Stupid Questions From An Ignorant Gora

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by seekingsikhi, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    Sangat ji,
    I've mentioned in previous posts that I am a white American male living in Texas. As such, my cultural knowledge is (I hope) understandably limited. I'm starting this thread with the intention of asking questions that are, frankly, stupid. Things that may seem obvious to someone raised in Sikhi/Indian/Punjabi households that may be taken for granted. When one seems to have been answered to a reasonable extent, I'll post a new one. I'm not sure if the forum would prefer I do this in "volumes" (separate threads) or to just continue on this one; so if anyone has experience in this area please let me know.

    Some of these questions may seem insincere or silly, but rest assured that if I'm asking that I'm serious about it. Some of these things might be me getting caught up in the minutia, but since I'm coming from a place of total ignorance and don't know what is expected of me I want to make sure that I'm following custom - or at least not being rude.

    My first stupid question:
    I've been to gurdwara twice, but never on a Sunday or when anything is happening. Bani is usually being played on a stereo, but it's very quiet and I'm unsure whether I'm allowed to turn it up. Would it be acceptable for me to come with headphones and listen to japji sahib or another bani while I sat respectfullly in the presence of Guru ji? I can see how it could be taken either way, so I wanted to put it before the sangat.

    Forgive me if I've said anything offensive, or been unclear in my intention or meaning.
    Thank you,
    SS
     
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  3. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    As a fellow ignorant gori, I don't know the answer to your question.

    My own experience at Gurdwara is that just sitting in the darbar sahib when nothing is going on is seen as a bit unusual. I arrived one day to do just that, sit and pray quietly in darbar sahib, soaking up the peaceful environment, reading Gurbani. But when I asked gyaniji who was caretaker of the Gurdwara sahib, he asked me, "why?" and looked at me quizzically. He didn't stop me, but I felt pretty embarrassed for doing it.

    Guruji is present everywhere.

    I know what you're saying, though, about wanting to soak up the environment of darbar sahib, and I hope someone can answer your question from a Punjabi/Indian perspective.
     
  4. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur

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    In India we often go to Gurdwara at off times if we happen to be driving by. Just to pay respects to Guru Granth Sahib Ji, do matha tek, sit for a little while, maybe walk around the grounds and then we go. Even in India at off times the Gurdwara is pretty empty. But its always open for anyone who wants to and you will never be questioned.

    Rather than headphones I would suggest obtaining a Gutka which has English, Gurmukhi, and Romanized all in one, bring it along and just read. But to really experience Gurdwara try to go on sunday morning or if the Gurdwara you go to does even Rehras Sahib then go for that when more people will be around.
     
  5. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Hi

    I dont really look the way you've called yourself an ignorant gora.

    Your skin colour is irrelevant to the questions u are asking and your questions are not stupid.

    Don't put yourself down and look beyond skin colour. We are all God's creation. Skin colour is just an illusion, its Maya.
     
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  6. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    Thank you for your kind words, friend. I titled this thread the way I did for two reasons. The first was simply a crude attempt at humor, and I apologize if it fell flat. The second reason was to emphasize the purpose behind the post. I'm from a different culture, and I have questions. When I refer to myself as ignorant, I don't mean that I'm stupid. I am ignorant of many things, but I'm far from stupid. In the case of this thread, I'm using "lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular" as the definition for ignorant. And if I'm being totally honest I do feel silly asking some of these questions, but I still would like them answered. I'm setting that ego aside in order to further my own knowledge.

    My next question is a bit more silly than the first:
    Alcohol is forbidden, but is it the drink itself or the act of getting drunk? I can live without the buzz easily, but I do thoroughly enjoy the taste of a finely crafted dark beer; especially in the winter months. If I drink some but not enough to feel it is that considered okay? You can argue that drinking just about anything for any kind of pleasure is maya, but I know few people (nobody, actually) who just drink water; and doing so in the wrong spirit is just as likely to encourage haumai. And, after all, Guru Nanak Ji discouraged asceticism for a reason.
     
