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Is Sikhism Really What We Want It To Be?

Rory

SPNer
Jul 2, 2012
218
323
Ireland
I apologize for this post being so short, especially since it's the kind of topic that needs elaboration; I'm tired and just want to get this typed out and posted so I can view the responses in the morning.

A question that's been on my mind, do you think Sikhism is really what it is made out to be? Is it what it should be?

As someone whose first encounter with Sikhism was via the internet, I was subject at first to a very rose-tinted view of the religion. (No doubt this is the case with any religion one chooses to research online; the main resources for information are usually set-up by the adherents of the religion, so if you Google for information about Christianity, Buddhism, Islam etc. then those websites will all try to give an appetizing version of their beliefs.)

You know the kind of "rose-tinted" view I mean; a lot of emphasis put on equality, avoiding ego, worshiping one God and no other, avoiding ritual, abstinence from tobacco & alcohol. These are things which are agreeable in religion, and we can all observe the positivity of them; great! Sikhism sounds amazing. Then we learn about the 5 kakkars, or tenets of the faith, each with both a practical use and spiritual importance; again, with a bit of thought we can come to a positive conclusion about the 5 Ks, and we end up thinking "hey, Sikhism makes a lot of sense".

I am not sure if it is just me, or if we all go through a little stage of waking-up, but recently I've become a little disillusioned.

It's true that the "faults" I'm about to mention are exclusively the fault of people who call themselves Sikhs, not necessarily of true Sikhs, and not the fault of Sikhi itself. I suppose then I've titled this thread wrong, but for me the actions of Sikhs still hold bearing on the religion itself; if there are so few true Sikhs, how much does that say about Sikhism?

Today there are still Sikhs who only marry within caste, and treat others according to their caste; there are Sikhs who kill their own family members for reasons of honour, there are Sikhs holding on still to traditions from Hinduism, and a huge amount of Sikhs who take seemingly nothing away from the teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and function instead on notions of tradition, or heritage.

Has almost everything in Sikhism become little more than a ritual to modern-day Sikhs? I've had the pleasure of talking to some people on here who exhibit the pure positive image purveyed on the kind of Sikhi websites I read first, and that is extremely encouraging - but I'm starting to become disillusioned to that image and rapidly accustomed to the fact that the vast majority of modern-day Sikhs do not understand their own religion, and the rose-tinted picture of all Sikhs being spiritual, rational, ritual-free, equality-loving defenders of dharma just isn't accurate.

Sorry if this thread is a little harsh, obviously it is not meant as an attack on anyone and as I said the faults are with people who have drifted from Sikhi and barely know the religion, not with Sikhi itself.

What are your thoughts on what I have said, and how do you think it affects/reflects upon Sikhism?
 

Luckysingh

Writer
SPNer
Dec 4, 2011
1,633
2,753
Vancouver
This thread is -''Is Sikhism really what we want it to be?''

I reckon the bigger question is '' Are we what sikhism really wants us to be?''

Your thoughts and questions Roryji are spot on!!
From our own sikhism and it's followers, I have learnt that it is illogical and wrong to judge any religion from the way that their people represent it.

To learn about ANY religion, one has to follow and understand the true original teachings. Following what the followers or even what some preachers may say can be harmful, misleading and an incorrect method of learning.
 

Harry Haller

Panga Master
SPNer
Jan 31, 2011
5,769
8,180
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Roryji,

I am glad you are thinking, rather than just swallowing anything and everything, I have complete faith that you will find what you are looking for in Sikhism. You are asking the same questions I asked when came back to the fold.

As someone whose first encounter with Sikhism was via the internet, I was subject at first to a very rose-tinted view of the religion. (No doubt this is the case with any religion one chooses to research online; the main resources for information are usually set-up by the adherents of the religion, so if you Google for information about Christianity, Buddhism, Islam etc. then those websites will all try to give an appetizing version of their beliefs.)
All religions have different branches, my view of Catholicism was severely shaken by the arrival here of young Vouthonji. Just keep digging my friend, keep questioning, you will be fine.

