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Sikhi Pragmatism and Sikhism

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Harkiran Kaur, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    @Tejwant Singh Ji,

    You keep bringing up the word 'pragmatist' or 'Pragmatic' etc.

    First, can you please show me in SGGSJ where it says everything must be approached in this way? I have been unable to find the word even once in SGGSJ. You keep saying we must use ONLY SGGSJ to explain our point of view with everything, yet I can not find anywhere in there that says all of our thought must be 'pragmatic'.

    Anyway reference your question to Original Ji let's first look at the meaning of the word 'Pragmatic'.

    When I google the word Pragmatic I get this:

    prag·mat·ic
    praɡˈmadik/
    adjective
    1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
    Just a thought... to someone who actually experiences the divine, that experience is no longer theory... it's real (subjective) evidence. Scientists use subjective evidence all the time. If we were to exclude anything that wasn't 100% provable right now, with all the facilities we have at this moment, then many of the world's advances would not have been... case in point much medical study makes use of subjective evidence. The other word it uses is 'realistically' well... I place a question to you:

    So if Guru Nanak Dev Ji did in fact experience the divine himself then it is no longer theory, it is personal subjective evidence of the divine - to him it would be real. As with all subjective evidence, it can't be proven to others unless they have the same experience. Even if they do not however, it doesn't discount the experience happened to that person. So for Guru Nanak Dev Ji, being in company of the divine when he went into the river, it was not theory, nor philosophy, for him it was truth. So it would still satisfy him being 'pragmatic' by the dictionary definition of the word.

    But I am still wondering where it says that our thought must be only 'pragmatic' when interpreting Gurbani. Remember with things that can not YET be proven by science, one person's subjective evidence may be another person's theory. But it doesn't mean it isn't real... SO if that person then describes what they experienced to someone else poetically and metaphorically, we would do an injustice by telling everyone they must only interpret it based on scientific knowledge of what is real... scientific knowledge at this present moment, which we would be very naive to think we know it all at this moment. It's very likely that the inner workings of the universe will be known to all in the future, proving a creator... and then THAT will be the picture of reality at that time. What if that knowledge is already within SGGSJ and you are dismissing it to be speaking merely of only states of mind as if it were merely a psychology book, not our Guru...
     
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Harkiran ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You will find in the following thread post#7 from me to Original ji. Please do not hesitate to pitch in.

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/threads/impressions-of-gurbani-sohila.46024/#post-202847
     
  4. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Harkiran Ji

    To me, Gurbani illustrates pragmatism well when it talks about the customs and rituals of other religions. For instance, instructing Muslims to make compassion their prayer mat, or yogis to make humility their walking sticks.

    Gurbani sidelines any mystical reasons for those religious practices and replaces them with useful, beneficial human qualities.

    That's the impression I get, which leads me to believe Sikhi is more pragmatic and less 'mystical'.
     
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  5. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    But others (majority) look at it as saying something else. That physical ritual is useless to find that which lies beyond the physical, since bowing to an idol (as an example) is only worshipping part of the illusion / part of the physical. The only way to find the divine is go within ourselves to where it is not physical reality. To me it's not dismissing the mystical (which is not the best word - metaphysical is better) but instead is dismissing the physical!
    Take the below shabad...
    You could argue that by interpreting it what you call 'mystically' (What I call metaphysically) you won't be purely 'pragmatic' but since our Guru had first hand experience, and his writing was based on his own subjective experience which is not theory to him but reality, then we would be dismissing subjective evidence to NOT look at the obvious metaphysical meaning. And this is of course assuming there is some written rule that Gurbani must be interpreted in a purely pragmatic way anyway... which I can't find any such instruction at all.

    ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥
    सिरीरागु महला १ ॥
    Sirīrāg mėhlā 1.
    Siree Raag, First Mehl:

    ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਜਲ ਕਮਲੇਹਿ ॥
    रे मन ऐसी हरि सिउ प्रीति करि जैसी जल कमलेहि ॥
    Re man aisī har si▫o parīṯ kar jaisī jal kamlehi.
    O mind, love the Lord, as the lotus loves the water.

    ਲਹਰੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਪਛਾੜੀਐ ਭੀ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ॥
    लहरी नालि पछाड़ीऐ भी विगसै असनेहि ॥
    Lahrī nāl pacẖẖāṛī▫ai bẖī vigsai asnehi.
    Tossed about by the waves, it still blossoms with love.

    ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜੀਅ ਉਪਾਇ ਕੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਮਰਣੁ ਤਿਨੇਹਿ ॥੧॥
    जल महि जीअ उपाइ कै बिनु जल मरणु तिनेहि ॥१॥
    Jal mėh jī▫a upā▫e kai bin jal maraṇ ṯinehi. ||1||
    In the water, the creatures are created; outside of the water they die. ||1||

    ਮਨ ਰੇ ਕਿਉ ਛੂਟਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਪਿਆਰ ॥
    मन रे किउ छूटहि बिनु पिआर ॥
    Man re ki▫o cẖẖūtėh bin pi▫ār.
    O mind, how can you be saved without love?

    ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਬਖਸੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਭੰਡਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    गुरमुखि अंतरि रवि रहिआ बखसे भगति भंडार ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
    Gurmukẖ anṯar rav rahi▫ā bakẖse bẖagaṯ bẖandār. ||1|| rahā▫o.
    God permeates the inner beings of the Gurmukhs. They are blessed with the treasure of devotion. ||1||Pause||

    (the rahao line tells us God PERMEATES our inner being)

    ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਮਛੁਲੀ ਨੀਰ ॥
    रे मन ऐसी हरि सिउ प्रीति करि जैसी मछुली नीर ॥
    Re man aisī har si▫o parīṯ kar jaisī macẖẖulī nīr.
    O mind, love the Lord, as the fish loves the water.

    ਜਿਉ ਅਧਿਕਉ ਤਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਘਣੋ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਸਰੀਰ ॥
    जिउ अधिकउ तिउ सुखु घणो मनि तनि सांति सरीर ॥
    Ji▫o aḏẖika▫o ṯi▫o sukẖ gẖaṇo man ṯan sāʼnṯ sarīr.
    The more the water, the more the happiness, and the greater the peace of mind and body.

    ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਜੀਵਈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਭ ਪੀਰ ॥੨॥
    बिनु जल घड़ी न जीवई प्रभु जाणै अभ पीर ॥२॥
    Bin jal gẖaṛī na jīv▫ī parabẖ jāṇai abẖ pīr. ||2||
    Without water, she cannot live, even for an instant. God knows the suffering of her mind. ||2||

    ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਮੇਹ ॥
    रे मन ऐसी हरि सिउ प्रीति करि जैसी चात्रिक मेह ॥
    Re man aisī har si▫o parīṯ kar jaisī cẖāṯrik meh.
    O mind, love the Lord, as the song-bird loves the rain.

    ਸਰ ਭਰਿ ਥਲ ਹਰੀਆਵਲੇ ਇਕ ਬੂੰਦ ਨ ਪਵਈ ਕੇਹ ॥
    सर भरि थल हरीआवले इक बूंद न पवई केह ॥
    Sar bẖar thal harī▫āvle ik būnḏ na pav▫ī keh.
    The pools are overflowing with water, and the land is luxuriantly green, but what are they to her, if that single drop of rain does not fall into her mouth?

    ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਈਐ ਕਿਰਤੁ ਪਇਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਦੇਹ ॥੩॥
    करमि मिलै सो पाईऐ किरतु पइआ सिरि देह ॥३॥
    Karam milai so pā▫ī▫ai kiraṯ pa▫i▫ā sir ḏeh. ||3||
    By His Grace, she receives it; otherwise, because of her past actions, she gives her head. ||3||

    ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਜਲ ਦੁਧ ਹੋਇ ॥
    रे मन ऐसी हरि सिउ प्रीति करि जैसी जल दुध होइ ॥
    Re man aisī har si▫o parīṯ kar jaisī jal ḏuḏẖ ho▫e.
    O mind, love the Lord, as the water loves the milk.

