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Why do Chaur Sahib ?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Luckysingh, Nov 17, 2013.

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  1. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Chaur Sahib is an implement normally found next to the Manji sahib where the Sri Guru Granth is pla sahib is placed during the day within the Gurdwara's darbar sahib(Main Hall). The Chaur is used to fan the Granth as a sign of reverence and respect for the scriptures. These days, the chaur is usually constructed from yak hair mounted in a wooden or metal handle. The sevadaar (volunteer) respectfully waves the Chaur Sahib above the Guru Sahib as a sign of respect and dedication.
    (from sikhiwikhi)

    [​IMG]
    The questions are-
    -Why have the chaur sahib when we have electric fans that can provide a healthy flow of air and keep any flies away ?
    -Is this not a ritual that is just pure outwardly behavior ?
    -If it is not a ritual, then what is it ?


    It would be interesting to see the different views and discussions on this since I have found lately that phrases or words like; vedic or blind practices keep getting thrown about to try and define gurmat, as if trying to enclose gurmat in a box. But I sense that sometimes, we don't actually understand the differences between different aspects of approach to Waheguru.
     

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  3. Harry Haller

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    Luckyji

    If I may jumble your post about a bit...

    Why have the chaur sahib when we have electric fans that can provide a healthy flow of air and keep any flies away ?

    The Chaur is used to fan the Granth as a sign of reverence and respect for the scriptures

    Is this not a ritual that is just pure outwardly behavior ?

    The sevadaar (volunteer) respectfully waves the Chaur Sahib above the Guru Sahib as a sign of respect and dedication.

    If it is not a ritual, then what is it ?

    a sign of reverence and respect for the scriptures
     
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  4. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Yes, but how is this different to pouring milk over statues and putting money and food offerings on the feet of murtis ?
    Do we contradict ourselves by conducting practices to 'show' our respect and dedication ?

    I really need a stronger answer to convince me that we differentiate between blind, empty practices and True practice of inner devotion !:winkingmunda:
     
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  5. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Sikhism is a pragmatic and non ritualistic religion, how can you compare a statue, or an image to the written word of God? Can you read a statue, or learn anything from it? Can the answers to the meaning of life be found by offering food to an image? No, but read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and both answers would be yes. To show respect to such a source of divine wisdom is nothing to do with ritual, I would happily show similar respect to any divine wisdom regardless of source, after all, the truth is the truth.

    We contradict oursrelves every day, our Gurdwaras contradict themselves, the world is full of compromise, if Guru Nanakji were to appear today I think he would be dissapointed to see how much of Sikhism has fallen to ritual. I did have a look at a few other forums on the same topic, and was amazed to see many, many references to how hold the Chaur Sahib, how long to swing it for, how long to pause for, what can be earned karam wise the longer you do it, etc etc, it is these practices that are contradictory, to show love for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as opposed to showing others is the issue.

    Why? are you telling me that every Sikh in Gurdwara today is focused on Creator? Most Sikhs, as you well know, are social Sikhs, they know all the traditions, rituals, and practices, and they are good at them, that makes them Sikhs!.Sikhism today is full of empty practices and even emptier people, those that practice true inner devotion tend to keep it to themselves which is why Sikhism appears to be the best kept secret in the world
     
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  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Luckysingh ji

    Although "gurmat" cannot be "enclosed in a box" it is enclosed in a granth. Gurmat cannot be anything anyone with a spiritual bent would like it to be. It therefore cannot be an extension of other philosophies, nor viewed as a special case of brahminical or vedic teachings. Gurmat is found in the ShabadGuru, and through the shabad gurmat is demonstrated in righteous living.

    Gurmat means literally the Guru's teachings with Gur = the possessive of Guru, meaning "of the Guru" or "belonging to the Guru"; and Mat meaning teachings or wisdom. Therefore, Gurmat = Guru's teachings.

    Because there is for us only 1 Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, then Gurmat is found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and nowhere else.


    The gurmat thing to do is to go to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to find out what the shabad tells us gurmat is.

    SriRaag, Ang 30, words of Guru Amardas ji


    ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੩ ॥
    Sirīrāg mėhlā 3.
    Siree Raag, Third Mehl:

    ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਸਚੁ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਦੇਇ ॥
    Sacẖā sāhib sevī▫ai sacẖ vadi▫ā▫ī ḏe▫e.
    Serve your True Lord and Master, and you shall be blessed with true greatness.

    ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥
    Gur parsādī man vasai ha▫umai ḏūr kare▫i.
    By Guru's Grace, He abides in the mind, and egotism is driven out.

    ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਤਾ ਰਹੈ ਜਾ ਆਪੇ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥੧॥
    Ih man ḏẖāvaṯ ṯā rahai jā āpe naḏar kare▫i. ||1||
    This wandering mind comes to rest, when the Lord casts His Glance of Grace. ||1||

    ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ॥
    Bẖā▫ī re gurmukẖ har nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e.
    O Siblings of Destiny, become Gurmukh, and meditate on the Name of the Lord.

    ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਸਦ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਹਲੀ ਪਾਵੈ ਥਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    Nām niḏẖān saḏ man vasai mahlī pāvai thā▫o. ||1|| rahā▫o.
    The Treasure of the Naam abides forever within the mind, and one's place of rest is found in the Mansion of the Lord's Presence. ||1||Pause||


    ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਤਿਸ ਨਉ ਠਉਰ ਨ ਠਾਉ ॥
    Manmukẖ man ṯan anḏẖ hai ṯis na▫o ṯẖa▫ur na ṯẖā▫o.
    The minds and bodies of the self-willed manmukhs are filled with darkness; they find no shelter, no place of rest.

    ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭਉਦਾ ਫਿਰੈ ਜਿਉ ਸੁੰਞੈਂ ਘਰਿ ਕਾਉ ॥
    Baho jonī bẖa▫uḏā firai ji▫o suñaiʼn gẖar kā▫o.
    Through countless incarnations they wander lost, like crows in a deserted house.

    ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਘਟਿ ਚਾਨਣਾ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਉ ॥੨॥
    Gurmaṯī gẖat cẖānṇā sabaḏ milai har nā▫o. ||2||
    Through the Guru's Teachings, the heart is illuminated. Through the Shabad, the Name of the Lord is received. ||2||


    ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਗੁਬਾਰ ॥
    Ŧarai guṇ bikẖi▫ā anḏẖ hai mā▫i▫ā moh gubār.
    In the corruption of the three qualities, there is blindness; in attachment to Maya, there is darkness.

    ਲੋਭੀ ਅਨ ਕਉ ਸੇਵਦੇ ਪੜਿ ਵੇਦਾ ਕਰੈ ਪੂਕਾਰ ॥
    Lobẖī an ka▫o sevḏe paṛ veḏā karai pūkār.
    The greedy people serve others, instead of the Lord, although they loudly announce their reading of scriptures.

    ਬਿਖਿਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਨਾ ਉਰਵਾਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਰੁ ॥੩॥
    Bikẖi▫ā anḏar pacẖ mu▫e nā urvār na pār. ||3||
    They are burnt to death by their own corruption; they are not at home, on either this shore or the one beyond. ||3||

    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਜਗਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲਿ ॥
    Mā▫i▫ā mohi visāri▫ā jagaṯ piṯā parṯipāl.
    In attachment to Maya, they have forgotten the Father, the Cherisher of the World.

    ਬਾਝਹੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਚੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਬਧੀ ਜਮਕਾਲਿ ॥
    Bājẖahu gurū acẖeṯ hai sabẖ baḏẖī jamkāl.
    Without the Guru, all are unconscious; they are held in bondage by the Messenger of Death.

    ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਉਬਰੇ ਸਚਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥੪॥੧੦॥੪੩॥
    Nānak gurmaṯ ubre sacẖā nām samāl. ||4||10||43||
    O Nanak, through the Guru's Teachings, you shall be saved, contemplating the True Name. ||4||10||43||


    Guru Nanak tells us that the shabad is the ladder, it is the path through the khands and takes us beyond the gunas to the jyote, and with that to dharma.

    This does not get to your question of the "chaur" but does address the last part of your comments.
     
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  7. spnadmin

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    In October it is traditional to wash statues of Ganesha with milk or submerge his image in a body of running water, then give him a new suit of clothes. Among some sangats of Sikhs it is traditional to cleanse temples with milk. I would think it is a matter of debate whether this is showing respect or continuing with a mahant tradition.

