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Insult to whom?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Lee, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. Lee

    Lee
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    Wahehguru ji ka khalsa,
    Wahehguru ji ki fateh!

    Cyber Sangat ji,

    It is with great sadness that I have see things like this:

    DNA - India - I didn’t realise the symbol’s sanctity: Mandira - Daily News & Analysis

    dotted around the internet over the last few days, and I have read many strong words from my fellow Sikhs condeming this woman, I read about burning effigies, and calls to have this woman punished.

    What saddens me, is I really don't understand why?

    Ikokar the first words contianed in our everlasting Guru ji, are indeed very important to us, the symbol of Ikonkar, what it means, the symbolisim behind both the words them self and the image of the script.

    Yet there are just words, it is only a symbol. I ask how can a symbol feel insult?

    Or perhaps it is insulting to Sikhi, to our religion? Then I say a religon is an idea, it is not an entity, but an idea, a principle, again how can an idea feel insult?

    Or perhaps the insult I am hearing about is to God?

    God can be insulted? How would one even attempt such a thing?

    No I can only see man taking insult, only people, feeling insulted by this woman. Can it be true then, mankind knows better than God what is bad and what is good?

    God we are taught is all, is indeed one, or Ikonkar, God is surly in this symbol Ikonkar, and surly present in the TV star who has it tattoed on her back.

    Ikonkar sat naam! I'll say that again, Ikonkar sat naam!

    We all know what this means don't we, how then can God insult God, or does mankind deeply immersed in maya as he is, think that he knows best?

    Hatred, burning effigies, calls for punishment, does this seem Sikhish, is there any room for such thinking, is this the future of Sikhi?

    I surly hope not.






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  3. Boota

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    I tend to agree with you. There are far more important issues to deal with. She could have been spoken to privately if anything needed to be said.

    It has all the hallmarks of the recent riots caused by a bollywood actress kissing an American film star. Indian protesters burn effigies of Richard Gere after public kiss

    This kind of reaction is not a Sikh one, but an Indian one.
     
  4. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    A few years back another entertainer named Madonna was wearing Vaishnav tilak while gyrating obscenely on stage. She had underwear with the Om symbol. World representatives of Vedanta staged major protests. At another point, Madonna was using a Christian crucifix in a sexually explicit manner on her stage shows. World representatives of Christianity staged major protests.

    Why?

    because it was obscene and degrading to the sentiments of the people of those faiths. And because abuses of religion in this manner when unchecked lead to abuses of the people of those religions.

    She had this symbol tattoed on her lower back and presented it indecently by keeping herself partly naked to expose it...in a traditionally conservative country...to expose the symbol to ridicule. She has in the past made derogatory remarks about Sikhism, so it isn't something new. But it was something considered a public desecration of the symbol that Sikh people hold dear. She was summoned to apologize for her actions and cease such disrespectful display.

    You think God doesn't punish? Then what is karma? We learn from our mistakes. She has learned that this kind of public baiting will not be tolerated.
     
  5. Lee

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    Harjas Kuar ji,

    Respectfully when you say ' because it was obscene and degrading to the sentiments of the people of those faiths' I think you have hit the truth of the matter.

    I asked how can a religion feel insulted, or how can a symbol feel insult, and the answer is that they cannot.

    People and only people can take insult, can be offended. Yet the power of an insult rest soley on theose being insulted.

    In a real way we choose to be insulted or not. I saw yesterday a video clip of a chap called Guruka Singh,(here is the link: YouTube - Guruka Singh - Judgement of Others) he talkes about judgeing others, he talks specificly of blessing those who attempt to insult you, in seeing God in all people, as surly God is.

    If we choose to take insult then we choose freely to immerse our selves in maya.

    I ask is that the Sikh way? Or should we be attempting to see God in all, even in thoses things that enflame us?
     
  6. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    People are also the jyote of Waheguru. To be insulted is not some unspiritual reaction. Spirituality is not some pacifistic exercise of having no responses. While it is true, a highly developed spiritual person does not disturb their consciousness, we all still have to live in a real world.

