Sunday, 16 November 2008

The AKJ and the Sikh Rahit Maryada

The Akhand Kirtan Jatha, pride themselves on having what they believe is a pristine or Tat Gurmat Marayada. Though this is positive for the beliefs of the members of the AKJ , this can turn into a critique of other Sikh groups. This ocassinally finds itself into web forums, but is usually said in dialogue. Therefore it is only just to analyse if the AKJ maryada fits that of the Khalsa Panth, in the form of the Sikh Rahit Maryada of the supreme Akal Takht Sahib.

The Sikh Rahit Maryada is the accepted document for the whole Sikh Panth. This discussion is aimed at comparing the AKJ practices with those in the Sikh Rahit Maryada, and if the Jatha fall in line with the SRM.

Sikh Reht Maryada
Section Six

Panthic Rehni (Facets of Corporate Sikh Life):

I. The Keshas (unshorn hair), II. The Kirpan {sheathed sword} (The length of the sword to be worn is not prescribed., III. The Kachhehra (The Kachhehra (drawers like garment) may be made from any cloth, but its legs should not reach down to below the shins.),IV. The Kanga (comb),V. The Karha {steel bracelet} (The Karha should be of pure steel.)
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.

The Akhand Kirtan Jatha, gives a small underturban, the KESKI as a K. As well as giving the injunction that any meat is a transgression. Therefore we must question if the AKJ being exclusive, with their own extra ammendments to the maryada.

Sikh Reht Maryada
Section Four
t. For a Sikh, there is no restriction or requirement as to dress except that he must wear Kachhehra (A drawer type garment fastened by a fitted string round the waist, very often worn as an underwear.) and turban. A Sikh woman may or may not tie turban.
This contradicts the AKJ practice of all members having to wear turbans.

Kirtan (Devotional Hymns Singing by a Group or an Indvidual) Article VI a) Only a Sikh may perform Kirtan in a congregation. b) Kirtan means singing the scriptural compositions in traditional musical measures. c) In the congragation, Kirtan only of Gurbani (Guru Granth's or Guru Gobind Singh's hymns) and, for its elaboration, of the compositions of Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal, may be performed. d) It is improper, while singing hymns to rhythmic folk tunes or to traditional musical measures, or in team singing, to induct into them improvised and extraneous refrains. Only a line from the hymn should be made a refrain.
The AKJ only allow Amritdhari Sikhs to perform Kirtan. They do not sing Kirtan in the traditional measures. They do not state clearly that they believe in the hymns of Guru Gobind Singh, even though Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji did not agree the views of Babu Teja Singh on the Dasam Granth. Some, like Mohinder Singh SDO do not believe in the writings of Bhai Gurdas. They regularly use improvised and extraneous refrains from other hymns in the Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
a. The reading of the whole Guru Granth Sahib (intermittent or non-stop) may be concluded with the reading of Mundawani or the Rag Mala according to the convention traditionally observed at the concerned place. (Since there is a difference of opinion within the Panth on this issue, nobody should dare to write or print a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib excluding the Rag Mala). Thereafter, after reciting the Anand Sahib, the Ardas of the conclusion of the reading should be offered and the sacred pudding (Karhah Prashad) distributed.
Some members of the AKJ unfortunately in the past removed the Rag Mala from the Adi Guru Granth Sahib, normally kept in private places. See the manuscripts written by Sobha Singh, and Teja Singh Bhasauria. This is against the injunctions above, and would case a great deal of injury to the sentiments of most Sikhs. The Dam Dami Taksal in India regular check the various printed versions of the Adi Guru Granth Sahib to make sure this practice does not continue.
Sikh Reht Maryada
Section One

CHAPTER 1The Definition of Sikh : Article IAny human being who faithfully believes ini. One Immortal Being, ii. Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib,iii. The Guru Granth Sahib, iv. The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
v. the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh
It seems on first glance that the AKJ follow the above. Unfortunately this is not the case. As the AKJ regularly rebaptise people, who have not been intiated in the AKJ. Rebaptism can only occur if somebody has commited a major aberration. They rebaptise as they believe the amrit by other organisation is devoid of spiritual energy or Nam Rasa. Therefore does the AKJ not believe in the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru?
o. After this the five beloved ones, all together in chorus communicating the name of Waheguru to all who have been administered the ambrosial baptism, recite to them the Mul Mantar (basic creed, seminal chant) and make them repeat it aloud :
Here the AKJ hug the initiate the person close, in a ritual to impart the name of God, Vahiguru. Again this is not in line with the Sikh Rahit Maryada document. This method is also found in Sufism and Tantra cults in India. Hence it is against Gurmat. As the Guru says in the closing of the Anand Sahib: hearing the name one becomes Pure.
The AKJ have argued that they believe in the Sikh Rahit Maryada. The proof will be when Kesh is given as a Kakkar, and people stop being re-baptised, by the AKJ. This will be a truely Panthic move by the AKJ.


