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When all other means have failed, it is but Lawful to take to the Sword

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Harry Haller, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Gurfateh,

    I am finding myself more and more endeared to the tenth master, his charisma, style, faith, perception, manner, humour and of course bravery and courage.

    I know many see the first and tenth Gurus as somewhat on different ends of the scale, but as my mother has often said to me, there were different actions for different times, put the tenth master in the shoes of the first one, he would have behaved as Guru Nanak, put Guru Nanak into the tenth masters shoes, he would have behaved as Guru Gobind Singh, some might say the sikh religion evolved into the Khalsa, my mother would say that Guru Nanak had the vision of the Khalsa as well as every other Guru, Guru Gobind Singh merely carried out a plan that was in the making since the start.

    I have never been a violent or angry man, but I do hate confrontation, it leaves me drained and depressed. Today I had to have a confrontation, I can be quite good at getting philosophy quite wrong, in the past I have become averse rather than be attached, unwashed and grubby, as opposed to proud and egoistical, so naturally, when confronted, I will do anything just not to have a confrontation, joke, laugh, apologise, I realised that I was in fact scared of confrontation, I feared it, which is strange, as I do not fear death, which is possibly the worst thing that can happen to you, but I do fear confrontation, spiders, snakes, small children with dirty fingers, and aggression.

    In an effort to address this, I have been thinking/meditating on the words of Guru Gobind Singh, and what they mean to me,

    To me, they mean that with truth on your side, and with honourable thoughts, you can conquer any situation with dignity and without fear, you may die, you may be hurt, but your soul will not be compromised, how many have compromised their soul for material or emotional gains, once that moment has passed, the gain is gone, but the damage to the soul stays forever,.

    Now, when I feel fear, I mentally remove my sword from its sheath, only a few inches, and that gives me the courage to do the right thing, to follow the truth, not to allow lies to be victorious, to stand for the truth, and be willing to die for it, in that context, all those brave martyrs who died for sikhi, can now be understood, they did it to maintain the perfection of their souls,

    As for todays confrontation, I was firm and polite, not aggressive or threatening, as each arrow came towards me, I cut it down with the Gurus sword, finally there were no arrows left, at this point I could have gone in for the kill, but I kept myself devoid of humour or sarcasm, and kept to being polite but firm, and with a 'mind how you go' from me, it was all over

    I would be interested to hear others interpretation of the line

    When all other means have failed, It is but lawful to take to the sword
     

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Henry Haller ji

    It is my understanding that in Zafarnama, which you have quoted, http://www.searchgurbani.com/dasam_granth/page/1469

    In Zafarnama, Guru Gobind Singh is evoking a concept of "Just War" or "jus bellum." This is normally taken to be a description of how states or political entities take action under provocation, according to ethical principles. It is not normally applied to the control of anger between and among individuals. Guru Gobind Singh wrote Zafarnama as an epistle, or letter, to the Persian emperor, as the leader of the Sikh quom. In it he indeed outlined the ethical principles that justified a military response to Persian political and religious persecution. And the point of Zafarnama is that Aurangzeb violated principles of justice in his persecution of the peoples of India. Zafarnama means Epistle of Victory. What victory? Guru Gobind Singh had already won... a moral victory.

    In Zafarnama, this point comes through very clearly: Aurangzeb demonstrated indifference to symmetrical morality. And therefore Dasam Pita denounced his actions.

    Read more about Jus Bellum
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2

    Our anger as individuals, and how we manage that in our lives, has been discussed by all the Gurus beginning with Guru Nanak. Shabad Guru provides the way to moral accounting and ultimate ethical response to our anger in terms of acting from dharma. Acting in a way that reduces our ego, and enhances our compassion, which closes the gap between ourselves and our fellow man by control of ego and company of sandhsangat. Here are some words from Guru Ram Das. Ang 13

    ਰਾਗੁ ਗਉੜੀ ਪੂਰਬੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥
    रागु गउड़ी पूरबी महला ४ ॥
    Rāg ga▫oṛī pūrbī mėhlā 4.
    Raag Gauree Poorbee, Fourth Mehl:

    ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਨਗਰੁ ਬਹੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਖੰਡਲ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
    कामि करोधि नगरु बहु भरिआ मिलि साधू खंडल खंडा हे ॥
    Kām karoḏẖ nagar baho bẖari▫ā mil sāḏẖū kẖandal kẖanda he.
    The body-village is filled to overflowing with anger and sexual desire; these were broken into bits when I met with the Holy Saint.