    Guru has initiated the Panth and bestowed on it Guruship as a Panthic organization, and also in the Panj Piare. So realistically, the Panth, and the Akal Takht are the sargun saroop of Guruji. So your concept of God being some indifferent abstraction does not fit. The spiritual authority for the Sikh Panth has taken action to defend the sentiments and rights of the Panth.

    Why is this unwise? Why is allowing gross abuses and defamation of a religious faith, which often is prelude to abuses of people who practice those faiths, an unspiritual thing?

    Now if some individuals were burning effigies, obviously they felt insulted. But the Akal Takht was not burning effigies. She was summoned to explain her actions. To the best of my understanding, she was born a Sikh, and thus bears some responsibility to the seat of spiritual authority for that faith.
    Veerji, if I spit on your wife, I am responsible for my insult. The responsibility and blame don't shift to your wife whether she should feel insulted or not. I bear responsibility for my actions. If Hitler massacred Jews, is the power of offense solely on those who choose to be offended, or can we realistically say certain behaviors cause offense?

    Religion as an abstract concept is lifeless. But the expression of religion in the human beings who practice it is alive and well. Sikhi isn't something in a textbook about world religions. ALL the Sikh Panth are what Sikhi is....disciples of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Sangat, as a body of human beings speaks for Sikhism, because we have a voice to speak for themselves. In this case, the body of the Khalsa Panth has spoken. People were highly offended, and she was educated to remove the insult and be more sensitive to the community of Sikhs in the future. Why should millions bear insult to protect the rights of one immature and thoughtless person to be rude and disgraceful?

    So someone can spit on us, insult and degrade us, and we can't react for fear that would be unspiritual, for fear that would mean our consciousness is disturbed by maya (even though we live in maya world) and for fear we would offend the sentiments of the one who insults us by JUDGING them by their actions? So it is our total blame and guilt for the bad behavior of another?

    Nonsense. Lets look at the semantics for a moment. We judge whether the traffic is safe to cross. We judge if the person beside us makes us uncomfortable, and might be a danger. We judge if a partner has flaws that make him unsuitable. We judge based on our understanding, our instincts, and by the behaviors of others which are the truest expression of their intent.

    otherwise should we be so guileless in a world of serpents that we fail to have any survival mechanism at all? Even Buddha killed the pirate to prevent him harming all the innocent people. To do that he had to TRUST his JUDGEMENT of the pirate.

    In this instance, you or I have not been the judge. In fact, apart from now, I've never said a word about this case. but I accept that the Jathedar of Akal Takht has convened the Panj, taken Guruji's hukam and made a judgement which he is authorized to make, on behalf of Sikhs in general, and on behalf of this actress. Guruji is like a father. Definitely, you will be disciplined if you do something wrong. Guruji left us his sargun saroop as guidance. We are not like teenagers running amok behaving badly who can do whatever, and blame the religious people for being uptight and deciding to be enflamed and engrossed in maya by being offended. (How sinful of them!)

    We don't choose to take insult, anymore than an assault victim chooses to be assaulted. We don't live in a world of solely mental processes. We live and interact in a physical reality. We are ALL living in maya-world, and this is the ground where Guru has us ACT. It is more spiritual to ACT than not to act. It is more spiritual to be a protector than to shirk responsibility and let problems just escalate. For one thing, if you were Jathedar, and you saw how enflamed people were getting towards this girl, burning effigies. Maybe you would feel afraid for her safety. And by summoning her to repent of her misdeed, and offering FORGIVING on behalf of the Panth....just maybe you would be saving her life from the less mature people.

    Is it the Sikh way? Well yes, the Jathedar of Akal Takht has rendered a JUDGEMENT on the case which is his authority and role to do. He has authority over Sikhs worldwide. FOR A REASON...imagine living in a world where there were no police, no authority, no teachers. Well Guruji didn't leave us orphans, we have the sargun saroop in Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj, in the Panj Piare, and in the Akal Takht.

    Attempting to see God in all? So if someone is mutilating my child, I'm going to sit back like some new-age space cadet, meditate on how my own mind is being disturbed because I'm personally flawed. and choose to have the "unspiritual" failing of REACTING. Then I can blame myself for not having great empathy for the God presence in the mutilator due to being enflamed?

