Another of my columns that did not make it to the blog. As it is about Gurmat it is still relevant although it goes back to 2010.
I have earlier written about the notion propagated by the SGPC that you are a Sikh when you have uncut-hair (keshdhari), and that you are not if you have not. This division of Sikhs ignores the Sikh way of life as taught by the Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Gobind Singh told us to be different, to behave different and to look different, to follow the Sikh way of life and to wear the Khalsa uniform of the turban and the 5 Ks. Amritdhari is a valid category in Sikhí, keshdhari not. Wearing the Khalsa uniform without having Khalsa behaviour is meaningless.
A Sikh is somebody who seriously tries to live according to the teachings of our eternal Guru, a Khalsa is somebody who does the same and has offered her/his head through the amrit ceremony.
I am at the moment reading ‘Guru’s Wisdom’, a book written by Madan Singh of Birmingham (UK). I found some useful information in the book, but when writing about hair he creatively interprets Guru Granth Sahib.
He writes that Sheikh Faríd must have uncut hair as the sheikh writes in a slok on pana 1380 : ‘your hair has turned grey, your beard has turned grey and your moustache has turned grey’. This indeed suggests that Sheikh Faríd had a moustache and a beard, but does not prove that he was ‘keshdhari’.
Guru Arjan writes on pana 749 in rág sohi : ‘I make my hair into a fan’. This is of course a poetic image, and does not prove that Guru had uncut hair. It is likely that he did, but this verse does not prove it. The same applies to : ‘with my hair I dust the feet of the Guru’ (pana 387, rág ásá, M 5).
In a different vein Guru Arjan writes in rág maru (solhé) on pana 1084 : ‘Let your total awareness be the turban on your head’. I have earlier discussed the full verse and its context in Man in Blue column 468, which can be found on the ‘Maninblue1947’ blog (search 468.).
When you read the sixteen verses of this shabad you will discover that a) the shabad addresses Muslims, not Sikhs and b) that the Guru is not suggesting in this shabad that either Muslims or Sikhs should have uncut hair or wear a dastar.
Madan Singh also thinks that the description of God as ‘He/She with the beautiful hair’ means that Sikhs should have uncut hair. Does describing God as ‘She/He with the dark skin’ mean that Sikhs should have a dark skin ?
The Guru Granth Sahib does not tell us to wear the Guru’s uniform. The Guru Granth Sahib teaches us the ethical values that are the core of the Sikh or the Khalsa way of life.
Guru Gobind Singh fully supported the Gurmat teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sant-Sipahi is practising seva, selfless service to all. Additionally the Sant-Sipahi follows the discipline of wearing the Guru’s uniform as a sign of her/his commitment to the teachings of our eternal Guru.