Polygamy and Sikhism

Polygamy is wide spread among different cultures of the world. According to one study out of '853' cultures only 16 percent stipulate monogamy. Historically most of the Sikh kings practiced polygamy in 18th and 19th centuary. The Guru Amar Dass ji has clearly defined that conjugal relationship has to be two bodies and one soul phenomenon. It vividly conforms to the monogamy idealism.

It appears very paradoxical and enigmatic to a student of Sikh history when one confronts the practice of polygamy by some Sikh Gurus. Historically the following Gurus had more than one wife.

1. Guru Arjan Dev.

- Ram Deyi, daughter of Surri Khatri (Charan Dass) of village Mour married year Bik 1622. Guruji was 11 years old at that time Guru Amar Dass was on Guru Gaddi. (Ref. DR. Gopal Singh, Kesar Singh Chibbar, Mohinder Kaur Gill)
*** It is a controversial issue among the Sikh historians
- Ganga devi

2. Guru Hargobind

- Damodri Devi
- Nanki Devi
- Maha Devi

3. Guru Hari Rai

- Prem Kaur
- Chand Kaur
- Anokhi Devi
- Ram Kaur
- Laddli
- Krishan Kaur
- Kalyani

4. Guru Gobind Singh

- Sahib Kaur Ji
- Jeeto Rani
- Sundri Devi

Many causes about the practice of polygamy among the humans have been sited by eminent scholars...

Helen Fisher states that men seek polygamy to spread their genes while women join harems to acquire resources and ensure the survival of their young. Polygamy enables men to have more children. Most of the scientific evidence stacks up in favor of monogamy. Desmond Morris summarised the explanations by saying that the pair bonding is a trademark of humans.

But, even then the question arises, why Some Gurus did practice it?

Most of Sikh scholars never touch the subject probably due to the divinity and spirituality associated with Sikh Gurus.

Very few explanations have been given which can be summarised as such...

1. It was the Divine will.

2. One should not raise the issue as they were super humans and their life incidents are beyond the comprehension of commoners.

3. With improved economy of Guru Ghars, the Gurus could afford multiple marriages...

Spirituality, Awarness, Enlightment has nothing to do with polygamy, monogamy, hetrosexuality and homosextuality. This state of being is above and beyond all this.

Guru Amar Dass Ji thus said

bhu ByK kir BrmweIAY min ihrdY kptu kmwie ] (26-13, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
People wear all sorts of costumes and wander all around, but in their hearts and minds, they practice deception.

hir kw mhlu n pwveI mir ivstw mwih smwie ]1] (26-14, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
They do not attain the Mansion of the Lord's Presence, and after death, they sink into manure. ||1||

mn ry igRh hI mwih audwsu ] (26-14, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
O mind, remain detached in the midst of your household.

scu sMjmu krxI so kry gurmuiK hoie prgwsu ]1] rhwau ] (26-15, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
Practicing truth, self-discipline and good deeds, the Gurmukh is enlightened. ||1||Pause||

gur kY sbid mnu jIiqAw giq mukiq GrY mih pwie ] (26-15, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
Through the Word of the Guru's Shabad, the mind is conquered, and one attains the State of Liberation in one's own home.

hir kw nwmu iDAweIAY sqsMgiq myil imlwie ]2] (26-16, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
So meditate on the Name of the Lord; join and merge with the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation. ||2||

jy lK iesqrIAw Bog krih nv KMf rwju kmwih ] (26-16, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
You may enjoy the pleasures of hundreds of thousands of women, and rule the nine continents of the world.

ibnu siqgur suKu n pwveI iPir iPir jonI pwih ]3] (26-17, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
But without the True Guru, you will not find peace; you will be reincarnated over and over again. ||3||

hir hwru kMiT ijnI pihirAw gur crxI icqu lwie ] (26-18, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
Those who wear the Necklace of the Lord around their necks, and focus their consciousness on the Guru's Feet

iqnw ipCY iriD isiD iPrY Enw iqlu n qmwie ]4] (26-18, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
-wealth and supernatural spiritual powers follow them, but they do not care for such things at all. ||4||

jo pRB BwvY so QIAY Avru n krxw jwie ] (26-19, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
Whatever pleases God's Will comes to pass. Nothing else can be done.

jnu nwnku jIvY nwmu lY hir dyvhu shij suBwie ]5]2]35] (26-19, isrIrwgu, mhlw 3)
Servant Nanak lives by chanting the Naam. O Lord, please give it to me, in Your Natural Way. ||5||2||35||

Guru Arjan Dev ji also said...

Awsw mhlw 5 ] (385-1)
Aasaa, Fifth Mehl:

pwvqu rlIAw jobin blIAw ] (385-1, Awsw, mhlw 5)
The mortal revels in joy, in the vigor of youth;

nwm ibnw mwtI sMig rlIAw ]1] (385-1, Awsw, mhlw 5)
but without the Name, he mingles with dust. ||1||

kwn kuMflIAw bsqR EFlIAw ] (385-2, Awsw, mhlw 5)
He may wear ear-rings and fine clothes,

syj suKlIAw min grblIAw ]1] rhwau ] (385-2, Awsw, mhlw 5)
and have a comfortable bed, and his mind may be so proud. ||1||Pause||

qlY kuMcrIAw isir kink CqrIAw ] (385-3, Awsw, mhlw 5)
He may have elephants to ride, and golden umbrellas over his head;

hir Bgiq ibnw ly Drin gflIAw ]2] (385-3, Awsw, mhlw 5)
but without devotional worship to the Lord, he is buried beneath the dirt. ||2||

rUp suMdrIAw Aink iesqrIAw ] (385-4, Awsw, mhlw 5)
He may enjoy many women, of exquisite beauty;

hir rs ibnu siB suAwd iPkrIAw ]3] (385-4, Awsw, mhlw 5)
but without the sublime essence of the Lord, all tastes are tasteless. ||3||

mwieAw ClIAw ibkwr ibKlIAw ] (385-4, Awsw, mhlw 5)
Deluded by Maya, the mortal is led into sin and corruption.

srix nwnk pRB purK dieAlIAw ]4]4]55] (385-5, Awsw, mhlw 5)
Nanak seeks the Sanctuary of God, the All-powerful, Compassionate Lord. ||4||4||55||


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