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Idolatry of SGGS

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Ishna, Jul 19, 2006.

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  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Hello,

    I apologise in advance if this post is offensive to anyone. It is a delicate question that has been bugging me for many months. Please know that I ask it with genuine curiosity and I mean no disrespect. Please correct any of my misunderstandings.

    That said...

    It is my understanding that the Sikh scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is supposed to be the Guru of the Panth as "decreed" by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, along with the Khalsa. "Authority" was passed to the scripture and the body of initiated Sikhs.

    The SGGS has got to be (in my humber opinion) the greatest text on the face of the earth, there's no doubt about that. I'm sure many of you would agree. It is the bani of the Gurus and their close friends. It is as close to the audible word of God Itself that us mortals will ever get.

    It should be shown the utmost respect. It is sacred. And I'm cool with that.

    What confuses me though is treating the scripture as a living human being. Isn't this making an idol of (to put it frankly) a book? A wonderful, inspired, sacred book?

    Bowing before the SGGS I understand, it is showing respect, humility, reverence for the ideals contained therein. Giving the SGGS the central place in the Gurdwara I understand. Fanning it I understand. Placing it upon a soft surface I understand.

    What I don't understand is why it needs it's own bed. Why it needs it's own seat on a plane. Why it seems to be treated like a person.

    Why is it not sufficient to cover it with a cloth on it's altar (sorry I've forgotten the proper name of the throne in the Gurdwara that the SGGS is places) when not being read? Or even having a bench to store it in another room if necessary, even on a cussion and covered on said bench.

    Isn't putting it to bed at night one step away from feeding it milk with a spoon?

    I thought the Guru's discouraged idolatry amongst the Sikhs? And yet now Sikhs seem to be making an idol. Is this a throwback to Hinduism, a reluctance to let go of that ritualism from the majority religion in India?

    Thank you for your views, and again sorry if I have caused offence.

    Ishna.
     
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  3. drkhalsa

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    Dear Ishna .


    You have touched very relevant Question .

    I think it has been disscused in parts already on the forum but Still I need to be dealt again in detail and you have provided a chance here .

    I will give some reason as I understand according to my current Understanding :


    1. Considering Sri Guru Granth Sahib as Physiacl Guru and the explanation that need of sikh as Physical Guru does not hold good in light of sikh philosophy , Shabd guru already had its due importance and reverance even before Guru Gobind Singh JI Gave Guruship to Granth Ji.
    So follower of Sikh Philosophy and having Good understanding of it with God,s grace does not leave any place for search of physical Guru in any form ( Person /Book).

    2. About the humanification of Granth Ji . It might have many aspect but I understand to important aspect one political and other spirtual .

    Politically in India Supreme Court now recognize Guru Granth Sahib as Person so prperties could be bought in legal terms in name of Guru Ji . and It I believe helped solve the corruption surrounding the GUrdwara properties and other related religious property belonging to sikh Community .

    Spirtually as you precisely asked about putting Guru Ji to bed at night seems odd on first look and I also felt the same at some time in my life but then I got the answer ( may be )

    For some people ( Saints ) who were too devoted to Gurbani and the source of it Guru Granth Ji and were so Thankful to the Gurbani for the Miracle it had done in their life that they developed great reverence for the Guru grath ji in book form as it was the only available form ( now even pdf file can be Guru Granth Sahib ).
    BUT this was very personal relation of that particular individual with Divinity of Gurbani and so the love for the Granth Ji . But there are always people like me around such SAINTS/SPIRTUAL PEOPLE who at the best just remain the spectator of all this relatiom of divinity and love , So they just learn the trick / Ritual and rest remain the mystery until God shower grace on them .

