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Are we guided towards Monogamy in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji!

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Ambarsaria, Jan 8, 2014.

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How you believe Sikhs should find answers about marriage and relationships?

  1. I am guided by Sikh Reht Maryada in these matters and marriage to be as monogamy, heterosexual and t

    7 vote(s)
    30.4%
  2. I am socially or parentally following clues or direction.

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  3. It is of my free will and no one else's business.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I wish Sikhism evolves towards free will in these matters.

    5 vote(s)
    21.7%
  5. To each their own, I accept other people's decisions about their own lives and living.

    9 vote(s)
    39.1%
  1. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Just curious as cases of divorce, extra-marital affairs, homosexuality and lesbianism, etc., are as much part of Sikh families as any other community. Rather than throw the book at people perhaps a dialog would help in understanding provided by our Guru in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    Let us define and I have gone to Wiki for it:

    I have tried to search for marriage in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and found few results for marriage/ਵੀਆਹੁ.

    Similarly, I have I found it difficult to get direct reference to monogamy or to polygamy.

    Most references are to the following:


    • good union or relationship (ਸੋਹਾਗਣੀ / sohāgaṇī) with the creator (as bridegroom)
      • ---> blessed/accepted or fortunate bride
    • lack of or bad (ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ / ḏuhāgan) relationship with the creator
      • ---> discarded or unfortunate bride

    So the question is how can we find prime guidance about monogamy/polygamy/homosexuality/lesbianism/unmarried or even common-law through Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as well as about cross faith marriages.

    Let us also do a poll to find clues, as to why we are the way we are,
    1. I am guided by Sikh Reht Maryada in these matters.
    2. I am socially or parentally following clues or direction.
    3. It is of my free will.
    4. I wish Sikhism evolves towards free will in these matters.
    5. To each their own.


    Sat Sri Akal.
     

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    #1 Ambarsaria, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Ambarsaria ji

    This comment is my personal reply. The poll does not capture my thoughts on this matter. The question of marriage and relationships is extremely complicated. I have the greatest difficulty responding when the subject comes up as a new thread in which a member is describing a deep personal problem.

    There are too many issues to consider. You will see why I cannot reply to the poll.

    1. My individual inclination is to follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada. At the same time I recognize that in the area of marriage and relationships the SRM can be unhelpful in modern times.
    2. Then there is the issue of the law to consider. Bigamy is illegal in most parts of the world (save for Muslim theocracies like Saudi Arabia). Therefore, even if the rehat permitted it, how could it be an option to take seriously?
    3. Caste is not supposed to be considered according to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the SRM. Yet, there are extremely strong social and cultural marriage traditions based on caste. So much so that I feel I must always advise someone else to think carefully before flying in the face of them. It is ethically irresponsible to lecture a person that caste has no place in Sikhi, knowing full well it is wiser to think before taking action.

      3.a There is a version of the "no true Scotsman logical fallacy" in many of these relationship discussions that goes like this. "No true Sikh would make marriage decisions based on caste." The fact is Sikhs do in vast numbers. Not only are marriage choices guided by caste, but other things are as well. This is very serious.
    4. Some traditions fly in the face of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the SRM because culture is so entrenched in our minds. Honor killing still happens, in the west and in the east. Therefore, how can anyone 'encourage' another person to follow their will in an inter-caste, or an inter-religious marriage situation, or simply where parental wishes are being defied. We know full well that the consequences could be disastrous. Short of honor killing, being shunned by one's family is not a small tragedy either.
    5. Homosexuality is not mentioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Homosexual marriage is not forbidden in SRM; however, it is fairly clear it is not an option either. This is an example where the SRM has not kept pace with modern life. Homosexual relationships existed in the Punjab from the times of the Gurus. It was kept private and hushed up. There were socially acceptable ways to engage in it and avoid social punishments. Today nothing is private; everything is open to review. People object to hypocrisy.
    6. No one has unconditional free will; no one ever will. That is a simplistic consideration.

    So here is my answer. I am personally guided in my own decisions by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the Sikh Rehat Maryada. I find nothing to limit me as one person there. However, I want to be clear that many, many issues need to be weighed when making marriage and relationship decisions. Finally, it is not my place to judge the decisions of anyone in this regard; nor can I condone violent actions when someone makes a decision that appears to veer away from Sikhi. Many have a hard time separating Punjab culture and history from Sikhi. That makes the conversation most difficult.
     
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    #2 spnadmin, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    as a post-script

    Many species of birds are biologically hard-wired to be monogamous and do not even take a new mate if the first one dies.

    Separate thought. In SGGS too we have so many verses of the chatrik and the peacock pining for her husband lord, making the image you have selected most appropriate.
     
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  5. namritanevaeh

    namritanevaeh Canada
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    SPNadmin ji, I find this SOOOOOO very sad that this happens. Wrong on so many levels. And while I love a lot of the Punjabi culture and Sikhi I am learning slowly, this stands out to me at times. It's as if they want to say "we accept everyone who comes to gurdwara, feed them all...but then shun them if they want to marry one of 'ours'."

