Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictory

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by spnadmin, Apr 12, 2009.


  1. spnadmin

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    The thread has been started to provide a place for comparisons of various translations into English of Shabads in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj. There are times when approved translations of the Granth do not agree at the level of understanding; and consequently the translation into English will be different. Yet, at other times, approved translations do seem to agree at the level of understanding, but the translation into English can be dramatically different.

    Discussions must be accompanied by two or more translations of a verse accompanied by the entire shabad in which the verse appears. You can then add your own understanding, and/or your critique of a particular translation.

    The thread should not be a place where an individual's translation is the only thing offered, as the purpose of the thread is to compare and contrast established translations approved by the SGPC.

    Approved translations are by the following scholars of Sikhism:

    1. Professor Sahib Singh (English translation of Japji Sahib only)
    2. Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa (author of the broad translation, also called the Khalsa Consensus)
    3. Dr. Gurbachan Singh Talib (this translaiton in 5 volumes is an English-only translation, and it is accompanied by extensive commentary and footnotes)
    4. Bhai Sardar Manmohan Singh
    5. Dr. Gopal Singh

    For your convenience the following link to SriGranth has been given below

    Sri Granth
     
  2. vsgrewal48895

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    English translation of a hymn by various writers

    Dear Teji Ji,

    I posted the following hymn in the post of “Meat in Sikhism” under the notion that to consume any kind of meat should be a matter of personal preference on the basis of taste etc, as it is foolhardy to bring religion into this issue. I referred to the following hymn of Bhagat Kabir after referring to Guru Nanak’s hymn in Siri Raag that eating mind altering substances is no good for Sikhs. Since meat eating does not affect the mind and further clarified by Guru Nanak in Raag Malar does not prohibit eating meat except on individual preferences. Here are various translations of the hymn by different authors.

    ਕਬੀਰਭਾਂਗਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ
    Kabir Bhaang Maachulee Sura Paan Jo Jo Praanee Khaaneh, Teerath Barat Naym Keeay Tay Sabhay Rasaatal Jaaneh.

    Translation by Macauliffe in The Sikh Religion-Vol-6, Page, 314-published 1909

    Kabir, the mortals who eat bhang, fish (Banares Pundits used to eat fish at the time of Kabir) and drink wine, shall go to hell, whatever pilgramages, fastings, and daily devotion they may perform.

    Translation by Gurbachan Singh Talib, Vol 4, Page, 2751

    Saith Kabir:Creatures that consume hemp, fish or liquor, Even though visiting holy spots, keeping fasts and vows, All to nethermost hell must go.

    Translation by Manmohan Singh Vol 8, 1969, Page, 4545

    Kabir, who so ever of the mortals partake of meat (Translated from Bhang), fish, and wine; What ever pilgramages, fasting and daily rites they may perform, they all go to hell.

    Translation by Gurbachan Singh Makin, Vol 4, Page, 1376/2759

    O Kabir! Thev persons, who partake of wine, meat,(Extra) and fish (or any viscious thing) waste all their efforts visiting holy place of pilgramage, keeping fasts and other religious formalities as nothing fruitful could be gained by them.

    Translation by Sant Singh Khalsa.

    Kabir, those mortals who consume marijuana, fish and wine no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.-----Bhagat Kabir Slokes # 233, AGGS, Page, 1377-2 & 3
    Two authors added the word meat, one in place of fish and the other just an additional word.

    Cordially,
    Virinder
     
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  3. pk70

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    Re: Tranlations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictory

    [FONT=&quot]aad Bhain Jio[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Thanks for starting the thread.

