Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels: Friends or Foes? Kabeer Bhaang Maachhulee Sura Paan Jo Jo praanee Khaanhe. Teerath Barat Nem Keeye Te Sabhai Rasaatal Jaanhe. 233. SGGS pg.1377. To the displeasure of many, I will try to be fare and balanced on this subject and try to address the widely held drinking taboo within Sikhism (to the best of my understanding). Is drinking allowed and if so why not? I have asked this question before to many people and these are the responses I usually get: 1) “Alcohol is ‘bad’ tasting and people only do it to ‘fit-in’” 2) “it alters your ‘god given’ state of mind and impairs judgment.” 3) “It makes us unnatural” 4) “The side-effects of drinking are not good” 5) “It is addictive and creates dependency” The rebuttals followed soon after 1)Seems tasty to me. I enjoy the taste of a good dry beer, good whine, and other drinks with spirits in them just like you would enjoy a soda. 2)Depends on how much you consume. 3)Please define the ‘natural state’ of man 4)Again depends on how much you drink (whines and beers actually have anti-oxidant properties and are healthy beverages if consumed responsibly)... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N7vgCzTPc0 (I could present more research articles if need be) 5)Certainly not in everyone and why should it be discriminated against other things that we cannot do without (chocolate and sugary treats, spices in our food, stimulants like tea and coffee, high caffeine drinks, internet…lol) I have always imagined and thought to myself: What if science could produce a substance that was effective in achieving an altered state of behavioral patterns within an individual without serious side-effects (no addiction, and no health hazards)? Would this be tolerable within the Sikh framework? Where would such a substance leave us? Does the philosophy and manufactured taboo frown upon 1)The physical process of actually taking the substance? 2)A specific state of mind that led you to resort to taking that substance? 3)The effects of the substance on consciouness and awareness? 4)The side-effects of the substance? 5)Or all of the above In conclusion, I don’t see anything inherently wrong in drinking responsibly…AND THAT IS THE KEYWORD…RESPONSIBLE. When consumed in moderation the benefits seem to outweigh the costs. Now this is only true if you enjoy drinking…there is a large population both religious and irreligious that do not like taste of alcohol. Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYuIYNaKynI These monkeys on the Caribbean island of St Kitts are very similar to humans…again some of them prefer alcohol while others prefer non-alcoholic drinks. We also have to take alcohol in stride with other substances as well. How many times have we popped an Advil or Tylenol (acetyl-para-aminophenol) to quell a migraine, fever, flu or allergies? Or when we take opiate derivative pain-killers. Some actually take substances such as THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) for spiritual experiences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdokVFdLTy0 a video of Nihangs mixing cannabis. Where do we do draw this vague line between good and evil or the sacred and the profane? Or should we think on the basis of individual taste? on a level which is BEYOND good and evil.