Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bhai Amolak Singh on Google Video


On the front page of Google Video, I swear this is an unaltered screenshot!

(The actual video is here)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Samagam!

Just to let anyone who might be reading this, if you are in the Edmonton Area, please come by to the Samagam!

It started today (Friday) and will continue for this weekend (until Sunday at noon). Program details will be:

5:00am - noon (Simran, nitnem, Asa di Vaar, Akhand Keertan)
3:30pm - 9:00pm (Simran, Gurbani Vichaar, Rehraas, Akhand Keertan)

please come if you can!

Google map link (its were it says "Michaels Park")

Monday, October 02, 2006

The cell... and the universe

See any similarities?
(click the image to see the full picture)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wow. Just Wow.

That was the only thing I could think of when I watched this video. It describes someone taking amrit, and it is incredible.

Please take a look!

From: Akaal Media Blog.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Leadership by Turban



This is an amazing ebook written by Ravi Singh... in a truly non-traditional .exe file type! I read through bits of it, and it an absolute must read! Take a look.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Religious fanatics

Even 300 years ago, its sad to see certain faiths going exclusively towards the destruction of others. From the mouth of your Guru:

rojw DrY mnwvY Alhu suAwdiq jIA sMGwrY ]
rojaa dhurai munaavai aluhu suaadhath jeea sunghaarai
You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure.

Awpw dyiK Avr nhI dyKY kwhy kau JK mwrY ]1]
aapaa dhaekh avur nehee dhaekhai kaahae ko jhukh maarai
You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? ||1||

kwjI swihbu eyku qohI mih qyrw soic ibcwir n dyKY ]
kaajee saahib eaek thohee mehi thaeraa soch bichaar n dhaekhai
O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not behold Him by thought or contemplation.

Kbir n krih dIn ky baury qw qy jnmu AlyKY ]1] rhwau ]
khubar n kurehi dheen kae bourae thaa thae junum alaekhai
You do not care for others, you are a religious fanatic, and your life is of no account at all. ||1||Pause||

swcu kqyb bKwnY Alhu nwir purKu nhI koeI ]
saach kuthaeb bukhaanai aluhu naar purukh nehee koee
Your holy scriptures say that Allah is True, and that he is neither male nor female.

pFy guny nwhI kCu baury jau idl mih Kbir n hoeI ]2]
putae gunae naahee kush bourae jo dhil mehi khubar n hoee
But you gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad-man, if you do not gain the understanding in your heart. ||2||

Alhu gYbu sgl Gt BIqir ihrdY lyhu ibcwrI ]
aluhu gaib sugul ghutt bheethar hirudhai laehu bichaaree
Allah is hidden in every heart; reflect upon this in your mind.

ihMdU qurk duhUM mih eykY khY kbIr pukwrI ]3]7]29]
hindhoo thuruk dhuhoon mehi eaekai kehai kubeer pukaaree
The One Lord is within both Hindu and Muslim; Kabeer proclaims this out loud. ||3||7||29||

Sunday, July 30, 2006

STTM 2 Preview?





Sikhi To The Max 2!

I'm not sure if this is an official release, but this preview seems to be very full featured. The interface is much cleaner and easier to use. There are also other cool features such as being able to make the Bani Navigator transparent (which can be now in Gurmukhi and English), as well as choosing backgrounds for the slides. All in all, waaay cool!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Victorinox India


The Swiss Army Kirpaan

I just thought I'd let everyone know that this IS available from the Victorinox india website. Now it isn't cheap (the big one comes to about $125 with shipping).. and when I got it, I was happily ripped off (the "hologram" that was supposed to be written on one side wasn't present).

Even then, it is an amazingly high quality item, with a rich handle and super fine blade.

Victorinox India

Monday, July 24, 2006

Religions in Canada: Sikhism

This is a surprisingly thorough (and from what I can tell, accurate) explination about sikhism, posted on the Canadian Forces Web Site about religions.

Impressive.

