Pointing One's Feet To The Sggs At The Gurdwara

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Simranjit, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    Hi!

    I just read about the occasion when Guru Nanak was asked to move himself so as his feet would not point to the Kaaba (At Mecca, Nanak lay down for a night’s rest with his feet pointing to the Kaaba, the holy sanctum. When a qazi admonished him for pointing his feel toward the house of God, Nanak replied that he was too tired to move and suggested that the qazi move his legs and point them in a direction where God did not exist. The qazi was stumped.) and it made me think of the custom of not pointing one's feet to the SGGS at the Gurudwara which I was taught in my very first visit to the Gurdwara in Barcelona (as, by chance, I sat down with my feet pointing to the SGGS). I hope I don't sound disrespectful: I thought, and still think, that neither the SGGS nor Waheguru mind my feet pointing to the SGGS at all. However, since then, I always avoid my feet pointing at the SGGS. It couldn't be easier to avoid and it makes my presence more comfortable to others. Also, as I'm very new in Sikhi, I don't think I'm entitled to discuss this rule. Even if I felt like doing so, which I don't.

    One the the aspects of Sikhi that attracted me from the beginning is its apparent lack of void rules and rituals. Although at the same time I see some rituals as symbols that, although arbitrary, once they are given their arbitrary meaning and we have integrated it, can help us to enter into specific states of mind and awareness. I think that they work as they serve as reminders to our mind, sould and heart, if it makes sense. This is why I always meditate and read Gurbani with my head covered even if I am alone at home and why I always wear a kara (while I have recently cut my hair very short). I think that ideally individuals should be free to choose what rituals fit them or not, and for me it would be wonderful if I could sit down with my feet pointing to where it is more comfortable for me any given moment (as long as I don't put my toes in someone's eye :) !!) without my position making anyone feel uncomfortble. (The same goes for covering my head all the time at the Gurdwara (ooops!) which I anyway would do as, as I said, it makes it easier for me to remind myself to be in a state of peace and awareness).

    I'd love it if someone wanted to share their point of view about all this.

    Thanks,
     
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  3. Balpreet Singh

    Balpreet Singh SPNer

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    WJKK WJKF
    Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj is the eternal living guru as the embodiment of the 10 human gurus before. Many Blessed Gursikhs when looking st SGGS literally see Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Gobind Singh Ji sitting before them in their physical form. SGGS is our King, Master, friend, companion, mother, father... Thus, we do not disrespect the Guru by pointing our feet towards SGGS.
    You have interpreted the Sakhi wrongly my friend. Guru Nanak Dev Ji suggested that the Qazi move his feet towards a direction that god does not exist. As he moved the Guru’s feet, the Kabba kept moving as well. Thus, teaching that Akaal Purakh is all-pervading and everywhere.

    Bhul Chuk Maf
    WJKK WJKF
     
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  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    Ah yes, the good old sakhis, foundation of what we call Sikhism!

    Amazing how so many of these stories actually make our Gurus look insensitive or rude, I do not believe our Gurus were either

    correct, but then it is not the SGGS or Waheguru that have the issue, the issue comes from human beings.

    Unfortunately, unless you are willing to cut human beings out of your life you have to live with them and their strange ways, customs and rituals.
     
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  5. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    Thanks, Balpreet
    What I meant is that pointing to someone with one's feet is a form of showing disrespect just because arbitrary it is like this in some cultures. In some others it might be a way of showing respect. For me it is absolutely neutral and the reason why I don't do it at the Gurdwara is just that I respect the other members of the Gurudwara and I want them to feel comfortable with my presence there (also that I don't want to be asked to leave the Gurdwara, of course :) ). I do very much respect the SGGS. Every time I gent into the Gurdwara I bow to the SGGS (even if I know that while I'm supposed no to point my feet at the SGGS I'm not supposed to bow if I don't want to). I do it to remind myself how important are the teachings of the Guru in my life now. This is what really symbolizes my respect towards the Guru. I never bowed to anything or anyone before. Bowing at a religious element has, as I understand it, an strong meaning in my culture (European long catholic history plus post Catholic dictatorship). In this context, bowing shows a respect rooted in fear (which for me is not true respect). But I learnt that bowing at the SGGS was a wonderful way for me to show respect from love and gratefulness. It is my personal way to show respect. If I was allowed to point my feet at the SGGS sometimes my sitting position might be a bit more comfortable..... and it wouldn't mean I respect less the SGGS.

