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Sikhism Confessions of an American Sikh...

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by spnadmin, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Confessions of an American Sikh

    http://thesop.org/story/20130402/co...h-new-memoir-exposes-billion-dollar-cult.html

    California-resident Gursant Singh wears a turban, dons an uncut beard, wears his faith on his sleeve, carries a loaded handgun wherever he goes and would carry an assault rifle in his car if the State of California allowed. He is not violent. He is not fanatical. And, he is not Taliban. He is, however, like nearly one million other Sikh`s in the U.S.A " simply misunderstood.

    In his new book, Confessions of an American Sikh, Singh tells his personal story of searching for an ideal Punjabi " wife, Indian incarceration, dealing with corrupt Indian cops, breaking free of Yogi Bhajan`s billion-dollar yoga cult, a Himalayan awakening, and his reintegration to America, with an Indian warrant on his head, as a religious freedom fighter.

    Indeed, Gursant Singh`s journey and mission is more dramatic than most. Born a white Christian, Singh converted to Sikhism and devoted over three decades to the popular 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy) spiritual organization. Like him or hate him, Singh`s compelling, coming-of-age story provides unique insights into the world of these misunderstood warrior-saints. Readers will meet an exotic cast of characters " some venal and manipulating, others compassionate and generous. All of whom bring to life the contradictions, idiosyncrasies and excitement of 21st Century India. The memoir will educate, inform and inspire. Confessions of an American Sikh includes these topics and more:

    • The cult-like mysteries of the 3HO movement & Singh`s personal journey with the group
    • Why Singh chose Sikhism over Christianity
    • U.S. government`s ban on Sikh`s in military
    • The five articles of faith that Sikh`s are required to wear, including weapons
    • Hypocrisy of Sikhs` treatment of women
    • The extraordinarily corrupt Indian legal system, where payoffs are "ordinary`
    • The disillusionment of American young adults who seek India as a pilgrimage

    India can be fun, entertaining, and spiritually inspiring. At the same time it can be harsh and unforgiving, especially if you run afoul of the law, " says Singh. In fact, if readers are planning to visit or do business in India, Singh`s stories of a very modern India will alert some of the hidden dangers in India`s economy and politics.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    A related review by
    Neha Singh Gohil


    http://www.sikhnn.com/views/book-review-confessions-american-sikh


    Gursant Singh’s “Confessions of an American Sikh” is a rip-roaring ride through modern Sikhi. It plunges through the disconnects between Sikhi as it is practiced and as it is preached; rises above the muddle between Punjabi culture and Sikh rehat; and breaks through the mysteries of the 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy) movement.

    What results is a cross between Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Kim’ and William Sutcliffe’s ‘Are you Experienced’ – a fast-paced adventure through East and West, and an intense examination of what makes Indians quite so Indian.

    The story is set in modern Punjab, in 2006, where an American Sikh – known then as Guru Sant Singh Khalsa, a 3HO follower of Yogi Harbhajan Singh Khalsa – is looking for an “ideal Punjabi” wife. Gursant’s search goes awry when he and the marriage bureau he is working with are convicted of defrauding potential suitors. What follows is a stint in an Amritsar jail and several months spent road tripping through India.

    Through it all, we are dazzled with an array of characters – from Yogi Bhajan’s young Jewish secretaries to corrupt Punjabi attorneys and British ashram-dwellers. Gursant, in turn, amazes each of these folks with stories of his life as a devotee of Yogi Bhajan and a Sikh-American convert.

    Though the story is not about Gursant’s first time in India, it resonates with the genre of English novels about teenagers going to India to find themselves. Most of them end up spending months in a filthy toilet stall, disillusioned and hallucinating.

    In this book, as one person after another promises Gursant a way out of his legal troubles in exchange for cash, his beautiful vision of India drops like scales off his eyes. At the same time, he’s enthralled by the faithful attitude of so many Indians and revels in the chaos a bit.

    “Of course, nothing is working out the way I had planned,” he writes. “But this is India. Why plan? God has his plans. That is all that matters here.”

    At the same time, the storyline is punctuated with several authentically Sikh moments. Gursant describes his experience suing the U.S. government for the right to join the military – a live issue for Sikhs even today. He discusses the hypocrisy of Sikhs’ treatment of women. On the one hand, we emphasize that our religion treats men and women equally, and on the other hand, Gursant befriends a raagi who tries to marry off his 17-year-old daughter to him, a man decades older than her. Similarly, in the ultimate of ironies, a Sikh police officer threatens to have Gursant “disappeared” unless a bribe is paid. The stories are both appalling and familiar.

    With such a rich range of subject, Singh’s discussion about his 3HO experience is icing on the cake. The stories of Yogi Bhajan’s luxuriously wealthy lifestyle and affairs with his retinue of secretaries aren’t new. But Gursant’s inside perspective as Bhajan’s driver and bodyguard is different.

    His descriptions of how 3HO businesses sought to turn a profit at any cost are unnerving and in stark contrast to the concept of Rehat that Gursant learns about in India. His recounting of being sued by 3HO over a real estate transaction is visceral.

    Having been shunned by his fellow 3HO Sikhs, Gursant knows he’s an unreliable narrator on this front, and makes no bones about telling us so. Still, what he has to say is eye opening and needs to be said by someone who had witnessed it firsthand.

