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Summary of Question:Number of marriages
Category:General Sikhism
Date Posted:Wednesday, 10/20/1999 3:55 PM MDT

Few weeks back a teenager born & brough up in Canada asked me this question for which i couldn't give him any satisfactory answer. The question was " Being sikh how many marriages we are allowed to do?" I don't know whether it is written in any Rahet that a sikh is suppose to have only one wife. The contradicting & confusing fact is that our Gurus( Sixth & Tenth) were having three wifes. Can you put some light on this...?


Dear Harpreet singh Ji,

The first question is an easy one the Rehit Maryada as issued by the SGPC makes it clear that marriage should be to one person and one person only. Now the question involving the Guru's is a very difficult one. I Imagine how many wives Aurangzeb had or any other Nawab Emporer or Raja of the times for that matter. Hundreds.The Gurus of whom you are speaking only had three each.The truth is such multipartner marriages have been a lot less about pleasure than Politics. Can you imagine one woman is hard enough to be able to have so many wives must have been unbelievable ( I mean this tongue in cheek ladies please do not get upset ) . The thing is the Guru's had families coming to them to ask that they take their daughters hand in marriage as was customary in India during those times. It was to give the family prestige and the Guru Financial and Physical support etc it might also have been done to show solidarity with the people. If you read the History of Guru Gobind singh Ji, he actually Assented to marry for these reasons ( and it should be noted as devoted Sikhs) and said he would love his wives but that he would only have children with one and we all know who that was. He explained these conditions to his wives before marrying them and made it clear that they could help the Dharma by Seva, and so that is what they did. There is still the Gurdwara near Nander where Mata Sahib Kaur started a Gurdwara with a very famous Langar.
I'd say for the most part excepting a few situations there never has been a history of the Sikhs marrying multiple partners, at least not in my studies. I know Maharaja Ranjit singh did, and as much as he is respected he was no Guru and not even a very spiritual man ( not to take away from the great contribution of the rebuilding of the Harmandir sahib and the Golden Temple ) . Anyway I'm sure you had probably thought of the Political viewpoint but I felt I would point it out. It is really a very difficult question to answer as far as the Guru's went. I know that it happened and I know the reasons why ( or at least think I know them ) but to actually write it up and flesh out the answer is very delicate and very difficult. I hope that this has answered it though and I appreciate the reason why you want to know.
Thank You


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