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Is Ritual-Bath in Sarovars An Essential Part of Sikhism?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by jasbirkaleka, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    ikonkaar There are many sakhies of Guru Nanak Dev ji where he has,by giving examples,denounced ritual-bathing in so-called "holy" rivers and sarovars,then how is it that sarovars were built in gurudwaras and various heeling and soul-cleansing powers attributed to them.
     
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  2. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Jasbir ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I like your thought provoking questions with which you love to nudge people and that is necessary in Sikhi because the name itself suggests the journey of learning for a Sikh.

    As the title of this thread indicates it is a 'ritual bath', which is futile.

    Let's say for the sake of this argument that Sarovars are built in Gurdwaras for the purpose of the ritual dip. Let's talk about the Sanctum Sanctorum of Sikhi, Harmander Sahib which is built around a sarovar and has four doors.

    If Guru Ram Das ji's intention to build the sarovar was that people should take a dip in it then it means he was deliberating contradicting and flaunting at what Guru Nanak Dev ji said in Jap- which for me is the foundation stone of Sikhi.

    And that would be impossible because our Gurus were all one Jyot, meaning that Sikhi is idea based way of life unlike personified deity based other dogmatic religions.

    It means that Jyot is the evolution of the idea/message of breeding goodness within.

    This is the reason that as we evolve, Gurbani gives us the priviledge to take a glimpse of another angle that we never imagined existed and that angle acts like our inner mirror.

    Coming back to taking a dip in the Sarovar, allow me to share my personal story about it.

    In the year 2000, I took both my kids to visit my ailing Mum. Jaskeerat who is 19 now was 10 years old and Trimaan was 5. I took them to visit Amritsar with my Massi ( my mum's sister) who was living with my Mum in Ferozepore, my home town.

    I have always shared Sikhi with them since they were kids so asking questions by them and myself trying my best to respond to their queries was and still a norm in our house but now its Sikhi spectrum has a wider horizon which also involves everything else in our daily lives of Miri-Piri.

    The idea was to go and visit Harmander Sahib and take a dip in the sarovar. Trimaan being 5 was very excited because he saw lots of other people doing it and he thought it was fun. Trimaan and I took a dip and Jaskeerat went with my Massi to do the same in the ladies enclosed section.

    When she came out, she was very angry and she wanted to sit down and talk to me about this ritual. We sat for about 30 minutes going back and forth while Trimaan went along happily with Massi ji after having taken a dip in the biggest 'swimming pool' of his life.

    Jasbir ji, my 10 year old American born daughter showed me the futility of this ritual that I had not thought about it before. This also proves how our visionary Gurus eliminated hierarchy. We just have to open ourselves to learn from anyone and anything.

    The other ritual which is related to the same thing is about sipping water. A special place is constructed at Harmander Sahib where people go and take a gulp or two from the sarovar water. Some bring with them empty booze bottles to fill with this so called 'Amrit'. Plastic bottles are sold in the shops outside the Gurdwaras for this purpose. There is a special 'seva' at Bangla Sahib where the sevadaars stand with a kettle kind of utensil to offer water and people go their in a very humble manner and take a sip.

    All these things contradict the beautiful message of Gurbani and become mechanical rituals which our Gurus were against and Gurbani tells us that.

    The reason we do not get it is because we have become wonderful parrots of Gurbani rather than trying to understand it and make it our inner GPS, so it can lead us out of our inner labyrinths of lives in which we have been stuck for a very long time.

    Thanks for the wonderful question.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The SAROVAR..WATER..also signifies..HUMILITY..becasue Water always FLOWS towards the LOWEST POINT..it always FINDS its own LEVEL. Rivers, flowing dariyaas , samundar, ocean, neer etc are also used in Gurbani to impart valuable lessons...

    Pannee is our PITA..as Dhartee is our Mata...everyone got the significance of the "FOUR DOORS"..but forgot the significance of the WATER BODY surrounding the Four Doors !!

