Opinion And The Twain Shall Meet

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by IJSingh, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. IJSingh

    IJSingh Writer SPNer

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Hukum does not mean that a God somewhere in an unknown postal zone micromanages our individual lives – distributing pain and pleasure, success and failure at whim - I.J. SINGH

    Is life a matter of chance, a roll of dice? Are life-choices fated or random?

    Let arm chair theologians, Sikh or non-Sikh, who read their sacred texts literally wrestle with it. They see God as micromanaging every moment of everyone – kindly for a believer of their faith, wrathfully otherwise.

    Sikhi asks that life on Earth be meaningfully productive, so fatalism in Sikhi baffles me. Life, however, turns on a dime; a wooden nickel might be a better metaphor.

    President Franklin Roosevelt’s initiatives during the great depression had their detractors. One day, FDR missed an assassin’s bullet by accidentally being moments late to an assignment. Otherwise, Nance Garner would have become president, and who knows what the national response to the economic meltdown or the proposed social programs might have been.

    1960: an American, incensed at the election of a Roman Catholic (Kennedy) as President, planned to assassinate John Kennedy. He was set to do the deed as JFK walked to his car. The shooter aimed. Right then Jackie walked out with their new born son to wave goodbye. The assailant held back – he didn’t have the heart to risk killing a mother and child.

    The heart has its reasons of which reason knows not.

    Education ultimately is training of the mind, no matter if we are imparting the complexities of rocket science or something simple as how to read C-A-T. Life tells me that education happens only when the student becomes uneasy with the status quo.

    A curious mind is an open mind. But human nature seeks the path of least resistance; it wants harmony and peace with its environment, no matter how ugly. Inertia comes, less from laziness, more from its primary imperative – self-preservation.

    How do we make life’s decisions? I sense that most choices are made in a process that transcends rational analysis, almost like the flip of a coin. Then we use whatever intellect, little or much, that life has gifted us to justify the choices we have made.

    Imperatives of deliberative change do not exist when life is copacetic; no challenge ahead, no danger or risk. But how to react if disharmony exists with the world around us? Stress and tension drive us. When to stand our ground and when to walk away from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?” Let’s stumble through two models.


    At the risk of oversimplifying humanity’s rich heritage whence a sense of self flows and gels, let’s divide human existence into two divergent models.

    Take, for example, a mind steeped in the timeless traditions of India. How does it deal with the upsetting, terrorizing, violent reality of life? Simple: “Close your eyes, connect with the peace that lies at your core; turn off the surrounding world and its noise. The inner reality is unbelievably seductive. Accept it, nurture it, live in peace.”

    “Avoidance” or strategic thinking? But wait; the other side of the coin beckons.

    With acceptance of offensive reality, one can live in filth, disease, pestilence and injustice for untold centuries; like a stoic remain indifferent to the world. The onus shifts to God – fate – for the good fortunes of others and our setbacks.

    Is this Sikhi’s defining idea of Hukum? No. Hukum does not mean that a God somewhere in an unknown postal zone micromanages our individual lives – distributing pain and pleasure, success and failure at whim. Hukum says that no matter how great or small our human efforts, many a time the results, good or bad, remain beyond our calculus. Hukum … the moving finger writes and moves on, in the words of Omar Khayyam. Accept this gracefully and move forward. But be careful; extreme unquestioned acceptance produces passivity — ostrich-like burying the head in the sand. Explore India’s history for this morality play.

    Hence, India’s colonial past shocks me but doesn’t surprise me, nor does its burden of caste, unequal place of women, rampant poverty, filth and corruption. With eyes closed to existing reality or its reform, peace at any cost becomes the ideal. Ancient mythology and Bollywood help. Distorted reality? Yes. But turn inwards and revel in how wonderful and glorious we always were. Reject climactic shift in the mind that is prerequisite for existential evolution or revolution; it would be too labor intensive.

    In such a worldview progress becomes unnecessary, even undesirable.


    I promised you two models of reaction to dissonance between our inner reality and the world around us, both unsatisfactory. This was one. An alternative is the typical American outlook; a continuous struggle with no such thing as a free lunch.

    Open your eyes, look around to see how the world is, then look within to dream how the world should be. Do not stop. Be not afraid to tilt at windmills a la Sancho Panza. Dreams drive the action. The mind says: I may die trying but I will make a difference; my dreams will give meaning to my life.

    Often dreams come true, societies are reinvented and rejuvenated. Imagination, ideas and technology get free rein. Awesome progress results. Again, the other side of the coin beckons. And there is a price to pay.

