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What To Do With The Un-Natural Growth Of Hair On Female Faces?

spnadmin

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We have received some complaints about the direction that this thread is taking. Let's make sure we do not stoop to ridiculing the beliefs of keshdhari Sikhs who have accepted the mandate to keep hair.. To some it does sound as if that is the tone of the thread.

When a person decides to take the sehajdhari path, that choice should be made freely. When a person takes the keshdhari path, that too should be taken freely. On either side, for some, it is hard to avoid the strong temptation to argue one has the moral high ground. Then to make self-serving arguments to make our personal choice "right."

The threads on kesh as Jasleen ji has already stated tend to go in circles. That may happen, not so much because we are "right," but because we feel we have to be "right," and in order to do that we need to make others look foolish or illogical.

Sikhi preaches we should not disrespect other religions. In the same way, let's not disrespect those who respect "hair" or have made a choice different from our own.

This is BTW an admin warning. Please take it seriously.
 

spnadmin

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One last time: Let's stay away from the "I am smarter, holier, more logical than thou" script. The reason why at SPN posts are deleted and members are banned nearly always goes to their inability to live in a diverse community, and almost never has anything at all to do with their message. Smart people always have a hard time suffering fools gladly. Of course, it is always the case that the other guy is the fool.

My last note was a very gentle warning. Please do not take advantage.
 

findingmyway

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Inorder to be considered a sikh in the religious sense—you have to wear the 5 k's. If you dont, you can call yourself a sikh in the cultural sense or w.e. But I dont think I would consider a clean-shaved individual professing to be a sikh as actually being a sikh.

That makes you more narrow minded than Sikhs. Sikhi is a journey. We are all at different points. As Mai ji said, a Sikh is someone who is walking on the path. Outer appearance for some comes earlier than others!


Its the exact same argument because the argument makes logical sense. Unlike the arguments in favor of keeping the kesh which have been outlined and refuted so easily above.
No they haven't! Neither were the reasons for keeping kesh refuted on many other threads. It is personal choice to keep it. You don't keep it as you don't believe in it-fine. However, you have no right to continually force that opinion on others. What happened to freedom of choice? There are many threads on this topic so I don't understand why we keep revisiting the same thing again and again swordfight


Im sure your as concerned, with telling the difference between clean-shaved sikhs and hindus, as westerners are with telling the difference between a practicing sikh and a muslim. (lol, it seems like either which way you go, ur being confused for a hindu or a muslim. so i dont buy this reasoning).
That's only through lack of education in the west. In India, after the Guru's, if we did not have a different identity, Sikhism would def have been amalgamated with Hinduism just like Buddhism and Jainism were-go read some history.

Like the belief in superstitions and fairy tales (ganga sagar, etc). I get answers from you guys like "you should be more concerned with your own spiritual growth and not that of others."
I have already dealt with this and you completely brushed me off. I HAVE SAID BEFORE AND I SAY AGAIN, MANY SIKHS DO NOT BELIEVE IN THESE AS IT IS GURBANI THAT IS IMPORTANT. These things are not a necessity for Sikhi so PLEASE STOP USING THIS USELESS ARGUMENT. The people who do not believe in superstitions are also Sikhs so this argument is not valid. A lot is being done to try and dispel these myths but these efforts are not helpful to your arguments to you continually brush them off. It is human nature. Many people believe in fairies or ghosts. Go bulldozer them

As if putting a turban on a man is going to make him any more or less saintly.
Actually its the courage of conviction to wear it that counts. As I said earlier, inner and outer changes go hand in hand.

I mean you talk about readily being able to differentiate between hindu's and sikhs. But this differentiation is so very superficial.
You obviously haven't read the texts from either faith! They are vastly different in their philosophies and outlook.
 

Navdeep88

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Caspian Ji,

"Inorder to be considered a sikh in the religious sense—you have to wear the 5 k's. If you dont, you can call yourself a sikh in the cultural sense or w.e. But I dont think I would consider a clean-shaved individual professing to be a sikh as actually being a sikh."

Why so much effort into you defining what a sikh is, when you claim to not be one yourself? I really do think we tend to gravitate towards what we want to become. And truthfully, I think your looking for validation. I understand your frustration with growing up in the west... and everything that comes with that. I really do. But you cannot move forward by holding onto it, or making judgments about who belongs where.
 

BhagatSingh

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I have a few stray hairs growing on my chin and a light dusting above my upper lip. I was mercilessly teased in high school about my hairy legs and underarm jungle. I understood even then that this thing of hair removal fetish is simply social vanity and a search for social acceptance. The Amritdhari Sikh - ideally - has no use for either of these. We ARE different and proud of the difference.
Unfortunately, not all women are as cool as Mai Harinder ji. peacesign

Caspian ji
Thats all the 5 k's have done, they've turned religion and spirituality into a superficial matter. As if putting a turban on a man is going to make him any more or less saintly.
I think that in today's world especially, the 5ks bring us close to spirituality if conceptualized in the right way. I understand this notion that they end up doing the opposite, and that is simply the stress we as a sikh society place upon them.

So how can 5ks bring us closer to spirituality?

