February 2, 2010

Sikhi te Khuswant Singh

Devout and the holy dip
Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh

Hindus and Sikhs must be the only two religious communities in the world which believe that immersing oneself in a river declared holy or a pond (sarovar) declared sacred washes away sins. If it were that easy, we could soon achieve a sinless society. Without meaning to offend the religious susceptibilities of millions, I would like to ask believers in bathing as a religious ritual a few questions: Why is sin-cleansing limited to specific times — the Kumbh Mela, or a place like Har-ki-Pauri in Hardwar ? Why not for all times? Why is that the sarovar of Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) is specifically marked out for soul and body cleansing?

Since childhood I have heard Sikhs recite:

Ram Das Sarovar Nahtey;

Sab utrey paap kamaatey

(Bathe in the pool dug by Guru Ram Das, And cleanse yourself of all sins you have committed). Surely a shower or a few lotas of water splashed on your body with soap is more cleansing than a few dips in water with no soap.

There is no logic behind the Hindu-Sikh fetish for snan or ishnaan. Nevertheless, men and women gather in hundreds of thousands on special occasions to take this quick and easy path to salvation. It is a special occasion for sadhus of different akhaaras to foregather and extort money from the gullible. In their rivalry they often come to blows against each other. There are stampedes and dozens of men, women and children are trampled to death. Isn’t it time for thinking Indians to raise their voices and question the continuance of such meaningless rituals?


Nihung Dharam Singh waloon Jawaab Khuswant Singh nu..