Monday, November 23, 2015

Different views on Meat: Reflections on Kuttha, Jhatka and Halal Meat...

The Sikh Rehit Maryada states the following four actions for a Sikh is a 'Bajjar Kurehit' or cardinal prohibitions that result in a Sikh becoming a Patit or apostate:
1) ਕੇਸਾਂ ਦੀ ਬੇ-ਅਦਬੀ ।
(Dishonouring the hair)

2) ਕੁੱਠਾ ਖਾਣਾ ।
(Eating 'Kutthaa')

3) ਪਰ-ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਜਾਂ ਪਰ-ਪੁਰਸ਼ ਦਾ ਗਮਨ (ਭੋਗਣਾ) ।
(Intimacy with a man or woman other than your spouse)

4) ਤਮਾਕੂ ਦਾ ਵਰਤਣਾ ।
(Using tobacco)

Kuttha – Does it mean meat or halal meat?  
There is disagreement within the Sikh Panth on the meaning of the word ‘Kutthaa’. At some point in history, some Sikhs began to eat meat and as a result this has led to differences in interpretation of what Kutthaa means. 
  • Position 1: Kutthaa means that meat killed according to Muslim rites” 
    This is sometimes referred to as ‘Halal meat’. In accordance to Islamic law, halal refers to lawful or rightful, and haram refers to unlawful or impermissible. Halal (lawful) meat in accordance to Islam would mean meat slaughtered in accordance to Islamic rules.

  • Position 2: Kutthaa means meat slaughtered in accordance to Muslim rites, however eating meat is prohibited in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and one has to pay Karmic debt for killing and eating meat. In a situation when one is fighting for the Panth and all other food has been exhausted and not available, in order to survive to fight for the Panth, one can eat Jhatka meat. 

  • Position 3: Kutthaa means any killed meat, regardless of the method, which includes a prohibition of fish and eggs. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji prohibits eating all forms of meat. 

Position 1: 
Baba Santa Singh Nihang, former Jathedaar of Budha Dal, writes in Pracheen Panth Prakaash Steek (Vol. 1, p. 110):
ਛੱਤ੍ਰੀਆਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਧਰਮ ਐਵੇਂ ਨਾ ਦੁਕਾਨਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਹੋਟਲਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਖਾਂਦੇ ਫਿਰੋ, ਇਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਨਾ, ਆਪ ਹੱਥੀ ਝਟਕਿਆ ਕਰੋ, ਆਪ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ਖੇਲੈ ਫੇਰ ਛਕਣ ਦਾ ਹੁਕਮ ਹੈ ।

“It is not the way of the warriors to wonder around and eat from shops, restaurants, and market places. Refrain from doing this! Perform ‘Jhatka’ with your own hands and go hunting for prey. Only then are we permitted to eat meat.”

Baba Joginder Singh, former Jathedaar of Buddha Dal, said in an oral interview in 2006 (taken from
Those who wish to eat meat should eat ‘Jhatka’ which gears individuals towards warfare. Those Sikhs who just wish to perform selfless service and meditate should avoid meat and maintain a very simple diet. There is no obligation on anyone to eat meat, one should never eat ‘khullaa maas’ (i.e. meat killed by non-Sikhs or from shops).”

Gurdip Singh (2014) writes in an article ‘Jhatka meat allowed? Where is the evidence?’:
“Today, many Sikhs in favour of meat-eating are not warriors and do not "perform Jhatka with their own hands" and they readily eat meat served at various eateries, including Muslim halal shops, without fretting about the origin or method of preparation of the meat. Those who are particular and seek out Jhatka shops abdicate the responsibility of providing meat to others (i.e. to the restaurant operators or suppliers, jhatka meat stall vendors) as they do not "go hunting for prey" or "perform Jhatka with their own hands" and have no idea how the animal is actually killed.”

