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Pictures and Statues of Gurus

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by gursikhi.jeevan, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. gursikhi.jeevan

    gursikhi.jeevan
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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

    Many Sikh homes may have a picture of Guru Nanak Dev Ji or Guru Gobing Singh Ji hanging on the walls of their homes. Some of us may accept the pictures some of us may not. We can say whoever had made the pictures must have done so with love for Guru. But, it is WRONG when Sikhs pray to the pictures of Guru and bow before the.

    Now there is another trend which is going on and that is the Statues of the Gurus. I have seen statues of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji in stores and peoples home as well. Our Guru's rejected the concept of statues and now poeple are making statues of Guru's. The worst thing is that Gursikh Families are buying the statues are worshipping them. What is the difference between Hinduism and Sikhism if Sikh worship a statues and pictures as well? I have attached a picture from home of Gursikh and as you can see with pictures of Gurus there are also Idols.

    statues-pictures-sikh-gurus.jpg

    Sikhs Guru is Guru Grant Sahib ji. I request all Sikhs to remove pictures or statues of Guru's from your homes and bow to the Guru Grant Sahib ji. The pictures or statues will not lead you to God, Gurbani will. Fill your life with Gurbani and you will not need anything else.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
     
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  3. aristotle

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    Pictures of Gurus have been out there since long, but what is more disturbing is that the idols of Guru Sahibans have also surfaced. I remember, a couple of years ago, there was an uproar over the 'Made in China' idols of Guru Nanak Sahib. What an irony, make the idols of those who themselves condemned idol-worship, OMG !!!
     
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  4. Ishna

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    Surely a Sikh can have a statue of a Guruji in their home? The main concern is to not worship it, right?

    Having said that, I'm sure it's not easy to determine the level of "respect" to show the statue. Where does "respect" end and "worship" begin?

    Safer not to have them then, too much temptation, too close to the Hindu camp.

    I have a business-card sized picture of Guru Nanak in my wallet. I found it at a market in Melbourne, Australia. I just like to know it's there and to look at it sometimes, makes me think about all the good things Guru Nanak Sahib Ji represents and the legacy which followed.
     
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  5. gursikhi.jeevan

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    No. Statues/ Idols are prohibited in Sikhism. It is very easy for people to start worshiping statues or pictures of Guru. And the reason is; our 10 Guru's led us to Sikhism and to Guru Grant Sahib Ji. Even though its declared to Sikhs "Guru Maniyo Grant", it is easy for Sikhs to start worshiping idols or pictures of 10 Gurus because we have love and respect for them in our hearts.
    But we must follow the Hukam of our Guru's strictly and not have any idols or pictures in our homes. Many Sikhs have started bringing their own opinion into Sikhism and this is where the problem starts. When understand and learning Gurbani, it is important to do so from Guru's point of view. But we add our thinking to it and change it around.
    Many people say that times has changed since the birth of Khalsa and its ok to let loose and make changes to Sikhi. I disagree with this. Although it may be 2011, Guru Grant Sahib Ji is the same and so is the Hukam of the Guru. What has changed is "us". We have become so engaged in our lives and this world that now we want to make a change to God and make him work according to us.
     
  6. Ishna

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    Worshipping statues and pictures might be more of a problem for Indian Sikhs since the history and culture of India (due to Hinduism) is full of idol worship.

    The panth is evolving as humans evolve. We don't stay at the same level of understanding forever. That's why religions have changed over time and why we don't continue to pray to the God of the Hunt (westerners) every day for our food.

    A great big chunk of Sikh diaspora would have no problem having a picture or made-in-china statue in their homes and not bow to it or pray to it because our understanding (from Gurbani) is that there is no use in doing that. Some Sikhs understand the concept.

    To have a blanket ban on pictures and statues (note, I'm saying STATUES as a statue is always a statue but becomes an IDOL when it is worshipped, as is my understanding) seems stagnant to me.

    I am happy to hear examples from Gurbani of where it is prohibited to even have a picture or statue of a Guru Sahib Ji and I will kick myself in the pants for my manmukh.

    However, since Sikhi on the whole appears succeptible at the moment to Hindu ideas, it would be best to continue the "pictures and statues not allowed" line of thought to help those who don't know better.
     
  7. spnadmin

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    There are 25 to 30 million Sikhs worldwide. Are the majority of us so brain dead that we cannot distinguish between worshiping a picture/statue, and enjoying the value of well crafted depictions from history. If the answer is Yes. Then one is saying that we are for the most part blank slates... ignorant children... ignoramuses... for whom the mere glimpse of an image is a corrupting influence. If that is the case, by all means bring on the babas and sants so they can wind up that key at the base of our spines that makes our wooden brains and bodies go They will need to tell us how to walk, talk and find our way to the hereafter. :tablakudi::mundaviolin::singhbhangra:icecreamkaurcheerleader

    If we cannot be trusted to think, then why trust us to be Sikhs?

