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COMMON QUESTIONS


Why do we do bow to touch the ground with our forehead to the holy Guru Granth Sahib? Is it not idol worship?



Bowing before Guru Granth Sahib is not idol worship. It is to make us feel humble and reduce our ego, the cause of our all problems. To explain it further, culture plays a very important role in the rituals of a religion. We can find such examples all over the world. There are different methods of greeting your friend in different cultures.


i)
Folding hands in front of your chest and bending head slightly.
ii)
Bending your body at the waist with your head bending downwards and hands going backwards, as with the Japanese.
iii)
Shaking right hands, the most common international custom.
iv)
Embracing each other, particularly Punjabi woman.
v)
Exchange of kisses, as among the people of the Middle East.

In India, bending down so as to touch the feet of an elderly or a holy person, is an age-old custom to express respects to him/her. It is participated even today as good manners. When the children in the Punjab go to or come from their school, they bend to touch the feet of their parents, particularly their grandparents. In the same way children in the West wish good night to their parents before going to bed.

Respecting your parents by bending before them is not human worship. It is a ritual to pay respect. In the West, people taken off their hats to respect a woman or a senior person. Similarly, Sikhs, instead of taking off their hat (with a turban they cannot do it even if they wanted to do it just like their Western friends), do matha tek before the Guru to pay their respect and regards. Bending before Guru Granth Sahib is to show one's respect and regards for the Guru; it is not idol worship.

Philosophically, this means that the person who bows before Guru Granth makes a promise to himself to follow the path suggested by the Gurbaani. It is something similar to taking an oath to the constitution by raising a hand. In this case, we bow the head instead or raising the hand. The act of bowing reminds a person of his or her being a Sikh and a believer in the teachings of Gurbaani. It strengthens the faith in Gurbaani, which is essential to help us to walk on the path of the Guru.




 
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