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Questions about Sikhi

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by cherylyoung, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. cherylyoung

    cherylyoung
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    I am just beginning to learn about Sikhism. I have read a little bit at websites. I have read an overview of the history of Sikhs. I learned about the panj kakar symbols and the kanda symbol. I learned about the panj dokh (vices) and the panj (weapons) But I am somewhat confused about Simran and Sewa and the three pillars kirat kirani, naam jpo and wand kat shaako

    I started a webpage glossary at wikipedia which reaches a lot of people. Any one can add information to it. Most of what I know about Sikism is from Wikipedia or links from it. I hope that there may be at least as many entries as Muslims have.

    Sikh terms - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  3. Kirpal Singh

    Kirpal Singh
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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    Dear Cheryl welcome.You have wonderful gift of seeking spirituality.Simran & Sewa complement eachother.Sewa ie selfless service which breeds humility, which is a pre-requisite for Simran ie is an active ceaseless rememberance & devotion to our Creator through self surrender which means acceptance of HUKAM which means WILL of GOD in our daily living.Eventually,seeker does everything necessary to sustain life on this earth but not unnecessarily enslaved by it out of fear & desperation but out of love for God to serve the creation inc. humankind with desirelessness.Thus no more KARMA-bad or good as everything will be done as devotion to our MAKER. Peace will prevail by Grace of Waheguru(Wonderous Guru of all) Kirpal Singh
     
  4. cherylyoung

    cherylyoung
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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    Thank you for your welcome. The principles of community service (sewa) and devotion to God (simran), I learned (and practiced) from childhood due to my Christian upbringing. Although my exercise of simran is undoubtedly from a different perspective than that of Sikhs. This is one aspect that I would like to learn. Similarly the principle of earning an honest living (kirat karo/kirat karni) was taught to me by my parents and ubrginging. Accepting/submitting to the will (hukam) of God has been my lifelong habit although doing so at sometimes has been more difficult than at other times.

    Evenso, I am not even certain that I truly understand the hukam of God. In Islam hukm are the commandments mediated by sharia law. I have learned something about Islam because I live in SE Michigan where there are so many Muslims. Now, I am beginning to learn about Sikhism. I hope to learn about the hukam of God from the Sikh perspective.

    I have had several obstacles in my life so my attachment to worldly things (moh) is minimal. At most times I feel peaceful. I do not like the concept of peace in Islam whereby peace is obtained when everyone worships Allah only and follows the sharia law. I can see where that would work, but not everyone believes in Islam so the problem comes when there are non-Muslims, those who believe in other religions or no religion at all. It is most disturbing to me to read in the Quran that Muslims must "qil fee sybil Allah" kill in the cause of Allah, the unbelievers (non-Muslims). Otherwise, I admire the devotion of Muslims and their submission to the will of God/Allah.

    The other day when I was looking up things on the internet, the website sikiwiki.org was down. I have made several entries into the en.wikipedia.org website on various subjects and I had consulted and made entries into the page of Islamic terms in Arabic. There was no such page in the en.wikipedia.org so I created one. Sikh terms - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Eventually, I hope that I or someone can include the gurmulki script of each term and expand the glossary of terms. As I study Sikhism and find terms, I will add them to the list. I know there is a good glossary at sikiwiki. However, as I said, when I was first looking for it, the website was down. Many non-Sikhs are familiar with the en.wikipedia.org website, so I think the page I created may have some use.

    I came across the Sikh term patit (apostate). I am curious how Sikhs treat apostates. The word for apostate in Arabic is murtaad. Muslim apostates will be killed.

    Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace. After spending a long time to study it, I finally found out that the peace is only for Muslims not non-Muslims. Muslims divide the world into the dar ul Islam (realm of Islam) and the dar al Harb (realm of war).

    As I mentioned, I just started learning about Sikhism. You said: Peace will prevail by Grace of Waheguru(Wonderous Guru of all). Please let me know how that peace is to be implemented. Does it require warfare with the non-Sikhs?
     
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    Cherylyoung ji

    Your questions go right to the heart of Sikhism, perhaps more than you realize. But the answers are not so simple as defining a term and then giving an example. It is impossible to separate the ideas of simran, hukam, gur prasaad, seva from our understanding our place in the world and in relation to God. Each is both a perspective and a spiritual practice. Simran for example, is not only devotion to God. Seva is not only community service. Hukam is not only God’s order. Gur prasaad is God’s Grace, but it is more than that. In Christianity a person can be a Christian in good standing, but not be a pious Christian. It is difficult to imagine a GurSikh (a true Sikh) who is not also a pious Sikh. Hence perspective and practice go hand in hand.

