Respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is often mistakenly referred to as a "book" by many western and even some Punjabi-originating people. For a Sikh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji represents much more; in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Guru of the Sikh religion, passed the Guruship, or the spiritual succession and leadership of the Sikh religion onto the religion's formally compiled holy scriptures, transforming them into the 11th and eternal leader of the Sikh faith. For a Sikh, their Guru is much more than just a teacher but a figure of absolute respect and power. The word "Sikh" itself means "disciple" or "student" and a student must always have a teacher. The student must submit completely and wholeheartedly to his or her Guru and with faith and devotion place their head in the loving hands of their Guru.
Within the context of Sikhism, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is thus seen as a living embodiment of the Sikh religion, and the Sargun Saroop (visible form) of the 10 Gurus and thus God Himself. The whole purpose of a Gurdwara is to provide Parkash for Guru Ji and nothing else; Guru Sahib is kept in a clean, often decorated room, covered with Rumalas and placed on a Palki, or a royal throne. Sikhs in this way lovingly treat their Guru in the exact way they would treat a king of the highest order; the atmosphere of the Divan Hall is always one of complete respect and focus on Guru Sahib. Within this area all heads are covered and shoes are removed. Many will go as far as never to
turn their back to the Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.
Thus it is quite shocking when it is considered that despite many Sikhs focussing their entire life around and following Guru Sahib, some individuals feel that Guru Sahib should follow them! As Sikhs, we should be blessed that God has allowed us to have the very Darshan (presence) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and allowed us to sit in His Darbar within the Gurdwara. Some people, usually through lack of education or understanding of the basic principles of Sikhism, have not understood the status of Guru Sahib within Sikhism. They feel that it is acceptable, that Guru Sahib can be taken to a place of their choice so that any religious formalities can be easily and very conveniently carried out in the same venue as where the post wedding celebrations and parties will take place.
The current state of affairs, whereby Guru Sahib is taken to places such as clubs, hotels and other similar places where alcohol, cigarettes, meat and other similar substances are used, is wholly unacceptable. Within a Gurdwara, all three of the above mentioned substances are completely prohibited in any area; to take Guru Sahib to such a place where such substances may have been used previously or in some cases even used at the same time, is completely unacceptable and sacrilegious to the basic principles of Sikhism. No one is being forced to give up meat, alcohol or smoking; rather all that is being asked is the most very basic respect being shown to the centre of the entire Sikh faith – if we are unable to even display this and respect our teacher, father, guide and sustainer, how can we call ourselves Sikhs of our Guru?
Within the religious ceremony of the Sikh marriage, the bride and groom are required to do Parkama, or circle around Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The symbolism of this is that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the centre of their life and sustainer of their marriage. It is hypocritical and severely dishonouring to take Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to a hotel or club for a false Sikh wedding. Should those involved in the marriage have no religious inclination, surely it would be better to bypass what is now degenerating into a hollow and meaningless practise for those who do not believe in it? Those who perform the religious rituals of the Sikh wedding simply as a formality should seriously rethink how they can be true to themselves and stop the meaning of the Sikh religious rituals being diluted and undermined. For those who truly do see Guru Sahib as the centre of their life, surely they should be able to come into the shelter of Guru Sahib's home (the Gurdwara) to show the intentions of their marriage in a sincere and
The Akal Takht, the temporal authority for Sikhs worldwide, has already issued a Hukamnama, or command, that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji cannot be taken to locations such as clubs or hotels for weddings. Whilst many of the offending parties complain those Sikhs who try to prevent the dishonouring of Guru Sahib to be "fanatics", they seem to conviently forget that follow of the commands of Akal Takht has always been the norm for mainstream Sikhs. In all circumstances, the Respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Campaign team have always tried to liaise politely, calmly and without resorting to physical measures with the involved parties to attempt to explain the issues and the great dishonour that is done on Guru Sahib and thus all of Guru Sahib's Sikhs. It has only been in a small handful of cases, whereby the involved parties refused to co-operate, where campaigners have had to physically prevent the edict of the Akal Takht being violated and the Saroop of Guru Sahib being taken into an inappropriate environment.
The findings of the Campaign
Many Private Granthis are selling Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as their commodity.
The Campaign has come across Granthis like Gurcharan Singh of Southall who provide a complete package with sheets to cover the floor and hide the bars of a hotel or banqueting hall.
Other Granthis like Harbans Singh Suraj of Gillingham, Kent have branched out into providing catering services including supply of meat & alcohol aswell as granthi services.
Satvinder Singh Sarl of Harrow was reminded of the Akal Takht Hukamnama on numerous occasion to which he promised to adhere. This year he and his son were caught once again at Baylis House.
Surjit Singh of Ilford was willing to provide a saroop of Guruji & his services for a wedding at Calton Banqueting Suite. The Campaign worked with the family who co-operated fully, and who we would like to thank, and the Anand Karaj was re-arranged at their own residence. In speaking with the family they were shocked that this Granthi lied and never once informed them that this disrespect to Guruji.
Granthi Kulvinder Singh of Southall, who does discourses on Akash Digital Radio, was caught red handed at Baylis House.
These so called servants of the Sikh Panth are not ignorant to the disrespect they cause to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They have sold their conscious and make a living out of deceit, lying to families and taking Guruji wherever anyone wants. Their charges range from £1000 upwards depending of level of service. When did Guruji and Sikh Maryada become a commodity for sale or a service to be provided? The conscious of these people have stooped so low that after the Balyis House incident where the Campaign worked with the Police and did not allow a saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to enter the premises the next day, these money hungry granthis did an Anand Karaj from a Gutka Sahib.
These granthis have no shame in twisting Sikh Maryada and lying to others who look to them for advice. They are driven by monetary gain only.
This is open selling of our Maryada. The Anand Karaj ceremony devised by Sri Guru Ramdas Ji has become a cheap cultural necessity.
Mangat Hall in Southall, known as Guru Granth Gurdwara, has close links with Satvinder Singh Sarl and banqueting Halls like Baylis House, C&L Country Club & Vickrams Occassions Palace. The president of the Gurdwara is Tarlochan Singh Grewal and says with no shame that he is doing nothing wrong. On 31 July 2005 he transported the Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in a suitcase placed on the front seat of his van.
Miri Piri Gurdwara of Southall provided a saroop of Guru Sahib and Granthi Kulvinder Singh at a phonecall request from the Managing Director of Baylis House, Mr Bhalla. Kulvinder Singh was caught on site and pictures taken on the day were shown to Jaswant Singh Tekedar. Tekedar refused to admit that he organised as per Baylis House's requested and further stated that granthis come and ask for saroop's as to which he never questions where they will be taking Guruji.
It is with great shame to know that Gurdwaras have better links with Banqueting Halls and Hotels than it has with its own Sangat.
On these grounds, we thus implore the Sikh community in general, whether they are involved in the offending marriage ceremonies or not, to take a step backwards and reconsider where Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji stands in their life. Is the respect we display to Guru Sahib hollow and ritualistic, or does Guru Sahib really stand at the centre of our lives? Are we truly Sikhs of the Guru? By showing the appropriate respect to Guru Sahib and giving as much love and respect as possible, there can be no doubt that Guru Ji himself will bless us in our every day living and make our life more worthwhile.