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We say we need educated granthis, but what does this mean?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Hardas Singh, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh
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    It seems to me that more and more Sikhs are complaining about the quality of most granthis in our gurdwaras today. Apparently we need granthis that are well "educated", but what does this mean?

    If someone decides they want to become a Sikh scholar and a really good granthi how should they go about achieving this goal education wise?
    Obviously they must have a love for Sikhi, and a desire to always learn, but what constitutes a good education? Is attending a 2 year granthi course at a Sikh missionary school a good enough education? What about spending 5 years studying at damdami taksal? Should all granthis get a doctorate/PhD in Sikh studies?

    I am always hearing of these supposedly amazing gursikhs who are great gianis and Sikh scholars, but what kind of education do these people have?
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    a Sikh is a SAINT and a SOLDIER. As a SAINT he weilds the SWORD of GYAAN and as a SOLDIER he weilds the Might of the PEN....among other qualities...see the Granthis of the status of Baba Budha Ji, Bhai mani Singh Baba Deep Singh ji etc....Gurmukhi JEEWAN....academics..a mixture of so many different traits and qualities...
    A GRANTHI has to be a Good SIKH..a gurmukh..a Saint..and a Soldier...(if I may be so bold..my late dad Gyani Darbara Singh DALER (Brave) was one such...academic, writer,poet, kirtaniyah, gurbani scholar, orator, and most imporant of all not afraid to stick to the TRUTH and nothing but the truth at all times....ready to give up a job at amoments notice without knowing what and where the next roti will come from..if it involved surrendering his principles..(never a Yes Man to any Pardhaan or parbhandak). he never performed an annadkaraj when the groom was obviously cleanshaven...as he couldnt offer advise..to amrit chhak, become Guruwallh blah blah which normal granthis do..just as routine knowing fully well that its water off a ducks back...or STOP preaching sikhi.kesh.amrit etc just becasue the Pardhaan says it annoys the monas in the sangat...calling a spade a spade is also a quality a granthi MUST have...:eek:rangesingh::blueturban:kaurhug:happysingh::redturban:
     
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  4. Archived_Member16

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    FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATION:


    FUNCTIONS, DUTIES AND QUALIFICATIONS OF A GRANTHI.

    By Dr. K.S Dhillon, M.A. (Boston)
    Director of Religious Affairs
    Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Medford, USA. For posting on Gurdwara Website: www.gurunanakdarbar.net

    This article provides an understanding of the duties, functions and qualifications of a Granthi (Sikh Priest) in accordance with the Gurmat Rehat Maryada – Sansthik Jeewan Section (Spiritual Code of Conduct - Institutional Aspects) issued by the Akaal Takhat. (The Supreme Authority of the Sikhs)

    1.0 Broad Functions.

    The word Granthi comes from Granth (the Holy Scripture). So in the very basic sense, a Granthi deals with a variety of aspects of the Granth – its Parkash (installation every morning at dawn), Semapti (its closure at dusk), Paath (its reading, rendering, its interpretation, its teaching, and the propagation of its messages to the Sangat (congregation.).

    He/She is in attendance to the Granth at all times.

    A Granthi is also a spiritual leader. He /She leads congregation in prayer, performs the Kirten (musical rendition of the Scriptures), Katha (Discourses), Ardas (Prayers), and inspires and provides spiritual direction and upliftment to the Sangat (congregation).

    A Granthi is also a religious minister. He/She performs all the Sikh ceremonies from birth, baptism and death.

    A Granthi is a spiritual counselor. He/She provides spiritual counseling to individuals and families.

    Finally, a Granthi is a teacher and role model. He/She is expected to spend a good deal of time teaching children, young adults and adults. He/She is to teach Kirten (spiritual music), Tabla (spiritual rhythms) Gurbani (poetry of the scriptures) and Punjabi (the language of the Holy Books).

    2.0 Duties.

    In accordance with the above functions, a Granthi typically performs the following duties at a Gurdwara.


