We take out Parsad in the name of the Panj Pyaras. Similarly, why do we not take our Parsad in the name of the ten Gurus as well?

The correct procedure for the distribution of the Parsad according to the Gurmat philosophy is given below. It will automatically explain why Parsad is not taken out for the ten Gurus. At the conclusion of the Gurdwara function, the Parsad is first accepted into the Guru Darbar (Kirpan Bhet) and then distributed according to the Maryada.

a) Kirpan Bhet

After the prayer and the recitation of the hymn (Hukam) from the Guru Granth Sahib Kirpan is put into the Parsad before it is distributed to the Sangat. This is symbolic of the acceptance of the Parsad (which is offered by a Sikh or Sikhs) in the Guru Darbar. Parsad is accepted only after the recitation of the Guru's hymn. Hence Kirpan Bhet has not to be put into the Parsad halfway during the Ardaas when the request is made for the acceptance of the Parsad. (This Maryada is the direction of the proper authority, Akal Takhat, and is not based on the personal opinion of the author. Hence, it has to be observed strictly) Ardaas should, therefore, be performed without making a Sikh to stand alert with a naked kirpan in his hand ready to put it in the Parsad when the Granthi mentions Parsad in his prayer.

(b) Distribution of the Parsad

According to the protocol, Parsad should first be given to the Guru and then to his minister, the person attending the Guru Granth Sahib. Later, it should be distributed to the Sangat without discrimination. As a result of not knowing this procedure, some omissions are being made in distribution of the Parsad.

Guru Gobind Singh passed on the guruship to the ever-alive Guru, Panj Pyaras, respesenting the Guru Khalsa Panth. The Guru, himself, became their first Sikh by accepting Amrit from them. Panj Pyaras, the five Singhs, represents the living and functioning Guru in the Sangat. The Parsad is, therefore, given first to the five Singhs in the Sangat. It is not given in the name of the first Panj Pyaras (chosen by Guru Govind Singh) hoping the Parsad will "reach" them. Because of this misunderstanding, the Parsad is sometimes given again to these five Singhs while distributing it to the Sangat. It is a wrong practice and is based on the ignorance of the Sikhs regarding the Sikh philosophy.

According to the Maryada, the Panj Pyara Parsad is not to be mixed back in the total Parsad but is to be distributed at random to the first five Singhs who are easily approachable. For this selection, it is not desirable to go to the end of the Sangat for giving Panj Pyara Parsad to a senior Giani Ji or some senior office bearer in the Sangat.

Every Sangat has the authority to choose their Panj Pyaras for any local purpose, for example, for the Amrit ceremony, for the Sikh procession, for a foundation stone laying ceremony, for distribution of the Parsad. It must be mentioned here that the five Singhs chosen as the Panj Pyaras may not be the same every time. They are chosen from the Singhs available in the Sangat at that time and only for a specific purpose.

Giving Parsad to one Singh is no reflection on his greatness or the devotion of other Singhs in the Sangat. The selection of the Panj Pyaras for giving Parsad or for any function does not rate the chosen persons to be the topmost Sikhs in the Sangat. If it were so, the selection would raise a lot of unnecessary questions about the decision made. Further, there would be many objections to the choice whenever Panj Pyaras are chosen. The selection is done for a specific assignment only; thereafter, the five Singhs are again equal members of the Panth. There may be one group of five chosen Singhs for the Amrit ceremony and another group of five chosen Singhs for the Amrit ceremony and another group of five Singhs to lead the Khalsa procession.

After giving Parsad to the Panj Pyaras, it is offered to the minister (Granthi Sahib) of the Guru. As he is to attend the Guru Granth Sahib, Parsad is put in a bowl and placed near him. It is a totally wrong belief that the Parsad in the bowlis meant for the Guru. "Feeding" Parsad or Langar to the Guru Granth Sahib or pictures of the Gurus is strictly against the Gurmat philosophy. It is Thakur Puja, a pure Brahmanical ritual, which is prohibited to the Sikhs.

Parsad is later distributed to the Sangat equally and without discrimination. When a Sikh gets Parsad he bows to the Guru to thank him for this favour and then eats the Parsad.

The reader will have already understood the answer as to why Parsad is not given to the Gurus. To restate it, Parsad is not given in the name of the deceased Panj Pyaras who were chosen by the Guru on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. Parsad is given to the Panj Pyaras chosen for the purpose from the Sangat sitting in the Guru Darbar at that time. There is no question of giving Parsad to a person or persons (whether the Panj Pyaras chosen by the Guru or the Gurus themselves) who are no longer present in body from in the Sangat for receiving the Parsad. Offerings made in the name of deceased people do not benefit them and Guru Nanak therefore, prohibited this practice.

Note: Incidentally it may also be mentioned here that it is wrong to bring Langar in a plate to the Guru Darbar for a Bhog ceremony as mentioned above. The Guru Granth does not eat anything. It is against the Sikh philosophy to put kirpan into the Langar (anyway you cannot do it. How will you do it to the chapatis or water, which is yet to come out of the tap? Also, more Langar is being cooked while it is being served to the Sangat.)

What we ignore is that Langar already belongs to the Guru; it makes no sense to request the Guru to accept the Langar. A Sikh or Sikhs offers Parsad to the Guru Darbar; putting kirpan into it symbolizes its acceptance by the Guru, which is done after the recitation of the hymn. For the Langar, we merely do Ardaas; we request the permission of the Guru for its distribution to the Sangat so they can partake of it.

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