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Can I be sure God wants me to be a Sikh? [PLEASE READ]

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Rory, Jul 2, 2012.

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  1. Rory

    Rory
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    I have been reading a lot about Islam and Christianity lately, because I've always been afraid of Hell and God and I want to find the right belief to please God. I don't fully believe in either Christianity or Islam, I have studied each open-mindedly with open arms, there are things in both of them I do not understand and I don't think make sense.

    I ignored Sikhi for a long time, I don't really know why. I read about it a long time ago, and for some reason when I found out there is no Sikhi hell I thought "no need to worry then, I won't get in trouble for not being Sikh so I'll concentrate on making sure I avoid the Islam or Christian hell if there is one! Better safe then sorry!"

    Recently I read the articles on http://faithfreedom.org/ and they made me doubt the Islam I was leaning towards. I doubt Christianity because of the doctrines taught by the Church which aren't in the bible..

    How can I know Sikhi is a religion that won't lead me to hell..?
    Please answer logically as you can.

    I admire Sikhi very very much, I'm really leaning towards it, it seems like a positive, logical alternative to other religions while still respecting God.

    I have a few questions though
    -What happened to people who died before the first Guru? Will they be born as humans again?
    -If it's only reincarnation, why does world population increase? Where do new souls come from?
    -Why does Sikhi observe the same "rise before dawn" and halaal-meat (I know it's not called halaal but Sikh meat has to be slaughtered in the same way, I know the Sikh word is different but it's the same practice) rules as Islam?
    -How does Sikhi draw from Christianity?

    Thank you all very much, I only seek to find the truth I can believe in that pleases God the all-powerful
     
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  3. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I can give you a general answer that should make you understand.

    Sikhism is ALL about NOW, this moment whilst you are livinig. The object is to live the sikh way of life and become gurmukh. It is NOT a preparation for death so that heaven or hell can be decided.
    However the ONE lord conducts everything and his sequence of events in creation are ALL upto him ! -to put it smply.
    We shouldn't be concerned about what his system is for conductng the whole universe, if he wanted us to know then we would have known. What we DO know, is that we have this life and it is here and know that we should be concerned about.
    How he does what he does is ALL his will or Hukam that dictates everything, we are under his command, so we let it be!!.
    This should explain the reincarnation, new souls, hell and heaven...etc.. We don't need to be worrying about how he conducts HIS HUKAM, do we ?

    I have given you a very brief and logical answer, some members may be able to answer in more detail.

    He is the creator and we, and all around us is the creation. He is within all that is created, so he is everywhere, he doesn't sit on a throne in heaven!!
    We should connect with this creator in creation, we were created from him by him and in the end or for eternity we can merge back, so to say, as ONE again.

    There is ONE and all is ONE.
     
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  4. Rory

    Rory
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    Thank you very much Luckysingh, you've helped me understand a bit. :) It's true the other religions I worried about were focused all on achieving safety in death.

    Thank you very much.

    If anyone could answer the little questions I asked, or just give your opinion in general, please do, I'm really keen on hearing opinions :)

    Once again I don't seek to argue with anyone I just want to hear opinions and what you believe, I am approaching everything with an open mind here so please divulge all information you can.
     
  5. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I think that first one should focus on accepting the lord and creation as one and all, and everything occuring under his command or hukam.
    I mean, as humans we may achieve evrything we possibly can using our god given brains, we can look after our god given bodies, fight against disease, take good nutrients and supplements to help preserve our organs..etc...etc.. BUT, whatever we do, in the end only the ONE decides how many breaths we breathe and when we die!!

    So, I think it is easier to start with accepting that we are ONE, loving all and one, accepting his will, realising that we are to live as the truth with all mankind, accept that we are all equal and that god is within all and everywhere....

    Doing this first, only then would I start investigating the concepts of reincarnation, karma, eating meat...etc... As they are ONLY CONCEPTS.
    Sikhism does NOT say karma runs your life or that if you do bad you come back as a frog or if you do good you come back as a king,, OR neither does it say eat meat or don't eat, or anything similar.
    Infact the words of the Guru or the teachings in the Guru Granth Sahib ji, guide you by making you think, it gives you wisdom and knowledge in the sense that you realise what is and what isn't.

