In this column I am going to disagree with many of my fellow Sikhs, because their conservative Panjabi instincts prevent them understanding Guru’s enlightened vision.
Somebody wrote some time ago that God is male, as Purkh (as in Akál Purkh) comes from Purusha, which means man. Going by the dictionary this correct, but following this logic would mean that God is a male human being.
Guru teaches that God is my Mother and Father, but that also does not mean that God is a male or female human. Creator Being is a sensible interpretation of Akál Purkh. This ‘Purkh’ is many facetted and has both female and male aspects.
Somebody wrote that marriage is the most important Sikh institution. This article is not concerned with the Rehat Maryada, but with God’s word as found in the Guru Granth, the Guru that brings light in our spiritual darkness. Marriage in the Guru Granth is not an institution.
In our eternal Guru God is the Groom of all human beings. Marriage to this Groom is a spiritual bond, and playing on the couch with God is a metaphor for having spiritual intercourse with God. All humans, male and female, are God’s brides.
The beautiful Shabads that we call the Lavans and that are sung and recited during the Anand Karaj ceremony are NOT about the marriage of two humans, but about the spiritual union with God as described above.
The essence of this marriage is neither sexuality nor procreation, but getting closer and closer to the God-Groom. Each verse represents a step in this process. This nearness to the God-Groom results in anand, bliss.
This is what we share with a Sufi like Farid, a Bhagat like Ravidas and with medieval European mystics like Julian of Norwich, Hadewijch or Meister Eckhart.
Even where Guru writes about the human marriage he writes about being two bodies and one soul. Otherwise we are warned not to get attached to wife and children, as you cannot take them with you to the next life.
I see no reason to narrow down the spiritual idea of marriage to something that can only happen between a male and a female, as this is not based on Gurmat.
On the practical side I think that the state should not get involved in marrying people. There should be a model or models for long term relationships between people, regulating things like joint ownership, inheritance etc. The spiritual side cannot be institutionalised; it is not the state’s business.
What God thinks of homosexuality ? I do not think that God thinks or has opinions, ‘God is’, She/He is not human. But I would expect that Dharm Raj will look at the whole picture without being obsessed with sexuality as social conservatives are. Some Sikhs who are against homosexuality would condone honour-killings…