Gurbani Rejects Eclipse Rituals

From time immemorial, cultures have all sorts of responses to an eclipse, mainly fright or  fear.

This is because, in general, eclipses have been considered inauspicious events for thousands of years. They have been viewed as very negative omens.

Rituals related to eclipses

In India Solar and Lunar eclipses or ‘Grahan’ (‘ਗ੍ਰਹਣ’) generally are considered to be inauspicious, SUTAK or SOOTAK (impure) according to the mythology propagated by Brahmins/Pandits Pujaaree (clergy) and ancient Hindu texts.

As a result, there exist myriad rituals (Karamkaand), traditions, superstitions, misconceptions, ritual Poojaa, blind-faith (ਅੰਧ-ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼) etc. that are observed before and after eclipses.

These were in full practice before Baabaa Nanak. And they still are!

To impart the Truth (ਸਚ) and Awaken our Conscience, all 35 writers in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of their time.

However, these terms have been used in the SGGS as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

For example, people are directed by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy) to take a bath after the eclipse is over, and changing into fresh and clean clothes. Sprinkling of Ganga water or taking a dip in the Ganga is also supposed to wash away the evil done by the eclipse. The belief and claim is that — after an eclipse — taking holy dip in holy rivers like Ganga, and Teeraths like Brahma Sarover in Kurukshetra will help in:

  • Washing away sins of this birth and previous births
  • Attaining liberation (Moksha) – escape from cycle of birth and death (i.e. reincarnation).
  • Washing away negative energy which spreads fast during the eclipse
  • Removing the stains of wicked activities (Adharmic) performed in this birth and previous births.
  • Another belief is that the solar eclipse – the alignment of sun, moon and earth – generates curative properties in holy waters of the rivers and ponds (Srovars of Teerath or places of pilgrimage).

There are also many other rituals and superstitions observed during an eclipse. To mention a few:

  • not worshiping gods or touching idols during eclipse,
  • abstaining from cooking,
  • observing fast,
  • barring a pregnant woman from going out and forcing her take shower every couple of hours whole night, and so on.

The Gurbani rejects all Karamkaand

Baabaa Nanak’s Unique Spirituality has RE-DEFINED pre-1469 concepts of the corrupt Pujaaree (clergy).

Since Karamkaand (rituals) further bind people in egotism, the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) bluntly and logically debunks them for there is no place for Karamkaand (rituals) in the UNIQUE Spirituality of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਮਜਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਸੂਚੇ ॥ ਕੋਟਿ ਗ੍ਰਹਣ ਪੁੰਨ ਫਲ ਮੂਚੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Taking cleansing bath in the (Teerath of) Hari Naam, the life is rendered pure. Reward of bathing in the Naam-(Teerath) surpasses the giving of charity at millions of solar eclipses. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 197).
  • ਜੇ ਓਹੁ ਗ੍ਰਹਨ ਕਰੈ ਕੁਲਖੇਤਿ ॥ ਅਰਪੈ ਨਾਰਿ ਸੀਗਾਰ ਸਮੇਤਿ ॥ ਸਗਲੀ ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਸ੍ਰਵਨੀ ਸੁਨੈ ॥ ਕਰੈ ਨਿੰਦ ਕਵਨੈ ਨਹੀ ਗੁਨੈ ॥੨॥ : Someone may bathe at Kurukshetra during an eclipse, and gives in charity his own wife all decked up in jewelry, and listen to all the Simritees (Hindu scriptures), but if he indulges in slander, then all these acts are of NO avail. ||2|| (sggs 875).

During his journey that he undertook for the sake of Enlightening people, Guru Amar Das Sahib first visited Kurukshetra on the occasion of the ‘Abhijit’ festival and preached to thousands of pilgrims gathered there that the eclipse was a natural phenomenon and there was no merit gained ritual fasting and bathing on this occasion.

  • ਨਾਵਣੁ ਪੁਰਬੁ ਅਭੀਚੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦਰਸੁ ਭਇਆ ॥ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਹਰੀ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਗਇਆ ॥ : The fruits of ritual bathing at the occasion known as  ‘Abheech‘ is naturally obtained when one experiences the blessed vision of the Satigur (i.e. the spiritual Wisdom from the Guru received and lived). The filth of wickedness is washed off, and the darkness of ignorance is dispelled (by the Light of the spiritual Wisdom of the Satigur). (sggs 1116).

In short, the edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is: We cannot cleanse our inner selves (minds, thoughts etc.) by performing pilgrimages and ritual bathing in the so called holy ‘waters’! This nonsense will never free anybody from vices/Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride; and their numerous variations etc.)

According to the SGGS, the true Teerath in Sikhi is Naam Teerath (i.e, Shabad-Teerath, Giyan-Wisdom-Teerath, or Teerath of Virtues.

