Nonsense Rituals And Superstitions

Where to start!

There are so many empty rituals and superstitions being carried out in Sikhi these days! They are encouraged, supported, instigated, and propagated by the people who run Gurdwara corporations, and by the crafty priest-group (Pujaaree-Group, ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ: Bhais, Ragis, Paathee, Parchaarark, Deraavaad Sant, etc.).

In this post, I’ll share just one example. Please share yours in the comment section of this post. This may help create awareness.

I remember this one from my childhood. It may sound like a joke, but it’s not. It’s a true story heard directly from my father.

There lived a Paathee (also spelt Pathi – a professional reader of the SGGS) in my native village in India. One day a man from the neighboring village visited him and said, “Someone has died in our family. We would like to hire you to do a Sahaj Paath in his memory (also called Sadhaaran Paath)”.

“Sure, I am available”, said the Paathee.

“How long it would take you to complete a Sahaj Paath?”, inquired the potential client.

“About couple of weeks”, replied the Paathee.

“But, unfortunately, we do not have that much time. We have only couple of days”, said the potential client.

“In that case, I can sell you a Keelee-Tang-Paath (ਕੀਲੀ-ਟੰਗ-ਪਾਠ)”, said the Paathee.

“What is the “Keelee-Tang-Paath“, inquired the customer.

“You see, in my spare time, I do Paath (also spelt Path) at my home. When done, I tie a knot in a towel and hang it on a Keelee. In nutshell, it’s a Keetaa Kraaiaa Paath (ਕੀਤਾ ਕਰਾਇਆ ਪਾਠ, ready-made Paath)”, explained the Paathee (for those who are not familiar with this Punjabi word “Keelee” – it’s a peg driven into the wall for hanging clothes, etc.).

What a fraud!

If this sort of fraud (“Koorh-Kriya”, falsehood, Pakhand…) in the name of the Gurbani existed several decades ago, just imagine what might be going on in this Internet or digital era!

The Pujaaree-Group (priest-group, ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ) is crafty because they are selfish and greedy. They will support, encourage, and start any scheme that will make money.

The majority of us are ignorant of the Gurbani, hypocrite (ਪਖੰਡੀ, ਭੇਖੀ… ), etc. Moreover, the majority of us are also selfish and greedy. As a result, except the “rare” ones, the rest of us are ideal pray for the crafty Pujaaree-Group (priest-group, ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ)!

The Gurbani’s edict is:

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: The filth is not removed by reading. Go ahead, and ask the Wise ones ||1||. (sggs 39).

After reading/listening, next important step is obtaining true understanding of what has bean read/listened through the sincere Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Gurmati suni kashu giaan n upjio … (sggs 685).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਪੜੈ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਬਿਧਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Doojai bhaai parrai nahee boojhai. … (sggs 127).
  • ਅਖਰ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਭੇਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ Akhar parr parr bhuleeai bhekhee … (sggs 61).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥….: Parri parri gaddee laddeeahi … (sggs 467).

The next step after obtaining true understanding of what has bean read/listened is: Remembering it.

The next step after that is: It has to be implemented (lived in daily life – practiced, applied, “ਅਮਲ”…).

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਆਏ ਕੰਮਿ ॥੧੦੦॥: Freedaa amal ji keetai dunee vichi … (sggs 1383).
  • ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤਿਆ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੇ ਦਰਗਹ ਓਗਾਹਾ ॥੯੮॥: Amal je keetiaa dunee vichi … (sggs 1383).

In other words, reading/listening is a mean to an end, NOT an end in itself!

Accordingly, the Gurbani commands us to read/listen with full attention…

  • ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਭਨਾ ਨੋ ਕਰਿ ਦਾਨੁ ॥: Listen to the Hari Naam paying attention (ਧਿਆਨ ਨਾਲ ਸੁਣ), and (then) give it (Hari Naam) as alm unto all (sggs 135).

Hence, only when the Gurbani is fully assimilated will all be well with us! That is, reading-listening-or-memorizing the Gurbani can only be beneficial if we take the next steps: reflect on it (Shabad-Vichaar), understand it (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ), remember it, and then live it (“ਕਰਣੀ”-Karanee: ਅਮਲ, application, practice, implementation, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਆਚਰਨ, ਆਤਮਿਕ ਜੀਵਨ, etc.).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਚਨ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਸਚਾ ਏਹੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: The True Vichaar is to practice the Satgur’s Bachan (Shabad-Upadesh, Wisdomof the Gur-Shabad…). (sggs 52).
  • ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਤਰੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karanee baajhahu tarai na koi (sggs 952).
  • ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥: Karanee baajhahu ghate ghati (sggs 25).

