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Gurta Gadi Tercentennial

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Bhai Harbans Lal, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Bhai Harbans Lal

    Bhai Harbans Lal
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    Sep 24, 2004
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    Gurta Gadi Tercentennial

    Twenty-five million Sikhs are celebrating year 2008-09 as the gurta-gadi centennial throughout the world. We need creative ideas to make this celebration as a meaningful event. We as individuals and community as a whole should look within and without to determine how one ought to be inspired through this once in a life time opportunity, and how we may inspire our neighbors about our Guru.

    One object should be to share with the world the Light that we are custodian of. The results will be exhilarating. I had the opportunity to listen to the world faith leaders and to have informal chats with many. They were all unanimous in that:
    The initiatives taken by Guru Gobind Singh were clearly to establish world peace through inculcation of universal understanding, compassion, peace, gratitude, and reverence for nature.
    The wisdom of the Guru Granth Sahib would be of great worth to the modern world and its civil societies to unite under the universal inspiration of One Spirit One World.

    Sikhs extended their presence all over the globe during the last century. This offered us an opportunity that we promote impact of the Light we inherited and promote through interfaith gatherings and open plate forms the universal message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The tercentennial celebration is a challenge that we must accept.

    Harbans Lal
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Respected Veer Harbhans Lol ji

    We should wrestle with the ways in which SPN can keep your words in mind, One Spirit, One World:

    "One object should be to share with the world the Light that we are custodian of. The results will be exhilarating. I had the opportunity to listen to the world faith leaders and to have informal chats with many. They were all unanimous in that:

    The initiatives taken by Guru Gobind Singh were clearly to establish world peace through inculcation of universal understanding, compassion, peace, gratitude, and reverence for nature.

    The wisdom of the Guru Granth Sahib would be of great worth to the modern world and its civil societies to unite under the universal inspiration of One Spirit One World. "

    How do we do that respected forum members? In a way we are beginning the next year of our lives.
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    This article from the blog of Rawel Singh ji is very relevant to the topic of finding common ground in spirit with other faiths. And it shows how Sikhism can lead the way in modern times. (permission to post from Rawel ji's blog on SPN was granted previously)

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Faith and Discernment - Sidak and Bibayk

    Faith and discernment or reasoning are two valuable virtues. However if they are treated in two exclusive compartments they can become pitfalls. For example faith alone may lead to the belief that one’s religion is the only one or the best. This is used by some as the basis to criticize or even slander other faiths and seek conversions.

    The followers of different religions try to show that their God is different or that God likes their religion more. The following examples demonstrate this:

    1. The Old Testament quotes God saying to Israel (the Jews): “I shall take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7, King James Version). This made God exclusive to the Jews who consider themselves the chosen ones.

    2. God in the New Testament is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 20:32, KJV).

    3. The Quran says “Surely the religion with Allah is Islam” (3:19). The actual meaning of Islam is surrender to the will of God. So any one who does this is acceptable to God but Islam has come to be known as the religion of the Muslims alone.
    The Quran itself removes any misgivings in this regard thus:

    “Those who believe in God and the last day and do good deeds whether they are Muslims, Jews, Sabians or Christians; they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve on judgment day” (5:69).

    It is therefore not the scriptures that divide people on the basis of religion but those who interpret them. Such distinctions have been the cause for much bloodshed in the name of religion.

    Faith is so misunderstood that those who do wrong things like killings in the name of religion come to be called fundamentalists whereas it is the fundamentals of their faith that they do not follow. They act in ego derived from the belief that they know what is right. The fundamental virtue of humility taught by all religions is forgotten. It is also experienced that intolerance is almost invariably associated with religiosity or rather assumed religiosity. These are not acceptable to men and women in the modern age of education.

    Followers of some religions observe certain rituals and superstitions. They may not be able to explain their significance but those having deep faith do not question them. However the educated people want to know.

