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I was having a discussion with a colleague and he asked the following question

Does it mention smoking is not allowed in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib

I told him about intoxicants are forbidden , but specifically wanted to know about smoking

Because intoxicants can be coffee and tea which contain caffeine , but we drink tea and coffee , but does smoking fall into the same catergory

hence the question .

wahe guru ji ka khalsa wahe gurur ji ke fateh

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The Guru Granth Sahib has no particular reference to the prohibition on smoking, these are found in the Sikh Rehit Maryada and the puratan Rehitnamas.

The initial prohibition from the rehitnama literature relates exclusively to Hookah, this later expands to Tobacco, Snuff and all forms of intoxicants.

There is no formal restriction on tea or coffee, although certain zealous Sikhs express it as such owing to their personal stance or that stance of their Baba/Sant/Bhai Sahib.

The rationale is clear given that Tobacco and intoxicants such as a alcohol depress the mind and fatigue the body which are contrary to the life of a Singh, moreover "Hookah" was distinctly Muslim practice during the 18th century and in line with the ban on Halal meat, the non-trimming of the beard (including the Moustache) are all part and parcel of the Khalsa's dinstictive rehit.

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Actually, Guru Granth Sahib Ji does mention it -

pwn supwrI KwqIAw muiK bIVIAw lweIAw ]

paan supaaree khaatheeaa mukh beerreeaa laaeeaa ||

hir hir kdy n cyiqE jim pkiV clweIAw ]13]

har har kadhae n chaethiou jam pakarr chalaaeeaa ||13||

the word "beerreeaa" is cigarettes - they still make these in india. There is also a shabad by Bhagat Kabir, I'll post it when I find it.

There are also Sakhis teaching that Guru Gobind Singh Ji warned against using and even growing tobacco. This was way before the dangers of tobacco were known. I think Suraj Parkash also mentions something.

People who smoked in the presence of puratan Singhs have sometimes even been "sent on the jahaaz" after refusing to stop.

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Matheen,

You are quoting out of context again:

paan supaaree khaatheeaa mukh beerreeaa laaeeaa ||

Those who eat betel nuts and betel leaf and apply lipstick,

har har kadhae n chaethiou jam pakarr chalaaeeaa ||13||

BUT DO NOT COMTEMPLATE, Har, Har - the Messenger of Death will seize them and take them away. ||13||

The above will clarify that the shabd is not an injuntion against smoking per se.

Likewise with the comment: "This was way before the dangers of tobacco were known" which is often cited by Sikhs in respect to the injunction on smoking, however it doesn't seem to have been the true concern when considering the wider aspects of permitted Sikh diet, which relies heavily on ghee and diary products both of which have negative aspects by modern dietary understanding.

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Matheen,

You are quoting out of context again:

paan supaaree khaatheeaa mukh beerreeaa laaeeaa ||

Those who eat betel nuts and betel leaf and apply lipstick,

har har kadhae n chaethiou jam pakarr chalaaeeaa ||13||

BUT DO NOT COMTEMPLATE, Har, Har - the Messenger of Death will seize them and take them away. ||13||

The above will clarify that the shabd is not an injuntion against smoking per se.

That doesn't justify or allow smoking either. Gurbani is full of examples where Gurujee holds simran and prem in the highest priority and mocks certain practices. None of those practices are justified just because Gurujee made a comment that "unless you do simran with prem, everything else is useless". Lets not start propagating the notion that as long as one does simran/bhagti with love, its ok to smoke, because it is NOT.
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Niranjana, i don't agree with that translation.....

As far as Ghee is concerned, a friend at university has done his research paper on it and turns out it's one of the better fats. I can provide a link if need be, but this is off topic.

There are also spiritual reasons behind banning the use of tobacco, but i'd rather not go into them here.

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I personally do not think that Hajamat and Hookah are limited to a ban on cutting kesh and smoking the pipe. I think these are universal "bans and messages" and they can change over time..

