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Can Praying For A Deceased Soul Help That Soul?


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Ghost requests Akhand Paath

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

The following story is from Katha by Giani Avtar Singh Ji - Badni Kalan Wale. Giani Avtar Singh Ji is the grandson of Sant Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. The katha is entitled "Sikhi di Rehit," it can be found on gurmatveechar.com

About 20 years ago, a family in India was blessed to have a Sri Akhand Paath Sahib of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj at their house. Giani Avtar Singh Ji attended the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib. The Paathi Singhs recited the Paath with complete Maryada.

The reason for the Akhand Paath was that a young man (youth) in the family had recently died. After his death, the soul of the young man was wandering and eventually the soul possessed his brother. After entering into his brother's body, the soul spoke and requested that the family should do a Sri Akhad Paath Sahib for him.

Giani Ji in his katha says that through this sakhi, we will understand the importance of Gurbani and also the importance, need and greatness of the Sikh identity given to us by Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.

After the soul requested that an Akhand Paath be done for him, the family members went to a few places to seek help in performing the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib. Eventually, the family came to Giani Avtar Singh Ji and asked him for help. They requested full tyaar par tyaar Singhs (always ready, spiritually elevated Khalsa Singhs) to do the seva of the Akhand Paath Sahib.

Giani Avtar Singh Ji discussed this with some Gurmukh Singhs and they agreed, then they began the Akhand Paath seva. Giani Avtar Singh Ji mentions that he was present at the Bhog (completion) of the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib. That day, the brother of the dead young man was present there too. It is assumed in the Katha, that the soul of the dead young man would enter and leave the body of his brother from time to time.

The family then prepared some food for Giani Avtar Singh Ji and the Singhs. The brother of the dead man was sitting there too. Other family members were present. Then suddenly, the brother began to feel dizzy and was unaware of his surroundings, he then closed his eyes. The family knew exactly what was going on. The family told Giani Avtar Singh Ji that the soul of the dead man is entering into his brother's body now.

Giani Ji says that after hearing this, he was carefully paying attention to see if they were just pretending or not. Then, while speaking to the brother who was possessed, Giani Ji asked, "What is your name?"

Then Giani Ji asked, "What was the purpose of you coming back if you had already died?"

Then the soul spoke and said "I wasn't supposed to die yet, I still had some years left in my life. What happened was, I became unconscious after being electrocuted. Then my family members put milk into my mouth (thinking it might help). I had no idea what was going on. Due to my family pouring milk into my body, I died, because after a person is electrocuted, water/liquid should not be given to that person."

Giani Ji continued speaking with the soul, and then an important question was asked, "After dying, where did you go?"

Giani then pauses the story for a moment, mentioning that only the souls who have died can tell us these things (about the after life). People like us who are still living don't have the knowledge on these matters.

Continuing on, Giani Ji mentions that the soul replied, "I was taken to a very bad place, hell."

"They took me there (Jamdoots - Angels of Death) and I was very miserable and grieving in pain, just by being there."

Giani Ji then asks, "How did you get released from there?"

Soul replied, "One day, the head person (Dharam Raja) came there to inspect and see what was going on." Giani Ji then explains, that whatever body the soul was in before death, those same qualities are then carried on to the after life. The soul mentioned, that he was kesdhari (kept uncut hair) before his death.

Soul continues saying, "When the head person saw that I was kesdhari, he ordered that I be taken out of hell. Then the head person asked me if I have ever done Paath (Sikh prayers). I replied that I only used to do Paath of Jap Ji Sahib before my death, but not other Gurbani prayers and I have never let scissors touch my hair. Then the head person told me that because of these 2 things: not cutting your hair and doing Jap Ji Sahib Paath, you will be released from hell. If you hadn't done these good deeds, you would've been in hell for ages, who knows how long!"

The soul continues on saying, "I then remembered the sakhi when Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj was explaining to a Sikh named Bhai Dhana Ji, that if a Sikh who has never cut his hair enters into hell, I will pull him out of hell by the hair on his head."

Giani Ji explains that the soul was freed from hell because he had never cut his hair and also he had done Paath of Sri Jap Ji Sahib. This is what caused the soul to enter his brother's body, in order to relay the message to his family, to request that an Akhand Paath Sahib be done for him.

Gurbani's power is limitless. It helps us here and in the after life. Even souls that have already died are thirsting for Gurbani and its power.

Dhan Dhan SatGuru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

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Didn't get to read all of the above long post, but any bani recited in the name of another will go onto their account and will benefit them, so when any bani is recited for a soul passed on, he/she will receive the benefit where ever they are.

