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Why do Sikhs NOT want to propogate the Dharma?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by lotus lion, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. lotus lion

    lotus lion
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    Hi,

    I was considering writing a series of posts to put my arguments across for propogating the Dharma, but i have decided to take a slightly different approach.

    I wish to genuinely ask, why is there a general lack of inertia and wanting when it comes to propogating or even just teaching about the the Dharma in a meaningful, long term and structured way?

    I acknowledge that there are organisations out there which are building momentum in the correct direction e.g. www.Sikhcourse.com and Sikh Research Institute which dispite being in their infancy stages are doing an absolutely brilliant job, but we need more, a lot more.

    Please, let us have a sincere discussion and remain on topic as i sincerely want to understand why people are against it.

    My best regards,

    Lotus
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Lotus ji

    Just my opinion for what it is worth. Sikhs are no different from anyone else. It takes energy to "propagate" anything. It takes even more energy to "propagate" the teachings of the Gurus because study, reflection, and energetic discussion are required. It is much easier to believe what you are told, especially if the belief can be simplified to a half-dozen or so ideas. Then a person doesn't have to think. Propagation of thought is no longer necessary. But your question is the start of something worth talking about. :)

    If by "propagate" you mean teaching a learning through organizations that educate -- then the answer becomes more complicated with history coming into play. Don't forget that Sikhism is a relatively young religion, having fewer adherents, when compared to other religions like Islam or Christianity. There has been less time for educational institutions to evolve. They are there and they teach, but in smaller numbers. Sikh Research Institute is doing a wonderful job and uses technology through its webinars to do so, as well as face-to-face seminars, and summer camps. The Internet may also change the pace of growth and format of teaching. Perhaps it already has.
     
  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    There was lot of preaching of sikhism in 18th and 19 th century.When I was a teenager I asked 1 elder of my family who use to maintain records of family history told me that our ancestors embraced sikhism
    at the time of maharaja ranjit singh means 8 generation behind me.It is in 20th century more power struggle started in sikhism and there were no attempts to propagate sikhism to other parts of India
     
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  5. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Personally I think it is some clever manipulation of the panth. As mentioned before, our Gurus propogated the dharam. People were converting en masse from the 1600s (as evidenced by Dabistan) and the latter part of the 1700s at least (as evidenced in the early European accounts).

    I think one reason we are a bit 'cool' about it is that we do not have a strong emphasis on it being a meritous act as in other (mainly semetic) religions.

    The panth should grow and spread though. Failure to propogate often makes Sikhs themselves vulnerable to the efforts of other communities.
     
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  6. dalbirk

    dalbirk
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    IMHO it is a wrong perception among Sikhs that Sikhism is not a missionary religion . According to Dabistan , Guru nanak Dev Ji made 30 million followers in his lifetime , far more than the total no of Sikhs today 500 after him . It is sad commentary on part of Sikhs that they have not taken the task of propagating religion as diligently as other tasks like building Gurudwaras , serving langar etc . But due to this laxity Sikhism is under danger of being assimilated by Brahminism in whole of India & Deras especially in Punjab . The less said about other things , the better . Sikhs should take up this task urgently & try to at least introduce the basic principles of Sikhism to as many Non-sikhs as possible , wherever , whenever possible . It is my observation that nobody wants to waste his life single life each one of us has got . If we try to tell the practicability of Sikhism in daily life to others , more & more people will be attaracted to this divine religion , formed especially by our Gurus to liberate not only people of punjab , but whole of India & whole of mankind .
     
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  7. lotus lion

    lotus lion
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the responses so far.

    A few years ago, i would have used the word convert, but many Sikhs do not seem to have stomach for it. I would even go as far to say that the Sikhs are almost allergic to the word.

    Being perfectly honest, what did make me bring up this topic was when i read about the plight of our Brothers and Sisters in Swat whos homes have been Demolished for having the courage of being Sikh in Pakistan. I could not help but feel that had we had a stronger presence, then we would at least have the opportunity to defend ourselves and looking at the bigger picture, half the problems we face as a Panth would never materialise.

    Permit me to say Safety in numbers without risk of a Backlash. Please note, i do not mean Ghettoisation, but Synergisation and that too with people who are of differet ethnic origins. The difference being that the former is Confining and closing yourself in, whilst the latter is freely coming together, being open and secure and building the Dharma naturally with an guiding hand.

    Answering a few questions, Propogation for me means:

    1) Teaching Sikhs about the Dharma in a structured, organised, long term sustainable way where it actually makes a difference to the Brothers and Sisters Lives.

    2) Teaching the Dharma to Brothers and Sisters who are of other Dharma's beyond the superfical, so that they not only have an understanding of it, but an appreciation for it. Perhaps becoming Sikh in the process because it actually resonates with their inner thoughts and feelings.

    I think that this is a fair way and suits the temprament of the Sikh pysche, generally speaking ofcourse.

    Re the fact that we are a young Dharma does not mean that we should not propogate The Teachings of the Gurus. If anything, this should be motivation for us.
    We have an abundant amount of Finance in hand but waste it on things that do nothing but bolster the fragile Egos of the few in an attempt to pretend that we are doing well when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Examples include the new gurdwara opening up in Gravesend, UK

    "The parade included a stop for a Kirtan Diwan (Service) in front of the spectacular new £12million Gurdwara[?] due to fully open by April 2010."

