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Head coverings: For faith, for respect, for pride [female perspective]

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Ishna, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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  3. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I really want to learn to tie a turban like hers in the video... I plan to do Amrit in ~ 4 yrs when I am done my career in the military, and I would like to start wearing one at that time.
     
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  4. itsmaneet

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    Good work Ishna Ji ....

    I hope Harry Ji see this video as why i & many support covering head :)
     
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  5. namjiwankaur

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    Sat Nam
    I'm amazed again, Ishna ji. So many times, you have said something as if your replying to my contemplation. God works is wondrous ways, doesn't S/He?

    I have been thinking about head covering this morning. Specifically, on how it can be about my relationship w/God. I don't want to do it because a religion requires it (no offense meant, but I know that the 5Ks have to be about God/dess not about qualifying as a Sikh). One of my Sheikh teachers (he also goes by guru and I may use one title one time then one another time). I am going to ask some of those who are farther along on the path and actually spoke with Guru ji on his earthly stay. I wonder if it was only about modesty or if he taught anything about the crown chakra. Now I feel led even more to follow through on this. Turban, hijab, kufi, wig or chunni...it has to be part of our relationship with God or it is just the kind of empty ritual that Sikhi warns us about.

    My morning coffee conversations here are so wonderful! :singhsippingcoffee: WaheGuru! Wow! The Light is Everywhere! :)
     
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  6. Ishna

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    Nam Jiwan ji

    The chunni/duppata has a long history in India. It's use in Sikhi is firmly rooted in this history and is all about modesty and respect for elders.

    Something that struck me about the video is that the other faiths reference God or their scriptures as the basis for their reason for headcovering. The Kaur doesn't mention Creator or SGGSJ. I've tried to copy and summarise the sections I felt relevant, apologies for any omissions or errors:

    Muslim:
    00.28 "to get in close proximity with my Lord"
    00.45 "all to please my Lord"
    5.33 "All I worry about is what will God think about me/my heart/my actions"
    Modesty from men

    Christian:
    00.28 "[Bible] teaches that women should cover their heads and so that's just what we want to do. ... part of my walk of faith and obedience... "
    Modesty from men

    Jew:
    02.06 "Torah obligation"
    Modesty from men

    Sikh Dupatta:
    03.14 "Symbolyses humility, symbolises respect, symbolises femininity"

    Sikh Turban:
    03.46 "It's part of my identity"
    Individuality

    The fact is, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji doesn't ask us to cover our heads (men or women) - please correct me if I'm wrong. So for a Sikh, covering the head with a dupatta or a turban is a worldly action - to be identifiable in the world. It isn't about Creator.

    Bhenji:
    And here's the part where I kick myself out of Sikhi by saying I agree with you, I don't want to do it because a religion requires it, I want to do it because Creator requires it, and I'm not seeing where It's requiring it... *takes cover behind the nearest park bench*
     
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  7. Ishna

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    I can only speculate as I have no references to cite. I don't think any particular attention was given to the dress of women in the Guru's time. Indian women already wore chunni/dupatta and that was enough.

    Guru Nanak Ji himself wore a variety of clothes during his travels, apparently mixing odd combinations I guess to stand out and to show they he was separate from any one pre-existing order.

    I'm not sure about the history of the turban amongst the spiritual elite of Guruji's time, perhaps it was traditional for the spiritually wise to wear turbans? I don't know.

    Turbans were worn by higher class people, the rulers, and Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave Sikhs turbans to wear to elevate and even out Sikh social status. No special mention was made about what women should wear, but there are historical accounts of Sikh women in full warrior outfit just like the men (including turbans with shastras - metal wire wrapped inside/around them).

    I've never seen any mention about the crown chakra except on a website I won't mention here. :grinningkaur:
     
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  8. Ishna

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    Ah! Silly me. That's the risk you run when you try to contrast Sikhi with Abrahamical religions! It's comparing apples and oranges, not apples and apples. I was caught in the trap.

    So from the Sikh perspective, Creator doesn't "want" us to do anything particularly special. Creator will keep going along happily with or without us.

    It is up to us humans to make the effort to recognise the Creative Force and behave accordingly. For Sikhs that is (in theory!) standing up and out for equality, rights, freedom.