(I did note one mistake in the 3rd paragraph which I emailed them to correct... try to find what it is!)

Religions in Canada: Sikhism

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Delhi 1993 - Part 2 of 2 - Tejinderpal Singh Dulla



OMG! Bhai Tejinderpal Singh (Dulla) from 1993 in Delhi.

I haven't posted in a while, so this is a good start!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Samagam! Now!

For anyone in the Edmonton area, there is a samagam this weekend (actually it started on Friday) at the Blue Quill Community Center (25th Ave and 113 Street)

If you are in the area, swing by!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Big bang, and the crunch

From Chopai Sahib

"ਜਬ ਉਦਕਰਖ ਕਰਾ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਜਾ ਧਰਤ ਤਬ ਦੇਹ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥
When the Creator projected Himself, His creation manifested itself in innumerable forms;

ਜਬ ਆਕਰਖ ਕਰਤ ਹੋ ਕਬਹੂੰ ॥ ਤੁਮ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਤ ਦੇਹ ਧਰ ਸਭਹੂੰ ॥੩੮੯॥
When at any time He withdraws His creation, all the physical forms are merged in Him.13."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

and more Nagar Keertan

 
 
 

Go oilers!!! Posted by Picasa

More nagar keertan

 
 
 
  Posted by Picasa

Edmonton - Nagar Keertan

 
 
 
  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

God - Interesting read

This link leads to a christian-sort of site... but it never ceases to amaze me the similarities of beliefs among various faiths.

I just found this article today, and it is nearly IDENTICAL to my thoughts in my previous blog post. (A couple references to the bible, but still a good read).

God - The Sum Total of Universal Energy

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What is God?

This is a sort of thought experiment. Actually I've done this before and come up with a very similar sort of reasoning that is present in "God's Debris". A free ebook copy is available here.




So what is God? This is a question that has plagued millions of people for centuries. Our Gurus have written so much about Vaheguroo, but still when we read it, we still find difficulty in understanding exactly what Vaheguroo is.

Our Guru Granth Sahib states that Vaheguroo is bigger than anything, but within everything. Vaheguroo is nowhere, but everywhere. This, to me, is facinating. The following are my personal views... so please bear with me if I have mis-spoken.

Many fundamentalists like to see God as a person... a guy in a cloud somewhere? or a stone? or something physical. But I think what we forget is that God is sooo great, that God is above 'physical'. If this is true, then God can be anything.

So lets start with some facts.
  1. Our Gurus say that in the beginning there was only God. Science says that in the beginning there was the big bang... pure energy.

  2. Our Gurus say that now God is everywhere, in everything. Science says that our current universe consists of matter, energy, and forces.

  3. Our Gurus say that at the end of time, there will again be only God. Science says that at the end of time, everything will either pan out to infinity or come back together in a big crunch.. so everything will be energy again.


Whenever we refer to God, we think of light. It's God's light.. his blessings that we recieve. People, when they reach wisdom, become enlightened. Is this terminology mere coincidence? (Blessed persons are drawn with a halo of light around their head).

So what if GOD was energy? God would perimiate between each one of us. God makes up every atom, every electron, every molecule in our bodies. Every particle in our world. The energy that exists... Power... the forces of gravity, magnitism, all with Vaheguroo... In the beginning there was only Vaheguroo. Now, Vaheguroo is still omnipitant, we just don't see anything. And when the universe comes to an end, Vaheguroo, the energy will still remain. The law of conservation of energy says that energy cannot be created, nor destroyed: but it can be converted from one form to another. Is this what we are seeing? The one thing that unites every person, every particle in the universe is the one Vaheguroo... the same energy that connects us all?

I donno. But it sounds neat :)

Bhul chuk maph.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Meditate like...

