On page 38 of the English version of the Sikh Rahit Maryada is printed : The undermentioned four transgressions (tabooed practices) must be avoided : 1) Dishonouring the hair 2) Eating the meat of an animal slaughtered the Muslim way 3) Cohabiting with a person other than one’s spouse 4) Using tobacco.
In the event of the commission of any of these transgressions, the transgressor must get rebaptised.
To start the discussion three remarks 1) I have no intention to do any of the things listed above 2) I know that I cannot change the SRM, only the Guru Panth (Sarbat Khalsa) can, but I am free to give my opinion 3) Isn’t it good news, I can kill, steal, throw my kara, kangha, kirpan and kachhera away and never do any path whatsoever and will still count as a Khalsa !
Dishonouring the hair. The Brahminical mentality rears its ugly head. Why do they not just say do not cut, shave wax etc ? Hair has no honour, hair is not holy. Kesh is one of the 5 Ks and Amritdhari Sikhs should keep their promise to keep the 5 Ks. The kirpan has a specific meaning, but a far as the Khalsa discipline is concerned, you are only a Khalsa with all the 5 Ks. Kesh is not more important than any of the others, please read the Guru Granth Sahib.
Eating halal (or kosher) meat. There might a good reason to ban the eating of ritually slaughtered meat, but I cannot understand why this has been singled out as one of the key rules in Sikhí. Not that it affects me, I am a vegetarian.
Having sexual relations outside marriage. As I have already pointed out above, I have no plans to ‘cohabit’, it is not ethical, not honest. I also like a simple life and having girlfriends usually leads to complications. But why this has been singled out, and why murder seems to be less bad, I am not sure.
Using tobacco. Smoking tobacco is very unhealthy, it is a dirty habit and it is antisocial. But this list of taboos suggest that it is better, or less bad, to get drunk every night, to snort cocaine, to smoke opium or to inject heroine.
If I was the Khalsa Panth I would remove these four ‘taboos’ from the SRM. They serve no purpose, as these points are covered elsewhere, and they make us look like people who have their priorities confused.
Please do not use this column as an excuse for cutting your hair, for eating halal or kosher meat, for having affairs or for smoking tobacco.
The Khalsa way of life is based on positive good behaviour. We wear the turban and the 5 Ks as signs that we are committed to the inner qualities of Truth, Contentment, Humility, Love and Compassion. Through a positive good life we overcome Anger, Attachment, Greed, Ego and Lust.