    I know that some people would not tend to agree but still I would mention that as said by many that some Saints like Baba Nand Singh Ji had so much devotion for Granth JI that they can get the Vision of All the Guru in the Granth ji and so was their respect and reverence to the Granth Ji

    So in short it is not black and white of thing . So when people do such thing in Gurudwaras like Respecting Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Gurdwara imigyt mean Nothing or Just a ritual They have learnt over Time . BUT on the other hand it could be the real devotion and experience going on and every thing could be for real so I dont mind that and try not be Judgemental .
    In other words :

    Everything you do in Gurdwara could be a ritual until you know/Experience SAT/GOD/AKAL and if you really happen to experience God everything becomes for REAL



    Any way these were my view and could be wrong but I am trying to learn


    Jatinder Singh
     
  4. Arvind

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    This is a very good question by Ishna ji. Thanks for putting this on forum. drkhalsa has replied in a beautiful way. I look forward to more responses by our learned members about this.

    Regards, Arvind.
     
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  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    i totaly agree with ishna ji.instead of learning from guru granth sahib
    we have just made it idol.some members of my family are highly religious
    but they don't know what is written in guru granth sahib.when i got my dsl internet connection i learned what is written in guru granth sahib
    sikhs don't even know what is written in guru granth sahib majority of them are treating guru granth sahib as idol.
     
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  6. singh4u83

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    all that care..........how about we know whats inside the Gurbani?
    isnt that being equal?
     
  7. ik-jivan

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Ishna ji
    You brave soul! I am glad that you brought your honest questions to forum. I often wonder the same things and notice the disparity between Sikh principles and Sikh customs. I always remind myself that Gurbani (Word of God) is truth, but people interpret it in whatever flavour they have preference and capacity for. No worries, we’re all learning under Waheguru, the Wondrous Teacher.

    Dr Khalsa ji,
    I truly appreciate and enjoyed your discourse on the subject of idolatry. I just posted to a similar matter and thought I would ask you to examine my understanding of why idolatry is rejected. Please comment on these paragraphs:

    We recognize Ik Onkar – the One Universal Creator God, Beyond Birth and Self-Existent. To be all this, Ik Onkar’s whole state must be formless and timeless. Anything that is created and has form has the potential of being misused as an idol. Idolatry is excessive reverence toward the objects of faith, whether living created beings or images of created beings.

    The difference between idol worship and worshipping Ik Onkar by focussing attention on an object of faith is a matter of where we attribute reverence. Is it the object that we revere, or is the object a focal point for those who cannot comfortably comprehend the One Who Is All? Not everyone’s mind can contemplate or develop communion with an infinite, formless Creator Being and they need a small chunk. That’s why almost all religions ‘package’ God in some kind of form. And most of us still need gurus and prophets because we haven’t evolved consciousness enough to commune or even acknowledge that such is possible. However, science and philosophy has made a lot of progress defining ‘collective consciousness’, so we are now affirming that we are of the same Mind.
    Thank you both.

    Sat Sri Akal,
    t
     
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  8. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    Ik-Jivan Ji,

    It would be good to see Dr Khalsa respond to your query but he hasn't been around for quite sometime. This is a very old thread. But let me share with you some similar thought process which run in my mind right now.

    The hubble telescope has revealed the galactic center and other spiral galaxies in quite astonishing pics. So science is helping us understand God. It wouldn't be wrong to assume that the galactic center which gives birth of millions of star systems be considered as the Sargun God for the time being. I often term it as my "Radiant Master" because I have not yet correctly been able to see a universe center which gives birth to all these galaxies, then the galactic center, for the time being, is my True Guru.

    Please comment. Even criticisms are welcomed.
     
  9. ik-jivan

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    Namjap ji,
    Wow! I hadn’t noticed how old this thread is. Thank you for pointing that out and for replying with a great concept for vichar.

    True, science is helping us understand God. In fact, much of my understanding about the One Universal Creator Being has come through vichar of the universe, so you have really brought a topic that I enjoy. Thank you!

    Consider, our solar system is just a tiny speck some 26,000 light-years away from the blackhole at the centre of the Milkyway Galaxy. It takes 26,000 years of processional movement to circle the core and come around again to where we roughly are right now, give or take a little drift toward the centre. At this very moment, we are almost at the galactic equator and will be shortly, marking a full pass around our spiral galaxy.

