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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh

 

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SIKH MARRIAGE BETWEEN MAN & WOMAN

Ajit Singh Sahota

“Since the development of the Universe, marriage between female and male has been in practice for the purpose of living together and usually procreating lawful offspring.” (Gurmeet Singh, Australia)

This statement is not true. The truth is that sexual acts were in practice, not marrige, since the existence of species. The author says, “man & woman” in the title and then switches to, “female and male” in the first line? The fact is that if one looks at the origin of the word marriage, there was no such word before year 1300. The word 'Wed' as verb - around 1200 wedden to marry, in Layamon's chronicle of Britain and Ancrene riwle; developed from old English probably before year 1000. Wedden means to pledge, represented by old English wedde is being pawned, mortgaged. The word wedding as noun originated in 1250. Wedding ring originated in 1395.However, when humans were living in jungles and caves, there were no marriages, no laws, and they still cohabited and reproduced young ones. Therefore, Laws were made by people and can be changed if they impinge on an individual's basic Rights.

The Almighty God has thus created Adam and Eve followed by the growth of human population. Major religions have enacted their own Laws and Regulations.

In Gurbani there is no mention of Adam & Eve eating the forbidden apple. The laws, religious or otherwise are man made and not by of the Almighty Waheguru. He has His own system of laws that is not written, but enforced by Him at all times. Those who conduct their lives as per His Will and those who act against His Will are all taken care of by Him. The basic principle is to respect the basic Rights of fellow humans. That is what Sikh Guru Sahibs taught us to do.

Guru Nanak Sahib had founded and established the Sikh Religion during 1469-1539 A.D.

His successors followed his message with devotion and humility. Like the Christians’ Bible and the Muslims Quran, the Sikhs all over the world have been following their Sacred Scripture, which is well known as: “Guru Granth Sahib”. The Basic Principle given to humanity was not only to respect, but also protect the Rights of fellow human beings.

During that period, women were not considered equal with men but Guru Sahib raised his voice.

Not only during that period, but even much earlier, women were discriminated by society dominated by men. Similarly, during this period human beings of different sex categories ( from transvestites to gays and Lesbians etc ) were targeted by people with self styled religious interpretations of sex and morals, that they not only discriminated brutally against people of variable sexual orientations, and quite often, kills them, attacked them, hurt them, just because they were different from them ! Those Sikhs who follow the Teachings of GURU Granth Sahib Ji, and also respect (but not Believe) the teachings of other beliefs, would not object to the Just Rights of Fellow Humans who may not be fortunate enough to be like majority of humans but still are human beings.

“O True Devotees, why do we belittle or degrade the householder's life? At first the child is conceived by the mother and then is born to the mother (a woman); then man gets betrothed and married to a woman; then he develops love for the woman, and consults her in all decisions, regarding children's marriages and other worldly chores are conducted by consulting her. When one wife dies, he looks around for another woman; in fact the whole world is run with the woman's attachment or involvement. How could we call a woman inferior or lower in stature to a man, when she gives birth to the Kings, Priests, Prophets and all the human beings? The woman gives birth to another woman, so how could the world progress without the woman?

Doesn’t the author understand from Gurbani that Waheguru is the biggest Grahsti - a householder who takes care of all his creation? Guru Sahib asked the Sikhs to respect Women, as well as fellow humans as they explained, “ghat ghat men Harju Vassai..” I can give you thousand such verses that tell us that Waheguru abides in everyone.

Guru Nanak Sahib opines that there is only one Almighty God, Who is not born of woman by woman, being above all the human beings. The person, who recites God's True Naam (Name), is to be considered a really fortunate one. Thus, Guru Nanak Sahib says that such persons are received in God's heavenly Court with honor by leading emancipated life. [Reference from Guru Granth Sahib, page 473]

The opinion of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji was not specifically for women only, but all those who were discriminated against, and castigated because of gender, caste, colour or creed or religion.

