What Is Prayer? Should Sikhs Pray?

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Luckysingh

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Harry ji
Reading the above post, I can see too many points that in turn I can stress and argue with in another post. You will do the same and so on..... There are far too many posts that argue in this manner. I'm not here to participate in this style of dialogue, I have no reason to. The forum is abouth sikhism, and we debate and learn from each other in this manner. By arguing every sentence quoted no one ends up learning, it becomes a battle of egos.- I'm right and you are wrong,...blah ...blah... This progress from debating to arguing is not my method of conversing. I dont' have the time or need for this activity and don't wish to put ego at play- battling it, is hard enough.

When I participate in any post, I talk on a universal level and not just about me,me,me.
I don't say this is me, this is what I do, so accept it. I try to talk from a general and majority, to make it easier for others reading this to understand, especially the young youth.

If you have not gained any ounce of spirituality from prayer, then that is personal to your very life so far-. It is not something you should use to encourage others.
There are many people who are only closer to God or have a strong belief in faith thanks to prayer. I don't think there are as many who have drifted away from the lord because of prayer.
When one is in times of distress, when no answers seem clear, when desperation is high, they mostly turn to prayer. Even someone who has no or little faith eventually turns to prayer in these moments of need.
I have come across many people whohave a strong hold on sikhism and belief in God because it somehow started with prayer.

I have seen young women that are critically ill on their deathbeds with only a 30% chance of survival, The medical team doing the best they can, the family relying on them and wanting to be able to do something if they can. When they ask, how can they help. What does everyone say?-Pray- Is what they are told by the majority, just pray.
What can you say to her 5 yr old kid, how can you possibly explain what 30% odds mean?? Even the 5yr old, will undertstand what you mean when you say 'pray' to God.
The kid will think if I pray, someone in more control may even listen and make my mummy well.!!!!
What is wrong with this ?? Am I going to tell this little kid there is no point praying if he asks me ??

As I stated above, I am also aware of many people who have in turn, turned to God and religion after their experiences with prayer. Many who once didn't believe in a God or religion.
These beings have faced some difficult encounters where the only thing left for them to do was 'pray'.-After praying, if their lives turned around for the better and this praying convinced them of a Lord, then who am I to deny the power of prayer. Why should we suggest that it is a waste of time????

Wether I pray or not does not matter, to me just asking for forgiveness is enough. Since we all repeatedly sin all the time , be it directly or indirectly. When I say sin, it means anything from negative thoughts or actions, saying something unintentionally that offends someone, ego, greed, infact all the five vices, I consider as sin.

Praying for forgiveness is somethiing every one of us can do. Will it help ?
We can't answer that, but there is no harm in trying.

I hope you understand what I'm saying, that we shouldn't discourage anyone from praying.
Praying has bought many closer to god, no doubt.
To the little 5yr old kid if his mother gets better, his prayer is going to seem like a magic formula- nothing wrong with that, Atleast the kid will realise that their must be a God.

So, Harryji after reading your comments about prayer, I do not at all feel that I should discourage anyone from praying. It's just not the sort of thing I would do, when I know of many as described above that have gained benefit in some regard.

Bhul Chuk marf
Forgive if I have offended although I will pray for forgiveness.

Lucky Singh
 
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Harry Haller

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Luckyji

I will keep this brief, and leave it up to you as to whether you feel a reply is merited.

1. The style of dialogue was initiated by your goodself, not by me.
2. When one talks of me, one is stating the preferred course of action for the writer, when one talks on a universal level, one is stating the preferred course of action universally.
3. I am not encouraging the concept of non prayer, I am asking to define prayer, is prayer a request? is it a conversation with the essence of Creator in your head? is it debate with God?
4. There is no concept of sin in Sikhism. Asking for forgiveness for sins is an Abrahamic concept not a Sikh one.
5. The fact that a 5 year old sees prayer as a magic formula is the very concept I have a problem with. The fact that you see no problem with this, to me, intimates you are comfortable with this concept, so we differ here, I accept your understanding and your arguments associated with it, lets move on.
6. If you feel so inclined, please quote bani in support of your argument, so that we may all offer our interpretation and learn something together.

You have not offended me at all, we are debating and discussing from stances very very far away, I agree that dissecting each argument is pointless, so if you are willing, lets narrow the debate down to what is important.

