This is the central argument that Sikh writer and speaker Karminder Singh Dhillon puts forward in the eight installment of the Sikhi Concepts discussion series. The topic covered is ‘Court of Judgement’ or Dargah.
It flies in the face of commonly held belief that humans will be judged somewhere, sometime, after death.
In this latest series, Karminder once again reminds listeners that to truly appreciate the Sikhi of Guru Nanak, “we will need to understand the new meanings or the redefined meanings of the concepts as contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.”
To view the video, click here.
He says that Sikhi is premised on two primary principles: One, primacy of hukm. Second, Sikhi is for here and now and Gurbani therefore concerns itself with the life that we are living in the here and now.
The primacy of Hukm in Sikhi is laid out in a verse Guru Nanak verse on Page 1 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS): ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ (hukam razaai chalnaa).
“Every word of this verse is revolutionary. Every word carries a concept of spirituality that did not exist in the pre-1469 period,” he says.
On the deep seated belief of a court of judgment awaiting for everyone after this life ends, Karminder has this to say:
“Life is difficult enough without having to believe that the entire universe is just waiting to consign us to an eternal hell. And that is exactly what the old Canvas and our clergy want us to believe. That we are given an extremely short span for our life and that what awaits us in the afterlife is a terrifying judgment that confines us into 21 hells for eternity for some petty wrongdoings and have us to go through 8.4 million life forms of cats, rats, bats and cockroaches.
“This is the fear from which Guru Nanak and Gurbani seek to liberate us from. There is no court of judgement, no Dargah, no kacheri, no saynyamni in the afterlife. The only court is the one within us. In the here and now. The court of judgement is our conscience. Every thought, every word, every action of ours is judged right within us, in the very instant, and a judgement delivered by our conscience right there and there. We have to listen to our conscience. We have to silence the background noises in our mind that tell us to ignore our conscience. We have to refrain our attempts to silence our conscience.”
GURBANI VERSES DISCUSSED
ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ੧ ॥
Hukum Rajayee Chalnaa, Nanak Likhiya Neal
Hukm (with Sihari) means Within the confines of His Hukm. Rajayee – translates as Rzaa Walla; meaning the Creator. Chalnaa – Lit means to Walk, Flow. Abide in Sehej. Then we have the phrase Likhiya Naal. The word Lekha means an accounting. So Likhya Naal means – the Hukm is contained within, accounted for within. The meaning of the verse is Nanak, The Way to Realize the Creator Within Is to Remain Within the Confines of, and Abide in Sehej (Chalna) Of His Hukm, As Contained Within Me.
Guru Nanak is saying the Creator is Within ਨਾਲਿ. Since the Creator is within and realization of the Creator is within; it follows that His Hukm for us is in operation within ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ. It cannot be that the Creator is within us but that His Hukm is not, or that His Hukm is Without.
Four points are worth noting.
1) The Creator is Within.
2) Realization of the Creator is Within.
3) His Hukm for us is therefore Within
4) The accounting of our deeds is therefore Within too.
Pre-existing and pre-1468 notions of judgement IN THE AFTER LIFE by external “entities” such as Dharam-raj, Chitergupat, Lekha etc. are thus REJECTED. They are then REDEFINED in Gurbani as processes that occurs WITHIN and in the Here and Now.
The narrative of Dargah within Gurbani. The direct evidence from within Gurbani that the Court is Within.
VERSE 2: Page 1092 of the SGGS.
ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਤਖਤੁ ਹੈ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਆਉ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਦਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਸਰਾਉ ॥
Paurri. Ander Raja Takhat Hai Apey Krey Nioao. Gur Shabdi Dar Janeeaiy Ander Mehl Asroa
Guru Amardas ji is saying. The King is Within ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਾਜਾ His Throne on which he sits is Within ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਤਖਤੁ ਹੈ The Justice, the law, the rules, the judgement is also Within ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਤਖਤੁ ਹੈ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਆਉ.
Enlightenment about the Court within, within which the Creator Reigns, sits on the throne, and executes judgement within ਅੰਦਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਸਰਾਉ is to be obtained from within the messages of the shabd ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਦਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਸਰਾਉ.
The phrase ਅੰਦਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਸਰਾਉ means Within the Conscience. It is our CONSCIENCE that is the DARGAH. It is the Conscience that is the court.
Keep in mind that all of Gurbani’s concepts are grounded in the HERE and NOW. In our present life. ਵਰਤਮਾਨ ਵਿਚ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਹੋਵਣਹਾਰ ਸੋਈ ਪਰਵਾਣਾ॥
Similarly, the concepts of Dargah and Judgement in Dargah are grounded in the HERE and NOW.
In that context then, the phrase ਅੰਦਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਸਰਾਉ means Within the Conscience. It is our CONSCIENCE that is the DARGAH. It is the Conscience that makes judgements about our thoughts, speech, acts and deeds. These are instant judgements in the here and now.
The meaning of the verse then is this: The Creator is Within, His Throne on which he sits is Within. The Justice, the law, the rules, the judgement is also Within. Enlightenment about the Court within Our Conscience is obtained from within the messages of the shabd.