    Source:Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend - Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa! Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh! - Index

    If sincerely doubt that if I or anyone for that matter had gone in and asked for £120,000 to teach the Dharma, i would get it.

    How long can a house built on quick sand last, Even if it is beautiful?

    Moving on, I believe that all Dharmas want to see their teachings and thinking mirrored in society as a whole. Therefore for The Sikhs this would be Tolerance, Kindness, Generousity, Love, Peace, to name but a few.
    But in the same breath, when our words and actions show that we do not wish to actually progress the Dharma in any meaningful way, what we are actually saying is that we wish that other Dharmas would so the same as us.

    What we are saying is do not bother me, do not rock the boat, do not question me, let us maintain the status quo whilst closing our ears and covering our ears.

    For me, this stems from a lack of understanding, an insecurity about ones own beliefs and i would even go as far as to say that in the vast majority of cases, though clearly not all, that this is the manifestation of a self defence mechanism.

    The result is the Sikhs becoming non-majorities in all areas of life with the respective treatment being metted out to them.

    The only thing in life that is permanent is change, and change go to those with the momentum.

    Thanks,

    Lotus
     
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  8. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Lotus Lion ji

    I agree with you.majority of sikh problems all over the world are related with our small population
    People on sikh forums criticise Badal and congress for going to Dera's for votes .They don't understand that today only a person Who is acceptable to Sikhs,Deras Hindu's can become Cm of punjab .because sikh population is not so large and they too are divided .Dera's and other communities engage in voilence
    Just to display their numerical strength and majority of times they are successful because no Govt want to loose votes of a community which have large votebank
     
  9. spnadmin

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    lotus_lion ji

    From start to middle to finish of your argument -- you are making a lot of sense. Taking a clear and unadulterated look at what has happened in SWAT to the Sikh community in Pakistan should be a wake-up call. Maybe the most current one because there have been other wake-up calls. I do not know why the word "convert" is a problem, but recognize the merits of what you say about that. Except for 3HO - Western Dharma Sikhism, the question of what to do with converts is tough for most sangats. Everyone is happy to see a convert, but everyone is also more than a little confused about what to do -- how to reach out, how to teach, how to sponsor and guide. And you are making a very powerful point when you say/imply that "propagation" of the faith for new and current converts can only contribute energy, power and strength to Sikhism worldwide. But remember, our religion is young, very young, and may yet reach the point where people realize that your words can be backed up by intelligent and fruitful action.
     
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  10. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Sikhi is a unique way of life. It does not require conversion but self immersion in a proactive manner.Not many people in the world know who Sikhs are. I think the associations like Saldef, Sikh Coalition and United Sikhs are playing a major role in changing that. During Tsunami in Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, a lot was done by the Sikhs. We also had an article posted here in this forum where Sikh doctors are helping poor people in Peru with knee replacements.

    Still this is not enough. What we have to do it that each Gurdwara and there are many around the world, should become the center of Seva for the neighborhoods. Street cleaning, repairing and remodelling schools, buildings and houses of the poor. Langar should become the soup kitchens. Once we start doing that then it will have a 2 fold affect. The first one that we will start practicing Sikhi in a real sense rather than remain just the theoratical kind. Doing Nitnem is not suffice and we all know that.

    Secondly and more important thing will happen is that we will take the teachings of SGGS outside the 4 walls of our Gurdwaras and share with the common folks where they are needed the most.

    Then they say I am a dreamer......

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  11. dalbirk

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    In our city Sikh Missionary College , Ludhiana is a very good institution doing a very good job in preaching the values of Guru Granth Sahib & Sikh principles among Sikhs & Non-Sikhs alike with first of its kind TWO YEAR CORROSPONDENCE COURSE IN English , Punjabi & Hindi & monthly magazine Sikh-Phulwari .
    Sikh Missionary College (Regd.) Ludhiana
     
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    dalbirk ji - I agree with you just based on the Internet materials that the college makes available. But if you have any influence with them -- they do not answer their email. So it is impossible to find out more details for someone overseas who wants to participate in the online program. More than one member of SPN has had this problem. Thanks if you can do anything to alert the management.
     
  13. dalsingh

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    In all honesty, Panjabi Sikh insularity plays a part in all this. But if you look at the basis of much of the past intertaction that this community has had with the world, it is at least partially understandable (not excusable though).

    Over the last few centuries Sikh people have been targetted for annilation or wholesale slaughter by successive governments (i.e. Moghul, Congress). Attacked by hordes from Persia and Afghanistan. Tricked into losing their hard fought over kingdom by the British. Left to face slaughter again when the British decided to up and leave India and partition their homeland. Treated as second rate citizens in a new country they made dispropotionate sacrifices for. They have also at times experienced racist and hostile receptions in newly settled lands.

    Conversion I think has become a dirty term in Panjabi Sikh circles because of their own corporate experiences at the hands of others who seek to convert them.

    But all of this must be overcome and the good message of the Gurus must be made accessible for others. I am fairly confident that this will take place over time.
     

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