    Disenchantment with rituals and superstitions leads some people away from religion altogether. They call themselves rationalists or atheists. For them religion is all superstition. They believe they can decide by reason what is right. So instead of having faith in the teachings of a scripture they believe in themselves. This then becomes their religion without saying so. There is also a major pitfall in this belief of the self. When at cross-roads for a decision one is likely to follow a course that is beneficial to one who makes that decision but may not necessarily be moral or ethical. Reason is thus lost and self-interest prevails. Humility therefore becomes a victim here too.

    We can therefore see that the common factor in both cases is ego or self importance. This is at the root of all evil.

    We have identified three problems above, namely:
    1. Criticizing other faiths with accompanying problems.
    2. Superstitions and rituals leading to disenchantment with religion.
    3. Those giving up religion and trying to live based on reason and rationalism have no authentic source to fall back upon for guidance.

    So what is the solution? The way to do it is to satisfy human inquisitiveness either with appropriate answers; or still better by having a faith system such that such questions are not asked. The prescription seems to be leading a life -

    A) of practical religiosity;
    B) of rationalism bereft of superstitions and rituals;
    C) that embraces universally accepted moral and ethical values.

    This seems a tall order. No, this is what Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) the Sikh scripture provides for.

    It says all evil is caused by man (Or woman) believing “I can know by myself what is right; I do not need any religious teachings for this”.

    ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਆਪਸ ਤੇ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਏਈ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥ ੩ ੯੯੩
    The thought that I know what is good or bad is at the root of all evil (M: 3, SGGS, p 993).

    In connection with criticism of others it needs to be appreciated that whatever we call good or bad exists accoding to Divine plan. Accepting everything as the will of God is an important part of Gurmat, the Gurus’ teachings. We are often tempted to say that one must always expose what is wrong. That is right but it should be evaluated if we are doing it with a missionary zeal or out of ego. A simple test for that is to ask ourselves if we do not suffer from the same affliction. We may then come to the conclusion which Guru Nanak intended. He says:

    ਨਾ ਹਮ ਚੰਗੇ ਆਖੀਅਹ ਬੁਰਾ ਨ ਦਿਸੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਸਚੇ ਜੇਹੜਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੮॥੨॥੧੦॥ ੧ ੧੦੧੫
    I do not call myself good, and see none else as bad; if we kill our ego we shall look at things as the eternal Master does; we shall then become like Him (M: 1, SGGS, p 1015).

    If the answer is that it is only to criticize one should hold back.

    We should look at the relationship of men and women of all religions with God with an open mind. There is only one universe wherein life exists. All religions believe that God created the universe; since there is only one universe there should be, and indeed is, one God. Any distinction in the concept of God between religions is thus misplaced. All creatures belong to the same God who does not discriminate on the basis of religion. We are all His children:

    ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥ ੫ ੬੧੧-੧੨
    One father we are all His children (M: 5, SGGS, p 611-12).

    To those who love their religion and think that God approves only their faith Bhagat Ravi Das says:

    ਆਪਨ ਬਾਪੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਸੀ ਕੋ ਭਾਵਨ ਕੋ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਜਾ ॥ ਮੋਹ ਪਟਲ ਸਭੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਬਿਆਪਿਓ ਭਗਤ ਨਹੀ ਸੰਤਾਪਾ ॥੩॥ ਰ ੬੫੮
    God does not belong to any person or group, the Master likes love; the world is caught in worldly attachments but these do not worry God’s devotee (Ravi Das, SGGS, p 658).

    So thought of any distinction on the basis of religion would result in losing one’s link to God. Seeing this happening Guru Nanak wonders:

    ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਕੈਸੀ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਸਾਲਕੁ ਮਿਤੁ ਨ ਰਹਿਓ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਭਾਈ ਬੰਧੀ ਹੇਤੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਦੀਨੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥੫॥ ੧ ੧੪੧੦
    What has happened to this world? There is no guide and friend; love between siblings and relatives has gone; for the sake of the worldly ego people have lost their connection to God (M: 1, SGGS, p 1410).

