Sikhism and Women
Today’s seminar on ‘Sikhism and Women’ is the most relevant global theme aiming at reiterating the status and role of women in society as well as in religious environments. Whenever we talk about the status of women, one thing should be kept in mind that male and female are not two antagonistic energies but are inseparable and complementary to each other in the Divine Cosmic process. In the development of human psyche, certain paradoxes originate, which time and again emerge in different forms, similar is the gender issue which as a movement arose in the nineteenth century, setting up and resolving many problems which took different shape in the modern times. Women studies in the field of religion are, nonetheless, a very sensitive issue but it has deep social relevance also. It is not possible to study the role and status of women without taking into consideration the social context built up by religio-cultural institutions.
No one can deny the role of women in all internal and external acts of religiosity, in religious faith and religious practices. Similarly, the collaboration of women in the procreation of progeny and in the social context is invariably beyond doubt. But in the religious life of the community, women’s active role is not appreciated and they are kept away from the religious worship and the rituals especially related to performance of priestly duties. In the early phases of religious history of India, women were regarded and respected as equals as is evident from the internal scriptural and historical facts. In the second phase, rules and regulations were made to debar women from all official religious matters on the pretext of false notion of purity. In the later nineteenth century, questions were raised to restore her dignity and respect as co-partner to man.1
Now-a-days, there is paradigm shift and flexibility in gender roles as women are transcending above the narrow domestic existence and are opting variant patterns of life due to an assertion of their own individuality. There is tremendous change in the attitude of women and towards women due to the effect of liberal education, changed pattern of values and economic independence.Though women are excelling in all spheres of life and competing with men yet the tragedy is that there is an increase in crimes against women such as rape, dowry, bride-burning, female foeticide, domestic violence and sexual harassment etc.2
This paper attempts to analyse and highlight the dignified position of women in Sri Guru Granth Sahib; contribution of Sikh women to spirituality from the historical perspective; the observations and sensitivity of the holy preceptors towards the Gender issues and their recommendations and directions to restore the dignity of women in the wake of present challenges of globalization.
I.Scriptural Perspective about Women
1.1. Women in the Social Context
Guru Nanak raised his voice against the deplorable condition of women in the society and not only pleaded for their equal status in society but also elevated their position at the spiritual level. The holy preceptions of Guru Granth Sahib condemned gender discrimination by rejecting the prevalent socio-religious practices in their compositions. In a familiar verse in Raga Asa, Guru Nanak emphatically makes an explicit attack on the prevalent social system on the one hand and reflects on the deep philosophy of human life on the other hand. Human birth is considered as precious opportunity available to man to rectify his past karmas by performing righteous deeds in the present life. But the question arises, is the human birth and human existence possible without women? Does man survive without the support of woman-it may be in any form i.e. mother, sister or wife? The birth of human beings and the inbuilt structure of their gross body are constructed in the womb of woman. Woman is the foundational basis of all mundane relations. Man needs companionship to fulfill the desire for continuation of his progeny, for development of social relations and for realizing the goal of human life. Except God, no one can assume this humanly form without women. As Guru Nanak says:
Human birth is from woman; body structure is formed in woman’s womb;
Engagement and wedding is with the woman;
Friendship and continuation of family is through woman.
Man seeks another woman on the death of one;
All mundane relations are through woman.
Why call woman bad; who gives birth to kings also?
From the woman is the woman; without the woman there is none.3
The relation of man and woman as defined by the holy preceptors is not of polarity but as complimentary to each other. Though they appear to be two bodies yet one Divine Light prevails through them.4
However the difference between man and woman is apparent at the empirical level while no duality remains at the mystic level. As Guru Nanak Says:
Through man’s sperm is the woman born;
Through the woman is the man; know you, O, Wise men;
And be attuned to the Word to know the Unutterable Verity.5
Both man and woman are supposed to serve the divine purpose by creating and nourishing their progeny with enlightenment. Guru Amardas says, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave birth and blessed and renowned is the father of that person who serves the Guru and finds peace by eliminating his ego.’6
I.2.Sanctity of Family Relations
To elevate the position of women, sancity is given to married life and a householder, who controls his senses, practises contemplation, austerity and self-control, is considered as pure and chaste as the water of Ganga7. It is necessary to understand the transcendent meaning of empirical relationship of married couple that is taken in a symbolical way to explain the devotion of soul-bride for the Beloved Lord. Guru Amardas clearly pointed out that those men and women, who are obsessed with sensuous pleasures, know not the way of the Divine Name; while others who chant the Divine Name are Gurmukhs who save themselves and their families.8
At another place he reminds about the purity and detachment in these relations because the infatuation develops in attachment which, nonetheless, gives temporary satisfaction but aggravates the desire for hoarding things for the family relations by manipulation. This type of feeling of self-acquisition breeds hatred and leads to disputes, thus making life a curse.9He also makes people conscious that this type of attachment leads to fabricate vicious plans without knowing the emphereal nature of worldly phenomenon.10Guru Ramdas has also denounced the relation of indulgence by stating that those persons who being engrossed in sensuous pleasures obey the orders of women are impure and unwise as they know not the sanctity of this relation. Those who are abiding the instruction of the Guru are the sublime souls. All women and men are created by God Himself and they behave in accordance with the Divine Will.11
Stressing on the perishable nature of family relations, Guru Teg Bahadur described these relations of mother, father, wife, children and other relatives as real at the empirical level only.12 Guru Arjan Dev also stressed on this-worldly nature of relations13 where no one is the support of another except God as the sole sustainer of each and every individual.14 Mother, father, spouse, children, relatives, friends and siblings meet, having been associated in previous lives; but none of them will accompany and support in the end.15 Hence we should be cautious about the nature of these relations and should develop detachment amidst the family relation which may be of any kind. As Guru Arjan Dev says:
Abandoning my mother and father, I sold my mind to the Saints. Forgetting my social status, birth and ancestry; I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.16
Guru Nanak also symbolizes these family relations in ethical terms by speaking of wisdom as mother, contentment as father; truth as brother and thereby stressing on detachment amidst worldly relations.17
1.3. Elevation of Women through Feminine Symbolism
The Holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is replete with feminine symbolism and a new spiritual dimension is given to the personality of woman by using the symbol of husband-wife relationship to define ecstatic experience of communion with God Who is conceived as Husband and the individual soul i.e. jivatma is presented as bride. In the philosophical terminology, God alone is Purakh and all human beings are symbolically defined as women or brides.18To develop this theme of the intense desire of Jivatma to meet God, all expressions of woman’s life passing through the different stages are presented in a symbolical way such as her intense desire to meet her Lord while at parents’ home, performance of marriage rites, feeling of separation and union through the epithets used in worldly relations.
