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It is said that when Guru Gobind Singh first initialled the five Sikhs (Khalsa) in 1699 he mentioned the four Kurehta (the four prohibitions) to them after they had taken Amrit (baptism ceremony with water) at Vaisakhi 1699. The Guru asked the five Panj Piare (beloved of the Guru) to refrain from the four Kurehtas; namely,
- 1. Cutting or trimming of hair or Kesh,
- 2. Fornication or adultery,
- 3. Halal meat or flesh of animal slaughtered in a slow and painful manner, (some say all meat is banned - the Guru is believed to have used the word - "Kuthha")
- 4. Use of tobacco and intoxication drug.
The meaning of the Punjabi word ਕਠਾ "Kutha"
View 1. The word 'Kutha' () mean meat prepared after very slow, deliberate and prolonged slaughtering of an animal in ritualistic Islamic religious tradition. Almost all over India this is locally termed as "Halal".
View 2. The word 'Kutha' ( ) simply means to "kill or destroy or eliminate"; there is no connection will the word "halal" or the ritualistic slaughtering method used to kill.
Use of these words
Etymologically, the word ‘Kuthha’ (ie: ਕਠਾ, killed) is a past participle which has been derived from the root ‘Kohna’ () which means simply "to slay or kill". 'Kohna' (ਕੋਹਣਾ) is a word not used in the holy Granth. This word does not mean to slay slowly or according to the Muslim method.
In fact, this word has never been used in the Muslim literature or in their general language to refer to meat obtained by killing animals with any sharp weapon irrespective of whether any holy hymns are read at that time or not.
Another similar word used in the holy Granth is 'Kuhe' (""ਕਹਿ ਬਕਰਾ ਰਿੰਨਹਹਿ ਖਾਇਆ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਆਖੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ Kuhi bakrĝ rinniĥ kẖĝ▫i▫ĝ sabẖ ko ĝkẖai pĝ▫e. The goat is killed, cooked and eaten, and everyone then says, "Put on the sacred thread""" (SGGS p 471) .In this line of Gurbani the word 'Kuhee' is used to simply mean 'kill'.);
|SGGS Page 321 Full Shabad|
| ਇਕ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਾਉ ਦਯਾ ਕਠਾ ॥ |
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੰਗੈ ਜੋੜਿ ਕਰ ਪਰਭ ਦੇਵੈ ਤਠਾ ॥13॥
ik niranjan rav rahi-aa bhaa-o duyaa kuthaa.
This Shabad appears not to refer to any type of meat?
- Word by Word breakdown
- ik means "one", numeral "1"
- niranjan means "Immaculate and Pure"
- rav from Rami*1 means "wander, roam, dwell, enjoy, take delight in, contemplate, adore"
- rahi-aa from rahi ( ਰਿਹ ) means "remain, fix, support, last, continue, restrain"
- bhaa-o from sk Bhava *1 means "love" "
- duyaa *1 means "second", "the other"
The word 'Kutha' here simply means 'destroy'
|SGGS Page 472 Full Shabad|
| ਅਭਾਖਿਆ ਕਾ ਕਠਾ ਬਕਰਾ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ |
abhaakhi-aa kaa kuthaa bakraa khaanaa.
Here the word "kuthaa" is in relation to meat of sheep/goat
- Word by Word breakdown
- Abhaakhi means according to Reference 1 below: 1. (from Sanskrit Abhaksha) "uneatable" 2. (from Sanskrit A+Bhasha) bad language, language not to be uttered. Also Abhakkhu ( ਅਭਖ ) (from Sk. Abhaksha) uneatable, forbidden food.
