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Pointing One's Feet To The Sggs At The Gurdwara

IJJSingh

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Love, respect and our inner thoughts reside in our heart and cannot be seen by others. Society in its yearning for a proof that everybody in a gathering has respect for a solemn event has developed visible proxies for representing inner emotions. Wearing black in a funeral, addressing a judge as “your honor” in a court, and not pointing feet towards somebody you respect are all such examples. These proxies are harmless and do foster harmony and comfort, and therefore should be followed. However, the problem starts when these proxies become the focus and people forget the bigger meaning. From time to time saints jolt us to bring us back on track. Purpose of their actions is not to oppose the ritual or to insult the gathering but to remind people of the greater truth which is usually lost behind these rituals.

A crowd outside a mosque in Lahore kept beating Bulleh Shah, a Sufi saint, because he wouldn’t stop saying ‘meri jutti thulay rab’ (God is under my shoe). Until a wise man realized what Bulleh Shah was trying to teach and explained to the mob that Bulle Shah is only demonstrating what Quran tells us every day about the all-pervading Allah.

It’s important to remain vigilant and keep SGGS our guide. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get misled by these rituals. I remember an episode from the biography of Sant Sangat Singh ji Kamalia (Kathriya Santah, Volume 2, p137). Sant ji (1882-1950) was an inspired soul, a revered Sikh scholar, and a tireless preacher. He was one of the 29 Sikhs tasked by the Panth for compiling the common Sikh Rehat Maryada. Sant ji used to organize events to get sangat involved with gurbani as much as possible. One such annual event was the concurrent twenty-five akhand paths (uninterrupted recitation of SGGS), where readers would read in unison. During this event, there would be hardly anybody in the sangat who wouldn’t be assigned some role in recitation, listening, langar or sewa. I have seen these events, later on after Sant ji moved to Patiala after the Indian independence. This event in question was in 1941, and as always there were 25 sarups of SGGS organized in a semi-circle, and some of the sangat used to sit inside the semi-circle and the rest facing the semi-circle. A lot of sangat used to gather for this event, and Sant Balwant Singh ji along with his Jatha was among the visiting sangat this year. Sant Balwant Singh ji didn’t like the setup and complained to Sangat Singh ji that some of the sangat sitting inside the semi-circle are not facing all of the sarups. Balwant Singh Ji felt that it is disrespectful as some in sangat have their shoulder or back towards some of the sarups. Sant Sangat Singh ji smiled and didn’t say anything. At the conclusion of the Akhand Paths, after the Kirtan was over, Sant Sangat Singh started his Katha. Sant Ji said there was a king named Mahmood Gazanvi. He ruled Gazni and invaded India several times. This king had a slave named Ayaz. The king had purchased Ayaz in young age and had raised him. Ayaz grew up to be a very wise young man who was fiercely loyal to the king. The king started depending more and more upon Ayaz’ counsel and made Ayaz’s approval a must before he implemented any decision proposed by his cabinet of ministers. This practice irked the ministers to no end, and in jealousy, they started looking for an opportunity to bring Ayaz down. Ayaz used to sleep on the floor next to the King’s bed. One night when both the King and Ayaz were fast asleep, the prime minister managed to maneuver Ayaz’s feet towards the king and waited outside the room. As soon as the king woke up, the minister rushed into the room and said to the king, “Sire, we are even afraid of your shadow but look at this insolent slave he is lying with his feet towards you”. The king became enraged and called his soldiers to arrest Ayaz. Next day in the court, the ministers further egged the king to give exemplary punishment to Ayaz so that nobody ever dares again to disrespect the king. The king passed the death sentence and ordered that Ayaz be brought in front of him and be executed in public. When Ayaz was brought before the king, the king asked, “Do you have anything to say before your death?” Ayaz said, “Sir if I have your permission, I do have one request”. The king said, “Speak”. Ayaz with his bowed head and folded hands said, “Many years ago when you bought me in the market. Did you buy my head? Or did you buy my hands? Which part of me did you buy?” The king said, “I bought all of you”. Ayaz said, “Did you also buy my feet in this transaction”. “Of course I did”, the king replied. Ayaz said, “Sir, if you own my head, my body, and my feet, then nothing here is mine. If these were my feet, then it would have been an insult for you. Since these are your own feet, how could these offend you?” The king was astonished at hearing his slave’s words and pardoned him immediately. Sant Sangat Singh Ji said, “Since all of the body parts of the sangat are owned by Guru Nanak, Kalgidhar Patshah, and Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, then how can there be an insult?” There was complete silence in sangat, tears started rolling down Sant Balwant Singh ji’s eyes, and sobbingly he said, “Bakhsh Lavo, Bakhash Lavo, Bakhash Lavo!”
 

