Alcohol & Drugs Are Prohibited For The Sikhs

In the Persian language, wine is called Sharaab which literally means 'the water of
mischief.' As followers of the Sikh religion, it is vital that we all understand that under no
circumstances is drinking permitted in the Sikh religion. There are clear commands in Sri Guru
Granth Sahib Ji and the Rahet Maryada, which ban the use of all intoxicants by a Sikh.
People who spend their time using intoxicants waste the limited time they have in their
life by living in an illusionary state. Guru Sahib supports those who stay alert and aware,
keeping themselves away from all types of intoxicants and honoring the name of God as much
as they can. Gurbani says in no uncertain terms that a Gurmukh (Guru-oriented person) should
not drink wine even if it is made from the water of the River Ganges, which is considered by
Hindus and many others in India as the holiest river in the world.
Gurbani expresses this very clearly in the following tukh (verse) "Even if wine is made
from the water of the Ganges, O Saints, do not drink it" (SSGGSJ ang 1293).
Therefore, even if wine or any other alcoholic drink (be it whisky/beer/rum/champagne
etc) is made from the most clear spring water obtained from the most natural, highest and
pristine mountains of mother Earth, a Sikh is instructed not to drink it, by our Sacred Gurbani
and by the Rehat Maryada.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (ang 15)
ਸਚੁ ਿਮਿਲਆ ਿਤਨ ਸੋਫੀਆ ਰਾਖਣ ਕਉ ਦਰਵਾਰੁ ॥
Those who do not use intoxicants are true; they dwell in the Court of the Lord.

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (ang 399)
HJHI3 HH H ¤|¥3 I8¤M| ¤I3 NHM| 1
Those who drink the wine, become evil minded and always think of evil deeds.

J¯H JH¯IUIF H J3 ö¯öN HU «HM| 1
But those who are imbued with the sublime essence of the Lord, O Nanak, are intoxicated with the

Sri Guru Amar Das Ji says: (ang 554)
H¯FH JIJ«¯ «¯IF«¯ H¯FH JIJ«¯ «¯IU 1
One person brings a full bottle, and another fills his cup.

IH3 ¤|3 HI3 HIJ JIU 8JM ¤¥ I¥IU «¯IU 1
Drinking the wine, his intelligence departs, and madness enters his mind;

«¯¤F¯ ¤J¯IU«¯ ö ¤E¯FU| ¤HHJ UN ¤¯IU 1
He cannot distinguish between his own and others, and he is struck down by his Lord and Master.

Drinking it, he forgets his Lord and Master, and he is punished in the Court of the Lord.

¥ö¯ HH H IM ö ¤|UU| H N¯ ¤¯IJ ¥H¯IU 1
Do not drink the false wine at all, if it is in your power.

ö¯öN öHJ| HU HH ¤¯U|« HI3EJ IHM IHH «¯IU 1
O Nanak, the True Guru comes and meets the mortal; by His Grace, one obtains the True Wine.
HH¯ H¯IJ8 N J IE JJ HJM| ¤¯¥ U¯U 1
He shall dwell forever in the Love of the Lord Master, and obtain a seat in the Mansion of His Presence.
Sri Guru Arjan Dev JI says: (ang 377)
JIJ JH ¤|¥3 HH J| J¯3¯ 1
One who drinks in the Lord's sublime essence is forever imbued with it,

«¯ö JH¯ I¤ö HIJ MIJ H¯3¯ 1
While other essences wear off in an instant.
JIJ JH N H¯3 HIö HH¯ «öH 1
Intoxicated with the Lord's sublime essence, the mind is forever in ecstasy.