Well, first realize that to wear them we must essentially go against the norms of the western world. the western way of living is only one of the ways of living... and it is NOT focused around well-being. It is a capitalist, technological based worldview, which makes us see everything in profitable and mechanical way. The eastern worldview that stems from Sikhism, Buddhism and so forth, IS focused around well-being of individuals. The vision of Sikhi is happiness... not profit... not more technology... ONLY intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being.

What does this have to do with 5ks?
Realize that the way of happiness, the way of well-being comes about as a result of meditation. The essential component of meditation in the 3 Eastern religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, is this idea of concentration... this idea of focusing one's attention on something, in order to quiet down our thoughts.

Realize that our failure to quiet our thoughts is what causes suffering. People suffer if they cannot quiet their thoughts... whether they removes their hair or not!

Coming back to how 5ks can bring us closer to spirituality. To be able to walk in the western world with the 5ks on, it is mandatory that one be able to quiet their thoughts! When all eyes turn to look at you, you must not think. If you do, you will stress yourself out. To become skilled at this you gotta practice meditation. You have to be spiritual.

Its like what Sant kabir ji said... when you practice meditation alot, then it doesn't matter whether you keep long hair or shave your head bald. You will be in bliss either way! ...I hear a bald head can be quite as bad as a beard, on women...

gingerteakaur That's it folks. My two nickels.
 
Nov 14, 2010
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Good evening, findingmyway ji :happykudi:

This debate seems to be going round in circles as all debates about kesh do. Kesh is not a requirement to follow the Guru Granth Sahib on ONLY a spiritual level. However, kesh is highly symbolic. It is symbolic of your commitment to Sikhi.

One small clarification, if I may: It is symbolic to you of your commitment to Sikhi.

I hope that neither you nor anyone else here is claiming to know better what is in my heart and my head about Sikhi than I do... :seriouskudi:

It is a way of declaring to the world I am not afraid to be who I am and I am not afraid to stand up for the downtrodden-it was a way to stop people running away when things got tough.

I appreciate your personalizing that. :grinningkudi:

I do wish to emphasize the word choice there though -- it is A way. It is ONE way. It is far from the ONLY way a Sikh (or person of any other faith) can stand up for the downtrodden.

As for it stopping people from running away when things get tough -- seriously? If the only thing that stops a Sikh from denying their faith when the going gets tough is their uncut hair and/or turban, their faith is pretty superficial and weak. :lame: The kind of strength that keeps someone from running scared when threats arise is an internal resource that must be developed over time and with practice. There is no external symbol that is going to give someone that strength on the inside if it's not already there to begin with.

Once you start making small concessions, where do you draw the line? Giving in just because things are tough is not very brave!

:sigh:
#1 - Do you really want to use the Slippery Slope argument? I ask because the answer will be different for every person you ask, and as arguments go, it's not generally a very strong one.

For me personally -- I draw the line where it makes sense to draw the line based on my internal locus of control, the dictates of my conscience, and my relationship with God.

Will you grant that I likely know myself, in that regard and in every other sense, better than you or anyone else here knows me? :03:

Beyond that, extrapolating the argument out to the general population of Sikhs, unless you can demonstrate clearly that it is virtually inevitable that A leads to B and B leads to C and so on all the way down to Z, that is a logical fallacy.

The fact is, every person is going to respond to external pressures and stimuli differently, based on their internal resources and their degree of intestinal fortitude. When challenged about their faith some people will cave in like a Chilean mine shaft. Others will not be moved, even at the cost of their own lives such as Sir William Wallace of Scotland or our own beloved Guru Teg Bahadur. My hair does not determine my integrity, nor my determination.

I hope that, by that same token, it is not the sole factor that is determining yours. :meditation:

#2 - There's an essential ingredient missing there for me as well -- that part about "It has to make sense to me." I still see no rational argument for growing my hair and/or wearing a turban. Totally respect and honor those who feel it's important -- more power to them -- it's just... not something that seems important or necessary for me.

It is hard but that is how spirituality complements keeping the outer experience, as it gives us the strength to wear it with pride.

Yeah, see... that's where you and I part ways. It's not that I lack the "strength to wear it with pride." That may be the story you've told yourself about me, but it is not my story that I would tell about who I am at all.

I would appreciate it if you would do me this small kindness, going forward: dignify me with *asking* me what I think or what I believe or why I say or do a certain thing. Become curious about me and open to accepting my answers as true for me. Feel free to inquire of me about whatever you like -- I'm pretty much an open book and I will likely be happy to answer your questions.

But no one likes it when someone says or implies things about them that do not jibe with what that person knows to be true of themselves.

Can we agree to that, I hope? peacesignkaur

Spirituality stops us caring about what the world thinks and gives us the grace to carry it off with pride that commands respect.

I'm not sure you're really giving me enough credit -- it's a little more complicated and nuanced than that from my point of view. It's not simply that I'm wringing my hands about what the neighbors will think. I could put knots in your dastar telling you things I've said or done in the past that demonstrated how little I gave a fig what anyone thought in a particular situation. When I determine that something is "a beach worth dying on," folks better lead, follow, or get out of the way.

