Sexes Sitting Separately | Sikh Philosophy Network
  • Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Sexes Sitting Separately

raj008

SPNer
Dec 4, 2010
21
20
Folks

i've been going to gurdwara for long time but never asked or understood why men & women sit separably. Is this just a general thing that's always been done and is it okay for a family of 4 to sit together if they wish to?

Thanks
 

Luckysingh

Writer
SPNer
Dec 4, 2011
1,633
2,750
Vancouver
Folks

i've been going to gurdwara for long time but never asked or understood why men & women sit separably. Is this just a general thing that's always been done and is it okay for a family of 4 to sit together if they wish to?

Thanks
Yes of course families can sit together and we often do when it is not too packed.
The separation is more about being comfortable and relaxed away from distraction, as well as respect.
The main thing is that we should all be on the same level and all facing the Guru Granth sahib ji.

Now, I mentioned comfortable and relaxed, and this means to the other gender,by giving them some room and a comfort zone.
If my wife was wearing some tight low waist jeans and sitting in front of some men, -I can only imagine what their thoughts would be and where they would be looking !!!!
Therefore, I'm glad that I don't have to sit behind a woman who may distract me with her booty!!

AND I have absolutely no problem with this seating arrangement in terms of sikhi.
I don't think that it is any kind of issue about equality and we men know about how many men 'oggle' at women either intentionally or unintentionally !!
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,197
One of the most heartwarming things is that so many little boys and little girls sit with their dads... to give mom a break so she can have some quality time too!

And the divisions are not strictly observed as Luckysingh says. It is not a matter of sequestering women for whatever reason. Often men will sit on the women's side and women on the men's side up toward the front... usually because they have some kind of work to do related to the service. Women who have to make announcements or give reports might need to be on the microphone side near the men. Practicality wins over dogma every time.

Finally, there can be a lot of chatter on the women's side particularly as you move toward the back, making it hard to concentrate on kirtan and katha. This I believe annoys many men. All these scenarios are very down to earth.
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
Jan 29, 2011
1,492
2,159
Vancouver, Canada
Therefore, I'm glad that I don't have to sit behind a woman who may distract me with her booty!!
But do you think she is sitting there to distract you? I don't think so. She is there in Guru's presence. I agree that some people might not dress appropriately. And such an arrangement raises more questions than answers. You cannot stop chatting with your wife, we will send her over to the other side. Your kid will not stop crying, take him down to langar hall, so that when he starts running he sees langar hall as an Olympic playground. Same issue with asking non Sikhs to cover their heads. And if by mistake or while standing up, someone's chunni falls back, some Sewadar with hot embers for eyes will not let you take a single step if you fix it back!
 
Jan 7, 2005
3,450
3,760
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:

Separate sitting arrangement for ladies in Golden Temple

AMRITSAR: Long pending demand of female devotees has been approved when SGPC (Shriomani Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee) made separate sitting arrangement for ladies inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Harmandhar Sahib (Golden Temple).

Earlier, there was no separate arrangement for female devotees to sit inside as they had to sit with gents and sometime many ladies feel awkward to sit with opposite sex.

As SGPC has received many complaints and urged in this regard to make separate sitting arrangement for females. Nevertheless to say that there is special VIP enclosure for visiting devotees inside, where only male can sit to listen religious hymns but ladies were not permitted to sit there.

In front of VIP enclosure, there is one more enclosure where gents and ladies could sit together and many times female folk raised objection with SGPC President Avtar Singh that space usually forcibly occupied by gents. Even many time some gents without caring presence of female, occupy the narrow space which put the females in embarrassing situation and in that circumstances female devotees prefer to leave the sanctum sanctorum rather to sit in odd situation created by the opposite sex.

Now, SGPC has deputed task force to guard the enclosure which has been reserved only for ladies and gents would not be allowed to sit there in any of the circumstances, said Manager Golden Temple Harbans Singh Malhi.

source: http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/separate-sitting-arrangement-ladies-golden-temple/31142
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,197
AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:

Separate sitting arrangement for ladies in Golden Temple

AMRITSAR:

In front of VIP enclosure, there is one more enclosure where gents and ladies could sit together and many times female folk raised objection with SGPC President Avtar Singh that space usually forcibly occupied by gents. Even many time some gents without caring presence of female, occupy the narrow space which put the females in embarrassing situation and in that circumstances female devotees prefer to leave the sanctum sanctorum rather to sit in odd situation created by the opposite sex.

Now, SGPC has deputed task force to guard the enclosure which has been reserved only for ladies and gents would not be allowed to sit there in any of the circumstances, said Manager Golden Temple Harbans Singh Malhi.

source: http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/separate-sitting-arrangement-ladies-golden-temple/31142
This article casts an amazingly different slant on the issue.. and not one that speaks to religious segregation of women at all.

