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Some questions on inconsistencies.

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by Infinite, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Infinite

    Infinite
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    Greetings,

    I have been reading an English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib and have found the wisdom contained therein to be the most beautiful composition of God, ethics, and faith. As a student of the mystical path I often find myself studying the periphery of holy books for a look at a tradition’s take on God and yet the words in the Guru Granth Sahib are themselves manifestation of divinity. I have found myself nodding my head thinking “yes yes this is right.” God is formless, timeless, and infinite. All that exists is God. One cannot leave God. Heaven in this life is attained through good thoughts and deed, regardless of creed, color, gender. Ideas like these are found in many religious works, but often in the periphery of the religion. It is sometimes called “crazy wisdom.” In the Guru Granth Sahib one does not have to look at the periphery to find Truth. Truth is there.

    That being said I have noticed what seem to me to be wide separations between practices among many Sikh resources online and Guru Granth Sahib. I understand that I would gain more wisdom by chanting the Name of God than by asking these questions, but as a system of realizing Oneness I think it important for me to understand some things.

    1.) If one commits a sin after taking Amrit one’s initiation is taken away and one must pay penance before being allowed to take Amrit again. Taking Amrit is a privilege and not a right.

    I find this one perhaps the most disturbing practice that I have read about. If all humans are equal, one person or group of persons does not have the right to strip a person of their vows to Waheguru. Taking Amrit seems to be a right in so much as it is a personal dedication to Waheguru. Allowing someone or a group of people to be sole arbiters of one’s relationship with Waheguru seems to be in stark contrast to the messages of the founder of the Sikh faith.

    Guru Gobind Singh writes, “He does not recognize anyone else except One Lord…then consider him as the immaculate Khalsa.” To be a Sikh one must accept the 10 Gurus and the Guru Granth Sahib, yet to do a penance proscribed by another person for a sin would be to acknowledge that person over the wisdom of Guru Gobind Singh who tells us that the person who recognizes the omniversality of Waheguru is as the immaculate Khalsa.

    When one takes Amrit one acknowledges that they no longer fear death, that they having in to themselves a recognition of God.

    2.) I read a thread online, either from this forum or another, about a Sikh who drank alcohol and was reprimanded by his Guru. This was at first confusing since Guru Gobind Singh tells us that the Guru Granth Sahib is the living Guru and that there is no other Guru. Perhaps the person posting was using the word guru in its general sense of spiritual teacher. He went on to say that he was told by his guru that if he messes up again he would be punished by Waheguru.

    I find this confusing for many reasons. Sikhism is about recognizing God within the self, of recognizing that one is both no self and a thousands selves at once. What right does a non-Guru guru have to tell someone that Waheguru will punish them? That guru cannot speak for Waheguru. I find the guilt trip reprehensible.

    I understand that after taking Amrit one is supposed to replace the desire for intoxicants with the desire to be filled and intoxicated with God. Guru Nanak is quoted, “Deep within, she is attuned to His Love, intoxicated with delight, her enemies and sufferings are all taken away.” However, having a single drink should not have provoked that response from the person’s teacher. First, the teacher presumes too much. The teacher presumes any right to dictate to the poster the will of Waheguru. Second, while the original poster did not state at what setting the drink was had I find it entirely irrelevant to putting the Guru Granth Sahib into practice in one’s life. The commandment is against intoxication, not a single beverage.

    If Sikhism really does accept science and medical fact then Sikhism must accept that 1-2 beverages of red wine or dark beer daily is exceedingly beneficial for the heart and in no person would one or two beverages cause intoxication.

    I do not mean this to be an argument on alcohol; rather the main point is that the person’s teacher had no right to put a guilt trip on them for having a single drink. The Guru Grant Sahib is the Guru, not some impostor fixated on superstition.

    3. Speaking of superstition, there is an article online about the five articles of faith and how one must bath even in their Dastaar. Complex instructions are given on how to maintain the wearing of the Dastaar and yet at the same time bath the Kesh.

    It seems that in this instance the attention to ritual has outpaced the attention to Waheguru. This worries me as I understand the purpose of the five articles of faith but easily see them becoming physical points of focus that become even more important than faith itself.

    If a person is so attached to the Dastaar that they cannot take it off for a moment then the sin of attachment is occurring.

    The first webpage that I read about the five articles of faith was beautiful. It explained each article and what it represented for the Sikh and how each helped the Sikh put the Guru Grant Sahib into practice every day. The more I searched for information on the five articles of faith however the more I found that many seem to entirely forget the purpose of the articles in favor of elevating them to supernatural status, something which the Guru Grant Sahib tells us is folly and will bring us no closer to God.

    Can someone please speak to these concerns?
     
