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Preaching, Proselytizing, and Missionary Work in Sikhism

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Mar 4, 2010.

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Should missionary work be pursued more energetically by Sikhs?

  1. Yes, Why Not!

    71.4%
  2. No!

    14.3%
  3. Unsure

    14.3%
  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Connected thread

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/interfaith-dialogues/29408-sikhism-and-zoroastrianism-a-dialog.html

    In previous discussions the following statement was made:

    Well proselytizing has become a bad name, because of the techniques used, and the attitudes shown, by the people who practice it now a days. However, sharing your faith with others , specially , if your faith is as beautiful and as sound as Sikhi , is something that ought to be done. The Guru may call those He wants , however, I believe there is no reason to doubt He is calling every one, now calling is not forcing, but calling He is. People have to be faced with clear choices and informed so that they can choose accordingly. Remember Sikh Gurus shared their faith. Those who heard the call and accepted it became Sikhs, if that had not happened we would not be having this, very long conversation. (curious seeker ji)

    So here are a few questions that follow for discussion.


    1. Should missionary work be pursued more energetically by Sikhs?
    2. Who should be the audience to receive the message of Guru Nanak?
    3. Should greater efforts toward the conversion of non-Sikhs to Sikhism be pursued?
    4. What does the word "proselytizing" mean to Sikhs? Is it different from the meaning in other religions (e.g., Islam or Christianity)?
    5. Do Sikh missionary colleges have a vital role to play?
    In so many words -- Should Sikhs spread the philosophy of Guru Nanak far and wide?
     
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  3. dalbirk

    dalbirk
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    IMHO the answers to all questions is YES . As more & more Sikhs are shedding hair & other vital practices of Sikhism , Sikhs should try taking up the missionary work by trying to bring more & more non-Sikhs into Sikhi . This is the only way Sikhi can be made secure , through the strength of numbers in these times of democracy . A few weeks ago I was in Delhi where a Taxi Driver , a Christian ( radio Taxi ) started in a way to impress me regarding Christianity , a sort of prostelizing . I do not know how he managed to gather courage for starting on those lines , but I never can imagine myself doing it . Some fifteen minutes into his talks & I started pointing out differences between Christianity & Sikhism like Satan , Day of Judgement , Being saved , Heaven & Hell . Needless to say he changed the topic . But I started wondering that how they are trained to look for possible converts everywhere , what teachings they are imparted .
    In Sikhism we should start something similar , we have an advantage that we look different , so it is more than often that people start questioning about our appearance , hair , turban . Herein lies a golden chance for all of us to give them some insight into our beliefs , SGGS , Gurbani etc because they themselves enquired about it . Also we will not be giving any false promises like Heaven , 72 virgins etc just a simple way to living emancipation .Sikhism is meant to be a missionary faith though with a difference . Why else did Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled thousands of kilometers , for decades & made 30 Million followers ( according to one source ) during his lifetime if not for preaching & conversions ?
     
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    The answer is Yes.Just look at sikh history the ancestors of 25 million sikhs did not embrace
    sikhism one day.They all came into some kind of contact with some sikh missionaries and that's why we have today 25 million sikhs.

    One of the biggest blunder sikh community committing from last 150 years is that they stopped missionaries work especially in poor Area's.One thing always surprised that how the sikhs that were/are settled in Africa never tried to bring Blacks in sikhism While whatever little missionary work is done in USA is it because White's in USA have Dollars?
     
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  5. harbansj24

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    Narayanjot ji,

    IMHO the answer is quite simple:

    The message of Guru Nanak is very secular. One need not abandon his existing faith to follow it.

    for example "kirit kar, naam jap & vand chak" can be followed by by people belonging to any faith.
    Naam jap or Simran can be done in by any faith in his own language and by using any Name such as Ram, Gobind, gopal, Mohan, Allah, My lord, Christ, Waheguru etc. Doing Simran in any manner is beneficial to all irrespective of a person's faith

    So yes, the message of Guru Nanak should be spread far and wide without actively trying to persuade Non Sikhs to be converted to Sikhism.
    Similarly Sikhs should resist attempts to be aborbed into the Hindu, Islam or Christian folds. The reason is simple because Sikhs have to be the torch bearers of Guru Nanak's message. So if Sikhs get aborbed into any other faith then who will sprad the noble Guru Nanak's secular message?
     
