Harimander Sahib

June 22, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

On the 17th and 18th June I was at Harminder sahib. This time round I learnt something new. I shall share with all of you in a this post.

I went by myself and I had decided that I do not want to go visiting numerous gurudwaras as I wanted to just spend time at Hariminder Sahib.

After having deposited my bag in the gatri ghar I t went to Akal Thakt Sahib to metha take. After that I went to Hariminder Sahib.

As I was going in I saw a dilruba in the hands of one of the ragi jatha. Thanks to Arina that kirtan was recorded. I shall ask her to upload it then you guys can also listen to it.

A lot of young kirtaneas are doing tanti saaz kirtan in harminder sahib and from the looks of it they appear to be students of professor kartar singh ji.

That evening I was in akal thakt for rehraas sahib as I found out they show shastars of guru sahib and puratan gursikhs to the sangat after the path.

After the darshan of the shastars I decided to go eat langar. As I was on my way to langar I saw a group of people singing shabads walking a few steps then stopping then continuing. They were let by an elderly gentleman carrying a sri sahib.

I joined them and asked one of the persons in the group what was this all about. He told me this was a very old tradition started by Baba Budha Ji. He added this kirtan chownki was started by Baba Ji at the hukam of Guru Sahib when he was held captive in the Gwalior fort. The sangat wanted to do darshan of guru sahib so they had asked babaji what they should do. He went to Guru Sahib and asked him what should the sangat do. Guru Sahib said a kirtan chownki should be done and then the sangat will be able to do his darshan.

I was pretty intrigued and said to myself let continue with them after all I had nothing much to do anyways. After the chowki was over I went to that person again and asked him for more details and we sat down and spoke.

The chownki starts at about 2030 hours from Babaji’s beer and ends at harminder sahib. The time taken to complete the chownki is about an hour and fifteen minutes. The chownki goes on everyday at the same time. There is a Gukta Sahib which containts the shabads that are sung in the chowki.They say the chawnki was even carried out during the time of the mahants and till today the person holding the sri sahib is called mahant and people bow down to him and even give him money.

I had seen people bowing down and all but I did not think about it at that point. I was only later when I was lying down in the parkarma that I thought that it is wrong for people to metha take him in addition at times I feel that the chownki too seems pretty much ritualistic to me.

Basically it’s a tradition that is being carried on for centuries now and I had never even known about it so that is why I am sharing it with you.

By the time I woke up at about 530 or so and then I got ready went to akal thakt and did my nietnem and slept there for a while. After which I went to do some shopping.

I bought a shastar for myself and the my usual stock of kakars. In addition I also bought two books Bandagi Nama and Sundri. I read sundri on the way back on the train. Its an awsome book. I will write more about that in another post.

Before leaving for Delhi I went to the Baba Atal Rai tower only to learn that no one is allowed to the top story as on the 16th of june a girl jumped from there so for the coming week or so no one was allowed to go right to the top. Also the state of the tower is real bad. The beautiful art work is being white washed and being replaced by toilet tiles.!!

For some reason blogger is not letting me post pictures today I have some nice pictures that I took during the trip. I will try to post them up in the next few days or so.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh


8 Responses to “Harimander Sahib”

  1. upinder kaur Says:

    Angad there are many things like this chawki which i feel have no place in sikhi.Only thing is that you spend time singing praises of lord.
    Another thing like this chawki is Prabhat pheri.They walk on roads and sing gurbani.
    I used to go earlier but i came back more diturbed as I realized i never felt peaceful on Delhi roads.
    It was better in Rourkela where they used to have Prabhat pheri in gurdwara hall at 4am, well it was not pheri it was simple kirtan. But much more peaceful…
    Here walking on dirty roads I felt awkward
    Another disturbing thing here in Delhi is prashad after prabhat pheri. there seems to be compitition of who will give what for prashad.Early morning they will serve you (jabardasti)paneer pakoda or chana bhatoora or barfi.
    Its a waste of money and energy to feed overfed people.
    Its much better if go early morning and see in front of Gurdawara Sis Ganj Sahib.Many singhs bring food and serve to poor people.All those who sleep on roads have their breakfast there.Its worth doing what they do.
    And the Nagar kirtans…. so much money is spent.I wonder if Guru Nanak will aprove of it.
    These are my personal views.If I am wrong please excuse me.I usually never discuss it ‘cos people are hurt if you say all this.
    Bhul chuk Maaf

  2. Angad Singh Says:

    Guru Fateh Upinder Ji!

    I complete agree with you as the chawnki appears to be very ritualistic in nature.