:kaurfacepalm: The quoted part made me smile because it reminded me of how tough it is for a woman to find her personal seating space on an airplane. :happykudi: Like that corridor in Darbar Sahib, a narrow accommodation, seating on airplanes is designed to pack passengers in. Women on airplanes find they may have to squeeze into a seat between 2 men who like to stretch out - use both armrests, instead of one; stretch legs on a slant into the floorspace of more than one seat; and tip the seat as far back as it will go into the space behind. To share? Are you kidding? :sippingcoffee:

There is something really primordial going on in both instances called space entitlement. Glad the kaurs are making their views known. :kaurkhalsaflagblue:
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
Jan 29, 2011
1,492
2,159
Vancouver, Canada
And it kind of proves my point. Rather than educate, they are segregating the Sangat!

PS: Great win for the Kaurs to get their concerns heard, but I feel this is curing the symptom, not the disease!

Even many time some gents without caring presence of female, occupy the narrow space which put the females in embarrassing situation
What has been decreed will not ensure that the above doesn't take place in a bus/train!

We should educate ourselves to be respectful and courteous. Rather the Gurudwaras around the world should have followed the model of Darbar Sahib for united Sangat.

This is more like a patch and not a permanent solution.
 
Last edited:

Tejwant Singh

Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Jun 30, 2004
5,029
7,173
Henderson, NV.
[Soul_jyot;183235]AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:

Separate sitting arrangement for ladies in Golden Temple

AMRITSAR: Long pending demand of female devotees has been approved when SGPC (Shriomani Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee) made separate sitting arrangement for ladies inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Harmandhar Sahib (Golden Temple).

Earlier, there was no separate arrangement for female devotees to sit inside as they had to sit with gents and sometime many ladies feel awkward to sit with opposite sex.

As SGPC has received many complaints and urged in this regard to make separate sitting arrangement for females. Nevertheless to say that there is special VIP enclosure for visiting devotees inside, where only male can sit to listen religious hymns but ladies were not permitted to sit there.

In front of VIP enclosure, there is one more enclosure where gents and ladies could sit together and many times female folk raised objection with SGPC President Avtar Singh that space usually forcibly occupied by gents. Even many time some gents without caring presence of female, occupy the narrow space which put the females in embarrassing situation and in that circumstances female devotees prefer to leave the sanctum sanctorum rather to sit in odd situation created by the opposite sex.

Now, SGPC has deputed task force to guard the enclosure which has been reserved only for ladies and gents would not be allowed to sit there in any of the circumstances, said Manager Golden Temple Harbans Singh Malhi.

source: http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/separate-sitting-arrangement-ladies-golden-temple/31142
This article has the incorrect information. I have no idea when it was posted because there is no date on the original post.

There is no VIP area per se. As the inside of Darbar Sahib is very small, the majority of the space is taken by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji area. There is a very small space where the Ragis sit to sing Keertan and also the 5 men who chant Swayieis when the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is brought in the Golden Palki in the morning. There is a very little room left there and it is on first come first sit basis. Yes, there is a security guard there that allows someone to sit when the space is vacant when another person leaves.

So, if one calls the Raagis and the 5 honchos VIP's, then it is a different story. I have sat there many times and I am no one.

Across from this place, there is one more space just like this but a bit larger than the one where men sit because one who enters the Darbar Sahib can only exist from the door where men are sitting. The door on the other side is strictly for women to come and sit in that space and I have always seen women sitting there. There is also a security guard there who never lets men sit on that side.

This is news to me.

One important and abhorrent thing to notice is the open segregation shown by these 5 honchos who would not let any woman or any other man chant the Swayieis except someone who is related or close to them.

The only exception was Bhai Jeevan Singh when he was well which was before his stroke. He used to travel all around the world but later on settled in Amritsar where he still lives. But whenever he was back in Amritsar in between his worldly voyages, he used to sing the Swayieis.

It is the same open segregation for women to do Seva by washing the Darbar sahib with milk at night, the job that only men perform despite the protests from the women.

As far sitting arrangements in the Gurdwaras are concerned, the separation is more due to the social reasons because Gurdwara is also a social get together where people meet. Both men and women chat while the Keertan is being performed. Jaskeerat my 23 year old always sits with me when she is home from college. On a side note, no woman in my opinion would wear plumber's jeans while visiting the Gurdwara.

