Sikh Religion Does Not Say That A Dead Body Has To Be Cremated!


Re: “Maharaja Dalip Singh Should Have A Proper Cremation According to the Sikh Rites!”

I have been reading articles of Dr. SawrajSingh and found them to be very informative.Therefore I’m writing to commenton his latest article that “Maharaja DalipSingh should have a proper cremationaccording to the Sikh Rites”.Dr. Swaraj Singh wrote that MaharajaDalip Singh did not receive a proper cremationaccording to the Sikh rites. Hewas buried according to the Christianrites in a Church even though he was anAmritdhari (Baptized Sikh). This is notjust a matter of violation of the individualrights of Maharaja Dalip Singh butalso a matter of great concern for all theSikhs because this is an attack on theirreligious customs and beliefs.Let us see if burying an Amritdhari oreven a non Amritdhari Sikh is againstSikh religious beliefs. Sikhs take directionsfrom Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).On page 648 SGGS Guru says:ਮਃ ੧ ॥ Ma 1 ||ਇਕ ਦਝਹਿ ਇਕ ਦਬੀਅਹਿ ਇਕਨਾ ਕੁਤੇ ਖਾਹਿ ॥Eik Dhajhehi Eik Dhabeeahi EikanaaKuthae Khaahi ||Some are cremated, and some are buried;some are eaten by dogs.ਇਕਿ ਪਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਉਸਟੀਅਹਿ ਇਕਿ ਭੀ ਫਿਰਿਹਸਣਿ ਪਾਹਿ ॥Eik Paanee Vich Ousatteeahi Eik BheeFir Hasan Paahi ||Some are thrown into water, while othersare thrown into wells.ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵ ਨ ਜਾਪਈ ਕਿਥੈਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਹਿ ॥੨॥Naanak Eaev N Jaapee Kithhai JaaeSamaahi ||2||O Nanak, it is not known, where they goand into what they merge. ||2||Some dead bodies are cremated, someburied, eaten by dogs, thrown into wateror thrown into a well. It does not matterto the dead body how it is disposedthough different people use differentways of disposing them.Guru says on page 1160 (SGGS)ਭੈਰਉ (ਮ: ੫) ਗੁਰੂਗ੍ਰੰਥਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੧੧੬੦ ਪੰ.੯Raag Bhaira-o Guru Arjan Devਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਚੜਾਵੈ ॥Jae Mirathak Ko Chandhan Charraavai||If a corpse is anointed with sandalwoodoil,ਉਸ ਤੇਕਹਹੁਕਵਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਵੈ ॥Ous Thae Kehahu Kavan Fal Paavai ||What good does it do?ਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਰੁਲਾਈ ॥Jae Mirathak Ko Bisattaa Maahi Rulaaee||If a corpse is rolled in manure,ਤਾਂ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥Thaan Mirathak Kaa Kiaa Ghatt Jaaee||3||What does it lose from this? ||3||ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਹਉ ਕਹਉ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ॥Kehath Kabeer Ho Keho Pukaar ||Says Kabeer, I proclaim this out loudਸਮਝਿ ਦੇਖੁ ਸਾਕਤ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥Samajh Dhaekh Saakath Gaavaar ||Behold, and understand, you ignorant,faithless cynic.It does not make any difference to adead body if it is anointed with sandalwoodoil or rolled in manure. Don’t beignorant, faithless cynic.Nowhere in SGGS is written that Sikhdead bodies be cremated. It says that itdoes not make any difference what isdone to dead bodies.Now let us see what Akal Takhatapproved Sikh Reht Maryada says.THE CODE OF SIKH CONDUCTAND CONVENTIONS CHAPTERXI Article XIXc. However young the deceased maybe, the body should be cremated.However, where arrangements for cremationcannot be made, there should beno qualm about the body beingimmersed in flowing water or disposedof in any other manner.Now, it is clear from SGGS and SikhReht Maryada that there is no problemwith Maharaja Dalip Singh buried in aChurch. It is not an attack on Sikh religiousbeliefs but could be a matter ofviolation of the individual rights ifMaharaja wanted to be cremated. If hisremains are cremated now for the sake ofSikh religious beliefs it will be a mockeryof what Gurbani teaches us.
Dr. Sawraj Singh’s Response: Dr. Kala Singh has raised many importantissues which need a very detailedresponse. I am preparing a detailed andproper response. However, I want togive you a preview of the points which Iwill be elaborating in my detailed andproper response. Why were all ourGurus’ bodies cremated? Why did GuruNanak bury bhai Mardana’s bodyaccording to the Muslim rites? Why weSikhs hold those devoted Sikhs in highesteem who burnt their property andhouses so that Guru’s body was cremated?Why did Guru Gobind Singhembrace Bhai Jaita and called RangreteGuru ke bête because he brought Guru’shead to Anand Pur Sahib from Delhi?Because of their subservient and slavishmentality, the Sikh Sardars completelybetrayed and rejected Maharaja DalipSingh. The truth is that SGPC and theother Sikh Institutions developed afterthe annexation of Punjab were developedby the British according to theirconcepts rather than the Sikh principles.Generally, these institutions have playeda subservient role to the government oftheir time. How else a butcher likeGeneral Dyer would have been givenSiropa by them. Maharaja Dalip Singhand his family had completely lost everythingto the British at that time. Theywere completely helpless and destituteand were far removed from the mainSikh community. Therefore, the argumentthat the burial was done accordingto their wishes does not hold.