    ਆਵਟਣੁ ਆਪੇ ਖਵੈ ਦੁਧ ਕਉ ਖਪਣਿ ਨ ਦੇਇ ॥
    आवटणु आपे खवै दुध कउ खपणि न देइ ॥
    Āvtaṇ āpe kẖavai ḏuḏẖ ka▫o kẖapaṇ na ḏe▫e.
    The water, added to the milk, itself bears the heat, and prevents the milk from burning.

    ਆਪੇ ਮੇਲਿ ਵਿਛੁੰਨਿਆ ਸਚਿ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਦੇਇ ॥੪॥
    आपे मेलि विछुंनिआ सचि वडिआई देइ ॥४॥
    Āpe mel vicẖẖunni▫ā sacẖ vadi▫ā▫ī ḏe▫e. ||4||
    God unites the separated ones with Himself again, and blesses them with true greatness. ||4||

    (unites meaning they have come to realize they were never separate to begin with, separation is the illusion. We have forgotten we are all collectively, the Creator. The same one consciousness pervades us all - this will be revealed further down)

    ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਚਕਵੀ ਸੂਰ ॥
    रे मन ऐसी हरि सिउ प्रीति करि जैसी चकवी सूर ॥
    Re man aisī har si▫o parīṯ kar jaisī cẖakvī sūr.
    O mind, love the Lord, as the chakvee duck loves the sun.

    ਖਿਨੁ ਪਲੁ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਸੋਵਈ ਜਾਣੈ ਦੂਰਿ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥
    खिनु पलु नीद न सोवई जाणै दूरि हजूरि ॥
    Kẖin pal nīḏ na sov▫ī jāṇai ḏūr hajūr.
    She does not sleep, for an instant or a moment; the sun is so far away, but she thinks that it is near.

    ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੋਝੀ ਨਾ ਪਵੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥੫॥
    मनमुखि सोझी ना पवै गुरमुखि सदा हजूरि ॥५॥
    Manmukẖ sojẖī nā pavai gurmukẖ saḏā hajūr. ||5||
    Understanding does not come to the self-willed manmukh. But to the Gurmukh, the Lord is always close. ||5||

    (being self willed - clinging to this false ego identity- this character we are playing)

    ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਗਣਤ ਗਣਾਵਣੀ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
    मनमुखि गणत गणावणी करता करे सु होइ ॥
    Manmukẖ gaṇaṯ gaṇāvaṇī karṯā kare so ho▫e.
    The self-willed manmukhs make their calculations and plans, but only the actions of the Creator come to pass.

    ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਨਾ ਪਵੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥
    ता की कीमति ना पवै जे लोचै सभु कोइ ॥
    Ŧā kī kīmaṯ nā pavai je locẖai sabẖ ko▫e.
    His Value cannot be estimated, even though everyone may wish to do so.

    ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਚਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੬॥
    गुरमति होइ त पाईऐ सचि मिलै सुखु होइ ॥६॥
    Gurmaṯ ho▫e ṯa pā▫ī▫ai sacẖ milai sukẖ ho▫e. ||6||
    Through the Guru's Teachings, it is revealed. Meeting with the True One, peace is found. ||6||

    (What is revealed? It can't simply be states of mind. There were already plenty of good psychology books at the time)

    ਸਚਾ ਨੇਹੁ ਨ ਤੁਟਈ ਜੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਸੋਇ ॥
    सचा नेहु न तुटई जे सतिगुरु भेटै सोइ ॥
    Sacẖā nehu na ṯut▫ī je saṯgur bẖetai so▫e.
    True love shall not be broken, if the True Guru is met.

    ਗਿਆਨ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਇ ॥
    गिआन पदारथु पाईऐ त्रिभवण सोझी होइ ॥
    Gi▫ān paḏārath pā▫ī▫ai ṯaribẖavaṇ sojẖī ho▫e.
    Obtaining the wealth of spiritual wisdom, the understanding of the three worlds is acquired.

    (teribhavan - from Sk Tri + Bhavanam. Understood as meaning heaven, earth, nether world (metaphorically) or Physical/Etheric, Astral, Causal.)

    ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਕਾ ਗਾਹਕੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੭॥
    निरमलु नामु न वीसरै जे गुण का गाहकु होइ ॥७॥
    Nirmal nām na vīsrai je guṇ kā gāhak ho▫e. ||7||
    So become a customer of merit, and do not forget the Immaculate Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||7||

    ਖੇਲਿ ਗਏ ਸੇ ਪੰਖਣੂੰ ਜੋ ਚੁਗਦੇ ਸਰ ਤਲਿ ॥
    खेलि गए से पंखणूं जो चुगदे सर तलि ॥
    Kẖel ga▫e se paʼnkẖ▫ṇūʼn jo cẖugḏe sar ṯal.
    Those birds which peck at the shore of the pool have played and have departed.

    (Metaphor for playing at the 'shore' of reality that being the limited Physical and never jumping in to realize what really lies in the pool... which is nonphysical unlimited reality)

    ਘੜੀ ਕਿ ਮੁਹਤਿ ਕਿ ਚਲਣਾ ਖੇਲਣੁ ਅਜੁ ਕਿ ਕਲਿ ॥
    घड़ी कि मुहति कि चलणा खेलणु अजु कि कलि ॥
    Gẖaṛī kė muhaṯ kė cẖalṇā kẖelaṇ aj kė kal.
    In a moment, in an instant, we too must depart. Our play is only for today or tomorrow.

    (Its a warning to not simply waste this physical life. We are here for a reason... don't revel in the physical world at the 'shore' of the 'pool' of reality which is much more)

    ਜਿਸੁ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਲਹਿ ਸੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਚਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲਿ ॥੮॥
    जिसु तूं मेलहि सो मिलै जाइ सचा पिड़ु मलि ॥८॥
    Jis ṯūʼn melėh so milai jā▫e sacẖā piṛ mal. ||8||
    But those whom You unite, Lord, are united with You; they obtain a seat in the Arena of Truth. ||8||

    ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥
    बिनु गुर प्रीति न ऊपजै हउमै मैलु न जाइ ॥
    Bin gur parīṯ na ūpjai ha▫umai mail na jā▫e.
    Without the Guru, love does not well up, and the filth of egotism does not depart.

    ਸੋਹੰ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਪਤੀਆਇ ॥
    सोहं आपु पछाणीऐ सबदि भेदि पतीआइ ॥
    Sohaʼn āp pacẖẖāṇī▫ai sabaḏ bẖeḏ paṯī▫ā▫e.
    One who recognizes within himself that, "He is me", and who is pierced through by the Shabad, is satisfied.

    (He IS Me - meaning there is no difference between us and Creator)


    ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਅਵਰ ਕਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਇ ॥੯॥
    गुरमुखि आपु पछाणीऐ अवर कि करे कराइ ॥९॥
    Gurmukẖ āp pacẖẖāṇī▫ai avar kė kare karā▫e. ||9||
    When one becomes Gurmukh and realizes his own self, what more is there left to do or have done? ||9||

    (Recognize our own self asbeing HIM. To me it's pretty straight forward what it's saying with no need to apply far fetched metaphorical meanings on states of mind)

    ਮਿਲਿਆ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੇਲੀਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਪਤੀਆਇ ॥
    मिलिआ का किआ मेलीऐ सबदि मिले पतीआइ ॥
    Mili▫ā kā ki▫ā melī▫ai sabaḏ mile paṯī▫ā▫e.
    Why speak of union to those who are already united with the Lord? Receiving the Shabad, they are satisfied.

    (Why speak of union when you already know there is no separation... if you KNOW there is no difference between you and Creator, then there is no idea of union or separation, because you understand that separation WAS the illusion)


    ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੋਝੀ ਨਾ ਪਵੈ ਵੀਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਇ ॥
    मनमुखि सोझी ना पवै वीछुड़ि चोटा खाइ ॥
    Manmukẖ sojẖī nā pavai vīcẖẖuṛ cẖotā kẖā▫e.
    The self-willed manmukhs do not understand; separated from Him, they endure beatings.

