Monday, August 28, 2017

Sikh Rehat Maryada: Janam & Naam Sanskaar

Below is the birth and naming ceremony in accordance to the Sikh Rehat Maryada document with additional notes and commentary:

a.    In a Sikh’s household, as soon as after the birth of a child, as the mother becomes capable of moving about and taking a bath (irrespective of the number of days that takes), the family and relatives should go to a gurdwara with Karhah Prashaad or get Karhah Prashaad made in the gurdwara and in the holy presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji recite shabads expressive of joy and thankfulness, such as:
ਪਰਮੇਸਰਿ ਦਿਤਾ ਬੰਨਾ ||
“The Divine-Lord has given me His support.”
(Sorath M:5, 627-628)

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਾਚੈ ਦੀਆ ਭੇਜਿ ||
“The True Guru has truly given a child.”
(Aasa M:5, 396)
Thereafter, if a reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji had been taken up, that should be concluded. Then the holy Hukam should be taken. A name starting with the first letter of the Shabad (sacred hymn) of the Hukam should be suggested by the Granthi.(1) After a name has been decided and has been accepted by the Sangat, the name should be announced by the Granthi. The boy’s name must have the suffix ‘Singh’ and the girl’s, the suffix ‘Kaur’.(2) After that, Anand Sahib (short version comprising six Pauris) should be recited, followed by offering of an Ardaas to express the joy of the naming ceremony and then distribution of Karhah Prashaad.(3)

b.    The superstition of ritual pollution of food and water as a consequence of giving birth must not be followed(4) as Gurbani says:
ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ||
ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਹੈ ਦਿਤੋਨੁ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹਿ ||
“The birth and death are by His ordinance; coming and going is by His will. All food and water are, in principle, clean, for these life-sustaining substances are provided by Him.”
(Aasa M:1, 472)

c.    Using Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Rumaala to make and wear as dress or clothing for someone is Manmat.

  1. ਨਾਉ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਅਵਾਜ਼ ਲੈਕਰਿ ਰਖਾਏ |
    “Name a child through taking an ‘Avaaz’ (i.e. Hukamnama) from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.”
    (Rehatnama Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji, p. 84)  

  2. ਬੱਚੇ ਬੱਚੀ ਕਾ ਨਾਮ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਵਾਕ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਅੱਖਰ ਸੇ ਰਾਖੇਂ, ਅਗਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਜੀ ਨਾ ਹੋਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਪੋਥੀ ਸੇ ਰਾਖਾ ਜਾਏ | ਬੱਚੇ ਦੇ ਨਾਮ ਨਾਲ 'ਸਿੰਘ' ਤੇ ਬੱਚੀ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ 'ਕੌਰ' ਸ਼ਬਦ ਲਾਇਆ ਜਾਏ |
    “Both a boy’s and girl’s name should be chosen by taking a ‘Vaak’ from Sri (Guru) Granth (Sahib) Ji, using the first letter. If Sri (Guru) Granth (Sahib) Ji is not available, then it can be kept from a ‘Pothi’ (small volume of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). A boy’s name should have ‘Singh’ with it, and a girl’s name should have ‘Kaur’ with it.”
    (Guru Kian Sakhian, Bhai Sarup Singh Kaushish, p. 127)

  3. Enacting any other sort of ceremony to mark the birth is not allowed in Gurmat; for example, lucky charms or strings tied on the child’s wrist or neck. To break all superstitions a sarbloh Karha is to be placed on the child’s right-hand wrist. Drinking alcohol and eating meat whilst celebrating the birth of a child is a grave sin.

  4. There is a wide-spread belief among certain sections of Indian people that a birth in a household causes ritual pollution (sootak) which is removed by the thorough bathing of the mother, the baby and persons attending on her as also by a thorough cleaning of the house, the utensils and the clothes, after prescribed periods of ten, twenty-one and forty days.

  5. The original Sikh Rehat Maryada document published in 1936 had a section explaining the tradition of Gurhtee, which was later removed. Gurhtee should not be confused with Khande-Di-Pahul (the Amrit prepared by the Panj Piaare). There is no comparison to it. ‘Gurhtee’ refers to the first food served to a new-born baby. In other religious traditions and cultures, honey or brown sugar is served to a new-born child.

    The original document published in 1936 stated the following:
    “a) When with Vahiguru’s Grace a child is born in the home of Sikh, then in the place of giving Gurhtee (making a new born taste something sweet after birth), place Pataase (sugar wafers) into water and recite Mool Mantar. With the tip of a Kirpaan pour one or two drops into the child’s mouth. The rest of the water should be given to the mother to drink. Then an Ardaas should be performed for thanking Vahiguru and praying for the mother’s good health.”

    Photo of ‘Gurhtee’ ceremony practiced by some Sikhs
    Many Amritdhari couples would attend an Amrit Sanchaar as soon as the mother and child are well enough to travel. They would present the baby before the Panj Piaare to receive a blessing. 

    One explanation for the Gurhtee tradition is that in the past, it was more common for children to die young, and not get an opportunity to go an Amrit Sanchaar to receive blessings of the Panj Piaare. In response to this, Sikhs would give babies Gurbani blessed water as soon as the child was born.

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