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Sikhism Ignorance In Sikhs

Feb 28, 2010
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Sat Sri Akal,

Dear All,

I am a Sikh ( Cut Surd and yes I am ashamed of it but please read full thread.

I was not very religious from the start but in the last few years I have taken interest to understand my roots and teachings of our gurus. I have a lof of sikh friends ( Maintain Kesh, wear 5 K's etc). I still don't know 1% of Sikhi as I am still a learner but am amazed to see how many people including my Sikh friends Including my family members (Amritdharis) know about Sikhi. Its not only only, even in Gurudwaras I analyse things and it just makes me think if we have placed more focus on how a Sikh should look like rather then what Sikhi is.

Few examples I can share with you and hoping if you can share some of our findings:

1) Pictures of Gurus in home
2) I attended Sukhmani sahib path and they had Guru's photo ( Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind) next to SGGS.
3) Jot
4) Placing Parshad in front of SGGS.
5) Going to Nada Sahib ( Or other Gurudwaras) on full moon.
6) Grow Beared and put on turban for the wedding ceremony and then shave it the next day ( I should say the minute they are out of Gurudwara)
7)Celebrating Lohri, Holi, Rakhi etc.
8) Ignorance of the meaning of Gurubani shabads. A very interesting thing I would like to share. I use to live in Chandigarh where every sector will have a group of females doing Kirtan whenever someone wants do have path at home. I ran in discussions with them regarding Japji Sahib words meaning on my recent trip to India. Trust me they didn't know meaning to a lot of simple verses but they claim to be leader of the group. How can we expect them to teach other people.

These are few examples. You take an example to this website and it had pictures of the Guru's on it. On FB, I recently saw a picture claiming to be real picture of Guru Nanak ( Unreal and Sikhs were actually paying tributes to the picture).

You then look at the state of punjab where there are 10 million Sikhs. Revenue from Alcohol is one of the highest in Punjab where majority of population in Sikh and worse they feel proud of it.

SGPC has done nothing for the state of Punjab other then collecting revenue for our corrupt officials. It's a sad state of affairs.

Now to myself. I cut my hair at the age of 9 ( One of my relative was very influential in this). After that I came to Australia and started having a bit of interest. I am settled and have a good job. But I know the moment I grow beared and start wearing turban, it would be hard for me to get a job, That's why you will see a lot of Sikhs either doing business or driving taxis. ( I am proud of them and ashamed of myself). But the worst part is that despite being 5 largest religion in the world, people actually know very little about us.

I sometimes wonder, that 10 of our gurus passed away teaching us the right way of living and what we have done to maintain it? On the contrary, Christianity and Islam lost one prophet each and they spread their wordls throughout the world, the question is what would be Sikhism status if our gurus were born in West?

I am not even sure if my topic make sense, but I can honestly say that I really feel bad for where Punjab and Sikhs are going.

Question is what would you prefer, A Sikh with beliefs or a Cut surd with some knowledge? And cut sure are millions if sikhs like me.

Thanks
 
Aug 29, 2010
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I appreciate your being candid in presenting your views.
I personally feel that sikhs are living in a state of Dilemma between two aspects of Sikhi.One aspect is for purely the spritual way of Gurus messages and lead the life accordingly and second aspect is that of identity as envisaged by10th Nanak GuRu Gobind singh ji.
It is no doubt an important consideration for any sikh for the significance of Identity
as per Khalsa Concept .There is very important considerations which is missing in our
spreading of Gurus meassage to the world.There should be transition from a gursikh to a Khalsa Sikh.This should be a personal will rather than mandatory.On the contrary we are
trying to establish a view that only Khalsa is a Sikh and all other Sikhs are BHEKHEE Sikhs or PATIT SIKHS.
This is a very uncomfortable state of affairs for the Sikhs. earlier there have been creation of several sects based on Sikh GuRus ethical and spritual teachings.
I think there is a great resposibilty for Khalsa Panth to look into the seriousness of such a state of affairs. Khalsa Panth i undoubtedly is the most commited Panth to safeguard the fundamental values of Sikhi as per Guru teachings. This should not be overlooked
by any true Sikh.

