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Is Sikh Philosophy Only for Sikhs?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Nadeem, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. Nadeem

    Nadeem
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    Judging by some of the recent postings in this Forum from individuals like Kaur-1 and Surinder Kaur-Ji, this is a Sikh Philosophy website but it is only meant for Sikhs. Other people, who are not Sikh, cannot contribute to this website in any constructive way. Instead those of us who are genuinely interested in Sikh philosophy must create their own website or simply go somewhere else. Can this be correct?

    My understanding of Sikh philosophy as a non-Sikh consists of the following:

    1) A Universal Message for All People (regardless of religion, caste or race)

    2) Equality of Women

    3) Equality of Humans

    In addition to these features of Sikh Philosophy there are religious concepts like Naam Japna [I have already started a thread on this concept] Kirat Karo and Vand Chakko [sharing with others who are not Sikh]

    Now, maybe I have made a mistake in my understanding of Sikh philosophy and its relevance to people who belong to other faiths? Maybe the information I have recieved from Kaur-1 and Surinder Kaur is actually correct and that the standard understanding of Sikh Philosophy needs to be radically revised and changed. If so, please let me know, so that non-Sikhs like me can leave this website and go somewhere else to appreciate real Sikh Philosophy and Wisdom.


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  3. Nadeem

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    My question is: Can Saurinder-Ji or Kaur-1 provide any evidence of the false or "fake" assumptions or incorrect information they allege I am making about Sikh Philosophy or is it simply prejudice?
     
  4. spnadmin

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    Nadeem ji,

    This is my impression of the forum and this topic so far. Members of the forum are on a number of different wavelengths ranging from deeply versed in Sikh writing and text to beginners. Or, ranging from extremely zealous about Sikhi to moderate. Or, even ranging from desirous to discuss all of eastern philosophy including Sikh thought to narrowly focused on Sikh beliefs. Some are exclusive in the way they understand Sikh philosophy and don't tolerate non-Asians, non-Sikhs, etc. Others are very inclusive and draw one another into conversation. Some are sarcastic. others are interested in what everyone else has to say.

    Just like everywhere else on the planet.

    I too experience a number of predicaments because of my beginning status in the forum. Is there one culture of speakers or many, and where do I fit in? Is this a forum where individuals propound a personal perspective? Is it a forum where we interact in a dialog? Do those who are so advanced in Sikh thought (speak and read banis in original Punjabi and have explored the various texts of the SGGS) really have the patience to suffer beginners like me? These are my early questions.

    Actually the forum seems to be all over the lot. I am just learning to use "ji" when I respond because it seems to be a norm of communication on the forum.

    I haven't found either Kaur1 or Surinder Kaur Cheema to be disinterested in other points of view. Both have engaged me. One response to my posts seemed mysterious. It may just be a matter of personal interest in a topic or a thread that is the cause. Anyway, it is impossible to read someone's mind or predict motivations.

    By jumping around from topic to topic and thread to thread one can always find a conversation that asks for attention. Sometimes the well runs dry; sometimes it fills up again.
     
  5. Nadeem

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    aad0002 writes: "I haven't found either Kaur1 or Surinder Kaur Cheema to be disinterested in other points of view. Both have engaged me."

    I wish I could say the same. Please look at the previous threads and you will see that they appear quite content to muffle proper discussion through the inveterate use of ad hominem arguments. They seem to be less interested in what you say than in who you are, which is very unfortunate.
     
  6. spnadmin

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    Nadeem ji,

    I am on my way to work in 30 minutes and want to say more. I promise I will re-read the threads. It may just be a problem of different styles of speaking in the forum.

    One thing that bothers me from time to time in the entire forum: I can never be sure if a statement is meant at face value, and wants a response, or whether person is being ironic and doesn't really expect a reply.

    Let's just keep this dialog going as far as it takes us, and stop when there is nothing more to be said. I responded to you on a related thread earlier today, and want to say more about the issue of intellect versus ritual. This has become a point of interest for me. Accept my thanks, as you were the one who got me interested in this to begin with.

    Peace!
     
  7. Admin Singh

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    I may sound sarcastic to some after reading this post but i would share what i think... thanks for bearing with me everybody... :)

    I think some of us are reacting too naive to the situation in hand. If some of the members do not seem to tackle the queries of people like devkumar or nadeem in a friendly logical manner that does not mean that these people have joined the forum with an agenda or something...

