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Mealtime Prayer/Palki Sahib Alternatives?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by sikh15, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. sikh15

    sikh15
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    Dear all,

    Gurfateh,

    I was wondering a couple of things. They are:

    1. What prayer, if any, do we say when we are about to eat a meal? Please provide English translation for any Gurmukhi. Is simply mentally thanking God for the food good enough if one doesn't know any prayers?

    2. Are there any alternatives to enshrining the SGGS at home other than the palki sahib? Where can I obtain the proper SGGS book (bir?) to enshrine? I'm not quite ready for this step yet, but it's something I want to do eventually and I know that palkis are somewhat expensive.

    Thank you!

    -Justin
     
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  2. dalsingh1zero1

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    Hiya Justin.

    I had this very conversation with my nephew as we sat to eat earlier today and we decided on the following to recite just prior to eating together. It is from the beginning of Chaupai Sahib attributed to Guru Gobind Singh.

    I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about what to recite just prior to every meal. Find what resonates with you or/and your close ones.

    The translation is broadly my own (with the help of various Internet versions, so it is not infallible - I've gone for a literal approach based on my understanding of the meaning of individual words.


    ਹਮਰੀ ਕਰੋ ਹਾਥ ਦੈ ਰੱਛਾ ॥ ਪੂਰਨ ਹੋਇ ਚਿਤ ਕੀ ਇੱਛਾ ॥

    Protect me with your hand, and let me fulfill my desire


    ਤਵ ਚਰਨਨ ਮਨ ਰਹੈ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਜਾਨ ਕਰੋ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਰਾ ॥1

    that my mind remain at your feet. Sustain my life.


    ਹਮਰੇ ਦੁਸਟ ਸਭੈ ਤੁਮ ਘਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਹਾਥ ਦੈ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਚਾਵਹੁ ॥

    Destroy all of my enemies and save me with your own hand.


    ਸੁਖੀ ਬਸੈ ਮੋਰੋ ਪਰਿਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਸੇਵਕ ਸਿਖਯ ਸਭੈ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥2॥

    Let all of my family, servants and Sikhs reside in peace O creator.
     
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  3. Ishna

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    Justin ji

    Great question about palki sahib. I hope someone else can help you - it's not my forte.

    However, regard to mealtime prayers, they're not a big thing in Sikhi I think because we're encouraged to simran 24/7 anyway - life is one big mealtime prayer teehee. But I can see how it might reinforce someone's simran (constant awareness) by engaging in little reminder behaviours throughout the day - as long as they are tools on the path and don't become the path itself.

    Attached is a mealtime prayer they provided when I attended Sikh camp a few years ago.

    However I think you can find any shabad in Guru Granth Sahib Ji and employ it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The Shabads in Ishna Jis post are the most popularly recited among Sikhs who practice this THANKSGIVING habit as a daily discipline. My family has practiced this for 4 generations as far as I know. These shbads are in SGGS our GURU. They address the subject of thanksgiving at the dinner table most appropriately so even a NON-Sikh or child can understand the simplicity of the words and their meanings.
     
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  5. dalsingh1zero1

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    Yeah I know guys. My own choice may be a bit too 'warrior spirited' for some. lol

    In the end, anything that causes our thoughts to reflect upon our creator can only be a good thing. All bani is good.

    Sometimes, some of us find certain parts particularly reflective of our current situation and plight.
     
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  6. Tejwant Singh

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    Sikh15 ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    There is no such prayer per se. In fact the whole Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is full of prayers. The Ardaas we do everyday is questionable according to the Gurmat values. One should ask why not thank Ik Ong Kaar with every breath we take, with every drop of water we put in our mouth as Gurbani says, water is the first form of life?

    This is more a Christian thing to say Grace before eating where as Ik Ong Kaar bestows on us much more than that for our survival.

    We are thankful to Ik Ong Kaar for everything. Hence our thankfulness should be shown in our deeds not by merely uttering some words as a ritual because we know Sikhi is against any so called rituals.

    I made my own Palki by buying the needed stuff including the spray paint from Home Depot. It is a very simple one made of wood. I have had it since 1986. I myself do not like all those ornate kinds of brass Palkis. I also made the wooden plank with legs on which the Palki rests and there is enough room behind it for some one to sit to do paath. It is called Takhat Possh in Punjabi and it makes it easier for the elderly to do paath while sitting on it rather than on the floor.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #6 Tejwant Singh, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  7. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Tejwnat ji,
    My dad made the palki and takhat posh too..and he used to joke that for a week he had become a Tarkahhaan..and reverted back to Dhillon Jatt when he parkashed the SGGS and did the first sehaj paath. The Palki and takhat are in pristine condition even after nearly 40 years to date..the commercially avialble ones:faujasingh: look flimsy and cheap..
     
