SPNer In Focus - Harbans Singh

Discussion in 'Face to Face' started by harbansj24, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. harbansj24

    harbansj24 SPNer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2007
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    - Meet Our SPN'er in Focus -
    - (Fortnight Dec 1,2009 to Dec 15, 2009) -

    Harbans Singh
    Username : harbansj24

    • Please tell us about your first experiences of Sikhi (either in your family or as a convert).
    I was born in a Gursikh family. During my growing up years, my family stayed in areas where there were few Sikhs. However, in those days, the people had heard about the Sikhs and their qualities. So the positive qualities of Sikhi taught by my parents, such as honesty, sincerity, Vand Chackh, hard work and valour were reinforced by my acquaintances who also expressed the same impressions, though at times tinged with envy or sarcasm.

    I also find Gurbani sung by ragis to be soul stirring; and good kathavachaks’ interpretations of Gurbani, truly inspiring.

    • What events and experiences inspired you to continue on your journey learning about Sikhism, and deepening your understanding?
    For many, many years, my understanding was just superficial; it was limited to the qualities stated above. My parents telling me about the qualities of Ek Onkar, Naam Jap, etc. had no impact on me. But later I had some unexplained personal experiences which changed the course of my life. And there was terrorism in Punjab, abusing of Hindus by some Sikhs. I had considered Hindus to be close to Sikhs and felt their goodwill. Then Bluestar happened, and the Hindus retaliating, followed by the anti-Sikh pogrom, left a deep impact and I started to grope for more in Sikhi.

    • If you could name one thing about Sikhism that is most important to you (something that you would never give up) what would it be?
    Amrit vele da Nitnem and Kesh

    • Were there individuals who were role models, who taught you how to be and live as a Sikh?
    My parents and my parents-in-law

    • Who may have motivated you to learn more about Sikhism?
    A chance reading of some of Bhai Vir Singh Ji’s works

    • Did you ever experience barriers as you continued on your journey?
    Immediately after the 1984 riots, the only people who promptly and spontaneously came out to help the victims were Leftists. People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Peoples Union of Democratic Rights (PUDR) are left-backed organizations; and they were the only people to graphically document and name the guilty. One of my leftist friends lost two of his nephews in the Kanishka bombing. But he did not hold it against the Sikhs.

    Then after doing all this they would say that practice of any religion is futile as it breeds only hatred towards fellow human beings. They would say reading scriptures or going to places of worship is a shear waste of time; or that maintaining religious identity like kesh, tilak, janaeu, etc. is unnecessary and only serves to widen the gap between fellow humans.

    • Thinking of yourself today as a Sikh, how do you live Sikhism in your own way?
    Saying that I truly live Sikhism, as it should be, would be very pretentious. But I do try to Naam Jap, be honest, keep aside dasvandh, and in my small, limited and personal way try to help those in genuine need.

    • How do you understand Seva to the Guru and to the Panth, in your own words and in your own experience?
    Doing Simran does start the process of cleansing the soul. But in the real world, there are many obstructions and distractions. Yet, in spite of this, one must not give up and one must persevere, so that one can then actually experience the progress, although it may be two steps forward and one step backwards.

    Once you start experiencing this process of cleansing, you do automatically start differentiating right from wrong, and tend to start treading the right path. Once you start treading the right path, you automatically start doing Seva to Guru. Seva to Guru in my view is same as Seva to Panth.

    • What is the most difficult part of being a Sikh?
    Trying to completely understand the Paath. Many times, I am told that I am just parroting. This has also been said several times in this forum. But slowly I do chance upon the true interpretations and that is rewarding. I have never felt that doing Paath (even without fully understanding it) is a waste of time. I feel it is like doing Simran.

    • Is there anything else you would like to share with the Readers?
    Sikhism is very rewarding both spiritually and materially. I have had no regrets in being a Sikh.

    • What are the Top 5 Critical Things That You Would Love to See for SPN Members!
    SPN is an excellent forum and helps significantly in your learning processes and broadens your outlook. You learn to respect others' views. The site design is also excellent and quite user-friendly.

    My humble suggestions are:

    1. Whenever controversial issues are being discussed on the forum, such as Dasam Granth, Sikh Rehat Maryada, etc., caution may be exercised by prefacing the discussions with a comment that freewheeling discussions are being allowed to elicit maximum views in order to find points of agreements and to narrow down the differences. It could be clarified that the forum has an open mind on the issues. This will help in removing any misunderstandings on sensitive issues that might frighten away newcomers on the forum.

    2. A majority of the forum members are quite young, and I think only a few are above 50. This is a welcome sign. It gives a fresh perspective to issues and exposes the older members to winds of change, though initially it may be a bit traumatic for them.

    However, the older members, especially from India, may not be very IT savvy and may feel intimidated from visiting the site and expressing themselves. Thus, the forum may be missing out on valuable experience of a lifetime spent in Sikhi. However many of them may be able to send and receive basic e-mails in text form. It may help if the basic e-mail format is available so that such persons may contribute to one thread at a time—also with an email alert sent to them when a response is received on their post.

    3. A very large majority of Sikhs are citizens of India. However, the numbers of forum members from India are very few in comparison. For better or for worse these Sikhs in India will continue as citizens of India in the foreseeable future. Forum members who are not from India must be sensitized to this aspect if more members are desired from India.

