Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Who truly is a Sikh?

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by gurpreetgoraya, Mar 27, 2010.

Tags:
  1. gurpreetgoraya

    gurpreetgoraya
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    I have been following the discussions here for some time. While it is very heartening to see so many people still keeping the spirit of the faith alive, by being open to deliberation and even new interpretations at times, I could not help but notice an under-current of orthodoxy.

    There are many things I wish to speak of, but for now I will keep my query simple.

    Can someone with shorn hair be considered a Sikh?

    Most times, the reply to this question is that a Sikh should not modify the body that God has given him. But if that was the case, why is there no objection to things like, having intrusive medical procedures, or even a simple thing like cutting ones nails?

    I personally feel that our religion has 'freedom' as its core. I do not think Guru Nanak Dev ji would have really imposed such a condition on his followers.

    But, I am still young and immature, and more than anything else, I would like to hear the opinions of those who deliberate on our beautiful religion in their day to day living.

    Thank you.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    General Embracing Sikhi, Becoming a Sikh: What Am I Truly Embracing? Hard Talk Jan 13, 2011
    History When the "Wild" Proved Truly More Educated Punjab, Punjabi, Punjabiyat Feb 20, 2010
    Truly, people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime... Inspirational Stories Jun 28, 2004
    Sone Bhambhani Joins Sikh Philosophy Network! New SPN'ers Today at 9:11 AM
    Gigi S Joins Sikh Philosophy Network! New SPN'ers Yesterday at 10:44 AM

  3. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    501
    Dear Gurpreet jeo,
    The first basic identity of a Sikh is ones unshorn hair. The first of the five K's which one must keep in order to be a Sikh are Kesh or hair.
    Regarding cuting of dead nails from the fingers or throwing away the dead hairs after doing the combing of ones hair are permitted as the Sikhi does not have any attchments to the dead parts of a human being, which is a natural process.
    Now, coming to the freedom in Sikhi, pl remember every religion has some basic codes. In Sikhi these have been confirmed and illustrated in the SRM quite clearly. Freedom never means going away from the basic tenets of ones religion. Ours gurus have never taken any other freedoms from us but expacted us to be true followers.:happykudi:
     
  4. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
    Expand Collapse
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,560
    Likes Received:
    6,989
    Gurpreet ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for the question.

    I would like to ask you a couple of questions so that we do not get into any circular arguments rather than having a constructive conversation via interaction.

    1. Are you a Keshadhari Sikhi?

    2. If not, were you ever one?

    3. If you were then what made you decide to cut your hair?


    Thanks & Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. BullesShah

    BullesShah
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    my friend cut his hair and his dad kicked him out for it. he says he is no sikh! y is this so unfair?
     
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    BullesShah ji

    This type of thing happens a lot. And it is heartbreaking to read about it. Sometimes it is really difficult to have a discussion about "kes" that goes to the heart of why we keep kes without also coming to terms with the reality that there is real suffering in families where discussion cannot take place and kids are just to do it or else. If there was ever a religion that was born out of respect for another, Sikhism is it. A hard path to practice. Thanks for your quesiton.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. BullesShah

    BullesShah
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    so it means he not sikh now?
     
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    BullesShah ji

    In my humble opinion the young man is a sikh. Parents do not own their children body and soul, and so they cannot make decisions about who is and who is not a sikh or anything else. But they do it all the time and in many different religions. Why do parents behave like this? That would actually make a very interesting discussion.

    The question does kes make a Sikh needs to be answered on many different levels and in terms of our own personal encounter with Sikhism as a religion and Sikhi as a philosophy.This is a legal matter in India, but not in the diaspora. It is a religious matter in light of becoming amritdhari. It is a cultural matterf and a philosophical one as well. So again, in my humble opinion, it is nothing more or less than human tragedy when a worthy question is answered the way your friend was answered by his parents.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. BullesShah

    BullesShah
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    who make decision to say who is sikh? my friend say he not look like sikh but feel like one. so wot is diffrence?
     
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    BullesShah ji

    It would be important at this place in the discussion to hear from your friend. I would like to know how he defines a Sikh in his own words. That would help me, just one person, have a better sense, and make the conversation less hypothetical.
     
  11. BullesShah

    BullesShah
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    how u define sikh please?with or without the long hairs?is it guru teaching? oh i dont know.
     
  12. gurpreetgoraya

    gurpreetgoraya
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you all for the responses. This just shows how relevant the topic is to the community.

    Firstly, I would like to reply to some comments.

    S. Hardip Singhji : We are not to have an attachment with dead tissue, so why with hair. Hair, too, is dead tissue.

    I have one more query regarding SRM. Is it immutable and eternal for all time, or can certain circumstances and developments warrant change in the principles? This brings a larger question of religion. Since Guru Gobind Singhji has delegated authority to the Khalsa, can evolutionary changes be made in the religion if deemed fit, or does it have to be firm and rigid for all time?

    S. Tejwant Singhji: To your questions, Sir, I am not a keshdhari Sikh since the age of 16. The main reason, to be blatantly honest, is that I found maintaining my hair cumbersome, and saw no justification in keeping them.