«¯ö JH¯ HIJ I¥«¯¤ IUH 1
Other essences bring only anxiety.
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (ang 180)
«¯ö JH¯ H3 3 U¯¤ 1
You may taste the other flavors,
IöH¤ ö I3Hö¯ 3 J| M¯U 1
But your thirst shall not depart, even for an instant.
JIJ JH N¯ 3 U¯¤IJ H¯H 1
But when you taste the sweet flavor the Lord's sublime essence
Upon tasting it, you shall be wonder-struck and amazed.
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (ang 186)
Those who have enjoyed the flavor of the Lord's sublime essence
H «ö JH ö¯J| M¤J¯IUU 1
Are not attracted to any other pleasures.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (ang 360)
EJ NIJ IE«¯ö IU«¯ö NIJ U¯¥ NIJ NJF| NH ¤¯U|« 1
Make spiritual wisdom your molasses, and meditation your scented flowers; let good deeds be the
J¯ö| J¥ö ¤H N¯ ¤U¯ IU3 JIH «IHU U«¯U|« 1
Let devotional faith be the distilling fire, and your love the ceramic cup. Thus the sweet nectar of life is
Further Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (ang 360)
«IH3 N¯ ¥¯¤¯J| J¥ IN«¯ HIH EE J¯U UJ 1
One who trades in this Nectar - how could he ever love the wine of the world?
Bhagat Kabeer Ji says: (ang 1377)
N8|J J'E H¯E M| H J¯ ¤¯Iö H H ¤¯ö| ¤'IJ 1
Kabeer, those mortals who consume marijuana, meat and wine.
3|JU 8J3 öH N|U 3 HJ JH¯3IM H'IJ 1
No matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.
Bhagat Ravidaas Ji says: (ang 1293)
HJHJ| HMM IN 3 8¯J ö| J H3 Hö NJ3 öJ| ¤¯ö 1
Even if wine is made from the water of the Ganges, O Saints, do not drink it.
Gurbani directs us which wine and which meat we should take.
Salok Mardana 1: (ang 553)
So let good deeds be your distillery, and Truth your molasses; in this way, make the most excellent wine
of Truth.
Make virtue your bread, good conduct the ghee, and modesty the meat to eat.

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in his Rahatnama addressed to Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji banned the
use of any type of intoxicated drink. In this Rahatnama, Guru Sahib goes on to say that “a Sikh
of the Guru should never drink wine. (Guru Ka Sikh Sharab Kadi Na Peevay).”
Here is the conversation between Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the mogul emperor Babur,
which shows what type of life we should live:
Babur the mogul king ruled over India from 1526 to 1530. During this period, Babur
attacked Eminabad and arrested Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji with others and imprisoned them. The
prisoners were given grinding mills and ordered to grind corn. While grinding the corn, Guru Ji
went into contemplation and sang the glories of God. While Guru Ji sang about the creator, the
grinding mill continued to grind without any visible means of power. All who observed bowed
their heads for surely they were in the presence of a great soul. This news was carried to Babur.
Babur came down to the dungeons and waited until Guru Ji had finished singing. When his eyes
met with the Guru's, he folded his hands and bowed and begged forgiveness.
Babur requested that Guru Ji accompany him to his tent. Guru Ji asked Babur to release all the
prisoners as they had committed no crime, and then he accompanied Babur to his tent.
The emperor offered wine to Guru Ji. Guru Sahib replied, "The intoxication of wine remains for
a short period. I take the nectar of Naam and am intoxicated 24 hours. Naam Khumari Naanka
Charhi Rahe Din Raat.”
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (ang 360)
8¯8¯ Hö H3¥¯J ö¯H JH ¤|¥ HJH JE JIU JIJ«¯ 1
O Baba, the mind is intoxicated with the Naam, drinking in its Nectar. It remains absorbed in the Lord's
Then Guru Sahib asked Babur,”What is your phiolosphy of life?” Babur replied, “My
philosophy of life is 'Babar b'aish kosh ke Alam dobara naist' or 'eat, drink and be merry as we
are here for a short while’
Guru Ji replied,” ‘Babur b’hosh bash ke Alam dobara naist’” It means,” O Babur be
sensible as we are here for a short while.”
Living according to the lifestyle of the Rehit Maryada, (the Sikh lifestyle) is to live
consciously and away from intoxicants. This is equally true for Sikh men as well as Sikh Women.
Guru Sahibaan say,” As Sikhs, we should leave all intoxicants behind and drink the honey of
God's Nam instead.”
The proscription against drinking alcohol came from 10th Guru when he gave us Rehit
Maryada. The reason Sikhs are forbidden to drink directly relates to the effect of alcohol on
your perceptions. It impairs judgment, and it opens you to many unhealthy influences. It makes
you weak willed. So it is easy for others to take advantage of you either personally, socially, or
otherwise. Guru Sahibaan say that our body is a temple in which our divinity is understood and
realized, therefore it should be kept pure. Drinking literally messes with the wiring of the body-
temple, and makes it impossible for one to access our divine higher self and to understand Guru
Sahibaan’s teachings.
A Gursikh is one, who accepts the discipline of the Guru in order to become enlightened.
By the way, the Rehit Maryada of Guru Gobind Singh states that Sikhs should not seek
recreation with intoxicants, drugs or alcohol. When asked if he loved the Sikhs, he said, "I love
the Rehit (practical life). Those who follow it are my Sikhs. I love the Rehit and not a Sikh.”
Bhai Desa Singh emphasizes the importance of Rehit in his Rehitnama: "Rehit bina nah
Sikh kahave, Rehit bina dar chotan Khave."
Out of total 8.4 million life forms (Joons), five have been considered the worst of all.

