Hard Talk - I'm At The Verge Of Losing My Faith In Sikhi. Maybe Already Have. I Need Advice. | Page 4 | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Hard Talk I'm At The Verge Of Losing My Faith In Sikhi. Maybe Already Have. I Need Advice.

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

RD1

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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.
If it made you feel better - and can make others feel better too - perhaps that is the point. In my opinion, Sikhi does not profess to bring you magical results for having a good sleep habit and meditating. Sikhi is a common sense way of life, and seems to emphasize cultivating a good lifestyle, in order to facilitate the mind-body-soul connection.
 

RD1

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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.
The actual messages of a faith, are not necessarily embodied in what is propagated in mainstream culture. When it comes to any faith, spirituality, philosophy,economic theory, political theory etc, there are often huge contrasts in what the faith etc. actually says, and how the majority interpret/practice it. We are all susceptible to maya, ego, ect. which can result in ignorance.

I commend you for asking and thinking about these challenging questions. This type of reflection is exactly what is needed to deepen our understanding,and perhaps bring us closer to a faith.
 

MJALLI

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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.
Hello Rajvir, congratulations on being BOLD to vent out your feelings and taking the right step to seek help. Well, from your ID it appears that your year of birth is 1997 which places you to be around 21 years old. For that young a person to lay tall claims about Gurus practicing Polygamy may be too hasty a step. Your statements about Gurus succession and age etc. lack the factual details. Please note that even if Ultra Pure Water is placed in a dirty pot, the water appears dirty. Similarly, a CLEAN object placed in front of a dirty mirror will give an unclean reflection. Hope you got the intent of my statements.

It is very important to get to the FACTS before making a fair judgement. Before making a statement that "this water is dirty". It may be wise to check if the container had been cleaned to retain purity of clean water. I am not sure how much of Islam or Christianity you have studied. For sure, you have picked up a few good things from both those religions thru word or mouth (possibly). Your point about lack of efforts by Sikhs to spread the message of our Gurus is very valid. But, lack thereof should not be a factor for you to leave a marvelous religion which emphasis on EQUALITY not only for casts but also of Gender. It is not the religion that lacks perfection, it is the followers, that have FAILED TO EMBRACE the CRYSTAL CLEAR message of our Gurus.

I will be more than happy to address your questions about POLYGAMY by the Sixth and the Tenth Guru by leading you to the facts and circumstances under which they had multiple wives and yet lead the life of not only as a LOTUS but much better thereof. I will clarify to you by giving FACTS that ALL ten Gurus (in particular 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th) were placed in the position by MERIT AND SPIRITUAL ABILITY only. Gurbani is very clear about vegetarian Vs. non vegetarian, and I will clarify that as well. I will attempt to address EACH of the issues raised by you based solely on Gurbani and Sikh history.

[Please do not post private information on a public forum, thank you]

Hope to hear from you soon.
Manjit
 

Harry Haller

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I will be more than happy to address your questions about POLYGAMY by the Sixth and the Tenth Guru by leading you to the facts and circumstances under which they had multiple wives and yet lead the life of not only as a LOTUS but much better thereof
multiple wives would question the very foundation of Sikhism regarding sexual equality, so it cannot be, could you explain it for me?
 

Rajveer_97

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multiple wives would question the very foundation of Sikhism regarding sexual equality, so it cannot be, could you explain it for me?
There are 3 names that are always there in reference Guru Hargobind Ji's wives. From Sikhiwiki:

Historians say that Guru Ji's first wife was Mata Damodari, the daughter of Narain Das of the village of Talla. She gave birth to Baba Gurditta, Bibi Veero and Ani Rai Ji. His second marriage was with Bibi Nanki daughter of Hari Chand of the village of Bakala. She was the mother of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. His third marriage was to Bibi Mahadevi daughter of Daya Ram of the village of Jandiyali, from the Shekhupura district, which is now part of Pakistan. Bibi Mahadevi gave birth to Suraj Mall Ji and Baba Atal Ji.

If one goes by the theory of the old custom of name changing after marriage, why are there 3 names here?

