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Glimpses Of Sikh Religion - Book By Ajit Singh & Rajinder Singh
Introduction To 'Glimpses Of Sikh Religion' By Ajit Singh & Rajinder Singh
In order to have a proper understanding and appreciation of Guru Nanak's life, thought and works, it is necessary to have some acquaintance with the conditions that prevailed in India, especially in the North,West where Guru Nanak was born , He was not only a saint, a mystic, and a philosopher but a prophet as well. On the one hand he showed man the way to the Divine and immortal life and preached a new spiritual gospel and on the other, his heart was deeply moved by the sufferings, atrocities and tyranny inflicted on the people by foreign invaders. All this went a long way in moulding his attitude towar ds life in the world and in effecting a robust harmony between spiritual and secular life.
Before the advent of Guru Nanak, Buddhism had already spent its force and had diverged into many branches. Meanwhile a new Hinduism had emerged, which had become a conglomeration of many beliefs and ways of life, with the result that people were gradually becoming indifferent to one another. Scriptures were reinterpreted but these interpretations carried sectarian outlook which further divided Indian masses into many sects and clans.
Muslims had already settled down in India before Guru Nanak. For many centuries before Guru Nanak, invaders had been pouring into Indian territories with different cultures and religions, but they somehow or the other, were all absorbed by Hinduism. Invaders used to come and go having the least intention of settling down here, but with Muslims it was a different case. They attacked India in order to subdue it and after their victory, settled down here with all their cultural and religious ways and means of life.
Their way of life was reasonably new to Indian masses artd for a few centuries Hindus could flot understand and adjust themselves to the new circumstances. When large scale forced conversions to Islam were going on the Hindus became sternly defensive. Strict adherence to the codes of religion turned Hindus to be superstitious and orthodox which, on the one hand, made the invaders more bigoted, and on the other, left the Hindu social and religious structure more chaotic.
The erstwhile ruling classes were largely responsible for the precipitation of such confused situation in India in general and in Punjab in particular. In almost all the small states of India the rulers behaved as autocrats and did what suited their whims and fancies. There was no central authority to look after the welfare of the subjects. The rulers lacked humanitarian outlook and hardly ever cared to come out of their harems to listen to the agonised grievances of the public. As if this were not enough, the occasional invasions of outsiders put the people of West India to many unwarranted miseries and hardships.