Tag: Sikhi

19Dec

Hunger for Peace..

Nirbhao - Without Fear. Nirvaair - Without Hate.

It is with the Mool Mantar that the sangat of Toronto was blessed with a live stream of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, who has gone 35 days without any food. Who, was violently abducted just 2 weeks ago, by police to give up their cause. A cause which sees the freeing off illegally detained Sikh political prisoners, who have long since served there questionable jail sentences. The Punjab media has outright refused coverage of this, even after many punjabi actors, musicians, and dignitaries have all offered their support.

It is easy to get lost in the grace that surrounds Bhai Sahib, but they offered a simple message to all Sikhs, one which we at this time we should all hede in respect for being a part of this protest:

1) Read Bani, as much of it as possible, and then some more. Do Ardaas that those Sikh prisoners currently held illegally are free'd by the State and Indian governments.

2) Don't succumb to petty-ness and in-fighting. Now is not a time to ask where various groups are or why various people have yet to speak or show support. Guru Sahib themself are supporting this cause, and themselves graced Bhai Sahib with the feat to go this long without food.  As such - show no hate, for Bhai Sahib himself carries none. Recognize that it's never too late to support and join this protest. Focus on Baani, and spreading the word to all local media, and all branches of government in all governments across the world about the atrocities that continue to be committed against the Sikhs in India.

When asked what would happen if the prisoners were not released, Bhai Gurbaksh Singh humbly bowed their head and replied, “Then I will say my final Fateh, and hope that I can be born again to serve the Khalsa Panth and continue this fight,”

It is in recognition of this humility that I ask anyone not familiar with what's going on to learn more. By all means feel free to ask your questions and be sure to check out the many youtube videos, dozens of Facebook groups and websites all over the internet which are flooded with information surrounding this issue. Better yet, tell one person who you don’t suspect knows a thing about what’s going on and fill them in, then ask that they do the same.

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12Nov

Back 2 The Future

There's a saying in politics particularly that, "the new rat pack administration is no different then the last rat pack administration", and so has been the case with Gurdwara committee's for the last 'X' many years. While each committee bickers and boasts about how they're different, the truth remains that eventually they all end up being roughly the same. It wasn't always the case, considering that there was a time when those involved in the Gurudwaray saw these houses of God, as a means to bring about some sort of social reform. Both a political and spiritual hub that when channeled would bring about a means of uprising and general cohesiveness that lead and united the community, not divide it.

When the current generation, (the one that's currently running things), came of age in the late 70's early 80's everyone was a buzz with revolution. With everything that was going on in India it was only natural that some of the fiver spread to  the West. Wanting to come together as a community and create something monumental, to not only preach but to teach and connect was on everyones agenda. The goals were clear, the objectives known, and with everything that was at stake everyone worked towards achieving the tasks at hand. Unfortunately as the years wore on, optimism was replaced with bitterness. The finger pointing whenever accountability was brought up increased as did the confusion and apathy within the community. All of which would lead to our current state, not of hate or disgust, but indifference.

Indifference to not only what goes on, but indifference to who's doing it. We went from wanting to change the world, to merely just existing in it. We changed our focus from how we could better ourselves and improve our lives through Sikhi to instead bickering about who's sitting on the floor and who's sitting on a table. From whats being sung to who and how someone's singing it. We went from challenging society and unjust laws, to challenging each other on the authenticity of our members lists. Somewhere down the line our leaders instead of showing us and inspiring us, as to what was possible, lost their own focus leading the flock they were in- trusted with astray.

While not singling out or  making references to any particular case or management, it remains that this scenario is but all too common and can apply to just about anywhere. If the problem really is as simple as having just lost ambition, and having set our sights too low, then maybe instead of just doing a tune up we go and opt for a full out repair. Reset our thinking to not hope for what we wanted, but instead wanting even more. Being optimistically brave in feeling that even if we don't change everything we'd have still changed enough. That even if we don't fix all our problems we at least do enough to show that all our problems can be fixed. That even if we don't kill Xerxies, we at very least throw the spear that shows he's mortal.

