakaal to seek refuge.
POINT TO NOTE: Sikh Ragis are often heard singing the above mentioned verses as Kirtan in the presence of SGGS. They are possibly under the misguided assumption that Guru Gobind Singh ji is the author of these verses and that the verse “Tum Ho Sagal Log Sir Taaja” means that the tenth master is praising Akaal Purakh.
Such wrong assumptions will be shattered if one looks at the context of the verses. They are contained within a composition that is describing a 20 year war in which Durga is fighting with the assistance of Mahakaal.
Bhrama and Vishu are also depicted as being in the same battle but become consumed with fear and go to Mahakaal for refuge. So the verse “Tum Ho Sagal Log Sir Taaja” is supposedly being uttered by Bhrama and Vishnu to Mahakaal.
The truth of the Durga war aside, and the truth of whether Bhrama and Vishu were part of the war and fled to Mahakaal aside; one thing is clear. Such a narrative is designed by the authors (Kavi Raam, Syam etc) of the Vaam Maragi Sect to subjugate the two deities to Mahakaal.
MORE SUBJUGATION OF OTHER DEITIES CHAUBEES AVTAR (24 AVTARS)
It is interesting to note that while major portions of DG that are in praise of Mahakaal/Shivji/Durga are lifted almost verbatim from Markandey Puran and Shiv Puran – the two purans that are written in obeisance of Shivji, there is one composition in DG – Chaubees Avtar (24 Incarnations) that is taken from Sri Mudh Bhagvat Puran.
The primary deity of Bhagavat Puran is Vishnu and the secondary deities of this puran are 24 of his incarnations/avtars.
So what is the purpose of including, into the DG, a narrative of a deity that RIVALS Shivji?
The answer to the question becomes clear when we note that the narratives of the 24 incarnations of Vishu are clearly RE-INTERPRETED from a selective and skewed perspective with a purposive agenda.
What is the NEED to REINTERPRET something that has been established and accepted by devotees of Vishu and his 24 Avtars for thousands of years is subject to debate and best left for the reader to decide.
Nevertheless, the elements of subjugation come out crystal clear as the following verses will show.
This suggests that the objective of rewriting and reinterpreting by the Vaam Maragi Sect authors of DG does appear to be subjugation of the 24 Avtars to their own primary God of Mahakaal/Shivji.
That Vishnu is being subjugated to Shivji can further be seen from the following verses.
ਬਸਿਨ ਦੇਵ ਆਗਆਿ ਜਬ ਪਾਈ॥ ਕਾਲਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਕਰੀ ਬਡਾਈ॥ ਭੂਅ ਅਰਹੰਤ ਦੇਵ ਬਨ ਆਯੋ॥ ਆਨ ਅਉਰ ਹੀ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਯੋ॥ ੮॥ DG 18
Bisen Dev Agiaya Jub Paiyee. Kaalpurakh Ke Karee Badayee. Bhu Arhant Dev Bun Aiyo. Aan Aur Hee Panth Chaleyo.
Vishu praised Mahakaal/Shivji in heaven to obtain his powers and come to earth as a devta. But he came on earth and started his own different spiritual path.
It goes without saying that the devotees of Vishnu (and their respective incarnations) would consider such narratives as DISTORTION of their spiritual truths, or even the creation of “new truths” or “previously non-existent realities.” At the very worst, they would consider such distortions as blasphemous.
Note: The word in the verses above is KAAL PURAKH – the Purakh (entity) of Death. The reference is therefore to Shivji / Mahakaal– the Deity of Death. This is NOT to be confused with AKAAL PURAKH – the God of SGGS who is BEYOND Death.
SUBJUGATING VALMEEK THE WRITER OF RAMAYAN AND SITA.
Valmeek the sage is accepted by devotees of Ram Chandar (one of the 24 Avtars of Vishnu) as the author of the most authentic version of the Ramayan.
In the following concluding verses of the composition Raam Avtar in the DG, this sage is shown to be a worshipper of Durga !! Such an attempt of subjugation will probably turn the sage – a devout and staunch devotee of Ram Chander – in his grave.