This is a line of gurbani that I sing a lot, but I have only recently tried to look at its meaning:

rwm jpau jIA AYsy AYsy ] DR¨ pRihlwd jipE hir jYsy ]1]
raam jupo jeea aisae aisae, dru prahlad japio har jaisai
Just as Dhroo and Prahlaad meditated on the Lord, so should you meditate on the Lord, O my soul. ||1||
In this line, Bhagat Kabeer Jee says that we should meditate as Bhagat Prahlaad and Bhagat Dhroo (Druva) have done. Understanding the stories of these individuals is important if we want to understand how we should go about this as well.

Here are some Wikipedia links:
Bhagat Prahlad Jee
Bhagat Dhroo Jee

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Caste = bad

Right from the mouth of your guru:

jwxhu joiq n pUChu jwqI AwgY jwiq n hy ]1] rhwau ]
jaanahu joth n pooshhahu jaathee aagai jaath n hae ||1|| rehaao ||
Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter. ||1||Pause||

vrnw vrn n BwvnI Kih Kih jln bWs AMgXwrw]
varanaa varan n bhaavanee khehi khehi jalan baa(n)s a(n)gayaaraa||
Different sections(castes) of society develop hatred for one another and finish themselves through squabbles as the bamboos, due to their mutual friction, producing fire burn themselves as well as others.


gurmuK vrn Avrn hoie rMg surMg qMbol prcY]
guramukh varan avaran hoe ra(n)g sura(n)g tha(n)bol parachai||
Gurmukhs go beyond the castes, colours and go about in equanimity like the red colour of betel leaf.


Time for us to listen!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Us the ignorant

Unfortunately, many people exist in this world that blind themselves with Ignorance. These people exist in all faiths, all religions, and bind themselves so tightly to doctrine that they fail to see the obvious inconsistancies that they perpetuate upon everyone of their faith.

The most recent high profile example is the case of teaching evolution vs. "Intelligent design" in schools. One is a scientific theory, the other something made up under the guise of religion. One has proof, the other does not. Yet somehow, many people follow the second one blindly, without realizing the pointlessness of it.

Recently, I had to reply to someone who said that God created the world and evolution was therefore wrong:

ALL of the evidence has shown that an evolution like process exists. This includes DNA evidence, analysis of changing proteins, the current development of new species, as well as existing evolutionary mechanisms that have been recorded WITHIN the last 100 years.

And here is your problem. Why believe that GOD can't use an evolutionary mechanism to create us? Having God and evolution aren't mutually exclusive. GOD gave us DNA. GOD gave us RNA. GOD created all the mechanisms by which our biology and evolution are currently functioning by. Just because "you say so" doesn't make this false.

That's the beauty of science. It looks at the evidence that GOD has given us, using HIS mechanisms to discover HIS rules. By your definition, the world is flat, the universe revolves around the earth, and evolution does not occur. Time to open your eyes and see the world that GOD created for you. He did not create a world of ignorance. YOU choose to be that way.


I now admit that I wrote a little angrily. But the argument still stands. Why bask ourselves in ignorance when God himself gave us such knowledge within our world?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sikher - beta

Sikher :: The Open Source Gurbani Searcher

The Sikher beta version is out! It's still under development (and I have yet to try it out), but it promises to be good!

Download it here!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Vaisakhi!!!

Waheguroo jee ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo jee kee Fateh!

Today is the day we remember the sacrifice that all of our Gurus and countless Khalsai have made... for us, and for our panth. Today is the day we ask ourselves, they gave their lives, so what can we give?

In a way, think of it as a new year's resolution. What is on your list? Seva? Simran? Learn Gurbani? Learn Keertan? Anything you do is a step not only for your Guru, its a benefit to yourself.

Happy Vaisakhi to all!

Waheguroo jee ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo jee kee Fateh!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Star Wars: Return of the Sikh

jw kau hir rMgu lwgo iesu jug mih so khIAq hY sUrw ]
jaa ko har rang laago eis jug mehi so keheeath hai sooraa ||
He alone is called a warrior, who is attached to the Lord's Love in this age.


On my last post someone commented that a sikh sounds a lot like a Jedi.

I laughed for a bit, but then I got thinking, its true!!