    All this preventive medicine! ... just in case some of us lapse into stupidity everyone else must have their horizons trimmed. Is this Sikhi?
     
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  8. Ishna

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    I agree with you, spnadmin ji, however the posts in threads such as this one paint a mental picture of some Sikhs being "reabsorbed" into Hinduism.

    I am so far removed from this personally and can't imagine worshipping a statue or a picture myself, but I don't want to be insensitive to the tangled history and struggle that appears to be going on in other parts of the world.
     
  9. aristotle

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    The line between 'revering' and 'worshiping' is very blurred and unclear and the common folk may not be able to distinguish it. Though, religions are for the masses, and Sikhism too is a community religion, some rules need to be in place. The pictures of Gurus are not forbidden in Sikhism as they are in Islam (one may not see a single painting of Prophet Muhammad), but idolatry and picture-worship is strictly discouraged, even by the SRM. We must keep distance from revering such pictures, although they may still have merit as pieces of art. So, at least in Gurdwaras such pictures must not be installed, instead, we can have beautiful calligraphies of Gurbani with the Punjabi or English meanings. That may be better appreciated regarding the SRM.
     
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  10. Archived_Member16

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    WHERE DO THE FOLLOWING MURALS FIT IN ?

    Darbar Sahib ( 2 ):

    [​IMG]

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Guru Gobind Singh and Attendants
    ca. 19th century, gold plated copper plates, Gurdwara Baba Atal:


    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    Those murals were most likely done during Maharaja Ranjit Singhs period..a period of RAPID DECLINE of GURMATT....By 1900's MOORTEES had flooded the Parkarma of darbar sahib Complex making the place look like a Hindu mandir. In 1920 the moortyees were removed by SGPC...but the Murals being gold plated probably escaped...and later in the MAKHI TE MAKHI MARO habit of Sikhs it goes on unabated. ( Side note:This BHAI BALA in the pictures murals only exists in murals..not in History.).
     
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  12. aristotle

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    The Murals in the Gurudwaras came into existence during the time when Udasis and Sadhus were managing them. At some places, they even showcase Hindu Gods/Godesses, so that never means Sikhs should accept their validity. I repeat again, the fountainhead of Sikh philosophy is Guru Granth Sahib.
    Moreover, if anything is kept in a Gurdwara, is there a compulsion to worship it?? There are many insignificant things like Collection boxes, fans, mats etc. and we dont worship them, so why worship the murals?? We should only worship our living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. It is okay if you keep a pic of Guru Sahib in your pocket and remember the goodness of Gurus when you see it, but you must remember, at that time you are not worshipping the photo, you are thinking about the Guru. Idolatry as such can never be accepted by the Guru panth or the SRM.
     
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  13. Harry Haller

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    I had a long conversation with a catholic that came into my shop once, I asked why they worshiped statues, she smiled and said that they were not idol worshipers, the statue was something to focus on, but I think that amounts to one and the same thing,

    I personally think that to have a photo is acceptable, but I feel uncomfortable with statues purely because of the Hinduism links, but that is only my own opinion, I think if anyone uses a photo or a statue to inspire themselves in the worship of the creator, then there is nothing wrong with that, as SPNadminji pointed out, we are not fools or children,

    However, the danger is that young, or easily led people will confuse this with worship, and start worshiping idols/photos having watched someone take inspiration from an image, I suppose it is one of the responsibilities of trying to inspire others, that as much as possible should be crystal clear and not open to ambiguity.
     
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  14. spnadmin

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    imho

    The Almighty Power endowed the human mind with "bibek" or "discernment." It takes time and effort to develop bibek, the faculty that will help us understand why Bhai Bala is shown in the mural and whether the depiction is historically accurate. Bibek is not given by someone else, nor does it magically appear. Bibek rounds out the thought processes that distinguish background information from spiritual truth, and sees how one informs the other. Without opportunities to think and evaluate issues large and small, bibek stagnates or perhaps never emerges at all. To go about banning and nullifying castrates bibek. We don't get bibek if our world is sanitized according to the philosophical bent of individuals and groups who are attached to control of others. Bibek is one of the great gifts. To deny it set Sikhs on the same playing field as fanatics in any other religion.

    Take a look. This is a good article tracing the history of the very discussion we are having through history and in several religions. The original meaning of the word "iconoclasm" referred to the destruction and banning of pictures and idols. Decide for yourself if this was beneficial.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iconoclasm
     
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  15. Ishna

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    But isn't the Sikh Rehit Maryada a book banning a whole stack of practices, like not piercing ears? I may be seeing things too black-and-white, but if it's ok to ban one practice, why not another?

    And the flip side - if something isn't banned, why ban anything?

    The problem comes about because of the variety of human minds.

