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Are The Important Scriptures Of World Religions, Simply Opinions?

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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Feb 19, 2010
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Gurfateh Confused ji

Thanks for your further feedback and insight

I am now hearing you say is that there is an underlying truth which different beings perceive as per their level of understanding / misunderstanding. But if there is indeed ‘misunderstanding’, should we class this along with ‘understanding’ and then differentiate in terms of levels? Why don’t we just make a distinction between right vs. wrong where wrong is wrong and the right has many levels? Or do you think that this distinction between understanding and misunderstanding does not apply here?
Could you clarify further?

Ji, one of the objectives of following Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji ji is to stop being judgemental. If I keep maintaining a hard distinction between those who are right and those who are wrong, or those who understand and those who misunderstand, then this is a form of duality, which I would like to remove. By having different levels of understanding, and passing the buck as it were, to the Creator and His Hukam, as per Pauri 2 of Japji Sahib, then there is less likelihood of such duality, and less ego.


hukmee utam neech hukam likh dukh sukh paa-ee-ah.
By His Command, some are high and some are low; by His Written
Command, pain and pleasure are obtained.
iknaa hukmee bakhsees ik hukmee sadaa bhavaa-ee-ah.
Some, by His Command, are blessed and forgiven; others, by His
Command, wander aimlessly forever.
hukmai andar sabh ko baahar hukam na ko-ay.
Everyone is subject to His Command; no one is beyond His Command.
naanak hukmai jay bujhai ta ha-umai kahai na ko-ay. ||2||
O Nanak, one who understands His Command, does not speak in ego. ||2||​
(Page: 1, Lines : 8-10, Jap, Author: Guru Nanak Dev)


(Sorry sanghat ji, I tried to cut and paste Gurmukhi as well, but fonts did not come across correctly from the Adobe pdf file I was copying from)​

Himmat:
It sounds like truth, but the truth I know and rank as universal, does not make it absolute truth.​

C: So are you differentiating between universal truth and absolute truth? Please explain.​

Ji, the implication is that
1) Universal truth is what is commonly perceived as "truth", ie generally recognised as "truth" or "facts" in the general realm/sphere of human knowledge and
2) Absolute truth is actual intrinsic unchangeable eternal reality, that may or may not be the same as universal truth.​

eg There have been times when people believed the sun circled the earth, or the earth was the centre of the universe. This for such believers was truth, and remained truth until they accepted a revised theory. Such theories that we "know" now, may still be modified in the future, and hence they fall in realm of universal truth. Absolute truth is what the reality actually is, encompassing all laws and principles of the universe, and any unknown dimensions.
I am not trying to imply there is no value in recognising and accepting the current "truth". I just like to bear in mind that there may well be far more to the current story :)



C: I have been pointing to such things as ignorance, wisdom and perception itself as being truths. And I’ll add such things as thinking, seeing, hearing, taste, feeling, attachment, kindness, generosity, anger, the fire element, impermanence and insubstantiality as being similarly, truths.
Now it may be that I speak about these from a kindergarten level of understanding, but surely his does not make it opinion, does it? After all, even as I make this distinction between truth and opinion, I’d acknowledge the fact of ‘thinking’ taking place and this will be the very evidence that what I have been talking about are indeed truths. In the same way, when you talk about your wisdom being limited and differentiate between your perceptions of the truth from the truth itself, you are making statements about these same universal truths, namely wisdom and perception which I refer to.



There are always going to be differences in how people percieve even matters such as taste smell, anger etc. The fact that there is a differnce and only the perceiver actually knows how they feel, makes the perception an opinion. When we rank them all as different opinions on a scale that has no limits at either end, then it is all just opinion.​

Gurbani urges one to see friends and enemies as one and the same, or see praise and slander and one and the same. To do this one has to accept that even things like taste, or smell are all part of something that is part of the infinite variation found in the Creator's creation. By doing so, one may possibly merge into the creation, and the creation merges into a single unity with infinite variety with no ending and no beginning. By trying to form a difference between "truth" and "non-truth" is a way to maintain distinction. However all opinion, whether false or true, is part and parcel of Creation, and has value. Keeping Gurbani aloof as "truth" and oneself as incapable of knowing "truth" is a way to maintain duality, which is opposite to what Gurbani is actually teaching one to do. By recognising it as a level of opinion, and one's opinion on the same scale, then there is greater chance of less duality and less egoism ( Again Pauri 2 of Japji Sahib)​


Here we have the lowest form, based on total ignorance when it comes to a creator. It does not make the perceptions redundant though. It is simply recognised that they are based on speculation.

C: You are referring to ignorance not of what is ‘now’ which will include the ignorance itself, but something outside of this, namely the creator. This is why you go on to saying that it is alright to speculate as long as one knows that this is what one is doing. From my side, if speculating / thinking is the reality of the present moment, understanding its nature is the be all and end all. So apparently we are not talking about the same kind of ‘knowing’.​


We will have to differ on this point. There are somethings that are beyond comprehension, and I do not like to waste time trying to comprehend them. You have probably come across Marx's idea that religion is the opium of the masses. I like such opium as it contents me without causing any harm to me. By sticking to what is realistically possible, whilst maintaining faith in unknowns, belief in which satisfy the mind, I believe Guru Nanak Dev Ji is pointing to the same, throughout Japji Sahib.​

C: According to the way things are as I understand it, any such tool to soothe the mind is an encouragement to not look at what is happening now. The real cause for all the troubles in whatever form, is ignorance. And attachment to ideas including what seems to make us feel better, makes it even worse. The only real cure is the development of wisdom. But of course since the ignorance is so overwhelming including the attachment to having measurable results, we are tempted to find quick remedies. But know that this could turn out to be a case of licking honey off a razor blade, each time that we enjoy the taste, we also bruise our tongue and one day we find out that its in quite a bad shape.​

Ego and dogmatic persistence on truthfulness of one's perceptions and trying to impose them on others can cause problems between people, rather than ignorance. Whole societies and species have been wiped out as people imposed their will and version of truth upon others.​

We don't "have" to know what we are ignorant of. We can just choose to "live" in peace and harmony with neighbours, and share. People have been around for more than a million years without huge amounts of "knowledge" to hand. They lived and survived, although higher proportions may have suffered from famines, droughts, diseases as now do. If they had not done so we would not be here now. Now, we have exponential growth in "knowledge", but it is also accompanied with exponential growth in use of limited resources, which may be unsustainable and lead to complete destruction of climate and the environment; introduction of GM foods,and synthetic biotechnology are all unknowns, and this "knowledge" or increased "understanding" may not be wise at all. It may lead to self-destruction in a very short timescale, whilst people live for the moment. So I agree with you about the effects of quick remedies, but I do feel it is related to an increase in unwise use of knowledge as well.​

Kind Regards

Himmat
Sat Sri Akal​
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himmat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

Thanks for your response.

Language is a very important thing, especially in Sikhi and that is what interests us the most as we are talking about Gurbani. However, when we use words from another language, for example in this case English, we have to be extra cautious and careful of what words we are trying to use for what meaning. Our Gurus were experts in the usage of the language and if we fail to grasp what our Gurus are talking about, then the whole effort becomes futile.

I will be using the words and the definitions given by you to express what I am trying to convey.

You write:

Theology: 1. the field of study and analysis that treats of god and of God's attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity.
2. a particular form, system, branch, or course of this study.
Yes, Theo means God and logy means knowledge/study. It comes from Greek and then translated to Latin as Theologia. This is based on the Christian doctrine, which was based on Greek and/or Egyptian Mithra. Both of them have virgin births.

