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For Sikhs, Both Life And Death Are Intertwined


Nov 4, 2007
For Sikhs, both life and death are intertwined
Kanwal Prakash Singh

Sep. 7, 2013

Today, the Faith Forum continues its series about finding consolation and meaning in the challenges of death.

In a human and temporal context, life is joyous, welcome and full of new beginning, while death is a feared end. Both are momentous events inspiring reflection.

We see life as full of wonderful attractions and myriad manifestations: love and laughter, joys and sorrows, triumphs and temptations, dreams and possibilities, celebrations and heartaches, landmark achievements and unpredictable daily journeys into the unknown.

Death, one of the darkest agonizing moments when it involves innocents or the young, represents emptiness, deep scars, unsettling images, a shaken spirit and the end of dreams.

Grieving survivors wonder about the departed soul’s journey and final destination, reconnection with dead relatives. And if one believes in reincarnation, they might think about a long-awaited reunion with the higher spirit.

Sometimes life can be a living nightmare and death a welcome liberating blessing.

Sikhs believe God’s grace leads to deliverance, freedom for the body and spirit trapped in earthly struggles and life cycles.

They also believe God’s grace is a welcome homecoming for the soul in the realm of divine light and love without boundaries and temporal sufferings.

This prospect and promise is a great leap of faith for those who have lost loved ones at Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon, in the Jewish Holocaust and Sikh genocides.

The same could be said for those who have lost loved ones to daily random violence, tragic crimes against humanity, or who die from dreaded diseases, in accidents or natural disasters. We wonder how could a compassionate and benevolent God let this happen?

Sikh scriptures remind us that, “The Angel of Death will make a call to every home in turn,” and that for “All that you witness is transitory ... (a) fleeting shade of a passing cloud.”

We do not know the hour or manner of death, but Sikhs believe providential law is in force: “No one can stay here, not the mighty warriors, ordinary mortals, or venerable saints ... Therefore, serve with all your heart.”

Sikhs pray, “May I not fear death, but the death of conscience,” for “... it is only in death that the soul is reunited with the wonderful Lord” and crosses the threshold to eternal life.

Prayer, surrender and reflection lead to understanding, and grief turns into hope when we remember: No one is outside the circle of God’s all-embracing benevolence. We witness God at work when family, friends and strangers form “circles of love” to comfort and assist those devastated by tragedy and disasters.

God created life and death as the two sides of the life experience, each to teach us important lessons and give dignity and meaning to life.

Almighty God can end all suffering if he so wills. God is always with us, and he hears and answers our prayers and petitions in his way.

We must focus on life, learning, faith and service, because every event carries lessons to enlarge our understanding, responsibilities and relationships with God, man and creation.

Life and death are intertwined portals to know God. The Sikh scriptures echo the precept: Death is not the end; it is a preordained natural transition for the soul to enter into other realms.

Source - http://www.indystar.com/article/201...hs-both-life-death-intertwined?nclick_check=1

Kanwal Prakash (K.P.) Singh, a practicing Sikh who co-founded the International Center of Indianapolis, is an Indianapolis artist, architect and author.
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