Bhai Manmohan Singh (1993) provides in his book, ‘Gurmat Rehat Maryada: Points of Contention’ (p. 16-18), a critique of assuming Kuttha means Halal meat. He writes,
“The origin and basis of Halal method of slaying animals by Muslims may have been sacrificial. However, by the time of the Sikh Gurus, it had just become a "Muslim method" without any consideration of its sacrificial origin. The original practice had become professionalised and commercialised and remains so even now. So, according to the generally prevailing idea as advocated by many Sikh scholars, the main reason for imposing this taboo of not eating Halal meat is not that it is sacrificial or even religious. Rather this taboo had been imposed primarily to liberate the Sikhs from mental slavery of the then rulers of the Muslim faith who had banned by law the slaying of animals by any method other than Halal.”
On the premise of the above interpretation being accepted, Bhai Manmohan Singh raises some of the following points:
  1. With the changed times now, when there is no longer such coercion from any quarter, there should be no need for continuing this taboo in the list of the four taboos because the reason for the imposition of this taboo no longer exists.

  2. It implies that the four Bajjar Kurehats (cardinal prohibitions) which, which are of fundamental importance, may not necessarily be conducive to spiritual enhancement of the soul through Naam-Simran; their objective being merely to create a spirit of moral, and, according to some, physical strength to face the unjust and tyrannic rule of the then rulers. Obviously, this cannot be the situation as the main and the only objective of Guru Ji was and is to implant the Holy Naam firmly in the minds of the Sikhs through Holy Amrit (Khande-Ki-Pahul). One cannot imagine the All-knowing Guru imposing a prohibition of such basic importance which has no relationship with, or which does not help his Sikhs in the achievement of the Spiritual Bliss.

  3. Is it okay to eat meat killed in accordance to Hindu or Jewish rites? Wouldn’t eating meat in predominantly Christian country according to their culture, be a form of accepting mental slavery of the West or Christians?

  4. If one is allowed to meat, then what is the method to slaughter the animal and why is not mentioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, other religious scriptures or the Sikh Rehat Maryada itself?

  5. How would we classify fish? Is it Halaal or Jhatka?
    Fish being killed

  6. This position contradicts the Hukamnama of Guru Hargobind Ji found at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Patna Sahib (published in Hukamname, edited by Gandha Singh), which states:
    ਮਾਸ ਮਛੀ ਦੇ ਨੇੜੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਵਣਾ ||
    "Do not come near (i.e. consume) meat and fish."

  7. Halaal means lawful. If Sikhs cannot eat Halaal meat, then suggests Sikhs can eat the opposite, which is 'Haraam' (unlawful). This doesn't make sense.
Some other viewpoints are have come across that are used to support the prohibition being interpreted as "eating meat slaughtered according to Muslim rites" are:
  • It is a cruel method of killing animals. Sikhi advocates compassion and mercy.
    Isn't killing period cruel? If compassion and mercy for animals is such an issue then why kill them in the first place for food when there are plentiful of 'compassionate' and 'merciful' options for food, i.e. vegetarian and vegan foods.

  • Sikhs are forbidden from eating 'ritually killed meat'.
    Anything can become a ritual. Brushing your teeth can be a ritual. Why would ritually killed meat be banned? The method of slaughtering animals by pro-meat eaters called 'Jhatka' practised at places like Sri Hazoor Sahib is no less a ritual than any other religious tradition's method. In fact, the ritualism surrounding 'Jhatka' by those Sikhs who practise it, resembles very close the rituals associated to Jhatka practised by Hindus.

  • Sikhs are forbidden from "eating meat of an animal killed with prayers."
    For those who believe in the Jhatka tradition, it is requirement to say "Sat Siree Akaal!" (God is True) when killing the animal. What makes this any different to saying  "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!" (In the name of Allah - God is Great) before slitting the throat like Muslims? Gurbani actualy tells us that any action done without prayer or remembrance of the Divine, is cursed. So the fact that it seems wrong to kill animals with prayers, would suggest not to kill animals at all.
    ਸਭੇ ਵਖਤ ਸਭੇ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਲਾ || ਖਾਲਕੁ ਯਾਦਿ ਦਿਲੈ ਮਹਿ ਮਉਲਾ ||
    "Always, at every moment, remember God, the Creator within your heart."
    (Maaro M:5, 1084)