When we read Gurbani, we know that there is no such place as heaven, or hell as believed by other faiths, and emancipation is not the aim for a Sikh, because, “Mukat Bapurrhee Bhi Giani Tiagai...” A Sikh just wants constant remembrance of The 1 (One) Eternal Creator who is without enmity. We are guided to live by His Will. A Sikh of Guru Nanak Sahib can not be an enemy to fellow humans of variable sexual orientation.

Then at page 788, Guru Sahib advises us that if two persons are sitting together, they cannot be termed as husband and wife. In fact, when both the souls mingle with each other, then only they could be called true lover and beloved ones even though they possess two different human forms but have one soul only for love and procreation. If such natural process is stopped, how there will be any world growth because man and man or woman and woman can't produce any children in the absence of the Female and Male cohabitation.

Does Guru Sahib say, when two persons of opposite sex are sitting together that they cannot be termed husband and wife?  Guru Sahibs in All Gurbani repeated again and again that my soul bride is longing for Husband Waheguru.

No where in all of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is said anything against or for marriage of any kind. However, Gurbani teaches us for equality of all, and respect for Human dignity. There is no room for hypocrisy and bigotry. or homophobia in Sikh teachings. Marriage is not the only bond between people. There are other obligations towards society that need to be respected and fulfilled as human beings. Producing children is not the only purpose in life. Even animals, birds, and insects do that.

In the Sikh Scripture, Guru Sahib cautions us at pages 1013 and 1289 that some persons do not eat fish or meat but they themselves are the product of flesh, from the father's semen (husband/male/man) and mother's blood (wife/female/woman).

The above lines simply explain the vegetarian's belief, and do not say the vegetarians are eating flesh, although they may be the product of semen and ovum! These lines do not express anything about the same sex marriages! It’s like stretching Gurbani interpretations to prove something purely unrelated. The author instead of translating ‘mother’s blood’ must know its not blood but mother's ovum that gets fertilized to form a child.

Therefore, marriage is an equal partnership of love and sharing between a husband and a wife. If the husband is the head, the wife is the heart of the family. Both are indispensable for realizing the full moral, social, spiritual, and intellectual potential. Hence, the Sikhs do not believe in celibacy, but love to lead the Householder life with wife and children.

There is no doubt marriage is an equal partnership sharing love and respect. Then why two people of similar sex cannot share love and respect? How is sex love, and that love can not be without sex.

During the British Rule in India, The Anand Marriage Act was enacted in 1909 for conducting the Sikh Marriages. The Sikh Matrimonial Ceremony has also been described in the Sikh Code of Conduct, which reads -

  a.   A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the prospective spouse's caste and creed.
  b.   A Sikh's daughter must be married to a Sikh, so it also applies to a Sikh's son.
  c.   A Sikh's marriage should be solemnized by following the Anand Marriage rites.
  d.   Child marriage is taboo for the Sikhs.
  e.   When a girl becomes marriageable, physically, emotionally and by virtue of maturity of character, suitable Sikh match should be found and she be married to him according to The Anand Marriage rites.     
In the above act only girls are mentioned (b, & e).There is nothing said about Sikh boys (so it also applies to Sikh's son is added by the author of this article). Does that mean Sikh Boys are exempt from the requirements of Rehat Maryada?

It was the missionaries and colonial British, who introduced the ban on homosexual relations calling it an offence 149 years ago when they passed section 377 drafted in 1860,whereas, Hinduism and Muslims treated homosexuals with disdain for centuries. If one read laws of Manu - the earliest Hindu doctrines that prescribed that if a girl is found in lesbian relation her head would be shaved and two fingers on her hand cut off bizarrely, and made to ride on a donkey. However, for gay men the punishment was very mild. They simply loose their high caste. And become social outcasts. Gays in low castes still find them living as Hijras who become the “third sex” of transgender men shunned by society, discriminated against, and forced into prostitution.

In July 2009 the senior law officials said the same sex relations were ‘indecent,’ against Indian values and will lead to delinquent behavior in society. Their argument was rejected by Delhi High Court Judges who said the ban denied gays equal rights and was an affront to Human Dignity. The Judges said that,’ Indian law does not permit statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconception of who the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual.”