As sikhs, we are supposed to believe in a saint-soldier system, to unite what would seem to be two opposites into one being. The Jedi are described to be strong spiritual leaders (led by their council) that take up arms to defend the right of those weaker than them, like a police force of sorts.

This is exactly how Guru Gobind Singh raised us as Khalsa. First we must be pure mentally, and only then (led by our Panj Pyarai), can we defend the rights of the innocent. This irony of sorts of balancing of a sant-sapai or saint-soldier is an important one, as our Guru Granth Sahib shows in many places that only those who follow the path to Waheguroo can then be good warriors for him:

soeI cquru isAwxw pMifqu so sUrw so dwnW ]
soee chathur siaanaa panddith so sooraa so dhaanaan ||
He alone is clever and wise and a religious scholar, he alone is a brave warrior, and he alone is intelligent,

swDsMig ijin hir hir jipE nwnk so prvwnw ]2]67]90]
saadhhasang jin har har japiou naanak so paravaanaa ||2||67||90||
who chants the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. O Nanak, he alone is approved. ||2||67||90||
What I gather from this is that while martial training is important, its too easy to forget that we need spiritual backing first. Its only with Waheguroo's kirpa that we may understand the value of the sword, and fight without fear or hate.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ingredients of a Sikh

From "Confused Khalsa Rambles" blog:

Ingredients of a Sikh

One part saint, one part soldier,
One part that's always learning
As one grows older.

One part service, one part sword,
One part that's ever-evolving
On life's drawing-board.

One part spiritual, one part political,
One part that aims to expose
All that's hypocritical.

One part fearless, one part unthreatening,
One part that continues to hear
When the din is deafening.

One part meditative, one part martial,
One part that's eyes remain open
Yet is completely impartial.

One part kettle, one part kirpan,
One part that keeps collecting knowledge
As the clock ticks on.

One part kirtan, one part prayer,
One part that sheds light on it all
So the whole sangat can share.

One part devotion, one part action,
One part that speaks the truth
Regardless of sanction.

One part candle, one part flame,
One part literal translation
Of our famed 'Sikh' name.

One part Nanak, nine parts thereafter,
Blessed by Guru Granth Sahib,
Our eternal chapter."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Open source gurbani

That last post has got me thinking: I've noticed that although the seva that has been done to translate Gurbani into English has been great, I feel that in many cases such translations go beyond that and ruin the beauty of Gurbani.

I feel that much of the beauty of gurbani lies in the fact that you can read such a small simple line and then take hours contemplating those words, to understand its meaning. To do that requires that the translation be direct and literal, and do not do too much explaining.

For example in Jaap Sahib:

AjY ] AlY ] ABY ] AbY ] 189]
Ajai || Alai || Abhai || Abai || 189 ||
O Unconquerable Lord! O Indestructible Lord! O Fearless Lord! O Immortal Lord! 189.

...might be better translated as:

Invicible. Indestructable. Fearless. Immortal.

This fits better with the overall pattern and poetic style of the Gurbani, and reads like the Gurbani would have.

Anyways, the point of the post is that I'm wondering if anyone knows if it would be possible to start some kind of open source Gurbani translation project to help to simplify and improve upon the Gurbani translations. This would not only provide better understanding of Gurbani, but could provide a source for SikhiToTheMax or Sikher (previous post) for up to date translations.

Any ideas??

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sikher


Sikher :: The Open Source Gurbani Searcher

This is going to be the next generation equivilent to SikhiToTheMax. Currently, its being rewritten in Java (multi-platform compatability) and is scheduled to be released this Vaisakhi!! (April 14, 2006).



I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Idol worship gets cut

dyvI dyvw pUjIAY BweI ikAw mwgau ikAw dyih ]
dhaevee dhaevaa poojeeai bhaaee kiaa maago kiaa dhaehi
Why worship gods and goddesses, O Siblings of Destiny? What can we ask of them? What can they give us?

pwhxu nIir pKwlIAY BweI jl mih bUfih qyih ]6]
paahun neer pukhaaleeai bhaaee jul mehi booddehi thaehi
The stone gods are washed with water, O Siblings of Destiny, but they just sink in the water. ||6|| -- SGGS 636-7

In this quote, the stone gods just got owned. :)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Molecular God

From a short essay entititled A Molecular God.

