What is Chardikala?
April 17, 2012 § 4 Comments
Guru Piarey Jio,
After the celebrations of Vaisakhi (the birth of the Khalsa), it is well worthwhile to introspect on the meaning of Chardikala. Having heard translations like “soaring spirit” and “ever optimistic” etc, the one we’ve like the best is , ‘Chardikala is when if you’ve just lost a leg and someone asks, “How are you?”, you say Chardikala.’
This ability to remain positive even in the midst of ‘Calamity’ is Chardikala. Dhan Guru Gobind Singh ji writing an “Announcement of Victory” (Zafarnama) when he had just lost his four sons, his mother, his writings and also his Sikhs had been decimated, is Chardikala. The Nihung terminology of calling dried chappaties, “Sweet”, of saying sava lakh (1,250,000) when they mean one, is Chardikala. And where does this Chardikala stem from? Well in its purest sense, it’s from Naam. When we enjoy the bliss and joy of knowing our inner and outer Beloved, there can be no question of being sad, it’s all Sweet Hukam, it’s all Chardikala.
If we apply this definition of Chardikala to the Sikh situation in India since 1947, then you’ll see why the real reason for our troubles is purely ourselves. Its not that the Panth doesn’t have enemies, of course, we could write a very long list, but these enemies have always been there and are nothing in front of the might of Guru Gobind Singh and Vaheguru. We all know and (now) lament the fact that Tara Singh didn’t have the gumption and nous to demand a Sikh state in 1946. And we all ought to know that the Sikhs never signed the Indian Constitution. However since then the Sikhs have continued to moan and groan about Article 25 and being ‘classified as Hindus’ and ‘demanded’ equal rights in a ‘democratic’ and ‘federal’ Indian ‘Republic’.
Could there have been a better approach? What would someone truly chardikala, ferociously independent have done about the fact that Sikhs were in India and classified as Hindus.
(1) Forget arguing about semantics: The Chardikala way woud have been to see this as an opportunity, not a loss. Why bother arguing semantics with a bunch of colonial trained power hungry elitist upper castes. “Moorakhe naal na Lujhiye” don’t argue with idiots. Lets just do the job of the Sikhs and deliver justice and equality and spiritual nourishment and it doesn’t matter what you call us, our actions will speak for themselves. Actually, from studying history you can see that its actually Hinduism that is a made up term, they are the ones who lack clear identity, not the Sikhs. The Sikhs are easily identified by singing Gurbani, Gurudwaras, Langar, and Guru Granth Sahib. The ‘Hindus on the other hand are so disparate and follow so many different paths, its impossible to categorise them. What is the opportunity I hear you ask? The opportunity is actually of Khalsa Raj. If we grasp the above, and had some real Chardiakala, we would have seen that every self respecting Hindu, especially the more intelligent type would surely have recognised the value of Sikhi and its simplicity. The opportunity is the two points below.
(2) Emancipate the ‘Harijans’: India at that time was only 350 million or so, most of these were poor, downtrodden lower caste Indians who were always going to be scraping the bottom of the “fruits of success” barrel whilst simultaneously being the “driving force” of industrial growth. These are precisely the people who are most in need of Guru Gobind Singh jis revolutionary ideology of a armed populace that is able to defend its own rights and give itself royal surnames. Forget the ‘people of God’ we should make them the ‘Army of God’ the Akaal Purakh ki Fauj. We all know that true freedom cannot be won for someone, they have to do it for themselves. If we truly believe Sikhi is freedom, then we’d have to give them Guru Nanaks message and show them the path of Sikhi.
(3) Spread Sikhi outside Punjab: Any true follower of Guru Nanak, who faithfully sings “Kal Taran Guru Nanak Aaya” and “Suni Pukar Datar Prabh, Gur Nanak jag mahe pataiya” cannot think that the message of the Gurus is to be limited to Punjabis alone, let alone those deluded few who think its for Jats! If we are to fully realise Guru Nanaks mission, then every person on the earth should know of Guru Nanaks message and have the choice to follow him as Satguru.
Here you have a large population of ‘Hindus’ who nearly all believe in:
b) Atma (Soul) and Parmatma (Grand Soul)
c) Meditation and the Holy power of Yogis and Sadhus
d) The four yugs.
e) Vishnu, Krishan and Raam
f) Singing Bhajans in Sangat as a form of worship.
g) The idea of Dharm, ie righteousness.