    Right there we see the exquisite precision of our galaxy in the procession. At the end/beginning of a 26,000-year cycle we find ourselves at the exact middle of the galactic equator and exactly 26,000 light-years away from the blackhole at the centre of it.

    To help the imagination, we can think of the galaxy as a cream cheese bagel. The hole in the middle is the blackhole and where the two halves are stuck together with cream cheese, that’s the galactic equator. We are now equidistant from top and bottom half of the bagel, on the equator of the galaxy and right at the very outside edge of the bagel, 26,000 light-years away from the blackhole at the centre of the Milkyway Galaxy. This, to me is the impeccable design and craftsmanship of the Master Architect of the Universe, the Beloved of All and the Giver of All.

    Contemplating the blackhole, we also have opportunity to consider Ayam – the process of creation and annihilation. The blackhole or galactic centre both creates and annihilates matter. The closer a body gets to the blackhole, the greater its density. I have wondered if this can be translated into the Dharmic Bull allegory. We know that when the Bull stands on one leg, enlightenment is low. I wonder if our passage through space within our galaxy mirrors the state of consciousness and morality or perhaps visa versa. What do you think?

    Yes. The galaxy is the Sargun of God. So too is the atom. So too are you and me, the oceans and the desert sands, the leaves and the stones, the golden, jewel-encrusted chalice and the plastic drinking cup. Everything and anything, from the sublime to the profane is the exquisite craftsmanship of the One Universal Creator Being, if we are graced by Gurparsad to see it as such. Waheguru, the Wondrous Teacher opens our eyes to see such things when we are ready. His flashes of inspired thought can arise even under the most mundane circumstances.

    All this diversity of being is the creative expression of the One, whose being we are only beginning to fathom. We, in our current state of consciousness evolution can perceive only His Lotus Feet, His Charan at most. Even those who need to hold an object of faith to grasp the Formless One are not to be criticised. As Guru Gobind Singh ji said to Aurangzeb, ‘No one is an infidel save one who denies His presence’.

    I think anyone could use this exercise to help the realisation of the formless Creator Being along. . . imagine a sphere as big as you can, with all the known world in it. Now contemplate, what is outside that sphere? You may need to imagine more space and an even bigger sphere contains the first one. What is beyond this bigger sphere? Repeat the imagination until your mind relinquishes the idea that space has limits and is ready to accept that infinity is the reality. . . we – every particle of matter, every waveform from thought or motion – are part of that infinite reality. : )

    Have you too been inspired to think such things? Does you heart dance when you contemplate the Sargun of the Radiant Master? Who do you think feels that joy within your heart? _/\_


    Sat Sri Akal,
    t
     
  10. jasi

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    SS AKAL JI

    All our answers to our weirdo questionnaires are found in Jap Ji sahib ji including with all references about God which no one has born yet or even Vedas to explain HIS existence including GURU NANAK DEV JI.

    We all have been blessed with how truly we can follow all the principals and guidance's to live in harmony and to pass life journey by remembering our Creator which will motivate us to all what is mentioned in Jap Ji Sahib Ji.

    Idolatry was eliminated from Sikh's way of living by believing EK Onkar which is omnipresent not living in temples or statues of any kinds.

    Since all of us evolved from Hinduism and most of time we lived under great supervision which give us urge to worship any object or hold to some thing to accept the pain to comfort our selves which might have not worked but it made our suffering bit easier to pass through.

    Some who happened to have rewards in trusting some object became a piece of Idol who can save peoples life.

    It is human nature some time to keep his loved one's pictures in his possession all the time because of love or respect .So what is the dofference if one can keep a pictures of any Guru in his possession with reverence.

    What Guru Nanak Dev Ji blessed us with Jap JI sahib to read and make us to appreciate the God than searching HIM in jungles or mountains or go crazy to see HIM (DARSHAN KARNA) and spend all your life to find HIM knowing more about HIM.

    NAM JAPO and follow all what Guru Nanak Dev JI's philosophy preaches us.

    Every thing man has has invented so far was already existing and created by Almighty . It is a matter of improvement in our lives to live or to understand our environments at earth or in universe for more knowledge is human ZEAL and invented what already existed.

