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Can Sikhs Say Grace?

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by Odion, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Odion

    Odion
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    Sat Nam! :)

    I don't know if this is the correct area, since I'm still new to navigating this site, let alone writing topics on here. :)

    As the thread title says: Can Sikhs say grace over (already cooked) food, or does this turn the food that is to be eaten into kutha?

    For example, let's say a Sikhi goes to visit his aunt or sister in law or something, and she is a devout Christian. She makes some food (I don't know what to use as an example, spaghetti bolognese, or bangers and mash), and asks the Sikhi to say grace. Can s/he, or does that make all of the food kutha, especially the meat?

    If a Sikhi is not permitted to do this, would they be allowed to sit in silence and listen to another say grace, and then eat the food?

    Is kutha meat only when an animal has been killed in a ritualistic manner, or does it extend to something more?

    Sorry to ask such a strange question, but it's something I'm curious of. :)

    :newhere:
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Odion ji

    This problem comes up in many different ways -- not just saying grace at a Christian home.

    Here is how I handle it. If someone else says Grace I sit quietly without bowing my head in respect for their hospitality. I do not participate in the prayer but am silent. If I am asked to say a prayer -- which rarely happens because people know I am a Sikh -- I say a prayer of thanks to the Satguru whose hukam has made friends and hospitality possible in the face of hardship and sacrifice.

    Sikhs are enjoined to live life as it happens without becoming flustered. The Sikh Maryada enjoins us to abide by our own Sikh religion without hurting others. So unless a Sikh is going to live life like an Egyptian mummy completely wrapped up in bandages and unable to reach out and touch the rest of the world, there is no way to avoid these predicaments. The best thing -- your faith protects you and you do not have to worry.
     
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  4. arshi

    arshi United Kingdom
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    I concur with Narayanjot Kaur Ji in that we must not offend people of other faiths and respect their susceptibilities but at the same time uphold our own principles. In the case of grace this can be done by just closing one’s eyes and observe silence, as suggested by Narayanjot Ji or at the same time quietly say our own ‘grace’ or even do silent simran of Waheguru.

    However, merely saying grace is not going to turn food into the pavitar mode. All this talk of ‘kutha’, ‘jhatka’, ‘pavitarta’ is, in my opinion, empty, artificial talk and psychological tools invented by humans to justify their own actions and appease their own conscious’. Whilst the soul resides on the Tammo Gunn plane no amount of saying grace will turn the food into anything other than what the individual is eating – if it is kutha it wil remain as such – if it is lamb it will remain as meat – no matter how the animal was slaughtered or how the meal was served or prepared. These are artificial dhakonsley (gimmicks) we indulge to keep our own conscious clear – that is all – there is nothing more to it.

    ਅਨਿਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਭੋਜਨ ਬਹੁ ਕੀਏ ਬਹੁ ਬਿੰਜਨ ਮਿਸਟਾਏਕਰੀ ਪਾਕਸਾਲ ਸੋਚ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰਾ ਹੁਣਿ ਲਾਵਹੁ ਭੋਗੁ ਹਰਿਰਾਏ (1266)
    Anik parkaar bhojan baho kee-ay baho binjan mistaa-ay.
    karee paaksaal soch pavitaraa hun laavhu bhog har raa-ay. ||2||

    One must prepare the soul’s kitchen first, purify and santify it and then invite the Lord to sample the food – all types and varieties of food prepared in various ways including sweet deserts. Once we learn this art, we know what is right to eat and what is wrong to partake, no formal or verbal grace is needed, the soul itself will say grace all the time – all the pretence inside will be gone – the five stalwarts wil have been unarmed and the soul will sing:

    ਸਲੋਕੁਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਅਰੁ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਰਣਾਗਤੀ ਕਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦੁ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ੧॥ {ਪੰਨਾ 269}
    kaam krodh ar lobh moh binas jaa-ey ahameyv; Nanak prabh sarnaagti kar parsaad gurdev.

    O’ Lord I seek Your Sanctuary; please bless me and desroy the negative traits of kaam (lust) krodh (rage) lobh (greed) moh (emotional and worldly attachment) and hunkaar (egotism).

    Humbly

    Rajinder Singh ’Arshi’
     
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  5. vsgrewal48895

    vsgrewal48895
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    IMHO a simple Grace can be recited as;

    ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ਤਿਸੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਉ ਰਖੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥

    Jih parsāḏ cẖẖaṯīh amriṯ kẖāhi.Ŧis ṯẖākur ka▫o rakẖ man māhi.