Then in case of Guru Gobind Singh Ji there are also 3 names:

at age 10, he married Mata Jito on 21 June 1677 at Basantgaṛh, 10 km north of Anandpur. The couple had three sons: Jujhar Singh(b. 1691), Zorawar Singh (b. 1696) and Fateh Singh (b. 1699).

at age 17, he married Mata Sundari on 4 April 1684 at Anandpur. The couple had one son, Ajit Singh (b. 1687).

at age 33, he married Mata Sahib Devan on 15 April 1700 at Anandpur. They had no children, but she had an influential role in Sikhism. Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed her as the Mother of the Khalsa.

If I recall correctly Patwant Singh's The Sikhs and Khushwant Singh's A History of the Sikhs Vol.1 supported these marriages. I could be wrong. If these claims have been refuted with evidence then someone please let me know. I need to read more historical documents and books to see all the proper references myself, but I'll need to have some trust in historians and scholars who must have already dedicated long on this research. We also know the Baba Banda Singh (although yes not a Guru) had two views, but he wasn't a Guru so I'm not placing him on the same footing.

Anyway, I've been trying to look into with as little personal opinion as possible. I do lean towards the possibility that at least Guru Gobind Singh Ji married more than once (given that there are more historical accounts from his time compared to the previous Gurus). Now if this is true and if one truly believes in every action the Gurus did then these facts must be accepted. What we view as correct in the modern age isn't necessarily going to match with previous customs. Just because something was done in the past differently doesn't automatically make it wrong. One answer I've heard is the Gurus were not like we are. They were without sins. Could any human really live like them if one tried?

ਗੁਰਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਾ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਹੁ ॥ Do those deeds which the Guru has ordained.ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਹੇ ਧਾਵਹੁ ॥ ॥Why are you chasing after the Guru's actions? (p 933)

Maybe not everything applies exactly the same to the Guru and the Sikhs. A Sikh's test of what's right and wrong should be looking at what the Gurus did and said.

I'll keep on looking into this by reading more Gurbani and history. These questions need to be looked into, for a young faith Sikhi has too many uncertainties and they need to be addressed, by keeping personal bias as little as possible no matter how hard it is. I won't be relying on my own personal belief. If all this is true, then either one respects the Gurus decisions or one can't be a Guru's Sikh.

Bhul Chuk Maaf
 

Harry Haller

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There are 3 names that are always there in reference Guru Hargobind Ji's wives. From Sikhiwiki:
ah yes that firm foundation of all that is true in Sikhism, Sikhiwiki, owned by Sikhnet, the voice of that good old egg Yogi Bhajjan!
 

Harry Haller

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uhm well if they did, it sort of brings into question the whole attitude towards women, which if they are equal, does not make sense, to me anyway
 

Ishna

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uhm well if they did, it sort of brings into question the whole attitude towards women, which if they are equal, does not make sense, to me anyway
How does it reflect upon the attitude towards women?

There is so much wrong with how Punjabi culture traditionally approaches women's rights it's not funny, as we see in all the unfairness manifested today.

I think that assuming that if some Gurus had more than one wife that means they disrespected women is a bit of an assumption at best, and a case of "pick out the log in one's own eye before picking at the speck in your brother's eye".
 

Harry Haller

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well if the whole point of Sikh marriage is between man, woman and God, how does that work when there are 2 women, is it then between man, woman, woman, and God? and how can a man be faithful if he has two wives?
 

Tejwant Singh

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So what even if they have multiple wives back then? Lots of cultures did that, for many different reasons. What is the problem?
The fact of the matter is that polygamy and having concubines was the mode du jour then. We know most of the invaders if not all and Indian 'royalty' including Sikhs had multiple wives including Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In fact, Maharaja of Patiala even used to have a phallus procession in Patiala where he used to walk the streets of his city with the exposed erect phallus. We had a book with these pictures in our library.

This kind of debauchery was not uncommon then.

As our Gurus never considered themselves as royals and they did not have the mindsets of the royal letchery because of their value system of equality, I doubt it that our Gurus would have married multiple women because letchery was not one of their traits as they always fought for equality of all.

Yes, I have read books, stories about the multiple marriages by some of our Gurus which seems farfetched as no history is written about our Gurus by them which is the only mean to find out if this gossip is real.
 