    Throughout the narrative, the readers may flip flops between liking Gursant and detesting him. He goes to India to find a “perfect Punjabi wife,” who he describes as essentially a mute cook. He is arrogant and foolhardy, knowing that he’s treated differently because of the color of his skin.

    He has no issue with taking advantage of the hospitality of an ashram for several months, despite knowing that his fugitive status would put everyone there in danger.

    But there still are a few things about him that we continuously admire: Gursant is intensely self-aware, true to himself and independent-minded. We can never tell if the narrator is completely trustworthy, because we’ve heard all the criticisms about him – from him! He knows his readers are savvy enough to run an Internet search on him, so he offers up what they’ll find.

    But he also doesn’t let it change his view of himself. He goes through his journey of self-discovery to figure out what’s missing in his understanding of Sikhi. Whether or not every last detail in the book is true, it certainly is a “confession,” perhaps to help Gursant forgive himself.
     
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    #2 spnadmin, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  4. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    admin note: This book costs only 0.99 if you make a Kindle purchase. You do not need a Kindle to do this. You can download an app to your desktop that works just fine. If you have an Amazon Prime membership the book can be borrowed for a short period of time for free.
     
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  5. Luckysingh

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  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    Luckysingh ji

    You may be right about that. I have downloaded the book to my Kindle for 99 cents. Am up to Chapter 6. He has been in jail in Amritsar and also the federal jail for 3 chapters now. I might be able to scope ahead to see if he lands in Yuba City toward the end. Will keep all informed of his progress.

    :japosatnamwaheguru:
     
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  7. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    p/s The author Gur Sant Singh is a trained marksman from the age of 13. He had perfect scores in several national rifle competitions. In the book he mentions he is also a gun collector.... which startled 2 companions in jail, both Punjabi Sikhs. So he could very well be the same one.
     
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  8. Tejwant Singh

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    This is the only part I can identify myself with the author although I have never owned a gun in the US and nor do I have the desire to do so.

    It is good that he found Sikhi via 3HO, even better he left 3HO in search for true Sikhi. The rest is a bit muddy and a lot cloudy.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    The book actually starts with his arrest and time in jail. In those beginning chapters he does flash backs to his childhood, college, 3HO ashram in Oregon, experiences with Yogi Bhajan, and relationship with a marriage broker, which is how he gets into trouble in the first place. So far very interesting and very honest. Not told in a step by step way.
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    Well now here is another clue! He admits several chapters on that he is a "publicity hound." That he has been on the American TV show People's Court (this was a hit show) several times, and in the newspapers for several lawsuitsl.
     
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  11. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    Luckysingh ji

    You have hit paydirt! He is one and the same. The last 2 sentences of the book

    "Epilogue Gursant Singh eventually found the Gursikh Punjabi bride of his dreams. He and his wife now happily live in Yuba City California."

    Singh, Gursant (2012-12-12). Confessions of an American Sikh: Locked up in India, corrupt cops & my escape from a "New Age" tantric yoga cult! (Kindle Locations 5757-5758). . Kindle Edition.
     
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  12. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I remember I have the book too on Kindle. I got it when it was 0$ :D
     
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  13. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I am up to Chapter 26 and yes, he is certainly into being the centre of attraction. But who cares? People who want to fade into the woodwork rarely write autobiographies and almost never publish them. The book is interesting and fun to read and I doubt many outside of the Sikh community will ever read it.

    His complete ambivalence about Yogi Bhajan is one of the funniest aspects of the book to me. On one page, he is practically (a) god, on the next, a money-grubbing charlatan.

    I wouldn't go out and spend whatever it costs hardbound, but it's worth more than the $0.99 I spent for it.

    Anyway, don't tell anyone, but this guy sort of reminds myself of me...
     
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  14. Kanwaljit Singh

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I have reached the chapter where he decides to escape India. I can say only one thing. I am impressed. His account (hopefully truthful) shows how we hear Guru's instructions all the time, but choose not to act upon it. And how in an epiphany he realizes that all that was a charade. He also talks about Katherine Felt, which makes me wonder why didn't the US justice jail the Yogi.
     
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  15. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I finished the book and his final comment about Yogi Bhajan struck me as Orwellian.

    Did Katherine Felt ever press charges? Until she does, the law in general, would not act..
     
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  16. Kanwaljit Singh

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I think there is a case file floating on the internet. She had her lawyer on it too! He 'saw' her bruised. I really await his final comment on YB and 3HO.
     
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  17. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    Yeah, I didn't want to be too much of spoiler,, so I didn't reveal it.
     
  18. spnadmin

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    Yes It was tried and settled. The case is not under the name of Katherine Felt but under a 3HO name. I read it maybe 3 years ago. Don't remember how to access it. However it might be on the Rick Ross cult site.
     
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  19. aristotle

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    To buy or not to buy...
     
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  20. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I bought it for$0.99 as an ebook. It is definitely worth that.
     
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  21. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Re: Confessions of an American Sikh

    I agree it's worth the .99 usd . I would like to thank the fellow for making Dr. Trilochan Singhs book "Sikism and Tantric Yoga" available for free. Here's the link http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?mode=page&id=1
    I read it a couple of years ago and it sent me in the right direction. My wife and I are working on translating it into Spanish for some friends. Dr. Trilochan Singh has a delightful style of writing. I recommend it.:noticemunda:
     
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