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Why So Much Talk About Enemies?

Ishna

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Gurfateh

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji mentions several times that the Gurmukh looks upon friend and enemy alike.

What are the enemies referred to in Jaap and Chaupai then?

Jaap
http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Jaap_Sahib_in_English
124. O Lord, Thou art like an ocean with countless waves Ever mysterious, ever imperishable, Thou art the Saviour of Thy devotees and Chastiser of their enemies.

171. O Lord, Thou art the Abode of Mercy, Thou art the Annihilator of the (evil) enemies, Thou art Dispeller of evil and ignorance, Thou adorn the world by Thy grace.

182. Destroyer of fear, Thou art Annihilator of the (evil) enemies Chastiser of the sinners, Thou art the Inspiration of all worship.
And how can enemies be destroyes when It has no enemies?

148. Thou hast no son nor grandson, Thou hast no enemy nor friend, Thou hast no father nor mother, Thou hast no caste nor lineage.

Chaupai
http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Benti_Chaupai

ਹਮਰੇ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਸਭੈ ਤੁਮ ਘਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਹਾਥ ਦੈ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਚਾਵਹੁ ॥
O Lord, Destroy all my enemies and guard me with your Hands.


ਜੇ ਅਸਿਧੁਜ ਤਵ ਸ਼ਰਨੀ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਦੁਖਿਤ ਹ੍ਵੈ ਮਰੇ ॥
Supreme Destroyer, those who sought Your refuge, their enemies meet painful death;

I feel like I'm getting conflicting messages when I read my nitnem bania. Jaap and Chaupai just don't seem to fit.

I don't like reading Chaupai because I don't like to wish a painful death on anyone.

Some people say the enemies referred to are our 5 vices, Maya, Death, etc. Perhaps I'm just not interpreting it right but the way it's written (maybe the problem is with the translation) makes it seem like it's about physical enemies rather than spiritual ones.

I need to resolve this in some way because it's making my nitnem a pain in the butt.
Thanks for any feedback and apologies for any offence caused. peacesignkaur

Ishna
 

Ishna

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At the same time, evil in the form of tyranny, violence, greed etc do exist... there is no question those forces act within the world... perhaps I should be viewing these -forces- as the enemy rather than the human who is influenced? Now I sound like I'm talking about Satan. Grr.

And also, Waheguru creates and destroyes everything... the enemy It destoys is the enemy It created, right? Or is the enemy a manmukh mutation of what It created? Like creating a piece of fruit which goes rotton is not a fault of the creator but a result of the natural law?

Is there enemy in nature or are humans the only ones capable of manifesting evil and ignorance (per Jaap tuk above)?

*insert brain-exploding smiley*
 

spnadmin

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lol Ishna ji You are treading on a minefield here. But take heart because there are many Sikhs, in fact more and more every week, who are asking the same questions.

I am on the thread worn side today and think to withhold a long reply. Let's see what answers your get.

Parting with a thought from Guru Nanak...
No one is my enemy
No one is a foreigner
With all I am at peace
God within us renders us
Incapable of hate and prejudice.

And Akaal is without enmity. Of course, to take this into action in my own life has been a daily challenge. Hope to talk to you later.
 

BhagatSingh

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Yes brain-exploding smiley indeed... as long as you keep trying to analyze it. That place you just reached where your brain said "I don't know". It's a good place to be. Try and stay there longer. That is where God is realized.

Ishna ji Waheguru is the creator, the natural law and the rotten fruit. This is realized through meditation.

Guru Gobind Singh ji is a warrior. He does face real threats in battles, real enemies. But he is accepting God's hukam and leaving it upto God to destroy his enemies.

You might say how can that be? Guru Sahib is the one firing arrows. Guru Sahib is the one leading battles.

Yes very true. But Guru Sahib has no ego. He doesn't have the feeling, the "I do X, Y and Z.". God acts through him, he prays to God for that. For Guru Sahib, "na ko bairi nahe begana" No one is an enemy, no one is stranger. He has no real urge of killing people. But a Guru sees the suffering of the people, of everyone. He wants to alleviate it.

ugh! *brain-explodes*

Anyways, my post may not help. This can only be realized through meditation on Waheguru's name. Giving this realization a form of a forum post, is very difficult.

