S.J. Deshpande, J.
1. First Appeal Nos. 610 and 611 of 1975 arise out of a common judgment and decree passed by the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Thane in Special Civil Suit No. 52 of 1972. First Appeal No. 7W of 1977 arises out of an order passed by the City Civil Court in Charity Application No. 23 of 1973 under Section 72 of the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). , As the common question in regard to the title of Mahant to be a trustee of the disputed trust is involved, all these matters are taken together for hearing.
2. The facts leading to First Appeal No. 610 of 1975 may be stated as follows:
In the City of Bombay, there is a public charitable trust, known as 'Shree Kabirwadi Mandir Trust', having its registered office at Grant Road, which was registered at P.T.R- No. 1-2553 (Bombay) on January 5, 1962. One Paitudas Guru Sevadasji was the Mahant of the said Kabir Wadi Mandir. He was administrating the trust and managing the trust properties. Paitudas Guru made an application on June 15, 1961 to the Charity Commissioner, Bombay for registration of the trust. He had given the name of the sole trustee as himself and also disclosed by his application the names of the members of the advisory committee. The plaintiff in Special Civil Suit No. 52 of 1972 is one of the members of that committee mentioned in that application. The members of the advisory committee waived the service of notices by their say and requested the Charity Commissioner to grant necessary certificate. The Chanty Commissioner enquired into the matter in Application No. 13 of 1961 and directed to issue necessary certificate and registered the trust by his order dated January 5, 1962.
3. Thereafter, at the instance of Swami Satyaramdas Guru Sohandasji and four others an application was made to the Charity Commissioner, Greater Bombay impleading Mahant Paitudas Guru, Shree Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust, Grant Road, Bombay as the respondent. By this Application No. 30 of 1966 the applicants stated that they were followers of Kabir Panth and they are interested in well-being of the trust. That the opposite party Mahant Paltudasji Guru had not properly managed the properties of the Trust and neglected his duties and the followers of Kabir Panth were dissatisfied. Therefore, they made an application for framing a scheme under Section 50-A of the Act. This application also suggested that Mahant Paltudasji be removed. But the Charity Commissioner then did not consider this matter. The Chantey Commissioner observed in his judgment that:. I do not find that it is desirable to do so nor I can remove and appoint some body else. He (Paltudasji Guru) is the Mahant who will remain for life. However, in order to safeguard the interest of the trust I propose to frame a scheme....
4. A scheme was framed by his judgment dated November 2, 1966, which is on record at exh. 76. It is disclosed from the sen. A attached to the scheme that there is Kabir Sahib's Gadi Mandir, four Samadhis of past Mahants and a deity of Hanumanji, which are situated in survey No. 69. All other properties are also mentioned about which there is no dispute.
5. The provisions of the scheme provided for the appointment of the trustee by mode of succession mentioned in Clause 7 to which we will refer later. Clause 25 of the scheme provided for maintenance of regular accounts of the trust properties and income, and also provides for auditing the same. Clause 26 provides for-investment of the trust funds. Clause 29 provides that all Hindus shall be at liberty to attend and -worship the deities in the temple.
6. After the scheme was framed, it appears that Mahant Paitudas Guru Sevadasji again neglected his duties and it appears that he did not maintain proper accounts or did not comply with the orders of the Charity Commissioner. He committed contravention of certain sections in regard to maintenance of accounts, failure to invest moneys etc. The Charity Commissioner, therefore, filed criminal actions in the Court of the Presidency Magistrate, 23rd Court Explanade, Bombay under Section 33(1) read with Section 67 of the Act charging Mahant Paltudasji with the commission of offences mentioned in the table under Sections 29, 32 and 35 of the Act. Mahant Paltudasji pleaded guilty in those proceedings and he was convicted and sentenced to pay an aggregate fine of Rs. 150. These convictions are recorded on September 24, 1969.
7. After framing the scheme and the circumstances which led to the conviction of the Mahant Paltudasji, by an application being Charity Application No. 13 of 1970, the Charity Commissioner, Maharashtra moved the City Civil Court under Section 47-AA of the Act impleading Mahant Paltudasji Guru as the respondent. The facts of the said application are as under:
That Mahant Sevadasji Guru Shri Charandas was the Mahant and the trustee of the aforesaid Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust prior to 1%0. Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 became applicable in the year 1952. After the enforcement of the Act, the office bearers of the Charity Commissioner directed respondent Paltudas to register Kabir Wadi Mandir as a Public Trust. Then some members interested in the trust made also an application for preparing the scheme. Clause 7(a) provides for mode of succession to trusteeship. Setting out all the facts and especially referring to the convictions recorded against Paltudasji Guru by the Presidency Magistrate, 23rd Court, Esplanade, Bombay, the Charity Commissioner made a grievance that Paltudasji has made a will and appointed appellant - defendant No. 1 Jairamdas Guru Paltudasji as his successor to manage the trust properties at Thane. It was stated that he had not consulted the Board of management as required by Clause 7(a) of the scheme. It was also stated that Jairamdas is not even follower of Kabir Panth Sampradaya and he leased out the lands to other persons i.e. original defendants Nos. 2 and 3 in this case. Under these circumstances, the Charity Commissioner prayed for an appointment of new trustee in place of Paltudasji. This application was made on April 21, 1970 and it was prayed in this application that Swami Satyaramdasji Shastri Guru Sohandasji at present residing at Kabir Mandir, Sangrampura, Surat be appointed as the Mahant and trustee of Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust registered under No. A 2553 (Bombay) in the register of public trusts in place of Paltudasji Guru. Other incidental prayers were also made with which we are not concerned. The properties covered by this application were shown in exh. A attached to the aforesaid application as schedule, which is not in dispute. This application was contested by the respondent - Paltudas saying that the application is not bona fide. By his own application he prayed for registration of the Trust. The allegation that a sum of Rs. 55,500 was lying with him was denied by him. He charged that the members of the board were responsible for spending that amount. He submitted that the proper accounts were submitted.
8. With regard to the appointment of Jairamdas, respondent - Paltudasji asserted that he has appointed Jairamdasji as his successor in consultation with the members of the board and the Charity Commissioner has been orally informed about it. He denied the fact that Jairamdasji did not belong to Kabir Panth. He requested that the aforesaid application should be dismissed.
9. After hearing the parties, the learned Judge of the City Civil Court was pleased to appoint Shree Satyaramdasji as the Mahant and trustee of Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust. The learned Judge was impressed by the qualifications of the said Satyaramdasji. He also observed that he was also the Mahant and trustee of Kabir Mandir at Sangrampura, Surat. This order was passed by the City Civil Court on July 21, 1970.
10. Being aggrieved by this order, Paltudasji Guru Shree Sevadasji filed an appeal against the Charity Commissioner in the High Court, being Appeal No. 446 of 1970. During the pendency of this appeal, Mahant Paltudasji died on March 17, 1971. So, Jairamdasji Guru Paltudasji claiming to be the Chela applied for substitution in his place in the appeal. This application was granted ex parte by the Registrar on June 18, 1971. It appears that on September 22, 1971, the Charity Commissioner made an application for setting aside that order and the High Court after hearing that application granted the same. It was held by the High Court that Jairamdasji is not entitled to continue the appeal. The High Court observed as under:.. cannot go into the merits of his contentions or to deal with them. He (Jairamdasji) will be at liberty to take whatever legal proceedings he is advised for establishing his claim.... The appeal abates.
11. This order was passed by the High Court on January 29, 1972 by the learned Single Judge, which is on record at exh. 78.
12. It is against this background that on April 28, 1972 Swami Satyaramdasji Guru Sohandasji - respondent herein commenced the present suit, being Special Civil Suit No. 52 of 1972 against Jairamdasji Guru Paltudasji and other two defendants in the Court of the Civil Judge. Senior Division, Thane for possession of the suit lands and recovery of mesne profit and also permanent injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the management of the trust and the suit lands. The plaintiff avers in his plaint that he has become entitled to be a Mahant and trustee of Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust, on account of his appointment as a trustee by the City Civil Court by its order dated July 21, 1970. He claims to be the sole trustee of the said Kabir Wadi Mandir by virtue of his appointment under the orders of the Court.
13. The plaintiff avers that the defendant No. 1 Jairamdasji has no right, title and interest in the property of the trust; that he has un-authorised leased- out the lands to defendant Nos. 2 and 3 therefore they are impleaded in the suit. The defendant No. 1 has illegally occupied the property in the month of December 1969, which furnishes the cause of action to come to the Court. Therefore, the plaintiff sued the defendants in ejectment for possession of the suit lands and for recovery of mesne profits and he also prayed for interim relief of permanent injunction. The plaintiff has referred and narrated the earlier facts relating to the framing of the 'scheme and filing of the application under Section 47-AA of the Act and also the appeal in the High Court, which are very material for pressing his cause of action. The plaint is accompanied by schedule of the suit lands which is not in dispute.
14. The written statement (exh. 46) was filed by the defendant No. 1 and defendants Nos. 2 and 3 adopted the same contentions by filing purshis (exh. 47). The defence of the defendants appears to be as follows:
The allegation that the plaintiff is a Mahant and the sole trustee of the Math is denied by the defendants. The defendants stated that the plaintiff does not belong to Kabir Panth Dharmadas Bans Sampradaya. They also stated that the plaintiff is already occupying the seat of Sangrampura Math, Surat and as per custom and traditions of the Kabir Panth Dharmadas Bans Sampradaya, he- is not entitled to Mahantship simultaneously at two places. The defendants objected to the jurisdiction of the City Civil Court to decide the issue under Section 47-AA of the Act and stated that the defendant No. 1 not being a party to the said decision (exh. 78) it is not binding on him.
15. The principal defence of the defendant No. 1 appears to be that he is the Chela i.e. disciple of the deceased Paltudasji Guru who had been managing the property since 1953 and he claims to be sole trustee of the Math on the strength of a will (exh. 29), dated December 17, 1969. It was asserted by the defendant No. 1 that he is recognised as a Mahant by the Dharmacharya of Damakheda, which is the main seat of Bans Sampradaya and Punja dated March 29, 1971 (exh. 95) was issued by the Dharmacharya. So he is the lawful Mahant and the sole trustee of the trust in dispute.
16. The defendant No. 1 disputed the change report made by the Charity Commissioner in the Register behind his back and stated that it is not binding on him. He also raised a bar of Section 50-A of the Act. He asserted that the properties are leased out to defendants Nos. 2 and 3 in the capacity as a trustee of the trust.
17. The principal defence of the defendant No. 1 appears to be that the Math trust belongs to Dharamdas Bans Sampradaya, Damakheda and he has been recognised as a Mahant by the said Sampradaya at Damakheda, which has been prevalent for the last two centuries. The defendant No. 1 claims to have been appointed with the said recognition of the said Sampradaya and he asserts that its Mahant recognised by Damakheda can be the Mahant in Bombay and Thane.
18. The defendant No. 1 also relied on the teachings of Kabirdas, which are filed in this case. In short, the defendant No. 1 claimed rival title as the Mahant and the sole trustee of Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust denying the title of the plaintiff to the same.