In the West it seems that the various youth slate's are the collective driving inspiration of such ideals and optimism for change. Hopefully in the East we'll see something similar, maybe we already are with some of the new initiatives taking root, by the various groups who are beginning to take lead. Then again, we'll have to wait for what tomorrow writes about today, to know for sure. But for now the least we can do is set our sights in the proper direction, show up and make our voices count.

9Nov

I Am

I Am

Besides being the title of the LP that signalled a return to prominence for Nas, the declaration of the words ‘I am..’ have traditionally been followed by a list of characteristics to describe one’s self. A name, a nationality, a religion, an education etc, all are seemingly first-rate ways to describe a person, but end up failing to accomplish that which it set out to do.

Everything we base our introduction on is all subject to impermanence.  We have been fooling ourselves for years, with our heavily defined boxes of self image.  Even with these definitions, we truly fail to understand that our boxes are composed of a transient ego.  We have grown up in a world where we are told who we are based upon a measuring stick that in itself is all illusion, all temporary, all pointless.  In this illusion, we have truly forgotten who we are.  It reminds me of a story I once heard in katha where Bhai Kulwant Singh is talking about a mistaken identity of a lion.

???? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ?

I saw the lion herding the cows. ||1||Pause||

In the monsoon season of southern India, a lioness with child was ready to deliver.  By the time of delivery, the rainfall was so immense, that upon giving birth to the cub, the lioness had to retreat for shelter.  There in the middle of this storm, a lion cub was left; born with his eyes closed, shivering in the cold and drifting back and forth in the elevated waters of the nearby bank.  With the passing of night, the rain had receded and a farmer while out grazing his sheep noticed the cub lying on the river banks without any shelter or family.

The gentlemen sensing an attraction to the cub picked him up and brought him to the farm where he proceeded to raise the lion as one of his own.  The farmer nurtured the cub on cow’s milk, fed him fruits, grains and vegetables.  The farmer raised the cub to an adolescent the same way he reared his sheep.  After the cub was able, the farmer thought to put the young lion in the stable with the sheep and goats.  The lion became very attached and fond of his companions and began to talk and walk as if he was a sheep.  Soon enough, when time permitted, the farmer thought it would be a good idea to graze the sheep, with the lion as their protection.  The farmer figured that the lion that was born blind and had no idea who he was or what he was would be the perfect Sheppard to scare away other predators.  For all the lion knew, he was an overgrown sheep with different physical attributes.

So on the field one day, when the sheep were grazing, in the distant land, a load growl was heard.  At that instant, all the sheep lift their heads up from their feed and began to stare right at their lion, who himself was stunned gazing off in the direction of the roar.  The lion seemed to be shaken beyond mend as the sheep began to gaze upon his empty stare.  Again, in the distance, another roar was heard.  Then at the snap of a finger, a switch went off and the lion snapped.  He grabbed the closest sheep and slaughtered it with his paw. The entire herd followed suit one by one until they had dispersed or had the earth lined with their blood. After nature had taken its course on the lion, he began to match roars to his relatives in the distance.

For the life of lion up to that breaking point, he was raised in uncertainty, a mistaken identity we can call it. He did not for one second think that he was not a sheep.  He had no idea what a lion was.  This is the same shadow overcast on the minds of the sikh panth.  We have been raised in this western society, this world and nurtured to be sheep, stewarded by our mind.  Whatever our sensations say, we follow suit without thought.  We have, like the lion, begun to utter the vocabulary of the sheep.  We have begun to think and act like sheep. We may call ourselves Kings and Queens of our jungle, but we cannot control our own mind.   We have given the reins of our chariot to our sensations to take us wherever they please.  The notion of being free is all a fallacy.

The difference between us and the lion is that we, to some extent, know who we are supposed to be.  The lion lived his entire life in misconception.  Yet, he was still able to snap out of his spell; all with the simple primal noise of his species.  The lion just had to listen to it.

Keeping in mind the primal sound of our species, we need to snap back.  We have to pack some sort of cold snap. We need to use a tool to shape and mould our mind.  In order to cut and shape diamonds, one uses other diamonds.  In order to form steel, we use other forms of steel.  So what tool should we use to form the mind?  The mind itself is not made of anything from this world.  Its elements exist in a world that cannot be seen with these eyes nor touched with these hands.  The tool used to shape the mind, like the mind itself, has to have it elements from a different world.  That would then be naam, the Word.

