Monday March 27, 2017 06:26 PM EST

Professor Darshan Singh | Ontario, Canada
Posted: 09:56 PM | November 27, 2013

The Meaning of Akal Takhat

I was reading the chhants in Asa Di Vaar:
Jithay jahay bahay mayraa Satguru so thaan sohaavaa Raam raajay.

I admit that that seat also is holy, it’s important… (inaudible). I want to present both sides. The subject is such that we need to complain, so there is no time constraint.

gurasikha(n)aee so thhaan bhaaliaa lai dhhur mukh laavaa ||
The Guru's Sikhs seek out that place; they take the dust and apply it to their faces.

That place should be sought and reached and taken care of.

gurasikhaa kee ghaal thhaae paee jin har naam dhhiaavaa ||
The works of the Guru's Sikhs, who meditate on the Lord's Name, are approved.

The Gursikhs sought the seat where the authority lies, and were successful.
It’s strange that this time when they sought the seat, they could not find it. We must
seek our historic places, we must never forget them. But we must worship the Guru,
not the seat.

jinh naanak sathigur poojiaa thin har pooj karaavaa ||2||
Those who worship the True Guru, O Nanak – by God’s will, they will be revered.

They always worship Satguru. But now we have started worshiping the seat. Satguru is Guru Granth Sahib. Akhand Paat, whether it is here or there, it is the same.

In Darbar Sahib, there are many Akhand Paats in progress, around the parkarmaa. Do we do mathaa tayk at every one of those places? But the one who is inside those other rooms also is Guru Granth Sahib. We wait for two hours to go do muthaa tayk at Darbar Sahib but we do not go to the other places. We are worshiping the place, not the Guru.

A place can be demolished. Whether it is Harmandir Sahib, whether it is Akal Takhat, an enemy can demolish a place. Satguru can never be destroyed. He is immortal. Indestructible is the Guru, never the place.

Take, for example, the history of Harmandir Sahib. In 1643, Guru Arjan built Darbar Sahib. Then, exactly after 175 years, in 1818, Durrani blew up the Harmandir Sahib with explosives. He filled the sarovar. For three years there was no Darbar Sahib. We need to understand this. In 1821, the Sikhs (Singhs) had the foundations of Harmandir Sahib laid (again) by Jathedar Jassa Singh Ahluwaliaa. The present Darbar Sahib is the one that was erected by Jathedar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. And, with him, was a Hindu who was assigned as sevadaar. And, 29 years later, in 1850, Maharaja Ranjit Singh did the seva of decorating Darbar Sahib with gold, also after 29 years, in 1850. This was recorded in our written history, in Mahan Kosh, by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha. This is not the same Darbar Sahib raised by Guru Arjan, it’s built by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

It does not mean that its importance is any less because the importance is of the Guru Granth Sahib that is placed there, not of the place itself. It doesn’t matter who built it. Even if you have Guru Granth Sahib in your home, it has the same sanctity. O people, join with the Guru, keep the relationship with Guru, not the place. We give too much importance to places. A place can be acquired or occupied by anybody, but not Guru.

If you place a Sikh prayer book (gutkaa) in your pocket and go to an Islamic county, you will be stopped. You cannot bring any other religious literature to our country (they will say). In Dubai, I was informed not to bring any Sikh literature with me. But if you have memorized the Japji Sahib in that gutkaa, you can go anywhere. No one can stop you because you have Japji Sahib in your heart and mind. You can cross the border… (inaudible).

O man, if you tie yourself to a place, you cannot go anywhere. If you tie yourself with the Guru, then: Guru mayray sang sadhaa hai naalay (Guru is always with me). But if you are more attached to the place than the Guru, the place can be snatched by someone else. Even Darbar Sahib was captured by others.

Today, the Akal Takhat is again occupied by someone. Because it’s a place it can be controlled by anyone. I’m surprised when people say that we accept the supremacy of the Akal Takhat’s maryada (code of conduct).

The Akal Takhat’s maryada is that Raag Maalaa is not recited. Do you agree? If you have Akhand Paat at the Akal Takhat, they will not read the Raag Maalaa. How was this decided? Even after the last 14 years of intense discussions, it still is not resolved. At the end, the mediators remained noncommittal and left it optional. In Darbar Sahib, Raag Maalaa is recited. But at the place where they give the edicts to the entire quam (Sikh people), the Akal Takhat, it will not be read there. Can we stop reading Raag Maalaa here?

