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Bathing In Sacred Water

Feb 28, 2010
Sat Sri Akal
Can someone please advice me as to what gurubani says about bathing in sacred waters. As far as I am aware it's prohibited but time and time again we see Sikhs bathing in golden temples nod hemkunt sahib sarovar. Taking pure water from hazoor sahib etc.
What's the reason for that ? And if this is allowed then how can we talk about Hindus taking bath in Ganga .. Etc?


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
gurtej kubbarji

In my opinion all your questions are good and Gurbani has much to say about bathing in sacred waters, in many places. Let me post this small part from SriRaag, Ang 17, because it touches on ideas you are expressing here.

ਗੁਰੁ ਪਉੜੀ ਬੇੜੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੁ ਤੁਲਹਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਉ ॥
गुरु पउड़ी बेड़ी गुरू गुरु तुलहा हरि नाउ ॥
Gur pa▫oṛī beṛī gurū gur ṯulhā har nā▫o.
The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name.

ਗੁਰੁ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਬੋਹਿਥੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥
गुरु सरु सागरु बोहिथो गुरु तीरथु दरीआउ ॥
Gur sar sāgar bohitho gur ṯirath ḏarī▫ā▫o.
The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River.

ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਊਜਲੀ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ॥੩॥
जे तिसु भावै ऊजली सत सरि नावण जाउ ॥३॥ Je ṯis bẖāvai ūjlī
saṯ sar nāvaṇ jā▫o. ||3||
If it pleases Him, I bathe in the Pool of Truth, and become radiant and pure. ||3||

Does Gurbani forbid bathing in sacred waters? I do not think "Forbid' is the right word.

Gurbani makes us aware that the act is pointless if what we are seeking is to be people of goodness, people who are God-centered.

Gurbani makes us aware that truth, humility and compassion are better than water. That any goodness we attain is according to gurprasaad. So why go through all the motions of pilgrimage to sacred pools and rivers?

Skhs do this because local culture is hard to break away from. Perhaps because even in India study of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not taken up by the majority. Perhaps because Sikhi itself has been divided on the question of whether Guru Nanak broke away from the brahminical system, and its beliefs and rituals.

Gurbani tells us it is better to bathe in a "pool of Truth" the shabadguru itself.

When we see things differently it is a sign that we have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to delve deeply into Guruji's message.

I do not think we disrespect those who make pilgrimages to bathe in sacred waters like the Ganges when we say this is not our chosen path. I do think we need to understand why we have not chosen that path. Being clear about our choice, understanding it, is not ridicule.
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Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Beautifully explained spnadmin ji...

Gurbani tells us.."IF just BATHING...made us clean spiritually..then All the FISH..all the FROGS...etc would be more cleaner spiritually than any of us..."

Gurbani tells us that..IF Going naked made us more spiritual (Hindu sadhus called nangeh sadhus go naked for life)....then ALL the Deers, the elephants, dogs, cattle, camels, tigers etc etc would be way MORE spiritual than us because they are way more "naked" than us...

Gurbani tells us..That IF "Fasting" made us more spiritual..then many hundreds of thousands go HUNGRY on a regular basis..those poor beggars would be way more spiritual than us who eat our fill daily...( many animals HIBERNATE for periods as long as 6 months during which they never EAT at all )

SO YES...Gurbani doesnt "FORBID"...in so many words..it just ADVISES us..of the follies of all these rituals..being followed blindly...Back in the days of the Gurus..water sources were SCARCE...and many were actually CONTROLLED by HIGH CASTES..and the Lower castes were actually FORBIDDEN form ever going to those water sources/wells/sarovars under pain of DEATH/serious punishments...The GURUS constructed Saarovars for ALL..dug wells baolis etc for ALL...to create EQUALITY which Gurmatt promotes...back then it was DUSTY travelling for weeks on foot...a bath in the sarovar was a dire necessity..today we come in AC cars direct from home without setting foot outside...and after a leisurely hot water bath form the house...no necessity to bath in the sarovar !!! Back then FOOD was also scarce..Gurus provided Parshaad..Langgars for ALL...todya most OVER FED SIKHS catually AVOID Kaarah parshaad due to cholestrol/ghee/diabetes etc...and take langgar in small amounts for same reasons....( I remeber as a small boy my dad cooking 18KG Ghee Karrah Parshaad and people would open up BOTH PALMS for a HUGE SERVING..and take two or more servings later..TODAY even for a Maximum Crowd..the Ghee is never more than 2 KG...and the KP is cooked on a kitchen stove in small krrahi.....the 18KG karrahi my dad used to use can accomodate a full grown Man !!...How Times CHANGE....GURBANI is LOGICAL..PRACTICAL..FOR ALL TIME and all places...use its advise LIBERALLY !!!
Oct 18, 2012
water cannot wash our sins.. it s the love in our heart to god, that is washing our sins..dirt on the body can be wash by water, but dirt in the mind is wash thru love to god. if you are searching for this pool, it is inside of us not outside. thanks

Brother Onam

Jul 11, 2012
Sat Sri Akal, family,
If I may add another dimension to the considerations...
In the Shabad Hajaarae it is stated: "You permeate the water, land and sky", so Har is present in the water. Not just in a general, metaphorical sense, but in actual fact; water is a sacred thing.
For a spiritual soul it is incumbent to recognize the sacredness of our blessed Creation; that Har Har Himself has bequeathed us this living world and is in fact present in it, and to take it for granted or view it as mundane is the greatest ingratitude. Consider please: if a man is very thirsty, he will find it hard to do or concentrate on anything else, and before long, water will become the most crucial thing in the world to him. Nothing else will matter, no opinions, preferences, politics, ideals, religions, he must have water.
When we want to drink water, to bathe a baby, to nurture the sick, to water a flower or a field of rice, to cook, -we want pure water. It is absolutely essential and it is the prasaad of God to all living things; it is a sacred element. But in this dark jug in which we live, people view water as a handy resource to be exploited, polluted and used as a convenient waste remover in the form of rivers and oceans. Basically a flowing trash bin.
This is the view of the non-believers, but among spiritual souls we must recognize the real divinity in water.
"There is no sacred land and un-sacred land, there is only sacred land and desecrated land." -Wendell Berry
This quote can also be transposed to water. All water is sacred, so the task of a spiritual soul ought to be ever to regard water, all water, as holy water, and treat it as such.
I believe the Gurus were cautioning against the errant belief that certain waters are charged to wash away sin, and bathing there can undo a life of lawlessness. But in the mindset of holiness, there is no wrong in bathing in the pool of Amritsar, but rather that we extend our spiritual understanding to recognize Waheguru in all the waters He has entrusted us with.


Dec 3, 2011
But in the mindset of holiness, there is no wrong in bathing in the pool of Amritsar, but rather that we extend our spiritual understanding to recognize Waheguru in all the waters He has entrusted us with.

I agree.
I don't see anything wrong with bathing at Amritsar either as long as you realise that it is not some magic purity that will wash your sins.
If someone makes a trip half way across the world, then you should take the opportunity to bathe in there. To me it is just like going all the way to Hawaii or Bahamas and then going on the beach without taking a dip!! - I just would not go there and come back without even the ''toe test'' or any submerging !

Water is sacred and very essential to mankind and nature. It is a core part of life and creation as is air and land.



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