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  6. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    Sat nam sri wahe Guru ji ,

    i am not for following methods as followed by Christians , Muslims , Bahai .... for Conversion ,

    but we should at least let others know what Sikhi is , what SGGS is !


    i wanna quote my frnd Shawn from Texas , who found SGGS @ 50 luckily by chance


    Nadia , she says



    above both quotes are from SIKHNET FORUM
     
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  7. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Harbans ji

    Our ancestors abandoned their faiths that's why we are sikhs today,The punjabi muslims did not abandon it ,they are now with Taliban's or fighting against Taliban's.As a Religion We converts who will pass sikhi to next generations O/W their is no point calling sikhism a religion.
     
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  8. curious seeker

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    Hi Dalbirk

    I, as Non-Sikh, feel some hesitatopm in getting involved in this thread, because I know these are sensitive subjects. But here I am , and I have never been shy, just curious:)

    I agree with you, of course, after all the quote that was used above, was mine from another thread. There is indeed strength in numbers, there is also the powerful influence a community OUTSIDE India with resources and political clout could have on Indian politics for the betterment of Sikhi. Just look at how powerful is the US Jewish lobby.

    But, my argument is based on the universality of the faith and in the crying need of humanity, specially in the West, for an egalitarian , non-superstitious, forward looking religion, with an sprituality SECOND to NONE. Your religion! It rings true in the soul and is beautiful in its conception and practice

    Then, there is the fact that we are dealing with a mass market place of ideas in which all major religions are participating aggressively . If you do not participate you could find yourselves snowed under and marginalized.

    Also you are on a very strong position, as far possible growth, is concerned You have a powerful message that is remarkably free of atavisms , you have a sizeable, largely well educated community, with many dedicated members, if one is to judge by these boards, and a strong tradition of service.

    You also placed your finger on the spot .Your really do not need to proselytize as much as merely introducing your message , it will sell itself believe me, at least in the West, with no major sales pitch. And yes Nanak and other Gurus did travel and preach, they solicited new adherents. True they did not tell any one My way or Hell, but thy did present a strong and attractive message.

    Finally there is one final point to consider. There is no more committed, pious and dedicated member of a religion than a convert. They are by nature more convinced, better informed more dynamic and more zealous than many 'born' members. They could invigorate your religion in many and powerful ways

    Blessings
    Curious
     
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  9. curious seeker

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    Hi Kanwardeep

    Again I agree, there has to be a commitment to imitate the outreach work of he Gurus Nanak in particular. It is perhaps the best kind of service that can be done for both the Panth and the Sat Guru. I think if its done right , with respect and in the spirit of the founders it can be successful beyond your wildest dreams it is also a work of love for mankind and the Guru.

    Blessings
    Curious

    .
     
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    #8 curious seeker, Mar 5, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  10. curious seeker

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    Hi Harbansj

    You make a very good point, but I ask you, why not also extend the invitation to become a Sikh at the same time_ One thing does not prevent the other or even contradict it. Also, please realize that outside of India people are not likely to just accept the forms and rituals of another faith and incorporate them into their own faith. That is easier in India because of the long tradition of accepting syncretism
     
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  11. curious seeker

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    Hi Harmanpreet

    I think you have answered your own doubts about conversion with the quites you belonging to such a sound and beautiful faith HAVE NO IDEA of the spiritual hunger that consumes much of the West. Moreover at the risk of that equate all religions, the facts of history clearly tell us that some religions are more easily manipulated to nefarious ends than others , basically because their theologies and or messages are to with all due respect a little sloppy, or too authoritarian or too innerly contradictive.

    I have been studying faiths for over 29 years and I am not a Sikh so I have NO BIAS., OK? Yours is easily the most spiritual and complete faith that I have EVER studied It dwarfs, in those areas, my second (formerly number one) favorite for the title of greatest faith, Zoroastrianism, and to put it to you bluntly the major religions are not even in the picture by comparison.