    All who have translated or done interpretation of SGGS, deserve our thanks for putting so much hard work; however, holding them as the final and right benchmark is folly. My personal experience to understand Gurbani is not from them but to ponder over whole Shabadas and try to dig down what actually is being said. Always keep outer influences away. Surprisingly different or clearer meanings come up by contemplating on it seriously instead of just reading and translating the words used in there. Let me give you just example how contemplated one and how the one translated by looking on the words give different satisfaction. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    Here it is[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿਬੂਝੈਤਤੁਬੀਚਾਰਾ[FONT=&quot]॥[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    Gurmuk[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]ẖ[/FONT][FONT=&quot] būj[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ẖ[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ai [/FONT][FONT=&quot]ṯ[/FONT][FONT=&quot]a[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ṯ[/FONT][FONT=&quot] bīc[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ẖ[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ārā.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Guru willed comes to understand the essence of reality; and reflects on It[/FONT][FONT=&quot].-[/FONT][FONT=&quot]----Guru Nanak, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 109-17[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Doesn’t it mean first Guru –willed understand it without reflecting on it? So what is missing in above translation, let’s see at contemplated translation[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Guru willed comes to understand the essence of reality by reflecting on it.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Lets look at another one[/FONT]
    ਸਚੁਵਾਪਾਰੁਕਰਹੁਵਾਪਾਰੀ[FONT=&quot]॥[/FONT]ਦਰਗਹਨਿਬਹੈਖੇਪਤੁਮਾਰੀ[FONT=&quot]॥[/FONT]

    Sac
    [FONT=&quot]ẖ[/FONT] vāpār karahu vāpārī. [FONT=&quot]Ḏ[/FONT]argeh nibhai k[FONT=&quot]ẖ[/FONT]ėp [FONT=&quot]ṯ[/FONT]umārī.

    This is the only merchandise of Truth, worth trading in life so that your business will be considered useful and fruitful in the Court of Akal Purkh.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 293-6

    Think about the extra baggage of words translator has used above, seems he has problem to contemplate and find the Message
    Now look at the following interpretation by contemplating.
    “Ho Trader ( Oh mortal!), trade in the eternal Truth-Almighty( means contemplate on Him), this is the trade that will be accepted in His court
    The more you search for the message; more the same words will help you to find the Guru Message.
    I am here just for suggestion; since I started understanding Gurbani like this, my dependency on translators has gone.
    Thanks.
     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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  5. Tejwant Singh

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    Re: Tranlations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictory

    Pk 70 ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You are right about the translators as also mentioned in the other thread started by Virinder ji. I woudl request Antonia ji to combine these 2 threads.

    Whose translations are you using above and I wanted to know if they differ from other translations from different scholars in your opinion. If they do then in what way?

    It will be interesting to do the comparative study using different translators' understanding of the same Shabad.

    Secondly can you elaborate what you mean by ( means contemplate on Him), in lay man's terms and how one can relate to it in everyday life? This phrase is often used by many scholars.

    Thanks
    Tejwant Singh
     
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Tejwant Ji,

    You correctly observe..TRADING...Contemplating ON...are used by most scholars..
    To me..in lay mans terms...TRADING IN..means USING....deep study...and contemplate..means FOLLOW and APPLY...in our Daily Life.

    Example is HONESTY. Honesty is a trait of HIM...and iF we "trade" in honesty..we apply HONESTY in everything we do in our daily LIFE...that would be "contemplating on HIM (honesty)...constantly KEEPING HONESTY IN MIND..no white lies even...the more totally honest..the deeper the contemplation..

    HE is SAT..the TRUTH....TRADING in SAT would be The Whole Truth and nothing but the TRUTH...
    Applying that would be NIROL TRUTH IN ALL and each action we take in our daily Lives...contemplating on HIM (TRUTH SAT ) means keeping that in MIND at all times..even sleeping and dont LIE evn in a dream..

    He is the GREATEST SHARER...waand chhaknna...Trade in SHARING...keep it in Mind always...

    IN SHORT..its HIM..Keep HIM in Mind always..TRY and BE LIKE HIM....small things..one at a time..until our entire life BECOMES HIM....ONLY HIM....

    2.Contempalting is not "idle thinking...day dreaming...about...... HIM. NO. Its got to be PRACTICAL application in ordinary everyday LIFE.

    my humble thoughts...:hmm:
     
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  7. Tejwant Singh

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Gyani ji,

    Guru fateh.

    I agree with you. Contemplating in other words is putting the Gurmat engine together with the help of SGGS, piece by piece, within and then start it and take it for a ride on the Gurmat journey by sharing goodness with others.

    And then what happens when we do that? I

    Its result is explained beautifully in Japji by Guru Nanak: Gaviei, sunhiei, munn rakhiei bhao. Dukh par har sukh ghar lei jaie.