19. The learned trial Judge framed necessary issues and found that the City Civil Court was competent to appoint the plaintiff-Satyaramdasji as the sole trustee under Section 47-AA of the Act. The assertion of the defendant No. 1 that the City Civil Court has no jurisdiction was over-ruled by the learned Judge. It was held that the properties belong to the trust and as per the decision in Application No. 13 of 1970 the plaintiff was entitled to file a suit. The second finding was that the will executed by the deceased Paltudasji Guru in favour of the defendant No. 1 Jairamdasji, dated December 17, 1969 (exh. 89) does not confer any title on the defendant No. 1 it is not in conformity with Clause 7 of the scheme. The deceased Paltudasji Guru and the defendant No. 1 Jairamdasji are bound by the scheme settled by the Charity Commissioner and it was held that the plaintiff has better title and defendant No. 1 has no right to remain in possession of the trust properties. The learned trial Judge, therefore, passed a decree for delivery of vacant possession of the suit lands described in the schedule and also issued permanent injunction restraining the defendants from interfering and from dealing with the suit properties. He also directed the enquiry in mesne profits under Order XX, Rule 12(1)(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure. This judgment and decree were passed on June 19, 1975.
20. Original defendant No. 1 has preferred First Appeal No. 610 of 1975. against the said decree in this Court impleading original plaintiff Swami Satyaramdasji Guru Sohandasji, and original defendants Nos. 2 and 3 Surajnath Sitaram Singh and Brijnathsingh Sitaramsingh showing as respondents. First Appeal No. 611 of 1975 is filed by original defendant No. 2 Surajnath impleading Swami Satyaramdasji original plaintiff, original defendant No. 1 Jairamdasji Guru Paltudasji and original defendant No. 3 Brijnathsingh as respondents. Original defendant No. 3 has not filed any appeal. Both these appeals were placed for hearing and were heard together by us.
21. The learned advocate for the appellant, Mr. V.R. Shukla, first contended that the learned trial Judge was wrong in passing a decree because he has held that the defendant No. 1 is a Mahant appointed according to the custom and traditions governing the Math. He invited our attention to the findings on Issues Nos. 9-A and 9-B. Issue No. 9A raised by the trial Court is as follows:
9A. Does defendant prove that he has been appointed as Mahant according to traditions and custom for governing the Math?
22. Issue No. 9B is framed as follows:
9B. Does he prove that Paltudas also appointed him as Mahant by executing the will dated December 17, 1969?
23. In answer to these issues, it was contended by the learned advocate for the appellant that if these two issues are answered in favour of the defendant No. 1 he is entitled to continue as Mahant and the decree passed by the learned trial Judge is erroneous.
24. Mr. S.G. Mandrekar, the learned advocate for the plaintiff invited our attention to the main body of the judgment and stated that although the findings on the said issues are answered in favour of the defendant No. 1 it appears that the learned trial Judge held that he was not a true Mahant. The learned advocate for the plaintiff further contended-that in accordance with the provisions of the scheme, the plaintiff was entitled to file a suit and he is the sole trustee having become entitled to be appointed by the order of the Court. He also submitted that the deceased Paltudasji Guru was appointed as the sole trustee only during his lifetime and in accordance with the provisions of the scheme he could not have appointed the defendant No. 1 (appellant) as the trustee without the consultation of the members of the Managing Committte. He also invited our attention to Clause 7 of the scheme which is as follows:
7(a) The mode of succession to the trusteeship shall be governed by Kabir Panthi Bans Gaddi traditions. The Mahant's successor shall be appointed by the Mandir's existing Mahant during his lifetime with the consist of the Board of Management after performing formal 'Tilak Chaddar' ceremony and with the first obtaining 'Puja Praman' from the Kabir Panthi Bans Gadi Acharya of 'Damakheda' which is a principal seat of Dharmacharya. In case the Mahant dies before making any declaration as regards appointment of his successor, proper successor shall be appointed in accordance with general custom of Kabir Panth Sampradaya. Intimation of appointment of Mahant's successor shall be given to the Charity Commissioner and the Dy. Charity Commissioner, Greater Bombay Region within 30 days of such appointment by the Mahant and/or the Board of Management. In case no such appointment shall be made as above, the Charity Commissioner shall make the appointment of Mahant's successor as a trustee, suo motu or upon an application made to him by the Board of Management.
7(b) While making the appointment of Mahant's successor referred to in Clause 7(a) above it will be seen that the proposed successor has requisite qualifications to discharge the duties and responsibilities attached to the office of Mahant.
25. It was contended by the learned advocate for the plaintiff that the appointment of the defendant No. 1 was not in conformity with Clause 7 and as such he cannot claim any right as there was no consultation with the Board of Management as required by Clause 7(a) of the said scheme. He contended that under Clause 6, the present Mahant i.e. Paltudasji Guru was to be continued as the sole trustee only during his lifetime.
26. It is true that under this scheme the consultation of the board of management is provided. It is undisputed that the plaintiff as well as the defendant No. 1 claim to be belonging to Kabir Panth. The scheme under Clause 7 mentions and describes that the trusteeship is governed by Kabir Panthi Bans tradition and the principal seat of Kabir Panthi Bans Gadi Acharya is at Damakheda. If that is so, any Mahant who is administering the trust as the sole trustee of this Math or Mandir must have been recognised for his succession from Damakheda Dharmacharya. In this case, the defendant No. 1 is on stronger ground as he is able to show by concrete evidence that he is recognised as the Mahant and successor by Bans Gadi at Damakheda. Exhibit 95 clearly shows that His Holiness Pandit Shree Grundhamuninam Sahib, Acharya Kabir Panth, Kabir Dharm Nagar from holy place situated at Damakheda sent greetings' to Mahant Shree Jairamdasji Guru Shree late Paltudasji Sahib, Kabir Wadi Mandir, Grant Road, Bombay. It is stated in Panja Satyanam (exh. 95) that;
Know you all men that Sadhu Shree Mahant Jairamdasji approached before us with 'betel* leaves and flowers (with respect) and he. gave news about himself and followers of himself. After hearing him I have granted this Mahanti Panji in. his name.
(1) According to this 'Panja' Mahant Shree Jairamdas is authorised on my behalf according to the religious tenets to propagate the doctrine of Kabir Dharmdas Sahib and perform Chawka Arti and to distribute Prasad.
(2) He should not perform Chowka, Arti of other sects.
This is my teaching and he must obey.
(4) I have endowed upon him to accept the offerings and you should accept the Prasad with dignity.
27. This Panja (exh. 95) clearly shows that the defendant No. 1 has got an authority of recognition from Damakheda, Sarnpradaya Dharmacharya, which is itself provided and accepted under the scheme framed by the Charity Commissioner and in our opinion it would not be open for the parties to go behind the scheme. The finding of the learned trial Judge is that the rituals referred in Clause 7 of the scheme (exh. 76) are in the context of successor being appointed by existing Mahant and it does not appear that these are indispensable ceremonies in case the appointment is made otherwise. In our opinion, in view of this finding given by the learned trial Judge on issue Nos. 9A and 9B, the grievance made by the defendant No. 1 appears to be justified.
28. In regard to issue No. 9B which relates to the appointment of Mahant by executing the will, suffice it to say that this was not disputed by the plaintiff. In cross-examination of the plaintiff, he stated that he admitted the certificate (exh. 86) issued to Mahant Sevadas by Damakheda. Admittedly, Sevadas was the Guru of the deceased Paitudasji. The plaintiff also admits the certificate (exh. 87) issued to Charandas, the former Guru of Sevadas, from Kudarmal. Those certificates show that they are issued by Acharya Kabir Panth from Kabir Dharm Nagar alias Damakheda to the previous Gurus i.e. predecessors of Guru Paltudasju The plaintiff also admits the will (exh. 88) which is the copy of the will and original will (exh. 89) executed by Paitudasji Guru, In view of these admissions, the fact that the defendant No. 1 was appointed as a successor by the previous Mahant Paitudasji cannot be disputed. The only question remains with regard to the defect of non-consultation as provided by Clause 7 of the scheme.
29. We have already indicated that if the defendant No. 1 claims to have a certificate from Damakheda Sarnpradaya, which has been recognised by the scheme and the will is accepted by the plaintiff, there is no reason to doubt the title of the defendant No. 1. However, we think that the lower Court has not given full consideration to this aspect of the case as no evidence was led in this regard.
30. It was contended by the learned advocate for the plaintiff that the defendant No. 1 cannot dispute the title as he has failed to conduct the Appeal No. 446 of 1970 in the High Court, which was filed against the decision in an application under Section 47AA of the Act and as the scheme is binding' on the defendant No. 1, even if these documents are proved, the defendant No. 1 is not entitled to continue as Mahant.
31. In answer to this contention, the learned advocate for the appellant - defendant No. 1 contended that it is true that the defendant No. 1 wanted to implead himself in the proceedings of appeal, which was pending against the decision of the City Civil Court appointing the plaintiff as a sole trustee. The failure of the defendant to conduct the appeal was only technical. The learned Judge of the High Court has himself observed in the judgment that the defendant No. 1 was entitled to take legal proceedings as advised to establish his claim. The learned advocate further contended that in this action the defendant No. 1 is entitled to raise the dispute about his title and establish his claim to the Mahantship of Kabir Wadi Mandir. The abatement of the appeal cannot stand in his way to debar from his proving his claim.
32. We think that this contention of the learned advocate for the defendant No. 1 is well founded. The appeal which was decided by the High Court on January 29, 1972 was not decided on merits. We are doubtful whether such a course would have been adopted in that case and the appeal would have been disposed of as abated. This was a case where the Mahantship was in dispute. The defendant No. 1 wanted to challenge the appointment of the Mahant made by the City Civil Court. As the proceedings related to the continuance of the office of the Mahant, the defendant No. 1 entitled to continue the appeal as the proposed successor to the office. In any event, the defendant No. 1 having not suffered any judgment on merits, we do not see any impediment in the way of the defendant No. 1 to establish his claim in this case.
33. In our opinion, the defendant No. 1 is entitled to lead evidence to show that he was properly appointed as the successor by the previous Mahant and this Kabir Math in dispute exclusively belongs to Sampradaya of Damakheda. Therefore, we feel that the matter should be remanded back to the trial Court to give an opportunity to the defendant No. 1 to establish his claim and also give the opportunity to dispute plaintiff's claim by leading evidence in the case. It is undisputed that both the parties claim to be belonging to Kabir Panth. The plaintiff is basing his claim on the order of the City Civil Court; while the defendant No. 1 asserts that he is the real successor recognised by Sampradaya of Damakheda. In this view of the matter, we propose, to remand the case for the trial of issue in regard to the title of the defendant as a successor to the Mahant of Kabir Tadi Math.
34. However, in this case, it was pointed out to us by the learned advocate during the arguments that during the pendency of the suit being Special Civil Suit No. 52 of 1972, the plaintiff had made an application for appointment of the Receiver and this Receiver was appointed by the trial Court on March 15, 1974. This order of the appointment of the Receiver was challenged by the defendant No. 1 in this Court in Appeal from Order No. 247 of 197^. This appeal was decided by the High Court on January 17, 1975 by Single Judge. The learned Judge confirmed the order of appointment of the Receiver and dismissed the appeal of the defendant No. 1 with costs. He also directed the hearing of the suit. This order is on record of the file of the Court but it is not the part of the paper book. During the hearing of these appeals, the advocates of both the parties admitted that such an order was passed.
35. It is material. to note that despite the order being passed by the High Court, neither the plaintiff nor the Court proceeded to obey the order of the High Court and it appears that from 1975 till this date, the order of the High Court remained unexecuted partly because of inaction and negligence of the plaintiff and partly because of inadvertence of the trial Court itself. We have asked the learned advocate, for the plaintiff who admitted that it is true that the Receiver has not taken possession of the property. The learned advocate for the defendant No. 1 had to concede that the property is still in possession of the defendant No. 1 and some properties are in possession of defendants Nos. 2 and 3. We have asked the learned advocate for the defendant No. that he is under an obligation to deliver the property in possession of the Receiver. The learned advocate for the defendant-appellant has accepted that the property which is in occupation of the defendant No. 1 will be delivered to the Receiver.