There are so many difficulties before us. We want to follow the Akal Takhat. But a place can be controlled, so give more importance to the place (our detractors would say). Now this place has become so big and important that it has become a tradition in the mind of the devotees. But it has not become Guru. The Guru is greater, believe me. Gur Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan and Guru Teg Bahadur - are all one.

I am surprised. There are so many problems, which issue should I discuss?

The people who talk about Dasam Granth, ask them, they are doing it consciously and cleverly. When in Dasam Granth, the ninth and tenth Gurus are mentioned, the ninth Guru is mentioned, Guru Teg Bahadur’s shaheedee is described by Guru Gobind Singh. So I’m (as the author) thinking how do we change the writings of Guru Gobind Singh?

Guru Gobind Singh has described the shaheedee of Guru Teg Bahadur but not the shaheedee of his great grandfather, Guru Arjan Dev ji. It’s not there. From this, we can tell who has written this granth. Because the author would understand that if he writes the shaheedee of Guru Arjan Dev ji, he also will have to mention the name of Chandu, a Hindu khatree.

Sushma Swaraj (member of Parliament) gave a statement that the shaheedee is not Chandu’s fault, he was innocent. Now they have a problem with including that in the granth. If they add the shaheedee of Guru Arjan Dev ji, it would involve a Hindu khatree.

(In the 1740s, Chaupa Singh, who was close to Guru Gobind Singh, placed the blame on Chandu Shah, a Hindu official in Lahore, who Chaupa Singh accused of having the Guru arrested and executed after he turned down Chandu Shah’s offer of marriage between Chandu’s daughter and Hargobind) . H. McLeod, ed. and trans. The Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 1987), p. 107.

If they write about the shaheedee of Guru Teg Bahadur, there is no involvement of any Hindus. That’s a good thing for them. One shaheedee is remembered, the other is not. There is only one Granth and only on Guru. They used the name of Guru Gobind Singh as the author. Did Guru Gobind Singh forget about Guru Arjan? That shaheedee that we regularly commemorate with detailed description of his torture on a hot plate with hot sand poured over him, with all the details of history, in gurdwaras everywhere, every year? Did Guru Gobind Singh sahib forget this?

O people, remember that in this granth, only those passages were included that suited them. This is the reason. There even is no mention of the takhat of Guru Hargobind. Today we are celebrating that Gurpurab, but even that is not included.

But understand one thing for sure - a takhat is a place. Places change, enemies can conquer them, and even today, in the present government has, in the name of Blue Star, desecrated the Darbar Sahib. But remember that they can destroy a place. They demolished it and rebuilt it. But after 10 days, we ourselves demolished it and rebuilt it. Then the maryada was changed.

In his book, he writes that during the days when the Akal Takhat was being rebuilt, the opposition did not want it to be rebuilt. The principal, Sukhbir Singh, said that it is a disaster. We assigned the Sant Samaj to rebuild the Akal Takhat, and a fight ensued between Sant Uttam Singh and Damdami Taksal, over money. Sant Uttam Singh came to me and said the Damdami Taksal is angry with him. He suggested that the seva be prolonged so that they receive more donations, in the name of the takhat sahib, people are giving money. We need money because the truckloads of marble have arrived, but they are not signing to accept the delivery. In the end, I mediated and divided the seva into two parts. One part was done by Damdami Taksal and the other part was done by Sant Uttam Singh. As a result, the marble tiles on the two halves do not match, and have different appearance.

We should know what is a place and what is a Guru. Takhat is a place, and Guru is king. The Guru has clarified this in Guru Granth Sahib. It’s alright. The court is big. The takhat is great. The takhat of raaj-jog and miri-piri was not made today. It was founded by Guru Nanak. Subsequently, it went to Guru Angad, Gur Amar Das, Guru Ram Das. On that takhat, Guru Arjan also sat. And on the takhat, Guru Hargobind paathishah ji also sat. Guru sat on the takhat. The takhat is not Guru.

Today, the propaganda fed to us is that the takhat is Guru.





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