    Simran – means Remembrance. Perspective - in the sense of reflection and meditation on God’s name. Practice - Expressed through the spiritual practice of repeating God’s name aloud and/or quietly for an extended period of time at least once a day. Best learnt under the guidance of a spiritual teacher whom you find or who finds you.

    Hukam – God’s order, but not as in God is giving us orders. His Divine Order, i.e., his plan. God is referred to as the Architect of Destiny and hukam would be like his blueprint, or part of it. Perspective – it is God’s hukam that we will find a path to God in the spiritual solace and company of holy people. This would be one example. Practice – We take hukam when we hear or read the passage selected at random from the Guru before sun-rise each day at The Golden Temple Harimandir in Amritsar. Hukamnama ideally then guides our reflection, decisions and behaviors throughout the day. Hukamnama is also part of important ceremonies such as marriages and funerals.

    Seva – Service in small and big ways, ranging from daily acts of kindness to giving our professional service free to impoverished people in rural areas. Perspective - Not community service alone. Practice – done cheerfully and without complaint, Seva is a gift from God to us as well as a duty. I have seen people squabble over who will do a seva. Seva, along with Simran and Bani, is one of the three paths to spiritual awakening. No Seva, no meeting with God.

    Gur Prasaad – God’s Grace. Perspective – We are graced by the intentions of the Creator. Any spiritual benefit that we enjoy happens through our effort, but only with God’s Grace. Practice – None. God decides what, where, when, who and how. Through Simran, Bani and Seva we open ourselves up to receive Gur prasaad.

    The Sikh view of peace and war - Sikhism allows for a doctrine of a "just war" and Sikhs have been known to fight in foreign lands for righteous causes. Even when there was no immediate benefit to Sikhs or Sikhism. We have the concept of Saint and Solider coming from the 10th Guru Govind Singh dev ji. A Sikh will fight when all other means have been tried and are unsuccessful - to right a wrong, correct an injustice. History is full of examples.

    Patit is a bit more contextual. Apostasy occurs on a personal level, a person commits adultery for example. Or on a bigger scale, a Sikh proclaims himself a living Guru and opens a temple, preaches heretical teachings, and bilks people out of their money. In both cases, a patit is cleansed by a contrite and public apology, perhaps a penance, and then the person must be baptized again.

    There is no simple way to equate Sikhism with other religions. Attempts to do this lead to misunderstanding. You are the type of person who needs more than SikiWiki to satisfy your need to learn. Let me find the time to put together a reading list for you. Meanwhile others can contribute to your questions.
    My humble explanation of all of this.
     
    #4 spnadmin, Aug 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2007
  6. cherylyoung

    cherylyoung
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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    Thank you so much for your response. I am sincerely grateful for your explanation. I will gladly read what you suggest.

    You are correct that comparing one religion/philosophy with another may lead to misunderstanding. Generally, I put effort into understanding and I try to understand purely from the perspective of that religion/philosophy. Particularly since I live in SE Michigan where there are quite a number of Muslims, so many that the Muslim call to prayer is broadcast from loudspeakers 5 times per day, halal food is served to children in school and footbaths are installed in the university for ablutions...I tried try to understand Islam from the perspective of a Muslim. However, killing for sake of Allah, purging the world of the non-Muslims, is unacceptable to me. I would rather not have peace in the world, if that is the price of peace.

    I am somewhat aware of the history of Sikhs and that Sikhs fight for righteous causes. As you are probably aware, Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek when faced with aggression. I am tolerant of others but I no longer believe I can follow that principle. I think that there are righteous and just causes but killing a person just because he does not believe as I do does not seem justified to me.

    Simran - remembrance is quite an elusive concept to me. Does that mean that I knew God at one time but have forgotten and with effort I can remember again?

    Although comparing religions may lead to misunderstanding, it gives me a frame of reference. It seems that the Sikh concept of Naam in Hebrew is HaShem...the name. The actual name of God is so sacred to Jews that they even write G-d in English. The Hebrew 4 letter divine name of God that is transliterated YHVH is not pronounced but in prayer is rendered by the word adonai (lord). Is the true Sikh name of God written or pronounced? Does satnam mean the true name of God?

    Based on the Torah scriptures, Jews consider the attributes of the character of God, such as provider, protector, creator, healer, deliverer, and almighty. Muslims only use one name...Allah, however, the Qur'an lists 99 attributes of Allah. Is the Sikh contemplation of God based on attributes of the nature of God contained in Sikh scriptures?

    Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story about the nine billion names of God. I think that maybe contemplating many names of attributes of God would be less effective than focusing on a single attribute.

    Sometimes I just focus on creation. I can hardly comprehend the creations of God that I have seen and certainly there are many that I have never seen. I have even tried to understand why God would allow or cause some things to exist but that alone is beyond my comprehension. Whatever time I have spent in contemplation or study of the nature of God has not led me any closer to understanding the nature of God.

    I like the Hebrew name of God Ehyehasher ehyeh which means I am that I am, I was that I was and I will be that I will be. Sometimes I just focus on existence.

    If I were to invent a name for God it would be the sound of a childish giggle, a gentle rain patter or the purring of a kitten. Maybe the lyra bird could imitate that sort of sound but unfortunately, I cannot. Maybe a dolphin can pronounce the name of God in a frequency that I cannot even hear.

    From the website: Naam: The Language of Divine Power
    I read: It is also held by Guru Nanak that God is anaam (Nameless), yet He is possessed of infinite names: "Numberless Thy Names and numberless Thy places" (The Japji, Pauri 19). His Names are in consonance with His Attributes which are infinite. His Name is Truth (Satnam). His Name is Formless (Nirakar). His Name is the Absolute Creator (Karta). His Name is the Immortal Being (Akal Purakh).

    Whatever I have studied or contemplated up to this point in time is close to those concepts.

    I do not picture God as anthropomorphic, male or female. I imagine God as a mass of light particle. The particles not only have light and warmth but an emotion of love that can be felt if a particle touches me. I picture the mass as very dense at the center but radiating out so that the periphery is very scattered. I envision drawing closer to the center of the mass but never reaching it. There is always a distance to travel.

    Hukam - God's order. I barely understand the will of God. You said that it is God's hukam we find a path to God in the spiritual solace and company of holy people. That seems reasonable. Perhaps someday I will find that.
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    Reading list for people with an interest in Sikhi and theological/philosophical analysis

    Articles

    And this attachment will not upload. But you can find it at the link above.
    The Sikh Religion - A Double-Edged Sword, A critique by S. Daljeet Singh

    Reactions to your comments and more to read later.;)
     
  8. cherylyoung

    cherylyoung
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    Thank you fvery much for your response. I will read the articles and respond.​
     
  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    About SIMRAN

    Go to this link

    Daily Hukamnama - English Translation

    Read the Katha, Interpretation, of the Hukamnama for August 9, 2007 -- it contains this idea among others, that should help you understand simran more completely.

    "Simran is a very elevated, high state of consciousness, where through the practice of dyan, through the practice of jap, through the practice of ardaas, through the practice of kirtan, we actually come into a reality where the destiny of the soul is being expressed, because the mind is constantly being directed to the inner being, instead of into the Maya around it."
     
  10. Archived_member7

    Archived_member7
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    satsriakaalji saadh sangat,
    its great to know that cheryl has been so dedicated abt sikhi..and has a clear view what the most preached religion in world thats islam ..is about ...

    well cheryl i share yor view point ..in fact let me tell u ..the very first thing that made me stop admire islam was ..the so called prophet married a 6 year old child and their marriage was consumated when she was just 9...i m very sorry but at no cost ..should i accept paedophiles as prophets ....

    its great to know you ..wish you all the best ...

    raaj karega khalsa
     
  11. Huck_Finn

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    let us keep the discussion to sikhism.

    there is interfaith section for other faiths

    Cheryl ji

    no one can satisfy your queries.

    all are answered through contemplation of writings of the Gurus ie Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    i understand and assume that you might have problem with comprehension at first....but there is no short cut my dear...
     
  12. Archived_Member1

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    Re: Questions about Sikki


    sikhism is pretty open... you can call God whatever you like. :) most people use Waheguru- wah from the persian meaning wonderful, and guru - one who removes darkness with light. some use Akal, Ram, Har, Gobind... but we can call him/her/it anything we like. :) and yes, we can say god's name outloud, in fact it is recommended that we do it as much as possible. that's what naam japo is all about.

    for a good overview of god's attributes, read Jap Sahib, the second of our morning prayers. you can see an english translation here: Jaap Sahib - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia but i'd recommend reading or listening to it in the original persian/sanskrit as well as it has such a lovely rhythm. :)
     
  13. Archived_Member1

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    Re: Questions about Sikki

    simran is not remembering something you've forgotten... it's remembering something you already know. :) simran is simply thinking of god at all times, in all things.

    gurbani says "sabh gobind hai, sabh gobind hai" "everything is god, everything is god". so simran is remembering god to help you reach the stage where you see god in everything around you all the time.
     

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