This is the third article about this section of the Sikh Rehat Maryada. The previous article ended with Article XXIV sub q (1).
Sub q : The following individuals shall be liable to chastisement involving automatic boycott :
2. One who eats/drinks leftovers of the un-baptised or the fallen Sikhs;
Who would want to do this anyway ?
3. One who dyes his beard;
I do not like dyed beards, I do not like tied-up beards, I like it even less when beards are in a hairnet, but none of these are major sins.
4. One who gives off son or daughter in matrimony for a price or reward;
This is serious, children are not cattle, Guru emphasises that you do not own your family. But I do not think boycotting will do anybody any good.
5. Users of intoxicants (hemp, opium, liquor, narcotics, cocaine etc);
If you are an Amritdhari Sikh and you use any intoxicants then you break your amrit. I still do not like the idea of boycotting.
6. One holding, or being a party to, ceremonies or practices contrary to the Guru’s way;
Wonderful, that excludes the vast majority of the Sikhs.
7. One who defaults in the maintenance of Sikh discipline.
This is even better, can the last Sikh leaving please close the door ?
Looking at the controversial clauses on this page I have to say that the authors of the SRM have made a very poor effort here. We know that Guru Gobind Singh spoke out against the use of tobacco, we know that we should not dye our beards, we know about the people who left the panth during and after the Guru time.
But the clauses on this page are badly organised, put fairly minor ‘sins’ like dying your beard together with killing baby girls, mention tobacco twice but not under the proper heading of intoxicants, get excited about followers of people like Ram Rai, although Ram Rai made peace with Guru Gobind Singh and so on and so forth.
The authors know only one punishment, banning from the panth and boycott. There is no distinction between initiated Sikhs and those that are on the path to being initiated (who are included in the SRM’s definition of a Sikh) or between minor transgressions and major crimes. The document finishes under 6 and 7 with two catch-all clauses that are not very helpful either.
There is a widespread notion amongst Sikhs that having uncut hair is a virtue in itself, which is anti-Gurmat and otherwise makes no sense either. The Guru writes about shaven heads and long hair both not uniting you with God.
The problem is that if there was a review of the SRM now, with the panth firmly under the control of the Sant Samaj, the Badal Dal and the Taksal the SRM would become worse instead of better.