Do Non-Sikhs Have To Prostrate Before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji? | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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Do Non-Sikhs Have To Prostrate Before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

Ishna

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May 9, 2006
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I'm going to a Catholic church with a close friend of mine in a few weeks time to support her in reconnecting with her family faith. I've been asking around what is involved in a Catholic mass and what I might be required to do as part of the service, given my Sikh allegiance.

And I got to thinking, if my Catholic friend was to join me at Gurdwara one day, what would be required of her? Would she be expected to prostrate before Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji? If I wasn't Sikh, and was expected to do that, I would be disinclined to attend.

My very first visit to Gurdwara a few years ago, my guide didn't ask me to prostrate, but guided me to an area on the floor and said "you can sit here".

Would it be ok for my friend (hypothetically) to give an offering and just bow her head as an acknowledgement, or would that likely cause offence?

Thank you in advance.

Ishna
 

Ishna

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Having said that, bowing happens a lot during Sunday service at Gurdwara Sahib. I'm not sure I could see any way around that.

In which case, it would hypocritical of me to expect to be excused from rites of her Church open to non-Catholics, yet for her to be expected to participate in all of mine.

Interested to hear thoughts of others. :)

Ishna
 
Nov 15, 2004
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Ishna ji

Having said that, bowing happens a lot during Sunday service at Gurdwara Sahib. I'm not sure I could see any way around that.

In which case, it would hypocritical of me to expect to be excused from rites of her Church open to non-Catholics, yet for her to be expected to participate in all of mine.

Interested to hear thoughts of others. :)

Ishna

I haven't given any consideration to this matter, but I can tell you about my own experience.

I go to the Gurdwara very rarely to attend functions of close relatives. I am ignorant with regard to the contents of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, but I do bow and touch my forehead on the ground when I am in front of it. I do this because I'm thinking about the other people there who do know and respect the SGGS and bow down therefore for more good reason. I do not want to appear disrespectful to these people.

But of course, certain behavior is expected of me since outwardly I'm a Sikh, and the same may not apply in the case of your friend, I don't know....
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

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Theres bowing..and Bowing..and BOWING !! Matha Tek actually and practically means that the Matha tekker..LEAVES his/her Matt (mind)Manmatt... at the Gurus feet and takes back the GURUS MATT (teachings..sayings..message..etc).
In actual fact many (most) Sikhs have been "matha-tekking" bowing...but NOT leaving Manmatt /......and REFUSING the Gurumatt as impractical/difficult to follow...etc etc. So they Bow and return as the same...no change in their daily lives, rehit behaviours wahtsoever !! The Guru remains an IDOL who is "bowed" to simply because it would be ..."unseemly..what will others think..its the cool thing to do..follow the crowd..whatever..any and all reasons except the RIGHT ONE !!!

The One and ONLY reason to BOW to SGGS is to ACCEPT the WAY of LIFE that the SGGS teaches...to CHANGE our LIVES according to the Gurus Matt..the Gurus WAY...and REFLECT that change in our daily behaviour....demeanour...character..etc.

rest is just FORMALITY...follow if you wish and decline if you wish..no harm either way...The Gurus "honour" is neither diminished by those who dont bow and is also neither enhanced by the actions of those who do bow.

Note: I have attended Mass at Catholic Church and also weddings in other churches, mandirs etc..and always follow protocol (that is do what all the rest do....stand up when they stand and sit when they sit...and i came out none the worst or better simply becasue I am a SIKH and will always remain a SIKH. Similarly a Catholic cannot be deconverted from his faith simply by bowing to sggs in a Gurdwara)

Warmest Regards to all...:eek:rangesingh::redturban::happysingh::blueturban::grinningkaur:
 

Ishna

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Thank you both for your responses. :)

Thank you also Gyani ji for reminding me there is no harm in doing or not doing.

Ishna
 

Caspian

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Mar 8, 2008
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As an atheist I guess I can lend some insight into this issue as well. I film weddings over the summer and a large majority of them are Sikh weddings—so you can bet all of them happen within a Gurdwara.

In the beginning I did bow—not out of respect, but just because. I've always bowed as a kid going to the Gurdwara. My boss however, who is white and also an atheist, simply walked in and started to set up (he was wearing a head covering though—so hes not totally ignorant to the "rules of engagement" and hes been doing brown weddings for 3 years longer then I have :p He knew more then me).

But as time went on. I too stopped bowing. I dont really think its a sign of disrespect, my head is always covered (despite being an atheist, i look like a practicing sikh).

I feel like religious people are more likely to "respect" or "partake" in one another's religious customs. Atheists dont have this same issue of commitment because we wouldnt ask anyone to commit to any customs we made up—atheists have no customs.

Having said that. No one at the gurdwara has told either me or my boss to bow down. But they would tell my boss other things (like if his back was facing the guru granth, they would politely tell him to turn around. Or if he forgot to wear his bandana, they would politely tell him to do so). But the bowing, none of the people at the Gurdwara seem to make a big fuss about that one if people choose not to do it. I have seen many white guests simply walk in and sit down (not because they wanted to be mean or anytin, they just didnt know, thats all). And i think most adminstrations at gurdwara's would just let it slide as long as ur head is covered and ur feet/back arent pointing toward the Guru Granth.
 

Charan

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Mar 16, 2010
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Hi!

I've had the same problem. When I was in a Gurudwara in Maharashtra in India, a baba ji sitting by the door, made sure everyone who entered did matha tekna... So this one day, I was talking to a Muslim friend of mine who wanted to visit the Gurudwara here where we live.. And I asked her if she would mind matha tekna, and she said yes, because it is against her religion. For me, it doesn't matter if I matha tekna in a Gurudwara, mandir, church or mosque, because I believe God is omni-present. Nevertheless, I also don't mind her not matha tekna in the Gurudwara... I am just worried someone else might ask her to do it... Which they, imo, shouldn't.
 
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