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"Woman equality in Sikhism"


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Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru ji ki Fateh,

This issue has become controversy that woman should be given equality to perform sewa at Darbar sahib (Golden Temple), also there is a issue of woman not allowed to perform "Granthi Sewa"...

We are going to start this debate in which you can bring anything you see is not related to equality of Woman in sikhism. Please, help us organizing this site so this can be fruitful for our youth.

< Only serious members should participate in it >

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WJKK WJKF Sanghat ji..

PLease read this article about Sikhwomen..originating from:

http://www.sikhifm.com/sikhismwomen.htm

and please take good notice about the first paragraph :o

1. What rights do I have as a Sikh woman?

A Sikh woman has equal rights to a Sikh man. Unlike Christianity, no post in Sikhism is reserved solely for men. Unlike Islam, a woman is not considered subordinate to a man. Sikh baptism (Amrit ceremony) is open to both sexes. The Khalsa nation is made up equally of men and women. A Sikh woman has the right to become a Granthi, Ragi, one of the Panj Pyare (5 beloved), etc.

2. Is God considered a Male or Female?

The Guru Granth Sahib contains many Names for God, both masculine and feminine. These are all used to describe God. Ultimately, the Gurus do not consider God to be male or female. The Mul Mantra states that God is 'Ajuni' - Unborn. Thus stating that God belongs to neither sex.

3. What does the Guru Granth Sahib say about Women?

The Guru Granth Sahib is unique in religious history. It is the only religious text that was compiled and authenticated by the founders of its faith. It consists of beautiful hymns which teach you about your spirituality and purpose in life. Guru Arjan states that the Guru Granth Sahib will give you 'Truth, Contentment and Contemplation'. Concerning women, Guru Nanak has said,

'It is through woman that order is maintained. Then why call her inferior from whom all great ones are born.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 473.

The Gurus went further. They used the Woman symbolically in the Bani to represent the disciple.

4. What restrictions are there on what I can wear?

When Sikhs take Amrit they must all, regardless of sex, keep the same 5 k's. Guru Nanak has stated that one should only wear those clothes which do not distress the mind or the body.

'Friend, all other wear ruins bliss, That which to the limbs is torment, and with foul thinking fills the mind."

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 16.

The Gurus had also made a firm stand against the wearing of the veil, which is so popular amongst Muslims and Hindus. Even Christian nuns are made to cover themselves more than Christian priests. Guru Amar Das refused to allow a Hindustani Queen from entering the sangat until she had removed her veil. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the veil is compared to suppression.

'False modesty that suppressed is ended. Now with veil cast off am I started on the way of devotion.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 931.

5. Can I read the Guru Granth Sahib?

Yes. The reading of the Guru Granth Sahib is open to all. In Hinduism, a woman is not considered capable of reading the Vedas in a Mandir. This is not so in Sikhism. Guru Amar Das was brought to the fold of Sikhism after hearing Bibi Amro reciting the Gurbani.

6. Can I be forced into an arranged Marriage?

Sikhs are forbidden from forcibly marrying off their children without their prior consent. Both Sons and Daughters are required to reach a mature age, both physically and mentally, before they marry. Thus, parents must ensure their children are allowed to grow and be educated to the fullest. Arranged marriages are the norm for Sikhs. Sikhs are forbidden from marrying outside their faith and are not allowed to keep sexual relationships outside of marriage. The Gurus considered marriage an equal partnership. Guru Amar Das has stated,

'They are not said to be Husband and Wife who merely sit together, Rather they alone are called Husband and Wife, who have one soul in two bodies.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 788.

This is in contrast to other faiths. In Islam the Husband is permanently the dominant partner.

'If your wives are over-bearing, advise them against it.

If they do not care, refuse them sexual intercourse. If they still persist, then give them a thrashing.'

Holy Quran, Al-Nissa 4-34.

7. What about a Dowry?

Sikhs are forbidden from marrying off their children for monetary benefit. Concerning the Dowry, Guru Ram Das says,

'Any other Dowry, which the perverse place for show, is false pride and worthless gilding.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 79.