ਮੁਨੀ ਬਾਲਮੀਕੰ ਸ੍ਰਤੰ ਦੀਨ ਬਾਨੀ॥ … ਸੀਆ (ਸੀਤਾ) ਸੰਗ ਿਲੀਨੇ ਗਯੋ ਧਾਮ ਆਪੰ॥ ਮਨੋ ਬਚ ਕਰਮੰ ‘ਦੁਰਗਾ ਜਾਪ’ ਜਾਪੰ॥ ੭੨੪॥ ਇਤੀ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਬਚਤ੍ਰਿ ਨਾਟਕੇ ਰਾਮਅਵਤਾਰ ਦੁਇ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਊਤਪਨੇ ਧਆਿਉ ਸਮਾਪਤੰ॥ ੨੧॥ DG 245
Munee Balmeekung Satrung Deen Banee. Sita Sang Leeney Gyo Dhaam Aapung. Mano Bach Karmung Durga Jaap Jaapung. 724. Et Sri Bachitar Natekey Ram Avtar Doe Putar Utpuney Dhiao Samaptung.
The sage Valmeek discovered (the wondering) Sita (Ram Chander ji’s consort) and brought her to his home. Therein Durga was mediated / chanted upon to fulfill the desires of their minds.
Given that the desires of both Valmeek and Sita were to reunite with Ram Chander, it was Durga who fulfilled their wishes!
In essence therefore, what these verses are suggesting is that Rishi Valmeek and Sita (Ram’s wife) were Durga worshippers. As blasphemous as such may sound to devotees of Ram Chander and Sita ji – such is the outcome of Sect based subjugation.
SUBJUGATING THE FEMALE DEVOTEES (GOPIS) OF KRISHEN JI
The DG has a composition dedicated to the Gopis of Krihsen (also one of the 24 Avtars of Vishnu). It is titled Gopi Baach (Gopi prayers) as follows:
ਗੋਪੀ ਬਾਚ॥ ਅਡ਼ਲਿ॥ ਧੰਨ ਿਚੰਡਕਾ ਮਾਤ ਹਮੈ ਬਰ ਇਹ ਦਯੋ॥ ਧੰਨ ਿਦਯੋਸ ਹੈ ਆਜ ਕਾਨ ਹਮ ਮਤਿ ਭਯੋ॥’ਦੁਰਗਾ’ ਅਬ ਇਹ ਕਰਿਪਾ ਹਮ ਪਰ ਕੀਜੀਐ॥ ਹੋ ਕਾਨ੍ਹਨ ਕੌ ਬਹੁ ਦਵਿਸ ਸੁ ਦੇਖਨ ਦੀਜੀਐ॥ ੨੮੩॥ DG 289
Gopi Baach. Arell. Dhan Chandika Maat Hamey Bar Eh Dayo. Ddhun Dyo Hai Aaj Kaan Hum Mit Byaho. Durga Ab Eh Kirpa Hum Pur Keejeay. Ho Kahnan Ko Bhu Divas So Dekhan Deejeay.
O Great Chadi Mother (we pray) give us this boon. Your grace blessed us with this day that we are able to meet with our beloved Krishen. Durga please bless us further so that we may be able to see our Krishen for a longer period (many days).
In essence therefore, Krishenji’s devout Gopis are depicted as praying to Durga, and asking for her blessings that they may meet with their God Krishen !! The depiction of the above verse is that the Gopis are only able to meet with Krishen upon receiving the blessings of Durga !
Why would the Gopis who are devotees of Krishen be praying to Durga when the whole Krishen world prays to Krishen as their Bhagwan is the million dollar question.
Again, as blesphemous as such a narrative may sound to the devotees of Krishenji, such is the nature of subjugation of rival deities.
SUBJUGATION OF SIKHI
Having attempted to subjugate just about every other spirituality, there wasn’t a reason to leave Sikhi alone.
But the DG writers would deploy the most novel, innovative and devious ways to subjugate Sikhi and Guru Gobind Singh ji to Shivji, Mahakaal, and Durga.
So devious is the subjugation that the Sikh spiritual world would be forever entangled in a quagmire of whether Guru Gobind Singh ji had anything to do with DG; and get caught in a vicious cycle of conflict and in some cases violence that threatens to split the panth into two.
The discussion of Subjugation of Sikhi will continue in PART 3 of this series.