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Alcoholic Perfumes on Guru Granth Sahib Ji: An Opinion

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Chaan Pardesi, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Chaan Pardesi

    Chaan Pardesi
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    Dear Gurmukh Loko, I have been sent the following mail, I am sharing it with all , so that individuals can offer their views and enable Dr Manjit Kaur to collate her information.



     

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  2. Tejwant Singh

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    It is not the point if the perfume contains alcohol or not. No perfume is needed on Sri Guru Granth Sahib, our only Guru because it is Shabad Guru. Guru is in the message and in the teachings in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

    I know that the Jews especially, along with Christians and Muslims consider themselves as the people of the Book yet they have no idea who the original authors were unlike Sri Guru Granth Sahib which was compiled by the original writings. So, in fact we, as Sikhs are the only true people of the Book.

    If we need perfume on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, then why not spray the same on Gurbani Cd's, the servers that hold Gurbani? Is Gurbani in the book better than in any other form?

    If someone knows Gurbani by heart, then he/she should spray some on his/her tongue.

    The same thing goes for pretending to dust off in the inside of rumallahs while opening or closing the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is a silly ritual. Where did the dust come from when Sri Guru Granth Sahib was wrapped in so many coverings of cloth? This ritual takes place daily in the Darbar Sahib and I am sure in other Gurdwaras as well.

    The same thing can be said for washing the inside of Darbar Sahib with milk which can feed the hungry. It is sad to notice how much we have slipped away from the true message of our Gurus given to us in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, our only Guru and have become great parrots.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  3. Admin Singh

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    Thank you Tejwant Ji, :veryhappymunda: i just can't help giggling while reading your discrete style of writing... Guru Nanak would be so proud of you! :wah:
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    I am not being facetious when I ask a few questions.

    Is the problem that Guruji is being doused with perfume?

    Or is the problem that the perfume has alcohol and Guruji is being forced to take on an intoxicant - which is against the rehat?

    If the perfume was non-alcoholic, would that be OK? According to the gians mentioned in the article. For example, would attar of roses which is nonalcholic be OK.

    How and when did this all get started?
     
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  5. Chaan Pardesi

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    Tejwant Singh Ji's response...

    ...deletion It is neither there nor here situation, as he looses the essence of the article and says,'If we need perfume on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib'. From my observation and understanding no one showers the GURU Ji with the perfumes, it is the environment and the sangat one is speaking about and in the article.

    He also failed to provide 'any single line' of evidence as he had put in one previous post to support his view.

    First and foremost, the primary issue here is the issue about the perfume that has alcohol in its contents, in this article.

    The issue of the the practice of showering the sangat [NOT the Guru Granth Sahib as Tejwant Singh Ji has implied] is secondary as those who have the darshan of the Shabad Guru routinely/ daily will understand there is essence and the fragrance greater than any on this earth in the Gurbani itself; and therefore does not need anything else.Thus, some will argue that Guru Ji is everywhere , therefore does not need hugh luxurious buildings as Gurduaras will also make simple sense and an acceptable rational.

    That said, let me share some literature from another source that argues against Tejwant Singh's view and supports the ritual of the showering of the sangat in perfumes.

    It is of prior most urgency, I make VERY clear that I am a Sikh, and not adherant of any particular sect or baba; but as is said Sant't hi satsangh sangh surang ratte jas gavat hai//, I do understand their place in Sikh history.

    That view is from Baba Nand Singh, who very clearly says that:

    But, the questions come back, why, how and where did this ritual originate from historically. My understanding points it to be a practice that was prevalent among the muslims of western Punjab, eventually crept into the Sikhs, possibly.
     
  6. spnadmin

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    I need to interrupt at this point because my intuition tells me that tempers are going to flare if they have not done so already.

    The essence that smells sweeter, which does not lose its fragrance, and which perfumes all that is near it is not perfume one buys at the store, containing alcohol or not. I think we can stipulate that.

    The article, now I have read it 2 times, demonstrates how far off the path many a sangat has gone and how little the lessons of Guru Nanak have been distorted.

    I do not see where any poster has missed that revelation. Spraying perfume on Sri Guru Granth Sahib is only one of dozens of these practices, and they hide from the world the beauty of Sikhi. I would like the comments that follow to acknowledge the need for the panth to do something about misguided practices.
     
