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Gurus Lineage of The Sikh Gurus

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Seeker9, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Seeker9

    Seeker9 United Kingdom
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    Dear all

    I will start by saying I believe in the authority of The Ten Sikh Gurus and the present Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    Whilst on another thread: "Ashamed to be a Sikh" (Post no 100 onwards... (Admin Edit: http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/33014-ashamed-to-be-sikh-11.html#post136387), I noticed another SPN'er raised a bold point about the successor ship of the Ten Gurus and whether or not any of this could be viewed as nepotism....not a word I like incidentally so I would like to ask SPN members to consider whether:

    1) There are some family ties between The Gurus
    2) Whether these family ties had any influence on who was chosen

    For most Sikhs, I would expect their answer to the second question will be an emphatic NO! but I have included the question anyway for the sake of completeness

    With regard to the first question, I can see from other threads the point of whether or not the eldest son was next in line was raised....but for now, I would like to focus on the question of whether or not a family tie existed, irrespective of age

    Again, this is a genuine query on my part and not an attempt to undermine the authority of The Gurus

    I sincerely hope you will trust me on that point and no one will be offended by my asking this

    I have included a diagram below picked up from the Sikh Wiki site and hope some may find this helpful

    Thank you
     

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    #1 Seeker9, Nov 7, 2010
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  3. Seeker9

    Seeker9 United Kingdom
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    I am posting the diagram separately for presentational reasons
     

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  4. spnadmin

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    I have also given the question a lot of thought. The conclusion that I came to is that nepotism is beside the point.

    Frequently I ponder the brilliance of Guru Gobind Singh ji in his decision to make Guru Granth the Everlasting Guru, and to make his khasla the guru on earth. Think of the political turbulence that surrounded him. Any individual human being so designated a Guru would be a target for assassination by Moghuls, or treachery by even his own associates. That would have thrown the panth into fatal confusion.

    Guru Gobind Singh liberated the panth when he vested ethical leadership in granth and panth. This means Guru Gobind Singh concluded that ethical principles should take the place of human personalities, and governing by consensus should take take the place of individual will. That was a very modern decision achieved at that time in few other places in his world.

    We no longer have human gurus. Our final guru is Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Therefore the question of nepotism has little relevance to the present. In the original thread sunmukh ji himself established that nepotism does not in and of itself lead to negative consequences in a business, or in a panth. For that reason, the history of gurus appointing family members seems more of a footnote in history than a looming theme.
     
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  5. Seeker9

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    Dear SPNAdmin Ji

    Yes. as you have noted, clearly Guru Gobind Singh Ji had remarkable vision and foresight

    You have also noted it is a question you pondered at some point in the past....

    As you may have gathered, I am very much learning as I go along .....it is possible that questions you have considered already are new questions for me....

    I hope you will appreciate that if I ask those questions again, it's because they genuinely are questions for me and not beating a dead horse!

    winkingmunda
     
  6. spnadmin

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    seeler9 ji

    I respect what you said up above. And it is because of the need for background and context that I made my remarks. Let's focus on just this one paragraph.

    Here is why I felt the need to make this point. The lineage of the gurus, along with the family tree you kindly posted in this thread, comes up periodically as a topic of conversation at SPN -- usually as one of 3 scenarios.

    1. Someone posing as a Namdari Sikh sees fit to challenge whether Guru Gobind Singh really did intend to end the succession of human gurus.

    2. Someone, actually a muslim getting ready to launch a daw'ah, begins this discussion to put Sikhs on the defensive so they will waste energy on protecting a principle that has already been settled.

    3. Someone is trying to protect a claim that the either the descendants of Guru Gobind Singh (Sodhi family) or Guru Nanak Dev (Bedi family) have spiritual pre-eminence in the panth.

    And as someone who has seen all three arguments rage from time to time, I stepped in. And it is fine if arguments rage. But I will continue to step in. If someone else can help out in that regard, naturally I will not repeat or be redundant.

    :)
     
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  7. Seeker9

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    Ok thanks for the heads up!