    <DIR><DIR><DIR>A. Conduct weekly Sunday Diwans. (Prayer Meetings). The Sunday Diwan Service typically begins at 9 am and concludes at about 2 pm. The Granthi recites Banees from the Granth Sahib such as the Amrit Banees and sukhmani Sahib. The recitation of these prayers is followed typically by two hours of
    Gurmat Kirten during which he/she renders verses from the Holy Book in the Original Ragas, Taalas and Musical Scores in which the Scripture is composed. The Granthi uses a musical instrument such as a harmonium,
     
    Mandolin, Sitar or Tanpura accompanied by a Tabla (rhythm) player to do the Kirten.

    B. Gurmat Katha This is typically a half hour sermon cum discourse, which is based on the messages of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib.

    C. Conduct Sanskars such as: Birth Ceremonies, Engagement Prayers, Wedding Ceremonies, Baptism (Amrit Sanchaar), Funerals, Ardas and other blessings.

    D. Conduct Gurbani classes. These are Scripture study classes for adults and young adults.

    E. Conduct Kirten (Spiritual Music) and Tabla (Spiritual Rhythm) classes. These classes provide instruction in Gurmat Kirten, Sangeet, Vocal and Tabla in order to allow members of the Sikh faith to appreciate the true nature of the content and style of the Scripture.

    F. Conduct Punjabi Classes. These classes allow children to learn the Punjabi Language as it is applied in the Scriptures.

    G. Conduct the Parkash (Opening of the Holy Book) and Semapti (closing) prayers daily. The Prakash is to be done at dawn with recital of Japji Sahib and Semapti at dusk with recital of Rehras and Kirtan Sohela.

    H. Partake as an Akhand Pathi in Akhand Paths. These are 48-hour non-stop readings of the 1430 page Holy Book and the Granthi leads 4 other members of the Congregations who each take turns lasting 2 hours.

    I. Provide spiritual counseling to members of the Sangat of the Gurdwara as and when necessary.

    </DIR></DIR></DIR>3.0 Qualifications of a Granthi.

    Due to the varied nature of their work, Granthis require multi-disciplinary training – particularly in Classical Music, Punjabi Arts and Literature and Philosophy. Given that the concept of a central Seminary to train Granthis does not exist, Granthis acquire their training from a variety of sources – Sangeet Academies, Linguistic Study and Work Experience.

    A Sikh Granthi is expected to have the following educational, professional, sprititual and personal attributes.

    3.1 Educational.

    The most important educational qualification relates to classical music – with a specialization in vocals, Ragas (musical scores) and Tabla Taals (musical rhythms). The reason for this is simple – the entire Sikh Scripture or Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib – is rendered in poetry complete with musical scores and rhythms. This 1430 page book is composed in 31 Ragas and countless taals drawn from the Karnatik (South Indian) and Hindustani (North Indian) versions of Classical Music. Good training in Sangeet (classical music) and years of experience is required to be able to render Gurbani (compositions of the Guru Granth) in the manner they were originally composed and written. The Granthi thus needs Vocal Training, Raag Training and Tabla training up to a diploma or degree level at a Sangeet (classical /spiritual music) Academy. In addition he/she needs to master a musical instrument of his choice to accompany his renditions of
    the Scripture. The usual instruments taught in Spiritual Sangeet Academies are the Harmonium, Mandolin, Rebab, Sitar and Tanpura.

    In addition, a Granthi needs good literary, oratorical and personal skills. He/She needs to understand the languages of the Holy Book – which is mainly a special kind of Punjabi used some 5 centuries ago. He/She needs good presentation skills to deliver effective discourses. He/She needs personal skills for all the teaching and instruction required of him. Personal skills are also necessary for the counseling that he/she is called upon to do.

    Beginning in the 1990s, the Sikh Missionary College, affiliated to Shromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, Punjab has started training Granthis in the basic aspects. The core curriculum of this 2-year program is Sangeet, Punjabi Language, Katha and Ceremonial. Younger Granthis – trained in this College are now being made available, though they are unable to meet the demand for Granthis even for Punjab.