8. Who is considered more spiritual, Men or Women?

Unlike other faiths, Sikhism states both men and women are considered capable of reaching the highest levels of spirituality. A particular hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib states,

'In all beings is he himself pervasive, Himself pervades all forms Male and Female.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 605.

9. Why are we then not treated equally at birth?

If this is the case, then this is against Sikhism. The Birth of a daughter or son is equally joyous for Sikhs. The practise of giving sweets and celebrating Lohri only on the birth of a boy is not Sikhism.

10. I may have religious rights, what about Independence?

No Sikh is taught to be subservient to someone else. Thus, independence is open to both sexes. However, this does not mean that you merely know your rights and not your responsibilities. There is no priesthood in Sikhism, so every Sikh must lead a devotional life. The path of love which Guru Nanak initiated is open to all,

'Should you seek to engage in the game of love, step into my street with your head placed on thy palm, while onto this stepping, ungrudgingly sacrifice your head.'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 1412.

The Khalsa nation started by Guru Gobind Singh is open to men and women. Guru Nanak had observed how defenceless women had been when Babar, the first Mughal Emperor of Hindustan, had invaded Punjab.

'Babar with wedding party of Sin from Kabul rushed down, and forcibly demanded surrender of Indian womanhood' 'Set aside were Kazis and Brahmins, and Satan went about solemnising marriages. Muslim women , reciting the Quran, in their affliction called on Khuda. Other women of lower castes and of the Hindus in this suffering too include in your account. Says Nanak:

"Sung are paeans of blood and sprinkled is blood for Saffron'

Guru Granth Sahib, P. 722.

Guru Gobind Singh ensured that such an event would never occur again. By taking Amrit every Sikh man and woman would be able to protect themselves with their Kirpan. Thus, ensuring they would not need to be dependent on anyone. Further, Rakhri Bandan is a tradition implying that women are dependent for protection on their brothers.

11. Asian Women are subservient to their Husbands. Does Sikhism state that I must be also?

Hinduism does state that women are under the control of men. The laws of Manu state,

'In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; A woman must never be independent.'

Law 148, Chapter V.

Sikhism is totally opposed to this view.

Christian women must change their names after marriage. The concept of maiden and married names is alien to Sikh philosophy. Sikhs practising it now do so out of ignorance. A Sikh woman is born with the surname Kaur and dies with the same surname. Thus, allowing her to keep her identity throughout her life. Further, Ms is preferable to Miss or Mrs.

12. Are there any important Sikh Women in our History?

Sikh history is one which has been made by both men and women. There are many, many outstanding Sikh women. The Gurus' wives led highly spiritual and independent lives. Mata Sundri ji led the Sikhs for a long period after Guru Gobind Singh returned to his heavenly home. Sada Kaur was a famous Sikh Jathedar and ally of Ranjit Singh who made possible the Sikh empire of the 19th Century. The list of important Sikh women is endless

Saw this really good Article about Sikhwomen on:

http://www.sikhifm.com/sikhismwomen.htm

Hanji Btw I made the first paragraph in BOLD.

bbecause thats the part that explains the other forum about If Women are alloud to be part of panj pyaare

source:

http://www.sikhifm.com/sikhismwomen.htm

A good link to those who belive Sikhism doesn't allow WOmen in panj Pyaare:

http://www.sikhwomen.com/

http://www.sikhifm.com/sikhismwomen.htm -> as told b4 :P

//Bhulla CHukka Maaf....

WJKK WJKK

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someone on the "why aint women in the panj pyare" was goin to post a pic of a singhni in the panj pyare.. but it never showed... i found this today

panj3.jpg

sat sri akall, khalsa jee

i have a picture of the panj piyaree which includes females hopefully this will settle our debate however i have not been able to find a way of posting it on the messageboard so if someone can show me how i will gladly share

waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh

hmmm

yea true said..it was our Manvir Bhaji :S

Dunnu where he disappeared

thanx Steel Bangle ji

was look 4 1 myself...but didn´t find any

Good pic..

