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Viva La Vaisakhi 2013

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by IJSingh, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. IJSingh

    IJSingh United States
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    VIVA LA VAISAKHI 2013

    I.J. Singh

    The 25 million Sikhs around the world remember Vaisakhi 1699, the historic day that Guru Gobind Rai
    appeared at a massive conclave of the Sikhs at Anandpur Sahib, flashed a naked sword and demanded a
    head.

    History tells us that after much trepidation one Sikh, Dya Ram, offered his head. The call was repeated
    until five volunteers materialized. The Guru then initiated the five into the new order of the Khalsa.

    Then they initiated the Guru who became Guru Gobind Singh.

    This, we believe, was the final step in the evolution of the Sikh movement started by Guru Nanak two
    centuries earlier. Thus were the Sikh lifestyle and world view clearly and fully delineated with an
    independent identity.

    One can elaborate on this very skimpy outline and a slew of scholars and critics have weighed in on it
    over the past three hundred years; many will continue to do so until the end of time.

    I come at it today from a radically different direction.

    When we talk of Vaisakhi, as we do every year, we recognize the finality of the message in 1699 and
    hardly note any changes in our structural framework, mission or message by the passage of time.

    We treasure Vaisakhi 1699 as the year of the birth of the Khalsa but hardly note that every child’s birth
    depends on a year or so of preparation before a newborn is delivered to the world.

    We remember the birthday and its date but fail to take into account that the newborn is now over 300
    years old.

    Obviously the birth of the Khalsa in 1699 was made possible, even necessary, by the 200 years of
    growth in the Sikh movement and its identity made possible by the personal mentorship of the nine
    Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Tegh Bahadur, that preceded Guru Gobind Singh, as well as the Sikh
    institutions and worldview that evolved during those two centuries of the Guru period.

    I have taken more detailed stock of these matters in an earlier 2012 essay titled “Vaisakhi Redux” and
    will sidestep these matters today. Let me come from a tangent instead to the post 1699 period today.

    What brought this home to me was a recent panel on the tube. I was listening to some talking heads
    on television passionately dissecting the meaning, purpose and mechanics of the American Revolution.
    These events date from the 1770’s. To some the Founding Fathers were no less than prophets who had
    been touched by God and set on a divine mission. Hence the society founded by them was no less than
    a holy Church and we could do no better than to preserve the structure that has been bequeathed to us;
    one does not mess with perfection.

    Others had a more Earthly take on the perfection and the pristine purity of the nation’s Fathers, their
    message, motives and their mission.

    The words that continue to haunt me are of Chris Mathews, an iconoclastic liberal political Pundit,
    rational but not always reasonable. He said, “The (American) Revolution started well over two
    centuries ago but it continues today. It did not end then and it hasn’t ended now.”

    Of course, he and others like him rest their case on how the nation’s reality has changed from its
    beginning on matters like slavery, racial and gender equality, the ideas of what it means in matters
    like equality of opportunity when we speak of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are, of
    course, not easy matters; just look at issues like immigration reform, universal health care, and gender
    issues that continue to rile up the nation even today.

    There are those who look at the way the societal reality was during the revolutionary days and
    forcefully want to reject any modern expansive interpretation of the words of that time. They forget
    that words reflect the context, and meaning of the time and societal values extant then. Life does not
    stop; it is not fixed forever in anything – not the way we live, eat, travel or relate to the rest of the
    world. And words change meaning and application; language, too, evolves as our lives change. That is
    how I look at the inevitability of all the amendments to the Constitutions of nations, including this one,
    that have resulted over the years and will continue to arise as needed. The idea is to evolve into a more
    fruitful, more egalitarian and a just society with more transparency, accountability, integrity and self-
    governance at the core.

    Yet there remain excellent minds that seem frozen in time. I point to some scholars and legal
    luminaries like Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court and a razor sharp intellect. He and many
    like him appear to be totally wedded to the idea that in interpreting the laws of the country we must
    remain faithful to the original intent of the founding fathers of the nation; any re-interpretations of their
    words that take into account the intervening two centuries and the transformation of society must be
    rejected.

    It seems to me that such a self-limiting view must by nature become a prison that holds us back in
    time and limits us. A lively debate, of course, continues. Witness the hot and heavy disagreement that
    focuses on the meaning of the Second Amendment even today.

    For parallels of such thinking explore any religious tradition where newer interpretations and analyses
    are discouraged because such intellectual processes would “diminish” the sacred nature of doctrine
    and tradition. I can supply such examples from secular non-religious literature as well, more from the
    liberal arts and less from science.

    I suppose such is human nature. Interpretation, analyses and change are threatening like shifting
    ground. In stability and unchanging realities there is comfort. But then these matters need to be
    balanced – without change there is no progress and no life.

    Unquestionably when matters come to religions we take a few more regressive steps back. To us the
    message, its interpretation and meaning is etched in stone, and any change is blasphemy, pure and
    simple.

    We forget that religions, no matter how old or new, were often radically revolutionary when they came
    to be. That’s why their founders often suffered at the hands of the powers to be, even lesser despots.
    Religions and their founders often challenged the existing order. And we treasure the message for they
    give us a way of life and define for us a social order – a community or even a nation. Nations need
    borders much as neighbors need fences, to define “us” and “them” and “ours” and “theirs” so as to

    reduce conflict between them but never ever to seal one from the other.

