Malaysian gurdwara drops akhand path for Vasakhi

Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani management committee opts for sehaj path to allow better Sanggat involvement in reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

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| Sungai Petani, Malaysia | 26 Feb 2017 | Asia Samachar |
VASAKHI 2014: Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani during Vasakhi in 2014 – PHOTO / GSSP FACEBOOK

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.”

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Syabas is the only word that I have to describe the actions of the SP Gurdwara Committee. Hope the other Gurdwaras’ in the country can emulate this new order of practical thinking to bring about transformation to the Sikh community.

    There are many other activities that Gurdwaras can do instead of being confined to birth, deaths and jodh melas!!

  2. This is a commendable move by the Sungai Patani Sangat led by Mr.Jagjit Singh Bains towards an overdue reform in a system that has today become so stereotyped and mundane.

    Truly this system has lost its purpose and charm, as mentioned by Mr.Gursharan Singh Ji.

    I personally feel, that Akhand Paath should now be a very personalize activity or prayers just for homes and amongst the immediate families.

    To go back into history, continuous reading of The SGGS was initiated by saintly people much later in the late 16th Century and beginning of 17th Century. The Sikhs who fought with Banda Singh Bahadur had by then retired into their villages. Reading of SGGS became an activity among them. The aim was primarily to remember the Master Guru Gobind Singh Ji and revise the baanis of all the Gurus and the Bhagats. This was also to avoid the growth of devil’s workshop amongst them idling doing nothing.

    Later, it became a platform to practise speed reading of SGGS. This became eventful as it was a luxury to have SGGS in homes as there were only very limited handwritten versions of SGGS then. This event slowly became a fashion and a trend. Over generations, down the line, this became a ritual in Sikhism. The methodology of reading too, transformed from Sehaj Paath to Akhand Paath.

    Today the Sikh young Diaspora out of Punjab with diluted spoken Punjabi and poor vocabulary have constantly raised questions about this ritual of Akhand Paath. A question that is getting very difficult to answer with the present generation and wd become impossible to the upcoming newer generation.

    Sehaj Paath is definitely a Sangat involvement, where we would find: Sincerity in performance and sewa , Love towards reading and understanding Gurbani and the respective Gurus , Joy and a feeling of Participation and an overall sense of fulfilment.

    Gurdwaras around the world should follow this trend. This practice will surely eliminate the element of money making business followed by greed, expectations, demands, ill-feelings and suspicions…..All these aspects in actual fact encompasses the teachings of our Guru.

    I personally have introduced “e-paath Maala” – Sehaj paath on our android phones. Join our group and read Gurbani in Gurmukhi or the Romanised version at your convenience, any time of the day. You may be anyone..from any back ground, and may not be born to a Sikh family even…..Guru Ji ilahi Wisdom is omnipresent, beyond time and space. So long as one longs to read Gurbani, just simply click on the phone and get yourself connected.

    e-Paath Maala – This is how it works: at any point in time, if a member on this Whatsapp Group wishes to read SGGS, he or she will type “Paath in Progress” on this group and continue from the point where someone stopped earlier. This would mean that no two members would read SGGS in the same time. This will avoid duplication or interruption of the ongoing reading. As soon as the reader stops, he or she would then write the page number (Ang) and the sloka at which the reading has last stopped. The next person, who may be sitting anywhere in this world, amongst the group, could then continues from this point whenever he or she may wish to read. There may be gaps in between where SGGS is not read.

    Those interested may join this group by going onto our e-paath Maala WhatsApp group Invite Link: copy this link and add to your whatsapp page and send:
    https://chat.whatsapp.com/0mixvMtJ2bo0suUKv1QEDQ

    We have gone about reading SGGS the second time. The completion celebration would be a get-to-gather. A venue is chosen at any Gurdwara Sahib. We wish to have many groups doing this.

    Reading SGGS has become fun and yet with utmost reverence.

  3. COMMENTS SHARED AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    Santokh Singh Seera: Sikhs are undergoing a transformation, just like all other religion. Its good that SP is leading the way by having good sat sangat program, rather than silence prayers at prayers hall. I feel all gurudwaras should follow, with programs for adults and kids including sakhi competation, gurbani reading competations, games and ect.

    Manjit Kaur Dalio: Good move. No points having just the walls present.

    Sukhveer Daljit: This is awesome. No rush and Anand paath

    Balwinder Kaur: ਕੁਝ ਅਾਪ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਗੇ,ਕੁਝ ਸੁਣਨਗੇ,ਕੁਝ ਸਮਝਣਗੇ।ਸ਼ਾਬਾਸ਼।

  4. Most Akhand Paths appear to have lost their importance and this evidenced by the lack listners except at the beginning and the end during Semapati time bhog. Some may come in the night until langgar is taken.
    Most Men and children may be busy with their daily activities and women in the kitchen.
    Most of the time some Pathies are perceived to sleep and skip pages as there are no listners especially at night. Most Pathies are professionals and may be doing the Path for the money.

    The last day is the only time when crowds come but here again it is forthe festivities and variety of social activities and variety of dishes.
    Most GMC appear to use vaisakhi as means to increase their coffers and then many may leave the excess funds in FDs until required to further renovate the building or its beautification.
    Sadly there may be liitle Transparency and Accountability on how the funds are expended.
    Further most GMCs appear to be reluctant to use excess funds to assist financial or health problem needy families or students who may be short of funds to further their studies or anyone who may want to expand their business.
    Long overdue for GMCs cfange their mindset and put to practce what Guru Ji said i.e.
    GREEB DA MUH GURU DI GOLAK

    Sahej Paath is the first major change which I strongly support.
    Gur Fateh
    PS: Vaiskhi also used by many as funds raising venues.

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