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New To Sikhism, Looking For Advice

KiranSingh

SPNer
Apr 9, 2007
6
0
Rome
Hello,
I am very happy to find this community.

Its been quite a journey to this point. I was raised a Catholic (in the US) but found it did not fit my beliefs. I checked out Protestant churches, read the Koran, prayed in Hindu temples, and tried to practice as a Buddhist. The last two faiths seemed closer but doubt remained because I could not agree with some of their core beliefs (many gods, no god, etc). Meanwhile, my family remain devout Catholics and are not exactly supportive of my search.

I believe in one God, reincarnation to grow closer to him, serving my fellow human beings, that all are created equal, and the importance of community.
I stumbled upon a website called Beliefnet and took their online quiz - it told me my beliefs are 90% close to Sikhism, a religion I knew little about. Since then, I've been exploring it and find myself drawn to it.

I hope (with your help) to learn more about Sikhism and grow closer to it since it seems to be what I've been looking for. I figure I'll start as a sahajdari and learn as I go. I'm starting with Guru Nanak's Japji.

Can anyone offer suggestions for how I should proceed on this path?

Chris (Kiran)


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Jul 10, 2006
918
77
Hello,
I am very happy to find this community.

Its been quite a journey to this point. I was raised a Catholic (in the US) but found it did not fit my beliefs. I checked out Protestant churches, read the Koran, prayed in Hindu temples, and tried to practice as a Buddhist. The last two faiths seemed closer but doubt remained because I could not agree with some of their core beliefs (many gods, no god, etc). Meanwhile, my family remain devout Catholics and are not exactly supportive of my search.

I believe in one God, reincarnation to grow closer to him, serving my fellow human beings, that all are created equal, and the importance of community.
I stumbled upon a website called Beliefnet and took their online quiz - it told me my beliefs are 90% close to Sikhism, a religion I knew little about. Since then, I've been exploring it and find myself drawn to it.

I hope (with your help) to learn more about Sikhism and grow closer to it since it seems to be what I've been looking for. I figure I'll start as a sahajdari and learn as I go. I'm starting with Guru Nanak's Japji.

Can anyone offer suggestions for how I should proceed on this path?

Chris (Kiran)


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Welcome to SPN KiranSingh ji,

A few links for you:

A good start for learning Gurbani is reading Jap ji Sahib. See the link below for more:
http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Japji_Sahib

There is also a section in SPN under "Guru Granth Darpan" on Japji sahib.

Look up the "Sikh terms" section in sikhiwiki.org too
http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Category:Glossary_of_Sikh_Terms

Sikh Youth link - as a question.
Sikhism101.com

A few online Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji:
http://sikhitothemax.com/
Pathway to God @ SearchGurbani.Com
Sri Granth


Srigranth.org will display meanings of gurmukhi words at the mouse pointer. It is important to learn gurmukhi as there is usually no "direct or exact" words in english.

I will get more information for you on Sikhi history later. Meanwhile hope this helps.

Enjoy your stay here.
 

kanwal295

SPNer
Mar 9, 2006
16
2
Auckland, New Zealand
Dear Kiran

It is heartening to note that Waheguru has led you to the Only path, The Guru's Path. It is a rewarding pathway, but requires discipline, dedication, desire, thirst and hunger which will definitely attract Guru's Grace in abundance.
Since you have already started with Japji Sahib, I will humbly advise you to do "NAAM SIMRAN" too, which is akin to worshipful meditation, using the most powerful mantra in the world, the Mool Mantra from Ik Oangkaar .....to .....Gurparsaad, Naam mantra ... Satnaam Sri Waheguru and Gur Mantar.... Waheguru. Use these mantras as a vehicle to transcend into the deeper realms of spirituality. I will also advise you to study the Sukhmani sahib ji ... this is a very easily understood Bani and expounds on the Naam Simran and its benefit.
You take one step towards the Guru and the Satguru taken millions of steps towards you.
Waheguru Bless you in your quest
Kanwal Jit Singh
 
Jul 10, 2006
918
77
Dear KiranSingh ji,

I forgot to mention this previously. When I needed guidance, I was told to contemplate(vichaar) on this tuk's from Japji sahib. Even now, I often recall this tuks in my mind. The more we read and contemplate gurbani, the more we are able to understand this tuks. The more we are able to understand the reason we are here in this human life and how to "live"(obey the commands/guidance/advice in Gurbani) gurbani.


ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥
kiv sachi-aaraa ho-ee-ai kiv koorhai tutai paal.
So how can you become truthful? And how can the veil of illusion be torn away?
ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥
hukam rajaa-ee chalnaa naanak likhi-aa naal. ||1||

O Nanak, it is written that you shall obey the Hukam of His Command, and walk in the Way of His Will. ||1||



Once you have done enough "research"(recited,sung,contemplated) gurbani of our Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and if you feel ready, then the next stage is taking "amrit" ie khanda ki pahul or amrit sanskar Pahul - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia.. Actually its all up the individual when they feel ready to take amrit. Personally, I feel one should at least understand gurbani before taking amrit. This way the indivual is then ready for the rehit (discipline) required.

ਪਾਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਗੁਰਿ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕੀਨੀ ਸਚਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਾਇਆ
paa-i-aa amrit gur kirpaa keenee sachaa man vasaa-i-aa.
This Amrit is obtained, when the Guru grants His Grace; He enshrines the True Lord within the mind.
ਜਿਸ ਉੱਤੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਨ, ਉਹ ਆਬਿ-ਹਿਯਾਤ ਨੂੰ ਪਾ ਲੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਸੱਚੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਹਿਰਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਟਿਕਾਈ ਰਖਦਾ ਹੈ।

ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਉਪਾਏ ਇਕਿ ਵੇਖਿ ਪਰਸਣਿ ਆਇਆ
jee-a jant sabh tuDh upaa-ay ik vaykh parsan aa-i-aa.
All living beings and creatures were created by You; only some come to see the Guru, and seek His blessing.
ਸਾਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਾਣਧਾਰੀ ਤੂੰ ਹੀ ਰਚੇ ਹਨ, ਹੇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਪਰ ਕੋਈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਹੀ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਨਾਹ ਲੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ।

ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਚੂਕਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਭਲਾ ਭਾਇਆ
lab lobh ahaNkaar chookaa satguroo bhalaa bhaa-i-aa.
Their greed, avarice and egotism are dispelled, and the True Guru seems sweet.
ਉਸ ਦਾ ਲਾਲਚ ਤਮ੍ਹਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਨਵਿਰਤ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ ਸੱਚੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਮਿੱਠੇ ਲਗਦੇ ਹਨ।

ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਪਿ ਤੁਠਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੧੩॥
kahai naanak jis no aap tuthaa tin amrit gur tay paa-i-aa. ||13||
Says Nanak, those with whom the Lord is pleased, obtain the Amrit, through the Guru. ||13||
ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਆਖਦੇ ਹਨ ਜਿਸ ਨਾਲ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਨ ਹੈ, ਉਹ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਨਾਮ-ਸੁਧਾਰੱਸ ਨੂੰ ਪਾ ਲੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ।

ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ
bhagtaa kee chaal niraalee.
The lifestyle of the devotees is unique and distinct.
ਅਨੋਖੀ ਹੈ ਜੀਵਨ ਰਹੁ ਰੀਤੀ ਸੰਤਾਂ ਦੀ।

ਚਾਲਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ਭਗਤਾਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਿਖਮ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਣਾ
chaalaa niraalee bhagtaah kayree bikham maarag chalnaa.
The devotees' lifestyle is unique and distinct; they follow the most difficult path.
ਅਨੋਖੀ ਹੈ ਜੀਵਨ ਰਹੁ ਰੀਤੀ ਸੰਤਾਂ ਦੀ, ਉਹ ਕਰਨ ਰਹੋ ਟੁਰਦੇ ਹਨ।

ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਲਣਾ
lab lobh ahaNkaar taj tarisnaa bahut naahee bolnaa.
They renounce greed, avarice, egotism and desire; they do not talk too much.
ਉਹ ਲਾਲਚ, ਤਮ੍ਹਾਂ ਹੰਗਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਖ਼ਾਹਿਸ਼ ਨੂੰ ਛੱਡ ਦਿੰਦੇ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ ਵਾਧੂ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਨਹੀਂ।

ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਏਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਜਾਣਾ
khanni-ahu tikhee vaalahu nikee ayt maarag jaanaa.
The path they take is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair.
ਉਹ ਖੰਡੇ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਤੇਜ਼ ਅਤੇ ਬਾਲ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਬਰੀਕ ਰਸਤੇ ਟੁਰਦੇ ਹਨ।


The comparison to the edge of a sword, however, refers to a discipline which is required for a successful journey. This is the discipline based on His Law (Hukm) revealed to the Gurus. This discipline is built into Sikhism, as an extension of the one governing the universe. Any deviation from it will stop short of the destination. It conveys the inviolability of His Hukm and the firmness with which it has to be observed. The Sikhs of the Guru are expected to understand and recognize this Hukm and follow it for an enduring peace and happiness - (Guru Granth Sahib page 156).
 