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  8. Tejwant Singh

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    Dalsingh1zero1 ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I know this is a bit off subject from the original thread but your following made me thinking a bit.

    How do you reconcile with "Nanak Naam Chardi Kalah, Terei Bhanei Sarbhat Dah Bhalah", with which we end our Ardaas and Destroy all of my enemies?

    These two concepts seem to be in clash with each other.

    What do you think?

    And who are these servants that you mention in the second verse?

    Thanks & regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  9. sikh15

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    Thank you all for your kind responses! I especially liked Ishna ji's prayer! Thank you all!:)
     
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  10. dalsingh1zero1

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    Tejwant ji

    You are right. I think I made a poor choice in translating 'sewak' as servant. A better choice may have been along the lines of - devotees, attendants.


    A reading in context is required. And before I continue I'll just say that I know a lot of members and/or admin here probably don't believe any of the contents of the Dasam Granth to come from Guru Gobind Singh, which is their own prerogative.

    When you read the lines in context of Guru Gobind Singh ji's life, where he faced a violent and extremely narrow minded opponent to his faith and community, who happened to be one of the most powerful men in the world at the time (Aurengzaab), it makes perfect sense. Especially given the fact (as I'm sure you perfectly know) that Auranga had Guru ji's father
    executed and was issuing orders to flatten mandirs and Gurdwaras in his kingdom. So a real and genuine threat existed to Sikhs and himself.

    The principle of sarbat dha bhalla has never meant laying prostate in the face of evil in my understanding of Sikhi?

    Guru Gobind Singh ji took on the most powerful tyrant of his times, who controlled a massive military force which greatly outnumbered his own fighters. He took up the challenge and wasn't shy of personally fighting himself, unlike today's western leaders who exaggerate threats, start dubious wars and are nowhere near any bloodshed themselves. Who usually pamper and shelter their own children whilst sending others to die or get their legs blown off, unlike our spiritual father who watched his own older sons die fighting before him.

    I'm digressing. To me the prayer for protection and the destruction of 'enemies' is simple to understand in this context. Going further, we can relate the prayer to many of lives battles. I don't know where you are, but a lot of people still do live with a lot of malicious people around them. And whilst most of us have our flaws, there are certain people out there who go that extra mile with their evil intent. I mean just look at what happens to Sikh girls in the UK for instance.

    The prayer seems logical to me. Maybe you're having too much time away from action and can't relate?
     
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  11. Tejwant Singh

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    Dal Singh ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for the lengthy response but I beg to differ with you because the Nirbhau, Nirvair Ik Ong Kaar is the same to The First Nanak as He is to The Tenth Nanak. The concept of Sikhi does not contradict any of the Nanaks because it is the same Jyot.

    One may give lengthy explanations but they come to naught when we compare them to the Gurmat values as given to us by our Gurus which our 10th Nanak put his seal on by adding his father's Gurbani and hence changing it from Adi Granth to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    In my opinion, this has nothing to do with Aurgenzeb or any other physical enemies but the enemies within which are Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh, Hankaar that Gurbani talks about often and gives us the tools how to lasso them. And this is reading in context.

    ਹਮਰੇ ਦੁਸਟ ਸਭੈ ਤੁਮ ਘਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਹਾਥ ਦੈ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਚਾਵਹੁ ॥

    Destroy all of my enemies and save me with your own hand.




    Thanks for prejudging me. A Sikh is never away from the action. I thought you knew that.:)

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh

    PS: Here is just a mere glimpse of action for you:
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/inter...las-vegas-sikhs-challenge-misconceptions.html
     
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    #11 Tejwant Singh, Jul 2, 2013
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  12. Ishna

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    Dal Singh ji

    I appreciate your taking the time to reply to Tejwant ji's question in depth.

    I don't have time for too many words right now but really want to ask you - who are your servants/disciples/devotees?

    I think those little words right there characterise the entire Benti Chaupai as not a personal prayer to be said from your own POV but as a (possibly) historical piece of poetry - reading someone else's prayer.
     
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  13. arshdeep88

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    Dal singh ji

    sat sri akal brother
    Are You sure that ENEMIES you refer from Chopai Sahib here really mean physical enemies who were opposing Guru mahraj at that time? because i have heard people who supports Dasam granth stating Enemies as not physical but ego,lust,greed ,etc which thrives inside of us.
    sorry if i went off topic.
     