36. We therefore, direct the trial Court to appoint a new Receiver if necessary as there is no record to show that original Receiver was ever discharged by the Court. We therefore, direct that the properties in possession of defendants Nos. 1 to 3 will be delivered in possession of the Receiver and the Receiver is entitled to manage the said properties and if he choses, he can consider' the claim of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 who claim to be the tenants to give them the properties in auction if they openly bid in the auction. The properties will be delivered in possession of the receiver during the trial of the suit in the Court below as we are remanding the matter and they will remain in possession of the Receiver till the final decision of the trial Court in this matter after remand.
37. The next contention which requires to be considered in this case relates to the application of the Bombay Public Trusts Act to the present Trust i.e. Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust. This point was not raised in the lower Court. The learned advocate for the appellant raised this point before us saying that Kabir Wadi Mandir is not a Math within the meaning of Section 2(9) of the Act and Kabir Panthis are not Hindus within the meaning of Section 2(6) of the Act. The principal contention in short is that the word 'Hindu' defined in Section 2(6) includes Jain. Buddhist and Sikh and does not include Kabir Panthis.
38. The definition of Math given in Section 2(9) is as follows:
2(9) 'Math' means an institution for the promotion of the Hindu religion presided over by a person whose duty it is to engage himself in imparting religious instructions or rendering spiritual service to a body of disciple or who exercises or claims. to exercise headship over such 8 body and includes places of religious worship or instruction which are appurtenant to the institution.
39. The contention raised by the learned advocate for the appellant has been raised for the first time and normally we should not have allowed it to be raised. But it goes to the root of the case, that is, it affects the applicability of the Bombay Public Trusts Act itself we have allowed the learned advocate for the appellant to raise this contention.
40. The learned advocate for the appellant contends that Kabir Panthis are not Hindus within the meaning of the Act and the institution Kabir Wadi Mandir is not a Math within the meaning of Section 2(9) of the Act, as it requires promotion of Hindu religion. It was contended by the learned advocate that Kabir Panthis cannot be said to be belonging to Hindu religion and they are not included by the Act in the term 'Hindu' and as such the provisions of this Act were not applicable and the Charity Commissioner had no jurisdiction to proceed in exercise of powers under this Act and make appointment of any Mahant for the said Trust of Kabir Wadi Mandir. This contention is raised on the basis that Kabir Panth is a different Sampradaya and has no connection with Hindu religion. The learned advocate for the appellant contended that there is difference between the tenets of Hindus and principles of Kabir Panth. He pointed out four items as distinguishing the Kabir Panth from Hindu religion. He contended that (1) Kabir panth does not recognise any idol worship; '(2) it does not accept Vedas as authorities; (3) worship of human as God has essence and it does not recognise caste distinction and (4) Kabir Panth also denounced all Hindu religious rites (Karmakand). The learned advocate for the appellant invited our attention to certain books and he also relied on the teachings of Kabir Panth to show that they are quite separate and they cannot be treated as Hindu for the purposes of this Act.
41. The learned advocate for the plaintiff-respondent as well as the learned Government Pleader for the Charity Commissioner repelled this argument first of all saying that it is not necessary to go into this question at all. It was pointed out by the learned Government Pleader that even if Kabir Wadi Mandir is a Math within the meaning of Section 2(9) of the Act as stated above, Kabir Wadi Mandir is a Public Trust within the meaning of Section 2(13) of the Act. Sub-section (13) of Section 2 of the Act is as follows:
2(13) 'Public Trust' means an express or constructive trust for either a public religious or charitable purpose or both and includes a temple, a Math, a Wakf, Church synagogue, agiary or other place of public religious worship, dharmadas or any other religious or charitable endowment and a society formed either for a religious o, charitable purpose or for both and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
42. Relying on the words used in this definition, it was contended that any place of public religious worship will be covered by expression of word 'trust'. Apparently, this argument is well founded and any place of public religious worship, if it is found that the worship is carried on in any private place but it was open for public, would be covered by the expression of Public Trust as defined under this Act. However, as we have indicated that the question was raised by the learned advocate for the appellant and it goes to the root of this case, we have proposed to examine the same in detail.
43. In order to understand, whether Kabir Panthiss can be included in the definition of Hindu as defined in Section 2(6) of the Act, we will have to consider the meaning of the word 'Hindu' used in Section 2 t6) and also the meaning of the words 'Hindu religion' used in Section 2(9) of the Act. The words 'Hindu religion' are of very wide import. Having regard to the object of this section, it is quite clear that the Legislature must have intended to include these words knowing full well that the word 'promotion of the Hindu religion' used in Section 2(9) of the Act are of comprehensive nature. It must not include vedic concept of Hindu rituals or body of doctrine but it must include the present i.e. modern concept of Hindu religion. In regard to the essence of the Hindu religion, it is difficult to set out any definite body of principles as conclusive. It is not also possible to give a list of items which can be decisive to determine the character of Hindu religion.
44. Hinduism is not a historical religion in the sense in which Judaism, Christianity and Islam or any other sect is called a religion. It was observed in the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy Vol. 3 and 4 at page 1 of Vol. V as under:
Hinduism is the dominant religion of India....
Because of the diverse elements absorbed into Hinduism during its long evolution, and because of the latitude allowed in the interpretation of scripture, there is no single System of belief which can be said to represent, Hinduism. There are, however, two main marks of Hindu orthodoxy; acceptance of the Vedic -scriptures as revelation (Sruti, literally 'what is heard?') and participation in Hindu social structure. Thus Jainism and Buddhism, which doctrinally are not very far removed from some Hindi patterns of belief, are considered unorthodox because they do not acknowledge the Veda. Although belief in reincarnation and in the eternity of the soul or self (purusa atman) is nearly universal among Hindus. Hindu theology and metaphysics range from belief - in a divine absolute to atheism. Likewise, there is a great range of religious practices and of alternative and overlapping mythologies.
45. The same view was expressed by Fritj of Capra in his book 'The Tao of Physics' in Chapter 5 at p. 91 where the learned author says that:
Hinduism cannot be called a philosophy, nor is it a well defined religion. It is, rather, a large and complex socio-religious organism consisting of innumerable sects, cults and philosophical systems and involving various rituals, ceremonies and spiritual disciplines, as well as the worship of countless gods and goddesses. The many facts of this complex and yet persistent and powerful spiritual tradition mirror the geographical, racial, linguistic and cultural complexities of India's vast subcontinent. The manifestations of Hinduism range from highly intellectual philosophies involving conceptions of fabulous range and depth to the naive and childlike ritual practices of the masses. If the majority of the Hindus are simple villagers who keep the popular religion alive in their daily warship, Hinduism has on the other hand; brought forth a large number of outstanding spiritual teachers to transmit its profound insights.
46. The same difficulty of defining Hinduism in the manner in which the other sects are defined with reference to a founder or with reference to a particular book as an authority for the followers was felt by many scholars. The Supreme Court had an occasion to consider this aspect in Shastri Yagnapurushdasji v. Muldas Bhumdardas Vaishya : 3SCR242 . In this case, a question had arisen whether Swaminarayan Sampradaya which claimed to be an independent sect and independent status was covered under Hindu religion or not. The Supreme Court in this case has examined the tenets and practices of the sect in the light of comprehensive nature of Hindu religion. And in the. context in para 29 of the judgment the Supreme Court observed as follows:
When we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet, it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more.
47. The above quotation will show that it is not possible to enumerate the specific principles or practices which were exclusively covered under the concept of Hindu religion.
48. Hinduism is not a historical religion in the sense that Buddhism, Christianity and Islam are. It is called Sanatan Dharma, the eternal religion or Vedic Dharma. Its truths are not products of human mind but were discovered by illumined seekers with self-control and non-attachment and introspection. Intuition is the principal source of knowledge to know and feel the ultimate reality. In India such persons who have intuitive perception are called Rishies; they are seers of truth. These seers told principles are called Srutis. They are the persons who are authors of Vedas, in the sense that they had a insight in the ultimate reality. They deal with whole creation. Vedas are direct revelations. Already in the hymns of Rig Veda we notice that a shift from multitudinous Gods to the one infinite. In the famous off-quoted passage [The original quotation in Sanskrit in Devnagari Script is not reproduced - Editors] ('Reality is one, the wise speak of it in different ways'). As Swami Vivekanand puts it:
Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divine within.
49. Man is thus a dual being with body and soul. He is partly matter and partly spirit. The more he has spiritual qualities like goodness, mercy and love he is near, to the Kingdom of God and the more he has brutal qualities, lust, cruelty and greed, he is near animal kingdom. The saint is therefore, near God and nearer to the goal of life of being one with, the divine.
50. The unity between the individual soul and Supreme Reality is the aspiration described in Upnishads. The four cardinal principles of Hinduism are one god and creation:
(1) The pure spirit is without name. It pervades all universe. The universe expresses in forms which is nothing but the inner content which manifests. Thus, all religions are different paths to reach the same goal.
(2) The Divinity of Each Soul: The investigation into human life formulates three questions; 'Who am I?, From where have I come? and Where do I go? Am 1 the body or mind or sense?' The answer of Hinduism is 'No, I am the pure spirit, unchanging, immortal, inscrutable.' The apparent man gets many births, fulfilling desires unless he withdraws all senses and directs himself to inner self, he cannot reach nearer the Real Self.
(3) Unity of Existence: All that is seen outside is nothing but Brahman directly perceived by illumined soul through names and forms, like ocean and waves. The phenomena of the world fall into two categories name (nama) and form (rupa). Name and form constitute the stuff of the universe. The Brahadaranyaka-upanishad gives an account of the differentiated manifestation thus:This (universe), indeed, was then undifferentiated. It got differentiated into name and form. So to this day it is differentiated with name and form.
51. Kindly see book 'Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama' by I.M.P. Mahadevan at page 5.
(4) Harmony of Religions: Throughout the Vedas and till the present age, the principle which is taught is that the religion is a path and goal is to reach the God. The most important aspect and concept in Hindu philosophy is Advaita Philosophy i.e. the essential oneness of God, created beings and the universe. Diversity is only apparent and not real. Religion is more experience and not more acceptance of creed or dogma. Hindu monotheism does not repudiate other deities or faiths. It regards them as manifestation of the same reality. Therefore, tolerance of other faiths and catholicity in outlook in regard to different forms of belief, is the basic stuff of Hindu view of life.
52. In Hindu Dharma membership of a prescribed Church or temple or religion is not necessary to merit divine grace. Personal and individual faith are sufficient to enable an aspirant to be freed from sins and worries. This leads the Hindu to assert that all religions are equally true and as all rivers lead to an ocean, -all religions lead to one God. In the words of Dol Byron Schneider (See book 'Religions of the East', p. 38) it is stated as under:. Hinduism rests upon thousands of scriptural texts and includes within it a vast number of sects with their distinctive beliefs. Because India has been a land whose religion is infused with its folklore and mythology, its tradition and custom, it is extremely difficult to sort out what the Hindu really means by religion and what the essential elements of it are.