Practical point :

Whenever you see a funeral procession and you see the hearse with the coffin in it, if you have time just say a little beanti to Akaal Purkh and say "the Benti Chaupai that I about to recite is for this person whereever his soul is" and then recite a Benti Chaupai. This Chaupai Sahib will reach that person.

Just think about it, you have passed on and for whatever reason your soul is stuck and 'they' won't let you pass and someone you don't even know does a Chaupai Sahib paath for you and that clears your path and you can move on, how much 'seesa' and blessing will your soul give to this person.

So doing a chaupai sahib for a dead person, not only benefits them but you get so much Phall for it as well.

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Bhaji the two are not mutually exclusive.

Reciting Gurbani will always help, that is the power of gurbani. So if sangat japs naam on behalf of a dead person then he will be rewarded for it, but that does not destroy the karam he has committed, he will still have to answer for them. I lifetime of bad karma will not be cleared.

Anyways who knows how the jaap will help him/her? maybe it is not as direct as one Akand paath will save his soul, maybe he was going to go into a very bad joon but the naam simran relieves him of this and he gets a different joon, who knows exactly, all we can say is that Gurbani will help , there is no doubt about that.

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From a gurmat point of view ,sikhs should not get entangled in any sort of unneccesary rituals for the dead or living .This hinders sikhism from being a simple ,practical faith to follow, that focusses on fulfilling the purpose of living . Allsorts of supposedly respected saints/gyanis will weave and narrate stories that do nothing but reduce sikhism to medievality .

When a person dies ,all that is required are some basic prayers around the time of the funeral asking God for his mercy upon the soul of that person ,and thanking God for that person's life .Then its time for persons related and close to that person to move on, and focus on their own lifes .No further death anniveseries or ceremonies or prayers are required .this is gurmat plain and simple.

Verses in GURU GRANTH SAHIB JEE such as ''pitree hoe udharo ''are not justifications for engaging in prayers for the dead .They are encouragement verses to explain that the immediate/past/future generations of a gursikh who meditates upon God's holy Name will be blessed .

The idea that prayers work for the dead has given rise to an astonishing situation in many gurdwaras around the world where sunday diwans are nothing but satsang durbars held in memory of dead persons related to the members of the local sangat,week in week out ,apart from weddings and engagements .This means that a lot of sunday diwans when sikhs go to a gurudwara are taken up by keertan and parchar connected to the theme of death .This from a pastoral theology point of view is not satisfactory because sunday diwans are windows of oppurtunities ( when the sangat is in the gurudwara) ,for the granthi to organise parchar through keertan and katha that can cover different aspects of sikhi week in week out

I noticed this fundamental flaw in parchar when i was growing up in malaysia and going to gurudwara every sunday .it made sunday diwans so predictable and left me with a lot of homework to discover sikhi on my own .Ideally ,a granthi should have the space to plan out sermons covering different aspects of sikhi /sikh history every sunday without having to mould every sunday's parchar to the needs of a barsi for some dead bygone soul .this would be more exciting ,unpredictable ,educational and inspirational . My only chances to understand sikhi came from special diwans that were held over a few days when persons such as dharam singh zakhmi ,sant baba maan singh ,prof darshan singh ,sant singh maskeen ,prof davinderpal singh ,parvana je,yoji harbhajan singh , ,etc etc etc were on parchar tours of malaysia ,or when booklets on sikhi arrived through the post from singapore sikh missionary society ,and later when i started to learn path of gurbani and keertan .

I have prepared a will that when i die no further prayers are to be said(apart from those at my funeral) after my soul shoots off like a nucleur powered rocket off to DADDY GURU GOBIND SINGH'S CHARAN KEMAL .If i am lucky enuff ,then as gurbani says,''gurmukh sdeh aaeh,aaven ghelia'' , i would receive an invitation ahead , and on that lucky day of mortal death i would behold a heavenly palanquin of bedazzling heavenly angels/panj piareh descending down in an astonishing sparkling cosmic cloud and flash of lightening to steal away my soul from my body for HIS MAJESTY'S SUPREME PLEASURE .

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guramukh kott oudhhaaradhaa bhaaee dhae naavai eaek kanee ||2||

The Gurmukh saves millions of people, O Siblings of Destiny, blessing them with even a particle of the Name. ||2||

I'm writing no arguments this way or that - just looking at gurbaani...