    Blessings
    Curious
     
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  12. curious seeker

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    Hello Karwandeep

    Could not have said it better myself!! Congrats!
    Blessings
    Curious
     
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  13. harbansj24

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    Right Curious Seeker ji,

    If anybody wishes to become a Sikh of his own freewill we should most definitely welcome him into our fold provided he is able to meet certain preconditions. But as you have said earlier we should not try coercive or luring methods being adopted by other religions.
    Guru Gobind Singh ji set out conditions for anyone who wished to become a Sikh. The question before a Gursikh is what he can give to Humanity and not what he can gain in terms of earthly benefits by becoming a Sikh. Only if a person is able to meet the preconditions can he be known as Guru ka Sikh.
     
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  14. curious seeker

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    Hello Harbansj

    Precisely. The greatest period of Zarathushtrian and Christian growth were periods in which being a believer COST something, and I do not mean MONEY. Sikhs have a precious treasure, truly priceless. It will not cost money but it MUST COST committment and compromise to be true to the conditions, that are placed on those wanting such a great and priceless treasure. No privileges without responsibilties! The Xians have so watered down their message that countless numbers of totally carnal and secular people, claim to have been born again and are received with open (And greedy) arms by Xian teachers, , After the 'convert' reverts to his wicked ways, these easy gospel teachers wring their hands and talk about, these fake Xians, always being saved regardless of what they do because in one moment they said a prayer they obviously did not mean.

    Be Blessed
    Curious
     
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  15. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    Curious ji ,


    everyone is welcomed to join Sikhi ! , i am just against the method adopted by many religions for converting ppls , so i feel Sikh should stay away from these tactics
    i m not unaware of Spiritual hunger of World , i also know that SGGS ji can satisfy this Hunger of World .


    ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਸਗਲੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਜੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਊਡਿ ਚੜਹਿ ਆਕਾਸਿ ॥
    The rainbird wanders all over the earth, soaring high through the skies.

    ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਜਲੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਚੂਕੈ ਭੂਖ ਪਿਆਸ ॥
    But it obtains the drop of water, only when it meets the True Guru, and then, its hunger and thirst are relieved.





    :aagree:




    :wah:;)
     
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  16. curious seeker

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    Hello Harmanpreet

    Aha! A happy moment of Harmony! Absolute harmony at that . I do not agree more even with my own self, friend!

    Be Blessed
    Curious
     
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  17. findingmyway

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    Is Sikhi Being Wasted on Sikhs?
    <small>by JOGISHWAR SINGH</small>

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/29169-is-sikhi-being-wasted-on-sikhs.html


    As a Sikh permanently settled in Switzerland and observing events affecting Sikhs in India and elsewhere, I wonder more and more whether the Sikhs of today are really fit for Sikhism. I get the feeling that the message of the Sikh Gurus is so oriented to liberation from all kinds of superstitions, rituals, baser instincts and basic follies that Sikhs are just not intellectually up to a level where they can understand its full import.
    The message of Sikhism is so universal, humanistic and elevating that it can only be imbibed and practiced by very strong individuals, capable of rising above basic human instincts like prejudice, envy, racism and ignorance.

    I feel that the Gurus were way ahead of their times with their universal and egalitarian message which had to be understood by the masses that ostensibly converted to their teachings. Different social groups became Sikhs for different reasons but, leaving aside a tiny committed kernel, most of them seem to have converted to Sikhism for reasons other than a full grasp of the philosophical message being preached by the Sikh Gurus.
    The jutts (farmers) seem to have become Sikhs in large numbers during the 17<sup>th</sup> and 18<sup>th</sup> centuries but to have done so more to establish a privileged status as land holding gentry than out of adhesion to the principles being conveyed by the Gurus' teachings.

