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Transcript Of This Morning's Talk On 'Pause For Thought' With Terry Wogan

Sep 11, 2005
Transcript of this morning's talk on 'Pause for Thought' with Terry Wogan on
BBC Radio 2

Pause For Thought 21-10-05
Dr Indarjit Singh
Terry, we’ve had some wonderful contributions for ‘Faith in the World Week’ , and I’d like to end the week slightly differently: with a little history
Some five centuries ago, the Mughal Barbar, a descendent of Gengis Khan
invaded India, terrorising the countryside and rapidly advancing on the capital
Delhi. The terrified Indian rulers, too cowardly to resist, decided on a
cunning plan. They instructed religious leaders to organise mass prayers for God
to do terrible things to the invaders and make them incapable of fighting.
Like Baldric’s cunning plans, it didn’t work!
Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, referred to this incident when he
criticised the use of prayer as a substitute for action. He taught that an
important aspect of prayer is to help us to keep focussed on our
responsibilities and what is important, like the health and welfare of the family and
those in wider society. Prayer for Sikhs is reflecting on guidance and advice in
our holy scriptures to give us a bit of an ethical direction to life.
In this way, all our different holy books are like books of instructions
that remind us of what we should do and what we shouldn’t do on our journey
through life. The problem with prayer, or more accurately, the problem with us,
is that we set these instructions to beautiful music and sing or chant them,
but out of weakness or ignorance, often fail to act on them.
Sikhs believe that prayer is useful if it moves us to positive and
responsible living. For example, a common theme in Sikh prayer is our responsibility
to the one human family; something important to all of us. We constantly refer
to it in a ritual sort of way, but do little to plan for the certainty of
recurring injustice and natural and man made disasters. Singing or chanting
prayers is not enough; we need to walk the talk of prayer.
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