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Ritual/ਕਰਮ ਕਾਂਡ

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by vsgrewal48895, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

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    Mar 12, 2009
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    RITUAL/ਕਰਮ ਕਾਂਡ


    A spiritually false (ਕੂੜ), and empty act performed by an individual or society, which does not fall under the definition of truth, is unacceptable in the teachings (ਦੀਖਿਆ), incorporated in Sabd Guru, unless it puts the individual on the right path. Millions of meaningless rituals of recitation, penances, continence, burnt offerings and crores of oblations are being performed all over the world on a daily basis with a false notion to achieve salvation or progress in spirituality. These fasts, rules, self-restraints, pilgrimage centers, anniversaries, millions of virtuous acts, charities, and altruisms are like a weak thread. An individual cannot be blessed with Naam by rituals as expressed by Guru Amardas in Sri Raag:

    ਕਾਂਇਆ ਸਾਧੈ ਉਰਧ ਤਪੁ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਜੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥

    KaaN-i-aa SaaDhai UraDh Tap Karai Vichahu Ha-umai Na Jaa-ay, ADhi-aatam Karam Jay Karay Naam Na Kab Hee Paa-ay, Gur Kai Sabad Jeevat Marai Har Naam Vasai Man Aa-ay.

    You may torment your body with extremes of self-discipline, practice intensive meditation and hang upside-down, but your ego will not be eliminated from within. You may perform religious rituals, and still never obtain the Naam, the Name of the Akal Purkh. Through the Word of the Guru's Sabd, remain dead while yet alive, and the Name of the Akal Purkh shall come to dwell within the mind. -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 33-7 & 8

    Free Dictionary defines” Rit•u•al:

    A ceremonial act or a series of such acts.
    1. Associated with or performed according to a rite or ritual: a priest's ritual garments; a ritual sacrifice.
    2. Being part of an established routine: a ritual glass of milk before bed.
    Psychiatry and Psychology:
    Any psychomotor activity e.g., morbid hand washing, sustained by an individual to relieve anxiety or forestall its development as a detailed act is ritualistic. Most of us read or recite religious texts, Path or Nit name, Opening and Closing of AGGS (ਪਰਕਾਸ਼/ਸੁਖਾਸਨ) with out understanding and reflection on the message on daily bases is nothing but to relieve mental anxiety and stress is a ritual by superstition.

    Religious rituals:

    The Call to Worship is an essential part of worship in many religions all over the world.
    In Judaism the shofar is blown, in Protestant and Catholic churches the church bells are rung. In mosques calls are made from the minarets.
    Pagan rituals also begin with some type of Call to Worship, some way to let everyone know that ritual is about to begin. In some traditions songs are sung, in others they may read from their Book of Shadows.

    Each time a ritual is performed, it may connect the followers in some superstitious way to spirituality. Sweeping the circle may be a way to clear an unwanted emotional baggage. The handmaiden literally sweeps the ritual area with a broom, often called a besom. Ritual space is defined by walls in churches, by casting a circle in Pagan rituals.

    At this point often the elements are blessed or prayers are made to seek blessings by bringing the symbol of each of the elements around the circle – air: incense, fire: red candle, water: water in a cup, Earth: salt in a cup. Sometimes this is called censing or purging. These are the elements. Each element; correspond to a different direction of east, south, west and north respectively in most traditions.

    The Gods and Goddesses, or the guests of honor, are invited and candles lit in their honor. The Gods and Goddesses are thanked, their candles extinguished. The elements are dismissed and the circle is banished.

    The circle is often ended with the words "Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again". This is a common goodbye phrase in Paganism.

    This is a rough outline of a ritual. Rituals vary from tradition to tradition, religion to religion and often from group to group within any particular tradition or religious activity.


    Sikhism is a monotheistic religion but has respect for pantheism i.e. respecting the other religions, but Sikh Gurus advised all to follow one’s own faith truly and honestly without empty and false rituals. Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan advised Muslims, Brahmans, Jogis, Jains, and others that their false rituals should be replaced by virtues of Truth, Contentment, Compassion, Fortitude, Charity, and Humility and subjugation of the lower instincts of Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, and Ego. Devotion or love of God, expressed through singing of Akal Purkh’s praises is the only way to progress in spirituality. Performing empty rituals have no spiritual merit.

    ਮੰਨੈ ਮਗੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਪੰਥੁ ॥ ਮੰਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਬੰਧੁ ॥

    Mannai Mag Na Chalai Panth, Mannai Dharam Saytee Sanbandh.

    By acting on Akal Purkh’s Will, one follows the path of righteousness and is not led astray by rituals. The faithful are firmly bound to the righteousness. -----Guru Nanak, japji, AGGS, Page, 3-9

    Rituals are excluded from the Philosophy of Guru Nanak, as they do not help an individual in his growth in spirituality. In spite of all these instructions and uncountable references in AGGS, Sikh religious activities in Gurudwaras and at homes are inundated with various Brahamanical rituals e.g. treating AGGS as an idol with rituals of repeated readings like Akhand Paths, offering food to the scripture etc.

