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So You Think You Can Serve Your Gurdwara?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Aug 18, 2009.

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  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    The Christian community is confronting the development of the “Sixth American:” those individuals who do not exist in or identify with any particular space and ultimately congregate together. These integrated congregations are hopeful signs that the elements of discrimination and racism which infiltrated most churches over the last two centuries are slowly being eradicated.

    Strangely enough, Sikh-Americans aren’t evolving in the same direction. In less than fifty years, Sikh-Americans have (get this) provided an anti-model for our adopted culture by dividing into self-identifying congregations, sects and denominations!


    This may in part be explained by our natural connection to our social networks. Like members of other faiths, we choose to go to a place of worship that is attended by our families. We go where our friends attend. We go where our language is spoken. We are segregated by whether we are brand-spankin-new-citizens or third-generation Sikh Americans. We are separated by our interests and our jobs.


    Yet now in nearly every major US city, ego, anger, and political infighting have helped to split a unified gurdwara into five polarized ones. We now have different ways of worshiping and understanding our Guru. We may choose to go to one that has a langar hall with tables and chairs. We have waiting lists for getting married at the gurdwara with the fancy zip code that is sprawled out on a grassy knoll, but we either don’t make efforts to get involved with seva otherwise or aren’t accepted by the self-segregating sangat that usually attend. We bicker intensely over who is behind our gurdwara fund management and invest a huge amount of energy crafting lawsuits against one another, but our energy suddenly fizzles out when it comes to addressing how to make these funds work for our community, both Sikh and non-Sikh.


    Perhaps I can offer a firm slap to the back of our heads to remind us what a gurdwara is: it is a place of individual learning and spiritual growth and a center for the sadh sangat as well. It is a place where thoughts may be debated and challenged openly and then acted upon by the community as a whole. It is here where we continue to develop a spirit of chardi kala among our community.


    When will we see ourselves as part of a sangat? When will we start to see our currently fractionated community as an extension of our family? When will we be willing to take ownership of and responsibility for ourselves and community? We’re moving backwards at a pace faster than I’m comfortable to admit, and a majority of us don’t even recognize it. As long as we continue to ignore or think lightly of the situation, today’s divided gurdwaras will (and are already starting to) quickly recreate the social, economic, and political injustice and inequalities our Gurus and sangat steadfastly fought against centuries ago. What are you going to do to stop this?
     
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  3. susan

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    From my personal experience,I can tell you that I feel intimidated at times to do sewa at a Gurdwara where I am not emotionally connected to the sangat. I have come across women that just stare at me like I don't know what I am doing. Instead of teaching how sewa should be done they throw orders. I feel like I am invading their territory. Maybe this is an excuse for me,I don't know. Please someone help me get over myself so that I may serve my Guru with the respect HE deserves.
     
  4. Astroboy

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    Susan Ji,

    Here's an interesting slogan I read in a Gurdwara :-

    Sewa karo ta mukdi nahi, Na karo ta rukdi nahi.
    (If you serve there is no end to doing it, If you won't serve, then somebody else will do it, irrespective!) (translated by Aman Singh ...hope it makes sense??)

    Here's my experience in doing sewa. I am hopeless in the kitchen sewa because instead of cutting the vegetables,
    I end up cutting my finger. That's happened many times. And then comes the women who shout their orders.
    I replied to a woman who threw orders at me as if I was a kuli there.
    I gave it back to her spontaneously, " Buddey admi kolo bhaar chukande wo ?"

    And she looked at me furiously and mumbled, "Je tuN bhudda ta sada ke haal ve?"
    Anyway, that got her thoughts straightened out because she has never again spoken to me in two years.
    Now I concentrate on another type of sewa where I get to sit next to the gyani and sing with him.
    It takes me to ecstasy and I enjoy it.
     
  5. susan

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    Thank you Namjap Ji
    I think I need not be fearful of speaking back. What's the worst that can happen? The person just won't speak to me,which is proabably better anyway.
     
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Susan ji

    If I may intrude...you are invading when you ask to help with a seva. Those other women were helpless to refuse you, but they didn't not go for it. Let me explain. Culturally ...and not according to gurmat...seva is necessary for mukhti because you "wash off your spiritual filth, you negative karams." Seva is often held within families and guarded jealously. In India, one doesn't under some circumstances of seva EVEN VOLUNTEER to give a sevadhar a break. It is jealously guarded, jealously guarded, jealously guarded.......

