Questions From Jasnoor

I have a few questions. It will probably be simplest to group them all in one email.

How is Jot (Divine Light) pronounced?

Do Sikhs use prayer beads?

What have the gurus said about worshiping God as Divine Mother? I heard one of the gurus worshiped the Feminine Divine.

Are there websites that are most popular amongst liberal Sikhs and others that are more popular amongst more conservative Sikhs?

Are there any Sikh websites that are geared at converts and/or Sikhs in the west?
I want to start wearing a turban, but I know I would never be able to manage the average amount of material. Are there easier ways to wear a turban?

Lastly, where do Sikhs in the west shop for their Sikh items. Especially items dealing with the 5k and books.

Jasnoor
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jasnoor ji

I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. See my replies to each question in red.

I have a few questions. It will probably be simplest to group them all in one email.

How is Jot (Divine Light) pronounced?

This is almost impossible to answer by writing it as you have to hear it. I suggest that you listen to a shabad containing the word being recited by a member of Damdami Taksal to get the right sound rather than try to recreate it this way. Some will try ...but on reflection how could that possibly work?

It may take some few hours, but I will post a video with the word jyot pronounced over and over again in sri Raag for you.


Do Sikhs use prayer beads?

Yes and No. the more influenced a Sikh is by the Hindu culture of India, the more likely you will see the use of prayer beads or a mala amongst ordinary people. Technically a mala should not be necessary. Indeed it is discouraged. That is actually a good discussion topic. There are exceptions to every rule. Among some traditions and sects of Sikhism a mala is used. For example some HO Sikhs, or Sikhs of Sikh Western Dharma, do use a mala by choice, not as an article of faith.


What have the gurus said about worshiping God as Divine Mother? I heard one of the gurus worshiped the Feminine Divine.

No expert, I would actually suggest there are two answers to this.

1. We are all "brides" of the eternal "bridegroom" who is Waheguru. So one could make a case that the only masculine element in creation is Waheguru.

2. The Creative, Nourishing, Supportive and Destructive power that we refer to as God, Satguruji, Waheguru, Akaal Purakh is neither male or female because Akaal is Nirgun without form. Akaal is also Sargun, taking from in every aspect of creation, making Akaal both male and female, and neither male nor female.

I thought you asked this before on a different thread and I answered this previously. :) The Divine is nirgun and sargun, no thing and everything, male and female, neither male nor female.


Are there websites that are most popular amongst liberal Sikhs and others that are more popular amongst more conservative Sikhs?

Personally I find the question hard to answer. All depends on what you mean by liberal and conservative. However anyone of the leadership team here at SPN for obvious reasons would find it difficult to answer that question. So I leave it to other members to indulge. And I hope we start with a good definition of "liberal" versus "conservative" before they do.

Are there any Sikh websites that are geared at converts and/or Sikhs in the west?



Yes - Sikh Philosophy Network. :motherlylove:

But in all seriousness I would not want to drive people away from SPN to other sites, but will give you the names of two interesting sites.

"New to Sikhi" and "gora sikh" Gora means a western Sikh.


I want to start wearing a turban, but I know I would never be able to manage the average amount of material. Are there easier ways to wear a turban?

Sorry cannot help you here. You could wear a patka or a small turban.

Lastly, where do Sikhs in the west shop for their Sikh items. Especially items dealing with the 5k and books.

This is what I do. I search on ebay and Amazon for Sikh items. There are also many sites on the net where purchases can be made. Rather than recommend any one let me suggest that you do this. Use the Google search engine. Type in the search engine window the words Buy Sikh.... and finsih up with the word that you are searching for

Buy Sikh kara
Buy Sikh kirpan
Buy Sikh gutka

And so forth and dozens of places will turn up.




Jasnoor
Welcome to SPN
 
Note for those of us who reply to this thread: If links to commercial sites are posted they will be deleted. :)

I apologize for bringing up a question that would cause people to post things not allowed. And thank you for your help with how to go about finding people who sell Sikh items.

mundahug
 
I'm not good at working with the "quote features" in forums. Can't figure out how to do it sometimes. So I'll reply by # to SPNAdmin.

I know what you mean about pronouncing words. Please don't put yourself through making a video for me, but how kind of you to offer.

