(PRESS RELEASE from Singh Sabha, Bangalore)
Vienna shootout in ‘Ravidass Temple’ but not in Sikh Gurudwara Shri Niranjan Dass & Late Shri Ramanand are not Sikh Gurus
Bangalore - The violence erupted on 22/5/09 at ‘Shri Ravidas Sabha’s Temple’, Vienna, in Austria, where preachers of Ravidas faith were attacked by a group of men. Many including Shri Niranjan Dass were wounded & later Shri Ramanand lost his life. The preachers were from ‘Dera Sachkhand’ a main centre of Shri Ravidas faith at Raipur Ballan, Jalandhar.
The Bangalore Sikhs are deeply concerned of this horrific & saddening shooting incident. Many major news agencies have mistakenly reported the incident as happening at a ‘Sikh Gurudwara’ & referred the preachers as ‘Sikh Gurus’. This report is incorrect and could lead to negative implications for the Sikh community and Sikh Gurdwaras.
Whereas, the Sikh Religion has only 10 Sikh Gurus, the first living Sikh Guru was Guru Nanak Devji and the last & 10th living Sikh Guru was Guru Gobind Singh ji, who in 1708 gave Guruship into the ‘Holy Granth Sahib’ at Nanded, Maharashtra and directed the Sikhs that, their future guru would be the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ and they must follow the teachings of ‘Guru Granth sahib’. Thereafter, the followers of Sikh Faith believe only in the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ and not in any living person or idol. Gurudwara is a place where ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ is installed as the Guru.
The Guru Granth Sahib consists of total 1430-pages of holy hymns, which are divided in to 31 Ragas. The sacred Granth is an anthology of sacred hymns of 36 holy men across the Indian sub-continents, beginning from the 12th-17th century. Who hailed from various regions and belonged to different castes & religion. Amongst them 6 were Sikh Gurus, 15 Saints, 11 bards & 4 Sikhs. Many of them were Hindus, Muslims and lower caste persons including Bhagat Ravidass Ji, who was a cobbler and whose hymns are also included in the Guru Granth Sahib.
The followers of Ravidas faith is a separate sect from Sikhism, as they do not believe ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ as being their Guru; maintaining of 5-Kakkars; taking of Amrit/ Sikh Baptism and suffixing ‘Singh’ after their names. This sect believes ‘Shri Ravidas Ji’ as their Guru, whom Sikhs consider as a Saint, but not a Guru. The shootout incident has occurred in ‘Sri Ravidass Temple and not in a Gurudwara as reported by the media. Further Shri Niranjan Dass and Late Shri Ramanand are not Sikh Gurus/ Sikh preachers.
As Bhagat Ravidass Ji’s hymns are also included in the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, hence no Sikh could think of indulging in sacrilege acts in the temple premises, which was built after his name. However, we sympathize with the followers of Bhagat Ravidass Ji and request them to maintain peace & harmony and avoid taking destructive path, which causes inconvenience to all. Build faith in the law of the land, which will take appropriate action.