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File:Idol Worship.jpg

Idol worship may refer to worship of a cult image, an object venerated as the representation as a deity. Idol worship was heavily discouraged by all Sikh Gurus. The worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a Monothestic God is defined as Idolatry. It is considered a major sin in the Abrahamic religions whereas in religions where such activity is not considered as Sin, the term "idolatry" itself is absent. Which images, ideas, and objects, constitute idolatry, and which constitute reasonable worship, is a matter of contention with some religious authorities and groups using the term to describe certain other religions apart from their own (sometimes resulting in iconoclasm(Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture's own religious icons)).

This was believed to have been a manipulation by the priestly caste to keep the power in their hands. The concept of 'worship' does not exist in Sikhism. Sikhs only bow down to Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect for the Shabad or Word of God and they only mediate on God's name (Naam Simran). Guru Granth Sahib is a spiritual guide to reach God; the route to God's domain.

Guru Granth Sahib

Sikhs do not worship idols. What the Gurus say about idol worship is as follows:

ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੂਲੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਅਖੁਟੀ ਜਾਂਹੀ ॥ ਨਾਰਦਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਿ ਪੂਜ ਕਰਾਂਹੀ ॥
ਅੰਧੇ ਗੁੰਗੇ ਅੰਧ ਅੰਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਪਾਥਰੁ ਲੇ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਮੁਗਧ ਗਵਾਰ ॥
ਓਹਿ ਜਾ ਆਪਿ ਡੁਬੇ ਤੁਮ ਕਹਾ ਤਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥2॥

The Hindus have forgotten the Primal Lord; they are going the wrong way. As Naarad instructed them, they are worshipping idols. They are blind and mute, the blindest of the blind. The ignorant fools pick up stones and worship them. But when those stones themselves sink, who will carry you across? ||2|| (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang, 556)


ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਗਲ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਹਣੁ ਲੈ ਲਟਕਾਵੈ ॥1॥
ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ ਨੀਰੁ ਬਿਰੋਲੈ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮਰਤਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਹਣ ਕਉ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਹਤਾ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਪਾਹਣੁ ਲੈ ਉਸ ਕਉ ਡੁਬਤਾ ॥2॥
ਗੁਨਹਗਾਰ ਲੂਣ ਹਰਾਮੀ ॥ ਪਾਹਣ ਨਾਵ ਨ ਪਾਰਗਿਰਾਮੀ ॥3॥
ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਪੂਰਨ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ॥4॥3॥9॥

Within the home of his own self, he does not even come to see his Lord and Master. And yet, around his neck, he hangs a stone god. ||1|| The faithless cynic wanders around, deluded by doubt. He churns water, and after wasting his life away, he dies. ||1||Pause|| That stone, which he calls his god, that stone pulls him down and drowns him. ||2|| O sinner, you are untrue to your own self; a boat of stone will not carry you across. ||3|| Meeting the Guru, O Nanak, I know my Lord and Master. The Perfect Architect of Destiny is pervading and permeating the water, the land and the sky. ||4||3||9|| (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang, 739)


ਜੋ ਪਾਥਰ ਕਉ ਕਹਤੇ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੇਵ ॥
ਜੋ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀ ਪਾਂਈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਘਾਲ ਅਜਾਂਈ ਜਾਇ ॥1॥
ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਸਦ ਬੋਲੰਤਾ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਜੀਆ ਕਉ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਤਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਦੇਉ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਪਾਵੈ ਫੰਧੁ ॥
ਨ ਪਾਥਰੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਫੋਕਟ ਕਰਮ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਹੈ ਸੇਵ ॥2॥

Their service is useless. Those who fall at the feet of a stone god their work is wasted in vain. ||1|| My Lord and Master speaks forever. God gives His gifts to all living beings. ||1||Pause|| The Divine Lord is within the self, but the spiritually blind one does not know this. Deluded by doubt, he is caught in the noose. The stone does not speak; it does not give anything to anyone. Such religious rituals are useless; such service is fruitless. ||2|| (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang, 1160)

ਘਰਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਸਭਾ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਪੂਜ ਕਰੇ ਰਖੈ ਨਾਵਾਲਿ ॥
ਕੁੰਗੂ ਚੰਨਣੁ ਫੁਲ ਚੜਾਏ ॥ ਪੈਰੀ ਪੈ ਪੈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਮਨਾਏ ॥
ਮਾਣੂਆ ਮੰਗਿ ਮੰਗਿ ਪੈਨ੍‍ੈ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਅੰਧੀ ਕੰਮੀ ਅੰਧ ਸਜਾਇ ॥

In your home is the Lord God, along with all your other gods. You wash your stone gods and worship them. You offer saffron, sandalwood and flowers. Falling at their feet, you try so hard to appease them. Begging, begging from other people, you get things to wear and eat. For your blind deeds, you will be blindly punished. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang, 1240)

Dasam Granth

In Shabad Hazarey:

ਕਹਾ ਭਯੋ ਜੋ ਅਤਿ ਹਿਤ ਚਿਤ ਕਰ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਿਲਾ ਪੁਜਾਈ ॥
ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਥਕਿਓ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਹ ਪਰਸਤ ਕਛੁ ਕਰ ਸਿਧ ਨ ਆਈ॥1॥
ਅਛਤ ਧੂਪ ਦੀਪ ਅਰਪਤ ਹੈ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਖੈਹੈ ॥
ਤਾ ਮੈਂ ਕਹਾਂ ਸਿਧਿ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਜੜ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਛੂ ਬਰ ਦੈਹੈ॥2॥
ਜੌ ਜੀਯ ਹੋਤ ਤੌ ਦੇਤ ਕਛੁ ਤੁਹਿ ਕਰ ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕਰਮ ਬਿਚਾਰ ॥
ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਸਰਣ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਬਿਨ ਯੌ ਨਹਿ ਕਤਹਿ ਉਧਾਰ॥3॥9॥

File:Idol Worship2.jpg

So what if you worshipped statues, monuments or pictures? Worshiping these, your soul has been tired (meaning you are close to death) but you have not found anything. You donate rice rice, you burn joss-stick, wick lamps or frankincense, you burn oil lamps and perform many other rituals but that statue does not get you anything because it has no life. You fool! What do you get out of performing these rituals? What can a stone give you? If this stone had life, then it would have been able to give you something. Think this over and start reciting God’s praises, then you will know the right path and you will know that without God, you cannot get away from this cycle of birth and death. :::::(Shabad Hazaray, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

In Akal Ustat:

ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਪਾਹਨ ਪੂਜ ਧਰਯੋ ਸਿਰ ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਲਿੰਗ ਗਰੇ ਲਟਕਾਇਓ ॥
ਕਾਹੂ ਲਖਿਓ ਹਰਿ ਅਵਾਚੀ ਦਿਸਾ ਮਹਿ ਕਾਹੂ ਪਛਾਹ ਕੋ ਸੀਸੁ ਨਿਵਾਇਓ ॥
ਕੋਊ ਬੁਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਸੁ ਕੋਊ ਮ੍ਰਿਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਨ ਧਾਇਓ ॥
ਕੂਰ ਕ੍ਰਿਆ ਉਰਝਿਓ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਕੋ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ॥10॥

While worshipping stones some people are bowing before them and some others are withholding idols of stones in their necks. Some people have faith that God is in the south while others consider God is toward the west and they are bowing their heads in those directions. Some people are worshiping idols foolishly while others are adoring the dead. The whole world is busy in such false performances without knowing the secret mystery of God. (Akal Ustat, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

In Bachittar Natak:

ਤਾਹਿ ਪਛਾਨਤ ਹੈ ਨ ਮਹਾ ਪਸੁ ਜਾ ਕੋ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪੁ ਤਿਹੂੰ ਪੁਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥
ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਕੇ ਪਰਸੈ ਪਰਲੋਕ ਪਰਾਹੀ ॥
ਪਾਪ ਕਰੋ ਪਰਮਾਰਥ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਪਾਪਨ ਤੇ ਅਤਿ ਪਾਪ ਲਜਾਹੀ ॥
ਪਾਇ ਪਰੋ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕੇ ਜੜ ਪਾਹਨ ਮੈਂ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੯੯॥

O foolish beast! You do not recognize Him, Whose Glory hath spread over all the three worlds. You worship the creatures of God, on account of which your future (in the yond) is lost. For self interest you do such sin that even then great sin is ashamed of that. O ignorant, fall at the feet of the Lord. God does not reside in these stones.