Tejwant Singh
 
Last edited:

Inderjeet Kaur

Writer
SPNer
Oct 13, 2011
871
1,766
Seattle, Washington, USA
I am a very modern, Westernised woman, thoroughly comfortable around men. However, I do not like physical contact with strange men, or even men I know (although some of the men I know are very strange indeed). Sitting as we do on the floor, it would be too easy for some guy (a visitor, of course, a Singh wouldn't do such a thing) pressing against me and I'd hate to have to slap him in front of Guru ji. As the "Golden Temple" article points out, a lot of men don't give women space. At a gurudwara, I don't want to be concerned with all this boy/girl nonsense. Better to leave it outside. When I am in the presence of Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji, I don't want to be distracted by anything.
 

Brother Onam

Writer
SPNer
Jul 11, 2012
274
640
57
Gurfateh!
I was in a very nice mosque once, beautiful architecture, lovely interior. As I was leaving, I passed the "women's section", small, plain, boxed off by a wall of drapes and set entirely apart from all the grandeur of the balance of the sanctuary.
I appreciate the separation of the gurdwara. We focus on holiness, both genders enjoy absolutely equal status, and the rules are lax rather than rigid; people may sit where they will without censure, if circumstances favour this.
 
Last edited:

ravneet_sb

Writer
SPNer
Nov 5, 2010
615
309
47
This article has the incorrect information. I have no idea when it was posted because there is no date on the original post.

There is no VIP area per se. As the inside of Darbar Sahib is very small, the majority of the space is taken by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji area. There is a very small space where the Ragis sit to sing Keertan and also the 5 men who chant Swayieis when the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is brought in the Golden Palki in the morning. There is a very little room left there and it is on first come first sit basis. Yes, there is a security guard there that allows someone to sit when the space is vacant when another person leaves.

So, if one calls the Raagis and the 5 honchos VIP's, then it is a different story. I have sat there many times and I am no one.

Across from this place, there is one more space just like this but a bit larger than the one where men sit because one who enters the Darbar Sahib can only exist from the door where men are sitting. The door on the other side is strictly for women to come and sit in that space and I have always seen women sitting there. There is also a security guard there who never lets men sit on that side.

This is news to me.

One important and abhorrent thing to notice is the open segregation shown by these 5 honchos who would not let any woman or any other man chant the Swayieis except someone who is related or close to them.

The only exception was Bhai Jeevan Singh when he was well which was before his stroke. He used to travel all around the world but later on settled in Amritsar where he still lives. But whenever he was back in Amritsar in between his worldly voyages, he used to sing the Swayieis.

It is the same open segregation for women to do Seva by washing the Darbar sahib with milk at night, the job that only men perform despite the protests from the women.

As far sitting arrangements in the Gurdwaras are concerned, the separation is more due to the social reasons because Gurdwara is also a social get together where people meet. Both men and women chat while the Keertan is being performed. Jaskeerat my 23 year old always sits with me when she is home from college. On a side note, no woman in my opinion would wear plumber's jeans while visiting the Gurdwara.

Tejwant Singh
SAT SRI AKAAL,


Surely situations control our mind,
once self know's what one's self mind is,
which is purpose of visit to GURUDWARA,
but mind is wandering for lust of five organs inside body,
for which mind cannot de attach self.

one can watch on self or one's own mind,
and can control self's mind, and than watch situation,
than that mind is out of situation's control,
and can control the situation als.

Its very very rare for being

Situations are the only test of mind,

Oh GOD don't put your people on test, once you know will fail.

DON"T MAKE SITUATION, IN WHICH MIND IS NOT FOCUSED ON GURU"S LEARNING, BUT ON LUST OF FIVE ORGAN"S

WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA
WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH
 

unbiasedview

SPNer
Aug 7, 2008
30
22
I guess the purpose of this seggregation is to provide an easier environment for a beginner,since a beginner is easily distractable!Majority of sangat is beginner!But this is not hard and fast rule!For some it might not be an issue at all!It depends on your mastery over your 5 chors!Spirituality as taught by sikhi is nothing but gradual mastery over your 5 chors!Unlike Islam which believes in avoiding these chors by hiding their women,sikhi believes in defeating them,which is ultimate stage of human excellence to me!Which is guru nanak!
 

unbiasedview

SPNer
Aug 7, 2008
30
22
Seggregation while maintaining equality!You can also say,controlled exposure!
This was especially relevant for older societies,like one when
sikhism was founded!At that time,the predominant Islamic culture
had created such a strong demarcation between two sexes
that people were oversensitive to sexuality!Even men and women sharing
the same platform for bhagti would have been a big exposure at that
time!Unlike today,we are lot more comfortable being in a womans company and vice versa!
 
