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Summary of Question:3 In 1- Females, The Guruship And Sikh Ethics
Category:Sikh History
Date Posted:Tuesday, 1/29/2002 2:16 PM MST

sat sri akal

i have 3 separate questions:

1) why were none of the gurus ever women?
2) why from guru Arjan Dev ji onwards did the guruship stay in his family?
3) what does the sgpc/sggs say about capital punishment? Is it true that Guru Hargobind had Guru Arjan's conspirer for murder tortured than killed?

-With much gratitude-

Sat Siri Akaal Ji.
1. Simply answer to this question is: it wasn't the plan of Akal Purakh. But you must understand that the fact there were no women Guru's in Sikh history was not planned, nor was it anyone's 'policy' to prevent it from happening.
Historic answer of why no gurus were female is: India treated women like dirt in Guru's time. Guru Nanak was the first in India to teach that women deserve respect as the mothers of kings and gurus and saints, so why should they be degraded? He mandated that NO ONE was to ever speak ill of women in any way in his presence.

By the time of 3rd Guru, Guru Amar Das' teaching practically revolved around women. (1) He railed against satee, the practice of burning wives with their dead husbands. He taught that it was pointless and served no purpose in this life or the afterlife. He said the real satee is longing and burning for Waheguru. (2) He appointed women as ministers in Kashmir and in Kabul. (3) He fosterd the langar halls, which took the burden off women (who traditionally cooked) and made it a community male-&-female effort.

2. Bibi Bhani was the daughter of Guru Amar Das. One day she supported his meditation platform for hours to keep it from falling and disrupting his meditation. (It had a broken leg.) When he came out of meditation and saw her service, he blessed her and promised her whatever her heart desired. She requested that the Guruship remain in her family line. She was the daughter, wife (4th Guru), and mother (5th Guru) of a Guru, and this is how the lineage remained in HER family, really.

3. Sikhs are not vengeful. From the time of Nanak, Gurbani has taught that we create our karma by our actions. 6th Guru knew this. 6th Guru understood by his father's martyrdom that Sikhs would have to take up the sword to survive as a spiritual community. But remember he took up 2 swords, not one. One sword represented worldly power, the other represented spiritual power. He understood that the true power is with spirit and with Waheguru, not with a human being.

Did he go out and chase after 5th guru's tormentors? No. Might he have fought 5th Guru's tormenters and foes on the battlefield? Yes.

Does the SGGS reference capital punishment? No. Not specifically. There are laws on this earth, and then there is God's law, or Hukum, as referenced in pauri 2 of Japji Sahib. Gurbani teaches us that our actions cause us pain and sorrow or happiness and peace, depending. So, if someone has killed another in cold blood (wartime aside) then whether or not the laws of man do anything to bring that one to justice does not negate God's hukum. "Aapay beej, aapay he kao, Nanak hukamee avaho jao" --20th Pauri of Japji. Study it. There are other similar references in SGGS about divine justice and "dharam raj". Look for them.
As for SGPC's position on capital punishment, ask them. Their website is
Guru rakha,

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