Warriors of Faith

Devi Pooja -2

The detractors of Chandi charittars and Chandi di vaar contend that Guru ji worshipped Durga in these baanis. They have the misconception that in Vaar Sri Bhagauti ji ki, Guru Gobind Singh ji has worshipped Durga and hence hold the belief that in the baani “Bhagauti” is a reference to Durga. It has been alleged that this is not the Baani of Guru Gobind Singh ji at all, but is the baani of a Shakat poet Shyaam, who created this deception in order to make Sikhs worshippers of Durga. The claim is, he took the name of Durga before Guru Nanak dev ji and wrote this Baani in name of Guru Gobind singh ji to deceive Sikhs and portary them as a part of Hindus. So firstly we’ll do vichaar whether the word Bhagauti really means Durga and whether she is really “worshipped” in Baani. In the beginning of Baani of Akaal Ustat, Guruji makes clear his views on Durga and other Gods. Guruji says,
ਅਨਹਦ ਰੂਪ ਅਨਾਹਦ ਬਾਨੀ ॥
ਚਰਨ ਸਰਨ ਜਿਹ ਬਸਤ ਭਵਾਨੀ ॥
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨ ਅੰਤੁ ਨਹ ਪਾਇਓ ॥
ਨੇਤ ਨੇਤ ਮੁਖਚਾਰ ਬਤਾਇਓ ॥ 5॥
In Shelter of his feet dwells Durga.
Neither Brahma (god of creation) nor Vishnu (god of preservation) comprehends his bounds.
Brahma, having four faces, proclaimed that the Lord is Infinite. (5

At the start of baani of Chandi di Vaar(as it is popularly known today) Guru ji says ‘Pritham Bhagauti simar ke’, this means first remember the Supreme Power, the Param Aaatma, the Super Soul and then Guru Nanak (Remember, in Hinduism, Devi has been reffered to as Bhagvati, not Bhagauti. These two are completely different words with different meanings). But if some one alleges no, Bhagauti is Durga, then we should go to second pauri of this baani. Here Guru ji says, O Supreme Mother (Bhagauti), first you created Khanda (an adjective for ‘Shabad’, ‘Word’, ‘Naam’). Out of Shabad you created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Then you created the oceans, mountains, earth and the skies. You created Devas and demons (good and bad) and made them to fight each other. Then you created Durga to vanquish demons! If Bhagauti means Durga, then how it is possible that Durga is creating Durga again. The answer is-   She Isn’t !Bhagauti is the one supreme mother of all, the Param Aatma and it is she who has created Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, Durga, Ram and Krishan. Here is the entire second pauri of Chandi di vaar.
ਪਉੜੀ ॥
ਖੰਡਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੈ ਸਾਜ ਕੈ ਜਿਨ ਸਭ ਸੈਸਾਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨੁ ਮਹੇਸ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਦਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਰਚਾਇ ਬਣਾਇਆ ॥
ਸਿੰਧ ਪਰਬਤ ਮੇਦਨੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਥੰਮ੍ਹਾ ਗਗਨਿ ਰਹਾਇਆ ॥
ਸਿਰਜੇ ਦਾਨੋ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਤਿਨ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਾਦੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥
ਤੈ ਹੀ ਦੁਰਗਾ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੈ ਦੈਤਾ ਦਾ ਨਾਸੁ ਕਰਾਇਆ ॥
ਤੈਥੋਂ ਹੀ ਬਲੁ ਰਾਮ ਲੈ ਨਾਲ ਬਾਣਾ ਦਹਸਿਰੁ ਘਾਇਆ ॥
ਤੈਥੋਂ ਹੀ ਬਲੁ ਕ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਲੈ ਕੰਸੁ ਕੇਸੀ ਪਕੜਿ ਗਿਰਾਇਆ ॥
ਬਡੇ ਬਡੇ ਮੁਨਿ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕਈ ਜੁਗ ਤਿਨੀ ਤਨੁ ਤਾਇਆ ॥
ਕਿਨੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ 2॥

Pauri (Stanza of an Epic)
At first, the Primeval Force (The Lord) created Khanda (Configuration of the two edges of sword signifying creation and destruction of the Universe) and then He originated the whole Universe.
Having created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, He composed the play of the cosmos and made it manifest.
He made the oceans, mountains and the earth and stabilized the sky without pillars.

 He created demons and gods and caused contention between them.