Waheguru

EDIT:
PS So much talk about enemies because most of Guru Gobind Singh ji's life was spent fighting wars.

EDIT: >>>What can I say? All I say is what You make me say. (You signature says it all.)
 

Ishna

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Thank you for your response Bhagat ji. I do try to over-analyse things rather than going with the flow. It's one of those "I can't see the forest because there's too many trees" kind of problems!

I appreciate what you've said about Guru Gobind Singh ji and his life, and the battles he was in. When I read Chaupai in particular, it's like I'm imagining myself being there when Guru Gobind Singh was composing the prayer. It fits in that context, it belongs there, it is perfect in that moment.

But when we're not fighting wars, when we haven't established that egoless saintly mind, why would we have these prayes as our daily prayers? Why would we expose a developing mind to apparent contradictions every day? Why would we gear ourselves up for a fight when the only fight I'm likely to run into is a grumpy customer?

Wouldn't it make more sense to keep these prayers for wartimes, and have other bania (from Guru Granth Sahib Ji) as our daily prayers? It appears to me I spend more time in the morning reading scripture from a book which isn't my Guru. This would probably lead the thread to a discussion about Sikh identity. Is poetry from the Dasam Granth essential for the Sikh identity? Would Sikhs lose their miri/piri focus if they did nitnem with SGGS bania only?

My puny human brain struggles to keep my anger under control daily while driving down the street let alone on the one hand read the universal bani of Japji Sahib followed by wishing God to smite the sinners.

Again I know I'm on thin ice and I apologise for any offence as my post has been blunt but please, if you have taken offence, please let me know and put forward your argument as it may help me understand.

Thanks
Ishna
 

Ishna

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I was going to add to my post that "we'll work from this theory" but thought the word "theory" would cause dramas.

Personally I have a big question mark over who wrote things in the DG but as there is slim chance of ever answering the question I'm trying to see how those prayers fit into my daily life as a Sikh. Also I can't become amritdhari without accepting those prayers, so I need to analyse them closely if I want to seriously consider making a committment. I can live with the authorship being doubted (if the scripture is inline with Gurbani) but I can't live with massive contradictions going on in my mind. If I can get around the occasional contradiction and see the good in the rest of the prayers, I think I can live with that as an amritdhari rather than never become amritdhari because I'm worried about a few lines in some scripture.

At least until one day when you can be amritdhari without vowing to recite scripture from a book other than Guru Ji.
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

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Mostly ( in fact all) of the "enemies" referred to in SGGS Gurbani are the Five..Kaam Krodh Lobh Moh hankaar...Lust,Anger, greed,attachment and pride.....
Gurbani in fact absolves the HUMAN physical "enemy" as Forgivable and we are to "hate" the Karam..the ACTIONS...NOT the human perpetrator..thus hate the crime/act of stealing and not the THIEF (he should be forgiven)...PAAP and Not the PAAPI is the enemy.

2. Secondly even these FIVE so called "enemies" are to be CONQUERED..Not vanquished/destroyed. Kaam is necessary for procreation in marriage..Krodh is necessary in Battle..etc etc...the important thing is to be in CONTROl and NOT be controlled !!

3. There is NOT a single tuk in SGGS that commands us or asks God to destroy human enemies...as that would then contradict the Na ko beri nahin beganna...and Guru Arjun ji PROVED this by declaring..Dosh na kahon devohn..I BLAME NO ONE (not Jehangir..not chandu..no one..for my torture and death)

4. I beleive the same is also true of the chaupaii and Jaap shaib...physical people are not the enmey..its their actions, their tyranny, their cruelty..

5.Maharaja Ranjit Singh forgave the Muslim Governor of Multan several times...for rebellion and being the casue of hundreds of sikh deaths each time he rebelled, and the Khalsa Army ahd to fight ahrd to retake the Multan Fort..and on being DEFEATED..the Governor would KNEEL in front of Ranjit Singh and beg forgiveness..the Maharja FORGAVE him multiple times !! ONLY Maharaja Ranjit Singhs 50 year rule has the distinction of being one in which NOT A SINGLE DEATH SENTENCE on anyone.

