Essential qualifications of a Gurdwara Pardhaan in light of Gurbani


The word Pardhan (pronounced as Pardhaan) has a general meaning as understood by most of the people (a leader, Aagoo, chief, a distinguished person, etc.), and also a special meaning as indicated by the Gurbani. This Gurbani Reflection will try to understand the significance of this term. Secondly, the discussion is limited to a Spiritual standpoint only. However, the fundamental principles can be applied to other situations as well.


ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਦਇਆ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ਤੇ ਮਾਣਸ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥:
Sachu varatu santokhu teerathu giaanu dhianu isnaanu.
Daiaa devataa khimaa japamaalee te maanas pardhaan
(sggs 1245)

The nuances of right morality or conduct have been nurtured and passed on from generation to generation in practice. The scriptures not only provide us with the guidelines for the proper conduct, they also indicate that the leaders and elders in the society must set an example by their righteous behavior. If they do not conduct themselves righteously or truthfully, then they cannot expect others, especially the young generation, to be virtuous. Therefore, the elderly or the leaders who occupy important positions in the society have to be conscious of their behavior; so they must hold upright conduct. Does this happen? Very rarely! To the contrary, we all routinely hear and read stories or witness scenes such as:

  • Corruption at all levels of the society, including religious places and institutions.
  • Use of violence, guns and swords at religious places.
  • Killing and hurting of fellow devotees by the different factions or groups in the name of religion and God.
  • Stealing of donation money or inappropriate use of funds by Pardhaan and his associates .
  • Use of religious corporations by Pardhaan and his associates to smuggle or bring people (in the garb of Giaanees, Raagees, Granthees, Parchaarak, etc.) from other countries for making money.
  • Money laundering scandals involving Pardhaan and his associates; purchasing personal businesses with the Gurdawara funds — leaving Gurdawara in financial chaos (or any religious place for that matter).
  • Religious places being closed by the Government agencies due to violence, larceny, and swindling charges, resulting in civil and criminal litigation.
  • Religious premises used for inappropriate and vulgar activities by the leaders, Gianis, Raagis, etc.
  • Use of religious places by Pardhaans to promote personal interest, egotistic agenda (i.e., falsehood), power politics, etc.
  • Total disrespect and disregard for the teachings of the scriptures.
  • Struggle for gaining absolute power to control the huge funds, cash donations and assets.
  • Unethical practices to retain control of leadership.
  • Total disregard for dissemination of the scriptures and Dharma in its true perspective.
  • Promotion of blind ritualism, fanaticism, hatred, conflicts, animosity, Jaat-Paat, differences, and communal madness.
  • Cheating and misleading of Sangat or devotees by Pardhaans and their associates.
  • Honoring and glorification of swindlers in the garb of Raagees, Saints, Parchaaraks, etc., by Pardhaans in the presence of Holy Scriptures.

If a Pardhaan and his group loose control of a particular Gurdawara (or any other religious place), they split and open up another one, based on their ill feelings and ill intentions rather than a genuine Spiritual cause.

Very rarely we hear of some rare individuals performing righteously; but, unfortunately, not too many people want to support such righteous beings.

True Qualification Of A Pardhaan

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat is then expected of a Pardhaan?, one may ask. The Gurbani provides us with true and essential qualifications of a Pardhaan. Some of these qualifications include, but not limited to, truthful living, true contentment, Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi…), compassion, righteousness, selflessness, desirelessness, egolessness, forgiveness, constant abidance in God-Consciousness, mind fixed in Shabad-Surti (Aatam-Giaan…), well-conducted, thorough understanding of Gurbani and remembering it with every breath and morsel, obeying Hukam (God’s Will…), having true love for the only One, sweet-natured, the Gurmukh, and so on.

  • ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਦਇਆ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ਤੇ ਮਾਣਸ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Sachu varatu santokhu teerathu giaanu dhianu isnaanu. Daiaa devataa khimaa japamaalee te maanas pardhaan (sggs 1245).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਗਾਇਆ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਤੇ ਊਤਮ ਜਨ ਪਰਧਾਨ ਜੀਉ ॥: Hari hari jasu gaya param padu paya te ootam jan pardhaan jeeou (sggs 446).
  • ਜਿਨਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਿਉ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਆ ਸੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Jinaa satigur siou chitu laya se poore pardhaan (sggs 45).
  • ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Jin mani vasiaa paarbrahm se poore pardhaan (sggs 45).
  • ਅਚਾਰਵੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪਰਧਾਨੇ ॥: Achaarvant seyee pardhaane (sggs 97).
  • ਪੰਚਮਿ ਪੰਚ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਤੇ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨਿਓ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ॥: Panchami panch pardhaan te jih jaanio parpanchu (sggs 297).
  • ਜਿਨਾ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਨ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਸੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਪੁਰਖ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Jin saasi giraasi n visarai se poore purukh pardhaan (sggs 313).
  • ਪੂਰੇ ਤੇ ਪਰਧਾਨ ਨਿਵਾਵਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਥਾ ॥: Poore te pardhaan nivavahi prabh mathaa (sggs 709).
  • ਸੀਲਵੰਤਿ ਪਰਧਾਨਿ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਚਾਵੀਆ ॥: Seelvanti pardhaan ridai sachaaveeaa (sggs 964).
  • ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਮੁਹਬਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਤੇ ਮਾਣਸ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥੨॥: Jinhaa muhabati ik siou te manas pardhaan ||22|| (sggs 1102).
  • ਧਨਵੰਤੇ ਸੇਈ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨ ॥੪॥੧੭॥੩੦॥: Dhanavante seyee pardhaan. Nanak ja kai naamu nidhaan ||4||17||30|| (sggs 1144).
  • ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ॥: Panch paravaan panch pardhaanu (sggs 3).
  • ਜੋ ਜਨ ਲੂਝਹਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਸੇ ਸੂਰੇ ਪਰਧਾਨਾ ॥: Jo jan loojhi manai siou se soore Pardhaanaa (sggs 1089).

Thus, a Pardhaan is a person who has the sense of Oneness. He is a man of character, generosity of heart, mercy, Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi…), true contentment, humility, universal love, moral well-being, valor, eminence, fortitude, efficiency and sense of responsibility, etc. He is free of false ego (Haume), and, thereby, does not get disturbed by criticism, praise, insult, failures, success, likes and dislikes. Without greed and selfishness or any material ambitions, he knows the importance of selfless service (Sevaa) thundered by the Gurbani. He is concerned about responsibility and principles, not about recognition. He is a man of Inner Happiness, who feels he has all he needs.

Therefore, a true, upright, and honest Pardhaan will distinguish himself by exemplary Spiritual Wisdom he will act with vision, righteousness and truth under all circumstances; he is straight forward; he never resorts to falsehood even when compelled by inescapable situations; he keeps the senses under his strict control; he shows restraint and patience; he is kind and charitable; he enshrines the One in his Heart; he observes detachment from all that is unreal; he masters the true meanings of the Gurbani; he does not show jealousy or malice; he feels guilty to do any prohibited act; he refrains from injuring the sentiments of others; he keeps a constant vigil over his mind; he pardons those who attempt to cause him injury, and so on. Anyone who sticks to these rules can be termed as a true Pardhaan or Gurmukh (Spiritual Being)!

Without these true and essential qualities as outlined in the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), a person is not qualified to be called a Pardhaan. On the contrary, a person lacking such divine qualities is identified in the Gurbani as Manmukh (self-willed, ignorant, material-being…), Saakat (faithless cynics), Kusang (bad company), Aatam-Ghaatee (soul-murderer), Chor (thief), Mayadhaaree (in love with Maya only), Bemukh (nonbeliever), Jhooth or Koorh (false or fake), non-devotee, selfish, demon, beast, idiot, fool, animal, and so on.

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਉ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ ਸੇ ਪੁਰਖ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ॥: Prabh kaou simarahi se purakh pardhaan (sggs 263).