    In the Hindu caste system, the jutts would have remained classified as the lower caste of Shudras, notwithstanding their desperate efforts in manufacturing vaunted genealogical trees for themselves, showing them as descendants of Luv and Kush of Ramayana fame. Even a so-called former Sikh High Priest [a jathedar, really, because we have NO priests, leave alone 'high priests'] has propounded this convoluted thesis in recent times.
    One only needs to see young jutts, mostly without turbans, sporting beards seemingly mown with lawn mowers, wearing designer brand clothes, mouthing a very approximate English syntax, preening around in most Punjab towns to realize that they are materially well situated but are miles away from any basic understanding of the message of the Gurus. Pride, vanity, absence of intellectual curiosity and aggressive posturing seem to be the main characteristics of this rural-reared Sikh society not only in Punjab but also in foreign lands today.

    This is not to suggest that any of the other Sikhs are any better. However, we shall come to that later.

    Jutt Sikhs constitute the major group in Sikhism, therefore, they are being considered before the others.

    Banda Singh Bahadar shattered traditional land holding patterns in Punjab by taking land away from established landholders and redistributing it to smaller peasant proprietors, mostly jutt Sikhs, or those who subsequently became Sikhs because of this fact. Banda's role as a leading land reformer needs more ample consideration on its own. I get the subjective feeling that a large number of jutts became Sikhs in this period not because of any understanding of the essentials of Sikh philosophy handed down by our Gurus but for sheer economic gain.

    They had a good chance of earning title to land by becoming followers of Banda Singh. Their physical attributes made them good fighters. Their experience of tilling the land made them good farmers. They provided the emerging Sikh society with the means to fight oppression from ruling cliques and feed itself by producing staple diet items in Punjab.
    They deserve the encomiums showered on them in later times. But did they grasp the Gurus' spiritual message?

    I honestly do not know. Was attachment to the Gurus' message the principal factor in their becoming Sikhs in such large numbers? In my opinion, the jury is still out on this.

    The advantages to jutts in becoming Sikhs are obvious. From a low social status in Hinduism, they acquired a privileged social status in Sikhism, reaching a climax in the empire constituted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. By becoming Sikhs, they acquired titles to their land holdings under Banda Singh Bahadur. They were able to mask their traditional penchant for robbery, plunder and aggressive posturing in the garb of a liberation struggle being carried on by Sikhs against genocidal political authorities. The consolidation of their social and political status continued even after the swift collapse of the Sikh Empire in 1849.

    The British conducted a scientific policy of "divide et impera" (divide and rule). In this context, they selected the jutt Sikhs as one of their favoured "martial races", recruiting them in the British Indian Army in numbers absurdly out of proportion to their numbers in the total population. They cleverly used their patronage by conferring titles of 'Sardar Bahadur', 'Sir', etc on rich collaborators who were more loyal to the British Crown than to their fellow Sikhs or Indians.

    French collaborators who collaborated with the Nazis during 1940-45 were either shot or ridiculed after the Germans were expelled from France. Our collaborators who aided the colonial power against their own people were honoured with titles, land grants and other privileges such as an elite education in chosen schools like the Aitchison College in Lahore.

    Collaboration with foreign invaders was a badge of honour in India rather than an eternal stigma as it should have been, especially in Sikh society based on values taught by the Sikh Gurus.

    This should in no way take any merit away from the thousands of jutt Sikh participants in the freedom struggle but hardly any of them are part of the ruling political and social jutt Sikh elite dominating Punjab politics and society even today. A lot of the so called Sikh elite of today are direct descendents of collaborators, toadies of the British. No amount of chest thumping posturing and splurging of wealth should be allowed to mask this basic historical fact.

    As for the other Sikhs, it seems to me that the Khatris originally became Sikhs also because it gave them an even more privileged status than they had in Hindu society since they could claim kin with the Sikh Gurus, who were all born in khatri families. It is ridiculous to classify Sikh Gurus as khatris since they had risen so far above such petty classifications. It is equally ridiculous to consider bhagats like Sant Kabir ji, Bhagat Ravi Das ji or Nam Dev ji as belonging to lower castes. Any person considering such elevated souls as belonging to such or such caste, high or low, reveals his or her own stupidity rather than a proper grasp of the message being conveyed by them.

    Those who grasp the message of the Sikh Gurus and Bhagats find it impossible to understand how Sikhs can continue to be mired in the shackles of casteism, totally antithetical to Sikh philosophy.