    But the society as a whole did not implemented the basic principals of living in harmony but still practicing the most destructive practices after suffering since the creations of cast systems and other idol worshiping to the extent where humans live were sacrificed to please STATUE OF MANY GOD.

    Now it is time at least Sikh community wake up to realize the reality to make our faiths universally understood by practicing basic principals with attitude to practice what we preach.

    -The first is truthfulness, second the honest earning and third charity in God’s name. The fourth is pure intent and mind, and the fifth is the Lord’s admiration and praise.”

    -No to rituals, idolatry and the rigidity of the caste system.

    Jaspi
     
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  11. findingmyway

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    I think the theory goes that if we show utmost respect to the physical form of Guru Granth Sahib Ji (without being ridiculous-so offering food or milk is out of the question), then we are more likely to retain respect. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is equivalent to any of the living Gurus so it is treated the same. That was how it was explained to me. However, the ultimate respect we can give is actually studying and applying whats written rather than just making the Guru Granth Sahib Ji look pretty! Unfortunately a lot of ritualism is creeping in
     
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  12. harsimiritkaur

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    When I first saw Guru Granth Sahib in its throne and people bowing to it, I thought at first idol worship. Then I realized that 99% of the people who bow are only following Indian tradition. If they bow, why don't they learn and teach what the greatness of Guru Granth Sahib has written? The RSS and Taliban type people dressing up like Amritdhari Baptized Sikhs only use Guru Granth Sahib to exploit Pujarism. Many committee people in gurdwaras as stupid. They do not want teaching of Guru Granth Sahib, only Janamsakhi stories, pakandi sant magic stories, and brainwashing. The put sometimes 50 Guru Granth Sahibs in one room for 50 Akhanda paath recitations all at once. I have never seen more than one professor teaching in the same room at the same time. How confusing the class would be.

    When I discovered Guru Granth Sahib on the throne, it caught my curiousity, so I began to study Guru Granth Sahib and now wish others would too, to discover the hidden gold hiding under the Ramaalas. How sad to have the truth so close at hand, but forbidden to or being deprived by greed and politics to learn from.
     
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  13. ik-jivan

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    To my understanding the Word of God – the knowledge, wisdom, loving guidance – contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is what is to be held sacred and revered and not so much the physical object itself. The same applies to highly spiritual people. One does not so much revere the person, but the Divine Light and Love that flows (unimpeded by ego) from the person.

    This is a personal view founded upon innate disposition rather than a learned belief. I can, indeed, respect created objects and beings, but I just don’t have it in me to revere them or give them elevated or godly status. I just can’t observe a created thing as God. Yet, I do respect the earnest devotional practices of others that incorporate the use of objects of faith.

    It took a rather profound change of views to clear a sense of resentment toward people who worshipped objects of faith. I now realize that many people do not venerate the object, but what the object represents and in many cases it is the Formless One. Those who do worship demi-gods and persons as a general practice within their religions, I have come to tolerate through cultivation of compassion. If their consciousness requires that they hold a small piece of the Infinite Universal Formless Being, then I encourage them in their devotional practice, knowing that eventually they will rise above the need.

    Within Sikhi, I just scratch my head in wonder at the irony and paradox of seeing Sikhs venerating objects (idols) and people (gurus). I figure, in due time, Sikhi will either be restored, will adapt or will perish upon the dust of extinction. In the meantime, I will content myself to inhale every fragrant page of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Dasam Granth ji, Sukmani Sahib ji, and Nitnem, enjoying the scent of the Beloved One of All. There are many sacred texts from around the world and I have read most of them, but the Banis of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji are, by far the purest expression of love toward and wisdom from the Supreme Being that I have had the good fortune to have found.

    Sat Sri Akal,
     
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  14. jasi

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    SS AKAL JI.

    [​IMG] <!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->ik-jivan

    By all means I have the same feelings that Guru Granth Sahib has given me more truthful and Crystal clear path without any stories or criticisms of any other religions to follow to realizes the Supreme presence than many other holy book has touched my heart.
    to my knowledge.