Sikhilove

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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
They're the ones who are either oblivious of the universe being a temple or choose to ignore it.

Were here to learn
 

sukhsingh

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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
Whilst I find this interpretation interesting I have to say I don't find it convincing..

I think you draw attention to a couple of things worth consideration : firstly yes culturally we believe that sitting with our feet towards guru sahib is disrespectful, which culturally it most definitely is, guru nanak dev jis sakhi surfaces a higher truth which is to say these things are maya.. We can obsess over these things but we really shouldn't.. If someone was sitting in Gur darbar laying down with feet pointing towards guru ji we obviously would find it offensive and disrespectful.. But if we look at the sakhi what the point is that yes all very well for us to maintain conventions and etiquette but if said etiquette and policing of behaviour dominates our thinking then surely we are spending far too much time observing others.. Rather than spending time looking at ourselves
 

Harry Haller

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Whilst I find this interpretation interesting I have to say I don't find it convincing..

I think you draw attention to a couple of things worth consideration : firstly yes culturally we believe that sitting with our feet towards guru sahib is disrespectful, which culturally it most definitely is, guru nanak dev jis sakhi surfaces a higher truth which is to say these things are maya.. We can obsess over these things but we really shouldn't.. If someone was sitting in Gur darbar laying down with feet pointing towards guru ji we obviously would find it offensive and disrespectful.. But if we look at the sakhi what the point is that yes all very well for us to maintain conventions and etiquette but if said etiquette and policing of behaviour dominates our thinking then surely we are spending far too much time observing others.. Rather than spending time looking at ourselves
The great thing about Sakhis is, most can be discounted as actually spreading a message other than that which the Gurus may have wanted to teach, do I think that Sakhi actually happened in that way, no, I do not, I do not feel the first master was capable of such , I feel he was a respectful man and would have made his point more subtly.

Of course we observe others, that is what life is all about, every desire, every car, every house, everything in our wants and dreams comes from observing others, whether it is in person or through media, our very perception of what life is about and what is true meaning is derived from our observation of the 'others', the fact that India is turning into a rather cheap shabby copy of the USA, and rejecting centuries of culture and history is down to how the other half lives, no one looks at themselves, why would they? all they would see would be a blank canvas, and a complete lack of original thought,

We are simply educated apes that copy the alpha apes and yearn for what they have, bigger bananas, a less hairy mate, a nice tree, respect, power, it just so happens that we do it in clothes, and use a language, and we kid ourselves we are civilised, good and proper people, but I look out my window, and all I see is monkeys wanting to be apes, apes wanting to be orangutangs.

Maybe instead of Ek Onkar, Satnam, the correct mantra is Log Kya Kehinge, what will people say?
 

Logical Sikh

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The great thing about Sakhis is, most can be discounted as actually spreading a message other than that which the Gurus may have wanted to teach, do I think that Sakhi actually happened in that way, no, I do not, I do not feel the first master was capable of such , I feel he was a respectful man and would have made his point more subtly.

Of course we observe others, that is what life is all about, every desire, every car, every house, everything in our wants and dreams comes from observing others, whether it is in person or through media, our very perception of what life is about and what is true meaning is derived from our observation of the 'others', the fact that India is turning into a rather cheap shabby copy of the USA, and rejecting centuries of culture and history is down to how the other half lives, no one looks at themselves, why would they? all they would see would be a blank canvas, and a complete lack of original thought,

We are simply educated apes that copy the alpha apes and yearn for what they have, bigger bananas, a less hairy mate, a nice tree, respect, power, it just so happens that we do it in clothes, and use a language, and we kid ourselves we are civilised, good and proper people, but I look out my window, and all I see is monkeys wanting to be apes, apes wanting to be orangutangs.

Maybe instead of Ek Onkar, Satnam, the correct mantra is Log Kya Kehinge, what will people say?
I think the Original Mantra should be, "Log Sadde Baare Ki Sochde, Je Eh v Asi Sochaange, Ta fer Log Sadde Baare Ki Sochange." XD
 
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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,
Please do not compare yourself with Guru Nanak. What Guru Nanak did in Mecca was to deliver a message that whole universe is the house of Lord Akal purakh, ,he is not bound at one place, he didn't disrespect the Lord but it gave a message to fanatic ignorants.
Now whether you while sitting at your home with your parents, would you point your feet towards them? Absolutely not. It will be accounted as disrespect to elders.
Similarly there is a code of condust in every civilized society and here too in a gurudwara you aren't supposed to point your feet to SGGS, thats certainly looks odd and disrespective.
 

