Is Maryada of putting Big Chandoa vanishing?


Years ago, in village gurdwaras, Parkash of Guru Granth Sahib ji was done on a small Manji ( a small cot) placed on a raised dais made of wood or steel (also called the Takht Posh). Over the head used to be a Chandoa ( sometimes also called Chandani), generally made of simple cotton Fulkari (cloth). Chandani can be built easily by tying strings or ribbons to the four corners of a piece of cloth, and attach the ribbons to four hooks implanted in the walls or in the ceiling.

However with time, Palki seems to be a new development and fairly new invention especially in western countries. The gigantic sized palki sahibs seems to be a new concept in modern Gurdwara Sahibs where hundreds of thousand dollars are spent just on an expensive palki thereby creating competition among Gurdwaras.

In the west, people seems to be casually doing all the elegant things. People don’t want to spend time in putting the big Chandoa on the ceiling considering it will leave marks on their ceiling and an added hassle as well. Gurdwara Committees as well as the Kirtani Jathas are equally responsible towards this move as they provide the biggest support to such move and instead of asking the family to put big Chandoa, they also tell them not to worry and that palki should be enough.

Baba Mohan ji handing over the pothis to Guru Arjan Dev ji

In the Sikh tradition, we read about the use of Palki for the first time when Guru Arjan Dev ji brought the sacred four pothis of Gurbani from Goindwal Sahib to Amritsar Sahib.

Also take an example of a Royal court where a King used to sit on an open throne fully visible to his audience and not sitting in a palki. Accordingly, while conducting a diwan, we should always install Guru Granth Sahib ji on a Manji (a throne and not in a palki) with Chandoa (canopy) on the top and accompained by a chaur.

According to a press statement given by Giani Joginder Singh ji Vaidanti to the Tribune Newspaper in 2003, the then Jathedar of Akal Takhat Sahib, he warned “granthis” and others on the issue of “chandoa” (cloth canopy) Palki (planquin) was a mere carrier or container of the holy Granth Sahib and a full-fledged “chandoa” must be placed over Guru Granth Sahib, he asserted. The scripture should normally be placed out of the “palki” in its “parkash” but in case the “parkash” was done inside the palki then a big chandoa must be fixed over head and the violators of this religious maryada would proceeded against, he warned.

No doubt, Palki has a definite place in Satkaar (respect) of Dhan Guru Granth Sahib ji but the use of Palki is to transport Guru Sahib from one place to another. In Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, the palki as during the days of Gurus, is used every day only to carry Guru Granth Sahib ji from Sri Akal Takht Sahib to Sri Darbar Sahib and then used to bring back to Akal Takht Sahib at night. Thus Palki is like a vehicle to respectfully move Guru Sahib from one place to another and it is a Manmat to do Prakash of Guru Sahib in a Palki. Prakash must be done on Takhat Sahib with Manji Sahib on top and Chandoya Sahib on the ceiling. Palki seems to be a new development and as in Darbar Sahib in Amritsar Sahib, Prakash should be on a Manji with Chandoa on the ceiling.

Considering the times of Guru Sahibaans and history, Chandoa feels right and is puratan tradition that is still carried out at sri Darbar Sahib.

 Bhul chuk di muafi