I consider the ban on hookah as a symbol of a ban on adopting the lifestyle of your opressor. The bani of Guru Nanak clearly criticize hindus for having adopted the lifestyle of muslims, and i think that this is what Maharaj banned his sikhs, as the Hookah was a muslim invention. in a larger scale i would think this also meant that sikhs during britiish raj were forbidden to adopt the lifestyle of the british, wearing their clothes, joining their army and using their instruments of kirtan etc.. Guru Gobind Singh clearly says that aslong as the khalsa remains disticnt, i will give them my power.

the Hajamat is not limited to a ban on cutting kesh only, but means that the sikh should stand out at all times.. imagine a man created a religion tommorow and calls it "chariism" and orders his followers to wear dastaar and long beard and they grow to milions in number througout Punjab and rest of india... how will people know the difference between these men and the khalsa? i therefore think that a sikh at these times are allowed to change their psychchal appereance to look distinct once again as they did in the times of the Gurus. maybe not by cutting their kesh, but by giving other kakaars or different appereance, and hereby making it is a bujar kurehit to remove these items as it is bujar kurehit to cut kesh.

i also think this is why Guru Maharaj gave Gurgaddi to the Panth, to make sikhi an everlasting religion not limited to the days back in 17.century.

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i also think this is why Guru Maharaj gave Gurgaddi to the Panth, to make sikhi an everlasting religion not limited to the days back in 17.century.

Guru maharaj ji first gave gur gaddi to sri guru granth sahib ji then to sri guru khalsa panth. Every action of guru khalsa panth should be according to gurbani sidhant from sri guru granth sahib ji, if its not then it should be condemned and more effort should be made to make it more align with gurbani sidhant.

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I personally do not think that Hajamat and Hookah are limited to a ban on cutting kesh and smoking the pipe. I think these are universal "bans and messages" and they can change over time..

I consider the ban on hookah as a symbol of a ban on adopting the lifestyle of your opressor. The bani of Guru Nanak clearly criticize hindus for having adopted the lifestyle of muslims, and i think that this is what Maharaj banned his sikhs, as the Hookah was a muslim invention. in a larger scale i would think this also meant that sikhs during britiish raj were forbidden to adopt the lifestyle of the british, wearing their clothes, joining their army and using their instruments of kirtan etc.. Guru Gobind Singh clearly says that aslong as the khalsa remains disticnt, i will give them my power.

the Hajamat is not limited to a ban on cutting kesh only, but means that the sikh should stand out at all times.. imagine a man created a religion tommorow and calls it "chariism" and orders his followers to wear dastaar and long beard and they grow to milions in number througout Punjab and rest of india... how will people know the difference between these men and the khalsa? i therefore think that a sikh at these times are allowed to change their psychchal appereance to look distinct once again as they did in the times of the Gurus. maybe not by cutting their kesh, but by giving other kakaars or different appereance, and hereby making it is a bujar kurehit to remove these items as it is bujar kurehit to cut kesh.

i also think this is why Guru Maharaj gave Gurgaddi to the Panth, to make sikhi an everlasting religion not limited to the days back in 17.century.

These aren't bans solely because the oppressors who were Muslims were doing these things but because not taking intoxicants and not cutting hair is part of the Gurus teachings. Persian was the language of the oppressors so then why didn't the Gurus ban the use of Persian amongst the Sikhs? What is the use of banning a few usages of the oppressor when the greatest influence which is the adoption of the oppressors language is allowed to remain?

If someone starts a new religion and adopts some of physical appearance of a Sikh it doesn't mean that Sikhs have to then change their own appearance to maintain their distinctinveness!

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That doesn't justify or allow smoking either. Gurbani is full of examples where Gurujee holds simran and prem in the highest priority and mocks certain practices. None of those practices are justified just because Gurujee made a comment that "unless you do simran with prem, everything else is useless". Lets not start propagating the notion that as long as one does simran/bhagti with love, its ok to smoke, because it is NOT.

Mehtab Singh,

With all due respect, that is far from the notion I am trying to spread or even hint towards - particularly seeing that the Rehit Maryada and all Rehitnamas are equally consistent on this topic.

The actual message I am trying to convey is for the Khalsa Panth, Gurbani and Rehit go hand in hand and that one needs to understand both.

Hope this clarifies any doubts.

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amardeep wrote:

I personally do not think that Hajamat and Hookah are limited to a ban on cutting kesh and smoking the pipe. I think these are universal "bans and messages" and they can change over time.

I consider the ban on hookah as a symbol of a ban on adopting the lifestyle of your opressor. The bani of Guru Nanak clearly criticize hindus for having adopted the lifestyle of muslims, and i think that this is what Maharaj banned his sikhs, as the Hookah was a muslim invention. in a larger scale i would think this also meant that sikhs during britiish raj were forbidden to adopt the lifestyle of the british, wearing their clothes, joining their army and using their instruments of kirtan etc.. Guru Gobind Singh clearly says that aslong as the khalsa remains disticnt, i will give them my power.