    The whole point is to have effective leaders to extend our GURU's teachings and philosophy to the rest of world than concentrating only to Sikh community like any other organized religion.

    I strongly believe that Sikh faiths created by GURU NANAK DEV is universal faith beyond any boundaries like other religion. This is a world religion v because it speaks about entire humanity not for some groups motivated by their prophets or messengers.

    Guru Nanak Dev blessed with us most motivated philosophy with strong determinations where every one can stand high to tell fellow human beings that we love all humanity regardless of where one comes from or what cast or creed one belongs to.

    I like to know if you another example to match with Sikh beliefs and practices by who understood the SHABAD.

    Jaspi
     
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  15. ik-jivan

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Jaspi,
    There will never be effective leaders to extend our GURU's teachings and philosophy to the rest of world. None of us are perfect. Even the most saintly have imperfections. Instead, each and every one of us has to try to express the teaching in our daily lives so that others can learn by example. There’s no worry about screwing up, so long as you are really and truly trying to follow the Hukam Orders of His Command and walk in the way of His Will. Even when it seems like we are screwing up, He’s behind it all, teaching us and others around us.

    You know, our days are filled with small decisions. Choosing to do what is selfless at least most of the time goes a long way to purify ourselves of ego, inviting the Divine Light to shine through us, which is what others sense, trust, love and are willing to learn from. A true leader, is just like Guru Nanak Dev ji – a servant of creation and the Creator. The best leader is the one who encourages others to listen to the Divine guidance of the Bani that is within their hearts.

    This isn’t license to do whatever we please, but to do whatever pleases Waheguru. Understanding what pleases Waheguru takes purification of the five evils, so we can feel and sense His instruction, but it also takes a mind that is purified of socially conditioned falsehoods and that is gained through dedicated study of Gurbani and the best effort we can muster to follow Gurmat. The Gurbani is a joy to study, because it fills our hearts with beautiful feelings. The Gurmat is all about disciplining the ego and it is a chore . . . taking out the trash, to be exact. Every religion has ‘crazy’ rule to follow. Each is a path to learn ego-self discipline and humility before Waheguru. It is the Gurparsad that makes the Gurmat easier to follow. All we have to do is reaffirm submission to His Will and He will correct us so that we can comply more fully with His Will.

    All religions – at their root and core – are good, but each is like a vocational curriculum for a distinct profession. Let’s say some are studying to be doctors and others lawyers and still others scientists. Perhaps Christianity and Buddhism are the religions of doctors and nurses, who heals others. Maybe the Vedic religions are the lawyers, who describe the laws for human relations. Then, I guess you could consider Sikhi to be the scientist religion, that seeks to understand the Universal laws and Being. Every person has a unique disposition and destiny that makes them better suited for one or another religious profession. We can choose the religion that is best for us, but we can’t make that choice until we have read over the course outline at least.

    I really don’t believe that Sikhi is the right religion for everyone. What I do believe is that if ANY religion is practiced at the highest degree of discipline, it will lead to the perfect religion, which is not a religion at all, but an adherence to Universal Truth, regardless of culture and social distinctions. We are a long way from that, so all I can think to do is get everyone to practice whatever religion they identify with to the highest degree they have the capacity for. If they are Christians, I say, ‘Great! Can you heal people by touch?’ If they are Hindu, I say, ‘Wonderful! Have your social laws solved the problems of poverty and illiteracy yet?’ If they are Buddhists, I say, ‘Fabulous! Has your presence eradicated hatred, cruelty and suffering?’ "No? Then keep practicing until you can do what your religion promises you will learn to do.’