    - You may be a little surprised by these statements, but there are many active threads just on the issues you questioned.
    -That's why I said that I would worry about trying to get these concepts or answers after you feel comfortable and aclimatised with the simple sikh way of life.

    It is ALL about learning and that is what sikh means (learner). But you don't have to be a sikh to be learning, the teachings are for everyone as the lord is ONE and for all of us.

    The core of sikhism is simply the 'TRUTH' and we live to learn and experience the creation.


    Hope that gives you some better scope.

    Thank-you
     
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Roryji

    thank you for your post, Luckyji has been most inclusive in his comments, and given a good overview, below is my own personal opinion at this present time, hope it helps.

    I do not believe in heaven and hell, and I certainly do not wish to please God. This infers God has human qualities and is capable of being pleased. I feel God is more of an energy or a force, even a law. This law is obeyed for no other reason than it will result in peace, contentment, happiness. In time one learns to love this energy, this law, but it is the wisdom and understanding that feeds this love, not the act of pleasing another. I find such pleasing can result in wrong paths being taken in the vain attempt to 'please' God. In my view God is pleased when we follow the code of conduct that mirrors the law of God, the Hukam.

    When things do not make sense, many religions urge you to have faith. In Sikhism, when things do not make sense, you question, learn, debate, until they do make sense. Making sense is a big litmus indicator for Sikhism.

    Well, firstly, in Sikhism, there is no hell, there is just the hell that we create on Earth that we call our lives, and it can be a hell....

    You seem to be concerned about the afterlife, there are many debates about the afterlife in Sikhism, I personally favour the nothing theory, after death, comes nothing, you go back to where you came from, dust, and your essence lives on through the way you have lived your life, the people you have touched, whatever deeds you have done.

    -
    Unlike many religions, Sikhism does not believe it has the monopoly on enlightenment, what it teaches is that actions and thoughts count more than pointless ritual and displays of devotion. I believe enlightenment is available to those of any religion, indeed to that end, you will find enlightened Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, whose beliefs mirror those of Guru Nanakji. As stated earlier, I do not believe in reincarnation, I am sure many born before the times of the Gurus reached enlightenment. The Gurus just made it easier for the common man to follow Hukam, with the minimum of fuss and bother, and directly, without the need for a priest.


    it is not only reincarnation


    -
    This is an excellent example of the differences, the procedure you are referring to is Jhatka, it simply means the animal should not suffer, ideally being killed with a single blow. If this is not available it is not the end of the world, we use our brains, rather than invent a get around. Halal is where the throat is cut and all blood is drained, whilst being blessed.

    There are many universal truths in the world, and a great many religions share them, Vouthonji, a member here, is a Catholic, yet has found many similarities between our two religions
     
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  7. Rory

    Rory
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    Thank you for this. :) I think I had some confusion, you've helped me understand everything a bit better.

    I understand. I think I might purchase a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, I feel like that might help me to come to my understanding of things better than relying on other people's understandings - it seems already that there's quite a variety in beliefs.

    Hey Harry, thanks for your reply. Can I ask what -ji means? : )

    That's interesting, I'll have to think about it some more - raised Catholic, I think it'll be hard for me to view God that way, as just a law or force; but what you are saying seems to make logical sense to me. In a way it seems ridiculous for God to have emotions relative to human ones..

    I am very concerned about the afterlife, I've read a lot of Qu'ran and Bible about hell/jehenna and I really don't want to end up there. That is why I had such interest in religion. But then I took a moment out from these hell-fearing religions and I feel extremely comforted by what Sikhi teaches, including what you have said about "back to dust", that seems like the most logical thing.
    It doesn't seem to make sense that God would send someone to jehenna when they lived a good life and did their best to praise Him.

    I read somewhere that one of the Gurus specifically told his people only to eat halaal. Is this true?
     
