Query from a Sikh in Australia:

The question of homosexual rights is a very hot topic here in Australia currently. I am looking for some specific Gurbani quotes about homosexuality. Can you help in any way? Any reference to homosexuality will also help.

Happy end of year celebrations. It is a beautiful time of year in Australia and generally in western countries because everyone is in festive spirits, including the environment. Houses, offices, buildings are decorated. Service staff have Santa caps on. There are smiles everywhere and everyone, especially children are excited. Lovely environment.

Sydney camp starts on … and I expect this issue of same sex marriages amongst Sikhs to be raised at the Camp.

Deviant behaviour has taken centre stage and it is disconcerting. It can be very offputting to see burly truckies and bikies with stubbly beards and moustaches giving each other passionate mouth to mouth kisses!!!

We need spiritual answers. I have referred to a number of articles but they are generally rather wishy-washy. I need your help.

Guru dhi meher.

Bhai Manjeet’s response:

When it comes to conduct, the central message of Gurbani is

ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥ – Hukam rajaee chalna Nanak likhya naal. (Japji).

Nanak says you must walk in the path of His Hukam; this Writ of Hukam is written within you

If you recognize/understand His Hukam you understand the mystery of the Lord.

ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥੫॥੯॥ – Kaho Nanak jin Hukam pechata : Prabh Sahib ka tin bhed jata (Ang 885).

Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God’s Will, knows the secrets of his Lord and Master. ||5||9||

The Sikh Rehat Maryada speaks only of union between man and woman.

In SGGS Ji whenever there is mention of union/marriage whether on a worldly level or of the jeev with God, the union is always described in terms of union between the bride /bride soul and her husband/Husband Lord.

Besides Hukam being written within us we are told to look for the workings of the Lord in all nature.

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ਸਿਨਾਖਤੁ ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ॥੮॥ – Nanak sach dataar sinakht kudratee(Ang 141)

Nanak says the true Lord is seen operating in all nature

“Sinakht” is Persian word meaning “to recognize/understand.”.

To see if homosexual conduct is in accordance with nature you would firstly have to look at all nature around you.

There are about 7 billion humans in the world today. About 3.5 billion men and about an equal number of women. This balance is brought about by God Himself.

Another important factor is to take into account the lifestyle of the Gurus. Except for the 8th Baal Guru Ji the rest of the Gurus were married to women.

At ang 143 Guru Nanak Dev Ji says

ਮਛੀ ਤਾਰੂ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਪੰਖੀ ਕਿਆ ਆਕਾਸੁ ॥ ਪਥਰ ਪਾਲਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਖੁਸਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਘਰ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ -Machee taru kya kare’  pankhi kya akaas : pathar pala kya kare’ khusrey kya ghar vaas

What harm can deep water do to a fish : what obstacle can the sky put to a bird ; how can chill affect a stone ; what household can a eunuch hope to establish

Guru Ji gives many more examples and concludes.

ਨਾਨਕ ਮੂਰਖ ਏਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਬੋਲੇ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ॥੧॥ – Nanak murakh eh gun boley sada binaas

Nanak these are the attributes of the fool : they always speak of things which bring destruction

The word “khusra” has been translated as “eunuch”. In the English language, “eunuch” would refer to someone who has been castrated. But in Punjabi/Hindi, “khusra” includes someone who has homosexual tendencies and is attracted to other men. I know of no Punjabi/Hindi word which is the equivalent of “lesbian.”

In Punjabi/Hindi if a group of homosexuals/eunuch’s troop together they are known as “hijde” or “hijre”. The word “hijda” means someone who has left his tribe i.e. indulges in practices unacceptable to his tribe.

At ang 324 Bhagat Kabir Ji lists some examples of misguided conduct which can never lead to salvation. Bhagat Ji says if one could meet God by staying naked then the naked deer in the jungles would all have achieved mukti. If by shaving bald one could achieve perfection, then the sheep which is regularly sheared would certainly be amongst the liberated ones.

