Hard Talk I'm At The Verge Of Losing My Faith In Sikhi. Maybe Already Have. I Need Advice.

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Rajveer_97, May 23, 2018.

  1. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    After getting into Sikhi properly and studying it for almost 2 years, I have reached a point where I’ve noticed things within its theology and history that I simply cannot ignore anymore. For the time being I’m leaving Sikhi as it is, I’d call myself a Sikh but only by its general definition/meaning, since I have not entirely given up on faith and God in general but on the religion itself. I have decided to take a back seat and begin my journey anew by re-looking at Sikhi, Christianity and Islam, amongst other eastern philosophies. My intention with what I say next isn’t intend to offend, but to genuinely enquire, learn and ask others to ask these questions themselves (Points made in no specific order).

    · I still highly respect the Gurus, the lives they led, the ideals they fought and sacrificed for, etc. But to what extent have these really survived? Let’s look at the caste system. Recently I learned some villages in India have separate Gurdwaras for those consider to be of the lower-caste. The Gurus themselves I learned were all from the Khatri caste and married within their own caste despite preaching against such barriers. Now I’m not saying that one should marry outside of their caste for the sake of it, but it’s some food for thought.

    · How about the succession of the Gurus? How do we go from the 4 first being chosen by merit and from different lineage, then suddenly it turns into a system of monarchy resulting in the succession of Guru Harkrishan Ji at such a young age who also passed away at a young age. The argument I once heard was due to the challenges to Guruship the first Gurus faced. Well, these didn’t exactly stop and was especially notable in the case of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.

    · What is it about the Gurus that ensures us of their authenticity? How do we know they were divine or “perfect” as many say. If the message of Sikhi really is the simplest and most practical and the eternal Truth, if the message of Sikhi, the Gurbani, really did come from God as Guru Gobind Singh Ji says near the end of Chaupai Sahib, then why, why is it that its remained confined for the most part to the Punjabi population? Even outside of Punjab, a large chunk of the population is Punjabi and the culture and religion have become intertwined. Now you’d say we haven’t done much parchar properly, maybe because Sikhs don’t preach and proselytize. Or you might say the SGPC is to blame. Okay sure these two factors are to blame. But let’s look back to history. Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled pretty far and wide, mostly with his sole companion Bhai Mardana and it was to observe the rest of the world and preach the message of Sikhi. Centres were established in these locations, as far as Iran I’ve read. Why didn’t these survive if the message if so supreme? And if I recall correctly it was Guru Har Rai Ji who also travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent to preach. Banda Singh Bahadur himself went around preaching and bringing more to the Sikh fold (stated in The Sikhs by Patwant Singh as I recall).

    · If this message came from the Hukam of Akal Purakh then surely it would have resisted decline and only grown in the 500 years since the faith was born? I won’t blame the restriction of the faith to mostly Punjab on this being the age of Kalyug and neither on how maybe I’m looking at this from an Abrahamic lens and not the Dharmic framework – by that reason most of the planet outside the Indian subcontinent is in simple ignorance. If the message of Gurbani isn’t restricted to the Sikh faith and it appears to those of the Bhakti movement mostly then why hasn’t history seen Gurus with a similar message in the West or other corners of the world? At least I’ve never heard of any, if there are any you know of please do mention them. Please don’t say other religions were spread by sword, Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population and known as one where Islam was spread by word and not sword.

    · Even during the time of the Sikh empire, which like many I used to consider the Golden Age of Sikhs, after reading its history I realised it was the time when Sikh philosophy was likely diluted the most. The moment Sikhs seemed to have gotten a taste for sovereignty, self control and strictness to the Sikh Rehat seem to have become secondary.

    · Following on from this, how do we clearly separate the so called “false gurus” like Ram Rahim from the true ones? If those rape and violence allegations hadn’t been found about him he could be easily looked at as a hero and the saviour of the poor and low castes. I’m not trying to equate the Sikh gurus to this man, they were far different in character from this man. But if the 10 Gurus weren’t the last and only, then why is it when one claims to be one in this day and age they are met with ridicule?