    (Because they are so wrapped up in this physical ego identity they can not see past their physical identity and realize their true identity... the 'I AM' behind the 'I')

    ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰੁ ਘਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜੀ ਜਾਇ ॥੧੦॥੧੧॥
    नानक दरु घरु एकु है अवरु न दूजी जाइ ॥१०॥११॥
    Nānak ḏar gẖar ek hai avar na ḏūjī jā▫e. ||10||11||
    O Nanak, there is only the one door to His Home; there is no other place at all. ||10||11||

    (That door is found within yourself... remember the rahao line, God permeates ALL beings)
     
    #4 Harkiran Kaur, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    can you find any instruction that Gurbani must not?
     
  7. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Ahhh but If you are the one directing the definition of Sikhi to be merely speaking of physical life, and states of mind, then you are in the minority. So the onus is on you to prove that it must be interpreted in that way. Since Sikh scholars up to even today interpret in the metaphysical sense. There are enough references to spiritual and metaphysical ideas in Gurbani that you can't discount it. It would make no sense to present a work that is supposed to improve our every day *physical* life but then tells us to refrain from attachments, and shun just about everything - it even says recognize the body is worthless. So if it were speaking merely about this physical life as if that were all there was... I doubt Gurbani would say this body is false and worthless... it would instead be saying this body is precious.
     
  8. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I want you to understand something about me, I could not give a monkeys what anyone else things, so for the second time today, please allow me to confirm, I do not wish to offer any direction to anyone, nor stamp my understanding of Sikhism as standard, the day it becomes standard, I will probably start meditating, just for the hell of it! I just cannot stand herds, you know? so can we please draw a line under my desire to see my quite mad understanding as being acceptable to the common Sikh, because it isn't.

    I am not a Sikh scholar, I am not even sure I am a Sikh, I am just me, I ask questions, sorry about that, may we continue?
     
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  9. Ishna

    Ishna
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    The pragmatism of Sikhi is self-evident. Tejwant Ji gave a number of examples in the post he linked it earlier.

    When Sikhi is compared particularly to Hinduism, the pragmatism is apparent. Guru Nanak challenged so many existing rituals with common sense questions, and then replaced them with simple statements. Look at his refusal to wear the janeau, for example.

    Sikhi is at it's very foundation pragmatic. Everything we do is pragmatic, as opposed to superstitious and ritualised. We don't do our nitnem because we think God will reward us in the afterlife with a flowing river of milk and honey. We don't believe in women being unclean. We realise that "prayer" is worthwhile when it connects you to Akaal Purakh loud and clear and helps you move in life in simran, rather than thinking the sequence of actions will go to our credit while in our minds we think about work or dinner, etc.

    Pragmatism is a good thing. :)
     
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  10. Ishna

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    This is a great example. Sikhs are householders, sharing with the needy, working hard, living a good and honest life, seeking contentment, humility and simple joy.

    If Sikhi weren't pragmatic at its core, we would join the yogis in the hills and the sadhus wearing sackcloth with mattered hair because the physical is worthless and it would be so much easier to just die and be done with it.
     
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  11. Ishna

    Ishna
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    I suppose I tend to approach Gurbani from a pragmatic point of view, because it appears to me that our Guru Sahiban were pragmatic in their approach to everything else.

    It doesn't exclude the spiritual aspects of Sikhi, but tempers it. Gives it a reality check.

    Personally, I try to avoid measuring the quality of something by whether it is supported by the majority or the minority, and evaluate things independently. If we only follow the majority, then we are at risk of being waylaid and ceasing to grow. The majority of people believe in Abrahamic religions. The majority of people at one point believed the earth was flat. The majority value Maya over the Sat. The majority would buy an airconditioner for the sukhasan room before replacing the stolen PCs from the Punjabi language school (which wasn't very pragmatic, imho)...
     
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    #10 Ishna, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  12. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Harkiran ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    To be honest, I have no idea what the argument/discussion is about. Can you please explain that in layman's terms so we can interact and learn from each other?

    Thanks

    Tejwant Singh
     
  13. Harkiran Kaur

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    It's good if you don't go the extreme and dismiss everything you can't see in front of you simply because well.. you can't see it in front of you! Then that would be doing things 'with purpose' rather than the dictionary meaning of the word 'pragmatism' which is
    1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

    Anyway, for me meditation, simran, nitnem ARE practical. (And are not based on theory... since I was one of those who have had subjective personal experiences) These things ground me. They connect me to the divine within myself (not to the physical or to make my physical life better). They are very practical ways to access the reality which we can not see right now. Because they use nonphysical means to access the nonphysical reality.