    In this context, khatri Sikhs considered themselves as the apex of Sikh society. They vaunted the fact of their being of kin to the Sikh Gurus. Hindu society had placed them below the Brahmins. They sought the spot of the top dog in Sikh society. Even some children of the Sikh Gurus were not immune to jostling for the top spot. The first, second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh Sikh Gurus set aside their children or their eldest son in favour of outsiders to the family or younger sons as their successors. The influence of khatri Sikhs diminished with the large scale entry of jutts into the Sikh fold in the 18<sup>th</sup> century but, till then, they pretty much ruled the roost in Sikh society. Even today, it is not rare to see them preferring their own caste kin as marriage partners for their children. Some of the sodhis, for example, go about preening themselves as direct descendants of the Sikh Gurus, totally forgetting the message of equality preached by their own ancestors.

    It appears to me that even the non-khatri, non-jutt Sikhs were attracted to Sikhism more by the temptation of improving their social lot compared to what they were getting in Hindu society, than by genuine understanding of and attachment to the Gurus' message of sublime equality. Even they did not get rid of their caste attachments when it came to marriage.

    This group of Sikhs is as mired in ritualism as the other Sikh social groups. They have acquired a reputation as sharp businessmen, cutting corners for profit. There is the stereotype of such Sikhs going to the Gurdwara early in the morning to rub their noses at the doorstep before going over to their shops to fleece their customers with all sorts of unsavoury practices. How can we reconcile their practices with the story of Guru Nanak getting fixed on "Tera, tera, tera" - ("This is all Yours, Yours, Yours ... O, Lord!) - while doling out foodgrain rations to customers while working at the shop in Sultanpur Lodhi?

    The Gurus' message of unflinching adherence to ethics and morality in every aspect of the life of a Sikh does not find true reflection in the business practices of this category of Sikhs. Posturing seems to have gained the upper hand over substance.

    The mazhabi Sikhs have got the rawest deal of all with the evolution of Sikh society after the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The tenth Guru said "Rangretey Guru key betey" ("The Rangretas are the Guru's children"). We have the sad spectacle of mazhabi Sikhs being obliged to have their separate gurdwaras because they are not allowed to participate as equals at the gurdwaras controlled by the other groups. This paradox should make any true Sikh revolt with passion.

    But it does not seem to be even creating a ripple. Even in places like the U.K., separate Gurdwaras seem to have been set up by mazhabi Sikhs. This total negation of the Gurus' teachings is a direct reflection of the theme being developed in this article, that most Sikhs today do not even have any proper understanding of their own Gurus' teachings. If they did, there would have been a massive social upsurge against the treatment reserved for mazhabi Sikhs.

    A Sikh fully conscious of and living his/ her Gurus' teachings simply could not tolerate such social injustice. A true Sikh should see Waheguru Almighty's image in each and every being, let alone in every Sikh. In such an awareness scenario, an affront to a mazhabi Sikh should be considered as an affront to Waheguru Himself since every being is in His image.
    If this sounds far fetched and theoretical, this just goes to prove that the message of our Gurus is far ahead of us in time. Will we ever get to the stage where we shall start to actually implement the Gurus' message in our everyday lives is an open question.

    Dr B.R. Ambedkar was keenly interested in Sikhism as an alternative to Hinduism for his dalit followers. A minute examination of Sikh social reality showed him that it did not conform to the Gurus' message. How many people in the present day Sikh leadership are actually trying to redress these social injustices, leaving aside political hypocrisy being spewed about by all political parties to garner Sikh votes?

    Talking of jutt Sikhs, khatri Sikhs, arora Sikhs, ramgharia Sikhs, gora Sikhs, mazhbi Sikhs, etc., is an oxymoron for any Sikh imbued with the true essence of our Gurus' message. We can only talk of the Gurus' Sikhs, nothing else.

    However, even a casual look around Sikh society today in India and overseas establishes that it is anything but this. The fact that a large majority of Sikhs continue to revel in their caste tags shows that they have the outward form of Sikhism without understanding an iota of what its basic message is.

