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One Drink Too Many? A Discussion of Alcohol and Sikhi

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Ambarsaria, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    This thread consists of comments moved from their original thread at http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/35694-should-we-serve-alcohol-guru-ka.html Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar
    Thanks/spnadmin



    Let anyone who has no alcohol in their blood stand up and be counted or hold their peace (no swordfight :swordfight-kudiyan: ),

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    Watch out for bubbly Orange Juice if you are concerned about alcohol,
    Some breads have alcohol too, Oh my God!

    In hindsight, I am very concerned about blood donations that I have done 24 times in case it was used for a teetotaler and the extra pious winkingmunda peacesign

    It also kind of answers the question for me where the mosquitoes get the buzz from specially after biting me :interestedmunda:

    Guru ji's and Gurbani gives us the capability to think big. We can ignore all that and think small, as there is a choice for each one of us! To each their own.

    Sinner ji great posts and thanks for supporting SPN.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     

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  3. findingmyway

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Ambarsaria ji, forgive me for this question if I have misunderstood you as sometimes I struggle to tell when you are being humorous and when serious! The body makes trace amounts of alcohol so are you using that as justification for consuming alcoholic beverages? The body also makes steroids. Does that make it acceptable to ingest steroids for bodybuilding?!

    An additional point is that when OJ makes alcohol it is considered to have gone off and is very unpleasant to drink. The type of yeast used in bread is different to the yeast used in alcohol production. Fermentation in bread making is only for a very short time so you can never get drunk from it. The same cannot be said for 1 glass of an alcoholic drink!
     
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  4. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    findingmyway ji I hardly condone drinking but neither do I put myself on a higher ground because of it.

    I have seen many a people lose their lives and families to alcoholism, some friends lost to alcoholism, made a fool of myself couple of times during my younger days. I just do not believe in so called purity of oneself just because one does not drink, does not eat meat, does not eat eggs, etc. I have also seen many a people die from eating high fat vegetarian diets, ghee, homo milk, sweets, etc. There comes a time where one stops preaching and starts accepting people for what they are. Sure we care and want everyone to be their best but the danger is too many dictums and none are taken seriously.

    I challenge anyone to show themselves, their spouse and children as a family unit to claim they are not tankhayieh according to SRM. I will regard them higher than my parents whether such are young or old.

    I continue to believe that biggest time consumers are the small things that matter little. Why is it wrong for Sinner ji to refer to an apertif or Harry Haller ji to take a mickey or two. Whether they do or not they from their writings are as close to God spiritually as any of the other spner's that I can think of. I also don't believe that I am conversing with proverbial people on the bottle at spn either.

    It goes without saying that moderation of habits pays great dividends in what you put into your body's factory to keep you healthy and functional. Many a substances beyond alcohol and tobacco are harmful when excessively consumed and conversely many a substances consumed in minute quantities or moderation are helpful. I tended to a close relative in final stages of Cancer that he succumbed at a younger age. Opiates made his exit from his body comfortable. Many a people have been saved in the battlefield in olden days through the septic prevention use of alcohol or to numb pain. Many a lungs have been saved through cough suppressants.

    So in closing people not taking medicine if it has some alcohol in it, not using perfume because it has alcohol in it, etc. Such people will lead to bigger and bigger circles of emptiness based on exclusivities and sense of superior living and piety. The bodies that we are in are a miracle with much ability to tell each one individually what is suitable and what works. The object is to keep listening to your bodies. You may not eat meat, may not drink who knows what your other habits are and if you ignore listening to your body you will pay.

    Let me cite some real examples,

    • With Ramdev craze the following happened,
      • A lady was having health issues and start drinking gourd (Karela) juice. She got E-coli infection that no one could figure out and virtually died. Reason the Indian Karelas had E-coli.
        • So what happened, thinking was blinded and habit of cleaniless was lacking.
      • People have been drinking gourd juice (Ghia Kaduh) is another craze
        • One wonders how many of those are in trouble
    • A gentleman close to us almost died. He went to India and had some minor diabetic issues. In India he was given some concoction made out of pure powdered pearls. He was fleeced and put near death due to lack of what his body was telling him. He does not drink and does not eat sweets.
    • Such stories are endless and they will most of the time will be based on not listening to your body, excessive use of some substances, vegetables, meats which are perfectly legal without any alcohol involved.
    We are guilty of hijacking this thread a bit, but occasional drink in moderation does not a devil make!

    In terms of the subject of the thread I do not support the serving of Alcohol in any way related to Gurdwaras.