    ਪੂਰਬਿ ਲਿਖਤ ਲਿਖੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਮੰਡਲ ਮੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥
    पूरबि लिखत लिखे गुरु पाइआ मनि हरि लिव मंडल मंडा हे ॥१॥
    Pūrab likẖaṯ likẖe gur pā▫i▫ā man har liv mandal mandā he. ||1||
    By pre-ordained destiny, I have met with the Guru. I have entered into the realm of the Lord's Love. ||1||

    ਕਰਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਅੰਜੁਲੀ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
    करि साधू अंजुली पुनु वडा हे ॥
    Kar sāḏẖū anjulī pun vadā he.
    Greet the Holy Saint with your palms pressed together; this is an act of great merit.

    ਕਰਿ ਡੰਡਉਤ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    करि डंडउत पुनु वडा हे ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
    Kar dand▫uṯ pun vadā he. ||1|| rahā▫o.
    Bow down before Him; this is a virtuous action indeed. ||1||Pause||

    ਸਾਕਤ ਹਰਿ ਰਸ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
    साकत हरि रस सादु न जाणिआ तिन अंतरि हउमै कंडा हे ॥
    Sākaṯ har ras sāḏ na jāṇi▫ā ṯin anṯar ha▫umai kandā he.
    The wicked shaaktas, the faithless cynics, do not know the Taste of the Lord's Sublime Essence. The thorn of egotism is embedded deep within them.

    ਜਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਚਲਹਿ ਚੁਭੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਸਹਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੨॥
    जिउ जिउ चलहि चुभै दुखु पावहि जमकालु सहहि सिरि डंडा हे ॥२॥
    Ji▫o ji▫o cẖalėh cẖubẖai ḏukẖ pāvahi jamkāl sahėh sir dandā he. ||2||
    The more they walk away, the deeper it pierces them, and the more they suffer in pain, until finally, the Messenger of Death smashes his club against their heads. ||2||

    ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਣੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਭਵ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
    हरि जन हरि हरि नामि समाणे दुखु जनम मरण भव खंडा हे ॥
    Har jan har har nām samāṇe ḏukẖ janam maraṇ bẖav kẖanda he.
    The humble servants of the Lord are absorbed in the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. The pain of birth and the fear of death are eradicated.

    ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਬਹੁ ਸੋਭ ਖੰਡ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੩॥
    अबिनासी पुरखु पाइआ परमेसरु बहु सोभ खंड ब्रहमंडा हे ॥३॥
    Abẖināsī purakẖ pā▫i▫ā parmesar baho sobẖ kẖand barahmandā he. ||3||
    They have found the Imperishable Supreme Being, the Transcendent Lord God, and they receive great honor throughout all the worlds and realms. ||3||

    ਹਮ ਗਰੀਬ ਮਸਕੀਨ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਖੁ ਰਾਖੁ ਵਡ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
    हम गरीब मसकीन प्रभ तेरे हरि राखु राखु वड वडा हे ॥
    Ham garīb maskīn parabẖ ṯere har rākẖ rākẖ vad vadā he.
    I am poor and meek, God, but I belong to You! Save me-please save me, O Greatest of the Great!

    ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ਟੇਕ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਹੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਮੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੪॥੪॥
    जन नानक नामु अधारु टेक है हरि नामे ही सुखु मंडा हे ॥४॥४॥
    Jan Nānak nām aḏẖār tek hai har nāme hī sukẖ mandā he. ||4||4||
    Servant Nanak takes the Sustenance and Support of the Naam. In the Name of the Lord, he enjoys celestial peace. ||4||4||
     
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  4. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    To me, this means exactly what it says: if an unjust situation cannot be solved peacefully, it is right to use violence.

    It is necessary to be very, very clear that this is not a carte blanche to go around being violent or even threatening violence. Guru Gobind Singh ji would never have condoned his Khalsa or anyone else to be bullies.

    For violence to be righteous, it must meet two very specific criteria.

    First, all peaceful means must have been attempted, if that is possible. Sometimes, such as in a direct attack, negotiation is impossible. My former caregiver, Irene, a fundy Christian, insisted that we should have invited our attackers in Delhi to join us in prayer before fighting them. Although it is always dangerous to try to speak for a Guru, I can only imagine him giving her a pitying look and moving on. So, peaceful means, if possible, must be attempted.

    What about a per-emptory strike? If you are certain that you will be attacked, is it righteous to attack first? ?I think, yes, sometimes it is, but you must be very, very careful of both your knowledge and your motives.

    Second, the cause must be righteous. This, too, is not always easy to ascertain. Self defence or the defence of an innocent person, of course, is righteous. What about the lynching of a known murderer or child rapist? What about the legal execution of such? Is it righteous to use violence to protect them?

    I must make one final point. Anger and violence are very dangerous partners. Even though the anger may be justified, at best, it will keep you from being clear-headed and the most effective warrior you could be.

    I remember some time ago, I was discussing this anger issue with a friend, who brought up how very angry I was with the dusht who killed my son. Yes, I was seething with justified anger. Yes, I took great pleasure in killing the perpetrator of the heinous act. But...had I kept a cool head, I might have not concentrated so much on this one person, and I might have been able to kill at least one or two more.

    I will save how these principles apply to non-combat situations for another day.
     
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  5. Ambarsaria

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    Mai Harinder Kaur ji so well stated and you executed the command of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji in your actions.


    Thanks.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  6. gurbanicd

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    gurfateh ji

    Take to the sword or not take to the sword depends upon the will of the lord hukum and this will or Hukum is known to gurmukhs only.

    The action may vary from time to time as Guru Sahiban sometime sacrificed their lives inspite of injustice and sometime fought the wars.

    " hukum tera khra bhara gurmukh kisey bujhae"

    Guru Arjun dev ji (5)sacrificed his life.

    Guru Hargobing Sahib ji(6) fought the wars

    again Guru Teg bahadur Sahib ji (9) sacrificed his life.

    Guru Gobind Singh sahib ji fought the war.(10)

    5th and 9th guru sacrificed their lives but 6th and 10th guru sahib fought thewars.

    gurfateh
     
    #5 gurbanicd, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  7. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Spnadminji,

    Your post requires a timely study, thank you for your time, I will dissect it later, however judging by the email I got this morning from SPN, I am now not sure if I am Sinnerji or Henry lol
     
  8. Lee

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    Harry ji.

    Dawin shows us that vilolence is inhenrant in nature, it is easy an natural to use viloence in order to get our own way.

    Guru realsied this and asks us to first take any other ways, and then and only then if repression does not cease it is right to use violance in order to free people from repression.
     
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  9. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    :grinningsingh: All my fault. My apologies for the oversight... mundahug
     
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  10. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Actually, violence was least on my mind when I wrote this post, I am by nature extremely placid, too placid some might say, on the most, I spend my day in pleasant exchanges, but every now and then I come across someone with an aggressive nature, and that is what I find difficult to handle, is the aggression about to be backed up with violence, do I calm the aggression down so there is no violence, do I become equally as aggressive to force the other to back down, although this could equally force it up, I do not have enough experience around people to know, although I am getting better and more perceptive, for me the above statement in this day and age, and in my circumstances is better read as

    When all other means have failed, It is but lawful to unsheath the sword by a few inches, or at least show you are in possession of a sword
     
  11. Ambarsaria

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    Harry Haller ji if the non-physical aspects are of greater focus for you then I try to practice the following,


    • Barking dogs, seldom bite
    • Best way to treat a barking dog is, to ignore
    • Violence in the voice is, death rattle of reason in the throat
    • If all the world would collapse around one's two ears, all that happens is we will die
      • This is the fearlessness of Sikh Lions and Lionesses
        • Let it be known to all
    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  12. spnadmin

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    aYou know this is funny.