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  3. singhbj

    singhbj
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    Welcome to SPN.

    I am no expert but will try to explain the concept.

    Khalsa path is some what like joining the army.

    There is a pledge, code of conduct & court martial.

    Now it is imperative that a recruit should follow strict discipline and obey commands.

    If he doesn't then warning & punishment are some methods of control.

    Court Martial is empowered to determine the guilt similar to Punj Piyaras in the presence of Satguru Granth Sahib jeeo.

    Now if you want to drink, have extra marital sex etc then what's the point of bowing your head in front of Satguru.
    The real reason for placing our head at Guru ji's feet is that we are letting go of our intellect and are ready to accept Divine wisdom as per Gurmat.

    It is not easy that's why only few follow the Khalsa path.

    I think you need to do more research and study the meaning of a Sikh and how it differs from a Khalsa.

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
    Waheguru ji ki fateh
     
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  4. Ishna

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    Sat Sri Akaal, Infinite ji

    You're asking some interesting questions that will take some time to explain. I'll try my best to provide some information. Meanwhile you may like to tell us a bit more about yourself at the Intro thread here: http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/announcements/5626-introducing-myself.html#post180090

    Chanting the Name of God isn't actually 'chanting' a word. It is living according to the Guru's teaching, i.e. living an honest, content life in community, working and sharing and being grateful.

    Sin is a foreign concept in Sikhi. Sin is defined as a transgression against God, or against divine law. In Sikhi, 'God' isn't a cosmic judge weighing our deeds against our souls on a day of judgement, or smiting/punishing/throwing thunderbolts at those who 'transgress His laws'. If you do the wrong thing in Sikhi, the burden is upon you and the repercussions against the community, and your connection to Guru. The connection to Guru is the most valuable thing you can possess - by doing things contrary to the Guru's instructions you damage the connection. You want to avoid that. :)

    As Singhbj ji has already said (and you have observed), taking part in the amrit ceremony is a priviledge, and is the admission method to the Khalsa army. As a member of the Khalsa there is a code to adhear to. You have probably seen it already in the Sikh Rehat Maryada. The mainstream version is available here: http://sgpc.net/sikhism/sikh-dharma-manual.asp You want Article XXIV.

    You'll find that there are only 4 major transgressions that a Khalsa, as a soilder-saint, needs to own up to should s/he encounter them. I'll let you read up on them. :) They are more about standards than they are about one's spirituality, IMHO.

    5 initiated, respected Sikhs in a community constitute the Panj Pyare (5 Beloved Ones), and are able to administer the amrit sanchar (ceremony), on behalf of the Guru. It is to these 5 that a Khalsa would admit their transgression. The Panj Pyare are invested with authority to tell said Khalsa how to make up for their transgression, usually by way of community service. It is a communal, practical mechanism. What the person goes through internally/spiritually is separate. That remains between the person and Guruji.

    Your first response was right - Sikhs have no other guru than Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Waheguru doesn't go about punishing people (see my comment on sin above). You punish yourself by distancing yourself from your Creator.

    It is about discipline and self-control rather than the intoxicant itself, IMHO. Others may disagree. It is also important to consider the impact of alcohol on many levels, such as it's addictive quality, it's tendancy to provoke violence and inappropritate actions, and interfering with the ability of a soldier-saint to be ready for anything, any time.

    Please search the forum for more information about alcohol and it's effects on health. It is not a cut-and-dried science. Meanwhile, you won't find a specific prohibition against alcohol in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji... I think it's more a common-sense kinda thing.

    You're right, in some instances it has. There are Sikhs all over the world (and a lot of them right here!) trying to remind fellow Sikhs to be wary and not fall into the trap of superstitious/ritualistic activity. It is human nature to fall into this trap, and it's difficult to navigate within religion. We need to remain vigilant. Unfortuantely, you'll even find some Sikhs talking about reciting x number of paaths to effect a specific outcome, a bit like magic. *sigh* All anyone can do is fly Guru Nanak Ji's flag of simplicity and Truth for all to see.

    You need to be careful what you read - you seem to be discerning and already realise that when there are inconsistencies they are obvious. Keep going with your first instinct. Return to Guru Granth Sahib Ji - if it says don't get tied to ritualism, then don't. We live in a world full of people on different rungs of the ladder (I'm not actually on the ladder, I tend to just stand at the bottom and watch hahaha), with cultural and familial baggage and complications, different levels of understanding and interpretation. Just do your best in every situation.

    That's why Guru Granth Sahib Ji is so important.

    Good luck in your learning. :peacesignkaur:

    Guru Fateh
     
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    #3 Ishna, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  5. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Infiniteji

    excellent post, some good questions.

