Akand Path – Ritual or Spiritual?

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

THE SIKH REHAT MARYADA (SRM) stipulation for the akhand paath begins as follows:

  • ਅਖੰਡ ਪਾਠ ਕਿਸੇ ਭੀੜ ਜਾਂ ਉਤਸ਼ਾਹ ਵੇਲੇ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾਂ ਹੈ।[[1] This stipulation provides the two conditions during which an akhand paath is to be done – ਭੀੜ  and ਉਤਸ਼ਾਹ.  The Punjabi University at Patiala’s dictionary defines BIV as “multitude, swarm, stampede, and crisis.”[2] The same dictionary defines auqSwh as “zeal, enthusiasm, ardour, verve, avidity.” It is clear that both terms (ਭੀੜ and ਉਤਸ਼ਾਹ) thus denote two extreme ends of sorrow and happiness respectively.  Using the vocabulary of the Punjabi University, it can be surmised that an akhand paath is to be done when one’s sorrow is akin to being “swarmed or stampeded with a multitude of crisis,” or when one’s joy is one of “enthusiasm, ardour, verve and avidity”. Given the modern world we live in, sorrow and happiness are very subjective indeed. Yet such subjectivity cannot take away primary rationale and basic logic from our attempt to make sense of the above mentioned SRM stipulation.  And in doing so the one thing that comes across clear is that this is a limiting The purpose of using the terms (ਭੀੜ and ਉਤਸ਼ਾਹ) as derived from two extreme ends of the spectrum of human emotions is twofold.  The first is to seriously narrow the scope of both the emotions of happiness and sorrow that are applicable for an akhand paath. The second is to limit severely the circumstances under which an akhand path is to be undertaken.

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Gurdwara Sahib Menglembu Ipoh Message on use of Gurdwara Diwans

Waheguruji Me Khalsa
Waheguruji Ki Fateh

Please be informed that Gurdawara Sahib Menglembu Committee has only agreed to have a programme on 11.03.2017 (Saturday) from 5.00 pm to 8.30 pm in conjunction of Baba Deep Singh Sheedi Diyara whereby there will be a Sukhmani Sahib, Rehraas, Sabad Vichar by our Gianiji, Kirtan Sohela and Semapti. Guru Ka Langgar will be served after that.

This is what had been planned and this is what will be carried out. The committee has never athorised anyone to talk about any wrong doings by Ashby Road Gurdwara.

Please ignore message that is currently being circulated by an unauthorized person.

We do not want to be a platform to condemn other Gurdawaras.

If any person wishes to put his point of view about what had happened over there, the best place will be a private gathering either in the person’s house or a club where Gurdwaras can stand neutral until the dispute of who is right and who is wrong is over.

We do not want the sanggat to break.
We do not want the bad experience repeated in Gurdwara Sahib Menglembu.

President of
Gurdwara Sahib Menglembu
Sardar Pritam Singh

The Sikh Nishan Sahib Demystified

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

The Kesri (Xanthic) coloured flag that Sikhs respectfully call the Nishan Sahib and seen flying at Gurdwaras is to the Sikh place of worship as Sikh Dastaar or Turban is to Sikh identity.

A few points on its origin, function and manner of respect may be as useful to the reader as much of some commentary on worship-like rituals that have sprung up in recent times in relation to the Sikh flag.

Sikh scholar cum historian Kahn Singh Nabha writes that the Nishan Sahib was originally called Jhanda (flag) Sahib and that it was founded by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.  Folks who get offended when someone refers to the Sikh flag as “Jhanda” can take note of this fact.

In the village of Fagwara in Punjab, there is a historic Gurdwara marking the transit of the seventh master Guru Har Rai Ji during one of his travels from Kartarpur to Kiratpur, called Gurdwara Jhanda Sahib, lending credence to the fact that the term “Jhanda Sahib” had come into existence then.

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Who Laid the Foundation Stone of Darbar Sahib?

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

The Darbar Sahib is the centre of the universe of Sikhism; distinctive in its existence, unique in its function, matchless in its form, inimitable as a representation of Sikhism and above all, only one of its kind, even in name. In more ways than one, the story of the Darbar Sahib is the story of Sikhi; glittering in resplendence, non-stop reverberation of the song of God, unbroken charity in its service to mankind and an unexplainable pull for anyone seeking peace on earth. The Golden Temple is to Sikhi what gold itself is to the meaning of value.  It is only natural therefore that the Sikh psyche contain a collection of historical, spiritual, sacred and sacrosanct minutiae that hold this Temple of Spirituality as the Golden standard of what Sikhi stands for.

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Defining a Sikh

Karminder Singh Dhillon,
PhD (Boston), Kuala Lumpur.

One of the first things a student of philosophy (or  most social sciences, for that matter) discovers regarding definitions of concepts  is that they are rarely, if ever, universally accepted (read perfect). The definition of a Sikh is no exception and should not be. Anyone who expects to crystallize, in a few universally acceptable statements called a definition –  a spiritual process that took ten Gurus two and half centuries to construct – is bound to be disappointed. So staggering is the diversity of our most basic text – 1430 pages, 5,867 shabads by more than two dozen authors who lived over a period spanning half a century and come from different faiths – that defining Sikhi based on the Guru Granth Sahib alone is a daunting task.  To some, it may seem that the nature of Sikhi and the SGGS and by extension that of a Sikh is so spiritually inclusive that it was intended to defy a universal definition. Yet none of these has stopped or should stop the attempt. After all, we live in a world where definitions matter.
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