All the Sikhs had to focus on was telling them that
a) We are now in Kalyug – accepted
b) Kirtan/ Singing Praises in Sadh sangat is the highest form of worship in Kalyug.
c) Guru Nanak is the Satguru of Kalyug. The previous Satgurus worked in previous yugs but times have changed.
d) Look at all the other bhagats that have been famous, have any of them done anything as amazing as the ten Gurus, did anyone of them build cities, write full Granths, fight tyranny, establish Dharma? No, in Kalyug it’s Satguru Nanak for you my friend.
e) Satguru Nanak is now in Gurbani Kirtan sung in all Gurudwaras.
f) Our Atma is part of parmatma and through kirtan and Guru’s grace, we can realise this.
Thats it, job done. The rest of the proof of Sikhi is simply in the amazing ethics and social structure it promotes and also the amazing lives of our Gurus and the behaviour of the Sikhs following this. Back in 1947 the respect for the Sikhs was at an all time high. They had just been at the forefront of fighting for Independence, they were hugely respected for their decency. The reality at that time was that if a Singh was sitting in a train carriage, everyone else was resting easy. We can still access this respect, its just hidden under the surface of the recent bollywood propaganda.
The end result of all these three would have meant that in the 55 years since independence, Sikhs would have easily been the biggest religious group in India, with some Hindu Brahmins and Muslims. Effectively the demographic of Punjab would actually be all over India. Ask yourself, if that were the case if we would ever need anyone ‘shouting slogans’ and ‘demanding’ Khalistan.
If you think this is a little crazy, let us remind you of the situation prior to and after independence of 1947. Ambedkar, the writer of the Constitution and champion of the lower-caste hindus (himself a lower-caste) was fed up with Hinduism and its caste system. He saw no chance of reforming that system. He saw only two options, Sikhi and Buddhism and his initial preference was Sikhism. However, the prevailing Sikhs of that time dissuaded him, and he turned to Buddhism. The Punjabis didn’t want to have the SGPC and Gurudwaras dominated by lower-castes. They knew that if Ambedkar takes Amrit, then possibly about 60 million of his followers, (India’s population was around 350 million, out of which only 8 million were Sikhs) would also end up taking Amrit and then Sikhi would be truly huge and not just about Punjabis. What a shocker! This is not a story told to us often, no we prefer to focus on Article 25, and the massacres done by the Muslims, but not about what we ourselves turned down in India, the chance to be the dominant ideology. All the resources of India could have been gathered for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden. India could now be one of the most prosperous, female friendly and egalitarian countries, instead of the most unequal, least lawful, where women still fight for acceptance and where state and corporate governance is least ethical. Instead of harping on about not being Hindu, why not just spread Sikhi to all the Hindus. That would have been Chardikala!
So why don’t the Sikhs have the backbone for this type of thinking? Why do we instantly think of protesting and writing letters instead of thinking Chardikala. Why did the Akaal Takht not issue a hukamnama in 1948 that all Sikhs are now to register their marriage with the Akaal Takht and not the Indian Government. Why not set up an independent marriage record bureau and issue marriage licences? If a marriage was not recognised by the Indian government that Sri Akaal Takht had recognised, it would be an act of cultural war. Why is this idea so outlandish to some readers but not the idea that Sikhs spend 55 years trying to repeal a law in a constitution that they did not sign?
Who was it that told us that “Sikhs do not preach”, yes you guessed it, it was the British, who incidentally, first wiped out all the truly Charidkala Singhs in the Anglo Sikh wars and then systematically planned the downfall of Sikhi, making all their colonial servants into Singhs, but regimenting them into following the Sahib. Yes, we have to respect the bravery of those British Indian Army (a misnomer if there ever was one) Singhs, but they were shadows of the type of Singhs that ruled over the Throne of Delhi and had issued coins in the Gurus name. While the Singhs of old sang songs of the Khalsa ruling the world from the sun rising to the sun set (from east to west- ie all over the world), the non-Chardikala thinking that the British had fostered on the Sikhs resulted in us only thinking about Punjab. As mentioned before, what about Takht Hazoor sahib, Takht Patna Sahib?
Recently at a Sarbat Khalsa meeting in the UK, a Singh said that if we are to really follow Bhai Rajoana as our Jathedar then our ‘mang’ (want) cannot be the Anandpur sahib resolution. The Anandpur Sahib resolution did not ask for Khalistan, it merely asked for Punjab to live free from the exploitation of Delhi. Since it was not honoured at all, then now the ‘mang’ must be Khalistan. I respected his thought process, independent thinking! But take it one step further, why should Sikhs settle for a diminutive Punjab, a shadow of its past glory. Pakistan Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana etc had all stolen from Punjab. No, we say that there should be no ‘mang’, we should be thinking about India first, not Punjab. If we get India, then Punjab will automatically be free.
