330.The Man in Blue – Ardas (2)

In my first article on the Ardás I made a critical remark about the five Takhats. I do not ‘believe’ in five Takhats, I only ‘believe’ in Akál Takhat. I have the right, we all have the right to be critical, to ask questions and to propose changes, but we cannot change anything that is part of the Rehat Maryada, only the Sarbat Khalsa can do that ! 

The first two sections of the Ardás discussed in the previous article address the sangat and are followed by the six lines underneath addressed to God.

1. The Sarbat Khalsa prays may the mind of the Sarbat Khalsa be informed by Vahiguru, Vahiguru, Vahiguru and may we obtain well-being and inner-peace in this way.

2. Wherever the Khalsa is, there give Your protection, honour the cooking pots and the swords, may the panth win, may the respected sword be our helper, Khalsa Ji say Vahiguru !

3. Give us the gifts of Sikhí, of uncut hair, of the rahit, divine knowledge, faith (visáh), faith (bharosá), the biggest gift of Nám and of ishnán in Amritsar.

4. May the choirs, flags and manors be permanent through the ages, the slogan of righteousness : Say Vahiguru !

5. May the minds of the Sikhs remain humble, may our beliefs be higher, protector of the beliefs our Vahiguru !

6. O Timeless Being, always the helper of and the giver to your panth. Sri Nankana Sahib and more Gurdwaré, Guru’s Houses that are separated from the panth, give the Khalsa the chance to have the sight of them and to take care of and do seva in them. 

In the second line above we ask God to give ‘fateh’ to our deg and teg (cooking pot and sword) and at the end of the line we ask ‘may the Sri Sahib to be our helper’. The cooking pots stand for Guru’s langar, the sword is the Sikh ‘sword of justice’. I am familiar with Sri Sahib as a description of the sword, but does Sri Sahib have a specific meaning ?   

I have always been concerned about line three. Of course I am grateful for the gift of Sikhí, of the Rahit, of faith (what is the difference between ‘visáh’ and ‘bharosa’ ?), and the biggest gift of Nám is indeed a splendid gift.

I thank Guru for his gift of the 5 Ks as signs of our commitment to living Sikhí, but I am not happy with ‘uncut hair’ being singled out. As far as ishnán is concerned I recommend to sadh sangat to read 5th Guru’s sabad ‘Guru Ram Das Sarovar Nathe’ in full, to understand what the ishnán in Guru Ram Das’ sarovar really is about.
I am not impressed by line 4. I know what the choires, the flags and the bungé are, but do not think they are worthy of a mention in the Ardás. Line 5 is beautiful and under 6 I would want to pray for Panthic Rule in all Gurdwaré, not just in those in Pakistan. Next week the final article on the Ardas.



Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

328.The Man in Blue – Lunar & Solar Days

From : Bilawal M 1, lunar days, 10th house, drumbeat jat, page 838
1.ékam 2. dújai 3. tritíá 4.chauth 5.panchmí 6.khastí 7.saptmí 8.astmí 9.naumí 10.dasmí 11.ékádmí 12.a.duádas 12.b.duádmí 13.téras 14.chaudas 15.amávasiá – the night of the new moon.

The above are the days of the lunar fortnight as found in Rág Bilawal. Most of the names of the days are easy to understand. Only ‘khastí’does not sound like anything to do with six, the names of the other days are clearly linked to their number. I do not know why there are two different days 12.

The first fortnight of the lunar month runs from full moon to no moon, the second from no moon to full moon. The Vikramí year is a lunar year, but the Vikramí Calendar has extra days to come near the solar year of 365.25 days.

The Muslim calendar (Hijra) is a pure lunar calendar, and the seasons move across the calendar every year. In the Middle East and South Asia, where the difference in the length of the days in summer and winter is only small, this has only limited effect on the length of the fasting during Ramzam. In Scandinavia the fast will be very long when Ramzam falls in July. Anybody with more knowledge of lunar calendars, please share !

From : Bilawal M 3, seven days, 10th house, page 841
1.ádit vár 2.somvár 3.mangal 4.budvár 5.vírvár 6.sukrvár 7.chhanichharvár.In this sabad Guru calls Sunday ádit vár and Tuesday mangal, without ‘vár’. The sat vár (seven days) sabads suggest that in the days of our Gurus there was also a solar calendar in use. Equally I am under the impression that there were more lunar calendars than just Al Hijrá and Vikramí.

I read on a Hindu website that Vikramí did not start with Chet as in the two Twelve Months sabads in the Guru Granth. Or are the Twelve Months sabads based on another lunar calendar ?

To add to calendar confusion we will end with the ‘Christian’ (Anno Domino = the Year of our Lord) or Common Era Calendar. The last four months are September, October, November and December. That means 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Month, which suggests strongly that at some time in the past this year must have started with March. 