    · Now moving onto Gurbani. It is beautiful, the meaning is deep and highly deserving of respect. But is it really divine? This query has been raised before and I will re-iterate it: The verses for the most part are repetitive. It is true this is not the case when they are read in their original form, but the meaning still tends to be repetitive. If I was to open up the SGGS at random pages, I’d almost all basically be reading the same verse but only written in a different way from a different author. I realise that the inclusion of several of authors signifies unity but reading the same over and over again doesn’t appear to me as source of ever increasing wisdom as I progress through the scripture. Comparing this to the Bible and the Quran, neither one of which I’ve yet accepted but it’s undeniable that they themselves have much more in terms of various examples and plenty of wisdom resides in them too. In addition to this, I have always wondered how Baba Fareed would feel about someone worshipping to their poetry/bani? If they were a Muslim, then someone praying to anything other than Allah/God would be the highest of sins.

    · Some more matters that shook my faith: Why did some Gurus practice polygamy? There is historical evidence to support they did and those who refute this usually seem to speak from person opinion and emotion. I used to be of the thought if the Guru does something then I accept it since they know better. But come on, shouldn’t they have provided us with better guidelines? Islam and polygamy, something many love to bash – at least it provides strict guidelines for this. Idol worship – this is something Christians (excluding Catholics) and Muslims have a done a much better job at keeping it away. Criticism of Sikhs converting to other faiths such as Christianity – You know what, good for them if this provides them with a more caring community. I disagree with deception being used for such conversions, but otherwise I feel good for them. The fault lies on a lot (not all) of the Punjabi Sikh community itself. Why have Sikhs failed to spread the faith even over the Indian subcontinent itself? Why so much debate over a simple matter of canon scriptures (the Dasam Granth which oddly enough contains 2 of the prayers forming the Nitnem) and a matter of vegetarianism and meat eating? It should have been pretty clear thing laid out by the Gurus. Also this idea of Sikhs being encouraged to be critical thinkers but also not to question the Guru doesn’t quite go too well together.

    I apologise for the hefty post, there’s plenty more I’d like to say but at least these things I had to get off my chest. Before this faith crises recently, the past 2-3 months is the most serious I had ever been about Sikhi. I woke up early every morning (even for which there seems to be some uncertainty regarding when exactly counts as amrit vela) and you know what it did make me feel better. Until I later begin to realise that this good feeling is likely something almost anyone turning to a healthy sleep schedule and a habit of meditation could likely acquire. Buddhists who don’t believe in the importance of faith in an eternal creator likely also reap the benefits of meditation.

    Bottom point here: the good feeling one gets out of spirituality can be quite subjective. There are plenty of people out there who might follow a very different path and feel something from it and claim that it’s the true path since its working. That in itself is not a good enough reason for why a path is the true one. Truth in its nature is exclusive. The Bible claims authenticity through the fulfilments of prophecies it contains and The Quran through its prophecies and its literary perfection. I have not yet fully read either but intend to in order to see this for myself. I am far from the most intellectual or spiritually developed person, or the most well read in the SGGS or theology in general. But when I started to look at Sikhi a bit more objectively along with spiritually, all these were things I simply I couldn’t ignore. These are some of the issues I believe Sikhs need to deal with. For a faith which is meant to be built on inclusivity, I never even felt fully accepted as a proper Sikh since I am a Sehajdari.

    If you took the time to read my post, I’d like to thank you. This challenge to the beliefs I held dear has left my restless and depressed, so if I hurt anyone’s sentiments then for that apologise and also for any incoherency in my writing. I really want to find truth is and have a genuine discussion based on reason and backing up of claims, rather than pure emotion and knowledge gained from word of mouth.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf kareo.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Loading...


  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    7,129
    @Rajveer_97,

    I have a couple of questions for you.

    What are you looking a religion for?
    What are you looking a god for?

    Once you respond to these then we can discuss whatever you have in mind
    .
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. RicktheSikh

    RicktheSikh SPNer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    You've been cultivating these doubts for quite some time it seems. I don't think anyone can resolve these questions for you in one forum post. Why this and why that? Perhaps everything unfolds as it should, including your loss of faith in Sikhi. I would advise that on your spiritual journey going forward you lead with your heart and find what feels right and makes you a better person. Picking it all apart and demanding that it pass the agnostic skeptic test is going to leave you believing in nothing.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    My goal right now is what it was when I set off on this journey: to find whatever the Truth is. I chose Sikhi because it's message of love and openness resonated with me. I have spent a great chunk of my time since then studying it and now I'm getting to deeper and trickier questions which I'm struggling with. I am definitely a theist, I believe there is a creator because that is what my thinking has led me to conclude. I'm not just looking to be part of a religion since for me that will come after, first and foremost I am seeking the Truth which I can't do alone and hence I'm turning here for guidance and discussion. I don't know where else to go. As I said in my post, I'm relooking at religions and even though my love for Sikh philosophy is still greater than others as it stands, theologically an historically it's also the one I'm struggling to fully comprehend on my own. I hope this satisfies your questions.
     
