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There are a number of religious prohibitions in Sikhism.

  1. Cutting hair: Cutting or removing hair from any body part is strictly forbidden for Sikhs.
  2. Intoxication: Consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other intoxicants is not allowed. Intoxicants are strictly forbidden for a Sikh.[1][2][3]
  3. Blind spirituality: Superstitions and rituals should not be observed or followed, including pilgrimages, fasting and ritual purification; circumcision; idols, grave worship; compulsory wearing of the veil for women; etc.
  4. Material obsession: Obsession with material wealth is not encouraged in Sikhism.
  5. Sacrifice of creatures: The practice of sati (widows throwing themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands), ritual animal sacrifice to celebrate holy occasions, etc. are forbidden.
  6. Non-family-oriented living: A Sikh is encouraged not to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monastic (monk/nun) or celibate.
  7. Worthless talk: Bragging, gossip, lying, slander, "back-stabbing", etc. are not permitted. The Guru Granth Sahib tells the Sikh, "Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your service is useless and fruitless."[4]
  8. Priestly class: Sikhism does not have priests, they were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru of Sikhism).[5] The only position he left was a Granthi to look after the Guru Granth Sahib; any Sikh is free to become Granthi or read from the Guru Granth Sahib.[5]
  9. Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat): Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (such as halal or kosher, known as Kutha meat[6] ), or any meat where langar is served.[7] In some small Sikh Sects, i.e. Akhand Kirtani Jatha eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief.[8] The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.
  10. Having extramarital sexual relations[1][2][9][10]

Violation of prohibitions[edit]

Not all people calling themselves Sikh subscribe to these prohibitions. Some young Sikhs are now cutting their hair to the dismay of spiritual leaders.[11] According to the Sikh clergy, "the fad among youth to shed the pagri" is being observed more commonly among the Sikh youth in Punjab than Sikhs in other Indian states.[12]

Nihang Sikhs of Punjab, who are defenders of historic Sikh shrines, are an exception and consume an intoxicant called bhang (cannabis) to help in meditation[13][14][15] saying that it is puratan maryada (Punjabi for "old tradition"). Bhang is common in India; according to a legend, even the Hindu God Shiva was fond of bhang and it became his favourite food.[16] In 2001, Baba Santa Singh, the Jathedar of Budha Dal, along with 20 chiefs of Nihang sects refused to accept the ban on the consumption of bhang by the highest Sikh clergy.[17] Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated and replaced with Baba Balbir Singh, who agreed to shun the consumption of bhang.[18]

The Udasis, who consider themselves as a denomination of Sikhism, lay emphasis on being ascetic, thus violating the "Non-family-oriented living" principle. Sri Chand, the ascetic son of Guru Nanak, was the founder of the Udasi.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  2. ^ a b Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  3. ^ Sikh Code Of Conduct
  4. ^ Srigranth.org - Guru Granth Sahib Page 1253
  5. ^ a b The Sikhism Home Page: Introduction to Sikhism
  6. ^ Sikhs and Sikhism, Dr. I.J.Singh, Manohar Publishers.ISBN 978-8173040580
  7. ^ "Sikhism, A Complete Introduction" by Dr. H.S. Singha & Satwant Kaur Hemkunt, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1994, ISBN 81-7010-245-6
  8. ^ "Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs" by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, pg. 51, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2005, ISBN 0-7546-5202-5
  9. ^ The Sikh Rehat Maryada: Section Four | Gateway to Sikhism-Gateway to Sikhism
  10. ^ Doris R. Jakobsh. Relocating Gender In Sikh History: Transformation, Meaning and Identity. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp.39-40
  11. ^ Young Sikh Men Get Haircuts, Annoying Their Elders. New York Times. March 29, 2007.
  12. ^ 'Pagri not very attractive, out of tune with times'
  13. ^ Richard Beck, David Worden. Gcse Religious Studies for Aqa. p. 64. ISBN 0-435-30692-8. 
  14. ^ Hola Mohalla: United colours of celebrations
  15. ^ Mad About Words
  16. ^ Richard Beck, David Worden. Gcse Religious Studies for Aqa. p. 63. ISBN 0-435-30692-8. 
  17. ^ Nihangs ‘not to accept’ ban on bhang. The Tribune. March 26, 2001.
  18. ^ No ‘bhang’ at Hola Mohalla. The Tribune. March 10, 2001.

External links[edit]


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