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Alcohol and Sikhism

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Highway1980, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Highway1980

    Highway1980
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    Hi,

    Sikhism prohibits alcohol … but reading through English translation of the SGGS I could not find clear probations – can anyone point me to appropriate references in the SGGS.

    thanks
     
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  3. Amerikaur

    Amerikaur
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    Those who do not use intoxicants are true; they dwell in the Court of the Lord. (ang 15)
     
  4. Highway1980

    Highway1980
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    Hi AmeriKaur,

    Thanks for this ref, and yes it does advocate not using intoxicants but it is not a clear injunction not to either.

    Is this vagueness the reason why so many "Sikhs" drink ?
     
  5. Amerikaur

    Amerikaur
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    Hi Highway1980,

    That is a doozy of a question. I don't know the real answer - or answers. I do have a couple of ideas. This is a beast that I did battle with not long back, so I hope you also don't mine my own story.

    One is strictly syllogistic. A negative statement is logically impossible to prove.

    If someone says "AmeriKaur, prove that you went to your martial arts class today," that is a easier than proving that I didn't go.

    The other opinion is in the way of Sikhism itself.

    The vagueness that you speak of is absolutely true. Sihkism is not a dogmatic religion.

    The Gurus instead took a more introspective approach. They wanted us to look inside ourselves. They wanted us to look to God. So much emphasis is placed on Simran. Why is this done? For spiritual reasons, it is a way to get closer to God.

    For practical reasons, it is a way for the individual Sikh to find the true path, and get our questions answered...not just answered, but answered in a way that makes sense.

    But such conflicts have come up before. Enter the need for the rehat maryada or Sikh Code of Conduct. The rehat maryada is about 100 years old and was written by humans, that agreed upon what behavior was acceptable and what behavior wasn't acceptable. This is where one will find verbage that is more dogmatic, such as to specifically not drink, not smoke, or not do drugs. The Rehat's own rules state that following the Rehat is encouraged for a non-Amritdhari Sikh, mandatory for an Amritdhari Sikh.

    But the Rehat Maryada is controversial. Some accept all of it or mosto of it and follow it. Some reject it. Some Sikhs doubt it's need or authority, as it is not gurbani.

    But, there are problems even with dogmatism...as one can use or twist dogmatism to suit a given agenda. Think of Bill Clinton saying that a certain kind of sex is not a sin, because it is not forbidden in the Bible. Even dogmatism has it's limits.

    So, do I think that many Sikhs drink because of the vagueness in Gurbani?

    Maybe some.

    Some of it also has to do with self-discipline, self-restraint, and the fact that social drinking tends to begat social drinking.

    For me, I used to drink socially, I grew up in a non-Sikh family where both of my parents drank lightly. By lightly I mean, never everyday and never more than two glasses of wine. I copied my parents there.

    I was surprised, and a little frustrated, at how hard alcohol was to give up. It was the social part of it...it's what I do when I go out with friends. Have dinner, and a drink. And my friends like to have dinner, and a drink. Some of my friends even said "Don't give it up entirely, it relaxes you, you know"

    I'm embarassed to say that it took me a long, long, long time (a few years) to finally cut myself away and say that I honestly "don't drink." I asked God for help "God, please make me hate this stuff."

    I focused on finding more friends that don't drink, to help build a new lifestyle...and this was key, because this gave me the strength I needed to be around my old friends that still have a glass of wine or two...and not feel like I have to indulge in the drink to enjoy their company. My buddies in martial arts helped me more than they will ever know.

    developing self-discipline, developing self-restraint, dogmatic scriptures, personal desirs, social patterns...I honestly don't know what the magic "off" switch was that would get Sikhs to stop drinking en masse.

    Maybe, each individual Sikh has to find their own way, in a way that makes sense to them.

    That is only my opinion though. What do you think?
     
  6. Highway1980

    Highway1980
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    Hi AmeriKaur,

    Sorry for the late reply, have been away.


    I agree Sikhism is far from dogmatic, unlike other Religions I could mention. The rehat maryada is actually not well known the UK and little adhered too. I mean, it is going to be difficult to follow a code which has been developed by people only a couple of generations ago even if its foundations are based on well researched scholarly study.

    Good to see you have managed to stop drinking... I just need to try little harder.
     
  7. MKAUR1981

    MKAUR1981
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    Hi AmeriKaur

    I read through your words and I must say it has put me to shame. I call myself a Sikh, but drink every night. It's a stupid habit that started 7 years ago. Started off as the occasional drink, but now on a daily basis.

    I have tried many a times to stop, but keep having relapses. I wish I was stonger and had the willpower to stop. I myself pray to God that I can give this habit up as it has taken oven my relationship with my husband, financial difficulties and my health. Every night I get back from work and open a bottle of wine.