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  8. Ruqa

    Ruqa
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    Rory Ji... 'Ji' can be used a couple different ways. when refering to someone, using it at the end of their name or instead of a name is like saying sir/madam it's a respectful term. Ji can also mean yes. Or if you use it like 'ji?' It could mean something like yeah? Or really? Or sorry? Or hey? Ok i'm finding it hard to explain in writing. It's easier to understand when the language is being spoken to you because then you can see facial expression and hear the tone it's been said in.
     
  9. Rory

    Rory
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    No, I understand you perfectly. :) Thank you for helping.
     
  10. Kamala

    Kamala
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    If you spend all your life worrying about hell and not actually doing some virtues you are damned :p but most likely reincarnated ^^
     
  11. Archived_member15

    Archived_member15
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    My dear brother Rory peacesign
    Welcome to SPN!

    How can you be sure if God wants you to be a Sikh?

    We are all Sikhs. We all worship Waheguru, the Wonderful Teacher who resides in the Temple of our hearts and who is universally present everywhere, in all creation. You are already a Sikh - a "student", a "disciple". Of course God desires that you be a Sikh - what else could you be? :sippingcoffeemunda:

    I truly do not believe that God calls anyone to any specific religion. God calls you to seek only the truth and your path to finding it is your own and no one elses. Truth is one. It is our task to have a properly formed conscience and to atune ourselves to listen intently to that voice within, the natural law imprinted on our very being, and guided by our understanding of it, respond to the interior urgings of divine grace.

    The Holy Spirit is universally present through all of humanity and within all creation, calling all people to Himself. The paths we take to reach God are our own and yet one and single, for God is One yet present in and expressed through the plurality of forms, creatures and persons which constitute his creation, which in a sense is the artistic expression of Himself - God created the universe so that he might be known.

    It is God's will that you earnestly seek the truth from an upright and pure conscience. God is Truth. His Law is written on your heart. You are created in his Image and his Spirit lies inside you. Therefore all that God demands of you is a faithful adherence to the dictates of your own conscience, the summons of which only you can interpret for yourself.

    If you adhere to the dictates of your conscience, honestly and with dedication, without wavering - and if this search after truth in your soul finds its most apt expression through the Guru Granth Sahib ji and if you find more of God through Sikhism than the religion of your upbringing, then I can only encourage you to follow your conscience and become a Sikh.

    God wants only one thing from you, dearest brother, and that is that you let go of attachment to self-will, go out from your self as a creature and let God be God within you. Let him work in you his Will.

    In terms of Heaven and Hell - fear not!

    A Catholic sister on another forum (a Catholic one) said this to me once:


    "...God is everywhere, even in Hell. According to several Fathers, the fire of Hell is not a material fire; it is the love of God. While the love of God in Heaven is received with joy, to those in Hell, the very same love of God is received as a torment. God's love is the same Heaven and Hell; it's the spiritual state of the person that guides its reception..."


    She speaks the truth! You will never be separate from God's love. Hell and Heaven are both self-created states of being that happen on our end, not places.

    Heaven is God - the Beatific Vision, union with the divine. Hell is self-willed rejection of God's grace. Both are an experience of God's love. We all come from God and we all return to him, and depending on our state of mind in this life, we have heaven or hell. Its all on our end.

    In the Bible it is written:

    "...There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love..."

    - 1 John 4:18

    There is no spatial place in time and space were dwell "damned people". That is a figment of cultural myth and popular folklore rather than of dedicated theology. Hell is considered by Catholicism to be a "state of being", a mental state.

    When we die, we are all engulfed by the same flame of Divine Love. It is the state of our soul that will determine how we experience that flame.

    This was explained by Saint Isaac the Syrian:



    "...Those tormented in hell are tormented by the invasion of love. What is there more bitter and violent than the pains of love? Those who feel they have sinned against love bear in themselves a damnation much heavier than the most dreaded punishments. The suffering with which sinning against love afflicts the heart is more keenly felt than any other torment. It is absurd to assume that the sinners in hell are deprived of God’s love. Love is offered impartially. But by its very power it acts in two ways. It torments sinners, as happens here on earth when we are tormented by the presence of a friend to whom we have been unfaithful. And it gives joy to those who have been faithful..."