That said, I also choose my battles carefully, because I have learned that being *effective* and getting *results* matter a lot more than that little pat on the back I give myself for being "right" (even though everyone ignored what I said or I ended up alienating the very people I was attempting to persuade).

And well... as this is something that simply does not make sense to me, on any level beyond "because the Guru said so right here :advocate: " it's not a beach I'm willing to die on. :a23: That doesn't mean I'm :a39:

If you do not want criticism for not reaching that stage (remember Sikhi is a journey), then do not criticise others who hold those things dear, respect them for the courage they show.

Wait -- exqueeze me? To whom are you addressing that? Because if it's addressed to me, I will need you to point out ANY instance you can find anywhere in any forum here where I have criticized anyone for holding those things dear.

On the contrary, I have consistently stated my great respect for people who hold those things dear. I just do not share their values in that regard.

Please clarify. :confusedkudi:

Kesh is a requirement of Sikhi, when you are ready for it.

We will not likely ever agree because our foundational premises are not the same. For you, kesh is a requirement of Sikhi. And I know you are not alone in that belief.

For me, it is not, and I know I, also, am not alone in that belief. You may believe that we're all, the whole lot of us, wrong or insane or what have you. That's your right. But y'know...I'm not here to argue with you and tell you you're wrong, girlfriend. I'm just not.

I'm here to learn and to clarify in my own mind what makes sense, and where I fit in the realm of Sikhi. I would never presume to tell you what is in your heart and never in a million bazillion YEARS would I tell you -- a sister in faith whom I am just now beginning to know -- that there is anything about your faith or your way of practicing it that is wrong or invalid.

Because, based on what I've read, that would not be in keeping with my understanding of Sikhi, and I think you deserve to have your beliefs and your practice of faith respected.

It is not for God, but for ourselves, to encourage us to be true to ourselves and not be swayed by this transient world.

And sister-friend, if that works for you, then amen and more power to you in the name of Waheguru!

But it would not play out that way for me. I've got a lot of things inside my head that keep me true to myself and dissuade me from being swayed by the transient world. It's unlikely that anything I could do with my hair or place on my head could make that any weaker or stronger.

Meditation... prayer... learning, discussing -- those things, on the other hand, will go a LONG way toward solidifying my faith.

Thank you! :carefreekudi:
 
Nov 14, 2010
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I find it real hard to accept that fact that a hardliner atheist is being allowed to speak for the Sikhs or give advice on Sikhism ( least to an Amritdhari Sikh of all the people ) on a Sikh forum? This must be in the name of "Freedom of speech"! How generous Sikhs can be!

Good Evening Soul_jyot ji, gingerteakaur

It's interesting that you say this. I was just thinking how interested I was in actually asking Caspian to share more about where he's coming from. He seems friendly and quite approachable. I don't get the sense that he is trying to be the "turd in the punch bowl" (as my boyfriend so indelicately puts it from time to time) -- rather that he is someone who was raised in the faith, is *culturally* Sikhi, but is not at a place of rest when it comes to the spiritual aspect of Sikh faith, and he's exploring that in much the same way someone who has lost a tooth probes the empty space until it heals and stops hurting. (I trust we have all experienced that feeling, at least as children...)

So dear Caspian ji, did I get any of ^that^ wrong? If so, please clarify. And then, if it's not too personal or too intrusive of me to ask, can you tell me more about you, what led you out of Sikhi and into Atheism, and what you are seeking in discussing things here?

I find your contributions very worthwhile even as they are sometimes challenging. It's clear you've thought about matters of faith a great deal.

(I'm also curious about your name and can't help but wonder if you are harkening back to ancestry that is near the Caspian sea or if you are simply a fan of C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. :03: )

If we have confidence in the courage of our convictions regarding our faith, none of us need feel threatened by questions raised by an atheist, or an agnostic, or a person of another faith, yes?

And if the response is, "Oh, lordy, another one of these threads..." then that person is free to move on to other discussions they will find more productive, correct?

That is how I see it, but I am new here so I am still developing a sense of the culture, so to speak. Let me know if I have missed something important. I am here to learn.
 
Nov 14, 2010
79
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BhagatSingh ji, thank you. That is the closest anyone has come yet to offering me an explanation of how the 5 K's can bring us closer to God. wahkaur

That said... Meh. I'm still not persuaded that, for where I am in my life right now, and what I'm intending to achieve both spiritually and otherwise, donning a turban and a pair of loose white cotton undies and carrying a kirpan is the magic formula that's going to get me where I need to go. :shrug:

To me there is still the opposing (and equally valid, based on my own observations) point of view that wearing the 5 K's in Western culture (especially in the US post-9/11 amd damn the ignorance of those who cannot tell the difference...) creates an undesirable signal-to-noise ratio*.

* For anyone who isn't clear what I mean there...The concept of signal-to-noise ratio began as an abstract electrical engineering equation but has since evolved into a useful metaphor for many kinds of communication. All communication is a chain of informational signal creation ---> info. signal transmission ---> info. signal reception. At each step along the way, the useful information -- the signal -- is degraded by extraneous or irrelevant information: the noise. Good, effective communication, by definition, maximizes what’s important while minimizing the things that distract from the intended message.

