WHAT DO YOU GAIN FROM ARDAS?
Ardas is a unique Sikh prayer that was not written by the Gurus and cannot be found in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the holy book of the Sikhs). Ardas is known to be a changing and evolving prayer that is recited by an individual in accordance to his/her feelings, accomplishments and state of mind.
Definition of Ardas
The word ardas is derived from ard/arz (plea) and das (slave). In Sanskrit ard means ‘request, ask, beg” and the Persian word arzdasht means a ‘a request, a supplication1, a prayer, a petition or an address to a superior authority.’
Ardas as a Supplication
What does Gurbani teach us about ardas, pleas and asking?
The only pleas or supplications or ardases that are in accordance in gurmat and given such an understanding are
- A plea of thanks for giving us all that He has given in His Hukm – (Shukrana)
- A plea for enlightenment for knowing, understanding and appreciatinging His Hukm – (Soojh and Boojh).
It is in 1430 pages of SGGS.
3. A plea of forgiveness for each instant that I mistakenly or
egoistically think I can override His Hukm – (Khima).
4. A plea for strength to forbear His Hukum both “good “
and “bad” for me at all times – (Sabbar).
5 .A plea that I would always be content in His Hukm and never ask
ask for His Hukm to not operate on me – (Santokh).
Now we can make an analysis of all the ardases that go on in our congregations and personal pleas. They all bottom out to one single thing. And that is we don’t want His Hukm to operate on us. Our ardases are meant to defy His Hukm, to deny His Hukm.
Take away disease and give me health. Take away my poverty and give me wealth. Take away my lesser material and give me the better one my neighbour has, etc. Take away all that you give me and give me all that I want.
And we justify this by saying Jo Mangey Thakur Apney Tey and Ghar Taan Terey Sabh Kich Hai. It never matters that the above verses mean something else all together. What matters is that our ardases go on.
That’s why Guruji says
Jo Mangey So Mangey Beea. Ja Tey Kuchal Na Kahoon Theea.
Meaning, all that you have been pleading for/asking is STALE. It is stale because what you are asking today, you have been asking and asking for years. It is stale. (BEEA is stale – the modern word is BAYHA). It is stale because your father, grand -father and great-grandfather asked for the same things.
And the truth is Ja Tey Kuchal Na Kahoon Theea. Nothing ever came out of all that pleading and asking. Why? The answer is in the multitude of shabads in the SGGS.
Shabads such as Manganna Mangan Neeka. Come my Sikh, I will teach you what you need to make pleas for. Shabads such as Vin Tudh Hor Jay Mangana Sir Dukha Kay Dukh.
Ardas as a Business
We need to understand that earning a living out of ‘religion’ is big business in Sikhi. From the multi-million-dollar worth deras to the 150 dollar Akhand Pathee walking the streets of KL to New York, there is an overabundance of all sorts in between.
This, despite the strong message of Guru Nanak:
Dhrig Tina Da Jeevyeay Jo Likh Likh Vechey Nao.
Cursed are the spiritual lives of those who make a living on account (likh likh) of selling (vechey) spirituality (Nao).
In the world of the sellers of ‘spirituality’ (and buyers too), ardas is big business. From the local granthi who charges for an ardas on one’s behalf, to the deras and babas who thrive on collections that are pro-rated according to the request of the individual, and to the ‘special babey at special places’ that do ardases for ‘special purposes’ – the business of ardas is booming as a big enterprise.
The biggest amount (on record that we know) was the sum of US 1 Million Dollars paid to Nanaksari Baba Amar Singh Burundi by a lady for an‘ardas’ to rid her mother of cancer. The lady later sued the Baba when her mother died of the cancer. This case is on record as a USA Court judgement. The judgement is a beautiful read of a white man pouring scorn on that Nanaksari thug. She won the case but he ran off to Australia to continue with his Ardas Inc Pte Ltd.
Third Party Sales
To keep the business of paid ardas thriving – these Dhrig Tina Da Jeevyeay people have created a whole gamut of sales pitches.
Here is a selection.
- My ardas will change your Karam (Fate). A miracle, perhaps?
- An ardas by a ‘mahapurash’ is heard faster by God. Just like a push-button?
- An ardas requires full sharda in the person doing it on your behalf. (Read full sharda as meaning Full Capacity Payment without any question. You are lacking in sharda?
- A collective ardas by a congregation led by a ‘mahapurash’ is answered immediately by God. Power in a selected few?
