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.