Monday, April 16, 2018

Episode 5 of Punjab Travels: Meeting Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti Ji...

Whilst staying in Amritsar, I rang Giani Joginder Singh Ji Vedanti, former Jatheder of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. I asked whether it is possible to meet up with him. He was so friendly and invited me to visit his home. My family and I went one evening to Giani Ji's house. I must say, usually when people reach positions of power and influence, they usually become unapproachable and arrogant. However, Giani Ji and his wife were so down to earth and welcoming, that it was really inspiring and humbling.

Giani Ji respects the Maryada of Bibek and Sarbloh. He said that the whole Panth should be following this as it is the Maryada of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. However, due to our personal weaknesses we have lost these traditions and instead only a small number of Sikhs strive to observe them. He said any Gursikh who keeps Bibek or Sarbloh Maryada is respect worthy and said some of the closest Gursikhs that he admires and respects follow this Maryada.  He mentioned that sometimes there two Langars in programmes, one with 'Khullaa' (open/relaxed, i.e. made by anyone without question) Langar and the other 'Bibek' Langar (prepared by Rehat observing Gursikhs only). He said this is not a bad thing as the majority of the Sangat has let go of Maryada and are happy for smokers and Patits to make Langar. He said "Where else can the Guru-abiding Gursikhs go and eat? They have to make Langar. I always feel blessed to be served such Langar."

I asked Giani Ji about the Mangals (beginning lines) that appear before 'Sir-lekhs' (titles) of Banis. I have noticed differences in Mangals in particular with the Nitnem Banis from Dasam Granth. Different Pothi/Gutka Sahibs have different Mangals. Giani Ji, who is a researcher of Gurbani and has a wealth of knowledge of historical copies of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Dasam Granth and Sikh literature, explained what is written in old copies of Dasam Granth.

Chaupai Sahib
I had heard different variations of the 'Mangal' for Benti Chaupai Sahib. It was interesting to find out that in Dasam Granth, Benti Chaupai Sahib doesn't have a 'Mangal', and begins as: "ਕਬਿਯੋਬਾਚ ਬੇਨਤੀ || ਚੋਪਈ ||". 

Jaap Sahib
I have read in SGPC Gutka Sahibs the Mangal of "ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ || ਜਾਪੁ || ਸ੍ਰੀ ਮੁਖਵਾਕ ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ੧੦ ||" In other Gutka Sahibs I have read "ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ || ਸ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹਿ || ਜਾਪੁ || ਸ੍ਰੀ ਮੁਖਵਾਕ ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ੧੦ ||" Which one is right I asked Giani Ji. Giani Ji said in the scanned copies of Dasam Granth that he has in his position, the Mangal is: "ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ||  || ਜਾਪੁ ||  ਸ੍ਰੀ ਮੁਖਵਾਕ ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ੧੦ ||

Similarly, for the Svaiyye we read in Nitnem I have seen different Mangals. Svaiyye read as part of Nitnem is part of Akaal Ustat. Giani Ji showed that in accordance to Dasam Granth, there is no Mangal, as it is part of a larger Bani (i.e. Akaal Ustat), and therefore the Mangal appears above the beginning of Akaal Ustat.

Time passed so quickly talking to Giani Ji. He walked us out to the road and showed everyone Pyaar. A very pleasant experience.

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