    But there are those who intimate that Sikhi is pragmatic as if to say that the nonphysical / divine / spiritual does not exist at all because it's not normally accessible from this physical experience. ie: I cant see it so it must not be there at all. This is where I disagree with the 'pragmatic' approach. Or maybe their thinking is not 'pragmatist' in the true definition of the word but instead are 'skeptics' and just trying to dress up the meaning?

    Because to me I don't see how Pragmatist = Nothing exists except the physical and there is nothing beyond this physical life and there is no Creator. At least not by the dictionary definition of the word... but it seems that's how its being used!
     
  14. Ishna

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    Harkiran Ji

    Are you familiar with the sakhi of Guru Nanak throwing water? I think that's a very good example of the kind of pragmatism that exists in Sikhi.

    Although the Hindus had full faith that they were throwing water to their dead ancestors, Guru Nanak took the opportunity to challenge them on it in quite a witty way.

    http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Watering_the_Crops

    I personally endeavour to take the same approach to spiritual claims, which makes me either a skeptic or a pragmatist, I'm not sure anymore :p

    Surely being grounded is a mental state that has an effect on your physical wellbeing and helps you be the best person you can be? As a Sikh, being connected to Akaal Purakh means to be connected to everything. When I am in simran (for me simran is indeed a state of mind that I try to maintain all day every day), myself, everything and everyone around me is an emanation of the divine. It infuses all my words and actions, and hopefully one day, it will not just infuse my words and actions, but be the words and actions and the ego-me takes a back seat.

    The physical/non-physical are interconnected... one influences the other, imho. As above, so below?

    But I feel like I digress from the topic of pragmatism.

    I tend to focus on the first part of the definition
    1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
    I'm pretty sure that's how Guru Sahib approached things, and the Sikhs throughout history with him.

    I haven't seen anyone deny a Creator here. It would be odd to find a Sikh with such a view.

    Regards death and what may be beyond this physical life... I don't know. Ik Onkar was, is and shall ever be. The creation which It has created will cease to exist (as a wave ceases to exist when it tumbles back into the ocean), but It will continue always. As I'm part of the wave, I'm very content with this understanding. I don't need anything else.
     
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    #13 Ishna, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  15. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    For me sensibly and realistically are likely different from what they are to you then... as I said, I have real subjective personal evidence to go by. Obviously I can't convince you based on my subjective experience, but for me, it's real, sensible... and the fact that we can and do access this reality beyond the physical while still in this physical shell, is a reality.

    People on here have said outright there is 'no diety' in Sikhi. Meaning, there is no Creator. And then quoted the 'pragmatism' word to explain why. I tried to get them to clarify do they mean an avatar or entity as having a 'form' as in other religions? Or do they consider a formless (but most definitely aware / conscious) Creator to be a 'diety' - and the impression I got was that any idea of a greater consciousness / universal consciousness / awareness was in their definition of 'diety' and so their 'pragmatic' approach led them to make the statement that because they can not see or prove said Creator exists, then there must not be one at all. In fact, because nothing beyond the physical can be directly experienced or proven (well, many nonphysical phenomenon CAN be proven but I digress) they believe this physical world is all there is and that Gurbani was simply a how-to book or psychology manual on how to get along with the neighbour.
     
  16. Ishna

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    I'm sure the Hindus throwing water to their dead ancestors also believe it is real. Is it right to challenge them on that? A Hindu will also say that they are not worshipping the physical idol, but what that represents/the entity beyond the idol. Is that ok?

    How do you measure the reality of your own experiences, while denying others the reality of theirs?

    Plenty of Christians have what they feel is a real and personal relationship with YHWH / Jesus, so if your subjective experience is real, and their subjective experience is real, then which one is really real?

    Sikhs are encouraged via Gurbani to use our discerning intellect. We are told not to accept things blindly. This is part of why we reject so many supernatural and superstitious things like astrology, numerology, divination, ancestor worship, etc. Yet people swear by this stuff by virtue of their subjective experiences. Where to draw the line?