53. The ultimate aim of Hinduism seems to be the perception of reality and renunciation in life. This aim is achieved by various methods, which are known traditionally as Karmyoga, Bhaktiyoga or Gnyanyoga. The main object of these disciplines and methods is liberation from this world 'Samsar'. In short, Karma, Moksha -(liberation) and Samsar are the key words in Hindu thought and the aim of a Hindu being self-realisation or liberation from cycle of birth and death and attainment of perfection by way of knowledge, Gnyanyoga or by the way of Karma, (Karmyoga), or by the way of devotion (Bhakti), in which it is again the Geeta issues a warning that perfection is very exceptional. [The original in Sanskrit language and Devnagari Script is not reproduced here.'] (Kindly see Chapter VII Verse 3 in Bhagavadgita).
Among the thousands of men a rare soul strives to realise Me; of those striving Yogis, again, some rare one (devoting himself exclusively to me) knows Me in reality.
54. In modern times, much of the rituals and idol worship of various Gods as advocated by various Vedic seers has been abolished. Many of the present reformers who are leaders of modern times, such as Rammohan Roy, Swami Dayanand, Annie Besant and Ramkrishna Mission, who for the first time made significant contribution to the studies of Hinduism, in that essentials and non-essentials were examined. Vedanta was the steel frame within the vast structure and Swami Vivekanand elucidated the principles of Hindu religion to the world abroad and at home emphasizing thereby renunciation, liberation, doctrine of self-realisation and union of God. In short, Hinduism believes that several ways of life will be equally meritorious in a transcendental sense and the religious principle cannot be laid down as a single pattern. In a book 'A Critique of Modern Hindu Law' by J. Duncan M. Dernett, it is said by the author as follows:
Tarko Pratishtah Shrutayo Vibhinna Naiko Rishi - Yasya Matam Pramanam Dharmasya Tattvam Nihitsm Guhayam Mahajano Yena Gatah Sa Panthah.' 'Reason is fickle. The scriptures are discordant. No one sage's Opinion in authoritative. The truth about Dharma is buried in a cave. The road we must take is that trodden by great ones.
55. If we look to the scriptures, it would not be out of place and so we now take bird's eye view of the main scriptures which can be said to be acceptable to all Hindus. First of all the four Vedas are the oldest books. They were composed between different periods from 1500 to 500 b.c. Rigveda contains the oldest rhymes. There are vast mass of writings. They are the eternal words out of which the universe has been created or produced. The Hindu confesses that he cannot tell such and such a man created his veda or religion. Hindus regard Vedas as most sacred.
56. Upnishads: The Upnishads are the Bible of India. There are more than hundred books, out of them 10 to 12 may be of great importance. They teach simply principles. According to Hindu traditions they come at the end of Vedas. They are also known as Vedant. They created eternal principles of Hindu religion. The concept of Brahma, eternal principle of truth and existence of infinite is the special concept.
57. Next to Vedas and Upnishads, Bhagvadgita has a unique position for the scriptures of Hindus. According to the authors of the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Vol. 4, Bhagvadgita is concluded as 5th Ved. It is a book containing highest esoteric doctrines. The peculiarity of Gita is that all men irrespective of Varna and Ashram possess the right to study it. Gita proclaims that all men have equal right for God-realisation except that they must cultivate faith and reverence. Kindly see Chapter 9 Verse 32 from Bhagvadgita p. 2Q1. The verse is as under: [The original in Sanskrit language and in Devanagari script is not reproduced here' - Editor]
Arjuna, womanfolk, Vaisyas (members of the trading class), Sudras (those belonging to the labouring class), and even those that are both of the womb of sin (such as the pariah) taking refuge in Me, they too attain the supreme goal.
58. According to Swami Vivekanand the originality of the Gita, which distinguishes it from all preceding scriptures lies in this:
Though before its advent, Yoga, Ghana, Bhakti, etc., had each its strong adherents, they all quarrelled among themselves, each claiming superiority for his own chosen path; no one ever tried to seek for reconciliation among these different paths. It was the author of the Gita who for the first time tried to harmonise these.
59. The realisation of the different paths of Dharma and work without desire or attachment are the characteristic of Gita. Regarding everything as belonging to God, maintaining equality in success or failure, renouncement of desire or attachment for fruit, all the work should be done. Kindly see Chapter 2 Verse 47 of Gita wherein it is stated as under: The original in Sanskrit language and Devnagari Script is not reproduced here' - Editors]
Your right is to work only, but never to the fruit thereof. Let not the fruit of action be your object, nor let your attachment be to inaction.
60. If alike imitating the way of various sects, one wishes to suggest any authentic one book of Hindu religion to which all Hindus may hold any reverence, Gita can be cited as one of the religious text books, which can be regarded as Sacred and binding authority. Hindu devotee is respectful to other prophets. Because he preaches, God himself has become luminous Christ, Budha, Krishna. Because whatever is glorious, excellent or prominent, it is because of God. Kindly see Chapter 10 Verse 41 from Gita wherein it is stated as under: [The original in Sanskrit language and Devnagari Script is not reproduced here' - Editors]
Every such creature as is glorious, brilliant or powerful, know that to be a manifestation of a spark of My effulgence.
61. It means that whatever thing is glorious, excellent or prominent verily known that is born of portion of God's splendour. These are great souls according to Hindu Philosophy.
62. The fathers of Hindu thought approached religion not in a dogmatic way but they treated religion as a search for truth and not as a matter of dogma. Religion was always regarded as 'science' of spirit rather than a body of doctrine. So every variety of approach was welcome to unravel the great mystery of the universe. All schools of thought have elucidated their view points in different way but every one of them is universally treated with respect. It is for this reason that excommunication and intolerence in any sense is foreign to Hindu religious stand point.
63. In summary, we may point out in the words of Fritj of Capra. who in Chapter V states as under:
Vedas have remained highest religious authority for sections of Hinduism. Upnishads contain the essence of spiritual message. They have guided and inspired greatest minds for the last 25 centuries. Brahman, the ultimate reality is understood as the soul of inner essence of all things. It is infinite and beyond all concepts. Brahman is pictured as Divine and various God's worshipped by the Hindus are various aspects of the Divine .given various names. But the scriptures make it clear, these Gods are but reflections of one ultimate reality.
64. The manifestation of Brahman in the human soul is called Atman and the idea that Atman and Brahman, the individual and the ultimate reality are one, is the essence of Upnishads. Fundamental basis of eastern tradition of spiritualism is unity of all things.
65. In the words of Fritj of Capra in Chapter 10 'The Unity of all Things' he has observed as under:
The most important characteristic of the Eastern world view - one could almost say the essence of it - is the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena in the world as manifestation of a basic oneness .... The Eastern traditions constantly refer to this ultimate, indivisible reality which manifests itself in all things, and of which all things are parts. It is called Brahman in Hinduism, Dharmakaya in Buddhism, Tao in Taoism. Because it trancends all concepts and categories....
66. The above summary of Hindu religion which is given above, will show the background, main principles and cardinal idea of Hindu Philosophy and religion. It is against this background, that we will have to understand the words 'Hindu religion' used in Section 2(9) of the Act. In this context, in which this word occurs, it appears that promotion of Hindu religion presided over by a person whose duty it is to engage himself in imparting religious instructions or rendering spiritual service to a body of disciples, clearly shows that the word was used by the Legislature in the modern sense. The promotion of Hindu religion here again means, not promotion of old Vedic rituals or old custom. But it must mean according to us that the promotion of modern Hindu religion which envelopes two concepts, unity of universe and doctrine of self-realisation i.e. attainment of perfection by experience of ultimate reality by way of Cyan (knowledge) or by means of devotion (Bhakti). In our opinion, the promotion of Hindu religion means promotion of whole body of doctrine of Hindu religion which enveloped and comprehended of ethics, philosophy and religion. If this meaning is given we do not find any difficulty in examining the various sects which have originated in India.
67. Let us now look to the principles of teachings which Kabir Panthiss profess to follow. For this purpose, the background of birth and life of Kabir will be useful.
Life of Kabir: Like the many religious teachers in the past, the life of Kabir is full of legends. The following account, which we will give, may be taken to be reasonably correct. Our account is based on the following sources :
(1) Great Men of India, edjted by L.F. Rushbrook Williams; (2) Kabir and The Kabir Panth, edited by Rev. G.H. Wistcott published by the Christ Church Mission Press, 1907; (3) Kabir: The Apostle of Hindu-Muslim Unity, edited by Mohammad Hedayatullah and (4) Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 651.
68. The word 'Kabir' in Arabic means Great. The birth of Kabir is shrouded in mystery and legend. His mother was reputed to have been of the Brahman caste and to have become pregnant after a visit to a Hindu shrine; as she was unwed, she abandoned Kabir, who was found and adopted by a Muslim weaver. Kabir was born in 1398 at Benaras and lived upto 1518 at Benaras. A brahmin virgin widow is said to have given birth to a child, who was subsequently called 'Kabir'. The birth is said to have been miraculous. Kabir Kausanithi, an old work taken as authentic by 'followers of Kabir says that in childhood he did not identify with either Hinuism or Islam. He put the Tilak (sacred thread). Brahmin expostulated him. He seems to have replied:
On my tongue - Vishnu, in my eyes - Narayan, and in my. heart - Govind dwells . . . My mediation is with Hari.
Benaras was the seat of learning and religious fervour in India in those days. Kabir is said to have passed his boyhood in this city of Lord Shiva.
69. All the followers of Kabir admit that he was brought up in the House of Muslim named Nur Ali or Nura. It is said a Hindu monk Ashtanand, who had knowledge of his real parentage took care to teach him Hindu ideas and ideals when he was child. Kabir was a precocious child. A Hindu saint who moulded his life was Ramanand. He was a great teacher. He lived from 1400-1447. His life was a source of inspiration to many people, in those days. It was a time, when Taimur invaded India in 1398 and left Delhi and Meerut in ruin. Hindu religion was exposed to constant danger. It was a period of religious upheavels. Northern India adopted Bhakti School of thought which led to the resurrection of spiritual upliftment in singing hymns of Krishna, Ram and Hari, in Hindi language. Bhakti school abolished rigid rules of caste and birth.
Jat Pat Puche Na Koi.
Har Ko Bhaje so Har Ka Hoi.
70. In the Janam Sakhi, Nanak, is reported to have told Babar that Kabir was a Mohammedan weaver. In Adi Granth occur these lines:
By caste a weaver and patient of mind; utters Kabir with natural ease the excellencies of Ram.
71. Kabir was married and had one son and a daughter. His spiritual quest did not prevent him from living a worldly life. He remained all time as a teacher and preacher of religious truths. He himself did not belong to any organised religion. He imbibed the Sufi tradition and was a devotee (Bhakta). It is undisputed that Hindus and Muslims both were attracted towards him as his followers.
72. Kabir's Language: Kabir wrote in Hindi, evidently he was not versed in Sanskrit. His Hindi is simple. Most of the verses of Kabir are hymns of devotion and discipline. Kabir Kausati is taken as a genuine work of Kabir. Most of the Sakhies are rhyming couplets convey the inner realisation of the saint. Kabir was a great mystic and possessed a profound insight in apprehending the eternal spiritual truth in the universe.
73. Kabir's Teachings: According to Dr. Hari Prasad Shastri, the basis of Kabir's teaching is the strict monitheism of the Upnishads. He placed the Lord of Universe in the heart of man as his higher self, where alone soul can discover Him. The following quotation from Bijak establishes Kabir's monitheism.
He is one; there is no second; Ram, Khuda, Shakti, Shiva, are one. By the one name I hold fast: Kabir proclaims this alone.