Prakash.s.Bagga
 
Feb 28, 2010
53
73
I really don't want to ask this question, but please forgive me of my ignorance.

Guru Gobind started khalsa and gave sikh a new identity at the time when Mughals were creating chaos and it was important for us to stand against them. The 5K's ( In understand and the most debatable of them Kesh). Hair is being given importance in all religions, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity etc. Some follow , some don't but no other religion put so much importance on the way they look.

We always argue that how can you relate fasting to being closer to god, an outsider can ask the same thing that how not cutting hair can lead you closer to god?

The the question arise for me about women hair specially private hai, under arm hair.Why can't we cut them if we want to? What that has to do with my spirituality as a Sikh? Yes again, Hair is given important in Sikhism but in the world its very very difficult to maintain it. I sometimes wonder, if Kesh only relates to hair on head, we would have many Sikhs that what we have now, but just the thing of not cutting private hair sort of keeps me away from it.

Sorry but I am just talking what I feel.

Thanks
 
Aug 29, 2010
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I must agee with your point of views about certain issues you have raised but my point
is for the emphasis on the identity of sikhs.which you seem to have been ignoring.
One should remenber that there was a period when any one person from Hindu Family
used to be a Sikh.How such a person used to be a Sikh? Simply by a commitment to
keep KESH .That means KESH is the PRIME identity for being known as SIKH.
Any sikh without KESH is always required to tell others that I am a Sikh.But Any Sikh with KESH is known among millions that such a person is certainly a Sikh.
Now the question of extending the concept of KESH to the hairs of Whole body is certainly not the commandment from any GuRu.These are PANTHIC extensions.

One should be clear in mind that if there is a institutionised religious organisation then it has its own AGENDA and it is ignorance thru which Human Minds can be controlled
This is the first fundamental Law of Controlling Human Beings.Keep them ignorant.
The same Law is operating in all ages.

Prakash.S.Bagga
 
Feb 28, 2010
53
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Now the question of extending the concept of KESH to the hairs of Whole body is certainly not the commandment from any GuRu.These are PANTHIC extensions.

Prakash.S.Bagga
So Kesh mean's hair on head? If this is the case then its in line with other religions, however I saw numerous posts that say that its prohibited for a girl to remove hair from any part of the body, upper lips, under arms, etc. and I am always confused how can such an amazing religion put so much focus on identity..what does my body hair has to do with sprituality...
 
Jul 18, 2007
147
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London
Gurtej Ji,

Sikhi is a personal journey so, will be different for everyone but there are a set of principles that we are guided by which are based within Sri Guru Granth Sahib - understanding these one to one with the Guru are imperative for our spiritual growth.

We cannot please society, or established groups who say they are the true Sikhs etc, because saying this they have already separated themselves. It's good to see you analyse what you see in your experiences with common sense, Sikhi is common sense.

You are awake, and seem to not want to do things just because they are done which is what our Guru's did and challenged practices/rituals/beliefs.

Part and parcel of Sikhi is our identity, I don't believe our identity hinders us from any work opportunities, it is ourselves, if we have the skills required but do not carry ourselves with confidence and are not prepared to educate those who misunderstand us, then it is our fault for the problems we may endure.

If someone does not want to employ you purely just because of your look, then would you really want to work for someone who thinks like that?

In regards to the private hair argument, if we go look back in history the further we go back the less body hair was an "issue". It's now the continuing journey of fitting in, glamorised people on tv and people having newer technology/resources available to deal with body hair to "fit" the accepted social norm.
 
Jul 13, 2004
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My personal views are:

As long as we maintain ourselves as sikhs, that is good enough as a first step.

Otherwise it is like a child who hasn't learnt ABC yet, but acts to be analytical by dissecting the curriculum of a degree course.

Best way is experimentation. Unless we follow Guru's Hukam, how would we come to know what a big bliss sikhi is!

Bhull chukk maaf ji.

With Regards,
Arvind.
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
SPNer
Dec 21, 2010
3,380
5,678
gurtej khubbar ji thanks for the post stated quite eloquently. I believe you have clearly stated situations where Sikhism is at crossroads. I give my personal thoughts on some of the items raised in your post below.
.....