  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥ : I (too) go to bathe at the Teerath (place of pilgrimage); but for me Naam (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) is the Teerath. To Reflect on the Shabad (Shabad Vichaar…) is the Teerath, (because of this) Wisdom Awakens within (sggs 687).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਸ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਦਾ ਦਸਾਹਰਾ ॥ : The Gur-Wisdom is Eternal sacred shrine of pilgrimage (for me, which is equal to) the congregation of ten (Holy days or festivals for me). (sggs 687).
  • ਸਗਲੇ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸੁਚਿ ਸੰਜਮ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਬਦਿ ਵਸੇ ॥ : All Karma, Dharma, Such (purification…), Sanjam (austere self-discipline…), Japa, Tapa and pilgrimages – all these abide in the Shabad (i.e., in the Giaan or Updesh of the Shabad). (sggs 1332).
  • ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਤੀਰਥ ਮਜਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ : Throughout the eight watches of the day (i.e., always), remember the Naam (i.e., Giaan or Wisdom…). In it are the many sacred shrines of pilgrimage and cleansing baths. (sggs 184).

Aptly, according to the Gurbani in SGGS, a Sikh (learner / student) is always supposed to wash off the mental filth through Internalizing the spiritual Message of the Guru Shabad.

Fittingly, the Gurbani teaches that visiting the so called Teerath is nothing but ‘worldly affairs’, ‘egotistical displays’, oblivion in ‘doubt‘, mundane business (ਧੰਧਾ), Pakhand and acts of pleasing and appeasing other people etc.!

  • ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥ : Deluded by doubt (he) visits all Teerath (external shrines of pilgrimage). (sggs 1142).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ : (Pure and unique Bhagti is) to wash the mind, and the body (i.e., senses: eyes, ears, etc.) with Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1059).
  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸਭ ਕਰੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ : Manmukhs (Unenlightened persons) do everything seeing other people do to make a show (Pakhand, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ, ਦਿਖਾਵਾ…), but they themselves have no understanding of the true way of living. (sggs 28).

The Gurbani also rejects belief in astrology (Jotish)

As the ancient Indian legend goes (according to mythology as given in Hindu Puraan), an eclipse occurs when the shadowy demon Rahu Ketu gets his revenge on the Sun and the Moon by consuming them and stealing their luminous rays!!

In a nutshell, according to astrology, eclipses can be a bad time to start or end jobs, projects, relationships, or any other important stuff.

The Gurbani debunks both Jotish (also spelt Jyotish – astrology) and such belief.

The Jotish claim is that it can help alleviate the unfavorable results of past actions through special measures, rituals etc. However, the SGGS holds that the permanent and foolproof solutions to our fear and suffering is through abiding in one’s Mool within (ਮੂਲ, Source, Original Nature – Jot Saroop), through the Shabad-Vichaar.

There is NO CONCEPT OF CALCULATIONS in the Gurbani (SGGS). The SGGS teaches that all calculations (imaginations-ਫੁਰਨੇ…) are in false ego-sense (Mayaic mind).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS also asserts that the Creator or Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law-Order of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ) is beyond any ritualistic calculations

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪੜਦੇ ਜੋਤਕੀ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਹੈ ਸਚੁ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰਾ ॥ : Astrology Pandits study their books, but they do not understand (the Creator’s – Kudrat’s -play). O eternal Creator! Every happening is your play. (sggs 948).
  • ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਬਦਿ ਘਰੁ ਲਹੀਐ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਗਣਿ ਗਣਿ ਜੋਤਕੁ ਕਾਂਡੀ ਕੀਨੀ ॥ ਪੜੈ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨੀ ॥ ਸਭਸੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੋਰ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਉ ਨ ਸਗਲੀ ਛਾਰੁ ॥੨॥ : O Pandit (i.e. Pujaaree, religious scholar etc.)! Do not tell lies, speak the Truth. When egotism is eradicated through the Gur-Shabad, then (one) finds the (inner) Home (of fulfilment). ||1||Pause|| Calculating and counting, the astrologer draws the horoscope. (He) reads it and announces it (to his client), but (he) does not Understand the Reality (ਅਸਲੀਅਤ). (sggs 904).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ : All counting (calculations, Gintee Mintee-ਗਿਣਤੀ ਮਿਣਤੀ) is in egotism, because of this counting Peace cannot be experienced. (sggs 36).
  • ਤੂ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਅਗਣਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਣਤੈ ॥ : O Creator! You are INCALCULABLE, while the entire world is within the realm of calculation. (sggs 314).
  • ਸਉਣ ਸਗੁਨ ਬੀਚਾਰਣੇ ਨਉਂ ਗ੍ਰਹ ਬਾਰਹ ਰਾਸਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਾਮਣ ਟੂਣੇ ਅਉਸੀਆਂ ਕਣ ਸੋਹੀ ਪਾਸਾਰ ਪਾਸਾਰਾ ॥ : The life led in the light of omens, the nine planets, the twelve signs of the zodiac; incantations, magic divination by lines and by the voice is all futile (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar: 5 Pauree: 9).

