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Is Everyone A Sikh?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by RD1, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. RD1

    RD1 Canada
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    I'd like to revisit a topic that was briefly touched upon in a different thread, to get a more thorough discussion about it.

    Do you believe that everyone is a Sikh? Why or why not? What does this mean to you?
     
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  3. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur India
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    Depends on if you are following the definition of a Sikh from Sikh Rehet Maryada, or going by the meaning of the word, and even then, I would say it's context dependent.

    Ok lets look at SRM definition:

    A Sikh is defined as any person, male or female, who faithfully:
    • believes in the existence of One Eternal God
    • follows the teachings of, and accepts as their only Spiritual guides, the Guru Granth Sahib and the ten human Gurus
    • believes in the baptism (Amrit Sanchar), as promoted by the tenth Guru
    • does not owe allegiance to any other religion
    So going by that definition, I would say that no, not everyone is a Sikh. Many people owe allegiance to other religions, do not believe in Amrit Sanchar, and do not follow the teachings of the Gurus. Many people don't even believe in a God at all, some believe in science only, some believe in multiple Gods / Goddesses.

    Now if we go by the meaning of 'Learner' even then, I would say it's context dependent, and that context is in relation to truth - but not just any truth - no it's not learning truth about who won the Oscars or what's the latest video game release or the top 10 songs. It's truth on context of our existence, reality, spirituality. Who we are and our divine connection.

    So I guess what I am saying is no not everyone is a Sikh. That's not to say that those who don't follow the Sikh faith can not be a Sikh. They can. But I don't think that many people today who focus on worldly material things and have no interest in their divine / spiritual origins, living oblivious to the truth, I don't think they can be considered Sikhs.

    But it's just my opinion only and I am not by any means a perfect Sikh myself.
     
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  4. sukhsingh

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    I firmly believe everyone is a sikh.
     
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  5. Original

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    Good morning Everyone,

    RD1 Ji, I must commend you for initiating valuable religious topics for reflection and exploration. That as a result, will equip the prospective seeker or participator to advance further in spiritual and intellectual maturity, notwithstanding, contemporaneities. Mark of a true Sikh - well done !

    If I could, by way of preliminary examination make a statement to compensate for what is otherwise often denied, sidetracked or indeed neglected, that philosophy by definition is the love of wisdom and not necessarily the Sphinx of the 21st Century for ready made solutions to all possible problems. The philosopher's role [you n the gang] is to carefully, critically examine and evaluate information and belief to workout, coherent, consistent and general framework of all that we know and think.

    HKJ has captured much of what should suffice in relation to the subject matter, but in addition and from historical perspective, it's good to know that Baba Nanak Ji didn't coin the term Sikh, conversely, it was a reply to the masses that anointed him with the title "guru". Baba Ji often commented and considered himself a "sikh", meaning a learner and that "guru", meaning, the knower and holder of infinite wisdom was alone God.

    Both HKJ and Sukh are right in their estimation of what is a "sikh". From an academic perspective it would follow that since Sikhism is a system of belief, which is supported and implemented by institution everyone is not a Sikh, only those who believe n follow are Sikhs. From an ideological perspective and by definition [Sanskrit] everyone is a Sikh since learning is intrinsic to human nature. Take your pick !

    In essence, everyone is a Sikh - that's what makes Nanak's AP beautiful, just and the good God of all !

    Enjoy Friday, I will !

    TC
     
    #4 Original, Dec 16, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  6. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    Sat Sri Akaal,
    I certainly wouldn't call everyone a Sikh, unless we have no problem with bleeding all meaning from language. There is a specific thought indicated by the term 'Sikh', just as other words have come into usage to indicate specific things. Saying everyone is a Sikh reminds me of what we sometimes hear, that "Everyone is beautiful". This is, of course, not the case, unless we toss out all meaning of words. While it's not a clear consensus, there are clearly people who are distinctly pretty, while there are plenty of people who are unattractive. While it's nice to have an affirmative, embracing attitude, it nevertheless defies reality to dispense with all distinctions; words are words for a reason. By the same token, I've met many people in my life who have little interest in issues of spirituality, righteousness, discipline, charity or inner-life. The killer Dylann Roof is on trial today for murdering nine innocent worshipers in a South Carolina church where they had welcomed him to join them in prayer. Is he a Sikh? If the word 'Sikh' has no meaning, yeah, I guess.
     