    I could not agree with you more

    Some would agree with you, I, however see no point in chanting, whether its the name of God, or Korky the cat. I would urge you to keep asking questions, in my opinion there is no wisdom to be gained in chanting, just a sore throat.

    Gyaniji, here on this forum, often talks about the litmus test of Sikhism, I like this expression, it means if it is contradictory, or it does not make sense, then ask yourself does it tick all the boxes that you hold dear, does it reflect your understanding of Sikhi. For the record, I agree with your stance fully, my relationship with Creator is between me and Creator, no one else.

    A lot of Sikhs do follow living Gurus, or pay homage to living Babas and Sants, that is entirely up to them, but I find this fails my own litmust test, there is only one Guru. I also find the reward/fear system so common to other religions missing from Sikhism, although there will always be those that are quick to point out that every misfortune or problem is because God is angry and is punishing you, I find this complete rubbish, God could not care less what you do, it is Creation that may punish or reward you, kick a dog, it bites you, stroke it, it licks you, its quite simple, yet, we have people who inist that a dog has bitten you because 300 years ago, you ate his ancestor. Guilt is no way to find Creator, neither is fear, nor reward, it lies in understanding, and I if I may add, you seem have a considerable amount of it.

    Actually the command is against a single beverage, rather than intoxication, a single joint, rather than being stoned, and a single wife, rather than a few mistresses. We are not supposed to drink, period. If you do drink, and I do, then that is your business and between you and Creator. I personally resent being told about my odd beer by those that commit much greater transgressions through attitude and treatment of others, but at the end of the day it is yourself you answer to.

    Agreed, people focus more on the symbols than the understanding. The reason is it is easier to have set rituals than actually understand. The articles of faith are a uniform, they no more make a Sikh than three stars on a monkey makes it a general, and yes, you are correct in your observations.

    Welcome to SPN, I like to think of us as practical, pragmatic Sikhs, with the minumum of rhetoric, and the ability to be open minded and inclusive. :mundahug:
     
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  6. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    God bless
     
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  7. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Welcome Infinite ji,
    The other members seem to have answered your questions very well.
    I too am new to this but I thought I'd put in my two cents. I've yet to find inconsistancies with Sikhi but there seems to be a lot of them among Sikhs.
    It's what happens when you envolve people with anything. They try to take something simple and straightforward and complicate it as much as possible.

    One of my all time favorites examples was a fellow explaining how he would always take one leg out of his dirty Kachera and put it into the clean kachera before taking the other leg out of the dirty pair. In this way he was never be without his Kachera. I imagine the phone ringing when he's in between pairs. It's a truely great mental picture.
    lol
    One rule of thumb that I use in checking out new sites for information is to check what they have about dietary resctrictions. If the site insists that Sikhs are vegetarians then they are following a brahmanized version of Sikhi and I take what they have to offer with a grain of salt .
    Again welcome to spn
     
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  8. findingmyway

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    Moderation note:
    Infinite ji and others, please refrain from posting single tuks or single line quotes in isolation. This can distort the meaning and is against SPN ToS. Please always post the full shabad in original Gurbani with reference to Ang numbers so that other members can come to their own conclusions. Also provide your own understanding of those lines. The whole shabad is required and not just a link to the rest of the shabad to ensure correct context. Thanks.
     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    If I could just add to the words of findingmyway ji. Inconsistencies crop up with the single tuk posting. One can see it coming. A tuk conveys meaning because it is part of a shabad. The shabad also contains a rehao line ... pause and reflect. That line and the closing of shabad are critical to understanding the big picture. The whole-shabad approach is time-consuming and requires persistence and discipline, but all that is worth it.

    Other inconsistencies mentioned in this thread are going to take a long time to clarify. We will persevere.
     
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  10. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Infinite ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    In my opinion, these are not inconsistencies which are mentioned by you but judgements on your part. Secondly, science is nothing but an observational tool which forces us to move our inner and outer goal posts all the times with the new knowledge that is attained via this tool called science.

    If you read Gurbani, you will find out that Sikhi is against any kind of mechanical rituals.

    @ Chaz Singh, One liners from Gurbani are an insult to the Gurbani, to our Gurus and it distorts the true message. That is the reason the whole shabad with your own understanding along with the literal translation(which is often incorrect) is needed to have an open and honest discussion so all can chip in with their personal understanding. Copying and pasting is just trying to win an argument/discussion, not to make a Gurmat point. This is the reason I agree with the Moderators.

    You used the one liner in another thread which has totally an incorrect literal translation. I will ask you about that in the thread itself.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #9 Tejwant Singh, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  11. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Linzer ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Well said.

    Little do they know that no one is born with the kachera on. Morality is between the ears, not between the legs.