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  7. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    Skin colour may just be Maya, but we also can't be "colour blind" or ignore the world's cultures. Sikhi is an Indian religion, and people of non-Indian and more specifically, non-Punjabi heritage or culture will be ignorant with respect to the cultural context of Sikhi. It cannot be escaped, and the OPs awareness of their own ignorance is a good thing. :)
     
  8. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur Writer SPNer Supporter

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    Ignorance is cured by knowledge. Stupidity is cured only by death. Stupid people can't help being stupid. They lack the capacity to learn. Not their fault. We are all ignorant and most of us can choose which subjects we care enough about to become learned in. We also choose our areas of ignorance. For example, I am vitally interested in all aspects of Sikhi, but I have no interest (at this time) in learning to speak the Sichuan dialect of Chinese.

    There are nuances about the Punjabi culture - or any other culture - that no one not from a Punjabi background will ever fully grasp. Still, there is much that can be learned, if the effort is made. It's much easier now with the Internet than it used to be. Knowledge is easily attained. Probably the best way to learn the nuances of Punjabi culture is to hang out with Punjabis.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  9. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Sikhi is not an Indian Religion. And its not even a religion.

    Skin colour and man made rituals and gimmicks are irrelevant.

    Culture is an illusion- I dont belive in it. I believe in myself.

    I was born into a brown family. In my life I've been ridiculed, beaten and mistreated by brown people in the name of culture.

    Culture has zero to do with following the path of Truth. Culture is what drove me to detach and practice Truth.

    Sikh means Student. We are students of the universal and eternal Truth- Sat.

    It belongs to No religion, No Culture, no caste or creed. It is All and it is One and its true freedom.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  10. chazSingh

    chazSingh Writer SPNer

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    about drinking and any other intoxicant...

    lets say you want to become the best you can be at gymnastics...do you think drinking will help?
    will it delay, affect your progress?

    Would a single beer affect your progress? maybe....maybe not...

    sometimes i used to come home after a busy day at work...and have that one beer...it would allow me to relax big time...but because of that one drink i didn't do my evening Tai-Chi form practice...didn't work out..didn't do much actually apart from watch T.V then go to sleep...

    so then...maybe the occasional one on the odd day here n there would not affect your progress in Gymnastics...but we can all agree that any more than that will affect it...

    Same in Sikhi...we need our attention focussed during the process of Simran (remembering God)...just as you need your full attention to master the art of gymnastics and becomes the best at it as possible..
     
  11. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    A friend of mine, a good soul informed me recently that if u meditate, you should cut out sugary drinks from your diet and limit tea to one cup a day and to eventually stop all together. (Alcohol Is also an intoxicant and shouldn't shouldn't be consumed if you walk on the path.)

    And so I have. After years of drinking alot of both.

    Similarly, when i stopped drinking alcohol years ago, i made a vow to God I wouldn't have another one and stuck by it.

    People were shocked when I stopped. They didnt know my love for God and thought I was just another university party animal. It wasn't easy then, but my love overpowered everything and everyone else including peer and family pressure for me to drink.

    If your love for Truth is strong enough, you'll have the willpower to give up what's bad for you. You'll serve and choose Truth above all
     
  12. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    Sikhilove Ji and chazSingh Ji

    I totally get what you're saying, but I want to make sure the nature of my inquiry is clear. I'm not really a drinker, and when I do it's not for the buzz - but for the taste. Honestly, if I thought there was more of a market for it I would start a company that makes nonalcoholic craft beers. If I have somewhere between a sip and an ounce (enough to taste but not to get any feeling out of) do you believe that violates the guru's will? Is it the intoxicant or the act of intoxication that's the culprit? Or am I being too philosophical about it?
     
