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Self What It Means To Be A Kaur

Harkiran Kaur

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Jul 21, 2012
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Perhaps I am noticing this more now, only a little more than one week away from taking Amrit, and a mere ten days away from my anand karaj, but recently, I have become keenly aware of the double standard in Sikhi bewteen males and females. Sikhi boasts equality. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji only speaks of equality instructing all of us as Gurmukhs to "see all with a single eye of equality, for in each and every heart the divine light is contained" It doesn't say the divine light is only contained in men's hearts... women too are part of this 'all' are they not?

Some things I have noticed recently in discussions on the net:

- Women barred from kirtan at Darbar Sahib
- Women barred from palki sahib seva at Darbar Sahib
- Women kept from seva of washing sanctum sanctorum at Darbar Sahib
- Discussions about whether women are 'impure' during menstruation (Hari Singh Randhawa) and whether women should be allowed to do seva of SGGSJ during their periods - or even at all (becuse she might start menstruating at any time)
- Some jathas instructing wives to view their husband (and serve him) as God over her, while he is told to see her as his faithful 'follower'
- Suggestions by Singhs who follow these jathas, that women are lower status than men, and so wives should bow to their husbands out of respect of this higher status he has over her
- Women kept from participating in Amrit Sanchars as Panj Pyaras, with a multitude of different reasoning, the most common being that women never gave their heads on that day 1699 so they don't have the right (basically suggesting all women for all time should be punished), or that it's 'tradition'. However I have heard some males say women are actually incapable of making amrit so anyone who takes Amrit where a woman was part of the Panj, their Amrit was not authentic
- (This one is perhaps the most degrading comment from a Singh towards Singhnis I have ever heard) That women can not attain 'mukhti' until they are first reborn in a male 'joon'. And that her 'dharam' is to serve her husband and then she will be reborn as a male and can progress spiritually. Also the suggestion that being born a woman is due to karmic punishment.
- Suggestion that women were never meant to even have khandi di pahul. Saying that in 1800s Singh Sabha movement gave amrit to women only so the food they cooked could be eaten by their husbands. And those who believe women only should have kirpan amrit, prepared by one 'Singh' and with not all the proper prayers recited.
- Sikhs practicing Lohri where baby boys are celebrated while birth of baby girls are often met with condolences.
- Rakhri practice by Sikhs

So here I am about to make a commitment to Sikhi, to become a Khalsa. But what am I commiting to exactly? My fiance, soon to be husband 100% supports women equality in Sikhi. In Kashmir, there have been women acting as Panj Pyaras, and they only follow Sikh Rehet Maryada.

Some of these Singhs who put women down do not follow SRM but instead hold Damdami Taksal's Gurmat Rehet Maryada over SRM. DDTs RM has much misogyny in it including the instruction for wives to serve their husbands as God. It also limits women from just about every seva (except langar) any authority or leadership position in DDT's RM states 'Singh' which is their argument for no female Granthis, Panj Pyaras, kirtanis, even participating in Akhand Paaths. These same SInghs put Sikh Rehet Maryada down, and actually use degrading comments about it especially the place where it says women can be one of the Panj Pyaras in Amrit Sanchars.

I have decided to take Amrit in light of all this, because I truly believe in what Gurbani says... not what certain jathas state. I follow Sikh Rehet Maryada of Akal Takht not any Jatha, or Baba or Sant.

But I truly believe we need to work on women's position in Sikhi in general. But where do we start? How can we see actual change??
 

Original

Writer
SPNer
Jan 10, 2011
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London UK
Perhaps I am noticing this more now, only a little more than one week away from taking Amrit, and a mere ten days away from my anand karaj, but recently, I have become keenly aware of the double standard in Sikhi bewteen males and females. Sikhi boasts equality. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji only speaks of equality instructing all of us as Gurmukhs to "see all with a single eye of equality, for in each and every heart the divine light is contained" It doesn't say the divine light is only contained in men's hearts... women too are part of this 'all' are they not?

Some things I have noticed recently in discussions on the net:

- Women barred from kirtan at Darbar Sahib
- Women barred from palki sahib seva at Darbar Sahib
- Women kept from seva of washing sanctum sanctorum at Darbar Sahib
- Discussions about whether women are 'impure' during menstruation (Hari Singh Randhawa) and whether women should be allowed to do seva of SGGSJ during their periods - or even at all (becuse she might start menstruating at any time)
- Some jathas instructing wives to view their husband (and serve him) as God over her, while he is told to see her as his faithful 'follower'
- Suggestions by Singhs who follow these jathas, that women are lower status than men, and so wives should bow to their husbands out of respect of this higher status he has over her
- Women kept from participating in Amrit Sanchars as Panj Pyaras, with a multitude of different reasoning, the most common being that women never gave their heads on that day 1699 so they don't have the right (basically suggesting all women for all time should be punished), or that it's 'tradition'. However I have heard some males say women are actually incapable of making amrit so anyone who takes Amrit where a woman was part of the Panj, their Amrit was not authentic
- (This one is perhaps the most degrading comment from a Singh towards Singhnis I have ever heard) That women can not attain 'mukhti' until they are first reborn in a male 'joon'. And that her 'dharam' is to serve her husband and then she will be reborn as a male and can progress spiritually. Also the suggestion that being born a woman is due to karmic punishment.
- Suggestion that women were never meant to even have khandi di pahul. Saying that in 1800s Singh Sabha movement gave amrit to women only so the food they cooked could be eaten by their husbands. And those who believe women only should have kirpan amrit, prepared by one 'Singh' and with not all the proper prayers recited.
- Sikhs practicing Lohri where baby boys are celebrated while birth of baby girls are often met with condolences.
- Rakhri practice by Sikhs

So here I am about to make a commitment to Sikhi, to become a Khalsa. But what am I commiting to exactly? My fiance, soon to be husband 100% supports women equality in Sikhi. In Kashmir, there have been women acting as Panj Pyaras, and they only follow Sikh Rehet Maryada.

Some of these Singhs who put women down do not follow SRM but instead hold Damdami Taksal's Gurmat Rehet Maryada over SRM. DDTs RM has much misogyny in it including the instruction for wives to serve their husbands as God. It also limits women from just about every seva (except langar) any authority or leadership position in DDT's RM states 'Singh' which is their argument for no female Granthis, Panj Pyaras, kirtanis, even participating in Akhand Paaths. These same SInghs put Sikh Rehet Maryada down, and actually use degrading comments about it especially the place where it says women can be one of the Panj Pyaras in Amrit Sanchars.

I have decided to take Amrit in light of all this, because I truly believe in what Gurbani says... not what certain jathas state. I follow Sikh Rehet Maryada of Akal Takht not any Jatha, or Baba or Sant.

But I truly believe we need to work on women's position in Sikhi in general. But where do we start? How can we see actual change??
Harkiran Kaur Ji

Let's start with you ! Be the change that you wish to see in the world [Gandhi].

General

The issues are cultural and not religious. Indian culture was never like this, it was through series of onslaught invasions from the middle and near east countries that had brought about gender based inequalities, crippling what was otherwise, an egalitarian Indus valley civilisation.

Removal of gender based inequalities need role model "males", such as sports personalities, celebrities, distinguished speakers, high ranking politicians, who can pave way with their impressionable ideologue for the attainment of women centred rights and responsibilities. These men, in a would be educated culture that allegedly promotes masculinity and manhood will advocate gender equality to leverage it to offer good education all around. And, that as a result, will prompt people like you, who despite all their god-given rights find themselves in chronic-uncertainties will be better placed to shape society for the good of all.

Religious

Amrit initiation is divine and must be seen as such; notwithstanding, ritual n renovation, it is a prescribed way of life. The act of initiation is to accept Guru Ji's philosophy and a complete surrender, as it were, is essential.

God is so far beyond human comprehension that no words are adequate to the greatness of the Divine Being, and we speak of God only in analogies and overlapping images. Although, customarily we have used the masculine personal pronoun HE, " the youngest child at catechism knows God is not male".

Saint Jerome pointed out that the word for the spirit is feminine in Hebrew, masculine in Latin and neuter in Greek, "for there is no sex in the divinity".

As for Gur Ghar the relationship is "unique". The separated spirit [soul] on this physical plane, which is both male n female is forever yearning to reunite with the whole [God] from whom SHE [meaning both male n female] separated [God].

Warm regards n best wishes !

Take care



 
Apr 12, 2007
351
262
I think alot of development of the spirit or soul comes with the concept of attention. The level of attention an individual aquires has deep effects upon the formation of a personality. How does that collate with the attention given to the natural source call it nature or energy or soul; God, this is something that when in the trance of peaceful mind frames enables us to develop an enhance our understanding on. For a title of Princess given how much more attention do females require? Is the real thought behind it as in Sikhism there is no real bar on selfless service to humanity on any level and I don't think anyone would disagree with it. Attention, Love, Devotion, in all this emotional and physical activity levels of thought. I have found none more peaceful then to detach your mind into the monotone point and absorbing the words being read while at a gurdwara its very good practice in developing peace of mind. ALTHOUGH MY RAGE IS MORE THEN I CAN CONTROL WHEN ENRAGED. Equal opportunities policy. Use you're rage in the correct manner to enforce change in the system as a whole ladies if you respect us gentlemen it undoubtedly humans will respect you're positions but you need a platform to stand on an the truth is it has shown over time an consistency that females under achieve on sustained growth patterns. I guess it's a human race thing where we don't keep or maintain a focus the biggest test being in personal relationships now. The UK system is perfect example of where female advantage has put an entire country at disadvantage. No industry left in a nation once proud of manufacturing because although they spend more wealth then men, they are unable to control the habit of CHANGE that jingling in the pocket that noise they so love to hear in the purse them few portions you receive back after buying a product are not saved. Lol
 