Position 2:  
  1. Mention of the word ‘Jhatka’ (i.e. meat killed with one stroke of the sword) or ‘Jhatka’ being described as part of the Sikh diet, does not appear anywhere in the Sikh Rehat Maryada document, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or Bhai Gurdaas Ji’s writings. However, it is mentioned in certain places in Rehatnamas and in the works of 19th century Sikh historians. Historically in India, Jhatka was the Hindu method of killing animals for consumption and ritual sacrifices. During Durga Puja and Kali Puja, it is a requirement for Hindu worshippers of Shiva (Shivaites) to have Jhatka meat.
    Jhatka of a Buffalo by Hindus for Durga Puja
  2. There are many examples from history where Gursikhs have had been deprived of food whilst fighting for the Panth against tyrants, but yet they have not relied on eating meat. During the siege of Gurdas Nangal in 1715, Baba Banda Singh Bahadar Ji and the 7-800 Sikhs were forced to eat grass, leaves and bark as the food rations finished, but there is no documentation that they ate meat. In June 1984, the Singhs fighting against the India Army, fought non-stop for days with no food supplies.

  3. A true Gursikh relies on the support of Naam:
    ਜਨ ਕੀ ਭੂਖ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਹਾਰੁ ||
    “Your Name is the food to satisfy the hunger of Your humble servants.” (Soohee M:5, 743) 

Position 3: 
The word ‘kutthaa’ appears in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji a number of times. Kutthaa can have two meanings: either to butcher, kill or destroy or alternatively, it can mean meat (the product of killing, butchering, destroying). The root of the word ‘kutthaa’ is ‘kutthaar’ or axe. 
ਗਾਵੈ ਜਮਦਗਨਿ ਪਰਸਰਾਮੇਸੁਰ ਕਰ ਕੁਠਾਰੁ ਰਘੁ ਤੇਜੁ ਹਰਿਓ ||
"Parasraam the son of Jamdagan, whose axe and powers were taken away by Raghuvira, sing of Him.” (Bhatt Kall Svaiyye M:5, 1389) 
The question that immediately comes to mind is, if kutthaar is the root of kutthaa, when has an axe ever been used in halaal meat? A sharp blade is used, but never an axe. An axe is used to give swift blows whereas in halal, the knife or blade is used to slice the throat. Looking at how ‘kutthaa’ has been used in Gurbani we have the following example:
ਇਕੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਾਉ ਦੁਯਾ ਕੁਠਾ ||
“The One Immaculate Lord is pervading everywhere; He destroys the love of duality.” (Gauree M:5, 321)

If we replaced the translation of the word ‘kutthaa’ as “destroys” instead with “Halaal”, then the verse would mean that the love of duality will be “halaaled”? Clearly it can only mean to destroy or kill. Halaal would not make sense here. The act of killing or butchering will produce something butchered (meat). It is illogical to suggest it will produce “Muslim meat”. 

