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Summary of Question:Photos Of Ten Gurus????????
Category:The Sikh Gurus
Date Posted:Friday, 6/16/2000 9:38 AM MDT

Sadh.....Sangat,


Nobody actually believe or worship in gurus photo, which is actualy called idol worship. But my question is very different. The ancient photos of our Gurus are very very different than the todays common gurus photo. Why? The Sakhis tell that guru Nanak dev ji has very long arms which can extend below the knees. But when i saw today's guru photo the arms look like normal. WHy? I believed that we should preserved the old history of our gurus photo, not to eliminate it or change it into the modern.

Give me some real good points and i believe that your answer will give me some light on this subject.

Gurdateh,
Vicky singh

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REPLY
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Dear Vicky Singh,

Sat Siri Akal Ji. First of all having photos of any of the 10 Gurus in your house and WORSHIPING the photos are 2 different things. Each Guru was so special and inspiring in his own way! When I see a picture of Guru Gobind Singh, I am inspired to remember all he gave us. For example, I keep one in my house because he is our Khalsa father, is he not? In a way, it is like having family photos in the house/place. You are absolutely right that we are not to worship ANY (physical) representation of Guru; we worship--bow only to Siri Guru.

As for the representations of the Gurus we see in today's pictures and photos and paintings, they are stylized, to use artsy words. Many of the pictures we see today were based on paintings made 100-150 years ago, or even further back. We don't have any PHOTOS of the Gurus from their time, since photography was invented 100 years AFTER 10th Guru. Pictures and paintings you see are artists' "representations" and are not necessarily purely accurate in terms of every aspect of the Gurus' physical looks. Photos of the Gurus then, are photographs of the paintings and pictures.

Artists' representations also reflect painting styles of the time, such as the Mughal style. So there are many reasons why the pictures/paintings of our Gurus don't look EXACTLY like each Guru really looked.

I never knew about Guru Nanak's arms, but I am told that Guru Ram Das had a really LONG beard, so most pictures of him have this and that's how I know it is a representation of him. Guru Gobind Singh is OFTEN shown on his horse, Guru Hargobind always has 2 swords, etc. So certain things are consistent for each Guru in the paintings and pictures we have.

Moreover, the value of having pictures/paintings for TEACHING about Sikhi and the Gurus is especially useful, especially for youngsters.

I hope this sheds light on this topic for you! Guru Rakha,
-DKK



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