O Lord! By creating Durga, You alone have caused destruction of demons by her.

Having received power from You, Rama killed Ravana with arrows.

Having acquired strength from You Krishna pulled Kansa's hair and dashed him down.

The great sages and deities, in order to perform austerities underwent suffering on their bodies for many ages.

None could find your end. (2)

There is a difference in worshipping someone and respecting, praising someone
There was and is a poetic tradition in Indian sub-continent that whenever a Sant or Poet started any composition, he/she would write about his/her God, in whom they believed and asked for their blessings. In Guru Granth Sahib ji, in the beginning, we have Mool Manatar, which is a beautiful explanation of Saroop (form) of Waheguru. Afterwards, at the start of every baani and raag, Guruji praised Waheguru and attributed the composition to Mercy of Waheguru ( Satgur Parsad). This was known as ‘Mangal’ or ‘mangala charan’.  Now let’s have a look at the Mangal of Baani of Chandi charittar. Guruji writes
ਚੰਡੀ ਚਰਿਤ੍ਰ
ੴ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹ ॥
ਅਥ ਚੰਡੀ ਚਰਿਤ੍ਰ ਚਰਿਤ੍ਰ ਉਕਤਿ ਬਿਲਾਸ ॥
After writing name of Baani, Chandi Charitra, Guru Gobind Singh ji writes,
‘There is but One wonderful Lord, the repository of enlightenment called Vaheguru and Victory is of the Lord.’
Where is the ‘worship of Durga’ here? Why didn’t the poet say ‘Jai Durga’ or something like that? He could not have, because the poet here is Guru Gobind Singh ji Maharaj.   Now in the first stanza of the baani, The Poet( Guruji) makes clear his concept of God and what he thinks about Gods and Goddesses. Guruji says,
ਸ੍ਹੈਯਾ ॥
ਆਦਿ ਅਪਾਰ ਅਲੇਖ ਅਨੰਤ ਅਕਾਲ ਅਭੇਖ ਅਲੱਖ ਅਨਾਸਾ ॥
ਕੈ ਸਿਵ ਸਕਤ ਦਏ ਸ੍ਰੁਤਿ ਚਾਰ ਰਜੋ ਤਮ ਸੱਤ ਤਿਹੂ ਪੁਰ ਬਾਸਾ ॥
ਦਿਉਸ ਨਿਸਾ ਸਸਿ ਸੂਰ ਕੈ ਦੀਪ ਸੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਰਚੀ ਪੰਚ ਤੱਤ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸਾ ॥
ਬੈਰ ਬਢਾਇ ਲਰਾਇ ਸੁਰਾਸੁਰ ਆਪਹਿ ਦੇਖਤ ਬੈਠ ਤਮਾਸਾ ॥ 1॥
The Supreme Lord is primeval, unbounded, indescribable, without end, immortal, guise less, imperceptible and indestructible.
By dint of His auspicious Power, Created innumebarable Shiv and Shaktis (Durga), He created four revelations (the Vedas), He has infused the three constituents of nature: Rajas (passion), Tamas (darkness) and Sattva (goodness) and dwells in the three worlds.
He created day and night and in order to illuminate them, He made the sun and the moon as lamps. He devised five elements and formed the whole universe.
He incites animosity between the gods and the demons to make them fight and while sitting apart, watches this play. (1)

If the composer of these Baanis was some one who believed in Durga to be All-powerful creator, why was he singing glory of Akaal Purakh? In the first line, all the names of Lord Akaal Purakh which have been used are present in Guru Granth Sahib ji. These lines of baani clearly prove the composer of this baani to be believer of One Supreme God, who is Guru Gobind Singh ji.

Guru ji again asks for knowledge and blessings from the Supreme power to write story of Chandika( Durga). If he was worshipping Durga, why was he asking for blessings from someone else to write story of Durga? Would he not have asked for the blessings of Durga herself in order to write the story of her battles?
ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਸਿੰਧ ਤੁਮਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜੋ ਕਛੁ ਮੋ ਪਰਿ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਰਚੋ ਚੰਡਕਾ ਕੀ ਕਥਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਸੁਭ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ॥ 2॥
O, the Ocean of mercy! If you shower a bit of your grace on me,
Then I may compose the story of Chandika (Durga). Help me so that this (poetic) composition may be befitting. (2)

  Guru Gobind Singh ji did ardas to ‘Kirpa Sindhu’ (Ocean of Mercy, Waheguru) to bless him so that he could write story of Durga.
We can make out very clearly that Guru Gobind Singh ji was not worshipping Durga or asking for boons from her. Instead he was writing her story with the blessings of Akaal purakh Waheguru!

