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Chauka Kar – Sacred Square

You (Hindus) are very strict about Chauka and consider it improper to take your food with clothes on[1]. You are extremely superstitious about untouchability, as is evident from your religious books. For example:

Gods live by virtue of Chauka. If the Chauka is not plastered with cow dung then the Rakhshas take the essence of the food[2]. (Laghu Atri Sanhita, Ch. 5)

For longevity turn towards east, for glory and fame towards south, for money towards west and to gain truth towards north and then (this way) take your food. (Mannu Ch. 2, Sh. 231)

At meal time feet should be wet. It is a sin to dry feet with cloth. (Laghu Sanhita Ch. 5)

 

To eat with left hand amounts to drinking wine. (Bridh Atri Sanhita Ch. 5)

If one eats from iron plate[3] then the food is equivalent to ordure and the food goes to hell. (Atri Sanhita)

If a brahmin while on a tree eats a fruit and a Chandala (Untouchable) touches the roots of the tree then in order to be pure again the Brahmin should do penances. (Laghu Atri Sanhita, Ch. 5)

Do not eat Sag (green shoots of rape seed or canola) that has been produced by adding garlic, carrot, onion and mushrooms. Do not eat meat without offering to the deity. Serve yourself only of Pathin or Rohn fish and do not eat any other fish. You may eat porcupine, lizards, tortoise, rabbit and camel without any worries. (Mannu Ch. 5, Sh. 5-41)

In Sikhi the following is written in respect to Chauka and Kar.

ਦੇ ਕੈ ਚਉਕਾ ਕਢੀ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਉਪਰਿ ਆਇ ਬੈਠੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥

ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ਵੇ ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਅੰਨੁ ਅਸਾਡਾ ਫਿਟੈ ॥ ਤਨਿ ਫਿਟੈ ਫੇੜ ਕਰੇਨਿ ॥

ਮਨਿ ਜੂਠੈ ਚੁਲੀ ਭਰੇਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥

ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥

They draw lines around them, plastering the ground with cow-dung. The false come and sit within them. They cry out, "Do not touch our food, or it will be polluted!" But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths. Says Nanak, meditate on the True Lord. If you are pure, you will obtain the True Lord. ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 472)

 

ਝੂਠੇ ਚਉਕੇ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚਾ ਏਕੋ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥

Such cooking squares are false, O Nanak; only the One Lord is True. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1090)

ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਡੂਮਣੀ ਕੁਦਇਆ ਕਸਾਇਣਿ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਘਟ ਚੂਹੜੀ ਮੁਠੀ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਚੰਡਾਲਿ ॥

ਕਾਰੀ ਕਢੀ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾਂ ਚਾਰੇ ਬੈਠੀਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥

ਸਚੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਰਾਂ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਨਾਉ ਜਪੇਹੀ ॥

ਨਾਨਕ ਅਗੈ ਊਤਮ ਸੇਈ ਜਿ ਪਾਪਾਂ ਪੰਦਿ ਨ ਦੇਹੀ ॥੧॥

False-mindedness is the drummer-woman; cruelty is the butcheress; slander of others in one's heart is the cleaning-woman, and deceitful anger is the outcast-woman. What good are the ceremonial lines drawn around your kitchen, when these four are seated there with you? Make Truth your self-discipline, and make good deeds the lines you draw; make chanting the Name your cleansing bath. O Nanak, those who do not walk in the ways of sin, shall be exalted in the world hereafter. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 91)

ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਗਿ ਛੋਤਿ ॥

Without the Name, the world is defiled and becomes impure[4]. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 413)

ਕਹੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸੂਚਾ ਕਵਨੁ ਠਾਉ ॥ ਜਹਾਂ ਬੈਸਿ ਹਉ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਖਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਜਿਹਬਾ ਜੂਠੀ ਬੋਲਤ ਜੂਠਾ ਕਰਨ ਨੇਤ੍ਰ ਸਭਿ ਜੂਠੇ ॥ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਉਤਰਸਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਅਗਨਿ ਕੇ ਲੂਠੇ ॥੨॥