I must also take into consideration the comfort levels of the existing people in my life, most of whom are white and Anglo, many of whom are Christian (culturally if not spiritually), and all of whom are going to give me something between this look --> :unsure: and this look --> :shock: when I explain to them that I have found my true faith in Sikhi.

Understand -- it's not that I fear their reaction or even their disapproval. It's that I want them to feel as safe with this as I do, and as such I intend to meet them where they are, approaching them slowly and gently with an outstretched hand, as one might to give food to a semi-feral cat. And that takes patience and time.

If I show up at my boyfriend's parents home on Christmas morning with my kirpan and my hair in a turban, they're going to feel frightened of me, and they'd likely ask him if he had lost his mind, dating this crazy white girl who's some sort of weird Muslim-Hindu wannabee. But if they come to know me and trust me and feel safe with me over time... if first I only wear the kara (which I actually do wear now, 24 hours a day, and never remove except at the insistence of the annoying TSA agents :roll: ), and at some point someone will notice and ask me about it and I will tell them a little about my faith...and then maybe some other time I will show them my kirpan, and talk about what it symbolizes, both for the faith and for me personally, etc... Then they will accept it, and will respect and protect that aspect of who I am as I respect and protect it for myself because they have come to love and value me.

As God has very kindly, very patiently, very gently met me where I am, so I intend to meet those in my life with the news of my newfound faith -- kindly, patiently, gently...so that they will understand that I am still *me* and not be unintentionally and unnecessarily alienated from me by the fact that I am wearing what appears to them to be a foreign and possibly threatening costume.

And I guess all I ask here is that people not judge my decision to take that approach. It is one that is mindfully and consciously chosen. Maybe someday I will even go so far as to leave my hair untouched. It's hard for me to imagine but stranger things have happened in my life for sure. In any case, I'm not particularly worried about it.

And more importantly, I don't get the sense that God is really wringing hands about it either. busyknitting :thx:
 

findingmyway

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Aug 17, 2010
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Siri Kamala ji,
I am completely flabbergasted by your reply! From many of your other posts you seem to have such a level head yet have taken this all so personally! Why? It's interesting that you don't want to believe in kesh at all yet have the picture of a woman with kesh and dastaar as your avatar....

You seemed to have missed one of the most important messages in my post-Sikhism is a journey -we are all at different points of that journey.


Now I'll add to that-we cannot change the faith system according to our own personal gripes. The messages are there for a reason and that is what I was trying to explain by my post. I was answering the questions about why. If we choose to accept or not is personal choice. Not accepting however does not justify you rejecting because it doesn't sit right with you. I don't mean you personally but everyone, including myself. In the interests of honest disclosure I am not amritdhari yet but am working on it. I also don't keep 100% of my kesh-I keep 99% but am working on it. I have huge respect for those who do keep 100% as they are braver than me. As an interesting aside, since you have made this whole thing personal. You think it's fine to wear a kara but not kesh when they have similar ideologies? Is it because one is more socially acceptable than the other? I do not ask for a response to this as it is for your personal consideration only.


One small clarification, if I may: It is symbolic to you of your commitment to Sikhi.

I hope that neither you nor anyone else here is claiming to know better what is in my heart and my head about Sikhi than I do... :seriouskudi:

No-one is claiming about you or anyone else. We can only know ourselves (and often not even that!) If you are a Sikhi follower, you believe in all 11 Guru's from Guru Nanak to Guru Granth Sahib. The 10th Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh mandated kesh for those choosing to become part of the Khalsa through taking khanda di pahaul. There were political and moral reasons for this. It has been discussed in immense detail on other threads to I am only going to summarise briefly for you. At that time the Mughals were ruling India and intent of forcibly converting all to Islam. Our Guru's stood up for the right to retain freedom of choice for all. It was hard to stay by your convictions when your head was being called for! We were given the 5K's partly for practical purposes and partly for symbolic purposes and partly to complement inner strength. By standing out you couldn't run away even if you were tempted. By standing out, it was a constant reminder to be true to the cause even in moments of weakness. All human beings have moments of weakness. Standing out also allowed people from afar to identify you so they could come to you for help, otherwise they couldn't tell who to go to as you wouldn't be visible in a crowd! Not every Sikh takes khanda di pahaul, but IF and when you are ready then it is a declaration to the world that you are. You may be committed and that is fine without. However, declaring it visually means that others know what you stand for too. Whether you want to make that declaration is YOUR choice entirely. However, demeaning others who make that choice is wrong. One of the basic things Sikhi teaches us is tolerance. There are a few sects like the AKJ who have a strict rehit and look down on others. Mainstream Sikhs recognise that Sikhi is a journey. We do not think badly of the clean shaven Sikhs in our Gurdwara. Yet many of the anti-kesh group of people are incredibly intolerant of keshdhari Sikhs in my experience. They behave in a way they accuse the others of behaving. Interesting isn't it?! What happened to freedom of choice and mutual respect?

I do wish to emphasize the word choice there though -- it is A way. It is ONE way. It is far from the ONLY way a Sikh (or person of any other faith) can stand up for the downtrodden.

