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Interesting Questions Regarding Sikh Conversion

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Miranda, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Miranda

    Miranda
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    Hi there! I have a few questions about Sikhism. I am an American girl who is really new to the Sikh culture and way of life, and I'd love to learn more from someone more experienced :happykudi: (that being said, I apologize if anything I ask here comes off as rude or offensive; that isn't my intention)! :kaurfacepalm:any help is greatly appreciated!

    - Where can I buy fabric for tying a turban?
    -How does Amrit aid in a Sikh's spiritual growth?
    -Can a non-baptised Sikh get married in a Gudwara?
    -Is a baptised Sikh REQUIRED to be married in a Gudwara?
    -Sikhs in America: how liberal/conservative are Gudwaras in the USA on social issues?
    -Can Kara bracelets be any standard steal bracelet, or must it be a specially made "only for Kara use" bracelet?
    -What are the sects of Sikhism?

    Thank you for reading my list of odd questions! :happykudi: I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    1. places to buy turbans..no idea as i ma in Malaysia...far far away..
    2. Amrit ( Real name PAHUL of Khanda battah Double edged sword and steel bowl) is the FIRST STEP..something like Getting REGISTERED in Pre-School for an Education up to may be PHd...or more..except that in Gurmatt-Sikhi the Education process is for LIFE TIME..ends only at DEATH. Many make the huge mistake of thinking.Ha..I have REGISTERED..now I am a PHD and can call myself DR. or Professor !!The Biggest FOOL is one who DOES NOT KNOW..that he KNOWS NOTHING. Unfortunately so many of them around..and you are definitley going to meet them esp in the GURDWARAS...IGNORE them.
    3. There is NO "Baptism" in Gurmatt-Sikhi. There is a NAMING Ritual for a new born child normally carried out in a Gurdwara with the Gyani (knowldegeable caretaker of the Gurdwara) who will read the SGGS and suggest the first alphabet for the name and seek the Gurus Blessings. This is just for the NAME ONLY. The NEXT Major ceremony is the PAHUL..which is VOLUNTARY.
    4. Its expected that a SIKH gets married in a Gurdwara according to the anand KARAJbecause the pre-requisite is TOTAL FAITH and BELIEF in the teachings and practises of the TEN Gurus and SGGS. One who DOES NOT subscribe to that..has no buisness getting the SGGS to be his/her wittness. Simialr to a would be US Citizen who wants to take the Oath of US Citizenship BUT doesnt follow the US Constitution..and has no faith or beleif in it..its what i call a MOCKERY.
    5. PAHUL is highly RECOMMENDED but not a MUST HAVE for any ceremonies in a Gurdwara. Any "SIKH" can have access to all ceremonies in a Gurdwara.
    6. Karra is a STEEL/IRON Bracelet. There is NO "COPYRIGHT/BRAND". the basic requirement is IRON/STEEL and ROUND. You could have one made at a Foundry or IRON SMITH if you like. TEST: If it attracts MAGNET. its a Karra.
    7. American Sikhs and American Gurdwaras are as liberal as the next door American..i suppose. What i can certainly VOUCH FOR is that the SGGS is the MOST LIBERAL of all Holy texts. Its Gender free, equality to all, bestows honour to women, brotherhood of MAN, environment supporter,bestows honour to downtrodden and the poor and fights for liberty fights against tyranny of the ruling classes, defends right of religious freedom..etc etc...NOT a Single Line that can be FAULTED.:mundakhalsaflag:
     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    oops...left out one last query...
    There are NO SECTS in Sikhi-Gurmatt.
    The SGGS espouses EKO GURU...EKO GURBANI..EKO VICHAAR.
    Meaning our CREATOR is ONE (EK Oankaar)..our GURU is ONE -SGGS..our GURBANI is ONE ( although many contributors of Gurbani in SGGS..their GURBANI is "ONE"...no one is "higher" or other "lower"..we BOW to Guru nanak ji just as humbly to Bhagat Ravidass Ji becasue each tuk of GURBANI is GURBANI regardeless of the "author" it emanates form the CREATOR as Dhur Ki bani. WHATEVER is OUTSIDe the GURU -SGGS even if "attributed" to a GURu or not..is NOT GURBANI because the SGGS declares quite transparently..SATGUR BINA KACHI Bani..kehndeh kacheh sundeh kacheh kachee aakh vakhannee - and the SATGUR is SGGS. So anything left OUTSIDE the SGGS is intentional...and cannot be titled "GURBANI".

    2. Many self serving "Gurus" have always existed since the time of GURU NANAK JI Himself...his sons..Guru Angads sons..Guru Amardass jis sons..Guru ramdass Jis sons..so ona nd son..at the time of GURU TEG BAHADUR Ji there were 22 different "self styled GURUS"...BUT these and many today..like the Namdharees, the radha Soamis etc are NOT SIKH....they may look like Sikhs..even better than Sikhs..BUT they are NOT SIKH.
    There are NO SECTS. These are break away rebel groups not mainstream Sikhi.

    Glad to answer any more queries..
     