These are:
1. Dog
2. Donkey
3. Snake
4. Swine
5. Crow
Those stray dogs that roam around without any leash. They always lick the filth.
A donkey is dumbest animal of all – even if it is washed, clean and perfumed, it will still
go and roll in mud.
A snake can never be friends with anyone – it has the habit to bite even its closest allies.
So much so that a female snake is known to eat its own offspring.
A pig is always happy eating and living in filth.
A crow feeds on filth, its beak is always filled with dirty substances.
But if we put alcohol in a vessel and place before them to drink, they will never taste it.
Even those animals have the sense not to touch the alcohol. You can well imagine the position
of those human beings, who consume it.
There is another story of Raja Shivnabh of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
visited Ceylon, where he took his seat in Raja Shivnabh's garden. At that time it was barren, but
it is said to have become green on the Guru's arrival. The gardener requested the king to go and
see the saint, who had caused the withered garden to bloom a new.
Without firstly having the fear of God, love can’t enter. Without love one can’t worship
Waheguru. ShivNabh had the fear of God enter into his mind. He bowed to Guru jee and then
put together his two hands and made a request.
ShivNabh obtained the knowledge of God - Brahm Gian (The Knowledge of Universe).
Guru Nanak jee said, “Ask for something?”
Raja Shivnabh asked for God’s Name, “Bless me with Naam so that I may always have a
place at your Lotus feet.”
After staying there for some time, Guru Ji decided to go back. Raja Shivnabh came to see
Guru Ji off. He had his eyes fixed on Guru Ji and when Guru Ji went out of his sight, he fell
down unconscious. Guru Ji came back and put His hand on his head and wiped his face and
asked him to get up.
Now let us see the plight of an alcoholic. When he falls down unconscious and vomits,
then the dogs lick his face.
About "Intoxication" Sri Guru Sahibaan say :

1. By drinking intoxicating liquor, one gets much misery. (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji)

2. Being intoxicated with liquor, one commits many a sin. (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji)

3. By getting drunk, one cannot distinguish between friend and foe. (Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji)

4. Getting drunk, one forgets the Master, and is punished in His Court. (Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji)

5. Drink not this fake wine, avoid it with all your determination.
They are truly intoxicated, who drink the nectar of His Nam. (Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji)

6. By meeting the True Guru and through His kindness, one obtains the wine of His Nam. (Sri
Guru Amar Daas Ji)

7. He, who drinks the essence of Nam is ever intoxicated, all other intoxicants wear off in a
moment. Imbued with Lord's essence, the mind is ever in bloom and bliss, while intoxication of
worldly savor brings woe and care, He, who drinks the nectar of Lord's Nam, is forever in
ecstasy; all other drinks are futile. (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji)

8. Come ye, my comrades, Give up the love of insipid drink of evil, and drink the quintessence
of Nam. Without tasting this, myriads have been drowned in the ocean of Maya, and one's soul is
never at peace. (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji)