I will happily admit to having a complete aversion to prayer, which means I am taking an extreme view, however, even I would admit I need to find a middle ground on the subject, so your arguments and debating so far have shifted me a few notches towards the middle, and I thank you for that.

Best wishes and kind regards

Your brother

Harry
 

Ambarsaria

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Pray for Naam.
Astroboy ji define Naam if it is not all of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and all of what Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji directs us towards. Basically recognizing one creator, all of creation and living in consonance through understanding of such. I don't think there are short cuts but perhaps you can elaborate.

Naam is not a name and Naam is not a word but understanding and living through that understanding. Am I wrong?

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Astroboy

ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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Astroboy ji define Naam if it is not all of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and all of what Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji directs us towards. Basically recognizing one creator, all of creation and living in consonance through understanding of such. I don't think there are short cuts but perhaps you can elaborate.

Naam is not a name and Naam is not a word but understanding and living through that understanding. Am I wrong?

Sat Sri Akal.

You are not wrong, Bhai Ji. We all have a minimal understanding of Naam as in Gurbani. There are so many quotes in Gurbani about Naam that only a very learner-ed person (Gyani) can sum it all up and provide a concise explanation.

Naam is not name that is for sure.

One of the Gurbani Quotes about Naam is at page 958 Line 1
Someone may want to view the whole shabad by posting it here.

Remember, I am speaking of the Naam as referred in Gurbani. The transliteration can, at times, be off course.
 

Harry Haller

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You are not wrong, Bhai Ji. We all have a minimal understanding of Naam as in Gurbani. There are so many quotes in Gurbani about Naam that only a very learner-ed person (Gyani) can sum it all up and provide a concise explanation.

Naam is not name that is for sure.

One of the Gurbani Quotes about Naam is at page 958 Line 1
Someone may want to view the whole shabad by posting it here.

Remember, I am speaking of the Naam as referred in Gurbani. The transliteration can, at times, be off course.

Astroboyji,

I am slightly confused, my understanding of naam is to be in complete consonance with Creation. Your above quote seems to be overcomplicating a very simple concept, having looked at the quote suggested, the english translation (both of them) contradict your post by translating it as name, for sure :)

Also your statement that only a Gyani can explain this mirrors the Vedic setup, that only the super qualified can bring meaning to words and concepts, and others may be unqualified to understand without 'the right person'.

Also, your initial post, pray for naam, therefore is suggesting we pray for this consonance to Creation, again, my understanding is that we do not need to pray for it, we merely interact with Creation as per Hukam, as per the way a Sikh should interact, with honesty, bravery, no fear, compassion, love, and we will find that state of naam. what do you think brother?
 

Harry Haller

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I once started a thread, "Does God Love Sycophants" some-what on similar lines.

I read your post ji, and found it extremely relevant. The problem we face is that the pragmatism that Sikhism was founded on has been replaced by a lot of Vedic practices that are lauded now as Sikhi ones.

I find it hard to believe that Guru Nanakji, being so keen as he was to distance himself from rituals and chanting, would embrace the whole hippy ' lose yourself in the sound of the words' type of worship. He believed it was wrong to carry out pointless acts of devotion (giving water to the sun god), he believed it was wrong to confine God to a certain area (Mecca). Go to any Gurdwara and see his legacy, exactly what he preached against is carried out in his name every day.

Sikhism has become a poor imitation of Hinduism, and the fawning only increases as time goes on.

The biggest problem in my view are the current english translations, it is absolutely vital if Sikhism is to break out of the Punjabi way of thinking and become a world religion that the original spirit of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is presented in the best way possible to mirror the thinking and message of the original writers, but I have yet to find an english translation that sticks to what I believe is the original message. The closest I have read to date are the writings by Ambarsariaji, and I say to you sir, those writings will be here long after you have gone, I cannot think of a better legacy, like artists before you, they will find their place long, long after you have departed this Earth, so please do not judge reaction to them in the present time, or give up, when things come full circle, as they always do, you will be remembered for your vision and far sighted view

Gurfateh!
 

Luckysingh

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Harry ji, It is good that you don't have a complete aversion to prayer now.
I did not quote references from bani, as there are so many. If one searches 'pray' on srigranth.org you will see pages and pages. These references are all different, but reading through a few pages one should get the idea.