I guess this is the end of the discussion thne...

wiv da Conclusion:

WOmen are ALloud 2 B a part of Panj Pyaaare..because of teh fact that Sikhism spports equality.

or what u say :o :S

Once again tahnx a lot 4 dat pic Steel Bangle ji

//bhulla CHukka Maaf

WJKK WJKF

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lol... yeah fine u have a pic... wow... but wat would Guru Gobind Singh Ji think about it?? He created the panj pyiare being 5 males!

and women do have equality in sikhi compared to other religious groups but aint there anyone else who understands the concept of women not being a panj pyiara???

Mr singh, it cant be concluded to say "WOmen are ALloud 2 B a part of Panj Pyaaare..because of teh fact that Sikhism spports equality.".... ummmm.... ok, no point repeating myself over and over again!!

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lol... yeah fine u have a pic... wow... but wat would Guru Gobind Singh Ji think about it?? He created the panj pyiare being 5 males!

and women do have equality in sikhi compared to other religious groups but aint there anyone else who understands the concept of women not being a panj pyiara???

Mr singh, it cant be concluded to say "WOmen are ALloud 2 B a part of Panj Pyaaare..because of teh fact that Sikhism spports equality.".... ummmm.... ok, no point repeating myself over and over again!!

hmmm

was it meant 2 b 5 Males??

i dont think so!!!!

he ask 4 5 heads---..now with a co-insidence it was 5 males....

so acctually it shouldn´t matter.. ..IF as u call it "EQUALITY" EXCISTS within Sikhism..

and women do have equality in sikhi compared to other religious groups but aint there anyone else who understands the concept of women not being a panj pyiara???

SO u mena that Sikh REhat Maryada :S

and da other lots of Articles on da Net are completly wrong..

Because of the fact that u dont seem 2 want that women have da SAME RIGHTS as the males-....

well correct me if I´m wrong

Sikhism TEAches EQUALITY

and Guru Govind Singh ji both abandoned the caste system within Sikhism

and the differences between man and women.....

so I WOULD connsider that Guru Govind Singh ji would be NOTHIN but proad of his khalsa..

lookin at that pic..

he wouldn´t say:

OMG there´s a WOmen in there

their prepared Amrit is not "lekhe lagya hoya"

Coz according 2 sum ppl here ...WOman ain´t aloud 2 be part in the Panj pyaare..

thus they think that GUYru Govind Singh ji would say that :S

but hey

thats my PERSONALL point of veiw...

//Bhulla CHukka Maaf

WJKK WJKF

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Kaal, re-posted the mail you were going to answer here since the other thread has been rightly, closed off.

Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Kaal,

Just cause we live in the west, doesn't mean our philosophy is wrong,

you come here been brought up on the western ideals and principals, and

forsake your own,

Firstly you are mistaken, although equality of the sexes is now taken to be

a western ideal as I pointed out earlier this is a very new phenomenon in

the west. Women did not receive the right to vote with men in equal term's until 1928 in England, prior to that women had virtually no right's

whatsoever in western society and no protection under the law they were

traded and treated pretty much like cattle and seen as the property of men.

First of all find out what the indian philosophy was, why it worked,

and why it is breaking down in toadays society, (other then the fact that it

is kaljug)

Be clear that the indian philosophy of having women subservient to men is

one of control and no different to having shudras subservient to brahmins,

it only 'worked' as you put it in the interests of men on the principal that

women were property. The state of women in India today is something that the indians should be ashamed, not proud of. The levels of female infanticide, prostitution, child marriage, rape are amongst the highest in the world and when your talking about tradition's don't forget Sati and ritual prostitution like the 'Devdasi' that is still carried out to this day. Whenyou talk of indian philosophy you are talking of one that treat's women despicably but that is not our philosophy should we follow the Sikh path then Guru Nank dev ji advises that.