RicktheSikh

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If there were a shortage of men in any society polygamy would occur out of simple necessity for reproductive purposes. Likewise if the majority of men available were of low moral character. If there were a constant threat of danger to women a husband might function more as a security guard than a sexual partner. A polygamous arrangement wouldn't necessarily mean the women involved were being disrespected in any way or treated as property. Faithfulness would mean only having relations with one's own wives. An honorable husband in this scenario would avoid actively pursuing the acquisition of new wives as well, only agreeing to marry at the woman's request and with all other wives' approval. To avoid disputes over favoritism a husband in a polygamous arrangement could submit to the wives' wills about who sleeps with who and when. There can be honor and respect in any marriage arrangement.
 

Harry Haller

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any polygamous arrangement. in my view, shows little respect for women, you cannot be faithful to a woman if you are having sex with another woman, regardless of the semantics, where is the honour and respect in wives agreeing with who sleeps with who and when?
 

RicktheSikh

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any polygamous arrangement. in my view, shows little respect for women, you cannot be faithful to a woman if you are having sex with another woman, regardless of the semantics, where is the honour and respect in wives agreeing with who sleeps with who and when?
In the scenario I outlined, the polygamous arrangement is entirely in the hands of the women. If a woman wants to be wife #2 and wife #1 is cool with it and calling the shots about how it all happens, how is that disrespectful to anyone? It's more like two women agreeing to share a husband, not a husband taking two wives. Yeah, that's semantics but perspective is expressed in semantics.
 

Harry Haller

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regardless of whether anyone is comfortable with it or not, does not make it right, mindsets can be changed, thinking can be warped, just because someone agrees to be potentially abused, does not make it acceptable, in the madness of what we call love, 2 women may well agree to share a man, and even think that they are ok with it, but a genuine man would not allow such to happen, and as I said earlier, in Sikhism, how would the Anand Karaj work? how does this arrangement work in Sikhism, clearly it does not.

now if one of the women were a shemale, that might work .....
 

RicktheSikh

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sure, because polygamous marriages are all about monopoly and other board games, the sexual aspect was never a facet
I was trying to imagine one that wasn't based on male lust, one in which someone who had conquered lust could possibly find themselves in. There's a bibi I met at gurdwara that explained to me that the Gurus that had more than one wife were offered the women's hand in marriage and to prevent these women from bearing the shame of being rejected (cultural thing I guess) the offers were accepted but these marriages were formalities, not for sex and that the Gurus only bore children with their original wives. This could be just legend.
 

Harry Haller

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I was trying to imagine one that wasn't based on male lust, one in which someone who had conquered lust could possibly find themselves in. There's a bibi I met at gurdwara that explained to me that the Gurus that had more than one wife were offered the women's hand in marriage and to prevent these women from bearing the shame of being rejected (cultural thing I guess) the offers were accepted but these marriages were formalities, not for sex and that the Gurus only bore children with their original wives. This could be just legend.
Yup that makes sense, the Gurus were willing to watch hundreds, thousands of Sikhs go to their deaths, including in some cases their own sons, fathers, for the ideal of equality, liberty, to fight for a higher cause, for ideals, for principles, but were willing to distort these ideals for which many had died, many had lost, for one woman to not be bearing the shame of rejection, nope, does not make sense to me, polygamy does absolutely nothing to give women sexual equality, no man in a polygamous marriage can look at the women in his marriage as equals, they have either been married to save themselves from shame as you put it, or because they were cool with it, both points are moot, being ashamed, being cool, are both emotional states that can change with time and circumstance, neither are what I would call positive facets to base a marriage on.

The trouble with Sikhism is that there are many legends, and many stories, and many many Bibi's in gurdwaras, as many as there are men in pubs, at some point you have to put weight on philosophies, you have to pay the piper, look after the chickens that have come home to roost, and I refuse to accept any religion that states one thing, but then makes excuses for why this one thing was never followed by the principals, in my mind, the Gurus could never have even contemplated multiple marriages, regardless of whether some woman whose parents were stupid enough to ask an already married Guru to marry again, My Guru, the one that I hold in esteem, the one that holds court in my head would have berated them and informed them how impossible this was, he would not have gone ahead with it just to save a bit of embarrassment, but that is what I believe, we are all free to believe what we wish, Sikhism is not a religion of do as I say, but not as I do, the Gurus had a responsibility to back up their philosophies with actions, to my mind anyway
 

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