I mentioned extreme cases of when people that don't normally pray, turn to prayer. Below is a line from page 44

ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਭੈ ਭੰਜਨੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕਰਿ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥
Sukẖ▫ḏāṯa bẖai bẖanjno ṯis āgai kar arḏās.
So offer your prayers to Him, the Giver of Peace, the Destroyer of fear.
At times when one is searching and desperate for peace or when anxiety and fear is very high. Turn to prayer and offer your prayers to the lord. Only he can help provide peace and eradicate the fear.

Now, I mentioned the many that turn to prayer at these times of desperation. I have known many of them to restore or gain their faith than previous after this action of prayer. I'm sure we have all come across such individuals.
We are all aware that it is difficult to convince someone that a creator or God exists. However, during these times of desperation if one turned to just 'prayer' itself and not another individual. This 'prayer' from self can help give many personal positives and gains.
What I'm saying here is that, at these times of desperation is when the evil converts and deras come to play. They take the individual and convince them that only they can show the way, sadly many people fall for this and it's no wonder these numbers increase. For eg. there was a certain individual in UK that would target women that were desperate for children and were having problems conceiving. In turn, he would offer his special prayers, once the vulnerable women agreed to worship him. Yes, you guessed it, he would then manipulate them and end up get them pregnant by his own dirty actions.!!!- this is how sad it gets.- Why didn't these women just agree to their own prayers ??- we can all pray for our very own selves.

My point being universal, is that self prayer alone can have postive benefits for the individual and for true sikhism. If a vulnerable being refuses to acknowledge the baba or dera and decides to just pray themselves from within to the creator and/or Sri Guru Granth Sahib then this is a great thing, and very nice. This is probably one of the reasons why I find prayer by oneself as very attractive. It should be just you and creator, no need for a middleman, or You, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and creator, and thats it.

So in effect as some christians mention,- 'Prayer is your Saviour'

Now, you touched on my use of the term sin.

Luckyji

4. There is no concept of sin in Sikhism. Asking for forgiveness for sins is an Abrahamic concept not a Sikh one.

Sorry, I understand what you mean by abrahamic. However, I was raised in heavy christian schools, not by choice, but that was all there was where I lived. I do use the term quite often along with many other terms and phrases such as 'Lord', it's not easy for me to say otherwise.

I tend to imply the word sin to gurmukhi 'PAAP' and that we are all paapi in some ways. To me it doesn't just mean the 7 sins that christians refer to, but much more than that along with influences of 5 thieves and any negative thoughts in your mind. So when I say 'sin' it means much more to me.
As a sikh, if we accept that we commit paap, intentionally and unintentionally then I feel asking for forgiveness along with strength and control to overcome these paaps is OK, if it helps with one's conscious.
That's all really, I know my previous phrase sounds too catholic or christian.

Let's move on

Waheguru
Lucky Singh
 
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Ambarsaria

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All, perhaps worthwhile looking at the prayer/Ardas, at least in a group setting that many, if not all of us, have taken part in, once or more often.

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<> vwihgurU jI kI &qih]
sRI BgOqI jI shwie] vwr sRI BgOqI jI kI pwqSwhI 10] ipRQm BgOqI ismir kY gur nwnk leIN iDAwie] iPr AMgd gur qy Amrdwsu rwmdwsY hoeIN shwie] Arjn hrgoibMd no ismrO sRI hirrwie] sRI hirikRSn iDAwieAY ijs ifTY siB duK jwie] qyg bhwdr ismirAY Gr nau iniD AwvY Dwie] sB QWeI hoie shwie] dsvW pwqSwh sRI gurU goibMd isMG swihb jI! sB QWeI hoie shwie] dsW pwqSwhIAW dI joq sRI gurU gRMQ swihb jI dy pwT dIdwr dw iDAwn Dr ky bolo jI vwihgurU!

