02 April, 2011

Veer Banda Singh Bahadur - A Vaishnava Vairagi Warrior

I recently had a heated debate with one so called Sikh historian who kept ranting on about how Sikhs have saved the Hindus & how much sacrifice we have really done for India as Sikhs. To be perfectly honest I don't blame him since for the 56 years of his entire life he has been living under some type of delusion, like most of us, until we actually wake up to the fact that thanks to Tat Khalsa scholars working under the influence of Gorre rulers, they sat about adding & subtracting records & presenting us with discrepancies within our history. Talking of the several discrepancies found today within the new versions of Sikh history, here is an answer for those neo-Sikhs out there who are full of inflated self egos when it comes to 'saving Hindus',when it is actually the other way around. Most of the Khalsa were Hindus of Punjab who fought bravely alongside their own Sanatan Sikh brothers in armies that created havoc against the Islamic forces. Here is an article I would like to share with everyone on the true history of Lakshman Dev Bharadwaj, originally a Kashmiri Brahmin at birth, who later on joined the Vaishnava Vairagi Akhara & trained as a military general possessing his very own army of thousands of Vaishnava Hindu sadhus who were fully armed. Neo Sikhs praise the brave sadhu sipahee as a Rajput who later on took amrit under Guru Gobind Singhji which is actually false propaganda. I am actually getting sick of the rubbish that most 'sikh' ( Talibani) sites out there are churning out..but this is an eye opener thanks to some good writers of authentic Hindu history out there!

Source: http://www.trinetra.org.uk/#/hindu-warriors/4549751595

The Legend of Veer Banda Singh Bahadur
Pavan Mishra

The medievel period between 13th century to 18th century was one of great turmoil in India. Muslim invaders from Asia Minor were ruthlessly looting, plundering, eroding and persecuting Hindu Civilisation. In the Punjab, which over the centuries had been bearing the main brunt of continuous Islamic invasions, terror, mayhem and murder ruled the roost, with the Muslim rulers carrying a systematic persecution of the Hindus. Thousands of places and structures of Hindu worship along with ancient centres of learning were being systematically desecrated and razed to the ground by the Muslim plunderers in an attempt to annhilate all traces of Hindu Dharma from its soil and to force all Hindus into submitting to Islam either through violence, treachery, extortions, kidnappings  or torture. It was during this period when Aurangzeb was the Mughal emperor that persecution reached its peak. Destruction of sacred Hindu temples, cow slaughter inside sacred Hindu sites, murder of men, rape and kidnapping of Hindu women had become the favourite passtime of Aurangzeb and his faithful Islamic army. The magnitude of Muslim barbarity against Hindus and Hindu Dharma was beyond measure, most of which was regularly documented by the Muslim historians in various chronicles celebrating the exploits of Muslim monarchs against the 'idol or Murtee worshipping' infidels.

Stretching from Sindh province, Northwest Frontier and into the Punjab, the Islamic invasions had led to many Hindus in these provinces living as second class citizens who could not practise ancient Dharmic rituals as this was seen as blasphemy by the Muslim tyrants, often leading to inhumane torture and persecution if caught, while other Hindus in these areas had been converted to Islam forcefully. Islam prescribed a death penalty for Murtee worship and many Hindus had been put to death in this region. However, while the Rajputs, Marathas, Ahom kings and many other Hindu warriors fought countrywide across the length and breadth of India against Islamic tyranny, there evolved alongside a spiritual and Dharmic rennaisance spurred by several Hindu saints and Akhara sadhus which became to be known as the Bhakti movement. Saints of the South such as Tyagaraja, from Mewar Rajasthan such as Meerabai to Tulsidas, Surdas, Kabir , Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, RaviDas in the North, all strived to rejuvenate Sanatan Dharmic philosophies through composing hymns and Bhajan Kirtans in praise of the Hindu pantheon of Gods such as Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, all echoing the message of the Vedas and Upanishads . They stressed devotion over theology.They travelled countrywide as poets or bards with their own groups of devotees and followers singing the greatness of the Supreme Being Shri Hari, a brave response of defiance against the Islamic onslaught, by involving local people therefore keeping the Dharmic tradition alive. In Haridwar, Kashi , Ayodhya and in the Himalayas, centres or ashrams of spiritual learning began to flourish and groups of sages known as Shiva Akharas, Vishnu Akharas, Vairagis, Nagas , Siddhas and Yogis known as Udasis roamed the forests keeping the Dharmic spirit alive. 

