any people have this doubt, “Does Sikhi allow contraception within marriage, or is sex only for procreation”? Some people consider it to be morally right and some say that it is not right. In this article, we will learn what Sikhi says about contraception and sex within marriage.
Advice of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
There is not anything direct about contraception itself in Gurbani. So, we are going to look at a conversation that takes place between Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Guru Gobind Singh Ji wrote about it in their Bani (Guru’s words) of Sri Charitropakhyan, that is in Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. Guru Ji said, “When I was of an age that I could understand this subject, my Guru spoke to me.” They said to me "O my son, you must make a promise to me up until you have breath in your body. Son, listen to this very carefully. When you get married, have as much love as you want with your own wife.” It's not only talking about having immense love for the wife emotionally but physically as well. We know that because Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji goes on to say that "But O my son, never even mistakenly, even in your dreams, should you go to the bed of another woman." Thus, we know that Guru Ji is talking about physical relationships also.
ਸੁਧਿ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਹਮ ਧਰੀ ਬਚਨ ਗੁਰ ਦਏ ਹਮਾਰੇ ॥
Since I realized I was mature, my Guru taught:
ਪੂਤ ਇਹੈ ਪ੍ਰਨ ਤੋਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਜਬ ਲਗ ਘਟ ਥਾਰੇ ॥
“O Son, so long as there is life in your body,”
ਨਿਜ ਨਾਰੀ ਕੇ ਸਾਥ ਨੇਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਨਿਤ ਬਢੈਯਹੁ ॥
"You promise to enhance love with your own wife."
ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ਕੀ ਸੇਜ ਭੂਲਿ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਹੂੰ ਨ ਜੈਯਹੁ ॥੫੧॥
“But never, even by mistake, bed with else’s wife.(51)”
Marriage Is More Than Intimacy
But it's not giving us a direction that the physical relationship is a must, all it is saying is that it is not wrong if you have a physical relationship with your own wife. That also does not mean that we get lost in lust, because Guru Granth Sahib Ji says that
ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਜੋ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥
He alone is a householder, who restrains his passions
A householder is a person who controls their senses and pleasures. Marriage is where you become a constant Sangat (company) and are helping each other in coming away from desires, even lust. As Bhai Gurdas Ji explains in the following verse,
ਇਕੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਦੁਇ ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗੁ ਪੰਜੀਂ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ।
One is a Sikh, two the congregation and in five resides God.
We collectively work together and reduce these pleasures in our lives and then start experiencing that true pleasure of Naam (connection to God) and be in love with Vaheguru Ji.
Bhai Gurdas Ji has also said that
ਏਕਾ ਨਾਰੀ ਜਤੀ ਹੋਇ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ਧੀ ਭੈਣ ਵਖਾਣੈ।
Having one woman as his wife he (the Sikh) is considered celibate and sees any other's wife as his daughter or a sister.
Whoever has given their complete selves to their partner in married life, is equivalent to somebody that has spent their whole life in self-control and is a great saint. So, it's a very sacred relationship in that manner. At all points in life, one must be careful of Guru Sahib Ji’s advice. Before having a physical relationship with even our own partner, we need to get to the point where we don’t even glance at or think of somebody else’s partner in a lustful manner. Guru Granth Sahib Ji says that,
ਕਿਆ ਗਾਲਾਇਓ ਭੂਛ ਪਰ ਵੇਲਿ ਨ ਜੋਹੇ ਕੰਤ ਤੂ ॥
What should I say to you, you fool? Don't look at the vines of others - be a true husband.
A husband is someone who doesn't look at any other flower other than their own flower (his own wife) within the garden of the world. Not just looking, you shouldn't even be talking about another woman. This advice applies to both genders and is very important to be discussed in a relationship.