9. The drinking of wine leads one to wicked deeds. (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji)

10. By drinking wine, one loses sanity and gets involved in brawls, and
loses the power of recognition, and incurs displeasure of the Lord. (Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji)
Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of Nanaksar carried on his mission of propagating Sikhism from
1950 to 1963 A.D. He propagated in countless villages and cities of India. His strict order was:
1. Do not advertise in any paper.
2. Do not announce of any program of Diwan.
3. Do not matha tek (offer) any money.
In spite of these orders the scenes witnessed at these locations were staggering. Entire
villages would come to a halt and all persons young or old would flock to his diwans to get the
holy nectar (Amrit). Tens of thousands of Sikhs would come together to change their lives
Within a short period of 13 years (from 1950 to 1963), Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of
Nanaksar administered the blessing of Amrit to over 7,50,000 Sikhs. This unprecedented number
is a benchmark for a truly great and a remarkable Sant.
Wherever Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji held his diwans, the sale of liquor vends went
down considerably. Thousands of people took a solemn vow not to take liquor in future.
Now, furthering our discussion from a direct correlation with Sikhism, let us now have a
view of the scientists and doctors and see the results of various studies performed by
experienced people in the medical field. I bring this into the equation, because apart from
religious injunction, scientists have continuously proved that the use of alcohol makes people
addicts and they become aggressive and unruly. The custom of offering drinks to friends and
guests is socially dangerous. And when taken in excess can have terrible effects on one's
general health.
Drinking damages the liver, the heart and the brain. In the United States of America
"alcoholism" is regarded as a disease to be controlled by society and government. Alcoholism
leads to harmful consequences in a person’s life, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.
Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including cirrhosis of the
liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, poly neuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional
deficiencies, and can eventually be fatal. Other physical effects include an increased risk of
developing cardiovascular disease, mal absorption, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage
to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from sustained alcohol
Other healthy habits, such as staying slim and exercising regularly, are far more
important to overall health than alcohol consumption. If you are physically active, if you have a
healthy body weight at midlife, you can have much better odds of achieving successful aging.
You don't have to use moderate alcohol consumption as a way to help achieve healthy aging.
The myth that red wine is good for preventing heart attacks has come under question
from health experts, who have said that any type of alcoholic drink can only do damage.
Our Guru Sahibaan have asked us repeatedly not to take alcohol and countless scientific
studies and doctors have warned us about the disadvantages of consuming alcohol and the long
term affects it causes to our bodies. Furthermore, the impact of alcoholism is not short-term,
but instead overlaps many boundaries to the point of affecting our family lives and professional
goals and development on a long-term basis.
Alcohol alters the mind and its potential. Alcohol takes away one's ability to focus and
function at its highest level of efficiency. Meditation develops the mind to function at its
greatest potential. The mind is either our friend or our foe; it is either our master or our slave.
Meditation enable us to develop our mind where it serves gives us gives us
self-determination. Meditation connects us to our soul and gives us an experience of oneness.
The ecstasy experienced through meditation doesn't compare to the experience through
drinking alcohol. Alcohol deadens our senses and awareness...meditation heightens them.
Alcohol takes away choice...meditation develops choice. You choose. It is your choice. What
kind of a quality of life do you want to have?
Living according to the lifestyle of the Rehit Maryada, (the Sikh lifestyle), is to live
consciously and away from intoxicants. This is equally true for Sikh men as well as Sikh Women.
Let us ask ourselves - why would our father, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji explicitly tell his
children, the Sikh Panth, to stay away from alcohol and all other intoxicants? The reason is
simple and very easy to comprehend. We are told to stay away from alcohol because it makes
us lose control of the spiritual connection we have with a higher being and instead, perform
actions that if sober, we would never care to do.
Anything that takes us away from God is in our worst interest, and not only do these
intoxicants move us away from our religious duties but they also work to create a divide in our
family lives, personal progress and professional development; all while putting the lives of
innocent people at risk.
With this said, let us follow the instructions of our Guru Sahibaan and countless
scientific scholars and professional studies which prove the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse
and show how these damage our bodies internally while on the outside, ruining our
relationships with the world around us.

Let us conclude with the Sacred Verse from Gurbani:
Bhagat Kabeer Ji says: ( ang 1377 )
N8|J J'E H¯E M| H J¯ ¤¯Iö H H ¤¯ö| ¤'IJ 1
Kabeer, those mortals who consume marijuana, meat and wine.
3|JU 8J3 öH N|U 3 HJ JH¯3IM H'IJ 1
No matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.
Thank you for your time and understanding in reading this article.
(Inserted by Balbir Singh M.A. humble servant of Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of Nanaksar)