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is

engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future

generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he

is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman

is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True

Lord is without a woman. That mouth which praises the Lord continually is

blessed and beautiful. O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of

the True Lord. || 2 || (Page 473)

When you are talking about what you see as the breakdown of society I assume you are referring to the lack of moral values and the erosion of the nuclear family in western society. Of course this is an entire discussion on it's own but a major cause of western society's ills at the moment is still the lack of equality. Women have simply swapped old shackles for new one's. Just to re-iterate gender equality should not be confused as a western principle when the likes of Guru Nanak dev ji were preaching it's virtues 500 years ago. Incidentally a time that saw women bought and sold freely in the west.

its stupid this western philosophy of equality, these extreme women rights

activists,

I think its gettin to apni kuris heads,

If "apni kuris" as you put it want equality that is exactly what their faith

offer's them in it's doctrine it is absolutely right that this should be

followed through in practice. Like I mentioned earlier the brand of

'equality' that you talk about, the one that is paraded by marketing men

day and night through every media possible, one which leads many women to mental illness because they cannot fulfil the new stereotype she is meant to represent is very different to the true equality that Sikhi espouses.

The sort of ad-man equality that in many way's is responsible for the

detrimental effects you talk of can be illustrated thus. In the 50's it was

the loving mother/ housewife who would cook and clean all day and still have a smile when her hubby walked through the day, nowadays she is excepted to be a assertive/aggressive, slim and beautiful career woman sexually liberated and leaving a string of men sobbing in her wake. Of course both these pictures were not drawn by women but by men and when women cannot live up to these excpectations we see new and negative results like anorexia, bulimia, huge rise in cosmetic surgery, obesity, alcoholism, drug-abuse etc.

As well as the inevitable breakdown of moral values and the family unit. Of course this is a simplistic look at a very complex subject but I hope it served to show the difference between the true equality that is reffered to in reference to this post and the bogus equality you allude to.

This is not the type of equality we are talking about when discussing the

right of women to do ANY seva a man can. Think of it this way why should a woman be discriminated against on the grounds of something that she had no control over i.e.. the determination of her sex and how is this different to someone being discriminated against on the basis of caste?

If it weren't for the feminists u wouldn't have had these silly questions!

Would you say Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a feminist? I do not think so, he was a humanist as all Sikhs should aspire to be.

Gur Fateh

Sukhbir Singh

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Mr Singh, of course they wernt meant to be 5 males, but it may come to a surprise to u that they were 5 males, hence, the reason why only men can do this seva!

i didnt say any of the rehat maryada of anytyhing on the net is wrong, i suppose its a matter of opinion on this issue, u talk about 'equality' like metioned before, Singhs wear Guru Jis bana, would a woman also wear the bana without a salvar, would that not be equality if she wore it with a slavar??

lol... i thought i was a feminist, but Mr Singh, ur more of a feminist than i am :wink:

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when amrit is given... the men are to take off their pajama... and just wear the chola and kachera...

women dont do this.... is this also equality??.. the fact is that somethings are the same... but some aint

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Mr Singh, of course they wernt meant to be 5 males, but it may come to a surprise to u that they were 5 males, hence, the reason why only men can do this seva!

i didnt say any of the rehat maryada of anytyhing on the net is wrong, i suppose its a matter of opinion on this issue, u talk about 'equality' like metioned before, Singhs wear Guru Jis bana, would a woman also wear the bana without a salvar, would that not be equality if she wore it with a slavar??

lol... i thought i was a feminist, but Mr Singh, ur more of a feminist than i am :wink:

lol...i kinda just have 2 get used 2 it :P

NONE of da boys in my class believe in equality :S

WOmen should have less pay 4 da same job as a man.........dats what they belive so kinda have 2 :P

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

If the Amrit ceremony of 1699 was to be carried out as a historical re-enactment then it would be inaccurate to have a female representing one of the original panj pyarae because the fact of the matter is that none of the panj pyarae of 1699 were women that's fairly straightforward.

The fact that they were men is hardly surprising given the very different attitudes that existed at the time could you really expect unaccompanied women to attend? And given they would be there with their family or husband do you think they would be allowed to stand up at a public meeting?

We are talking about a time where even in what we consider to be our liberal old 'blighty' women were expected to be seen and not heard. It was not until 1870 that women in this country were legally allowed to keep any money they had earned !!

Bear in mind also that women have only had the right to vote in this country for less than a hundred years and we are talking about Panjab over 300 years ago.

It is amazing to think how recently the western concept of gender equality came into being (women get equal voting rights in England in 1928) whereas Guru Nanak Dev Ji was sponsoring women's equality 500 years ago!