    I was brought up in a non-discriminatory household and I don't care if someone is Sikh or anything else. If they are a decent human being and I get along with them they can be my friend...or perhaps even more than that. In MY eyes...

    Having been told that someone's family would be ****** at me being with him because I'm white, however, sucked. Big time. And he was born in Canada, doesn't even keep kesh or wear a kara. It goes to show how far those roots reach sometimes. :'(
     
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  6. aristotle

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    The first option says
    Well of course I'm guided by the Sikh Rehat Maryada, but I don't think the SRM explicitly prohibits homosexual marriage, I'm saying this at the cost of getting a lot of heat but even if the Jathedar Akal Takht has issued a Hukamnama, it does not constitute the main corpus of SRM until and unless there is a Sarbat Khalsa to permanently validate it. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Since I disagree with this part of the first option my natural second choice was the last option, which to me reflects my own views about relationship and marriage.
     
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  7. aristotle

    aristotle
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    Well, I think the Punjabis of diaspora are a bit more insistent on their children marrying ethnic Punjabis, or atleast ethnic Indians, perhaps out of their insecurity regarding the preservation of the Punjabi culture in a foreign land. But again, as always, it is not a constant thing. One of my cousins in the USA has married an African American girl, and both are practising Sikhs now; and there wasn't much problem with their families accepting each other as well.
     
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  8. Ishna

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    I went with the 'hopes Sikhi evolves towards free will' option, however I'd like it to be 'informed free will', with Sikhi (via SRM, etc.) providing some equal, real, evidence-based (as far as possible) guidance on marriage.

    I note with curiosity that although the SRM doesn't explicitly prohibit homosexual marriage, it also doesn't explicitly prohibit bigamy. Indeed, it explicitly makes it clear that yes, bigamy is OK, not preferred, but definitely not prohibited.

    Speaking more broadly about marriage... Why do we need marriage? Do different people need or want marriage for different reasons? Why do we have to have just one kind of marriage?
     
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  9. aristotle

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    I would rather say bigamy is strongly discouraged if not explicitly prohibited in the Sikh Rehat Maryada. It says,

     
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  10. Ishna

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    It says 'generally'. Therefore, there can be exceptions, and the limitations are not defined. It it were explicitly prohibited it would drop the 'generally'. But you're right, I should have explicitly checked the paragraph before posting, as you're correct that the statement is 'discouraging'... but not prohibitive, and does allow bigamy by way of that sneaky 'generally'.

    But perhaps there are some good reasons somewhere in the world to have more than one wife, and the SRM was conceeding to that?

    And I'm not passing judgement either way - I'm sure some people live just fine in a well-defined multi-spouse relationship.
     
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  11. SaintSoldier1699

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    I found I could not go with the first option as things become very limited, our SRM however good it is, parts are unfortunately well out of date.

    If Gurbani is the everlasting truth, it will apply to all of civilization. There are many cultures/religions in the world which endorse or denounce certain relationship lifestyles, but ultimately it comes down to the intention, is your choice driven by lust, ego, greed, attachment, anger?

    Gurbani combats these and enables you to have an enriched relationship be that with whomever.

    To me the meaning of marriage means a pledge to one another, whether that be done in private or openly, ceremony or not, its all about the genuineness of that pledge and will to see it through.
     
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  12. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Wonderful points raised by the fellow spners. If I may raise a more fundamental point that is along the lines,

    Guru ji and other contributors in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have provided clear and persuasive teachings to many matters and practices of the day that were spiritually destroying people from inside out and enslaving them to the exploiters in Hinduism, Islam and others of the times.

    The fundamental question is that both monogamy and polygamy was clearly practiced by the populations of the times. Since the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji simply does not highlight this subject explicitly one way or another, what could be the reason? Are we to assume that once one enriches oneself with all the teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that the answer will be self-evident?

    Perhaps our great Guru teachers believed that this really was of no consequence as long as it was not driven by the so called five baddies of Kaam, Karodh, Lobh, Moh and Hankar! I doubt thi sbecause Guru ji believed in living and practicallity that proceeds through one's life from the beginning to the end and the perfection of all rising above all these baddies may never be achieved by most of us. If such is the case then this argument about monogamy and polygamy may hold little water. So how can it be perfectly balanced?

    I believe from my understanding that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji may treat this as small stuff and teach us:

    Would the Sikhs spiritually, socially and culturally take this to level of enriched thought as enabled by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or stay caught in the weeds, only time will tell.

    My position is that if one does not have an understanding, a willingness to explain and take the time, throwing rules and regulations on people only minimizes such rules and regulations.

