ABBOTSFORD GURDWARA COMMITTEE FAILS TO GUIDE NEWLY WED COUPLE ABOUT GURDAWARA ETIQUETTE
ABBOTSFORD, BC, Canada—A picture that has been circulated on the internet, shows a newlywed couple sitting on chairs in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at the Khalsa Diwan Society Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, BC, Canada. Due to the Gurdwara management committee’s lack of interest in preserving respect of Guru Granth Sahib, this Gurdwara is also referred to as the “Moderate Gurdwara” of Abbotsford.
Sikh24 has learned that the bride may have been unable to sit on the floor due to medical issues, however, despite having the option to do shagan in the langar hall or outside the darbar, the ceremony took place inside the Darbar Hall. Several people have commented that the committee should have asked the couple to move outside of the Darbar Sahib as shagan is not considered part of the Anand Karaj even though it does take place inside the Darbar most of the time. Shagan ceremony itself is often sacrilegious as it leads people to turn their backs towards the Guru or talk excessively as they pose for pictures while giving money to the couple. This disrupts the serene environment of the Darbar.
The committee is also facing opposition by the Sikh Sangat for not enforcing Rehit Maryada and providing any guidance to the newly wed couple about required etiquette inside the Gurdwara.
As per Sri Akal Takht Sahib’s Code of Conduct, chairs are forbidden inside Gurdwaras expect for persons with disabilities. Allowing anyone to sit on a chair in front of Guru Granth Sahib is not acceptable and considered blasphemous. Everyone sits at an equal level regardless of caste, religion or social standing.
Unfortunately, the committee runs one of the oldest Gurdwaras in North America. The Khalsa Diwan Society in Abbotsford is a Gurdwara Sahib that is over 100 years and is listed as a Canadian Heritage Site. It was founded on July 31st 1911.
Similar incidents have taken place in past and despite pleas from local Sikhs, the committee has allowed blasphemous practices during weddings. This Gurdwara’s committee is also in direct violation of Sri Akal Takht Sahib’s 1998 “langar” hukamnama that has asked Gurdwaras in the West to remove tables and chairs from its langar halls.
This Gurdwara’s committee was earlier in the limelight when a video by Jus Reign showed people sitting on chairs whilst wearing their shoes in the langar hall. The video sparked outrage over the internet and several people asked the Gurdwara Management committee to step down. Since then, the sangat has split and two new Gurdwaras have been formed.