It's true that the "faults" I'm about to mention are exclusively the fault of people who call themselves Sikhs, not necessarily of true Sikhs, and not the fault of Sikhi itself. I suppose then I've titled this thread wrong, but for me the actions of Sikhs still hold bearing on the religion itself; if there are so few true Sikhs, how much does that say about Sikhism?
a lot, personally I believe there is too much culture in Sikhism. It is a universal religion.

Today there are still Sikhs who only marry within caste, and treat others according to their caste; there are Sikhs who kill their own family members for reasons of honour, there are Sikhs holding on still to traditions from Hinduism, and a huge amount of Sikhs who take seemingly nothing away from the teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and function instead on notions of tradition, or heritage.
depressing isnt it


Sorry if this thread is a little harsh, obviously it is not meant as an attack on anyone and as I said the faults are with people who have drifted from Sikhi and barely know the religion, not with Sikhi itself.
All we can do is try and practice as best we can, without judging others (apart from the meditators lol lol lol lol ,sorry just my little joke), and be the best that we can be, I think most important is truthful living, I think it is a good foundation.
 
Jul 18, 2007
147
455
London
I think a lot of us end up asking the same question you did in your post Rory.

For me personally, I think there are enough bad examples out there, let me not become one of them, and keep trying to be what Guru Granth Sahib Ji wants us to be, I may not get there but I wont stop trying.
 

namjiwankaur

SPNer
Nov 14, 2010
557
433
USA
Gurfateh

Rory ji

I actually think you're asking the same questions Guru Nanak asked about Islam and Hinduism and those who practiced those religions.


As someone whose first encounter with Sikhism was via the internet, I was subject at first to a very rose-tinted view of the religion. (No doubt this is the case with any religion one chooses to research online; the main resources for information are usually set-up by the adherents of the religion, so if you Google for information about Christianity, Buddhism, Islam etc. then those websites will all try to give an appetizing version of their beliefs.)
You are right about how some websites present their religions, but what bothers me are those kind of sites like islamophobes make on Islam. I think once a religion has tens of thousands of followers, chances are sects will be created. I don't think that has to do with any flaw in the religion. It is just that people all have different personalities. Some are drawn to one aspect; others to other aspects.

Sikhism sounds amazing. Then we learn about the 5 kakkars, or tenets of the faith, each with both a practical use and spiritual importance; again, with a bit of thought we can come to a positive conclusion about the 5 Ks, and we end up thinking "hey, Sikhism makes a lot of sense".
I had a bit of an awakening several weeks ago when I realized the religions weren't the problem I was having with religion. The problem was me. I was too black and white & I was waiting for the "dream come true" religion that I would be completely in synch with. I suddenly learned that isn't going to happen.

I am not sure if it is just me, or if we all go through a little stage of waking-up, but recently I've become a little disillusioned.
I went through it with several religions I explored.

Today there are still Sikhs who only marry within caste, and treat others according to their caste; there are Sikhs who kill their own family members for reasons of honour,
This is culture. Sikhi doesn't teach these things, but culture has as much of an effect on a person as their religions do. IE: Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims from the same area of the world participate in honor killing. Islam doesn't condone it and Sikhism doesn't condone it. I assume Hinduism doesn't either.

there are Sikhs holding on still to traditions from Hinduism,
Personally, I am influenced by all the religions I've explored. I also am taking my time before I sacrifice it all for the sake of Sikhism. At this point in my journey Sikhi is just what I needed as a Sufi who is deeply connected to the Sacred Feminine.

and a huge amount of Sikhs who take seemingly nothing away from the teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and function instead on notions of tradition, or heritage.
I think this is happening in many religions. There are secular Jews who feel only ethnically Jewish. Same with Islam. I see it something similar happening with Christianity in the US. And I am sure there are many who are Sikh by name only. This also has very little to do with Sikhism. Its human nature.

Has almost everything in Sikhism become little more than a ritual to modern-day Sikhs?
I can only answer for myself at this point.

but I'm starting to become disillusioned to that image and rapidly accustomed to the fact that the vast majority of modern-day Sikhs do not understand their own religion, and the rose-tinted picture of all Sikhs being spiritual, rational, ritual-free, equality-loving defenders of dharma just isn't accurate.
I wrote earlier how I thought in the beginnning, "If Sikhi is against ritual, why are there so many rituals? What is meant by the 5K?" For years, I rejected Sikhism because of it.

