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Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by Ozarks, Jun 28, 2009.

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  1. Ozarks

    Ozarks
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    Having read some more on Sikhism (in particular a bit from Dr Kanwar Ranvir Singh) I would like to learn more, but don't know where to start. There is a flood of information out there, but I am afraid without some "start here" pointer I may jump into the middle and get confussed, frustrated or lost. So what should I read first? I say read as trips to a gurdwara are unlikely. (Nearest one being about 3+ hours away.) Nor talking with any local Sikhs as I do not know of any. So I am starting out with a few strikes against me. Any help on this would be appreciated.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Ozarks ji


    It would be good for you to describe your current level of knowledge on different aspects of Sikhism. After knowing little more about what you already know it becomes easier to guide you from your starting point. Otherwise you can get bogged down in some very simplistic material and stay there for a long time, or longer than is necessary. And get bogged down with private theories of other people. You need a knowledge base.

    My own recommendation -- Have a curriculum that you put together to stay on track, keep moving forward and not lose yourself in specifics-- too much of that on the Internet. You plan could look like this.

    a. Do some systematic reading every day from an online book about Sikhism. These are two that I like

    Sikhism Based on Gurbani - Home
    Sikh Missionary Society(U.K.) - Online Publications Library ( eBooks )


    b. Every day read from Sri Guru Granth Sahib -- even if it is one page - write down some questions and post them in the forum each week. Learn from the vichaar of others here.

    c. Go to the daily hukamnama on the Sikhnet site, listen to the audio and read the explanation by Sukha Singh ji Daily Hukamnama – English Translation as this will give you a wealth of background on the culture of the Gurus and why they wrote as they did.

    d. Explore the history sites here at SPN as well as the threads on Gurmat Vichaar.

    e. Make one or two Internet friends who are Sikhs and further along the way to explain things about culture, the use of Punjabi phrases in the middle of conversations, gurdwara, sikh life, in other words, the context in which Sikhism is lived. In just 2 years when I started out -- I ended up with a mailing list with about 45 people on it. None of them from SPN. It just grew and grew.

    f. I highly recommend this site http://www.gurbani.org/articlemenu.php# for interesting essays on many topics that are backed up with references to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Read one of them or two a week. Again - write down your questions and post them

    g. Get practice using a gurbani search engine, like http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?S=y or http://www.searchgurbani.com/main.php?book=sri_guru_granth_sahib&action=index

    If you are just starting out -- do not bog yourself down with rules and regulations that other people tell you about. You should have a foundation in knowledge and then when you feel the spirit move you within, then and only then it is time to explore daily banis, bana, and those kinds of things.

    That should be a lot for a start. Maybe it is too much. And once you post an update about where you are strong and where you are weak -- then people can steer you toward more specific information that answer your more specific questions. I would be happy to tell you how I started out. If you like, send me a private message and I will describe my first year of study.

    Stay in touch with us. :welcome: Remember Sat Nam - Truth is Your Identity whether you decide to become a Sikh or not. Keep the journey pleasant at all times.
     
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  4. Ozarks

    Ozarks
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    Antonia Ji,
    Thank you for your response. I guess more information is needed. I am very new. I have a "BBC Religion & Ethics" website level of knowledge. Maybe a bit more, but just a bit. From some of what I have been reading (various online sites such as here) I was drawn to it in interest (I like to know things in general), but was a bit afraid it would be a bit... I find myself lacking a word for it. A little hard (new words/different language
    /pronunciation) and customs that I am not sure of (dancing on the edge of faux pas).

    The following I may be wrong about, so please let me know if I am.
    I have read about the 2 major "divisions" of Sikhs. That being the Khalsa and the Sahajdhari. The Khalsa is the hardcore side. The Saint Soldiers. The Sahajdhari are those who follow the Gurus teachings, but are not required to be as strict to some of the rules (customs?) and not required to keep all 5 Ks. (Though many keep several,.) Per Wiki:
    "Sahajdhari Sikhs do not need to keep the Five Ks because they have not been baptized - the five Ks only applies to baptized Sikhs. However, if a Sahajdhari wants to keep some or all of the five Ks they can. Indeed, most Sahajdhari keep at least one of the five Ks e.g. kara. Most Sahajdhari Sikhs keep the kara as one of their five Ks."

    I read a little of the writings of Dr Kanwar Ranvir Singh (Sikhism. Comparative Articles By Dr. Kanvar Ranvir Singh) and became more interested. I thought about starting in on the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (am I suppose to put a "Ji" here?) but thought I should seek advice. I was very (can not stress that enough) moved over the death of Guru Tegh Bahadur and the story of the compassion of Bhai Kannaya to his enimies.

    I think I've listed a big chunk of what I know, or at least think I know. I hope this is helpful.

    (p.s. is "Ji" pronouced "G" or "JI"- hard "I" ?)
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Ozarks ji

    I was urging you to devour the meat of Sikhism from some sites that were helpful to me and still are. Always make Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj the place where you start and where you end. It is not called the eternal guru for nothing. Let me just answer some of your questions inline.

    What you seem to need are some trustworthy sites on Sikh life and a teaching site for vocabulary, Gurmukhi alphabet and pronunciation. I will get back online with this in a moment.
     