    Is it an expression of "true" inner devotion? Or is it even a reverent practice consistent with the Sikh Rehat Maryada? No, often we do not differentiate between empty practices and what you term "true" practice of inner devotion. Outward show may or may not be an indicator that devotion is happening within.

    Sikh soldiers in World War I carried the sacred granth to foxholes and across battle fields, without chaur and without milk to cleanse their surroundings, and they nonetheless had created sacred spaces. Inner devotion occurs where the Guru is present, within and without, according to his grace. This is the mansion of his presence.

    The chaur is not supposed to be viewed as a sign of spirituality. Waving a chaur becomes a ritual when individuals and sangats believe that waving is more than showing reverence for the Guru and for the history of our religious traditions. That holds for wrapping Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for sukasan in 20 layers of rumalas, or singing and beating drums when taking Guruji out of the darbar for sukhasan. People believe this shows spirituality in error; giaan changes us.
     
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  8. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Quote:
    Yes, but how is this different to pouring milk over statues and putting money and food offerings on the feet of murtis ?
    Sikhism is a pragmatic and non ritualistic religion, how can you compare a statue, or an image to the written word of God? Can you read a statue, or learn anything from it? Can the answers to the meaning of life be found by offering food to an image? No, but read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and both answers would be yes. To show respect to such a source of divine wisdom is nothing to do with ritual, I would happily show similar respect to any divine wisdom regardless of source, after all, the truth is the truth.

    I think one shows respect to the written word by actually reading and applying it to ones' life, rather than by fanning it in a show of respect.


    Among some sangats of Sikhs it is traditional to cleanse temples with milk. I would think it is a matter of debate whether this is showing respect or continuing with a mahant tradition.
    When my wife and I went to Harmandir Sahib we met a 3HO couple and they were explaining,completely awestruck,how the temple was washed every night with milk.
    My first thought was that it was a waste of good milk. Not knowing the tradition of washing things in milk,the thought crossed my mind that maybe milk is a good cleaning product for marble.
     
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  9. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I think Harryji nailed it quite well above, especially the 'truth' reference.
    The above was also very inspiring and got me thinking further.
    ....Difference between idol worship of murti example compared to our Granth sahib is that, The murti is ''incomplete'', ie. although God/guru is everywhere and in everything, he cannot be in complete form in the murti. However, the Granth sahib is complete and is revered as if it is Guruji's human/physical form.
    In other words, the Granth Sahib is a sargun(physical) saroop of complete Guruji and from it, through the shabad, we can experience both the sargun(of form) and nirgun(formless) saroop.

    Hence, we treat it like the King of Kings by giving it a throne, palki, rumallas and chaur sahib. I believe maharajas of the time were sat on a throne(manji), had a canopy, were raised above everyone else, were dressed beautifully and were also continuously fanned by servants.

    Showing satkar, respect, dedication and devotion in these acts should make sense to most of us. I hope, it also helps us distinguish and differentiate from blind and forbidden rituals.

    I was actually all fine understanding and accepting this. However, I started the thread so as to make sure we were all in the same boat of comprehending on this matter at this stage before i went on to the next.

    This takes me to the next step which is probably going to cause a little confusion and maybe ''rock the boat''.........(it certainly confuses me!)

    - My concern is the ''Arti art'' ??
    I don't just mean singing the arti after Rehraas, I mean the actual deeva-deep act of having the jyots in a tray and waving or holding before Guruji.
    I believe this was also done in the times of maharajas for these kings but it is also done for pooja service to stone idols.
    I believe Deevas were lit for the arrival of Guru ji (bandi chor diwas) and when rajas of the time would visit through successions or to mark special occasions of the dynasty.

    I know that that the SGPC rehat prohibits this physical practice of arti-art, but it is an important maryada of other major takhts like Hazur sahib and Patna sahib...etc

    My point and concern is that-
    Do we not see this in the same light because SGPC specifically prohibits it or do we see it as somewhat an empty and blind ritual ?
    I don't feel that we should question or bad mouth the maryada of the takhts that do conduct this practice. Because, I get the impression that no great enlightened leaders, mahapurshs ,sants or scholars have ever spoken bad about these other maryadas.

