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Cheating Waheguru (God) - Proxy Won't Work In Sikhi


Sep 24, 2004
What makes a good bargain and what doesn't? I start with two of the finest minds among the Sikhs that I have met. First I will tell you that they are superbly well honed intellects. Then I want you to know that they are Sikhs who seem to want to practice Sikhi - and are satisfied that they do so. The question is how well do the two attributes (virtues) here inter-mesh in real life?

Of these two Sikhs, one is a brilliant scientist with an absolutely first-rate track record of research and several lucrative patents under his belt. Recently, he and his wife were most anxious to visit Amritsar in Punjab for a few days.

Why? Because they had a contractual agreement with the management of the premier historical gurdwara there. On payment of a handsome fee, a reading of the entire Guru Granth would be completed in their names and for the benefit of their family by the functionaries there. So the two of them just had to be there at the time and day when the last four pages were to be read.

They were willing to a pay an exorbitant sum above and beyond the usual tariff so that the airline and hotels would accommodate them.

In many Sikh homes, a reading of the Guru Granth is always in progress. My wife and I, too, follow such practice and it takes us about a year to complete the 1430 page volume. Not so long ago, when we were still new to the community and it was time to complete the reading, we decided to make a public celebration of it by inviting the community.

That brings me to the second prominent Sikh that I wish to mention - an important mover and shaker; a superbly dedicated Sikh, highly visible as a spokesman for Sikh causes and a successful businessman blessed with the proverbial Midas touch. He approached us and wondered if he could join us in the function to complete his own reading of the Guru Granth at the same time along with us.

We welcomed the opportunity to share our delight but we were not aware that his reading of the Guru Granth was also near completion. When asked, his answer floored us. "At any given time," he said, "we have many readings simultaneously going on in India that we sponsor every year so we can complete one just about any time that we wish to. We have standing contractual agreements with many gurdwaras in India; we send them the fee; they credit the reading to us and pray for us. This is how we accumulate our record of good deeds in this life - the benefits accrue to us in our prosperity every day."

I was flabbergasted.

Isn't that what Martin Luther railed against? He saw it as the selling of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. Isn't this what the Brahmins do every day? When the clergy insists that they are the only middlemen who can guarantee that our prayers and payments reach an otherwise unapproachable God, doesn't religion then become a closed shop - a commercial business?

We tend to forgive such outlandish behavior traits by pigeonholing them under creative and interesting rationalizations; to wit: 1) mysterious are the ways of God and these people will change when the grace of God and Guru leads them to do so - this smacks of the classical pattern of passive-aggressive behavior that appears to be a defining trait of Indian culture; 2) these are different manifestations of devotion (shrdha) that mandate our acceptance and respect, even though such practices clearly contravene the teaching in Guru Granth; any critical aspersions on it are inappropriate; or 3) a miscellaneous box labeled "Where is the harm?"

And then my mind went to the business that I have plied much of my life. I have taught at a university where students usually become physicians and dentists - professions in which they are guaranteed a place reasonably high up in the food chain.

It is the business of education, no matter where and in what, that I want to talk about. Think with me a moment. How do we educate our children to make a living?

We enroll them in schools - the best that we can afford. The children need to complete some assignments that have to be done in class and some that must be completed at home. Home work is not done in class; class work is not done at home. But the two complement each other.

If our child is not doing so well in a given subject, we are expected to meet the teacher and explore alternative strategies to help the child. We engage tutors; we spend more personal time with home work. We create study teams. Progress is important; success is critical.

Never ever does the thought come to our mind that the teacher could read the books and complete the lessons for the child and the benefit will somehow accrue to the child. No parent or student ever claims that the child has no time for home work or even class work but that graduation is critical -- so perhaps a teacher would do the work while the child stays out of class.

Such a suggestion would surely be absurd and summarily dismissed. Why? Because it is only by doing his or her own work that a child will ever learn to read or write or get the training to make a living. The child will likely not survive in this world without mastering some fundamental skills that schooling offers.

From matters of faith, I don't intend to learn how to make a living but I surely do wish to know how to make a life.