    And I am delighted to proclaim that I fall into neither of these categories!!!
    :eek:rangesingh:
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    I am also very happy. This thread can in fact be one where a constructive discussion of the matter can take place. Let's see how things turn out.
     
  9. sunmukh

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    Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

    The diagram posted by Seeker9 ji is very informative, and makes transfer of Gurgaddi very transparent.

    Looking at the tree on it's own and at nothing else at all outside, I personally would conclude that that there probably was nepotism from Guru Amar Das ji onwards. If the names had been say English kings, that is the conclusion I would draw.

    However, nepotism is not necessarily destined to result in poor outcomes. It only means that someone is favoured, from offspring and/or relatives. When someone is looking to transfer control, and if one knows one's family intimately then it is not unwise in any way to pass control to someone in the family who can be fully trusted to manage affairs after the transfer, with great diligence. A great many number of family businesses transfer control in this way, rather than selling up and simply passing on proceeds of sale to one's offspring. The outcome is good for the transferor, for the transferee, and for the customers as they receive continuity of established levels of service.

    Sikhs today have a most excellent and exceptionally wise, Guru - Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Guru ji is far wiser than most people. If sikhs need spiritual advice they will find it in SGGS ji and they will not want for such advice.

    It is very much in the hands of sikhs to take advice from SGGS ji, and then follow it. They cannot change history, and if they are sikhs they cannot choose another Guru. Sikhs have one Guru alone and the Guru provides more than enough advice on spiritual matters. Many, if not most, people who claim to be sikh do not even try to follow all the advice of Guru Ji. If somebody chooses to ignore advice then that is their affair, and I would say their loss as well.

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    sunmukhi ji

    This is the anniversary of the gurgaddi of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, made everlasting Guru 2 days before the death of Guru Gobind Singh ji. Therefore,

    I am going to politely request that "nepotism" no longer be under review. It has negative connotations. In today's usage the term refers to a business practice, and has relevance to the job, career track, and monetary gains that come from it. The contemporary meaning is

    "Nepotism in the business world is the showing of favoritism toward one's family members or friends, in both economic and employment practices. The term "nepotism" is applied to the practice of granting favors or jobs to friends and relatives, without regard to merit."

    Read more: Nepotism http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Mor-Off/Nepotism.html#ixzz14cuJlDoU

    If you are making the case that the gurgaddi was passed from one Guru to the next "without regard for merit" then what you are saying a) makes no sense and b) is undermining Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

    It does not matter how many times you state at the conclusion of a post how fundamental Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is. You undermine your own claim and the Guru Granth itself when you start out by going on about nepostism.

    Why?

    If the gurgaddi was passed from one Guru to the next without regard for merit, then it was also passed to Guru Granth Sahib without regard for merit. All are merged into one. So Guru Granth is undermined by continuing with the nepotism theme.

    Let this be the final time we have to discuss this here or on any other thread. I think you want to have the last word on this point. Unfortunately on this subject it simply is not possible.

    Thank you.
     
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  11. spnadmin

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    Let me reframe Seeker9 ji's starting questions, so we can make a new start.

    Did family ties influence successorship in the lives of the first 10 Guru's? Be specific and refer to specific examples from history. If this was the case, what were the historical realities that surrounded the choice of a family member?
     
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  12. findingmyway

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    Seeker9 Ji,
    I don't think you can avoid taking this into consideration. If the decision was based around family ties, then all gets passed to the eldest son in every culture around the world. However, with the Guru's we have the situation of gurgaddi being passed sometimes to a son-in-law (not even a blood relation and in those times the daughter would not have strong ties with her parental home so a son-in-law would not usually be part of the consideration), sometimes to grandson etc. This is an indication of family ties not being important-but suitability being important.

    When you take into account what each of the Guru's achieved during their time I think it is very clear that gurgaddi was passed on merit alone. Guru Gobind Singh Ji sacrificed his ENTIRE family for the panth, and all the Guru's have the same jyot and therefore the same values so do you really think family ties were honored above anything else or even given any consideration?

    Best wishes,
    Jasleen
     
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  13. Seeker9

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    Dear Jasleen

    It's certainly a valid point

    I think it's also valid to say that a family tie is a family tie even when not to the eldest son.