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  5. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    This is a sort of funny story about my favourite kara. One day when I was a teenager, about your age, actually, I found a round of circular, metallic thing on the ground, possibly a part of a machine. I picked it up and it had inscribed on it, MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN. I really can't tell you why I liked it so much, but I performed the magnet test on it and wore it as a kara for many years. Some people thought me a bit eccentric, I suppose, but I have never really cared what other people thought and I liked it.

    I remember once a friend came up to me and tried to show off her "new, gold kara." She got really mad when I told her it was a gold bangle and not a kara. I was right, of course, in one way, but really not right in being so mean about it.

    Sikhi is really different from other religions in that there are very few rules. There are a few, of course, but mostly we are given some principles to guide us and we are expected to figure out how to apply them to our lives. This means, of course, that we have to study and learn for ourselves what these principles are. It is also good to learn how pother Sikhs have applied them. Necessary, I would say.

    Our sacred "book," Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji is different from other holy books in many ways. It is not a set of rules or a history book; it is a set of poems or - some would say - one long poem - meant to be sung. It is incredibly beautiful poetry that I find a joy to read. If you are serious, it would be worth your time to learn to read Gurmukhi, the Punjabi writing, so you could read the original with its rhythm and sound and sort of learn the language as you go along. The whole Guru Granth Sahib ji is on YouTube in the original languages. Of course, you will want to read it in translation to get the meaning, as well.

    There is no ceremony that makes you a Sikh. Instead, a Sikh is a person who believes certain things. Here is the definition of a Sikh from the Sikh Rehat Maryada, sort of the Sikh handbook/rulebook.

    I've done this again. I sit down to write a couple lines and end up writing an essay. I guess if you've gotten this far, it's not TLTR, so that's OK.

    One last though (I hope). Reading the definition, I wonder if anybody really converts to Sikhi. It seems like more of a matter of learning about it and understanding it and, I would hope, visiting a gurudwara and then one day waking up and realising that you fit the definition.

    One last thing, if you and the administration will indulge me, I order most of my supplies from the Sikhi Store in England.

    So, welcome and grow and have fun. If you choose Sikhi as your way of life, that's good. If not, your time here will be well spent learning about an interesting path through life.

    :icecreamkudi::swordfight-kudiyan::tablakudi::mundakhalsaflag:
     
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    #4 Inderjeet Kaur, Jun 9, 2013
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I think you have a wonderful attitude, welcome to this forum, I hope you enlighten yourself and find the right path.

    My answers are not as cuddly as the others, I hope you do not take offence at any of them



    To me, this is the equivalent of someone wanting to join the army and asking where they can get a Generals uniform. A film I am currently watching, 300, for the 87th time, has this line in it 'earn these shields boys', a turban has to be earned, but many people make the mistake of thinking they can just put one on and it makes them a Sikh, in my view this sort of thinking should be avoided as it gives you false understanding and pride.


    it doesnt, the taking of Amrit has no magical or spiritual properties, it does not change who you are, or infuse you with anything. The taking of Amrit is a declaration that your head now belongs to the Guru. It is a statement, like 'will you marry me', those that take Amrit in the hope that it will make things better are deluded, in the same way that couples that get married in the hope it will save their relationship are deluded, We take Amrit when we are ready to give ourselves, body and soul, to the Creator.

    It depends on the Gurdwara, and ironically what colour you are, if you are indian looking, then it is not a problem, if you are white, black, chinese, or anything other than indian looking, then someone will probably raise an objection, remember Gurdwaras are run by human beings, some of whom are more petty than others, does it have racist overtones, yes, it probably does, but the fact of the matter remains, two indian non baptised Sikhs getting married in a Gurdwara is quite common, two non baptised koreans would raise eyebrows and objections. Also, remember, getting married is not quite the same as the anand Karaj, the Anand Karaj requires you to be at least aware what you are getting yourself into, and the spiritual responsibilities thereafter, it is a union between three, you, your partner, and Creator. It is a bit like ordering the most tasty dish on a menu, without any idea of whats in it, and then just staring at it for an hour, and then leaving. To most, Anand Karaj is just something to get out of the way before the drinking and dancing, to those for whom it is the best part, the most uplifting part, I have much respect, and admiration, and possibly even a bit of envy.

    A baptised would not dream of being married anywhere else :)

    I find those that do not believe they are still living in India pre partition quite progressive, I am sure there are american members here that can guide you,.

    I, personally do not consider myself Sikh enough to wear a kara, but that is my personal failing, having said that, I think the next time I meet my father, I may ask for one of his old ones, as I am getting better :). The best karas are those that are inscibed ' for kara use only' lol, no just kidding, I think the simpler and plainer the better, it is not an item of jewelry, or an item of show.

    Sikhism itself is quite simple, one Creator, love and compassion for fellow being, raise yourself to the best you can be, academically, in your mind, your thoughts, aspirations, physically, it is to be the best you can be, until you get to the point where you are Creation and Creation is you, and you see Creation in everything, at this point, Amrit Chak, and maintain this till you die.