How then can I reason that if I am too busy to read the Guru Granth myself or translate its lessons, then someone else - a granthi, rabbi, minister or priest - could be paid to do all that scut work in my behalf and that would sort of grease my way into some kind of heaven with a modicum of "godly" approval.

I know that we tend to dismiss our failures along the spiritual path with the sanctimonious "It will come as and when the Spirit moves me or the Guru wills it."

I ask you: Can we forgive our lack of progress along regular schooling and the professional path with equally glib explanations? Can I say, academic success will come as and when the teacher wills it? And I need not work so hard on it now. These would be universally seen as what they are - not so attractive or clever cop-outs.

Let me see if I can explain it a bit more simply, tersely and directly.

Many years ago, there was a time when I worked a job at night to pay my way through graduate school. Many were the days when I was too worn out to learn much from a lecture or play catch up at home.

It never crossed my mind to say to my professors: I haven't the time to study and understand the assignments. But here I am paying my tuition. Can't the professors read and complete the assigned task on my behalf? Of course, I promise to come for the graduation.

Many of my students in medical and dental programs pay close to $50,000 per year in tuition alone. Would it be alright if one said: I am paying all that I have and can, and I am a dedicated student; I haven't the time (or the inclination and talent?) to do the home work and class work to master the requirements. I think it fair and reasonable that the teacher does the work in my name and the benefit comes to me. I'd be back to collect my diploma.

Or, can they offer a premium in fees and get this special dispensation?

If making a doctor, lawyer or engineer takes training and schooling that has to be completed by the student and not by proxy or by a substitute, why would it be different for making a Sikh, Jew, Christian, or what have you?

If making a living takes dedicated attention and work, wouldn't similar logic apply to the process of making a life?

In leaving our efforts to "when God and Guru wills it", are we not forgetting that the best prayer is honest self-effort?

I would think a diploma by proxy is a bad bargain both for the individual and for society.

Guru Granth advises us that everyone receives the rewards of his own actions ("Kīṯā āpo āpṇā āpe hī lekẖā sandẖī▫ai" - GGS:473) and to do ourselves what we need to do ("Āpaṇ hathī āpṇā āpe hī kāj savārī▫ai", GGS:474).

Life is one business where outsourcing just doesn't work.

It would be an unholy bargain.

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Gurmit Singh

Jan 29, 2009
Many thanks for sharing an Article written by Dr. Inder Jit Singh (USA), who has been awakening the Sikhs Globally for leading righteous and truthful life based on Gurbaani and Gurmatt as taught by the Gurus Sahibaan (1469 - 1708 CE).

However, with due respect, I wish to say that No one could cheat God - Waheguru and as such Heading could have been: "Cheating Ourselves" as rightly said that "proxy won't work in Sikhi".

(1) Paying handsome money for Akhand Paaths or the like has no meaning and as such the practice should not be followed by any Sikh family. Instead of guiding the Sikhs, most of the Sikh Institutes such as SGPC/DSGMC/Taksaals/Deravaad and the Head Ministers have been spreading brahminical rituals for the sake of money and cheap popularity that the person has donated money and paid for free Langar, etc. As explained by Dr. I. J. Singh, if I am hungry, I have to take food myself or say if I am having headache, then I must take Aspro and take rest, not by any other family member. Such a practice of Akhand Paath, Raihnswaiee kirtans, Sampt Paaths, etc. is not the right way to attain emancipation in life.

(2) Best way to learn Gurbaani Teachings, is to read Guru Granth Sahib from pages 1 to 1429 i.e. 5 - 10 pages daily and if any word or shabad is not very clear, the person should consult Darpan/Steek/Dictionary, etc. or to seek advice from other fellows. By completing all the pages, there is also no need to demonstrate that we have completed the Paath, which merely adds to one's ego. Let it be between the family and Akall Purakh that we have been doing our best to understand and practice the Gurus' Teachings with devotion and humility.

The Sikh Diaspora is requested - not to fall into the golden cage/trap or to entangle ourselves into the Fishnet knowingly, as spread out by the so-called custodians of Sikh religion. If possible, please do share with other awakened Sikhs.

With best wishes,
Gurmit Singh (Australia)
Nov 14, 2010
Sat Sri Akal, Dr. Singh,

As a proud descendant of Martin Luther (I'm guessing you don't get those here every day! :grinningkudi:) I agree with all you say here.

