Bhai Kahn Singh jee Nabha was one of the greatest scholars of Sikh Panth. Mahan Kosh the best Sikh encyclopedia even to this day keeps his memory alive. At a time when Hindus were about to swallow Sikh Panth, he along with other gursikhs of that time vigorously fought back. Bhai Sahib wrote another great book – Hum Hindu Nahee (We are not Hindus), in order to counter the claim by some Sanatanist Hindus that Sikhs were part of the Hindu Dharam.
At that time (and still today) there were Sikhs who proudly subscribed to all faiths along with the Sikh faith. A person who is a Sikh cannot be a Hindu or a Muslim at the same time. A Sikh can only be a Sikh and not a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian while being a Sikh.
Many Sikhs don’t openly subscribe to other faiths but knowingly or unknowingly a lot of Sikhs are infected with other faiths i.e. subscribe to their philosophies. They don’t see any harm in bowing their head when they see a Church or a temple. I have personally witnessed this. A friend of mine, long time ago, used to bow his head whenever he saw any religious place. I told him that we Sikhs cannot bow our head and matha-tek to anyone but Guru Khalsa Panth and Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee but he in return accused me of being an extremist and even a Taliban. I was sitting there wondering how ignorant modern Sikhs had become.
Anyway, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha terms such Sikhs who subscribe to all faiths as Hardeghi Chamchay i.e. such chamchay that are used to stir vegetable of all sorts. He has written a beautiful poem that I must share with you all:
Devi ko bhagat kabhee meera ko upaasha hai,
Daas Sultan ko au kabhee Laal-Beghi hai||
(Depending on the circle and situation, sometimes he becomes a worshipper of Devi and at other times of Meera. Sometimes they serve Sultan (a sect of Islam) and at other times they become Laal-Beghi (another sect of Islam))
Mann meh hai aur ar mukh maahe dooji baat,
Param Pakhandi, nakh Sikh Lau farebee hai||
(He has one thing in mind and something else on his tongue. He is a Param Pakhandi i.e. a great hyprocrite and a deceiver)
Swarath ko maan hai, mukh parmaarath tain,
Nimboo ko nichod agai karat rakebi hai ||
(From inside they have worldly reasons and aspirations but from tongue they speak of holyness and religion. They crush others as a lemon is crushed)
Singh roop dhaari anai matt ko parchaari bhaari,
Panth ko nikaaray jo chamach Hardeghi hai ||
(Such pakhandi adopts the appearance of a Singh but always sticks up or stands up and preaches other faiths. Such person who undermines Panth is a Hardeghi Chamach)
May Guru Sahib save us from becoming Chamach Hardeghi. Let us stop becoming apologetics for other faiths. Let us become Mighty Khalsay both physically and spiritually. We hate no one but this does not mean that sell out to others. We should not undermine our Guru Sahibaan by saying that they were influenced by others and so on.
Today Sikh scholars shamelessly and perhaps without realising the consequences of what they are writing, are declaring that Baba Farid is the Pitaamah of Punjabi. Others get up and say that Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj was greatly influenced by Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Naamdev and Bhagat Ravidaas jee. Then others get up and do the work of RSS by saying that Nirgun Pooja in India was not started by Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj but was there prior to Guru Sahib. I ask those Bhadar-Purashs (learned wise men) – Is there anything that Guru Nanak Dev jee started? Pitamah of Punjabi is Farid and Pitamah of Nirgun Pooja is Kabir; then what did Guru Nanak do?
If what Guru Nanak Dev jee was preaching was nothing new then why did he start a new religion? He could have started a reformist movement in Islam or in Hinduism. Why did he opt for a separate religion? Because no other faith can attain Vaheguru but Sikh Panth. The concept of Sach Khand was introduced to this world by Satguru Nanak Dev jee. The other faiths will go where they preach they will go i.e. Hindus to swarag or mukti, Muslims to Jannat, Christians to heaven, Buddhist to Nirvana and Sikhs of Satguru jee to Sach Khand which is much above all these other destinations (Read Siri Jap jee Sahib for more details).
Why did Bhai Gurdas jee say that the condition of this Earth was hopeless before Guru Nanak Dev jee arrived? Earth was badly crushed with bad Karma and there was no Dharam left at all. Furthermore he declares that “Thamay koi na Saadh bin, Saadh na deesai Jag vich koya” i.e. There was no Saadhoo in the world before Guru Nanak Dev jee and without Saadhoo Guru Nanak Dev jee there was no one to console the suffering world. If Kabir jee and Ravidaas jee and Farid jee had been before Satguru jee, then why was the Earth crushed under the weight of sins and why did Bhai Gurdas jee say that there was no Saadh before Satguru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj.
Bhai Gurdaas jee says very passionately that “Mitee dhund Jag Chaanan hoya, Satgur Nanak Pargatiya” i.e. The fog of ignorance dispelled when Guru Nanak Dev jee appeared in this world. Why was there fog if Kabir jee and Farid jee and Ravidaas jee and Naamdev jee had attained Vaheguru and had done bhagtee required to clear the fog?
Khalsa jee, let us not play into the hands of RSS and other fundamentalist Hindus who claim that Guru Nanak Dev jee did nothing new and he did not start a new faith. They say that Satguru jee merely reformed the old Sanatan Hindu Dharam.
Khalsa jeeo, Kabir jee, Ramanand jee, Ravidaas jee and others were doing bhagtee no doubt but they were not on the right track. Guru Nanak Dev jee put them on the right track. Our Janamsaakhis talk about Satguru jee meeting these bhagats in Ayodhya and winning them over. They were old and at this old age they became Guru Sahib’s Sikhs.
Kabir jee, Ravidaas jee, Naamdev jee and Dhanna jee were Sikhs of Swami Ramanand jee who had started Raam Bhagtee by renouncing his Guru - Raghwa jee who was a proponent of Krishna Bhagtee. Ramanand jee preached Raam Bhagti for long time till one day he met Satguru jee.
We should ponder upon the following pankitees of Ramanand jee:
Satguru, Main Balihaari Tor||
Who was he referring to as Satguru jee here? We all know that he had no Guru as he had revolted against his guru Raghwa jee and had started his own branch of Raam Bhagti? Khalsa jeei, it was none other than Guru Nanak Dev jee who taught him Nirgun Pooja. After Ramanand became a disciple of Satguru jee, Kabir jee, Dhanna jee and others followed their Guru as well.
Guru Nanak Dev jee introduced this world to the real pooja of Vaheguru. Before coming in human form, he helped some bhagats of previous jugs but openly he did udhaar (salvation) only in Kalyug. So was the Bhaana of Vaheguru.