Remembranceof our ten Guru ji and their essence in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

pMjW ipAwirAW,cOhW swihbzwidAW, cwlHIAW mukiqAW, hTIAW jpIAW, qpIAW, ijhnW nwm jipAw, vMf CikAw, dyg clweI, qyg vwhI, dyK ky Axif`T kIqw, iqnHW ipAwirAW, sicAwirAW dI kmweI dw iDAwn Dr ky, Kwlsw jI ! bolo jI vwihgurU!

ijnHW isMGW isMGxIAW ny Drm hyq sIs id`qy, bMd bMd ktwey, KoprIAW luhweIAW, crKIAW qy cVy, AwirAW nwl icrwey gey, gurdvwirAW dI syvw leI kurbwnIAW kIqIAW, Drm nhIN hwirAw, is`KI kysW suAwsW nwl inbwhI, iqnHW dI kmweI dw iDAwn Dr ky Kwlsw jI! bolo jI vwihgurU! pMjW qKqW, srb`q gurduAwirAW dw iDAwn Dr ky bolo jI vwihgurU!


Remembrance of the five loved one’s, the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji, and others for their spirituality, their sacrifices and valor in battle, individual perseverance and sacrifices through cruelty, while still maintaining their Sikhism. Remembering too the five Takhats and all places of Sikh worship.

ipRQmy srb`q Kwlsw jI kI Ardws hY jI, srb`q Kwlsw jI ko vwihgurU, vwihgurU, vwihgurU icq Awvy, ic`q Awvn kw sdkw srb suK hovy[ jhW jhW Kwlsw jI swihb, qhW qhW riCAw irAwieq, dyg qyg &qh, ibrd kI pYj, pMQ kI jIq, sRI swihb jI shwie, Kwlsy jI ky bol bwly, bolo jI vwihgurU!

A solemn prayer, to always remember the creator, the well being of all and the old, the abundance of strength and success.

is`KW nUM is`KI dwn, kys dwn, rihq dwn, ibbyk dwn, ivswh dwn, Brosw dwn, dwnW isr dwn, nwm dwn sRI AMimRqsr jI dy ieSnwn, cOkIAW, JMfy, buMgy, jugo jug At`l, Drm kw jYkwr, bolo jI vwihgurU!!!

A solem prayer
,for the embodiment in each Sikh of the virtues of truthful living and for the persona of a complete Sikh, the survival of institutions of Sikhism for times immemorial.

is`KW dw mn nIvW, mq au~cI mq dw rwKw Awip vwihgurU[
hy Akwl purK Awpxy pMQ dy sdw shweI dwqwr jIE! sRI nnkwxw swihb qy hor gurduAwirAW gurDwmW dy, ijnHW qoN pMQ nUM ivCoiVAw igAw hY, KulHy drSn dIdwr qy syvw sMBwl dw dwn ^wlsw jI nUM bKSo[

Let Sikhs have humility and wisdom be higher and the creator be custodian of higher wisdom. May the creator allow Sikhs to have free access and ability to upkeep all Gurdwaras.

hy inmwixAW dy mwx, inqwixAW dy qwx, inEitAW dI Et, s`cy ipqw, vwihgurU! Awp dy hzUr
..... dI Ardws hY jI[

The prayer is concluded by seeing the creator as the true savior of uplifting dignity, generosity in kindness, supportive of who are helpless and hence we pray ….

A`Kr vwDw Gwtw Bu`l cu`k mwP krnI[ srb`q dy kwrj rws krny[
syeI ipAwry myl, ijnHW imilAW qyrw nwm icq Awvy[ nwnk nwm cVHdI klw, qyry Bwxy srb`q dw Blw[

May
errors be forgiven, all be blessed one find company of those which enhances understanding of the truth and Nanak let high spirits prevail and in consonance be the well being of all.
Sat Sri Akal.
 

passingby

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Nov 20, 2010
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I shall add a few words according to my little understanding. Naam is many things at the same time. Sukhmani Sahib elaborates a lot on this.
But one thing which needs to be pointed out is that along with other aspects Naam is also the name of God and its recitation as a mantra too. In fact it is the basis of whole of the spiritual practice in Sikhism. This recitation is to be done to a degree when it becomes continuous, uninterrupted in the depth of the mind.
ਕਾਨੜਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
ਆਰਾਧਉ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਅਪਨੇ ॥
ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗਤ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਨੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਤਾ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਬਸਿਓ ਨਾਮੁ ॥
ਜਾ ਕਉ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੀਨੋ ਦਾਨੁ ॥੧॥
ਤਾ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਆਈ ਸਾਂਤਿ ॥
ਠਾਕੁਰ ਭੇਟੇ ਗੁਰ ਬਚਨਾਂਤਿ ॥੨॥
ਸਰਬ ਕਲਾ ਸੋਈ ਪਰਬੀਨ ॥
ਨਾਮ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਨ ॥੩॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਉ ॥
ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਉ ॥੪॥੨॥
I am aware that since early decades of 20th century there have been voices who have spoken against mantra jaap. But that's not my understanding. Based upon gurbani, history, tradition and first hand accounts of saints, I understand that Naam jaap is the very basis of Sikh spiritual experience.
Meditation, conceptual understanding and 'trying to implement gurbani' in everyday life all have their place but they do not hold the promise of Brahmagyaan, the direct perception of that which cannot be perceived. Gurbani points out incessantly towards Naam jaap.
 