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  7. Tejwant Singh

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    Re: Alcoholic Perfumes on Guru Granth Sahib Ji ~ OPINION
    spnadmin ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I will respond to your queries. I can see Chaan ji is getting angry once again as he did in his previous post although Gurbani gives us the tools to lasso the 5 thieves.Anger and rage are parts of them.

    It also seems Chaan Pardesi ji has not read the article which he himself has posted. Here is what Dr. Manjit Kaur says in her article:

    I am sorry to say but Chaan ji is incorrect and the article that he has posted says something totally different than what he claimed after in his post accusing me, which is fine with me.:)

    At Darbar Sahib, perfume is sprayed on the white sheets and then on the rumallahs and then a bit is sprayed around the sangat, which is sitting far away, so the Sevadaars, which is worth noticing are all MEN,(no WOMAN is found there although Sikhi talks about equality) end up smelling nicer when they get home. Perfume is meant for the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, not for the Sangat and it is irrelevant if it has alcohol or not because alcohol is the fastest thing to evaporate. If this were the case then the AkaalTakhat would have given one more futile Hukumnaama for people not to wear any perfume with alcohol when they come to Darbar Sahib or when they go to their respective Gurdwaras because Ik Ong Kaar will shower them with the same.

    Yes, pleasant smell is important where crowd gets gathered. This is the reason we have fresh flowers. Nothing more pleasant than that. But perfume has nothing to do with it. Perfume is for the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and its smells does not last long, hence it is a daily practice at Darbar Sahib to spray perfume all day long.

    A couple of more things that are there in the ritualistic realm. We are required to keep long unshorn hair but at the same time we use Chowr (Sahib - I have no idea why we call it sahib)made of hair. I have no idea if it is human hair or come off an animal's hide. What ever the case may be, it is shorn. We can use synthetic hair but that would be filling up the landfills with plastic after singing the Salok:

    Pavan Guru, Pani Pita, Mata Dharat mahat..............

    The worse is the ritualistic way we pretend to whisk a fly or two and then touch the fly whisk( Chowr) to our forehead. There is a kind of arm dancing choreography to it. Now, one can buy them with the gold or silver crusted handles to perform this arm dance.

    Then we can also talk about the raw animal hide used for the tablas and dholkis when leather is shunned in the Gurdwaras but we shall leave that for some other day.:)

    Now your question, how it all started, is a good one. No one knows nor is there any historical record of having a Chandoa on the top or a chowr was used when Adi Granth was inaugurated by Guru Arjan Dev ji at the Darbar Sahib which was a beautiful building before Maharaja Ranjit Singh gold leafed it with the looted gold and made this building into a white elephant. Now, millions are spent to upkeep it rather than using the same money to create some cottage industry for the poor. In competition, Sarna of DGPC wants Bangla Sahib Gurdwara gold leafed in the same fashion. One thing we should not forget that more looted gold was given to the Hindu Temples according to Gyani Arshi ji than to the Sikh Gurdwaras by the Maharaja.

    I think If I am not mistaken it was a copycat from the Mughal era. The royal treatment of the Kings morphed into this in the Gurdwaras espcially for those who consider Sri Guru Granth Sahib as DEH Guru- embodiment.

    Now, if we talk about Baba Nand Singh, a cultist with his Nanaksar cult and compare it to the Gurmat ideals given to us in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and also claim under the same breath that we have nothing to do with derawalas is nothing but a self defeating prophecy. Nanaksar cult does many things which are anti Gurmat, so whatever Baba Nand singh says or any other Baba should be taken with a sack of salt. Didn't Baba Nand Singh know that one can change the flowers every 2 to 3 hours? For him and Chaan ji to claim that the perfume lasts longer is a hogwash. Perfume also loses its fragrance in a short period of time unless one takes bath in it or sprays it all day long as it is done in many Gurdwaras on the rumallahs.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  8. karam