There are two main kinds of fields in theology.

  • Dogmatic Theology: This involves dogmas of the religion. The term became famous after Martin Luther and his protestant reformation in Christianity
  • Liberation Theology: This started in Latin/South America against the oppressed indigenous people and other poor people by the Roman Catholic priests. This combined Catholic theology and Socialist principles was started in effort to bring about improved conditions for the poor in Latin/South America. It is worth noting that the latter was frowned by the Catholic Church especially by the present Pope Benedict the XVI who was then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who as the perfect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) penned his own criticism about the movement in 1985.

The people who started the Liberation theology which started in 1971 were the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement's most famous books, A Theology of Liberation, Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.

Leonardo Boff of Brazil spent some years behind bars during the military regimes of General Ernesto Geisel and General Joao Figueiredo in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Now, let’s try to define the word God as a deity which you have used for Ik Ong Kaar.
God : The supreme or ultimate reality: as: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe.
Deity: Any supernatural being worshiped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

You write:

I don’t feel I am way out with my understanding of the words, although I may be misapplying them when I use them. I am currently of the understanding that Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is pragmatic, but advocates full faith in a single deity.
Yes, you are because Ik Ong Kaar is neither a God nor any personified single deity as you claim. I would look for the description of Ik Ong Kaar once again.

There also appears to me to be great emphasis on "God". Whether "God" is referenced as "Ik Ong Kaar", parmeswar, brahma, prabhu, parmatama, or not seems to be a technical point. However I will search for your previous posts on this site, that go into this point, and if need be will come back to you to discuss further, if you also wish to.
The reasons are given above and in my previous post.

I am not, at the moment, convinced that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not based on theological reasons. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji ji appears to me to have been compiled principally to enshrine the theological studies and conclusions of Sikh Gurus and Bhagats.
Not according to the definition of theology as mentioned above.

One can use the word Theology in different religions provided what they offer in an abstract sense. For example Islamic theology, Buddhist theology etc. etc but Sikhi is quite a unique way of life and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our only Guru has the writings from people of different religions, hence the term theology is not applicable to Sikhi because it always has dogmas of the particular religions involved in it. Theology is not a stand alone term when we talk about the religions discussed because of the description of Theo- God which comes packaged with dogmas, unlike Sikhi.

I came across that thread when searching for the one related to the Mool Mantar. I don’t think it matters too much if a term is borrowed from an abrahmic religion, or any religion, to epitomise “Ik Ong Kaar”, unless you feel words like prabhu, waheguru, takhar, malik do not do sufficient justice to “Ik Ong Kaar”, but then you will meet a problem as such words do appear very frequently in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (save for waheguru). People tend to use a limited section of their vocabulary, and others tend to understand from just this small range.
It does matter, as mentioned in the beginning, the language and its usage are very important in Sikhi. Our Gurus showed us that. God in Abrahamic religion is totally a different thing than Ik Ong kaar.

I agree “Unknowable”does convey a sense of the infinite nature of Ik Ong Kaar. It also conveys a sense a lack of certainty about the nature of Ik Ong Kaar. By virtue of such statements all the sections relating to the nature of Ik Ong Kaar are then opinion.
Please elaborate what you mean by lack of certainty? What I understand by lack of certainty means that one has a glimpse of something that one is not certain about what it actually is. In other words one knows a bit about it. However, what is not known is simply unknowable and our Gurus kept an open mind and also urge us to do the same through Gurbani for the new discoveries as new planets are found daily. In fact, yesterday the scientists discovered a new black hole and they know its exact date. Unknowable means open to learn about what is not known today. It has nothing to do with uncertainty. I have no idea how unknowable becomes an opinion in your mind. It is a simple contradiction. This is one more reason there is no Absolute Truth as sold in the dogmatic religions. Truth in Sikhi is quite fluid due to the dynamic universes that surround us and also because of our own daily discoveries. We as Sikhs, learn,unlearn and relearn daily.

ਪਾਰਬਰ੍ਹਮਅਪਰੰਪਰਦੇਵਾ
paarbarahm aprampar dayvaa.
The Supreme Lord God is Infinite and Divine;
ਅਗਮਅਗੋਚਰਅਲਖਅਭੇਵਾ

agam agochar alakh abhayvaa.
He is Inaccessible, Incomprehensible, Invisible and Inscrutable.

Next time, please indicate the page number from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji when you refer to it. What I understand by the above is that:

It is hard to meet the Creator of the Universe and beyond, our Divine Master ( the name " Divine Master" is used in a metaphorical sense). Ik Ong Kaar's form is immeasurable, inaccessible and unfathomable. Ik Ong Kaar is all-pervading everywhere.

Ik Ong Kaar is above all formless and indescribable, so sublime as to be totally beyond human powers of recognition, description, or conception.

Hence Ik Ong Kaar is called AJUNI- SEHBHUNG- THE CREATIVE ENERGY which is neither a deity nor a god in the meanings given above.

I feel this difference only differentiates between an individual who accepts in pauri 12, as opposed to groups who accept in pauris 13 to 15. I don’t think either refer to understanding – only acceptance/surrender in faith.
One can not accept anything without understanding it first. This is the basic human behavioural trait. Accepting without understanding anything is called blind faith that makes people blind which again Sikhi is not about.

The usage of surrender is often used in the English translation of Gurbani which in my opinion is incorrect. Surrender from what? The relationship between Ik Ong Kaar and us is like the Father and the Son, the Husband and the Wife. The relationship is not of surrender but of embracing each other, having a shoulder to lean on, having an ear to listen to, having a hand to hold. Nothing more. It is more a Sangam- the merger than a surrender.

So,surrender is again one more word that should be stricken out from the Sikhi English vocabulary.


Faith is the keystone that continues to keep away doubt when there is lack of knowledge of Ik Ong Kaar, and leads to a nirankaar, (or formless creative enactor), both nirgun and sargun (both without attributes and with attributes). Without the keystone of faith all the walls fall down. Each of us will develop understanding as we do vichaar/contemplate bani.
The same goes for faith which is another name for a dogmatic blind belief system which is nothing to do with Sikhi. Having faith or belief is different than faith or belief used in the religious aspect. Faith is dogmatic, it is nothing to do with the pragmatism of Sikhi.

I do contradict myself sometimes, and over time probably quite frequently. What I understood 2 years ago will not be the same as I what I understand today.
I don’t think I have contradicted myself here though. One refers to expression of opinion, ie a speculative theory, (opinions relating to a creator in this case) and the other relates to onward communication of statements (hearsay) I have said repeatedly that if the oral traditions and the oral history like Sakhis contradict Gurmat ideals of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji then they should be rejected vehemently and can not be made part of the Miri-Piri concept of Sikhi.
I agree with you, but it is up to individuals to decide what to believe, and Sikhi is evolving however much people deny it and try to prevent such evolution.
In the above, my post is mixed up with yours, so I do not quite get it what you are trying to say. Would appreciate your clarification.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh



[/FONT]
 

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Gurfateh

Tejwant Singh ji, thank you for your further comments.

I am not sure whether you are happy with continuing this dialogue, but am happy to do as long as you wish to and I am able to. Whenever you get irked by me,perhaps by my touching on sensitive issues, please do openly let me know, and I will desist from discussing with you any or all of those sections that you do not wish to be discussed.

I sense we are not in the same camps with respect to our individual interest in Sikhi and this may be influencing the difference in our thoughts, or perceptions.