    The borders help us protect and preserve; the idea is not so much to worship but to live the life style
    that a religion asks us to do – that is the best worship. Again, as in civic society, the social fabric –
    religious or secular – must operate with transparency, honesty, accountability and self-governance at
    the core. To me that's the primary purpose of a religion – to define a way of life and a framework of
    social mores and ethics, and not so much to worry or obsess about a life hereafter. To neglect the here
    and now for a fanciful and imaginative tomorrow is not the purpose at all -- certainly not at all in Sikhi.

    And it seems to me each new generation must reinterpret, re-explore, re-examine and rediscover the
    way of life, not merely to follow it slavishly. The message of Vaisakhi every year must start with
    the 200 years that preceded 1699, continue to explore the 300 years that followed it and then take us
    forward to what will be – our hopes and dreams of tomorrow here on Earth.

    The point is that the significance of Vaisakhi did not start with 1699 nor did it end that day. The
    revolution of Vaisakhi continues apace and undiminished today. We need to move our heads into the
    21st century to see it. That, if anything, will make religions relevant and thus sacred.

    Hail Vaisakhi 2013

    April 13, 2013

    Based in part on the esay “Vaisakhi Redux” from the book “SIKHS TODAY: Ideas & Opinions,” 2012
    by I.J. Singh. Ethnic Island, California
     

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  3. aristotle

    aristotle
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    Happy Vaisakhi to all.
    Hail the spirit of Sikhi.
    #Celebrations
     
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  4. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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  5. Inderjeet Kaur

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    This has thrown me off. Does he mean 300 days instead of 300 years? Or am I missing something vital?
     
  6. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    No, he means 300 years since the birth of Khalsa and the new born has not started teething yet. We have Nagar Keertans all over and at the same time, we are in the 'strollers' going along side the Panj Pyaras. In other words, we are all stuck into the muck of rituals rather than sprout out like lotuses and share the fragrance. The blame lies on many sides. Our Constitution- the SRM needs amending so that it can be in sync with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our only Guru. Nothing stops in time. We can sit on our windowsills and watch the procession of time pass us by or start with the first step towards growing up.

    This is what I gathered.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #5 Tejwant Singh, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  7. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    I see now. Thanks for the clarification. I'm afraid my mind right now is more on Korea than Vaisakhi.
     
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  8. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Baisakhi is reminiscent of change; change of body,mind and heart of Khalsa. Guru enthused in us dedication, total commitment and new life. We must continue growing based on the fundamentals enthused us on Baisakhi
     
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  9. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    [​IMG]

    May you all enjoy the Divine Love & Blessings of Waheguru Ji!
     
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  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Dear IJ Singh ji

    Many thanks for your continued presence via wonderful essays. I personally extend my thanks to you for so much insight in this Vaisakhi thread.

    spnadmin
     
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  11. ravneet_sb

    ravneet_sb India
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    Sat Sri Akaal,

    Waheguru,

    Bless Sikhi,

    Through Which,

    All nine windows of mind are opened,
    world which appears miracle,
    which eyes can see
    can be seen in reality,
    and this veil of ignorance is removed.
    with divine blessing.

    Evoke my mind, leaving five pleasures.
    Let the memory function of past be lost for ever,


    and "GURU"S BANI" is imbibed as the only
    "True Function" of this Soul, Mind,
    Senses and Body.

    It's for "GURU's BANI"

    With pleasure "I" give my "Mind" and "Head"
    My primitive mind functions

    Anger has turned to compassion Bhai Daya Ram to Daya Singh

    Lust and Greed to Ethical Living Bhai Dharam Dass to Dharam Singh

    Coward and Insecure Living to Couageous Living Bhai Himat Rai to Himmat Singh

    Birth Relatives to Universal BrotherHood by reducing Bhai Mohkam Chand to Bhai Moh Singh

    Egoist Mind of Seeking High Position through corrupt and non competitve ways to Kingship through Service and Devotion to Work
    Bhai Sahib Chand to Bhai Sahib Singh


    Blessed with "Amrit"
    "Immortal Vitues of Mind"

    Happy Vaisakhi

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh




    Wahe
     
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  12. aristotle

    aristotle
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    What are these nine windows? Are they the 'Nau duars' before the 'Dasam duar'?
     
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  13. eropa234

    eropa234
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    In deed the event of Vasakhi is a very important for the humanity. It was on that day five people got up to give their heads, in that those were the people of knowledge who understood the teachings of Guru and realized that a Jivit Murtik does not require head.

    Today I do not see that spirit except from a very few people. I see Sikhs today trying to established a separate identity based on their looks and where they go for worship which is no different than the followers of other religions.
     
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  14. buddhushah

    buddhushah
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    MOST OF US RELATE TO VAISAKHI,TO BIRTH OF KHALSA,AND, AS WE ARE TODAY,WE CAN SAY ,WE GET PRE MATURELY ABORTED.LET US REVISIT THIS DAY,NOT JUST AS OUR OFFERING OUR HEAD TO THE GURU,BUT OUR SINCERETY TO DETACH OUR SELVES FROM WORLDLY DESIRES/POSSESSIONS.GURU SAHIB STATES THIS IN sukhmani SAHIB[KARAM KARAT HOVE NIHKARAM,TIS BAISHNO KA NIRMAL DHARAM].greetings and sarbat da bhala.
     

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