    The turban isn't worn because 'God wants us to obey' but for a healthy community and Sikh individual. So pretty much what the lady in the video said, hahaha.

    Pity my husband really doesn't want me to wear one. It's bad enough for him to put up with a keshdhari let alone a turban-wearing one. *sigh*
     
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  9. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Itsmaneetji

    If women wish to cover their heads, not cover their heads, walk around half naked, walk around in a sleeping bag, its all the same to me.

    I really could not care less, it has nothing whatsoever to do with me. If my own wife decided to wear a huge turban, thats fine too.

    What I object to are men like yourself that wish to impose their own views on another. As you say, you and many like you support covering head. Why? What exactly has it to do with you? Are you some self appointed guardian of head covering? Would you favour gangs of men looking for women with uncovered heads for punishment?

    The only other comment I would make is that one women used the words symbol and symbolism several times, I do not believe in symbols, I believe in the real thing, for the record

    sym·bol   [sim-buhl] Show IPA noun, verb, sym·boled, sym·bol·ing or ( especially British ) sym·bolled, sym·bol·ling.
    noun
    1.
    something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.
    2.
    a letter, figure, or other character or mark or a combination of letters or the like used to designate something: the algebraic symbol x; the chemical symbol Au.
    3.
    a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.

    So to cover your head symbolises respect, or, symbolises to another that wearer is respectful, respectful of what exactly? If I meet a stranger, I will always show respect if that stranger is worthy of it, this generic showing of respect to all and sundry, to me , seems mired in an age when women were chattels and were required to show respect to men, regardless of the man.

    If you are Khalsa, and wish to wear a turban as it is part of you, much kudos to you, if you are not, and you wish to cover your head for the purposes of symbolism, then what exactly are you hoping to achieve?
     
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  10. namjiwankaur

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    I think it goes far beyond India actually. IE: Mother Mary pbuh is always seen with a "veil".

    I love how you gathered all this info. I have read in a few places how some Sikhs refer to the turban (Sikh Dharma teaching perhaps?) as a crown. From the perspective of "crown", we can begin to wonder if we are actually seeing through a veil of maya & honoring the crown chakra. It might explain why so many religions have their heads covered during worship. We may not even be aware of how that effects the aura and energy.

    I looked in Resonance of Allah last night which is a collection on Bawa Muhaiyaddeen's teachings and he calls the crown chakra the "arsh" which means throne. I am one who loves to be left in awe by how the Divine silently works through symbols, etc..

    He says the soul enters babies (not sure if it is at birth or before) through the crown chakra. He says the arsh also relates to the Secret of God. Isn't it amazing then to notice that Isis (Aset in Ancient Egyptian) means Throne? And She is often pictured with a throne on top of Her head.

    When I read what Bawa wrote, I felt I had just gotten a glimpse of the Greatest Secret. I am still in awe this am.

    Contemplation often leads me to the most unexpected places.

    WaheGuru! Wow! Your Light is Everywhere!

    I'm wondering if any of the things I've spoken of here is similar to anything of the Sikh gurus?

    :singhbhangra:peacesignkaur
     
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    #9 namjiwankaur, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  11. namjiwankaur

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    Harry ji

    I agree. I don't think any kind of clothing is preferred by God or not preferred.



    I guess I fall somewhere in the middle, but its interesting you feel that way since the 5Ks are symbols. I think these symbols help connect some Sikhs to the Divine Experience. Some find beauty and meaning in that symbolism. Without symbolism, we would have very little art to enjoy in the world. Some lives are enriched by symbolism; others aren't.

    The SGGS is filled with symbolism. It adds to it beauty, imho.

    You may prefer a path without that kind of scenery, but some love to take in the scenery as part of their journey.

    As an example, I have worn a Kara for years. I read in a book last week that it, in a sense, symbolizes being a soul bride the same way a wedding ring symbolizes marriage. I can't describe how that cut through so much maya for me when I contemplated on that.

    I think symbols reach the sub-conscious the same way symbols express the subconscious activity in dreams.