6. SARBATT DA BHALLA naturally involves ALL..each and everyone..irrespective of race creed etc. That is WHY Bhai Ghaniyah Ji was given MEDICINES by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in additon to the water bag !! The Sikhs ahd complained to Guru ji that Bhai Ghaniyah Ji was giving water to the wounded MUSLIM soldiers on the battlefield.."we fight hard and wound them to the ground..Bhai Ghaniyah Ji goes to them wipes their wounds, gives them water and makes them strong again to fight us..they complained. Guru Ji called upon Bhai Ghaniyah Ji to explain...His answer -..Guur Ji..I see YOUR FACE on ALL..I DONT see any Muslim..any Sikh..any friend..any FOE !! So how can i discriminate ?? Guur Ji smiled, Patted Bhai Ghaniyah ji on his back..and Gave him MEDICINES and Bandages...ina ddition to water..bandage them...medicate theWOUNDED !! What the RED CROSS does Today..Bhai Ghaniyah ji did 200 years BEFORE them !!

I hope this clears all doubts Jios....Gurus fought battles against TYRANNY ...not "humans" !! The TYRANNY was the Main enemy...
 

Annie

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Ishna ji,

Personally I take no offense at all to your questions. Searching for and finding the truth can only lead to strengthening of your faith and your character. On the other hand, pretending to accept something that you really can't, being fake, would be untrue to yourself and an insult to the religion.

Based on my instinct and some distant memories (yes, these speak to my soul more than to my brain) the quotes you wrote are at least partly about the 5 thieves.
 

Ishna

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I can understand most references to enemies when "enemies" is a metaphor for the 5 thieves, Maya and Death.

The metaphorical meaning of poetry can only go so far before one begins to read into something a meaning which doesn't really belong. I struggle to see how to following stanzas of Chaupai can be interpreted as metaphor. I have used a variety of translations. If the meaning is lost to me due to translation I would appreciate some insight.

http://www.sridasam.org/dasam?Action=Page&p=2262 (I'm unsure of the name of the translator)
ਅਬ ਰੱਛਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਤੁਮ ਕਰੋ ॥ ਸਿੱਖਯ ਉਬਾਰਿ ਅਸਿੱਖਯ ਸੱਘਰੋ ॥
अब ्रछा मेरी तुम करो ॥ सि्खय उबारि असि्खय स्घरो ॥
O Lord ! keep me now under Thy protection; protect my disciples and destroy my enemies;

ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਜਿਤੇ ਉਠਵਤ ਉਤਪਾਤਾ ॥ ਸਕਲ ਮਲੇਛ ਕਰੋ ਰਣ ਘਾਤਾ ॥੩੯੬॥
दुशट जिते उठवत उतपाता ॥ सकल मलेछ करो रण घाता ॥३९६॥
All the villains creations outrage and all the infidels be destroyed in the battlefield.396.

ਜੇ ਅਸਿਧੁਜ ਤਵ ਸ਼ਰਨੀ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਦੁਖਿਤ ਹ੍ਵੈ ਮਰੇ ॥
जे असिधुज तव शरनी परे ॥ तिन के दुशट दुखित ह्वै मरे ॥
O Supreme Destroyer ! those who sought Thy refuge, their enemies met painful death;

ਪੁਰਖ ਜਵਨ ਪਗੁ ਪਰੇ ਤਿਹਾਰੇ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਤੁਮ ਸੰਕਟ ਸਭ ਟਾਰੇ ॥੩੯੭॥
पुरख जवन पगु परे तिहारे ॥ तिन के तुम संकट सभ टारे ॥३९७॥
The persons who fell at Thy Feet, Thou didst remove all their troubles.397.


Translation by Nikki-Guninder Kaur Singh:
Grant me now Your protection,
Defend my Sikhs, attack my foes.
The tyrants who brutalize,
Destroy them on the battlefield.

Those who seek Your lap, You who carry the banner,
May their enemies die a terrible death.
Those who bow at Your feet,
May all their troubles be expelled.


Translation and extrapolation by Bhai Harbhajan Singh Ji (Sydney)
O' Lord! Give me Your protection now. Protect me and save Your devoted (God-conscious) disciples and eliminate those antagonists (ego-centric people) who obstruct their path (of righteousness). Also destroy the mischievious and evil minded tyrants who cause pain and misery (to humanity) in battle.

