Sikhism on Prostitute

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If we study our holy scripture there are many references against prostitution. Prostitution is defined as the act of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for money or goods. Women who engage in this activitiy are generally called prostitute, whores and a plethora of other negative and damning words.

Concerning Prostitutes, Sikhism says that they are mothers of evil minded people, but if they meditate upon lord they would be saved. A Mythological reference to Ganika is used frequently, which I will explain further. Sikhism is strictly against prostitution, pimps and adulterers. Guru Nanak said these are friends of the unrighteous.

There are many terms in Sri guru Granth Sahib for a Prostitute i.e Vaisua, Baisua, Ganika, Randiyan, Pakhiyari, Bikhali, Baisuva and Ganika. Kutniya is word used for pimps who procures customers for prostitutes.

In Sikhism Evil Mind, Person Who forgot God, The Person who is unrighteous, Person who say wrong to saints, persons who are egoists, person who is an adulterer, a person who thinks about women all the day, greedy, adulterer all are said to be son of prostitutes. Another view is the Spiritually prostitutes

Gurus gave a huge blow to ill minded persons saying them again and again the son of prostitute or husband of prostitute. As ill minded never thinks about the god who is father of all and if he will not treat god as his father then person is nothing but child of a prostitute, so these persons are rejected in the world.

Question came what if someone is engaged in this business in vein then it is a reply that if such person meditates upon the lord she would be saved. A popular example of Ganika was a prostitute whose reference is used at various places, some sadhu gave him a parrot who used to recite Ram's name, with his parrot she started repeating the lord's name and was saved from all vices.

Resferences in Guru Granth sahib

  • On Ang 82, Guru Ram Das, of Guru Granth Sahib, Egoists are refered to prostitutes' sons. and it's given in the line that prostitute sons do not have names.
  • On Ang 239, Guru Arjan Dev, the persons who do not believe in god who do not treat god as their father are reffered to prostitute sons and dogs.
  • On Ang 345, Bhagat Namdev, There is reference to a prostitute who recited god name and he saved her i.e Ganika
  • On ang 399, Guru Arjun Dev, call a person the Husband of Prostitute who is an evil mind. Here it is said the wine of evil mindness makes husband of prostitute and wine of truth makes you the truth and imbued you in lord.
  • on Ang 526, Bhagat Trilochan said, the person who thinks of women all the time till death he reborn as a prostitiute
  • on Ang 528, Guru Ram Dass, Without name of lord is like a son born to prostitute's house, and he is cursed as noone knows whos his father.
  • On ang 632, Guru Tegh bahadur said on meditating lord's name even prostitute(ganika) is saved. Here ganika word is reffered for a man who is engulped by five vices.
  • On Ang 692, Devotee Kabir gave reference of Ganika or prostitute who committed many sins but she crossed over the world-ocean, by chanting the Lord's Name.
  • On Ang 790, Guru Nanak Dev, reffered the prostitute make friendships with the unrighteous, and eat with the unrighteous. The same is with case of Zara(Lucha manukh, adulterers) and kutniya(Pimps, Dallis). They are said equal to Satan as they do not know god's name.
  • on ang 830, guru teg bahadur, again use example of ganika that if some prostitute or person with ganika attitude remember god then sorrows will relieve her.
  • On Ang 837, Guru Ram Dass said that hypocrate are like son of prostitutes who do or perform rituals and are evils full of greed.
  • On ang 871, bhagat kabir said the prostitutes falls in world of sexual pleasures. Maya is also treated as a prostitute, who can destroy saint and maya is only beaten by god.

Ganika in Detail

Ganika literally means a prostitute or such woman who sells her body for money. There are several references in gurbani regarding ganika and how she obtained salvation.

I will narrate a brief story of one of the Ganikas (there is reference to two ganikas in gurbani).

There was once a ganika who lived in the outskirts of a city. All her life she did only bad karma and never even in her dreams did bhajan (simran, meditation) of Mere Raam jeeo. If someone ever asked her to do good deeds, she made fun of that person. She indulged in dirty worldly pleasures all day and actually did this profession not necessarily out of any problem or helplessness (majboori) but out of enjoyment.

Then as she grew older, she noticed people took less interest in her. She was in such profession that flourished only in the time of youth. She lost customers and as thus she started feeling dejected and also developed a lot of diseases. She was very worried about her future and did not know what to do.

One day it was raining very heavily when a Sadhu (a holy person), unaware that her house was a bad place came in to seek refuge. Actually some good karma from her previous life had blossomed and the reward of that karma she got was the arrival of a Sadhoo (holy person) at her doorstep. She had never done sewa of holy people or good karma in her life. She out of her previous lifes good karma, did lot of sewa of that sadhoo. By this time Sadhoo also realized who she was. They chose to ignore her background.

Sadhoo Jan briefly spoke of the real purpose of ones life in this world and told her about the next world. He also told her about hell and Jammdoots, the messengers of death who punish sinners in the next world. She had heard all this many times but that particular days was such an auspicious day that every word that the holy man spoke, got carved on her heart.

Before leaving, the Sadhu told her that he was very pleased with her sewa and asked her to wish for something. At this she fell at his feet and said as follows, "O Sadhu jan, I have never done anything good in my life. I have experienced all pleasures of life and have now found out that all pleasures feel good when you enjoy them but in the aftermath, they result in greater sorrow. O pious one, if you are really merciful on me at this time, then kindly grant me such boon that I may be saved from jamdoots and not lose honour in the next world".

Sadhoo jan thought that this woman had committed so many sins (paap) that she was not a suitable candidate for naam and that even if she is given Naam to japp, she will not be able to concentrate on it. He thought of a very good idea to get her to recite naam. He gave her his parrot and asked her to teach the parrot how to say Raam and that this will ensure her salvation in the next world. Saying this the sadhoo left.

The Ganika (forgot what her real name was) brought her full faith on the bachan of the Sadhoo and she now Ganika started on the mission to teach this parrot how to say Raam. Fortunately, this parrot was a real dumb parrot. It took a lot of effort on Ganika's part to teach him how to say Raam. Some of you may not be aware that parrot is a gifted bird because it can talk like humans. But off course they don't know the meanings of what they say.

Ganika spent her days and nights teaching the parrot, how to say Raam. She would say Raam in front of the parrot and parrot would make effort to say it out but it took him long time, since it was a really dumb parrot.

Saying Raam had a mesmerizing effect on her. She could not stop saying Raam. She just went on and on saying Raam. The more she said Raam, the better she felt.

Her mann (mind) started getting purified and as her mind got purified she realized what Raam can do. Now she remembered that people who told her all her life to do good karma were right. She cried and cried and said Raam .

Even after the parrot had learned how to say Raam, she could not stop saying Raam. Both the parrot and the Ganika kept saying Raam all day.

In the end she became a great bhagat. Her name has been mentioned in Gurbani several times. Here is one pankiti to prove that:

We must not forget that the Ganika was reciting Kirtam Naam and not the True Naam that Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee introduced to this world. If kirtam naam can have such effect, imagine what Naam Gurmantr would do.