    Our Gurus are Masters at imparting Gurmatt by using the available..vocabulary, language, metaphors, poetry, physical things such as water, dhoorr (dust), khets, farming and various animals - lions, donkeys, dogs deer monkey elephant.....and birds..crow, owl, vulture, eagle, etc etc the list is ENDLESS !!

    Its our great LOSS that we slipped backwards into the very things that Guur Ji spent over 250 years to drag us OUT OF...and in our haste to comply with the REJECTED traditions, pramparas, accepted rituals etc etc we ADAPTED or INVENTED our very own RITUALS. Even though in the very beginning of japji Guru nanak ji Totally REJECTS ritualised bathing/teeraths etc..we invented our own teeraths..and happily began to bathe there imagining that we can wash our sins there....and of course the Commercially minded ones among us were glad..they went about publicising these teeraths and jathas after Jathas viist these year in and year out..evryone GAINS..the Travel Agent..the Gurdwara Goluck..the Teerath Vasee thousands earning a living form these...BUT the LOSERS are the " SANGATS" who go on a futile tour to wash their sins...liivng in a fools paradise that their MANN has ben washed by WATER wetting their BODY !!
    Now it being the AGE OF IT/Computers...these Gurdwars are getting intot he E-Act as well..so we have Virtual "tours"..E_GOLUCK whereby Matha Tek and GOLUCK can be sent in Electronically from afar..Akhand Paaths/ardasses/paaths etc also can be Electronically "booked" "Completed" "hukmanma taken" "ardass done"..etc and its "VIRTUAL PHALL" (Spiritual benefits..such as good health/win court case/progress in buisness/careers/pass exams..etc etc ) sent/received via the Internet !! Very soon DEGH/Langgar will also be sent electronically !!OR At least Paid for electronically ).

    How Fast we are "progressing"....even Guru Ji would be surprised..in just 500 years we have gone backwards 1000 years !!:shockedkudi::shockedmunda::omggg::disgustedmunda:
     
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  4. harbansj24

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    Yes Gyaniji you are right. But Sikhism is now an institutionalised religion. Any institution is bound to have corruptors and corruption. But the institution goes on and flourishes not because of the corrupt people but because of the sensible and responsible people who outnumber the corrupt & dysfunctional persons. But if the institution has a large majority that is corrupt or irresposible then it decays and is bound to wither and die. We see this happenning in institutions like democracy, capitalism, socialism, etc which started as ideal institutions but at some places because of overwhelming corruption is decaying. However at some places where it is well under control, these still flourish.

    So Sikhi in large parts of world including large parts of India is still vibrant, thanks to alert persons like you, Narayanjot kaur ji, Tejwant Singh ji etc. Yes but it is showing definite signs of decay in (of all the places) Punjab!
     
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  5. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    Excellent question Jasbir ji.

    This is a great example of something practical that has become a ritual.

    The Guru's encouraged people to purity of mind and body and adopt some discipline.

    So if you think about it.You wake up and don't bathe, you still feel half asleep. I certainly do.

    If I bathe, I feel more alert and am able to give 100% to all tasks.

    My body odour is also not a nuisance to others. :veryhappymunda1:

    Other than that it has NO spiritual value.
     
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  6. dalbirk

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    The sarovars IMHO were built to serve two purposes . Firstly to remove caste based differences , standing water being polluted by a (so-called ) low caste bathing in same water as the ( so-called ) high caste . In this respect Hindu pilgrimages are all on river bank , water flowing downstream hence no fear of being POLLUTED . But standing water is a big nightmare for ( so-called ) high caste Brahmins . Hence standing water of Sarovars . Secondly the idea is to wash your body clean in Sarovar , have wholesome food in Langar & then have spiritual bliss in Gurbani Kirtan at Darbaar Sahib .
     