    I would appreciate your feedback a lot :)

    Thanks! I see I must read the Sakhis with precaution.

    He, he. The thing is that I love human beings (although at times I would hide from most of them. Not too often, though)


    I wanted to add that I also understand the beautiful power of symbols to create community or as sign of identity. Beautiful as long as we don't use them to put aside others that don't belong to the community, which I don't thin is the case. In fact, if I think about it, wearing a kara, although mainly a reminder to myself, is a way for me to feel part of the community too
     
  6. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    Guru Fateh Sim,

    This is more a cultural thing than a Sikhi one. In India, it is considered disrespectful to point one's soles at the elder. As the tangled cultural values get intertwined with the belief system, it becomes quite impossible to unknot them. Some rituals become like Siamese twins with the religious practices especially in a dogmatic hierarchical society like India where the pragmatic way of Sikhi is the only shining armour. The same ritual extends itself and holds the hands of another ritual of matha tek which many 2nd/3rd generations object to. Personally, I do not find any problem in accepting these rituals as long as I do not let myself impede them in my personal growth. These are just the cultural etiquettes. Nothing more.

    Guru Fateh Balpreet Singh,
    Sorry to burst your bubble mate, the fairy tale above given by you does not jive with the Gurmat values because there is no such thing as a miracle in Sikhi the reason being, Sikhi accepts the laws of nature. No movement of one's feet can defy that. So, please do not dilute Sikhi into some snake oil sales charade.
    I happen to agree with Simranjit's explanation of the Sakhi to explain the qazi the omnipresence of The Source.
     
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  7. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    Thanks! I'll google maha tek

    Yes, I see it in the same way.
     
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  8. Balpreet Singh

    Balpreet Singh SPNer

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    WJKK WJKF
    Bhai Sahib I believe you are mistaken.
    Sikhism accepts the possibility of supernatural powers, but like any wordly possession, they should not be used for selfish ends. A Sikh should not run after occultism, because the greatest gift is Nam and not supernatural power.
    According to Sikhism, occult powers come naturally through concentration on "The Nam". Miracles should not be performed at the bidding of a king or a leader or to prove the greatness of one's religion or to confirm the faith of people in a spiritual guide. Guru Ramdas says: "The desire to perform miracles is a wordly attachment and is an obstacle in the way of 'The Nam' residing in our hearts."

    The Sikh Gurus did perform miracles off and on, but they did so out of compassion or to set an erring person right. Guru Nanak made the bitter soap-nuts sweet near Pilibhit, to save Mardana from death by starvation.
    The Guru condemned miracles performed for personal glory. Baba Atal who performed a miracle had to give up his life as atonement for it. Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji were requested to perform miracles so that their lives whould be spared. They refused to do so and welcomed the penalty of death. The greatest miracle is not to perform a miracle, in spite of having the capacity to do so. As Emerson puts it: "Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles flow."

    Guru Nanak was asked by the Sikhs about his supernatural powers. He answered: "I can do nothing against the law of God. It is only He who can perform a miracle. The 'True Name' is the miracle of miracles. I know of no other miracles." Saintly people do not like to interfere with God's Will by performing miracles. The Sikh Gurus never performed miracles to convince others about their faith or to save themselves from calamities or penalities.

    You clearly stated before that you do not believe that the Mecca revolved as the Qazi moved Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Feet; however, surely you cannot doubt this extract taken from Bhai Gurdass Jee's Vaars, which explains the 'micracle' clearly.

    Baba at Mecca Pauris: 32-34

    Baabaa Dhiri Makay Gaiaa Neel Basatr Dhaaray Banavaaree.
    Donning blue attire. then Baba Nanak went to Mecca.

    Aasaa Hadi Kitaab Kachhi Koojaa Baang Mousalaa Dhaaree.
    He held staff in his hand, pressed a book under his armpit, caught hold of a metal pot and mattress.