The jivatma’s abode in the world is defined as the parental home of the girl where she lives like a guest and enjoys carefree life without any responsibility. Intoxicated with the glamours of youth, she has misapprehensions about the reality, commits faults being oblivious of virtuous life.19 Due to ignorance, she wanders in delusion; loves duality and her condition is like a widow.20 The difference between parents’ home and in-laws’s home is defined as a voyage towards spiritual progress. If she is rejected due to faults at parents’ home, how can she enters the in-laws’s home, 21 but if imbued with the sabad of Guru at parents’s home, she is pleased at in-laws’s home also.22 The urge of the jivatma to unite with the Absolute Lord is symbolically presented as supplication of girl to her father for marriage:
O father, marry me to my Lord; I long for Him and belong to Him.23
Performance of Marriage Rites
The arrangement and performance of marriage rites is also explained in mystical tones as if the God Himself has arranged the marriage ceremony; Himself has come to marry the Guru-oriented jivatma whom God loves due to her devotion; Himself adorns the soul- bride. In this wondrous wedding party, all saints, angels, mortal beings, heavenly heralds and the celestial singers join together and sing the songs of joy.24 The performance of marriage rite is not taken as the union of two bodies only, but as a spiritual bond of souls and is regarded as the relationship of God with the devotee. At the marriage ceremony, the bride and the groom move in circle four times round the Holy Scripture to solemnize their wedding and four verses from Raga Suhi known as Lavan, composed by Guru Ram Das are recited to place their mundane bond of union within the deeper content of union with God. Here again, the union of man and woman in marriage is symbolically elevated to the mystic union of the devotee with the Divine Being. This type of enlightened vision about women is a direct repercussion on the prevalent views treating women not as an individual but as an object of enjoyment (bhog-vilas) and eliminating her from the spiritual pursuits. 25Bhai Gurdas, a Sikh theologian has analyzed the life of women from her parental home to home of in-laws and pointed out that a woman is always helpful in the character building of man and in the attainment of his spiritual heights:
From the temporal and spiritual point of view, women are half man’s body and she always assists him to the door of deliverance. She assuredly brings happiness to the virtuous.26
Experience of Separation and Union
The yearning of the individual soul for reunion with the God and agony of her separation are beautifully portrayed through the metaphor of married life. The pangs of separation from God are vividly expressed through the sentiments of a lonely woman:
My Lord has not come into my Home;
Separation is death and flashes of lighting terrify me.
My bed is lonely and pain of separation is like death:
Without Lord, neither have I sleep nor hunger;
Nor any comfort of clothes to the body.
Nanak: Blessed is the Bride who merges in the Lord.27
In a similar tone, the blessings and joy of communion of the individual soul with God is defined as:
God has decked me; loved me too; meeting Him I Enjoy.
My body -bed became comfortable; meeting the Lord;
Awakened my destiny through the Guru’s Grace.28
However, the ecstasy of blissful union and sharing with others is defined as:
Come, my dear sisters and spiritual companions; hug me close in your embrace. Let’s join together, and tell stories of our All-powerful Husband Lord.29
A bride (jivatma) is ever suhagan (married woman) who perpetually enjoys the presence of her Lord.30 On the other hand, the deserted brides do not obtain the company of their spouse; they speak harsh words, do not bow and are in love with another. 31 Such bride may wear good clothes, but she appears ugly due to her arrogance.32 Guru Amardas ironically pointed out ostentation of the discarded bride whose consciousness is directed to emotional attachment to worldly relations such as children, spouse, wealth, and undergoes through mental agony due to falsehood, hypocrisy and corruption. On the other hand, the bride who decorates herself with the sabad of the Guru, and with virtues, feels the presence of God being imbued in divine love and gets peace of mind.33
1.4. Adoption of Feminine Virtues for Spiritual Elevation
The expressions depicting woman’s feelings, emotions, her devotion, her qualities, her yearning for union and her pangs of separation are frequently found in the Holy Scripture. Devotion to God; detachment amidst all worldly activities; and elimination of evil dispositions etc. are mandatory conditions to attain communion with God and these are defined in terms of feminist culture:
A true Bride of God is she who embroiders the Spirt of Divine Love;
Arranges well one’s Household (mundane activities); tastes not vice;
Only then one is beloved of one’s Spouse.34
In this way, those human beings are the True Brides of God who meditate their Lord by wearing the robes of divine love and by remaining detached amidst worldly allurements. A similar expression is found in the couplets of Sheikh Farid:
What words to utter, what qualities cultivate, what precious jewels of speech?
What robes shall I wear to win my Lord’s love?
Humility is the word, Forgiveness the Merit;
Sweet speech is the precious jewels;
Wear ever these three, O, Sister, and the Lord is Thine.35
However, humility, forgiveness and sweet speech are the feminine virtues by adopting which an aspirant or devotee can meet God. Moreover, the selfless devotion of the aspirant towards the Lord has been portrayed by Guru Amar Das through the metaphor of a devoted bride:
As in man’s home, the devoted wife longs for him with utter devotion;
She prepares many delicacies, sweet and sour and all.
In a similar way, the devotees utter Lord’s praises, attuned to the Divine Name.36
All human beings are metaphorically taken as women or brides who are always eager to meet their Lord. But there are certain conditions to fulfill for meeting with the Lord and these are mentioned as leaving pride, deceit and falsehood and being the recipient of His Divine Grace:
All human beings are Lord’s Brides; bedeck themselves to please Him;
Vain are red robes, if we calculate the power of their appeal;
Find not true love through deceit; the false show avails not with Lord.
Those pleasing Thee are blissful brides; to them Lord in His Grace exalts.37
To stress on the whole hearted devotion to God throughout the life, the female ornaments and other things to beautify are mentioned in a metaphorical way. For instance, if the soul-bride makes her mind as pearl like jewel strung on the thread of breath; adorns her body with compassion; wears the garland of the Divine Name around her neck; uses the toothbrush of the divinity; fashions and wears the bracelet of the Creator Lord around her wrist, make the Lord, her ring; and take the Transcendent Lord as her silken clothes; weave patience into the braids of hair, apply the lotion of the Lord for her eyes; lights the lamp in the temple of her mind; and makes her body the bed of the Lord, then only the King of spiritual wisdom owns her.38
Stressing on the moral responsibility of woman, Guru Nanak has pointed out the difference between two types of women on the basis of their merits and demerits. In Raga Suhi, there are two hymns under the caption Kuchaji-Suchaji which portray the condition of mind of two women, one who enjoys the company of her husband due to her merits and the other who is deprived of the union due to her demerits. In the spiritual terminology, the meritless bride is in fact, an ego-centric person who being in illusion remains away from God and then feeling a strong yearning for union repents.39On the other hand, a true bride due to her merits remains ever contented:
What shall I ask, what shall I utter, I Hunger and Thirst for Thee.