  7. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur India
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    But, I don't think that the 'learning' that qualifies one as being a Sikh, is just any old learning. As I said, if I learn who won the oscars this year, does it make me a Sikh? How about if I learn how to rob a bank? Or deceive someone? Even mundane stuff, if I learn how to ride a skateboard, does that make me a Sikh? No I don't think they do. I think the learning that applies to calling one a Sikh, is taken in context, someone who strives to learn about our true nature, spirituality, the nature of God, and the teachings of the Gurus (with aims to follow those teachings and incorporate them in life). That's the type of learning that makes one a Sikh.
     
  8. sukhsingh

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    Sikhi is beyond definition so I reject SRM clumsy problematic attempt to define it. I

    Guru gobind singh ji himself said of the udasis that you are also my Sikhs. There is a conflation of terms going on. Khalsa =sikh, Sikh does not equal khalsa.

    If truth is eternal, omnipresent and self evident as guru nanak dev ji articulates then by definition it is accessible to all regardless of knowledge or access to bani.

    The term 'sikh' comes from 'guru/shishya'. Ironically (I have always thought) sikh translitates better as "seek, seeker" than learner. And the term 'guru' is far broader than just human teacher, or the physical 10 guru's. All knowledge is your guru. As individuals we learn, adapt, create opinions from lots of sources. Gurbani provides us with a framework with which to discipline our 'khoj' to reject dogmatism and even more warn us against getting comfortable and becoming intransigent in our own beliefs. Not only should we challenge dogmatism and injustices external to us but most importantly we have to remember to be humble enough to consider that our own opinion or understanding /approach may be flawed.
     
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  9. sukhsingh

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    Dylan roof thought he was right. Hatred and bigotry closes people's minds. He thought he was doing a good thing. His khoj led him to a dark destructive place, much like jihadis or nazis
     
  10. sukhsingh

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    All people learn and evolve, all are sikh however not all apply the strict self-critical, hyper-rationality that gurbani gives us.
     
  11. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur India
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    Okay if you want to put blanket meaning to the word Sikh as learning anything from how to count to 10, to what celebrity married who. However, then the word has no meaning in regards to the religion / faith / spiritual path.

    So what then do we call those who actually follow Sikhi if we can no longer use the term Sikh? Since Muslim children in kindergarten who never even heard of the Gurus or what they taught can be considered Sikhs, then how do we differentiate and what to call those who actually follow the faith? We then need another term.
     
  12. sukhsingh

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    If all people are one then why do you feel compelled to want to differentiate? Gurbani tells us that being a sikh is not about us trying to identify ourselves as a exclusive group but rather our actions and behaviour define us. Nah koi hindu na mussalman.. Surely this means the desire to differentiate is maya, ahankar. Bhai Mardana the first 'sikh' was a Muslim but being a Muslim didn't mean he also wasn't 'sikh'.

    Guru gobind singh ji in zafarnama chastised arungzeb by expressing exactly that. If arungzeb wasn't a zealot and exploit 'islam' as a justification of his oppression we would not be having this conversation.

    Pray five times a day, worship a idol, be a militant atheist, or become khalsa great. If you do it for true reasons. If you have looked within yourself and ask am I doing this because everyone else is, it brings me respect, it provides me with a fortress (a fortress opposite someone else's fortress) around myself, to constantly feel the need to define myself as the other.

    My mum used to tell me 'sikhi sanji quam hai'. Those of us who have been exposed to gurbani are just lucky to have heard such a concise exposition of the nature of the universe and akaal. But no one can claim ownership of the truth.
     