    Society becomes unstable; body and mind suffer. The vulnerable human spirit – families and individuals – fractures. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, lawyers — influential caretakers – come to define society and control its levers.

    A heavy price to pay! There must be a better way than these two models – and there is.


    The Sikh worldview emerged in the Indus valley of Punjab in North India; its ideas reflect both Eastern and Western perspectives. The ancient and the modern come triumphantly together in Sikhi to create a whole that transcends the sum of the parts.

    India born Englishman Rudyard Kipling lamented that “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” In Sikh view the two need never be sundered as in the traditional divide between the East and West. A life of action facilitates connecting with the common Ultimate Reality.

    The same spark of divinity is in each of us, along with some of the devil’s best. Guru Granth offers clear headed advice to nurture this divinity while building a productive life. This becomes the purpose of life (Munn too jote saroop hae(n), apnaa mool pehchhan (ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ) GGS p. 441). Sikhi exhorts us to live productively for the common good (Uddam Karendian(n) jio too…(ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਵਦਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭੁੰਚੁ) GGS p. 522). It asks us to accept responsibility for our actions (aapan hathee apnaa aapay hee kaaj savaryae (ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ) GGS p.474), finally to reflect on what footprints will we leave in the sands of time at the end of our days (Eh sareera meriya is jug mae ayekae kia tudh karam kamayya (ਏ ਸਰੀਰਾ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਆਇ ਕੈ ਕਿਆ ਤੁਧੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇਆ), GGS p. 922).

    Nothing could be more simply laid out than these overarching lessons of life. The living of the words then becomes a life of action.
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  3. RD1

    RD1 Writer SPNer

    Sep 26, 2016
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    How does this look? Any thoughts? What does it mean to live "productively" for the "common good," from a Sikh perspective?

    It is enough to go to work, pay your taxes, and take care of your family?
    Or does it include going outside your circle, volunteering, charity?
    Does it include contemplating God?
    Does it mean trying to be a happy, positive person, and smiling at strangers, brightening the days of others with simplicity?
    Does it mean becoming a social justice advocate?
    Does it mean going to war-torn countries to bring food and water to those suffering?

    What is "productive" enough?
  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

    Panga Master


    Jan 31, 2011
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    that is a tough one, and one i have no answer for, I am not sure what the Sikh perspective is, all Sikhs interpret this differently, my own opinion, at this stage in my life is that to live productively boils down to self preservation, I am not sure why the common good is relevant, if anything, the common good should be nothing more than assisting others in self preservation, however in my view this is hard without upsetting the balance between giving others the chance to learn how to preserve themselves, and helping them.

    no, I don't think so, what about the self? what about furthering your mental abilities, living healthy, exploring and discovering the world, learning, interacting, expanding the mental muscle

    A short term solution to a long term problem, such acts merely allow governments to implement bad policies and continue to do so, or allow society in general to fail in their own self preservation, sure life sucks sometimes, and sure we all need a hand, but to insist on helping people that could help themselves, and find their own empowerment, to me seems quite selfish, an action done for the guilt of the self, to enhance the self, to validate the self,
    why? what is there to contemplate? did God put us here to contemplate him or to live and learn? How can our puny minds contemplate God? it would be like giving a car mechanic a spaceship and asking if it can be serviced.

    again, why? why not brighten your own day and forget about the strangers, deep down we all have our own void, some are bigger than others, or maybe some do not accept the void and fill their lives with meaningless rituals and actions, lets go on holiday, lets smile a stranger, might make the void vanish for a while, I would say tackle your own void before you worry about the void of others.

    We attribute certain social justices to certain people, but the truth is, they would have happened anyway as the world grows,

    I am sure the governments of the countries concerned would probably say yes, but the more that do this, the less these governments need to do themselves, and in any case, I know of no one who has done this and then not talked about at length, which questions the motive, the latest news on the actions of the heads of some of these charities {censored}ing the local population would seem to back this up.

    to look after yourself, to make sure your own house is in order before you go looking for other missions, and at that point, to question what YOUR motive is to do these missions. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime, turn your back on him, he may eat dung for the rest of his life, or lobster, how arrogant to assume that we are the helpers, the wise, we know what is best, we are {censored}ing with peoples lives, their ambitions, saying that it is enough just to have a full belly and be out of the rain, who knows what people are capable of if they know they HAVE to help themselves. Who are we to take that away from them in the name of our own self gratification and feel good factor.
  5. Dr.Alta

    Dr.Alta SPNer

    Apr 16, 2018
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    You assume that those two things are separate. I assume that to contemplate god is the act of learning.
    It's a tenet of Sikhi that god is (in part) knowable. And the gas station attendant can take take a course at a vocational school to service space craft.