    3.2 Professional Qualifications.

    A Granthi must spend a few years as an Assistant to a reputable Granthi both to hone his educational skills as well as to learn the ceremonial aspects of his duties. An Assistant Granthi must have Tabla (Percussion Drum used in Classical Spiritual Music) skills so that he/she may accompany the Head Granthi during Gurmat Kirtan – the rendering of verses from the Holy Book in the Original Ragas, Taalas and Musical Scores in which the Scripture is composed - the most important aspect of the Prayer Meetings.

    An Assistant Granthi usually picks up the ceremonial aspects of the Granthi’s job in a few years of tutorship under a Head Granthi at a Gurdwara with a medium to large size congregation.

    A Granthi should ideally have worked at least 3 years as an Assistant Priest before becoming a Granthi. Due to the increasing demand for Granthis in Sikh Gurdwaras all over the world, Granthis have begun to forego this aspect of their training – opting instead to join smaller Gurdwaras as Granthi and then progressing to larger congregations.

    3.3 Personal Attributes.

    A Sikh Priest is mandated to be a Ghristi - be married and have a family life. In this way he/she appreciates the roles, duties and obligations of members of the Congregation – who are mostly families.

    He/She is to have a high moral life and value attributes such as sharing, service, commitment, empathy and spirituality. He/She is expected to be a role model for the community.
    He/She is expected to be a team player. Gurdwara projects and activities are almost always run by volunteers as charitable and non-profit organizations. An ability to work with and inspire these Sewadars (volunteer service providers) to keep going is an asset any Granthi can have.

    3.4 Spiritual Attributes.

    A Granthi is mandated to be an Amritdhari (Baptised) practising Sikh. One of his functions as described in Section 2 (c) above is the conduct of Baptism. The Gurmat Rehat Maryada specifies that only a Bapitsed Sikhs can conduct this ceremony, hence the importance of his spiritual attribute. He is expected to be a Nitnemi ( imbued in daily prayer) and adhere to the Gurmat Rehat Maryada – Sakhsi Sansthik Jeewan Section (Spiritual Code of Conduct – Individual Aspects) issued by the Akaal Takhat.

    Sources:


    <DIR><DIR>1. Guru Granth Sahib, Amritsar: Shromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee and Akaal Takhat, 1980.
    2. Sikh Code and Conduct, Amritsar: Shromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee and Akaal Takhat, 1956.
    3. Santokh Singh, PhD, Philosophical Foundations of the Sikh Value System, Illinois: Gurmat Publishers, 1982.
    4. Gopal Singh, The Religion of the Sikhs, Delhi: Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, 1976.
    5. Macauliffe, M.A., The Sikh Religion, vols 1-VI, New Delhi, 1978,
    6. Field, Dorothy, The Religion of the Sikhs, Delhi, 1976.
    7. McGregor, W.L., History of the Sikhs, vols 1-& 2, Patiala, 1970.
    8. McLeod, W.H., Evolution of the Sikh Community, Delhi, 1975.
    9. Jurgensmeyer, M., and N.G. Barrier (eds,) Sikh Studies: Comparative Perspectives on Changing Traditions, CA: Berkeley,

    </DIR></DIR>source:
    http://www.gurunanakdarbar.net/files/1DUTIES_FUNCTIONS_AND_QUALIFICATION_OF_A_GRANTHI.p df
     
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  5. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh
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    Thank you both for insight into this matter.

    I consider the values described by Gyani ji as reflected in his father to be an obvious requirement for anyone who wants to be a good granthi, but on a more specific educational note: Do you think that if I spend a few years studying at Dam Dami Taksal, and then spend a few years as an assistant granthi while attending college majoring in Sikh studies with the eventual goal of a PhD. Of course I will be perfecting my musical abilities during this time as well. Keep in mind that I do not speak Punjabi yet, and have much to learn about Sikhi, so I am planning on taking about 8-10 years of intense study before I will even consider working as a head granthi. Even when I do become a granthi this does not mean I do not continue to study and learn, I consider being a granthi to require lifelong learning, although my formal education will be about 8-10 years after my associates degree.