  13. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    It's a good question. The Sikh Rehat Maryada says:

    Chapter IV, Article V, k: No person, no matter which country, religion or cast he/she belongs to, is debarred from entering the gurdwara for darshan (seeing the holy shrine). However, he/she should not have on his/her person anything, such as tobacco or other intoxicants, which are tabooed by the Sikh religion.

    Chapter X, Article XVI, j: A Sikh must not take hemp (cannabis), opium, liquor, tobacco, in short any intoxicant. His only routine intake should be food.

    Chapter XIII, Article XXIV, q: [Note his is about initiated Sikhis] The following individuals shall be liable to chastisement involving automatic boycott: 5. Users of intoxicant (hemp, opium, liquor, narcotics, cocaine, etc.)​


    The SGGSJ doesn't really place any restrictions on what we consume with our mouths. But it says a lot about ideal behaviour and beliefs. How does alcohol fit in relation to what it teaches?

    Guru Nanak Sahib Ji says we should live life with one hand always on the kite string of Naam whilst talking to our friends and going about life. Will alcohol interfere with your ability to hold the kite string?
     
  14. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    A good question. Maybe I'll conduct a small experiment. I could easily live without it, but I think it's worth finding out if I have to.
     
  15. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur Writer SPNer Supporter

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    Sikhi is not a religion or way of life that is into splitting hairs. I leave that to the Abrahamic religions. Sikhi treats us like adults. In Sikhi, we are handed a philosophy of life and we are expected to use our reasoning in following it. The SRM is a manmade document subject to change. In no sense is it Gurbani. (There are, of course, more exacting rules for initiated Sikhs (Khalsa), but even there, they are few.)

    I also interpret the SRM not to be referring to necessary medications, properly used. My medical condition involves chronic pain, sometimes tortuous. I use marijuana oil, when I can afford it, on my arthritic knees. I am unable to use most painkillers, so when the pain gets too severe, I take an opioid. I rely on my own good sense about that. My doctor prescribed 90 tablets for me and they lasted over a year.


    I have a Sikh friend who has never tasted alcohol. I asked him, "Aren't you curious?"
    "No, not really. If I tasted it and didn't like it, what's the point? And if I did like it, that could be a big problem. I have a great life. Why do anything to jeopardize it?"


    I think anything that might jeopardize my "great life" is something I'd rather just avoid than to mess around with. That's just me. You need to work out for yourself what to do.
     
  16. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    Well as long as we're on the topic of taboos, what is the stance on tattoos? I imagine they are typically frowned upon.
     
  17. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller SPNer

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    All of us are looking for some sort of meaning in our life, something to align to, to make us complete, to take the void away, if you want to have a drink, have a drink, have a joint, go sleep with a hooker, whatever, if your not intelligent enough to know what brings you closer to the light or the dark, then knock yourself out, if, however, you are, then you will know the answers already, without the need for a pre determined one that needs to be validated by others.
     
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  18. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Lol nice post
     
  19. Kaur92

    Kaur92 SPNer

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    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

    you have answered your own question, my friend.

    "I'm not really a drinker, and when I do it's not for the buzz - but for the taste."

    You drink for the taste. The Guru tells us that there is something greater out there than sensual pleasures and hedonism. Enjoying the taste of beer for a few seconds will not give you any permanent joy or inner security.

    Gurbani is not there to merely change behaviours. The Guru seeks to change our way of thinking and perception of the world. God is within us and in all creation. But who can see and feel that ? Maybe one among billions.

    The question is not - do you give up drinking. But once you do, have you let go of the urge to have that taste for a few seconds to feel "good" - can you feel God's love which quenches all your other thirsts and desires?

    =)
     
  20. seekingsikhi

    seekingsikhi Writer SPNer

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    Hey Sangat ji,
    I'm back with more ignorant questions!

    So I was raised in a failry Judeo-Christian household ("A christian in Texas? Is that even possible?" he asked sarcastically), and one thing my family always did was pray before dinner. Are there similar customs in Sikh households?
     

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