Sikhi preaches equality and equality is what we should have, there are those within our community that practise a version of casteism that is not to say that Sikhs believe in caste, it is simply people who consider themselves to be Sikh that are following un-Sikh practices.

In the same way in practical term's those of us who have grown up in Panjabi households will be aware that often that gender equality doesn't exist however you may not lay the blame for that situation

at the door of the Sikh faith, the instructions are there if you follow them you shall reap the benefits and if not then that's your choice.

As stated in the beginning of this post it is correct that no women did stand on that historical day but that is no reason at all to say women should not take part in the Amrit ceremony today.

It is totally in line with Guruji's teachings that women should not be discriminated against on any grounds. Simply, if a women can receive amrit she should also be able to administer it for once it is taken are we all not one?

Don't forget that Guruji received amrit himself after administering it in order to exemplify the total equality it provided.

Gur Fateh

Sukhbir Singh

*praod feminist :P* :twisted:

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Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

when amrit is given... the men are to take off their pajama... and just wear the chola and kachera...

women dont do this.... is this also equality??.. the fact is that somethings are the same... but some aint

Bhaji, this is simply a practical consideration what is at question is the 'principle' of equality.

Imagine a situation where there are hardly any Singh's left (history show's us that at the height of Mogul persecution this was a very real situation) at that time if we could not raise five male Sikhs would we then not carry out the Amrit ceremony for those Guru de Pyarae who wished to join the Khalsa?

We have already discussed the reasons as to why it was highely unlikely for a woman to be one of the original panj pyarae but this was a matter of the period as opposed to any 'design' as Mr Singh point's out the request Guruji made was for five heads he did not stipulate their sex.

Of course there are natural differences between men and women but as long as women are physically able to do the seva then there is no religious reasoning as to why they should not.

There have been a number of quotes posted in support of the pro-stance and those who do not agree, do not question the principle of equality within the Sikh faith therefore the only reasoning that has been given for not allowing women to carry out this seva has been personal opinion.

Some people simply hark back to the fact that there weren't women that offered their head on that particular day but that is not to say that thousands of women haven't offered their head since then and are today recognised as shaheed's.

If on that day one woman and four men had stood would you say that it is neccessary to have exactly that same formation for subsequent ceremonies? The ceremony took place in the Panjab surely that is as big a part of the tradition then?

As far as the recent furore over whether women can or cannot do 'palki de sewa' or 'granthi de sewa' I think the answer is obvious to any person who has a basic understanding of Sikhi. The present situation is an unfortunate clash of ego's and personalities that should have no place in matters of this nature. To try and ban women from certain type's of sewa we are turning our back on the principles of our Guru's and it will serve only to weaken the panth.

If there are those that consider certain type's of sewa inappropriate for women are there then type's of sewa that are inappropriate for men?

The principle of equality is something we as Sikhs should be proud and protective of we are unique within the world religions for many reasons and this is one of them.

Really this being June and thus 19 years since the most important event

in recent Sikh history should we not be directing our energies elsewhere?

Gur Fateh

Sukhbir Singh

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fateh ji sukhbir - as ive stated b4i am not against women being in the panj pyare... im 100% for equality for women... ur arguements are very true and they make the upmost sense

:D

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Thank you Veer steel bangle, It is heartening to know that you understand what I am trying to get across.

Excellent pic you have ' parnam shaheeda nu' it is now my screen saver !

Off topic but I see your based in the UK did you by any chance go to the 1984 lobby day at the houses of parliament yesterday?

Good to hear British MP's calling the Indian goverment very 'shady indeed'

;-)

Gur Fateh

Sukhbir Singh

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ill make a propa wallpaper in the summer when i get a chance... this one is too small... and no i didnt get a chance to go - i live in bham and its very far and my exams are stoppin me from doin anything at the moment :cry:

:::::: ok back to the subjetct ::::: lol

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like ive mentioned, we all obviously have differeing opinions about things... which we are all entitled to!

"Really this being June and thus 19 years since the most important event

in recent Sikh history should we not be directing our energies elsewhere?"... i think u'll find this is a discussion forum, where we discuss things!!

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