Over the many years of our lives, we have forgotten who we are, and we have created an identity to fill the void left by maya.  However, regardless whether we think we know who we are or we do not, the sound of naam/bani will take its course naturally.  So let us snap back, with realization of who we truly are.  Let us break these shackles that bind us to the dark ways of maya.  Let us embrace our god given right to be free.  The method in which to accomplish this, much like the roar heard in the distance for the lion, is attention.

The real question then becomes, when the time comes, will we be attentive?

31Aug

Shots Fired at Sikh Sangat, in Cali

Usually when I think or talk about shots being fired towards Sangat, I would often think its about some verbal attack. But seems like in this case things got a little more literal, and someone actually fired bullets at Sangat in Sacremento. Not sure what the story is, but a Singh passed on the link so lets see what comes out in the coming days.

In the meantime heres a snippet off of youtube and some links that may better shed some light:

Google News

SACRAMENTO, CA - One man was killed and another was wounded after what authorities called a targeted shooting outside a Sacramento Sikh temple Sunday afternoon.

Bystanders were able to subdue one of the gunmen, while a second was able to escape, a Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman said.

The shooting happened near the Sacramento Sikh Society building at 7676 Bradshaw Road just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Curran said the victims were attending a regional Sikh sports tournament going on next to the temple, when the gunmen approached and fired several shots.

One of the victims died at the scene. A second, identified only as a 38-year-old man, was shot in the leg. He was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Curran said. The names of the victims were not released pending family notification.

Witnesses said spectators and athletes near the shooting were able to rush and grab one of the gunmen, beat him into submission before officers arrived.

"I just saw people running and shooting. I saw (the crowd) beating the guy they caught," witness Sean Virk said.

"The crowd was armed with cricket bats and field hockey sticks," Curran said. "(The crowd) didn't hold back the fact that they hit him."

Curran said the gunman was hospitalized with several blunt force injuries and was expected to be charged upon his release.

The second gunman was able to escape the scene. Investigators were compiling a description of the attacker.

Investigators said a previous conflict between the victims and the gunmen led to the shooting, Curran said. There was no indication the shooting was gang-related.

http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=47153&provider=top

29Aug

PHOOLA'S DEAD

Phoola\'s Body

One of the biggest blemishes against the Panth in most recent times has had to have been Phoola, who for years paraded around with full immunity; raping, pillaging and murdering while all along masquerading as an Akali nihang.

I remember when I first heard about Phoola years ago; about how he was responsible for having murdered some Singhs from Jatha that were close to Baba Ji [Sant Baba Takhur Singh], and then going on to hear and read about his gross rapes, laundry list of murders, while himself never being touched or got at. While understanding the fear and power wielded by those who not only role deep but remain well connected through corrupt officials and bureaucrats, it remained a disgusting reality that very few ever tried bringing justice to the man. It was this legacy of heinous crimes, in addition to the fear and cowardice that his presence evoked, that would become a breathing blemish and his existance a matter of shame that long stained the Panth; a Panth that prides itself on bringing those like Phoola to justice.

Now, I mean no disrespect to anyone, I am no better or any less responsible for having never acted or attempting to have dared take a go at him. In the end anyone can be touched, and ultimately where there's a will there's a way, so I make no attempt to single anyone or any group out in particular, rather it's burden that for so long we all bore.

But as the history books tend to reveal; sooner or later life has a way of catching up and our past deeds become the weight with which our future is weighed against and judgement passed by. It's to this end that a man such as Phoola got no more a deserving death then to having been burned alive and suffering a slow and painful death. Not nearly as deserved for all the pain he brought to others, yet justice all the same.

Anyways here are some links to check out for more:

8Jan

Girl Power

The following essay, was sent by Bibi Himmat Kaur via the prodigal godson who recently returned home from the islands after having graduated and finished schooling while living it up under the the Caribbean sun.