    I glad I've joined this forum as it is giving me the advice and help to use and strengthen my willpower to succeed. Any suggestions or comments welcome.
     
  8. kaur-1

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    Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru ji Ki Fateh,

    Das is just a learner so apologies if anything incorrect is said.

    From what I can gather, our Guru's probably knew all about the future ie kalyug culture.

    Das have a feeling that Guru's did advice on not consuming anything that will effect our mind ie our thinking (mentioned as "distractions" or other).

    Adverse substances effects our mind and if we cant concentrate then how can we even contemplate/concentrate and remember Waheguru.!!!!

    Its the same as very late nights and having difficulty in getting up in the amrit wela to naam jap or read/sing bani. (das is trying to achieve this!)

    If our body and mind are not fit for the basic requirements of Guru's hukum then how can we progress spiritually.

    Dont eat too much, sleep too much.

    Dont drink,inhale or eat anything that will effect our mind and body.

    All this are distractions from achieving the purpose of being born as a human being.

    We must not be distracted from this purpose.

    Next time you pick up a glass of alcohol just think of the above.

    Just remember that "waheguru" actually dwells in all of us, in you!!.

    Ang 170 Raag Gaurhee Poorbee: Guru Ram Das

    iehu mnUAw iKnu n itkY bhu rMgI dh dh idis cil cil hwFy ]
    eihu manooaa khin n ttikai bahu rangee dheh dheh dhis chal chal haadtae ||
    This mind does not hold still, even for an instant. Distracted by all sorts of distractions, it wanders around aimlessly in the ten directions.


    Some shabads/tuks from SGGSJ that have prompted me from distraction:


    aasaa mehlaa 5.
    Aasaa, Fifth Mehl:

    bha-ee paraapat maanukh dayhuree-aa.
    This human body has been given to you.

    gobind milan kee ih tayree baree-aa.
    This is your chance to meet the Lord of the Universe.

    avar kaaj tayrai kitai na kaam.
    Nothing else will work.

    ]mil saaDhsangat bhaj kayval naam. ||1||
    Join the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; vibrate and meditate on the Jewel of the Naam. ||1||

    Satnam Waheguru

    saraNjaam laag bhavjal taran kai.
    Make every effort to cross over this terrifying world-ocean.

    janam baritha jaat rang maa-i-aa kai. ||1|| rahaa-o.
    You are squandering this life uselessly in the love of Maya. ||1||Pause||

    jap tap sanjam Dharam na kamaa-i-aa.
    I have not practiced meditation, self-discipline, self-restraint or righteous living.

    sayvaa saaDh na jaani-aa har raa-i-aa.
    I have not served the Holy; I have not acknowledged the Lord, my King.

    kaho naanak ham neech karammaa.
    Says Nanak, my actions are contemptible!

    saran paray kee raakho sarmaa. ||2||4||
    O Lord, I seek Your Sanctuary; please, preserve my honor! ||2||4||

    *****************
    Ang 1106

    8 Maaroo Saint Kabir
    Drm rwie jb lyKw mwgY ikAw muKu lY kY jwihgw ]
    dhharam raae jab laekhaa maagai kiaa mukh lai kai jaahigaa ||
    When the Righteous Judge of Dharma calls for your account, what face will you show Him then?

    **********
    Ang 151 SGGSJ

    gourree mehalaa 1 ||
    Gauree, First Mehl:

    fir Gru Gir fru fir fru jwie ]
    ddar ghar ghar ddar ddar ddar jaae ||
    Place the Fear of God within the home of your heart; with this Fear of God in your heart, all other fears shall be frightened away.

    so fru kyhw ijqu fir fru pwie ]
    so ddar kaehaa jith ddar ddar paae ||
    What sort of fear is that, which frightens other fears?

    quDu ibnu dUjI nwhI jwie ]
    thudhh bin dhoojee naahee jaae ||
    Without You, I have other place of rest at all.

    jo ikCu vrqY sB qyrI rjwie ]1]
    jo kishh varathai sabh thaeree rajaae ||1||
    Whatever happens is all according to Your Will. ||1||

    frIAY jy fru hovY horu ]
    ddareeai jae ddar hovai hor ||
    Be afraid, if you have any fear, other than the Fear of God.

    fir fir frxw mn kw soru ]1] rhwau ]
    ddar ddar ddaranaa man kaa sor ||1|| rehaao ||
    Afraid of fear, and living in fear, the mind is held in tumult. ||1||Pause||

    nw jIau mrY n fUbY qrY ]
    naa jeeo marai n ddoobai tharai ||
    The soul does not die; it does not drown, and it does not swim across.

    ijin ikCu kIAw so ikCu krY ]
    jin kishh keeaa so kishh karai ||
    The One who created everything does everything.

    hukmy AwvY hukmy jwie ]
    hukamae aavai hukamae jaae ||
    By the Hukam of His Command we come, and by the Hukam of His Command we go.