74. Kindly see Bijak Sabha 43 and 48. Kabir is follower of pure Advaita School of Vedic thought of Shankaracharya. Kabir admits, Maya, the principle of limitation which though unreal is the root cause of all evil, false knowledge of duality. Kabir finds Bhakti - love as the easiest way to realise the infinite within us. Kabir called compassion the greatest virtue and non-attachment to sense objects to be the key to inner tranquility Kabir's love of Ram is reflected in his devotion to Guru 'Without the Guru there is no release'. Kabir loved his Guru Ramanand as God and advised his followers also to practise the same towards his disciples. He also believed in rebirth doctrine of basic Hindu teaching which is upheld by Kabir:
The soul assumes many forms according to its merits after Birth and death it again comes to a body.
75. The goal of soul, according to Kabir is re-absorption into God and to become the soul of universe.
76. Kabir Panth: Whether Kabir founded the order is open to doubt. But there are two sections of the order, one has its head-quarters Kabir Chaura at Benaras and the other at Chattisgarh in the Madhya Pradesh in India. There are two shrines of Kabir at Benaras. One is in the custody of Hindus. The other is in the hands of Muslims. The ritual consists of singing the hymns of Kabir, silent meditation, Arti and distribution of Prasad. The followers of Kabir are strict vegetarians and abstain from using alcohol. Kindly see 'Great Men of India' edited by L.F. Rushbrook Williams.
77. Kabir, Idol Worship and Castes Kabir was a non-conformist He was opposed to idol-worship. He denounced the caste system of Hindus. He was above dogmatism, sectarianism, and fanaticism, He invited wrath of Hindus and Muslims both for his condemnation of Muslim as well as Hindu rituals. He also did not accept the distinction of great and small, high and low.
78. The brief sketch of Kabir's life and summary of teachings which we have given above will show that Kabir's faith does not stand far away detracting from the fundamentals of Hindu religion. As a mystic, Kabir was not merely interested but rather obtaining a direct non-intellectual experience of the unity of things. The mystics here have an insight and this insight helps them to rise above dualism, which surrounds us in the world. Albert Schweitzer, the author of the book 'Indian Thought and Development' says:
Through mysticism Kabir was uplifted above the differences between Islam and Hinduism and spirit of deconumility towards God dominates his mysticisrr.
79. (Kindly see page 208 of the said book.) Again in the words of Shri Aurobindo:
Nothing to the supernatural seise is real finite; it is founded on a feeling of all in each and each in all.
80. All the mystics have experience the world establishing the experience of awareness of God-head. God is not one being. He is present everywhere. All that is pervading by this world with experience of this God-head is well expressed in the first verse from Isha-Upnishad, which is as under: [The original in Sanskrit language and Devnagari Script is not reproduced here - Editors].
All this, whatsoever moves. in this moving world is pervaded by God. Through such renunciation you may enjoy. Do not covet; for whose, indeed, is wealth.
81. From this point of view. Kabir's teachings of realisation of God and Kabir's love of truth can be taken as common points comparable to Hindu view of life i.e. Hindu religion.
82. We have been taken through the extract of Kabir's teachings, which is at exh. 113. According to this extract, we find that many of the teachings of Kabir which are embodied in this extract are not only common but similar and at some points almost identical with Hindu concept of devotion to God and self-realisation. It is useful to recite the said teachings which are 15 in number. Those 15 items contain also original old Hindi couplets, which we have not chosen to translate. The main thrust of these 15 items seems to be quite similar to the concepts of Hindu religion; Item No. 1 is as follows: [The original in Hindi language and Devnagari Script not reproduced here - Editors].
To free our mind ant) to tree our entire sense from sense objects and to concentrate on the devotional songs and worship of 'Satyapurush' and to enter into '5atyalok' through the medium of spiritual knowledge by devotion to 'Satyapurush' without attachment, and devotion in an unwavering manner.
83. In this teaching, the name of Satyaourush can be said to be similar to Supreme person who may be called 'Satyapurush'. It is true that when Kabir uses the word 'Ram', he does not mean the same Ram who was born to Dasharath- Because Kabir is very specific about this that the word Ram refers to Supreme God and not to incarnation of Ram or Vishnu. Because it is contrary to Kabir's teaching to accept incarnation of God, although he is quite tirm in the principles of existence of 'Satyapurush' who is the Supreme person always adhering in truth. [The original in Hindi language and Devnagari Script not reproduced here -- Editors].
'Satyapurush' is in the form of truth and is prevailing in the entire world in the form, of truth. His name is 'Satyanam' and his place is 'Satvalok'. Hence we must practice truth in our life. We must always speak truth and must act and behave in a truthful manner. We must not as any time or under any circumstances take recourse to faisenood.
84. This Item No. 2 describes Satyapurush in the form of truth and prevailing in the entire world in the form of truth alone. Hence his name according to Kabir is 'Satyanam' and his place is Satyalok. The reference to Satyanam and Satyalok can be understood only in the context of existence of Supreme person. Kabir says: We must always speak truth and we must act and behave in a truthful manner. The fact that 'Satyapurush' according to Kabir is all pervading and enveloping the whole entire world, can be compared to certain Verses given in Upnishads in Chapter V part III at No. 10. Kindly see 'the Upnishads an anthology' by D.S. Sarma, which is as under: [The original in Sanskrit language and Devnagari Script not reproduced here -- EcUxorsj.
The Purusha alone is all this universe - sacrifices and austerities. All this is Brahman, the highest and the immortal. He who knows that which is hidden in the case of the heart - he cuts as under, my friend, the knot of ignorance even here on earth.
85. The second declaration in Item No. 2 that: We must practice truth in our life. We must always speak truth and must act and behave in a truthful manner, is also reflected in Mahabharat. Kindly see Mahabharat by Pandit A.M. Shrinivaschariar, page 422. [The original Sanskrit is not reproduced here -- Editors].
You must strive for Truth; Truth is the greatest strength.
86. Item No. 3: [The original in Hindi language and Devnagari Script is not reproduced here - Editors].
'Satyapurush' is in the present in the entire world. All the creatures of the world are of 'Satyapurush'. Therefore mercy must be shown towards all the creatures of the world and the relation of spiritual love must be maintained with them. We must not think about unfriendliness towards anyone. We must not abuse or find fault with anyone and must not give pain to anyone by our deeds or do not kill anyone. In this manner by behaving all the creatures, we must observe absolute non-violence in our deeds, speech and mind.
87. The love of truth and adherence to the truth mentioned in Item Nos. 2 and 3 finds place in various verses of Upnishads. Kindly see again 'Mundakopanishad' page 90 of the Upnishads -- An Anthology by D.S. Sarma. [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced here - Editors].
Truth alone succeeds, not falsehood. By truth is laid out the path of the Gods, on which the sages whose desires are fulfilled proceed to where is the highest repository of truth.
88. The teachings of Kabir quoted in exh. 113 appear to be the basis of religious doctrine or Kabir Panthis. The emphasis on love and devotion and compassion to all creatures is another indication which can be said to be a meeting point with the Hindu view of life. Absolute non-violence as advocated by Kabir directly shows the similarity between Hindu teachings and principles to be followed by Kabir Panthis. These three Items above clearly emphasize the strong common point of Hindu religion. Injunction to observe the truth and never follow falsehood, adherence to non-violence and compassion to all living being, are also the basic tenets of Hindu religion. It cannot be out of place to mention that for Mahatrr a Gandhi said: 'Truth is God' in his own words and non-violence a way to practice truth and reach God.
The religion of non-violence is not merely for the rishis and saints. It is meant for the common people as well. Non-violence is the law of our species, as violence is the law of the brute.
89. Kindly see the book 'Renascent Hinduism' by D.S. Sarma at p. 96.
90. Item No. 4 : [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced here --. Editors].
All the human beings do. commit mistakes. Therefore, we must not pay attention to their mistakes and must always forgive them. We must return good for evil.
91. This item relates to advice that there should be tolerance for the others. We must overlook faults. We must forgive for the mistakes and we must return good for evil. This injunction again is merely identical to the Code of Hindu religion because forgiveness and returning good for evil are the principal tenets in the Hindu religion also. Bhagvadgita in Chapter XVI, Verse Nos. 2 and 3 declares as under: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced here - Editors].
Non-violence in thought, word and deed, truthfulness and geniality of speech, absence of anger even on provocation, renunciation of the idea of doership in action, tranquility of mind, refraining from malicious gossip, kindness to all creatures, absence of attachment to the objects of senses even during their contact with the senses, mildness, sense of shame in doing things not sanctioned' by the scriptures or usage, abstaining from idle pursuits.
92. [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced here -- Editors].
Sublimity, forgiveness, fortitude, external purity, absence of malice, absence of the feeling of self-importance: these are the marks of one who is naturally endowed with divine virtues, 0 descendant of Bharata.
93. Item No. 5 : [The original in Hindi is not reproduced here Editors].
It is necessary to adhere to character and possess contentment in life. Without character and contentment human life has no meaning. Eternal happiness and peace can be obtained by adherence to character and having contentment.
94. This advice corresponds with the general tenets of Hinduism, which say that : [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced here - Editors].
and contentment is the greatest happiness.
95. Item No. 6 : [The original in Hindi is not reproduced here - Editors].
We must make good use of our property. The other name of such act is charity. We must use our property for serving Sadhus-Gurus. We must utilise our property in the service of poor, infirm, desolate and other miserable persons. The wealth must be utilised in good deeds of such kind and the same can never go in vain.
96. Item No. 7 : [The original in Hindi is not reproduced here - Editors].
We must not use our life for our own selfishness. That life is great which has a feeling of benevolence. We must serve religion, community and nation with all our physical, mental and material resources. That person who turns out good deed towards others, does benevolent work is like God, and the person looking after his own selfishness is coming in the category of 'Asur'. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to keep on doing benevolent work.
97. [The original in Hindi is not reoroduced here - Editors].
In this manner we must not aspire to get fruits of the good deeds for doing benevolent acts. Aspiring for getting benefits of the fruits (for doing good works) will tantamount to render our good deeds useless.
98. Item No. 8: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein-Editor].
All the time we must behave in a humble manner. If a person acts in a humble way it means he is courteous. Humbleness and courtesy will come into human being at that time when he will become civilised and educated. Every Mahant must be courteous and educated and spread and propagate courtesy and education in the community. |t is the foremost duty of the Mahant to make the community courteous and educated. Every person of a courteous and educated community who has humbleness around him is like a God.
99. Item Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are more or less ethical commands and express some charitable purposes. They emphasize that man should help others and he must not use his life for his own selfishness. The important direction contained in these items relates to performance of work without any motive or desire to obtain fruit of service.
100. Item No. 9: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein-Editors]. .
In Kabir Panth the distinction of poor and rich, high and low, Brahmin and Sudra etc. must not be allowed to flourish. Every one must be one equally treated. Every Kabir-Panthis must get the opportunity and right to develop his life in every way and to obtain knowledge. It is the responsibility of the Mahant to make this kind of arrangement in Kabir-Panth. Such kind of feelings are called impartial feelings.
101. This item shows Kabir's resentment for discrimination of rich and poor, and person belonging to high and low birth or denouncement of caste such as Brahmin, Sudra, etc. In this item 9, in original Hindi, there is one couplet, which is as under: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein - Editors].
More, equal feeling and seeing for all is. enjoined on the ground that Atman in every living being is one and. the same.
102. Item No. 10: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein-Editor].
Every saint, whether he is of any other religion, of any community, of any sect must be properly respected and greeted. It is the main object of life to serve the saint.
103. This item requires that every saint of any such community or sect or may belong to any other religion should be respected.
