BEFORE GURU NANAK
After its climax, Buddhism started degenerating in India. Statues
of Buddha and Budhisattvas became very common and were installed
in their temples. Buddhist monks preached lesson of non-violence
and non-resistance which made the people non-aggressive even in
Buddhism was driven out of India, the Hindu society set up their
own gods and goddesses and began to worship their stone images.
The Hindu priests who had been for centuries, the self-made custodians
of religion and its teachings, had reduced the religion to a mockery
performing rites and rituals and superstitious ceremonies devoid
of any sense and meaning.
Hindu leaders neglected to teach the spiritual realities to the
people at large who were sunk in superstitions and materialism.
Religion became confused with caste distinction and taboos about
eating and drinking.....",
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a philosopher and former President of India.
Hindu society was over-ridden with caste system. The religion became
the privilege only of the upper class called the Brahmans. The sacred
religious books were neither accessible to the other classes nor
could the people understand them because they were written mostly
in Sanskrit, a language not spoken by the masses. Religious reading,
writing and teaching was strictly the monopoly of the Brahmans.
The lowest of the lowest class was called the Untouchables. A touch
or even a shadow of these untouchables seemed to pollute the higher
was the condition of Hindu India when Muslim invaders from the west
began pouring in large numbers one after the other. For the Muslim
invaders, from Mahmood of Gazni in the eleventh century to the Moghuls
in the sixteenth century (at the time of Guru Nanak), the Punjab
was always the gateway of India. All these Muslim invaders massacred
men, women and children without mercy, plundered their homes, desecrated
and demolished their temples and robbed the wealth of these temples.
The Hindus were converted to Islam at the point of the sword. Nobles,
scholars, sufies, poets and philosophers who also came along with
these invaders, settled in the various parts of India, and they
laid the foundation of Indo-Muslim culture in the country.
Muslim historians have given account of the happenings of that time.
A few examples of the treatment of Hindus by the Mohammadan conquerors
of India, are given below:
King of Gazni (1170-1206), put Prithwi Raj, King of Ajmer and Delhi,
to death in cold blood. He massacred thousands of the inhabitants
of Ajmer who opposed him , reserving the remainder for slavery (The
Kamiu-t Tawarikh by Asir).
the Taj-ul-Ma'asir by Hassn Nizam-i-Naishapuri, it is stated that
when Qutb-ul-Din Aibak (1194-1210) conquered Meerat, he demolished
all the Hindu temples of the city and erected mosques on their sites.
In the city of Aligarh, he converted Hindu inhabitants to Islam
by the sword and beheaded all those who adhered to their own religion.
Wassaf writes in his Tazjiyat-ul-Amsar wa Tajriyat ul Asar that
when Ala-ul-Din Khilji (1295-1316) captured the city of Kambayat
at the head of the gulf of Cambay, he killed the adult male Hindu
inhabitants for the glory of Islam, set flowing rivers of blood,
sent the women of the country with all their gold, silver, and jewels,
to his own home, and made about twenty thousand maidens his private
once asked his Qazi, what was the Mohammadan law prescribed for
the Hindus. The Qazi replied, "Hindus are like the mud; if
silver is demanded from them, they must with the greatest humility
offer gold. If a Mohammadan desire to spit into a Hindu's mouth,
the Hindu should open it wide for the purpose. God created the Hindus
to be slaves of the Mohammadans. The Prophet hath ordained that,
if the Hindus do not accept Islam, they should be imprisoned, tortured,
finally put to death, and their property confiscated."
Mohammad Latif writes in his history of the Punjab, "Great
jealousy and hatred existed those days between the Hindus and Mohammadans
and the whole non-Muslim population was subject to persecution by
the Mohammadan rulers."
Gurdas, a Sikh scholar, writes, "My Lord, it is strange that
the people of Kalyug (dark age or the age of falsehood) have developed
the attitude of a dog and they take pleasure in swallowing ill-gotten
things. The rulers commit sins and those who are herdsmen, are killing
the sheep themselves. The people being ignorant are not in a position
to discriminate between truth and falsehood. Those who pose as benefactors
are engaged in amassing wealth by fraudulent means. Love between
man and woman is based on money, they meet at pleasure and depart
at will. The Qazi who occupies the seat of justice, accepts bribes
and then passes unjust orders."
Nanak describes the situation as:
'Kings are butchers Cruelty their knife, and Sense of duty and responsibility
have taken wings and vanished.' (Slok Mohalla 1, p-145)
has always been believed that whenever the Righteousness vanishes
from this world and the Falsehood takes its place, there has been
a call from the Heaven to restore peace and justice on earth. Out
of the dark clouds of falsehood, hypocrisy, injustice, cruelty and
bigotry, there came a ray of sunshine from the Heaven as described
by Bhai Gurdas, a Sikh apostle:
at last heard the prayers of the people, Guru Nanak was sent to
the world. The disciples met and drank the nectar of his Lotus feet,
And realized the Divine in this age of materialism. Guru Nanak re-established
Dharma, All castes he merged into one caste of man. The rich and
the poor he brought on one level, From this Founder of Humanity
a new race of love goes forth;
humility they bow down to each other. The Master and the disciple
became one, His song of Nam gives us a new life, He is the Saviour
in this age of materialism.
came, the world was lighted, The sun rose, the darkness disappeared.
Wherever the Guru put his foot, It became the temple of worship.
far-famed seats of the Sidhas changed their names,
The Yoga-houses became Guru-houses. Humanity resounded with his
divine hymns; In every house of the disciple, the Lord was worshipped.
Guru went in all directions, Seeking his own all over the earth.
A river of love and peace Flows in us singing his song." (Bhai
Gurdas, Var 1-pauri 23,27)
at last heard the cries and prayers of the oppressed and there appeared
the Savior of Humanity, Prophet of Peace, Fountain of Heavenly Love
and Ocean of Virtue in the name of GURU NANAK, the founder of Sikh
1: Qazi- A Mohammadan high priest.