There is no counting for the one who has become the Gurmukh (ENLIGHTENED, Guru Shabad-Oriented). Because a Gurmukh knows he is not separate from his Mool.

Aptly, the Gurbani urges us to Realize the mental State of Gurmukh-Hood, so the mind can leave the ‘Trikutee-ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ’ and come to rest into its Jot Saroop‘.

  • ਗਣਤ ਗਣੈ ਸੋ ਜਲੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਸਹਸਾ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਚੁਕੈ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਗਣਤ ਚੁਕਾਏ ਸਚੇ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੯॥ : One who keeps on (worldly or Mayaic) counting all the time, is always burning (in the hidden fire of Maya, Trishna etc.) in the world. His doubt does not end at all. The spirituality of Shabad enables the elimination of countings (Gintee Mintee-ਗਿਣਤੀ ਮਿਣਤੀ); and creates Realization of the Creator Within. (sggs 1062).

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9 comments

  1. Thank you “D” for your reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog.

    Sure, Guru Nanak Dev jee said not to believe in ritualistic practices,

    Correct. Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak is very Unique and Revolutionary. In order to CONVEY the truth of the BANI, all composers of Bani (ਬਾਣੀਕਾਰ) who are included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used language, vocabulary, beliefs, phrases, terms, metaphors and traditions that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of the time. However, the use of this vocabulary does NOT at all mean that the writers (ਬਾਣੀਕਾਰ) of the Bani in the SGGS have accepted the meaning of the vocabulary in the form in which it was prevalent at the time. GURUS and BHAGATS have used these terms as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak.

    does Sikhi denounce Science?

    Gurmat does not denounce science.

    The essence of Guru jee’s message here is to denounce all efforts that take you away from naam.

    Thank you.

  2. I think the article is taking this concept a bit out of context here. Sure, Guru Nanak Dev jee said not to believe in ritualistic practices, but Astrology is a science, does Sikhi denounce Science? I don’t think so. The essence of Guru jee’s message here is to denounce all efforts that take you away from naam.

  3. Your statement is incorrect.

    It shows the poverty of your understanding of the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS).

    What is correct is that the Gurmat is anti Karamkaand (i.e., rituals), and all the illiterate and crafty Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree systems that promote them to enslave people’s mind for their selfish ends.

    With all due respect, do you even know the meaning of ‘Sikh‘?

    In nutshell, ‘Sikh’ means the ‘learner, student or seeker’. A seeker is not bound by ideology or Karamkaand (i.e., rituals).

    Before commenting on ‘Sikhi’, please learn about ‘Sikhi‘ directly from the SGGS (i.e., Not From the Corrupt Pujaare).

  4. THE MOOL is a WAVE (TARANG) of Hari and or GOBINDu, this should be observed from within gurbaanee.

  5. Gurbani is Braham Gian
    The terms Sun (Sooraj, Bhan, Soor) and the Moon (Chand) are to be under stood from within the context of Gurbani not from the ideology of Simrat and Shasters which is deeply embedded in our Teekaas.

    In Raag Raamkali M:3 has indicated
    ” Chand Sooraj Ki Paayeh Gandh
    ‘Tis Udasi Ka Parey Na Khanduja”

    As per Gurmat
    Our Mool is our Sun
    Our Nanh is our Moon

    Utilising the Braham Gian of Gurbani we need to Bring the Manh from Trukuti into its usual place of abode the Hirda.

    The Mool is our Hari or Gobind but not WahGuru.

    At this time there is a continuous Eclipse (Grahan) caused by the Manh (Moon) on our Chit (Sun)

    When it travels to the Hirda to do Aatam Darshan under the instructions of Budhi

    A sangam takes place there.

    The association breaks the Wall (Kandh) of Koorh.

    There are three compositions under the name of Thiti
    Two Baramahas to clarify this Spirtual Riddle.

    Till the Manh is in Trukuti there is a constant State of eclipse.

    Kaho Kabir Manh Payeah Pargasa
    Uhai Bhaan Jab Cheena.

    The Budhi which is also referred as Gopi has todotjis research (Chin Na)

    To get rid of this Spirtual Eclipse

  6. Thanks Veer Ji for taking the time to respond to this post.

    Thank you for further addition to the post. The Gurbani agrees with what you said:
    • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਲੇਟਿਆ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥: (O my mind! You) are wrapped up in Maya’s attachment, within (you) is the darkness of ignorance (sggs 1418).

  7. The driving force of the world is IGNORANCE.
    Ignorance is going to stay as it is rather expands with increase in population.
    Such is the character of this world under the influence of Trinity(Tree gunee Maayaa)
    Only rare ones graced from Prabhu shall escape from this effect of Maayaa and merge with the infinite Jotee.

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