    ..

    It is so funny, because Aman Singh ji and spnadmin are not the same person. Neither are harry ji and sinner ji. A case of double identities, and it could turn into a mystery story. icecreamkudi
     
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  13. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    so where does henry come into all this? icecreammunda
     
  14. spnadmin

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    The way I see the mystery story unfolding: Harry ji may be sinner ji and sinner ji may be Harry ji... Aman ji may be spnadmin ji and vice versa. So we have the problem of doubles, mistaken identities, and an apology from Aman to Harry. But can we be sure if Aman is Aman and Harry is Harry? Back to topic :grinningsingh:
     
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  15. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    Was Chuang Tzu the butterfly or was the butterfly Chuang Tzu?



    oooooh:confusedkudi::confusedmunda::shockedkudi::shockedmunda:
     
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  16. Satyaban

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    I am non-violent and have not struck another since I was around 12 yrs old. I believe violence should only employed in self defence.

    "When all other means have failed, It is but lawful to unsheath the sword by a few inches, or at least show you are in possession of a sword"

    In my opinion if you carry a weapon you damned well better be ready to use it
     
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  17. Harry Haller

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    Im sorry I disagree with this completely, it intimates the actions of a hothead, and it is this very attitude I find extremely distasteful in many of our brothers, some people say with pride, i have carried this gun but never drawn it in anger, my very point which you seem to have overlooked Satyabanji, is that at what point do you draw your sword, or at what point do you intimate you have a sword, your reply implies we should all be trigger happy, please clarify this for me in the context that you have quoted me
     
  18. rajneesh madhok

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    Sikhism is the word of God and faith is created by God but the religion is created by the people. Sikhism is the word of God, therefore it is a faith.
    A sikh believes in Non-violence. "Those who beat you with fists, do not give them blows, Go to their homes yourself an kiss their feet.'---Guru Granth Sahib.

    Guru Nanak devji's teachings:
    Do not wish evil for anyone,
    Do not speak harshly of anyone,
    Do not obstruct anyone's work.
    If a man speaks ill of you, forgive him.
    Practice physical, mental and spiritual endurance.
    Help the suffering, even at the cost of your life.
     
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    #17 rajneesh madhok, Sep 18, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  19. Searching

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    ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥
    ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥

    चु कार अज़ हमह हीलते दर गुज़शत ॥
    हलाल असत बुरदन ब शमशीर दसत ॥


    When all other methods are exhausted,

    It is just and pious to hold the sword in hand.


    Guru Gobind Singh ji in Zafar Nama.{Letter to Aurangzeb}.
     
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  20. spnadmin

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    There is no point in continuing with this thread, and one other today, if the conversation is like throwing brick-bats.

    I say X and You say Y. And you say Y and I say X. And back and forth again.

    Most scholars agree that ahimsa is not part of Sikhi. But to simply keep up the Yes it is, No it is not, line of conversation sheds no new iinsight on the issues.

    So unless there are other developments helping us to broaden and learn, this thread will have to be closed. Unfortunate
    .
     
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  21. Ambarsaria

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    Just a note what Kirpan is called in this thread and Zafarnama,

    So Guru ji did not invent a name or meaning of Kirpan or Shamsheer or created other modifications but guided on the proper time to draw it. Once drawn it cuts, ahimsa or no-ahimsa!

    Sikhs are not Hindus! Give it up the distractors and stop trying to show that one Guru teaches one thing and another teaches something else!

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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