    Tejwant Singh
     
  8. lalihayer

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    Re: English translation of a hymn by various writers

    ਗੱਲ ਸਿਰਫ ਐਨੀ ਹੈ, "ਐਥੋਂ ਪੁੱਟ ਤੇ ਐਤੇ ਲਾ।"
    ਮਨ ਸਰੀਰਕ ਸੁਆਦਾਂ 'ਚੋਂ ਨਿਕਲਿਆ ਨਹੀਂ, ਫਿਰ ਫੋਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਾਂਡਾਂ ਦਾ ਕੀ ਫਾਇਦਾ? ਇੱਕ ਹੱਥ ਨਾਲ ਪਿੱਛਾ ਘੁੱਟ ਕੇ ਫੜਿਆ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸੇ ਅਗਾਂਹ ਨੂੰ ਛਾਲਾਂ ਮਾਰਨ ਦਾ ਕੀ ਫਾਇਦਾ?
    ਪਰ ਕਈ ਮੀਟ ਖਾਣ ਜਾਂ ਨਾ ਖਾਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਬਹਿਸ ਵਾਲੇ ਮੂਰਖ, ਇਸ ਤੁਕ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਮਤਲਬ ਲਈ ਵੀ ਵਰਤਦੇ ਨੇ। ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਇਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਦਸਦੇ ਕਿ ਕੀ ਖਾਣਾ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਕੀ ਨਹੀਂ।
     
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  9. vsgrewal48895

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Dear Lalihayer Ji,

    What you have written is correct. The same sentence was the begining lines of the abstract in the article posted as "Meat in Sikhism". It was hijacked. This time the hymn is being used as to what the translators miss/add etc in doing their job.

    Thanks again for stressing the issue.

    Cordially,

    Virinder
     
  10. spnadmin

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Forum members -- before this thread goes off track, please do not post in Punjabi. My respect for all of you is without limit. However, I set up some rules at the beginning of the thread so that we keep our noses to the translations of Guruji into English and compare English translations.

    Would some one please translate the response by Forum Member Lallihayer ji to Virinder ji in post number 8?

    What will we learn if we are talking about English translations and an explanation is given in a language that English speakers cannot read? The same is true for responses that explain Gurbani using the thinking of Professor Sahib Singh as written in Punjabi. What is learned about English translations when the discussion is in Punjabi.
    It is almost like keeping what one knows a secret. Thank you: aad0002
     
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  11. spnadmin

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    Re: English translation of a hymn by various writers

    Virinder ji and other participants,

    Thank you for providing the various translations, I am re-posting part of your original post in order to move in the direction of comparing meanings based on differences in translation.

    Here is what you posted, as translations by 5 scholars:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ਕਬੀਰਭਾਂਗਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ
    Kabir Bhaang Maachulee Sura Paan Jo Jo Praanee Khaaneh, Teerath Barat Naym Keeay Tay Sabhay Rasaatal Jaaneh.

    Translation by Macauliffe in The Sikh Religion-Vol-6, Page, 314-published 1909

    Kabir, the mortals who eat bhang, fish (Banares Pundits used to eat fish at the time of Kabir) and drink wine, shall go to hell, whatever pilgramages, fastings, and daily devotion they may perform.

    Translation by Gurbachan Singh Talib, Vol 4, Page, 2751
    Source:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24574

    Saith Kabir:Creatures that consume hemp, fish or liquor, Even though visiting holy spots, keeping fasts and vows, All to nethermost hell must go.

    Translation by Manmohan Singh Vol 8, 1969, Page, 4545

    Kabir, who so ever of the mortals partake of meat (Translated from Bhang), fish, and wine; What ever pilgramages, fasting and daily rites they may perform, they all go to hell.

    Translation by Gurbachan Singh Makin, Vol 4, Page, 1376/2759

    O Kabir! Thev persons, who partake of wine, meat,(Extra) and fish (or any viscious thing) waste all their efforts visiting holy place of pilgramage, keeping fasts and other religious formalities as nothing fruitful could be gained by them.

    Translation by Sant Singh Khalsa.

