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Are There "rituals" In Sikhism?

IronLion

SPNer
Dec 14, 2017
1
0
35
Greeting everyone,

I would like to preface my question(s) with a little background information about me. I was raised as a protestant christian and was fairly religious as a child with a pretty personal relationship with God. Late high school/early college a combination of my strong science background and deep interest in world politics and liberal attitude turned me away from God and my christian faith. Late in college I had a spiritual awakening and started a spiritual journey that led me back to God via Judaism. After a year I then became deeply interested in Buddhism and have been a practicing Buddhist for roughly 10 years. Fast forward to now and I have continued my science training and am a medical professional and am starting a family with a baby and fiance now. While I love most of the teachings of Buddhism, the teachings of complete renunciation for the world is more of a turn off whereas pre-family it was a turn on. I have also felt a yearning to once again worship a God figure. This led me to Sikhism which I never new too much about, but I have know one Sikh in my lifetime and had vague ideas of what it was about.

In the past month I have dived really deep into Sikhism, trying to not only study the beliefs of the faith, but also the history of the Gurus, as well as the people and the struggles since the days of Guru Nanak. I really love the faith and what it teaches and the God described by Sikhism really resonates with me - mainly an indescribable God present within and without all and the interconnectedness of all living beings with God and the return to God upon "enlightenment," if you will.

Questions: A couple points that I am struggling with brings me to my questions. First off, I have been waking very early each morning to recite the mandatory prayers and meditate. While the rising in the early morning to meditate on God resonates with me, as through much of my life I have been an early riser to either meditate and/or study (various things from academics to religion) the recitation of the prayers has started to seem somewhat ritualistic and I can't help but think that either reading Guru Granth Sahib, or longer meditation would serve me better in my connection with God. Is daily recitation of the same prayers each and every day at the same time each and everyday not somewhat ritualistic? The other question I have is in regards to the 5 Ks. From reading history I understand what led to the development of the Kalsa and the 5 Ks. I see the need for it and also the fact that the keeping of a beard and wearing a Turban were for basically the higher class and this was a way of stating equal rights. However, with the changing times have some of these traditions become somewhat ritualistic, as well? I agree that hair should not be turned into something of vanity with fancy, expensive hair cuts and dyes and extravagance, but a simple buzz (like Buddhist monks) is as much of a rejection of vanity as is not touching the hair, in my opinion (and yes I have heard also the saying that it is to leave your body unchanged from how God has given it to you, but why then was it not stressed earlier in the religion?).

In no way do I intend for my questions to cause any offense to anyone reading them, I am simply very interested in getting opinions from Sikhs regarding these topics. I'm also curious as to whether there are sects of Sikhs who do not put emphasis on things like mandatory prayers and the 5Ks, similar to Judaism having reform, conservative and orthodox movements. I would be very interested to hear opinions from Sikhs regarding the issues I have brought up. And again, I apologize if I have caused any offense, I do have the utmost respect for this faith. Honestly, I wish I had been raised in the faith as I do believe the traditions are beautiful, but some of the traditions would break my family if I were to institute them into my life 100%.

Kindest regards and sincere thanks for your responses,
IronLion
 

sukhsingh

Writer
SPNer
Aug 14, 2012
739
213
43
UK
Greeting everyone,

I would like to preface my question(s) with a little background information about me. I was raised as a protestant christian and was fairly religious as a child with a pretty personal relationship with God. Late high school/early college a combination of my strong science background and deep interest in world politics and liberal attitude turned me away from God and my christian faith. Late in college I had a spiritual awakening and started a spiritual journey that led me back to God via Judaism. After a year I then became deeply interested in Buddhism and have been a practicing Buddhist for roughly 10 years. Fast forward to now and I have continued my science training and am a medical professional and am starting a family with a baby and fiance now. While I love most of the teachings of Buddhism, the teachings of complete renunciation for the world is more of a turn off whereas pre-family it was a turn on. I have also felt a yearning to once again worship a God figure. This led me to Sikhism which I never new too much about, but I have know one Sikh in my lifetime and had vague ideas of what it was about.

In the past month I have dived really deep into Sikhism, trying to not only study the beliefs of the faith, but also the history of the Gurus, as well as the people and the struggles since the days of Guru Nanak. I really love the faith and what it teaches and the God described by Sikhism really resonates with me - mainly an indescribable God present within and without all and the interconnectedness of all living beings with God and the return to God upon "enlightenment," if you will.

