Today we are not discussing the Sikh Rehit Maryádá (SRM) as published by the SGPC in 1945. The word maryádá is here used in its original meaning of practices or traditions. We talk for instance about the maryádá of Akál Takhat, where there are different traditions than in Darbar Sahib.
As long as these traditions are not against the letter or the spirit of the Guru Granth Sahib or against the SRM, it is absolutely fine that one Gurdwara has a different way of going about things than others.
Problems arise when for instance members of the sangat or granthis, giannis, ragis etc get too involved in ceremonies, which they think show respect for the Guru Granth Sahib. The essential respect due to the Guru Granth Sahib is of course reading, understanding (using all your faculties) and applying the teachings.
Saying or writing ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji’ means that you add three honorifics to the two key words that mean ‘Teacher Book’. Saying or writing Jap-Ji Sahib obscures the fact that the opening shabad of the Guru Granth is simply called Jap. If that was good enough for Guru Nanak, why is that not good enough for us ?
I understand, but do not think it is essential, why people want to have a separate vacuum cleaner for the area around the Guru Granth and the palki, but to have a special washing machine for the ramál of the Guru Granth goes towards idolising the object. I think that washing the ramál separate from other cloth/clothes used in the Gurdwara is more than respectful enough.
These traditions or practices would all be fairly innocent but there are three clear drawbacks. The first one is that it diverts attention from the real purpose of the Guru Granth, as our Spiritual Teacher, our signpost to God.
These practices create a fear in the mind of our sangat. The Guru Granth sits on the palki to be read by any member of the sangat. Reading to the sangat should be done by an initiated Sikh, otherwise it is available to all. But many Sikhs are too afraid of ‘doing something disrespectful’ while reading the Guru Granth. The Guru Granth has become like the Sikh equivalent of a Hindu Idol.
The Guru Granth is our eternal teacher, our pope and our king. It is right that it sits on a throne under a canopy and that we wave the flybrush over it as was done with kings. This is good practice and it shows how important our Guru is to us.
But please read the wonderful tool that Guru gave us. The Guru Granth will send you on the path of dharam, gián, saram and karam. On this path you will experience God long before you reach sach khand. You will come to know that God is !