ਅਗਨਿ ਭੀ ਜੂਠੀ ਪਾਨੀ ਜੂਠਾ ਜੂਠੀ ਬੈਸਿ ਪਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੂਠੀ ਕਰਛੀ ਪਰੋਸਨ ਲਾਗਾ ਜੂਠੇ ਹੀ ਬੈਠਿ ਖਾਇਆ ॥੩॥

ਗੋਬਰੁ ਜੂਠਾ ਚਉਕਾ ਜੂਠਾ ਜੂਠੀ ਦੀਨੀ ਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਤੇਈ ਨਰ ਸੂਚੇ ਸਾਚੀ ਪਰੀ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ॥੪॥੧॥੭॥

Tell me, O Pandit, O religious scholar, which place is uncontaminated? Where should I sit to eat my meal? ||1||Pause|| The tongue is impure, and its speech is impure. The eyes and ears are totally impure. The impurity of the sexual organs does not depart; the Brahmin is burnt by the fire. ||2|| The fire is impure, and the water is impure. The place where you sit and cook is impure. Impure is the ladle which serves the food. Impure is the one who sits down to eat it. ||3|| Impure is the cow dung, and impure is the kitchen square. Impure are the lines that mark it off. Says Kabeer, they alone are pure, who have obtained pure understanding. ||4||1||7|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1195)

ਲੰਗਰ ਮੇਂ ਨਾ ਗੋਹਾ ਬਾਲੇ ਨਾ ਗੋਹੇ ਕਾ ਚੌਂਕਾ ਦੇਵੇ ।

Do not burn cow dung in the kitchen nor plaster the floor with cow dung[5]. (Rehatnama Bhai Chaupa Singh)

ਚਤੁਰ ਬਰਨ ਇਕ ਦੇਗ ਅਹਾਰਾ । ਇਕ ਸਮ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਧਰਿ ਉਰ ਪਯਾਰਾ ।

All four Varnas eat from one pot. All contemplate the Lord in mind. (Gur Partap Suraj Parkash, Ras 1, Ch. 43)

It is written in Dubistan-i-Mazahib:

ਸਿੱਖਾ ਵਿਚ ਹਿੰਦੂਆਂ ਜੇਹਾ ਖਾਣ ਪੀਣ ਦਾ ਬੰਧਨ ਨਹੀਂ । ਇਕ ਵਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਮਲ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨੇ ਇਕ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਆਖਿਆ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਜੇ ਤੂੰ ਖਾਣ ਪੀਣ ਦੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਤੋਂ ਦੁਖੀ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਬਣਦਾ ਹੈਂ ਤਾਂ ਗੁਰੂ ਦਾ ਸਿੱਖ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਣ ਜਾਂਦਾ?

Among the Sikhs there are no restrictions, like Hindus, in respect to food. Once Gyani[6] Partap Mal observed a Hindu boy who was converting to Islam and said, “If you want to be a Moslem just to overcome the restrictions on food then you should become Sikh.

The Guru has given the verdict just in one short verse.

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

O Baba, the pleasures of other foods are false. Eating them, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enter into the mind. ||1||Pause|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 16)

Notes

[1] Even among Sikhs there is great importance attached to purity and cleanliness, but superstition has no place.

[2] If this were true all others except Hindus would die in a few days, and the food will have no use. Due to the absence of Chauka the real power of the food is taken away by Rakhshas and what is left is only useless material.

[3] In our religion iron is the supreme metal and Amrit is prepared in bowl of iron.

[4]There is impurity due to lack of cleanliness but not due to caste.

[5] It does not mean that ordinary people should give up the use of cow dung. The principle involved is that for religious purposes, preparation of langar, etc., the cow dung should not be used.

[6] In reality he was not a Gyani, was quote him only to show what the public thought about the eating principles of the Sikhs at that time.