    For the sake of information of everybody around here: devkumar ji has requested that all his posts and username be deleted from this forum as to him sikhism seems to be a personal property of sikhs alone. I am afraid this is exactly the impression they are getting from us, the sikhs, as we are opening an undue fortress each time something is asked on sikhism... It is our own shortcomings to think otherwise rather than they coming with an agenda. Sikhism is not all about living in a shell... its a global concept and thats why concept of SPN was originated where everybody from around the world with variable religious and cultural backgrounds could join and share their philosophy... but the situation seems to be totally opposite, with fellow sikhs representing themselves as being hostile and narrow minded towards other philosophies... The purpose of SPN seems defeated but there is some light at the end of tunnel with the presense of members like aa0002 & Surinder Cheems ji...

    There are many sikh forums online which are totally dedicated to sikhism and they do not seem to entertain any of other thought processess... even near to their forums. This is a big loss for sikhism, as we can not take sikh philosophy to the masses as was done by our Gurus, who went from country to country to spread the message of almighty. Unfortunately, when someone adherent to other philosphies, who has been brought up like that way, comes and tries to learn about sikh philosophy, what we are presenting them:--> Total hostality, our fears, our insecurities... Do you think this is going to spread the word of Guru beyond our closed mindsets?

    We, the sikhs very proudly say: go away from here, this is a sikh forum!! Sounds pretty disgracful to me... and to any person with sensible mindset. Why it is so hard for us to accept a new thought process and deliberate on it in a logical manner rather opening an offensive from the word go. I think People who accepted the words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, during those turbulent times with open hands and minds, were more open minded than we, the present sikhs are, who can not even allow persons from other religious following to come and share their thoughts in an open friendly manner on a "sikh forum"... It would be more appropriate to call upon more learned sikhs on this forum, who can enter intro a formal dialogue and represent sikhs in a better light...

    My views were to reiterate the point that Sikhism Philosophy Network welcomes everybody from evey corner of the world, with variable religious and cultural backgounds.

    Again, i would request you to read the Terms of Service (see my signatures below) very carefully and if you all can not abide by these rules then i am afraid this forum not for you... Choice is yours.

    Thanks for your reading my thoughts.

    Warm Regards.
     
  8. spnadmin

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    Aman ji

    Instead of writing a response from my office, I should be getting ready for a meeting. However the passion in your comments deserves a reply. And, no you don't sound sarcastic at all.

    Thank you for your kind words. But more for your sense of perspective on the forum. You resolved many of my questions.

    In fact, I am hooked on the forum now and must ask if this is an "attachment"? Nonetheless, my guess is that many Sikhs feel beleagured, and so the fortress mentality. History has taught Sikhs some hard lessons, and in spite of these lessons Sikhi is the fastest growing religious path today. Many times when members of a group equate identity with survival they shut others out. Unfortunate, but understandable. Other times it is just hard to figure out what some individuals mean by what they say in the forum.

    Learning how to conduct oneself in a forum is yet another lesson to be learned.

    Wahe Ji and thank you.
     
  9. simpy

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    Respected Aman Ji and ad002 Ji,


    so many of our visitors were getting a whole lot confused, hopefully everything will workout fine from now on.

    Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Arjan Dev Ji De Bachan page # 803


    BUly mwrgu ijnih bqwieAw ]
    AYsw guru vfBwgI pwieAw ]1]
    ismir mnw rwm nwmu icqwry ]
    bis rhy ihrdY gur crn ipAwry ]1] rhwau ]
    kwim k®oiD loiB moih mnu lInw ]
    bMDn kwit mukiq guir kInw ]2]
    duK suK krq jnim Puin mUAw ]
    crn kml guir AwsRmu dIAw ]3]
    Agin swgr bUfq sMswrw ]
    nwnk bwh pkir siqguir insqwrw ]4]

    English Translation of the above


    He places those back on the Path who strays;
    such a Guru is found only by great good fortune.
    Meditate, contemplate the Name of the God in mind.
    The Beloved Feet of the Guru abide within my heart.
    The mind gets engrossed in sexual desire, anger, greed and emotional attachment.
    By breaking my bonds, the Guru has liberated me.
    Experiencing pain and pleasure, one is born, only to die again.
    The Lotus Feet of my Guru bring peace and provides shelter to me.
    The world is drowning in the ocean of fire.
    O Nanak, the True Guru has saved me by holding me by the arm.