 In Punjab, Guru Nanak Dev, born in a Vaishnava family, founded a Bhakti movement or Panth which was based on Advaitic ( literally non-duality) principles, a branch of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, found mainly in the Upanishads as well as other traditions of Hindu Dharma. Some authentic accounts prove he may have belonged to a Brahmin family i.e. the fictional story of his rejection on wearing the sacred thread which could possibly  have been concocted by the British 'historian' Max Macauliffe in an attempt to colour Brahminism with shades of superstition and arrogance since the so called Sikh history has been proven to be replete with later edited versions, which have been designed by those secularists with vested interests, as I will explain here. However, this new movement required none of the ritualistic worship of Hindu Dharmic traditions, though keeping in line with Vedantic thought, and instead flourished more in this region due to the fact that places of Hindu worship had been ransacked and ritual practises had been banned by the Muslim rulers. Soon several Hindus flocked to Guru Nanak and welcomed this new resurgent Dharmic movement as a way out of their oppressed and much downtrodden lives and in due course this, like many other offshoots of Hindu Dharma, crystallized into a distinctive sect later on during the 19th century, known as Sanatan Sikhism, while followers of this movement came to be known as Sikhs or Shishyas ( Disciples). Guru Nanak Dev had remained a Hindu throughout his life, while spending most of his time for spiritual quest in the company of sadhus such as Sant Gorakhnath and other great spiritual Yogis of Kashi. His elder son Shri Chand had become a Sanyasi and had set up the Udasi Sant order, with thousands of his own followers.

Baba Shri Chand

This Hindu tradition of associating with Brahmins and sadhus for  spiritual guidance had continued upto the last tenth Guru, Shri Gobind Rai who was a self professed protector of Hindu Dharma:  

Sakal jagat main Khalsa Panth gaje Jage dharam Hindu sakal bhand bhaje ~

Guru Govind Singh  :''The Khalsa sect will roar around the world. We will awaken Hindu Dharma so that its enemies will flee''His father Guru Teg Bahadur had maintained company of several Brahmins such as Mati Das, Pandit Sati Das as well as Dayal Das and also ensured Gobind Rai a good education in Vedas and Sanskrit as well as Persian languages under the guidance of a Kashmiri Brahmin teacher known as Pandit Kripa Ram, who was also a trained warrior belonging to the military Brahmin class. All the ten Gurus had lived as Hindus and married according to the traditional Sanatan Dharmic ceremony of walking around the sacred fires under the guidance of the Brahmin priests.

Historic portraits of Guru Nanak Dev painted during his time show Nanak Dev sporting  a sandalwood tilak on his forehead, wearing a Seli Topi ( a loosely woven cap) and wearing the Rudraksha mala typical of a Hindu saint of the medievel period and engaged in discussions with many Hindu saints and yogis of the time. However, by the end of the 19th century an Islamised version of portraits of NanakDev would take over the earlier images of this great saint.

