Why did Guru Nanak reject the Janoy

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When Nanak had attained the age of nine years, his father determined to have him invested with the Janoy or janeu, or sacrificial thread of the Hindus as was the common custom of the people in India. Until a boy is so invested, he is deemed almost an outcaste. When the members and relations of the family, and all the neighbours, secular and religious, had assembled, and all preliminary rites had been duly performed, Hardial, the family priest, proceeded to put the sacred thread on Nanak's neck. Young Nanak caught the thread with his hand, and asked the priest what he was doing, and what advantage it was to put a thread of that description on him. The priest then explained that the Janoy was the basis of the Hindu religion, that without it a man would only be a Sudar. Guru Nanak refused to wear the thread.

The main reasons give for these rejection are:

  • The thread is a sign of discrimination. Low castes are not allowed to wear the janoy.
  • It bring no virtue or enhancement to the wearer. It can break easily. It does not have any strength and does not give the wearer any strength.
  • It gets filthy very easily; It can be burnt and lost
  • It falsely gives the Brahmin a position of spiritual guide - which he really does not deserve. It is a custom created by the Brahmin to exercise and create a empty ritual which only he can perform. It creates this unnecessary "priestly" class.

See also