Bgqu vfw rwjw jnku hY gurmuiK mwieAw ivic audwsI]

bhagath vaddaa raajaa janak hai guramukh maaeiaa vich oudhaasee||

King Janak was a great saint who amidst Maya remained indifferent to it.

dyv lok no cilAw gx gMDrb sBw suKvwsI]

dhaev lok no chaliaa gan ga(n)dhharab sabhaa sukhavaasee||

Along with gans and gandharvs (celestial musicians) he went to the abode of the Gods.

jmpuirgieAw pukwr suix ivllwvin jIAn rk invwsI]

jamapurigaeiaa pukaar sun vilalaavan jeean rak nivaasee||

From there, he, hearing the cries of inhabitants of hell, went to them.

Drm rwie no AwiKEnu sBnw dI kir bMd KlwsI]

dhharam raae no aakhioun sabhanaa dhee kar ba(n)dh khalaasee||

He asked the God of death, Dharamrai, to relieve all their suffering.

kry bynqI Drmrwie hau syvku Twkuru AibnwsI]

karae baenathee dhharamaraae ho saevak t(h)aakur abinaasee||

Hearing this, the God of death told him he was a mere servant of the eternal Lord (and without His orders he could not liberate them).

gihxy DirEnu ieku nwau pwpw nwil krY inrjwsI]

gehinae dhharioun eik naao paapaa naal karai nirajaasee||

Janak offered a part of his Devotion and remembrance of the name of the Lord. All the sins of hell were found not equal even to the counterweight of balance

pwsMig pwpu n pujnI gurmuiK nwau Aqul n qulwsI]

paasa(n)g paap n pujanee guramukh naao athul n thulaasee||

In fact no balance can weigh the fruits of recitation and remembrance of the Lords name by the Gurmukh

nrkhu Cuty jIAw jMq ktI glhMu islk jm PwsI]

narakahu shhuttae jeeaa ja(n)th kattee galeha(n) silak jam faasee||

All the creatures got liberated from hell and the noose of death was cut.

mukiq jugiq nwvY dI dwsI ]5]

mukath jugath naavai dhee dhaasee ||5||

Liberation and the technique of attaining it are the servants of the name of the Lord.(5)

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even if i were to go with the English translations to be completely accurate, one should question themselves...Are we in the likes of Raja Janak before we applying these words to ourselves and begin to save souls of others. Let us save ours first then all other will be saved. Light yourself and others will be lit through your light.

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if we can be saved by others, then Christianity is the best faith as Jesus saves all who believe in him.

we are judged on what we do here. it is our chance to experience God. we can do all the akahnd paths for our relatives, but the person is judged on his/her actions here. because if we were able to just pray away people's sins, how about we all pray for indira gandhi's soul and god will forgive her for her sins right?

use your logic for everything, because that si what hukam is, it is Sat, universal truth. if you believe that gurmat says you can save another's soul by praying for them after they are gone, well then, let's apply it all around and see if it holds water....

plus gurbaani says over and over that no one knows where the soul goes after death...sikhi si all about here and now. do good deeds now.

let's not interpret sikhi into another typical dogmatic unpractical faith.

peace.

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My final thoughts on this thread is that although Sikh is simple and straight forward but the more you get into it the more it becomes vast , deep and intricate. On one level - you come into this world alone and go out of it alone and you do your Naam Simran and it is as simple as that, as you progress you see things on a different level - we are all linked - everyone you meet , you talk to , exchange glances with , have thoughts about - are linked to you to a more or lesser extent. This jaal or net is very difficult to get out off and only Gurbani naam simran can save you.

There seems to be much confusion here. No one is saying that if you pray for someone then he/she will be ‘saved’. We could all prey for Indra Ghandi’s soul, but SHE WILL NOT BE SAVED, her karm dictate that she has done very bad things and she will have to pay for them.

But, Gurbani is very powerful and if you pray for someone – dead or alive – then gurbani will have an effect upon them, it will not ‘save’ them, it will not wash away all their sins away because Gurbani says “ayai beej apai he khawo” and this remains true, but gurbani will have a definite good effect upon them. What that effect is only AkalPurkh knows but the receiver will benefit and the par-upkari will also benefit, for this is par-upkaar and gurbani says many things about a par-upkari.

Now, if you want to ignore this and do naam / simran and keep things nice a simple there is nothing wrong in that.

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my point is that this type of thinking is why we have rooms upon rooms at darbar sahib where akhand paths are held within empty rooms with a bhai sahib reading SGGS ji and the people who pay for the akhand paaths to be done don't even bother to be there because the bhai sahib's reading will benefit them in some way?

gurbaani is an experience in my view. someone else can't experience gurbaani for you.

peace.

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