    There are other sects, some believe in a living Guru, some believe in Vedic practices, some believe in Martial practices, some follow other manuscripts, some are veggies, and some are plain on the make, the best advice I can give you is to read through some of the threads on this forum, they give an unbelievably unbiased view of most facets of Sikh life, educate yourself, ask questions, I hope you have a wonderful journey, ! :mundahug:
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    For the sake of the question asked by our new member, some detail is needed about the idea of "sects." I for one believe there are sects within Sikhi. Our ideal understanding of Sikhi is that "there is one Sikhi." Words of Guru Nanak. On the ground, however, the way Sikhism is practiced differs from the ideal of unity. Differences in practice are obvious. Differences in belief are more nuanced, but nonetheless present.

    It is not an easy question to answer without thinking through 2 things. What do we mean by the word "sect?" Are there groups within Sikhism that clearly distinguish themselves from others according to practice and belief?

    Some brief and incomplete examples: AKJ requires women to wear dastar/turbans. This is just one example of how their practice differs from the broader Sikh Rehat Maryada. Nanaskari expect celibacy of any who provide seva as part of the gurdwara services. 3HO does not exclude the practice of numerology and astrology. Both AKJ and Nanaskar have unique rehats; 3HO follows the SRM, however, it also adds practices that are excluded by the SRM.

    Are all beliefs the same across all groups within Sikhi? I cannot say "yes" to that. A much longer answer is required. The SRM defines who is a Sikh without a doubt. The tenets of that definition have been interpreted in different ways.

    I think that whenever a group within Sikhism is consistent in how it translates beliefs into practices, as signatures to that group's identity, and which lead to controversy between and among various groups within Sikhi, then there is not one Sikhi -- as much as we would like to believe otherwise.
     
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    #6 spnadmin, Jun 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  8. Ishna

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    However it is possible for an initiated Sikh to marry a non-Sikh by civil ceremony outside of a Gurdwara. It's a bit of a touchy subject and you'd need to guage your local community's tolerance for this, and if they object, find a new community. ;)

    Having said that, I notice you're 15 years of age. Not wanting to derail the thread I'll just say it's important to consider your compatibility with your partner before you get married. Generally similar religion = improved compatibility. For this reason it's best to encourage that 'Sikhs should marry Sikhs'.
     
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  9. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    sisji, you have answered the question correctly, and I am correctly corrected, I was answering the question with regards to anand Karaj, which was not the question, :mundafacepalm:
     
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  10. gur_meet

    gur_meet India
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    In answer to the question
    How does Amrit aid in a Sikh's spiritual growth?

    It was said that
    "it doesnt, the taking of Amrit has no magical or spiritual properties,.."

    Well the Amrit does have spiritual properties although no magical properties.
    It does give a spiritual push which has been seen practically in the life of many Sikhs who had taken 'Amrit". The effect varies from person to person. In some there is no observable change.
    I have often wondered about this as to what change is there after taking 'Amrit'.
    The answer lies in joining a new group which has an identity. The new entrant gets access to group consciousness. The spiritual push is at subconscious level.
    Commitment level increases.
    Nitnem is done with delight.
    Amritvela rising is no longer a problem.
    There is inclination towards simran .
    There is urge to understand Gurbani.

    This group consciousness has been created by so many Amritdhari Sikhs of past and now.There is thus a distinct identity. This identity gives a push for coming out of the effect of Maya.
    The Amritdhari Sikh does has to make effort towards becoming Gurmukh. No effort no gain.Any effort is spiritually rewarded.
    There definitely is no magic connected with Amrit. Spiritual gain YES.
     
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  11. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    kindly then explain why not all who take Amrit display the above, it seems restricted to the few that had these qualities already.
     
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  12. gur_meet

    gur_meet India
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    The answer is in the effort.
    Taking amrit does not mean one becomes pure rather one has better tools to become pure. There is a push which amrit gives but the individual inclinations also count.
    Some do remain stuck even after taking amrit.
     
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  13. Harry Haller

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    can't argue with that :), particularly liked the better tools, :kaurkhalsaflagred:
     
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  14. gur_meet

    gur_meet India
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    It is when we interact that we learn. This is sangati vichar sharing. I have also learnt and got a direction of thought in my learning process. Guruji introduced Amrit with a purpose and intention.
    Thank you veerji
     
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  15. Ishna

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    No correction of your response is necessary veerji, just expanding the response in a slightly different direction. It's all related. :icecreamkaur:
     
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  16. Miranda

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    Wow! Thank you all for the uplifting support and great answers so far! I hope my local Sikh community is just as welcoming. I really do appreciate it, and I think I have a much better handle on what to expect from the Sikh religion/ community. :happykudi:
     
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  17. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Miranda ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    If I were you, I would read as many threads as I am able to here at SPN to gauge if my personality, values are in sync with what Sikhi offers. Then delve into them on your own. If you enjoy music, listen to the Shabads- The Sung Scriptures(SGGS) from the juke box here. Develop a feeling for things that make you joyful and create the desire in you to learn and know more.

    Once you start doing that, then you will expect less from the Sikh community because by then you will have already become part of it.

    Enjoy your journey.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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