(Bachittar Natak, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

In 33 Swaiyey:
ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਪੂਜਤ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਉ ਕਛੁ ਪਾਹਨ ਮੈ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰ ਨਾਹੀ ॥
ਤਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਪੂਜ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੀ ਅਘ ਓਘ ਮਿਟਾਹੀ ॥
ਆਧਿ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਕੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੇਤਕ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਲੇਤ ਸਭੈ ਛੁਟਿ ਜਾਹੀ ॥
ਤਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਧਯਾਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਨ ਸਦਾ ਇਨ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਫਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੨੦॥

Why do you worship stones? The Lord-God is not within those stones; you may only worship Him, whose adoration destroys clusters of sins; with the remembrance on the Name of the Lord, the ties of all suffering are removed; ever mediate on that Lord because the hollow religious will not bear any fruit.

(33 Swayeas, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਭਯੋ ਫਲ ਹੀਨ ਜੁ ਪੂਜ ਸਿਲਾ ਜੁਗਿ ਕੋਟ ਗਵਾਈ ॥
ਸਿੱਧ ਕਹਾ ਸਿਲ ਕੇ ਪਰਸੇ ਬਲ ਬ੍ਰਿੱਧ ਘਟੀ ਨਵਨਿੱਧ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥
ਆਜੁ ਹੀ ਆਜੁ ਸਮੋ ਜੁ ਬਿਤਯੋ ਨਹਿ ਕਾਜ ਸਰਯੋ ਕਛੁ ਲਾਜ ਨ ਆਈ ॥
ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਵੰਤ ਭਜਯੋ ਨ ਅਰੇ ਜੜ ਐਸੇ ਹੀ ਐਸ ਸੁ ਬੈਸ ਗਵਾਈ ॥੨੧॥

The hollow religion became fruitless and O being ! you have lost millions of years by worshipping the stones; you will not get power with the worship of stones; the strength and glory will only decrease; In this way, the time was lost uselessly and nothing was achieved and you were not ashamed; O foolish intellect! You have not remembered the Lord and have wasted your life in vain. :::::(33 Swayeas, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

In his Zaffarnama Guru Gobind Singh Ji gives the cause of opposition to him by the hill kings.

ਮਨਮ ਕੁਸ਼ਤਨਮ ਕੋਹੀਯਾਂ ਬੁਤ ਪਰਸਤ ॥
ਕਿ ਓ ਬੁਤ ਪਰਸਤੰਦੁ ਮਨ ਬੁਤ ਸ਼ਿਕਸਤ ॥95॥

I have killed the hill Rajas (kings) who were bent on mischief. They were stone idol worshippers, I am the breaker of idols and I worship the one Lord.

(Zaffarnama, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)
File:Idol Worship3.jpg

Other Texts

It is written in Dubistan-i-Mazahib:

ਨਾਨਕ ਪੰਥੀ ਜੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਹੈਨ, ਓਹ ਬੁੱਤ ਔਰ ਬੁੱਤਖਾਨਿਆਂ ਪਰ ਨਿਸ਼ਚਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਰੱਖਦੇ ।

Followers of Guru Nanak (Sikhs) do not have faith in idols and temples of idols. The Sikhs are not idol worshippers. The greatest proof of that is that none of the Gurus raised any temple where an idol was installed.