I am interested in hearing more about what are you think needs to be done in response to this. Are you interested in there being an official statement from a governing Sikh body stating that this practice is unacceptable? Are you wanting the gurdwaras that are currently accepting such payments to reject them going forward? Are you thinking that we, as individuals, should approach someone who is engaging in such behavior and admonish them to change their ways?

It is definitely a problematic issue, but given that it is what might be called a "victimless crime" (where, really, the main person being harmed is the person who is paying money and expecting to get the same result after 4 minutes of singing, prayer, and study that they would get from 4 weeks of it), how should it best be addressed?

Thank you!


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji,

What I share with you is my personal understanding only which in no way is absolute.

I offer my understanding on various aspects covered in the original post.

1. All the text of Siri Guru Granth Sahib tells us how to live and serve 'The Sat' to make our journey on earth meaningful and complete. The Granth Sahib should be ready and contemplated by the seeker itself. Naturally, the reading will be slow as the brain has to contemplate over it. Asimilation of the learning which gets expresses in the seekers life takes time. It is a solitary effort done mostly in in silence. This is what I understand from the idea of reading Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

2. Akand part too has importance in the life of the Panth. As assimilating the learning of Siri Guru Granth Sahib into one's own thoughts, speech and actions, i.e. real life is a solitary effort, it is done without open participation from others. Yet, we have to introduce our children the importance of Siri Guru Granth Sahib in our life and our and other's betterment. Akhand Paath is a concentrated public function where all participate with reverence towards Siri Guru Granth Sahib as an entity. It is later for the mothers and other caretakers including the father to introduce the child to the contents and teachings of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. The Child cannot preceive God as 'Nirakaar' - Formless; it requires lots of contemplation and mental delibration to to conceptualise the 'Nirakaar'. The child has to start with Akaar which is the the form of Siri Guru Granth Sahib, then as the child's understands the and reaches certain level of understanding where it gets the idea of Nirakaar, it will bow to the same Siri Guru Granth Sahib not for its form but from the knowledge contained in it; which we know is 'Nirakaar'. Going to Gurdwaras with children serves the same purpose. Akhand Paaths increase th number of opportunities for such visits. I am convinced that Akand Paaths as presently being performed serve a role in promoting Sikhi.

3. The idea of contracting out the Akhand Paath to remote places by funding the process, also has positive contribution at societal level. It keeps our religious institutions running. People get greater chance to listen to the text of Siri Guru Granth Sahib in serene environment of gurdwara.

4. Now I come to individuals who sponsor such Akhand Paath in far away places. When a person sponor such Paath, mentally she/he is convinced that success will come its way because of its doing so - this is nothing but faith, it is same as our prayers. If the faith that 'The Sat' is with the person involved, is absolute, then all our mental resources get tune to achieving it and I am convinced that our links to the cosmic forces too get activated to realise that end, which in most cases becomes a reality. The person succeeds, because of its faith in 'The Sat' and in what it is doing. Sponsored Akhand paath are only part of the process that generates such faith in impending success.

It does contributes to the Sikhi in amny ways; the person attributes its success to Waheguru ( which is our way of refering to 'Nirakaar', when one thinks of this word no image comes to mind - Our 'Nirakaar' remains 'Nirakaar'. Note the excellent way Guru Sahib has maintain the purity of the concept of Formless Absolute), the other feel the power of 'The sat' and in being associated with it. People in remote places get chance to listen Gurbani, and as I have said earlier, it keeps our institutions running.

With this I end my post.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal Singh
Oct 29, 2010
Siri Kamala Ji,
The Rehat Maryada says this:
"Article IX - Akhand Path: Uninterrupted-Non-Stop-Completion of the Reading of the Guru Granth Sahib
a. The non-stop reading of the Guru Granth is carried on at hard times or on occasions of elation or joy. It takes forty-eight hours. The non-stop reading implies continuous uninterrupted reading. The reading must be clear and correct. Reading too fast, so that the person listening in to it cannot follow the contents, amounts to irreverence to the Scriptures. The reading should be correct and clear, due to care being bestowed on consonant and vowel, even thought that takes a little longer to complete. b. Whichever family or congregation undertakes the non-stop reading should carry it out itself through its members, relatives, friends, etc., all together. The number of reciters is not prescribed."