    Another question, in light of the above discussions, is that if I love and accept all the principles of Sikhism, and try to follow all the teachings in my everyday life, and on the other hand there is a person who despite being keshdhari disregards everything, whom would you call a Sikh?

    Is Sikhism a matter of the soul or of the body?

    Thank you very much for taking part in the discussion.
     
  13. Arvind

    Arvind
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    379
    Why this feeling comes over and over that we waste too much of time in futile discussions instead of naam simran? Let us do our Nitnem, and answers will start following by itself.

    If we want to be smarter than our Guru Sahibs, that is a different story altogether.. then the list of "logical" questions would be endless.

    Warm Regards,
    Arvind.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. rajvir kaur

    rajvir kaur
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    13
    am nt a proper sikh myself buh i think tht its nt only about not cutting ur hair n nt eatin meat n nt goin ot wiv other ppl buh its also about doin naam simran and nt back chatting about other ppl
     
  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200

    Actually this is quite important -- what Arvind ji has just said. It takes the heat and the edge off the emotionality these questions bring to our minds and to our relationships with one another. With simran and Nitnem -- or if you are not a Sikh I would imagine your own sincere devotion -- there is very little room left to quibble, little desire as well. Thanks for the simran of simran Arvind ji.:happykaur:
     
  16. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,451
    Likes Received:
    3,761
    With all due respect, when Satguru Ram Das Ji states in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, on Pana 305, the following, I am just wondering can we redefine or do we have any authority who is a Sikh or add conditions, qualifications or riders to Guru Ji words? Please enlighten me.

    ਮਃ ੪ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ {ਪੰਨਾ 305}
    FOURTH MEHL: One who calls himself a Sikh of the Guru, the True Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord's Name. Upon arising early in the morning, he is to bathe, and cleanse himself in the pool of nectar. Following the Instructions of the Guru, he is to chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. All sins, misdeeds and negativity shall be erased. Then, at the rising of the sun, he is to sing Gurbani; whether sitting down or standing up, he is to meditate on the Lord's Name. One who meditates on my Lord, Har, Har, with every breath and every morsel of food - that GurSikh becomes pleasing to the Guru's Mind. ( Pana 305 )
     
  17. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Soul Jyot ji

    I think that is what Arvind ji meant in his post -- but kept it short because he does not tend to go into a lot of detail as is his habit. Anyway that is what I thought he meant.
     
  18. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    501
    Dear Gurpreet,
    You said "Hair,too,are dead tissue". You are absolutely wrong. Try to pull out some hair from your head or body. This pain in pulling out the hair is because they are very much the live part of the body. But when you comb your hair, the hair that get struck in the comb are the dead one only. Simillar is the case of nails. Only the upper white part is dead one while the nail above the meat of the finger is very much live. So one only cuts the upper white extended dead nails only.:confusedmunda:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    501
    Dear Gurpreet Gorayya jeo,
    Pl do read this beautiful article below and than you think and do post your views :-
    Kesas -the Fort of Uncut Hair

    - Charanjit Singh
    The young Khalsa of today is struggling to keep his promise with Guru Gobind Singh. Many, who are tune with their conscience, tie the turban everyday, look in the mirror and get a glimpse of their father - men and women alike.

    He wages a war every time not with anyone else but with his own haunting shadow which keeps pulling him towards his peers, those peers who are more inclined to look similar than different.

    He keeps reminding everyone around that 'Differentiate or Die' might be Jack Trout's defense against the era of cutthroat competition but its true meaning was understood and was thus taught by the Tenth Master.

    At times he suffers because he is different.

    The differentiation was not given to its followers with an aim to bring popularity to its initiator, the way modern gurus have been attempting, every now and then.

    The similarity inherent in your physical programme if preserved, lovingly, as it is, makes you different, while the very annihilation of the similarity made everyone similar. Ironical, isn't it?

    Some youth today colour their body and pierce it with tattoos all over the body. A pierced body may be obnoxiously loathsome but somewhere you cannot ignore the creativity of a tattoo and its ability to scream "Hey look there is much more to me as a person!" But why pierce the divine body? Are the violent impulses within, struggling to be contained, finding an expression in this masochism? It is nothing but an exteriorization of consciousness within!

    The Guru had a different exteriorization in mind. Sirdar Kapur Singh in his monumental work Prasar Prasna (Questions of Prasara) explains the significance of human hair and highlights the superficiality of 'fashion'. The author goes to the very core of human psyche and explains hair-Kesa as an integral part of wholeness of physique- which is an effortless expression of complete human psyche -a psyche which is spiritually uplifted and is healed of psychological fissures and inadequacies.

    PrasaraPrasna- The Blessed of the Uncut Hair P 85....

    Those who are right on the way to the wholeness of the psyche, how do we expect that their mode of appearance as well as the 'fashion' of their cut of hair- an integral and living organ of the body- would tend to express it, instinctively and effortlessly?

    The obvious answer is that the original simplicity of the human nature, the pristine wholeness of the human psyche , during and through its process of healing and restoration, shall exteriorize itself in the 'fashion' of the uncut, untrimmed and unshingled mode of Kesa and the body hair, as enjoined in the discipline of Khalsa.