The example often used to suggest that kuttha refers to Muslim meat is: ਅਭਾਖਿਆ ਕਾ ਕੁਠਾ ਬਕਰਾ ਖਾਣਾ || ਚਉਕੇ ਉਪਰਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ || (Aasa M:1, 471). Rather than support kutthaa meaning halaal, this line is strong proof that kutthaa means only meat. If kutthaa meant ‘halal meat’ then there would have been no need or reason to qualify it with “ਅਭਾਖਿਆ ਕਾ ”. Abhaakiyaa refers to the Muslim Kalma which is recited when butchering animals for halaal but is “un-utterable” for Hindus as it would convert them to Islam. If kutthaa means halaal then this translation would be “Kalma-Halaal meat.” That’s completely redundant as Halaal is by definition with the Kalma. But because kutthaa is just ‘meat’, it required ‘abhaakhiyaa’ to show it's a reference to Muslim meat here. 
Conclusion on meat 
Without a doubt Kuttha is forbidden in all Rehatnamas.
ਜੋ ਕੁੱਠਾ ਖਾਏ, ਸੋ ਨੀਚ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।
“One who eats ‘Kuttha’ is considered a lowly ‘Tankhahia’.”
(Tankhahnama: Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji – p. 99) 
Furthermore, the meat of the Turks (i.e. meat slaughtered in accordance to Muslim rites), has also been forbidden:
ਤੁਰਕ ਕਾ ਮਾਸ ਖਾਇ ਔ ਬੇਸਯਾ ਭੋਗੈ, ਸੋ ਦੋਨੋਂ ਨਰਕ ਕੋ ਜਾਇ।
“Both those who eat the meat of the Turks and indulge with prostitutes will go to hell.” 
(Rehatnama: Bhai Daya Singh Ji – p. 71)
ਜੋ ਤੁਰਕ ਸੇ ਮਾਸ ਲੈਇਕੇ ਖਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਬੜਾ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।
“One who takes and eats the meat of the Turks is more reprimandable.” 
(Rehatnama: Bhai Daya Singh Ji – p. 72)
It is important to note that only Turks were allowed to slaughter meat in Mughal India. Hindus were banned from meat slaughter. Therefore, the prohibition to not eat meat from the Turks is a ban of all meat at the time. Dr H S Singha (2009) writes:
“According to the ancient Aryan Hindu tradition, only such meat as is obtained from an animal which is killed with one stroke of the weapon causing instantaneous death is fit for human consumption. However, with the coming of Islam into India and the Muslim political hegemony, it became a state policy not to permit slaughter of animals for food, in any other manner, except as laid down in the Quran - the halal meat prepared by slowly severing the main blood artery of the throat of the animal while reciting verses from the Quran.” 
(Dr HS Singha, Sikhism: A Complete Introduction, 2009, p. 81-82)

If we try to understand all references to meat slaughter or meat consumption in Rehatnamas, then there are severe contradictions. If we take the Rehatnama attributed to Bhai Desa Singh Ji for example, there is a constant contradiction on the view of meat consumption. Stanza 25 states fish and meat are forbidden to be eaten. Whereas, stanza 32 advocates, if one wishes to do so, killing goats with a single stroke of the sword (Jhatka). It also warns to not eat any other meat. Then in stanza 102 it states that alcohol and meat should never be consumed, which is later contradicted by stanza 105 that states goat slaughter should not be practiced near the Langar. This is further contradicted in stanza 107, in which the consumption of meat and alcohol are again prohibited.
ਬੇਸਯਾ ਬਿਖਯਾ ਜੂਆ ਤਜੈ । ਮੱਛੀ ਮਾਸ ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਭਜੈ । (੨੫)
b“Renounce indulging in prostitutes, poison and gambling. Never eat fish or meat.”

(Rehatnama: Bhai Desa Singh Ji – p. 129)

ਬਕਰਾ ਝਟਕਾ ਛਕੇ ਤਾਂ ਛਕੈ । ਔਰ ਮਾਸ ਵਲ ਕਬੀ ਨ ਤਕੈ । (੩੨)
"The flesh of a goat may be eaten if it killed with a single blow (Jhatka). All other meat is forbidden."
(Rehatnama: Bhai Desa Singh Ji – p. 130)

ਮਦਰਾ ਮਾਸ ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਖਾਯੋ । (੧੦੨)
“Never consume alcohol or meat.”
(Rehatnama: Bhai Desa Singh Ji – p. 134)

ਬਕਰਾ ਝਟਕਾ ਬੀਚ ਨ ਕਰੇ । ਅਵਰ ਮਾਸ ਨਹਿ ਲੰਗਰ ਧਰੇ । (੧੦੫)
“Do not kill a goat with a single blow (Jhatka) nearby. Other meat should not be allowed in the Langar.”
(Rehatnama: Bhai Desa Singh Ji – p. 134)

ਰਹਿਤਵਾਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਹੈ ਜੋਈ । ਲੋਭਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਜਾਨਹੁ ਨਹਿ ਹੋਈਂ ।
ਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਰੂਪ ਸਬਨ ਮੈਂ ਦੇਖੈ । ਮਦਰਾ ਮਾਸ ਨ ਖਾਇ ਬਿਸੇਖੈ ।੧੦੭।

“They are a ‘Rehatvaan’ (disciplined) Singh, who gives up greed and knows no other. They see the form of the Guru in all, and never consume alcohol or meat.”
(Rehatnama: Bhai Desa Singh Ji – p. 134)