    ਪਾਠੁ ਪੜਿਓ ਅਰੁ ਬੇਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿਓ ਨਿਵਲਿ ਭੁਅੰਗਮ ਸਾਧੇ॥ਪੰਚ ਜਨਾ ਸਿਉ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਛੁਟਕਿਓ ਅਧਿਕ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਬਾਧੇ ॥ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਮੈ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਮ ਅਨੇਕਾ॥ਹਾਰਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਦੀਜੈ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ ॥

    Path Parhio Ur Bayd Bichario Nival Bhuingam Saadhay, Panch Jnaa Seo Sung Na Chutkeo Adhik Ahanbudh Baadhay, Piaray Inn Bidh Milan Na Jayee Mai Kee-ay Karam Anekaa, Haar Pario Suamee Kai Duaarai Deejai Budh Bibaykaa.

    They read scriptures, (purchased Paths & Akhand Paths) and contemplate the Vedas; they practice the inner cleansing techniques of Yoga, and control of the breath. But they cannot escape from the company of the five passions and are increasingly bound to egotism. O Beloved, this is not the way to meet the Akal Purkh; I have performed these rituals so many times. I have collapsed, exhausted, at the Door of my Master; I pray that It may grant me a discerning intellect (ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁੱਧੀ).
    -----Guru Arjan, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 641

    Guru Nanak in Raag Asa and Guru Arjan in Raag Bhario explain religious rituals, family entanglements, and tortures to the body as false (ਕੂੜ), and not for any spiritual benefit.

    ਬੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕੀਆ ॥ਬੰਧਨ ਪੁਤੁ ਕਲਤੁ ਮਨਿ ਬੀਆ ॥

    BanDhan Karam Dharam Hou Kee-aa, BanDhan Put Kalat Man Bee-aa.

    They are entangled with religious rituals, and religious faith, acting in ego. They are
    entangled with sons, wives and others in their minds. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 416-15

    ਬੰਧਨ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ॥ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕਰਤਾ ॥

    banDhan maat pitaa sut banitaa, banDhan karam Dharam ha-o kartaa.

    Mother, father, children, spouse, religious rituals, and actions when done in ego place the mortal in bondage. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Bhairo, AGGS, Page, 1147-15

    ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਪੜੈ ਬੰਧਨ ਮੋਹ ਬਾਧਾ ਨਹ ਬੂਝੈ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥

    Pandit Parhai BanDhan Moh BaaDhaa Nah Boojhai Bikhi-aa Pi-aar.

    The Pundits, the religious scholars, read the scriptures, but they are trapped in the bondage of emotional attachment. In love with evil, they do not understand.
    -----Guru Arjan, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 33-10

    ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਤੁਲਿ ਨ ਪੁਜਈ ਜੇ ਲਖ ਕੋਟੀ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਤੁਲਿ ਨ ਪੁਜਈ ਸਭ ਡਿਠੀ ਠੋਕਿ ਵਜਾਇ ॥

    Har Naamai Tul Na Puj-ee Jay Lakh Kotee Karam Kamaa-ay, Har Naamai Tul Na Puj-ee Sabh Dithee Thok Vajaa-ay.

    I perform hundreds of thousands and millions of religious rituals but all these are not equal to the Name of the Akal Purkh. None of these are equal to Its Name. I have seen and tried and tested them all. -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 62-7 & 8

    ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਭ ਥਕੀ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥

    Satgur Baajh Na Paa-i-o Sabh Thakee Karam Kamaa-ay Jee-o.

    Without the True Guru, God is not found; all have grown weary of performing religious rituals. -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 72-12

    Thousands references can be quoted from AGGS about rituals. Without Guru no spiritual or divine knowledge is attained. Without faith there is no meditation. Without Truth there is no credit and with out capital no balance. The best act is Philanthropy -- desire to help mankind -- without which human birth is accursed. Alms, gifts, penance and sacrifices are not equal to selfless service. Guru Arjan describes the ways people try to meet the Akal Purkh and the technique to reach It in Raag Asa:

    ਜਪ ਤਾਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਪੂਜਾ ਅਨਿਕ ਸੋਧਨ ਬੰਦਨਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਗਵਨੁ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਤੀਰਥਹ ਮਜਨੁ ਮਿਲਨ ਕਉ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਾ ॥ ਦਇਆਲ ਲਾਲ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਗਤੇ ॥

    Jap Taap Sanjam Kiri-aa Poojaa Anik SoDhan Bandana, Kar Gavan BasuDhaa Teerthah Majan Milan Ka-o Niranjanaa, Da-i-aal Laal Gobind Nanak Mil SaaDhsangat Ho-ay Gatay.