  6. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    Even if someone could address just one or two of my questions, that'd be tremendously helpful. And you're right - I'm falling into the trap of treating religious and spiritual scriptures like dead books.
     
  7. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,069
    Likes Received:
    5,090
    You won't find the Truth outside. You can only find it within yourself. It doesn't matter what answers people give to the questions in the OP.. no one can convince you of the Truth. It's something you recognise within yourself - that intuitive understanding that Gurbani talks about.

    Furthermore, the Truth isn't something you can actually put your finger on and describe. It's beyond description. I know this must sound exasperating and frustrating and not very helpful. But its just the way it is.

    Religion, even Sikhi, is just a human construct. Scriptures, even Gurbani, are human words. They do their best to communicate the Truth to us, but it's so hard to explain. They do their best to give us a way of life that helps us live Truth, but since human societies change, no religion or philosophy is ever going to be "perfect" for all time. This doesn't invalidate the Truth - the Truth is beyond human societies.

    I'm not sure I've helped..
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    When you say "no religion or philosophy is ever going to be "perfect" for all time" you almost make it sound like Truth can change with a changing society and social concepts. Maybe that wasn't your intention in which case do correct me if I misunderstood, but Truth cannot change. Truth is eternal and it is by its very nature exclusive. I'm not saying it's exclusive to a specific religion, but there can only be on Truth. Per terms of Sikhi that'll be Ik Oankar, one constant. If I was to summarise the aim of all my points, it'll be into this: Why Sikhi? How do I know I'm following the right path? One needs to watch out for the placebo effect when talking of personal, spiritual experiences. For example if a Muslim was to make a case of the Quran they'd likely mention it's miraculous side: Orated by a name who was illiterate and yet the verses are of such high linguistic and poetic significance, as well as a mention of the universe expanding, people having memorised it so it could never be erased, etc. I'm not saying I 100% back these up, I need to read for myself but I'd say this provides a slightly more objective dimension for someone wanting to find out why they should trust it.
    What could the argument for Sikhi be to someone? Neither am I saying I'm looking for miracles. But something. I see a lot of beauty in this way of life, but we as a community have a lot of work to do in ensuring the message is delivered rightly to others, in a society where atheism is increasing rapidly.

    I apologise for rambling on and I really do appreciate your response, this matter just really has currently consumed me. I'll hope I find the right path.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    7,129
    What if I told you that Sikhi is not a religion as religions are defined and Sikhi has no god as god is defined in the world?
    Now seeking the objective Truth becomes much easier than with the dogmas the religions offer because Sikhi is the journey of the individual, hence each of us carries our own spiritual torch.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. RicktheSikh

    RicktheSikh SPNer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    Why Sikhi? You've been studying for two years and you're still at "Why Sikhi"? What have you gained in those two years? What bad habits have you shed? The aim of Sikhi is to have a constant connection with God and eventually merge ourselves with the One. No mediator, no clergy. We do simran to be one to One with the Creator. No other path offers that. I feel that in matters of faith you get out of it what you put into it. Perhaps you're looking for a faith in which you don't have to be "all in". Perhaps you acknowledge the existence of God but are not in love with Waheguru. You have praise for Islam and the Quran, but I didn't notice anything positive about Sikhi in your posts. Do you really want to hold on to this faith or are you here to sow the seeds of doubt in others? No one can repair your faith if you've already made up your mind about it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    7,129
    How many scriptures have you studied so far to fall into the trap you mentioned and what do you mean by dead books?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  12. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    Good questions, thanks for them and I really should think about them. Reflecting on them I think I got way ahead of my game. I don't have any Sikh friends or company, unfortunately, most of my friends are devout Christians, Muslims and atheists and these discussions are the kind we have a lot. So far I had held pretty well on my own, but now it seems like the debates started to wear me down and I let doubt get to me. For these 2 years I was pretty ardent in my belief. One of the things that really hit me was when someone asked: Would you really still be a Sikh if you weren't born into a Punjabi Sikh family? I said yes, without a doubt. It's an open philosophy that resonates well with me. But my mind didn't stop pondering this question and started to wonder whether I was following this path blindly. I do love God, my issues is not with having a problem being all in. Spirituality and love over mechanical rituals any day. I used Quran as an example because it's conversations regarding it that I've been most involved in recently. But another thing that created doubts in my head is when I realised after getting to know some Muslims quite well that how admirable their strict adherence to morality and faith can be, not the impression I had been given growing up in a Punjabi family or from the media.