Through the Guru’s Word I attain unto the Lord,
And for this alone do I Pray to my God.40
The True Husband Lord comes to meet the soul-bride who practices Truth, and is imbued with the True Word. She will never become a widow; but will always be a happy bride.41 If she renounces and eliminates her sexual desire, anger, greed, attachment, evil-mindedness, self-conceit; and if, becoming humble, she serves Him, then she becomes dear to her Beloved’s Heart.42 However, the mundane relation of man and women is transcended to the level of spirituality to portray women as an embodiment of virtues, which if realized in the true sense, she becomes ‘beauteous, glorious, brilliant, wise and awake.’43All this indicates the exaltation of women at the spiritual level due to their sublime virtues which are to be adopted by all to attain to the spiritual heights. The highest state of devotee is defined through the symbol of woman blessed with the sublime virtues; the most noble of all family who advises and makes the other members of the family content and peaceful.44
2. Contribution of Sikh Women to Spirituality
2.1. Women in the Religious Sphere
If we analyse the contributions of the Sikh women to the development of religious life and spirituality, there remains no doubt that they are the foundational basis of the Sikh religious life. The great achievements of the Sikh women in the social, religious and administrative spheres cannot be undermined, while evaluating the religio-historical progress of the Sikh religion. The prominent women, who occupied a conspicuous place in Sikhism, belonged largely to the Guru’s family either as mother or daughter or wife or sister. Bebe Nanaki, the elder sister of Guru Nanak, perceived with her keen sensibility the prophet like qualities of Guru Nanak and became the first disciple of the Guru. The contribution of Mata Sulakhni, wife of Guru Nanak, cannot be ignored who took over the household responsibilities and implemented the ideals of Guru Nanak. No one can ever be oblivious of the name of Mata Khivi, wife of Guru Angad, who not only administered the institution of Langar but also cooked and served with dedication; and a tribute to her dedicated nature is paid in the Holy Scripture:
Says Balwand:’Blessed is Khivi, the Guru’s wife, whose dense leafy shade gives shade to all. In the Guru’s kitchen, food is served abundantly, the rice-pudding, mixed with ghee, which is sweet like nectar.45
2.2. Women in the Social Sphere
The process of the elevation of women in the socio-religious milieu was carried on by Bibi Amro, daughter of Guru Angad, who inherited the noble traits of her parents and contributed in uniting the two great souls of Guru Angad and Guru Amardas. Guru Amardas installed women as missionary preachers by offering them official seats. He started the manji tradition and offered two seats to women whose names in the list of manjis are Mai Sewa of Kabul and Mai Bhago of Kashmir. Besides, fifty two other missionaries were selected, out of which the prominent names are Bibi Rajni and Mai Sabhraee.46Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amardas was an embodiment of devotion and humility. Mata Gujri, the wife of Guru Tegh Bahadur, held the position of wife of a martyr, mother of martyr and the grandmother of martyrs and herself a first women martyr. She played a keen role as the administrator of army and alongwith her grandsons, was captured by the Subedar of Sirhind, who compelled her to accept Islam, refusing which she faced dire consequences i.e the execution of her grandsons. Mata Sundari, the wife of Guru Gobind Singh, was known not only to the Sikhs of Punjab, but also to the Sikhs of India who used to visit her to seek her blessings. She guided the Sikh community for forty years even after the death of Guru Gobind Singh. Mata Sahib Kaur was bestowed with the status of mother of Khalsa and she added sugar crystals into water to ensure the sweetness of the water to be given as amrit to the first initiated five beloved ones.
2.3. Women as Warriors
There are many other women who contributed in the Sikh religious history by their participation as warriors in the battlefield. No one can forget the name of Mai Bhago, the first woman General, who took the command to fight with enemy. Another warrior, Bibi Deep Kaur, showed faith, courage and bravery and refused to yield to the enemy, even when she was bitterly injured in the battlefield. Another important instance of fearlessness and bravery is Sardarni Sada Kaur, who was the head of Kanhiya Misl and fought in the battlefield in disguise and served Punjab for thirty three years. The above mentioned instances and many more as are referred to in the Ardas, are unparalleled instances of the contribution of Sikh Women as social reformers, as warriors, as missionary preachers and as an emblem of patience and service in the sphere of character building and in the attainments of spiritual heights.47
3. Response of Sikh Religion to Global Gender Issues
The Sikh Gurus, through their holy compositions, have raised their voice for the socio-religious equality of women. They condemned the prevalent social evils degrading the status of women such as the custom of sati, seclusion of women by keeping them in veils (purdah), dowry system, adultery, false notion of purity, any type of sexual harassment such as rape, prostitution, female infanticide etc. Their sagacious vision and deeper insights are beyond the limitations of space and time and certainly provide perennial solutions to the emergent gender issues arising under the impact of globalistion.
3.1. Custom of Sati
The widely prevalent custom of sati i.e. voluntary immolation on the funeral pyre of the husband, was strongly checked by Guru Amardas who interpreted it in a mystical way that sati means devout living rather than courageous or desperate dying. In other words, ‘a sati is one who lives contented and decorates her with good conduct and serves her Lord with all her heart and cherishes Him ever. 48Repudiating the notion of sati, Guru Arjan Dev observes that the relation of man and woman is ordained in accordance with the Divine Will and the union with her Beloved Lord is not possible by burning (on the pyre) and by becoming sati from the effect of wrong deeds. In fact, sati in the real sense is one who has self-control, pious conduct, who submits to God’s Will and who looks upon the Lord as her spouse.49
Commenting upon the custom, Bhagat Kabir has also pointed out that sati is one who while living burns herself and dies to attain perfection amidst the allurements of lust, wrath and maya.50Nevertheless, the reference to this custom of sati is found in the Holy Scripture to denounce it by interpreting it in the spiritual terms. The Sikh Gurus permitted remarriage of widows as a practical step to abolish the custom of sati. It is also stated in the moral code that as in the case of widower, permission of remarriage of widows is to be given.51Now-a-days, the custom of sati is not prevalent with the exception of some remote areas where it also gets strong disapproval by all.