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  13. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur India
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    Nobody can claim ownership on he truth but we still need a descriptor for those who follow the Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Because an atheist for example is not following what is laid out in Gurbani so if you blanket call all humans Sikhs then we need a different term just so we can have a discussion when referencing those who follow Sikhi. errr should I call Sikhi something else too? Is Christianity also Sikhi now? And Buddhism is Sikhi too? If so we need some term just so we can have a discussion and reference those we mean who follow this path.
     
  14. sukhsingh

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    Well I would agree with you on that point.. However I think the approach to could be that 'sikh' should be non-exclusive, for all like in gurus time. For sikh who wish to define narrower they may say nanak panthi, muslim, atheist, etc or should they still haven't found the right label for themselves they may go further sunni /Shia. Wahabbi sunni, parcharak, born again. Etc. Sikh is all inclusive, only the guru ke laadlea can transcend. If we were to ask most people whether they agree with mool mantar most would say yes. Even a atheist scientist.
     
  15. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal Malaysia
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    I agree with Harkiran kaur that it is context dependent. All are Sikhs by birth since all have hair from the birth. They become Hindus by cutting their hair (mundan sanskar). Sikh re original and do not alter any part of the body ever. They become Muslims by doing sunnat.
    In another context we all are Sikhs because everyone has to do continuous/ life long learning for effective survival.
    There may be many other contexts to prove that all arfe Sikhs. there may be many contexts to prove that all are not Sikhs.
    Dr dalvinder Singh Grewal
     
  16. Original

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    Good morning Everyone,
    ..much of what makes us human is cultural, passed from generation to generation through a process called "learning" [sikhya]. It's from within this perspective I generalised the term "sikh" to embrace humanity on the whole, but insofar the unique n particular construction of the word "sikh" is to effect distinctive vocabulary then I concur with your observation above.
    ..meanings of words have to have precision n consistency to make sense; genre, if you like is a prerequisite in that regard to afford "specific" accommodation. In this case it is religion and not any other discipline.
    ..confirmed !
    ..granted, but the case in point is "sikh" not sikhi !
    ..use of inappropriate adjectives in matters of religious congruity should be avoided. It is difficult to associate some of life's unfortunate activities with the proud civilisations that created virtue, honour, respect and dignity. To you what appears to be "clumsy n problematic" is "strength" to those who laid their lives protecting, preserving, believing and upholding its principles. Their was a world that worshipped strength because it is strength that makes all other "values" possible, nothing survives without it. SRM, albeit timed-out in places, is the backbone of the religion Sikh necessary to anchor human activity.
    ..move away from the letter Sikh and move-in with the spirit Sikh. The penny will drop and you'll be able to hear it !
    ..the truth in this context would a truth that is "experienceable" and not knowledge or accessible as you seem to suggest because Nanak's satnam is beyond time n space. How can you know and access something that is inconceivable to the human mind?
    ..bang on !
    ..well defined !
    ..if you're a believer than Gurbani is "form" God, meaning, you believe, regardless.

    I've noted in places how you employ the word "khoj" in much of your religious choreography and suggested you look up "vichar". This was to enable you to familiarise your self with their true n precise functionality. The manmukh is invited to "khoj" for the ultimate truth, the gurmukh however, is provided with the ultimate truth [anhad shabd] to reflect n contemplate [vichar] for union. Rejection n selection are manmukh modes, believers stay clear of such unorthodox blips and knuckle down to fulfil meaning and purpose of life.
    ..how true !

    Thank you !
     
  17. sukhsingh

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    Please do not patronise me. I may well believe you are missing the point and out of step with the spirit of sikhi. Hopefully the penny will drop one day
     
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  18. sukhsingh

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    you accept sikhi is beyond definition, yet try to apply cultural, social, religiously inspired political identity moorings to 'sikh'. A very interesting leap..
     
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  19. sukhsingh

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    I'm not particularly humble so I'm pretty sure I am sure I am manmukh, maybe with 'gur-prasad' I may reach the lofty heights of a Gurmukh. I am a member of a "a tribe called quest" the path is long and the destination elusive, yet I choose to move forward and not stand still to find solace in the belief I have arrived.