Rehat is supposed to be supplementary to Gurbani and not to be read and followed in isolation. Irrespective of what ‘Kuttha’ means and whether meat consumption is a Bajjar Kurehat or not, no Rehatnama makes it obligatory for Sikhs to eat meat. Furthermore, Gurbani clearly advocates choosing a cruelty-free, ethical, healthy, environmentally-friendly and spiritualised diet.
The following guiding principals are outlined in Gurbani:
  1. Eat simple and eat little. (A meat-free diet is a simple diet):
    i) ਖੰਡਿਤ ਨਿਦ੍ਰਾ ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰੰ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ||੮||

    “Sleep little, and eat little; O Nanak, this is the essence of wisdom. ||8||” (Raamkalee M:1, Ang 939)

    ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਨਾ ਰੂਖਾ ਸੋ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਧਾਨ ||
    “The dry bread of the Saints is equal to all treasures.” (Bilaaval M:5, Ang 811)

    iii) ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੈਨਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਡਾਈ ਹੋਇ ||੧||

    “Amrit is their food, and Amrit is their clothes; O Nanak, through Naam, the Name of the Lord, greatness is obtained. ||1||” (Goojree M:3, Ang 511)

    iv) ਖਾਤ ਪੀਤ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿੰਜਨ ਜੈਸੇ ਭਾਰ ਬਾਹਕ ਖੋਤ ||

    “(Forsaking Naam,) one who eats and drinks countless delicacies is no more than a donkey that carries a heavy load.” (Kedaara M:5, Ang 1121)

  2. Be kind towards all beings. (The unnecessary killing of animals one's taste buds, when it is not essential for human survival, goes against this): 
    i) ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਗਲ ਪੁੰਨ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ||
    “Be kind to all beings-this is more meritorious than bathing at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage and the giving of charity.” (Maajh M:5, Ang 136)

    ii) ਦੂਖੁ ਨ ਦੇਈ ਕਿਸੈ ਜੀਅ ਪਤਿ ਸਿਉ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਵਉ ||
    “Do not cause any being to suffer, and you shall go to your true home with honour.” (Gauree M:5, Ang 322)

    iii) ਮਨਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰਬ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ||
    “Let your mind be content, and be kind to all beings.” (Gauree M:5, Ang 299)

    iv) ਹਿੰਸਾ ਤਉ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਛੂਟੀ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਲੀ ||
    “Cruelty has not left your mind; you have not cherished kindness for other living beings.” (Saarang Bhagat Parmanand Ji, Ang 1253)

  3. Don’t kill for the pleasure of one’s taste and appetite.
    ਰੋਜਾ ਧਰੈ ਮਨਾਵੈ ਅਲਹੁ ਸੁਆਦਤਿ ਜੀਅ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ || ਆਪਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਅਵਰ ਨਹੀ ਦੇਖੈ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਝਖ ਮਾਰੈ ||੧||
    “You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? ||1||” (Aasa Kabeer Ji, Ang 483)

  4. Religious people are not supposed to butchers of animals (Humans have a choice of what they eat, unlike animals):
    i) ਜੀਅ ਬਧਹੁ ਸੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਥਾਪਹੁ ਅਧਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਤ ਭਾਈ || ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਮੁਨਿਵਰ ਕਰਿ ਥਾਪਹੁ ਕਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਸਾਈ ||੨||

    “You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the most excellent sage; then who would you call a butcher?” (Maaroo Kabeer Ji, Ang 1102)
    ii) ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਕੈਲੀ ਘਾਤੁ ਕੰਞਕਾ ਅਣਚਾਰੀ ਕਾ ਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਫਿਟਕ ਫਿਟਕਾ ਕੋੜੁ ਬਦੀਆ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਪਾਹਿ ਏਤੇ ਜਾਹਿ ਵੀਸਰਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਇਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਸਭ ਬੁਧੀ ਜਾਲੀਅਹਿ ਇਕੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੪
    “One who kills a spiritually-wise person, a cow, or a female infant, or accepts the food from a characterless person- are cursed (by the world), have the leprosy of sin, and remain filled with ego. O Nanak! These sins stick to those who forget the Naam. All other knowledge and wisdom goes to waste, except for Name of God, the true essence of spiritual wisdom. ||4||” (Salok Vaar Te Vadheek M:3, Ang 1413)