As for it stopping people from running away when things get tough -- seriously? If the only thing that stops a Sikh from denying their faith when the going gets tough is their uncut hair and/or turban, their faith is pretty superficial and weak. The kind of strength that keeps someone from running scared when threats arise is an internal resource that must be developed over time and with practice. There is no external symbol that is going to give someone that strength on the inside if it's not already there to begin with.
Most of this I have answered above. Inner and outer experience go hand in hand. No-one is saying that external symbol alone is going to keep someone from running. It does however help if the external symbols are kept for the right reason. If you look at India today, a lot of Hindutva influences have crept onto Sikhism. If it wasn't for the external appearance, Sikhi there would have been incorporated into Hindusim just like Buddhism and Jainism have been. Keeping kesh is a choice. Yet anti-kesh people do not accept that is a choice and insist we all get rid of it!! I don't see the logic in that argument. Accept you have made the choice to either keep it or not and respect the other person for their choice. The external appearance endorses what's on the inside and helps in moments of weakness. Also see above.

#1 - Do you really want to use the Slippery Slope argument? I ask because the answer will be different for every person you ask, and as arguments go, it's not generally a very strong one.
I disagree. That is your opinion. I belong to a medical family and am a health care worker myself. All too often I see the other side of the slippery slope. As a % of the world's population, few people have the inner strength to stick by their beliefs every moment of their lives and not do something they regret later. We may have to agree to disagree on this point as our life experiences are obviously very different. The only thing I will add is it is important to ask why make the concessions? This I ask not for personal debate but for private reflection as the answer to that will give you an indication of the strength of your conviction. This applies not just to you, but also to me and everyone else.

For me personally -- I draw the line where it makes sense to draw the line based on my internal locus of control, the dictates of my conscience, and my relationship with God.
Good for you! However, not everyone behaves the way you do so you cannot extrapolate this to the whole of humanity.

The fact is, every person is going to respond to external pressures and stimuli differently, based on their internal resources and their degree of intestinal fortitude. When challenged about their faith some people will cave in like a Chilean mine shaft. Others will not be moved, even at the cost of their own lives such as Sir William Wallace of Scotland or our own beloved Guru Teg Bahadur. My hair does not determine my integrity, nor my determination.

See above. Each person is different so the Guru's gave us tools. Which ones we use is personal choice. You use what works for you and stop ridiculing others for using other tools.


#2 - There's an essential ingredient missing there for me as well -- that part about "It has to make sense to me." I still see no rational argument for growing my hair and/or wearing a turban. Totally respect and honor those who feel it's important -- more power to them -- it's just... not something that seems important or necessary for me.

That's fine if you choose not to. There are many many threads on this topic so should you ever feel the urge, feel free to take a look. Just because sthg isn't right for you doesn't make it not right at all. You are looking at things from a very personal point here and not taking into account other factors. You say you respect but this whole post indicates otherwise as it has been a very personal attack on someone who does hold kesh dear. Rather than respecting that point of view, you have chosen to accuse me of not knowing you and judging you when I wrote a very general post. Forgive me I fail to see the respect in your words but all I see is not me, not me, not me.


Yeah, see... that's where you and I part ways. It's not that I lack the "strength to wear it with pride." That may be the story you've told yourself about me, but it is not my story that I would tell about who I am at all.

I would appreciate it if you would do me this small kindness, going forward: dignify me with *asking* me what I think or what I believe or why I say or do a certain thing. Become curious about me and open to accepting my answers as true for me. Feel free to inquire of me about whatever you like -- I'm pretty much an open book and I will likely be happy to answer your questions.
This debate has got nothing to do with you on a personal level but has to do with principles found within Sikhi. Your life is none of my business unless you choose to share it with me. Equally my life is nothing to do with you unless I choose to share it. Caspian is the one that judged by saying only those who keep the 5K's are Sikh but I refuted him. How far you want to take things is only for you to know and decide. None of my business. That does not give you the right to say Kesh is not important just because you don't see it that way. Our 10th Guru said otherwise. With all due respect, his opinion matters more to me than yours.

But no one likes it when someone says or implies things about them that do not jibe with what that person knows to be true of themselves.
Re-read my post. I said no such thing. I didn't even use yours or anyone else's name! You are the one implying such things about me so it should be me that is hurt here :disguestedkudi:
I'm not sure you're really giving me enough credit -- it's a little more complicated and nuanced than that from my point of view. It's not simply that I'm wringing my hands about what the neighbors will think. I could put knots in your dastar telling you things I've said or done in the past that demonstrated how little I gave a fig what anyone thought in a particular situation. When I determine that something is "a beach worth dying on," folks better lead, follow, or get out of the way.