I love prayer beads so I wonder why it is sometimes frowned upon. Why would it be discouraged? Just curious and, well, a little or maybe even a lot surprised.

Yes, I did ask a question about the Divine Mother from a slightly different angle the other day. Sometimes a subtle difference in a question can bring about a different answer. When it comes to monotheism, there is a tendency to subtly (and more often not so subtly) to worship the Divine only as Masculine.

I'll check out the websites you mention.

And again I'm sorry to ask a question about shopping.

I would really like to start wearing a turban, not that I've "converted" at this point, but I like the idea of a) having something that reminds me of to live devoted to God and remember God every time I look in the mirror or feel the cloth covering my head.

I have worn a scarf on and off and it does change everything. I also feel the chakra is protected by covering one's hair.

The reason I brought up easier ways to tie a turban is I have arthritis and carpal tunnel so working with that much material would be very hard for me.

As for "liberal" and "conservative", there tend to be a liberal and conservative aspect in many religions. In Christianity, there are "progressive" and "evangelical" Christians. A progressive group would be totally different than Jehovah's Witnesses for example. In Judaism, there are liberal Reform Jews and very conservative sects. So I'm just wondering if the same thing exists in Sikhism. Do Sikhs feel the same across the board about things like homosexuality and gay marriage, for example? I don't mean it in a divisive way, just that any large religion will tend to have "sects" that end up being more liberal or more conservative than mainstream.

Hope I haven't offended. I'm very sorry if I have.

Jasnoor
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jasnoor ji

Please do not apologize. The note was for anyone, not for you. And I will work little by little to get additional resources moving in your direction.

Be back later.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jasnoor ji

Per your question on the correct pronunciaton of "jyote" - Here we go

Find this passage from the prayer Sukhmani Sahib on Ang 278. You will see it is part of a group marked as line "4" and is about half way down the page.

Jothee and Jhot are two grammatical form of the same word. (Keep in mind that jyote is a transliteration and is the same thing as jothee)


Link http://www.searchgurbani.com/guru_granth_sahib/ang/278


ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥

thio jothee sang joth samaanaa ||

तिउ जोती संगि जोति समाना ॥

his light blends into the Light.

Next find the little audio player at the top of the page. Click to start and listen along with reading the shabad, and at approximate 28 or 29 seconds you will hear how jothee and joth are pronounced.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
me again :)

Now another question you asked in your first and then later post about finding a turban that would not be hard to wrap

And again I'm sorry to ask a question about shopping.

I would really like to start wearing a turban, not that I've "converted" at this point, but I like the idea of a) having something that reminds me of to live devoted to God and remember God every time I look in the mirror or feel the cloth covering my head.

I have worn a scarf on and off and it does change everything. I also feel the chakra is protected by covering one's hair.

The reason I brought up easier ways to tie a turban is I have arthritis and carpal tunnel so working with that much material would be very hard for me.

All of what you say does make sense. There is a style of small turban, one type worn by men and another type worn by women. Neither takes up as much fabric as the more traditional styles.

To buy turban cloth, try my suggestion by typing in the Google search engine "Buy Sikh turban." Or if you live near an Indian neighborhood, look for a shopping area, and then find a clothing store. Most of them have a counter where turban cloth is sold.


The next thing you would need are some directions for how to tie it.

I do not know if you are a male or female. I am guessing you are a female. Forgive me if that is not correct. There are no requirements that a woman wear a turban in Sikhi. It is completely voluntary. And you have options. If you are a male, you still have options. Small turbans are acceptable. Let me know if this looks too complicated given your arthritis and carpel tunnel

YouTube - How to do an easy Turban Wrap - www.meditation-mantra.org/yoga


YouTube - Basic Turban Tying w/ Ram Rung Kaur


YouTube - Turban Tying Adding Color with Ram Rung Kaur

I have not been able to locate good video for a small male turban, but will keep searching.
 