Previously people have misunderstood our main argument, which is that Sikhs should, as the first step, be thinking about a total takeover of India, from the political to spiritual sphere. Aside from the point about freeing the poor Indians and ensuring the Khalsa Raaj includes the five takhts, lets also examine one other crucial argument for this.
India is now a nuclear power: This is unfortunately the key shashter of this age and if you don’t have this weapon at your disposal, then you are not one of the big boys and no one listens. Maharaj kirpa, even now Sikhs are part of India and able to take it over from the inside. Once we’ve achieved the Khalsa mission in India, the Khalsa would automatically nuclear armed, which is a good thing, not a bad thing! Dont think small, think big. If the true Khalsa ran India, would you really want a situation where China, Russia and the US had a weapon that it did not. If the Khalsa decided to intervene in an unjust situation where the US, Chinese or Russian interests were to prolong conflict, how could we accomplish the mission of Vaheguru when the others could simply threaten Nuclear attack. This is a blessing on the Khalsa, we don’t have to invent Nuclear Weapons (see Iran), we simply take over India.
If you think we are being a bit optimistic and should think smaller, ie a Punjabi Khalistan, please consider the implications of a small country located on the border of two very large nuclear powers with diametrically opposed belief systems, Pakistan and India, and that have previously gone to way over each other. Does anybody want to live in a place like Kashmir, where its just a no-mans land between India and Pakistan? Its far more viable to take over India than it will be to convince India to free Punjab and thereby give an opportunity for Pakistan to take over Punjab. If it ever looked like Pakistan would do this, India would surely just launch a pre-emptive invasion of Punjab, to protect its territorial interests and then guess where the war between Pakistan and India would be fought…in Punjab! Who wants this? Or perhaps you think that Pakistan is getting more stable and would never do this, in which case you need to read up on the failed Islamic state to-be that is Pakistan. No, the alternative does not bear thinking about, which is why its even more crucial that Sikhs in India get it into their heads that they are Indian and they are here to Rule India. It’s already evident in the Indian flag that it also pledges orange! The colour that was of the Sikhs has been put first, then the Ghandi white and the Muslim green.
However, we feel that there is another stage that will be required. You see although by and large, Indians are the easiest group of people to agree with the Sikh philosophy, in the quest to make a Khalsa Raj in India, it may be hard to convince the downtrodden masses of the revolutionary power of Sikhi. Getting people to actually go inside and discover the Truth within themselves and live a fiercely independent life in accordance with that Truth is relatively easy in the independent thinking environment of the west, but In India, they always want to be a follower rather than a leader. Its the land of the babas, where simplistic tricks work wonders. They are not yet able to take up the mantle of freedom. Its going to take a long time to convince those who are slaves in the mind to become Khalsa. Its going to take a revolution in the West in order to affect that change. The Khalsa will have to become the dominant philosophy in one of the Western countries. India apes the west, having lost its self but not its confidence, it now is confident of beating the West in the question for the Western Ideal. It will be the Khalsa of the West that will remind India of its true spiritual self. I don’t just refer to the 3Ho yogic Sikhs, which are spearheading the way and giving us the photogenic images of white and black people as Sikhs. I mean the thousands and hundreds of thousands of White, Black, Chinese Sikhs who are about to come into the Khalsa. The Punjabis are not ready for them, the Gurudwaras are not ready for them, but Guru is preparing them.
When the Khalsa idealogy spreads in the West, it will not just be by simple preaching. No, the Sikhs will have to deliver the goods so to speak. They will not just be able to speak of Sikh bravery in WW1 and 2. No, it will have to be present day bravery, present day human rights work and present day spirituality that the revolution will begin. We in the west are very cynical. However, when the day comes that Sikhs are building homeless shelters and providing medicine to those in need, when the day comes that Sikhs are being prosecuted for rescuing trafficked and slaved women and in the process killing Albanian mafia lords, when the day comes that walking into a Gurudwara becomes an enlightening experience, full of joy and bliss, on that day, will Sikhi truly prove its mettle and it will be adopted in legions. The political conversation in Western countries will be dominated by activist Sikhs who are applying Guru’s principles to public policy.