"We can believe what most people have always believed: that God made us and God moves us. Science is only learning how He made us and how He moves us; it does not alter the fact that He does. If anything, seeing the incredible detail only increases our awe and wonder at His achievement." -- Brian Crawford

Friday, March 24, 2006

The passing of ages

Bhai Gurdaas Jee's Vaar #1

juggrdI jb hovhy aulty jug ikAw hoie vrqwrw]
During the down fall of an age, people setting aside the duties of the age bahave contrary to their nature.

auTy iglwn jgq ivc vrqY pwp BRSt sMswrw]
The world gets engrossed in remorseful activities and sin and corruption prevail.

vrnw vrn n BwvnI Kih Kih jln bWs AMgXwrw]
Different sections(castes) of society develop hatred for one another and finish themselves through squabbles as the bamboos, due to their mutual friction, producing fire burn themselves as well as others.

inµdw cwlY vyd kI smJn nih AigAwn gubwrw]
Condemnation of the knowledge starts and in the darkness of ignorance nothing remains visible.

byd gRMQ gur h`t hY ijs lg Bvjl pwr auqwrw]
From that knowledge of the Vedas which gets man across the world ocean even the knowledgeable people get away.

siqgur bwJ n buJIAY ijc`r Dry n gur Avqwrw]
So long God does not descend on earth in the form of true Guru, no mystery can be understood.

gur prmySr iek hY s`cw Swh jgq vxjwrw]
The Guru and God are one; He is the true master and the whole world craves for Him.

cVy sUr imt jwie AMDwrw ]ñ÷]
He rises like sun and the darkness is dispelled.

Monday, March 20, 2006

God in Sikhi

It's been a while since I updated my blog (sorry!)... but I did find a very interesting article!

Take a look!

The Concept of God in Sikhism

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Vanishing Sikhs

Vanishing Sikhs

A good article that describes some of the problems, and how we can work to fix them.

Vanishing Sikhs! Why are the numbers shrinking?
Some plausible reasons and suggestions
Tarlochan Singh (Seattle, USA)*
* Email: tkhalsa@yahoo.com.

Confusion as to what is more important - The Punjabi or the Sikh way of life?

Unfortunately, after proclaiming that Sanskrit is not a Deva Bhasha since the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, we have now started claiming that Punjabi is a ‘Deva Bhasha’. Therefore, instead of reaching out to the masses, with the rich Sikh literature as the Gurus did, we wait for the thirsty seeker to approach us for the wisdom of the Gurus. Similarly, after proclaiming that the Brahmins were wicked in restricting the knowledge of the Vedas to themselves we have now started practicing the same trade of not sharing the wisdom contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS) even with our own children unless they learn Punjabi. And then we wonder aloud as to why our children are not respecting the traditional Sikh values.

Suggestions

a) Try to teach the children, even when they are in infancy, values of Sikh religion in any language that they are comfortable in. Punjabi is not required to teach some simple concepts like – As you Sow so Shall you Reap; Naam Japna, Vand Chakkna, Kirt Karni; Awal Allah Noor Upiah Kudrat ke Sab Bande; Sabna Jihan ka Ik Datta; Jo aiha so chalsi; etc.

b) Teach Punjabi, as a language when the child starts going to school.