Questions: A couple points that I am struggling with brings me to my questions. First off, I have been waking very early each morning to recite the mandatory prayers and meditate. While the rising in the early morning to meditate on God resonates with me, as through much of my life I have been an early riser to either meditate and/or study (various things from academics to religion) the recitation of the prayers has started to seem somewhat ritualistic and I can't help but think that either reading Guru Granth Sahib, or longer meditation would serve me better in my connection with God. Is daily recitation of the same prayers each and every day at the same time each and everyday not somewhat ritualistic? The other question I have is in regards to the 5 Ks. From reading history I understand what led to the development of the Kalsa and the 5 Ks. I see the need for it and also the fact that the keeping of a beard and wearing a Turban were for basically the higher class and this was a way of stating equal rights. However, with the changing times have some of these traditions become somewhat ritualistic, as well? I agree that hair should not be turned into something of vanity with fancy, expensive hair cuts and dyes and extravagance, but a simple buzz (like Buddhist monks) is as much of a rejection of vanity as is not touching the hair, in my opinion (and yes I have heard also the saying that it is to leave your body unchanged from how God has given it to you, but why then was it not stressed earlier in the religion?).

In no way do I intend for my questions to cause any offense to anyone reading them, I am simply very interested in getting opinions from Sikhs regarding these topics. I'm also curious as to whether there are sects of Sikhs who do not put emphasis on things like mandatory prayers and the 5Ks, similar to Judaism having reform, conservative and orthodox movements. I would be very interested to hear opinions from Sikhs regarding the issues I have brought up. And again, I apologize if I have caused any offense, I do have the utmost respect for this faith. Honestly, I wish I had been raised in the faith as I do believe the traditions are beautiful, but some of the traditions would break my family if I were to institute them into my life 100%.

Kindest regards and sincere thanks for your responses,
IronLion
No offence taken..

First answer is no there is no basis or philosophical basis within sikhi to ritualistic practices..

You use the word 'recitation' to describe naam simran, nitmen etc jaap is to utter.. In the active, conscious sense. To recite passively is like a stuck CD.
It ain't right
you gotta participate,
Step up and share the experience
 

Original

Writer
SPNer
Jan 10, 2011
1,053
550
61
London UK
Questions: A couple points that I am struggling with brings me to my questions. First off, I have been waking very early each morning to recite the mandatory prayers and meditate. While the rising in the early morning to meditate on God resonates with me, as through much of my life I have been an early riser to either meditate and/or study (various things from academics to religion) the recitation of the prayers has started to seem somewhat ritualistic and I can't help but think that either reading Guru Granth Sahib, or longer meditation would serve me better in my connection with God. Is daily recitation of the same prayers each and every day at the same time each and everyday not somewhat ritualistic? The other question I have is in regards to the 5 Ks. From reading history I understand what led to the development of the Kalsa and the 5 Ks. I see the need for it and also the fact that the keeping of a beard and wearing a Turban were for basically the higher class and this was a way of stating equal rights. However, with the changing times have some of these traditions become somewhat ritualistic, as well? I agree that hair should not be turned into something of vanity with fancy, expensive hair cuts and dyes and extravagance, but a simple buzz (like Buddhist monks) is as much of a rejection of vanity as is not touching the hair, in my opinion (and yes I have heard also the saying that it is to leave your body unchanged from how God has given it to you, but why then was it not stressed earlier in the religion?).

In no way do I intend for my questions to cause any offense to anyone reading them, I am simply very interested in getting opinions from Sikhs regarding these topics. I'm also curious as to whether there are sects of Sikhs who do not put emphasis on things like mandatory prayers and the 5Ks, similar to Judaism having reform, conservative and orthodox movements. I would be very interested to hear opinions from Sikhs regarding the issues I have brought up. And again, I apologize if I have caused any offense, I do have the utmost respect for this faith. Honestly, I wish I had been raised in the faith as I do believe the traditions are beautiful, but some of the traditions would break my family if I were to institute them into my life 100%.
...no offence but an honour to serve you with pleasure ! But first, few preliminaries:

1. Before setting out to enquire one is generally advised to have the ability to take on the conceptual world-view of a particular theoretical standpoint - Sikhism. It will help clarify the perspectives' distinctive vocabularies and conceptual tools that are designed to equip the seeker to gain knowledge. This knowledge is then applied to objects of enquiry, questioning and pushing at the boundaries of their respective traditions to yield two important aspects: First, it is a sign of increasing spiritual n intellectual maturity, demonstrating a familiarity with, and confidence in handling the vocab and conceptual framework of Sikh Theory n Practice. Second, it demonstrates the ability to take sides in both intellectual and spiritual discussions and meditations.

2. Sikhism is a way home for the Soul.

Answers:

1. Nothing mandatory but voluntary is permissable in Sikhism. Concepts n doctrines come with interpretations. For fruitful results, it's recommendations and not directives that form the basis of early morning meditations.
2. The 5k's were means to an end and not not an end in themselves. The end is transcendent of the soul from the fetters of time n space.

Overview

Given the universe is deterministic, the only freedom human has is to realise and connect with its spiritual self that lives outside the universe.

Hope you'll make informed decisions !

Good day n God bless
 

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