    Kabir, those mortals who consume marijuana, fish and wine no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.-----Bhagat Kabir Slokes # 233, AGGS, Page, 1377-2 & 3
    Two authors added the word meat, one in place of fish and the other just an additional word.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I have three questions:

    1. What would be the reason or motivation for a translator to "add" a word (in this case meat) when it is obviously not there. I have observed this in other translations of parts of Granth Sahib Maharaj. The reason cannot be to "clarify" Kabir's meaning in this particular line because bhang, fish and wine/liquor is very specific.

    2. Does the basic or essential meaning of the line differ in spite of the differences in translation?

    3. Do we have good reason to believe that Kabir ji is not specifically concerned about bhang, fish and wine/alcohol but instead these refer to or symbolize states of mind on the part of individuals who use them.? As symbols of their arrogance of social status? Or the use of costly foods and substances to brag about their prestige and wealth? Or even the mental amd moral confusion and tendencies to ego, lust, greed, atachment, even anger (in drunkenness) that these substances might cause?

    Many thanks for your explanations.
     
  12. lalihayer

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    aadji, I have no secret. Punjabi is not a secret language. I just got overwhelmed by fact that we can type language of our beloved Guru on internet even without installed fonts.
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    You are just like me then -- because I am font-crazy. Please translate for us, lallihayer ji.

    :wah:
     
  14. lalihayer

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    What Kabir ji is saying is that on one side we are still engrossed in physical pleasures (taste of meat, intoxicants etc), but on the other side we are doing religious rituals like fast, pilgrimage etc. It is like with one hand we are still holding tight onto this mortal world, but trying hard to reach next world.
    If we can't overcome our physical desires, how can we reach our eternal home, which is beyond this physical body and its tempetations.
    But some fools, who debate about meat consumption (fools is word given by Satguru to these debaters), use this tuk in their point against meat. Guru Granth Sahib is not our eating manual or some kind of rehatnama, it is our spiritual enlightener.
    I tried to say in English, but Punjabi is my first langugae and English is second.
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Lallihayer ji

    Your English is about as good as mine. Thanks for providing the explanation. :thumbup:
     
  16. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Guur Piayare Grewal ji,
    Gurfateh.

    "hijacked" ?? Forgive me for "hijacking" just one word from your message.
    but surely....GURBANI belongs to ALL...no one can claim it was "hijacked"..only the owner can do that.
    THIS is WHY i advocate COMPLETE SHABADS complete with RAHAO TUKS. That way NOBODY can hijack anything !! the perfect "anti-Hijack" device...

    Have a HAPPY KHALSA DAY Ji.

    Cordially

    jarnail Singh
     
  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    aad ji,
    Lallihayer is saying...Its a matter of UPROOTING from one side and REPLANTING on the other...
    uproot from the world of Maya..and replant in the world of Naam..
    how can we JUMP Forward..IF we HOLD on tightly to our PAST...we put one foot forward..but the other is held fast towards the back...summary of hsi post in Punajbi. Forgive any ommissisons and exceptions.

    PS. My addition.
    Bulleh Shah was bust planting ONIONS..when a person passed by and asked him...How to Japp Naam.
    Bulleh who was busy UPROOTING the seedlings and then going on to the FIELD and REPLANTING the uprooted seedlings of onions...said these words...Ethron puttnna ate udhar laavnna..uproot from here..and replant there...uproot your MIND from this world..and replant it in Naam !! Success.:wah:
     
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  18. spnadmin

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Actually the thread was hijacked by a moderator when it was merged with Fools Who Wrangle over Flesh.

     
  19. Amarpal

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    Re: Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj: The Difficult and the Contradictor

    Dear Tejwant Singh Ji and aad0002 Ji

    The following hymn I have taken from Virinder Singh Ji's post under the refered heading.

    ਕਬੀਰਭਾਂਗਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ
    Kabir Bhaang Maachulee Sura Paan Jo Jo Praanee Khaaneh, Teerath Barat Naym Keeay Tay Sabhay Rasaatal Jaaneh.

    I do not translate the hymns from Siri Guru Granth Sahib but explain the meaning as I understand. I am doing the same here also.