    Some people don't care to develop their bibek, or they're not bright enough to understand. For those people, there are rules, because without them they would have no idea.

    Other people will cultivate their bibek and for them, they will either see the wisdom of the rule or it will annoy the crap out of them that it's there.

    For example: when it rains, some people won't drive to the conditions. If the sign says 80, they'll do 80 even if the road is slippery or the traffic is bad. Others who are smarter and more aware will see the conditions are bad and will drive at 50 instead. But because the idiots driving at 80 cause accidents, the authorities change the speed sign to 40, and now everyone has to do 40 even in good weather, which really annoys the responsible ones who were doing the right thing in the first place?
     
  16. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    For example: when it rains, some people won't drive to the conditions. If the sign says 80, they'll do 80 even if the road is slippery or the traffic is bad. Others who are smarter and more aware will see the conditions are bad and will drive at 50 instead. But because the idiots driving at 80 cause accidents, the authorities change the speed sign to 40, and now everyone has to do 40 even in good weather, which really annoys the responsible ones who were doing the right thing in the first place?

    1.About 3,000 people die a year on the roads of Britain, a country with a population of about 72 million.
    About 6,000 people die a year on the roads of Malaysia, a country with a population of about 27 million (now just touched 28 million).
    Compare the two statistics above and it will be clear that it is more dangerous to drive or ride on Malaysian roads than on British roads. So, Malaysia should ban cars and motorcycles from Malaysian roads. Then less Malaysians will die every year.


    The number of drink-driving deaths in Britain is about 400 a year. That comes to about 1.4% of the total road accident fatalities.
    This means 98.6% of deaths on British roads are caused by drivers/bikers who DO NOT drink. And this also means people who DO NOT drink should be banned from driving/riding. Then less Britons will die every year.
    Only three people died in the last few days of riots in the UK (due to a hit-and-run incident rather than due to the riot proper). Only one person died in the BERSIH march of 9th July 2011 (due to a heart attack).


    So riots and demonstrations are safer than driving or riding a motorbike. This is because, over the last ten years, 30,000 people died on British roads and 60,000 on Malaysian roads. Over the last 30 years you can triple those figures because the statistics are basically consistent from year to year.
    So we should encourage people to stop driving/riding and start rioting instead. The statistics prove that less people will die if they riot rather than drive/ride.


    This sounds like a stupid argument, does it not? Well, no more stupid that the argument by the Deputy IGP regarding his comparison between the UK riots and the BERSIH march of 9th July 2011.


    Those Malaysians who came out to demonstrate on 9th July 2011 came out with intent to demonstrate, not to riot. They were determined to demonstrate peacefully with no loss of life or damage to property.
    Those British who came out to riot over the last few days came out with intent to riot, loot and plunder. They had no intentions to hold a peaceful demonstration. They were not concerned about loss of life or damage to property. They intentionally wanted to damage property. It was part of the plan.
    How can the government and police compare BERSIH to what happened in the UK? There were two different motives here.
    The BERSIH march was a political statement. There was no political statement in the UK riots. It was all about plundering, looting, robbing and stealing.
    No, we can’t compare BERSIH to the UK riots. This would be like banning drivers/bikers who do not drink and only allowing drunks on the road because drinking and driving causes only 1.4% of traffic accident deaths..
     
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  17. spnadmin

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    Re: Pictures and Statues of Guru's

    Ishna ji

    There are two ways to see this, and it is a predicament.

    Standing on the outside thinking about things, yes, the SRM appears to be banning a whole bunch of practices. Yet the SRM gives in-depth context for its prohibitions. That is where the bibek kicks in. One is invited to ponder why worshipping at burial sites is prohibited. History and bani help with the pondering.

    Standing inside, the SRM seems more like a covenant. One accepts, even welcomes, the prohibitions because they now makes sense.

    On deciding to become amritdhari, I would hope, that one has fully understood why he/she accepts all of the bans and feels liberated not overrun by rules.

    Gyani ji's example of the Bersikh riots ring true for me because the idea that all demonstrations must be banned because some demonstrators may be law breakers is a false argument. Not unlike the false logic, that if some Sikhs look at images, they might become idol worshippers. Therefore all images of Gurusahiban must be banned. This punishes everyone, those who are tempted to idolatry and those who do not. The result is a moral injustice because it steals "choice" and any ethical action depends upon having an actor who makes a choice between the good and the wicked.

    The SRM does not punish anyone. Its prohibitions are not there to prevent the weak and the strong from making mistakes or indulging in misguided practices. We are completely free to make mistakes and indulge in misguided practices. But once we realize that there is a better way, by the grace of the Guru and his gift of bibek, then SRM kicks in with a set of rules we agree to follow freely. We make that choice. It is the nature of a covenant... something we enter into, not something that is forced upon us.
     
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