It is a common practice among Sikhs to walk bare feet when ever they take the Guru Granth Sahib ji from one place to another . This tradition is followed regardless of weather conditions ( cold , ice , snow , rain or hot burning sand ). It is commonly seen on TV during when they parade the Guru Granth Sahib ji on the streets, this is referred to as “ Nagar Kirtan“. Leading the procession are Five Singhs ( Panj Piareys ) who carry shinning swords , walk bare feet . Let us think , is this Gurmat ( Guru ‘s teaching ) or Manmat ( ignorance ) ?
Sikhs who follow this ritual believe that is how they are paying respect to the Guru . They are not aware of that Guru’s respect is to read and understand Gurbani and then apply it in your daily life. In other words Gurbani teaches us the “Way Of Life” to become a good citizen. It can not be found within the Guru Granth Sahib that walking in bare feet is paying respect to the Guru.
It is understandable to walk bare feet in homes and in the Gurdwaras where cleanliness is of utmost importance, but out side on the road it is defeating the purpose. Walking in bare feet outside, followers feet are bound to get dirty, get injured or worse acquire an infection causing disease.
Now let us look back at the Guru period :
- Did the Sikh Sangat walked bare feet when ever they went walking or following Guru Sahib ?
- Guru Nanak Dev ji wrote bani and kept with himself in the form of Pothi’s (books) where ever he went. Did Guru Nanak walked bare feet ?
- Bhai Mardana ji spent more than 50 years with Guru Nanak Dev ji , did he walked bare feet all this time ?
- Guru Hargobind ji and Guru Gobind Singh ji with hundreds of Sikhs fought battles, were all the Sikhs bare feet in the battle fields ?
There is nothing in history that Guru asked the Sikhs to walk bare feet when walking with Guru ji.
Note : There is one thing in Indian history which may be a myth , that Emperor Akbar went to a Hindu Temple bare feet to please the Hindu people . So the saying goes like this : NANGI NANGI PARRI AKBAR AYIA . It seems as though this how it became a tradition, which as we can see above is not reflective within Sikhism.
In present times, it looks as though that the Sikhs of today become more knowledgeable than their Gurus to carry on with this unnecessary practice.
- Dear fellow Sikhs you have to analyse and decide yourself whether this ritual is a Gurmat or an Ignorance ?
We are now living in science age of 21st. Century, there fore no religious concept will be accepted which can not stand the test of Logic and Science.
Ramjit Singh Mann