3.2. Rejection of Purdah
Another way to denigrate the status of women was to keep them in veils and to debar them from taking decisions in family matters. The Sikh Gurus stood against the practice of seclusion of women by wearing veil (purdah) and encouraged their participation in socio-religious activities. Regarding the practice of Purdah, Bhagat Kabir says:
Do not cover your face with a veil, O daughter-in-law as it will not bring you even half a shell. Do not follow the footsteps of those who used to veil their faces before. What merit will you get by veiling your face except comments from people for a few days: ‘What a noble bride has come!’The true veil, if one adopts, shall be skipping, dancing and singing the eulogies of the Lord.51
Even Guru Nanak Dev expresses his deep state of ecstasy by making use of the same metaphor that worldly shyness and hesitation are of no account to the elevated soul, who getting rid of worldly confusion and doubt; filled with the bliss of the Shabad, walk with her face unveiled and enjoys the caresses of Beloved Lord.52
3.3. Dowry System:
Stressing on the equality of women, the Sikh religion condemns dowry-system. According to the Sikh Code of ethics, a Sikh’s daughter should marry a Sikh and neither a girl nor a boy should be married for financial purpose. It is stated in the Holy Scripture that the devotee supplicates to get Divine Name as the rare gift to be given by father to her daughter in marriage because all other things offered as dowry are false egoism and a vain show and the real dowry is blessing with the Divine Name:
O, my father, gift me the dowry of Lord’s Name;
Give me robes of devotion; beauty of devoted to fulfill my task;
Blessed is the devotion of God; conferred on me by the True Guru;
In the world and the universes pervades Divine Glory; this gift is incomparable.
All other types of dowry are false pretension and vain show inflating ego;
O. my father, gift me the dowry of Lord’s devotion.53
3.4. Condemnation of Adultery:
The basis of family life depends upon the chastity and loyalty of marriage partnership. The emphatic condemnation of adultery is regarded as more than a moral injunction. There are various references in the Scripture enlightening man about the true way of household life. To the awakened person another woman’s charms make no difference as his only mission is to serve the saints and inculcate Divine Love.54Another woman’s company is like the company of venomous snake.55Those who concealed in hidden nooks crave for the beauty of other’s woman; they make breaches in inaccessible places and consume liquor with delight but ultimately they will have to reap the fruits of their actions.56
Guru Nanak criticized the yogi who wells up great desires in mind; abandoning his own wife, is engrossed in sexual desire by thinking about the wives of others.57Even Bhagat Kabir reminds of the dire consequences of transmigration and rebirth for usurping another’s wealth, body and woman.58The blind fool abandons the wife of his own home, and has an affair with another woman. He is like the parrot, who is pleased to see the simbal tree; but in the end, dies being stuck to it.59The Sikh Code of Conduct states that a Sikh should respect another man’s wife as his own mother and another man’s daughter as his own daughter.60 Bhai Gurdas, the Sikh theologian observes, ‘Having one woman as wife, the Sikh is a celibate who considers any other’s wife his daughter or sister.’61Again it is mentioned, ‘the Sikh ought to treat beautiful women of others as his mother, sisters and daughters’.62
3.5. Notion of Impurity
In Asa di Var, Guru Nanak rejects the prevalent notion of impurity during menstruation and superstition of sutak during the birth of a child for a given number of days in accordance of the caste of women. He says:
Impurity of the mind is greed, and the impurity of the tongue is falsehood.
Impurity of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another man’s wife, and his wealth.
Impurity of the ears is to listen to the slander of others.
O Nanak, the mortal’s soul goes, bound and gagged, to the city of Death.63
3.6. Sexual Harrassment
The crimes against women such as eve-teasing, molestation, harassment at the working place are the most common occurrences in the modern Indain society. The Supreme Court of India, no doubt, has taken strong stand in a landmark judgement in 1997, against sexual harassment of women at work place and has provided the guidelines for prevention and redressal of grievances. Keeping in view the dignity of woman, Guru Nanak condemned those who treat woman as commodity and are proud of intoxication of pleasure with woman and consider themselves powerful and aggressive.64 He was miserable to see the tyranny of women and their humiliation during the invasion of Babar. Here are given a few extracts from the long composition in Raga Asa, which portray a pathetic scene:
They whose lustrous hair shone in plaits and were filled with vermillion in the parting; their hair was sheared with the scissors; their mouths were choked with dust; they who reveled in their palaces, now find not a seat even in the common.65
The Sikh religion explicitly rejects the notion that women could be regarded as the legitimate spoils of war. In the Sikh history, it is evidently clear that no retalliation against Muslim women was allowed by the Gurus. Hence the mention of the forbidding of sexual relation with the Muslim women was the necessity of the time.66
3.7. Refutation of Prostitution
Bhai Gurdas has denounced the prostitutes for committing sin and bringing disgrace to the whole family and owned by none.67On the other hand, the virtuous wife adores herself with love and affection, live in accordance with the Divine Will, decorates herself with the Divine Name and enjoys the divine bliss of communion. Such type of chaste woman decorates herself by wearing the necklace of virtues around her neck; applying the perfume of love to her body and putting the jewel of meditation in her mind.68The persons indulged in worldly allurements and oblivious of Divine Name are regarded as prostitute who wearing beautiful clothes decorates and adorns herself and dances to excite the emotions of the beholders forgetting the noose of the messenger of death around her neck.69 Those who perform their acts in ego are like the prostitute’s son having no recognition as the father’s status is obtained only if the Guru is pleased and bestows His Favour.70
3.8. Female Foeticide
Female infanticide is strongly rejected in the Sikh religion and the social and moral disapproval of this practice is done in terms of social dissociation and excommunication. It is clearly stated, ‘Female infanticide should not be practised and social relation with persons indulging in it should not be maintained’.71At other place it is mentioned, ‘Persons indulging in it are to be excommunicated from Sikhism permanently and those having any social relation with them are termed punishable’.72
Now-a-days, the problem of female foeticide has become a blot for the civilized society. We are aware that between 2001 and 2011, the child-sex ratio declined in all states but Punjab is at number two with 846/1000 in the declining list. No doubt the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act was passed and the Govt. is doing its best to curb this menace. Recently in a meeting, called by Union Health Minister to review the progress in implementation of this Act, was attended by State Health Ministers from the eighteen states with the lowest sex-ratio. Gulam Nabi Azad, the Health Minister pointing out the responsibility of govt. to check such malpractices said:
“Female Foeticide is a socio-economic problem. Dowry and marriage expenses are major worries for the girl’s parents. Hence, I request the state governments to make a scheme to fund the wedding of girls.”73
The question arises about the feasibility of this type of strategies. No doubt, the underlying cause of female foeticide in the middle class families may be the economic factors but mere sharing the wedding expenses is no solution to the problem, unless there is awakening about this potent social menace. Moreover, if economic hazards may be the one reason, then why the people from the affluent families are going through these malpractices; we need to find the cause in the collective social psyche related to certain religious dogmas. The Govt. must formulate appropriate laws to discourage people from giving and taking dowry as well as must make certain policies to educate and change the mind-set of society. Not only gender equality but women empowerment is pre-requisite to curb this heinous crime of female foeticide. Does Gurbani allow us to interfere in the ways of God? There are many references of mother’s womb which is defined as an ocean of pain where the Lord causes His Name to be chanted74; provides nourishment in mother’s womb75; and sustains the foetus in the fire of womb.76 Besides, there is condemnation of violence in thoughts whereby one shows no compassion to the creation of God.77
3.9. Live-in Relationship
Under the Western influence, there is an increasing trend towards the culture of Live-in-Relationship in which a man and a woman live together without getting married. This type of culture, mostly prevalent in the metropolitan cities, has neither legal sanction nor religious sanction especially in India, though in other countries, such relations as an alternative to marriage relation have a legal recognition. However, the supporters adherent to such type of culture take the support of Supreme Court decision in case of Kushboo, the south Indian actress who endorsed pre- marital sex and live in relationship, and twenty two criminal appeals were filed against her which were quashed by the Supreme Court saying that how can it be illegal if two adults live together. In their words “living together cannot be illegal” in accordance with the fundamental right under Article 21 of the constitution of India.