    Governments want you to depend on them MORE not less.

    The Guru may not have enmity for anyone but the manmukh has enmity for The Guru. How dare he irrigate Hell.

    I agree
    Don't assume. Ask! If you are both in agreement that it helps them then it helps them
    You got that backwards, Who are we to say that "it is not enough to have a full belly and to be out of the rain. You need to work harder?" Who knows what they are capable of if we enslave them and work them to death?
  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

    Panga Master


    Jan 31, 2011
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    I do believe that is my right to assume, my right to argue is being questioned, do you intend to question my right to assume? well Bully for you if that is what you assume, good luck with it.

    which part? what if the part that you cannot know is the bit that says 'actually its all a huge joke', if you cannot know the whole, there is little point in knowing the part, actually the latter is more dangerous, those that do not know anything accept that, whilst those that know the part are forced to fill in the blanks to get the whole. Most gas station attendants who see it as a career would lack the intelligence, thats why they chose it as a career, I did not know there were vocation courses at local schools in servicing space craft.

    your view, your entitled to it

    utter crap, I am a manmukh, your saying I have enmity for the Guru?, to that end, are you saying that you are a Gurmukh? if not, then so do you, that is the dumbest statement I have ever read

    how do they know? any port in a storm and all that, they are not going to disagree now are they? A begger is not going to refuse money, although hey may spend it on drugs, so where does your asking concept get us?

    yeah I got it backwards and your a Gurmukh full of love, please allow me to prostate myself in front of you and buy you a nice big red light for your BMW
  7. Dr.Alta

    Dr.Alta SPNer

    Apr 16, 2018
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    Thanks for responding to me.
    When I said lets put your right to argue to the test, I meant lets exercise it. You do have the right to assume, I would only ask that you know you are assuming.

    The relevant part

    Then it takes courage to laugh.
    What if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would tell him 'you've been shot with a poison arrow let me provide you with a surgeon', and the man would say, 'I won't acknowledge I've been shot by a poison arrow unless I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' I don't want to know I've been shot unless I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me...unless I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... unless I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... unless I know his home village, town, or city... unless I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... unless I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... unless I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... unless I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a pea{censored}, or another bird... unless I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't acknowledge I've been shot until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow."

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But it is in not knowing what you don't know. Not in knowing only part.

    I find that people rarely accept that they don't know something.
    And just how exactly do those that know nothing get the whole?
    The original was a car mechanic which I incorrectly called a gas station attendant. I assume a car mechanic, especially these days with computerized systems, would have the intelligence to be an astro-technician.

    Perhaps it was a jab at the University System? Where do you think people learn aerospace engineering?

    your view, your entitled to it

    I meant the typical manmuck, Like when one says "birds fly", not that all manmukhs always have enmity

    I am saying I'm not a manmukh. I'd rather not say I'm a Gurmukh because people might assume I'm a saint.

    I don't understand the question. How does one know anything? By the will of god? By seeing if it is consistent with there experiences. Or do you want me to explain the neuroscience to you?

    I was pointing out how not to be arrogant. By taking they're advice

    Frequently people want things they know are not good for them.
    People do things they don't want all the time. Haven't you heard of addiction?

    You don't need to assume you know best. You only need to know if it's better to do the thing you think will help them.
    Back to the topic
    It shouldn't be you saying it's enough just to have a full belly and be out of the rain. It should be them

    We shouldn't be trying to help for our own self gratification and feel good factor. We should be trying to help in order to make the world a better place. My point was who are they to take that away from themselves? The best qualified

    I wouldn't say I'm FULL of love, but I don't wish harm upon anyone and wish the happiness and success to everyone.

    I'm not sure what it means to prostate but it sounds rude.
    I don't get what the red light is for? and I'm more of a DeLorean person.
  8. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller

    Panga Master


    Jan 31, 2011
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    my pleasure, I have not had sex for a while, it takes my mind of it

    ok, lets have a deal, I will accept that I know I am assuming if you do the same

    if you cannot see the whole, how do you know what is relevant and what is not?

    your missing the point, are you here to laugh or to know the whole? personally, I am here to laugh, I do not see that in you.

    your completely off track, the analogy is the worst I have ever come across, a better one would be that the man asks if the surgeon is fully qualified, and his friends state that he is part qualified, the man then insists on seeing a fully qualified surgeon on the basis that part qualified is not good enough, I can send you some links on analogies if you wish, just so you can hone your skills, it saves so much time, including mine for having to write your analogies for you, I may as well debate with myself.

    dress it up however you wish, there are huge blanks

    I see, so you are able to make such simple mistakes in the first stages of debate, yet I am supposed to trust that you can debate the meaning of life and the knowing of God? Do you incorrectly say things as a matter of course? how much of what you have already said is incorrect? There is a massive difference between gas station attendant and mechanic, maybe you should focus on the basics first? Again, I am happy to send you links so that you are able to swot up on these differences before we move on if you wish.