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  7. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    <table cellspacing="5"><tbody><tr><td>ਗਉੜੀ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀ
    गउड़ी कबीर जी ॥
    Ga▫oṛī Kabīr jī.
    Gauree, Kabeer Jee:

    </td></tr> <tr><td> ਸੰਧਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਾਤ ਇਸ੍ਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਾਹੀ
    संधिआ प्रात इस्नानु कराही ॥
    Sanḏẖi▫ā parāṯ isnān karāhī.
    Those who take their ritual baths in the evening and the morning

    </td></tr> <tr><td> ਜਿਉ ਭਏ ਦਾਦੁਰ ਪਾਨੀ ਮਾਹੀ ॥੧॥
    जिउ भए दादुर पानी माही ॥१॥
    Ji▫o bẖa▫e ḏāḏur pānī māhī. ||1||
    are like the frogs in the water. ||1||

    Full shabad Page 324
    .........................................................

    ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ
    तीरथि नावा जे तिसु भावा विणु भाणे कि नाइ करी ॥
    Ŧirath nāvā je ṯis bẖāvā viṇ bẖāṇe kė nā▫e karī.
    If I am pleasing to Him, then that is my pilgrimage and cleansing bath. Without pleasing Him, what good are ritual cleansings?

    Full stanza Page 2
    ..............................................................

    ਕਰਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਤੂ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਉ
    करि संगति तू साध की अठसठि तीरथ नाउ ॥
    Kar sangaṯ ṯū sāḏẖ kī aṯẖsaṯẖ ṯirath nā▫o.
    Let the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, be your cleansing baths at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage.

    Full shabad page 47

    </td></tr></tbody></table>
     
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    #7 Astroboy, Mar 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2016
  8. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    :seriousmunda: Yes,Gyani ji,I fully agree with you. But the big question is, what can be done to bring Sikhi back to its pristine purity, as given to us by Guru Nanak Dev. We cannot depend upon the Golak-chors and so-called Babas and Sants, because these are the very people responsible for the abyssal state we find Sikhism today.:angrymunda:
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    jasbirkaleka ji

    This morning I was thinking about this too. A little melodrama was going on in my head -- what would I say to someone like Badal or a leader of Sant Samaj if I had a chance to explain to him what is wrong with the current situation which he helped to create and make worse. Some thought process Duh! :omggg: I did not get very far because...

    It dawned on me that Babas and Sants and Golak chors are found in every single religion. More than 50 percent of all cable TV programming in the US is religious programming. Think of it. Amazing! And the "ministers" who shepherd their flocks number in the hundreds on TV, radio, and Internet, not to mention local congregations. They have become fabulously rich and build huge chapels that attract pilgrims far and wide. Behind the scenes they are mean spirited, greedy, and in many cases they are sexual deviants and sexually abusive of women, children, in some cases men. They make public pronouncements that 911 and the Haiti earthquake are punishments by God. Politicians quake for fear of the impact they can have on US elections. All of this in the name of the Almighty Creator.

    How different is that?

    Why do people follow them? That question needs to be asked and you will get the answer to your question.

    Sikhism is still pure. The message of Guru Nanak has not changed. Without followers these babawale thieves would not go forward. Why do people follow them?
     
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  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Jasbir Ji..
    MY answer would be..EDUCATION.
    Parents study the SGGS...vichaar...and ADAPT their daily lives accordingly..
    EDUCATE YOURSELF...then EDUCATE your children...impart the solid foundation of Gurbani...vichaar...following its teachings....and the next genration at least is safe form these Babas and chors....SPN is one such SCHOOL of EDUCATION !!:happykaur::happysingh::thumbsuppp::thumbsupp:
     
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  11. Aulakh

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    Gurfateh
    Ishnan,taking bath, is considered essential in sikh scriptures,Kar Ishnan Simar Prabh Apna Tan Man Bhaiy Aroga.But at the same time taking bath at sarovars is not recommended.However, out of tradition many sarovars were built,probably taking into consideration that many people visit holy places and they need a place to take bath,in that case the srovars serve that purpose.But the bath at various Tiraths, for liberation, is not recommended in the scriptures.In Sriguru Granth Sahib,real emphasis is on cleaning the poluted mind and Naam Simran is the real Ishnan.
    humbly
    Gian Singh Aulakh
     
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  12. spnadmin

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    I agree. It is my understanding that the practice of bathing in sarovars has a historical rationale. Pilgrims traveled through heat and dust storms and bathed before entering a holy shrine. This practice is related to Ishnaan only in that way. A purifying bath is through simran and nit nem our bhagati.
     