    4. Persons who wish to start a new thread and who are in “threaded mode” may find it difficult to figure out how to post the new article because the “New Article” button is not prominently displayed in this mode. But this is not a problem in the “linear mode” since this button is prominently displayed. Is it not possible to display this button in threaded mode?

    5. These days the number of new threads or articles is substantial, with the result that if not much discussion has taken place it goes off screen, and if one has not contributed to the discussion, then it becomes difficult to locate the article after some time. Is it possible to archive all articles date-wise and subject-wise?

    Guru Nanak Ang 20

    ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਲਾਹੀਐ ਹਉਮੈ ਨਿਵਰੀ ਭਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    guramukh naam salaaheeai houmai nivaree bhaahi ||1|| rehaao ||
    The Gurmukh praises the Naam, and the fire of egotism is extinguished. ||1||Pause||

    ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਗੰਢਣੁ ਗੰਢੀਐ ਲਿਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ॥

    sun sun gandtan gandteeai likh parr bujhehi bhaar ||
    Again and again, we hear and tell stories; we read and write and understand loads of knowledge,

    ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਅਗਲੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥
    thrisanaa ahinis agalee houmai rog vikaar ||
    but still, desires increase day and night, and the disease of egotism fills us with corruption.

    ਓਹੁ ਵੇਪਰਵਾਹੁ ਅਤੋਲਵਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੨॥
    ouhu vaeparavaahu atholavaa guramath keemath saar ||2||
    That Carefree Lord cannot be appraised; His Real Value is known only through the Wisdom of the Guru's Teachings. ||2||

    ਲਖ ਸਿਆਣਪ ਜੇ ਕਰੀ ਲਖ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਪੁ ॥
    lakh siaanap jae karee lakh sio preeth milaap ||
    Even if someone has hundreds of thousands of clever mental tricks, and the love and company of hundreds of thousands of people

    ਬਿਨੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਾਧ ਨ ਧ੍ਰਾਪੀਆ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਦੂਖ ਸੰਤਾਪੁ ॥
    bin sangath saadhh n dhhraapeeaa bin naavai dhookh santhaap ||
    still, without the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, he will not feel satisfied. Without the Name, all suffer in sorrow.

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  3. arshi

    arshi Writer SPNer

    Aug 20, 2009
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    Re: Meet Our SPNer in Focus - Harbans Singh

    Harbans Ji has made some excellent suggestions, which I hope and recommend the administrators look into and act upon. The following ones are particularly close to my heart.

    Point 1 It could be clarified that the forum has an open mind on the issues. This will help in removing any misunderstandings on sensitive issues that might frighten away newcomers on the forum."
    An excellent point to assure newcomers, et al, that the SPN Forum does not necessarily concur with the views expressed by regular, sometimes respected/acknowledged contributors. Some may be hesitant to express their views in awe of in which some SPN’rs may be held. There is also an impression that some members have the support of the administrators and that SPN operates on the support of closely knit group of persons. This may deter others from expressing their views freely - I personally can vouch for having such reservations myself.

    Point 5. "These days the number of new threads or articles is substantial, with the result that if not much discussion has taken place it goes off screen, and if one has not contributed to the discussion, then it becomes difficult to locate the article after some time. Is it possible to archive all articles date-wise and subject-wise? "
    Again an excellent suggestion – quality articles, based on good research, quickly go off the screen whist some ‘cheap’ controversial – sometimes unnecessary – articles linger on. One liner contributions may receive more exposure than serious essays on spirituality – I am sorry if this sounds harsh but at least it comes from the heart. Articles based on good research ought to be given more focus and spotlight as opposed to articles which do not necessarily help our quest for spirituality – for example there has recently been so much focus on meat that one may be forgiven for assuming that SPN stands for the Society for the Promotion of Non-vegetarianism.<o></o>


    Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’
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  4. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh Admin SPNer

    Jun 1, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Gurfateh Harbans Ji

    Thank you for the guidance in this matter. Based on your idea, we already have a notice put up on each page, clarifying our stand on these matters. :)

    This has been on the top of the list of things to do for a long time, unfortunately being a third-party stand-alone forum software, and not being in their priorities to add such a functionality, it is not yet possible to do anything concrete in this direction. Thank you for reinforcing an important issue.

    Yes, we are aware of this issue, we had recently started a campaign for making SPN a community of Sawa Lakh members and invited members to invite their friends and relatives to join SPN. I guess, Sikhs in India are a heavily burdened working class, with virtually no time to be online. We would love to know the various ideas that can be implemented to encourage members from India.

    We are looking into this issue. Thank you for pointing to this direction.

    Well, the whole forum is a kind of a open archive.... the search option has been quite prominently placed on the top of the forum and if we click the Advanced Search Option, you will see a host of options to narrow down you search... its as comprehensive as it gets. :)

    Also, if we go to any forum, there is a drop down called Category Tools


    Here you can order the posts in that forum as per your requirement...

    And, on behalf of all of us, we would like to thank you for taking time out for responding to the questions and your honest replies...

    Warm Regards

    Aman Singh
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  5. harbansj24

    harbansj24 SPNer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2007
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    Aman ji,

    Thank you for taking note of the suggestions and also for giving guidance on how to navigate to to archived posts.

    Warm regards

    Harbans Singh.
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