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Guru Gobind Singh Ji And Intercaste Marriages - Chaupa Singh Rehit

Jan 26, 2012
I found this text fascinating. It’s an extract from an old rehatnama which is commonly referred to as the Chaupa Singh rehatnama today. The form is which this document reaches us today is not without its own complexities (like many/most Sikh manuscripts of older provenance). The stark contradictions in various rehat instructions within strongly suggest interpolations so, in its current form, it appears to be the work of more than one hand. That being said there is still a very strong possibility that some of the surviving text does actually originate from the time of dasmesh pita himself and were written by a man in a position of great responsibility and trust within the latter Sikh Gurus innermost familial circles. The reputed author of the rehat (Chaupa Singh Chibber) was a carer and teacher of Guru Gobind Singh during his childhood.

Whether the extract below accurately reflects events in Guru ji’s darbar is a matter requiring further research, however this doesn’t diminish its value – especially as the topic it covers (inter-caste marriages) is one that is very pertinent to the community today. The picture it broadly paints of Guru ji’s darbar is one where certain Sikhs appear to have distinct roles (preaching and scribal activity are highlighted) within. It appears to depict some interaction between the Sikh sangat and members of the personal retinue or of Guru ji. There are the muktay (liberated) Singhs who take on the role of teaching Sikh precepts to the wider sangat and then there are those referred to as ‘musdee’ Sikhs. The word ‘musdee’ in Punjabi Universities Punjabi-English Dictionary is translated as ‘clerk, scribe or writer.’ It’s well established that Guru ji was a patron of literature and poetry (as well as being a prolific writer himself), and we need to understand that writers or scribes would commonly be hired for activities such as copying and transcribing hukamnamas, preparing copies of prayers, as well as the poetry, composed at the Sikh court. Other functions may have included keeping ledgers and accounts of financial transactions. Such people are the ones most probably being referred to as the musdee Sikhs here? As ever, any comments towards improving the brief translation are welcome. The text is taken from Piara Singh Padam's book Rehitnamay and I have added speech and question marks to help make reading easier, generally adapting the form employed by Amritpal Singh 'Amrit' on his blog.


ਅਤੇ ਕਿਸੇ ਸਿਖ ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਕਲਪ ਕੀਤਾ, ਇਸ ਗੱਲ ਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰ ਬਹੁਤ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਟੁਰੀ। ਜੋ ਮੁਕਤੇ ਸਿੰਘ ਏਹੁ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਕਰਦੇ ਹੈਨਿ। ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਨਾਲਿ ਨਾਤਾ ਕਰੈ।ਨਾ ਦੇਖੈ ਖਤ੍ਰੀ, ਨਾ ਦੇਖੈ ਸੂਦ ਕਿ ਵੈਸ਼ ਹੈ। ਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਦੇਖੈ, ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨੁ ਨ ਦੇਖੈ। ਅਤੇ ਜੰਞੂ ਟਿੱਕਾ ਧੋਤੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਆ-ਕਰਮ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਕਰੈ। ਸ਼ਬਦ ਪੜ੍ਹੇ, ਕਾਰਜ ਵਿਆਹ ਨੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਨਾ ਸੱਦੇ, ਅਨੰਦ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਲਏ। ਤੁਰਕ ਦੀ ਸੰਗਤ ਭੇਟਾ ਨਾ ਕਰੈ।

And in some Sikh’s mind doubts occurred, and debates commenced between many of them about the matter. The muktay (liberated) Singhs were preaching that Sikhs should pay no attention to whether one is a Khatri, or a Sudra or Vaisnav in marriage. The only consideration should be whether [the prospective partner] is a Sikh of the Guru, not their caste. Nor should ceremonies involving sacred threads, forehead marks or dhotis (a length of cloth wrapped around the waist) be performed. The holy word (shabad) should be read and no [officiating] Brahmin should be called at the wedding ceremony, [instead] the Anand should be read. No gifts should be offered to assemblies of Turks either.

ਏਹੁ ਚਰਚਾ ਬਹੁਤ ਹੋਈ। ਮੁਸੱਦੀਆਂ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਆਖਿਆ, ਜੋ ਮੁਕਤੇ ਸਿਖ ਏਹੁ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਕਰਦੇ ਹੈਨਿ। ਬਚਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਨਾਲਿ ਆਖਦੇ ਹੈਨਿ।ਤਾਂ ਮੁਸੱਦੀ ਸਿਖ ਜੋ ਭਲੇ ਹੈਸਨ, ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤਿਆਂ ਸਿੰਘਾਂ ਪਾਸ ਆਏ, ਅਰ ਕਹਿਆ, ‘ਤੁਮ ਕਿਸ ਬਾਤ ਦਾ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਕਰਤੇ ਹੋ?’ ਤਾਂ ਮੁਕਤਿਆਂ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਆਖਿਆ, ਸਿਖਾਂ ਦੀ ਗਤੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਸਹੁੰ। ਪੰਥ ਗੁਰੂ ਨੇ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਜੁਦਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ। ਰਹਿਤ ਭੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਜੁਦਾ ਹੈ।