Recently the Supreme Court has given strict directions to all the State governments to enact laws to make the registration of marriage compulsory process irrespective of the religion of the parties. Certainly the registration of marriages can provide solution to many problems such as ‘prevention of child marriages and to ensure adherence to minimum age of marriage; prevention of marriages without the consent of both parties; checking illegal bigamy/polygamy; enabling married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial house and claim for the maintenance etc.; empowering the widows to claim their inheritance rights and other benefits and privileges which they are entitled to after the death of their husbands; deterring men from deserting women after marriage; preventing parents from selling their daughters to any person including a foreigner under the garb of marriage.’78 This step of compulsory registration of marriage is appreciable for the preservation of our cultural ethos and its sanctity and will also prove a blot for those who are always in the hoard of aping the west through western life styles without delving deep into the repercussions of those acts on our society.
Another recent trend towards the commercialization of marriage is gaining popularity in Punjab which results in sham marriages in foreign countries. There was news in the Tribune under the heading ‘Australia New Address for Sham Marriages’ and this news was on the basis of twenty cases filed by the girls’ parents for their deserted girls. If we visualize the inherent cause of these deserted cases, the girls being ambitious to settle in the foreign countries clear the IELTS and secure admission in the foreign colleges and sought to arrange contract marriage with the grooms who are willing to pay their fees, get married and found themselves deserted by their partners on reaching the foreign land. Lok Bhalai Party Chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia‘s comment on these complaints was that ‘such marriages were nothing but deals and bound to be doomed’.79
We need to ponder over such issues, whether these raise the status of women or demoralize them by creating misconceptions about the sanctity of marriage and family responsibilities. Women empowerment also involves moral obligations on the part of women, awareness about one’s cultural heritage, moral and spiritual values can deter from such malpractices. The sanctity of marriage relation should not be sacrificed for commercial deals by wishful thinking.
4. Issue of Participation of Women in Religious Worship
4.1. Notion of Gender Equality in Sikh History
The scriptural and historical facts reveal that no distinction between man and woman is made during the Guru-period and even according to Sikh Rahit Maryada approved by S.G.P.C.on 3RD Feb, 1945 defines ‘a Sikh is that woman and man, who believes in One God, in the ten Gurus and their teachings and in the Adi Granth. In addition, he or she must believe in the necessity and importance of amrit and must not adhere to any other religion.’ Hence no prohibition is laid down for women in any mode of worship; she can participate in the akhand path, in ardas, in preparation of Karah Parsad and cooking and serving of Langar. The religious worship, in any form, can be performed by women, with the only condition that like men, they should be amritdharis or members of the Khalsa and they must abide by the rules of Sikh Rahit Maryada.
4.2. Recent Problems in Practice
However, there was a most crucial phase when unfortunate scenes were created by denying women an equal participation in the religious worship inside the Golden Temple. Citing many incidents, Prof. Jaswinder Kaur Dhillon in her paper ‘Need to Practise Gender Equality’ has pointed out the diversities in the practice of equality so far as the religious worship in the Golden Temple is concerned. She quoted a Hukamnama issued by Prof. Manjit Singh, then Acting Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat on 9th Feb. 1996, granting permission to women to perform seva in Darbar Sahib and in the same year thirty seats were reserved for women in SGPC. To implement the Hukamnama, a group of eight American Sikh women led by Bibi Inderjit Kaur along with others under the guidance of Prof. Manjit Singh reached on 10th March, 1996 to perform seva but hot arguments followed from the opponent side and the same incident reiterated time and again but with no effect. Similarly, on 18th April, 2001 another Hukamnama against female foeticide was issued by then Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat but again with little effect.80
4.3. Objectives of 3 H. O.
This organization was established by Yogi Habhajan Singh with the mission that every human being possessed the birth right to be healthy, happy and holy. He recognized women as the foundation of any society and wanted to end disempowerment of western women and destruction of families. This organization has done marvelous works for gender equality by re-educating the America’s largest exploited class. In 1994, this organization joined the United Nations as a non-Government Organization in consultative status with the economic and social council, representing women’s issues, promoting education about alternative system of medicine. Accoding to this organization, transformation is possible by ‘unlearning one set of habits and replacing it with a kinder, more uplifting routine.’ In 1975, an eight week camp was organized in New Maxico where the psychology of a successful woman was taught. Other successive camps impart training in martial arts, healing arts to build the character and confidence in women and these camps are designated as ‘Khalsa Women Training Camps.’ Here the emphasis is laid on the dignity and divinity of motherhood and the emerging trends towards homosexuality were shocking to the mystic personality of Harbhajan yogi who reacted that such type of situation can be cured by intensive yoga and self-analysis.81
In Sikh religion no distinction is made between man and woman from the scriptural perspective and it is vividly clear in the holy compositions of the Sikh Gurus as well as in the definition of the Sikh as is given in the Sikh Rahit Maryada. Treating all human beings as soul-brides at the spiritual level and commending the adoption of feminine virtues by all men, if they desire to meet their beloved Lord, certainly add spiritual dimension to the personality of women. The Sikh Gurus have taken steps for the socio-religious equality of women and condemned the prevalent social customs and social evils such as sati, female infanticide, forced widowhood, adultery and seclusion of women by being in veils. On the other hand, they upholded the sanctity of married life and allowed the remarriage of widows. The Sikh history is an evidence of unparalleled achievements of women and their participation in all spheres of life for the upliftment of human life and to attain to the heights of spirituality. No prohibition is imposed for participation in the religious worship and religious rituals.
No doubt, there is an increasing awareness about women issues and women empowerment and prominent women organizations, NGO’S and constitutional measures are adopted for women welfare such as the enactment of Dowry Prohibition Act, Domestic Violence Act, Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act etc. and provisions are made for the welfare of women and to reduce the rate of maternal mortality.What is most indispensable is to bring change in the thinking and pattern of behaviour of our society. Women can play an important role in the mundane as well as spiritual life as harbingers in the promotion and transmission of culture to the next generations. For this education can play a significant role in the psychological resurgence of men and women which should be initiated both at the primary level and by organizing programmes for adult education.The most pertinent point to be noted is the quality of education, which should inculcate ethical and spiritual values. An educated woman can play a vital role in the overall development of family as well as in the harmonious growth of society.
