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General Diversity Within Sikhi Vs Communal Solidarity

Ishna

Christian
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,251
5,185
As much as we might like to believe that Sikhi as a whole is a homogenous community of like-minded individuals, it's come clear to me over the years that it's not. Whilst plenty of people keep up the chant of Sikh quom, one looks around and says. 'Which quom?'

Sikhi, like any other religious community, contains a plethora of diverse understandings, beliefs and traditions. We see it for ourselves in the material world when Gurdwara committees fight over whether or not to include tables and chairs in their langar hall, or if an air conditioner should be installed in Granth Sahib's sukhasan room; we see it online painfully clearly when we burrow into topics in an anonymous manner with the total freedom to share our understanding with little to no danger of embarrasment like we would feel in the real world.

It strikes me that the debate and diversity we see online is the outward display of thoughts present in the minds of people in the real world, they just go unspoken.

When it happens on a large scale, we end up with sects within the quom, within the Panth even, just like Christianity has it's denominations, Islam has it's divisions, Hindusim and Buddhism their schools and lineages.

The matter is exacerbated in Sikhi because our beloved Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is poetry, not prose. Religions around the world debate their scriptures and the dos and don'ts therein, but within Sikhi when everything presented in poetry, metaphor and allegory the matter is even further complicated. Everyone understands it differently.

Personally, in the beginning I really struggled with this problem. It's hard to know whats true when everyone has a different opinion, and they tell you to contemplate within yourself and meditate and Sat Guru will reveal the truth to you. But if it was that easy to get the answers, we'd all end up with the same answers eventually, and it rare to find even two people with the same understanding.

Now, I accept that there is diversity of belief and understanding, and that my understanding is no less valid that anyone else's, and I will have confidence in my understanding, with an open mind, until I learn otherwise.

But it makes me wonder how we all end up in the same community called 'Sikhi'. If we can't even agree on whether or not there is a creative force, or what happens after death, or how many and which banis we should contemplate daily, whether or not caste is important, how to maintain rehat - which rehat? - basic Sikh history, sakhis vs no-sakhis, many wives vs one wife, Sanatan-Sikhs vs atheist Sikhs ... If Sikhi were a 3D shape, and it's defining characteristics were it's edges, I'd say Sikhi is more a gelatenous blob than a discernable shape now.

Am I the only one perceiving this? If not, how do you reconcile yourself in the face of such diversity? From where do you get your sense of communual solidarity? When you say, 'I'm Sikh!' what does that mean, when most other Sikhs around you are different compared to you, and compared to each other?

Is Sikhi, internally, turning into a mirror of Sanatan Dharma, with a million different schools under the one umbrella, ranging between it's own version of atheist thought to hardcore belief in a monotheistic God-personality, even with polytheistic tendencies?

Thoughts appreciated.

Guru fateh
 

Harry Haller

Panga Master
SPNer
Jan 31, 2011
5,769
8,189
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As much as we might like to believe that Sikhi as a whole is a homogenous community of like-minded individuals
nope sis, that belief left me some time ago

Whilst plenty of people keep up the chant of Sikh quom, one looks around and says. 'Which quom?'
There does seem to be a new quom emerging, people like Baldev Singh started it years ago, Kala Afghana, people that question, that embrace the litmus test, that say screw tradition and ritual, lets apply the teachings of the SGGS first.

The matter is exacerbated in Sikhi because our beloved Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is poetry, not prose. Religions around the world debate their scriptures and the dos and don'ts therein, but within Sikhi when everything presented in poetry, metaphor and allegory the matter is even further complicated. Everyone understands it differently.
I don't know about this, to me, the very essence is captured in the Mool Mantra, that seems to be the important bit, after that, I feel the message is reinforced through poetry, which can be sung and read. I am no expert, but the various dissections of Shabads that have been done on this forum do not bring anything new to the table that has not been covered succinctly in the Mool Mantra in my view.

Now, I accept that there is diversity of belief and understanding, and that my understanding is no less valid that anyone else's, and I will have confidence in my understanding, with an open mind, until I learn otherwise.
absolutely no less valid, in fact your a treasure trove of gems, you ask all the questions the rest of us want to

Am I the only one perceiving this? If not, how do you reconcile yourself in the face of such diversity? From where do you get your sense of communual solidarity? When you say, 'I'm Sikh!' what does that mean, when most other Sikhs around you are different compared to you, and compared to each other?
I get it from here :)

Is Sikhi, internally, turning into a mirror of Sanatan Dharma, with a million different schools under the one umbrella, ranging between it's own version of atheist thought to hardcore belief in a monotheistic God-personality, even with polytheistic tendencies?
Sikhi is alive and well, mostly amongst people who do not even know they are Sikhs lol
 

angrisha

SPNer
Jun 24, 2010
95
231
35
Canada
Am I the only one perceiving this? If not, how do you reconcile yourself in the face of such diversity? From where do you get your sense of communual solidarity? When you say, 'I'm Sikh!' what does that mean, when most other Sikhs around you are different compared to you, and compared to each other?
Sometimes I think that this is where the true beauty in Sikhism and the SGGS lies... that it can mean anything to anyone at any given time, it keeps it fluid and completely relevant at any era in time.

I guess ive never really felt the need for cohesion, the one thing I know is that if its true to me in my heart that is whats correct. Usually, where your at, is exactlly where your meant to be (physically, mentally, spiritually).. that includes your struggles.
 

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