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Tying Bonds of Unity at Guru ki Maseet

Discussion in 'Essays on Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    AS the light in the gurdwara courtyard grew golden, an unusual meeting took place between Baba Kirtan Singh, head of the Nihang Taran Dal in Baba Bakala, and Dr Mohammad Rizwanul Haque, Secretary of the Central Wakf Council, Delhi. The two men sat facing each other on simple string charpoys to discuss their shared interests in a masjid built by a Sikh Guru.

    [​IMG]

    It was like observing master weavers at work as they interlaced two of the many threads that make up the rich tapestry of India’s religious and cultural fabric. Dr Haque sat leaning forward, listening raptly in order to make out the wavering but urgent voice of the elderly Sikh.


    Baba Kirtan Singh had come prepared, bringing with him several texts of Sikh history, some written in Gurmukhi and others in Persian script. He read from the records about the Sikh Guru’s conversion of the house of a dead Muslim into a masjid and the setting up of a langar for the poor. He also told of an encounter between Guru Nanak and some Muslims that ended with the declaration that "if Hindus are the left hand, then Muslims are the right, and we all believe in the one true God." In this way, Baba Kirtan Singh skillfully wove together the history of the Gurus and the present situation, the preservation and maintenance of a place — the Guru ki Maseet in Sri Hargobindpur— that is precious to both the communities


    The maseet is picturesquely situated on a hill overlooking a curve in the mighty Beas river. After coming to the region in the early 17th century, Guru Hargobind built temples, gurdwaras, and a masjid to accommodate the spiritual needs of all the inhabitants. Since Partition there has been no Muslim population in the area. In the intervening years, the care of the site was taken up by Nihangs sent by Baba Kirtan Singh from his base in Baba Bakala, some 20 kilometres away. The present sevadar, Baba Balwant Singh, has been at the site since 1984, clearing weeds, sweeping dust, preparing langar, and fulfilling all the other obligations of his faith in service to the Guru, his Baba, and the Sikh tradition.


    In 1997, a survey team with the Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative (CRCI) came to the town and saw the maseet. Recognizing the value of the building, the group began to undertake the restoration of the mosque as part of the UNESCO and UNDP-UNV’s "Culture of Peace" programme, and with additional financial support from the US-based Sikh Foundation.


    However, some hurdles had to be cleared. The area around the maseet had been encroached upon, the hillside was eroding and needed shoring up, and the local residents seemed largely unaware of this unique treasure and were not entirely comfortable with the Nihang presence at the site. Furthermore, a bir of the Guru Granth Sahib had been placed within the mosque and a Nishan Sahib erected near it, making the building’s identity as a maseet questionable.


    As the restoration work began, the encroachment was cleared and the land cleaned up. A neighbour donated a piece of land and further property was purchased by CRCI with the assistance of UNESCO and the Sikh Foundation. Local residents contributed their time and energy to the site by organising a large seva with a langar that brought people from the entire region to the maseet — to see it, learn about it, and help it survive. People who had initially been skeptical or even afraid of the Nihangs began to learn about their beliefs and practices and now frequently and unhesitatingly visit the site to see the progress of the project.


    Finally, a new space was built and the Guru Granth Sahib was moved out of the maseet. Various officials from the local Wakf Board, members of the SGPC, MLAs and Members of Parliament have visited the maseet and responded to queries from members of their communities who wished to know about the status of the site. All of these events culminated in the meeting on February 8 between Dr Haque and Baba Kirtan Singh in order to determine the future of the Guru ki Maseet.


    The white-bearded elderly man in the blue and white turban sitting on one charpoy with his pile of books lovingly wrapped in cloth contrasted sharply in appearance, age and religion with the much younger, clean-shaven man in western clothes perched across from him. Yet at this meeting their unity of purpose and the similarity of their thinking was equally apparent.