    forgive me please
     
  10. Nadeem

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    I would like to thank both Aman Singh and aad0002 for two excellent posts (above). Infact, I would like to say that both pieces were inspired and both have taken a serious and thoughtful approach to the issues and problems that are faced, in a sense, by every religious community. I agree wholeheartedly that some members of the Sikh community, due to a broad range of historical and social factors, have had to insulate themselves from perceived threats, attacks and unjustifiable antagonism issuing from non-Sikhs, both in India itself and in the Western Diaspora. As a Muslim myself, similar problems have arisen - as we all know - from the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. My own view is that Sikhs, unlike Muslims, have also had to face additional problems on account of who they are - discrimination on account of the way they look but I believe many of them have overcome this with startling success. I understand that many assimilated Sikhs in the West and in India do not identify themselves as necessarily religious Sikhs and some have decided, for various reasons, not to wear the turban or a beard at all. It is not my job, in this forum, to question the validity of these different kinds of personal responses, as I am not a practising Sikh myself. However, as a non-Sikh who shares similar cultural values I know from first-hand experience that people who face the greatest challenges in life are often the best people. There is a famous saying: God tests those He Loves the most. As a non-Sikh one is always worried about making statements that might appear patronising or loosely sentimental and I assume that this may be one factor why some non-Sikhs simply do not participate in Forums like this altogether. In other words, some people are very sensitive about upsetting anyone, especially individuals from communities with whom they share a natural bond of affection and love. It is not everyday that one can find individuals who love other communities on the basis of their philosophical or spiritual values but people like this do exist. The case of Sikh Dharma is, in my own personal opinion, unique in this world on account of its attempt to bring people from communities as wide a field as Hindus and Muslims, together in love. To my mind - and I tend to be very critical about these things - interventions of this kind serve a much higher purpose than most people ordinarily imagine. The life and teachings of Baba Nanak-Ji constitute a very special insight into a world torn apart by hatred, deep animosity and suspicion. Sikhs are not alone in feeling insulated from the world outside – some Muslims and Hindus feel pretty much the same and automatically revert to this impulse. I agree that this automatic feeling is unhealthy and the root cause of many unsuspectingly serious internal and external problems.

    I sometimes hear negative things issuing from the mouths of Muslims and Hindus towards each other including people who still entertain tragic memories of the Partitioning of India. In effect, the blame-game never ends in the minds of these individuals. My own personal response to dogmatic Muslims has been extremely severe even if it means having to always maintain what is called 'cognitive dissonance'. In a sense I refuse to inherit other people's prejudices no matter how close they are - even if - as in my own case, they happen to be an otherwise "friendly" uncle or an aunt. I say this from personal experience. So, the question is: why bother going against your own community or your own family? Why not simply keep quiet and allow different communities/families to live and die in their own prejudices? Well, for a start I am both geographically and historically removed from events in the past and consequently I am forced to adopt a much more critical stance in relation to the kind of information I am handed down. My family have sacrificed a lot to ensure that I receive a "proper education" and so, if I believe I am the beneficiary of a 'more enlightened' understanding than, say, my parents’ generation, I am obliged, by that very fact, to make full and proper use of that education. What that means in practice is that I must disengage from any dogmatic approaches that claim to represent the whole truth. That means I cannot just accept what people tell me about other faiths - I must go out and investigate these things for myself. I cannot look only at the behaviour of individuals, no matter how outrageous or contrary to my expectations. I must examine, as objectively as I can, the character of a community, its origins and formation in terms of its approach to metaphysics and then, in turn, to examine its theology, art, history, sociology etc.

    In my book, apprehension and understanding are two very different things; I can apprehend an idea without understanding it fully. To give an obvious basic example, I apprehend that Sikhs are people who wear Turbans and Beards but I may not have yet understood fully why this may be the case as there may be an indefinite range of dimensions in Sikhism of which I am - as yet - unaware. The same would apply to my initial apprehension of Hindus or Buddhists. I cannot function properly in this world if, all I do is claim to understand when, in actuality, what I am really doing is simply apprehending ideas or images.

    How would individuals in a "Muslim Philosophy Forum" or a "Hindu Philosophy Forum" react to a Sikh who wanted to contribute to their discussions? I think you will find some individuals who would be hostile but then you will also find some who would be very welcoming. My own view is that if the Forum is really about Philosophy and not simply Religion or primarily philosophical and secondarily religious, then no one should really object to the contributions made by people from other faiths or no faith. It may be that a person from a different faith or no faith is convinced by the nature of philosophical arguments and not on the basis of religious arguments. Philosophical arguments generally aim to provide a better view or take on the nature of reality itself and for many logical or philosophically minded people a sound argument carries much more weight than narrow theological or religious points of view. I am not suggesting that there are no religious philosophers or that you cannot combine both religion and philosophy; what I am saying is that for many people like myself a sound argument is always the best point of entry in trying to understand other philosophies and, by extension, faiths different from our own.
     
  11. spnadmin

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    Surinder Kaur Cheema ji,

    I want to say you are a natural teacher. This is not simple flattery. When you would post a pauree without a translation, in Gurmurki font, you were offering an incredibly complicated puzzle for the uninitiated. I figured out how to find the source document quickly using Google, and then by applying Find in the Edit menu it was simple to go an exact place in a given text. Using a Punjabi/English translation of the text, I was on my way. Read the verse, think about it, and write a short interpretation.