    In order to re-establish the link with God one must acknowledge the unity of creation and to live by Divine will:

    ਤੂ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਤੇਰਾ ॥ ਸਾਚੇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਗਹਿਰ ਗੰਭੀਰਾ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇਈ ਜਨ ਊਤਮ ਜੋ ਭਾਵਹਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤੁਮ ਮਨਾ ॥੧੬॥੧॥੮॥ ੫ ੧੦੭੯-੮੦
    You belong to all and all are Yours O profound eternal Lord; only those are good who are liked by You (M: 5, SGGS, p 1079-80).

    Those who submit to the will of God are liked by Him. The third Guru says:

    ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਕਰਣਾ ਸੋ ਕਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਸੋ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਏ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੧॥ ੩ ੧੦੬੩
    Whatever You will is done O Lord, only a rare one accepts Your will; one who does receives comfort, for comfort is subject to Your will (M: 3, SGGS, p 1063).

    The human mindset therefore needs to to be changed for one to be acceptable to God. The Divine message is:

    ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਹੋਇ ਰਹਹਿ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੯੫॥ ਫ ੧੩੮੨
    If you reform yourself you will meet me and find comfort: If you be mine the whole world will be yours (Farid, SGGS, p 1382).

    Guru Arjan has a simple prescription that will result in one looking at all creation as friends:

    ਮਨ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਤੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਮਿਟਾਨਾ ॥ ਪੇਖੈ ਸਗਲ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ॥ ੫ ੨੬੬
    Shed evil from your mind and you will see whole universe as friends (M: 5, SGGS, p 266).

    Observation of superstitions is a sign of feeling of insecurity. Some people consider the number 13 unlucky. To some, some days of the lunar cycle are auspicious and others inauspicious. In India if a black cat crosses one’s way it is unlucky and so on. There is no rationale to these but people are told they would suffer if if they do not follow them. Those who lack confidence believe in them. This in turn is due to the fear of being hauled up for not obeying the laws of nature i.e. Divine commands, called Hukam. At the mundane level it is not obeying the laws of the land. Those who believe in God follow the rules and experience a sense of security thus remaining free from fear. The fifth Guru says:

    ਸਗੁਨ ਅਪਸਗੁਨ ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਲਗਹਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਚੀਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਮੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥੨॥ ੫ ੪੦੧
    Good and bad omens are for those who do not remember God; even the messengers of death do not come near those who are liked by God (M: 5, SGGS, p 401).

    Many people advocate observance of certain rituals like burning incenses before, or offering food for, idols of deities. There are also rituals of killing animals and birds to propitiate deities, some offer food to the priests in the hope that it will reach their ancestors. A discerning person wants the rationale behind these. The reason for rituals in majority of cases is to follow what others are doing; it is to go along with others. Those who engage in idol worship say they do so only to be able to concentrate, but it is a fact that idol worship keeps one in bondage and does not allow Divine experience. Gurbani emphasizes this point about rituals through a metaphor:

    ਫਲ ਕਾਰਨ ਫੂਲੀ ਬਨਰਾਇ ॥ ਫਲੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਤਬ ਫੂਲੁ ਬਿਲਾਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੈ ਕਾਰਨ ਕਰਮ ਅਭਿਆਸੁ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥ ਰ ੧੧੬੭
    The fruit bearing plant first forms flowers; when the fruit forms the flower disappears; similarly one puts in efforts to gain knowledge, once knowledge is gained (through the guru) the need for ritualistic efforts ends ( Ravi Das, SGGS, p 1167).

    Discernment presupposes possessing intellect which is a gift to the humans; other life forms do not have it. If this power of reasoning or discrimination is not used human birth is wasted:

    ਦੁਲਭ ਜਨਮੁ ਪੁੰਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਤ ਅਬਿਬੇਕੈ ॥ ਰ ੬੫੮
    Human birth is achieved with difficulty based on past good deeds; but is wasted if the sense of discrimination is not exercised (Ravi Das, SGGS, p 658).