  5. Vaheguru’s Light is within all beings. (Animals are 'sentient beings', i.e. have the ability to feel pain and have emotions):
    i) ਜਉ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਹਤ ਹਉ ਤਉ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਰਗੀ ਮਾਰੈ ||੧||
    “You say that the One Lord is in all, so why do you kill chickens? ||1||” (Prabhaatee Kabeer Ji, Ang 1350)

    ii) ਘਟ ਘਟ ਮੈ ਹਰਿ ਜੂ ਬਸੈ ਸੰਤਨ ਕਹਿਓ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ||
    “The Dear Lord abides in each and every heart; the Saints proclaim this as true.” (Salok M:9, Ang 1427)

  6. The pleasure and appetite of meat-eating is spiritual hindrance:
    i) ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ || ਰਸੁ ਘੋੜੇ ਰਸੁ ਸੇਜਾ ਮੰਦਰ ਰਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਰਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ || ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਕੈ ਘਟਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ||੨||
    “The pleasures of (accumulating) gold and silver, the pleasures of women (i.e. lust), being caught in the pleasure of fragrances, the pleasure of (riding) horses, the yearning of luxuries of palaces, being caught in the pleasure of tasty sweet treats and the pleasure of meat – If the human body is attached to these numerous pleasures then how can Naam, the Name of the Lord, find its dwelling in the heart?” (Siree Raag M:1, Ang 15)

  7. Grain and vegetation is the diet of the spiritual seeker. (The death of animals is not a necessity for the spiritual seeker's diet):
    i) ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਅਨਾਦਿ || ਜਪੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਨ ਕੈ ਸਾਦਿ ||੧|| ਰਹਾਉ||
    “Grain comes from the Primal Lord. Only with the energy generated by food grains in the body, can the recitation of the Naam be possible.” (Gond Kabeer Ji, Ang 473)

    ii) ਦਾਲਿ ਸੀਧਾ ਮਾਗਉ ਘੀਉ ||
    “Lentils, flour and ghee - these things, I beg of You.” (Dhanaasree Dhanna Ji, Ang 695)

    iii) ਨਿਤ ਰਸੋਈ ਤੇਰੀਐ ਘਿਉ ਮੈਦਾ ਖਾਣੁ ||

    “Your kitchen always has ghee and flour to eat.” (Raamkalee Satta and Balvand Ji, Ang 968)

  8. Using tyranny or using force to obtain food you eat is unlawful. (Choosing to kill animals for food when you have an alternative available is clearly using tyranny and force. Animals want to live, and don't choose to die):
    i) ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੀ ਕੀਏ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਹਲਾਲੁ || ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਮਾਂਗੀਐ ਤਬ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਕਉਨੁ ਹਵਾਲੁ ||੧੮੭||

    “Kabeer, to use force is tyranny, even if you call it legal. When your account is called for in the Court of the Lord, what will your condition be then? ||187||” (Salok Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Ang 1374)

    ii) ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀਅ ਜੁ ਮਾਰਹਿ ਜੋਰੁ ਕਰਿ ਕਹਤੇ ਹਹਿ ਜੁ ਹਲਾਲੁ || ਦਫਤਰੁ ਦਈ ਜਬ ਕਾਢਿ ਹੈ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਕਉਨੁ ਹਵਾਲੁ ||੧੯੯||

    “Kabeer, they oppress living beings and kill them, and call it proper. When the Lord calls for their account, what will their condition be? ||199||” (Salok Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Ang 1375)