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Harkiran Kaur

Leader

Writer
SPNer
Jul 21, 2012
1,393
1,910
Ummm women do not 'consistently underachieve' as you so 'eloquently' put it. Is this how Singhs see us? Underachievers, so why do we deserve to have equal opportunity? You are a part of the problem.

Forcing women into so called traditional roles, where they are bound the walls of the home, doing menial tasks and that is their entire life, that does not do much to encourage growth or progress of women. And since it's men who benefit from this arrangement, men do little to encourage women to break free from these chains. Simply put, many men think this where women belong, Society and life is for men, while women are simply there to serve them. This follows on to religious duties and seva. So no wonder many Singhs think women should not be part of Panj Pyaras. They see women as meek, simple minded, domestic. We have forgotten that all women have somewhere inside of them, the spirit of Mai Bhago.

If you want to see women achieve things in life on par with men, then treat your daughters with the same encouragement towards studies etc as your sons, volunteer to lead a girls group at the Gurdwara focusing on the female Sants, female Sikh heroes and Sikh women who have achieved MUCH. Encourage girls to learn gatka alongside boys.

Don't just sit there complaining that women are underachievers. UK culture has created its own issues on this as women were not really treated on par with men there until only recently in history, and much of that attitude still persists in mens minds.

You are being blind to the women (Sikh and otherwise) who have accomplished a LOT in life, on par with males.

Myself I have been 19 years in the Royal Canadian Navy. I became one of the first female submariners in 2005, and now I am teaching at the submarine school. I also last year became first female to tie dastar in the Canadian Navy and it hit news around the world. So please don't label me as an underachiever who just spends mens money. I have my own place, pay all my own bills, and I am even on the Gurdwara Management Committee here.

The respect has been flowing one way for far too long... men have expected respect from women, but have never given it even today most do not respect women as they see women as beneath them, someone to order around and cook them food. One way respect only enforces inequality and a lower position for women. It has to be two ways, and MEN have to be the ones to make the change. Tall order I know...
 
Apr 12, 2007
351
262
Ummm women do not 'consistently underachieve' as you so 'eloquently' put it. Is this how Singhs see us? Underachievers, so why do we deserve to have equal opportunity? You are a part of the problem.

Forcing women into so called traditional roles, where they are bound the walls of the home, doing menial tasks and that is their entire life, that does not do much to encourage growth or progress of women. And since it's men who benefit from this arrangement, men do little to encourage women to break free from these chains. Simply put, many men think this where women belong, Society and life is for men, while women are simply there to serve them. This follows on to religious duties and seva. So no wonder many Singhs think women should not be part of Panj Pyaras. They see women as meek, simple minded, domestic. We have forgotten that all women have somewhere inside of them, the spirit of Mai Bhago.

If you want to see women achieve things in life on par with men, then treat your daughters with the same encouragement towards studies etc as your sons, volunteer to lead a girls group at the Gurdwara focusing on the female Sants, female Sikh heroes and Sikh women who have achieved MUCH. Encourage girls to learn gatka alongside boys.

Don't just sit there complaining that women are underachievers. UK culture has created its own issues on this as women were not really treated on par with men there until only recently in history, and much of that attitude still persists in mens minds.

You are being blind to the women (Sikh and otherwise) who have accomplished a LOT in life, on par with males.

Myself I have been 19 years in the Royal Canadian Navy. I became one of the first female submariners in 2005, and now I am teaching at the submarine school. I also last year became first female to tie dastar in the Canadian Navy and it hit news around the world. So please don't label me as an underachiever who just spends mens money. I have my own place, pay all my own bills, and I am even on the Gurdwara Management Committee here.

The respect has been flowing one way for far too long... men have expected respect from women, but have never given it even today most do not respect women as they see women as beneath them, someone to order around and cook them food. One way respect only enforces inequality and a lower position for women. It has to be two ways, and MEN have to be the ones to make the change. Tall order I l



  1. My answer; ☺Nice to hear that you are progressing to male aspects of debate and issues instead of good old fashioned practice. I wish you well on your experience and journey of life in this cosmos of forms. I would like to add though that a male counterpart in the same situation would they achieve more? How do you achieve greater recommendations then any other human is what my point is about it shouldn't be about the opposite sex. God bless I wish you and humanity greater success.
 
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