    From a purely educational perspective, does this sound like a reasonable plan?
    What colleges in India have the best programs in Sikh Studies?

    I am already working on the other qualities a granthi should have described by Gyani ji (and really these are the qualities any Sikh should have as granthis are not superior to other Sikhs), and I believe those qualities will require a lifetime to master.:eek:rangesingh: :redturban: :blueturban: :happysingh: :happysingh: One day I shall be like them!
     
  6. spnadmin

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    Hardas Singh ji

    It is not for me to tell you what to think, however, before chosing the path of Damdami Taksal, there are some things to think about.

    Damdami studies will certainly earn you the reputation of a scholar within that tradition. However the rehat of Damdami differs from the Sikh Rehat Maryada in many significant ways. There is a link to the rehat

    http://www.damdamitaksaal.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=68

    Granthis' of Damdami Taksal do not necessarily feel an obligation to marry and be householders. Many remain celibate.

    Therefore you limit your opportunities to serve as granthi among the rank and file sangats, and can possibly become a lightening rod for political controversy for any particular sangat. Damdami Taksal's star rose in the panth when Jarnail Singh Bindhranwale ji was their jathedar. Before that DT was not much known. Moreover, the "intellectual" credentials of DT do not necessarily make one an ideal candidate for granthi in every situation. And there are many Sikhs who believe that the reputation of "intellectual" is self-serving on the part of DT itself.




    Here is a synopsis of DT orthodoxy from another source from http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sanat...g-khalsa-rehat-damdami-nihang-nanaskar-2.html


    The main centre of the present-day Damdami Taksal (Jadia Bhindran-Mehta) is located at Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkashat Mehta in Amritsar district. It is actually a branch of a major school of traditional Sikh learning known as die Bhindran Taksal. Although that Taksal was established by Sant Sundar Singh (1883-1930) of Boparai Kalan (in Ludhiana district) in 1906, it achieved prominence through its second incumbent, Sam Gurbachan Singh Khalsa (1902-69) of Bhindran Kalan (hence the name "Bhindran Taksal").33 He devoted his entire life to teaching correct enunciation and intonation in reciting die Sikh scriptures. He trained a large number of gianis (traditional Sikh scholars) through his mobile seminary. When he died in 1969 he was succeeded by two contenders, Giani Mohan Singh (1919-) and Sant Kartar Singh (1932-77), the former leading the original Malwa branch in Ludhiana district and the latter leading the Majha branch in Amritsar district. The influence of Bhindran Taksal is attested by the fact that its alumni include the head granthi ("reader" of die Sikh scriptures) at the Golden Temple, jathedars ("commanders") of various Sikh takhats ("thrones") and granthis of major gurdwaras of historical significance. In the recent past an incumbent of the Majha branch of this school was Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale (1947-84), who achieved world-wide attention when he died along with many other Sikhs during the Indian army's assault on the Golden Temple complex in June 1984. Among North American Sikhs his death is perceived as an example of martyrdom and his picture is displayed in many gurdwaras.

    The procedure for the amrit-ceremony adopted by [he Damdami Taksal includes certain distinctive features from the manual called Gurmat Rahit Maryada.^ First, each of the five officiants holds an unsheathed sword (kirpan) on his left shoulder with his left hand (in such a way that the handle of the sword touches the iron bowl), while he is stirring the sweetened water with a double-edged sword (khanda) in his right hand. The divine presence is made manifest in the amrit-ceremony through the burnished steel of the unsheathed sword. When an officiant completes the recitation of the assigned prayer from memory he passes on both the kirpan and the khanda to the next one. Second, the Taksal maintains that during the "heroic posture" (bir asan) the left knee should be laid on the ground and the right knee should be held upright. This is the reverse of the description given in the standard manual, the Sikh Rahit Maryada, wherein the right knee is laid on the ground and the left is held upright.