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  13. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    :khanda3:Narayanjot Kaur ji, most Sikhs would find it sacrilegious to suggest that taking a dip in the sarovar is to wash-off dirt from their bodies.The truth is that Hinduism is deeply ingrained in our psyche ,the reason we keep following their customs and celebrating Hindu festivals like divali etc.
    It might come as a surprise to many that there were Hindu idols in the precincts of the Golden Temple and Hindu rituals were performed in the area.Hindus used to worship a Hindu deity after a sacred bath at the sarover, and Brahmins used to officiate at these ceremonies. It was only in 1905 Arur Singh, managar of Golden Temple ordered the removal of thes idols.:thinkingmunda::disgustedmunda:
     
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  14. spnadmin

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    Well jasbirkaleka ji

    Very little surprises me. The big question, or one of the big questions, is why so many are so satisfied with rituals, idols and god-men to help them on their journey?
     
  15. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    Narayanjot Kaur ji,
    These people are weaklings.They are not spiritual people in the true sense of the term,because that would have made them strong to face the ups and downs of life. They are insecure beings.burdened with thier miseries,who have no faith in their own inner strength to face the vegerities of life. They cling-on to any support,real or imaginary,that they feel can alleviate their sufferings.
     
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  16. spnadmin

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    jasbirkaleka ji

    Do you think that for some the problem may be that no one in authority ever let them know, never told them, that they could and should "have faith in their own inner strength." And thus, one generation gives birth to another generation that remain stumped about their spiritual journey.
     
  17. Tejwant Singh

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    Naraynjot ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    People are being made to believe this stunt of taking a dip in the sarovar. There are big banners hanging in the Parikarma-the pathway that surrounds Harmander Sahib,claiming the healing powers of the dip, stating and I am paraphrasing it now- If one takes a dip in this sarover, the ravens become swans, the lepers are healed, all diseases go away. They are obviously hung by the SGPC. I would love some of our members who live in India to take pictures of these banners and post them here.

    So, in other words, SGPC is selling this snake oil.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  18. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    I find Indians generally "weaklings"....i dont know if its the system..or what...
    Just ask anyone...and everyone...ALL Indians give/Apply for their "passports" to be made NOT to the Immigration/Passport Office..BUT to "AGENTS".... They have agents for everything..so agents in religious affairs is also a normal affair...

    They have "AGENTS"...to go make Birth certiifcates for their children (BTW getting a BC for a child born is not as easy as ABC..its as difficult as ABC>>>>>>>>>>XYZ and ++ a few numbers as well !!! You require sworn stamped notiifcations form the Midwife/doctor/sarpanch/tehsildaar/police post/no objection certiificate/a judge/magistrate..BLAH BLAH BLAH..about 1 DOZEN such sworn stamped statements and of course A GOOD bundle of Gandhi Notes at each PIT STOP to GREASE the way..or your engine dies there/tyres puncture/or worse the Car gets stolen( file lost/misplaced )..and when your child does get that all precious "Birth certificate"..check and double check..triple check..becasue its bound to have ERRORS..wrong date (i saw one that had 31/31/1976)..wrong name ( I saw one that COMBINED the Names of TWIN Sisters...Eshwardeep Kanwardeep SINGH...and NO BC for the second Girl..when it should have been one BC for Eshwardeep KAUR..and another for Kanwardeep KAUR..the illeterate parents got ONE for EK SINGH !!..they have been trying to get it corrected for the past 9 years..no success yet....girls are now in std Five !!) ALL that is for FUTURE GREASING OPPORTUNITIES !!