    Some of the well respected including Professor ragi, leaders at DSGMC are known to like occasional drinks.

    Let us focus on our Gurus Gurbani and live with and open heart and open mind. Sikhism will continue to evolve and so will the Sikhs. I wish the best for both.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  5. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    I do not think any of us here, including my dear brothers sinnerji and ambersariaji, are advocating and encouraging drinking, and certainly not in the house of god, however, if we are to assume that every action takes us either closer or further away from god, and you manage to, on a weekly basis, get closer and closer, than I think those that, over a course of time, get closer will eventually merge into the light and live life, in all its facets, on a higher plane.

    Until then, all we can do is , in our own individual way, come to peace with ourselves and our vices, and balance the bliss of god, with the reality of living. Not drinking is not an automatic entry to Waheguru, in my youth, when I too drank too much, I was reasonably happy and productive, I worked hard, I played hard, but on occasion, I would give up drinking and end up doing nothing at all, I was smug that I had conquered drink, but instead of living, I became an empty vessel, nor did I become more spiritual, just more smug and judgemental.

    However, I personally think that if you are amritdhari, baptised, then you should not. I think that before you get amrit, you should consider very carefully whether you can uphold and follow the way, but for the rest of us, the odd drink is no more relevant than feelings of lust, pride, ego etc
     
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  6. findingmyway

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    I feel I am constantly misunderstood on this issue. Harry ji, your earlier post nailed it on the head! Abstaining is nothing to do with a holier than thou attitude nor will you ever hear me say you must give up. On the other hand if we normalise alcohol by saying oh well there is no harm in 1 drink then that takes the incentive to stop away. Abstaining from alcohol is for an individual's benefit-to allow them always to be closer to Waheguru. Change should come from inside but it can only do so when people understand the reasons for an action. If you choose to drink, that is your personal choice but it should be made with the eyes wide open and with consciousness of why Guruji felt it was not advisable. We all do things that we know Guruji advised against as none of us are perfect (least of all me) but we do these regardless of this knowledge. Let alcohol be included in that rather than trying to always insist there's no harm in 1 drink! Informed decision making gingerteakaur

    True but pride, lust etc are accepted as traits that need to be tackled during our lifetime and as far as I see things, so should alcohol be. Not all will overcome lust or pride or ego and not all will overcome alcohol but that does not mean we say oh well all these things are ok for everyone, no need to try!

    I feel this issue is now going round in circles. I'm sorry if I sound preachy, I just felt I should clarify. I am not looking down on anyone as almost all of my friends drink but anything in life should be an informed choice.
     
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  7. Harry Haller

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Bhenji,

    I have made my peace with drink, it does not own me, it does not sing to me (anymore), I could quite happily go without it, my biggest problem is lust, that seems to me to be the final thing I need to conquer before considering the next step. When I use the word 'lust' I do not mean I am a gibbering monster undressing women in my head, I mean I enjoy pleasure, be it food or intimacy with my wife, and that is it, the two facets of lust I have a problem with.

    We are all on our individual path, we all do the best we can, I would hate to not drink because of a 'rule' even though I really wanted to, what has that achieved?. In the same way, when I now feel lustful, I play one of IshnaBhenji's Shabads she kindly sent me, or I ring my mother!

    To just blot out those thoughts will not get me anywhere, I need to understand who I am, and also what I need, to what end?

    To the end that ultimately I can be at peace, not in denial, and then I believe I am in the best place at that point to take Amrit, and then follow that path to the letter.

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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  8. Ishna

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    One Too Many? A Discussion of Alcohol

    I have a confession. The last time I had a drink, I got drunk, I came on here and had a tantrum (which had to be moderated) in a thread too close to my raw nerve.

    Since then, and since my young colleague died unexpectedly of a liver infection, I haven't had one drop of alcohol. I have half a bottle in the cupboard, and sometimes I get stressed and just want to drink it. It's horrible and I don't think anyone should be encouraged to drink in the first place as it just leads on to more drinking. One glass often leads to more glasses. And one glass to take the edge off today turns into one glass to take the edge off tomorrow and before long one glass just doesn't cut it any more.

    I had my first drink well after the legal drinking age in Australia (18). I have always been a fairly responsible drinker, I've never drunk so much I've spewed but I've lost chunks of my memory (of time when I've been drunk).

    The hardest part for me is that when I drink, I think of God, and feel closer, and talk about Waheguru and Guru Sahibs to my disinterested husband, and feel terribly guilty for it.
     