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    A good site for basics
    Sikhism Introduction | Sikhism - Sikh Religion

    Another one as an introduction to Sikh culture, history and life
    The Sikhism Home Page

    Learning punjabi/Gurmukhi
    .:: Raj Karega Khalsa Network ::.

    Learn punjabi interactive site
    .:: Raj Karega Khalsa Network ::. Gurbani - Learn Punjabi

    Some where on the .:: Raj Karega Khalsa Network ::. site there is a great powerpoint with a sing along to learn your alphabets. Let me know if you find it.

    This should help. Let me know if you need more.
     
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  7. Ozarks

    Ozarks
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    Antonia Ji,
    It looks like I have my work cut out for me. :p I will start reading and I promise I will keep in touch (lots of questions) as I do want to learn. I appreciate your help. Thank you.
     
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  8. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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  9. lotus lion

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    Hi Ozarks,

    Please let me welcome you to the forum also.

    Many Brothers and Sisters may have recommend these sites already, but hearing of them again helps to reinforce the value and wisdom they possess and ultimately help you on your journey to understand the Sikh Dharma.

    Sites that teach the Basics:

    1) Sikhs.org
    2) AllAboutSikhs.com

    Sites that go beyond the Basics

    1) Gurbani.org

    Reading the Sikh Scripture online

    1) SriGranth.org
    2) SikhiToTheMax.com

    Books

    1) Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings, and Authors, McAuliffe, M. A
    2) The Heritage of the Sikhs, Singh, H

    Places that Teach

    1) Sikhcourse.com
    2) www.jakara.org
    3) www.sikhri.org

    My best regards,

    Lotus
     
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  10. Ozarks

    Ozarks
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    I want to thank you all. I have an embarrassment of riches from which to draw on. I do wish the one day course that was listed was anywhere close in my country (US). I look forward to learning more. Thank you.
     
  11. KulwantK

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    Sat Nam, Ji! Welcome! OK, for starters, let's see about getting you in contact with some really cool people in India who can give you some excellent information on good books. You can get on the Internet and go to www.sikhkaras.com and write Amrit Singh and ask what books he would recommend you get, and how to get them. By the way, he also sells really excellent karas, and will be happy to custom make one for you. I have a couple he did for me, and they are great! He can also give you pointers on wear to get the other Kakkars.

    Another individual who can recommend some very good books as well is Ranjit Singh, in California. His phone: 818-982-9670. He sells the karas, as well, and the Kirpans and Khangas. You can also go onto the Internet and get on www.{url not allowed} and there are many links to interesting sites there, including various bookstores. You can also get the daily Hukamnama from the Golden Temple on that site- very cool!

    Try these for starting out, and enjoy the adventure of discovery!

    Wahe Guru,
    Kulwant
     
  12. lotus lion

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    Hi Ozarks,

    You have raised an interesting point.

    I think the vast majority of people would prefer to be taught about the Dharma in a fashion where there is a real speaker. Infact, i would go as far to say that this has been the primary method for many centuries for countless Dharmas.

    The Sikh Course is One day too which appeals to people who want to understand beyond the basics, but are working to a tight schedule or are restricted from a time perspective.

    Perhaps we can all take heed?

    Anyway, just wanted to add that the Sikh Dharma primarily passes on the teachings of the Guru through the medium of Sound, backed on to Raag - A Musical Melody.

    A personal favourite of mine would be:

    ProudToBeSikh.com: Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji Complete Audio Set I

    I normally read along with SriGranth.org

    Perhaps not to everyones taste exactly, but the voice and the Sarangi that it is being played in the background has an appeal over me.

    Obviously there are many more Sites, but i will leave to my Brothers and Sisters here to bring them to your attention.

    For me, listening to it helps one to go beyond the Intellectual/Logic reasoning alone and actually connect with the teachings, practically one-on-one, as they pierce the heart.
    In doing so, one develops an intuitive understanding that has far reaching effects in all aspects of ones life, just as the Guru's taught.

    Please also see the following too:

    SikhiWiki.org

    Absolutely brilliant site for novices through to advance.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

    Thanks,

    Lotus
     
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  13. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
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    Dear aad0002 jeo,

    Could you guide me to the gurbani site, in whose search column if I put a particlar line of any Shabad which is neither its starting line nor is the 'Rahoo' line, the complete shabad with meanings will appear or will suggests for the simillar shabads in SGGS.
     
  14. spnadmin

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  15. Josh martin

    Josh martin
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    So what should I read first? Any help on this would be appreciated.[quote

    I hope you don't fall for the mis-understanding that sikhism is simply reading texts or gaining knowledge/wisdom. If you really want to take a step into sikhi, start by following any Mat/teachings of Shiri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Our Guru ji have given us 5 bani's to read daily. Jap ji Sahib, Jap sahib, Savai-ey, Chau-pi Sahib and anand Sahib. I suggest you begin by Reading japji Sahib in the morning and Rehras Sahib in the evening.

    DO note hower, that Sikhi is earned by "kamai", by acting upon Gurumat, not by simply reading it. And just how far/deep can you go into sikhi? Gurbani is an athah sagar, bottomless ocean*.

    Plz do respond with what you have understood so far / questions/ perceptions etc.
     

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