Harry Haller

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Please do not compare yourself with Guru Nanak.
maybe if more people did, instead of seeing him as some sort of magician or demi god, Sikhism would be in a better place, I often remark to other Sikhs why they do not take more inspiration from his ideals and philosophies, only to be told, oh well, he was a Guru, I am just an ordinary person,

What Guru Nanak did in Mecca was to deliver a message that whole universe is the house of Lord Akal purakh, ,he is not bound at one place, he didn't disrespect the Lord but it gave a message to fanatic ignorants.
rubbish, if someone acted in a similar fashion in a Gurudwara he would be beaten up, I doubt very much this took place, it is another sakhi blown out of proportion with an element of chinese whispers, the Guru Nanak that I hold dear would have made his point in an eloquent fashion without needing to insult or use the supernatural.

Now whether you while sitting at your home with your parents, would you point your feet towards them?
without any issue at all, such is merely lip service, I know of folks that show huge respect to their parents in this fashion, but it is the only way in which this respect is shown..lip service.

Similarly there is a code of condust in every civilized society and here too in a gurudwara you aren't supposed to point your feet to SGGS, thats certainly looks odd and disrespective.
no, what looks odd and disrespective is an entire religion that is more obsessed with showing faux respect to a holy manuscript and living Guru, rather than actually reading, understanding and following it,
 

Ishna

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Please do not compare yourself with Guru Nanak. What Guru Nanak did in Mecca was to deliver a message that whole universe is the house of Lord Akal purakh, ,he is not bound at one place, he didn't disrespect the Lord but it gave a message to fanatic ignorants.
Now whether you while sitting at your home with your parents, would you point your feet towards them? Absolutely not. It will be accounted as disrespect to elders.
Similarly there is a code of condust in every civilized society and here too in a gurudwara you aren't supposed to point your feet to SGGS, thats certainly looks odd and disrespective.
Where I come from, pointing feet at someone or something is not disrespectful. What a tricky situation. I'm quite sure our feet do not offend God, no matter which direction they are pointed. I suppose when a culture does consider pointing feet disrespectful, guests should respect that, and not do it. But what happens when a Gurdwara is built by people in a culture that is not bothered by feet pointing, and a Punjabi person comes to visit?
 

Harry Haller

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Where I come from, pointing feet at someone or something is not disrespectful. What a tricky situation. I'm quite sure our feet do not offend God, no matter which direction they are pointed. I suppose when a culture does consider pointing feet disrespectful, guests should respect that, and not do it. But what happens when a Gurdwara is built by people in a culture that is not bothered by feet pointing, and a Punjabi person comes to visit?
easy, they club together with all their relatives, build another Gurdwara and declare the first one as built by heretics!
 

Sikhilove

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Rubbish, if someone acted in a similar fashion in a Gurudwara he would be beaten up, I doubt very much this took place, it is another sakhi blown out of proportion with an element of chinese whispers, the Guru Nanak that I hold dear would have made his point in an eloquent fashion without needing to insult or use the supernatural.


without any issue at all, such is merely lip service, I know of folks that show huge respect to their parents in this fashion, but it is the only way in which this respect is shown..lip service.



no, what looks odd and disrespective is an entire religion that is more obsessed with showing faux respect to a holy manuscript and living Guru, rather than actually reading, understanding and following it,
I liked the majority of your post, esp the last part.

Re the Chinese whispers bit...

Dont underestimate God's love.

Nanak walked into the middle east teaching misguided Muslims truth, regardless of what could have happened to him.

Imagine someone doing that now in Saudi..

He puts us where we deserve to be. He preserves our honor. When it's His will, he guides us and keep us out of harms way.

He is the fine line between your plane crashing down as it leaves the tarmac, between that bus missing you as you walk onto the street, between being mugged by the theif, bitten by the snake.

He's the line between u getting that dream job promotion, between you meeting Mrs right or that friend for life, meeting the precious jewel of a friend who supports our growth in our changing our life 'by chance'.

He is the Granth and He is the foot. If he's everyone and anything including the guys who want to beat the humanitarian up for speaking the truth, then surely anything is possible in His love. Is your very life not an incredible miracle?

We lack respect for the love from which He's created us , we dismiss it as fairytales and hearsay. In essence, we ignore our greatest lover, and we reject His love. Recognize Him in everyone, everything, every action.
 

Logical Sikh

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If he's everyone and anything including the guys who want to beat the humanitarian up for speaking the truth, then surely anything is possible in His love.
How is lord the one, who beats around people who speaks truth abt the lord. ?

Recognize Him in everyone, everything, every action.
How do you recognize lord in a Rapist, A Terrorist, A Murderer, in themselves and in their actions ?
 

Harry Haller

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I liked the majority of your post, esp the last part.
thank you

Re the Chinese whispers bit...

Dont underestimate God's love.
We are all entitled to our own view, in my view, what we call love, is not what God calls love, our definition of love is too surface, too obvious, too short term, if God does love us, then it bears no resemblance to what we as humans know as love.
 

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