    Don't get me wrong, even now in comparison to the teachings of other faiths my love for SGGS Ji is still greater. But I've never been in the habit of looking at things from just one side. Though in this case I think I may really be out of my depth and should focus on my own beliefs first before being emotionally led astray. I haven't fully read any other scriptures yet, I'm in the process of doing so however. Quran and the Bible mainly, plus long deep discussions with some close friends who follow both. But I'll try to focus mostly on Sikhi, it's not as if it causes me any happiness to have these questions.
    By "dead book" I meant that I should try not to do readings regarding such spiritual subjects with a stone heart, with the main purpose being dissecting the verses and looking for just flaws. I just hope I can find a good sadh sangat soon (I've really tried for 2 years, not had a heck load of luck) and maybe go speak to someone at my local Gurdwara.


    Finally, please do not think I don't have admiration for the gurus. Yet I am to read of someone as noble as them who put the amazing ideals of being a Saint-Soldier into practice, displayed great courage, mercy and character in times of adversity. Belittling Sikhi was not my intention, but this issue had been screaming in my head and I just had to get it out. I really appreciate your patience.
     
  13. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    7,129
    @Rajveer_97 ,

    Then how can you jump to the conclusion without having any basis as you have not read any scriptures fully by your own admission and yet have the gall to call them dead books?
    Do you find this fair on your part?
     
  14. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    No, no, no you've misunderstood what I meant to say by "dead books". I am not saying the books themselves are dead, not at all. One example I can give you is how I've heard of some religious people say they don't like the way the field of theology is taught in the west, because they often treat religious scriptures as "dead books", meaning that some people read them and analyse them not with any heart or true desire to find what the Truth is, but rather with the intention to simply debate which often just goes in circles, so basically they treat them AS "dead books". I'm not saying they themselves are dead books. I hope that clears out what I meant to say. I didn't even for a moment say they were actually dead books, it may mistakenly come across as that.

    Edit: Basically I meant recently I may have fallen into the trap of also treating the SGGS Ji this way and need to fix that.
     
  15. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    7,129
    I think you are mixing too many things in all your posts hence it becomes a bit difficult to grasp what you are trying to convey.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. RicktheSikh

    RicktheSikh SPNer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    I'm not Punjabi and I love Sikhi. It's the connection to God that I have always craved. Just because the people around you are doing it poorly doesn't mean the path is flawed.
     
  17. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    Yes I am...Not too far from my state of mind. But anyway, I really appreciate your input. I'll try to take things easy and study one topic at a time. Talking things through even like throughout these posts, helps my brain feel more clear.
     
  18. Rajveer_97

    Rajveer_97 Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    Yes, true brother. I'll be doing my best to find my way again, without too much regard to public opinion and customs.
     
  19. RicktheSikh

    RicktheSikh SPNer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    There are people out there that love to tear down other people's beliefs. My advice is to not engage in debate. There's no need to prove the "supremacy" of your religion. Once you have established a meaningful relationship with God nothing else matters.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,069
    Likes Received:
    5,090
    In my view, religion isn't the Truth. Religion is a tool for learning about and living Truth and is highly dependent on time, place, context. But as you said the Truth doesn't change. You can see it in the common threads that run through cultures and religions across human history and geography. And we hear this in Gurbani when we read that one can worship God if they're a true Muslim or a true Hindu, and by extrapolation if they're a true Sikh - and it also explains areas where humans commonly muddle Truth by getting distracted with the wrong things, like thinking they're holy for not touching something "unholy" when in their minds they are filthy, etc.

    The Truth isn't limited to one religion. In my experience, Sikhi does the best job out of any of the world religions at explaining Truth and encouraging a simple, Truthful lifestyle.

    There is no one right path or religion. There is only Truth and things that help teach it to you and live in accordance with it.

    How does this have bearing on the Truth? The most outwardly devoted person can still have no real relationship with God in their heart, but there's no way you'll ever know that. You can only know your own heart.

    Gurbani does the best job out of all the scriptures I've looked at (admittedly not a whole heap) at singing of God and Truth.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Loved It! Loved It! x 1
  21. sukhsingh

    sukhsingh Writer SPNer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    193
    You won't find many people on here who are out to tear down others beliefs .. Give it a chance
     

Share This Page