Within a span of a century, the movement had gained momentum and spread from Punjab to North West Frontier during and after Guru Nanak Dev's time and Gurudvaras were constructed in several places. This was an opportunity for the Hindus of these regions to install Murtees of the Hindu pantheon of Gods in these Gurudvaras which served as centres of gathering and worship in an otherwise hostile environment that had been imposed upon them by the Islamic rulers. Those Hindus who had already joined this sect as well as those Hindus who had chosen to remain within the traditional Dharmic fold, worshipped together at these centres. The fourth Guru, Shri Ram Das, had stumbled upon an ancient Vishnu tank, a very popular pilgrimage site for Hindu worship during the time of Emperor Ikshvaku, the ancestor of Lord Rama and it is a well known fact that Lord Buddha had also performed auterities at this very place when he renounced all material ties with his Kingdom and family members. Guru Ram Das excavated the tank and laid the first stone for foundation for a grande structure known as Hari-Mandir or Hari meaning Vishnu's temple. The site became to be known as AmritSar ( Pool of Nectar) and HariMandir soon became the centre for Hindu and Sikh worship, later on to be known as the Golden Temple. Here the compilations of writings of the Gurus known as Adi Granth was placed along with Murtees of Hindu Gods such as Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu as well as  a life size murtee of the sixth Guru Shri HarGovind, later to be removed by separatist Sikhs, some of them who had been converted to Christianity, belonging to the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha movement during the end of the 19th century,which had been engineered and fostered by the British Regime occupying India at the time. This was a ploy to plant the seeds of  establishing a separate  Sikh identity from its parent  Sanatan Dharmic heritage , and the Singh Sabhias collaborated with the Colonial forces as their stooges and were launched as a movement towards the end of the 19th century. The Tat Khalsa began to radically change and rewrite 'Sikh' history, conveniently expunging all signs of Hindu philosophy and historical accounts which had been initially propogated by all the ten Gurus of this Hindu sect. Heavy tones of blatant anti Hindu as well as anti Brahminical  sentiments replaced the earlier authentic records of the great history of this region. The leading figure of the Tat Khalsa was headed by the 'historian' Max Macauliffe, an Irishman whom the neo Sikhs of today regard as a great scholar and historian and an authority on the history of Sikhism and Punjab. In a systematic attempt to turn the Sikh soldiers against the Indian freedom movements, the colonial forces ensured great minority privileges for Sikhs in order to make governing of the  Indian sub continent an easy task, and they began a massive drive to convert many Sikhs to Christianity whilst at the same time taking over the running of HariMandir at Amritsar. Their aim : To Christianise Sanatan Sikh heritage and to make HariMandir a place of Christian worship by drawing plans to turn the site into  a Church complex.

In 1882, Macauliffe achieved the position of Deputy Commissioner in Punjab. With the help of Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha of the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha, Macauliffe wrote the popular Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha-sanctioned text that outlined Sikh history according to the views of the Tat Khalsa scholars of the time. In it, he states the reasons for writing his extensive work on the Sikhs:

"It is admitted that a knowledge of the religions of the people of India is a desideratum for the British officials who administer its affairs and indirectly for the people who are governed by them so that mutual sympathy may be produced. It seems, at any rate politic to place before the Sikh soldiery their Guru’s prophecies in favor of the English and the texts of their sacred writings which foster their loyalty."
- - - The Sikh Religion’,1909, M.A. Macauliffe, Preface xxii

This highly encouraged several Sikh scholars of the time to rewrite Sikh history in the manner that the British preferred, therefore promoting a sense of contempt towards anything remotely that sounded Hindu, especially  Hindu bravery against Islamic hordes. In an attempt to Christianise  and de-Hinduise the Adi Granth, additions were made to several instances of  Gurus' lives which were obvious copies of myths from Abrahamaic scriptures and many contortions crept in. HariMandir was replaced with Arabic/Persian words like Darbar Sahib. Myths of a sufi saint Mir Mian supposedly having laid the founding stone for HariMandir were circulated and widely promoted by the Tat Khalsa. Words of the great Gurus such as Tegh Bahadur were manipulated  in an attempt to give them a somewhat 'Sikh' appearance. The incident of the ninth Guru having died for Kashmiri Brahmins showed further contradictions present in Sikh historical accounts, in his statement to Aurangzeb  before his execution: 

Tin te sun Sri Tegh Bahadur / Dharam nibaahan bikhe Bahadur Uttar bhaniyo, dharam hum Hindu
Atipriya ko kin karen nikandu

Lok parlok ubhaya sukhani / Aan napahant yahi samani Mat mileen murakh mat loi
Ise tayage pramar soi Hindu dharam rakhe jag mahin / Tumre kare bin se it nahin

Guru Tegh Bahadur's reply to Aurangzeb's ordering him to embrace Islam:

(In response, Shri Tegh Bahadur says, My religion is Hindu and how can I abandon what is so dear to me? This religion helps you in this world and that, and only a fool would abandon it. God himself is the protector of this religion and no one can destroy it.)