    AwgY pwCY hukim smwie ]2]
    aagai paashhai hukam samaae ||2||
    Before and after, His Command is pervading. ||2||

    hMsu hyqu Awsw Asmwnu ]
    hans haeth aasaa asamaan ||
    Cruelty, attachment, desire and egotism

    iqsu ivic BUK bhuqu nY swnu ]
    this vich bhookh bahuth nai saan ||
    there is great hunger in these, like the raging torrent of a wild stream.

    Bau Kwxw pIxw AwDwru ]
    bho khaanaa peenaa aadhhaar ||
    Let the Fear of God be your food, drink and support.

    ivxu KwDy mir hoih gvwr ]3]
    vin khaadhhae mar hohi gavaar ||3||
    Without doing this, the fools simply die. ||3||

    ijs kw koie koeI koie koie ]
    jis kaa koe koee koe koe ||
    If anyone really has anyone else - how rare is that person!

    sBu ko qyrw qUM sBnw kw soie ]
    sabh ko thaeraa thoon sabhanaa kaa soe ||
    All are Yours - You are the Lord of all.

    jw ky jIA jMq Dnu mwlu ]
    jaa kae jeea janth dhhan maal ||
    All beings and creatures, wealth and property belong to Him.

    nwnk AwKxu ibKmu bIcwru ]4]2]
    naanak aakhan bikham beechaar ||4||2||
    O Nanak, it is so difficult to describe and contemplate Him. ||4||2||
     
  9. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    ------------------------------

    The first thing you have to do is cut down your drinking. If your opening a bottle of wine everyday now, cut that back. Try and join some form of class in the evening (whatever you fancy, maybe go back and do some education or creative course, nothing too heavy though).

    With addiction, the body usual works with environmental triggers. This means that when a substance is taken regularly in a particular environment/way. Being in that environment alone can cause your body to crave the substance....so change it!

    Find some more interesting company who are postive and do not drink, again keep yourself busy by learning something new and interesting.

    Set yourself realistic goals, if your drinking everyday now, say that you will only drink every other day first. Then after a week or two of this, say that you will only do it on the weekend. An so on......

    It is very important that you find something to fill your new found time with though.

    Hope that helps, all the best.
     
  10. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Thanks for sharing that information Amerikaur ji... This is very good inspiration.

    Personally, I consider the intoxicants against Sikhi.

    Regards.
     
  11. BaljeetSingh

    BaljeetSingh
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    Please refer Page 554, Slok M: 3, strating with the words "Maanus Bhariaa aaniaa....". Read this shabad completely. This shabad syas clearly that by drinking wine, persons intelligence departs and madness enters mind and man can not distinguish between his own and others.

    Here is the complete shabad

    AMg 554
    ang 554
    Page 554

    slok mÚ 3 ]
    sulok mu 3
    Shalok, Third Mehl:

    mwxsu BirAw AwixAw mwxsu BirAw Awie ]
    maanus bhariaa aaniaa maanus bhariaa aae
    One person brings a full bottle, and another fills his cup.

    ijqu pIqY miq dUir hoie brlu pvY ivic Awie ]
    jith peethai math dhoor hoe burul puvai vich aae
    Drinking the wine, his intelligence departs, and madness enters his mind;

    Awpxw prwieAw n pCwxeI Ksmhu Dky Kwie ]
    aapunaa puraaeiaa n pushaanee khusumuhu dhukae khaae
    he cannot distinguish between his own and others, and he is struck down by his Lord and Master.

    ijqu pIqY Ksmu ivsrY drgh imlY sjwie ]
    jith peethai khusum visurai dhurugeh milai sujaae
    Drinking it, he forgets his Lord and Master, and he is punished in the Court of the Lord.

    JUTw mdu mUil n pIceI jy kw pwir vswie ]
    jhoothaa mudh mool n peechee jae kaa paar vusaae
    Do not drink the false wine at all, if it is in your power.

    nwnk ndrI scu mdu pweIAY siqguru imlY ijsu Awie ]
    naanuk nudhuree such mudh paaeeai sathigur milai jis aae
    O Nanak, the True Guru comes and meets the mortal; by His Grace, one obtains the True Wine.

    sdw swihb kY rMig rhY mhlI pwvY Qwau ]1]
    sudhaa saahib kai rung rehai mehulee paavai thaao
    He shall dwell forever in the Love of the Lord Master, and obtain a seat in the Mansion of His Presence. ||1||

    Sayee piare mail jin miliya tera naam chit aave.
    Start the company of those with whom the name of God comes to the mind.
     