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  14. Ishna

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  15. arshdeep88

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    thank you ishna ji for the link
     
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  16. dalsingh1zero1

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    I personally do not see any contradiction. I just see a practical manifestation of fighting injustice (a dharam yudh) with a prayer for success in this dangerous endeavor. The war with the enemies wasn't sought, it was brought upon Sikhs. This will probably never end.

    <To Arshdeep too> I'm aware of the alternate interpretation of 'enemies' being the 5 (kaam, krodh, moh, lobh, ahankaar) as people have alluded to, but at this moment in time I'm not too convinced of it but I don't exclude the possibility either, so I don't knock anyone who subscribes to it.

    In the end, whatever our interpretation, I see a beautiful heartfelt prayer of a saint soldier who took on a responsibility most people would cower from.


    That's fine and I don't discount what you are saying. It's just my opinion (and I'm not alone in this) that the 'personal poetry' is dasmesh pita's. And as I've tried to highlight in my last post, it makes sense in context of his life. Especially when we consider that he is likely to have composed this in his earlier years whilst preparing for the inevitable.

    You ask about the sewaks. Guru ji had loads - we know this. So here Guru ji, as a leader, exposes his own desires for the protection of the people he has been given responsibility for. I'm glad people have asked me these questions because looking at the text again I realise that 'sewak Sikh' should come to together as a compound word meaning something like 'devotee Sikhs'. Translating sewak and Sikh as two separate words was a mistake.

    Regarding the OP. A sincere heartfelt prayer is a sincere heartfelt prayer. Whether in English, Panjabi or anything else. A few focused words prior to eating is a great idea, especially if we know that our next meal isn't guaranteed. So whether we use bani, 'historical poetry that resonates' or even sentences we create ourselves, for the intended purpose I'd argue that the heart behind the words are of paramount importance. But again, as people have mentioned, Sikhs don't normally have this 'thanks giving' style - not that they are a bad thing though.
     
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    #16 dalsingh1zero1, Jul 2, 2013
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  17. Ishna

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    Dal Singh ji

    Thanks again for your thoughtful reply. :sippingcoffee:

    I'm sorry if my earlier post gave you the impression I was questioning the authorship of Chaupai Sahib. :kaurfacepalm: I didn't have time to give proper attention to my words. I'm being pedantic.

    What I meant to say was that the prayer is written from Guru Sahib's point of view. Does it feel strange to you when you repeat his words, so directly like that? It does to me but then maybe that's just me. :motherlove: I'd appreciate your insight, especially if you repeat it frequently as in a mealtime prayer.
     
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  18. dalsingh1zero1

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    It doesn't feel strange to me Ishna ji. It's hard to explain how it does make me feel but I'll try.

    It feels very personal and 'close'. To me it is almost akin to a darshan of Guru ji himself, or at least his heart. I feel repeating the words gives deep insight into Guru ji and I'm inspired. The 'feelings' it facilitates are a mixture of humility coupled with unyielding strength and longing. It causes one to 'regroup' especially when we've been knocked about by life's 'hot winds'.

    The very title 'benti' says it all. It is a request. A request for grace, support and strength in the face of a world that can be outright violent and hostile.
    It's also the request of the active (as opposed to the passive), it forces one to confront and not hide away or dodge. Face things squarely it says, and don't forget your creator.

    People often miss the subtle allusions in the prayer too, intertwined with all of the requests for the support against, and the destruction of 'enemies' are clear statements of the longing to remain at Waheguru's charan (feet). It's like a bhagat being reluctantly torn away from his Lord and given a monumental and dangerous order that he accepts graciously. Guru ji knows that ultimately it will God who decides the outcome. In essence it is the vibrations of a spiritual warrior who has stepped up to the plate, who doesn't shirk his responsibility despite the heavy odds, difficulties and outright danger he personal must face and expose his people too.

    I should add, as well as the obvious religio-political enemies from amongst the Moghuls, Guru ji is also very likely to be referring to the internal enemies like the masands too. And probably all of the people who fought violently against the Guru's vision of a fair, egalitarian, meritocracy based Sikh society. And you know what, WE CAN (on reflection) easily accommodate those 5 thieves in our list of enemies too.