104. Item No. 11: [The original in Hindi not reproduced herein - Editors].
Keeping absolute trust and firm faith in one's Guru, he should be continuously served and deserved devotion. The Gurus of others must,also be respected and greeted. Only Guru can cut the bondage of 'Maya' of the creatures and reach them to 'Satya-purush' by means of which salvation can be achieved.
105. This item relates to religious preceptor. It advises that we must have complete faith, trust and devotion to the 'Guru'. It also advises that even Guru belonging to any other sect or community should also, be respected. Here unswerving faith and whole-hearted loyalty and confidence is vested in the Guru. Kabir says as under: [The original in Hindi not reproduced herein - Editors].
My preceptor has two arms. Hari has got four. May not be at the hands of Had but at the hands of preceptor will be.
106. The faith which is expressed in Guru for liberation of soul can be compared with similar ideas expressed in 'Vivek-Chudamani' or Crest-Dewei of Wisdom by Swami Vivekanand at p. 93. It is said: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein - Editors].
O Guru, 1 bow down before thee who art truth alone, who hast the splendour of wisdom and who shinest in the form of the universe.
107. Even of-quoted couplet of Hindus is as under: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein - Editors].
Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is himself God and Shiv, Guru in fact and reality is Patbrahma. So salutation to Guru.
108. The expression given in this stanza is similar to the one in the sense that the Guru i.e. religious preceptor is held as source of strength and sole guide for spiritual realisation. In 'Bhaja GovindanV By Shan-karacharya, Translation by C. Rajagopalachari in Verse No. 31 it is said as under:
Gurucharanambuja nirbharabhaktah Samsaaraat achiraat bhava muktah.' 'Put your faith in the Guru; your whole faith; you will be freed from the cares of life.
109. Item Nos. 12 and 13 : [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein - Editors J.
Sadguru Kabir Saheb has established 'Vansh-Vyalis' for the salvation of the creatures of the world. Therefore one should not be 'indifferent to 'Vansh-Vyalis'. 'Vansh-Vyalis' must be served and devotion must be shown to it with firm faith and full trust.
110. [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein - Editors].
It is absolutely necessary for a life to get 'Saittvik Yagna' (Endowed with the quality of 'Satva' purity and goodness, virtuous righteous), 'Chouka Aarti' by a 'Vansh-guru' every year and to obtain 'Paan-Prashad'. Only on receiving 'Paan-Prashad' at 'Chouka Aarti' from 'Vansh-guru' the creature can go to 'Satyalok'.
111. Item Nos. 12 and 13 relate to Vansh-Vyalis for the salvation of creatures. Item No. 13 refers to Chouka Aarti and Paan Trashad, which has some bearing on the similar rituals which are performed by Hindus while performing Puja.
112. Item No. 14: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein-Editors].
No Mahant should perform Chouka Aarti among the servants of other 'Mahantas'. If such kind of difficult situation arises :then prior to the performance of Chouka-Aarti, permission must be obtained from 'Vansti-gaddi'.
113. This item is by way of domestic command to the Mahant in regard to performance of Chouka-Aarti in the presence of other servants of Mahant.
114. Item No. 1.5: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein-Editors].
Every Mahant shall have to pass a life of good moral conduct remaining away from the vices viz. drinking liquor, smoking, eating mutton, gambling, committing theft, adultery etc. and shall make efforts to remove the above mentioned vices from the community.
115. This item No. 15 is a general command .relating to good moral life without indulging in such vices as drinking liquor, smoking, eating mutton, gambling, committing theft and adultery.
116. Sum and substance of all these teachings is that the aim of life is self-realisation or approaching paradise i.e. 'Satyalok'. Secondly, the main duty of the person is to serve Guru. Thirdly, every person must cultivate compassion and respect for other living beings. Fourthly, the unity of Atman and the God is to be realised. Fifthly, that the truth is all pervading and one must always, adhere to the truth; and lastly the character and contentment both together must be prescribed.
117. We may now refer to the specific teachings of the Panth as found in a book 'Kabir and the Kabir Panth' by Rev. G.H. Westcott in Chapter VII. He has referred to certain original verses and books viz. Sukh Nidan and Amar Mul, both of which are closely associated with the Dharma Dasa sect founded by Dharm Dass. The learned author has given abstracts of these books in Chapter VII.
118. We are concerned in this case with Dharmadas Bans Sarhpradaya, Dama Kheda. In Clause 7 of the scheme framed by the Charity Commissioner for the trust at exh. 76, it is specifically mentioned that the mode of succession to the trusteeship can be governed by KabirPanthis Bans Gaddi tradition with the consent of Board of management after performing formal 'TiJak Chaddar' ceremony and first obtaining 'Puja Praman' from the Kabir Panthis Bans Gaddi Acharya of Dama Kheda, the principal seat of Dharmacharya. According to the author Rev. G.H. Westcott the headquarters of Dharma Dass sect, who is the founder, are at Dama Kheda. This Dharma Dass used to worship idols, such as Shaligram, but when Kabir rebuked him, he seems to have given up idol worship. Dharm Dass read the Bhagwad Gita and honoured Gopala in the word and deed. He wore a Tilak on his forehead and round his neck a mala of Tulsi wood. The learned Author Westcott has giver in detail dialogue of Dharm Dass and Kabir derived from the two books Sukh Nidan and Amar Mul. We are not concerned with those details. Suffice it to say that Dharm Dass also as a Chela of Kabir emphasized that Atma and Brahman are one, that the soul abides in Brahman, as light shines in the rays of the sun. This Jiva and Brahman which are commonly regarded as two are really one. At page 113 the learned author Westcott says as follows:
One prominent trait in Hindu character, viz. personal devotion, finds ample scope for exercise in trie devotion to their Guru required of air members of the Panth. Alt wtio wish to approach God must, they say, become- the disciple of some Guru and to this Guru when once chosen, the disciple must wholly submit himself, mind, soul and body.
119. At page 109, the learned author says that the ceremony alike communication of Brahminical Mantra is also permitted to Kabir Panthis. Wearing round a neck a Kanthi formed of beads made of Tulsi wood is also common. The ceremony of initiation is followed by Mantra, which is whispered into the ear of Kabir Panthis. This Mantra serves as a bond of union between members of the Panth and also suggests a position of privilege. At pages 112 and 113, the learned author Rev. G.H. Westcott states as follows:
All therefore, who desire to become members of the Panth are required to renounce polytheism and to acknowledge their belief in one only God (Parameshwar). They must also promise to eat no meat and drink no wine; to bathe daily and sing hymns to God, both morning and evening; to forgive those who trespass against them up to three times; to avoid: the companv of all women of bad character and all unseemly (esting in connection with such subjects; never to turn away from their house lawful wife; never to tell lies; never to conceal the property of another man; never to bear false witness against a neighbour or speak evil of another on hear-say evidence.
120. At page 103, Westcott describes in regard to service, which was to be conducted in. the Math. The same are described by the author as under:
Daily service is conducted in the Math, morning and evening, by the Pujari. In the morning the Sadhus, so soon as they have bathed, assemble in front of the Mandar. Here takes place the first part of the services which includes the performance of Arti and the washing of the Guru's feet. After this the various Samadhis and Gaddi are visited' and the Sadhus return to the Mandar for the concluding portion of the service.
121. These original extracts which we have quoted above will indicate how certain ceremonial rituals and forms of initiation coincide with the Hindu ideas of worship. Now, we turn to the actual utterances of Kabir from original Adigranth which are quoted at page 45 and 50 by the learned author which again disclose the similarity between the basic tenets of Hinduism and Kabir Panthis.
Fire does not burn it, the wind does not carry it away, no thief comes near It; collect the wealth of the name of Ram, that wealth is never lost. G.
122. G indicates Adigranth. This directly corresponds to the verse of Bhagvad Gita, Verse 23, Chapter II, which says as follows: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein Editors]:
Weapons cannot cut it nor can fire burn it; water cannot drench it nor can wind make it dry.
123. Second item can be seen from page 61 of Kabir and Kabir Panth of Westcott, which is numbered as 65. It says:
Whilst dwelling in the womb, there is no clan nor caste; from the seed of Brahm the whole creation is made.
124. Kabir says that who reflects on Bra'hman he is called Brahmin. This idea of discriminating of true Brahman not by his birth or caste but by his knowledge of Brahman is in conformity with the basic idea of becoming a Brahmin by obtaining knowledge of truth and maintaining purity of form at page 62 in illustration No. 70 in a book of Westcott it is said as under:
Having wandered through the 84 lakhs- of wombs he has come into the world; now having gone out of the body he has no spot nor place. G.
125. The next illustration No. 72 is as under:
Clear away the pain of birth and death, the pleasure of works, that the soul may De liberated from rebirth.G.
126. Illustration No. 73 is related to the .truthfulness, which is as under:
To be truthful is best of all, if the heart be truthful. A man may speak as much as he likes: but there is no pleasure apart from truthfulness. B.
127. B indicates Bijak. At page 79 at No. 5 Westcott has given a Sakhi, which is as under:
The soul (Atma) and the great soul (Parmatma) for many ages remained apart; the true Guru came as a dealer (Dalai) and made of them a beauteous mixture.
128. At page 90 in Item No. 63 in Kabir and the Kabir Panth by Westcott, it is said as under:
He who reproaches me is my friend; he supplies the soap to wash my dirty linen.
129. The above quotation will show that it is comparable with off-quoted saying of Tukaram the great saint of Maharashtra, who said that: [The original in Marathi is not reproduced herein Editors], 'Let one who finds faults have a house in neighbourhood.'
130. The devotion to Guru expressed by Kabir in his sayings and the Bhakti is comparable to the saying of saint Eknath from Maharashtra. In Eknathachi Bhajane by Vinoba at page 83 it is said as under : [The original in Marathi is not reproduced herein - Editors].
The uttering of the name of God is the essence of devotion at the feet of Janardan, non- attachment by it will be joined.
131. Here Janardan is referred to as Guru by Eknath and saint Eknath treats Guru Janardanswami as his God. In this connection it would not be out of place to mention that Gita also refers to whole-hearted Bhakti to obtain all support and to rely on God. Kindly see verse Nos. 30 and 31 in Chapter No. IX of Gita, which are as under: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein - Editors].
Even if the vilest sinner worships Me with exclusive devotion, he should be considered a saint; for he has rightly resolved. (He is positive in his belief that there is nothing like devoted worship).
132. [The original in Sanskrit -is not reproduced' herein - Editors].
Speedily he becomes virtuous and secures lasting peace. Know it for certain Arjuna, that My devotee never falls.
133. In short, Kabir Satyapurush and Sthitapradnya of Gita are on the same path and Kabir's idea of union with God is reflected in the expression of 'Brahma Nirvanam'. Kindly see verse 72 in Chapter II of Gita, which is as under: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein - Editors].
Arjuna, such is the state of the God-realised soul; having reached this state, he overcomes delusion. And established in this state, even at the last moment, he attains Brahmic Bliss.
134. Further verse No. 57 in Chap. XVIII of Gita states' as under: [The original in Sanskrit is not reproduced herein -- Editors].
Therefore, mentally surrendering all actions to Me and with Myself as your sole Object, have your mind constantly fixed on me, resorting to the Yoga of equanimity.