passingby

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I do not know what Harry ji means by the word sin as in Abrahmic terms BUT there is concept of PAAP in SGGS. There also a concept of punishment being given by Dharamraaj to jeev-atma who indulges in Paap.
 

Ambarsaria

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Passingby ji thanks for your post.
I do not know what Harry ji means by the word sin as in Abrahmic terms BUT there is concept of PAAP in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. There also a concept of punishment being given by Dharamraaj to jeev-atma who indulges in Paap.
Why we keep trying to get back into the wells of darkness that our Guru ji and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji try so hard to get us out of?motherlylove Almost every metaphoric use in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has been turned into a belief by one or the other including many misguided and misguiding.

Guru ji talked to people of the day in the language they understood and the beliefs they held. They did not teach them to hold the beliefs or validate the beliefs they had, but to think anew as in the teaching of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Please also describe in your own word from above what you understand the following to mean,
ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗਤ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਨੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
If you care to elaborate on what is "Naam Jap" for you, that will help understand your post. It appears Naam has many different meanings for different people. So does "Jap".

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Harry Haller

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This recitation is to be done to a degree when it becomes continuous, uninterrupted in the depth of the mind.

Years ago, when I had money, I had a collection of Range Rovers, old ones, always going wrong, a bit like my life, but when they did, I would get out the handbook, and I would read the relevant section, and I would then get my tools out, and I would work on the car with the book in front of me, after some painful hours, I would fix the problem, and would be thankful that I had a decent Hayes guide to the car.

Now I realise how wrong I was, what I should have done, in hindsight, was sit in front of the car, and just read pages from the Hayes guide to the car, until the car fixed itself. I could even light a few lamps, obviously, just reading 1 page would be pointless, so I should have read the entire guide, at breakneck speed, or maybe just chant, 'Hayes'

Thank you for enlightening me, if that works for the car, maybe I will try the same with the problems in my life too!
 

Harry Haller

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Luckyji,

I have been giving this matter much thought, yesterday I walked the 3 miles to work, and thought of nothing else. It was at this point I realised something, I am always praying. It has never occurred to me to set a time out to pray, or to ready myself for prayer, or a request because I am having a constant conversation with the essence of Creator in my head. However the conversations do not take place as prayers would, they go more along the line of, 'I must do better at this, I must try harder at that', and how to achieve such in line with Bani and Hukam. I don't know if this is a universal thing but right and wrong are very clear in my head. As I walked, I know its wrong to stare at the lady at the bus stop in the mini skirt and the high heels, but as I avert my gaze, I also know its wrong to have an aversion to staring at the same lady, the key is indifference, its just a lady, a human being, old enough to be my sister, what she is wearing is irrelevant, wisdom comes in acknowledging her as a sister, and being neither attracted nor repulsed. All this is happening while I walk, I spot a brand new Range Rover, and a mixture of slight envy and apathy wash over me, I internally debate these feelings, and conclude that I am better off admiring it and being happy for the owner, this is the correct way to feel, and so forth, and my entire day is spent in this manner, feeling emotions, checking those emotions, debating what I feel, what I should feel, what Bani advises me to feel, what Hukam tells me to feel, which feeling is the one that is going to bring me closer to consonance, closer to Creation, which feeling is really me, am I the sex starved lunatic who envies others cars, or am I a brother to everyone, and gracious enough to be happy for others. As I get closer to my shop, I reflect on the dinner I cooked my wife yesterday, unfortunately she was too tired to be intimate when we went to bed, I had a slight feeling that my dinner should have been reciprocated, I also knew feeling like this was wrong, more debating, must try harder to give love unconditionally, not to get jealous of the attention to the 8 animals that live with us, to not act like a small boy not getting attention, I make a mental note to read some relevant bani on the subject, in order that I can gain understanding and follow hukam better,so tell me Luckyji, is this all praying?

