What is the Sikh attitude towards blood donation or blood transfusion?
Fundamentally we must understand that blood is blood.
Guru Ji says:
ਬਿਸਟਾ ਅਸਤ ਰਕਤੁ ਪਰੇਟੇ ਚਾਮ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਲੇ ਰਾਖਿਓ ਗੁਮਾਨ ॥੩॥
ਏਕ ਵਸਤੁ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਤਾ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਪਾਕ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਤੂੰ ਸਦਾ ਨਾਪਾਕ ॥੪॥
“You are just excrement, bones and blood, wrapped up in skin – and yet you are taking such pride in this body! ||3|| If you could understand even one thing (about the treasure of Naam), then you would be pure. Without understanding, you shall be forever impure. ||4||”
We eat vegetables, but our body in the Infinite Wisdom of Waheguru turns all food into blood, flesh and bones. So who can say that “my blood” is better or purer than another? Bhagat Kabir Ji exposes the egotistical nonsense of the Brahmins to think they are born more purer or their bodies are more superior than non-Brahmins:
ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥
ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥੩॥
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥
ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥੪॥੭॥
“How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status? How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk (instead of blood)? ||3|| Says Kabeer, one who contemplates God, is said to be a Brahmin among us. ||4||7||”
Giving blood is an act of sacrifice and love. Sikhs that can give blood should be encouraged to give blood for the act of helping another’s life. There is no religious prohibition stopping one from giving or receiving blood.
ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੁ ਨਿਤ ਚਿਤਵਤੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਪੋਚ ॥੨॥
“Those who continually remember Waheguru, do good deeds for the benefit of others; they harbour no ill will towards anyone. ||2||”
From a health perspective, as long as the person is healthy and not diseased then blood is blood. The Blood collection Services simply do not accept tainted blood. An alcoholic ( drunk) would not be able to donate blood under any circumstances. However, there is always a genuine “risk” that diseases being carried in blood can go untraced. While not desirable, this is the genuine risk. If life is threatened, you have a choice. But accepting the blood is accepting this risk.
There are many things which cannot be tested in the blood donation process, and others which would be too costly. The blood supply is generally considered “safe” as is drinking local tap water. Blood supplies “can” contain contaminants. It isn’t desirable to want a blood transfusion.
Unfortunately in some cases it may be a necessity. If you have an injured child, it’s best to get either auto-transfusion, or have family or Gursikhs donate the blood. If someone personally feels that troubled by the idea of accepting other’s blood then he or she can also collect and bank their own blood for any emergency.
Ultimately it is a personal choice.