    SGGS, our only Guru, says that; Naked we came and Naked we shall depart. No matter how beautifully we are clothed after our birth or death.


    Tejwant Singh
     
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  12. Ishna

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    Blonde question: where does a shabad start and finish? Is a random paurhi classified as a 'shabad'? Or is a shabad the entire set of paurhis in a section (like all 8 stanzas of an ashtapadi)?

    Thanks
     
  13. love and peace

    love and peace
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    so does it mean that it is a wrong practice to put on a kachera the way the person did as you explained, because i have also heard that you should never let the kachera separate from you, one leg in the clean one and other in the dirty one.
     
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  14. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I think the mental seperation is possibly more important than the physical one......

    I think I've seen it all now, maybe we should start a thread on the correct way to put your kachera on, Gyaniji could supply some sketches, we could have a point system for the least amount of time both legs are not in both holes, of the same kachera of course, hell, we could promote people internally based completely on this system, ladies and gentlemen please welcome our new spokesperson who has a kachera handicap of 2.3445 seconds,

    None of this matters one iota unless your mind is connected, but then of course, it is easier to concentrate on kachera protocol than it is to be a good Sikh.
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    A shabad will start with the raag and house, as in ਗਉੜੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ गउड़ी महला ५ u Gauree, Fifth Mehl: Sometimes but not always end with "Nanak...says, or something similar. Nonetheless it will end when the next shabad begins with raag and house. A pauree, which means step as is stair step, will be marked ਪਉੜੀ Pauree. A salok is marked ਸਲੋਕ Shalok. Paurees and Saloks end where the next marked division begins.

    Since next sections are always clearly designated, it is not hard to know where an earlier shabad, pauree, or saloka ended.

    If you were to google "musical structure of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji" you can find more informaton about other structures, such as ashpaadi and chaupai.
     
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    #15 spnadmin, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  16. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    Satnaam Tejwant Singh Ji,

    I appologise for quoting single lines of shabads...i thought adding the link to the full shabad will allow other members to read the full version. I will not make this mistake again ji...sorry.

    One thing ji, you asked me not to quote single lines from Gurbani, but you then quote a line yourself :) without even a link to the shabad or even a page number from SGGS Ji so that we can follow up? ... surely this is even more disrespectful?

    I will make more effort in the future ji. Appologies again.
     
  17. Tejwant Singh

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    Chaz Singh ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I apologise for not posting the whole Shabad. The reason was that I was paraphrasing it with my own understanding directly related to the post in a concrete manner. Nothing abstract about it. It was to continue the conversation. It was mainly to show how some dogmatic rituals which have crept into Sikhi are senseless. I did not copy and paste any one tuk with literal translation blindly. The same reason goes in my other thread where I used Nirbhau and Nirvair. When things are in context and if one wants to paraphrase one's understanding, I do not think the Moderators will mind it.

    I can post the whole Shabad with my own understanding, if you want me to, however the paraphrasing with my own understanding seems self explanatory in the context of the post.


    Thanks & regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #17 Tejwant Singh, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  18. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    Thats fine Ji,

    But i am also only doing the same...i make some comments about my own understanding and try to find some gurbani that fits with my current level of knownledge and personal experience...

    For many of us that do not know how to read gurbani and fully understand it, we have to have some help with the translation.
    But please put the page of the shabad because then atleast someone like myself can go and read the full shabad and translate or understand as best we can.

    I believe you are very knowledgeable with gurbani, but if others start posting just lines without no link to the page or shabad then we don't even know if the shabad even exists ji.

    God bless ji on your journey and bagti.
     
  19. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    gentlemen you cannot fight in here!

    this is the war room!
     
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  20. Luckysingh

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    The Kachera is just one confusion of many.
    Then on top of all this you get sikhs insisting that it must be white !!
    Since white=pureness=virginity=??????

    Or would it be about cleanliness, since white gets soiled faster and the hint to change it would be there ?
    But if a sikh is bathing and showering everyday, i'm sure that he/she will be changing their kachera !!!!

    Lately, I've heard a new one about dead hair !!
    Some amritdharis claim that we should do sanskaar of all dead hair that falls off in your comb and pillow...etc..
    WHAT ?????????
    Yes, this hair should be collected and puut together and then when the opportunity arises it should be dropped in flowing water of stream/river or it should be burnt whilst doing mool mantar !!!!!!!
    BONKERS !!!!!!!
    Is what I thought when I heard this, then I asked did Guru Nanak Dev ji carry a little bag with him to put his fallen hairs in so that he could ignite them in one go whilst he was travelling on some few thousand mile trips ??????

    One word that I made up comes to mind.................
    ....''BRAHMINIZATION!!!"
     
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