    Third, the Damdami Taksal insists on the recitation of the complete Mul Man tar (from ikh oankar to nanak hosi bhi such) during the amrit-ceremony. This is in line with the stand taken by the followers of the Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj and Nihangs who stress the recitation of the complete Mul Mantar. They argue that this tradition has come directly from the time of the Gurus, and there is reliable evidence to support this contention. For instance, the Kamar Kassa or body armor of Guru Gobind Singh, preserved at Moti Bagh Palace Museum in Patiala, does contain the inscription of complete Mul Man tar,J1 In order to buttress its claim to orthodoxy, the Taksal has issued its own version of the Khalsa discipline which it outlines in the manual Gurmat Rahit Maryada. Copies of this text were freely distributed throughout North America in 1986 and the following years. This was the time when Bhindranwale's influence was at the peak.

    f.
     
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  7. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh
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    Narayanjot kaur ji,
    Thank you for your insight, I will have to do some research into the various rehats I guess before I make a decision.

    Which rehat is closest to what Guru ji wanted?

    I really admire some of the past leaders of Dam Dami Taksal, but perhaps I am just naive. Just because I study at Dam Dami Taksal does that mean I must blindly agree with everything they say? I see nothing wrong with a granthi being celibate, but I see no advantage either. Do all Dam Dami Taksal granthis remain celibate, is celibacy considered more pious to them?

    Any suggestions on where I should study if not at Dam Dami Taksal?
     
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  8. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh
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    I have finished reading through the various rehats (although only english translations), and I have come to some conclusions:

    For the most part it seems like the various rehats agree with the Orthodox mainstream Sikh rehat. The big differences between the Sikh rehat and the other rehats is that the other rehats seem to have added extra rules in addition to the normal Sikh rehat, such as wear blue, don't wear red, do not eat with non-Amritdharees, etc. There is nothing anti-gurmat about the Sikh rehat maryada, although I personally feel it could be improved and clarified (the principles remain the same of course, because Gurbani never needs improvement). The other rehats on the other hand leave me feeling confused...why should I only eat with amritdharees, this does not seem in line with gurbani's idea of equality? We are Sikhs, not brahmins who run about worrying someones shadow will make our food impure.

    The Sikh rehat maryada was put together by many Sikh scholars from different backgrounds based on gurbani and Sikh history. The other rehats seem to have been put together by at best a few scholars from the same background who shared the same opinion. So I feel that the Sikh rehat maryada is the most accurate.

    I tend to be a hardliner when it comes to Sikhi, and that is what attracts me to places like Damdami Taksal, their rehat seems so strict, but it is also because I am a hardliner that I can not blindly accept whatever a particular group of Sikhs tell me until I see what Guru ji has to say about it.

    From what I've read, I have a lot of respect for Sant Bhindranwale, Bhai Randhir Singh. I have always had a love for the nihangs, and I believe there are many gursikhs who have come from the Damdami Taksal, Nihang, and Akhand Kirtani Jatha schools of thought, but I can not advocate blindly following someone just because some past gursikhs have come from them.
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    You have made some self-discoveries. Based on you comments in the above post, Hardasji, I guess the question in quotes needs to be answered.

    Let's hear from dalkbirk ji and other mods on this point. :) Soul_jyot ji has started to point us in the helpful direction.
     
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  10. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh
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    The only place that comed to mind for training granthis is Shahid Sikh Missionary College run by SGPC. The program is only 2 years long, but of course after that I will be an assistant granthi for a few years. They also train preachers and ragis.

    There is also Sikh missionary college, but I do not know if they train granthis or if they just teach about Sikhism in general although I've heard they are good.
     
  11. spnadmin

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    Why don't you send private messages to Gyani Jarnail Singh Arshi, Soul_jyot, dalbir, and namjap all jios to find out what they may know about how to proceed?
     
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  12. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    My younger brother the Dr KS Dhillon in Soul Jyot's article is very knowledgeable on this matter as he was in the forefront of the Guru nanak Darbar Boston set up from scratch to what it is today. Send him an email and he will set you on the correct path.
     

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