Mai Harinder Kaur

Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Hi, Jasnoor ji! And welcome. I will volunteer to help you in any way I can. First:

As for "liberal" and "conservative", there tend to be a liberal and conservative aspect in many religions. In Christianity, there are "progressive" and "evangelical" Christians. A progressive group would be totally different than Jehovah's Witnesses for example. In Judaism, there are liberal Reform Jews and very conservative sects. So I'm just wondering if the same thing exists in Sikhism. Do Sikhs feel the same across the board about things like homosexuality and gay marriage, for example? I don't mean it in a divisive way, just that any large religion will tend to have "sects" that end up being more liberal or more conservative than mainstream.

It is hard to find any two Sikhs that agree on everything Sikh; maybe it's impossible. The situation within the Sikh Panth right now is complicated and I would suggest you keep it simple as possible. There are not really different sects that are recognised as Sikh by mainstream Sikhs, although there are other groups that call themselves Sikh. By mainstream Sikh, I mean those who accept the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM - Sikh Code of Conduct) from Akal Takht. Some Sikhs follow it more strictly, others less. It is, however, the standard accepted by most Sikhs.

Individual Sikhs may be more conservative or more liberal. I suppose I would be considered rather conservative. I am Amritdhari and really think all Sikhs should either be Amritdhari or working toward it. (Many disagree with me on this.) I am vegetarian, but it isn't required by the SRM. (Others will argue vehemently about that.) I think everyone will agree that a stricter standard is required of Amritdhari than of those who are not.

As far the Divine Mother, the Sikh concept of the Eternal is neither male nor female. I did a three year experiment. First year, I called Akal Purakh by "he." Year two, I used "she." Year three, I used "it." This was quite an education for me. I have decided that "it" works best for me. Now I am experimenting with not using the word "God" for the Sikh concept of the Supreme Being.

I have been designated a mentor here at SPN, so I have made myself available if you'd like more individual help. I am no expert, but I love Sikhi and love to talk about it. Feel free to PM me, if that appeals to you.

So...again welcome. SPN is my online sangat. People here are very nice and have a wide variety of ideas and opinions. Relax, enjoy, learn, share.

And don't forget that ice cream and sweet ginger tea are often helpful. icecreamkauricecreammunda

Mai
 

findingmyway

Writer
SPNer
Do Sikhs use prayer beads?

Are there websites that are most popular amongst liberal Sikhs and others that are more popular amongst more conservative Sikhs?

Prayer beads encourage the use of empty chanting and counting which doesn't help. Sikhi is about learning, understanding and applying the teachings to your life. One of my Hindu friends uses her mala to count the number of times she chants certain names. Her rule is she has to go through the beads of the mala twice a day and will often do that even when in comversation with others just to fill the quota. That to me is ritualism so guess it depends on how and why you are using the mala.

You may find this thread useful:
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/new-to-sikhism/23183-best-and-worst-sites-on-sikhism.html

welcomekaur
Jasleen Kaur
 
Thank you soooooo much for all you did to help me with pronouncing this word. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it. I'm going to need a little time I think to follow along so I catch the word more clearly. But it appears to sound something like "jee-yo-tee".

The website itself is awesome. I like how they present the Guru Granth Sahib .

You are so kind to take the time to help me as much as you are. I can't thank you enough.

Jasnoor mundahug

Jasnoor ji

Per your question on the correct pronunciaton of "jyote" - Here we go

Find this passage from the prayer Sukhmani Sahib on Ang 278. You will see it is part of a group marked as line "4" and is about half way down the page.

Jothee and Jhot are two grammatical form of the same word. (Keep in mind that jyote is a transliteration and is the same thing as jothee)


Link http://www.searchgurbani.com/guru_granth_sahib/ang/278


ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥

thio jothee sang joth samaanaa ||

तिउ जोती संगि जोति समाना ॥

his light blends into the Light.

Next find the little audio player at the top of the page. Click to start and listen along with reading the shabad, and at approximate 28 or 29 seconds you will hear how jothee and joth are pronounced.
 
Today I can't stop myself to say that I am so lucky that I join SPN, where I have found so many very good guides,friends etc... etc... etc...where my soul get dose of life. Since I join the SPN I got a lot of knowledge about sikhism and other stuff. I am learning everyday with SPN .I felt like I am in my family.I really love to learn about Bani and spiritual personalties. I am feeling very sorry that I don't have more words to describe it that how lucky I am feeling right now.
 