O' Lord of the Sword (God), those mortals (devotees) who have sought your refuge and shelter, their (evil minded) foes (ultimately) suffer and die a miserable and painful death. Those mortals (devotees) who fall at Your feet (completely surrender themselves to Your will) You will remove all their anguish and troubles.

I'm not entirely sure of the translator here but I think its Sardar Harminderpal Singh Ji (Singapore):
Please, protect me now.
Those who follow You save, and those who do not, destroy them.
All the evil persons who come into being,
Fight with (take care) and destroy all such bad people.
O God, those`who seek Your refuge,
Their enemies die miserably - painfully.
Those who surrender at Your feet,
You remove all their afflictions - sufferings.


Please forgive any of my mistakes reproducing these.

Now, I can't be the only one who has trouble reading this and thinking these paragraphs refer to anything other than literal human beings.

I will admit that when I read these paragraphs I get filled with a feeling which is rather personal and embarrising. I feel empowered (egotistical) that I'm the one following the "right" God and that my God will "crush horribly" anyone who doesn't believe and gets in my way. I think that's how a lot of jihadist type people must feel. It's a pretty good feeling. But I'm pretty sure it's the WRONG feeling.

And to follow this with 5 stanzas of Anand Sahib? What the??

And if we some how do interpret this to mean the 5 Thieves, Gyani ji himself said we are to conquor them... why would we pray every day for what is essentially a part of our psyche to "die miserably and painfully"? I mean, I know there is kirpa in suffering because it can bring us closer to God but it seems a bit of a stretch to me to word it like this.

And entirely inconsistent with Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. There, I said it.
 

Ishna

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Gyani ji, I really like your reminder that it's the paap we need to fight against and not the paapi. I really wish I could read that into the snippets I posted.
 

Harry Haller

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Ishna Bhenji,

I have always had a liking for drama and excitement, which is why I talk of wolves, and howling, I like to put my problems into a context that the warrior spirit understand inside of me.

I have always said, if we as sikhs were at war, there would be less people like myself feeling useless, as it is a part of me, not to fight for the sake of violence, but to fight a just war against an evil oppressor, in days gone by, huge groups of us would have been able to put our bloodlust in place doing something useful, but in the absence of any worthy war to fight, we turn to drink, drugs and end up getting involved in worldy pleasures that take us away from the Guru.

However, I see life as a war, I am not a man in peace, the minute I walk past the beggar, and accept it as normal, I have lost. I do not allow myself the luxury of a peaceful mind, a peaceful mind, (for me) is a mind of compromise, a mind where it is ok for beggars to pitifully beg for money, or women get raped, or all the other unspeakable things that happen in the world today. It is those things that are the enemy, although as Gyaniji wisely stated, not the person (I confess, if I had not ready Gyaniji's post, I would have made the mistake of citing the person, so thank you for not making me look foolish by posting before me), There is much evil in the world, go beyond the five thieves, which are merely psirens trying to lure us away from the right path, and you will find such evil that you could not imagine it, how many of us are horrified sometimes by stories of such macabre things, you cannot imagine what drove such people to feel that way.

The war is against these evils, and the lure of the five thieves, and those of us that are so inclined, can do whatever it is that we can in this fight.

So to all my fellow sikhs, do not read something in your local paper and brush it one side, do something about it, fight using debate or legal means to rid our world of these evils, I think it is in this fight that Guruji is trying to inspire us.

We are all different, we all have different qualities and assets, I am no good at prayer, I see no point, that is not to say I do not agree with it, nor would I consider it a huge part of my life at some stage, just not now, however, I would concede that some people are not fighters, in the sense of the word that they would rather meditate and pray, than fight, I envy you, you are trying to change evil whilst bathing in the light of the spirit, it is harder to do than fighting, or a better word would be sewa. Anyone can do sewa, just like anyone can have a big house and a car, but not everyone can be at one with the spirit, enough to carry out sewa through simram, now thats something
 

Harry Haller

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Please, protect me now.
Those who follow You save, and those who do not, destroy them.
All the evil persons who come into being,
Fight with (take care) and destroy all such bad people.
O God, those`who seek Your refuge,
Their enemies die miserably - painfully.
Those who surrender at Your feet,
You remove all their afflictions - sufferings.