    My personal story with seva includes an episode where quietly covering for someone who might be late, or might have a family emergency, led to personal embarrassment. And the day when I decided I was going to end my seva it was considered so unthinkable it took a week or more to bring people to understand that I meant it.
     
  7. Huck_Finn

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    what is the "sewa" we are talking about?

    i am bit lost in the context
     
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Huck Finn ji

    Are you asking me or Susan ji?
     
  9. susan

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    #8 susan, Aug 20, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  10. Huck_Finn

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    <<Huck Finn ji

    Are you asking me or Susan ji?>>

    anyone

    i am the one trying to jump into the discussion :shy:
     
  11. susan

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    Huck Finn Ji

    I am speaking of, kitchen sewa,folding of ramaals,doing dishes etc. I guess any sewa relating to Gurdwarwa Sahib can be discussed.
     
  12. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    According to gurmat,
    Sa sewa kiti safal hai je satgur ka mun munney.
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    You are 100 percent correct - jealousy is not gurmat. The happy ending to the story is that eventually it was possible to convince everyone that team work was both possible and desirable. More could be accomplished and nerves would not be frazzled in times of emergency because one person covered for the other.:thumbup:
     
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  14. JimRinX

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    Aman Singh ji
    My answer to you is to read the rest of the Posts you yourself contributed to the latest Newsletter.
    Do you not see the seeds of the very strife you wish would not afflict your own and all of the other Gurdwaras?
    I'm sure you mean well, and it certainly is important to avoid "Madmen" with "False Teachings/Philosophies", but it's also important to maintain ones Humility!
    I know the Sikhi have been both a beleagured people and a great asset to those who seek the right to worship as they see fit; that you've come to see yourselves, rightly so - but only under those specific circumstances, as 'Warriors' with Nanak as "Warrior In Chief".
    This may have been a necessary thing to do, if it ensured your own survival and that of your Faith; but it is also a betrayal of that very same Faith!
    This is the source of your Division, my friend. I would suggest that; especially here in America, where your Rights are much better protected; you focus more on the "Love" that is the 'On Formless God' and less on the role of 'Warrior-Protectors' that you've had to become!:yes:
     
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  15. Rupinder.Singh

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    Dear all,

    Sat Sri Akal g,

    The point raised is very much valid. We have subdivided our community to an extent that we are ourselves are lost in our own jargon. I simply cant digest that when we all follow one SGGS then how come there are so many types of Sikhs in Sikh community, one calls him amritdhari, one calls him sehjdhari, one calls him table/chair supporter, one calls him AKJ, one calls him namdhari, one calls him kada-dhari, and this endless list goes on and on.


    Where is Sikh in all those people. This concept is best explained under group consciousness, trying to follow group rather than your intellectual. SGGS helps us to develop our own intellectual, but we force ourselves to see SGGS through our group glasses(specs, goggles). So no matter what SGGS tells us it will always look us green, yellow, red, or shady as long as we have those glasses on top of our noses. Need is to throw those group glasses away and face SGGS in its true colors.


    Some say we like tables, some say we like sitting on the ground for langar. In my opinion, Langar was for people who don't have financial capability to support their daily food. Ask a person who has not eaten for three days where would he/she like to have his/er food. on tables or ground. We will get the answer which we are trying to get by filing lawsuits against each other.

    Where is the Sikhism's concept of universal brotherhood. Where is the concept of service of humanity. Are brothers meant to file lawsuit case against each other.

    How many Gurudwara invite homeless people to come to Gurudwara and have langar. Free Kitchen is for every human being, not just sikhs visiting gurudwra, we are ignoring this basic concept in all gurudwaras.


    These days people who come to gurudwara does not even need a Langar or free food. These people who fight for chairs or ground are financially sound. Rather they come to prove their ego. which is against SGGS concepts of humanity. Simple solution to Langar related problem is stop serving it to people who does not need it. Serve it to people who are homeless, who have not eaten for last three days. And make people who are fighting for chairs and grounds, to serve them. Eventually they will all stop talking about all these issues and further subdividing the community.

    A neutral person goes to Gurudwara but he/she returns being member of some group. People have got into habit of judging others based on their group and looks. No-one dares to go and talk to others about sikhism. Everyone talks about group-ism.

    It is human nature to develop stereotypes quickly about people who one does not know directly or personally. Once that stereotype is there, one tries to assume that fellows thought process according to that streotype.


    Result...more subdivision of already subdivided sikh community. which is SAD

    Only solution is get above this groupism and group consciousness is to develop the right intellectual through Bani. and lead the community towards humanity.