We are reminded that the Gurbani is not just a song (“ਗੀਤੁ”) – it is “Brahm Beechaar”  or Brahm-Giaan!

  • ਲੋਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਇਹੁ ਗੀਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥: Logu jaanai ihu geetu hai ihu taou Brahm Beechaar (sggs 335).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Jan Nanaku bole brahm beecharu (sggs 370).

In nutshell reading, listening or memorizing of the Gurbani must result in Spiritual Unfoldment (ਆਤਮਿਕ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਚ ਤਰੱਕੀ, ਆਤਮਿਕ ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ ਵਿਚ ਤਰੱਕੀ, ਰਹਿਣੀ ਵਿਚ ਤਰੱਕੀ…).

If it does not, then apparently we are doing something contrary to the Gur-Shabad (ਗੁਰ-ਉਪਦੇਸ)!

Nonsense Rituals And Superstitions was last modified: July 24th, 2014 by T. Singh
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T. Singh

T. Singh

T. Singh is not a "Giani", "Ragi", "Sant", "Baabaa", "Pujaaree", "Priest", "Granthee", "Parchaarak", "Bhai", "Swami", "Paathee", "Mahaatamaan", "Teacher", “scholar” (ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ), "writer", etc. He was neither born in such a family, nor lived with any one of them, nor wants to be one of them. More about T. Singh

There are 8 comments

  1. J

    Reminds me of a ‘Sant’ who offered naam via email !! Great article thanks.

  2. Prakash s Bagga

    The so called Non sense rituals are result of
    1 mindset related to our own backgrounds Unless this mindset is changed nothing is going to change come what may. and
    2 There seems to be utter failure from the responsible organisations in propagating and establishing the true sense of Gurbanee knowledge.

  3. Gurinder Pal Singh

    I think this blog, though the theme is correct, is unfair to the Ragis and Paathis etc. A large fraction of them are hard working sincere individuals who spend years in training in learning Raags, Gurbani and other related skills. They are low paid individuals in most Gurdwaras and given a lip service of respect. They are paid below minimum wages right in North America. I am not surprised that they sometime act in ways that appear greedy. Most Ragis and Parcharaks feel so mistreated that very few of them want their children to take up this profession.

    This becomes a chicken and egg game. As a result hardly any highly educated individual wants to take up this profession. Consequently many of these parcharaks cannot provide the level of service that is required to build an enlightened Sikh society.

    Gurdwaras need to be the places where Sikhs (students) go to learn. They should employ people, who are highly educated who can teach people how to do path and understand it rather than sell the path to them.

    Most people going to Gurdwaras are not interested in learning or have no time for it. Even when free Santhya classes were offered in our Gurdwara Sahib, very few people enrolled in those.

    Some Sikhs are very arrogant too. if a Bhai Ji is giving the right education and they do not like it, they want the Gurdwara committee to fire the Bhai Ji.!

    Somebody had a death in the family and they asked Gurdwara Sahib to send Bhai Jis to do Akhand Path at their home. Bhi Ji found that over the first day not even a single member of the family came to listen to the path. They were all busy in chitchatting and laughing outside the path room in a very noisy manner. One of the Bhai Jis went and with great humility asked them not to make noise and come and listen to the Path. The family later complained that Bhai Ji insulted their guests and spoiled the home atmosphere in their time of grief. They wanted the Gurdwara committee to fire the Bhai Ji!

    I sincerely believe that we the Sikh community as whole need to examine our own hypocrisies and provide an atmosphere where highly educated and dedicated individuals can enter the profession and provide the proper guidance.

    • Welcome! Thank you Bhai Sahib Gurinder Pal Singh Ji for taking the time to share your Vichaar.

      This post is about the crafty Pujaaree-Group.