I see Sikhi only as one of many methodologies with a set of techniques to take one through life; I am not attached to it and am free to pick and choose the parts that I see will serve a purpose, and that is to produce a contented mind during my life, despite what goes on in the surrounding environment, and with faith in doing the right things as God would wish me to. There is faith in God and learning from SGGS ji. If I perceive concepts in SGGS that I do not understand, I will set them aside. Any parts of Sikhi (as opposed to SGGS) that I view as not purposeful will be deliberately neglected. This is what is sometimes termed as manmat by some, but I am happy with that. It serves a purpose, instead of following in vain hope, or struggling when there is no realistic hope of understanding.

I cannot know what you hope to gain from Sikhi. There could be so many reasons driving your interest so I would be unwise to guess.

I will now comment on your post, but will do so in subposts so you can reply further, if you wish, to only those sections that interest you further. In addition I might avoid being logged out automatically.

Please forgive me if these words seem a little harsh. I only wish to be open and honest, and make you aware of my perspective, so you do not waste your energy if you feel it is not worthwhile.

:happymunda:

Kind Regards

Himmat

Sat Sri Akal
 

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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Feb 19, 2010
108
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Tejwant Singh said:
Language is a very important thing, especially in Sikhi and that is what interests us the most as we are talking about Gurbani. However, when we use words from another language, for example in this case English, we have to be extra cautious and careful of what words we are trying to use for what meaning. Our Gurus were experts in the usage of the language and if we fail to grasp what our Gurus are talking about, then the whole effort becomes futile.


Gurfateh ji

Language is important. We can try to understand and should try to do so. However most people are not scholars and do not have time to analyse grammar or learn mutilple Indic languages. We must accept language is dynamic and constantly evolves. What is understood by a word today is not necessarily what was meant when even the same word was used 500 years ago.
It is for Sikhs to accept this as a fact instead of insisting Gurbani is unchangeable.
If there is no recognition of the changing nature of language, then it inevitable understanding will become incomplete and will be different to that of yesteryear. All that will happen is that one opinion will be challenged by another, with no idea which, if any, presents a true picture of the intent of the author.
Perhaps Sikhs should try to read Egyptian hieroglyphics and then try to suggest exactly and very precisely what was on mind of the writers. It is impossible.

Sat Sri Akal
 

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Gurfateh

Tejwant Singh Ji, I have read all the further points you have made about theology. I believe we are at cross-purposes. You appear to be interested in ensuring SGGS is not represented as dogma, or represented as theological dogma. I do not have such an interest. I don't mind if it is dogma, or isn't dogma, as I see it only as valuable guidance irrespective of whether it is dogmatic or pragmatic. I do happen to see it as pragmatic, but other aspects of Sikhi as dogmatic. All I wished to note by suggesting there were theological reasons behind SGGS, was that some form of studies had been made by the contributors, and these studies were associated with their interest in a creator (or God) hence "theology".

You have also linked in this use of a personal deity, to represent Ik Ong Kaar. Again, I do not mind viewing Ik Ong Kaar as personal. My viewing Ik Ong Kaar as personal makes it easy to associate with Ik Ong Kaar, despite the unfathomable nature of Ik Ong Kaar. I would find it very difficult to undertand how to try to please a non-personal concept of Ik Ong Kaar, and trying to please Ik Ong Kaar is one of my main aims. I could not, for example try to please a brick wall.

The terms ajuni and saibhang, seen in the Mool Mantar, I believe are characteristics of the human soul, common with that of Ik Ong Kaar. Guru Nanak Dev ji is not specifically speaking only of Ik Ong Kaar when these words are used in the Mool Mantar, but is making a comparison to help in the self-realisation process. I have briefly mentioned this in the Blueprint -Sikhi Marg thread you initiated some time ago, and if you see fit we can discuss further thereon.


Sat Sri Akal
 

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Tejwant Singh said:
One can not accept anything without understanding it first. This is the basic human behavioural trait. Accepting without understanding anything is called blind faith that makes people blind which again Sikhi is not about.

The usage of surrender is often used in the English translation of Gurbani which in my opinion is incorrect. Surrender from what? The relationship between Ik Ong Kaar and us is like the Father and the Son, the Husband and the Wife. The relationship is not of surrender but of embracing each other, having a shoulder to lean on, having an ear to listen to, having a hand to hold. Nothing more. It is more a Sangam- the merger than a surrender.

So,surrender is again one more word that should be stricken out from the Sikhi English vocabulary.

Gurfateh ji

I disagree with you. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji acknowledges one cannot understand the Creator, Ik Ong Kaar.
Ik Ong Kaar is the bedrock of Sikhi. Without a concept of Ik Ong Kaar, Sikhi is not anywhere near as useful as it is with a concept of Ik Ong Kaar.
Therefore one has to accept in blind faith, and in blind faith alone. This implies one accepts in ignorance.

Surrender:
Use of surrender here is to imply surrender of one's mind to the innate Guru within, who provides intuitive guidance. It is not surrender to Ik Ong Kaar, who has no need to make one surrender. However one can accept and abide by His Hukam instead of being egotistical or pining for what one does not have. One can acknowledge the diversity of Hukam and accept the diversity as all rooted in the same origins as one's own origins.

Sat Sri Akal
 

sunmukh

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Tejwant Singh said:
The same goes for faith which is another name for a dogmatic blind belief system which is nothing to do with Sikhi. Having faith or belief is different than faith or belief used in the religious aspect. Faith is dogmatic, it is nothing to do with the pragmatism of Sikhi.

You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma. Faith is what Sikhi is about. Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques. All of these are available outside Sikhi.
The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith. Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem. Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage. Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs. For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition. This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks. They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.

Sat Sri Akal
 

sunmukh

(Previously Himmat Singh)
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108
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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Gurfateh ji

sunmukh said:
I do contradict myself sometimes, and over time probably quite frequently. What I understood 2 years ago will not be the same as I what I understand today.

I don’t think I have contradicted myself here though. One refers to expression of opinion, ie a speculative theory, (opinions relating to a creator in this case) and the other relates to onward communication of statements (hearsay)

Tejwant Singh said:
I have said repeatedly that if the oral traditions and the oral history like Sakhis contradict Gurmat ideals of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji then they should be rejected vehemently and can not be made part of the Miri-Piri concept of Sikhi.

I replied further:

sunmukh said:
I agree with you, but it is up to individuals to decide what to believe, and Sikhi is evolving however much people deny it and try to prevent such evolution.

I trust this clarifies this point sufficiently

Thank you and Kind Regards

Sat Sri Akal
 

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You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma. Faith is what Sikhi is about. Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques. All of these are available outside Sikhi.
The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith. Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem. Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage. Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs. For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition. This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks. They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.

Sat Sri Akal


sunmukh ji

The above paragraph is not more intelligible than various other comments you have proffered on the topic. It is full of concepts that go undefined, internal contradictions, and nonsequiturs.

Here is the paragraph re-written as a series of claims. Now separated as individual sentences, they may look different to you. The sentences in a paragraph should progress logically to develop a main idea.Hope you can see how these sentences either contradict one another or are logically unrelated. Very frequently they are nothing more than your assertions without any apparent support other than your personal hunch.

Many sentences in the above comment, moreover, contain two or more mutually contradictory notions. Sentences are intended to express one complete thought. They cannot do that if two ideas are not logically connected (e.g., "pragmatism is enhanced by faith"). It is up to you to connect ideas logically and not leave it to others to make these connections for you.

