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Stop Agan Bhet Ritual Of Burning Satguru Granth Sahib Ji


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This petition is to create awareness against the practice of "Agan Bhet" of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, old Gutka/Pothi Sahibs and Old Sikh Manuscripts. "Agan Bhet" according to some individuals is a ritual where old saroops are burned to ensure that they don't deteriorate further and to uphold their sanctity.

Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj is Jaagdi jot - The Living Guru. We therefore feel that the literal process of burning Sargun Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj alive defeats the very purpose of upholding their sanctity and contradicts their very definition - Jaagdi jot.

We ask Sikhs to consider Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj sahib as the living Guru and to ask themselves - When a human being gets old do their sons and daughters burn them alive? If the answer is no then why do we want to burn our beloved Satguruji?

We also ask our Sikh leaders to create Sikh Heritage Centres where old saroops can be preserved with utmost satkar. The practise of burning saroops and destroying our own rich heritage has gone on for too long and must be stopped.

Let us all come forward and be united. Let us put down our own indiviua
differences and stand united - hand in hand - against the practice of Agan Bhet towards all Sikh Scriptures - Gutka Sahibs, Pothi Sahibs, Senchiyas, and Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj regardless of whether it is in laridvar or padched format, regardless of whether it has Raagmala or not, and regardless of whether its old or new with unfortunate occurrences.


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with due respect to their emotions ..i know how they feel when a torn and tattered bir of Sri Guru Granth Sahib they might have come across..my benti to them is lets work over repair and preserving them. The dedication is admirable however as N30 bhai ji indicated ..this saroop of Guru sahib is eternal for us ..

I came across a video or article i dont remember ..but i did get moved when the singh said that just as a man gets old and his mortal remains are laid to rest similarly this is done..they even do sanskaar of pothis of other dharams , people of hindu and muslim faiths also approach them. A big salute to their dedication , they dont let the sanskar be filmed ..their aastha cannot be questioned .However it seems we have made an idol out of our respected Guru Granth sahib. Air conditioning, wollen rumale in winter..all i can say is there is pyaar ..absolute pyaar...however according to the Bani of our Gurus we have to rise above this emotion and do ustat of Akaal.

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Bhai N30 Singh ji,

Congratulations for your initiative to address the agan bhet issue. I commend you for taking action on this subject. I, however, humbly submit a different view for consideration of the sangat. While considering our course of action, I believe that we need to differentiate between the Guru (shabad) and the medium through which the Guru reaches us (e.g. paper and ink). Taking everything into account, I think agan bhet may be an OK option, provided we do not turn it into a ritual.

Fortunately, SGGS has provided us very clear definitions of what our Guru is, and what our Guru is not, let’s start by reviewing the Guru’s guidance on this subject.

Who is our Guru?

Our Guru is shabad or Gurbani.

ਸਬਦੁ ੁਰ ਪੀਰਾ ਗਹਿਰ ਗੰਭੀਰਾ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਜਗੁ ਬਉਰਾਨੰ

The Shabad is Guru and spiritual teacher, profound and unfathomable; without the Shabad, the world is insane. (SGGS 635)

ਸਬਦੁ ੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ

The Shabad is the Guru, upon whom I focus my consciousness; I am the disciple. (SGGS 943)

ਬਾਣੀ ੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ

The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. (SGGS 982)

Was Nanak, the man, who was born in 1469 AD our Guru?

The answer is no. The Guru existed before the creation (before time existed), and will exist when the creation is over.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦ ਸਦਾ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ਓਹੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ

My True Guru, is forever and ever, he does not come and go. He is the Imperishable Creator Lord; He is permeating and pervading among all. (SGGS 759)

The “Shabad Guru Nanak” chose “Nanak the man” as a medium to communicate with us. This is why we do not say that Guru Nanak Dev ji was born, instead we use the word “Prakash” i.e. Guru Nanak came to light for us mortals. Our Guru was very careful, he wanted to make sure that Sikhs concentrate on Shabad and not mistake his body or persona as Guru, therefore he issued a warning:

ਸਿੰਮਲ ਰੁਖੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਮੈ ਮੈਜਨ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੁਲੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸੇ ਫਲ ਕੰਮਿ ਆਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਤੇ ਗੁਣ ਮੈ ਤਨਿ ਹੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ

My body is like the simmal tree; seeing me, other people are fooled. Its fruits are useless - just like the qualities of my body. (SGGS 729).

This is probably the reason that our Gurus discouraged any portraits and writings about their life.

Is paper, ink and letters in SGGS our Guru?

The answer is no. Again these are medium used by Shabad to meet us physical beings.

ਅਖਰ ਖਿਰਿ ਜਾਹਿਗੇ ਓਇ ਅਖਰ ਇਨ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਹਿ

These letters shall perish; they cannot describe the Imperishable Lord. (SGGS 340)

Is whatever our living gurus said called Gurbani?

The answer is no. Our gurus lived among normal human beings and must have talked about ordinary things with their fellow beings. Not everything they said is Gurbani. In order to further differentiate between their mortal human form (the medium) and the Shabad Guru, the Gurus termed “Gurbani” only things which they were willed to say by God the Shabad Guru.

ਹਉ ਆਪਹੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਜਾਣਦ ਮੈ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਹੁਕਮਾਉ ਜੀਉ

By myself, I know not what to say; I speak all that the Lord commands. (SGGS 763)

ਜੈਸੀ ਆਵੈ ਖਸਮ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਤੈਸੜਾ ਕਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ

As the Word of the Forgiving Lord comes to me, so do I express it, O Lalo. (SGGS 722)

Is it even possible for us to repair or restore the Guru?

The answer is no. There is no difference between Guru and God.

ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ

The Guru and the Transcendent Lord are one and the same, pervading and permeating amongst all. (SGGS 53)

Similar to God, Guru is beyond: aging, damage, affected by insult/praise and need of help. To think we can somehow take an action which can diminish, disrespect, assist, improve or aggrandize Guru is ludicrous. When we are talking about agan bhet or the need to restore religious texts, we are simply talking about the medium, not the Guru. Medium will always perish and can be destroyed or repaired; the Guru cannot be. Somehow to vow that we will restore and repair a medium forever is an impossible proposition.

How do we handle medium respectfully?

The Gurus have taught us that even the dust from the feet of a person imbued in Shabad is respect-worthy. One can imagine how important and respectable would be the medium which brought the “Shabad Guru” to us. But we cannot ignore the fact that every medium will reach end of its life, and we must find a way to deal with respectfully retiring the medium. The Guru is everywhere and in everything, therefore, it would not matter to the Guru how medium is retired. However, it matters to a Sikh how a medium is retired, it would hurt any Sikh’s feelings, if they saw something with Guru’s writings discarded in a trash heap somewhere. Our quest to find a suitable option for retiring the medium is not driven by the needs of the Guru (who is beyond needs) but by the sentiments and the needs of the Sikhs.

I can think of two acceptable options: we could bury the medium or do agan bhet. Culturally, Sikhs may be more comfortable with agan bhet. Therefore, I think agan bhet is an OK option. We have to be careful to not go overboard with whatever we choose. Retiring a medium is not a spiritual act, by turning it into a pseudo-spiritual ritual will only misguide us and will misdirect us away from our Guru’s message.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

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