    Baitdaa Jaai Maseet Vichi Jidai Haajee Haji Gujaaree.
    Now he sat in a mosque where the pilgrms (hajis) had gathered.

    Jaa Baabaa Soutaa Raati No Vali Maharaabay Paai Pasaaree.
    When Baba (Nanak) slept in the night spreading his legs towards the alcove of mosque at Kaba,

    Jeevani Maaree Lati Dee Kayharhaa Soutaa Kudhar Kudhaaree.
    The qazi named Jivan kicked him and asked who was this infidel enacting blasphemy.

    Lataa Vali Khudaai Day Kiu Kari Paiaa Hoi Bajigaaree.
    Why this sinner is sleeping his legs spread towards God, Khuda.

    Tangon Pakarhi Ghaseetiaa Dhiriaa Makaa Kalaa Dikhaaree.
    Catching hold of the legs he lynched (Baba Nanak) and ,
    lo and behold ! --The miracle, the whole of Mecca seemed to be revolving.

    Hoi Hairaanu Karayni Juhaaree ॥32॥
    All got surprised and they all bowed.

    Hope this has helped.
    Bhul Chuk Maf

    WJKK WJKF
     
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  9. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    I thought Sikhs mocked at supernatural powers, powers that go against the fabric of the world, I thought the essence of Sikhi was enough without a firework show.

    but that goes against human nature

    is that not an oxy{censored}? Surely a Sikh who has the gift of nam would have no interest in the supernatural.

    Phew, I do seem to meet a lot of kings and leaders these days, social skills are so important , must add, no performing miracles,

    But err you said "A Sikh should not run after occultism, because the greatest gift is Nam and not supernatural power" were the Gurus not Sikhs?

    so what gives? Baba Atal gets a good kicking, but Guru Nanak is lauded, is there a special set rule for miracles? is there a correspondence course I can do?

    sounds good!

    ah right, not so good, so its ok to do miracles at say a function, or provided they were not convincing anyone or saving anyone, not much use then, sort of non miraculous miracles?

    ok how do you reconcile the above with your statement

    "I can do nothing against the law of God. It is only He who can perform a miracle. The 'True Name' is the miracle of miracles. I know of no other miracles." Saintly people do not like to interfere with God's Will by performing miracles. The Sikh Gurus never performed miracles to convince others about their faith"
     
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  10. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    Sim,

    Matha tek means bowing in front of the SGGS.
     
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  11. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    Please quote the full Shabad from the SGGS, our only Guru about the miracles you claim with your own understanding about the meaning of the Shabad. I am sure you are aware that Bhai Gurdas' vaaran did not pass the benchmark that our visionary Gurus had set forth. Hence, it was not added in the SGGS. It is nice poetry, nothing much and many of the vaaran are filled with Ganga jal/Hindutva


    Will be waiting for the Shabad/s regarding miracles from the SGGS, our only Guru.

    Thanks
     
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  12. Balpreet Singh

    Balpreet Singh SPNer

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    Gur Fateh Ji
    Bhai Sahib Ji as we are Sikhs, I strongly urge to to research more about who Bhai Gurdass Ji was before criticizing his Vaars.

    Bhai Gurdas
    (1551- 23 September 16371) is a much honoured Sikh scholar, missionary, and literary master who is also respected for his Sikh way of life. He was a leading figure in Sikhism who enjoyed the company of Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru.
    It was under the supervision of the fifth Sikh Guru that he inscribed the first copy of Sikh Scripture, then called The Adi Granth, which is now respected as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs and is central of the Sikh religion. He was also responsible for various writings in his own right which have gained much respect in the Sikh community.
    Varan Bhai Gurdas is the name given to the 40 Varan (Chapters) of writing by Bhai Gurdas ji. Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, referred to them as the, “Key to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib” . Bhai Gurdas was a first cousin of Mata Bhani, mother of Guru Arjan Dev. He was the first scribe of Guru Granth Sahib and a scholar of great repute. From his work it's clear that he had mastery of various Indian languages and had studied many ancient Indian religious scriptures.
    This is quoted by Macauliffe in his book “The Sikh Religion” to express the importance placed by the Guru on Bhai Sahib's work, “The Guru, probably to make trial of his learned and able scribe Bhai Gur Das, whose compositions he admired, offered to insert them in the Granth, but Bhai Gur Das said that they were not worthy of such honour. The Guru complimented him on his modesty and ability, and said that whoever read Bhai's writings should acquire spiritual profit and instruction and faith in the teachings of the holy Gurus.”