- There is delay in God’s House but no denial. In Punjabi – Rubb dey ghar daer hai pur andher nahi – this sales pitch works very well to keep you coming repeatedly to continue the ardas while waiting for the delay in God’s house to time out. Each repeated ardas costs more than the earlier one as desperation begins to set in.
Imagine that A has a paid ardas done as a request for item B. The Big Business theory is that the more A gets denied, the more money the Ardas Ltd makes.
To say that there is a delay in God’s house is an insult to God – because delay means incompetence, laze or ignorance, But this insult works wonders for Ardas Inc Ltd as gullible people keep coming back!
The principle of Sikhi however is different. If indeed A was meant to receive item B, God created and sent item B even before person A was created.
We read the verse everyday.
Kahey Re Mun Chitvey Udham Ja Ahar Har Jio Pareya.
Sael Pathar Mein Junt Upaye Ja Ka Rizuk Agey Kar Dhareya.
The word Agey means prior, before.
The word Kar Dhareya means created and delivered.
It means all that we need for sustaining our life (Ahar) is put down into our existence before we were even created.
The corollary to sales pitch E is that it is actually in the interest of the Ardas Inc Ltd that A does does not get item B that the third party ardas is for because the more the ‘delay’ the more the returns for the person ‘doing’ the ardas.
Now for those of us who still believe that certain ‘babas and mahapurashs’ indeed have the power to get us our desires through their ardas, then know that they also have the ‘power’ to get us ‘denied’ whatever we are asking for.
This is what really happens when A gets a third party to do his ardas for item B. The words from the third party’s mouth loud and clear: “God ji, please grant person A item B. He is a great Sikh and he truly deserves it”.
The words from his heart probably are ” God ji, please deny person A item B at least 15 times. I need him to keep coming back 14 more times so I can make enough money from him for my visa and flight to Canada. I am a true Sikh and I deserve that much money.”
Unfortunately, it is not in anybody’s interest to change anything although a vast majority of Sikhs are sucked into this system.
The Status of Ardas done by Proxy
- The status from an institutionalized religion point of view is that of a closure, a ritual, sending someone off, praying on behalf of the deceased so that he or she gets admitted to heaven, doesn’t end up in a bad place, etc. Any or all of the above.
- The status from the GURBANI point of view – we are still looking
for that ONE verse that approves of the practice of a proxy!
In fact, the SGGS says
Appan Hathee Aapna Apey Hee Kaaj Swareay
The challenge for those wishing to pursue authentic Sikhi is to cross check all claims pertaining to ardas with Gurbani verses and messages. That is our challenge. Take this challenge if you seek real Sikhi.
The first challenge is to find one single verse in the 1429 pages of SGGS that approves of an ardas done on our behalf by someone else. With or without payment. Look for that ONE verse.
Strange isn’t it that there are lots of (so called) ‘uchee avastha valleh’ existing around the world but not one has ever quoted that that verse? No body, learned or not, can find that verse simply because it doesn’t exist.
- Once we focus on the right ‘ask’ then everything else will follow
suit! I never ask. I always just get. And yes I totally owe God everything I have hence I am constantly thanking God for His grace on me. It is OK to not want anything. It is not wrong. I often just ‘be’ without any expectations. I never am disappointed in this state. In fact there is alot of peace in just being. And not wanting anything. Asking alone won’t help. Naam is attained through individual hardwork. Reflection and realization. Never by asking alone.
2. Ardas is
At contentment level there is no Ardas for anything else as
whatever is GIVEN is a Gift. Just like the self-assessment we do
nowadays in the workforce on a yearly basis, ardas is a daily self-
3. I am born poor (lack of worldly material) yet I can change this state. I can work hard and smart and earn money to gain material wealth OR I can work hard and splurge my earnings on alcohol, gambling, do whatever I wish. This is MY choice. I cannot just do ‘ardas’ and wait for the change in my state without working for it. Guruji tells us –we reap what we sow.
4. Everything of everything to the minute micro details and eternal
perfect timing (that cannot be altered) takes place or happens as per
Hukm of One Universal God, be it good or bad. Nothing can
Happen without Hukm and we cannot demand anything to happen
that is beyond Hukm. If we agree with this Truth THEN why the
need for Plea /Supplication /Ardas /Bentee ?
5. The ‘Ardass’ in SGGS as well as in the SRM is for ALL of
Humanity./ Sarbatt Da Bhalla and HUKM. What we have in “our
ardases” are BEGGING for material things such passing in exams,
new car, new house, boy child, win court case, get admission to
university, get a job, good health, strike the lottery etc.
6. Can an ardas stop anyone from death? Make a person immortal?