The essay offers an interesting and alternative view point to that of the whole Kaurageous movement that has taken over and became the fad amongst bibian in the West as of late. For those having trouble decyiphering the garbled text, you may want to try and download and install Gurbani Web Thick. For those scratching their heads you can also grab the PDF and hopefully view things as they were intended by clicking here.


<> siqgur pRswid ]

 

Dear Brothers & Sisters of this infinitely beautiful Sikh Nation, this essay about the image and attitude of women in contemporary Sikhi (is~KI) is a dedication to you. It is my hope that this work will be well received by you; my Guru Ji’s sangat (gurU jI dI sMgq). It is inevitable that some of the views expressed in this essay will definitely upset some members of our panth(pMQ). However my intention in writing this essay to give voice to an opinion that I think has never been heard by our panth’s ears, and one that I think desperately needs to be heard.

Before beginning, I would like to say that all praise is due to the wonderful and all powerful Creator (krqwr); the inspirer of all thought and action.

 

qyry kvn kvn gux kih kih gwvw; qU swihb guxI inDwnw ]

Which, which of Your Great Virtues should I sing and repeat, Vaaheguroo Jee you are my Master; the treasure of virtues.

qumrI mihmw brin n swkau; qUM Twkur aUc Bgvwnw ]1] AMg 735

Oh Vaaheguroo Jee! I cannot express Your Greatness. You are the highest of high|| Ang 735

Furthermore I hope that Guru Sahib will deliver the work of this servant (syvk) successfully and acceptingly into the hands and hearts of His Gurmukhs (gurmuiK). I am neither a scholar nor a learned individual; I can only hope to become a better Sikh with Guru Sahib Ji’s blessing through Sangat (gurpRswid + sMgq).

 

igAwnu iDAwnu ikCu krmu n jwnw; nwihn inrml krxI ]

I do not know anything about spiritual wisdom, meditation or karma, and my way of life is not clean and pure.

swDsMgiq kY AMcil lwvhu; ibKm ndI jwie qrxI ] AMg 702

Please attach me to the hem of the robe of Guru Ji’s Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; so that I may swim across this terrible river of attachment greed ego lust and anger|| Ang 702

 

What does girl power mean to you?

We live in a world that is still gripped with gender inequality, so in a male-dominant society a woman still feels the need to prove her worth in the work force, in social circles and most unfortunately in our Sikh panth as well. The latter arena is the most concerning, since Guru Sahib created his Sikhs equally and prescribed ways for us to live that would ensure that equality.

Please allow me to further explore the above mentioned issues by posing a question. Have you ever heard the saying:

The eye does not see what the mind does not know.”

For example, pretend that you are taking a stroll in a garden that has thousands of different types of flowers. At the end of your stroll your friend asks you “what flowers did you see in the garden?” you could only tell them about the flowers that you already know about. So you might say “I saw roses, lilies, lilacs etc” but you wouldn’t say “I saw a plumeria, a hibiscus, or a lantana.” So even though those flowers were in the garden you didn’t know what they looked like, so your eyes just glanced over them without mentally processing them. You would have to learn about those flowers, then re-visit that garden and only then will your eye recognize them.

There is a similar trend in global-society, and even within contemporary Sikhi that I was totally oblivious too until it was pointed out to me. If you ever examine this matter, then you will also realize the truth in it. In Sikhi when you think of girl-power, who comes to mind? Naturally the first image that comes to mind is Mata Bhag Kaur Ji (mwqw Bwg kOr jI aka Mai Bhago mweI Bwgo jI), Mata Sada Kaur Ji (mwqw sdw kOr jI) or other female-warriors. Rarely will anyone tell you that they initially pictured Mata Sahib Kaur Ji (jgq mwqw swihb kOr jI; Mother of the Khalsa) or Mata Khivi Ji (jgq mwqw KIvI jI Guru Angad dev sahib ji’s wife & a sevadar syvwdwr of the highest eminence).

