It is a well known fact that Niddar drinks alcohol, he admits it openly, and also encourages his students to drink. He has even gone as far as to say that to be a warrior one must drink alcohol and eat flesh. Many of Nidar’s students drink and a cousin of a close friend of mine, who is student of Nidar, openly encourages his family members that it is ok for Singhs to drink.
I have seen many families destroyed by alcohol addiction and abuse, and i know it pains many Gursikhs when they see Singhs drinking alcohol.
On the 30th October 2011 Nidar in an interview with the BBC made the following statements
Nihangs still maintain some tenets of the Hindu faith, they have three scriptures rather than one and these extra books contain influences from Hinduism.
Many Nihangs also eat meat and drink alcohol which orthodox Sikhs disagree with. Traditionally they also drank bhang, an infusion of cannabis, to get closer to God.
I am not sure how he justifies this, maybe its practices past on from Nihangs in India or maybe it goes back to Nidar’s belief that they are a special kshatri commando task force that live deep in the jungles and are beyond the normal rules that apply to everyone else. (? The deep jungles of Wolverhampton ?)
Let us look to Gurbani and to the 52 hukums of Guru Gobind Singh ji to see what message we get about alcohol and its use.
Guru Gobind Singh Jis 52 Hukums
At Paonta Sahib Gurdwara there is a letter containing 52 hukums written by Guru Gobind Singh ji which was sent to Sikhs in Kabul in 1708 instructing them on appropriate behaviour. You can view the 52 hukums on this website. these hukums have served as the basis of Sikh Rehitmaryada.
The ones that should be brought to the attention of Nidar and his cheley are the following
27. Sutantar vicharna. Raaj Kaaj dian kamaan tae doosrae mutaa dia purshaan noo huk nahee daenaa. Maintain independent rule. In the affairs of governing, do not give the power of religious authority to those of other faiths.
30. Shaster vidyaa atae ghorhae di savaari da abhiaas karnaa|
Train in the skills of weaponry and horsemanship.
31. Doosrae mataa dae pustak, vidyaa parhnee. Pur bhrosaa drirh Gurbanee, Akaal Purakh tae karnaa|
Study the books and beliefs of other faiths. But maintain trust in Gurbani and Akal Purakh.
37. Sharaab nai saevanee|
Do not indulge in drinking alcoholic beverages.
Guru Gobind Singh ji – 1708, 52 Hukams, Paonta Sahib
They key edict here is number 37, do not partake in Alcohol. I have added a few extras as they need to be thought about aswell. Especially the one about not giving religious authority to other faiths. Again this is supported by edict number 31 which states that we must study books of other cultures and religions but to hold faith only in Gurbani.
Edict 30 is interesting as Guru Gobind Singh ji refers to the science of weaponry and this means learning to use weapons Shastar Vidya and not a specific “STYLE” as has now been copyrighted and claimed by Nidar as his own brandname. We also know that Guru Gobind Singh ji was an avid archer and also the singhs were skilled in horseriding which are both missing from Nidars style of Kung Fu.
Bhai Desa Singhs Rehitnama
If we look to this rehitnama which helped to form the basis of the main Akaal Takht Maryada of the Sikh Panth, what does it say about Intoxicants;
PAR NARI, JOOA, AST, CHORI, MADIRA JAAN
anothers woman, gambling, lies, stealing and alcohol
PANCH AIB YAI JAGAT MEH TAJAI SO SINGH SUJAAN
know these 5 vices in the world, a Singh who forsakes these is wise
RANN MEH CHALEY TE MADRA SEVE, AVAR DIVAS KHU NAAM NA LEVAI
when in battle alcohol can be used as medicine, but any other time its name must never be mentioned
So here we can see that even in the late 1700’s ( before Singh Sabha movement) when this Rehitnama was written by Bhai Desa Singh, we can see that Sikhs were meant to stay away from the 5 VICES which include sex outside marriage(Par Nari) and Alcohol(MADIRA).
In battle situations where the Sikhs were suffering with grave wounds and painful treatments such as amputations were necessary, it makes sense to use alcohol as an antisceptic and anesthetic, But at any other situation or time it must be avoided at all costs.
This is the same as morphine or nitrous oxide used in modern medicine.
“A wide variety of drugs are used in modern anesthetic practice. Many are rarely used outside of anesthesia”
Nidar singh will only quote half a verse saying “RANN MEH CHALEY TE MADRA SEVE” which makes it sound like warriors must go to battle and drink alcohol as it will make them better warriors. But if we look to the sentence before and after the whole story becomes evident.
Alcohol must be refrained from as it is one of the 5 AIB(vices), in times of battle its use as medicine or anasthetic is ok but at any other time its name must not even be mentioned.