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    I beleive use of perfumes and other rituals could be wrong or right depending upon your perspective, if someone considers SGGS as "deh" of living Guru then they can do anything to honor their guru, to serve their guru, you can sprinkle perfume, do chaur, put ac on SGGs, list could be endless, if people feel blessed to do seva, feel they have earned something good by doing seva then I don't think I can say they are wrong, but if they are just doing something as mere ritual, I don't think it is right to follow anything ritualistically,a person can do anything as part of Guru's seva and logically he/she may be wrong
    I don't think we need to be very technical for presence of alcohol in perfumes, drinking and getting intoxicated is prohibited, alcohol is used in many meds as vehicle, alcohol is part of hand sanitizers, I don't think we need to be that technical in regards to alcohol content in perfumes, logic is not to drink alcohol, use of alcohol for other purposes other than drinking is not prohibited
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Respected Chaan Pardesi and Respected Tejwant Singh, it is not difficult to understand why you are in disagreement. The problem IMHO is the starter article. Dr. Majit Kaur has served up some contradictory issues, making it hard to know what we are to react to.

    First let me make clear that all my earlier questions were intended for moderation only, as a way of highlighting how a person can become confused and wonder why there are arguments. Apparently I was not clear and will make a better effort next time.

    Dr. Manjit Kaur, whose "dharmic yatra" is covered in the thread starter, reported her concerns about spraying perfume on and about Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Hence there is confusion as to whether we are discussing whether Guruji is being perfumed, or sangat and Guruji's surrounding are being perfumed, or whether both are being perfumed. That led to a discussion of whether it was right or wrong to sprinkle perfume on Guruji.

    Both Guruji and the surroundings are, according to Dr. Manjit Kaur, being sprinkled.

    Another source of confusion, which I mentioned earlier, also originated with Dr. Manjit Kaur.

    She appears to think that it is OK to spray a nonalcoholic attar but not an alcohol based perfume. Then, support for her view is given on the basis that intoxicants are forbidden by rehat. Hence she has stirred confusion over whether alcohol in the perfume is kurehit.

    In other words, the problem with alcohol goes beyond consuming it, according to Dr. Manjit Kaur.

    And because Dr. Manjit Kaur is the source of the confusion, it would help for us to identify what it is we are really disagreeing about. That is why I asked my questions. :happykaur:
     
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  10. Seeker9

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    My Dear fellow SPN'ers

    I'm going to stick my head over the parapet here and hope you won't think this is a naive post...

    My understanding was that consumption of intoxicating substances is prohibited as they weaken your mental discipline and render you more likely to have sinful, for want of a better word, thoughts or commit sinful actions

    Is exposure to fragrances likely to have the same impact on people?

    Alcohols come in many varieties and can be found in many products, particularly in cleaning products and cosmetics. Are we going to suggest a ban on cleaning products as well and prescribe the use of nothing but mild soap and water when engaging in any cleaning activity in the Gurdwara or around the areas where SGGSJ resides?

    Or have I missed something in the article?

    Again, please forgive my naiviety here

    Regards

    :redturban:
     
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  11. Chaan Pardesi

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    Some text has been deleted. Some text has been revised and is in italics. Please debate issues, and not personalities (spnadmin)


    Forum member Tejwant Singh attributes what I have not said, to me; clearly not having the capacity to understand simple language, he says ... ..and simply to be argumentative...


    ".........Chaan ji to claim that the perfume lasts longer is a hogwash".

    No where in my article I claimed that or said anything similar.In fact, I only offered to share with readers what the view of some reknowned Gursikh was.He then accuses that Gursikh of being a cultist. deletion

    deletion (He) accuses Gurmukh Nand Singh to be the cultist of Nanaksar.Tejwant misrespesents when he says that; as reallity is the cult was created by his followers after his death; even though Nand Singh has repeatedly talked of Guru Granths sahibs bani; Tejwant singh still does not understand to differentiate between Nand Singh and the later cultists who created the cult.

    deletion


    Now let ME Share MY own view,

    Spraying anything that has alcohol and other dangerous chemicals is wrong and anti-Gurmat; It is the alcohol that keeps it flowing and in liquid form. Guru Granth Sahib does not need any spray. deletion Almost all sprays, these days have alcohol and other chemicals which create a fake essence and smell. Such smells can be created in the lab as well and can trigger allergies in some people. Our lungs need oxygen, not any of that stuff. We need to put an end to this stupid practice.