    - Saint Isaac the Syrian (died 700 AD)



    Hell is not something that God "does" to a person. Jesus told us that heaven is "within us" and so naturally hell is too. Rather hell is a state of mind into which a person wilfully chooses to become immersed in. God's love offers that person a release from the agony of trying to separate Himself from the love of God.

    Hell and Heaven are not different places. People will not be sent one way and others another. There is no time or space in the infinite, eternal, unfamothable emptiness of God. Hell and Heaven are both experiences of the same single reality: God. It is one's state of mind/soul which determines how one experiences God's love in the afterlife, as a hell or a heaven, just as in this life.


    "...The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy...[It is] a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life...The thought of hell — and even less the improper use of biblical images — must not create anxiety or despair..."

    - Blessed Pope John Paul II (General Audience, July 28, 1999)


    Hell is not a place and neither is heaven.

    They are both states of being in relation to God - hell is self-will, heaven is union with God's will, simply put:


    "...Heaven is not a place and cannot be found on a map; rather it is where God's will is done...Raise your gaze toward heaven, not a heaven of abstract ideas nor an imaginary heaven created in art, but the true reality of heaven which is God himself. God is heaven. He is our destination, the destination and the eternal dwelling place from which we come and for which we are striving...It is not a location in the cosmos, but [rather] within God where those who believe in him will enjoy his love. We are all children of God the father, brothers and sisters of Jesus...We all aspire to happiness. And the happiness to which we all aspire is God, so we are all journeying on toward this happiness we call Heaven which in reality is God. every moment of our life is a step forward on this exodus, on this journey toward God...Make the reality of heaven, God's greatness, also present in the life of our world. Is this not basically the paschal dynamism of the human being, of every person who wants to become heavenly, perfectly happy, by virtue of Christ's Resurrection? And might this not be the beginning and anticipation of a movement that involves every human being and the entire cosmos?...Even though our daily life may be marked by trials and difficulties, it flows like a river to the divine ocean, to the fullness of joy and peace...Jesus tells us that it is only in conforming one’s own will to the divine will that the human being attains his true greatness, that he becomes ‘divine’; it is only by going out of himself — only in his ‘yes’ to God — that the desire of our forefathers and of us all is fulfilled — that of being completely free. This is what Jesus accomplishes in Gethsemane: by placing the human will within the divine will the true man is born, and we are redeemed...Dear brothers and sisters, every day in the prayer of the Our Father we ask the Lord: “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10). In other words we recognize that there is a will of God with us and for us, a will of God for our life that must become every day, increasingly, the reference of our willing and of our being; we recognize moreover that “heaven” is where God’s will is done and where the “earth” becomes “heaven”, a place where love, goodness, truth and divine beauty are present, only if, on earth, God’s will is done. In Jesus’ prayer to the Father on that terrible and marvellous night in Gethsemane, the “earth” became “heaven”; the “earth” of his human will, shaken by fear and anguish, was taken up by his divine will in such a way that God’s will was done on earth..."

    - Pope Benedict XVI, SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION


    I fully agree with brother Harry ji that we should be focused not on an "unknowable" and perhaps fairytale afterlife but rather on how we live in this life. We must strive to heed the Will of God in each moment that comes our way. The Catholic mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade said that,


    "...The present moment is like an ambassador who declares the Will of God...To hallow the Name of God is to love Him, to adore Him, and to recognise his holiness in all things......Let us learn to recognise the imprint of the Will of God, of his Worthy Name in the event of each moment. How holy is that Name!...The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams, but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love...To discover God in the smallest and most ordinary of things, as well as in the greatest, is to possess a rare and sublime gift..."

    - Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675 - 1751), French Jesuit priest and Catholic mystic (p45 The Joy of Full Surrender)



    Did not Jesus say, "Take no thought for tommorrow, for tommorrow will take thought for itself"?