    Personally,and being honest, from what I now understand and comprehend about the 'king of kings' status to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, I actually wouldn't feel to concerned if arti-arta wasn't prohibited by SGPC.

    Am I missing something, or am I taking this too many steps too far ?
    Or maybe, I just see it as an act of praise for the almighty king of kings, maharaj satguru saroop. I don't see it as any kind of puja or worship for that matter.
    I would appreciate some help with helping me learn and conquer this topic!!0:)

    NOTE Adminji,I'm sorry, maybe the title should be ''why do chaur sahib and not arti?''............hoping it doesn't go off topic!
     
  10. spnadmin

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    No it is not off topic. Sooner or later someone had to confront the issue head on. In my mind much of the divisiveness stems from a misunderstanding of the meaning "There is one Sikhi." The more we insist there is "one" the more we notice there isn't. Most of the time the term is used politically, and those using don't even realize that. I will come back to this later, I promise. To me it is key to why the ritual of aarti is not the same as waving a chaur, and why the ritual of aarti cannot be part of Guru Nanak's revolutionary philosophy.

    Putting people down who swoon for chaur-seva, or who conduct aarti, is problematic when it is mean-spirited. Bad-mouthing, as you put it, has to be placed into perspective and may not necessarily be so much bad-mouthing as bad manners abounding on the Internet. Peeling away the layers of understanding is rarely an outcome.

    Some of it, if not most of it, is boorish and lazy talk intended to put off the opposition. Such that one spends more time defending against a poorly reasoned, rude explosion of words meant to throw a person off balance, which in turn distracts everyone from the issue itself. In boxing this is called "rope-a-dope." All this accomplishes is a distortion of the signal/noise ratio. Less signal more noise.
     
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  11. Harry Haller

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    There are many Islamic and Vedic practices that are discouraged, not because such are wrong, but more so, in my belief, to forge a seperate identity for Sikhism.

    The way of Sikhism needs to be understood, it is a unique way of life that discourages ritual and ceremony, each of us in our own hearts know the difference between doing something for ceremony, and doing something for the self.

    The arti ceremony is heavily Vedic, the thinking behind it is Vedic, that is not to say it is wrong, it is just Vedic, and not Sikh. Counting rosary beads whilst chanting is Abrahamic, the truth of the matter is we yearn for more from the SGGS, it is not enough to have the ability to read and understand, and as Linzer stated, act, no, we want magic, we want to pray and hear rousing music as flames flicker and the Almighty himself hovers down and puts everything right, a personal Jesus, someone to hear your prayer, someone to care, reach out and touch faith! (thank you depeche mode).

    Sikhism just isnt sexy enough, give us artis and align us to all the major Vedic ceremonies, we want bells and drums, miracles, divine intervention.

    We have become the poor neighbour to Vedicism, watching it get into its new Mercedes Benz, and then scurrying down to the auto shop and buying silly looking body kits to spruce up our ageing Ford, hey look neighbour, we have a rear spoiler too, and a bit of nylon in the back windows looks like privacy glass, anything you can do, we can do, not maybe better, but certainly cheaper!

    What we do not realise is that our Ford can fly, high in the sky, if only we could understand how to drive it properly
     
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  12. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Yes, but it still doesn't explain ''Why do chaur sahib and not arti?'' given all the justifications for chaur sahib mentioned earlier.:confusedmunda:

    To say that one is more vedic than the other is not the answer, in my opinion.
    I don't feel that sikhi was formulated to be anti-vedic, it was more so against the higher priests/brahmins..etc.. that were misleading whilst giving the impressions that
    it was all according to vedas,shastraas and puranaas.
     
  13. Ishna

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    Did Sikhs do Chaur seva of Guru Sahib when he was a person? (that sentence sounds weird!)
     
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  14. spnadmin

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    Lucky ji

    What is being preserved by the Chaur Sahib (which btw means Sir Flyswatter or Flyswatter my Lord and Master !) ? Seva of Chaur Sahib remembers a practical act (to rid the area of insects and keep the air cooler and drier in the fierce Indian heat). The memory is retained in a loving way.

    What is being enacted by aarti? Performing an aarti is not a matter of preserving or maintaining a loving and caring attitude toward Guru Granth Sahib. Performing aarti has religious content. Aarti is a religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light is offered to one or more deities.