    By His Grace, you partake of the thirty-six delicacies; enshrine that Akal Purkh and Master within your mind. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri sukhmani, AGGS, Page,269-14

    Cordially,

    Virinder S. Grewal
     
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  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    virinder ji,

    How would this work if a Sikh were saying grace in a Christian home? The idiom is so far out of the experience of a vast majority of Christians, who have little if any understanding of the subtleties, nuances and specifics of Eastern thought. In this instance, the 36 literal delicacies do not refer to food if we want the spiritual meaning. How would the non Sikhs grasp the meaning and significance of that grace? Would the Sikh then have to explain the entire shabad from which this one line emerges? and then have to explain how the entire shabad was revealed? A short line could turn into a very lengthy discourse that no one had bargained for, and that many Sikhs would be unable to explain anyway. Anyway that is my mental image of what would happen next.
     
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  7. vsgrewal48895

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    Dear Narayanjot Ji,

    I just could not understand as to what is the problem in saying the grace in your mind while in a christian house. Let others recite loudly or in mind their gratitude for the food.
    Grace/ਗੁਰੁ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ/ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ is an expression of Divine benevolence and is a cardinal doctrine in Sikhism. It manifests itself and occurs as Karam, Nader, variously called Mehr, Bakhshish, Parsad, Daya, or Kirpa. It is sought through prayer and devotion. Its descent is the ultimate Divine mystery. No amount of austerities, no amount of intellectual search or performance or ritual or yogic praxis or Akhand Paths or any such devices can force it out of God’s hand. Grace is a pre-requisite for any spiritual growth in Sikhism.
    Please refer to my article where ever it is stored on the forum.

    Cordially,

    Virinder
     
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  8. Lee

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    Odion Ji,

    When a Christian says grace what is going on, is of course thanking God for Gods bounty. Then of course a Sikh can do this, or a Muslim, Jew, Hindu whatever. We can all thank God.

    Kutha as far as I know (and please sanagt ji correct me if I am wrong) refers to animals that have been religiously slaugthered, so Halal or Kosher meat. Also the direction is that Khalsa should not eat this.

    Narayanjot ji has some excelent advise, although personaly if I am in the presances of somebody 'whipping up a qucik prayer' I'll always bow my head, I mean a prayer to God is a prayer to God isn't it?
     
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  9. Randip Singh

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    Ok lets define Kuttha first.

    From an article at Wikipedia:

    Kutha meat



    Kutha (Kuttha) meat is defined as "meat of animal or fowl slaughtered slowly as prescribed by Islamic law." [1]. It has been more broadly defined as "killing an animal with a prayer" [2] or "a sacrifice to God" [2].
    There are two views on Kutha meat as defined below, the Sikh view, which sees Kutha as that which has been "sacrificed", and the Hindu view which views Kutha as a means of repression, and a non-Hindu Aryan method of slaughter.

    Kutha and Sikhs

    Eating Kutha Meat for a Baptised Sikh is considered to be one of the 4 Cardinal Sins[3]. These 4 sins are part of the Sikh Code of Conduct (Rehit Maryada).In the Rehit Marayada [4],Section Six, it states: The undermentioned four transgressions (tabooed practices) must be avoided:

    1. Dishonouring the hair;
    2. Eating the meat of an animal slaughtered the Kutha way;
    3. Cohabiting with a person other than one's spouse;
    4. Using tobacco.
    The reason for Sikhs avoiding Kutha "does not lie in religious tenet but in the view that killing an animal with a prayer is not going to enoble the flesh."[2] There is another view that Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Sikh Guru), instructed his Sikhs not to eat Kutha meat, in order to boycott the Moghul Empire.[5][6]
    Kutha and Hinduism

    During Mughal times Hindus viewed Kutha as creating "spiritual weakness among Hindus" [7]. Also according to Mughal Law of the time, "Hindus were neither permitted to keep weapons at home nor allowed to cook and eat any form of meat"[8]. As a result of this many Hindus too will not eat "Kutha". In addition to this according "to the ancient Aryan Hindu tradition, only such meat as is obtained from an animal which is killed with one stroke of the weapon causing instantaneous death is fit for human consumption"[2].
    Jhatka

    The prescribed method of slaughter for animals for Sikhs and Hindus is Jhatka, which is seen as the opposite to Kutha.
    References


