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Hard Talk Is Sikhism A Organised 'religion' ? And If So Is That Antithetical To The Teaching Of Gurmat?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by sukhsingh, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh
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    I have always felt that the teachings of guru Granth Sahib ji is a message that provides a message that espouses a truth which transcends religion, is inclusive. Yet I feel that in the last 30 years especially we have seen a desire of the sikh community to develop a formalised structure which is problematic because of its inherent aversion to dogmatism?
     
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  3. RD1

    RD1 Canada
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    I generally do not see Sikhism as a "religion" in the traditional way that religion is defined - and at least here in the western world, I feel our idea of what a religion is, is heavily influenced by the way that Abrahamic religions are defined. Sikhism to me has always been much more spirituality based - and not fundamentalist.

    Why is this happening? I think to some extent there has always been a structure. Is it becoming too dogmatic now? I feel Sikhism is quite "out of the box," very spiritual and philosophical, and takes time and contemplation to comprehend. And since it does not have "simple" rules like "go to church every Sunday to avoid going to hell," then maybe people are trying to formalize it more to make it "easier to understand" - this may in turn just end up completely distorting what Sikhi is all about....

    Its like there is an attempt to formalize Sikhism in the way that other religions are formalized...but i do not think this is necessarily true to Sikhi...
    --- Double Post Merged, Nov 27, 2016, Original Post Date: Nov 27, 2016 ---
    I feel the three pillars - Naam Japni, Kirat Karnia, Vand Chakna - give an excellent structure.
     
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  4. sukhsingh

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    I get where you're coming from however I feel that the way other religions were formalised and organised is what is happening in Sikhism. Where there is a need to define and project ourselves as other and unique. Now I think sikhi is unique, however I think we have become obsessed by it. So for instance I think the singh sabha movement was right in the the desire for Sikhs to be recognised as distinct from Hinduism. However the need for that was because the constitution of India should be able to accommodate religious groups without being consumed by another religious identity. So if in legal status no religions were recognised then the singh sabha movement would not have been necessary?
     
  5. RD1

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    I feel the Gurus sought to differentiate Sikhism from other religions, so to some extent, I feel it is important even outside of any legal issues. Sikhism does promote a certain way of life that is different from other beliefs. And in order to protect and preserve this way of life, it is necessary to differentiate it - to some extent. Even if something is legally recognized, it may not be socially recognized. As you have touched on though, I agree, there are fine lines here - Sikhism is unique, however, we cannot go overboard, and use it to start "othering" - because after all, Sikhism is about seeing all as One.
     
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  6. sukhsingh

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    I'm not sure i would say that they did try to differentiate, rather the difference is a product and rejection of identity politics?
     
  7. RD1

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    I don't want to misunderstand what you are saying here! Can you please explain further to help me understand?
     
  8. sukhsingh

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    I mean that by being a sikh should make you transcend the need for a creating a identity. Guru nanak dev ji for one happily subverted identity politics
     
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  9. RD1

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    Interesting point! Sikhism seems to ultimately promote release from adhering to rigid identities or labels, perhaps. When people say, "we are all Sikhs," what exactly do they mean? I am not always sure how to interpret that.
     
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  10. sukhsingh

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    When I say that I think we are all Sikhs I literally mean that... All people have the desire of khoj, sikhi offers a framework that articulates a truth beyond political identities. And is truly altruistic...?
     
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  11. RD1

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    yet we all seem to fall into having these "identities".....
     
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  12. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Qatar
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    Hi Both

    Great thread :)

    Guru Nanak Dev Jis first message was meant in acceptance that religion is an illusion- maya- there is No Hindu and No Muslim hence no religion.

    He is beyond caste creed, colour and form so He is beyond religion, He is One, we are One. No attachments hence no identity, just One.

    Being Sikh is not being a part of religion, it's being a Student of the all pervading. Truth- which has existed throughout the ages.

    The Tenth King in Dasam Granth Ji, relayed Gods words to us-

    God sent people to teach Truth including prophet Mohammed and the Vishnu incarnations and they caused themselves to be worshipped as God instead, began teaching foolishness and starting their own sects including Mohammed circumcising his followers.

    Finally He sent the Gurus to spread the undiluted, Pure Truth.
     
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  13. sukhsingh

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    I agree with you however being a pedant I would not agree with some of the things you say as extension of the point I was making or rather I might phrase it differently.. ie. I don't believe God sent incarnations, and for that matter I don't see the guru's as themselves being sent by 'god' in a literal sense. I believe that the nexus of philosophical thinking and practical cultural/identity politics has always meant human societies and weight to insignificant cultural tropes which then become signifiers of identity. For example in sikh panth being a sikh and a khalsa has become or rather is becoming synonymous, I think a atheist such a Richard Dawkins is sikh, or Einstein etc recently I viewed a video on basics of Sikhi saying a sikh must adhere to four ceremonies beginning with naam karan sanskar,and including amrit sanchar which to me seems alien to the teaching of gurmat because how can a child be conscious of the choice. And before taking amrit one unless compelled must already be a sikh else they would not have made the decision to undertake the responsibilities of becoming khalsa these types of sanctions lead to the same thing as circumcision or janeau etc. Also I don't think I agree with the idea of guru's as finality.. I see gurbani as the most elegant expression of truth, and what makes it all the more beautiful is that the truth expressed is non-exclusive and transcends religion.