135. We may also refer to another book entitled 'Kabir: The Apostle of Hindu-Muslim Unity' by Muhammad Hedayetullah. This book, in fact, quotes copiously from the book of Westcott in many places. We are specially referring to this author because he has referred to a writing by Rabindranath Tagore. There is a book written by Rabindra-nath Tagore entitled Hundred Poems of Kabir with an introduction by Evelyn Underhill. The learned author has quoted in detail the contents of these hundred poems translated by Tagore. But the author remarks that these poems are not found in Bijak or in the Adigranth with such exception of Poems 1 and 69. Without going into the merits of the comments made by the learned Author, we are inclined to think that Hundred Poems of Kabir translated by Rabindranath Tagore seem to be a faithful account. The author thinks all the poems are not by Kabir himself. It is not possible to imagine that Tagore himself would import his own poems in the name of Kabir. Disagreeing with the comment of the learned author, we find that Hundred Poems of Kabir to which.a reference is given at page 142 by the learned author are very useful guide to compare the tenets of Hinduism with the teachings of Kabir. These poems present Kabir as practising Hindu rites e.g. asceticism and accepting Hindu religious things, e.g. the Vedas, the Puranas, the Holy rivers etc. although he raised strongest voice against such worship. In these poems for God, the terms Brahma. Supreme Soul, and Supreme Spirit are used. It is said the Creation is caused by the OM, and by the dancing sport of the Creator. In Poem Nos. 30 and 47, the man is compared to a tree in which there are two birds -- one is the Guru and the other is the disciple i.e. the Universal Self and Individual Self and obviously these ideas appear to have been borrowed from the Brhadaranyaka Upnishad. The dominant theme of these poems appears to be in conformity with the main ideas and tenets of Hinduism such as the unity of Atman with Brahma and devotion to Guru.
136. In the same book, Kabir's view of Karma and Samara is given at page 220. At page 219, Kabir seems to have hold fast to two fundamental doctrines of Hinduism, namely, Karma (actions: good or bad) and Samsara (transmigration of the soul). Kabir says at page 220:
Birth is in accordance with Penalties for deeds (Bijak Ramaini 62); The soul plays in many forms - in various garbs; Men like bees are swept away; After birth and death, it comes again into a body (Bijak Ramaini 84); On account of Karma, one appeared in the womb (Bijak, Ramaini 39).
137. Kabir's use of the twin doctrine of Karma and Samsara for Hinduism is an instance in harmony to show that the teaching of Kabir must be interpreted in the light of these affirmations of Kabir. It is true that the learned author Muhammad Hedayetullah has found out tourist in the effort of Kabir to uphold the doctrine of Karma and Samsara. The author says that it was an attempt of Kabir to fuse the two religions Hinduism and Mohamedanism by selecting some fundamental concepts from both religions.
138. Kabir's concept of Maya: Kabir's concept of Maya is akin to Shankara in some distinguishing features. Shankare also called Maya as illusion in the sense that the world in appearance is unreal, transitory and always in flux. Kabir borrowed the term from Hinduism and used it to show that it is an evil. It is like an evil woman who entangles and deceives men. Men are alluded by Maya. Kabir says 'that which comes and goes is Maya'. He has further stated in the form of dwarf that he did not tempt Sali, that which tempts is Maya. God is one but for lack of understanding the whole world is bewildered.
139. Kabir's concept of Bhakti: We have already dealt with this aspect earlier. Kabir is one of those mystics who have laid the foundation for devotion (Bhakti) as the only means to finding God. Without God's name who had obtained salvation but only the name of God. The absolute devotion for uttering Ram-nam also is evident from popular hymns which are attributed to Kabir. He denounced the idea of incarnation of God, but the hymns which expressed these names must be interpreted to mean the ultimate reality which was in the mind of Kabir when he advised his disciples to adhere to Satyapurush. So this reference to Hindu God should be taken in that light alone. It may not be out of place to refer to very popular hymn of Kabir which is originally in Hindi. This hymn of Kabir which is originally in Hindi is quoted at page 101 in 'Ashram-Bhajanavali' published DV Navjivan Prakashan Mandir, Ahmedabad-14, which is as under: [The original in Hindi is not reproduced herein - Editors].
O, brother chant or recite the name of Ram, Govind, Hari. No means such as muttering of sacred name Oapa), penance (Tapa) is required. Not even expense of belongings is involved. For the sake of progeny and wealth, you have forgotten, says Kabir, the mouth not uttering the name of Ram, that mouth is filled with dust.
140. The above extracts including the quotations from the books as well as from the sayings of Kabir clearly show that the teachings of Kabir and certain ceremonies adopted by Kabir Panthis by initiating their disciples and Mahant are agreeable with Hindu manner of worship and Hindu concept of spiritual unity. They coincide mainly with the principles, doctrines and main ideas of Hinduism. The word used in Section 2(9) of the Act, 'Math' means an institution for the promotion of the Hindu religion 'must be interpreted to mean Hindu religion in its widest meaning including its ethics and sublime philosophy of Upnishad and main emphasis on self-control and non-attachment. The promotion of Hindu religion as provided by Section 2(9) of the Act is not referable to the out-moded Vedic rites and sacrifice but to the modern variety and way of development of Hindu religion in its progressive form as a vast body of doctrines and principles guiding the individual soul of his eternal journey for spiritual realisation. The meaning of the words 'Promotion of the Hindu religion' must include promotion of Hindu concepts which are basic to the Hindu way of life such as life of renunciation and self-realisation. In this view of the matter, the teachings of Kabir can be said to be in conformity with the Hindu religious ideas. There is no need to take pedantic or narrow view while interpreting the words 'Hindu religion' used in Section 2(9) of the said Act.
141. Now, we turn to the definition of the word 'Hindu' as defined in the said Act. Section 2(6) of the Act defines as follows:
2(6) 'Hindu' includes Jain,Buddhist and Sikh.
142. It was contended by the learned Counsel for the appellant that Kabir Panthi are not Hindus as they are not included alike 3ain, Buddhist and Sikh as stated in the said definition. It is true that Kabir Panthi are not described as such as included in the word 'Hindu'. The definition, if it is taken ex facie, does not include Kabir Panthi. However, the word 'Hindu religion' is not defined in the Bombay Public Trusts Act. In order to construe these words in Section 2(6) of the Act we will have to take into consideration the meaning of the words used in Section 2(9) of the said Act, to which we have already referred to the words 'Hindu religion' used in Section 2(9) of the Act and word 'Hindu' used in Section 2(6) of the Act, which we will have to be harmoniously interpreted. In our opinion, the word 'Hindu' .must be construed in accordance with the concept of Hindu religion as used in Section 2(9) of the Act.
143. The Legislature has not defined the word 'Hindu'. The words used by the Legislature are that: 3ain, Buddhist and Sikh while giving definition of the word 'Hindu'. The word 'includes' is a word of extension and the reference to Jain, Buddhist and Sikh is, in our opinion, by way of illustration. If on the examination of the concepts of a particular sect, it is found that it coincides with the Hindu ideas, worship and Hindu Philosophy and religion, it should not be difficult to include such sects in the word ''Hindu'. The word 'Hindu' may mean Hindu by birth or Hindu by religion. We have already indicated that both these words are of very wide import.
144. It is difficult to define the term 'Hindu' with precision. It can only be understood in the comprehensive sense as beliefs, faiths, practices and worship, which are covered by Hinduism. The Supreme Court had an occasion to consider this aspect in Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Madras v. R. Sridharan : AIR1976SC489 . The Supreme Court has quoted in paras 17 and 18 of its judgment referring to Chapter I of the Mulla's Hindu Law while dealing with the meaning of the word 'Hindu'. We are not giving the detailed enumeration. The Supreme Court in this case referred to the earlier decision reported in Shastri Yagnapurushdasji v. Maldas Bhumdardas (Supra) and affirmed the view that the term 'Hinduism' embraces within itself so many diverse forms and stated in para 10 as follows:
It is a matter of common knowledge that Hinduism embraces within itself so many diverse forms of beliefs, faiths, practices and worship that it is difficult to define the term 'Hindu' with precision.
145. Bearing in mind principles applicable in such case, we think that the term 'Hindu' used in Section 2(6) of the Act must be given a true and proper meaning. The question whether the term 'Hindu' used in Section 2 16) of the Act will include Kabir Panthi has arisen for the first time before us. No authority was cited before us except two judgments of the Patna High Court, which we will refer later.
146. Now the earliest decision which can be referred to in this connection is reported in Bhagwan Koer v. J.C. Bose  34 Cat. 13 (P.C.) : (1903) 5 Bom. I.R. 843. In this decision of the Privy Council, One Sardar Dyal Singh, a gentleman of good family and large property, died at Lahore on September 9, 1898, leaving a will bearing date the June 15, 1895 and an application for probate of the will was made to the Chief Court of the Punjab under the provisions of Section 62 of the Probate and Administration Act (V of 1881). On the citation being issued caveats were entered on behalf of Rani Bhagwan Koer, Sardar Gajindar Singh, a cousin of the testator on the father's side, Sardar Atar Singh, another male collateral of the testator, and Mrs. Gill who claimed to have been married to the testator.
147. The written statement on behalf of Rani Koer raised a contention that the application did not lie under Act V of 1881, as the testator was not a Hindu within the meaning ot Section 2 of the Act. The other defences of the validity of the will were raised but they are not necessary for our purpose. Issue No- 1 raised in that case was in the following words:
Is Act V of 1881 inapplicable to the will of Sardar Dyal Singh by reason of his not being a Hindu, Mohamedan or Buddhist?
148. The argument on behalf of Rani Koer was that the word 'Hindu' is used in Section 2 of the Act V of 1881 in a theological sense. The second contention was that the deceased was not a Hindu because (a) he was born a Sikh, the connotations of which term exclude the notion of his being a Hindu; (b) he abandoned Sikhism and adopted Brahmoism, which also similarly is a religion outside the pale of Hinduism and opposed to it; and (c) he ate beef and food cooked by Mohamedans, Christians, and others.
149. The 'contention of the propounders on the other hand was that Sikhism and Brahmoism are mere offshoots of the Hindu religion, that Sikhs and Brahmos are included within the term 'Hindu' used in the Act; and that it was not proved that the testator abjured Sikhism and adopted Brahmoism. It was also the contention that it was not proved that the testator was ceased to be a Hindu. The Privy Council had an occasion to decide the question, whether the term Hindu in Section 2 of the Probate and Administration Act (V of 1881) includes (1) Sikhs, (2) Brahmos and (3) Hindus who have fallen away from orthodoxy by indulging in prohibited food and other practices opposed to the social usages of their co-religionists. The Calcutta High Court -held as follows:
The term 'Hindu' has not been defined in either the Indian Succession Act, 1865, nor in the Probate and Administration Act, 1881, nor in any Act of the Indian Legislature that we are aware of. ...
We shall not attempt to lay down a general definition of what is meant by the term 'Hindu'. To make it accurate and at the same time sufficiently comprehensive as well as distinctive is extremely difficult. The Hindu religion is marvellously catholic and elastic. Its theology is marked by eclecticism and tolerance and almost unlimited freedom of private worship. Its social code is much more stringent, but amongst its different castes and sections exhibits wide diversity of practice. No trait is more marked of Hindu society in general than its horror of using the meat of the cow. Yet the chamars who profess Hinduism, but who eat beef and the flesh of dead animals, are however low in the scale included within its pale. It is easier to say who are not Hindus, and practically the separation of Hindus from non-Hindus is not a matter of so much difficulty. The people know the differences well and can easily tell who are Hindus and who are not.