Bhagat Ji further asks.

ਬਿੰਦੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਜੌ ਤਰੀਐ ਭਾਈ ॥ਖੁਸਰੈ ਕਿਉ ਨ ਪਰਮ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੩॥ – Bind rakh jo tariye bhai : khusrey kyo na paramgat paiye

Those who remain celibate and do not allow a drop of sperm to exit their bodies and hope to obtain salvation : then tell me why the khusra has not achieved salvation.?

At Ang 198 Guru Arjun Dev Ji compares the conduct of the saints and the “sakat” – the ones enmeshed in worldliness/materialism.

Guru Ji starts by saying

ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਦਾਸ ਸਿਉ ਸਾਕਤ ਨਹੀ ਸੰਗੁ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਬਿਖਈ ਓਸੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਰੰਗੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ – Har ke das sio sakat nahi sang : of bikhiyee oh Ram ko rang. (rahao)

The Lord’s servant does not associate with the faithless cynic. One is in the clutches of vice, while the other is in love with the Lord. ||1||Pause||

Then Guruji says.

ਮਨ ਅਸਵਾਰ ਜੈਸੇ ਤੁਰੀ ਸੀਗਾਰੀ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਪੁਰਖੁ ਪੁਚਾਰੈ ਨਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ – Man aswaar jaise turi shingari : jio kapurakh pucharey nari

Association with sakats is…. like an imaginary rider who cannot in reality mount on a decorated horse : like an eunuch who tries to caress a woman

Guru Ji speaks of foolish/despicable conduct which brings no gain at all.

The word used by Guru Ji is “kapurakh”. Normally “purakh” is used to refer to man. “Ka” added to purakh gives it a negative connotation.

My humble views are that homosexual conduct is not in accordance with “Hukam rajaee chalna.”

Having said that however, we must keep other teachings of Gurbani in mind too. We cannot judge homosexuals harshly. Remember.

ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ – Ham nahi changey bura nahi koi

Do not judge yourself as good : do not judge others as bad. (Ang 728)

Every living being is being driven by God.

ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਏ ਆਪੇ ॥ – Aape kare’ karaye aap

He Himself acts and causes others to act (Ang 125)

Yet deep down we know our conduct is wrong. Despite being driven, we do have that element of free will inside us. Wrong choices make us subject to Divine displeasure when we breach His Hukam.

ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥ – Kabir man jaanat sabh baat jaanat hi augan kare.’ : kahe ki kuslaat haath deep kuve pare

Kabeer, the mortal knows everything, and knowing, he still makes mistakes. What good is a lamp in one’s hand, if he falls into the well? (Ang 1376)

In the final analysis no matter how, reprehensible we find certain conduct, God is ever forgiving if one turns to Him with Naam.  He forgives even many murders.

ਘੋਰ ਦੁਖ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਅਨਿਕ ਹਤ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਜਨਮ ਦਾਰਿਦ੍ਰੰ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਦੰ ॥  ਮਿਟੰਤ ਸਗਲ ਸਿਮਰੰਤ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੈਸੇ ਪਾਵਕ ਕਾਸਟ ਭਸਮੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ॥੧੮॥ – Ghor dokhiyung anik hatiyung janam daridrung maha bikhaydung :

Mitannt sagal simrant Har naam Nanak jaise pavak kastt bhasmung karot..(Ang 1355).

Excruciating pain, countless killings, reincarnation, poverty and terrible misery are all destroyed by meditating in remembrance on the Lord’s Name, O Nanak, just as fire reduces piles of wood to ashes. (Ang 1355)

We may not agree with their lifestyle but we must  not judge the homosexuals too harshly. Our Guru advises us to achieve…

ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥੧॥ – Na ko beree nahi bighana sagal sang ham ko ban aaye..

I have no enemies: none are strangers to me: I am on happy terms with all (Ang 1299)


Manjeet Singh

Dec 27, 2017