    You yourself are making a judgement that the Sikh authority here is even enflamed. Just because Joe Blow Singh in Amritsar got mad and burned an effigy in protest, doesn't mean the Akal Takht acted with these same sentiments. How do you know what their motivation ot hukam was? Who are you to judge all of us and pardon the one causing offense?

    If Waheguru gives me the power to protect my child from harm, and I fail to do so for fear of becoming enflamed and engrossed in maya (major sin I suppose), if I fail to act in the real world because Im so engrossed in the spiritual one, and I allow harm while meditating on the great jyot of Waheguru in my child's tormentor....

    .....

    then there's something really the matter with me since I have an obligation to my protect my child.

    The Jathedar of Akal Takht acted in the best interests of the Khalsa Panth, with full authority and obligation to do so. If you have a problem with his decision, why don't you ask him why he made it. But it seems fairly evident to most people that this girl's anti-Sikh behaviors were getting way out of hand and needed to be corrected....for HER best spiritual interests.
     
  7. Lee

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    Harjas Kaur ji,

    Again it is with respect that I say perhaps you have mistaken my words.


    We certianly do, but as Sikhs isn't it our job to shake off the 5 thieves? Would you not eqaute hatred, and anger with maya? I did not suggest that the show of hatred I read about was wrong, nor did I say that it was unhuman, what I did ask was why, and isn't it un-Sikh like behavour.

    My concept of God is not as you suggest, as to Panth I am a Sikh, I certianly did not feel insulted by this tatoo and so as a member of the Sikh panth, can I truely say that my sentiments were defended? Although if you re-read my posts on this matter you will see that I called into question only the hatred, burning, and calls for punishment I have seen from ordinary Sikhs, I did not mention of Akal Takht, nor did I question any ruling that come from there.

    This is the heart of the matter. What gross abuse are we talking about? why exactly do some find this tatoo to be insulting? Does God find it insulting? Does Guru ji find it insulting? Or is manmukh mankind that see's an insult here?

    Indeed you are right.

    If you spit on my wife, then yes you are responsible for trying to cause my wife insult, it is also clear that your intent is to cause my wife insult.
    If my wife wipes the spittle from her face, and blesses you, if she sees God in you shining through, if she bows her head to your feet and chooses not to be insulted, then you have not caused insult, even though that be your intent.


    Religion though is absract, religion is an idea. God is Iknokar, God is Sat Naam. Religion is no more than a word we use to describe the idea of 'reaching' God.

    Again I did not say this, I questioned whether such shows of hatred over this woman and her tatoo are Sikh like. To act in fear, or react in fear is still acting under the influence of the 5 thieves, I say nothing more than are we not as Sikhs supposed to try not to do that? Insults? What are they? What real damage can a hurtfull word do us? Or a woman with a tatoo of a symbol, what actual harm can that do?

    Yes we do, we do all of this, because we are as you say liveing in a maya world, we do all of this because we are not perfect, yet we are Sikhs because we want out of maya, becuase we want God, because we wish to stop being as we are.

    Yes you are correct, but I talk of insult taken, and hatred show, over a tatoo, not a snake, not an evil come to harm us all, one woman and a tatoo. I judge that harsh, and un-Sikh. Again I ask, as a member of the Sikh panth, why?

    And again, I do not speak against Akal Takht, but only ask the questions why, and is the burning of effigies proper Sikh behaviour, and again considering what we are talking about is a tatoo.

    I'm sorry Harjas Kaur ji, but I belive you are wrong. Do you suggest that our minds are not our own, that we have no control over our selves, that we have no free will, and cannot choose if we will it to 'turn the other cheek'?


    This is very true, you are what you do, not what you say nor what you think.

    That is a very good point.

    Please understand that I made no referance to Akal Takht, or question wether or not we should take judgements from there, I question the behavour of the Sikhs who shout, and burn, and I ask why?

    That is your call, and I would not envy anybody in that possition. Indeed I would react in the most violent of ways myself to that sort of situation. Yet Guru ji has showed us that one can give up his children to suffering, if that is Gods will.

    You might be correct, I may have judged, but I assure you my intent was to question. And again I made no referance to Akal Takht, nor did I question the authority.