Bhenji,

If this was to be taken as a war prayer, something to focus on in times of war, it would make perfect sense, if you were say, a lawyer in a court room, and prosecuting a gang of thugs that had raped a 3 year old child, you could with some justification say this prayer. It is not directed at manmukhs, it is directed at the truly evil, for whom there is no redemption
 

Annie

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Ishna ji,

I can't argue with what you have said. As I said, at least some of that poetry is about the 5 thieves. It might be useful to do some research into WHY those prayers were chosen as the ones to recite. In my opinion, you should try to learn and understand things, but do not do anything you see as unethical.
 

Ishna

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Oohh, good points Harry ji! Arg, this dualism in my mind is driving me nuts. Five minutes ago I was ready to throw half my gutka away (metaphorically speaking!!) but now I'm not so sure again.

I hope I'm interpreting your message correctly by saying Gurbani is trying to reach everyone... it is selfish of me to think every last word of it must speak to me alone. If those paragraphs give someone ELSE the inspiration to fight the just fight then more power to them.

It is easy to say it's the evil action that Sikhs fight against, but the evil actions come through the human who is not blessed to act any other way. I often feel compassion for those people whose souls must be in a truly tormented state. I don't want them to have to die painfully though. Actually, I guess I would in some cases.

Harry ji, would you whack me with my own halo please so I get off my high-horse? hehehe
 

Ishna

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Bhaji, I think you've hit the nail on the head for me.

If this was to be taken as a war prayer, something to focus on in times of war, it would make perfect sense, if you were say, a lawyer in a court room, and prosecuting a gang of thugs that had raped a 3 year old child, you could with some justification say this prayer. It is not directed at manmukhs, it is directed at the truly evil, for whom there is no redemption
 

Harry Haller

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Bhenji,

If we were able to completely understand every aspect of the SGGS completely we would have completed our journey, all of us are going to come unstuck somwhere, something that makes us think, is not a bad thing, to be of so much passion that you would throw away half the Gutka, because something does not apply to you at this precise time is commendable in some ways, it is at odds with the many that blindly follow without using the ability to think and understand, I am sure there will be more that you will not understand, but please have the patience to know that one day you will understand what you do not now.

I do not say this in a sikhi capacity, as my knowledge is dwarfed by yours, but in a life experience capacity,
 

spnadmin

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The experience of paradox is normal. I thank Gyani too for his explanation. It is eloquent. Chaupai Sahib and Jap Sahib are not part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. So we don't have the security that we do have we other Nitnem, Each page of banee from Sri Guru Granth Sahib is signed by Guru Arjan Dev in the original bir. Other prayers in Nitnem were incorporated into Nitnem when the Sikh Rehat Maryada was compiled in the 20th Century.

The minefield comes from a very current controversy among some scholars others not, but from sangats, to pray only those prayers from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Yet Ishna as an amritdhari Sikh you will have taken a vow and must keep it. I am very impressed by your gravity and unwillingness to settle for half measures. You really want to find a resolution that will sit firmly and not wobble in your heart.
 

Ishna

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Yes, there is security in Japji Sahib, Rehras (in the beginning of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji), Kirten Sohila, Anand Sahib, Sukhmani Sahib. I put my full faith in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

I am yet to find a sangat with the opinion that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji prayers are the only ones to read nitnem. I am hard pressed to find even an individual who will plainly say it. I wonder if my searching and not finding a direct answer or resolution is in itself a bit of a hint that I should accept it.

And I am not amritdhari yet, SPNadmin ji. I want to practice the lifestyle first before I commit because I don't want to break my promis.

I'm very grateful to the sangat here for your open-mindedness and patience in discussing this. gingerteakaur
 

spnadmin

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Well you are going to be a heroine no matter what you decide, Ishna ji.

I am yet to find a sangat with the opinion that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji prayers are the only ones to read nitnem. I am hard pressed to find even an individual who will plainly say it. I wonder if my searching and not finding a direct answer or resolution is in itself a bit of a hint that I should accept it.
There are sangats but scattered about. Finland for one. I am not certain if that is true in Australia though. The historian Professor Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, now in UK, has written a monograph about this...and it stirred a controversy that is somewhat flattening out a bit. He was not making recommendations. He was raising the same questions you raise. So there you go.
 

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