    Now when some one tells me you will be able to do Guru Sahib’s darshan if you do the chawnki my reply would be that bani is the guru and thus I can do guru ji’s darshan where ever bani is.

    I must say the points you raised about Parbat Pheri and Nagar Kirtan’s are very valid.

    However, outside india the main reason for having a nagar kirtan are done to educate the community about Sikhs and by being out on the road givging out parshad and water we leave a positive impression on people.

    Guru Fateh!


  3. upinder kaur Says:

    Yes its Valid there. But in Delhi when Traffic Jams are caused it leaves a negative impression.One of my friends lost her husband ‘cos she was stuck up on raod due to a nagar kirtan while taking her husband to the hospital when he had AMI( heart attack).

  4. Angad Singh

    Guru Phatah,

    Hope you are enjoying your time in Delhi. The Chauki tradition was indeed started by Baba Buddha ji and is a very important tradition that should continue. It teaches the Sikhs the technique of political protest, which is a fundamental aspect of the lifestyle of Sant-Sipahi as taught by Guru Nanak. As you know Baba Buddha ji was a Sikh of Guru Nanak and was given the honor of being the first Granthi of the Sikh tradition. The word Granthi means “one who KNOWS the Granth”…it was because Baba Buddha ji understood the bani in the Adi Granth that Guru Arjan Sahib asked him to be Granthi and it is because he knew the Granth that he led the protest/chauki when Guru Hargobind Sahib was incarcerated in Gwalior.

    Only when we can analyze traditions through the lens of bani, history and rehat, only then we can realize the importance.

    Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are many rituals (like washing the floors with milk) that needs to be stopped. But this tradition of chauki if properly understood needs to continue.

    More detailed bani and historical analysis should be done before you come to your conclusions…

    As always, just sharing and hoping we all learn.

    Carhdi Kala!

  5. Angad Singh Says:

    Guru Fateh Veerji.

    I comepletely agree with you on the point that many traditions are important when we look at it through the lens of bani and history.

    However, today most of the people doing the chawnki do not even know wht it is done for. What is the purpose behind it? What is its significance? It appears very ritualistic as it is not explained in a correct manner. You spoke about political protest. It was explained to me that you will be able to do darshan of Guru Hargobind Sahib thus it appears to be so ritualistic.

    Thanks for Sharing.

    Guru Ang Sang

  6. Angad Singh,

    By participating in this tradition, if indeed a Sikh etches the vision of the Miri Piri Master in their heart, then great! If someone is pursuing a mere physical vision of the 6th Master, then definitely there is a problem. Mere physical vision does not enlighten…feeling and action are sure means to become a spirit born person – a Guru ka Sikh.

    Of course rituals and traditions should be explained and every practioner should realize and understand the discipline they are going through.

    However, majority of Sikhs who keep their kesh don’t really know why they keep it, but that doesn’t mean we should ask them to stop keeping it.

    My point here is that all rituals have a reasoning and purpose. The difference in the Sikh tradition is that the ritual has a foundation ingrained in a concept as enshrined in Gurbani. Before making a decision on the futility of an existing Sikh tradition, it is important to analyze it against the touchstone of Gurbani (gurbani di kasvati…).

    We can discuss this more, I will be in New Delhi in 2nd week of July. Would love to meet with you and other like minded gursikhs.

    Carhdi kala

    Inderpreet Singh

    P.S. – I am in Toronto at the moment and attended a Gurmat Sangeet seminar last night- Prof. Gurnam Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh and Prof. Dhesi spoke…it was quite good. Kultar Singh mentioned the meeting with you in Delhi…seems like you made a good impression on them.

  7. Angad Singh Says:

    Guru Fateh Veerji!

    Please let me know when exactly you are coming in and for how long you intend to be in Delhi.

    I totally agree that we ought to explain our traditions that come across as mere rituals. Like you once told me on MSN certian things like short anand sahib are some protocols of the Guru’s court.

    I am not in favor of axing any thing as our traditions they help us understand our own culture and heritage much better.

    On a personal front I am reading and trying to understand things of our culture and heritage after all if we dont take care of it then who will. The state of Sikh Kirtan is a very good example of what happens when we chuck our traditions away. Others are the Baba Atal Rai tower, the Gurudawars around amritsar district.

    Guru Fateh

    Yes I was fortunate to meet Bhai Avtar Singh Ji and Bhai Kultar Singh ji and they were kind enough to invite me over to their place for a meal. We had a good time. Bhai Sahib scared one of their relatives by telling him that the burgers we were having over dinner were beef burgers!!

    Guru Fateh

  8. upinder kaur Says:

    Thank you Inderpreet Singh ji for all the information.

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