    Even the outward form is now difficult to distinguish since large numbers do not even keep unshorn hair or tie a turban, both absolute necessities demanded by the tenth Guru. Many Sikh women keep the karva chauth fast. Aartis are done on a regular basis. Dowry is widely prevalent, as is female foeticide, an absolute shame.

    A low profile lifestyle, full of gratitude to Waheguru Almighty at all times, has been shunned in favour of a high profile materialistic lifestyle, flaunting wealth. Historical gurdwaras are being destroyed by Kar Sewa babas with impunity, wiping out centuries of architectural heritage in favour of marble spattered mausoleum like structures. This is supposed to be sewa?
    A British historian, Lord Acton, wrote in 1891, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

    With reference to contemporary Sikh society, ignorance is bliss and absolute ignorance is total bliss! This is what I feel when I see modern day Sikh marriage ceremonies, bhog ceremonies or other manifestations of Sikh social behaviour. People with long flowing beards behave no better than clean shaven "Sikhs" flaunting thick iron "kadas", Khanda symbols on their T shirts and Khalistani slogans on their cars.

    They do not have the gumption of obeying their tenth Guru's injunction to keep the five symbols of the Khalsa but go around posturing as the crusading knights of Sikhism.

    Dante Alighieri wrote the "Divine Comedy". Were he today to write about Sikh society, he might give his writing the title, "Hilarious Comedy".
    A major damage being caused by present day Sikhs in contact with non-Sikh societies is the distortions of Sikh religious requirements that they communicate to others. I have never understood why people who abandon the basic tenets of the Gurus' teachings feel this desperate need to flaunt themselves as good Sikhs. It is almost as if they feel that Sikhs alone have the patent on being good human beings, which, obviously, is nonsensical.
    "Maanas ki jaat sabhey ekey pahchanbo" - "Treat all mankind as one!" - said our Gurus. So where is the question of Sikhs being better human beings than others? Driven by this need to flaunt their Sikh identity, such people confuse the needs of their personal comforts with the requirements of Sikhism. They come up with notions like the Khalsa being created only by the tenth Guru, in complete disregard of the fact that all ten Gurus have to be considered as an integral entity, one "jot".

    They ask for proof of this in a laboratory. Anyone seeking experimental proofs in any religion is barking up the wrong tree. It is a matter of faith and personal enlightenment, not of laboratory experiments. As more and more Sikhs emigrate to overseas countries, more and more of them mask their personal penchant for comfort as a doctrine of their religion. This creates confusion in the minds of non-Sikhs about what exactly Sikhism stands for.

    I am convinced that the root cause of Sikh social morass today is the basic fact that large majorities of various social groups embraced Sikhism not because of conviction about its message but because of relative social advantages that they sought out of it. This was true in the time of our Gurus and this is true today. This is why most of them were not able to transmit a living heredity to succeeding generations.

    One of the finest compliments I ever received in my life was when a Muslim industrialist, at the head of one of the biggest industries in Pakistan, told me after a personal meeting in Lahore that I should convey his sincere regards to my parents who had managed to transmit such a strong set of values to their son who, in spite of being married to a Swiss Caucasian woman, living in Switzerland, had not abandoned his identity. More importantly, the son had not attempted to justify the needs of his own personal comfort or ambitions by distorting the message of his religion.
    I conveyed this message to my mother last year just before she passed away. My interlocutor told me that he travels frequently to the Indian Punjab and nothing saddens him more than seeing swathes of Sikh youngsters belonging to families of his Sikh friends who have abandoned their identity and their mother tongue. This is the view of an educated Muslim about contemporary Sikh society.

    Of course, there is a microscopic minority of Sikhs who live out the Gurus' sublime message in their daily lives. Such people do not go around broadcasting this fact from rooftops. The irony is that those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know!

    In the middle of swirling Sikh ignorance and cupidity, the Gurus' message remains a beacon of shining light, waiting for those who understand its import, not just for Sikh society but for the whole of humanity.