Religion is the foundational basis of culture and hence can mold and direct the behaviour of man in society. The religious institutions can create awakening and can provide direction to change the mass mentality by issuing directives and implementing them. In the present times, we are in dire need to review our past culture and ethos to incorporate the moral values in our lives and to adjust ourselves in the changing scenario instead of blindly following the Western way of life.Both extremes of traditional restrictions and modern liberty are to be balanced by leading a moderate life in accordance with the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib which serve as perennial source of guidance for all human beings.
1. Augustine Thottakara,‘Editorial’Women and Worship:Perspectives from World Religions, Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore, p.5-6.
2. See my article, ‘Status of Women: Moral Obligations- Perspectives from Guru Granth Sahib’The Sikh Review, Sep.2010, Kolkata, 2010, pp.
3. ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ॥ Guru Granth Sahib,p.473
4. ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ॥ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ॥ Ibid., p.785.
5. ਪੁਰਖ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਮਹਿ ਪੁਰਖਾ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ Ibid., p.879.
6. ਧਨੁ ਜਨਨੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਜਾਇਆ ਧੰਨੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ॥ਸਤਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥ Ibid., p.32.
7. ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਜੋ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਕਰੈ॥ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਭੀਖਿਆ ਕਰੈ॥
ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਕਾ ਕਰੇ ਸਰੀਰੁ॥ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਗੰਗਾ ਕਾ ਨੀਰੁ॥ Ibid., p.952.
8. ਇਸਤਰੀ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਜੀਉ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੀ ॥ Ibid., p.246
9. ਇਸਤਰੀ ਪੁਰਖੈ ਬਹੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਮੋਹੁ ਵਧਾਇਆ ॥ ਪੁਤ੍ਰੁ ਕਲਤ੍ਰੁ ਨਿਤ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਦੇਸਿ ਪਰਦੇਸਿ ਧਨੁ ਚੋਰਾਇ ਆਣਿ ਮੁਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਵੈਰ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਕੋ ਸਕੈ ਨ ਛਡਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਲਗਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ Ibid., p.1249
10. ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਪੁਰਖੈ ਅਤਿ ਨੇਹੁ ਬਹਿ ਮੰਦੁ ਪਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਦਿਸਦਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਚਲਸੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ Ibid., p.1250.
11. ਜੋਰਾ ਦਾ ਆਖਿਆ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਸੇ ਅਪਵਿਤ ਅਮੇਧ ਖਲਾ ॥ ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਨਰ ਸੇ ਜੋਰਾ ਪੁਛਿ ਚਲਾ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਆਖਿਐ ਜੋ ਚਲੈ ਸੋ ਸਤਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਭਲ ਭਲਾ ॥ ਜੋਰਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਸਭਿ ਆਪਿ ਉਪਾਇਅਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਖੇਲ ਸਭਿ ਖਿਲਾ Ibid., p.304.
12. ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਜੀਵਤ ਕੋ ਬਿਵਹਾਰ ॥ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਭਾਈ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਨਿ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਕੀ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ Ibid., p.536.
13. ਕਾ ਕੋ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਧੀਆ ॥ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਕਛੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥ Ibid., p.253.
14. ਜਨਨਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਲੋਕ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਧਰਿਆ ॥ ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਮਨ ਭਉ ਕਰਿਆ ॥ Ibid., p.495.
15. ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਅੰਤਹਿ ਕੋ ਨ ਸਹਾਈ Ibid., p.700.
16. ਮਾਤਰ ਪਿਤਰ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਕੈ ਮਨੁ ਸੰਤਨ ਪਾਹਿ ਬੇਚਾਇਓ॥ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮ ਕੁਲ ਖੋਈਐ ਹਉ ਗਾਵਉ ਹਰਿ ਹਰੀ Ibid., p.1230.
17. ਮਾਤਾ ਮਤਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ॥ ਸਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਕਰਿ ਏਹੁ ਵਿਸੇਖੁ ॥ Ibid., p.151.
18. ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਰ ਸਗਲੀ ਨਾਰਿ ਸਬਾਈ ॥ Ibid., p.591.
19. ਗੁਣ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਣੀ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਬਾਦਿ ਗਵਾਇਆ॥ਵਰੁ ਘਰੁ ਦਰੁ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤਾ ਪਿਰ ਕਾ ਸਹਜੁ ਨ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੂਛਿ ਨ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਾਲੀ ਸੂਤੀ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਣੀ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਬਾਲਤਣਿ ਰਾਡੇਪਾ ਬਿਨੁ ਪਿਰ ਧਨ ਕੁਮਲਾਣੀ॥ Ibid., p.763.
20. ਭੂਲੀ ਫਿਰੈ ਧਨ ਇਆਣੀਆ ਰੰਡ ਬੈਠੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਏ ॥ Ibid., p.583.
21. ਪੇਈਅੜੈ ਡੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਸਾਹੁਰੜੈ ਕਿਉ ਜਾਉ ॥ Ibid., p.1014.
22. ਪੇਈਅੜੈ ਘਰਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਤੀਣੀ ਸਾਹੁਰੜੈ ਪਿਰ ਭਾਣੀ ॥ Ibid., p.1111.
23. ਬਾਬਾ ਮੈ ਵਰੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਮੈ ਹਰਿ ਵਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ Ibid., p.763.
24. ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥ Ibid., p.775.
25. ਜਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਲਾਵ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਆਰੰਭੁ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਜੀ ਲਾਵ ਚਲਾਈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਾਏ ॥੨॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਤੀਜੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਮਨਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਚਉਥੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੪॥੨॥ Ibid., p.773.