    Chaur Sahib does not have any religious content; it is based on remembrance, nothing more.

    In Shabad aarti Guru Nanak describes the movement of stars and planets as the true aarti. In other words, no devotional practices or religious rites are required to recognize the stunning majesty of the creation of Waheguru. He is telling sangat that creation is already aligned, no puja is required.

    Aartis also refer to the bachans sung to the deity that is the object of the aarti.

    Here is a bachan for Ganesh

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg88CknV1zY

    Are we going to say that shabad kirtan is also like aarti? Chaur Sahib and aarti come from very different categories of religious experience.
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    I was getting p**ped and wanted to pack it in for the night, when I realized that your question raises a very key point.

    There could have been no seva of Chaur Sahib before 1604 because the Aad Granth had not yet been compiled, nor had it been installed in Harimandir Sahib. What happened after that? Refresh my memory. Are there any written descriptions of a typical sangat service during the Guru period? Or even before the Sikh Rehat Maryada?

    If they are, are chaur mentioned?

    We know or imagine from artistic representations of the Gurus that sewadhars can be seen waving a chaur above their heads. That we see especially in the miniature paintings of the Persian-Mughal period (which comes several generations after Guru Nanak).

    In the palaces of the wealthy and powerful slaves and servants fanned their masters with chaur. Now I am left wondering if the Persian-Mughal images are projections of kings onto our Gurus. Were our Gurus themselves even fanned with chaur?
     
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  16. Kamala

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    Sat Sri Akal,
    Uhh, I thought we were comparing the Chaur Sahib to Abhisheking Idols.
    Anyways, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji does give those answers, but does doing the Chaur Sahib?

    We are comparing Abhishekam and the Chaur Sahib.. not Murtis vs Idols.

    If you want to talk about Abhishekam, I have watched Abhishekam on the floors of the Gurudwaras.
     
  17. spnadmin

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    Kamala ji

    Another digression. Let's agree that Abishekam is a form of a puja, which like the vedic aarti, is acted out. Libations are poured onto idols whilst mantras are chanted. If you saw this in a gurdwara I would be surprised. Perhaps you saw this in a dera of a unique sect. Even at Harmandir Sahib where the floors are cleaned with milk, nothing similar to a puja is occurring. In 3HO ashrams where Darshan Sahib is cleaned with milk a "debatable" tradition of ishnaan is occurring, definitely not a puja. No one is worshiping the floor in either example, and only the floor is getting wet. Cleaning is occurring and there is no puja of idols involved. It is sewa not ritual.

    In this thread we are discussing sewa of Chaur Sahib. You have a habit of introducing concepts that are not on the radar screen of Gurmat as found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They seem to come from your personal cultural experience only. Please stop interrupting with these digressions, and speaking as if they are widely held truths. Thanks.
     
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  18. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Yes they did...a CHARBARDAAR always stood behind Guru Ji ...back then it served a PRACTICAL PURPOSE...but today its more of a ritual..
     
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  19. spnadmin

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    I did not realize that.
     
  20. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Thanks Gyaniji. I went to Gurdwara a long time ago with some dear aunties on a Saturday to prep for Sunday langar and we had to get the key from Gyaniji beforehand because he wasn't going to be home and the first thing we did was go to Darbar Sahib and matha tek and one auntie went and got the chaur sahib and did about three or four waves.

    It felt good to watch.
     
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  21. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    Maybe you guys remember the studnet and now friend i mentioned in one of the earlier posts ( which was mistaken for me criticising/judging him due to he being first at simran and having maala gutka in hsi ahdn 24/7 etc etc)..well on the subject of Chaur Sahib...he has a different viewpoint too...he believes ALL the TEN GURUS are there before him (SGGS)..so the Chaur Bardaar has to take great care to wave the chaur...because one of the GURUS is just the five year old Guru harkishan Ji....about 4ft tall..and Guru hargobind Ji at about 6ft++..and so ON..so the Chaur may be HITTING Guru harkishan ji on his face..while swiping around the wasit of Guru hargobind Ji...This is NOT a JOKE..he truly beleives it and thus its sight to see him chaurring...while he seeks to treat all the various sized 10 Gurus EQUALLY...
     
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