    BTW I really respect your comments and posts and find them very considered and constructive so my thoughts are shared with all in the most humblest terms to explore, learn and develop (selfish reasons I know) but for more altruistic reasons to provoke discussion which I think as a sikh one should never be afraid to do
     
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  14. Navdeep88

    Navdeep88 Canada
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    Isn't it a necessity? With modernity, the world and its people becoming more global, with the level of interfaith dialogue happening, don't some things have to be hashed out? I think every religion has the more fundamental prescriptions and the more lax ways to follow. I think it has less to do with Sikhism and more to do with how religions develop. It's may seem awkward as Sikhism is a young religion and its occurring in the present day.
     
  15. RD1

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    Does Sikhism have to develop over time the same way other religions have?

    Is the way that Sikhism is developing in alignment with the actual teachings of Sikhism, or is it perhaps being influenced by the way that the dominant religions of the world (Christianity, Islam) are currently structured?
     
  16. sukhsingh

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    I would say the latter is happening. I don't believe or agree with the proposition that it has to develop in a fashion similar to other religions. In fact by developing in that fashion we would undermine the very pluralism at the heart of sikhi..
     
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  17. Navdeep88

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    I think it does unless it wants to be engulfed by other traditions with more resources, who have claimed it's merely a symptom or segment of their own. Orthodoxy is necessary-- to differentiate itself, to define itself, and to accommodate the growing more global followers that may not have access to the home "culture" or "institutions" etc.

    How has the organization altered the "actual teachings of Sikhism"? How SHOULD it have developed over time?
     
  18. RD1

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    I think some differentiation is indeed necessary, for the very valid reasons you have mentioned. Sikhism is a minority religion that is generally not well understood by others. It is different from the dominant Abrahamic religions - and this makes it all the more important that its unique teachings are not lost.

    I think the way that the differentiation is done is key. I do not see Sikhism as a very formalized, strict dogmatic, rigid religion. I see Sikhism as more of a "way of life" promoting secularism, openness, and inclusiveness. The history of the development of Christianity and Islam have not been peaceful. Immense global violence has been committed in the names of these religions. And if Sikhism just develops like the other religions have, which are strife with divisions, sects, and conflicts even within themselves - and these divisions may result from peoples' very rigid ways of interpreting their religion, and excluding those who do not follows their strict rules - then I feel the true deep meanings and messages of its teachings will be lost. Strict orthodoxy can lead to groups seeing themselves as "special," and "othering" others, and this is a dismal path to take - and against what Sikhism promotes.

    So a delicate balance has to be reached between differentiating from other religions, but still being inclusive, and true to its teachings.
     
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  19. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Qatar
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    Once I read the passages from Dasam Granth Ji uttered by God himself through the vessel of Guru Gobind Singh ji when I was around 21 yrs old, I never doubted them. The Truth put forward was so profound that I was brought to tears, whether you believe it or not, you should read it.

    Truth has existed for eternity. The age of Truth, Satyug, when everyone practiced truth has existed before, and has existed on other planets many times before. The Truth is Nothing New. Guru Gobind Singh Ji never intended to form a Religion or a sect, what he introduced was outer discipline which made inner rehat easier, the benefits of becoming amritshak at the time were beyond description- it was truly a Gift. The spiritual rewards of taking Amrit can be immense if one strives to actually become Internally Pure. Guru Ji says over and over again that the Khalsa is of the Pure Only and that He can only be found through Love. He gives one way, and that is of True Love.

    If purity is not found internally then there's no point in outer dress. The Gurus said some people shave their heads and some keep their hair long. The bani of bhagats Ravi Das Ji, Kabir Ji etc show us that Bhagti can be done without keeping the hair etc and that Truth does indeed transcend religion- for what religion did these bhagats belong to..

    Sikhi(The Pure Truth) was never meant to be a religion and does and will continue to transcend religion. The Gurus were the greatest Truth masters ever to have graced the earth, the Gyan of Truth and the discoveries they shared and practiced were so advanced and heart touching that it made hardcore followers of sects leave the shackles of religion and meaningless ritual and bow to the eternal Truth.

    Don't worry about people who argue and bicker, corrupt committees and tyrannical people working in the Gurdwarras- they've forgotten the real teachings of Gurbani. Live free.
     
    #18 Sikhilove, Dec 7, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  20. Navdeep88

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    I do agree with you to an extent. I appreciate the egalitarian view you've presented. However it cannot be denied that the core of any religion is sustained by Practice. I think there's definitely a trend among nominal Sikhs, Christians etc. where they express frustration about feeling excluded. But the fact remains that it is only through Practice that certain things are sustained that would otherwise be lost if everyone was granted equal status. Instead of feeling hurt by the "special" status of others, it should be seen as a necessity that preserves the true religion.
     
  21. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    In my view, Sikhi is DIY way of life. This is the reason there is no clergy system in Sikhi. Living the life of Miri with the tools attained from Piri is what a Sikh is all about.

    The side effect of this is the birth of derawalas. So, in order to eliminate all these cults who are making millions just by using Sikhi Baana as their snake oil salesmanship, we should have some kind of method where these charlatans can not misuse Sikhi for their own benefits. The organisation is not to define who a Sikh is but who is not even with the baana.

    One of the most blatant examples in the diaspora is 3HO- Yogi Bhajan's concoction, who sell snake oil named yoga, do poojas of Hindu idols, but that is not the worst thing. The worst part is they are registered in the UN as Sikh Dharma which is not Sikhi and we should organise to get rid of these kinds of charlatans in the name of Sikhi.
     
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