Monday, June 26, 2017

Dress code for attending Gurdwara Sahib and Sangat...

As Sikhs we are very blessed that Guru Sahib has blessed us with such a simple, modest, comfortable and practical dress. Gurmukhi Bana (dress attire in accordance to Gurmat traditions) flows across the body and radiates elegance, dignity, and saintliness. However, you sit, stand, or move, you are always looking modest and dignified. 

However, sadly, recently an elderly person asked if I can raise awareness of a particular issue. The issue is... people displaying more than they need to, to put it in a pleasant way, when doing Matha Tekh at the Gurdwara Sahib, and sitting in the Sangat. 

There is a fashion, (I don't know how it came about), for some young people to wear their trousers below their waist, and putting their underwear on display to the world. I remember, when I first came across this fashion many years ago, I was sitting at a Gurdwara Sahib. A young Amritdhari Singh wearing Western clothes came to do Matha Tekh and I thought his trousers were falling down, as you could see his Kashhera (which is good to know that the Singh wears his Kakkaars, but not really necessary for all the Sangat to see). The worst part was that the Kashhera also looked like it was loose (or God forbid it was designed to sag down), and so it was an unsightly sight for the Sangat.

In the Langar Hall, I remember very politely and discreetly telling Veer Ji, "Veer Ji, please don't mind, but your trousers were falling down in Darbar Sahib. You need to pull them up." He said "Thanks" in a shocked way (which I would be if my trousers were falling down), and attempted to pull up his trousers. I then sat down to eat Langar. However, I was very unfortunate that this Veer Ji sat in the opposite row facing his back to me. Whilst eating Langar I looked up, to see more than I needed to. I got up afterwards, and again very discreetly and politely said, "Veer Ji, I don't want to be to rude, but the Sangat can see your backside as well as Kashhera. Your trousers are going down. Do you have a belt?"  I think after my 3rd reminder, the Veer Ji said, "Bhai Sahib, my jeans are designed this way." As you can imagine the conversation ended on an awkward silence.

Now, if that Veer Ji was wearing Gurmukhi Bana, he could have done Matha Tekh, sat in the Sangat, and ate Langar without worrying about distracting others (in a distasteful way). More importantly, how would Guru Ji want us to dress when seeing us? We dress up for a job interview. We would dress up if we were going to see the queen or a VIP. We dress up to attend a family wedding. So why not dress up to see the King of Kings, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji? Dressing smartly, modestly, and nicely perhaps doesn't have much effect on Guru Ji, but it sure does help our frame of mind, and the frame of mind of others, when going to the Gurdwara. It is like a student wearing uniform and going to school. Dressed in uniform, he or she is reminded why they are at school and what their responsibilities are.

Gurmukhi Bana has multiple benefits. Not only from a practical perspective and modesty, but it also brings a feeling of Chardi Kala. The Khalsa colours- blue and yellow- are said to bring feelings of confidence in accordance to researchers. These colours radiate Chardi Kala feeling and positivity. Whilst the world is enslaved by fashion and fads, the Sikhs of the Guru attune themselves to Infinity and Timelessness, and free their mind from the stress and hassle of conforming to please others. 

Donned in the Guru's dress, it is a public expression of your faith. It radiates a positive energy and holiness that not only elevates your mind and thoughts, but also those around you. I remember once, when coming back from Australia, I was had just boarded the plain and taken my seat. A white middle-aged lady, walked on and realised her seat was next to mine. She didn't sit down, and instead in front of me asked the stewardess, "Can I please sit somewhere else. I don't wish to sit here." The stewardess asked her to take a seat and that she can see what can she can arrange after takeoff. She again insisted, "I really don't want to sit here, and would like any other seat." 

The lady reluctantly sat down. I thought, "Wow!... How racist is this lady." But I still smiled at her and tried to portray friendliness. Seconds later, she turned to me and said, "Please forgive me. I am really sorry. I don't want to sit here, next to you.... You see I have drunken alcohol and feel awful to sit next you. I even spilt some wine over my clothes in the restaurant before boarding. I must smell of alcohol and I don't want to cause you distress or offence." Vaheguru. I was so taken aback by this lady's sentiments and actions.

I asked her, "Do you know what religion I am?" She looked confused. I said, "Do you think I am a Muslim, or do you know I am a Sikh?" She replied, "I don't know what religion you are, nor does it bother me. All I know by looking at your appearance and dress, that you are a holy man, a man of God.... I didn't wish to offend a holy person."

This is power and glory of the Gurmukhi Bana.

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