How are you connecting all of this? welcomekaur

  • You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma.
  • Faith is what Sikhi is about.
  • Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques.
  • All of these are available outside Sikhi.
  • The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith.
  • Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem.
  • Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage.
  • Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs.
  • For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition.
  • This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks.
  • They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.

I will limit my concerns for now with this particular comment of yours. However, there is something else I have been meaning to ask, Why do you, almost always and in various threads, speak of "Sikhs" in the 3rd person, speaking of Sikhs as "they," and as if you are somehow remote, unaffected or unattached to Sikhs and Sikhi as a Sikh. Do you write in terms of "we" or "our." Are you a Sikh?
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himmat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

You write:

I am not sure whether you are happy with continuing this dialogue, but am happy to do as long as you wish to and I am able to. Whenever you get irked by me,perhaps by my touching on sensitive issues, please do openly let me know, and I will desist from discussing with you any or all of those sections that you do not wish to be discussed.
Pardon my ignorance, but I have no idea where you got the above from? How did you come to this prejudgmental stance of yours? Why would you even fathom that I would get irked through interaction?

Now, after your comments above,I have no idea what your true agenda is. I would like you to come clean in an honest manner. If your agenda here is to irk people then you have and will fail miserably as many have tried before and fallen flat on their faces including some who called themselves Sikhs. This is a frequent occurring in this forum since its inception in 2004. You should read those threads for your own knowledge. Interaction is a learning process for me as I have mentioned before and learning, unlearning and relearning is what I do here daily.

I sense we are not in the same camps with respect to our individual interest in Sikhi and this may be influencing the difference in our thoughts, or perceptions.
That is possible and as mentioned before that disagreements are part of the learning process as long as both of us have Gurmat ideals in mind and are not here to second guess our visionary Gurus and their writings. That is neither mine or yours nor anyone else's job. We are here to learn from Gurbani and put it into practice in our daily lives.

I see Sikhi only as one of many methodologies with a set of techniques to take one through life; I am not attached to it and am free to pick and choose the parts that I see will serve a purpose, and that is to produce a contented mind during my life, despite what goes on in the surrounding environment, and with faith in doing the right things as God would wish me to.
It is your life and your right to use it the way you want to the best of your abilities. It has nothing to do with me or with anyone else. The whole idea about Sikhi is to become better as beings and help others rather than being ritualistic parrots with one ugly plumage. I had no idea that the God you serve has wishes like mere mortals. Most of the dogmatic religions have that in their doctrines. Ik Ong Kaar has nothing of that sort.

There is faith in God and learning from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji ji. If I perceive concepts in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that I do not understand, I will set them aside. Any parts of Sikhi (as opposed to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) that I view as not purposeful will be deliberately neglected. This is what is sometimes termed as manmat by some, but I am happy with that. It serves a purpose, instead of following in vain hope, or struggling when there is no realistic hope of understanding.
Pragmatism does not need faith but practice after having attained awareness, realisation,understanding and acceptance of the concept. Truth does not need any faith either. It stands on its own. If you are a truth seeker, then you do not need any faith. Only make believe things need faith. This is what Sikhi is all about. As mentioned before and it is worth repeating that blind faiths make people blind from the truth. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is our only Guru. Any ideal that does not compliment it should be rejected and I have repeated that quite often in many of my posts and threads in this forum.

I cannot know what you hope to gain from Sikhi. There could be so many reasons driving your interest so I would be unwise to guess.
I have repeatedly mentioned in many post whats I am here for and I did say that above as well.

Please forgive me if these words seem a little harsh. I only wish to be open and honest, and make you aware of my perspective, so you do not waste your energy if you feel it is not worthwhile.
No, I do not find your words harsh. It is your own perception about yourself and if you want to be honest then you should stop prejudging others and ask questions as a Sikh should.:)

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himmat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

You write:

Language is important. We can try to understand and should try to do so. However most people are not scholars and do not have time to analyse grammar or learn mutilple Indic languages.
I have no idea what you mean by lack of time. If one has the quest then one would try to understand things objectively and spend sometime doing that, otherwise all becomes personally subjective mumbo jumbo rather than the real message that is given.

I am sure you would not tell your children to ignore understanding the language they are learning or any other concept because it is time consuming. So your above feeling holds no water in front of the reason.


We must accept language is dynamic and constantly evolves. What is understood by a word today is not necessarily what was meant when even the same word was used 500 years ago.
I agree with you but here you are contradicting what you said above. In order to accept the dynamism and evolution of the language, we have to first understand what the words meant then and then only we can see how they have evolved with time. Sikhi is an evolving way of life unlike other dogmatic religions that stopped in time. Pragmatism helps us to be open minded and willing to learn and change all the times. That is the reason we are called Sikhs, learners, seekers,

It is for Sikhs to accept this as a fact instead of insisting Gurbani is unchangeable.
I have no idea where you got that from in our interaction. Once again, it is your personal perception about me in a prejudgemental manner. It is not the point that Gurbani is unchangable or not. It is us who discover new things in the same.Gurbani is like a prism and with time and with persistence in studying Gurbani, we come to see the other angles of the same prism. Gurbani has to be re-written by someone to be changed and I hope you are not implying that.

If there is no recognition of the changing nature of language, then it inevitable understanding will become incomplete and will be different to that of yesteryear. All that will happen is that one opinion will be challenged by another, with no idea which, if any, presents a true picture of the intent of the author.
Now, you are being repetitive, I am afraid. As mentioned above, one is only able to recognise the changes provided one knows what the words in the language mean in the first place. Otherwise it is mere a utopic self defeating prophetic idea rather than a practical one which makes us learn something from the evolution of the language.

Perhaps Sikhs should try to read Egyptian hieroglyphics and then try to suggest exactly and very precisely what was on mind of the writers. It is impossible.
I do not know whether you are being sarcastic or serious. In any case it has nothing to do with what is being discussed. Having said that, I would love to learn Egyptian hieroglyphics as a Sikh.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

sunmukh

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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

SPNADMIN said:
However, there is something else I have been meaning to ask, Why do you, almost always and in various threads, speak of "Sikhs" in the 3rd person, speaking of Sikhs as "they," and as if you are somehow remote, unaffected or unattached to Sikhs and Sikhi as a Sikh. Do you write in terms of "we" or "our." Are you a Sikh?
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Gurfateh ji

SPNadmin ji, I have often turned to speaking of "Sikhs" in the third person because the people I write of in that manner have disenfranchised me and my family, and most of my immediate relatives through the Gurleen Kaur case decision. Until then there was some doubt as to whether we were sikhs and most accepted us as such. There were some articles on some panthic websites referring to those who did not keep 5ks in a derogotary way but they could be dismissed as the work of fanatics. Now it is clear that "they" wish to have a distinct identity which excludes "us". It is most regrettable, but if that is what "they" want then it works both ways. Until then I attended gurdwara regularly and had got to a point where 3 of my daughters were accompanying me on a daily basis. I have stopped attending gurdwaras since then, save for an event to which I am invited, and "they" can do as they please. I touched on this before on this thread but it is not really on topic. I have not created the "us" and "them" situation, it is a product of SGPC's actions.

I will stay a "sikh" with a small s, in a generic sense, and I can still learn from SGGS, my only Guru, and maintain faith in one God.

Sat Sri Akal
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himaat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

Tejwant Singh Ji, I have read all the further points you have made about theology. I believe we are at cross-purposes. You appear to be interested in ensuring Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not represented as dogma, or represented as theological dogma. I do not have such an interest.
Now you are changing your tune. yes you do. You yourself mentioned in your posts that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji does not represent dogmas and now you are doing an about turn. One wonders why and which is the true Himmat Singh!