    I will however spend some time on your suggestion 'explore and contemplate' (perform 'khoj'?) the term 'vichar' as it is one I have not spent a great deal of time studying.
     
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  20. sukhsingh

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    May I ask you your thoughts on whether the Bhagats were Sikh? Or for that matter whether guru nanak dev ji sits outside of sikhi, clearly he would have had his hair shorn and as a child.

    As I think I have mentioned before Guru gobind singh ji recognised 'udasis' as sikh, not khalsa but sikh. Khalsa panth is not one and the same as sikh panth. Khalsa clearly have a exulted position within the sikh panth and but being a sikh should not necessarily mean you have to be khalsa. Personally I would love to at some point in my life take 'amrit sanchar' however at this point in my life I do not believe that I am ready to take on such a great responsibility or am deserving of it. If I did it tomorrow, kept my kes etc, I would get much kudos, however wearing the outward symbols of khalsa yet not accepting all people as my family. Guru gobind singh ji invited people to take amrit, with out compelling them, he didn't say if you don't come forward you are manmukh, or not gur sikh or sikh. He said those that who step forward are khalsa panth, "khalsa mera roop", the khalsa were given a very special role within sikh panth. If struggle to resolve the idea that should guru gobind singh ji had wanted to define sikh as khalsa why he didn't? Or why he didn't proscibe the term sikh and say henceforth the term sikh should not be employed. Moreover I do not see evidence of guru sahib using the either term interchangeably rather the conflation and blending of terms seems from my own limited study a modern phenomenon. A phenomenon that gained momentum with the advent of the 'singh sabha' movement and what I think was probably a unexpected, outcome of the need of 'batten down the hatches' in face of the cultural and political onslaught of arya/rss to subsume 'sikhi'. Just as in England or the UK certain bigots try to define 'English' as exclusively white or western European and many of us challenge and reject that, we reject ghettoising ourselves by becoming more insular, and building a socio-political identity around ourselves.

    Even if tomorrow somehow all 'sikhs' or those exposed to bani were wiped out, even if somehow all traces of gurbani was erased from memory sikhi would still be, still exist, still be true. In that 'truth' lies real strength.
     
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  21. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    I think we are all missing the point here. To be a Sikh is to be inclusive as per the teachings in SGGS.
    What does being inclusive mean in Sikhi some may ask?
    To be inclusive in Sikhi is to share the universal message of Sikhi sans proselytizing and that is :

    1. To be always connected to The Source.
    2. To live honestly and truthfully.
    3. Share our bounty of any aspect to the needy no matter what religion/s they may belong to.

    The above 3 are for all humanity not to any particular dogma.

    Lastly, I would like to add something to what Original ji said,

    He is quite good and awfully quick at dividing people into two categories of Manmukh and Gurmukh, and this is not the first time he has done so. The above claim of his is more like a commandment by some Derawala with a Sikhi baana rather than a Sikh. His ideas of blind faith in Sikhi is derived from Hindutva which he may have learnt from his ancestors as he often reminds us of his learning process only through them.

    The above in bold is nothing but an arrogant shameless babble which Original ji is famous for.

    He has no idea that if we were mere believers as he claims himself to be, then Guru Nanak would not have refused to wear janieu and would not have taught us to stay clear from all the mechanical rituals of fasting, pilgrimages and other meaningless rituals which make a dogmatic religion a believer's religion, which thankfully is not the case of Sikhi but rather to the contrary.

    I have asked him the same questions several times about the rituals that Guru Nanak rejected were based on belief system, he is too timid to respond for the reasons only known to him.

    Little has he been able to grasp as mentioned many a times that being Manmukh or Gurmukh are not destinations nor any titles but a work in progress till our last breath. We all hopscotch from Manmukh to Gurmukh daily. This is called Sikhya- Learning in Sikhi.
     
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    #20 Tejwant Singh, Dec 19, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
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