    Through chanting, deep meditation, strict and austere self-discipline, religious rituals, sincere worship, endless purifications and humble salutations, wandering all over the earth and bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, people seek to meet the Pure Akal Purkh. The Merciful Beloved Creator of the Universe is found by joining the Company of the holy, says Nanak and salvation is attained.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 455-14

    Prayer, Meditation, Remembrance of the Word of God, Contentment in the Will of God, Morality, Selflessness, Integrity, Honor, Dignity, Trustworthiness, Restraint, and Deferred gratification of desires lead to spiritual progress with the guidance of AGGS, but empty rituals take one nowhere as indicated in the above hymns of Sabd Guru.

    The secret is in "understanding the meaning of the Sabd" that is behind the words and in between lines, and not in the literal meaning. After understanding one should reflect on the message in daily life. There is no greater penance than patience, no greater happiness than contentment, no greater evil than greed, no greater virtue than mercy, and no more potent weapon than forgiveness. It is the action on these teachings (ਦੀਖਿਆ), which makes the difference. The words, language and the symbols are merely "tools" for the linear mind's understanding.

    Other spiritual proponents point out that spirituality is a two-stroke process. The upward stroke relates to inner growth and the downward stroke relates towards manifesting improvements in the world or the reality around us as a result of the inward change by excluding the false rituals from one’s daily life. The following Sabd of Guru Nanak in Raag Ramkali explains; what is happening daily in places of worship:

    ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਪੜਤਾ ਟੀਕਾ ਸਹਿਤ ॥ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਨਹੀ ਪੂਰਨ ਰਹਤ ॥ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਬੇਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ॥ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ॥ ਖਟੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਅਰੁ ਆਸਣੁ ਧੋਤੀ ॥ ਭਾਗਠਿ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਪੜੈ ਨਿਤ ਪੋਥੀ ॥ ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰੈ ਮੰਗੈ ਬਿਭੂਤ ॥ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਤਰਿਓ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਕੀ ਓਸੁ ਉਤਰੀ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਚਤੁਰ ਬੇਦ ਪੂਰਨ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਸਰਣੀ ਪਾਇ ॥

    Mukh Tay Parh-taa Teekaa Sahit, Hirdai Raam Nahee Pooran Rahat, Updays Karay Kar Lok Darirh-aavai, Apnaa Kahi-aa Aap Na Kamaavai. Pundit Bayd Beechaar Pundit, Man Kaa KroDh Nivaar Pundit. Khat Karmaa Ar Aasan Dhotee, Bhaagath Garihi Parhai Nit Pothee. Maalaa Fayrai Mangai Bibhoot, Ih BiDh Ko-ay Na Tari-o Meet. So Pundit Gur Sabd Kamaa-ay, Tarai Gun Kee Os Utree Maa-ay. Chatur Bayd Pooran Har Naa-ay, Nanak Tis Kee Sarnee paa-ay.

    You read the scriptures, and the commentaries, but the Perfect Akal Purkh does not dwell in your heart. You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach. O, Pundit, O religious scholar, contemplate the Vedas. Eradicate anger from your mind, O, Pundit. You place your stone god before yourself, but your mind wanders in the ten directions. You apply a ceremonial tilak mark to its forehead, and fall at its feet. You try to appease the people, and act blindly. You perform the six religious rituals, and sit wearing your loin-cloth. In the homes of the wealthy, you read the prayer book. You chant on your mala, and beg for money. No one has ever been saved in this way, friend. He alone is a Pundit, who lives the Word of the Guru's Sabd. Maya, of the three qualities, leaves him. The four Vedas are completely contained within the Akal Purkh's Name and Nanak seeks Its Sanctuary. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 887 & 888

    As spiritual awakening begins, motivations inevitably shift from the egocentric rituals toward the desire to serve others. This kind of service is seen as absolutely necessary if the awakening and development are to continue. Spiritual growth requires a life of service.

    ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਲਭਈ ਲਖ ਕੋਟੀ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਉ ॥

    Bin Satgur Har Naam Na Labh-ee Lakh Kotee Karam Kamaa-o.

    Without the True Guru, the Name of the Akal Purkh is not found, even though people may perform hundreds of thousands, even millions of rituals. -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 40-15


    ਜਪ ਤਾਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਲਖ ਲਖ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਨਈਵੇਦ ਕਰੋੜੀ ॥-----------------ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਅਚਾਰੁ ਚਮੋੜੀ ॥

    Jap Tap Sanjam Lakh Lakh Hom Jag Na-eevayd Krorhee—Ooper Sach Achaar Chamorhee.

    Millions of rituals of recitation, penances, continence, burnt offerings and millions of oblations are there. Fasts, rules, control, activities are many but they all are like a weak thread. Many are pilgrimage centers, anniversaries, and millions of virtuous acts, charities and altruisms. There are millions of types of worship of gods and goddesses, combinations, detractions. Boons and curses are there too. Many are philosophies and many are persons, who do not bother about the unnecessary brands of millions of worships and oblations. Many are the public behaviors, virtues and renunciations, indulgence and other covering devices. But all these craft-man ships remain away from truth, and they cannot touch it. Higher than truth is truthful living. -----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 18, Pauri, 19

    Virinder S. Grewal

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