    I think God often speaks to many souls through symbols. I am thinking of how Native Americans see signs when they have contact with a certain animal. It is full of symbolism as they reflect on what the animals qualities are teaching them. I recently had a hummingbird pause for 3 or 4 minutes right above me with one eye taking me in. It didn't take long to be warmed by the realization that the hummingbirds nourishment is nectar...amrit!

    Words are symbols. Numbers are symbols. Bills and coins are symbols. Promises are symbols. You would not be able to communicate without symbols.

    Harry ji, remember you live in Great Britain in the 21st century. There are many countries which still view women as the inferior gender. The west has only progressed in this area in the last few decades. Not all parts of the world have achieved this yet.

    Some men need a constant reminder that a woman is a woman not an object of lust. In that sense, modesty is a spiritual truth for people because lust interferes with union w/ the Divine. To dress provacatively means elevating the risk of succumbing to lust.

    Often we have to look from an objective perspective not a subjective perspective.

    .

    Again not all parts of the world have progressed this far.

    I believe you are saying two different things about respect. You say it should be a "generic" showing of respect yet you say only if a stranger is "worthy of it". How do you know when a stranger is "worthy of it"? Isn't all existence deserving of the same respect since the sacred exists within it all.

    You are also attached to symbols. How do you make a purchase? With coins and paper that symbolize money. Money itself is a symbol. Is it meaningful to you?

    And I think there should not need to be a debate over the value of 5K symbolism . They are full of meaning and I don't see how you can disrespect Sikhs who feel their faith deepens by those symbols.

    IE- For me, the kirpan is a potent symbol. I have PTSD. I am afraid of everything. I have had PTSD since my childhood. To respond with fear is automatic. I actually fear knives because they were one of the things that caused me to get PTSD. So the "symbol" of a knife has frightened me.

    But...the beautiful part is that I had a realization that kirpan would help me remember God is my Sword...the One who keeps me away from my enemies. And it could help me have the courage to defend myself and others God asks me to defend or protect by reminding me my strength comes from the Beloved.

    Symbolism can be beautiful. I am blessed to be amongst those in the gurdwara on Sundays via livestream. The gurdwara is filled with symbolism, but it also makes that energy of reverence for the Truth so beautiful.

    An image of the guru might be symbolic for you, but for some it warms the heart to see an image of Guru Nanak or the other gurus.

    Sufis say there are 3 sides to every argument. The opinion of the two people arguing and the Truth. The symbols mean quite a bit to some Sikhs and, for others, it doesn't. But to be part of a religion which is rich in symbolism, I hope you will honor those of us who are helped in our journeys by the richness of symbolism in religion.

    peacesignpeacesignkaur
     
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  12. namjiwankaur

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    SatNam Sangat ji

    Another insight. For whatever reason, many religions teach to cover the head during prayer, even if not at other times. A Sikh is one who longs for constant remembrance of God. Therefore, a Sikh (or Muslim or Jew, etc) who covers their head with turban or chunni, hijab, kippot or kufi is always ready for prayer.

    Sikhs and others, please share how this meshes with your spiritual beliefs.

    peacesignkaur
     
  13. Joginder Singh Foley

    Joginder Singh Foley United Kingdom
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    WJKKWJKF

    Every Amrithardi/Khalsa sister that I have met or interacted with has allways been a turban wearer to identify themselves as a complete part of the Sikh Package And i personally think that a turban wearing Khalsa Sikh sister is a most impressive person especially if they have made genuine effort to integrate the whole Sikh package into their lives


    :redturban:
     
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  14. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I do not see the 5 K's as symbols at all, to do so would be ritualistic in my opinion. The 5 K's are expressions of love, additions to the human body, a joyful expression of passion. I would certainly say my life is not enriched by symbolism.

    Respectfully, I disagree, I find it filled with truth and fact, but that is not in any way meant to negate what you feel, I think its wonderful you feel the way you do.