    You are tacking on all sorts of imagined threats, and litraly putting words that I did not say into my mouth. I aksed why do some Sikhs find this tatooed woman insulting, and I asked is the hatred, and burning, and calls for punishment over it Sikh like behaviour?

    Again, I have no problem with Akaal Takht, I do though fail to see that this girls behviour was anti Sikh, or fairly evident that it was so?

    I will reiterate the basic premise of my post for you.

    Why is this girls tatoo insulting to Sikhs, or sikhi?
    Is it Sikh like behvoiur to call for punishment, and burn effigies of this women?

    Other than saying I understand that Ikonkar is important to us, and also alluding to the fact that maybe we are guilty of placeing a symbol on a high pedistal, and posting a link to a video that I found uplifting, that is all I said
     
  8. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    First: Sikhs are ordinary people....just like everyone else. So stop criticizing Sikhs for being human and having responses to provocation.

    Second: The tattoo was insulting. It was intended to be insulting. It was placed in a part of female anatomy which is insulting to display. And it was publically being displayed, even televised to provoke protest.

    Whether or not you personally feel differently is your perogative. The majority of the Sikh Panth including the leadership have already settled the case.

    Third: I have no idea whether anybody harbored hatred, since I am not Akal Purakh to know the intentions of their individual hearts. I'm not going to do nindya of the individual Sikh as to their exact motivations. I recognize simply because someone is a Sikh, they represent themselves, not the Khalsa Panth. So if some people had a wrong idea, or a wrong approach, or became "engrossed in the worldly maya and taken captive by their panj dhoots" it really isn't my business, that's for Guruji to judge and correct. To the best of my knowledge, these people were acting from provocation, not with intent to injure the sentiments of others. The Khalsa Panth is a collectivity, no individual voice stands above the rest. I submit all my opinions to the accepted views of the Khalsa Panth as a collective body, and to Akal Takht, which I believe has spoken in this matter.

    Fourth: Western morality while so popular, so tolerant, so acceptable to the majority of the liberal world is really a promoter of immorality. So while people who are desensitized to western culture, (lack of) morals, and fashions may not see any offense in this lady's tattoo and the way it was publically and deliberately displayed, don't assume more conservative and traditional cultures would share the same toleration, or be wrong to feel offended. The saddest thing, people raised in western cultures are not even aware of how poorly they are perceived by other countries for their displays of indecency. Can I say discreetly that such displays of a half-naked back (with a religious symbol no less) is perceived as being a kind of prostitution? Have sensitivity for the cultural context.

    As for the comment about your wife, and some presumed saintly reaction of non-violence and blessing to insult and attack. Remember veerji, everything is relative in the relative world. Gandhi's pacifism was the pacifism of a fool. All it accomplished was the creation of Pakistan and the horror of partition. So greater evil came because of his "saintly" inaction.


    Turn the other cheek? Isn't this pacifistic Christian teaching? Let me quote Harbhajan Singh Yogi (Yogi Bhajan) to the 3HO: "If someone slaps you on one cheek, I say smash in his other cheek. That way he will think twice before doing that to anyone else again." Do you know why we wear kirpan? Guruji has given us the right to the Divine dignity of self-protection as a religious principle and identity.

    Actually to fight back takes great self-control. Have you ever practiced martial arts? Even Gandhi wrote that ahimsa is not real if you have no strength to fight back. Often cowardice is calling itself "ahimsa." You have to BE ABLE to defend yourself, and chose not to for advancement of a spiritual or social ideal. Sikhism doesn't teach ahimsa. Neither does it teach violence. Sikhism teaches self-defense, and the highest morality of sacrificing yourself to defend others from harm. Guruji did not helplessly turn the other cheek. He was a terror to the oppressors! He started a holy movement and stopped the oppression. That was the gift from God.