According to his son Guru Govind Rai , his father had sacrificed his life for his belief in the preservation as well as protection of  'sacred tilak and thread' therefore affirming his strong belief in the Hindu Dharma.  Along with Tegh Bahadur, Mati Das, Pandit Sati Das and Dayal Das, all of whom were Brahmins died through torture for not embracing Islam. Neo Sikh scholars have clouded this particular information by carefully mentioning the sacrifices of the Brahmins as 'Sikhs' who died alongside their 'Sikh' Guru, replacing this episode with a highly debatable and unconfirmed incident of some 500 Kashmiri Pandits having approached  the Guru for help and for protection for which he nominated himself supposedly to be executed by Aurangzeb. Mati Das, Sati Das and Dayal Das have been described in the annals of the new Sikh historical accounts, as having died as brave 'Sikhs' instead of brave Brahmins who gave up their lives for Punjab and Vedic Dharma.

 The promotion of such fraud and deception is a trademark of the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha authorised scholars and historians. One such fraud and deception promoted by the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha is of the great bravery of a Hindu Dharmic warrior who was born in Rajauri Kashmir to a poor Brahmin known as RamDev Bharadwaj in the year 1670 AD. He was born as Lakshman Dev Bharadwaj as recorded in authentic accounts of the literary works Chhowen Rattan and as mentioned severally in local folklore of Jammu, a place where he had built his place. Eminent and well known authors such as Dr Nanak Singh as well as P.N Bali , have also acknowledged Lakshman Dev's family name as Bharadwaj, a lineage of Brahmins belonging to military traditions. After painstaking research, it has become evident to me that there were several authentic accounts of Kashmiri Brahmins known as Mohyal and Chibber Brahmins who had given a good fight against the Islamic oppressors in Punjab during this turbulent time alongside of the Kshatriya forces organised by Guru Govind Rai whom he would later call 'Khalsa'. Lakshman Dev Bharadwaj was one of them. His name has been played down by neo Sikh scholars as Lacchman DAS, Lacchman DEV, Lakhman DEV and more recently GurBaksh Singh, and have continued to portray him as a poor Rajput's son who later on would become a Sikh to protect the Hindus of Punjab. His family name had been conveniently left out by the Tat Khalsa 's anti Brahmin stance as they rewrote Sikh history to the wishes of the British, and in their blind haste to prove that he was a Rajput, they even overlooked the most important fact that all Rajput names end with the name Singh.

Bharadwaj is a Brahmin Gotra of Kashmiri Brahmins originating from the lineage of Guru Dronacharya, which has produced several great Hindu Kings who fought bravely against the invading Muslim hordes. However, the bitter truth is, like so many brave Hindu warriors of the time,  whether a Rajput Kshatriya, Shudra or a Brahmin, it took a Hindu warrior to organise the Khalsa and to establish the first Khalsa kingdom in Punjab, who was brave enough to continue after the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh's passing away, with a daring approach on tactics and  assaults when it came to confronting  the Islamic tyrants on many a battlefield. The participation of several Brahmins alongside the Khalsa during their struggle against Islamic tyranny is nowhere mentioned by neo Sikhs who have succeeded in supressing  all historical facts, at the same time brainwashing Sikh youth into following an anti Hindu Talibanised version of ancient Sanatan Sikhi traditions. Instead of acknowledging the fact that Hindus saved the Khalsa in order to uphold Hindu Dharma, we are constantly fed on a diet of how  'Sikhs saved Hindus' and when a lie is circulated over a thousand times, it almost tends to become 'true'. No doubt the struggle of the Gurus against Islamic fascism at the time was a struggle to keep Hindu Dharma alive which firmly puts the Sikhs within the same camp as the Hindus.
Not much has been recorded about Lakshman Dev's early life but there are a few folk stories/myths and some may appear to be highly exagerated since most have been sung as oral traditions which tend to be passed down from one generation to another. According to Gyani Budh Singh, as a child Lakshman Dev was a recluse who was more interested in training in martial arts combats, weaponry, horse riding and meditation. His family was extremely poor due to the fact that Brahmins and other Hindus of this region had been denied basic human rights by the Islamic Governors of the time and were a downtrodden people who were forced to live under humiliation and tyranny. It is believed as he grew up, Lakshman Dev left Rajauri to join the wondering Vaishnava saints known as Vairagi Akharas and travelled to Haridwar and later on to Nanded, Maharashtra.  Janaki Das, his guru named him Madhav Das.