    To end on an optimistic note, when kaliyuga gives way to a better epoch, the sublime message of the Sikh Gurus in the form of their teachings might just be better understood and actually practised in their daily lives by Sikhs who would then rise above casteism, dowries, drunkenness, drugs, ritualism, corrupt ignorant leaders, heritage destroying sant babas, rampant female foeticide, braggadocio instead of intellectual ability, and pride in stupid behaviour.

    This is not going to happen in my lifetime. I sincerely hope that it happens some day.

    Till then, I remain convinced that the essence of the Sikh Gurus' message is so spiritually elevating that most present day Sikhs are just not capable of comprehending its liberating thrust, leave aside actually putting it into practice in their daily lives.

    [First published, in its original form, in The Sikh Review, January, 2010.]
     
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  18. harsimiritkaur

    harsimiritkaur
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    We absolutely must seek converts. Not converts that have to be a baptized Sikh, that is there own decision. We need to make converts of people living a depressed life to a happy life. Since the main theme in Guru Granth Sahib is sachiara hoeeah, how to live truthfully (productively, proactively, realistically), there are billions of people without direction. There millions of religious people, but how many of them are actually spiritual.

    The purpose of sharing the truth of Guru Granth Sahib, is to empower the human race for self preservation. Our species depends upon it, upon living under one Father, Creator, goal. And this is only done with love, true love, sachi 'ashqi.

    If missionary Sikhs want to incorporate a little of Yoga exercises for health purposes and aid in relaxing, that is okay. If people want to encourage simran waheguru waheguru wahguru, etc. that is okay as long as they also promote the study of Guru Granth Sahib, not just reciting paath incorrectly (there is no perfect paathi except God) but try to do it correctly. We should do our best and keep an open mind.

    We should not allow some of the bad Hindus dressed in Amritdhari costumes (Happy Haloween) to brainwash blind faith followers into Hinduism. Education of Hinduism or any other religion is okay for comparative study, but not as Gurmat in all they stand for.

    Khalistan, where is it? It is the entire universe. What is our Constitution? We don't have one, so how can we be Kalistan?

    OUR CONSTITUTION is Guru Granth Sahib Ji waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh
     
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  19. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    I am a Sikh. I love being a Sikh. In fact, it is probably the most important thing about me.

    I personally have no hesitation in discussing Sikhi with anyone whenever the door is opened. I find people are generally interested, although for all sorts of different reasons.

    We have a very beautiful and valuable possession in Sikhi. It absolutely must be shared. The world needs what we have. Nothing is to be gained and much is to be lost by hoarding it to ourselves.

    This emphatically doesn't mean shoving it down anybody's throat. We are different from Christians and Muslims in that we do not believe that our way is the only way. (Of course, we believe our way is the best way or we wouldn't be Sikhs, eh? Tee hee.)cheerleader

    Of course, this presupposes that we actually know and understand the tenets of our faith well enough to explain beliefs and answer questions. I have found that many people, Christians and Muslims especially, are intrigued - and sometimes outraged - by the idea of a Deity that is nirvair. I will never forget that indignant, "Your God doesn't hate sin!!! Your God is not right-e-ous!!!!" followed by, "Well, what happens if you cut your hair? Doesn't God get really angry?" "No." And on it goes. The point is that questions will be raised and we really look stupid and, worse, uncommitted , if we can't answer them.

    So, I would say, yes, a sort of proselytizing would be good, as long as it's low-key and friendly. I think of a friendly taxi driver who keeps a supply of books and pamphlets about Sikhi handy for those who comment on his turban or a few people who keep small pamphlets or cards on them to hand out to those interested. No door-to-dooring. We don't need to compete with the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses or worse, be confused with them. Just let people know who we are and what we believe and that everybody's welcome - as long as they behave themselves. kudihug
     
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  20. Rupinder.Singh

    Rupinder.Singh Australia
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    1. Should missionary work be pursued more energetically by Sikhs?

    Every true Sikh is a missionary, and should be a missionary in himself.

    2. Who should be the audience to receive the message of Guru Nanak?

    Character of an individual is displayed through his actions, Everyone watching an individual's action is audience.

