Who is the Founder of Sikhi?

There could be two answers to this interesting question – one representing the spiritual aspect and the other prevalent historical considerations.

I shall go backward from Guru Gobind Singh Ji to Guru Nanak Sahib to throw some light on this riddle?

When we accept that the salutation – ‘Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Fateh’ – has the endorsement of Guru Gobind Singh Ji then Guru Ji shifts the bulk of creation of ‘Khalsa’ (an offshoot of Sikhi/Sikhism) to Waheguru. This is also the first indication of ruling out the handy role of his predecessors (other Gurus) as well.

Guru Nanak gives his gratitude to his GURU for His Kirpa, which indicates that who is in the driving seat:-

ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਆਪਣੇ ਦਿਉਹਾੜੀ ਸਦ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਣਸ ਤੇ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਵਾਰ ॥੧॥ (Raag Asa, Guru Nanak, GGS. 462-19).
A hundred times a day, I am a sacrifice to my Guru; He made angels out of men, without delay. ||1||

Guru Nanak Sahib adds that he is driven by his GURU and with His grace he is able to perform in life:-

ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਲਘਾਏ ਪਾਰਿ ॥ (Raag Asa M. 1, GGS. 465-10).
Contemplating the Guru, I have been taught these teachings; Granting His Grace, He carries His servants across.

Guru Nanak Sahib further makes no secret in proclaiming that the Doer is his GURU (Ik oankar/Waheguru) and that any other claim is not of a worthy person:-

ਵਡਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਵਡੀ ਨਾਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਆਪੌ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਗੈ ਗਇਆ ਨ ਸੋਹੈ ॥੨੧॥ (Jap Ji, Guru Nanak Sahib, GGS. 5-1).
Great is the Master, Great is His Name. Whatever happens is according to His Will. O Nanak, one who claims to know everything shall not be decorated in the Divine Court.

– ਭਗਤ ਤੇਰੈ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਦਰਿ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਗਾਵਦੇ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੁਝਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਅਣਹੋਦਾ ਆਪੁ ਗਣਾਇਦੇ ॥ (Raag Asa, Guru Nanak, GGS.468-3).
Your devotees are pleasing to Your Mind, Lord. They look beautiful at Your door, singing Your Praises. Some do not understand their origins, and without cause, they display their self-conceit.

According to Guru Nanak Sahib himself:-

ਕਰਣ ਕਾਰਣ ਸਮਰਥੁ ਹੈ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ (Salok Sehshritee, Guru Nanak Sahib, GGS. 1353-10).
The Creator, the Cause of causes, is All-powerful. Thus speaks Nanak, after deep deliberation.

One God is defined as IK OANKAR in the Mool Mantar in Jap Ji Sahib of Guru Nanak Dev:-

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ (Jap Ji Sahib, Guru Nanak, GGS. 1-1).
One Universal Creator God, TheName Is Truth Creative Being Personified No Fear No Hatred Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace.

ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥
True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages.

ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥੧II
True Here And Now. O Nanak, Forever And Ever True. ||1||

On the ONENESS of God, Guru Nanak Dev further proclaims loudly:-

– ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ॥ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (Raag Asa, Guru Nanak Dev, GSS, 350-4)
My Lord and Master is One; He is the One and Only; O Siblings of Destiny, He is the One alone. ||1||Pause||

ਆਪੇ ਮਾਰੇ ਆਪੇ ਛੋਡੈ ਆਪੇ ਲੇਵੈ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਵੇਖੈ ਆਪੇ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਆਪੇ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥੨॥
He Himself kills, and He Himself emancipates; He Himself gives and takes. He Himself beholds, and He Himself rejoices; He Himself bestows His Glance of Grace. ||2||

ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਣਾ ਸੋ ਕਰਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਵਰਤੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਕਹੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥੩॥
Whatever He is to do, that is what He is doing. No one else can do anything. As He projects Himself, so do we describe Him; this is all Your Glorious Greatness, Lord. ||3||

Guru Nanak Dev Further reaffirms on the Oneness his Master/God:-

– ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਭਾਈ ॥ (Raag Asa, Guru Nanak, GGS. 420-16).
My Lord and Master is the One; there is no other, O Siblings of Destiny.

– ਏਕੀ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਦੂਜਾ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥ (Raag Maaroo, Guru Nanak, GGS. 991-8).
He recognizes none other than the One Lord and Master. ||2||

– ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਏਕੁ ਬੁਝਾਇਆ ॥੫॥ (Raag Gauri, Guru Nanak Dev, GGS. 223-6).
The True Guru has led me to understand the One Lord. ||5||

Though Guru Arjan Dev Ji has a special role in Sikhi as Editor of Adi Guru Granth Sahib, however, he admits that whatever he has said is as per Divine Hukam given to me:-

ਹਉ ਆਪਹੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਮੈ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਹੁਕਮਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥ (Raag Suhi M. 5, GGS. 763-5).
By myself, I don’t even know how to speak; I speak all that the Lord commands.

ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਖਜਾਨਾ ਬਖਸਿਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਨਾਨਕਿ ਕੀਆ ਪਸਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥
I am blessed with the treasure of the Lord’s devotional worship; Guru Nanak has been kind and compassionate to me.

ਗੁਰਿ ਨਾਨਕਿ ਕੀਆ ਪਸਾਉ ਜੀਉ – is a key now to open discussion further.

My conclusion is that spiritually speaking GURU of Guru Nanak Sahib i.e. Ik oankar (Waheguru) is the founder of Sikhi/Sikh Religion. Whereas, historically speaking Guru Nanak Sahib was instrumental for founding Sikhi and other Gurus, Bhagats and Mahapurakhs contributed their share in building and supporting Sikhi founded by Guru Nanak.

Kirpal Singh
Wellington, New Zealand