    Additionally, as you do not believe in Bhai Gurdass Ji's Vaars which is surprising to me personally. Albeit, there is another account through Taajudin Naqshabandhi. Taajudin joined Guru Nanak and remained with him for roughly one-and-a-half to two years. Taajudin documented his time with Guru Nanak in great detail. His notes describing Guru Nanak Dev Ji's journey to the middle east have been translated to english and are avaliable to read here: Guru Nanak's travel to the middle east.pdf

    Furthermore, as you have asked for a Shabad to be presented, heres one from the top of my head:
    This shabad taken from Dhan Dhan SGGS refers to how Bhagat Nam Dev was dragged out of his place of worship due to him being of lower caste and the Lord turns the temple towards him.

    hsq Kylq qyry dyhury AwieAw ]
    Laughing and playing, I came to Your Temple, O Lord.

    Bgiq krq nwmw pkir auTwieAw ]1]
    While Naam Dayv was worshipping, he was grabbed and driven out. ||1||

    hInVI jwiq myrI jwidm rwieAw ]
    I am of a low social class, O Lord;

    CIpy ky jnim kwhy kau AwieAw ]1] rhwau ]
    Why was I born into a family of fabric dyers? ||1||Pause||

    lY kmlI cilE pltwie ]
    I picked up my blanket and went back,

    dyhurY pwCY bYTw jwie ]2]
    To sit behind the temple. ||2||

    ijau ijau nwmw hir gux aucrY ]
    As Naam Dayv uttered the Glorious Praises of the Lord,

    Bgq jnW kau dyhurw iPrY ]3]6]
    The temple turned around to face the Lord's humble devotee. ||3||6||

    That temple is still rotated 180 degrees. In most Hindu temples, the water pool ("kuub") is normally located at the front of the mandir; at this site, it can be seen at the back of the temple. Further, most temples face east since that is the most auspicious direction in the Hindu faith as the Sun rises from the East and the Sun is considered the destroyer of darkness and the giver of life. The Aundha Nagnath temple faces West.d.

    This is the symbol of the true love of God towards His true worshipper.

    Please do not wait for me to provide shabads when you can search the entirety of SGGS on the internet: iGurbani - iGurbani

    Moreover, I don't claim to be a scholar on the issue as I'm far from being learnt and spiritually wise enough to comment on our religion's history and philosophy but just to elaborate in the 'miracle' sense, I believe everything is a miracle. Infact, Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Janamsakhi; is filled with miracles. To list one would be Guru Nanak Dev Ji's handprint in the stone at Panja Sahib, was that not a miracle?
    Gurbani itself is a miracle. Guru Ji is a miracle. Guru ke Sikh are miracles. Guru ke Panj Piyare are miracles. `1699 Vaisakhi was a miracle. Baba Deep Singh Ji fought beheaded, Bhai Mati Daas Ji did Japji Sahib while getting sawed in half. Bhai Taru Singh Ji went to Sachkand after 22 days after getting his scalp removed (Zakaria Khan died before Bhai Taru Singh Ji). Baba Mani Singh ji did Sukhmani Sahib while getting cut into pieces. Guru ke 40 Singhs at Chamkaur Sahib fought against 2,200,000

    There are countless miracles in Sikhi.

    In punjabi the word for miracle is 'kautak'. I think people mistake the word miracle for the punjabi word "karamaat" which conforms to magic tricks and that prespective.

    If I am wrong or have made a mistake anywhere, please correct me.

    Here's a recording of Sant Maskeen Ji's Katha which elaborates on this particular issue clearly:

    Bhul Chuk Maf
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh
     
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  13. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    I'm finding the conversation among you three very interesting and it helps me to understand to what extent there is a diversity in the way Sikhs understand Sikhi. All your points of view are so interesting and I'm grateful for the time you devote to share them here.