Sangat Ji, this is just a way of demonstrating that young Sikhs and Sikh girls especially associate the notion of girl-power with female soldiers, warriors, and group leaders etc. In short, they associate girl-power with roles that were traditionally given to men. As females we think that in order to be considered equals in a male-dominant society, we need to show competence in the same fields as men: i.e. demonstrate the ability to fight in battle, being group leaders, and being the alpha-dog etc. Many girls in western society believe that fulfilling traditional female roles are demeaning: i.e. Rearing children, providing guidance for family members, cooking for the family, and completing house-hold chores etc.

I would like to ask:

Are the women who stayed home and raised their children less heroic than those that went to battle & fought alongside the Singhs?

It’s my humble belief that a Sikh woman’s ultimate seva (syvw)to the panth is raising her children to be complete Gurmukhs and provide support and guidance to members of her home. Although I firmly believe that if they were ever called upon the daugthers of the panth would lead for Sikhi and bleed for Sikhi, we must realize that Sikh mothers have a role in protecting our traditions that no other member of our nation has.

jnnI jxY qo Bgq jn; kY dwqw, kY sUr[

Oh child-bearing woman, if you are going to give birth to a child then give birth to a devotee, to a philanthropist or to a righteous warrior.

nhI qo jnnI bWJ rhY; kwhy gvwvY nUr[**

Otherwise oh woman, do not bear children at all. Why squander your beauty and the beauty of life?

In this context a Giver/philanthropist is one who can even give selflessly when there is nothing to give. A warrior is one who fights the physical battles on earth’s battlefields with weapons of steel as well as fighting the mental war waging inside the mind with the weapons of good virtue, good character & Bani. http://www.sikhitothemax.com/page.asp?ShabadID=2590

These lines ** (from this essay not the url) have been cited many times in our history to instruct expecting mothers about their duty to prepare their children to be guruwale (gurU vwly).

Devoting time to teaching their children about Sikhi is a seva which is taken very lightly by modern Sikh women. The progression of a pure Sikh tradition without the compromise of our rehat (rihq) is being challenged by the forces of western culture, media, fashion and thought. While the latter influences are shaping our generation on a daily basis in our schools, work places, and television, we are struggling to instill a sense of pride and confidence in our youth. We could meet this challenge by properly educating our youngsters in our very own homes, through our children’s first educator: our mothers. Along with nourishing her child’s body with food, a mother can nourish her child’s mind through the narration of stories from our marvelous Sikh history, teaching them to read gurmukhi(gurmuKI), to learn santhiya (gurbwxI jI dI sMiQAw), to become proficient in understanding bani (gurbwxI jI dy ArQ), and doing simran (ismrn).

The lack of knowledge and regard that Punjabi youth have toward the Sikh way of life may be substantially reduced if Sikh mothers would educate their children and raise them on the ideals of Sikhi. This is not to say that all problems owing to generations of “Sikhi-less-ness” falls on the shoulders of Sikh mothers, but this is surely one of the greatest fields pertaining to the chardi kala (cVHdI klw) of the future of our panth.

This leads into another issue in Sikh society which was briefly touched upon earlier in this paper: Gender inequality. As the Chinese proverb states

A gardener who does not guard his flowers from looming weeds, will one day find his garden being choked of its livelihood.”

Many of the problems within the Sikh nation are stemming from our inability to deal with our own problems as they come up. For some time now sentiments of feeling unappreciated, feeling inferior, and not feeling respected have been settling into the hearts of Sikh women, owing to an inability of Sikh men to realize a woman’s worth. Keeping this in mind, young women are trying to earn their respect through acquiring an attitude and an image consistent with the notion of “girl-power.” Women are subconsciously placing less importance on familial duties and more importance on taking on “male-roles” in order to achieve equal status & stature. This trend can be illustrated by observing the appearance of aspiring female leaders in the corporate world. Female presidents, and CEOs as well as women who are trying to reach such posts often have short hair (boy-cuts) and wear blazers & dress pants; the image of a man in the corporate world. By comparison female employees or secretaries often have long hair and wear dress skirts.