I don't mind if it is dogma, or isn't dogma, as I see it only as valuable guidance irrespective of whether it is dogmatic or pragmatic. I do happen to see it as pragmatic, but other aspects of Sikhi as dogmatic.
You are changing your tune again, which is OK with me but this not what you have been saying all along. Rather to the contrary. If I were you I would check the posts that you wrote and give clarity to your mind.

All I wished to note by suggesting there were theological reasons behind Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, was that some form of studies had been made by the contributors, and these studies were associated with their interest in a creator (or God) hence "theology".
It is hillarious to say the least that in one of your earlier posts, you say :
We must accept language is dynamic and constantly evolves. What is understood by a word today is not necessarily what was meant when even the same word was used 500 years ago. It is for Sikhs to accept this as a fact instead of insisting Gurbani is unchangeable.

And under the same breath you want to use the word THEOLOGY which is more than 3000 years old. Can you see your flip flopping, which has become a constant in your posts?:)

I beg to differ with you about theology for the reasons mentioned in my earlier posts.

You have also linked in this use of a personal deity, to represent Ik Ong Kaar. Again, I do not mind viewing Ik Ong Kaar as personal.
Now, you are distorting what I said to say the least. No where in my posts did I mention personal deity as you claim. I always talked about the personified deity. Please check the meaning of both for your own benefit and clarification. You seem confused at times for the reasons only known to you. And Ik Ong Kaar has nothing to do with a personified deity as repeatedly mentioned by me.

My viewing Ik Ong Kaar as personal makes it easy to associate with Ik Ong Kaar, despite the unfathomable nature of Ik Ong Kaar. I would find it very difficult to undertand how to try to please a non-personal concept of Ik Ong Kaar, and trying to please Ik Ong Kaar is one of my main aims. I could not, for example try to please a brick wall.
Once again, there is a big difference between a personified deity which Ik Ong Kaar is not and personal Ik Ong Kaar which Ik Ong Kaar is. Please check the meanings so you can clarify your stance on this.

The question arises,why would Ik Ong Kaar which is all there is liked to be pleased? I fail to understand that. Wanting to be pleased is a human trait. It has nothing to do with Ik Ong Kaar. Who needs to be pleased is the Abrahamic God who has all the human traits like vengeance, jealousy,evil etc etc. Ik Ong Kaar has nothing to do with that.

On the other hand, you can please a brick wall if you are an idol worshiper and that wall is your God or you are at the Jewish wailing wall praying there and putting your personal written prayers in its crevices.

The terms ajuni and saibhang, seen in the Mool Mantar, I believe are characteristics of the human soul, common with that of Ik Ong Kaar. Guru Nanak Dev ji is not specifically speaking only of Ik Ong Kaar when these words are used in the Mool Mantar, but is making a comparison to help in the self-realisation process. I have briefly mentioned this in the Blueprint -Sikhi Marg thread you initiated some time ago, and if you see fit we can discuss further thereon.
I beg to differ with you. If you take the whole Mool Mantar ( btw, I have no idea who gave the name) and check line by line and expand it what Guru Nanak is talking about, you will find that Ajuni Sahibung is the Creative Energy that Guru Nanak describes Ik Ong Kaar is about, hence it has nothing to do with any deity,god, dogma and theology.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himmat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

You write:

I disagree with you. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji acknowledges one cannot understand the Creator, Ik Ong Kaar.
As mentioned before, it is ok to disagree but it is not OK to distort the meanings of the words in trying to prove one's point. The acknowledgment of not understanding Ik Ong Kaar is akin to something that is unknowable as far as its traits and vastness are concerned. One can not understand something that is not known to us yet. Once we know it, then we understand it and accept it.

Ik Ong Kaar is the bedrock of Sikhi. Without a concept of Ik Ong Kaar, Sikhi is not anywhere near as useful as it is with a concept of Ik Ong Kaar.
Therefore one has to accept in blind faith, and in blind faith alone. This implies one accepts in ignorance.

You are once again contradicting from your first statement to the second one. Yes, Ik Ong Kaar is the bedrock of Sikhi but it has all to do with pragmatism, understanding and using Gurbani as a tool box in real life to make a difference.

This has nothing to do with the blind faith. To the contrary.

Surrender:
Use of surrender here is to imply surrender of one's mind to the innate Guru within, who provides intuitive guidance. It is not surrender to Ik Ong Kaar, who has no need to make one surrender.
I understand what you are trying to say but again as you are into modernising the language, then you should modernise this archaic ill used word too:). Surrender means something imposed, done by force unlike Sikhi which is an internal manifestation not an external imposition the way the word surrender implies. Sikhi instills in us to be good so we can do good. Hence, the word surrender should be taken out when we are talking about Gurbani.

However one can accept and abide by His Hukam instead of being egotistical or pining for what one does not have. One can acknowledge the diversity of Hukam and accept the diversity as all rooted in the same origins as one's own origins.
One has no choice but to abide by the Hukam. Sooner or later one does come to that realisation.

Thanks and regards

Tejwant Singh
 

Tejwant Singh

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Himmat Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma. Faith is what Sikhi is about. Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques. All of these are available outside Sikhi.
The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith. Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem. Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage. Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs. For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition. This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks. They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.

I am sorry to say that your above post is nothing but repetitive as you have often done. All what you have said above, I have responded to. So take your time.:)

More hearing from you.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

sunmukh

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SPNADMIN said:
How are you connecting all of this?

  • You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma.
  • Faith is what Sikhi is about.
  • Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques.
  • All of these are available outside Sikhi.
  • The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith.
  • Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem.
  • Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage.
  • Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs.
  • For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition.
  • This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks.
  • They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.

Gurfateh

SPNadmin ji

I apologise for my inability to present coherent arguments, with an ultimate conclusion. I do go off on a tangent very often, and this does affect the readability when I reflect upon the same post at a later date.

As for this particular paragraph:


  • You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma.
    This was written following one of Tejwant Singh ji's (TS) which suggested "faith is dogmatic, it is nothing to do with the pragmatism of Sikhi". As TS had suggested a number of times now on this thread that Sikhi had no dogma attached to it, and I believe there is some dogma attached to the practices if not the bani, I chose in my limited wisdom, to question this statement.
  • Faith is what Sikhi is about. This followed on to reject the sentence of TS's disassociating dogma from faith. I started by tackling the notion that blind faith has no place in Sikhi. I believe it does, and I believe this can be supported by bani in SGGS. IMHO words like "mannai" refer to one who accepts or obeys, or the ones who accept or obey. This is an act of fath and not one in knowledge. This appears in Japji Sahib and also elsewhere eg .
naanak ih achraj daykhhu mayray har sachay saah kaa je satguroo no
mannai so sabhnaaN bhaavai. ||13||1|| suDh.
O Nanak, behold this wonder of the Lord, my True King! Everyone is
pleased with one who obeys and believes in the True Guru. ||13||1||
Sudh||
(Page: 855, Line: 4, Raag: Bilaaval, Author: Guru Amar Das)​


or

janam kaal kar jorh hukam jo ho-ay so mannai.
Life and death, with palms pressed together, respect and obey the Hukam
of His Command.
(Page: 1406, Line: 12, Raag: Sava-yay (praise) of Guru Ram Das, Author: Sal)​