    I'm just starting my journey in Sikhi. I have barely read a tiiiiny bit of the texts. Almost nothing. So, I cannot reach my own conclusion, not a rational conclusion at least, of what texts are realiable or what is the meaning of this or that text. However, my feeling is that what I have read so far from the SGGS is not consistent with the idea of a miracle being performed by the Gurus. I'm open to find out that I'm wrong and , sure, a few things would be more beautiful for me than to discover that by "true concentration in the Nam" a person can have the power to save everyone from starvation by a click of their hands. It is a beautiful vision and I feel honestly moved by the care with which you describe it, Balpreet.
    Unfortunately, for now, I don't have this faith. What I really hope is that if we are capable to connect with the source (for us called Waheguru, for others, "Universe", "God"...for others it doesn't even have name....) we will be able to live more accordingly with our true nature, a nature of love and compassion, and that we will be able to help others to do the same. And this way, a new era with new economic, social and political structures will come, when there will be no starvation, inequalities, hunger for power or war. When people will nourish from loving relationships, healthy fresh foods, connecting with our Mother Earth... This is the miracle I'm really hoping for....

    I would like to add I don't think that a religious path is necessary to follow for everybody to have the willing to participate in this change. I know plenty of people that follow a religious path and are not engaged with the change of paradigm and plenty of people that don't follow any religious path and that are very actively involved in activities aimed to make this a better world.
     
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  14. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    What is a "Panga Master", Harry?
     
  15. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh Admin SPNer

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    Harry is our designated Devil's Advocate! And he has earned his nomenclature after years and years of relentless efforts! :angeldevil:

    Hence the title Panga Master!
     
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  16. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    Your saying Bhai Gur Das refused the wishes of the Guru? This has all the smells of an inaccurate sakhi, written funnily enough to defend all inaccurate sakhis.

    maybe they built the pool to confuse you?

    no, it was not, some feel his knowledge was the miracle, not side tricks.

    none are miracles, merely corrupted stories of true human spirit and attitude, that is the true miracle, why side step such a wonderful miracle with sideshows?
    no, none of us are here to correct anyone, none of us really knows, all we can do is debate and discuss and put forward our own opinions,
     
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  17. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    Guru Fateh, Balpreet Singh

    Firstly, I cannot read these Gurmukhi fonts from where ever you copied and pasted the Shabad. Please use Sri Granth
    As mentioned earlier please post your personal understanding of the Shabad because all the English ones are distorted hence misleading. Lastly, do not forget to add the Ang number so all can relish the fruit.
    Please also keep in mind that Bhagat NamDev and Bhagat Trilochan were born 200 years before Guru Nanak. So, always create that scenario in your mind to truly understand what they are trying to say.
    Once I am able to understand where you are coming from with your thought process on Gurbani, then only will I be able to respond. We are all learners here. Thanks for joining the crowd.

    Thanks
     
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  18. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Gurus Nanak teaching with the Kaaba incident was that God is everywhere.

    It doesn't matter where your feet point, He's everywhere.

    The Entire Universe is a Gurdwara. A Gurdwara on Earth is symbolic of this.
     
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  19. Simranjit

    Simranjit Writer SPNer

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for this specially. It helps me to see that I'm understanding the SGGS as I read it. Reading the Kirtan Sohila more than one year a go for the first time I was totally thrilled to find a religion for which the whole universe is a temple. It is one of the reasons I approached Sikhi more and more.
     
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  20. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Sikhism isn't a religion, sikh means student. The Gurus taught the truth which has existed since eternity and will always exist. It's been taught by other teachers but many of their messages have been corrupted over time.

    Nanak taught it in its purity to an incredibly deep level.

    Yeh the concept of the universe being a temple is mind baffling and beyond words.

    Earth is a setting where we can learn and practice Truth at a deep level. Even masters can learn here.
     
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  21. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

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    yes, the universe is like a temple, full of people hell bent on wearing the smartest most expensive clothes, with the smartest most expensive cars, acting in a fake manner and showing everyone else just how religious they are
     
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