For Vahiguru it all makes no difference, every day is God’s day, or maybe I should say that we have to make every day into God’s day by our godly behaviour. From the spiritual point of view there is no Sikh year, Christian year or Muslim year. I am grateful to Pal Singh Purewal because through his efforts most of our Gurpurabs now fall on the same CE date every year.




Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

329.The Man in Blue – Ardas (1)

You might remember my articles about my recent visit to Ieper where I recited a special ardás written for the occasion. This made me think about the standard ardás, and this article is the result of that.


In my personal routines I very rarely recite the standard ardás. I do regularly speak to God, usually asking Her/Him to help me to stick to Guru’s path, and to give me peace of mind if I am upset or overexcited about something.


As God is ‘antarjamí’ (All Knowing), my prayers are usually short. The wording might change slightly, but the message is simply ‘God please help me’. When I ask for something more specific, which is mostly when I pray for somebody else, I add ‘whatever is your will’ or words to that effect.


There are two more general thoughts I want to add. Why is it that everything ‘freezes’ in the Gurdwara, even outside the divan hall, while we do ardás. When the Granthí recites the hukamnámá people start moving around again and pay respect to the Guru Granth Sahib, while in the langar the sevadars start serving again.


Similarly, when you sit outside the divan, you are still supposed to get up when the ardás is recited. This is not an issue of vital importance to the panth, but things that seem illogical bother me.


Looking up the meaning of ‘ardás’ in the dictionary I find the following meanings : request, prayer, supplication, representation, offering to a deity. Our ardás is a request, but the first two sections of the ardás are a request to the sangat, and not to God.


The first section is where sangat is asked to remember God and the ten Gurus, each one of them getting a special mention. The line about remembering the Guru Granth Sahib does not belong to the first part, which comes from what is now known as the Dasam Granth. The line referring to the Guru Granth ends with ‘bolo jí Vahiguru’, just like the three lines.


The next section starts with the Guru Granth, the light of the ten Gurus, and then deals with those who gave their lives in the struggle against injustice. The final line in this section refers to the five Takhats and all Gurdwaré. As far as my understanding goes there is only one Takhat, Akál Takhat.


Having four ‘Takhats’, each in places where Guru Gobind Singh lived, makes no sense to me. The Akál Takhat (which originally was not a building) was there to represent together with Harmandr Sahib the idea of Miri and Piri, and I cannot see why there is a need for further Takhats.  


In the next article I will have a detailed look at the rest of the ardás.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

327.The Man in Blue – Maya

Why do so many Sikhs think that putting all your energy into acquiring a big house, a big car and a huge television is in tune with Guru’s teachings ?


I recognise that when you are on a high level of spirituality you can experience the greatest luxury and the simplest lifestyle without your spiritual balance being disturbed by it.


Even I learned to accept food as it comes, whether I am offered a feast or just simple roti and dal. I enjoy the simple and the luxury food. In Panjab I appreciated proper toilets and bathrooms in western style houses but also accepted it when I had to wash at a tap in the wall and had to do ‘my business’ in the fields when in villages.


Many Sikhs moved from the villages in Panjab to western countries in order to better themselves. It is perfectly legitimate to want better chances for your children, to want to live in a society with freedom of speech. But a better life is not a life rich in material goods, a better life is a life rich in spirituality.


There is no merit in being poor. But owning a house is not more spiritual than renting a flat, having a Mercedes is not more spiritual than having a bus pass, a house that looks like something from a catalogue is not more spiritual than a place that looks as if people live in it.


Guru’s Sikhs agree with Kabir when he asks Vahiguru to give him a small house, a bed and simple food, and then he could dedicate his life to God.


Too much is as damaging to the soul as too little. Few people can be spiritual while being homeless and desperately looking for their next crust of bread. Equally only spiritual giants can be filthy rich and not be attached to their wealth.


Guru Gobind Singh lived at the court of Patna like a prince and also had no wants when he lived in Anandpur Sahib. He lived in the jungle and spent the night in huts after he left Chamkaur Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh, unlike us, was a spiritual giant. Guru’s life was dedicated to spiritual values, he could live both in rich and poor surroundings and be in sahaj, in spiritual balance.


Bhai Laloo had a small house and simple food and was happy. Malik Bhagoo had a big house and many servants who did all his work. Milk came from Laloos roti and blood from Malik Bhagoo’s. Guru Nanak obviously preferred Laloo’s simple life over the Malik’s luxury.

We should be like Bhai Laloo, make an honest living and live a simple life. If we are successful in our careers, we should not waste our money on luxury

Published in: on July 7, 2008 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,