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KiranSingh

SPNer
Apr 9, 2007
6
0
Rome
To everyone,
I am humbled by your gracious welcomes and sincere advice. There is much to learn and I want to take each step in its time. I was rushed into Catholic confirmation as a child and never had the chance to understand what I was committing myself to. I envision someday perhaps taking Amrit but not before I am truly ready. Until then, I will follow your advice.

May Waheguru Bless you all.

Kiran
 
Jul 15, 2007
2
0
I, too, am a Westerner, raised Baptist, in the USA, and I too have recently become an inquirer into the Sikh way.

Unfortunately for me, there is no gurdwara in my area, and I have only seen one person in my town that has the typical appearance of the Sikh (bearded, turbaned, etc.) but I have only seen him on a couple of occasions as he was walking down a street. I was a bit reluctant to approach him in case I was wrong (after all, some Muslims are bearded and wear turbans as well, and I didn't want to run risk of offending the gentleman, if I did turn out to be wrong.)

Anyway, I'm very grateful to have found this forum, and will also be looking into the resources mentioned in the posts on this thread. Until then, I guess that you could call me a "Sikh in the heart", since I have no chance at a formal conversion to Sikhi at this point in time.
 

Astroboy

ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Writer
SPNer
Jul 14, 2007
4,576
1,608
What is your opinion about having an online gurdwara especially for non-punjabi speaking new sikhs where programmes and prayers are conducted in the English version or translated version?

********** deleted later on the same day ********************
*****************************************************
 
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spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,181
Begum ji

Either you are yourself an ingenue or you are being facetious and are not serious about this suggestion.

A gurdwara implies you are at the threshold of Truth's dwelling place -- i.e., the dwelling of Guru ji. The physical, not virtual, presence of Sriri Guru Granth Sahib is a pre-requisite. You know this I am certain. In addition, the physical, not virtual, presence of Sikhs (I think 4 is the number) is mandatory. Do not mislead newcomers by making them think that anything goes in the Information Age.

Deepinder Singh ji - Please check out the threads we have started that help locate gurdwaras in the United States, and other parts of the world.

Stay in Chardi Kala

P/S OK, Begum ji. You apparently deleted some other things later. I was only hyped up about the personal web information.
 
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spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,181
To all newcomers, and anyone else interested in Sikhism, my suggestion.

Many of the basic questions about how to practice Sikhism can be answered in a document called Rehat Maryada. This document was compiled in the early part of the 20th Century so that fundamental practices of Sikhism would be clear and observed worldwide; and all would know what practices are not negotiable and must be followed. Just an example: we sit on the floor, we are barefoot, we face the holy scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib, men and women sit separately. Therefore, anywhere in the world, a Sikh can attend services and everything is the same.

Some parts of the code for personal behavior are mandatory for Sikhs who have taken amrit, meaning they have themselves been baptized. Examples include: a man who has received Amrit or baptism must seek to have his wife baptized as soon as possible, no alcohol, no tobacco, keeping hair. There will be times when you will read in the forum that some practices are open to interpretation. However, once baptized, a Sikh must comply. No interpretation.

I recommend that the Rehat be early reading for anyone who has even a passing interest. It clears up a lot of confusion.

Here is a web site for your convenient reading. Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India

The web site is part of the web presence of SGPC - the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee - a diverse group of learned Sikhs who have the responsibility for governing the application of the Rehat in our daily lives. The SGPC home page supports many informative and educational resources that all should investigate.

Please make this an early stop. Go there first before becoming entangled in anecdotal information. My best wishes to you on your journey.
 

Astroboy

ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Writer
SPNer
Jul 14, 2007
4,576
1,608
Thank you for your information. I think I got a little carried away. Good to have you around.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,181
Begum ji,

The web is capable of remarkable things. And, on an interactive site or in a social networking site, much of what you suggested, before you edited your previous post, would be exciting, dynamic and welcome by many people, old and new to Sikhi. Except virtual gurdwaras.

Actually your idea is really creative. But for now anyway, wouldn't work as a gurdwara. If you ever have a chance to check out SIKHNET - Sikh Religion - Sikhism Information -- They have a Sunday Gurdwara Service followed by a children's program most Sundays. The location is somewhere on the web site and you might have to use the search engine to get to it. The time is 10 am through 12 am MST. And it is really great to tune into time to time.

But not your real gurdwara if you aren't there in person.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,181
Kaur 1 ji has collected many things like this as well. It may be time to start a thread consisting of Gurbani media resources -- with short reviews and recommendations by members who contribute.

Thank you Begum. See, God is always cheerful.
 

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