    Guruji is asking for the head of a Sikh. You do realize, as a soldier of the Khalsa fauj, to give a head is the same as to take a head. Sometimes it might come to pass where the holiest thing you can do is take the head from your enemy to defend the Khalsa Panth. So on the point of pacifism being idealized as the supreme spiritual manifestation, remember, while Guruji sacrificed his own sons, it was as an example of commitment to sacrifice in warfare against oppression. To act was a greater service to humanity than not to act. The eldest Sahibzade where the head of Armies leading a military charge. Remember the wonderful strength and Khalsa spirit of Banda Bahadurji and so many great Sikh Generals. Now a saint-sipahi is someone who is not acting out of personal anger or the 5 demons. But he is still required to act. Everyone's goal is to become a true saint-sipahi. But don't be so discouraged that ordinary human beings who are Sikhs are not being saints. In fact, in this evil age, saints are very rare. I am not a saint. And you are not a saint. So why the harsh judgement on people for not being saints?
    ~Bhull chuk maaf karni ji
     
  9. Lee

    Lee
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    Harjas Kaur Ji,

    Wow such a lot of words. Please allow me to take the relevant points of your post and remind you once again of the relevant points of my post.

    First: Yes Sikhs are normal people, and I did not critise anybody(strange though how you can tell me what to do?) I asked what was the provocation, and I asked is this Sikh like behavour?

    Second: I'll ask again, why was it insulting, how was it insulting? How do you know it was meant to be insulting? How do you know this womans intent was to insult?(Heh okay then I'll ask four questions)

    Third: Hold on there, in your previous post you accused me of bismiching the name of the Sikh panth with my first post. Now you say this is no longer true, that individual Sikhs do not represent the panth? I can only think of one reason for a climb down like this, you too see the display of burning, and hatred as un-Sikh behavoir?

    Fourth: Ahhhhh I feel we are gettting somewhere now. Yes of course I am guilty of looking at the whole thing through the eyes of my English culture, I am after all a converted English Sikh. So then do you say that the insult was not to Sikhi but perhaps to Indian culture? In which case why should I not speak out if I see culture in a place where none should exist? Should not our Sikhi be free of it?

    My wife, lets leave her out of this huh, I was after all just following an example that you gave. Veerji? My name BTW is Lee.

    Turn the other cheek, I wrote not because I want all Sikhs to be pacisfictict, of course not, we should fight against injustice, and protect those that need our protection. I wrote as an example of keeping control over ones mind, that it comes from a diffeant faith is irrelvant. Yes I have done martial arts, yes I know about self control. Harsh judgement? Again I asked questions, I made no judgments harsh or not, if you feel that I did, please point to me the words that I used to give you this opinion?

    To reiterate, I do not know why this tattoo is offensive, I have no idea why peoples reactions were, to my mind over the top, I ask why on both counts. If you can exaplian this to me, isn't that more productive than this to-ing and throwing that we are engaged in at the moment?
     
  10. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    1.

    Above statement is equating those who found the tattoo to be insulting as being manmukh. So you are criticizing because you don't agree there was insult in the tatoo and calling those who thought so as "manmukh."

    In the above statement you are judging whoever found insult in the tattoo (which must include Akal Takht and relevant authorities and elders of the Khalsa Panth as harsh and "un-Sikh." How else can anyone take your words other than a public criticism?

    In the above statement you say you have no problem with Akal takht, yet in the same sentence you say YOU fail to see the girl's behavior as anti-Sikh, thus you are contradicting the stated opinion of Akal Takht. Okay, you don't agree with it. But why publically call into question an opinion and judgement of Akal Takht? Is that because you think your opinion is better? Maybe you aren't being totally honest with how your comments are perceived. I didn't answer this thread because I had any strong feeling about the girl. I answered it because I didn't like your criticisms of the Khalsa Panth.

    In the above sentence, you are saying anyone (which includes Akal Takht) who took offense at this tattoo was freely immersing themselves in maya and being enflamed by passions, not God. And questioning if they are following the Sikh way. Who are you to judge everybody that took offense? If you didn't like the opinion, fine. But you are bashing the entire Khalsa Panth who publically took this stance with your "judgement" against it.

    2.
    I don't give a hoot about the woman's tattoo to be honest. But I can clearly perceive it as insulting to the culture of modesty. Further, the Akal Takht has already clearly stated that Sikh Authority perceives it to be an insult, regardless of what you or I think. End of story. It's a done deal. You just don't like the deal. Take it up with Jathedar Vedanti. Why keep coming to me?