    At first I asked "why the devil is she doing that?" How was a body to get the point? Then I realized how much I had learned over 3 Cheema posts.
    It was very effective way to navigate through the Guru's wisdom.

    Now that you have provided the source and translation of this most recent set of verses, I am kind of sad. But thank you anyway. We can focus our attention on the meaning and less on detective work.

    Once and a while, give us a new problem to solve. It is after all sikh philosophy.
     
  12. spnadmin

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    Nadeem ji,

    Your essay is poetic. It goes right to the heart. There is nothing more I can say.
     
  13. Nadeem

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    Many thanks for your very kind words.

    In my post I wrote: "In my book...." That was just idiomatic english for "in my book of life" ..I have not written a book (yet) :)
     
  14. Lee

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    Sat sri akaal, cyber sangat!

    Heh I misread the title of this thread and was about to wade in in with no Sikhi is for all of us, hah I didn't know you meant the forum.

    Still my original answer is still valid, I guess.
     
  15. spnadmin

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    Lee ji and Nadeem ji,

    Sikhi is a universal religion, but it is not an "anything goes religion". Its precepts can be found in several other religions as can many of its central values. But Sikhi is also a distinct religious path that cannot and should not be understood as a religion that wraps around anyone like one of those loose plastic raincoats you keep in the glove compartment of your car in case of a sudden rainstorm, and then fold it up and put it away when the rain is over. Sikh beliefs are also not a collection of inspirational sayings that anyone can lay claim to. Disciplined study and practice is required.

    To say you are a Sikh, to a person with rooted Sikh convictions, suggests you have willingly taken on the religious discipline that defines your identity in important ways.

    The forum is for everyone, but at the same time there is an expectation that the Sikh faith wlil not be discussed in a casual way. You will note how deeply versed many participants are in their knowledge and practice. So they won't be dismissing casual treatment of this religion, or taking it lightly.

    Forum discussion is serious.

    Respectfully
     
  16. Lee

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    Aad Ji,

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa,
    Waheguru ji ki fathe!

    Heh please don't misunderstand me, I am indeed a converted Sikh and have been so for 6-7 years know.

    I understand what you mean, and I agree, yet the teachings and philospy of Sikhi is for everybody; anybody can become Sikh.
     
  17. Lionchild

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    The sikhi philsophy is not only for sikhs, it can be applied to anyone! I know this for sure, im sikhi of another path, but i still follow some aspects of the sikhi faith.
     
  18. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

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    Lionchild veerji,

    You are not Sikhi of another path. You have converted to Bahai path having renounced the validity and adequacy of Sikhism on a public forum. While you may choose to follow some aspects of Sikh faith, let it be known that you have, in renouncing the Guru's path (Sikhism), also renounced the Sikh Guru. So you are in fact, no follower of Sikhi/Guru's path in any way, shape or form.

    Without submission to Guruji, there is no Sikhi. Sikhi is following, as a disciple, to the best of your ability and understanding, not rules and regulations, but Guru's instruction for how to live as His disciple.

    But Sikh philosophy and everything Sikh is certainly open for anyone to explore, investigate, and hopefully appreciate. It is a difficult path in many ways, and not for everyone.
     
  19. vinod

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    The basic question of Nadeem ji if the Sikh philosphy only for sikhs can be answered in sentence that it is not so. God is one. It is we who name Him differently.Be it Allah /God or 'waheguru'/Bhagwan these are just one.We have divided them and as a result we have ourselves got divided.
    It is funny to imagine that there will be more than one God.God,I am using it as a generic, is one.How can then the God of Muslims be different than the god of Hindus or Sikhs.Keeping this concept in mind one can always intermingle.Unfortunately some religions are under the control of fanatics.This is a sorry state of affairs.Entire civilisation does suffer when these things happen.
    Insha allah , everything would be alright.Nadeem ji, Sikhi is a way of life.Hope you will enjoy it.
    Best of Luck.
     
  20. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

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    God is one, but all religious paths are not one and the same thing. That is a sanatan dharam belief.
     
  21. jasi

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    dear nadeem

    you got all missunderstood the sikh philosphy do not belongs to sikhs but all the human being from all the races and origions. one God and different passport and origion to approch. the biggest diffrerence is that we must insist to remeber God with each our breath as it is written in Holy Koran.

    the focus is on one GOD not on the people what they beileves or preach. like it is said in Guru Granth Sahib Ji. "you can not explain Him.you can not write aboutHim,you can not creat Him,you can not talk about Him"

    it is like a ocean how a small drop of water can talk about ocean??

    every thing finishes here. hope you understand that. please go ahead and contribute to sikh philosphy of that great Wonder which we feel in all what is hapening around the world. remeber that "what you sow that is what you reap"

    thanks. jaspi
     

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