If theres still any doubt in anyones mind here is another part of the rehitnama
KUTHA, HUKA, CHARAS, TAMAKU
halal meat, smoking pipe, hashish, tobacco
GANJA, TOPI, TARI, KHAKU
cannabis resin, snuff, distilled alcohol or ashes
INKI AUR NA KABHOO DEKHEY
those who never look towards these
REHATVANT SO SINGH VESEKHEY
is a singh who stays in absolute discipline
We hope that our young brothers and sisters will take heed of this message and refrain from alcohol and intoxicants as it is not befitting a Khalsa Sikh. We already have a high level of alcohol related illness within the punjabi population, an effort should be made to help our punjabi families rid themselves of the disease of alcoholism and not to encourage it in any way.
Gurbani on Alcohol and intoxicants
kabeer bhaa(n)g maashhulee suraa paan jo jo praanee khaa(n)hi ||
Kabeer, those mortals who consume marijuana, fish and wine
theerathh barath naem keeeae thae sabhai rasaathal jaa(n)hi ||233||
no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell. ||233||
This Shabad is by Bhagat Kabeer Ji in Salok Kabeer Jee on Pannaa 1377
suaadh lubhath ei(n)dhree ras praeriou madh ras laith bikaariou rae ||
Those who are deluded by sensual pleasures, who are tempted by sexual delights and enjoy wine are corrupt.
This Shabad is by Bhagat Kabeer Ji in Raag Gauree on Pannaa 335
surasaree salal kirath baarunee rae sa(n)th jan karath nehee paana(n) ||
Even if wine is made from the water of the Ganges, O Saints, do not drink it.
This Shabad is by Bhagat Ravi Daas Ji in Raag Malaar on Pannaa 1293
hoshhaa madh chaakh hoeae thum baavar dhulabh janam akaarathh ||1||
You taste the weak, insipid wine, and you have gone insane. You have uselessly wasted this precious human life. ||1||
rae nar aisee karehi eiaanathh ||
O man, such is the foolishness you practice.
This Shabad is by Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Maaroo on Pannaa 1001
kaam krodhh maaeiaa madh mathasar ein pa(n)chahu mil loottae ||1|| rehaao ||
Sexual desire, anger, Maya, intoxication and jealousy – these five have combined to plunder the world. ||1||Pause||
This Shabad is by Bhagat Ravi Daas Ji in Raag Raamkalee on Pannaa 973
Gurbani on the True Wine for a Gursikh
pooraa saach piaalaa sehajae thisehi peeaaeae jaa ko nadhar karae ||
The Perfect Lord naturally gives the cup of Truth, to the one upon whom He casts His Glance of Grace.
a(n)mrith kaa vaapaaree hovai kiaa madh shhooshhai bhaao dhharae ||2||
One who trades in this Nectar – how could he ever love the wine of the world? ||2||
gur kee saakhee a(n)mrith baanee peevath hee paravaan bhaeiaa ||
The Teachings of the Guru, the Ambrosial Bani – drinking them in, one becomes acceptable and renowned.
This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Pannaa 360
sach saraa gurr baaharaa jis vich sachaa naao ||
The Wine of Truth is not fermented from molasses. The True Name is contained within it
sunehi vakhaanehi jaetharrae ho thin balihaarai jaao ||
I am a sacrifice to those who hear and chant the True Name.
thaa man kheevaa jaaneeai jaa mehalee paaeae thhaao ||2||
Only one who obtains a room in the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence is deemed to be truly intoxicated. ||2||
This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Siree Raag on Pannaa 15
surath piaal sudhhaa ras a(n)mrith eaehu mehaa ras paeo rae ||3||
My focused consciousness is the cup, and the Ambrosial Nectar is the pure juice. I drink in the supreme, sublime essence of this juice. ||3||
nijhar dhhaar chuai ath niramal eih ras manooaa raatho rae ||
The pure stream constantly trickles forth, and my mind is intoxicated by this sublime essence.
kehi kabeer sagalae madh shhooshhae eihai mehaa ras saacho rae ||4||1||
Says Kabeer, all other wines are trivial and tasteless; this is the only true, sublime essence. ||4||1||
This Shabad is by Bhagat Kabeer Ji in Raag Raamkalee on Pannaa 968
I would like to clarify that i am not against alcohol in medicines and I am not against the strict vaishnav avoidance of substances rather I am against the abuse of substances be it paracetamol or whisky. In this day and age when there are so many tried and tested pain killers available the idea that one little sip of whisky will ail our pains is an amlees(drunkards) excuse.
we should always look to gurbani for guidance regardless of what Nidar or his students claim. Whatever their reasoning behind such actions no good will ever come of it. Our aim is to keep young people from the influences of such cults and arm our younger brothers and sisters with weapons of knowledge from gurbani so they can protect themself in Kalyug.
“ree sakheeyai, bikhe ban feeka tyaag ree sakheeyai, naam maha rass peeya”
“oh my friend, abandon the worthless poisons, tatse the maha rass of naam”
finally, just taste the true taste of naam and Gurus love – alcohol and drugs just pale away in comparison.