    What are Sikhs suppose to be doing? What is Sikhi supposed to discipline us to serve the world as? Hmmm. . . I don’t know yet. All I know is that what Guru Nanak Dev ji describes the Creator and creation to be is almost exactly what the Bani inside me says is true. The more esoteric Sikhi has provided the answers to things that no other religion I have studied has adequately explained. I think time and manipulation of truth by mankind has a way of turning simple facts into myths and complicated mystical concepts, mostly for keeping Divine Knowledge out of the reach of common people. The dispensation of Guru Nanak Dev ji hasn’t yet been mystified, because it is so new, but if things keep going the way they are, I am concerned that it won’t be long before the core philosophies are ritualized and corrupted to suit the interest of those in charge of the Panth. There’s nothing we can do to stop this from happening. All we can do is be Gurmukh and be very diligent at getting the Gurbani and Gurmat into our minds, hearts and bodies before it is rewritten or conveniently lost to the world.

    Sat Sri Akal.
    ikonkaar
     
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  16. jasi

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    SS AKAL JI.

    Ek-Jiwan Ji.

    Your comments are very well appreciated like old saying"

    "Mend yourself, instead of mending the whole world"

    What exactly happening is Gurbani teaches each individuals the same to live one's life to follow the truth in all walks of life.But to creat awareness to the rest of the world and share this true philosphy of Guru Nanak Dev becomes each indeviduals joy to share the gifts our GURUS blessed us with all we meeet as joyfull experiences.

    The emotional excitement which was felt by Mukhan Lubana when he found the true Guru ,he went on the roof of the house (world) and start shouting . He found the TRUTH.

    "GURU LADHO RE ,GURU LADHO RE"

    By no means SIKHI is a religion which one should think to spread in the world or convert others to Sikhism but it is way of life to pass this journey of life.


    Here is your quoted words which are highly appreciated by me and wish these comments could reach to the in charge of PANTH and individuals to change the tide of faith drifting away from fundamental principals of Sikh Philosophy to be free from cast system and any kinds rituals.


    "I think time and manipulation of truth by mankind has a way of turning simple facts into myths and complicated mystical concepts, mostly for keeping Divine Knowledge out of the reach of common people. The dispensation of Guru Nanak Dev ji hasn’t yet been mystified, because it is so new, but if things keep going the way they are, I am concerned that it won’t be long before the core philosophies are ritualized and corrupted to suit the interest of those in charge of the Panth. "

    well said.

    ikonkaar

    Jaspi
     
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  17. ik-jivan

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Jaspi ji,
    You write, 'Your comments are very well appreciated like old saying' and that's how I feel about Gurbani. . . familiar Words, that speak to my heart like an old friend.

    It is difficult sometimes to accept that while nothing is yet perfect, it will be eventually and inevitably, because Waheguru ji ki fateh! He can’t lose, so we just need to stay close in mind, heart and body to the Victorious One.

    This morning, while considering if I am being as equipoise about the circumstances in my life as I should be, the answer came . . .

    This Shabad is by Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Ang 409

    raajan jog kar haa(n) ||
    Practice Raja Yoga, the Yoga of meditation and success.

    kahu naanak log alogee ree sakhee ||2||1||157||
    Says Nanak, this is the way to dwell with the people, and yet remain apart from them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0EGji9k5GQ&p=3610A1399364243B&playnext=1&index=1

    All the chaos, confusion and conflict is being managed by Ik Onkar. He’ll figure it out and he will use His servants who dwell with the people to perform His Will and Command.

    Chardi Kala!
    t

     
  18. jasi

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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    SS AKAL JI.

    EK-JIVAN JI.

    Mortal can not be perfect but we show the world we are blessed with perfect.Showing means each of us try to live as much as we can according to what Guru bani teaches us and let the world see our life styles.

    But our out look behavior and dealings with fellow human beings should be always according to fundamental principals laid down by Guru Nanak Dev must be implemented into our daily life.

    The cancer of cast system has been creeping in our Sikh communities and dividing us even further places like south Africa where black christian has there own church and white people has their own churches. That is called racial discrimination still better than cast system which humiliate one's inside .

    Cast system was single most factor differentiated by Guru Nanak Dev from Hindu practices of cast system.

    Guru Gobindh Singh gave the final touch by creating a KHALSA ( PURE ONE 0 and blessed all to live with honor.