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The Bani of Guru Nanak actually criticises those Hindus who on one hand work for their Moghul employers and rulers (i.e. accept their money and food), adopt their clothing and customs but YET continue to refer to them as Malech – see the following extract taken from (http://www.amritworld.com/nihangs/bluedress.html):

Money or articles obtained from ‘Malechh’ patronage is termed ‘Malechh-Dhaan’. In short, this points to the double standards and parsimoniousness of such Hindus, who on one hand refer to the foreign Muslim rulers as ‘Malechh’ and one the other, except their ‘Malechh Dhaan’ for use in their livelihood and for the performance of their religious ceremonies.

It is in this settting that Guru Nanak Dev Ji made these comments: -

Neel Vastar Pahir Hovainh Parvaan.

Malechh Dhaan Le Poojainh Puraan.

(Wearing blue robes, they seek the approval {of the Muslim rulers}. Accepting bread from the 'Malechh' people, they worship the 'Puraanas'). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, page 472).

The argument concerning the adoption of British employment and/or Western Clothing is nothing but petty revisionism by those who have other agenda - there were no such restrictions. Please could you state the quote you attribute to Guru Gobind Singh in full and also provide a source as a reference, this is often quoted for various purposes and perhaps a better look at this passage is warranted.

amardeep goes on to say:

the Hajamat is not limited to a ban on cutting kesh only, but means that the sikh should stand out at all times.. imagine a man created a religion tommorow and calls it "chariism" and orders his followers to wear dastaar and long beard and they grow to milions in number througout Punjab and rest of india... how will people know the difference between these men and the khalsa? i therefore think that a sikh at these times are allowed to change their psychchal appereance to look distinct once again as they did in the times of the Gurus. maybe not by cutting their kesh, but by giving other kakaars or different appereance, and hereby making it is a bujar kurehit to remove these items as it is bujar kurehit to cut kesh.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The obsession with physical appearance and so-called distinctiveness is quite laughable. The practice of keeping kesh, wearing a dastaar etc have not been invented by the Sikh Gurus, these have long been signifiers of the noble and learned. As tonyhp stated “If someone starts a new religion and adopts some of physical appearance of a Sikh it doesn't mean that Sikhs have to then change their own appearance to maintain their distinctinveness!â€

It is understandable why you would harbour such thoughts in view of the Bhasauria propaganda that has been conducted over the past 100 years within the Panth and continues to survive at large on the internet.

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Tonyhp stated:

(1) These aren't bans solely because the oppressors who were Muslims were doing these things but because not taking intoxicants and not cutting hair is part of the Gurus teachings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is evident from sources depicting Guru Nanak’s followers being told to maintain Kesh (Gyanratnavali indicates Bhai Mardana relaying this to his son in addition to Satnam Jaap and Seva of the Sadh Sangat)

(2) Persian was the language of the oppressors so then why didn't the Gurus ban the use of Persian amongst the Sikhs? What is the use of banning a few usages of the oppressor when the greatest influence which is the adoption of the oppressors language is allowed to remain?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whilst this is true, it is also evident from Bhai Daya Singh Rehitnama, that certain individual(s), presumably with thought processes similar to amardeep, saw fit to introduce a ban on Persian (Do not desire to learn Persian. Anyone who reads Persian is a tanakhahia and not my Sikh).

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Mehtab Singh,

With all due respect, that is far from the notion I am trying to spread or even hint towards - particularly seeing that the Rehit Maryada and all Rehitnamas are equally consistent on this topic.

The actual message I am trying to convey is for the Khalsa Panth, Gurbani and Rehit go hand in hand and that one needs to understand both.

Hope this clarifies any doubts.

Veerji I wasn't attacking your post in particular. I meant it as a collective thing when I said "Lets not...", implying all of us discussing here. Sorry for the misunderstanding :) .
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"Likewise with the comment: "This was way before the dangers of tobacco were known" which is often cited by Sikhs in respect to the injunction on smoking, however it doesn't seem to have been the true concern when considering the wider aspects of permitted Sikh diet, which relies heavily on ghee and diary products both of which have negative aspects by modern dietary understanding."