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  9. Scarlet Pimpernel

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Thanks Ambarsaria Ji for your defense of my posts ,you are a brave Soul.
    Your confession is heard Isna Ji & Thanks for the objections too thats what discourse is.

    Self control is hard for example we live a gresti life, as opposed to the life of chastity , so we must limit ourselves to one women, so why can't we be trusted to limit ourself in other things.
    Many people are 'drunk' with money ,or withthemselves in general .

    What matters is where your attention is and your intention. The attention must be on not doing harm to oneself or others and the intention should be not to lose ones mind.
    I am against it of course in the Langar but I feel the person who started the thread is more against alcohol and has added that context to provoke a reaction perhaps?
    When I say call to action that is not to defend alcohol ,but engage more people in dialectic reasoning, to find the truth on these matters ,I see all these views ,yet only a few posters will offer their opinion?
    We know alcohol is no cure for lifes problems, nor is it 'healthy' or immoral in itself ,perhaps it is amoral.

    I feel the Gurmat precept is more against getting drunk than absolute abstinence !but that is only my personal interpretation ,I realise another interpretation would be total abstinence.
    If you see me in Hell, you know I got it wrong lol
     
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    #8 Scarlet Pimpernel, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  10. Harry Haller

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Range Rover Service Manual 4.2 V9 1994
    Using GM 4.2 V8 engine on alcohol​

    Thank you for your purchase of the classic Range Rover 1994 V8 Petrol 4.2, this car has a lifetime warranty from Land Rover PLC provided it is serviced regularly, and the engine is run on petrol. Please note that in the event that alcohol is used (15% gasoline 85% ethanol), although the engine will run more powerfully, you will note that the fuel economy is lower, also you will invalidate the lifetime warranty for this car, as it has not been run in accordance with this service manual.The car CAN run on an ethanol mix, but has been designed to run on petrol. Running on ethanol will eventually take some years of the life of your car, please bear that in mind when filling up with fuel, this car should provide you with a lifetime of service, and although, in the short term, the performance can be hugely increased, the long term wear and tear is also hugely increased.

    Please note that our guaranteed part exchange system will not apply if the engine shows signs of constant alcohol use, but if minor occasional use, will be at the discretion of the Manager.
     
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  11. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Ambarsariah ji..
    In my experience...if we place ourselves on too high a pedestal (moral high ground) then when we fall off...its very painful and embarassing to say the least...ha ha
    Thus I never condone calling myself...holier than thou..simply because..my beard may be whiter..longer...my kesh may be having no dandruff compared to another..my kirpan longer..sharper..my gurbani paath faster..louder...or i dont drink..or dance..or play hockey or do all those things...we just DO IT...and let the JUDGE do the judging is my guiding principle in life...we just dont have the sixth sense in abundance/Third Eye to be able to "judge" others..and the 2 eyes we have are good enough only for the outside physical seeing...not the inner mann of others..

    have a Nice enjoyable weekend Ji...Chardeekalla always. Sat sri Akal.
     
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  12. Ambarsaria

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Harry Haller ji as a Manager (pretend) I will authorize servicing of your Engine all the time peacesign.

    I do also want to note for people scared or teetotaler of Alcohol that while fueling up with Gas containing Alcohol (specially when 10% to 15% Alcohol content which is as high as 2 to 3 times the Alcohol content in Beer) they should wear a mask to ensure the integrity of their Alcohol free body. It will also serve a double purpose of keeping their lungs free of Gasoline/Alcohol fumes naturally permeating at most Petrol/Gas stations. I am feeling woozy just writing about it :singhbhangra::mundabhangra:.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  13. findingmyway

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    That intention is not possible with any amount of alcohol due to the physiological effects of alcohol on the central nervous system.

    The main issue with the 'only drunk is bad' theory is that this is a very very grey area due to the physiological effects of alcohol. Even a tiny amount affects neurological processes as shown on the link below. The effect is also not consistent as it is affected by body type, food, mood, fatigue, medication and rate of consumption. So that means it is possible to be drunk with 1 drink only in some cases. The lowering of inhibitions (and increasing social pressure) also means it is harder to restrict to 1 drink than it is to restrict with other things such as money. Name me even 1 person that has never lost their senses while drinking during their entire lifetime? Not possible, there are always times when people cross the line into drunk. Perhaps it would be wise to also think where you draw the line for being drunk-at total loss of control or some loss of control (which is not always understood at the time due to the way alcohol alters perception)?