26. Dr. Jodh Singh, Varan Bhai Gurdas (trans.) Var VI: 8, Vol. I, Vision and Venture Publishers, Patiala, 1998, p. 156.
੨੭. ਪਿਰੁ ਘਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਆਵੈ ਮਰੀਐ ਹਾਵੈ ਦਾਮਨਿ ਚਮਕਿ ਡਰਾਏ ॥ਸੇਜ ਇਕੇਲੀ ਖਰੀ ਦੁਹੇਲੀ ਮਰਣੁ ਭਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਮਾਏ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਨੀਦ ਭੂਖ ਕਹੁ ਕੈਸੀ ਕਾਪੜੁ ਤਨਿ ਨ ਸੁਖਾਵਏ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਕੰਤੀ ਪਿਰ ਕੈ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਵਏ ॥
੨੮. ਜਿਨਿ ਸੀਗਾਰੀ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਮੇਲੁ ਭਇਆ ਰੰਗੁ ਮਾਣੈ ॥ਘਰਿ ਸੇਜ ਸੁਹਾਵੀ ਜਾ ਪਿਰਿ ਰਾਵੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੋ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਰਾਵੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਰੁ ਥਿਰੁ ਸੋਹਾਗੋ ॥
੨੯. ਆਵਹੁ ਭੈਣੇ ਗਲਿ ਮਿਲਹ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਹੇਲੜੀਆਹ ॥ ਮਿਲਿ ਕੈ ਕਰਹ ਕਹਾਣੀਆ ਸੰਮ੍ਰਥ ਕੰਤ ਕੀਆਹ ॥
੩੦. ਜਿਨਿ ਪਿਰੁ ਰਾਵਿਆ ਸਾ ਭਲੀ ਸੁਹਾਗਣਿ ॥
੩੧. ਦੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਨ@ੀ ਨ ਜਾਣਨਿ ਪਿਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਆਉ ॥
੩੨. ਧਣੀ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਪਾਟ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਭਾਹੀ ਸੇਤੀ ਜਾਲੇ ॥ ਧੂੜੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੁਡੰਦੜੀ ਸੋਹਾਂ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੈ ਸਹ ਨਾਲੇ ॥੨॥ ਵੇਸ ਕਰੇ ਕੁਰੂਪਿ ਕੁਲਖਣੀ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਕੂੜਿਆਰਿ ॥
੩੩. ਦੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਕਾ ਮਨ ਦੇਖੁ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤਿ ਧਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਏ ਝੂਠੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਬਣਾਵੈ ॥
੩੪. ਕਢਿ ਕਸੀਦਾ ਪਹਿਰਹਿ ਚੋਲੀ ਤਾਂ ਤੁਮ@ ਜਾਣਹੁ ਨਾਰੀ ॥ ਜੇ ਘਰੁ ਰਾਖਹਿ ਬੁਰਾ ਨ ਚਾਖਹਿ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਕੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥
੩੫. ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਸੋ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੬॥ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਖਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ਏ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਭੈਣੇ ਵੇਸ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਂ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੀ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੭॥
੩੬. ਜਿਉ ਪੁਰਖੈ ਘਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਨਾਰਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਲੋਚੈ ਭਗਤੀ ਭਾਇ ॥ਬਹੁ ਰਸ ਸਾਲਣੇ ਸਵਾਰਦੀ ਖਟ ਰਸ ਮੀਠੇ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਬਾਣੀ ਭਗਤ ਸਲਾਹਦੇ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥
੩੭. ਸਭੇ ਕੰਤ ਮਹੇਲੀਆ ਸਗਲੀਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ ਗਣਤ ਗਣਾਵਣਿ ਆਈਆ ਸੂਹਾ ਵੇਸੁ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਖੋਟਾ ਪਾਜੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਇਉ ਪਿਰੁ ਰਾਵੈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵਨਿ ਸੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਅਪਣੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਲੈਹਿ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥੧॥
੩੮. ਮਨੁ ਮੋਤੀ ਜੇ ਗਹਣਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਪਉਣੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੂਤ ਧਾਰੀ॥ਖਿਮਾ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਤਨਿ ਪਹਿਰੈ ਰਾਵੈ ਲਾਲ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥
੩੯. ਦੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਕਿਆ ਨੀਸਾਣੀਆ॥ਖਸਮਹੁ ਘੁਥੀਆ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਨਿਮਾਣੀਆ॥ ਮੈਲੇ ਵੇਸ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾਮਣੀ ਦੁਖੀ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੭॥
੪੦. ਕਿਆ ਮਾਗਉ ਕਿਆ ਕਹਿ ਸੁਣੀ ਮੈ ਦਰਸਨ ਭੂਖ ਪਿਆਸਿ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸਹੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
੪੧. ਪਿਰੁ ਸਚਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਆਏ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਮਾਏ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਧਨ ਰਾਤੀ ॥ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਰਾਂਡ ਸਦਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਹਜ ਸਮਾਧੀ ॥
੪੨. ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਮਿਟਾਵੈ ਛੁਟਕੈ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਧਾਰੀ ॥
੪੩. ਆਪਣੇ ਕੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਸਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾ ਸਭਰਾਈ ॥ਐਸੇ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਸਹਜ ਕੀ ਮਾਤੀ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਭਾਇ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥ ਸੁੰਦਰਿ ਸਾਇ ਸਰੂਪ ਬਿਚਖਣਿ ਕਹੀਐ ਸਾ ਸਿਆਣੀ ॥
੪੪. ਬਤੀਹ ਸੁਲਖਣੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਤਤਿ ਪੂਤ ॥ਆਗਿਆਕਾਰੀ ਸੁਘੜ ਸਰੂਪ ॥ਇਛ ਪੂਰੇ ਮਨ ਕੰਤ ਸੁਆਮੀ ॥ ਸ਼ਗਲ ਸੰਤੋਖੀ ਦੇਰ ਜੇਠਾਨੀ ॥੩॥ਸਭ ਪਰਵਾਰੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਰੇਸਟ॥ਮਤੀ ਦੇਵੀ ਦੇਵਰ ਜੇਸਟ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੀ ਆਇ ॥ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਖੇ ਸੁਖਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ॥
੪੫. ਬਲਵੰਡ ਖੀਵੀ ਨੇਕ ਜਨ ਜਿਸੁ ਬਹੁਤੀ ਛਾਉ ਪਤ੍ਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਲੰਗਰਿ ਦਉਲਤਿ ਵੰਡੀਐ ਰਸੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਖੀਰਿ ਘਿਆਲੀ ॥
46. G.S.Mansukhani, Aspects of Sikhism, Punjabi Writers Cooperative Society, New Delhi,p.138.
47. See my article, ‘Women and Worship: Perspectives from the Sikh Religion’ Women And Worship:Perspectives From World Religions, Ed. AugustineThottakara, Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore, pp.239-62.
48. ਭੀ ਸੋ ਸਤੀਆ ਜਾਣੀਅਨਿ ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖਿ ਰਹੰਨਿ@ ॥ ਸੇਵਨਿ ਸਾਈ ਆਪਣਾ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਸੰਮ@ਾਲੰਨਿ ]2] Ibid., p.787
49. ਸੀਲ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਨਾਰੀ ਕਉ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਜਮਾਨੈ ॥੩॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਉ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਸਤੀ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਰਵਾਨਿਆ ॥੪॥ Ibid., p.185.
