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Reference to Vaishnavic Thought in Sikh Philosophy - 2
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 20:11:08 PDT

Here is Article # 2 - the link and the actual article:

Ram in Sikh Thought
Posted By N. Tiwari 

This post of mine is an attempt to higlight the bhakti of 10 Gurus, 
of the saguna aspect of God. Quite often, the modern Sikh clergy has 
claimed, incorrectly in my opinion, that God and form do not go 
together as per Sikh thought. One of the key arguments of the clergy 
has been that on the basis of the Sikh scriptures, (the Guru Granth 
Sahib), it cannot be shown that the Sikh Gurus in any way were 
worshipping Gods who possessed form. It has also been claimed that 
whenever Nanak et al allude to Ram, Shiva, etc., that they allude to 
them as mere names of the Nirguna Bramha, and not Ram the person, who 
is supposed to be an avatar of Vishnu, as per Hindu thought. 

What I produce below are 5 verses, from the Sikh texts themselves, 
which refute this theological stance of modern Sikh clergy. The five 
verses are taken from the compositions of Nanak et al, and clearly 
show that the person being alluded to as God, at least in these 
verses, do possess form. In short, the Sikh Gurus, at least in these 
verses, are offering their prayers to Saguna Bramha. It is not that 
there are only 5 such verses which prove this assertion of mine. A 
careful study of Sikh scriptures will reveal that the number of such 
verses runs into several hundreds. 

1. pitaa prahlad siu guraj uthaai, kahan tamaaraa jagdees gusian
jagjeevanu daataa anti sakhaai, jah dekha tah rahia ramaai 

(Bhairav Mahla) 

This verse alludes to the Narsimha avatar. The demonic father of 
Prahlad, Hiranyaksha threatened his son and was trying to kill him. 
He wanted to see if the Lord could come out of a pillar to save him. 
And the Lord did come out of the pillar, in the form of a half lion, 
half man, and killed the demon. The poet here is calling Narsimha as 
Jagadeesh (God), and further says that He exists wherever you can see 
Him. He pays obesiance to a form (Narsimha) which in Hindu thought is 
a manifestation of Vishnu. 

2. raam kathaa jug jug atal, jo koi gaavey neta 
swarga vaas dashrath kiyo, saglee puri sameta 

(Dasham Granth) 

In this composition, Guru Govind Singh alludes to the greatness of 
Lord Ram and His story. He calls him as Raghuvar (the best among the 
line of Raghu, an obvious reference to Ram, the son of Dashrath). He 
calls him so great that upon his death, he took along with himself 
the entire people of Ayodhya to the heavens. 

3. man mahi jhoorey ramchandu, sita lachman jogu 
hanvantaru aaraadhiaa, aaiaa kari sanjogu 
bhoola daitya na samjhai, tini prabha kiye kaam 
nanak beparvaahu so, kiratu na mitai raam 

(Vara te Vadhik Mahla) 

In this verse, Guru Nanak essentially says that Ravan (the ignorant 
daitya) did not understand that Hanuman and Sugriv were serving the 
Lord without expecting anything in return. He, unlike Hanuman and 
Sugreeva, did not realize the divine nature of the Lord. And Lord Ram 
is above worries. He does not have any worries. But throughout his 
life, he showed to the average people that every act is associated 
with definite consequences. In this verse, Nanak is calling Ram as 
Prabhu, and this Ram is the same to whom Hanuman (Hanvantaru 
aaraadhiaa) worships. 

4 kahu nanak iha vipati mein, teka eka raghunaath 

(Salok Mahla) 

Here, Nanak says that the Lord of Rahhus (Lord Ram) (here called 
Raghunath) is the only source of support during bad times. He relates 
Ram to Raghu, the ancestor of Lord Ram, the incarnation of Vishnu. 

5. ramchandi maario ahi ravanu, bhedu bibheeshan gurmukhi parchaainu 
gurmukhi bandhio setu bidhaatey, lanka lootee daita santaapey 
ramchandi maario ahi ravanu, bhedu bibheeshan gurmukhi parchaainu 
gurmukhi saain pahan taarey, gurmukhi koti taintees udhaarey 

(Ramkali Mahla) 

The Gurmukh (here Lord Ram) killed Ahiravan (brother of Ravan). He 
looted Lanka, bridged the ocean, and killed Ravan with the help of 
Vibhishan. He caused the stones to float over the oceans, and 
liberated (gave moksha) to 33 crore souls. 

(Here, we are clearly hearing about the exploits of Ram, the Vishnu 
avataar, who is credited as having liberated 33 crore souls, and who 
created the miracle of floating stone over water.) 

-- Nachiketa Tiwari 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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