  • Without faith in Ik Ong Kaar, there is only a set of practices, some of symbolise compassion, generosity, tolerance and equality, but others are ritualistic, and yet others are mind control techinques.
    This then followed on to develop the idea running in my mind that faith is what makes some practices meaningful and worthwhile to those who engage in them.Ik Ong Kaar is the biggest unknown that one requires faith in. One cannot know Ik Ong Kaar, yet one requires faith in Ik Ong Kaar. If one does not have that faith then one is not engaged in Sikhi, but is only going through a series of motions (IMHO).
  • All of these are available outside Sikhi.
    This runs on from the prior sentence. All the aspects of Sikhi other than an unfathomable, unknowable inscrutable, omniescent, all knowing, all pervading Ik Ong Kaar can be found in guides on yoga, vedic texts, or as a consequence of principled virtuous upbringing.
  • The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith.
    This does not follow immedaitely from the prior sentence, but follows from the ending sentence TS which sought to disassociate faith from pragmatism. Faith is not directly linked to practical or prgamatic approaches and I agree with TS on that. However if there is faith in pleasing a Creator and karma, then one will see fit to engage in virtuous behaviour and good deeds to please the Creator and improve karma. The deeds may not be good if there is no faith in the Creator and karma. By having such faith, virtues like compassion, tolerance, charity, mercy, forgiveness, equality of all, are given far more value then they otherwise would. To bring about these virtues we can engage in actions such as seva, langar, sanghat which are the pragmatic approaches of sikhi to bring about change in behaviour.
  • Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem.
    This followed on from the previous sentence , to state the basics that have no more substance to support them, than any practices of other religions, and require faith to maintain them
  • Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage.
    This follows on to briefly explain that these are tenets which do not hold water and no logic.
  • Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs.
    This then backtracks to offer support to those same aforementioned aspects in Sikhi that depend on faith; with faith they are accepted and the mind stops doubting their usefulness, whether they are useful or not. The mind simply accepts.
  • For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition.
    This follows on to state the obverse effect if they are not accepted in faith
  • This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks.
    An example is given, to try to support the previous sentence
  • They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities. The effect is stated of lack of faith.
I hope I have been able to clarify the flow of thought in this case, to try to put a cas for faith which supports the dogmatic and pragmatic aspects found in Sikhi , and that without faith there is still dogma but the effect of the pragmatic approaches are reduced and are found elsewhere anyway.

I do accept I muddle up matters, usually by going astray and then adding in way too much in one post.

:happymunda:

Sat Sri Akal
 

findingmyway

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Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

Faith can lead one both ways. The direction (ie the degree of superstition and ritual) depends on what one puts faith in. One can put faith into rational perceptions or into irrational perceptions. Whatever one chooses, can content the mind and lead to virtuous behaviour, if there is full faith and truthful adherence.

Full faith and observance of jihad to achieve many virgins in heaven is an irrational blind faith. Sikhi encourages the use of bibek buddhi-discerning intellect to understand before following. There are many shabads about gyann (knowledge) and bibek buddhi.

I see Sikhi only as one of many methodologies with a set of techniques to take one through life; I am not attached to it and am free to pick and choose the parts that I see will serve a purpose, and that is to produce a contented mind during my life, despite what goes on in the surrounding environment,

If you are picking and choosing what suits you, then you do not really have faith in the teachings. You say you are not influenced by the surrounding environment but this post clearly shows the opposite and is what is stopping you from understanding the full beauty of gurbani:


Ek OnKaar Sat Naam
Gurfateh ji
SPNadmin ji, I have often turned to speaking of "Sikhs" in the third person because the people I write of in that manner have disenfranchised me and my family, and most of my immediate relatives through the Gurleen Kaur case decision. Until then there was some doubt as to whether we were sikhs and most accepted us as such. There were some articles on some panthic websites referring to those who did not keep 5ks in a derogotary way but they could be dismissed as the work of fanatics. Now it is clear that "they" wish to have a distinct identity which excludes "us". It is most regrettable, but if that is what "they" want then it works both ways. Until then I attended gurdwara regularly and had got to a point where 3 of my daughters were accompanying me on a daily basis. I have stopped attending gurdwaras since then, save for an event to which I am invited, and "they" can do as they please. I touched on this before on this thread but it is not really on topic. I have not created the "us" and "them" situation, it is a product of SGPC's actions.

I will stay a "sikh" with a small s, in a generic sense, and I can still learn from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, my only Guru, and maintain faith in one God.
Sat Sri Akal

This is a political situation completely unrelated to Gurbani. When you display so much emotion yet claim distance, it is hard to understand your clouded assertions.

Language is important. We can try to understand and should try to do so. However most people are not scholars and do not have time to analyse grammar or learn mutilple Indic languages. We must accept language is dynamic and constantly evolves. What is understood by a word today is not necessarily what was meant when even the same word was used 500 years ago.

If I use modern English to try and understand Shakespeare I will be completely lost!! The words meaning is determined by determining what the writer wrote. If you apply your own understanding only you lose what the writer said and instead they become your words. Meanings do change and that is why it is important to study grammar so elicit what was meant when they were spoken. Your lack of understanding of language and your unwillingness to learn shows your own weaknesses only. If something is important to you, time is made.

You appear to be trying to protect Sikhi from any association with dogma. Faith is what Sikhi is about.
There is no dogma in the Guru Granth Sahib itself. Find me one verse that encourages dogma......It talks against dogma. Sikhi is about understandign and applying.

The pragmatisim is enhanced by faith. Sikhs have faith in 5 ks, in Ik Ong Kaar, and in daily nitnem. Without blind faith in them they are reduced to rituals, no more useful than worshipping a stone or making a pilgrimage. Faith is the glue that makes these useful for practising Sikhs. For those who have no faith in one or more of these aspects, they are rituals and/or superstition.

WRONG!!!!! WITH blind faith, they are rituals. With understanding and applying to your life these things are no longer rituals but instructions/guidance. Just like you would not dress your grandfather in nice clothes and say you respect but refuse to listen to a word he says, the biggest insult to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is mere parroting of the words without an attempt at understanding.


This why many "sikhs" do not value 5 ks. They have no faith in them, and see them as oddities.
That is because they do not understand them. However, the 5K's have nothing to do with the authenticity of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Once again you are confusing issues.

I don't mind if it is dogma, or isn't dogma, as I see it only as valuable guidance irrespective of whether it is dogmatic or pragmatic.

But YOU Do mind as shown by your constant lamentations about those things seen as dogmatic such as the hair issue.


I do happen to see it as pragmatic, but other aspects of Sikhi as dogmatic.
The dogmatic issues you raise are always political issues rather than in Bani

Which is why one should recognise what is opinion and what is not, otherwise ego increases
Ego increases with pushing your own opinion as fact. Ego increases with the unwillingness to accept the wisdom of your Guru when you say you want to follow that path.

Egotistical people hang on to all the beliefs they are predisposed to, in their complete stubbornness even if all the evidence points to them being wrong to do so.
WRONG! Egotistical people create beliefs to suit them. Creating the sensation that truth is actually opinion to make yourself feel better for example.

We will have to continue to differ slightly as for me blind faith in the nirankaar akaal purakh (formless timeless supreme spirit)is more than good enough, and with the rationality of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji there is nothing to beat the combination.
Blind faith and rationality do not belong together! There are opposites.

and can always only express part of the Truth.

Ahhhhhh, so you accept it is truth!