    3.
    I didn't step down on my opinion. Clearly I am showing you that you are criticizing the Sikh Panth in order to defend this girl. I said you are a part of the Sikh Panth. That means, you are part of a collectivity, and your voice must necessarily conform to the majority. No, individual Sikhs do NOT represent the Panth, we represent ourselves, but we participate in the Panth as a privilege, not a right. And yes, we can lose that right. The Sikh Panth is not a democracy of 18 million voices. And YES, you can, as an individual, hurt the reputation of the Sikh Panth. Just like this girl is doing....in a conservative country with an unconservative display.

    A. You are not the Voice of leadership to speak for the Panth or make authoritative decisions.
    B. Yes you can, as an individual Sikh, make damaging statements about the Panth and conflict and be at odds with the majority.

    What's hard to understand about this? It's not a contradiction. And no, I do not protest against actions of the Sikhs. So I see no problem with demonstrations such as burning effigies. Have you ever been to an anti-war demonstration? Did you ever hear anyone in the liberal American press talking about the violence, the hatred, the unspiritual people who protest and demonstrate against something they don't like? You're trying to sound liberal, but you're totally not.
    The insult was to Sikhs as the majority perceived it. If you need clarification, please contact the Akal Takht. I have nothing to do with it. But that is what the Akal Takht has said. Why should Sikhi be free of protesting something majority of Sikhs don't like? Talk about totalitarianism. The tattoo stunk. End of story. Go make your own tattoo if you want too.


    I couldn't care less about your wife. I don't know what she looks like or what her name is. I was using the same analogy which you used in a different context, such as "suppose if..." I have nothing against the lady. In real life, if I spit on her she might do gatka on me. ITS NOT THAT BIG AN ISSUE.


    I did, see above. Turning the other cheek is stupid in my opinion, but whatever. (Isn't it nice to have world of diversity or we would be so bored on forums.)


    I have no idea what a to-ing and throwing is, but I imagine it's something English. She has been in trouble with Akal Takht before, so they may have taken a harsh stance against her because of repeated "perceived" offenses. Again, she is a Sikh, so she falls under the jurisdiction of Sikh authority. Which isn't us.

    I'm tired of the tattoo.
     
  11. Lee

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    Harjas Kaur ji,

    To-ing and throwing is what we are doing here. With our posts going to and throw, with nothing getting resolved.

    I appoligise if you took my words to be critical of the Sikh panth, that was not my intent. I do stand by my words though, I asked where the offense was with this whole deal. I as of yet have no answer. I asked also is is Sikh like behviour to show hatred, and again I have no answer.

    If you think that the burning of effigies is not a show of hatred, then we disagree on that issue. Also it is my right to speak freely if that is my wish, as it is yours, does not every Sikh have the right to call into question his fellows if they witness behaviour that is un-Sikh?

    I guess then it depends on wether or not you think public shows of hatred proper Sikh behviour or not?
     
  12. simpy

    simpy
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    :) Respected saadh Sangat Ji :) ,

    hatred is the main issue that is eating up the whole goodness EVERYWHERE.

    Gurbani teaches us totally hatred free life, but unfortunately not all of us response to Dhan Dhan Guru Sahib's WORD.

    i been thinking about this issue of Ms Mandira Bedi every time i read this thread. Only thing that been coming to my mind-Women are not allowed to do kirtan in Siri Harimandir Sahib Ji, is this important issue to discuss and be resolved or what all the women in the rest of the world are doing????? We are making a big issue out of nothing. i have seen many men and women have '<>/vwihgurU' written on their hands and with those same hands they do all the bad things-sell women, rape women, smuggling, sell children.... and what not. what happens to the insult of the relegion and all that then??? some people just have the habit of spreading some kind of hatred and they find their way to do it this way or the other. i guess that is all about it. Sikh leaders had been sleeping on various more important issues always. A lot of other things happening at this point of time those are more insulting than this :crazy: .


    forgive me please
     
  13. simranjeetsinghsimmy

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    i agree with you Surinder Kaur Ji :)
     

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