  9. Vaheguru has given humans the thirty-six types of food to eat that are labelled ‘Amrit’ (life-giving). (The list of thirty-six types of delicacies does not include fish, eggs, and meat):
    i) ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਜਿਨਿ ਭੋਜਨ ਦੀਏ || ਅੰਤਰਿ ਥਾਨ ਠਹਰਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਕੀਏ || ਬਸੁਧਾ ਦੀਓ ਬਰਤਨਿ ਬਲਨਾ || ਤਿਸੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਿਤਿ ਰਖੁ ਚਰਨਾ||੪||
    “God gave you the thirty-six varieties of tasty foods; He gave you a place within the body to hold and digest these foods; He gave you the earth, and things to use; enshrine in your consciousness the feet of that Lord and Master.” (Raamkalee M:5, Ang 913)

    ii) ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਦਿਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਲੈਣਾ|| ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਖਾਣਾ ||

    “Everything we receive is a gift from Him -(For example) the thirty-six delicious foods to eat.” (Maajh M:5, Ang 100) 

  10. The metaphor of eating a ‘murdaar’ (dead carcass) is used negatively for condemned behaviour:
    i) ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ਖਾਇ ||

    “Telling lies, they eat dead bodies (i.e. meat).” (Maajh M:1, Ang 139)

    ii) ਲਬੁ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠਗਿ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ||

    “Greed is a dog; falsehood is a filthy street-sweeper. Cheating is eating a dead carcass.” (Siree Raag M:1, Ang 15)

  11. The meat-eater has to pay the karmic debt for eating meat.
    i) ਕਬੀਰ ਖੂਬੁ ਖਾਨਾ ਖੀਚਰੀ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਲੋਨੁ || ਹੇਰਾ ਰੋਟੀ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਗਲਾ ਕਟਾਵੈ ਕਉਨੁ ||੧੮੮||

    “O Kabeer! The dinner of lentils and rice is excellent, even if it is (just) flavoured with salt. Who would cut their throat, to have meat with their bread?” (Salok Kabeer Ji, Ang 1374)

    ii) ਕੁਹੈ ਕਸਾਈ ਬਕਰੀ ਲਾਇ ਲੂਣ ਸੀਖ ਮਾਸੁ ਪਰੋਆ|| ਹਸਿ ਹਸਿ ਬੋਲੇ ਕੁਹੀਂਦੀ ਖਾਧੇ ਅਕਿ ਹਾਲੁ ਇਹੁ ਹੋਆ|| ਮਾਸ ਖਾਨਿ ਗਲਿ ਛੁਰੀ ਦੇ ਹਾਲੁ ਤਿਨਾੜਾ ਕਉਣੁ ਅਲੋਆ||

    “The butcher slaughters goat and its meats is salted and strung on a skewer. Laughingly, the goat says while being killed that I have come to this condition only for grazing leaves of akk plant. But what will be the plight of those who cutting the throat with knife eat flesh (of animal).” (Bhai Gurdaas Ji: Vaar 37, Pauri 21)

  12. Eating meat destroys acts of Dharam. (In accordance to Jap Ji Sahib, Dharam is born from compassion):
    i) ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ || ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ||੨੩੩||

    “Kabeer, whoever consumes marijuana, fish and wine - no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell. ||233||” (Salok Kabeer Ji, Ang 1377)

    ii) ਜੇ ਕਸਾਈ ਉਧਰਿਆ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ਨ ਖਾਈਐ ਭੰਗਾ ||

    “If Sadhana, the butcher, got across (the world ocean), we should not put ourselves to harm by killing others.” (Bhai Gurdaas Ji: Vaar 31, Pauri 9)

  13. Eating meat makes the mind impure:
    i) ਜੇ ਰਤੁ ਲਗੈ ਕਪੜੈ ਜਾਮਾ ਹੋਇ ਪਲੀਤੁ || ਜੋ ਰਤੁ ਪੀਵਹਿ ਮਾਣਸਾ ਤਿਨ ਕਿਉ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਚੀਤੁ ||

    “If one's clothes are stained with blood, the garment becomes polluted. Those who suck the blood of human beings-how can their consciousness be pure?” (Maajh M:1, Ang 140)
  14. Eating meat is unhealthy for the mind and body (See article):
    i) ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ
    || ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ |||| ਰਹਾਉ||     
    “O Brother! The pleasures of those foods lead to ruin; eating which, the body becomes diseased (i.e. unhealthy), and wickedness and corruption enter into the mind. ||1||Pause||” (Siree Raag M:1, Ang 16)