    One thing we have to be careful of though is to avoid pacifist interpretations that pretty much excuse inaction, which I think is what a lot of people do today. People didn't have the luxury of avoiding confrontations in the past because such attacks, overt and subtle, were actually encouraged by elements of the governmental or the established social hierarchy itself. We have to understand this. Imposing an interpretation that fits our personal current situation or predilections is lame, one way or another.

    The names, uniforms, looks and tactics of the 'enemies' may change over time, but they will always be there. When Sikhs have ignored this reality for whatever reason, they have always suffered as a result. It's part of God's cosmic play, the eternal and inevitable battle between good and evil. A battle we are all born into, whether we recognise it or not. Once you see that, it's only natural for us to request some divine support in this.
     
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  19. Tejwant Singh

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    Dal Singh ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You write:

    Well, the contradictions are obvious and there are many. Everything is being speculated in a personal manner. Our benchmark is SGGS, our only Guru and if there is anything that contradicts the Gurmat values in the SGGS, then they should be seen with a jaundiced eyes.

    One more speculation. Nothing more. If one reads the whole Chaupai, more speculations appear when compared to our benchmark.

    .

    Well you did by claiming it to be contradiction when I said the same. Why this doublespeak?

    One more speculation.

    You did by saying there is no contradiction in the beginning of your post. Now, this sounds more confusing than ever.

    More speculation by you and many others. Nothing more. No one knows the truth and a Sikh is supposed to be a truth seeker not a speculation seeker of what someone claims to be true. The second word - Satnaam- in the SGGS commands us that.

    Dal Singh ji, I would like to ask you a favour. Please address people who you are responding to. It becomes confusing otherwise. It seems that you responded to me, Arshdeep ji and Ishna ji but Ishna ji's name was never mentioned. It is my speculation of your responses btw.:)

    Let's try to keep it clear so no misunderstandings in the conversations occur.

    Thanks & regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  20. dalsingh1zero1

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    Tejwant ji, I think we differ on our whole perspective of exploring and interpreting our heritage to the extent that we will probably never agree on certain things. Take that as given.

    I think we are both old and experienced enough to know where this almost invariably leads. Arguing for the sake of arguing. You talk of my own speculation. I suggest that given our limited human intellectual capacities, most of what we do when we try and explore the faith in any real depth becomes this. I'm never going to try and throw the stance of being any sort of authority and I'm certainly wary of those who claim some sort of superior knowledge. What I do endeavor to do, is to explore the faith and make sense of it, as honestly as I can (to myself - not the world). Occasionally it is nice to share perceptions with others, but in our community this frequently becomes a 'theological kabbadi match' which defeats the whole purpose and just degrades everyone involved.



    It's not double speak. It is simply a case of my own conception of the matter. I personally do not feel this particular use of the word 'enemy' refers to the 'panj chors'. And you are right it is speculation, but then so is the opposite view that it does refer to the 5 thieves.

    All that being said, my own experience has taught me that inflexibility on a position is foolishness, and understandings can change over time. That is why I do not totally discount the above possibility although I do not subscribe to it. Development is a continual process and DOES involve changing ones thoughts on various matters over time. That is whole point of development in my eyes - it's really not too complicated. Seen in this way, there should be no confusion.


    And you are on dangerous grounds when you discount hordes of other people and start to feel you are some custodian of 'the truth' and they misled fools. It's something we must all fight. It's just another manifestation of haumai that keeps cropping up when people try to find the truth (in my opinion). This journey of trying to find the truth appears to be a unique one for each of us. Do you honestly believe you speculate any less than another seeker?

    Sure, I was trying to respond to multiple posts in one - call it laziness. lol

    But for this thread, I think the matter regarding meal time prayers has been nailed. There are no hard and fast rules, and people are free to use what resonates with them as it is not a prescribed act - unless we consider the Amrit vela banis are precursors to breakfast and Rehraas to the evening meal.

    I hope this clarifies my own position to some extent. And it is my own, I'm not expecting/ forcing others to subscribe to it. And just so people know, it isn't based solely on other people's opinions but my own research, which I've tried to conduct as honestly as I can looking at a wide breadth of opinions on the matter before forming my personal opinion and most crucially, trying to read and experience the texts under scrutiny themselves.

    Oh yeah, a final point, life is a mystical experience for me - that's how I subjectively experience it (and I know many don't) - so it shouldn't be surprise that I see a significant amount of grey inbetween the black and white. It's the questions that pertain to this grey area that are most interesting to me and the most difficult to answer conclusively - I guess it boils down to that plain, old fashioned thing called 'faith' in the end.
     
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    #20 dalsingh1zero1, Jul 2, 2013
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