Now the question arises ‘Why Guruji wrote the story of Durga?’

When we look at the history of India before the time of our gurus, we don’t come across any great warrior icons that have selflessly fought for dharma. Ram fought for his wife and Krishna and Pandavs for their empire.

Guru ji wanted to inspire, wake up common man of India, to be able to stand up for his faith and against injustice. Before any type of empirical revolution, first the conscience and self-esteem of a human must wake up, so that when he goes to battlefield, he’s not afraid of death and most importantly he must have an icon to follow. He must have someone from whom he can draw his strength as a role model in a way. Today we have a rich history; we have Guru ji, Sahibazadey, Baba Deep singh ji, Baba Mani singh ji, Bhai Taru singh ji who gave their lives for dharma. There are millions of shaheed singhs whom we are proud to follow, whom we wish to emulate. We feel ready to walk on their footsteps, to fight in the battlefield like them. We feel pride to have a heritage containing so much selflessness that is why we listen to their history with so much passion; we listen to their Vaars (ballads) from Dhadhi Singhs.  Ever thought when Guru Hargobind Sahib ji built Akaal Takhat and started Dhaadi tradition, whose ballads dhadis used to sing at that time? They sang Vaars of ancient Rajput heroes who died fighting mughals, turks, pathans but didn’t give up their honour. They were not worshipping them, but singing their ballads as heroes of battlefield, who fought and died for honour.
 When Guru ji looked at Indian history he didn’t find anyone, except Durga, who on the orders of Waheguru, fought selflessly for sake of mankind. Despite having so much power she didn’t start her own religion, and lived a life of self less service to humanity. She was the one whom Indians had been worshipping as a goddess for centuries, but they never tried to walk on her footsteps or understand what Durga really stood for?

The reality of the situation was that ninety percent of those who were becoming Sikhs were coming from Hindu backgrounds. Hindus woken up by Guru’s call for freedom and independence had accepted Gurus as their masters and those who became part of the spiritual revolution started by the Gurus became Sikhs.  In Baani, Maharaj uses the example of Durga to help awaken the Sipahi roop of sikhs. Guruji asked them, if Durga being a woman can ride a lion, why can you not ride a horse? If she can carry weapons in her eight hands, why can’t you in 2? If she can fight with millions of demons in battlefield alone, with Akaal Purakh’s blessings, why can’t you fight with those opposing your religious rights and freedom? He sang the Vaar of Durga, like a warrior praises another great warrior. He didn’t worship Durga as a goddess like Hindus; he praised her as a warrior woman. The Durga that Brahmins worship wears bangles in her hands; Durga of Guru Gobind Singh ji wears karras (bracelets) of iron. The Durga of a Brahmin wears sarree, Durga of Guruji wears Sarabloh armour. The Durga of Brahmin wears Mukat on her head, but Durga of Guruji wears Chakkars and Gajgah on her head.

So it’s just sheer foolishness or ignorance to doubt Gurbaani of Guru ji which inspires a Gursikh for Dharam yudh, the War for Truth. Thus baani chandi di vaar and chandi charritars was and is read by gursikhs from centuries. Gursikhs of Damdami Taksal, Akand kirtani jatha and other Panthic Jathebandis still read these baanis with love and respect. 

Creating doubt about these baanis is only a ploy to de-weaponise, de arm and reduce the warrior spirit of Khalsa panth by removing these Baanis, full of Bir-ras, from the conscience of Panth.  What we need today is a correct and honest translation and vichaar of Baani, with Bibek-Budh blessed by Guru Granth Sahib ji, otherwise there is always a possibility of erroneous interpretations, which may lead to more confusion among Sikhs. And further confusion about Baani or Baana or Rehat is going to be harmful for Sikhs. So for unity and Charhdi kala of Panth, we should all devote some time in reading, understanding and doing vichaar on Baani of Guru Granth Sahib ji and Sri Dasam Granth Sahib ji so that our lives are blessed and we live them according to golden principles of Gurubaani.

 Sri Akaal ji Sahai.                            

 Kamaljeet Singh ShaheedSar

Posted by Kamaljeet Singh Shaheedsar on Tuesday, May 24. 2011 in Sri Dasam Granth

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