  15. Meat production is harmful for the environment (See article):
    i) ਪਉਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਆਕਾਸੁ ਘਰ ਮੰਦਰ ਹਰਿ ਬਨੀ ॥ 
    ਵਿਚਿ ਵਰਤੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪਿ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਗਨੀ ॥੨॥੧॥
    "Air, water, earth and sky - the Lord has made these His home and temple (to reside). O Nanak! He Himself is pervading everywhere. Tell me: what can be counted as false? ||2||1||" (Tilang M:4, Ang 723)

    ii)  ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਵਸਿਆ ॥
    ਤੇਰਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਲਖਿਆ ॥੧॥
    "I am a sacrifice You, the Creator, who pervades within the creation. ਰਹਾਉ ॥  Your limits cannot be known. ||1||Pause||" (Aasa M:1, Ang 469)

Guru Ji used to go out and hunt to liberate the souls of the hunted animals. Sikhs cannot use this as a justification for choosing to eating meat. How can we liberate someone else when we do not have the ability to liberate ourselves? In Gurmat Rehat Maryada (Sankep), Baba Jarnail Singh writes:
…ਛੱਤੀ ਪਦਾਰਥਾਂ ਦੇ ਹੁੰਦਿਆਂ ਜ਼ਬਾਨ ਦੇ ਸੁਆਦ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਮਾਸ ਖਾਣਾ ਬਿਲਕੁਲ ਵਿਵਰਜਤ ਹੈ; ਮਾਸ ਖਾਣ ਨਾਲ ਬੁੱਧੀ ਪਸ਼ੂ ਵਰਗੀ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ | ਬਾਣੀ ਪੜ੍ਹਨ ਤੋਂ ਮਨ ਆਲਸ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ | ਬਾਬਾ ਦੀਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਕ੍ਨਚੇ ਬੇਰ ਖਾ ਕੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਚਾਰ ਸਰੂਪ ਲਿਖੇ ਸਨ ਜੋ ਵ੍ਨਖ ਵ੍ਨਖ ਤਖਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਬਿਰਾਜਮਾਨ ਹਨ | ੮੯ ਸਾਲ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ ਵਿਚ ਜੰਗ ਕਰਕੇ ਜ਼ਾਲਮਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਨਾਸ ਕੀਤਾ | ਉਹਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਨਾਮ ਬਾਣੀ ਤੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਦੀ ਸ਼ਕਤੀ ਸੀ | ਇਸ ਲਈ ਕੋਈ ਮਾਸ ਖਾਣ ਦੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ |
“...Eating meat for one’s own taste buds is forbidden when we have been blessed by Vahiguru with thirty-six varieties of foods. Eating meat makes a person’s intellect become animalistic. The mind will become lazy from reading Bani. Baba Deep Singh Ji lived off eating unripe berries and wrote four saroops (copies) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji which are present at the different Takhts. At the age of eighty-seven he went to battle and destroyed the tyrants. They had the power of Naam, Bani and Amrit. For this reason there is no permission to eat meat.”
(Gurmat Rehat Maryada, Giani Baba Jarnail Singh (Bhindranwale), p. 29)


Important:  Individuals interpret the Sikh Rehit Maryada document and Gurbani with differing levels, which leads to small differences in observance of Maryada within the Panth. There are certain controversies in the Panth where different Sikhs have different opinions and ways of looking at things. However, it is important to remember we are all the children of Guru Ji and part of one family - the Khalsa Panth. 

One thing all Sikhs have in common is love Vahiguru and Guru, and striving to live a life that pleases the Almighty. It is important that non-meat eaters show respect, tolerance and love to meat-eaters, and vice-versa. Although we have our own religious convictions, the Guru has showed that vegetarianism alone will not get one salvation. Practise of Naam-meditation, along with Godly-virtues, such as compassion, kindness, and humility etc, is the Path of enlightenment, and all religious disciplines are spiritual aids to help us keep on the Path and prevent us from falling.

1 comment:

Gursewak Singh said...

Very useful and educational article. Keep it up.