In my experience you do not get anything free - not even from the LORD. Remember he has 6 billion humans to cater for - they cant all get what they ask and do nothing in return.

I have an aunt who could not have children - after three premature terminations she begged the lord for children and got three boys and two girls. As time went on husband died and now she needs someone to help her in her time of need - none of the childern want to see her.

Our Gurdwaras encourage 'paaths' and payment made for them, the Golden temple has whole host of techniques for people to pay for 'parshad' - one gets ticket from one place takes parshad to another - they give some back to you and so on - all money related.
This does no good for anybody and we as public are responsible too by following these customs.

We all know how all of us could do with a solid foundation of Sikhi for our childern and ourselves, so that we believe in Gurus' teachings and practice them.
I am sure with the amount of money that is offered to the 'Gurus' name' can make this education available to all girls, boys and others who has missed it - free of charge.
From what I hear it can do a lot more than that, i.e. hospitals, colleges, funeral services, relief services - some of these are being carried out by Sikhs in UK and this society is not as large or established as Punjab's.
We have other customs where we like to 'throw' money to show our 'gratitude' or wealth to people - a wedding party for one day may cost between £12000 to £30000 in UK.
Can you imagine what can be done by this amount of money for the society rather than get light headed and devour tons of food for ONE night!

Although the LORD will give one what one needs - one needs to sacrifice in kind. If it happens to be money so be it but please use it to encourage self help and discourage gurdwaras from getting easy money unless they use it for the society. Let it be known to all how much they receive and how they use it - make an example for Punjab, India and the World - our Gurus would be proud of us.
Aug 28, 2010
Our relationship with our CREATOR {PARBRAHM, PARMESAR,SATiGUR} is to be based on LOVE and AFFEC TION with WAHiGURU.In such relationship there is no scope of Bargaining
PARMESAR has given us several things the most important of which are AIR,WATER and LAND and Even the Body along with JOTi to enjoy the feel of PARMESAR itself.These all things are Free to all of us.
Therefore it is important to understand the grace of WAHiGURU rather than indulge in mal practices which bring no fruit to us.


Apr 3, 2010
Respected Inder jit Singh ji,
SAT SRI AKAL. Thanks for sharing your views on PROXY.It is a point which always made me feel very uncomfortable.I really wonder how we pretend to be so ignorant regarding our relationship with waheguru ji where as we are very well aware in deciding that where and when PROXY is applicable or not in our worldly affairs. To illustrate my point i want to share few examples:
1.Even for physical hygiene we never ask any body to have bath in our place but for spiritual,we take the PROXY for granted.
2.We never let any body communicate on our behalf with our beloved fiance , spouse or any other loving,affectionate or emotional relationship where as for communication with the ULTIMATE BELOVED WAHEGURU JI middleman is never minded rather it is must.
3. There is no physical ailment which can be cured by some body else taking medicine on our behalf where as for AATMIC and MANSIC ailments ( for mann ki shanti) PROXY is blindly trusted.
4.There is no GIAN or Degree which can be procured by asking some one else to study on our behalf where as for GURU DI BANI it is an accepted norm.
5.For any worldly dealings with any important dignitaries we never send representative but make sure to meet him personally but sorry to say for WAHEGURUJI our approach is SHAMEFUL.
5.For any sale purchase DEED , we go through each and every word very deeply with the help of our legal advisors & deed writers but for gurbani same old lame excuse : SAMAJ NAHI AATI.
Let us realize PROXY is a word meant for & applicable for this SANSAR and is absolutely meaningless for NIRANKAR. LET US COME OUT of CHEATER HOUSE OR PROXYBOX.

With deep regards , GURU RAKHA.
Aug 28, 2010
sssobti Ji/
Pl Accept my divine greetings,

I greatly appreciate your views on the subject under consideration.The different points with appropriate example are excellent message for the reference of the matter as a whole.
We must learn how to love our beloved then only we can come out of such considerations which have no values in life.
Gurbaani is our LIFE LINE and we can not leave in the hands of others.
With best wishes



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