Gurbani Word Of The Day: dumaalṛaa

ਦੁਮਾਲੜਾ (dumaalṛaa)
Meaning: noun: A larger, rounder turban; a plumed turban; originally a piece of cloth given to a winning wrestler as prize.

ਹਉ ਗੋਸਾਈ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਵਾਨੜਾ॥ ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਉਚ ਦੁਮਾਲੜਾ॥
hau gosaaee daa pahil-vaanṛaa. mai gur mil uch dumaalṛaa.
I was an ordinary fighter of the Divine, but by meeting the Guru, I have become of a plumed turban (i.e. stronger and of a higher standing). – Guru Arjan Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 74

Message: There are different styles of turbans. A dumala is a larger, rounder turban. In fact, it was a piece of cloth which has been awarded to a winning wrestler as a token of honour at the wrestling arena.

Here, the Guru uses this as an analogy to show that, ordinary but good persons may have a low status in the material world but by following the Guru’s teachings, they gain a much higher status in the world of spirituality. Through the guidance of the Guru, they subdue their evil passions and attain perfect harmony in their life. And thus they symbolically become those ‘winning wrestlers’ who sport plumed turbans, which point to a higher and honourable status.

Etymology: From Persian dumbaalah (tail; a loose piece of turban hanging on the back, called a ‘shamla’ or ‘turla’ in Punjab..

Summary of the Week:
The Gurus preceding Guru Gobind Singh also wore a turban and did not shave or cut their hair since holy men lived a simple life and did not sport a physical outlook that promoted the ego. Rather they kept to certain social cultural norms in dress.

When Sikhs became bigger targets of the oppressive Mogul government and after the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, a form of identity was needed for Sikhs to stand tall, fearless, and face the corrupted and cruelly unjust government of the day.

Like any group, there is a range of practice. Many followers of the  faith  don’t wear turbans or keep their hair, but still legitimately follow and identify with the Sikh faith, especially with the eternal message of love of the Sikh Scripture.

Besides being a part of the uniform of the Khalsa, Sikhs wear the turban and long hair, together with the other symbols, as a reminder that they must not be greatly influenced by the falseness of Maya or negative or evil tendencies of the human mind.

The colour or type of turban is never important nor does it or should it designate if people are of a higher or lower status.

The Gurus merely used objects, colours or shapes from daily life to make their point.  So let us not interpret Gurbani literally. Our deeds and positive attitude to others around us is more indicative of who we are.

A saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Let us also not judge people by their appearance.


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