@spnadmin: Awesome videos! Thank you, as always, for going so much out of your way to help me! I am female, btw. :) I'm looking forward to trying these out.

I wonder if the longer I work on tieing the turban, the more my arms will co-operate. It has been that way with my back. I just keep things moving and it seems the arthritis doesn't act up as much then. So I will see the glass as half-full and I will look forward to the flexibility that comes with Divine Grace from that. :)

Jasnoor
 
@MaiHarinderKaur Thank you for such a detailed response. I am deeply inspired by your "3 year experiment" and your current one of not using God to define the Divine. I soooo relate to that. Titles like "God" and "Lord" tend to put me in a stagnant place rather than a dynamic and thriving relationship with the Divine. In America, God is like a cliche to me. Its been overused and it has lost its Truth.

I have had visions of Mother so it is part of my relationship to refer to Her as Mother. I don't think it means I view the Divine in a limited way though. It is One Aspect of Divine Being that has offered Itself to me. Does that make sense? I don't think the Divine can be defined by gender for it is beyond gender, but just as I think the Divine is not confined or limited by gender, She/He/It seems capable of All Possible Expressions of Itself...even as Divine Mother and Divine Father.

And often when I use She instead of He, it is to clarify for myself that She/He/It is not stating "He" is preferable to "She" because that is the result of patriarchy. Some say "He" is the "royal pronoun". Well, that is forcing the Divine into a gender role as King when the Divine is just as capable of the equal gender role of Queen.

But I think I get too attached to "equal rights" if you know what I mean.

I am going to PM you about something in a few minutes, according to Divine Grace.:thumbsupp: And 2 thumbs up for icecream and ginger tea!!!!
 
@ a.mother

Yes! What a blessing it is! I came here because I finally decided to find out why Sikhism gets top result as I take the selectsmart test now and then. What I have explored over the years shows it as a beautiful path to the Divine. Still I was only skimming the surface and I see beneath the basics is a very precious beauty, beyond description.

I think that maybe that beauty only comes with being part of the Sikh community. And I feel I have been blessed in very profound ways since joining this forum.

I like that being Sikh is more about walking the path than stopping at a certain place and saying we have arrived. And I like the fact that the path doesn't exclude...it is a constant invitation to all. Not as a way of evangelism, but as embracing the Unity found in our diversity for even that Diversity is a part of the Divine. :)kaurhug

Jasnoor

Today I can't stop myself to say that I am so lucky that I join SPN, where I have found so many very good guides,friends etc... etc... etc...where my soul get dose of life. Since I join the SPN I got a lot of knowledge about sikhism and other stuff. I am learning everyday with SPN .I felt like I am in my family.I really love to learn about Bani and spiritual personalties. I am feeling very sorry that I don't have more words to describe it that how lucky I am feeling right now.
 
Thanks Jasnoor ji I appreciate your thoughts. These are not only your questions, we are all learning too. Since I have join the SPN I personally learned a lot, many things in our daily lives we never realized that we are making mistakes because lack of knowledge or we don't have rahat maryada handy or we didn't think of it. Many simple thing we can correct without any effort and cost. When I correct myself I personally feel great happiness.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
jasnoor ji

I must thank you also. The lesson learned for me today is that

I like that being Sikh is more about walking the path than stopping at a certain place and saying we have arrived. And I like the fact that the path doesn't exclude...it is a constant invitation to all. Not as a way of evangelism, but as embracing the Unity found in our diversity for even that Diversity is a part of the Divine.

And I hope it is always in my mind as I take the next step.
 
Hi. I came across the fact that the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanek Dev Ji is often portrayed holding prayer beads. Were they symbolic then since the use of prayer beads is discouraged? I'm confused.

TY!
Jasnoor
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Fair question.

Dependence on a mala, belief that a certain number of recitations is necessary and helped by a mala, is considered in Guru Granth to be mired in duality. I do not think it likely that Guru Nanak used a mala (see the shabad below). Can I prove it? No I cannot. :)

We will never know for sure if Guru Nank used malas or not because we have no eye-witness accounts and no video cams for that era in history. Artists depictions are born in the imagination of the artist. And artists are influenced by the social, cultural, religious, and political cross-currents of their times, as well as their own religious upbringing. If we could know who the artists were and something of their lives we could perhaps resolve your confusion.