    Before I come to explain the meaning, I need to convey the premise of my thinking base on which I elaborate on the hymn.

    (i) Sikhi emphasis the purity in the functioning of the brain so that its soft output 'The Mind' is pure.

    (ii) There is no human who can be said to be vegetarian in the strict sense of the word. The first nourishment that I got after my birth was not of vegetable origin, it was my mother's milk. Curd that most of the so called vegetarians eat is of animal origin in which live bacteria’s keep multiplying. Butter and Ghee to are of animal origin. This blurs the distinction between Vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

    (iii) Nature has not created us in a manner which allows us to synthesize the nutrients the way plant are able to do. We are dependent on plant and animal kingdom for our food.

    (iv) Whenever we eat we terminate some life, either of plant or animal. The egg and seeds (grains and pulses) that we consume are all suspended lives. Given the proper environment life comes to them. We cannot help not doing it. Keeping the body in proper form is our sacred duty.

    (v) The history of Sikh Gurus that I know tells me that Siri Guru Nanak has eaten meat on the day when the other Sadhus of dominant religion of the land were fasting.

    (vi) To me hell and heaven are not to designated places where people go after death. These words denote two extreme states of our living. When there are conflicts in mind, one is not able to provide for himself and his family, it is afflicted by maladies and the children go astray etc, etc. it is hell; absence of all these are heaven. In other wards painful living is hell and living in pleasures in heaven.

    Now I come to explain the truth in the Hymn of Bhagat Kabir.

    Kabir Ji has said the people who consume intoxicants will go to hell. Hell means that such individual will life a painful life. He is right in saying so.

    I will first talk about the intoxicants and then meat.

    All the intoxicants, which Bhagat Kabir has mentioned in the hymn and others which are not mentioned specifically, impact on the proper and pure functioning of the brain. Such functioning of the brain creates a corrupted mind. The action which such mind will take will initiate a series of karmic cycles. The consequences of such Karmas when they mature and impact on this person’s life will bring miseries to it. This way the person is condemned to hell, which Bhagat Kabir Ji has said.

    Now I come to the meat mentioned in this Hymn of Bhagat Kabir Ji.

    First I establish the linkage between the meat that we eat and the impact it has on us.

    We all know that the companies in the business of meat feed hormones to animals to increase the meat production. When we consume such meat those hormones enter into our body and effect our body formation too. This in a very broad sense tells that we become what we eat. This is the linkage.

    When we eat meat, even the natural hormones that are present into it find their way to enter our body. We all know the hormones affect our behavior. The animal hormones that get into us through the Non-vegetarian food chain bring animality in our nature. The person who consumes meat day in and day out will move more and more in the direction in which the ingested hormones take him; the potential is that the person will loose more on Satvikta and gain in Rajsikta (aggressiveness, activity, restlessness etc). This animality in the person may make the person commit acts which the person may have to regret later as they bring misery to the person’s life and thus create hell for him. This is what Kabir Sahib said in the hymn above.

    Here is a rider. The person who consumes meat once in a while does not accumulate the hormones to the extent needed to change the behavior of the person, and pus it deep into Rajsikta. This was the case of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who ate meat offered by one of his disciple.

    This means eating meat its self is not bad, but those who are trying for spiritual evolution, as was the case with Bhagat Kabir Ji, consuming it and then loosing the goal he has set for himself was like going to hell.

    It is for the reader to select from among the different translations, which were referred in the post of Virinder Singh Ji. I have no observation to make on the translations. I have shared what I understand from it. It is not a translation.

    With this I close the post.

    With love and respect for all.

    Amarpal Singh
     
  20. ravneet_sb

    Writer SPNer

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    Sat Sri Akaal,


    On on side guru ji focussed on people,

    who eat flesh, drink liquor

    and on other side

    who go pilgrims do fasting etc,

    the later feels high while performing such actions.

    for both of them

    But Kabir Ji says all former and later face hell (negativity of mind)



    Only practise of truth (Thought Speech and Action) is the way to salvation.

    For human mind,

    practise of this truth ( Thought speech and action) all in straight line is near to impossible.

    Eating flesh and fasting are no way to get rid of negativity of mind (HELL)

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
     
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