Pictures of the floor being washing by milk have surfaced of Gurdwara Dukh Nivaraan Sahib causing controversy on social media. The floor is where Parkash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is done and it is elevated from the surrounding floors.
A journalist reported an estimated 3 quintals of milk is used to wash the marble floor everyday. The argument made by the journalist is that the ritual is against Sikh teachings and the milk could be used to feed starving children or poor people.
Here is what actually occurs, the milk is watered down so 1 part of milk is mixed with 4 parts of water causing a total of 25% milk used. Those washing the floor with milk state its a puratan tradition which also gets done at Sri Harimandir Sahib Ji.
Now, there is no historical evidence in any historic book which states such a tradition is allowed in Sikh traditions but the managing committee claims it’s being done since the 17th century.
“Its not right and should be stopped, its possibly a reminiscent from the masands who used to manage Harmandar Sahib before Singh sabha movement , something we are yet to shake off.”
“From a logical perspective, there is no point. This milk, which carries more nutrients than water, and is being used to clean floors, can be used to feed those who actually need the milk. Water is as good of a liquid to be used to clean the floors, so why not use it? ”
“Treating SGGS as living guru means to consult SGGS and take spiritual guidance from SGGS and respect it as living guru, it doesn’t mean worship SGGS with blind rituals , like washing floor with milk or wrapping SGGS in 5-10 rumallas,
I can understand that we should do all we can to preserve gurbani respectfully , so the room needs to be in optimum temperature, clean etc, but washing with milk servers no such preservation or respect function.”
A user who feels their is nothing wrong with the tradition states:
“The floor inside the Central Gurudwara Sahib is washed with milk+water. The rest of the Gurudwara and Parkarma are washed with water from the sarovar. Washing the marble floor with milk every morning is an old tradition, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Hindu or brahmin practices. The Guru Granth Sahib is our Living Guru. We treat it like royalty – all the accouterments and protocol around it reflect that one central fact. The idea of using milk, in addition to water, was to give honor to the royal presence. Some traditions – but not those that are oppressive, hurtful, etc. – deserve continuity. The argument that the milk could be used for the poor is a lovely sentiment but doesn’t go very far in reality, particularly in India. And it is to be noted that the content of those 5 buckets is not entirely milk, its almost 1 part milk with 4 parts of water. As far as feeding the poor with that milk goes then at Harmandir Sahib Langar Seva continues 24X7. Thousands of people are fed at Harmandir Sahib everyday. “