From this blog at http://www.gurbani.org/articles/webart188.htm Guruji says that the mala/rosary is not essential. It is based in "stubborn mindedness" and can also lead to a false sense of piety.

What sort of rosary are we urged by the Gurbani to carry? Sublime rosary! The beads of such rosary are not made of Rudraksh, Tulsi, Chandan, etc. According to the Gurbani, this rosary and its beads is none other than one's undivided meditation on the Divine in the Heart Within; one's good deeds; one's tongue upon which the Divine Name is strung; one's subjugation of the ten senses; one's good conduct; one's noble virtues such as kindness and forgiveness; and so on. This is the rosary of the True Being (Gurmukh or a Spiritual person). Meditation and spiritual Wisdom is not possible without such wholesome inwardly concentration. Therefore, to awaken the Divine Grace within, we are time and again reminded by the Gurbani to enshrine such a sublime rosary in the Heart, and to discard the outer rosary. In other words, Gurmukhtaa (Spiritual Life) cannot be tasted unless we are spontaneously and infinitely in love with the Supreme Self Within

On Ang 503 of Sri Guru Granth Sabhi ji, Guru Nanak himself says,

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਏਕ ਨਗਰੀ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਬਸੀਅਲੇ ਬਰਜਤ ਚੋਰੀ ਧਾਵੈ ॥
Ėk nagrī pancẖ cẖor basī▫ale barjaṯ cẖorī ḏẖāvai.
In the one village of the body, live the five thieves; they have been warned, but they still go out stealing.

ਤ੍ਰਿਹਦਸ ਮਾਲ ਰਖੈ ਜੋ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੧॥
Ŧarihḏas māl rakẖai jo Nānak mokẖ mukaṯ so pāvai. ||1||
One who keeps his assets safe from the three modes and the ten passions, O Nanak, attains liberation and emancipation. ||1||

ਚੇਤਹੁ ਬਾਸੁਦੇਉ ਬਨਵਾਲੀ ॥
Cẖeṯahu bāsuḏe▫o banvālī.
Center your mind on the all-pervading Lord, the Wearer of garlands of the jungles.

ਰਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Rām riḏai japmālī. ||1|| rahā▫o.
Let your rosary be the chanting of the Lord's Name in your heart. ||1||Pause||

ਉਰਧ ਮੂਲ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਾਖ ਤਲਾਹਾ ਚਾਰਿ ਬੇਦ ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੇ ॥
Uraḏẖ mūl jis sākẖ ṯalāhā cẖār beḏ jiṯ lāge.
Its roots extend upwards, and its branches reach down; the four Vedas are attached to it.

ਸਹਜ ਭਾਇ ਜਾਇ ਤੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਲਿਵ ਜਾਗੇ ॥੨
Sahj bẖā▫e jā▫e ṯe Nānak pārbarahm liv jāge. ||2||
He alone reaches this tree with ease, O Nanak, who remains wakeful in the Love of the Supreme Lord God. ||2||

ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਆਗਨਿ ਮੇਰੈ ਪੁਹਪ ਪਤ੍ਰ ਤਤੁ ਡਾਲਾ ॥
Pārjāṯ gẖar āgan merai puhap paṯar ṯaṯ dālā.
The Elysian Tree is the courtyard of my house; in it are the flowers, leaves and stems of reality.

ਸਰਬ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਸੰਭੂ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਜੰਜਾਲਾ ॥੩॥
Sarab joṯ niranjan sambẖū cẖẖodahu bahuṯ janjālā. ||3||
Meditate on the self-existent, immaculate Lord, whose Light is pervading everywhere; renounce all your worldly entanglements. ||3||

ਸੁਣਿ ਸਿਖਵੰਤੇ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬਿਨਵੈ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਾਲਾ ॥
Suṇ sikẖvanṯe Nānak binvai cẖẖodahu mā▫i▫ā jālā.
Listen, O seekers of Truth - Nanak begs you to renounce the traps of Maya.


Your question about mala however is so interesting it deserves its own thread. There are many fascinating and inspiring shabads on this subject. Please do also read more at the link I posted. The author is very deeply grounded in his subject matter.
 

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