My aim is not to critique this ideology of “girl-power” in Sikhi, but to show what this attitude has caused. It’s been my experience that Amritdhari (AMimRqDwrI) people, but especially amritdhari girls tend to alienate non-amritdhari Punjabis. My parents are amritdhari, but growing up they never enforced or encouraged my sisters and I to keep a complete Sikhi saroop (is~KI srUp). We learned to read bani (bwxI pVnI), speak Punjabi, and to guard our honor as women (lwj r~KxI). Like many Punjabi parents, my parents didn’t want their girls to feel left out of American society. So although we were “Sikhs on the inside” (even though such a thing cannot truly exist), we were not Sikhs on the outside. I believe that the outer appearance of a Sikh is as important as the inner aspect, but I have met MANY, people who adorn the Sikhi saroop, but are void of Gurmat (gurmq) on the inside.

Sangat Ji, I regret to admit that there have been many times when I felt discriminated against by my amritdhari sisters for trimming my eyebrows or wearing skirts. Although I admire amritdhari people for keeping a Sikhi saroop & lifestyle, many of them tend to be intimidating and selective, which is why I never had meaningful friendships with them. And although my parents were amritdhari and I was aware of Rehat and Amrit, I never completely felt that I would commit to a life of an amritdhari Sikh until I had a wonderful experience with the sangat at my last university. One Singh’s mannerism in particular had a lasting impression on me and many others at my school. I was not surprised at all to learn that the reason he was such a great Sikh was largely due to the way his mother raised him. His elderly Ustad (bjurg ausqwd) in Toronto and his sangat also had a large role in the shaping of his Faith, but he explains that his foundation and strength in Sikhi was unquestionably from his mother’s teachings. I have seen other examples of Gurmukhs who are a shining reminder of what a Sikh should be, and those Singhs and Kaurs are also products of fantastic child rearing.

Through Guru sahib’s grace (gurpRswid) I have stopped cutting my hair (kysW dI byAdbI) and I plan on walking the path of the Gurmat very soon(KMfy bwty dw AMimRq Ckxw). Gurprasaadhé.

I realize that this is not enough though, even once becoming a certified Kaur (kOr), my duty to Sikhi will not be complete. In the future when I become a mother I realize that a large part of my commitment to Sikhi entails that I must devote myself to teaching my children about Sikhi, Bani and Maryada (mrXwdw).

Dear readers, as a young panth we have come a long way, but we still have a great deal more to cover. We have the tools with which we can remedy many of our own problems. It’s the aim of many panthic well-wishers to reshape the way we treat each other. The threats that Sikhi faces demand us to be more sincere and dear to each other. We need to feel that each man, woman and child in our panth is precious. I think this realization only starts to take effect if each Sikh considers the next person to be more valuable than his/her self.

In closing I must express that it was not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or to make accusations at any individual or group of people. I would never intentionally say anything malicious about my fellow brothers and especially sisters, as I place you on the highest pedestals.

As the 10th Nanak once said:

swD AswD jwno nhI bwd subwd ibbwid; (sRI dsm gRMQ swihb jI, AMg 254)

I don’t know who is righteous or evil, nor am I cleverly arguing for against anyone to make conflict. (Sri Dasm Granth, Ang 254)

I didn’t write this paper to simply “give my two-cents,” because I believe my opinion isn’t of any importance. I wrote this article because I thought it was of interest to my fellow Gursikhs. I’m bound to offend some readers and make errors in trying to express my views. For that I apologize and hope that I did not hurt anyone’s feelings. It took me a long time to decide how I was going to express my opinion simply because I was very cautious of upsetting any Gurmukhs. Even though I was careful in the selection of my words I know that I cannot control how the sangat will react, as those are matters that I will leave in God’s hands.

jIA jMq siB srix qum@wrI; srb icMq quDu pwsy ]

All beings and creatures are in your Sanctuary; all of our cares and worries rest with You

jo quDu BwvY soeI cMgw; iek nwnk kI Ardwsy ]4] AMg 795

Oh Vaheguroo Jee! Whatever pleases you is acceptable, good, this alone is my prayer|| Ang 795

.

Humbly & Respectfully,

Himmat Kaur (ihMmq kOr)

Elizabethtown, New Jersey

January 2, 2008

gurpRswid smpUrnM[

vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw]

vwihgurU jI kI Pqih]

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