My parents in their wisdom sent me to a convent school when I was young, so I understand. Sin by its very nature brings guilt, guilt is bad, I think that is why Sikhism does not recognise sin, sure, we are not all perfect, but better to try and be pure through wisdom and understanding, than beat yourself over the head with a big stick, which is what guilt is.

I look forward to your reply Veer Luckyji
 

passingby

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By Jaap I mean traditional repetition of the mantra. The word for me is 'Waheguru'. And thats how i understand the line:

ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗਤ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਨੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The line accordingly to me clearly points out to the practice. Saas saas means to recite mentally as the breath goes in and comes out.

Harry ji, thank you for your words. Just as you have spent your years in your search and understanding, I have spent my life too. I was not born yesterday. And my humble search was not limited either. After studying, reflecting, listening, watching and many other things, I have come to understand that reaching a higher consciousness is not a matter of creating good thoughts, being peaceful, although that is very important too. For me it means to reach deep into our minds, which is not a simple everyday reaching, but an extra-ordinary reaching, which results in a true transformation.

I am quite aware of not only ideas prevalent in Sikh circles but also the general global spiritual ideas in circulation. I have some decent understanding of other religions too. So I am not an uneducated person one might think when one hears that I speak on favour of a practice of mantra jaap. I do so with my own understanding which I have developed after doing my search and research.

The argument that repeating a word is useless is nothing new. It is as I mentioned earlier in my post quite old now. The argument cannot be 'won' by either side. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

 

passingby

SPNer
Nov 20, 2010
63
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Ambarsaria veerji,
I pointed out that the concept of Paap and Dharamraaj is present in Gurbani. I did not interpret the concept. If its a metaphor, then be it so.
 

Astroboy

ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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Jul 14, 2007
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Luckyji,

I have been giving this matter much thought, yesterday I walked the 3 miles to work, and thought of nothing else. It was at this point I realised something, I am always praying. It has never occurred to me to set a time out to pray, or to ready myself for prayer, or a request because I am having a constant conversation with the essence of Creator in my head. However the conversations do not take place as prayers would, they go more along the line of, 'I must do better at this, I must try harder at that', and how to achieve such in line with Bani and Hukam. I don't know if this is a universal thing but right and wrong are very clear in my head. As I walked, I know its wrong to stare at the lady at the bus stop in the mini skirt and the high heels, but as I avert my gaze, I also know its wrong to have an aversion to staring at the same lady, the key is indifference, its just a lady, a human being, old enough to be my sister, what she is wearing is irrelevant, wisdom comes in acknowledging her as a sister, and being neither attracted nor repulsed. All this is happening while I walk, I spot a brand new Range Rover, and a mixture of slight envy and apathy wash over me, I internally debate these feelings, and conclude that I am better off admiring it and being happy for the owner, this is the correct way to feel, and so forth, and my entire day is spent in this manner, feeling emotions, checking those emotions, debating what I feel, what I should feel, what Bani advises me to feel, what Hukam tells me to feel, which feeling is the one that is going to bring me closer to consonance, closer to Creation, which feeling is really me, am I the sex starved lunatic who envies others cars, or am I a brother to everyone, and gracious enough to be happy for others. As I get closer to my shop, I reflect on the dinner I cooked my wife yesterday, unfortunately she was too tired to be intimate when we went to bed, I had a slight feeling that my dinner should have been reciprocated, I also knew feeling like this was wrong, more debating, must try harder to give love unconditionally, not to get jealous of the attention to the 8 animals that live with us, to not act like a small boy not getting attention, I make a mental note to read some relevant bani on the subject, in order that I can gain understanding and follow hukam better,so tell me Luckyji, is this all praying?

My parents in their wisdom sent me to a convent school when I was young, so I understand. Sin by its very nature brings guilt, guilt is bad, I think that is why Sikhism does not recognise sin, sure, we are not all perfect, but better to try and be pure through wisdom and understanding, than beat yourself over the head with a big stick, which is what guilt is.