All I'm reading here is me-ism which Sikhism teaches us to avoid! Really don't understand why you insist on making a general discussion about values that applies to everyone, a personal thing!!
:dunno:

Wait -- exqueeze me? To whom are you addressing that? Because if it's addressed to me, I will need you to point out ANY instance you can find anywhere in any forum here where I have criticized anyone for holding those things dear.
It was not addressed to you but in this thread you have criticised Sikhs who believe in the sanctity of kesh. I don't see the point of alcohol but you don't see my going round telling all my friends to stop drinking just because I don't get it :}--}: I respect their decision, they respect mine. I don't understand why kesh is such a constant issue. The Guru gave it to us as a gift. Some choose to accept, some don't. Some accept head hair, some accept all hair. Do what works for you. Things change, people change-you might, you might not. Only you can decide for yourself. END OF

On the contrary, I have consistently stated my great respect for people who hold those things dear. I just do not share their values in that regard.
You don't share-no problem. However, by criticising those values constantly you are showing that you do not respect those values or those people. Read up on the history to know more. If you don't do this, no skin off my nose. I'm not the one with a bugbear! I'm not the one who requires others to share my point of view to be firm in my faith!

We will not likely ever agree because our foundational premises are not the same. For you, kesh is a requirement of Sikhi. And I know you are not alone in that belief.

It is not me that has this belief, but Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave this instruction. However, I also stated Sikhi is a journey so if you do not keep kesh it does not mean that you are not Sikh. If you openly demean kesh as useless because you do not understand the reasoning behind it then I would argue that you are still early on that journey, possibly looking for another path. If you understand it but do not keep it then you are still on that journey. IF you decide to keep kesh then you are still on that journey. We are all at different points based on our understanding and experiences.


I'm not here to argue with you and tell you you're wrong, girlfriend. I'm just not.
Really?! Because that's all you've done this entire post!! You claim I attacked you personally with my post and I take offense to that. Re-read my original words. No person was mentioned.


You cannot extrapolate your beliefs and personality to the rest of the world as not all people are the same. I avoided doing that and spoke about general principles from my understanding of Sikhi through my limited knowledge of Gurbani and history. I am constantly learning like any Sikh. However, if we start debating issues on personal feelings rather than gurmat we will never learn as it just becomes he said vs she said vs they said. If you have anything to say about the principles then feel free to post. If you have issues with me personally then pm me so we can sort it out.
 

findingmyway

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And if the response is, "Oh, lordy, another one of these threads..." then

The reason for such a response is no that we don't want questions. I learn a great deal from other's questions. I don't believe in anything that doesn't make sense to me so questioning only strengthens my faith. However, topics such as kesh have been debated a hundred million times. There are 6 pages dedicated to the topic when you put hair or kesh in the search box here on SPN!! Sometimes it worth looking at old threads then adding NEW thoughts otherwise we don't move forwards, just keep going in circles like a dog chasing its tail :sigh:
 

Navdeep88

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Different faiths have different ways to stay on a path to God. In Sikhi, the prescribed way is to wear the 5ks and a full commitment to the Gursikh lifestyle to stay on that path. It is obviously not the only way for all people, but this is the SIKH philosophy network, and anyone who chooses to come on here to learn about the sikh faith has to accept that. This is coming from someone who does not keep their hair... I dont think that doesnt make me a Sikh because no one here has actually said, if you cut your hair your out! No one has told me on here that if you cut your hair, I refuse to communicate with you. No one has even said people who cut their hair are bad. So if people like myself come on here, it is to learn from people who are further along on that journey than myself. I acknowledge that I am not where they are, and thats the whole point, I get a chance to come on here by my OWN choice and see the things they have to offer, and so far, no one has refused and I think it would go against Sikhi if they did, because afterall, as a Sikh, you are a "learner" foremost.
 
Nov 14, 2010
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Annnnd... Ta Da! This, in summary, is why communicating in text rather than face-to-face absolutely sucks. :crash:

I'm a mediator. I've moderated a dozen or so email discussion groups in my time. I should know this by now. :banghead:

And yet I think sometimes, I get so caught up in my enthusiasm for a discussion that I forget this one basic thing: the message won't matter if the medium in which the message is conveyed is inadequate to the task of fully delivering the intended content of the message -- it's like Shakespeare trying to send a sonnet using smoke signals. The signal-to-noise ratio results in a recipe for fail.

So... dear findingmyway ji , since there are no olivebranchkaur smileys available, I'll have to use this one ---> :flowers: and this one ---> peacesignkaur to convey my intent.

And I want to apologize for my contribution to this misunderstanding. I was under the impression that your feedback was directed to me personally (which resulted in my responding to what you were saying in a more personal manner). Now it is clear to me that it is not. peacesignkaur

And I also want to underscore that there is no part of me that wants to argue you or anyone else out of their position/beliefs about kesh, the 5 K's, or anything else. My sole intent -- as God is my witness -- has simply been to hold forth that, like you, I am also finding my way -- my own way -- and that my only real quibble is with the notion that sehajdhari is the beginning of a progression and amritdhari is the journey's end. I realize that this is probably the way most people see it.

Maybe it's the Martin Luther in my DNA, for I am his descendant, but I guess for me these are simply different-but-equally valid paths to the same goal, not a progression. I don't mind being a bit iconoclastic. I daresay, from what I've seen, being iconoclastic is a proud tradition among Sikhs. :thumbup: I've had people tell me, back when I was a Christian, that I was not a "real" Christian because I was pro-choice, or believed gay people should have the right to get married, or don't think anyone is going to burn in Hell for having premarital sex. If you've read anything about Fred Phelps and his crowd, you know there are still people out there saying things like that ... and then there are other Christians who will yell at them to tell them that *they* are not real Christians because "REAL Christians" do x, y, and z and avoid doing a, b, and c.