Smoking and drinking alchohol are suicidal tendencies, this is a direct contradiction to the chardhi-kalaa and "Asa" mindset employed by Sikhs.

Ghee and dairy are healthy parts of a well balanced diet (I'm not selling anything), especially ghee in the old days when the common man actually did a hard days physical labour, the ghee was an excellent energy source, dairy contains many importnat minerals and nutrients. Obvioulsy in todays "labour" free day and age, any food intake could be considered dangerous if some physical/mental activity is not performed to counter the calories!

The above are hardly comparable to hookah with all due respect, which is unecessary, unhealthy indulgence.

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Shaheediyan,

Thanks for the health update, with all due respect and agreement to the comparison perhaps not being the best one available, we are doing little more than beating a dead horse here. For clarification:

1. Gurbani and Rehit are both essential for the Khalsa Panth.

2. The natural implication of this being that absence of direct references to prohibitions on smoking, cutting one's Kesh, eating non-Halal meat etc etc in the Guru Granth Sahib does not in any way invalidate the rehit maryada's injunction on these items.

3. What ghee and milk meant to those engaged in physical labour back in the "old days" or what it means to the Pahlwans today is really of no significance, the example above (however poor it may be in one's estimation) was simply meant to show that we cannot reduce the ban on hookah simply down to (modern) "health-issues", there are clearly wider implications of the ban on smoking.

Best regards,

Niranjana.

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Apologies for being pedantic veer ji, but I do think we should compare like with like, no needed for added confusion (for us more simple minded souls).

Regarding Tobacco (and other intoxicants used by all people rather than just the "malech"):

Bhai Desa Singh says:

Kutha, hookah, charas, tambacoo, Ganja, topi, tari khakoo

Inki aur na kabhoon dekhe, Rehat vant so Singh wisekhe

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Shaheediyan,

Agreed, however as per my initial response to the first post, the oldest Rehitnama begun with only a restriction on Hookah, this was later expanded to include the items listed above in the Bhai Desa Singh rehitnama such that the definitive modern day Sikh Rehit Maryada clearly states all intoxicants to cover Alcohol through to other recretional drugs.

I still believe we are flogging a dead horse here.

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sorry for the late response

Thankyou sangat ji

To sum up , Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji does not mention anyting in particular about smoking but the rehit mariyada does , and the coinside with each other "

Who started the rehit maryada ?

Matheen / others , you mentioned about there are "sakhis " about smoking can you please provide further information

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Buddhist monks, jain monks, yogis, swamis, rishis, munis, mullahs, catholic priests"

As you ask, yes, except for Buddist Monks.

The question you should be asking is "have you ever seen or heard of a Gursikh smoking i.e. not a roop imitator but a naam abyaasi Gursikh - in particular well respected Sikhs like Baba Ishar Singh Ji etc.

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  • 4 weeks later...

dear niranjana i am sorry for the late reply, i hope you dont mind that i bring back this topic.

you wrote:

The argument concerning the adoption of British employment and/or Western Clothing is nothing but petty revisionism by those who have other agenda - there were no such restrictions. Please could you state the quote you attribute to Guru Gobind Singh in full and also provide a source as a reference, this is often quoted for various purposes and perhaps a better look at this passage is warranted.

Jab Lab Khalsa Rahe Niara, Tab Lag Tej

Diyoon Mein Saara"

As long as Khalsa preserves its uniqueness and

follows the path of true Guru I will bless them with all of my powers."

Jub eih gehai bipurun kee reeth,

*mai n kuro ein kee prutheeth

But if he should adopt the ways of others I put no trust or faith in him then.

i think it is from the Sarbloh Granth but i am not sure.

the way i see this "verse" is, that it tells us always to remain distint in thought, words and actions. Whereas the philosophy of Sikhi will always remain the same and is unchangeable, i would think that the outer apperance of Sikhi is subject to change over time. That is why i said that i think of religion X starts to keep kesh and dastaar and wear 5 Kakaars, then it will be allowed for sikhs to make "new kakaars" so that once again we will look distinct from these new people.

It is understandable why you would harbour such thoughts in view of the Bhasauria propaganda that has been conducted over the past 100 years within the Panth and continues to survive at large on the internet.

by all means, please do enlighten me on this issue. i have always thought that the Gurus told sikhs to stay distinct, in the light of the martydom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Maharaj, and that the outer apperance was to prohibit sikhs to hide among crowds.

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