    You need to keep in mind the culture Sikhi grew up and exists in, to put the 'pragmatism' into perspective.

    I must have missed the thread where Sikhs here said there is no Creator.

    "Deity" usually conjures up the bearded man on a cloud. So does "God", so we are careful using these terms.

    When I say that I don't know if the Creative Force is conscious or aware in the same way we are, does that give you the impression that I don't believe in a Creator?
     
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  17. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Well, Creation implies creativity, which can not happen without awareness or intent. Creativity can not be expressed without awareness / thought / concepts / visualization. Otherwise it's just chaos theory - things happening without any reason or intent. And then, who started that? If everything is in a state of unchanging oneness... 'someone' has to press the metaphorical button to start things happening.
    So it can't just be some 'force' otherwise... that force had to have been created by another who WAS aware / had intent. Chaos theory doesn't make sense.

    And its perfectly fine ti have your own thoughts on things... but if you are looking to change what has been taught for literally centuries in one religion, then I think that is where we should draw the line. As I said, scholars have interpreted it unanimously as being metaphysical context. Do you think they were all wrong?? Are you prepared to go to SIkh Missionary College or Damdami Taksal and tell them it was only ever about psychology and states of mind?? If the majority understood interpretations were metaphysical, do you think its ok to make the statement that Sikhi is not this way and present it as if that were THE teaching of Gurbani? I think SMC and DDT might disagree.
     
  18. Ishna

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    No, I wasn't talking about challenging Sikhi, but challenging Hinduism. It is much, much older than Sikhi, yet Guru Nanak Sahib Ji did just that.

    And Gurbani tells me that the Creative Force issues Its hukam and Its banna but also reminds us that It is unknowable and inconcievable. If It has an awareness or consciousness, I'm not sure I could even imagine what it is like.

    But I do agree with you that there is Something there with which we connect (or rather, realise we are connected to).
     
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  19. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    are you prepared to go there and discuss gender equality?

    yet the argument you use about scholars being all wrong does not seem to apply to this issue, are you saying all the forces that exist within Sikhism that would be see women as a lower class are incorrect in their understanding of Sikhsim and that you are correct?
     
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  20. Harkiran Kaur

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    Sikh Missionary College does in fact teach equality... Damdami Taksal does teach it... but doesn't practice it fully. They say that because 'no woman gave her head that day' that the five have to represent the original 5 (but it doesn't make sense since they do not discriminate based on the castes which did not 'give their head that day' but I digress) but I put this down to culture influence / prevailing Brahminical mindset which always saw women beneath men. Especially evident when those like Hari Singh Randhawa start talking of sootak / sucham and women menstruating as if it makes women impure. If you question them on it, they can't show anything in Gurbani to support it so they simply say it's 'hygiene' and 'cleanliness' since the men also have to take bath if they had a 'night fall' before they can sit in tabia. The difference though, is that one is related to one of the five evils (lust) and not a natural biological function that has nothing to do with arousal. Aside from the seva of SGGSJ and Panj Pyaras, I think they mostly treat women equally... except at Darbar Sahib but they all kinds of excuses there... like its too crowded and women would get assaulted etc. I know quite a few DDT guys and they do not treat women inferior. I disagree on the Panj Pyara thing but they respect that. I have a choice which Gurdwaras I go to after all. Sikh Missionary College follows SRM and I have seen equality practiced at historical gurdwaras in India that are run by SMC first hand, including one which had female President on the committee, and female granthi.

    And I am taking the SMC 2 year correspondence gurmat course... so trust me when I say that
    1) they teach equality and
    2) they do not interpret Gurbani as merely states of mind / psychology. They very much interpret it metaphysically.

    When I took Amrit, the Panj Pyaras actually told us females they WANT to see us in their place someday administering Amrit. They were SMC trained. They stated outright there is nothing in Gurbani which will say that women should have less rights / privilege in ANY seva including acting as Panj Pyaras.
     
  21. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Harkiran ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I need your help in understanding the point of this interaction from the Gurmat learning point of view.

    Please help me understand it.

    Thanks & regards

    Tejwant Singh
     

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