This will initially simultaneously give the Punjabi Sikhs a sense of shame for abandoning Sikhi and a sense of pride in the actions of their religious brethren. But after this will come a sense of revolution, that things must change in Punjab too and also a sense of confidence that Sikhi is a world philosophy and it deserves their full focus in emancipating India. The Hindu Indians will not be thinking of Sikhi as some Punjabi silly joke but as a serious meditative and socially just system. Much blood will be lost in trying to move into real democracy. India is not a country that wants its people to think or be independent. The 1% rule there and they have a lot of people whom have been sold the myth of ‘Incredible India’. These people will resist the advance of Sikhi, which is why the West will have to be place where Sikhi goes strong first. The stranglehold on Sikhi in India will tighten, but as is in all cases since time began, the Truth will prevail. The Sikhs are not scared of dying a hero’s death, the only comparison is the cowards death at home with family with lots of unfulfilled hopes. Death will come for us all, but the Sikhs, inspired by Guru’s will have to show the world what it is to truly live! The Khalsa will free Punjab and Sri Akaal Takht will be independent.
From this base, the Khalsa Ideology will come to dominate the world. The Khalsa will not need to run a country specifically, it will ensure all ethical principles are being followed and where they are not, it will intervene. The key thing is that the Khalsa can only rule when it actually does the job of Sikhi, to raise everyones awareness, to feed the hungry, fight the tyrants and meditate on the One. The raj is only assured to those in touch with the True Being.
Some may accuse us of thinking grand dreams. Sure, but ask yourself this, what did you think Guruji meant when he said Raaj Karega Khalsa? Why do you shout it now? Be honest with yourself O dear Khalsa, Is this not the secret dream in your heart? The dream that you did not wish to tell everyone in case it scares them? Please do not worry about sounding like a Muslim and talking about Sharia law, we are very different. Why cannot the Khalsa share its vision for the world? If we do not define our objectives and vision, then someone else will define it for us. There are two points to consider here, firstly,, look at the fast growth of Islam in Western countries. It’s not at all unusual to see Western people adopt Islam, even though the Islamic ideal is well known to everybody, namely an Islamic World. Compare that to our ideal of a Khalsa Raj, where people are free to practice any belief and where basic food, education, housing and medicine are not subject to competition theory but available to all. This is an ideal that we should feel confident about spreading. The second point is regarding the 3HO Sikhs, the only large group of Western Sikhs. One of our favourite songs to come from 3HO is the Song of the Khalsa, if you haven’t heard it, we heartily recommend it. The last verse is amazing and goes something like this, “The Khalsa will rule the world and all will be safe in its fold, but if the Khalsa falls, there wont be a world at all”. When exhorting us to be strong as steel and steady as stone, the song also clearly gives the correct translation of Raj Karega Khalsa. This song is sung by nearly all the Sikhs in 3HO, their children grown up with it and their consciousness is imbued with it. Surely we can understand that no one wants to be a loser, everyone wants to join a winning team especially if you agree with them already. The Khalsa has been given this job, its here to accomplish Sat Jug on this earth. An age of Truth, where the Truth rules supreme. That is Chardikala.
So why are Punjabi Sikhs so shy of making this their founding mission statement? The answer is, because they lost their Chardikala and don’t even know it. That’s why we go around shouting slogans and signing petitions, because most of us are not thinking from first principles. What we need to do is simply organise ourselves to think big, bigger than we’ve thought before. Then we need to live Sikhi and breathe it, so the Naam fills our being and its what we are. Then when we’re thinking big and living Sikhi, we need to think like a sword, a great big flashing steel sword, hardened and tempered, sharp and decisive. When we do that and gather in numbers of five and above, around us the revolution will start as Guruji himself will give us strength to do so, its his promise to those who remain distinct and Chardikala. The Way of the True Bhagats is Distinct (see Anand Sahib) Then the Khalsa will rule the world and all will be safe in its fold.
Moving on from defining our vision about India and the Raaj, in our next post, we’ll be coming for the Gurudwaras abroad. Cause its been a long time coming and come it will. Stay tuned.
May the rider of the blue steed, of plumed turban and with hawks, who sacrificed his whole family willingly for the Khalsa, bless his children with the strength to carry though his mission. May the actions of the Khalsa lead to the world thanking Vaheguru for sending the ten Gurus that created the Khalsa. May the Khalsa give all glory to Vaheguru and live and die for Vaheguru.