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Summary of Question:The Guru's Teachings
Category:Sikh Practices
Date Posted:Saturday, 3/10/2001 12:09 PM MST

At the time of the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singhji, the Guru had issued a code of conduct for the Khalsa to adhere to, one of which was to shun the consumption of alcohol. As a professional from the hotel industry, even though till date i haven't consumed alcohol, my profession required me to know all about it. While hard liquor like whisky, rum, etc. are high in alcohol percentage, because of it being added at the manufacturing stage, the same is not the case with wines. It is in fact, just fermented grape juice. I mean, today if you buy grapes, squeeze them to extract their juice and drink it, it's fine, but let that grape juice remain in a container for some time (say 2-3 years) and it becomes 'unfit' for consumption because natural processes - basically the yeast on the grapes' skin - have consumed the sugar, thus turning it into wine. Seems to me that while one can drink fresh grape juice, it would be blasphemous to drink a 'stale' one! I would like to know what exactly did the Guru say - a

nd mean - when he forbade the consumption of alcohol? Also, the thing is, those Sikhs who were originally natives of countries outside of India and converted to Sikhism, do they also give up consumption of wine, because as far as I know, wines are integral part of a western meal. And one more thing, as all those who consume wine have told me, it can hardly be caled an intoxicant. After all, don't the Christians consume it, even in the Church at a ceremony? If it was bad, wouldn't Jesus Christ have forbidden it? Please answer...

Greetings and blessings to you in the Name of God and Guru.

Think about this: the Jews forbid pork, the Muslims forbid alcohol and pork, the Hindu's forbid beef, and the Christians allow everything!

There is no question that alcoholic beveredges are a great source of revenue in the restaurant and hotel industry. If your job is requiring you to drink socially then you have 2 options. One is to find another more suitable job for a Sikh. The other is to have available nonalcoholic beer, fine bottled water or sparkling beveridge for your professional needs. People who choose not to "drink" are highly respected.

A person who does not consume alcohol would find wine extremely intoxicating. Conversely, a person who 'mainlines' heroin would find snorting 'coke' very mild. Sikh's do not consume drugs or intoxicants because it disturbs their mental and physical clarity. Guru Nanak always said "baba man mat varo naam ras peevai..." "let the indulgence in the Naam be your intoxicant and drink".

As far as "Western" Sikhs are concerned, we follow the code and conduct of the Sikh because it gives us a true self value and consciousness. Drinking any amount of wine never gave us clarity or self respect. We are grateful for the guidelines of the Sikh lifestyle that has given us internal strength and reliance on the unchanging truth's of this universal realm. Bottled water at dinner works fine.

Remember, choose your company wisely. Your judgement may be getting a bit clouded.

God bless you, SKKK

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