    Money etc and alcohol cannot be compared as money only has a psychological impact on us so the control of it comes from the mind only. Alcohol also has a well documented physiological effect and that is why Guruji advised against it as that makes it harder to not be influenced by it. Willpower alone is not always enough when the central nervous system is affected so trust has nothing to do with it. The link below details this further. Money has some positive imapcts as it is necessary to function in the world and can be used for good. Name me one positive effect of alcohol?
    http://www.intox.com/t-Physiology.aspx
     
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  14. Ishna

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    I can get quite tipsy on just a splash if liquor in a glass of coke! It's even easier to get tipsy when you're not used to drinking. And once you're tipsy you tend to lose the will to stop drinking. Why not? You're already under the influence, the bottle is just there, you won't let yourself get tipsy next time and hey, damage already done so why beat yourself up now by denying yourself more?

    Alcohol should be avoided, it's not about being "holier than thou" and "I am so much more devout because I don't drink", it's about encouraging other humans to leave the poison alone. Standing by your convictions that drinking is a bad idea doesn't make you a bad person trying to impose your views on others, it's a seva which will hopefully give strength to others to leave that crazy pi$$ alone.
     
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  15. Ishna

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    And if you happen to be a person who can have the occasional drink, not get tipsy, not feel the NEED to drink when you've had a bad day or you're feeling tense, and you can stop at just one, then you can do what you want, it's your life.

    But those people are the exception not the rule, and by not standing against alcohol consumption is like being fine with someone handing out loaded guns to people with the intention that a handful of those people will be really super shots and they might not even know it! But the vast majority will end up hurting themselves, or others, or have trouble keeping their hands off the gun.

    I don't think it's worth taking the risk, personally, and I wish I'd had more personal conviction to not have got into alcohol to start with. But I come from a culture which revolves around social drinking, where drinking in your youth is a rite of passage, and I had no Sikhi and no other sangat to encourage me not to.
     
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  16. Archived_member14

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    All,

    I have been away, and this is likely to only be a short visit.

    The danger in alcohol consumption in the context of religious teachings is that it leads to heedlessness. Instead of moral shame and restraint possibly arising, it is time for shamelessness and immorality to have their way. This means that the person who thinks to refrain from drinking alcohol, must first see the wrongness of lying, stealing, killing, illicit sex, harsh speech, divisive speech and so on. But even this is not enough, because if this is to at least be maintained, then he must also develop wisdom.

    If someone thinks that the act of refraining from taking alcohol is itself a moral act, this is wrong understanding and a dangerous one. This is because the person’s attention is then taken away from what must be considered, namely such things as restraint from lying, stealing etc. to what in itself is only an object of attachment. People drink beer not because they want to act badly, but because they enjoy it, which makes this then, no different from drinking coffee. But of course, this enjoyment is related to the fact of getting to experience a state of mind different from normal and which coffee can’t do. But still, no one thinks to do wrong, only that it does happen.

    On the other hand if the aim is restraint from immoral acts, then drinking tea or drinking whiskey, the focus is on this. Only then will refraining from alcohol consumption becomes relevant, because we know about the effect of alcohol. So if a person avoids alcohol but does not otherwise think about growing in morality, this is like holding a poisonous snake by the wrong end. Being that not only does morality not grow, in mistaking what is not morality for morality, one moves further away from the real thing. Indeed some even become self-righteous and judgmental towards other people, and this is like pointing a finger at others and not seeing the three that is pointed at oneself.

    However even if one did not feel righteous about not drinking and do see the need to have morality, there is danger even then, in what in Buddhism is called Silabattamaramasa or attachment to mere rules and rituals. If one does not have any wisdom, refraining from acting wrongly may be more than just a restraint, and then even here, mischief will happen.

    The ‘attachment to self’ and consequent desire for results gives rise to courses of conduct involving the suppression of certain tendencies but invariably encouraging other kinds of unwholesome state. Suppression is not understanding, but not realizing this, one is attached to apparent results. Furthermore, failing to act morally can sometimes lead to feeling guilt, which is a form of aversion but often mistaken for good.

    This is why in Buddhism; the five precepts are to be seen as ‘training rules’ rather than a kind of commandment. Given the extent of defilements, it is to be expected that evil through body, speech and mind will continue to arise. Therefore not only should we not be disturbed by any chance transgression of the precepts, the attachment and aversion which arises in the course of our daily lives, should not be made into a problem. And we should not go so far as to for example, decline from taking a sip of alcohol when everyone else present is doing it in a toast.