    That is what I am concerned about not to start preaching door to door our philosophy to the world. But show to the world what made us different with our beliefs from Hindus ritual life style and belief in cast system.

    The whole world is making mockery of our practices where our Gurus criticized these practices as a racist to humiliate the human beings.

    Jaspi
     
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    #17 jasi, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2010
  19. ik-jivan

    ik-jivan
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    Re: Idolatry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    Jaspi ji,
    We are fortunate, in Canada, to have laws that protect against discrimination based upon race, religion, gender, and so on. When the laws are on your side, it’s not only within a citizen’s right to expect to be treated with equality, but also citizens’ responsibility to uphold the law of the land. I am not at all reluctant to enforce discrimination laws to protect myself and others. Perhaps the ‘religious profession’ of Sikhs should be to act as the Universal Law Enforcement Officer?

    Yet, when I read about the mistreatment of and discrimination against the Dalits by ‘Sikhs’ in Punjab – and I cannot even bring myself to read about that poor Dalit woman who was humiliated recently – it fills me with indignation. I think if I lived in India, I would soon become a dead saint-soldier, because I surely would not be silent about such injustices.

    Regarding the caste system, the Manusmrti was written more than 2,000 years ago to define the laws about social classes. I’ve read parts of it. . . as much as I could tolerate. It is written in such a way that it gives me the distinct impression that the ‘classes’ were mingling quite naturally (with Brahmins marrying Shudras and so on) before the Manusmrti was introduced. The Laws of Manu were presented as Divine dispensation, which seems quite unlikely, but by announcing that the rules came directly from Brahma to Manu, people were manipulated into compliance.

    However, the Vedic texts written much earlier describe the duties and functions of the four varnas (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra) in a way that shows that bloodlines were not relevant. It seems to me that the social order that was intended is comparable to the Personality/Psychology Type assessment system that C. J. Jung developed. The purpose was to define vocational aptitude.

    Anthropologists, who have studied the earliest Indus Valley civilization, the Harappans, suspect that they didn’t even have a social hierarchy or layered government system. Instead, every citizen was equality responsible. This same research also seems to indicate that the ‘Aryan invasion’ wasn’t so much an invasion as integration. Wandering tribes came, they saw, they liked, they stayed, until the rivers shifted course and the civilization faced famine. Well, those are the theories, anyway.

    What should be clear is that the Indian caste system as it is today would never have arising democratically. It seems so unlikely that the majority of citizens would happily accept the introduction of a system that would put them into bondage and servitude to a minority elite. Yet, even elsewhere, we see the same power imbalance: monarchies, oligarchies, dictatorships, etc. We can see how proponents of such systems manage to convince the masses to accept them. More recent history of the world dominators offers clues. Military, economic, religious, social and psychological persuasion and force are the means used for controlling the masses.

    I think that any social order, regardless of how good it is in theory can be made to oppress and disenfranchise the masses when put into practice with ill intent. With ill intent social orders can be made to slowly and strategically evolve into nefarious devices for serving the self-interest of those with power to control. We see it every day.

    Oh, I don’t think we can blame the whole world for making a mockery of Sikhi. Sikhs are doing a good enough job on their own with every report of one brandishing a kirpan or using foul language in Gurdwaras! If I had any say, I would strip down any Sikh, who behaves so shamefully, to his or her kara and insist on a term of sewa as penance.

    Truly, I feel that wearing bana or even making claim to the Sikh identity should be far more carefully managed than it is. But that’s just my opinion and I know that it is contrary to the prevailing opinion, which encourages wearing of bana by anyone who wishes to do so. Yet, it seems to me that there would not be idolatry, unjust discrimination, violence or any other breach of Sikh Principles within Sikhi if there was better management of qualification. On the flip-side, I can also see how qualification rules already have been manipulated. What do you do???

    But chin up and Chardi Kala!, right?

    Sat Sri Akal,
     
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  20. namritanevaeh

    namritanevaeh Canada
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    Thanks. This was pretty much what I was getting at. Maybe I should have realised it would have been asked at some point but maybe also I wouldn't have found it easily.
     

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