    Seeking common ground, Dr Haque had traveled a long and bumpy road from Delhi to Punjab to find Baba Kirtan Singh at his gurdwara. Baba Kirtan Singh had also made a long journey -- into the annals of Sikh history to discover precedents from the past that would strengthen the bonds of the two communities. The two men made great efforts to understand each other, to hear and be heard as they discussed the ways in which both communities could simultaneously live up to their interest and obligations to preserve and maintain the Guru’s maseet. They were helped in speaking to each other across languages and traditions by the translations of Punjab Wakf Board CEO Ikhlaq Ahmad Khan and CRCI Director Gurmeet Rai. As the conversation proceeded in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu, the matter was clarified and an understanding reached. The Guru had built a masjid.


    As Baba Kirtan Singh put it, "This maseet was established by our Guru. It is a maseet, but it is as important to us as a gurdwara." Dr Haque echoed this sentiment, declaring, "Your Guru built a maseet and it was his intention that Muslims come and perform namaz there. There are no Muslims now, but you (the Nihangs) have been preserving it very well and we all want it to stay in its original form." Later Baba Kirtan Singh stated that just as Muslims testify to the oneness of God, Sikhs say Sat Sri Akal. He again assured Dr Haque and the other representatives from the Wakf Board that they should not worry at all, the building would be kept as a maseet, as the Guru had wanted.


    [​IMG]


    If the Guru built a mosque, it should be understood as more than a conciliatory gesture towards the other community. It was an act of community-building by a leader whose Miri-Piri sensibilities were steeped in the devotional traditions of Nanak, Baba Farid, Kabir and Namdev. The masjid is not simply a place sacred in various ways to these separate religions. It is an important symbol of the integrated past and present of India’s cultural heritage.


    The maseet as a Muslim space also represents the deeply held principles of equality in Islam. This value is visible in the structure of the mosque itself. The horizontal orientation maximizes the proximity of the faithful to Mecca. It is further evident in the accessibility of the space to all people. Everyone is welcome here in a space that is designed to reflect the oneness of God and the importance of community. There is no rule in Islam against the participation of non-Muslims in the care of a Muslim shrine. On the contrary, there are countless precedents for the collective custody of such places. The only rules pertaining to who may or may not enter a masjid, or for that matter a gurdwara, are rules of adab, or right conduct, by which one shows respect to God, the place, and the assembled people, and oneself by entering in a state of bodily cleanliness with a covered head, bare feet, and a reverent attitude.


    The crucial lesson to learn from this encounter is that these two leaders made deliberate and sincere efforts to meet each other, and to forge, rather than sever, the bonds between their two communities. Instead of seeking precedents and principles that would establish priority of their own claims and interests in the property, both strove to find the events and ideas of the past that would support their sharing of the maseet’s maintenance. In this way they established that sharing the responsibilities that both groups want to assume in the future care of the mosque is a fulfillment of the principles of their faiths. They further demonstrated that this joint project was simply one more example of India’s proud heritage of pluralism.


    With the leadership of people like Dr Haque and Baba Kirtan Singh and the support of the Muslim and Nihang communities, neighbours, visitors, and benefactors, the Guru ki Maseet has every hope of surviving and providing future generations with yet another historic precedent for their efforts to live together in an increasingly plural and diverse society.


    With the sound of the evening rehras permeating the air, providing a soothing sonic background, an agreement to this end was reached — the Guru ki Maseet is a mosque and should remain such, as per the wish of Guru Hargobind. The Nihangs who have cared for and respected the site for so long would continue to oversee its upkeep. The Guru Granth Sahib is in a newly built room at some distance from the maseet.


    The locals of Sri Hargobindpur, who take increasing pride in their unique monument, will continue to support the place, doing seva there and executing plans for a community centre with a garden and library. Muslims who come are free to perform namaz. And visitors from all over the world will have the opportunity to see the Guru ki Maseet as a living example of the depth of India’s integration, past and present.
     
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  3. pk70

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    Thanks Aman ji from my heart.