ਖਰੇ ਪਰਖਿ ਖਜਾਨੈ ਪਾਈਅਨਿ ਖੋਟਿਆ ਨਾਹੀ ਥਾਉ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਸਚੋ ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਿਆਉ ॥
Khrey Parkh Khajaneiy Payien Khotia Nahi Thao. Sabh Sach Scho Sach Vartda Sda Sach Niao. Amrit Ka Rus Aiya Mun Vasiya Nao.
The translation of the verse is: The Judgement Within My Conscience Is I Inculcate the Good and I Discard the Bad. The Creator Reigns Supreme Within the Court of Justice of the Creator Within. The Essence of Spiritual Life Is Realized Upon The Realization Of Divine Virtues Within.
Putting it all together then, the message of the verse is: The judgement within our Conscience is of essence. The good and the bad, the truth and the falsity, the real and the unreal – I judge within my Conscience on the basis of ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਦਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ.
I inculcate the good ਖਰੇ ਪਰਖਿ ਖਜਾਨੈ ਪਾਈਅਨਿ. I discard the bad ਖੋਟਿਆ ਨਾਹੀ ਥਾਉ. The essence of Spiritual life is realized upon the realization of Divine virtues within.
What all the above means is that Guru Amardas ji is telling us that for Divinity to come into existance within our minds in the HERE and NOW– we need to appreciate that the Creator is Within, His Court or Dargah is within, and so is the Judgement which comes through the voice of the conscience which is the voice of the Creator within.
On the other hand, if we accept that the Dargah is an external entity in the After Life, and that the judgement is done by an entity out there –also in our afterlife – then the essence of it will NOT be DIVINITY, but fear, anxiety, worry and dread. These are not the building blocks of spirituality in the Here and Now.
VERSE 4: Page 591 of the SGGS.
ਜਿਸੁ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਮੁਠੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਸਭੁ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਤਲਕੀ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਨਿ ਸਭਿ ਆਣਿ ਪੈਰੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Pauri. Jis Kaiy Ghar Diban Har Hoveiy Tis Ki Muthi Vich Jagt Sabh Aiya. Tis Kao Talki Kiseiy Di Nahi Har Diban Sabh Aann Pairi Paya
A Sikh of the SGGS, a Sikh of Gurbani does not subject himself or herself to any COURT, any Diban, any Dargah that is under the jurisdiction of any entity OTHER than the Creator Within.
The Outome of Realization that the Court of the Omnipresent Creator is within is the REMOVAL of subjugation to any OTHER entity. Any entity other than the Creator within.
The message is crystal clear – The Sikh discards all the external entities such as the Dargah of the afterlife, Dhrm raj, Chitergupt etc. A Sikh is NOT subject to any such concocted entities.
VERSE 5: Page 591 of SGGS
ਮਾਣਸਾ ਕਿਅਹੁ ਦੀਬਾਣਹੁ ਕੋਈ ਨਸਿ ਭਜਿ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਹਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਣਹੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਿਥੈ ਜਾਇਆ ॥
Mannsa Kioh Dibannho Koee Nus Bhaj Nikleiy Har Dibannho Koyi Kitheiy Jaya.
Meaning: Why would any human being discard the Court within; What other court other than the Court of the Creator Within is there to go to.
VERSE 6: Page 591 of SGGS
ਸੋ ਐਸਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਨੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਭਗਤਾ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਤਿਨਿ ਰਹਦੇ ਖੁਹਦੇ ਆਣਿ ਸਭਿ ਭਗਤਾ ਅਗੈ ਖਲਵਾਇਆ ॥
So Aisa Har Diban Vasiya Bhagtan Kaiy Hirdaiy Tin Rehndey Kuhndey Aanm Sabh Bhagtan Agaiy Khalvaiya
Meaning : Such is the court of the Creator that is located within the conscience of Divine Seekers (Bhagats) that all other insignificant courts vanish in such realization. So much so that all other insignificant courts vanish in such realization .
The message is crystal clear. Once Realization of the Court of the Creator Within comes, settles in, and becomes a reality of our Spirituality in the HERE and NOW – all other courts become insignificant, become inconsequential, become irrelevant. Guru ji uses the words ਰਹਦੇ ਖੁਹਦੇ ਦੀਬਾਨੁ in comparison to ਹਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਨੁ. The idiom ਰਹਦੇ ਖੁਹਦੇ means trivial, petty, frivolous and irrelevant remnants.
SIKHI CONCEPTS VIDEO SERIES BY KARMINDER SINGH DHILLON
Part 1: Guru Nanak’s Canvas
Part 2: Death
Part 3: After Life
Part 4: 8.4 million (Chaurasi Lakh)
Part 5: Reincarnation
Part 6: Heaven and Hell
Part 7: Salvation in Afterlife (Mukti)
Part 8: Court of Judgement (Dargah)
Part 9: Dhrm Raj
Seeking heaven, fearing hell. What says Gurbani? (Asia Samachar, 15 Jan 2021)
Hijacking Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 19 Dec 2020)
Karminder talks about what shaped his thinking, and his latest books on Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 20 Nov 2020)