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Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Frank, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Frank

    Frank
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    I was wondering about an object I saw that was being waved over the Guru Granth Sahib. I have a three part question that I would like for somebody to help me with. What is this thing called? What is the significance of it's use? What is the historical background of it's use? I guess the real question is, what is it? Thanks.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Frank ji,

    It is a fan. The answer to this question is actually not so easy. Here is my primitive understanding.

    Guru ji is a living Guru and India is hot. In days gone by the atmosphere could also be dusty and insects would be attracted by humidity. The air cools and keeps Guru ji dry. The practice of waving a fan continues even in this day of air conditioning and in more temperate climates. It is a tradition that shows how deep our care is for Guru ji.

    The practice of keeping the space around Guru ji comfortable and pure is long and embedded in history. There are some great paintings and illuminations of historical significance that show how it changed to what it looks like to day. The fan was originally made of palm leaves.

    I suggest you do some research on this and tell us what you find.
     
  4. Arvind

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    Dear Frank,

    It is called "Chaur Sahib", the details of which you can get at
    Chaur Sahib - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia.

    I have copy/pasted the article for reader's quick reference.


    From SikhiWiki


    [​IMG]
    Chaur Sahib is an implement normally found next to the Manji Sahib where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed during the day within the Gurdwara's Darbar Sahib (Main Hall). It is these days constructed from yak hair and has a wooden or metal handle. The Sevadar (volunteer) respectfully waves the Chaur Sahib above the Guru Sahib as a sign of respect and dedication. It is regarded as seva (service) of very high calibre for the Guru and most Sikhs at some point would undertake to do this Seva at their local Gurdwara or at their home if they have the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This seva shows reverence for the message carried by the Guru (Gurbani) and humility (Nimrata) for the word of the Guru. Further, when the Sevadar waves the Chaur Sahib, he or she would silently recite the Gurmantar, Waheguru. So one, not only performs seva but also undertakes Simran at the same time as well. Both these together form the foundation of Sikhism – see Sikh Beliefs

    During the time of the first ten Gurus, this tradition was born for various reasons. It was common practise in Punjab for the younger members of family to perform seva for their elders by waving fans in hot condition to create movement of air and cool the person and also to keep flies away from the person. During this earlier period, the chaur was made of peacock feather or wood and canvas and created a good airflow when waved. This tradition was also used with the Gurus and is now used with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It was also a tradition used for kings and royalty.

    These days, with the advent of air conditioning and electric fans, the movement of air is not so important but the "seva" element has taken on a more important and overriding role. The Sikhs treat the Sri Guru Granth Sahib as a "living Guru" and so all the traditions that would be accorded to a "human Guru" are accorded to the SGGS as far as practically possible. The Chaur Seva is just one of those central traditions that the Sikhs practise to honour their Guru with the high regard and respect that Gurbani deserves. The Sikhs do not worship the SGGS for this is forbidden – Only the One Almighty God is to be worshipped, for He is the Creator of everything that can be perceived and also those things that cannot be perceived.

    During the time of the first ten Gurus, the congregation (Sangat) and Sevadar (volunteers) who came from afar to see the Gurus wanted to be close to the Gurus and listen to their advice and guidance (Shabad). So they would sit near Guru ji and listen to the words of wisdom from the Guru and do Chaur Seva for the Guru. This seva was done turn by turn by many members of the congregation (Sangat) to be as close to the Guru as possible and also to get involved in Seva which with Simran forms the foundation of Sikhism – see Sikh Beliefs
    [edit] Quotes

    from: www.sikhmarg.com/
    Question. Why do we do Chaur on the Guru Granth Sahib? Why do we put the Granth Sahib on a bed? Why the Chanani or canopy?
    Answer: This is to express our regards and our respect for the Holy Scripture, the True King. The king commanded the greatest power, hence also the maximum respect and honor, in the olden days. Guru Nanak said that the true kings are those who love God and help others to do that. They are the rulers of the hearts of the people. The political kings are temporary kings and their authority ends with their death. The Gurus are the true kings; they teach Truth and rule our hearts. The Guru Granth Sahib is the embodiment of the spirit of all the Sikh Gurus and many other holy men whose hymns are included in it. We respect them as the true kings. The king sat on throne under a canopy. He used to have a fan like structure to be waved over his head as a symbol of his royalty. The Guru Granth Sahib, being the true emperor, is provided all these regal paraphernalia in the Gurdwara. We install the scripture on a throne (called Manji Sahib) with pillows around for supporting it. A canopy (Chanani) is provided above the scripture in the same way as it was put over the head of a king while he attended his court. During the session (Diwan), a person, with Chaur in his hand, is always in attendance on the scripture installed respectfully in the hall. For maintaining due regards and respect, we carry this holy scripture to another room when the hall is to be cleaned or when the session is over for the day. Before we bring the Guru Granth Sahib in the hall, we set everything in the hall properly. This is the court of the Guru. You will understand the whole ceremony better if you bring into mind the scene of the courtroom where everything is set and made ready before a judge enters his court. The Guru Granth Sahib is the Emperor or Emperors, hence all these ceremonial decorations.
    Retrieved from "http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Chaur_Sahib"
     
  5. Frank

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    That info is very helpful and it makes much more sense now. I wonder though, why Yak's hair?
     
  6. Arvind

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    No idea... but I dont think this is the practice nowadays. Currently, they have strands similar to plastic hair/fiber!!!... but I may be totally wrong.. so someone pls correct me.

    Regards, Arvind.
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Frank

    If you want the link to the source article, send me a pm and I will mail it to you.
     
    #6 spnadmin, Jun 27, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2007
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Frank,

    I have found a picture of Naanak. In the mural to the left is a man with a fly-whisk/fan.

    Cheers

    [​IMG]
     

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