    That example of built Mosque for Muslims by the Guru clears our doubt about harboring any "anti feelings" against those whose ancestors committed heinous crimes against Gurus and Sikhs. To day Sikhs should embrace members of all faiths as brothers and sisters regardless the propaganda of extremists to turn us against each others. I remember my mentioning of Guru Dee Maseet in one of my posts to negate negative feelings against members of any other fait
    h.:):happy:
     
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  4. Arvind

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    This is a wonderful message all of us need to remember all the time :)
     
  5. Tejwant Singh

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    The above beautiful event shows us how to abide and live by what Guru Nanak said in Mool Mantar- The Blue print of Sikhi- The message for/to ALL, irrespective of the hue,creed or faith.

    That's why in my opinion IK ONG KAAR should not be translated as God or Lord because both are used as personified deities in other religions but ONE SOURCE OF ALL.

    Tejwant Singh
     
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    True to the teachings of Gurbani....the Universal truth for all time..
    Manas ki zaat sabh ek pehchnabo...Na ko beri nahin begana...None is my enemy nor a stranger....ALL men are Brothers.
    Neitehr the Sikh GUrus or thier followers had any enmity or animosity towards anyone..except the TYRANT, the Cheat, the "holy thuggh"..and That also not agaisnt the "person" but his actions and deeds...the PAAP Not the Paappee !!
    Just as no record to equal Guru Teg bahadur Jis Uniqie sacrifice for Religious Freedom and Human Rights of ALL...none exists as equal of this and other Maseets built by SIKHS for their MUSLIM Brothers:happy:
     
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  7. Arvind

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    Tejwant ji,

    In one of the audio recordings (Katha japji Sahib) by Gyani Thakur Singh ji, he has explained IkOamKaar in much detail. A summary of his two hours katha on IkOamKaar is: Ik stands for advait matt, that is open for all... whoever says/listens IkOamKaar gets saved immediately. Oam includes Okaar, Akaar, Makaar for Brahma Vishnu Mahesh, the powers representing creation, preserving and destruction, who are just a part of the Supreme 'Him'. Oam sums up the three and gives power to them. Kaar is the infinite power which supports the Oam - the trinity. So overall IkOamKaar is much more than simple creation, preservation and destruction.

    With Regards,
    Arvind.
     
  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    the word OMKAAR never appears in SGGS even once.
    OANGKAAR....is Name of a Bani.. ( usually called Dakhni Oangkaar due to it being written in Raag Dakhni) and appears many many times...in SGGS

    People who keep on using "OM.... are simply using their own intellect..choice.... to attach towards the Brahmin/Hindu leanings..when this is soundly REJECTED by the entire 1430 pages of GURBANI in SGGS by it being NOT even mentioned....even ONCE ??
    However....here are the 198 names of Goddess DURGA...and each name is preceeded by OM......besides hundreds of thousands of other devis and devtas... :happy:
    108 Names of Goddess Durga


    Om Drugayai Namaha

    Om Shivayai Namaha

    Om Maha Lakshmyai Namaha

    Om Maha Gouryai Namaha

    Om Chandikaye Namaha

    Om Sarva Gynayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Lokeshayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Karma Phala Pradayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Teerdha Mayai Namaha

    Om Pun Yayai Namaha

    Om Deva Yonaye Namaha

    Om Ayoni Jaayai Namaha

    Om Bhume Jaayai Namaha

    Om Nirgu Nayai Namaha

    Om Aadhara Shaktyai Namaha

    Om Aanee Shvaryai Namaha

    Om Nirgu Nayai Namaha

    Om Niramham Karayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Garva Vimar Dhinyai Namaha