P.s. Faith and blind faith are not the same thing. Your above quotes support the former not the later. That is faith that arises from understanding
 

sunmukh

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Tejwant Singh said:
I have no idea what your true agenda is. I would like you to come clean in an honest manner. If your agenda here is to irk people then you have and will fail miserably as many have tried before and fallen flat on their faces including some who called themselves Sikhs.

Gurfateh

Tejwant Singh ji, I thank you for this continued opportunity to disuss these several dimensions that have flowed from the intial post.

My prime agenda is to learn more about the aspect of Sikhi that interests me, which is the meaning of all shabds in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and also to assist others to a more pragmatic approach to Sikhi, with less intra-sikh tensions (ie including sikhs who are now in limbo), and less intra-faith tensions.

If as a result of my posts, there is one more person who can see it is not good to inflame others or to treat others differently over appearance, even if it is 5ks (usually only kesh) then I will have achieved something positive in my life. All Sikhs who keep rehat will by support 5ks as they must, but the majority of sikhs are not such Sikhs, and do not deserve to be treated as second rate citizens.

I am not averse to those who keep 5ks but am averse to those who keep 5ks and treat others almost with contempt, and rank their opinions as worthless. This is a form of categorisation which does not equate with holding all as equals.

Secondary aspect of my "agenda":
There is also some degree of anger and hatred built up in some Sikhs towards those who committed heinous crimes in late 1970s and early 80s. I can and do accept these are tragic and unjustified events, but of the opinion that history cannot be changed and it is not wise to hold up people who were also politically motivated as sants. If it is not good to put pictures/paintings of sikh gurus in homes/gurdwaras, then the same holds true of those engaged in actions in 70s and 80s.

One way to reduce anger, is by dwelling on the shabd and accepting the Lords' Hukam. If I can go over this again and again in interaction with Sikhs, maybe, just maybe, anger may subside in just one person. That is good enough for me.

With these two aspects in mind, and making posts, I may used Gurbani to make a change in someone's life, and whilst doing so will also have contempated the shabd, and with satguru's grace will have progressed spiritually as well.

Sat Sri Akal
 

Seeker9

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Dear all

This has been a fascinating read

My knowledge of the Scriptures is very limited but I can't help thinking there has been a lot of "over-analysis" of SGGS, even down to evolution of language and individual words

I am not advocating blind faith and clearly the application of intellect is necessary to understand the profound wisdom the Scriptures contain......but having reached that level of understanding, there then comes a point, in my humble opinion, that one has to let go of ego and intellect and choose to accept, trust and benefit from the advice the Scriptures contain

I would suggest that when one makes that choice, then the title question of this thread, whilst thought-provoking, is not really that important......

Not sure if this analogy makes sense but one can gaze in awe at the beauty and flawless precision of a fine mechanical timepiece movement.....however, take it apart and all you will see is just wheels and cogs and levers...i.e the real awe inspiring achievement is in the Whole and not the smallest parts
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Himmat ji,

Himmat:
Ji, one of the objectives of following Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji ji is to stop being judgemental. If I keep maintaining a hard distinction between those who are right and those who are wrong, or those who understand and those who misunderstand, then this is a form of duality, which I would like to remove. By having different levels of understanding, and passing the buck as it were, to the Creator and His Hukam, as per Pauri 2 of Japji Sahib, then there is less likelihood of such duality, and less ego.

Confused: Being judgemental could be a case of ignorance, attachment, conceit, and aversion arising and falling away in close proximity. Understanding or misunderstanding any of this is as real as these objects themselves. This is different from being caught up in the idea of “this person is right and that person is wrong” or “I am right and you are wrong”. Kindness and hate, attachment and detachment, right understanding and wrong understanding, generosity and miserliness, all these are not dualities created by thought, but very real mental factors arising with consciousness, and as real as the ‘thinking’ which accepts or denies all this. And like it or not, even while speaking about the creation of duality, you are making distinctions and placing value on things, all reflecting the difference in characteristic, function and proximate cause of these diverse realities.

Besides, with the understanding that all these arise at different times by conditions beyond anyone’s control, there is even more reason not to be judgemental.

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Quote:hukmee utam neech hukam likh dukh sukh paa-ee-ah.
By His Command, some are high and some are low; by His Written
Command, pain and pleasure are obtained.
iknaa hukmee bakhsees ik hukmee sadaa bhavaa-ee-ah.
Some, by His Command, are blessed and forgiven; others, by His
Command, wander aimlessly forever.
hukmai andar sabh ko baahar hukam na ko-ay.
Everyone is subject to His Command; no one is beyond His Command.
naanak hukmai jay bujhai ta ha-umai kahai na ko-ay. ||2||
O Nanak, one who understands His Command, does not speak in ego. ||2||
(Page: 1, Lines : 8-10, Jap, Author: Guru Nanak Dev)

Confused: The above does make the distinction between high and low, pain and pleasure, those who walk the path and those who wander aimlessly, so apparently these differences do exist. It is pointing out the harm of passing judgements based on ego, and it looks like that it is also saying that none of what happens is within anyone’s power to control, which is similar to my own conclusion.
So I don’t see the problem…..

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C: So are you differentiating between universal truth and absolute truth? Please explain.

Himmat:
1) Universal truth is what is commonly perceived as "truth", ie generally recognised as "truth" or "facts" in the general realm/sphere of human knowledge and
2) Absolute truth is actual intrinsic unchangeable eternal reality, that may or may not be the same as universal truth.

Confused:
I’ll suggest the following:
Universal truths are those which apply to all beings no matter what, where and when. These would also be Ultimate truths / realities, although here one distinguishes between on one hand, “conditioned realities” and on the other, the “unconditioned reality”. The existence of the unconditioned reality does not make any less real the conditioned ones, only these two are very different in nature.

Within the realm of the conditioned, there is what is called ‘conventional truth’. It is these that are the product of thought, some reflecting and are in accord with the workings of the underlying ultimate realities, while others are pure imagination rooted in ignorance and craving.

For example, the law which dictates punishment for theft and murder reflects the reality of the particular unwholesome intentions as expressed in bodily actions. But of course, although these perpetrators will face bad results in accordance to the law of karma, the law of the land must exist and function within its own sphere. And this is what is man-made.

So there are the conditioned realities, which are the experiences through the five senses and the mind, and these are ultimate and universal. And there are the conventional realities which are the product of thought; although some of these are in accord with the nature of the ultimate realities, others however are not. And then there is the unconditioned reality, which stands apart from all this.

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Himmat:
eg There have been times when people believed the sun circled the earth, or the earth was the centre of the universe. This for such believers was truth, and remained truth until they accepted a revised theory. Such theories that we "know" now, may still be modified in the future, and hence they fall in realm of universal truth. Absolute truth is what the reality actually is, encompassing all laws and principles of the universe, and any unknown dimensions.

Confused:
The above example is within the realm of ‘conventional’ truth. And yes, these can change.

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Himmat:
I am not trying to imply there is no value in recognising and accepting the current "truth". I just like to bear in mind that there may well be far more to the current story

Confused:
With respect to the development of understanding / wisdom which sees into the nature of ultimate realities, I consider the study of conventional reality quite worthless, unless of course they reflect the former and remind me of the need to study these.

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Himmat:
There are always going to be differences in how people percieve even matters such as taste smell, anger etc. The fact that there is a differnce and only the perceiver actually knows how they feel, makes the perception an opinion. When we rank them all as different opinions on a scale that has no limits at either end, then it is all just opinion.

