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?