    I digress..a special thread on "agents in Indian life" could be written..but thats beside the point....the point is...???? whats the point ...the point may be that NOTHING WORKS IN INDIA..without GREASING PALMS...not even ardass/paath/at a Gurdwara/Mandir/..whatever...Indians are conditioned to use "agents" for everything...

    2. Whatelse is an Ishnaan for anyway..if NOT to wash off DIRT. ?? Gurbani describes the "dirt" as DIRT..meil...janam janm de meil...so clearly. And any child knows that the Human BODY also has DIRT accumlated Daily whoch is to be washed off in an ishnaan..
    Kar ishnaan simar prabh apna..MAN...TAN..Bhaiyeh AROGA !! aroga is HEALTHY...and Tan Body is healthy of washed free of its dirt in WATER and SOAP (advised by Guru nanak ji in japji)...and Man ..Mind is also free of its dirt after an ishnaan in SHABAD...
    To allude otherwise is foolish...

    3. The Brahmin IDOLS were Removed from the Darbar Sahib Complex in 1920's when the Singh Sabha Lehr succeeded and the SGPC/Akali Dal came into existence and TOOK over the SIKH Gurdwars and Takhats form the Brahminised Mahants. Arur Singh was a SARKAREE Jathedar who gave a siropa to Gen Odwayer of Jallinawalh Bagh !!!
     
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  19. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    Gyani Jarnail Singh ji,
    I know who Arur Singh was[maternal-grandfather of Simranjit Singh Mann] and what he did.But the fact still remains that it was in 1905,whan he was the manager or Sarbrah, as he were called at the time,that the idols were removed from the Golden Temple.
    In 1905 King Abdur Rahman of Afghanistan also dismissed an appeal by Hindus for keeping idols in Gurdwara Hari Rai in Kabul.
    Singh Sabha was a revivalist movement aiming at restoring Sikhism to its pristine purity.
    Prof.Gurmukh Singh was one of the most active members, who, in July and August 1886, wrote against idol-worship and other Brahaminical practices at GoldenTemple.But the pujaries and some Bedi,Bawa,Bhalla and Sodhi proteges ganged-up against him and had him ex-communicated by a hukamnamah from the Akal Takhat on March 18,1887.
    But the Singh Sabha movement got stronger and stronger and it also started constructing their own Gurdwaras.
     
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  20. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Jasbir Kela Ji,
    You are absolutley right about Arur Singh and the 1905 date....but he certainly didnt get up one fine morning and decide to...throw the Hindu idols out the window..becasue he felt the glow of sikhi/gurmatt/gurbani in his heart or anything like that...
    The Story begins in 1872 when Baba Khem Singh bedi, kanwar Bikram Singh of Kapurtahla Sate, Giani Ditt Singh,Giani Sardul Singh etc etc met in Guru ka Bagh Amritsar to found the Sri Guru Singh Sabha to fight the Hindu "ghuspaeth" (infiltration) of Sikh institutions, religious rituals etc etc....and this began the Movement called the Singh Sabha Lehr. Giani Ditt Singh and Prof Gurmukh Singh who was active in the LAHORE Singh Sabha were BOTH EXCOMMUNICATED by the Pujarees of Akal Takhat/Harmandar sahib as the pujarees begin to feel the heat of the Singh Sabha Lehr Movement.
    IT took this Movement 23 years to force ARUR SINGH to do what he did..becasue he basically had no other choice...His true colours vis avis Sikh Tenets are shown by his siropa award to gen Dyer of Jallinwallah bagh Massacre.

    That was my point about bringing in the Singh Sabha Movement. Readers can read the account of thsi epiosde in full in Sangat Singh's Sikhs in History the 2005 edition.
     
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