ਮੁਸੱਦੀਆਂ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਆਖਿਆ, ‘ਤੁਸੀਂ ਹੱਛੀ ਆਖਦੇ ਹੋ।ਪਰ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਕੇ ਬਚਨਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਆਖਹੁ, ਤਾਂ ਸਭ ਮੰਨਣਗੇ।ਬਿਨਾਂ ਖਾਵੰਦ ਬਚਨ ਸਿਖ ਨਹੀਂ ਮੰਨਦੇ। ਤੁਸੀਂ ਹਜ਼ੂਰਿ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਕਰੋ, ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਸਰਬ ਮੰਨ ਲੈਸਨਿ’।

Much discussion took place regarding this. Some Sikhs asked the scribes [of Guru ji’s darbar] “Is what the muktay Sikhs are preaching being done with the Guru’s authorisation?” Upon which some of the benevolent Sikh scribes approached the muktay Singhs and asked, “On what matter are you giving instruction?” The muktay Sikhs replied “The salvation of Sikhs through the Satguru. The Guru has made this path separate from the ways of the world. Guru ji’s code of conduct is separate too.”

Then the scribes spoke “What you are saying is good. But you should express it with the Guru’s decree, as only then will everyone accept it. Without the master’s seal of approval, Sikhs do not accept it. Place a supplication in the presence of Guru ji, so that all Sikhs will accept it.”

ਤਾਂ ਸਿਖ ਮੁਕਤਿਆਂ ਇਕ ਕਾਗਦ ਲਿਖ ਦਿਤਾ ਰਹਿਤ ਦਾ।ਮੁਸੱਦੀਆਂ ਕਹਿਆਂ, ‘ਹਜ਼ੂਰਿ ਰੋਬਰੋ ਖਾਵੰਦ ਨੂੰ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਂਇ ਸੁਣਾਵਾਂਗੇ। ਅਗੈ ਜੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਕਰਹਿੰਗੇ, ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਨ’। ਤਾਂ ਮੁਕਤਿਆਂ ਆਖਿਆ, ‘ਸਮਾਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੈ ਸੁਨਾਵਣਾ’। ਮੁਸੱਦੀਆਂ ਕਹਿਆ, ‘ਸਮਾਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੈ ਸੁਣਾਵਾਂਗੇ। ਪਰ ਖਾਵੰਦ ਸਭਨਾਂ ਘਟਾਂ ਕਾ ਮਾਲਕ ਹੈ, ਜੇ ਖਾਵੰਦ ਉਪਰਿ ਦਸਖ਼ਤ ਕੀਤੇ ਤਾਂ ਪਰਵਾਣ ਹੋਸੀ’।

Then the Sikh muktay composed [such] a code of conduct on paper. The Sikh scribes told them that ‘We will have it read in the presence of the lord (Guru Gobind Singh), whatever they subsequently order [in regards to it], will be accepted.”

The muktay responded “Pick the time [of reading this to Guru ji] with due diligence.” To which the scribes replied “We will carefully select the time of reading but our lord is the master of all minds. If the lord places his signature on it [thus sanctifying it with his approval] only then will it become accepted.”

ਸੋ ਮੁਸੱਦੀ ਸਿਖ ਲੈ ਆਏ। ਸਮਾਂ ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਦਾ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਕੀਤੀ ਅਤੇ ਕਾਗਦ ਪੜ੍ਹਿ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ ਤਾਂ ਬਚਨ ਹੋਇਆ, “ਅਸਾਂ ਪੰਥ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ, ਭਰਿਸ਼ਟ ਤਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਨਾ”।

ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਬਚਨ ਹੈ “ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਭ ਇਕ ਵਰਨ ਹੋਈ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਗਤਿ ਰਹੀ” (ਪੰਨਾ 663)।

And so the Sikh scribes brought this [document] along with them [to Guru ji’s darbar]. Seeing that it was time of joy, they made a supplication [before Guru ji] and the document, was read out aloud.

Then Guru ji said: “I have rendered this way of life for the cause of righteousness and for this reason it cannot be corrupted.”

Granth ji tells us

“The whole world has been reduced to the same social status; the state of righteousness and Dharma has been lost.”

ਬਚਨ ਹੋਇਆ, “ਚਾਰੇ ਬਰਨ ਏਕੋ ਭਾਈ। ਗੁਰੁ ਕਾ ਨਾਤਾ ਚਹੁੰ ਬਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਂਝਾ ਇਕੋ ਜੇਹਾ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਕਲਪ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ”।

ਬਚਨ ਹੋਇਆ, “ਮੁਕਤੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ, ਇਹ ਕਰਨ ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਨ”।

The Guru uttered: “The four castes are one brotherhood. The relationship the Guru shares with each of the four castes is one and the same. There is no doubt in this.”

The Guru uttered: “The muktay are my life giving breath, what they do is approved by me.”

Further reading in Panjabi can be found at: http://www.amritworl...ter_of_rbcs.pdf



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