    #10 BaljeetSingh, Aug 26, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2006
  12. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    There are two sloks by Guru nanak ji under the heading of Slok mardana..and BOTh are against DRINKING ALCOHOL. Avoid "MADD" which when it enters your mouth..EXPELLS your BRAIN..and you talk GIBBERISH..and dont recognise your own ...Page 553 Let good deeds be your still, truth thy molasses..and make wine of sublime Name...
    In Sri Raag mh 1 Page 15 Guru nanak ji tell us..The Wine of TRUTH is prepared WITHOUT molasses...and in it is the TRUE NAME..
    And in no uncertain terms it is declared in Maru Mh 5..Page 1001..In drinking the WORTLESS WINE..YOu have gone MAD..and wasted your INVALUABLE.. life in VAIN..

    as such since WINE/Alcohol is the oldest VICE...it is described in Gurbani more than Tobacco as tobacco was only just coming into vogue..it came popular only during the time of Jehangir...when the British sailors brought it back from the Americas new world...thus it came upon GURU GOBIND SINGH Ji to specifically BAN tobacco in our rehit...

    JSGyani Arshi

    There are two sloks by Guru nanak ji under the heading of Slok mardana..and BOTh are against DRINKING ALCOHOL. Avoid "MADD" which when it enters your mouth..EXPELLS your BRAIN..and you talk GIBBERISH..and dont recognise your own ...Page 553 Let good deeds be your still, truth thy molasses..and make wine of sublime Name...
    In Sri Raag mh 1 Page 15 Guru nanak ji tell us..The Wine of TRUTH is prepared WITHOUT molasses...and in it is the TRUE NAME..
    And in no uncertain terms it is declared in Maru Mh 5..Page 1001..In drinking the WORTLESS WINE..YOu have gone MAD..and wasted your INVALUABLE.. life in VAIN..

    as such since WINE/Alcohol is the oldest VICE...it is described in Gurbani more than Tobacco as tobacco was only just coming into vogue..it came popular only during the time of Jehangir...when the British sailors brought it back from the Americas new world...thus it came upon GURU GOBIND SINGH Ji to specifically BAN tobacco in our rehit...

    JSGyani Arshi
     
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    #11 Gyani Jarnail Singh, Aug 26, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2006
  13. Tejindersinghdelhi

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    The drinking alcohol is a social evil world-wide, but has been included in the Sikh Code of Conduct as punishable ' tankhia'. Here I would like to add that 'tankhia' Sikh should not be permitted to be in the voters list for electing administrators in the supreme body of gurdwara management in Delhi or elsewhere. The definition of 'Sikh' in the Sikh Rehat Maryada announced from Sri Akal Takhat does not include Sharab sevan as disqualification for being called as a Sikh. However, it includes those who have faith in the Khande bate da Amrit of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and teachings of all Gurus from Guru Nanak Dev JI and Guru Granth Sahib ji. Therefore, only Sikhs have to be in the voters list to constitute the electoral college for elections to the Gurdwara Management body. So a Sikh has been forbidden from taking drinks else one will become entitled to punishment as 'tankhia'.

    Having said so, it is also true that a sikh becomes 'tankhia' and does not earn a disqualification to be called a Sikh. Therefore, those who drink, to my mind have to exercise self control and leaving drinking habits which are bad for the social and religious conduct as a Sikh. Every Sikh must move closer to the Sikh Rehat Maryada to become a true Sikh as drinking has been prohibited in Gurbani of Guru Granth Sahib Ji also. Gurbani says " Jit pite mat door hove, baral pave which aye, aisa madh (sharab) mool na pichye je ka par vasai". It made pite (drinking sharab) Nanaka bahute khatia vikar'. Gurbani also says that even if holy water of Ganges is used to distil liquor, the saintly persons do not drink such a liquor ( Bhagat Kabir Ji).

    So every Sikh must respect Gurbani in Guru Granth Sahib ji a leave the bad habit of drinking alcohol, which, while being dangerous for health, family, social and religious life of a Sikh in particular and all others in general. I leave it to the conscience of every Sikh to be honest while filling up or not filling up forms for being included in the electoral college for election to the membership to the DSGMS which has to be manage Sikh historic Gurdwaras in Delhi.
     
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  14. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Tejindersinghdelhi ji there is also posted information in the following,

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/hard-talk/34450-consumption-of-alcohol-amongst-sikhs-5.html#post142070

    As you so rightfully pointed out there is a huge difference between "Tankhias" and "Kurehatias" as per Sikh Rehat Maryada. People for or against are doing oversight of this difference through various means including Gurbani quoting. People must realize that Sikh Rehat Maryada is a live document which was developed with full considerations of all Gurus teaching as well as Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

    So any rehashing is suggestive of changes to Sikh Rehat Maryada. This being of impact to all Panth and Sikh community is an area of Akal Takhat Sahib clarification if needed. I don't personally see the need as it is very specifically and clearly laid out in the existing version of Sikh Rehat Maryada.


    Hope it helps in the dialog.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     

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