Confused:
Had I been referring to such things as mango is more delicious than oranges, or this smell is bad, or feel justified in having anger towards some particular person, or in eating the same chocolate, that you and I must both experience the same taste, or insist that if I enjoy ice cream so should a panda, your objections would probably then hold. But this is not what I’ve been talking about.

When I refer to taste, I am talking about a particular kind of element, one which can only be experienced by ‘tasting consciousness’ and not by say, ‘hearing consciousness’. This in no way is denying the existence of a variety of different tastes, nor is it saying that two bites of the same fruit will have exactly the same taste. It is however pointing to the one element with a common characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate cause. It is therefore irrelevant what the particular taste is, for example whether it is salty, sour or sweet. Likewise to the extent that feeling is feeling this is to be known for what it is, without a need to consider whether this is very pleasant, less pleasant, neutral or painful. In the same way, the ‘seeing’ of a fish is no different in this regard, to that of a human being, since it refers to that one reality which ever experiences visible object / color.

These are the kind of truths agreed upon by all those who have had insight into the nature of conditioned realities. The concern about differences is amongst those who have not developed the kind of understanding.

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Himmat:
Gurbani urges one to see friends and enemies as one and the same, or see praise and slander and one and the same.

Confused:
A mind with universal love will see everyone as same having seen the harm of attachment which is its near enemy, and aversion which is its far enemy. But better still is when one has developed penetrative understanding into the nature of all conditioned realities, being that it provides the very base for not thinking in terms of friends vs. enemies.

Praise and slander are facts of life, but their nature being fleeting and insubstantial, is good reason for not being drawn in by them.

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Himmat:
To do this one has to accept that even things like taste, or smell are all part of something that is part of the infinite variation found in the Creator's creation. By doing so, one may possibly merge into the creation, and the creation merges into a single unity with infinite variety with no ending and no beginning. By trying to form a difference between "truth" and "non-truth" is a way to maintain distinction.

Confused:
There is no need to try and control one’s thoughts; the only thing needed is to understand the element of ‘thinking’, in other words, to know the “truth”. Is this creating an unnecessary distinction?

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Himmat:
However all opinion, whether false or true, is part and parcel of Creation, and has value. Keeping Gurbani aloof as "truth" and oneself as incapable of knowing "truth" is a way to maintain duality, which is opposite to what Gurbani is actually teaching one to do. By recognising it as a level of opinion, and one's opinion on the same scale, then there is greater chance of less duality and less egoism ( Again Pauri 2 of Japji Sahib)

Confused:
Every reference to oneself involving some kind of comparison, whether as lower, higher or equal to, is the expression of conceit.

So you think that if I at one time, believed that God is the Ultimate Reality, and later on that the concept of a creator God is the biggest lie ever perpetuated, that these two are of equal value? Would you judge the fact of recognizing my views as opinion vs. not recognizing it as such, as both being valuable?

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C: You are referring to ignorance not of what is ‘now’ which will include the ignorance itself, but something outside of this, namely the creator. This is why you go on to saying that it is alright to speculate as long as one knows that this is what one is doing. From my side, if speculating / thinking is the reality of the present moment, understanding its nature is the be all and end all. So apparently we are not talking about the same kind of ‘knowing’.

Himmat:
We will have to differ on this point. There are somethings that are beyond comprehension, and I do not like to waste time trying to comprehend them. You have probably come across Marx's idea that religion is the opium of the masses. I like such opium as it contents me without causing any harm to me.

Confused:
Marx was worldly to the max, ;-) I wouldn’t pay any attention to what he said. But I think you need to take a deeper look at attachment and the harm that this causes, and this may arouse some sense of urgency in you. But I agree with the particular attitude of not wasting time trying to comprehend things out of reach.

The idea that you realize that your interest in Sikh teachings is only to soothe your mind and yet you swear by it, sounds very odd to me.

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Himmat:
By sticking to what is realistically possible, whilst maintaining faith in unknowns, belief in which satisfy the mind, I believe Guru Nanak Dev Ji is pointing to the same, throughout Japji Sahib.

Confused:
In sticking to what is realistically possible, why does there seem to be a lack of interest in studying what actually takes place from moment to moment through the five senses and the mind? Is it because you judge this as impossible? Could you give a few examples of your “sticking to what is realistically possible”?

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Himmat:
Ego and dogmatic persistence on truthfulness of one's perceptions and trying to impose them on others can cause problems between people, rather than ignorance. Whole societies and species have been wiped out as people imposed their will and version of truth upon others.

Confused:
Isn’t ignorance always at the root?
I think it is very important to acknowledge this. And as you know, in many cases, ignorance is what drives people to seek such things as justice. Indeed the mind that seeks justice in the world is different from the one which sees the drawback of the world, and seeks therefore to rise above it. Besides it is common amongst those who seek justice, that these same people end up performing evil actions no less bad than those they seek to punish, but going on to mistakenly seeing their own actions to be good. And so while pointing a finger at the other person; we don’t see the three that are pointing towards ourselves.

On the other hand, for someone who has some level of understanding about the truth, although it may require an attitude of kindness and consideration in terms of usefulness and right time to express, this however will never be a case of forcing, but simply of pointing out. How could someone who understands the nature of and need for continuing with the study of one’s own moment to moment experiences, force another person to do the same? When I see so much ignorance and attachments within my own stream of consciousness, how could I expect others to be without them? But this of course, does not mean that I agree with any wrong understandings being expressed….
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Himmat:
We don't "have" to know what we are ignorant of. We can just choose to "live" in peace and harmony with neighbours, and share.

Confused: What if someone pointed out to you that your idea of peace is motivated by attachment? What if you were told that true peace comes from understanding? What if it was explained to you that the very reason there is conflict is because everyone is busy trying to change the outside world instead of knowing that it is one’s own mind which is the problem?

If at any time the goal is to simply “live in peace and harmony etc…”, know that you are not aiming at understanding the truth and are missing the point of it all!

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Himmat:
People have been around for more than a million years without huge amounts of "knowledge" to hand. They lived and survived, although higher proportions may have suffered from famines, droughts, diseases as now do. If they had not done so we would not be here now.

Confused:
This is what gets me and is one of the reasons why I began to write here and the other Sikh forum.
This tendency to see that we are a product of history and / or evolution is one thing that goes against the understanding of karma. The reason I keep trying to highlight the latter is to counteract such kind of thinking, one which I believe, has very negative consequences.

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Himmat:
Now, we have exponential growth in "knowledge", but it is also accompanied with exponential growth in use of limited resources, which may be unsustainable and lead to complete destruction of climate and the environment; introduction of GM foods,and synthetic biotechnology are all unknowns, and this "knowledge" or increased "understanding" may not be wise at all. It may lead to self-destruction in a very short timescale, whilst people live for the moment. So I agree with you about the effects of quick remedies, but I do feel it is related to an increase in unwise use of knowledge as well.

Confused:
Well, I wasn’t talking about just any knowledge, but the particular kind based on understanding ‘ultimate truths’. Also all the other kinds of knowledge ever gained come under ‘conventional truths’ which I consider to be completely irrelevant to the development of wisdom. The problem however, is not in having more or less any such knowledge, but now or five thousand years ago, here or on some other planet, is ignorance and lack of understanding the truth.

In this regard, an Einstein who is involved in studying the conventional world could well be in a bad position as compared to some dullard who actually knows where he is at as a result of having been aware on occasion, his moment to moment experiences.

It appears that you are involved in discussions with quite a few people and so your hands may be full. You can choose therefore to stop this one with me, or put it on hold for later...?
 
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