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How Important Are Shastars (Weapons) To Sikhism?

Mar 10, 2010
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25
I would like to know just how much importance weapons have in the Sikh faith, and also how much respect is supposed to be shown to them. I've looked all over the internet for the answer and just can't seem to find it. I'm familiar with the Shastar Naam Mala composition of the Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, and I was thinking, does the personification of weapons to describe qualities of God and praise God mean that they somehow carry some sort of significance in Sikhism in terms of worship? Also, why is there almost always weapons laid out in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the gurdwara???
 
Mar 10, 2010
16
25
Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

I wasn't trying to say that Sikhs worship anyone/thing other than Waheguru, all I am saying is what part do weapons play in worship? The Guru Granth Sahib Ji guides us and is respected because it is our Guru. What do weapons do and why are they respected? In Gatka and Shastar Vidiya, Shastar Namaskar is performed, ardaas is performed before shastar not the Guru, before and after lessons, the students and teacher matha thek the shastar. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, I'm just asking why?
 

findingmyway

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Aug 18, 2010
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Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

The authorship of the shastar naam mala is debatable. As Sikhs we should only be following Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Shastar have a practical and symbolic function. There is nothing spiritual about them otherwise it becomes idol worship.
 
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Mar 10, 2010
16
25
Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

Well what are the practical and symbolic functions of shastar in Sikhi? And surely there is something spiritual about the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and yet it isn't considered idol worship when respect is shown to the Guru.... why would it be considered idol worship when respect is shown to shastar?

btw... im not trying to argue just for the sake of it, I would genuinely like to understand the relationship between Sikhi and shastar.
 

findingmyway

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Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

Well what are the practical and symbolic functions of shastar in Sikhi?
Here are some excellent threads that discuss this. Weapons came into Sikhi due to the necessities of defence. That is the only reason they are to be used. The symbolism is discussed here-

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/hard-talk/29897-kirpan-sword-sikhism-symbol-benevolence-dignity.html
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-youth/777-how-do-you-explain-what-kirpan.html

And surely there is something spiritual about the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and yet it isn't considered idol worship when respect is shown to the Guru.... why would it be considered idol worship when respect is shown to shastar?
Guru Granth Sahib ji is not an idol as it is our Guru-we are learning from it. The shaster do not contain shabad and are therefore not teaching us like Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is. The purpose of matha tek to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is agreeing to give our head to the Guru, i.e. say we are ready to learn and follow. We do metha tek and then sit down to read or listen in order to learn. Discussed in more detail here
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/8879-matha-tekna.html
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/31280-should-sikhs-prostrate-when-they-pray.html

Matha tekna is a physical way of expressing the fact that we are surrendering ourselves to Waheguru. If you surrender yourself to weapons instead then your faith has changed fundamentally. Respect to kirpan and other objects can be shown by keeping them clean etc without the need to bow down to them. Otherwise why not matha tek your kehs, turban, kara, kanga and kacchera daily too?
 
Mar 10, 2010
16
25
Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

Thanks for the information, but I was wondering what the significance is of shastar in general, not just the kirpan as in front of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a variety of shastar. And also, unless I missed something, I don't think any of the threads answered why shastar are laid out in front of the Guru in the Gurdwara. Also, in the first link provided, Soul_jyot says that the kirpan, and so I take it shastar in general, is an aspect of God. So is that why weapons are shown respect, because they are considered symbols of justice and so we should matha thek to them as well as the Guru, in order to show respect (not worship them). Or have I got that totally wrong???
 

findingmyway

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Aug 18, 2010
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Re: How Important are Weapons to Sikhism?

We are not supposed to metha tek to them anymore than we do not metha tek to a kara or plate or rumala or any other symbol. Please re-read my posts as your questions are answered. I have said above and I say again we only matha tek to SGGS as per gurmat though there are some minority sects who do not adhere to this. Shastar are not an aspect of God but a practical means of defence. I'm guessing they are laid out to remind us of our history, no more, as per my understanding. Perhaps someone else can also give another perspective.
 

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