The above ruling was vehmently opposed by Baba Ramdev and his BJP allies.

It’s a shame that India is called a free country, but they are ruled by the same old British laws in transport, railways, justice, irrigation, etc, only difference is that rulers are Desi browns now.

In many countries homosexuals are publically hanged, jailed, tortured and killed. On August 21, 1989 Mr. Alain Brosseau who was not even gay was mistaken by some miscreant teenagers, that he was gay. They assaulted him, beat him, and threw him off the Ottawa River Bridge, killing him. There are hundreds of recorded such tragic stories from all over the world.  Ms.Connie Heintz ,a deeply believing Christian, was fired from her job and harassed, when her employer learned that she was lesbian. People go through psychiatric treatment for three years without any positive results. They say “You cannot just flip the switch to change the natural orientation. Ms. Heintz’s employer (Christian horizons) was fined $30,000 and ordered to develop an anti-discrimination code.

It’s not the politicians trying to get votes because the gays are only a few hundered votes in the whole country. It’s the Supreme Court of Canada that ordered the Parliament to change the law to allow for same sex marriages or face the consequences. The Judges in civilized countries are not corrupt as in India. They make decisions that are fair, equal and respect Human Dignity. This is what Gurbani teaches Sikhs but Sikhs do not want to listen to their Guru Sahibs also.

Although the Sikhs have been living in harmony and peace together with other communities, we do not agree with legal change in the Marriage Act. Accordingly, we request The Hon’ble Governor General, Chief Justice & other Judges, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and the Senators that they should desist from this venture simply for the sake of a few votes or merely to appease some vocal vagabonds, who have no respect for other communities. Such persons should be requested to consult psychiatrists and then they themselves should come forward to share the Truth that they themselves were also born out of union with their loved parents, i.e., mother and father!

If possible, please prevail upon the known MPs’ and Senators to insert this as an Advertisement in the Daily Newspapers so that public knows that the Sikh Community is absolutely against this change. Alternatively, copies may be passed on to all the Legislators. (Gurmeet Singh of Australia, published in the Quarterly Magazine Abstracts of Sikh Studies, July-Sept 2012 at pages 64-66 Chandigarh.)

The author of the above article must know that it was John Chrétien the Prime Minister - A catholic Prime Minister of Canada, who was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada in Unanimous decision to change the Discriminating Law. He and other politicians never depended on a few hundred votes of gay people. It was the Charter of Rights of Canada that gave Equal Rights to all citizen of Canada. World Sikh Organization fought many cases of discrimination under the same charter to get out Rights to wear Turbans in Canadian Police forces, and wear Sikh articles of Faith (Kakars) in our daily lives. It would be hypocritical for Sikhs to force the Government of Canada for their rights but asking government to deny the Rights of the Gay people under the same Charter of Rights. Sikh Religion is about EQUALITY & JUTICE, not oppression.

WSO followed the Teachings of Sikh Gurus to support the Rights of fellow citizens, because we knew the Gurmat Teachings and lessons of Sikh history. The sacrifices made by Sikh Gurus and their Sikhs for the freedom of Religion, Equality, and Justice are of Great importance and sources of guidance to us. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Dyala Ji and Bhai Sati Dass Ji gave their lives so that Hindus could freely practice their religion - not because Guru Sahib was advocating or Promoting Hinduism, but because he understood the importance of allowing people to live according to their own belief systems, even when those belief systems may be completely opposite to his own. This supreme act of sacrifice by our ninth Guru is the reason why Sikhs have distinguished themselves repeatedly as champions of Justice. Like Guru Nanak Sahib, we must always stand our ground to advocate for protection of an equal, fair and just society, and never promote the oppression of other minority communities.

Therefore, the article written by Gurmat Singh of Australia, and published by 'Abstracts of Sikh Studies" is biased and not as per Sikh Values taught by Guru Sahibs.

I hope The Institute of Sikh Studies in all fairness would also publish my response to above article.

¤


ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2012, All rights reserved.