    The state described by Sirdar Kapur Singh is one which is quite profound and would require serious discipline. There are ample living examples around.

    It's very difficult for them to alter any expression of nature or to put it in Sirdar Sahib's words difficult for them to change or alter any expression of psyche, a psyche which is wholesome and complete. Hence -the unshorn hair and flowing beards.

    The GenX may argue that the path to 'restoration' and 'healing' as may have been followed in the ways mentioned above is not only long and distant but also a bit too complex. The path to reach the wholeness is the ultimate aim of spirituality.

    Can there be a simpler way?


    Celebrated Harvard Professor William James who brought a near revolution in clinical psychology when he proposed that thought was what followed the will rather than the prevailing belief which was vice-versa i.e. will was an expression of thought. He said, "Action seems to follow feeling but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

    What is means is that when a person is feeling emotionally depressed (emphasize "feeling") then by regulating his deed that is just putting a smile on his face (action) or humming a favorite song would definitely alter his feeling inside and would make him joyful.

    Does the thought and will theory hold ground for Kesa as enjoined in discipline of Khalsa. I definitely believe it does.

    If being whole and complete in our psyche right on day one of our spiritual journey seems too much so can we alter our action which will go a long way in altering our feeling and thereby our psyche.
    Can we allow nature to fully take its course and exteriorize itself in our bodies so that at some point this action would complete us from inside?

    This might be a first step towards spiritual upliftment but if William James is to be believed fully then a person who allows nature to express itself in its body is following suit as far as thought and mind are concerned.

    It would unimaginable for him to pierce his body or his soul as he finds both equally divine expressions.

    Did not the Guru initiating spirituality want us to start from our own bodies?

    Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Bihaagraa on page 554 says
    naanak so prabh simareeai this dhaehee ko paal ||2||
    O Nanak, meditate in remembrance on God, and nurture this body. ||2||

    Further the paramountcy of human body is explained elaborately in Bhagat
    Peepa Ji’s Shabad in Raag Dhanaasree on page 695

    kaayo dhaevaa kaaeiao dhaeval kaaeiao ja(n)gam jaathee ||
    Within the body, the Divine Lord is embodied. The body is the temple, the
    place of pilgrimage, and the pilgrim.

    kaaeiao dhhoop dheep neebaedhaa kaaeiao poojo paathee ||1||
    Within the body are incense, lamps and offerings. Within the body are the
    flower offerings. ||1||

    kaaeiaa bahu kha(n)dd khojathae nav nidhh paaee ||
    I searched throughout many realms, but I found the nine treasures within the
    body

    naa kashh aaeibo naa kashh jaaeibo raam kee dhuhaaee ||1|| rehaao ||
    Nothing comes, and nothing goes; I pray to the Lord for Mercy. ||1||Pause||

    jo brehama(n)ddae soee pi(n)ddae jo khojai so paavai ||
    The One who pervades the Universe also dwells in the body; whoever seeks Him,
    finds Him there.

    peepaa pranavai param thath hai sathigur hoe lakhaavai ||2||3||
    Peepaa prays, the Lord is the supreme essence; He reveals Himself through the
    True Guru. ||2||3||

    So let's look at our hair as not only a gift from the Great Guru, which serves to remind us of his presence around us but also a psychological tool which if understood properly has the potential to change us from within. It enables us to be different, still similar.

     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. gurpreetgoraya

    gurpreetgoraya
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you. It is a beautifully written article and very thought provoking. In fact, I need to dwell upon it longer, and don't want to rush into a reaction.

    In response to S Arvind Singhji. Sir, I beg to differ. There is a time in our lives, in our growing years, when we are faced with many dilemmas and questions. In these times we need to be guided and helped by our elders so that we may find the answer. We need our elders to be our gurus and guides. It is a responsibility bequeathed on them. If one answers by saying 'Just do Nit-Nem and answers will follow', while for a person of maturity this might be the right way a young person might end up feeling disillusioned. I am saying this from experience.

    But yes, in another sense, I also accept what you have said. If one believes in his heart he is true, then nothing should matter. Thank you for that.

    PS : S. Hardip Singhji, Sir, Hair IS dead tissue. It is only the root, ie. below the scalp that is alive. Hair and nails are, in fact, composed of the same protein based compound, keratin. If we readily cut the dead part of nails, the same logic should extend to hair!

    Thank you all for your replies.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  21. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
    Expand Collapse
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,560
    Likes Received:
    6,989
    Hair is a dead tissue. The same goes for nails. If we uproot the hair by plucking or waxing then it hurts but if we shave it or trim it then it does not hurt. Same thing is true for the nails. If we uproot the nail from the cuticle it would hurt. When we get our fingers or thumbs caught in a car door, we know the feeling. Yes, it is a same protein keratin these two have.

    So, there is a misconception about dead nails and living hair as Hardip ji and Mohinder Singh ji in his other post implied. We do not cut the latter for other reasons.

    Tejwant Singh
     
    • Like Like x 3

Share This Page