I don't think Sikhi teaches to be free of ritual, but to perform all those rituals prayerfully. And don't think that God only accepts the prayers of, for example, a Muslim who faces Mecca. I think Guru asks us to put feet on our faith. Don't just go through the motions.

I also think religion is much more complicated in practice than on paper.

I am glad you asked the question so we can follow the replies we find. Someone told me recently to look at religions and rituals as suggestions not commands. And to remember it isn't about religion...its about God by whatever Name you call him or her.

Sikhi seems more flexible in theory, but remember that people are not always flexible. So a flexible person who is Sikhi will be a flexible Sikh. An inflexible person who is a Sikh will be an inflexible Sikh. But how flexible we are is almost always a personality trait not a spiritual belief (though ppl can be very flexible or inflexible about their spiritual beliefs just like they are in the rest of their lives.

Thanks for bring up such a good topic. I am looking forward to reading all the replies.kaurhug
 

Rory

SPNer
Jul 2, 2012
218
323
Ireland
Nam-ji said:
I had a bit of an awakening several weeks ago when I realized the religions weren't the problem I was having with religion. The problem was me. I was too black and white & I was waiting for the "dream come true" religion that I would be completely in synch with.
I can relate to that. It's really disheartening at first, personally I put a lot of effort into subjectively studying a number of world religions & to find none of them fit like a glove is sort of depressing. On the other hand it made me realize that religion is only a path, and it's the motivation and energy we reserve for it that decides whether or not we make the destination. No matter what path we choose, a large amount of deep thought and reflection is needed to achieve anything from it.

Nam-ji said:
This is culture. Sikhi doesn't teach these things, but culture has as much of an effect on a person as their religions do. IE: Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims from the same area of the world participate in honor killing. Islam doesn't condone it and Sikhism doesn't condone it. I assume Hinduism doesn't either.
That's true, as I said it's not the fault of Sikhi but the fault of Sikhs for not holding true to the Shri Granth, and living their life by the dictate of culture instead.

Nam-ji said:
Personally, I am influenced by all the religions I've explored. I also am taking my time before I sacrifice it all for the sake of Sikhism.
Same here, I feel that I raced through my studies of other religions - with Sikhism that's not possible because we have to reflect on things for them to make sense. That's something I like very much about Sikhi!

Nam-ji said:
I don't think Sikhi teaches to be free of ritual, but to perform all those rituals prayerfully. And don't think that God only accepts the prayers of, for example, a Muslim who faces Mecca. I think Guru asks us to put feet on our faith. Don't just go through the motions.
Couldn't agree with you more ji.

I suppose what I was asking is if it seems like there are more imposters in Sikhism than in other religions; I've since thought about it a little, and realized that though Sikhism has its cultural, caste-abiding alcohol-drinkers, so too does Christianity have alcohol-drinkers, drug takers, cursing church-missers, and its share of fundamentalist wackos. Islam has violent fundamentalists and also has its fair share of secularized drinkers, cursers, etc..

I guess the only thing this really reinforces is that for any religion, we have to look hard to find a true devotee. It's extremely easy to become lax in our religion, and excuses for doing so are abundant.
 

Navdeep88

Writer
SPNer
Dec 23, 2009
442
655
Sikh & Punjabi are Not Synonomous. No Sikhs kill their family members or adhere to any form of bs.

A Sikh is only a Sikh if they Prescribe to & Live by the teaching of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Anything less, & they are demoted to merely being Punjabi, regardless of the fact that on the Census, they may tick off Sikh, that's Simply not the Case.

**Im not saying, 'Oh Im a Sikh, Im so great blah blah blah. BUT a Distinction Needs to Be Made, & the SOONER, the BETTER! Sikhism Is not Punjabiyat. There are Good things in Punjabiyat, but some of it is Not in line w/ Sikhism & therefore, Should be ignored.

(This is Also of Significance, to Me, b/c I am in-between Cultures, so it often Important to distinguish between what is Coming from Culture, & what from Religion, so I can Determine it's Value in My Life.)
 
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