The period of 20 years (1688-1708) of Vairag, that Lakshman Dev  spent before settling down at Nanded, situated on the bank of the river Godavari, has been taken as a dark period with no available historical account. He spent these years amongst the various Akharas or sects such as Nagas, Sanyasis, Yogis, Gosains, Dasnamis, Dadupanthis and many other sects with their Akharas under charge of their own mahants. Akharas were mostly founded to defend Hindu temples from the Muslim invaders at the beginning of the second millennium CE. By Mughal Emperor Akbar's time, there were already large numbers of armed ascetics all over India. Some of the Vairagis had become mercenaries fighting large scale battles, while some had become land owners, cultivating their lands to provide food for the rest of these saint warriors. Madhav Das learned from them training of mind and body and battle strategy. The Vairagi Akharas of the time were highly organised whereby peasants, farmers, Brahmins, shudras, kshatriyas, including orphans even could be hardened into effective, disciplined soldiers and had a good reputation as fierce fighters and loyal soldiers. Their weaponry was state-of-the-art and included musketry and artillery, materials for mounting sieges against well fortified locations as well as  camel guns.They also possessed horses, elephants and other pack animals required to transport heavy equipment.  The Kumbh Melas served as the staging ground for the mobilization, recruitment, and mercenary employment for the Akharas which sometimes expanded in numbers over 10,000 recruits to fight for Dharma against any foreign occupation.

Madhav Das soon had over the years, earned himself a notorious reputation with an army of thousands of armed followers of his own. News of this had reached the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, who arleady had heard of Madhav Das and his command over a strong army of  Vaishnava saint warriors and decided to meet Madhav Das at Haridwar, and later on again at Nanded where Madhav Das had set up his own ashram ( hermitage). The Guru spent a year with Madhav Das, watching and studying the battle tactics of the Vairagis and requested the Vairagi to assist him in freeing  Punjab from the Muslim oppressors.  The meeting between Guru Govind and Madhav Das is described in many literatures in various ways and there are many contortions that have crept in over the years especially within Sikh historical accounts which were edited during the 19th century by the Tat Khalsa under the guidance of Macauliffe. Bhai Santokh Singh in his literature 'Suraj Prakash' describes Madhav Das as nearly 7 feet tall with athletic build and one who knew the art of warfare very well. The dialogue between the Guru and Madhav Das was, as Dr Nanak Singh (historian and scholar) describes this  as ' similar to the dialogue of Lord Krishna and Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra'. The Guru it seems had lost everything in the past few years including all four of his sons, while his wife Mata Sundari had been left behind in Delhi at the Moghul headquarters. It was a wake up call for Madhav Das to stand up and liberate his land which was being ravaged and plundered by the Islamic barbarians; at a time when Hindus were being tortured and persecuted endlessly, it was time for Dharma to be re-established.

According to many distortions in various Sikh literatures, it is widely believed that Madhav Das had taken 'amrit' or become baptized into Sikhism but Bhai Santokh Singh and various other authentic sources have proved that this was simply not the case, since the Vairagi remained a Vaishnava and Sikhism as it is known now had not come into existence even at the time.  Guru Govind Singh, had sent him along with the rest of the Vaishnava saints to Punjab to fight fierce wars with the Muslim forces of Wazir Khan- the Guru named the fearless Vairagi,  Veer Banda Bahadur.

In September 1708 Banda Bahadur set out towards Punjab with the help of Guru Govind Singh's men - he would enter Punjab like a tornado and through his expertise of guerilla warfare, organise the Hindus/Sikhs into a military machine that would eventually establish the first Khalsa kingdom.
(Part 2 to be followed)

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