150. The Calcutta High Court held that Sardar Dyal Singh was born a Sikh and was therefore a Hindu, that he never renounced Hinduism and Sikhism, that he never became a professed Brahmo, and that even if he did so he did not cease to be a Hindu thereby, or because he indulged in certain practices as to eating and living reprobated by other Hindus. According to the Calcutta High Court, he was a Hindu within the meaning of Section 2 of the Probate and Administration Act, It was also held that the will was proved. Before the Privy Council Rani the widow) of testator was the appellant, as the probate was issued . to the respondent. The contention of Rani that the testator Sikh was not included in the term of 'Hindu' was repeated before the Privy Council and the Privy Council repelled these contentions and held that:
. . . it is impossible to suppose that the Legislature in laying down the law for the Punjab, while providing a rule of decision for Mohamedans and Hindus, should have overlooked the case of the Sikhs, or left them dependent only upon such customs as they might be able to prove. It seems clear that the Legislature used the old phraseology in the old sense, and included Sikhs under the term Hindu.
151. At page 33, the Privy Council observed that the term 'Hindu' in this Act is used in the same sense as in the Succession Act and Their Lordships agreed with the Chief Court- in holding that a Sikh is included under that term. The other findings of the Privy Council, in this judgment are not relevant for our purpose. The observation of the Privy Council is useful and furnishes sufficient guidance to interpret the term 'Hindu' used in the Bombay Public Trusts Act.
152. In view of the judgments of the Supreme Court reported in Shastri Yagnapurushdasji v. Muldas Bhumdardas (supra) and Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Madras v. R. Sridharan. (supra) and Bhagwan Koer v. J.C. Bose (supra), we think that the term 'Hindu' must be given the widest meaning. . It is of wider import under Section 2(6) of the Act. The Legislature seems to have intended to retain the character of Hindu as such which may mean Hindu in origin and by including 3ain, Buddhist and Sikh it has expressed the intention and so that dissenting sect also can be included in it. In this connection, we may again refer to the specific observations of the Supreme Court in Shastri Yagna-purushdasji v. Muldas Bhurndardas (supra). In para 37 of the judgment the Supreme Court has observed as follows:
The development of Hindu religion and philosophy shows that from time to time saints and religious reformers attempted to remove from the Hindu thought and practices elements of corruption and superstition and that led to the formation of different sects. Buddha started Buddhism, Mahavir founded Jainism, Basava became the founder of Linga-yat religion, Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram initiated the Varakari cult; Guru Nanak inspired Sikhism; Dayanand founded Arya Samaj, and Chaitanya began Bhakti cult; and as a result of the teachings of Ramkrishns and Vivekanand, Hindu religion flowered into its most attractive( progressive and dynamic form. If we study the teachings of these saints and religious reformers, we would notice an amount of divergence in their respective views; but underneath that divergence there is a kind of subtle indescribable unity which keeps them within the sweep of the broad and progressive Hindu religion.
153. In the case before the Supreme Court, in Shastri Yagnapurushdasji v. Muldas Bhumdardas (supra), it was urged that Swaminarayan Sampra-daya is a different religion and it is not a part of Hindu religion. It was said that the persons became Satsangi by work and not by initiation. It was also pointed out that Harijans can also join Satsangi sect by work, Swaminarayan the founder of the sect himself treated as the Supreme God. These aspects were relied on to show that these were not consistent with the Hindu religion. The. Supreme Court negatived all these contentions and in para 52 of the Judgment in the said case it observed as under:
We are not impressed by this argument. Even a cursory study of the growth and development of Hindu religion through the ages shows that whenever a saint or a religious reformer attempted the task of reforming Hindu religion and fighting irrational of corrupt practices which had crept into it, a sect was born which was governed by its own tenets, but which basically subscribed to the fundamental notions of Hindu religion and Hindu philosophy.
154. The fact that dissenting sects such as Jain, Buddhist or Sikh not accepting the authorities of Vedas are included in the term 'Hindu'. Kabir Panthi also do not accept the authority of Vedas. In our opinion, if as stated above, the various sects such as Arya Samaj, Sikh and Varkaris although divergent are included in the fold of Hinduism, we see no reason why Kabir Panthi should be excluded. It is true that they do not accept idol worship and God in the human form but then all these distinctions do not constitute any such infraction of Hindu view of life or Hindu ideas of religion.
155. In this connection, the observations of Fristy of Capra in his book 'The Tao of Physics' at p. 95 may be useful to elucidate the meaning of diverse tenets of Hinduism and other sects. The author says as under:
Hinduism holds that there are innumerable ways of liberation. It would never expect all its followers to be able to approach the Divine in the same way and therefore it provides different concepts, rituals and spiritual exercises for different modes of awareness. The fact that many of these concepts or practices are contradictory does not worry the Hindus in the least, because they know that Brahman is beyond concepts and images anyway. From this attitude comes the great tolerance and inclusiveness which is characteristic of Hinduism.
156. Bearing in mind, the above principles and comprehensive scope of Hinduism, we have already examined the various teachings of Kabir Panthi. We have also referred to certain ceremonies. We have also referred to the manner of worship and certain forms of initiation. In our opinion, the word 'Hindu' used in Section 2(6) of the Act deserves to be interpreted in its widest sense. The principal teachings of Kabir and the similarity of manner of worship and devotion to Guru are certain basic tenets of Kabir Panthi which are quite similar to the basic concepts of Hindu religion itself. Therefore, in our opinion, Kabir Panthi can be included in the term 'Hindu;' used in Section 2(6) of the Bombay Public Trusts Act. We do not think that the Legislature must have intended to exclude Kabir Panthi although it has not been specifically said so. This conclusion finds support from the observations of Kesrichand Ramchand Shah in his book on Bombay Public Trusts Act, Sixth Edition. The learned author has stated at p. 30 as follows:
Similarly, religious endowments connected with offshoots of Hinduism, like certain forms of Saktism, the Veerasaiva or Lingayat cult, the Kabir Panth, the Brahmo Samaj, the Prarthana Samaj, the Arya Samaj, Nirmala and other denominations falling within the Hindu fold have also been included within the scope of this definition, although their followers or representatives do not accept some aspects of the Hindu creed.
157. The Government Pleader, Smt. Sehnoi, who appeared for the Charity Commissioner invited our attention to two judgments of the Patna High Court. They are reported in Baijayananda v. State of Bihar A.I.R.  Pat. 266 and Board of Religious Trust v. A.M. Amrit Das : AIR1974Pat95 . The first judgment is delivered by the Division Bench of the Patna High Court under the Bihar Hindu Religious Trusts Act and it was observed in para 24 at page 273 as under:.. In M.J.C. No. 131 of 1953 we have examined the question whether Kabir Panthi are of Hindu origin. We have reached the conclusion that Kabir Panthi are of Hindu origin and that the impugned Act applied to trusts existing for the benefit of Kabir Panthi.
158. The same view was taken in Board of Religious Trust v. A.M. Amritdas : AIR1974Pat95 where the case had arisen under the Bihar Hindu Religious Trust Act. It was held that Kabir Panthis being Hindus, the Act would be applicable to them. The Patna High Court relied on its earlier decision in Baijoyananda v. State of Bihar, which we have referred to. In both these cases we have not been able to find out the reasons of the learned Judges. We have mentioned these cases only to show that Patna High Court had also taken the view that Kabir Panthis are Hindus within the meaning of the Trusts Act.
159. In the absence of any authority or precedent cited before us containing any reasons, we have ourselves examined this question on the first principles. For the reasons which we have given while discussing the comparative tenets of Hinduism and Kabir Panthis, we have reached the conclusion that Kabir Panthis can be included in the term 'Hindu', used in Section 2(6) of the Act.
160. In the result, the judgment and decree passed in Spl. Civil Suit No. 52 of 1972 is set aside. First Appeal No. 610 of 1975 is allowed. The case is remanded to the lower Court i.e Civil Judge, Sr. Dn. Thane for determination of the question whether the first defendant proves that he is the real successor to Mahant as pleaded by him. The lower Court will give both the parties an opportunity to lead evidence. As we have observed above the lower Court will appoint a Receiver for the property of the Math, included in the schedule attached to the plaint. In the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs as far as parties are concerned.
161. The learned Counsel on behalf of the defendant No. 1 has stated that his client shall deliver the suit property shown in the Schedule attached to the plaint in possession of the Receiver within a month from the date of the receipt of the Record and Proceedings of this case. If the properties are not delivered, the Receiver will be entitled to take possession of the suit properties under the orders of the Court. The Receiver will make an inventory of the properties and manage the same till the trial and disposal of the suit having regard to the office of Mahant.
162. First Appeal No. 611 of 1975 is filed by defendant No. 2, who claims through the defendant No. 1 as being inducted on the suit lands as tenant. As the title of the defendant No. 1 itself is in dispute, defendant No. 2 cannot claim his right whatsoever. His appeal, therefore, fails and dismissed with no order as to costs, so far as the parties are concerned.
163. First Appeal No. 744 of 1977 arises out of an application for change-report being Charity Application No. 23 of 1973. It appears that Mahant Paltudasji, the defendant-appellant in the other case i.e. First Appeal No. 6'1 of 1975 objected to the registration of the name of the respondent-plaintiff in the register of Trust under Section 22 of the Act. The defendant No. 1 in this appeal is the plaintiff in a suit which we have remitted back to the lower Court for trial and disposal while deciding First Appeal No. 610 of 1975. In this application under Section 72 of the Trusts Act, Mahant Jairamdas Guru Paltudasji contended that he being the successor of the deceased Paltudasji is entitled to challenge the entry and therefore he filed an application before the City Civil Court, Greater Bombay under Section 72 of the Trusts Act. He contended that the Assistant Charity Commissioner ought to have made an enquiry under Section 22(2) of the Act before entering the name of the respondent No. 1 Satyaram Shastri Guru Sohandasji. This application was rejected by the City Civil Court on July 30, 1976. Against this decision, Mahant Jairamdas Guru Paltudasji has filed this appeal being First Appeal No. 744 of 1977 challenging the decision of the said City Civil Court, Greater Bombay.
164. This appeal was called for at the instance of the parties as we have thought it proper to hear along with First Appeal No. 610 of 1975 and First Appeal No. 611 of 1975. Main question in this appeal relates to the title of Jairamdas Guru Paltudas who alleged have been the successor Mahant of Paltudasji. The question whether Jairamdas Guru Paitudasji or respondent No. 1 Satyaram, who is appointed as Mahant by the City Civil Court can become a trustee of Kabir Wadi Mandir Trust, is yet to be decided by the Court. It is on the final determination of title of Mahant to hold the office of the sole trustee of this trust that the entry of change-report in accordance with the provisions of Section 22(2) of the Act will have to be taken.
165. As we have disposed of First Appeal No. 610 of 1975 arising out of a Suit No. 52 of 1972 of Thane Court and remitted the same for final decision, we think it proper that this appeal also will have to be allowed as the entry in dispute will have to be modified or varied in accordance with the determination of the title which is yet to be in dispute in substantive suit filed by the respondent No. 1 and which is now remitted back for trial. We, therefore, allow this appeal and send the matter back to the City Civil Court, Greater Bombay and direct that the Application No. 23 of 1973 before the City Civil Court under Section 72 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act will be kept pending before that Court till the final decision of Suit No. 52 of 1972, which is pending before the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Thane. After the receipt of the decision in Suit No. 52 of 1972, the City Civil Court will take up that application for hearing and dispose of the same. In the circumstances of the case there will be no order as to costs, so far as the parties are concerned.
166. In all these three matters, the costs of the Charity Commissioner, are quantified at Rs. 1500/- which will be payable out of the Trust property and funds.