Gurmat and the Evil Practice of Dowry

A dowry (Daaj or Dahej – ਦਾਜ, ਦਹੇਜ …) is a form of payment made by the wife’s family to the husband’s family. It may include money, gifts, property, and other belongings that the wife brings to her husband as her marriage dowry or payment.

Although the dowry is not rooted solely to Indian culture, however, it is widely prevalent in Indian culture, including Sikhs (students, learners of the Guru Shabad). It is a culturally sanctioned and socially structured practice – an evil practice.

Our Gurus recognized this evil practice centuries ago and critiqued it, debunked it, and rejected it.

Throughout his life, Baabaa Nanak stood by those who were oppressed, exploited, discriminated against, injusticed, neglected or discarded by the society (casteism-Jaat Paat etc.). All Gurus were champions of human rights, social justice, and were great social reformers. All Gurus were busy bringing positive social change throughout their lives.

Uprooting of the evils such as dowry giving/asking, Satee Prathaa etc. from the society is the purpose of religions or a genuine Spiritual Way of Life.

If any religion or Way of Life is empty of this central purpose then it is hollow.

Therefore, genuine Spiritual Way of Life or a religion is that which teaches living entities as to what will bring them Eternal Freedom from vices/Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, and their countless variations.

In short, a religion is not a declaration of noble objectives, it is an action to fulfill such objectives.

Here is the edict of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) on dowry:

  • ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਮੈ ਦਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਪੜੋ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਵਰੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਕਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਗੁਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦਾਨੁ ਦਿਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਰਭੰਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਹੋਈ ਇਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਨ ਰਲੈ ਰਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਹੋਰਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦਾਜੁ ਜਿ ਰਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਲਹਿ ਸੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਚੁ ਪਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਮੈ ਦਾਜੋ ॥੪॥ : O my father, please give me Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) as my wedding gift and dowry. Give me Naam as my wedding gown, and the Naam as my glory to accomplish my task (to realize the Creator). Through the (Gurmat) Bhagti this ceremony is made blissful and beautiful; the Satgur has given this gift of the Naam. The Creator’s glory has spread in all the regions of the world, because this dowry (Naam) doesn’t look like any other dowry. No other dowry, which the Manmukh (unenlightened being) offer for show, is only Haumai (false ego-sense) and a worthless display. O my father, please give me Naam as my wedding gift and dowry. ||4|| (sggs 79).

We also hear the Ragis singing the following Shabad during the Sikh marriage ceremony (‘Anand Kaaraj‘ meaning ‘Blissful Union’), which has very deep spiritual Message and is meant to be Internalized, NOT jut ceremonially or ritually read, sung and heard:

  • ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਕਟਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਲਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਬਿਨਸਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਰਤਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਲਾਧਾ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥ : O my father, by Internalizing the Message of the Guru’s Shabad I am married (spiritually United) with the Creator within. The darkness of ignorance has been dispelled from within me by the Blazing Light of the Lamp of the Guru’s Gifted Wisdom. This spiritual wisdom given by the Guru shines forth, and the darkness has been dispelled. I have found the Priceless Jewel. My malady of false ego-sense (Haumai) has been dispelled, my sorrows are over, the Gurmat helped me consume my egoistic nature. (sggs 78).

As we Sikhs are counseled in the foregoing Shabad in the SGGS, a Jeev (individual being) is to ask for ONLY the divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues…) as her wedding gift / dowry. Nothing else.

The Guru’s Shabad further instructs us that asking for or offering of any mundane dowry / gift other than the Naam is a false show of once false ego-sense or HaumaiManmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree mindset, greed, ignorance, and so on.

Having said that, becoming the Gurbani, Awakening divine Virtues within and living daily life accordingly is the realization of the Eternal Husband (i.e. the One Creator) or godly blessings within.

  • ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਵਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਨਾ ਕਦੇ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੋਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ : I have realized the eternal God as my Groom, who never dies and never takes birth. O my dear father, my marriage (Union with God within) has been solemnized, and through Internalizing the Guru’s Shabad (Enlightenment), I have realized God (within myself). ||2|| (sggs 78).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੈ ਵਰੁ ਘਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਲਾਥੇ ਜੀ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਸੂਰੇ ॥੪॥੧॥ : Nanak says, I have realized my Husband-God within myself and now all my worries have vanished. ||4||1|| (sggs 577).
  • ਪੂਰੀ ਆਸਾ ਜੀ ਮਨਸਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਮੋਹਿ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਜੀਉ ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ॥ : O my God, every hope and expectation is fulfilled (i.e. to get rid of the vices/Bikaar and inculcate Virtues). O my God, You possess ALL Virtues, I cannot find good enough words to praise You. (sggs 577).

The Gurbani in SGGS asserts that – by becoming the Gurmukh – very ‘rare‘ ones follow this Message of the Guru Shabad:

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਚੁਕਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ : Everybody in this the world physically see the Satgur. Nothing going to happen just by seeing (the Satgur); one can not be ‘Mukt‘ (liberated, unentangled, unhindered etc.) until and unless the Message within the Shabad is Reflected upon. (Because, without the Shabad-Vichaar) the filth of Haumai (false ego-sense) is not removed, and love for the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Divine Virtues, Divine Wisdom…) does not get affixed (in the mind). (sggs 594).
  • ਇਕਿ ਅਪਣੈ ਸੁਆਇ ਆਇ ਬਹਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਜਿਉ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਈਐ ॥ : Some come for their own self-interest, and sit before the Guru; they pretend to be in Samaadhi, like the crane! ||3|| (sggs 881).

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  1. Thank you for sharing this “TRUE STORY” here.
    One does not become a Sikh just by taking birth in a Sikh family. One becomes a Sikh by living the Gurbani – Gurmat, Gur-Giaan …

    (3) Who demands a dowry of RS 2.5 MILLION only after marriage?

    This is sheer greed. Accroding to the Gurbani, a greedy person cannot be a Sikh.
    •ਲੋਭੀ ਕਾ ਵੇਸਾਹੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ਜੇ ਕਾ ਪਾਰਿ ਵਸਾਇ ॥: Lobhee kaa vesaahu na keejai je kaa paar vasaai: If you can avoid doing so, do not trust the greedy person (sggs 1417).
    •ਲੋਭ ਲਹਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ਹਲਕੁ ਹੈ ਹਲਕਿਓ ਸਭਹਿ ਬਿਗਾਰੇ ॥: Lobh lahari sabh suaan halak hai halkio sabhai bigaare: The waves of greed are like mad dogs with rabies. Ttheir madness ruins all (those whom they bite – ਵੱਢ ਵੱਢ ਕੇ) (sggs 983).

  2. What should be punishment to a widow (KURUMNI) ,
    (1) Who makes KARA PRSHAD in SOYABEEN OIL ?
    (2) Who feels disturbed at 0600hrs ( since her waking time is 0930hrs )
    if her daughter in law gets up at 0600hrs?
    (3) Who demands a dowry of RS 2.5 MILLION only after marriage?
    (4) Who feels , being MUNDE WALA , & torture her daughter in law ?
    (5) Who conspires with her son to abuse the father in law , when
    his wife , likes to listen to GURBANI KEERTAN by BHAI HARABANS
    THIS IS A TRUE STORY OF MY DAUGHTER mrs ravjot kaur bhasin , who was rescued in a very bad shape last year on 25 NOV 2010 , TO INDORE by AIR……………………………LOVE

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