- Kaa means "of"
- bakraa mean "sheep", bakree means "goat"
- khaanaa mean "to eat"; "is eaten"
Here the word 'Kutha' means 'dead' or 'killed'
|SGGS Page 956 Full Shabad|
| ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਕਠਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੇਖ ॥ |
ਲੋਹੂ ਲਬ ਨਿਕਥਾ ਵੇਖ ॥
tis daa kuthaa hovai saykh
Here the word "kutha" is in relation to "Sheikh"
- Word by Word breakdown
- tis means "their, his, her. its"
- daa means "of", "belonging to",
- hovai means "becomes", "is", "happens"
- saykh from sakh ( ਸੇਖ ) means *1 Shaikh, a Muslim religious leader
Here the word 'Kutha' means 'kill'
Other similar words
‘Kuhat’ ( )
In the two quotes below, the word ‘Kuhat’ () refer to "killing, slaughtering, slaying" in general. ‘Kuthhey’ simply means to kill and does not refer in any way to "halal".
"The sinner will certainly be ruined or destroyed. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, p.109)
|ਬੇਦ ਪੜੈ ਮਖਿ ਮੀਠੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ ਜੀਆਂ ਕਹਤ ਨ ਸੰਗੈ ਪਰਾਣੀ ॥੩॥|
|Beḝ paṛai mukẖ mīṯẖī baṇī. Jī▫ĝŉ kuhaṯ na sangai parĝṇī.(3)|
|With his mouth, he recites the Vedas in sweet musical measures,
and yet he does not hesitate to take the lives of others.(3)
Kuhe ( )
In this line of Gurbani, a similar word - Kuhee is used to mean 'kill'
|ਕਹਿ ਬਕਰਾ ਰਿੰਨਹਹਿ ਖਾਇਆ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਆਖੈ ਪਾਇ ॥|
|Kuhi bakrĝ rinniĥ kẖĝ▫i▫ĝ sabẖ ko ĝkẖai pĝ▫e.|
|The goat is killed, cooked and eaten, and everyone then says, "Put on the sacred thread".|
Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib
1. In Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib by Surinder Singh Kohli on page 205 is the following entry:
Kutha: (ਕਠਾ) adj (from P(unjabi) Kohana) Slaughtered.
From Punjabi-English English-Punjabi Dictionary by Krishan Kumar Goswani Page 91
Kohnaa ( ਕੋਹਣਾ ) v To torture, to slay, to kill
Similar Words in SGGS
1. The word ਕਠਾਰ "Kuthaar"
a). SGGS page 693:
|SGGS Page 693 Full Shabad|
| ਬਜਰ ਕਠਾਰ ਮੋਹਿ ਹੈ ਛੀਨਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਮਿੰਨਤਿ ਲਗਿ ਪਾਵਉ ॥ |
bajar kuthaar mohi hai chheenaaN kar minat lag paava-o.
Here word "Kuthaar" appears to mean "Axe"
b). SGGS page 714
|SGGS Page 714 Full Shabad|
| ਕਾਢਿ ਕਠਾਰ ਪਿਤ ਬਾਤ ਹੰਤਾ ਅਉਖਧ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
kaadh kuthaar pit baat hantaa a-ukhaDh har ko naa-o. ((1)) rahaa-o.
Again the word "Kuthaar" appears to mean "Axe"
Also see SGGS pages 825: The Lord and Master raised His axe, and chopped off his head; in an instant, he was reduced to dust. ||1||
and SGGS page 1389: Parasraam the son of Jamdagan, whose axe and powers were taken away by Raghuvira, sing of Him.
2. The word ਕਠਾਰਿ "kuthaar"
|SGGS Page 1225 Full Shabad|
| ਹਰਿ ਕਾਟੀ ਕਟਿਲਤਾ ਕਠਾਰਿ ॥ |
har kaatee kutiltaa kuthaar.
3. The Word ਕਠੇ ॥ "kuthay"
|SGGS Page 1019 Full Shabad|
| ਅਜਰਾਈਲਿ ਫੜੇ ਫੜਿ ਕਠੇ ॥ |
ajraa-eel farhay farh kuthay.
See main article Vegetarianism
WARNING: - Some external links have disturbing pictures of animal slaughter - Not suitable for young children.
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1. Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib by Surinder Singh Kohli ISBN 81-7205-174-3
2. Punjabi-English English-Punjabi Dictionary by Krishan Kumar Goswani ISBN 81-7476-247-7