    3. Should greater efforts toward the conversion of non-Sikhs to Sikhism be pursued?

    We will end up in the number game, rather than raising our character to realise GOD.

    4. What does the word "proselytizing" mean to Sikhs? Is it different from the meaning in other religions (e.g., Islam or Christianity)?

    Religion is a man made entity, it is foolish to confine GOD into one entity or another. GOD's Connection is with the SOUL, so it does not matter what religion Physical body of the Soul practices. Sikh way of life teaches how to prepare SOUL to realise GOD. It does not matter which body color, soul is in. Sikh way of life is free of any religion.

    5. Do Sikh missionary colleges have a vital role to play?

    Someone has said, be the change u want to see in others, every sikh should be missionary, every sikh house should be a missionary college. Knowledge should come from divine Sri Guru Granth Sahb. We just need to keep in mind, that we dont force it on others, set an example thourgh actions and let them follow their instincts.


    Sorry about the quick reply...please feel free to correct me, thats what i am here for....Thanks
    mundahug
     
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  21. Ecumenigal

    Ecumenigal
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    I am not Sikh, but have been looking into it with great interest. I also have strong feelings about proselytizing. Please accept my thoughts, offered in a passionate, yet kind spirit. This is something I care deeply about.

    *What I don't like about proselytizing is that if not done with a great deal of kindness, it can drive more people away than it attracts. What I value is listening to another person in order to deeply understand and to connect with them. When we listen in order to change a person, the quality of the interaction is automatically degraded.

    *I do wish that I had heard about Sikhi sooner, which I would have, if there were people in turbins playing symbols in the airports! cheerleader

    *I think there should be a great distinction between providing education and an "invitation" to join, verses a fear based message that the listener "needs" to join in order to be OK or in order to realize God. This is where proselytizing starts to turn people away, and maybe even conflict with the message being preached. (My sister once got mad at me for talking so much about religion, because she thought I was trying to convert her. I said, "I'm a universalist! What would I convert you to? EVERYTHING?" Hee hee.)

    *As soon as there is a system that sets up a goal (to realize God) and a method through which to realize that goal, then there is an automatic tendency to think and speak as if those not using that particular method will never reach that goal. This is a logical fallacy and a part of human nature that I think we need to be careful not to indulge in.

    *What I think ought to be shared are the methods, with a spirit that anyone can use these methods in order to reach the desired spiritual goals, and that there are also other valid methods in the world.

    *I was telling a Mormon that I don't believe in proselytizing, and she said that 'Without proselytizing, then our -or any- religion would not exist'. The difference between her and me is that I think it would be fine if religions didn't exist. We'll always find plenty of cultural identity to enjoy. I do feel that spiritual techniques and practices should be kept alive. Religions have been the guardians of spiritual teachings, and I think it's important to keep the focus on their true purpose.

    *There is a lot of truth in the old adage that "Religion is spirituality gone wrong". I think the precise moment where it goes wrong is when people work to protect the religion itself instead of the spiritual wisdom that it is a vehicle for. Please accept my humble and sincere petition that the moment we say "We need more people so that we will be strong as a community", we venture into that place where an institution starts to work to protect its own existence instead of working to serve the function that it was set up to perform. All institutions do this. Businesses, schools, and religions. A business gets started because someone has a dream of contributing a certain value to the world. But when the machinery gets going, all to often, the product is being produced to earn money more than to be high quality. Schools are set up to educate, but all too often they get into lowering academic standards to that the kids get better grades so that the school gets more money. Religions get set up to be the guardians of spiritual wisdom, but all too often they start to focus on converting people, not to help those people realize God, but to make the religion into a stronger political and economic body. I don't think that being strong and competing well with other religions, or even being big so that you receive less persecution are the highest possible motives.

    *What I appreciate about Sikh philosophy is that it is Universal, that it doesn't say that "all those who are not Sikh are lost". I think it's possible to make efforts to make the teachings available while avoiding the common pitfalls of proselytizing. I've never interacted with folks who are as reliably kind as on this board, seemingly just as a matter of culture. I believe that with a strong ethic of kindness, sharing the message could be done well. wahkaur
     
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