    I find the scenery detracts me from the path. The path is of relative importance to all of us, for me, the path is literally the only I way I can save myself, without the path, I am dead. I guess I envy you in a way, strolling down the path, enjoying the scenery, some times it is like that for me, maybe I will reply to this post again when it is like that, but for now, no, no eyes of the road :)

    I wear no jewellery at all, no wedding ring, no Kara

    I cherish such interaction with Creation, however, I try not to read anything into these, I find reading things is a step to magical, ritualistic practices. Creator does not need to communicate with me via Creation, Creator is in my head always, 24/7 I can sense Creator and Creators will at all times. Again, I have felt the essence of what you are saying in my youth, but I found myself getting myself in knots, such and such is a 'sign', that noise is a 'sign', etc etc, I found that as my faith grew, the need for signs were less, but this is a personal observation and not meant in any way to disregard your experience or what it meant to you peacesignkaur

    Anything symbolic has the potential to be everything and nothing. Words can be empty, promises can be empty, the truth is not symbolic, the truth is the truth, communicate with honesty, you may find a lack of symbolism.

    And the more women in those parts of the world submit to outdated cultural practices, the longer it will take to be accepted as equals.

    Some men need to address their own issues, this statement is paramount to 'she was asking for it, she was wearing a miniskirt'. If a man has issues with his own lust, if he cannot control himself, than that is his problem, women should be free to wear whatever they wish without worrying about the effect it is going to have on the man, the poor fool, who is unable to control himself. A Sikh man should be able to look at any woman, even a naked woman, without losing himself.I feel this is an important part of being a Sikh man, all women are sisters, mothers, daughters. How will women achieve equality in this way?

    If I meet a stranger, I will respect them by having no particular opinion either way, I would not bow, but I may shake hands. If after conversation, I find ideals or facets that I find worthy of respect, I will show my respect by way of a hug. Sometimes if someone has made a huge impression on me, when we finish hugging, we both may have tears in our eyes, you dont get that from covering your head lol lol


    I disagree, symbols mean nothing. I make purchases with promissory notes that do not symbolise money, they are a legal note, I would concede that coins, in the absence of any promissory statement could be viewed as a symbol, but I would say the notes set the tone.


    I would never disrespect anyone, however, anyone whose faith is deepened by a symbol, I would say has possibly not got the true essence of Sikhism, my opinion only. To a true Sikh, those 'symbols' are like flesh, part of the body, it is not a case that Kesh stands for this, or Kara stands for that, they are as important as an arm or a leg, and losing such is equally as painful.

    I
    I am sorry you have suffered so, I hope Gurbani and the study of, helps you change this into something positive.

    I have a complete belief in a non interventionist God, so the thought that God keeps me away from my enemies is alien.

    That the Gurdwara is filled with symbolism is actually what makes me want to be on my own. I find the symbolism in Gurdwaras a detraction from Creator. The rituals, the photos, the elaborate Matha Tekking, the Ardass filled with pointless requests, the langar, I guess its a good sunday out for most people, but not for me.


    Nope, I find nothing heart warming about looking at random bearded men, another distraction from Creator.


    We are not arguing Bhenji, you are stating your truth, I am stating mine.

    Symbolism is too closely related to ritual for me to feel comfortable about it, but it is a long journey, I wish you much luck and love on yours
     
  15. Luckysingh

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    Namjiwankaur ji, I understand your view and points on symbols and I agree with most of it.
    Harryji, I understand your view as well and how you relate it to blind faith or rituals.

    However, I feel that when we have or see these symbols, they are meant to be seen beneath the surface and what they signify and have true meaning for.
    In this manner the superficial and surface perception gets eradicated along with any ritual associations and it's true meaning can be felt as well as understood.

    I think that Harryji is sometimes looking to much on the surface and hence his concerns.
    I feel that you have this dislike and fear for anything that may be classed as ritual.
    Rightfully so, as sikhs we are supposed to be far far away from rituals. But when it comes down to rituals that are there to define and hold the posts, then we cannot deny these.

    I wouldn't say or class symbols as rituals, in the way I see them. Symbols are rightfully very essential components of our lives.
    Rituals are beliefs that are made as part of your lives, but the goals may still be achieved without them, whereas without symbols or symbolic items we would be like cavemen.

    Harryji, you shouldn't try to cross the road everytime you walk into something that maybe or could be made a ritual. Yes, symbols are used to promote and encouarage ritual beliefs, but that doesn't mean you should stay far away from such symbols.
    Just being aware is enough to not fool yourself!!
     
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