    The Islamic mystic Rumi said, "The Sufi is the son of the present moment".

    Catholics call this "The Sacrament of the Present moment".

    A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace...every moment is a sacrament, in every moment, in the quiet stillness of the Eternal Now we can find God. Not tommorrow, not yesterday or even worse - certainly not "next lifetime"!

    Only the Present Moment is Eternal. There will ALWAYS BE A NOW. There will not always be a tommorrow and yesterday is gone. It is thus the closest thing to eternity - moment-by-moment - THE ETERNAL NOW. God exists beyond all time and place in the Eternal Now and we can only receive him in the present moment.


    Leave what happens after death to the providence of the Creator. All I know is that I will return to Him and that he has imprinted his law into my conscience and guides me through his Church on earth. For Sikhs, he guides us through the Guru - the Granth. I will return to Him, that flame of love, just as I came from Him and existed as an idea in his mind for all eternity.


    "To leave the past to the mercy of God, the future to his providence, is the kind of excellent advice we would cheerfully prescribe to others. How difficult though to practice it ourselves! The present moment is the only moment we have. It is only in the here and now that we meet God" - Bishop John Crowley

    "Morning, afternoon, evening- the hours of the day, of any day, of your day and my day. The alphabet of grace. If there is a God who speaks everywhere, surely he speaks here: through waking up and working, through going away and coming back again, through people you meet and books you read, through falling asleep in the dark" - Frederick Buechner


    Saint Faustina, a Catholic mystic, once wrote:

    "...When I look into the future, I am frightened,
    But why plunge into the future?
    Only the present moment is precious to me,
    As the future may never enter my soul at all.

    It is no longer in my power,
    To change, correct or add to the past;
    For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
    And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.

    O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
    I desire to use you as best I can.
    And although I am weak and small,
    You grant me the grace of your omnipotence.

    And so, trusting in Your mercy,
    I walk through life like a little child,
    Offering You each day this heart
    Burning with love for Your greater glory...
    "


    Sikhism is a religion of true philosophical depth, sublimity and beauty. I see much in common between Catholicism and Sikhi, such that I see no obstacle to recognising the Gurus as being who they claimed to be and in applying the principles of Sikhi too my own spiritual life. The Holy Spirit is alive and active in Sikhism. I wish you every blessing in your journey towards God.
     
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    #10 Archived_member15, Jul 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  12. Rory

    Rory
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    Thank you very much Vouthon. :) You have put my mind at ease.

    Thank you all for your great replies, keep them coming please!
     
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  13. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    We will never meet 'God' we may experience the presence, the spirit, the essence of God, but the duty to find our centre, who we really are, lies with us, and us alone, in my humble opinion.

    You are still young, some older than you have experienced this hell already, to them, the concept of hell is irrelevant. In the same vein, some older than you will have experienced heaven, and to them, the concept of heaven is irrelevant. Kamalaji, in her own style, hit the nail on the head, worry about today, about now, plant good seeds, water them, watch them grow, be happy,
     
  14. Rory

    Rory
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    This is what I meant by 'meeting' Him.
     
  15. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Halal has been mentioned in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to have different meanings but nowhere has it said how you should eat your food. The SRM says that a Sikh should refrain from consuming meat slaughtered in the Muslim way.


    One of the references of Halal (Honest Living) in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is on Page 140 Line 18 as follows:-

    Mihar masīṯ siḏak muslā hak halāl kurāṇ.
    Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran.

    Saram sunaṯ sīl rojā hohu musalmāṇ.
    Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you shall be a true Muslim.

    Guru Nanak's above verse is an advice for people of the Muslim faith to follow their religion in the correct way.
     
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    #14 Astroboy, Jul 6, 2012
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  16. Rory

    Rory
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    Thank you Astroboy peacesign
    I'd just like to say, you're all really, really helpful and enthusiastic and it really cheers me up to know there are such friendly people with such a deep interest in their religion! Thanks everyone for all the enthusiastic & helpful responses.

    0:)
     
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