Jasleen said...

veerji, you seem to have some misconceptions about AKJ.

AKJ do not "rebaptise" people. when one commits a transgression (kurehet), one should go before panj piyare to confess and receive punishment. if one has committed a bujjar kurehet, it is normal for the panj to re-administer amrit (at their discretion). this happens at akal takht, in singh sabha gurdwaras, as well as with AKJ. this is not "rebaptising" people into the jatha, but is a normal practice.

regarding raagmala, no, people do not "remove" it. as raagmala occurs on ang 1430, removing it would also remove ang 1429, including mundavani. obviously this is not acceptable to anyone, regardless of their stance on raagmala.
also, you mention the heretic bhasuria, who is not and has never been affiliated with AKJ.

last, you mention Damdami Taksal as upholders of maryada, but fail to mention that they have their own entire seperate rehet maryada which includes many anti-gurmat practices such as discrimination in allowing women to do certain sevas.

i would love to discuss this matter further if you have any questions or concerns, or if you need legitimate resources for your knowledge.

thanks for your post.

Roop Kaur said...

vaheguru ji ka khalsa
vaheguru ji ki fateh
Jasleen pehnji, AKJ's do actually re-administer amrit even in circumstances where no bujjar kurehat has been committed, i know atleast 4 such individuals who have experienced this re-baptism simply because they wanted to "convert" to AKJ.

About point number two, i cannot comment, as i have not had a chance to do such research

And coming to your last point about bibiya not being allowed to perform certain seva in the panth, this is true that women are not allowed to do some seva. For example women forming part of the panj piare is not allowed. Women have been gifted the ability to give birth. this is the single most biggest seva possible. Men cannot give birth
therefore Guru ji allowed only Men to give birth to the khalsa panth, by allowing only males to perform panj seva.
Why do women always want to be so "equal" to men?
i too am a woman, but i believe that a woman has her place and a man has his, they should not attempt each others work, however capable they may be of completing it. It is just the natural order of things
to keep the balance

i hope i have not said anything incorrect or offended you pehnji
bhul chuk maaf karni ji

vaheguru ji ka khalsa
vaheguru ji ki fateh ji

Jasleen said...

please re-read the sikh rehat maryada issued by akal takht, it does indeed give women the right to perform seva in the panj pyara.

and please do not confuse going for pesh (apologizing for a kurehet) with "rebaptizing" or "converting". if someone is a sikh, then going before the panj will not "convert" them to a new faith, they'll still be a sikh. perhaps you're talking about people who go to receive naam dhrir... it's true that in some unfortunate cases the panj pyare do not give naam to the initiates. there is nothing wrong with going to ask for naam once you're already amritdhari. any number of jathas or sants do this service, it's not unique to AJK. guru ji says we can only get naam from guru, and panj pyare are guru ji's representatives on earth.

let me know if you have any further confusion.

Anonymous said...


Bibi Jasleen Kaur Ji, commenting upon your two issues:

1. Re-administration of Amrit by AKJ to existing Amritdharis (who have not transgressed the rehit):

There are several individuals who have cited incidents of Amritdharis, who have not committed any violation of rehit, being co-erced or manipulated by the AKJ to receive the "proper" Amrit.

I will not comment further on this matter, as this relates to personal cases, however, even a cursory glance at AKJ websites and literature, one can see for themselves that the AKJ do see their 'amrit sanchar' initiation as the only valid and correction representation of the Khalsa rites. The tapoban forum can provide several examples from leading AKJ individuals such as Kulbir Singh on this matter. Bottom line, AKJ, have created a rift within the very notion of 'Amrit' to the extent that they will not share food with other Amritdharis who have not been reinitiated by AKJ rites and even cases where non AKJ Amritdharis are refused entry to AKJ simran sessions.

2. Damdami Taksal (DDT) and prohibition on the role of Women within the Amrit Sanchar.

I concur with your sentiments on the apparent contradiction between the Sikh Rehit Maryada and the DDT version and am hesitant to agree with the notions presented by Roop Kaur at face value, however for purposes of this discussion (which is clearly discussing the AKJ against the Sikh Rehit Maryada), what the DDT (right or wrong), does not take away from the several trangressions on part of the AKJ, which given the numerous posts on this forum alone, is nothing more than a fundamentalist cult which serves as a 'nursery' for the now black listed terrorist organisation, the Babbar Khalsa International.