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Gurbani : On Sutak Patak

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Sutak or Puerperium or rules of impurity accruing from birth and death is fourfold. The rules of impurity are applicable to all the four castes

Educated Hindus of these days say that Sutak-Patak really is on account of health consideration but they are not correct in this respect. In the acceptance of these superstitions there is an element of Dharma and ignorance because if a person is not touched by a puerperal woman and has not touched a dead or dying person (how) he can become impure, just by hearing of the new situation.

You believe in Sutak-Patak so much that you feel affected even if you are in a different country.

Wherever you hear of death of your relation or of birth of a child, at that very time you are supposed to jump in water, fully clothed1. (Laghu Atri Sanhita, Ch. 5)

But the Guru has exorcized this ghost of superstition. For example,

ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੰਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੋਹੇ ਅਤੈ ਲਕੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਜੇਤੇ ਦਾਣੇ ਅੰਨ ਕੇ ਜੀਆ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਪਵੈ ਰਸੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਏਵ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਉਤਾਰੇ ਧੋਇ ॥1॥

If one accepts the concept of impurity, then there is impurity everywhere. In cow-dung and wood there are worms. As many as are the grains of corn, none is without life. First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green. How can it be protected from impurity? It touches our own kitchen. O Nanak, impurity cannot be removed in this way; it is washed away only by spiritual wisdom. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)

ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੂੜੁ ॥ ਅਖੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਪਰ ਧਨ ਰੂਪੁ ॥
ਕੰਨੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੰਨਿ ਪੈ ਲਾਇਤਬਾਰੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੰਸਾ ਆਦਮੀ ਬਧੇ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥2॥

The impurity of the mind is greed, and the impurity of the tongue is falsehood. The impurity of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another man's wife, and his wealth. The impurity of the ears is to listen to the slander of others. O Nanak, the mortal's soul goes, bound and gagged to the city of Death. ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)

ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਹੈ ਦਿਤੋਨੁ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ੍‍ੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਤਿਨ੍‍ਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥3॥

All impurity comes from doubt and attachment to duality. Birth and death are subject to the Command of the Lord's Will; through His Will we come and go. Eating and drinking are pure, since the Lord gives nourishment to all. O Nanak, the Gurmukhs, who understand the Lord, are not stained by impurity. ||3|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)

ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਆਵਉ ਜਾਉ ॥1॥
ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਇ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਰਿ ਮਰਿ ਜੰਮੈ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ ॥2॥
ਸੂਤਕੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਪਉਣੈ ਪਾਣੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਾਹਿ ॥3॥
ਸੂਤਕਿ ਕਰਮ ਨ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥4॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿਐ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਨਮੈ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਖਾਇ ॥5॥

The pollution of the mind is the love of duality. Deluded by doubt, people come and go in reincarnation. ||1|| The pollution of the self-willed manmukhs will never go away, as long as they do not dwell on the Shabad, and the Name of the Lord. ||1||Pause|| All the created beings are contaminated by emotional attachment; they die and are reborn, only to die over and over again. ||2|| Fire, air and water are polluted. The food which is eaten is polluted. ||3|| The actions of those who do not worship the Lord are polluted. Attuned to the Naam, the Name of the Lord, the mind becomes immaculate. ||4|| Serving the True Guru, pollution is eradicated, and then, one does not suffer death and rebirth, or get devoured by death. ||5|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 229)

ਜਲਿ ਹੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਥਲਿ ਹੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਸੂਤਕ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਨਮੇ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੂਏ ਫੁਨਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਸੂਤਕ ਪਰਜ ਬਿਗੋਈ ॥1॥
ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਕਉਨ ਪਵੀਤਾ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਨੈਨਹੁ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਬੈਨਹੁ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਸ੍ਰਵਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਪਰੈ ਰਸੋਈ ॥2॥
ਫਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਊ ਜਾਨੈ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੀ ਇਕੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਤਿਨੈ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥3॥41॥

There is pollution in the water, and pollution on the land; whatever is born is polluted. There is pollution in birth, and more pollution in death; all beings are ruined by pollution. ||1|| Tell me, O Pandit, O religious scholar: who is clean and pure? Meditate on such spiritual wisdom, O my friend. ||1||Pause|| There is pollution in the eyes, and pollution in speech; there is pollution in the ears as well. Standing up and sitting down, one is polluted; one's kitchen is polluted as well. ||2|| Everyone knows how to be caught, but hardly anyone knows how to escape. Says Kabeer, those who meditate on the Lord within their hearts, are not polluted. ||3||41|| Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 331)

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