I am fairly new to Guru Mat (divine teachings) Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee (SGGSJ). The more I learnt from SGGSJ, the more I question rituals, ceremonies and festivals practised or celebrated by Sikhs of mostly Punjabi descent.
We all know (well, except some Sikhs of punjabi descent), that Lohri is a hindu festival of Agni (fire god) worship. Infact, fire worship is part of pagan winter solstice that pre-date’s even Hinduism. Winter solstice, as we know, has also been incorporated into the Christian religion.
You can read more here “Lohri: The Bonfire Festival A Hindu Winter Celebration“. I have no problems with “camp fires”, get together’s and a few songs and dance. But the rest of the shenanigan associated with Lohri and Maghi, I have a problem with. “Sangrand”! what can we say about sangrand?
Quote from the link above: “The Bonfire Ritual
In the evening, with the setting of the sun, huge bonfires are lit in the harvested fields and in the front yards of houses and people gather around the rising flames, circle around (parikrama) the bonfire and throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire, shouting “Aadar aye dilather jaye” (May honor come and poverty vanish!), and sing popular folk songs. This is a sort of prayer to Agni, the fire god, to bless the land with abundance and prosperity. After the parikrama, people meet friends and relatives, exchange greetings and gifts, and distribute prasad (offerings made to god). The prasad comprises five main items: til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn. Winter savories are served around the bonfire with the traditional dinner of makki-di-roti (multi-millet hand-rolled bread) and sarson-da-saag (cooked mustard herbs).
Song & Dance
Bhangra dance by men begins after the offering to the bonfire. Dancing continues till late night with new groups joining in amid the beat of drums. Traditionally, women do not join Bhangra. They hold a separate bonfire in their courtyard orbiting it with the graceful gidda dance.
The ‘Maghi’ Day
The day following Lohri is called ‘Maghi’, signifying the beginning of the month of Magh. According to Hindu beliefs, this is an auspicious day to take a holy dip in the river and give away charity. Sweet dishes (usually kheer) are prepared with sugar cane juice to mark the day.”
Maghi and Chali Mukteh – hmmm. Doesnt this remind you of Bandi Shor diwas? I am of the view that ‘Bandi Shor diwas’ is simply an excuse to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali. Well, the same goes celebrating “maghi” (or maghee) as a day to remember the chali mukta. This day of course falls on the so called “sangrand”.
Lets look at this quote from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghi:
“Celebration by Hindus
Hindus visit the Mandir and bathe in the Holy waters of the Ganges.
The month of “Magh” is considered to be one of the auspicious months. Rath Sapthami, Maha Shiva Rathri, Bhishma Ashtami and Ekadashi occur in this month.
“Agh” means sin and “Magh” eradicates sin. Bathing in any river in the early hours on Maghi is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins.
Celebration by Sikhs
Sikhs visit the Gurdwara as the day of Maghi is observed to honour the heroic fight of the Chali Mukte, or the Forty Liberated Ones, who sacrificed their own lives defending an attack by the imperial army marching in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh. The action took place near a pool of water, Khidrane di Dhab, on 29 December 1705. A large gathering takes place in Muktsar.”
“…..Bathing in any river in the early hours on Maghi is important”……”action took near a pool of water….”. COME ON now ..please give me a break. All we are, yet again, giving ourselves an excuse to celebrate Brahminical doctrine, basically becoming slaves of the Hindutva. This image is from http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/sikh-festivals/the-sikh-festivals-maghi.html excerpt of: the largest assembly, however, takes place at Muktsar (Punjab) where big fairs are organized and pilgrims take a holy dip in the sacred waters of sarovar and also visit several shrines.
What does SGGSJ say about this month. According to Karminder Singh Dhillon of Malaysia, Maghar as in ‘Manghar Prabh Aradhna Bahru Na Janmareah’ means ‘The cycle of reincarnation has been broken by my effervescent remembrance of God’ but this is translated by many as ‘In the month of Maghar those who remember God will have their reincarnation cut’. This particular sabad will be sung or recited by granthis today during ‘sangrand’ in most Gurdwara’s.!
For further information on this subject, please refer to article titled “Sangrand and Sikhi” published by Sikhbulletin.
Does SGGSJ instruct us to offer food to Agni (fire god) blessing the land with abundance and prosperity or to celebrate fertility i.e. birth of baby boys or to drive away sins by bathing in the river Ganges or take a dip in ‘holy’ sarovar’s or visiting shrines and tombs? NOPE.
We should be thanking God for a good harvest, infact, for anything and everything any time of the year.
ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥
ਜਾਲਉ ਐਸੀ ਰੀਤਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ॥
Jāla▫o aisī rīṯ jiṯ mai pi▫ārā vīsrai.
Burn away those rituals which lead you to forget the Beloved Lord.
ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਈ ਭਲੀ ਪਰੀਤਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸੇਤੀ ਪਤਿ ਰਹੈ ॥੨॥
Nānak sā▫ī bẖalī parīṯ jiṯ sāhib seṯī paṯ rahai. ||2||
O Nanak, sublime is that love, which preserves my honor with my Lord Master. ||2||
ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਇਕੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥
Har iko ḏāṯā sevī▫ai har ik ḏẖi▫ā▫ī▫ai.
Serve the One Lord, the Great Giver; meditate on the One Lord.
ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
Har iko ḏāṯā mangī▫ai man cẖinḏi▫ā pā▫ī▫ai.
Beg from the One Lord, the Great Giver, and you shall obtain your heart’s desires.
ਜੇ ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸਹੁ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਾ ਲਾਜ ਮਰਾਈਐ ॥
Je ḏūje pāshu mangī▫ai ṯā lāj marā▫ī▫ai.
But if you beg from another, then you shall be shamed and destroyed.
ਜਿਨਿ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਨ ਕੀ ਸਭ ਭੁਖ ਗਵਾਈਐ ॥
Jin sevi▫ā ṯin fal pā▫i▫ā ṯis jan kī sabẖ bẖukẖ gavā▫ī▫ai.
One who serves the Lord obtains the fruits of his rewards; all of his hunger is satisfied.
ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਿਨ ਵਿਟਹੁ ਵਾਰਿਆ ਜਿਨ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥੧੦॥
Nānak ṯin vitahu vāri▫ā jin an▫ḏin hirḏai har nām ḏẖi▫ā▫ī▫ai. ||10||
Nanak is a sacrifice to those, who night and day, meditate within their hearts on the Name of the Lord. ||10||
[published on: Jan 13, 2011 ]