50. Sikh Rahit Maryada, S.G.P.C., Amritsar, 1956, p.28 (xiii).
51. ਰਹੁ ਰਹੁ ਰੀ ਬਹੁਰੀਆ ਘੂੰਘਟੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਕਾਢੈ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕੀ ਬਾਰ ਲਹੈਗੀ ਨ ਆਢੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਘੂੰਘਟੁ ਕਾਢਿ ਗਈ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਗੈ ॥ ਉਨ ਕੀ ਗੈਲਿ ਤੋਹਿ ਜਿਨਿ ਲਾਗੈ ॥੧॥ ਘੂੰਘਟ ਕਾਢੇ ਕੀ ਇਹੈ ਬਡਾਈ ॥ ਦਿਨ ਦਸ ਪਾਂਚ ਬਹੂ ਭਲੇ ਆਈ ॥੨॥ ਘੂੰਘਟੁ ਤੇਰੋ ਤਉ ਪਰਿ ਸਾਚੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਇ ਕੂਦਹਿ ਅਰੁ ਨਾਚੈ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 484.
52. ਲਾਜ ਮਰੰਤੀ ਮਰਿ ਗਈ ਘੂਘਟੁ ਖੋਲਿ ਚਲੀ ॥ ਸਾਸੁ ਦਿਵਾਨੀ ਬਾਵਰੀ ਸਿਰ ਤੇ ਸੰਕ ਟਲੀ ॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਮਿ ਬੁਲਾਈ ਰਲੀ ਸਿਉ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਅਨੰਦੁ ॥ ਲਾਲਿ ਰਤੀ ਲਾਲੀ ਭਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਈ ਨਿਚਿੰਦੁ ॥ Ibid., p.931.
53. 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॥ Ibid., p.79.
54. ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੂਪੁ ਨ ਪੇਖੈ ਨੇਤ੍ਰ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਟਹਲ ਸੰਤਸੰਗਿ ਹੇਤ Ibid., p.274.
55. ਜੈਸਾ ਸੰਗੁ ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਸਿਉ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੀ ਇਹੁ ਪਰ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ॥੨॥ Ibid., p.403.
56. ਤਕਹਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਪਰਾਈਆ ਲੁਕਿ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਠਾਣੀ ॥ਸੰਨ@ੀ ਦੇਨਿ@ ਵਿਖੰਮ ਥਾਇ ਮਿਠਾ ਮਦੁ ਮਾਣੀ ॥ ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਆਪੇ ਪਛੁਤਾਣੀ ॥ Ibid., p.315.
57. ਹਾਥ ਕਮੰਡਲੁ ਕਾਪੜੀਆ ਮਨਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਉਪਜੀ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਤਜਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਆ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ॥ Ibid., p.1013.
58. ਪਰ ਧਨ ਪਰ ਤਨ ਪਰ ਤੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਪਰ ਅਪਬਾਦੁ ਨ ਛੂਟੈ ॥ਆਵਾ ਗਵਨੁ ਹੋਤੁ ਹੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਤੂਟੈ ॥ Ibid., p.971.
59. ਘਰ ਕੀ ਨਾਰਿ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਅੰਧਾ ॥ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ਸਿਉ ਘਾਲੈ ਧੰਧਾ ॥ Ibid., p.1164.
60. ਪਰ ਧਨ ਪਰ ਦਾਰਾ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਇਨ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ॥ Ibid., p.379.
61. Dr. Jodh Singh, op.cit., p. 169.
62. Ibid., Var. XXIX:11, Vol.II, p.198.
63. ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੂੜੁ ॥ ਅਖੀ ਸੂਤਕ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਪਰ ਧਨ ਰੂਪੁ ॥ ਕੰਨੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੰਨਿ ਪੈ ਲਾਇਤਬਾਰੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੰਸਾ ਆਦਮੀ ਬਧੇ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੨॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 472.
64. ਗਰਬੰਤਿ ਨਾਰੀ ਮਦੋਨ ਮਤੰ ॥ਬਲਵੰਤ ਬਲਾਤ ਕਾਰਣਹ॥ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਨਹ ਭਜੰਤ ਤ੍ਰਿਣ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜਨਮਨਹ॥ Ibid.,p.1359.
65. ਜਿਨ ਸਿਰਿ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਪਟੀਆ ਮਾਂਗੀ ਪਾਇ ਸੰਧੂਰੁ ॥ ਸੇ ਸਿਰ ਕਾਤੀ ਮੁੰਨੀਅਨਿ@ ਗਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ਧੂੜਿ ॥ ਮਹਲਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੋਦੀਆ ਹੁਣਿ ਬਹਣਿ ਨ ਮਿਲਨਿ@ ਹਦੂਰਿ ॥ Ibid.,p.417.
66. G.S.Mansukhani, Aspects of Sikhism, Punjabi Writers Cooperative Society, New Delhi, p.138.
67. Varan Bhai Gurdas, V.17.
68. ਗਿਆਨ ਅਪਾਰੁ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਭਾਵੰਤੀ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਸਾ ਸਭਰਾਈ ਸੁੰਦਰੀ ਪਿਰ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib, p.426.
69. ਜਿਉ ਬੇਸ੍ਵਾ ਕੇ ਪਰੈ ਅਖਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਾਪਰੁ ਪਹਿਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਂØੀਗਾਰਾ ॥ Ibid.,p.1165.
70. ਵਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਜਿਉ ਵੇਸੁਆ ਪੁਤੁ ਨਿਨਾਉ ॥ Ibid.,p.82.
71. Sikh Rahit Maryada, S.G.P.C., Amritsar, 1956, p.23 (xi).
72. Ibid., p.37 (xvi).
73. The Tribune, 27 Sep. 2011, p.2.
74. ਮਾਤ ਗਰਭ ਦੁਖ ਸਾਗਰੋ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਤਹ ਅਪਣਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਇਆ ॥ Guru Granth Sahib,p.640.
75. ਮਾਤਾ ਕੇ ਉਦਰ ਮਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮਨਹੁ ਵਿਸਾਰੀਐ॥ Ibid.,p.920.
76. ਮਨਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਵਿਸਾਰੀਐ ਏਵਡੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਜਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਆਹਾਰੁ ਪਹੁਚਾਵ Ibid.
77. ਹਿੰਸਾ ਤਉ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਛੂਟੀ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਲੀ ॥ Ibid.,p.1253.
78. The Tribune, 8th Oct. 2011.
79. The Tribune, 10oct.2011
80. Prof. Jaswinder Kaur Dhillon, ‘Need to Practice Gender Equality Ordained in Gurbani’ Journal of Sikh Studies, Vol.xxx, No. 1, Dept of Guru Nanak Studies, G.N.D.U., Amritsar, 2006, pp. 27-40.
81. Harbhajan Singh Yogi-Wikipedia-the free Encyclopedia
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