Last edited:

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,197
unbiasedview ji

Though I agree with most of what you say, there is one area where I am not certain. In the earliest days of Sikhi did men and women sit separately? I am thinking of the times of the Gurus. The Islamic influence may have been a later development. Men and women sit separately in Hindu sangats in many cases, not all. And I do not think paintings of the "old days" are helpful in answering the question because they are all visions of an artist's imagination, which is colored by surrounding cultural influences.

When did the influences of other cultures take hold?

Yes, the defeat of 5 thieves/chors is a very significant difference between Sikhi and other paths.
 

unbiasedview

SPNer
Aug 7, 2008
30
22
SPNadmin ji,sitting separately is something which is
Maryada,not religious philosophy!sikhi was mainly spiritual movement!
The main aim of sikhi was to correct misconception of people about the idea of god and provide people about direct straightest possible path to meet god!sikhi is a religion of principle,not a religion of rules!our gurus gave spiritual revolution and only pointed out what was obviously wrong with certain rules!maryada was something developed later on by scholars!maryada is developed with taking cultural aspect in mind!our gurus dint waste time in delving with maryada!because maryada is something that enables co ordination between people.spiritual philosophy influences co ordination between god and a person!most of sikh maryada came after sikh gurus!and that was mughal period!rules lose relevance with improvement of collective intellect of society!spiritual philosophy is always relevant!It is strict binding on individual intellect,no space for individual intellectual exploration,that is forcing muslims to follow obviously obsolete,non relevant rules!some rulea of islam dont hold good today !but people are to bound to follow them!like islams take on contraception!
 

Harkiran Kaur

Leader

Writer
SPNer
Jul 21, 2012
1,393
1,909
DSCF1620.jpg

Sorry to bring this up nearly a year later... but since I have now been to Amritsar, I'd just like to ask... where on earth do people actually find a space to sit in the sanctum sanctorum at all!?? It was always so crowded that you could barely mathatek unless you could somehow make yourself into a pretzel and do it in the same space you use for standing! (somehow I managed haha) but I found actually there is more room on the second floor to actually sit. The bottom floor seems more a thoroughfare with an endless line of people that are ushered through as quick as possible (after an hour of waiting in a line up to get there).

In Bangla Sahib though, I noticed there was no male or female side... everyone sat everywhere... I actually found Bangla Sahib more peaceful for meditation / reflection. And Sis Ganj Sahib too for that matter...

Here is a pic I took on my way through the sanctum sanctorum to illustrate my point. You can barely see the tiny space on the right where the women are... I'd say maybe 10 people can sit there tops?? Since there are literally hundreds of people in the lineup at any given time (probably more like thousand), the fact that there is even a place to sit at all is a moot point.

p.s. I got a finger pointed at me for taking this... but it was worth it :winkingkaur:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Inderjeet Kaur

Writer
SPNer
Oct 13, 2011
871
1,766
Seattle, Washington, USA
Sorry to bring this up nearly a year later... but since I have now been to Amritsar, I'd just like to ask... where on earth do people actually find a space to sit in the sanctum sanctorum at all!?? It was always so crowded that you could barely mathatek unless you could somehow make yourself into a pretzel and do it in the same space you use for standing! (somehow I managed haha) but I found actually there is more room on the second floor to actually sit. The bottom floor seems more a thoroughfare with an endless line of people that are ushered through as quick as possible (after an hour of waiting in a line up to get there).

In Bangla Sahib though, I noticed there was no male or female side... everyone sat everywhere... I actually found Bangla Sahib more peaceful for meditation / reflection. And Sis Ganj Sahib too for that matter...

Here is a pic I took on my way through the sanctum sanctorum to illustrate my point. You can barely see the tiny space on the right where the women are... I'd say maybe 10 people can sit there tops?? Since there are literally hundreds of people in the lineup at any given time (probably more like thousand), the fact that there is even a place to sit at all is a moot point.

p.s. I got a finger pointed at me for taking this... but it was worth it :winkingkaur:
Your lovely (and slightly naughty) picture is covering much of your writing. Until that is fixed, I have reproduced your text here, so others can read it.

Where there's a will...
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

This deeply spiritual and divine shabd is composed by Guru Ramdas ji and is contained on page 1200 of the SGGS.


The literal translation of the first verse is: O Son, Why Do You Argue...

SPN on Facebook

...

On a scale of dominating ones, which vices affect you the most and Explain Why? You can make multipl

  • Kam (Lust)

    Votes: 18 45.0%
  • Krodh (Rage)

    Votes: 13 32.5%
  • Lobh (Greed)

    Votes: 8 20.0%
  • Moh (Attachment)

    Votes: 18 45.0%
  • Ahankar (Ego)

    Votes: 15 37.5%
  • Not Sure!

    Votes: 4 10.0%
Top