      The Gurbani reveals to us the characteristics of the crafty Pujaaree-Group as follows:
      • ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ Aasaa Mahalaa 5: ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਇ ਕਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਨਾ ॥ ਲੈਤ ਦੇਤ ਉਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮੂਕਰਿ ਪਰਨਾ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਦਰਿ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਹੈ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਜਾਣਾ ॥ ਤਿਤੁ ਦਰਿ ਤੂੰਹੀ ਹੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਣਾ ॥੧॥ ਐਸੇ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਡੂਬੇ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਨਿਰਾਪਰਾਧ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਬੁਰਿਆਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਹਲਕਾਏ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਏ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੂਠਾ ਚੇਤੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਬਹੁਤੀ ਰਾਹੀ ॥੨॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਕਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਉਤਰੀ ਘੇਰੇ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੈ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ॥੩॥ ਮੂਰਖ ਬਾਮਣ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥ ਦੇਖਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਤੇਰੈ ਹੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੀ ਭਾਗੁ ॥ ਮਾਨੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਗੁਰ ਚਰਣੀ ਲਾਗੁ ॥੪॥੮॥: Aasaa Mahalaa 5. Daanu daei kari poojaa karanaa … (sggs 372).

      In the foregoing Shabad, the Gurbani compares the craftiness, beguileness, wickedness, greediness, foolishness, etc., of the professional Pujaaree-Group with a RABIE DOG!

      The Gurbani’s recommendation is:
      • ਦੇਹ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਉਲਾਣਾ ਕਲਮ ਖੁਦਾਈ ਪਾਕੁ ਖਰਾ ॥੨॥: Let (your) body be the mosque; let (your) mind be the priest; and (keep your mind ever) Pure; (this Purity of the mind) is the Khudaa’s Kalmaa. ||2|| (sggs 1083).
      • ਆਪੈ ਜਪਹੁ ਆਪਨਾ ਜਾਪ ॥੫॥: Aapai japahu aapanaa jaap (sggs 344).
      • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa cheenai mitai na bhram kee kaaee (sggs 684).
      • ਅਖਰ ਬਿਰਖ ਬਾਗ ਭੁਇ ਚੋਖੀ ਸਿੰਚਿਤ ਭਾਉ ਕਰੇਹੀ ॥ ਸਭਨਾ ਫਲੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਏਕੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕੈਸੇ ਲੇਹੀ ॥੩॥: (Akhar birakh … sggs 235).
      • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhee sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).

      If i am not mistaken, not too long ago there was a news about SGPC decided selling Akhand Paths online to make money! However, due to worldwide vigilant, i believe later they decided to stop that practice!

      The point is: If SGPC can instigate such a stunt to make money, then what to speak of local Gurdwaras!!!!!!!!

    • Santbir Singh

      I think you are not only right but absolutely astute in suggesting the right remedy for the malaise which has entered the sikh religious establishments. It has been the effect of the brahmins.
      Compare with the christian missinaries and priests who are fully trained even professionally qualified sometimes doctors and engineers who are designated for such duties. They can successfully and dutifully perform as they are wellpaid and fully compensated.

      • Welcome! Thank you Bhai Sahib Santbir Singh Ji for taking the time to share your Vichaar.

        More from the Gurbani’s Hukamnaaamaa on forsaking the crafty Pujaaree-Group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ):
        • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan have written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat…), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
        • ਏਕੁ ਗੁਸਾਈ ਅਲਹੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਦੁਹਾਂ ਨੇਬੇਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: My Gusaaee (and) Allah is One. (This I have already) settled (concluded, finished, ਫੈਸਲਾ…) with both Hindus and Muslims (that I don’t follow whatever they have written: their explanations, commentaries, customs, injunctions, etc.). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1136).
        • ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Now) I have no quarrel with anyone anymore; because I have abandoned both the Pandit and the Mullaan (ਦੋਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਰਸਤੇ ਨਾਲ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ – the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat…). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1158).

  4. prakash s bagga

    There is no doubt that Gurbanee is to be sung and to be listened and there can be no harm if anything is presented as “KIRTAN BHETAA”
    from the listeners.The problem is with the fixed and heavy charged being demanded by the professional Singers .
    One should critically understand the difference between Demanded charges and Kirtan Bhetaa from the Sangat.
    There is trend in the present system that some (Not All) professional Raagees negotiate too hard for presenting their Kirtan.I think this constitutes craft which deserves rejection.

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