    It appears that a number of sources are responsible for this practice.Although, I strongly believe this originated from Patohar , where although Sikhism was strong, but it also had many strong cutural practices that have similarities to the muslim cultural practices; such as the veiling among Sikh women, the marrying of sister in laws to the younger or the surviving brother is also very prevalent among Sikhs from the western Punjab.Perfuming seems hold a special place among muslim cultural practices.But one other theory could be that to ensure a non smelly atmosphere perfume was used , in closed and crowdy diwans or in summer , when body odour could be at its strongest.Thus, over the years the blind leading the blind ritual developed among the Sikhs, with some help from the cultists.

    This stupidity is then also promoted by "Sants" like Mann Singh Pehova and their chelas who create quite a bit of scene when the Sadh gets off the airplane at airports and out of cars. Their chelas have the "bathroom spray" ready for them to "holify" them and to bestow upon them undue and blind faith reverence. Then those Sadhs have big line of vehicles waiting for them which takes them to a central "matha tekna" place in the form of a procession. This is to show that "Sangtan" have been missing the baba so badly and now feel elated. They keep on spraying the same stuff on them which is sprayed in and around the toilet bowl.

    The Sikhs have been immersed into the blind faith and Brahmanical rituals. Most such sprays create lung problems because some of the chemicals and gases under pressure are also used for spray paints.

    If someone wants to present something to the Guru while creating a genuinely clean and pleasant environment, they can bring fragrant fresh flowers like rose and chameli, not the plastic kind! When we bring plastic flowers and present to the Guru or around it, we are simply belittling the Guru. We should clean ourselves before sitting near the Guru.
     
  12. Tejwant Singh

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    Re: Alcoholic Perfumes on Guru Granth Sahib Ji ~ OPINION

    Seeker9 ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You have a point there. I am just curious to know if Dr. Manjit Kaur is MD or she has doctorate in some other filed. As a Medicine Doctor she should know about the usage and the advantages of alcohol.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Alcohol sprays are sprayed ON the SGGS/close proximity of SGGS..and the fresh Flowers are also kept in close proximity to SGGS. If the purpose of all this was to benefit the Sangat..the sprayers would be installed along the walls/or ceiling of darbar Halls and fresh flowers also would be placed at various places among the sangat. The dhoops, fragrances, Ghee Jyots, etc etc.etc are also burned right beside the SGGS..and never among the sangat. This scenario is a undeniable fact.

    2. While tobacco is really shunned - a sikh wouldnt be seen evne touching acigarette or going near an empty box even....alcohol is not that shunned by most sikhs..when it should be EQUALLY SHUNNED. My dad even barred the use of empty wine bottles/glasses carrying ads of various breweries etc from our house !! ( the grocer used to give away free six pack Large Glasses carrying the Carlsberg Brand Name with purchases and my dad never accepted them...opting for something else or buying clear glasses !!..a bit extreme..but then as they say..IF you arent going to a village..why ASK directions..ha ha
    Jarnail Singh
     
  14. Randip Singh

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    Exactly

    I would go further.

    What is the necessity behind all this other ritualism around Guru Granth Sahib ji?

    At the moment we are:

    1) Perfuming it
    2) Putting clothes on it (sheets)
    3) Putting it to sleep
    4) Giving it its own car

    etc etc

    What next, a Jacuzzi?
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    This is probably not the next step. Too damp! :) Bad for the spine.
     
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  16. Randip Singh

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    mundahug


    I don't think people understand that by merely carry around our Guru on our heads we will actually become better Sikhs! :happymunda:
     
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  17. Ambarsaria

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    I took couple of lines from the start so as to comment,
    ___________________________________________________
    Alcoholic Perfumes on Guru Granth Sahib Ji ~ OPINION
    September 22, 2010 by Dr. Manjit Kaur

    I am a General Practitioner of Holistic, Natural, and Alternative Medicines, based in Iver, Buckinghamshire, U.K. Over the last 13 years, I have presented various Television and Radio shows with dedicated audience across the globe on welfare of community through guidance on Alternative Medicines and Spiritual Balance.
    .......
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Nitpicking or denying the use of practical conveniences as these evolve or going back into bhurms, vehams and chamatkars is very regrettable.


    Sikhi is first and foremost a spirituality rooted tree which was planted by Guru Nanak Devji. It was crowned by Guru Gobind Singh ji into a practical framework for living.

    We need to always stay focused on the forest versus seeing the trees.