A Hindu Sikh Conversation

Hindu: by making references to Gurbani you have proved that there is no idol worship in Sikh religion. But is not the worship of Guru Granth Sahib another form of idol worship? You take Granth as the personification of the Guru and offer to Granth Karah Prasad (sacred food) on a plate.

Sikh: Sikhs respect the Granth Sahib as an order from the Lord, and from the Granth we get metaphysical and worldly truths. It is not as in idol worship and it is not idol worship. Karah Prasad in a plate is kept for the Granthi (priest in attendance) and not for the Granth, to be consecrated by the Granth.

Throughout the world the royal proclamation is shows respects, one puts that to forehead and bows to it. The same is true with respect to Granth Sahib. The Primal Father is the True King and it is His proclamation. If somebody, without understanding copies the Hindu priests it is not the fault of Sikh principles.

Hindu: In the Granth it is written that Dhanna Bhagat the Dhaliwal Jat met Hari through Thakur (sacred stones of the Hindus) and Namdeva met God through idol worship. Even Bhai Gurdas has mentioned in his Vars about Dhanna and Namdeva. That proves they had at one time worshipped idols.

Sikh: In the Granth Sahib this is the only reference:

ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕੈ ਜਾਟਰੋ ਉਠਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਮਿਲੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਸਾਈਆ ਧੰਨਾ ਵਡਭਾਗਾ ॥4॥2॥

Hearing this, Dhanna the Jaat applied himself to devotional worship. The Lord of the Universe met him personally; Dhanna was so very blessed. ||4||2|| (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang, 487)

File:Idolworshipp1.JPG

There is no mention of idol worship. However, in the Bhagat Mala, the work of some Hindus, there are stories and illustrations about idol worship. Bhai Gurdas has given a short summary of that for the knowledge of the Sikhs. These stories are not written by Sikhs and so Sikhs are not responsible for those, through translation.

There is no doubt that Namdeva and other Bhagats were worshippers of idols to begin with but when they obtained true knowledge from the True Guru they abandoned idol worship and considered God pervading all and everything; as is evident from their sayings:

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤ ਸਹਸਾ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਕਿਸੁ ਹਉ ਪੂਜਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਈ ॥3॥
ਏਕੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀਜੈ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਧਰੀਐ ਪਾਉ ॥
ਜੇ ਓਹੁ ਦੇਉ ਤ ਓਹੁ ਭੀ ਦੇਵਾ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥4॥1॥

Meeting the True Guru, doubt is dispelled. Who else should I worship? I can see no other. ||3|| One stone is lovingly decorated, while another stone is walked upon. If one is a god, then the other must also be a god. Says Naam Deva, I serve the Lord. ||4||1|| (Bhagat Naamdev Ji, Ang 525)

ਜਹਾ ਜਾਈਐ ਤਹ ਜਲ ਪਖਾਨ ॥ ਤੂ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਸਮਾਨ ॥
ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਸਭ ਦੇਖੇ ਜੋਇ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਤਉ ਜਾਈਐ ਜਉ ਈਹਾਂ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥2॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮੈ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਤੋਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਕਲ ਬਿਕਲ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾਟੇ ਮੋਰ ॥
ਰਾਮਾਨੰਦ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਰਮਤ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਾਟੈ ਕੋਟਿ ਕਰਮ ॥3॥1॥


Wherever I go, I find water and stones. You are totally pervading and permeating in all. I have searched through all the Vedas and the Puraanas. I would go there, only if the Lord were not here. ||2|| I am a sacrifice to You, O my True Guru. You have cut through all my confusion and doubt. Raamaanand's Lord and Master is the All-pervading Lord God. The Word of the Guru's Shabad eradicates the karma of millions of past actions. ||3||1|| (Bhagat Ramanand Ji, Ang 1195)

It will be a great injustice if someone clever and an adversary of truth says that in Sikhi worship of Durga and the Ganges is accepted because Guru Angad before coming to Guru Nanak Ji worshipped Durga and (Guru) Amar Das likewise went for pilgrimage to the Ganges. Dear Hindu, you should try to understand the underlying principle in the stories of the Bhagats.

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