I look forward to your reply Veer Luckyji

Although this is directed to Veer Lucky Ji, I felt your thoughts as familiar and essential. For example, looking at a lady with a mini skirt is not really wrong because God created the male species to be more optical and that's the reason for the mini skirt in the first place.
On the other hand, the Guru's bani tells us to pay attention on our own wives instead of other women because obviously undesirable consequences will follow. Page 1290 Line 2 mentions it.

Another point you mentioned is whether we are praying all the time. In my opinion , to a certain extent, the answer is YES. We are putting our attention on negative thoughts 24/7 and go to places of worship for just a few hours and expect God to grant us positive things. In Gurbani the relevant tuk could be Page 474 Line 11.
 
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Luckysingh

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Dec 4, 2011
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Luckyji,

I have been giving this matter much thought, yesterday I walked the 3 miles to work, and thought of nothing else. It was at this point I realised something, I am always praying. It has never occurred to me to set a time out to pray, or to ready myself for prayer, or a request because I am having a constant conversation with the essence of Creator in my head. However the conversations do not take place as prayers would, they go more along the line of, 'I must do better at this, I must try harder at that', and how to achieve such in line with Bani and Hukam. I don't know if this is a universal thing but right and wrong are very clear in my head. As I walked, I know its wrong to stare at the lady at the bus stop in the mini skirt and the high heels, but as I avert my gaze, I also know its wrong to have an aversion to staring at the same lady, the key is indifference, its just a lady, a human being, old enough to be my sister, what she is wearing is irrelevant, wisdom comes in acknowledging her as a sister, and being neither attracted nor repulsed. All this is happening while I walk, I spot a brand new Range Rover, and a mixture of slight envy and apathy wash over me, I internally debate these feelings, and conclude that I am better off admiring it and being happy for the owner, this is the correct way to feel, and so forth, and my entire day is spent in this manner, feeling emotions, checking those emotions, debating what I feel, what I should feel, what Bani advises me to feel, what Hukam tells me to feel, which feeling is the one that is going to bring me closer to consonance, closer to Creation, which feeling is really me, am I the sex starved lunatic who envies others cars, or am I a brother to everyone, and gracious enough to be happy for others. As I get closer to my shop, I reflect on the dinner I cooked my wife yesterday, unfortunately she was too tired to be intimate when we went to bed, I had a slight feeling that my dinner should have been reciprocated, I also knew feeling like this was wrong, more debating, must try harder to give love unconditionally, not to get jealous of the attention to the 8 animals that live with us, to not act like a small boy not getting attention, I make a mental note to read some relevant bani on the subject, in order that I can gain understanding and follow hukam better,so tell me Luckyji, is this all praying?

My parents in their wisdom sent me to a convent school when I was young, so I understand. Sin by its very nature brings guilt, guilt is bad, I think that is why Sikhism does not recognise sin, sure, we are not all perfect, but better to try and be pure through wisdom and understanding, than beat yourself over the head with a big stick, which is what guilt is.

I look forward to your reply Veer Luckyji

Harryji, the above actions quoted do constitute as a form of praying. When I say 'form', I will explain more clearly further down. It actually reminds me of something I learnt back in school** -'We should pray all the time'-**
Although this was christian taught and something of value it makes us realise how we can all achieve this.
Many of us are too absorbed in our daily work lives that we don't have the chance to reflect on ourselves. Be it too busy trying to please employer, or too busy in business aspect whatever, work life and employment can be too demanding for some that they are not always able to do this. You are very lucky that you find it possible in this sense.
To be able to pray all the time no matter what else you are doing by asking the lord for wisdom and inspiration for your actions is only achievable by some and something we should all try more often.

It's important to understand the difference between prayer and worship.
Although these two are often termed together, doesn't mean they are the same act. Act of worship is not always an act of prayer.

Prayer is like I explained previously, talking to God or having a quiet conversation, requesting, asking for an action.....

Worship can be thanking the lord for an action, expression of gratitude, praising, singing, Kirtan, hymns and katha are all acts of worship.

However, Worship in terms of sadh sangat can be regarded as a prayer, like all standing and doing the ardaas. This act of joint congregation is one example when worship and prayer closely overlap. Quite recently we noticed many Gurdwaras having akhand paths for Balwant Rajoana, this is in essence a prayer for him by all the congregation, again it overlaps with acts of worship. I know some people do like to associate worship, when they reference a group of people contributing to prayer wether it be seva or kirtan. Therefore, some may find it easier to asscoiate worship with a holy gathering or sadh sangat and Not as a 'pooja' as per hindu terms.