    Let me hazard a guess,


    1. What percentage of Sikhs have read or have the Sikh Rehat Maryada explained and justified to them in whole or in part?
      • My guess will be less than 2%
        • Of course this number is totally unscientifically stated but a hunch
    2. What percentage of Sikhs has one or more hymns or teachings explained to them from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?
      • My guess will be about 100%
    I believe a better balance between conduct of a Sikh, our community at large and spirituality of Sikhism needs to be continuously encouraged and promoted. Wishing all well and not to offend.
    Sat Sri Akal.:mundahug::kudihug::kaurhug:
    PS:
    I have responded in part to some of the points in various posts below and given my thoughts.

    namritanevaeh ji

    Aristotle ji

    Ishna ji

    SaintSoldier1699

    Sikh is 100% when what they express shows unison of internal and external. There however is no requirement on Sikhs to prove it to be so defensively. Just be consistent in interactions to practice and propose/preach the same and ultimately believe in the same while standing naked in the court of our souls.
     
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    #11 Ambarsaria, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  13. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    I think no religion can strictly prohibit polygamy or polyandry .These days in India you will hear stories that in villages 2-3 brother marry single woman.

    the main reasons are

    1) Shortage of women

    2) land holdings becoming very small

    if 2 brother marry a single woman they don't know who is the real father of the children and they raise them equally and till the land .dividing land further between brothers means land become's economically unviable and both become jobless .Similarly when Khalsa was born it was beneficial for sikhs to have more than one wife . With male population dying fast in wars it was benefit for Sikhs to have more than one wife and produce more children so that panth will survive

    I think need of time will decide which model to follow Polygamy , Polyandry or monogamy
     
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  14. Ishna

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    Thanks KDS ji, I agree with you.

    But just personally: more than one husband??? :shock: :crazy: *falls over* haha
     
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  15. angrisha

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    I havent really thought much of this topic from the point of scripture, mostly because I feel like everything is happening as it should. So however one chooses to behave is their personal decision, the only reason we believe it should or shouldnt be one way is because of societal norms.

    Grand thought is, no matter what it is isnt all apart of Hukam any how? So who are we really to judge? (It also doesn't mean you have to partake in anything you dont feel right)
     
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  16. namritanevaeh

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    I know it HAPPENS. It just seems few and far between. It seems every time I have a new (guy) friend, even if all we are is FRIENDS, if I make mention of meeting family...all of a sudden we're no longer friends. Haven't found the right one, obviously but still. It sucks.
     
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  17. namritanevaeh

    namritanevaeh Canada
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    I think it's polygynie (sp?) for more than 1 woman??
     
  18. Inderjeet Kaur

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    This was so hard for me to vote in. I wish there had been a "worm-out-of-it" answer like "other." I really think that marriage between any two consenting adults should be recognised as valid. I think monogamy is worth preserving. I would personally not object to polygamy if it applied to both sexes, but I see it in the world today to be merely a way to subjugate women.

    I follow the SRM in my own life, and I think it needs revision. After all, it is a human document and open to amendment. Until and unless it is revised, I believe Sikhs should abide by it as it is, for the good of the Panth. We have enough divisions and disunities as it is. I know this is asking a sacrifice of lesbian and gay couples, but is it any more of a sacrifice than has been asked of countless other Sikhs?
     
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  19. namritanevaeh

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    Hey, I'll amend it! ;-) Is that all it takes? ;-)
     
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  20. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Inderjeet Kaur ji some comments on your post.


    In terms of our need to be always renewing Sikhism and sustain an evergreen path,
    I believe in terms of taking a step by step approach,
    In terms of most basic of equalities in the process of humanity and relationships,
    What will sustain us the obedience or challenge, renewal, etc.,
    I stand corrected and I don't mean to tell people or support this or that. I believe the greatest gift of Sikhism through SGGS is the enabling of Sikhs to be the free souls with wings that sustain us in all kinds of weather and times.

    Sat Sri Akal.
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  21. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    How you believe Sikhs should find answers about marriage and relationships?
    <label for="rb_optionnumber_1"><input name="optionnumber" value="1" id="rb_optionnumber_1" type="radio">I am guided by Sikh Reht Maryada in these matters and marriage to be as monogamy, heterosexual and to be between Sikhs only.</label>

    I am not guided by the SRM in any way, my only guide is the truth contained in the SGGS

    <label for="rb_optionnumber_2"><input name="optionnumber" value="2" id="rb_optionnumber_2" type="radio">I am socially or parentally following clues or direction.</label>

    I would rather boil my own head, socially, you have to be kidding,

    <label for="rb_optionnumber_3"><input name="optionnumber" value="3" id="rb_optionnumber_3" type="radio">It is of my free will and no one else's business.</label>

    UHm no I am trying to break my free will and align with the truth

    <label for="rb_optionnumber_4"><input name="optionnumber" value="4" id="rb_optionnumber_4" type="radio">I wish Sikhism evolves towards free will in these matters.</label>

    If Sikhism evolves towards free will rather than the truth, then it isnt Sikhism anymore


    To each their own, I accept other people's decisions about their own lives and living.

    :kaurkhalsaflagblue:
     
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