    Every community has intllectually sound as well as ignorant people in it. ours have too. But problem is we are not trying to maintain a balance between these two type of people. Ignorant People are doing everything to defame sikhism out of ignorance. Now question is are we having same number of intllectually sound people working to build the right sikhism. working to negate the wrong image of Sikhism built by the actions of ignorant people. working to identify ways how to bring ignorant people on right path without hurting their ego. MOst of the time this does not happen. In case it happens, it does not happen by neutral people. Need is to bring neutral people in front, who want to stay neutral throughout.Only those people can bring subdivided community together and save it from further subdivisions.



    Bhul Chuk Maaf.



    Rupinder Singh
     
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  16. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Naam japp Ji...
    WHEN you complete the SGGS Course...and hopefully get to sit next to GURU JI..and SING with HIM..(akhand paath Raol or Taking Gurvaak ) you will realise that is ecstacy BEYOND ANY !!
    That is the only sewa i do..and have done for past 50 years...and i can vouch for its ecstacy...

    BTW i too am hopeless at kitchen sewa..one day they put me to chhill adhrak (peel ginger)..and when the head cook saw me peeling INCHES OFF the ginger..he was horrified..he shouted..Gyani kollon ah kamm farr loh..nahin taan dass kilo adhrak tin kilo reh jaoogah....thats the last anyone would allow me any such sewa...gyani ji paath te hee changgeh hai ji..sir matheh teh !!..since i cant take the gandeh (onions amke me cry too much)..mirchan..chillies make my fingers sting..ahh Guur Ji naal do gallan...personal conversation with Bhagat Kabir Jis sloks/Farid Jis sloks at Amrti vella...NO COMPARISON !!! out of this world..
    :happy::happy::happy::happy::happy::happy::happy::happy::happy::happy:
     
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  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    ALL THOSE palki carriers..the Darbar washers at Harmandar sahib Amritsar..dont allow OUTSIDERS because they beleive they are the natural "custodians" of those sewas...from Generation to generation...they MONOPOLISE and control...they take it as their RIGHT ONLY..no one else...many of those who come daily for kirtan...also occupy the plum positions..day in and day out...an outsider has little chance of being seated there...that is also taken as their born right...lots of things are wrong...will take a paradigm shift to change..just lke the one in Singh Sabha Lehr..:D:D:D:D
     
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  18. JimRinX

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    Originally posted by Rupinder Singh

    Some say we like tables, some say we like sitting on the ground for langar. In my opinion, Langar was for people who don't have financial capability to support their daily food. Ask a person who has not eaten for three days where would he/she like to have his/er food. on tables or ground. We will get the answer which we are trying to get by filing lawsuits against each other.
    Source:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=26340 (So You Think You Can Serve Your Gurdwara?)

    Where is the Sikhism's concept of universal brotherhood. Where is the concept of service of humanity. Are brothers meant to file lawsuit case against each other.

    How many Gurudwara invite homeless people to come to Gurudwara and have langar. Free Kitchen is for every human being, not just sikhs visiting gurudwra, we are ignoring this basic concept in all gurudwaras.


    These days people who come to gurudwara does not even need a Langar or free food. These people who fight for chairs or ground are financially sound. Rather they come to prove their ego. which is against SGGS concepts of humanity.

    Dear: SPN jis

    Yes! I can see your problem - the thing that troubles you, deep inside, here, my Good jis.
    I can only suggest that you remember, and remind your fellows in the Gurdwara, that it is the Karma that you make ('emit'?) through your actions - the thought and intentions behind them, for which you will be judged by the Great Formless One; as it sounds to me like the same pretentiousness and, as you say, EGOTISM, that has infected most Christian Churchs - not to metion most of Capitalistic Society ("I Sub-Primed & Debt-Bundled a little old lady out of her savings" - But I'M, {me, me, me, that is}, am Rich, Rich, Rich!!! Bwah, Ha, Ha!!!) - that is leading to this nasty feeling you've been picking up on.
    I hope that you'll be able to overcome these faults; I've become fond of Sikhism - and SPN - because you so rarely betray yourselves, by giving into them.
    Hey! I'm far from perfect either - but I have more of a reason to try than most!
    If I can come up with any creative suggestions to actually help you solve this true crisis of belief, I'll add them here later.
     
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  19. spnadmin

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    What a beautiful reply JimRinX ji - Such empathy in what you have said to us.
     

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