And everyone can cite scripture and say, "See? It says it right here..." :advocate:

Meh. :shrug: Some need in them is met by defining their faith in clear black-and-white terms and by trying to "save" other people from "going astray" as they see it. IMO, as long as no one is hurting themselves or someone else, I'm perfectly happy to live and let live.

I also want to underscore that I am not arguing with you to "prove you wrong," nor am I trying to persuade you to my POV there.

I am simply stating how I see it. There is no criticism or judgment of you or others, stated or implied, in my saying how I see it. I suppose someone could infer that -- I would strongly prefer that no one put words in my mouth or guess (incorrectly) at my intent.

To the best of my knowledge, unless you can point out something I have missed (that's not a challenge -- that's an honest request -- if I've missed something please point it out because I wish to correct that!), I have never once, in my time here, criticized or demeaned or even really called into question what others feel is right for them regarding kesh or anything else (with there being a notable exception when it comes to Yogi Bhajan and the harm done to many people by him and the 3HO organization -- I'll admit that makes me very angry and indignant and brings out the victim advocate in me...).

I am simply enjoying the discussion, and even a little debate, about what it means and why people believe what they do, and that exploration is helping me to flesh out my own ideas and ideals and find my own center. This is all so new to me! :grinningkudi: :newhere:

Re: my Avatar... I was thinking to myself, "Someone is going to whack me over the head with that in about 3, 2, 1..." And sure enough. :sigh: So... to clarify, I'm really not this huge, un-self-aware hypocrite. :wink:

I got the image from this video clip here about Sundri, the Brave Kaur:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZDAT_kWMvs

I just thought she looked pretty, and maybe a little like I would look, blue eyes and all, if I put on a blue turban. I wanted something girlie. And I wanted something obviously Sikhie. And I wanted something that was an avatar and not an actual photo. This kind of had it all so that's what I decided to use.

Anyway... all this to say I'm sorry for my part in this misunderstanding. Can we have a "do over" going forward? kudihug
 

findingmyway

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Thank you for the apology. The flowers have been moved to my windowsill :blinkingkudi:


my only real quibble is with the notion that sehajdhari is the beginning of a progression and amritdhari is the journey's end.

This statement I don't completely agree with as amritdhari is not the end but there is still a long way to go. It is not like a journey on the motorway (or freeway for the other side of the Atlantic) but more like country roads. The roads split off and cross continually. Some go straight through pretty countryside, others go off in roundabout directions. Some are rough, others smooth. You might encounter glorious weather on the way or a mad storm impeding your progress. The journey never ends as being Sikh means constantly learning til the end. I learn from the kids in my class as well as my parents as well as this forum and many other places. Once you reach amritdhari stage you make the commitment. That commitment, that contract still has to be upheld!

I was invited to speak to local university students Sikh society a couple of months ago. One of them asked me what were the rules to be a Sikh. I replied that they should not get bogged down in rules from the beginning as forced changes would be rejected at some stage. First learn and understand the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, apply to your life, fall in love with the bani and the rest would come by itself without as much effort or stress. That is my experience anyway for what its worth gingerteakaur
 

Navdeep88

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Findingmyway ji,

"I was invited to speak to local university students Sikh society a couple of months ago. One of them asked me what were the rules to be a Sikh. I replied that they should not get bogged down in rules from the beginning as forced changes would be rejected at some stage. First learn and understand the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, apply to your life, fall in love with the bani and the rest would come by itself without as much effort or stress."

I think the greatest issue (for those of us who grew up in the west) is that the process is usually the other way around. As kids, our parents want to introduce us to the best possible way of living but they only know the way they grew up and dont understand how different it is in the west... so in many ways, they just expect you to take what they're giving (which is usually a lot of rules) because you're they're kid and they want you to be good. communication is not always easy. it becomes a lot easier when you become an adult!
 

Mai Harinder Kaur

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Some Sikhs contentedly live their whole lives as sehajdhari. I admit that I don't really understand that, but I don't need to. That is their journey and I wish them well.

The road less traveled begins at the Y where the others accept Amrit. That is only the beginning of the journey. It gives the title of Khalsa, but most all of us start out as a buck private and slowly advance until a few - a very few - of us are actually worthy of the title Khalsa. It is a long, difficult journey and at the end, if we actually learn to live with our hearts striving upward, we can reach that "far unattainable star." And at that point, who cares if we Kaurs have a bit of socially unacceptable facial hair?!

So, my dears, please just relax and take the road laid out before you, remain in chardi kala and take joy in the journey which is yours. It is your road and you don't have to listen to or accept anyone who tells you otherwise. When the going gets rough - and it will, whatever road you have taken, read (or reread) "The Little Engine That Could" or whatever works for you.

Remember, when things get really hard, an ice cream cone icecreamkaur or a nice cup of ginger tea gingerteakaurhas helped many get through a rough time.
 