    1. ^ Punjabi-English Dictionary, Punjabi University, Dept. of Punjabi Lexicography, ISBN 8173800952; Hardcover; 2002-10-01
    2. ^ a b c d Sikhs and Sikhism, Dr. I.J.Singh, Manohar Publishers ISBN 8173040583
    3. ^ Sikh Code of Conduct Web Site
    4. ^ ibid
    5. ^ The tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, prohibited the Sikhs from the consumption of halal or Kutha meat in order to boycott the Mogul Empire.
    6. ^ Kala Afghana on Non-Vegetarianism
    7. ^ ibid
    8. ^ ibid



    So for a Sikh "Kuttha" is basically that which has been sacrificed in the name of God. Basically a form of appeasement.


    Now look at Jhatka:

    Jhatka

    Jhatka or Chatka meat (Hindi झटका, Punjabi: ਝਟਕਾ jhaṭkā, from Sanskrit ghātaka "killing") is meat from an animal which has been killed by a single strike of a sword or axe to sever the head, as opposed to Jewish kosher or Islamic halal in which the animal is killed by ritually slicing the throat.
    This kills the animal immediately because the spinal cord is severed, and the blood flow to the brain is stopped almost instantly, causing brain death within seconds. Therefore the method is adopted as being the less painful to the animal than other methods.

    Hindus and Jhatka

    Historically and currently, those Hindus who eat meat prescribe jhatka meat. This is the a common method of slaughter if animal sacrifices are made to some Hindu deities, however Vedic rituals such as Agnicayana involved the strangulation of sacrificial goats. Shaivite Hindus engage in jhatka methods as part of religious dietary laws, as influenced by the Shakti doctrines, which permit the consumption of meat (except beef, which is universally proscribed in Hinduism). The Vaishnavite denomination of Hinduism disallows the consumption of meat, and their relative demographic predominance over the Shaivites leads to the stereotype that all Hindus are vegetarian. During Durga Puja and Kali Puja among Shaivite Hindus in Punjab, Bengal and Kashmir, Jhatka meat is the required meat for practising Shaivite Hindus.
    Jhatka Meat and Sikhs

    Sikhs are recommended to eat Jhatka meat,[1] as they do not believe any ritual gives meat a spiritual virtue (ennobles the flesh).[2][3] Another reason Sikhs do not eat halal meat is due to determining to change to it being a prerequisite for conversion to Islam.
    Availability of Jhatka Meat

    In India, there are many Jhatka shops, with various bylaws[4] requiring shops to display clearly, that they sell Jhatka meat.
    In the past, there has been little availability of Jhatka meat in the United Kingdom, so people have found themselves eating other types of meat.[5] Jhatka has become more widely available in the United Kingdom nowadays.[6].
    References


    1. ^ 10 Misconception Regarding Sikhs
    2. ^ Singh, I. J., Sikhs and Sikhism ISBN 8173040583 And one semitic practice clearly rejected in the Sikh code of conduct is eating flesh of an animal cooked in ritualistic manner; this would mean kosher and halal meat. The reason again does not lie in religious tenet but in the view that killing an animal with a prayer is not going to enoble the flesh. No ritual, whoever conducts it, is going to do any good either to the animal or to the diner. Let man do what he must to assuage his hunger. If what he gets, he puts to good use and shares with the needy, then it is well used and well spent, otherwise not.
    3. ^ Mini Encyclopaedia of Sikhism by H.S. Singha, Hemkunt Press, Delhi.ISBN 8170102006 The practice of the Gurus is uncertain. Guru Nanak seems to have eaten venison or goat, depending upon different janamsakhi versions of a meal which he cooked at Kurukshetra which evoked the criticism of Brahmins. Guru Amardas ate only rice and lentils but this abstention cannot be regarded as evidence of vegetarianism, only of simple living. Guru Gobind Singh also permitted the eating of meat but he prescribed that it should be Jhatka meat and not Halal meat that is jagged in the Muslim fashion.
    4. ^ http://www.ajmermc.org/PDF/MeatByelaws1963.pdf
    5. ^ [1] Sikh Women in England
    6. ^ Food safety and quality assurance: foods of animal origin By William T. Hubbert Page 254



    So for Sikhs Jhatka is seen as something that does not appease.

    I hope this answers your question.
     
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  10. max314

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    "Grace."

    Yes. Apparently we can :}{}{}:
     
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