Friday, October 26, 2007



Turban/Dastar (ਦਸਤਾਰ) has been used centuries before the Sikh way of life came in to being. It was a status symbol indicating superiority or leadership (ਸਿਕਦਾਰ) or was worn by kings etc. The spirituality touch to the turban can only be given by utilizing the moral values postulated by Guru Nanak to the sacred thread of Brahmin. Such a turban should have a twist of compassion, tucking the ends as contentment, tying being continence, truth its color, dharma its starch, and good deeds as its beautiful show.
ਦਇਆ ਕਪਾਹ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੂਤੁ ਜਤੁ ਗੰਢੀ ਸਤੁ ਵਟੁ
ਏਹੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਹਈ ਤ ਪਾਡੇ ਘਤੁ ॥
ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਤੁਟੈ ਨ ਮਲੁ ਲਗੈ ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਜਲੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਮਾਣਸ  ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜੋ ਗਲਿ ਚਲੇ ਪਾਇ ॥
Da-i-aa Kapaah Santokh Soot Jat Gandhee Sat Vat Ėhu jane▫ū jī▫a kā ha▫ī ṯa pāde gẖaṯ.Nā ehu ṯutai nā mal lagai nā ehu jalai na jā▫e.Ḏẖan so māṇas nānkā jo gal cẖale pā▫e.

Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, modesty the knot and truth the twist. This is the sacred thread of the soul; if you have it, then go ahead and put it on me. It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, it cannot be burnt, or lost. Blessed are those mortal beings, O Nanak, who wear such a thread around their necks.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 471-2


With out these moral values it is just an ordinary part of the dress to protect the hairs and when combined with other symbols is considered as a source of identity of Sikhs. Guru Nanak in Raag Asa calls these beliefs as rituals to a Brahmin:

ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਪਾਟੰ
ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ
ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ
Du-ay Dhotee Bastar KapaataN, Jay Jaanas BarahmaN KarmaN, Sabh Fokat Nischa-o KarmaN.

Upon your head is a turban and you are wearing two loin cloths. If you knew the nature of God, you would know that all of these beliefs and rituals are in vain.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 470-17

Guru Arjan advised a Muslim in Raag Maru, total awareness of virtues as turban:

ਕਾਇਆ ਕਿਰਦਾਰ ਅਉਰਤ ਯਕੀਨਾ
ਰੰਗ ਤਮਾਸੇ ਮਾਣਿ ਹਕੀਨਾ
ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ
Kaa-i-aa Kirdaar A-urat Yakeenaa, Rang Tamaasay Maan Hakeenaa, Naapaak Paak Kar Hadoor Hadeesaa Saabat Soorat Dastaar Siraa.

Let good deeds be your body, and faith your bride. Play and enjoy the God's love and delight. Purify what is impure, and let the God's Presence be your religious tradition. Let your total awareness of these virtues be the turban on your head.-----Guru Arjun, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1084-9

Kabir in Raag Gauri and Kidara, while Ravidas in Raag Sorath and Sheikh Farid in his Slokes has been more sarcastic about these rituals of turban as well as the human body which remains here after death as dust:
ਜਿਹ ਸਿਰਿ ਰਚਿ ਰਚਿ ਬਾਧਤ ਪਾਗ
ਸੋ ਸਿਰੁ ਚੁੰਚ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ ਕਾਗ
ਇਸੁ ਤਨ ਧਨ ਕੋ ਕਿਆ ਗਰਬਈਆ
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਨ ਦ੍ਰਿੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੀਆ
ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ
ਇਹੀ ਹਵਾਲ ਹੋਹਿਗੇ ਤੇਰੇ
Jih Sir Rach Rach BaaDhat Paag, So Sir Chunch Savaareh Kaag. Iss Tan Dhan Ko Ki-aa Garab-ee-aa, Raam Naam Kaahay Na Darirh-ee-aa. Kahat Kabir Sunhu mMn Myray, Iee Hvaal Hhigay Tyray.

That head which was once embellished with the finest turban, upon that head, the crow now cleans his beak. What pride should we take in this body and wealth? Why not hold tight to the God's Name instead?  Says Kabir, listen, O my mind this may be your fate as well!-----Kabir, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 330
ਟੇਢੀ ਪਾਗ ਟੇਢੇ ਚਲੇ ਲਾਗੇ ਬੀਰੇ ਖਾਨ
ਭਾਉ ਭਗਤਿ ਸਿਉ ਕਾਜੁ ਨ ਕਛੂਐ ਮੇਰੋ ਕਾਮੁ ਦੀਵਾਨ
ਰਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਹੈ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਿ
Taydhee Paag Taydhay Chalay Laagay Beeray Khan, Bhaa-o Bhagat Si-o Kaaj Na Kachhoo-ai Mayro Kaam Deevaan, Raam Bisaari-o Hai Abhimaan.

Your turban is crooked, and you walk crooked; and now you have started chewing betel leaves. You have no use at all for loving devotional worship; you say you have business in court. In your egotistical pride, you have forgotten the God.-----Kabir, Raag Kidara, AGGS, Page, 1124-5

ਬੰਕੇ ਬਾਲ ਪਾਗ ਸਿਰਿ ਡੇਰੀ ॥
ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਭਸਮ ਕੀ ਢੇਰੀ ॥੩॥
Banke bāl pāg sir derī.Ih ṯan ho▫igo bẖasam kī dẖerī. 

You make your hair beautiful, and wear a stylish turban on your head. But in the end, this body shall be reduced to a pile of ashes. -----Ravidas, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 659-5

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਮੈ ਭੋਲਾਵਾ ਪਗ ਦਾ ਮਤੁ ਮੈਲੀ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਗਹਿਲਾ ਰੂਹੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਈ ਸਿਰੁ ਭੀ ਮਿਟੀ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੬॥
Farīḏā mai bẖolāvā pag ḏā maṯ mailī ho▫e jā▫e.Gahilā rūhu na jāṇ▫ī sir bẖī mitī kẖā▫e. 

Farid, I was worried that my turban might become dirty. My thoughtless self did not realize that one day, dust will consume my head as well. -----Sheikh Farid Slokes # 26, AGGS, Page, 1379


The turban or "Pagri" often shortened to "Pag" or "dastar" are different words in various dialect for the same article. All these words refer to the garment worn by both men and women to cover their heads. It is a headdress consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or sometimes an inner "Hat" or Patka. Traditionally in India, the turban was only worn by men of high status in society; men of low status or of lower castes were not allowed or could not afford to wear a turban. It is a part of dress, identity, and symbol of spirituality in Sikhism.

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