    In conclusion, the development of understanding must come first. From this then comes a true basis for morality. And when this happens, no need to ask anyone, what is right and what is wrong, because you’d know, and in the end, it is for each person to guard his own mind.
     
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  17. Harry Haller

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    Re: Should We Serve Alcohol as Guru Ka Langar?

    Findingmywayji,

    Just so my posting is not misconstrued, my position as always, is that the drinking of alcohol will hinder your progress through sikhi.

    Although bhenji, you raise some absolutely valid points, I do not think we need to justify, medically, why sikhs should not drink, the good book says so, and that is enough for me, and should be enough for anyone else.

    However, and speaking only for myself here, when I have been overcome with lust, I have been more out of control than having a drink, when pride has taken over me, I have acted in a way that shames me now, as for anger, I am not an angry person, but when I do get angry, I very rarely express it, I just get very very quiet, reason being, If I say something, I will end up saying something I will regret, So I never ever say anything in anger, and I just end up getting sad, and very negative.

    The point being that this is getting quite unfair with all the attention being on drink, its very simple, should we drink, no, we should not, any more than we should be in control of the five thieves, which can have a much more negative effect on our lives than a drink. In my experience, all the people I know that became alcoholics were addicts, if they had not discovered alcohol, it would have been something else, there were deep underlying problems with each and every one of them. I am not sure I know of anyone who drank for the sake of drink and then ended up on the scrapheap.

    When we as a society come down equally as hard on all the vices we are supposed to stay away from, and see the effect of the liberation from such, believe me, it will make the giving up alcohol argument seem very petty.

    I will tell you why there is such a problem with alcohol,its visual. I can honestly say my heart breaks when I see a Sirdar with a turban having a beer in a pub. It just looks wrong, and as much as my argument may seem in favor of the odd drink, it is not, I am not in any way advocating the odd whisky, but we have to be realistic and fair, and it bothers me hugely that if you get people to concentrate on giving up the odd drink, which they may enjoy, to find greater spiritual fulfillment, they are going to be very disappointed when they find out that they would have been better off spending their energy becoming less angry, less proud, less lustful, all of which could contribute to a better and more peaceful mind all around

    apologies if i have offended anyone
     
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  18. Scarlet Pimpernel

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    Dear Harry Ji

    Do not judge the sardar in the pub it might be one light beer he is consuming after a week of heavy work ,there is no shame in him having a beer (aslong as he does not pinch someone elses!)

    Dear Isna Ji and Way Ji

    I understand that we should not encourage anyone ,as three members of my extended family are alcoholic I understand what a waste of a life it can be.

    I did not mean to say the mind is unaffected by the effects of alcohol,I said apperitif originally ,(means with your meal), so personally I feel no effect of a single drink.
    The 'attention' in this context was wrong ,I'm reading a chapter about attention on my kindle computor application.I should not mix that into this issue.That is for another thread , 'the cultivation of higher attention.'
    Might take me twenty years to post it though lol
     
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  19. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Sinnerji,

    I would never judge anyone brother, and I agree there is absolutely no shame in having a beer, although I say again, on the whole, it will take you further not closer to the creator, but that is a choice we all live with, including myself.
     
  20. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel
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    Veera
    Sometimes we judge without actually thinking about it,everyone sees only the visual, perhaps it was even a nonalcoholic beer!
    May I pose a question in the Socratic style?
    If a man drinks the odd beer but otherwise lives in Gods fear in his innerself and has charity in his heart and his attention hardly ever strays from the infinite,and another lives on softdrinks but has no real fear, lives not the innerlife and his attention is not on the essence of life,then who would you say was closer to the Lord.
    Discontentment is the poison in our minds,alcohol abuse is a symptom of the emptyness we feel when Maya wears us down, some feel it is an antidote for the poison.
    Even if some take it further to feel it's intoxication,it does not last long ,and usually they are more depressed than before trying to get drunk.
    The one effect that is 'good' is that when tipsy we start to get honest with our selves and others and we stop projecting an image of what we want to be and see ourselves as we are.(some won't like what they see though!)

    The social person cares more the company or than the occasion than the beverage consumed, if thats not the case then you may have an issue with it.
    ਤੇਰੈ ਭਰੋਸੈ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਮੈ ਲਾਡ ਲਡਾਇਆ

    Confused Ji

    That excellent post did not seem to come from someone who is confused?
     
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  21. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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