| Sungai Petani, Malaysia | 26 Feb 2017 | Asia Samachar |
A Malaysian gurdwara is opting for sehaj path instead of the traditional akhand path for the coming Vasakhi celebration.
For the first time in many years, the only gurdwara in Sungai Petani, a town in the Malaysian state of Kedah, will not be holding an akhand path for the major Sikh celebration.
“The committee feels a sehaj paath will be more suited for the Sanggat. All these while, not many Sanggat members were available to read the paath at the wee hours of the day,” Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani (GSSP) management committee president Jagjit Singh tells Asia Samachar.
Many gurdwaras traditionally hold akhand paths — the non-stop reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), which usually takes about 48 hours — for major Sikh functions.
Sehaj path, also termed sadharan path, is the intermittent complete reading of the SGGS, done at intervals according to individual requirements. The present-day standard SGGS contains 1,430 pages.
The gurdwara plans to begin sehaj path on 8 April (Saturday). On 11-13 April, the reading will be done from 6am to 10pm, covering an estimated 450 pages per day. Aside from the local granthi and another hired reader, the rest of the reading will be managed by the local Sikhs. The completion or the path da bhog will be held on 14 April.
“We may extend the time to 11pm. We will not rush the reading,” he said.
In the past, Jagjit said the Sanggat had traditionally organised collective akhand paths on three occasions: Vasakhi and the birth celebration of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
From experience, he said most local Sikhs prefer to take part in the SGGS reading in the day time. In the wee hours, the reading is done by hired readers, with no one listening at those hours.
“This is also to align ourselves with the maryada. It tells us that we do akhand path when faced with dire circumstances. It encourages sehaj path,” said Jagjit.
The English translation of the Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM), the Sikh code of conduct, states: “The non-stop reading of the Guru Granth is carried on at hard times or on occasions of elation or joy. It takes forty-eight hours.” Chapter seven of the SRM provides some guidance on the reading of SGGS. See here.
However, Jagjit said Sanggat members who want to conduct personal akhand path are still welcome to do so.
Discussing the Sungai Petani sehaj path suggestion in one social media group, one respondent said: “Sehaj paath in gurdwaras should be carried out at a reasonable speed, not at super speed, to allow Sangat members to follow it on the screen with the meanings displayed together….Not all gurdwaras has it displayed on the screen.”
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