    If I were to take Dr. Manjit Kaur’s comments from the sublime to the absurd the following should happen,

    No Sikhs should ever visit a hospital as alcohol particles evaporating fast are virtually everywhere in the near environment
    No one should drive a car which uses Ethanol based fuels as you will get evaporating molecules of alcohol
    Goes without saying that no Sikhs should take most of the medicinal syrups for cough, cold, etc., as majority contain alcohol
    The list is never ending and ever growing

    So how should one address such situations. I believe that foremost deciding elements should be,
    o Intent
    Question: Is the spray used to intoxicate people as that being the primary bad and most common misuse of the substance?
    Answer: No
    o Effect
    Question: Does the spray in its specified use keep or masks obnoxious smells that could occur in a common gathering place surrounded by people, water and in varying environmental conditions of heat, air pollution, etc.?
    Answer: Yes
    o Should Alternatives be sought!
    Sure and always as mankind and science makes progress

    I think as a collective we need to raise the level of consciousness that sikhi teaches you to think big, wide and deep and not small, narrow and shallow.

    Sat Sri Akal.

    PS: I also characterize some of the other comments in this thread as flippant (not deserving of wisdom available to the participants) where reference to use of milk (a great mildly acidic cleaner) versus commercial cleaners, or reference to jacuzzi, and dusting of cloth used to keep Guru Granth Sahib in.
     
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  18. Randip Singh

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    I can assure you, I am in no way being flippant. I am very serious about some of the ritualism that has crept into Sikhi.

    With regard to our Guru, we would rather dress it up and perfume it, rather than read, study and understand it!!

    How sad!:singhsippingcoffee:
     
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  19. Ambarsaria

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    My respectful and learned friends, I humbly submit that we need to rise to a level higher than what we are complaining about or finding faults in. My comments below are simply in this context and not personal. The comments would be the same no matter if these were written by my late father or my younger brother.
    “Alcohol sprays are sprayed ON the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji/close proximity of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji..and the fresh Flowers are also kept in close proximity to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. If the purpose of all this was to benefit the Sangat..the sprayers would be installed along the walls/or ceiling of darbar Halls and fresh flowers also would be placed at various places among the sangat.

    Trust me when I sat in Harmandir Sahib from childhood to teen years in the windows overlooking the parkash below and every section of the main surrounding area on the ground floor, the fans and openness more than amply distributed fresh flower fragrances all throughout. Specific locations and architectures may dictate what you are suggesting and it should be considered while I personally would find your ideas highly impractical for most situations. Halls are not always full and sevadars are few to provide maintenance and ongoing upkeep of what you are suggesting.
    When we bring plastic flowers and present to the Guru or around it, we are simply belittling the Guru.

    Trust me if people had where withal to bring fresh flowers they would. People think of fragrance as one part and not the only part. They believe in making the place look appealing with how they know best. Perhaps people who bring plastic flowers also have plastic flowers in their homes as decoration.
    At the moment we are (Please don’t generalize. I am not one of the we. There are more Guru Granth Sahib ji’s in people’s homes compared to all Gurudwaras combined. The following four statements do not hold truth for the majority:
    1) Perfuming it
    2) Putting clothes on it (sheets)
    3) Putting it to sleep
    4) Giving it its own car
    I don't think people (Please don’t generalize. I am not one of those people. I believe this statement is utterly non-sensical. If are any facts (say a majority of people who did it said so) to prove this then I would like to know. I know when I carried it on my head during the path for my father’s death, I did not see that as the purpose of putting on my head. If you want to carry it any distance walking, carrying it on your head is the most comfortable position given the weight.) understand that by merely carry around our Guru on our heads we will actually become better Sikhs!
    With regard to our Guru, we (Please don’t generalize. I am not one of those people.) would rather dress it up and perfume it, rather than read, study and understand it!! In an encouraging sign, in our Gurudwara here, the trend is that many more people come to listen to Katha done by very good people. I wish it will continue to grow everywhere and that it will become as if not more popular than just shabad kirtan or waheguru-waheguru jaap.
    When I make comments or try to constructively critique, I try to put myself in other people's heart and souls and their thinking mindset as much as I can. It helps me personally to take a constructive attitude as much as humanly possible.



    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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