Few examples I can share with you and hoping if you can share some of our findings:

1) Pictures of Gurus in home
As we all know there are no pictures of Gur ji's. There are paintings and some very well and actually good paintings in their own right from the likes of Sobha Singh ji. I find no relevance to having no paintings of Guru ji's anywhere as a taboo that it is "murti pooja"/"praying to paintings".

It goes without saying that it is foolish and inappropriate to treat such paintings as Guru but just having those around and even to imaginatively revere I have no qualms about. There are enough garbage paintings and pictures that adore many folds over.

...
2) I attended Sukhmani sahib path and they had Guru's photo ( Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind) next to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
Personally I find such displays or approaches highly inappropriate as the intent there clearly is to start "Bhed Chaal"/"sheep followers" where one sees and one does. A Sikh has nothing higher in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and needs no such distractions.
There were times when jots (more precisely deevas/"earthen small oil cups with wick") were a source of light and not ceremonial. I personally find the religious connotations of such very ill thought but functional value I understand to some extent. The soot from the burning is actually a deodorizers through carbon dispersion.

5) Going to Nada Sahib ( Or other Gurudwaras) on full moon.
Social and cultural I understand but if it is to be made or portrayed as spiritual or religious I detest.
6) Grow Beared and put on turban for the wedding ceremony and then shave it the next day ( I should say the minute they are out of Gurudwara)
Very little to say other than that it is a facade. Are such people eventually going to become Sikhs per SRM definition, I do not know. I do believe that in Sikhism there is great focus on individuality. So such is a very personnel question and I would like not to interfere. If some wiser people want others to behave differently I will leave it with them.
7)Celebrating Lohri, Holi, Rakhi etc.
Sikhs have cultural, social as well religious aspects in their day to day living. I do not believe our Guru ji ever intended us to be just 24/7 "malla phayring"/"rosary handling" or simran chanting people whether overtly or internally. The important part is to know the reasons of your participation in any ritual, event, etc., and the classification you put on it. It has become very fashionable to pooh-pooh all events whether cultural and social and start giving them religious coloring. We need to step back and let people be people but encourage people to be wiser and users of wisdom provided in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
8) Ignorance of the meaning of Gurubani shabads. A very interesting thing I would like to share. I use to live in Chandigarh where every sector will have a group of females doing Kirtan whenever someone wants do have path at home. I ran in discussions with them regarding Japji Sahib words meaning on my recent trip to India. Trust me they didn't know meaning to a lot of simple verses but they claim to be leader of the group. How can we expect them to teach other people.
I believe we all need to take individual actions as much as we have been enabled. It is far too easy to criticize even though there may be 100% foundational accuracy for the basis of criticism. If we learn anything out of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji style of writing and composition it becomes abundantly clear that Guru ji guide us to act and not be armchair coaches. So challenge is go ahead and do something! I highly recommend a gem of such discourse in Sidh Gohst composition in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sidh-gosht/

Question is what would you prefer, A Sikh with beliefs or a Cut surd with some knowledge? And cut sure are millions if sikhs like me.Thanks
Your question is very pertinent. Indeed let me know when did a Gurdwara refuse donations from so called sehajdhari/patiti sikhs. Even further I have never seen even the most highly regarded preachers, kirtan jathas, etc., ever refuse donations.

Sikhism never was a religion of exclusion. Let us not fall for the sexiness and temptation of creating false principles. If everyone is part of one and all is one, it is disgusting for people to even suggest such rubbish approaches.

I believe SRM draws some hard lines in the sand regarding some aspects of behavior expectations of people who take amrit. However it also guides that one who believes they have a fault, or fallen short in aspects of Sikhism, that they bring themselves to the congregation and seek redress. There is no place for self styled vigilantes to rule this space and form patit management brigades.

Just some personal thoughts to share for dialog and to not offend.

Sat Sri Akal.
 
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The shabd under discussion in this article is composed by Guru Teg Bahadur ji and is contained on Page 633 of the SGGS. The complete shabd is as follows:

ਸੋਰਿਠ ਮਹਲਾ ੯॥...​

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