    NASA? you seem to think aerospace engineering is hardly rocket science.

    Again for the purposes of debate you need to be much clearer, you did not say the typical manmukh, you said 'the manmukh', and now your saying not all manmukhs have this enmity, is there any purpose in this debate if you are going to change the goalposts as you go along? tell you what, you decide what it is your saying, and then we can start again.

    I am a manmukh, I'd rather not say I'm a Gurmukh because I am not, if that is your only reason then I find that quite farcical.

    by learning and living, I will pass on the neuroscience lesson, you can't even spell.....

    Again, I find it hard to take lessons from someone with such awful grammar and spelling...

    yes, but as you have already stated

    Don't assume. Ask! If you are both in agreement that it helps them then it helps them

    so how does that work? can you explain? or should I give up now and go back to my smurf porn?

    yes, I have come across that word, addiction, and I have come across quite a few arrogant types like yourself that think they know best, although they have never actually lived, what gives you the right to know better? How can you possibly know what is better?, you can't even put a decent analogy together, or spell, you chop and change your statements, and can't even get a basic distinction in your head from mechanic to gas attendant.

    only according to what makes the world a better place in your eyes, I think the world would be a better place if naked smurfs walked around everywhere, I have no interest in what your view is, you would probably make them cover up, so, as you can see, we are against each other.

    happiness and success as to how you see it, not how they see it, I would say your full of something but love does not come to mind.
  9. Dr.Alta

    Dr.Alta SPNer

    Apr 16, 2018
    Likes Received:
    My creed is, "I assume my beliefs are true, because they explain my past experiences and shall continue to hold them as true until such a time as evidence shows them to be false."

    The same way you know anything else. Trial and error and if you are wise the T&Es of others.

    No. I'm here to make myself a better person.

    You didn't say that whole knowledge is better that partial knowledge you that, that "Partial knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge"
    To use your analogy it's better to being treated by a completely unqualified man than a part qualified man. If we all refuse to be seen by intern doctors then there will be no fully qualified doctors. And yes I am American surgeons are doctors.
    please do, that's what I'm here for.

    I dress them up with warning signs.

    It's better to make bad moves than invalid ones
    You assume I'ma Manmukh then are surprised when I talk like one?
    'gas station' is a synonym for 'service station' which is presumably where you would go to get your space craft serviced by a car mechanic, so some gas station attendants are car mechanics especially in the context we where talking about. I call your bluff.

    You're wrong NAVA sends you to collage.

    Maybe you should learn basic linguistics before arguing about what words mean. It was a valid interpretation to be manmukhs in general. the other interpretation of 'the manmuck' is to refer to a specific manmukh in ether case I wasn't saying all manmukhs

    YOu're confusing the Line of Scrimmage for the goalposts. Are you sure you know how these debates work? tell you what, you decide what it is your saying, and then we can start again.

    How do you know?
    Is sounded like a complaint. But you did say you where here to laugh so, you're welcome?

    An Ad Hominem, but we all ready established that you where bad at this.

    yes, but as you have already stated

    Don't assume. Ask! If you are both in agreement that it helps them then it helps them

    so how does that work? can you explain? or should I give up now and go back to my smurf porn?[/quote]
    So you admit you don't know the dialectical method? I could but if you want an Explanation you could find a better one on the net. Any why would you give up on something that is working for you? or can you not keep your story straight?

    I'm interested in how you know I think I know best?

    Are you agreeing with me that I'm not a manmukh and therefore don't know what it's like to live as a manmuhk, or are you saying I'm a ghost? anyways a vicarious life is a life no less.
    Are you questioning my right to improve my knowledge? Or are you arguing against the inequality of knowledge in people? Etherway I think we have Waraguru to blame.
    Price's theorem? or was that a rhetorical question?

    You can't even get a basic distinction in your head like, "can't" and "didn't" or "in your head" and "out of your head". And yet I find it easy to take lessons from you

    only according to what makes the world a better place in your eyes, I think the world would be a better place if naked smurfs walked around everywhere,[/quote]Throw in naked Smurfettes and it's a deal.
    And yet you like to talk about it. That's what makes you a manmukh and me not. You're an armchair expert on me and don't you think that is a little bit arrogant?

    Why do you think I'm so interested in how they see it?

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