    I would never for one second dream of making any sort of comparison between the Sikh Gurus and others but purely as a factual observation, there are other paths where successorship has been within the family (e.g nephew) and that has been a source of some criticism for those paths

    This is why I just wanted to consider the family tie and as SPNAdmin Ji very kindly and succinctly restated, whether this was source of any influence

    Thanks
    R
     
  14. spnadmin

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    May I turn the question around, now that I have asked it in the first place? :)

    Assume that someone does believe that all jyote are merged as one. Then would Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji be influenced by family ties?

    Two things I would point out. Guruship was passed according to the one who comprehended the message of Guru Nanak, which is indivisible, and acted in his lifetime accordingly, whether in miri or in piri, because miri and piri are also indistinguishable. The second is that Guru Granth has the legal status of a person in the Indian courts in recognition of the Sikh belief that Guru Granth is Guru. Does this place Guru Granth "in the family?" So both ideas of "influence" and "family" may have unique meanings in this conversation. That is another point to ponder at least for me.
     
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  15. Seeker9

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    Dear SPNAdmin Ji

    Thanks for this...it does help make things a bit clearer for me

    The answer to your first question is very easy...not surprisingly.... it's NO!!!

    I did not appreciate the legal standing of SGGSJ either and to answer your second question...it's NO again!

    I was in 2 minds whether to raise this thread as I suspected it may cause some tension and bad feeling but I think it has been worthwhile

    Thanks again
     
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  16. findingmyway

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    Dear Seeker9 ji,
    You talk about influence but here are some other points to consider.

    Questioning the Guru's decisions to pass on gurgadi is questioning their integrity and decision making. As we know from the bani of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Guru's were faultless after becoming Guru.

    If your decisions are being influenced by factors such as family ties then this implies the Guru's were open to wordly influences. By the fact they were selfless and many died for others during their gurgaddi, we know this cannot be the case. If they were responding to wordly influences then why pass the Guruship to a child or a son-in -law when there are other more suitable candidates from a wordly perspective. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (9th Guru) was the son of Guru Hargobind Ji (6th Guru) which is clearly visible on the family tree you helpfully posted. If the family influence was there then why did Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji not get the Guruship in preference to Guru Har Rai Ji? I would say he was not ready and therefore gurgaddi was passed on based on merit alone.

    The Guru's made no personal gain and it was clear to non-Sikhs also (including the Moghul emperors) that the Guru's were very enlightened souls. As I said many lost their lives for the sake of the people (their followers and others), therefore family ties could not have been the deciding or influencing factor as this would not have happened when looking after family.

    Finally, Sikhi teaches us to treat all as our family so we are always workign for sarbat da bhalla. The Guru's would not have gone against their advice by doing family da bhalla!!

    I hope your questioning has been useful for helping your thought processes! Doubts often become walls inside of ourselves!
     
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  17. Seeker9

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    Thanks
    I am more content now than when I started

    I guess one key indicator of deliberate intent to keep it within the family would have been individual gain...and we have established that never happened...the Gurus were selfless and made great sacrifices...so on that basis I am happy to accept the family thing as being just coincidental

    But at the risk of stirring controversy again I will ask the to date unasked Devil's Advocate question....why having started outside the family, did the Gurgaddi never go back outside the family again?

    Any thoughts to this hypothetical question?

    It would be helpful for me personally so next time someone makes this accusation to me again, I can be better prepared to answer them! This is the key question that those who are critical will always ask....I daresay some of you reading this thread may have come across this question before...so how would you respond to that person?

    Thanks again
     
    #16 Seeker9, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  18. findingmyway

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    As the enlightened souls happened to be born within the same family tree! If Guru Har Gobind Ji or any of the others were in a different fmaily tree then the gurgaddi would have been passed that way. Pure coincidence and completely irrelevant considering what was achieved by the Guru's and the way they behaved. No-one else could have carried out the duties of the Guru better and that is what really counts :seriouskudi:
     
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  19. Seeker9

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    Excellent point and not for debate!!
     
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