Getting to this we can further divide prayer into 3 subtypes
.
1st, The personal prayer that is done by one self and God, no interventions.This is often done quietly whenever or wherever one feels it appropriate.

2nd, We could have praying the naam or jap. Everyone has personal differences in their concepts for Naam and Jap, I won't go into it too much here as I've mentioned it in another post. Here I'm referring to any prayer that relates the word of the shabad or bani to your prayer. Wether it be reading Japji, sukhmani, a single shabad being repeated ...etc... It's reading, reciting the word from the bani and reflecting it on yourself.
Most sikhs are very content with this sort of prayer and ardaas. Arising at amritvela and doing nitnem as per rehat is this form of prayer that goes well with spirituality.

3rd, Is similar to what you described above. Living with the prayer or having the rememberance and word of God with you throughout your living day.. Carrying out daily actions by asking for wisdom and inspiration from Guru.This also includes acts of seva or selfless service. Having the naam or word with you 'aaght pairr'

Now the above is not just my opinion, it's my explanation for myself in all honesty.
I don't expect any one to adapt or follow the prayer and it's subtypes theory. It is just a personal theory like many others I may have.
However, I do feel it important that we understand that prayer and worship are different, but in certain situations they may and can overlap very closely as explained above.

Harryji, I hope this helps answer your question about wether your actions constitute to prayer or not. In my view, yes, but I gave subtypes for clarity. I may have learnt these in the past and adpated them into lines of sikhi.

Now, the other point you mentioned was
Sin by its very nature brings guilt, guilt is bad, I think that is why Sikhism does not recognise sin, sure, we are not all perfect, but better to try and be pure through wisdom and understanding, than beat yourself over the head with a big stick, which is what guilt is.

I understand your point here with reference to guilt. As sikhs we must try to overcome all negativities of our own mind or 'mann'
This includes feelings of guilt, fear and regret. As manmukhs we have to try and eradicate these, we only experience them because we are manmukh.

I explained what the term 'sin' meant to me in relation to 'paap' done intentionally and unintentionally.
Giving in to the power of any of the 5 thieves also comes across as acts of sin to me. Our minds do cause feelings of guilt to actions we clearly know are wrong or done with intention.

The important point to note here is, that I am also referring to UNintentional actions, ie. any paap that is done without realising, or mistakes and hurting we may cause other folk (by ego usually) without even realising how they feel or how hurt they may be.
These actions WILL NOT cause us any guilt, as we don't realise. It is for these that we ask 'Bhull Chuk Maarf' or forgiveness.
In all honesty, I don't know how often I may even be doing this in all my interactions with different people throughout any given day.

I'm sure you must be able to recall a situation where someone, wether family or friend got offended as they misinterpreted a comment you may have made. In your own view, you made an innocent remark or comment, but they were offended and hurt by such action.- I'm sure we have all experienced this at one time or the other.
So, what do we do when this happens or occurs??
Now, some will deal with it ignorantly as they couldn't care less. To them it will seem that it's the others fault for perceiving it in a crooked way. This attitude brings on NO GUILT or shame.
On the other hand, some will be shocked and sorry that they have caused such pain to others, even though it was totally unintended. This attitude would bring on GUILT and embarassment, although very undeserved in some opinions.

Do you see what I'm getting at here, -Sin or paap does not always mean guilt, and guilt does not always mean such a sin.
So, to me personally, -I feel no shame, harm or guilt the majority of the times that I may mention forgiveness in my own personal prayer.

I'm not encouraging this by any means, but if it helps with one's conscious, then there is no wrong or harm.
If it doesn't affect your conscious, then of course you have no need, it is different and personal to each and every one of us.


Harryji, I hope this clarifies some discrepancies you may feel in my previous comments.

Waheguru
Lucky Singh
 
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findingmyway

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Aug 18, 2010
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World citizen!
Moderation note. This is an interesting thread and it is good to see many points of view. I have not had the chance to read all yet but I would like to remind all contributors of the TOS.
1. All posts must be in English so all members can understand and enjoy them. There have been 1 or 2 members not following this so future posts not in English will be deleted without notice.

2. All shabads quoted must be in Panjabi and English with ang numbers for reference and your own understanding.

Thank you.
 
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