Nov 14, 2010
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Thank you for the apology. The flowers have been moved to my windowsill :blinkingkudi:

:afriends2: Awesome.

This statement I don't completely agree with as amritdhari is not the end but there is still a long way to go. It is not like a journey on the motorway (or freeway for the other side of the Atlantic) but more like country roads. The roads split off and cross continually. Some go straight through pretty countryside, others go off in roundabout directions. Some are rough, others smooth. You might encounter glorious weather on the way or a mad storm impeding your progress. The journey never ends as being Sikh means constantly learning til the end. I learn from the kids in my class as well as my parents as well as this forum and many other places. Once you reach amritdhari stage you make the commitment. That commitment, that contract still has to be upheld!

Good point!

I was invited to speak to local university students Sikh society a couple of months ago. One of them asked me what were the rules to be a Sikh. I replied that they should not get bogged down in rules from the beginning as forced changes would be rejected at some stage. First learn and understand the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, apply to your life, fall in love with the bani and the rest would come by itself without as much effort or stress. That is my experience anyway for what its worth gingerteakaur

:thumbup: That has been my natural instinct -- to learn to read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and see what I can gather from that.

I guess part of what I will always find challenging when relating any scriptural learning to my own decisions / choices / embrace of faith is the apparent contradictions I see there with either other parts of the scripture, or with what I am told by the Rule Book that serves as the official interpretation of that scripture and the intent of its authors.

I look at how we struggle with this very issue here in the US regarding interpretation of our own US Constitution -- ultimately the interpretation of it falls into the laps of either our 9 Supreme Court Justices or our congresspersons. And this is a document that is only a little over 200 years old, and is written in an English that pretty much any person who can read and understand modern English could interpret successfully.

Arguments over the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment alone could fill an entire city library, I suspect.

So how much more debate will there almost inevitably be over the meaning and relevance of a *spiritual* text (rather than a legal one) that is over 500 years old, and is written in a language that no one commonly speaks today?

For example, this passage... (Shalok Sehskritee, First Mehl & Fifth Mehl - Part 001, 1353 : 5 -- 1353 : 16)

One Universal Creator God. Truth Is The Name. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying. Beyond Birth. Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace:
Shalok Sehskritee, First Mehl:
You study the scriptures, say your prayers and argue;
you worship stones and sit like a crane, pretending to meditate.
You speak lies and well-ornamented falsehood,
and recite your daily prayers three times a day.
The mala* is around your neck, and the sacred tilak mark is on your forehead.
You wear two loin cloths, and keep your head covered.
If you know God and the nature of karma,
you know that all these rituals and beliefs are useless.
**
Says Nanak, meditate on the Lord with faith.
Without the True Guru, no one finds the Way.


*The mala is a Buddhist thing, is it not? Do Sikhs use a mala in some manner?

**This seems to be saying that it's really not that important what we wear (and seems to also be saying that, even doing good things is as unworthy as doing bad things like lying or worshiping stones if your heart and mind are not focused on God). It's saying that what matters most is that we meditate on the Lord with faith, does it not? Or am I misunderstanding somehow?

Also this is the version that I have found most convenient for reading and study, but I have no idea if it is considered a worthwhile translation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Is that a good version to use, you think?

Thanks again. :happykudi:
 

findingmyway

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Siri Kamala ji,
I tend to use a variety of translations as no one covers everything. Gurmukhi uses mostly Panjabi words which are still spoken today. It's the poetry that needs study more than the words themselves. There are words from other languages too such as Persian depending on where the Guru's were at the time and who they were talking too. Unfortunately English lacks the vocab to be able to translate in full beauty! There are many threads which discuss particular shabads in detail so it's worth having a look at those too as you get different viewpoints. Here's one that might be of interest
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/gurmat-vichaar/32638-use-metaphor-gurbani-how-use-when.html

As for the highlighted lines, the passage is condemning useless rituals. Mala is a beaded necklace used by Hindus for counting the number of times they say God's name in meditation. Sikhi does not believe in counting but in remembering and living according to bani constantly (if I use any terms which you don't understand, feel free to let me know). Loin cloths were worn by sadhu's (holy men who rejected the world and lived away from all to meditate). The tilak is a mark on the forehead given by the priest at the Hindu temple. At the time, these things were considered more important than how a person behaves-it was all show. This mentality is what Guru ji is condemning. At the beginning Guru ji says you sit in front of statues and pretend to pray-another form of showing off so it is EMPTY rituals and showing off how pious you are that is being condemned. So rather than praying in a way that shows off, remember Waheguru always and act according in a true way. When looking at a shabad, always look at it as a whole as it will talk about the same message and flow logically. The next verse after the one you have posted talks about how only when a Gurmukh connects with Waheguru, is that life 'successful'. That is what allows us to stay away from immorality. The next bit is about what shabad means, ie knowledge. The best knowledge is that of God itself and living according to Gurbani gives us the tools to break down the barriers keeping us feeling separated. Finally, Waheguru itself is the soul of all angels so rather than using intermediaries so we should aim to bridge a connection with Waheguru itself. This a quick understanding. Hope all I've said makes sense.
Regards,
Jasleen
 
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