    Guru Nanak advises to use intellect in every sphere of life:

    ਅਕਲੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ
    ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥ ੧ ੧੨੪੫
    We should serve the Lord wisely and receive honor before Him; wisdom should be used to understand what is read; charity should be given with discrimination; this is the way to go otherwise it is following the devil (M: 1, SGGS, p 1245).

    A rationalist or an atheist would say that is what they also emphasize reason and discrimination so where is the need for religion?

    Religion teaches the higher things of life; it teaches ethics; it teaches discipline. It is the religious scriptures that educate us on the purpose of human birth, God-to-man and man-to-man relationship. It is also well known that relief efforts in most cases of natural calamities are spearheaded by various religious organizations. Religion should not therefore be dispensed with but rather the essence of religious teachings should be understood on the lines taught by Gurbani.

    Moral and ethical values may be encapsulated in one sentence:

    ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥ ੧ ੬੨
    Truth is higher than everything else but higher still is truthful living (M: 1, SGGS, p 62).

    This calls for being true to one’s faith, one self, the family, the society, the country and the world.

    This is faith with a discerning mind, the confluence of faith and reason.

    from Sadh Sangat—A Discourse on Comparative Religion from a Sikh Perspective by Rawel Singh
  5. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
    Writer SPNer Thinker

    Jul 14, 2007
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    Epictetus, the Greek stoic philosopher, said,

    There is but one way to tranquility of mind and happiness; let this, therefore, be always ready at hand with thee, both when thou wakest early in the morning, and all the day long, and when thou goest late to sleep, to account no external thing thine own, but commit all these to God.

    Page 46, Line 9
    ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਗੁਣ ਸਾਰਦੇ ਰਤੇ ਰੰਗਿ ਅਪਾਰ ॥
    आठ पहर गुण सारदे रते रंगि अपार ॥
    Āṯẖ pahar guṇ sārḏe raṯe rang apār.
    Twenty-four hours a day, they lovingly dwell upon His Glories; they are imbued with His Infinite Love.
    Guru Arjan Dev - [SIZE=-1]view Shabad/Paurhi/Salok[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, "A man is what he thinks all day long."
    The thoughts we habitually entertain in our mind have the tendency to actualize themselves in the physical condition. We can begin to realize that the world we live in is determined largely by what goes on in our mind.

    Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman philosopher and sage, said,
    "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."[/SIZE]

    ਪੰਨਾ 610, ਸਤਰ 1
    ਸੁਖੀਏ ਕਉ ਪੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਸੁਖੀਆ ਰੋਗੀ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਸਭ ਰੋਗੀ ॥
    सुखीए कउ पेखै सभ सुखीआ रोगी कै भाणै सभ रोगी ॥
    Sukẖī▫e ka▫o pekẖai sabẖ sukẖī▫ā rogī kai bẖāṇai sabẖ rogī.
    To the happy person, everyone seems happy; to the sick person, everyone seems sick.
    ਮਃ 5 - [SIZE=-1]view Shabad/Paurhi/Salok

    The happiest person is the one who constantly brings forth and practices what is best in himself or herself. Happiness and virtue complement each other. Those who do paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji with attention, come to the understanding and arrive at not just being the happiest but the best in the art of successful living.

    [/SIZE]Page 123, Line 5
    ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਸਚ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੪॥
    सतिगुरु सेवि सदा सोहागणि सच उपदेसि समावणिआ ॥४॥
    Saṯgur sev saḏā sohagaṇ sacẖ upḏes samāvaṇi▫ā. ||4||
    She who serves the True Guru is forever a happy soul-bride. She is absorbed in the true teachings. ||4||
    Guru Amar Das - [SIZE=-1]view Shabad/Paurhi/Salok[/SIZE]
    #4 Astroboy, Nov 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2016
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