    Om Sarva Loka Priyayai Namaha

    Om Vaanyai Namaha

    Om Sarva Vidyadhi Devataayai Namaha

    Om Parvatyai Namaha

    Om Devamatre Namaha

    Om Vanee Shayai Namaha

    Om Vindya Vasinyai Namaha

    Om Tejo Vatyai Namaha

    Om Maha Matre Namaha

    Om Koti Surya Sama Prabhayai Namaha

    Om Deva Tayai Namaha

    Om Vahni Rupayai Namaha

    Om Sate Jase Namaha

    Om Varna Rupinyai Namaha

    Om Guna Shayayai Namaha

    Om Guna Madhyayai Namaha

    Om Guna Traya Vivarji Tayai Namaha

    Om Karma Gynana Pradayai Namaha

    Om Kantayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Samhara Karinyai Namaha

    Om Dharma Gynanayai Namaha

    Om Dharma Nistayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Karma Vivardhi Tayai Namaha

    Om Kamakshmai Namaha

    Om Kama Samhartyai Namaha

    Om Kama Krodha Vivarji Tayai Namaha

    Om Shan Karyai Namaha

    Om Sham Bhavyai Namaha

    Om Shan Tayai Namaha

    Om Chandra Suryagni Lochanayai Namaha

    Om Suja Yayai Namaha

    Om Jaya Bhumi Shtayai Namaha

    Om Jaahnavyai Namaha

    Om Jana Puji Tayai Namaha

    Om Shastrasyai Namaha

    Om Shastra Mayyai Namaha

    Om Nityayai Namaha

    Om Shubhayai Namaha

    Om Chandhrardha Mastakayai Namaha

    Om Bharatyai Namaha

    Om Bramaryai Namaha

    Om Kalpayai Namaha

    Om Karalyai Namaha

    Om Krushana Pingalayai Namaha

    Om Bramhai Namaha

    Om Narayanyai Namaha

    Om Roudryai Namaha

    Om Chandra Mruta Pari Srutayai Namaha

    Om Jyeshtayai Namaha

    Om Indirayai Namaha

    Om Maha Mayayai Namaha

    Om Jagat Grushtya Dhika Rinyai Namaha

    Om Bramhanda Koti Samsdha Nayai Namaha

    Om Kaminyai Namaha

    Om Kamalaa Layayai Namaha

    Om Katya Yanyai Namaha

    Om Kalaa Teetayai Namaha

    Om Kala Samhara Karinyai Namaha

    Om Nishtayai Namah

    Om Yogi Gamyayai Namaha

    Om Yogi Dyeyayai Namaha

    Om Tapa Svinyai Namaha

    Om Gynana Pupayai Namaha

    Om Niraka Rayai Namaha

    Om Bhakta Bhishta Phala Pradayai Namaha

    Om Bhutatme Kayai Namaha

    Om Bhuta Matre Namaha

    Om Bhute Shyai Namaha

    Om Bhuta Darinyai Namaha

    Om Svadhayai Namaha

    Om Naree Madhya Gatayai Namaha

    Om Shada Dharadi Vardhinyai Namaha

    Om Mohitam Shubha Dayai Namaha

    Om Shubhrayai Namaha

    Om Sukshmayai Namaha

    Om Matrayai Namaha

    Om Nirala Sayai Namaha

    Om Nimna Gayai Namaha

    Om Neela Samka Shayai Namaha

    Om Nitya Nandayai Namaha

    Om Harayai Namaha

    Om Paraayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Gynana Pradayai Namaha

    Om Anamtayai Namaha

    Om Satyayai Namaha

    Om Durlabha Rupinyai Namaha

    Om Sarasvatyai Namaha

    Om Sarva Gatayai Namaha

    Om Sarva Bheeshta Inyai Namaha
     
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    #7 Gyani Jarnail Singh, Feb 13, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  9. pk70

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    Thanks Gyani jio, here is obvious guide line to pronounce it correctly, if Sikhs still pronounce it OMKAAR, obviously they do not pay attention how Guru wants them to pronounce it.

    ਏਕਮਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਰਉ ਬੰਦਨਾ ਧਿਆਇ (296 SGGS)
    Ėkam ekankār parab kara▫o banḏẖi▫ā▫e.
    The first day of the lunar cycle: Bow in humility and meditate on the One, the Universal Creator Lord God.
    ਮਃ 5 - view Shabad/Paurhi/Salokਪੰਨਾ 838, ਸਤਰ 19ਏਕਮਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਾ (838SGGS)
    Ėkam ekankār nirālā.
    The First Day: The One Universal Creator is unique,
    ਮਃ 1 -
     
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  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    THANKS to you G. Singh Ji....I agree 110%. Its WE SIKHS who insist on MISPRONOUNCING it.....and Gyani Thakur Singh is no exception as he is Damadmi Taksaal based/trained - No derawadee worth his salt will ever "desert" any such Brahminised/Hinduised roots...they will catch the nose by making the hand go around the neck in the opposite direction !!!

    2. The EKAM stands for ONE...used as the NUMERAL before EK-Oangkaar preamble of SGGS...placed at the beginning of japji Sahib and then each important Raag in SGGS.
    Ekankaar is the Entity that is depicted in the Unique creation of OPEN OORRA attached with the Akaar...That is a LOGO" and NOT a "word" per se. Thus the EK-OANGKAR used by Guru Ji is NOT a Word but a unique LOGO representing the Ekam Ekankaar...Oangkaar that produced Brahma..vishnu..devis..ganeshas..etc etc etc.

    3. These SAME people also DISTORT the KHANDA...into something called a CHAND TORRA...which looks more like a TRISHUL ( and i have seen Trishuls that look exactly like the Chand Torra and they are carried by the Hanuman Sena Bajrang Dal)...the Chakar of the Khanda is CUT into Half Circle..the Khanda's Hatthee is removed...and the Two swords of Miri Piri are also removed. Recently a Group of PANJ PIYARAS In a Nagar Kirtan in Punajb wore such Chand Torras on their Dastaars instead of the Usual KHANDAS. I have no beef with anyone perosnally wearing a chnad torra or anything..but its NOT part of a Panj Piyaras unifrom...and it is NOT a part of any Nishan Sahib...

    Thanks again for the Tuks.
     
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  11. pk70

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    Thanks again to bring the imaginary Sikhi display in light Gyani jio,
    I would call it to kill a religion in slow death. Who will remain aware of the these tactics may stand up against it eventually.One of my very dear Hindu friend Rajinder said once jokingly" We used to give away a son to khalsa every Yaar, it is time to come home" I replied" when a daughter is married off her home is not the mother's house, right, your coming home is a dream.. If Ghar Jawaee" kind of return is needed, home needs to be remodled." His jokes are some time more than jokes as his being active member of BJP.:D He knows I despise politicians, he always says" I am your friend from childhood, so dont count me in politicians" He is a solurce of the hidden compaign which is under way. No wonder Ganesha has entered in Sikhs homes to bring properity:(
     
  12. Arvind

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    This is a very good input Gyani ji... Thanks for clarifying it... You are awesome in explaining as always :)

    with Regards,
    Arvind.
     
  13. Arvind

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    Thanks a lot pk70 ji.. Much appreciated the tuk reference is!

    Regards.
     
  14. Archived_member7

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    WE Sikhs may pronounce it Oang or Hindus as OM ..but it is neither ...it s is a NAAD ...A celestial sound ...The 'M' or 'N' in the end is man made...but it is neither ..it doesnt end into either of the both.

    There are meditational concepts which say that if meditation is done at some particular spot you can hear it ...

    The only time i have heard of the the correct way of saying is when i was listening to a tibetan chant ..the end goes into infinity ..its a vibration ...
     
  15. Arvind

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    rajkhalsa veer ji... what is the tibetan chant? Do you have some recording of that.. any additional information is much appreciated.

    With Regards.
     
  16. Archived_member7

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    tibetan chants ..are chants by the tibetan buddhist monks ..you can hear some samples on www.spiritvoyage.com
     
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