Role of woman ignored

The most important and distinguishing characteristic of Sikh religion is the equality in religious practice prescribed for both man and woman. After all, only in Sikh religion, woman can take Amrit, wear the Kakkars, and go to sit in the sanctum sanctorum any day of her life – unlike in any other religion. Guru Amar Das Ji granted nearly one-third manjis and pirhas to female devotees in mid-sixteenth century, when the society still held women in very low esteem. Also, the Gurus give sole credit to a woman in successfully bringing up the child as a bhagat, surma or a datha. And the historians as well as parcharaks, all males, seem to have underplayed the roles of mothers of the Gurus, sahibzadas and the historical Sikh personalities. None of us know the name of the mothers of the Gurus, Panj Pyaras, Baba Budhaji, Bhai Gurdas, Bhai Nand Lal, Bhai Attar Singh, Bhai Randhir Singh and Bhai Veer Singh.

Suggestions

a) Appoint women on at least one-third of all administrative and managerial posts. These women should visibly belong to Sikh religion like Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC. Incidentally, one American Sikh lady brought to my notice that “Sabat Soorat Dastar Sira” applies commonly to men and women, as does all the other parts of Gurbani. She also felt that Indian Sikh men, in the tradition of Manu, continue to subjugate their women, including depriving them the privilege of tying dastar.

b) Allow women to undertake duties of a Priest or Head Priest in our Gurdwaras, especially historical Gurdwaras at Delhi and Amritsar.

c) Encourage and train female Kathakars, Kirtani Jathas, and Dhadhis.

Ignoring Gurudwara Sahib as a focal-point of Activities

It is noted in Sikh religion, that no effort is made in a Gurdwara to explain the meanings or implications of the Gurbani to the young child. Consequently, the young child does not want to participate in the Kirtan/Sangat and if forced to, then only disturbs others. It needs to be emphasized that if children do not understand Gurbani Kirtan, they will never understand the rich philosophy and may not benefit adequately from the time spent in Gurdwara – how can then we expect them to become a Sikh. In addition, in the times of the Gurus, various educational events, medical camps, relief operations, physical sports and literary competitions used to be organized and supervised by the Gurus themselves. The Gurdwara Sahib served as a social and cultural center for all the devotees.

Suggestions

a) It may be necessary to advise the speaker or Ragi Jatha, to explain word meaning of the crucial lines that they sing, may be before they start to do kirtan, or illustrate their discourse with simple illustrations that even a child can understand. One easy solution could be to follow the practice prevalent in the Gurdwaras/Ashrams run by the American Sikhs where English translation of the shabad being sung is distributed in the sangat, similar to the practice followed in India of keeping a copy of the Amrit Kirtan Pothi in front during Kirtan – may be a similar Pothi in English/other languages can be provided in the respective Gurdwaras, taking into account the location and spoken language of the area, for the benefit of children and others who do not know Punjabi. The other could be the installation of the electronic display screen, with meanings of the hymns being sung then, in the Gurdwara.

b) The most important event of the time at Gurdwara is the Hukam – which our children do not understand. Can we read them just a translation, and not katha please, from a standard accepted book of meanings (this minimizes the scope of dilution/bias by the speaker) – say for English from S. Manmohan Singh (eight volumes are available world-wide) and for Punjabi from Prof.Sahib Singh (ten volumes).

c) The visit to a Gurudwara premises should be made attractive for young Sikhs. For the Sikh children, our Committees should be encouraged to organize competitions of all varieties - Gurubani, sports, poetry, music, painting, phulkari, Karate, Olympic events like fencing, and then richly reward the winners. The aim should be to make the Gurdwara activities so wholesome and interesting that our children should begin to enjoy it as their second home.

Lack of Marketing - World fears Uncertainty but respects Individuality

The Gurus had taught us to be distinct (Nyara) but we have interpreted it as isolation. There is a big difference in the two – a) a lion is distinct but integrated in the animal life of the forest, b) a rose is distinct but integrated in the plant and thorns, and c) the Bani of Bhagats is distinct from that of the Gurus but integrated in SGGS. We were taught by the Gurus to be distinct in our style of life, conduct of business and pursuit of spirituality but we opted to shroud ourselves in mystery, jealously guard the teachings of SGGS and do not share the rich philosophy contained therein with others. This continues to result in suspicion of our teachings leading to isolation from all others. In restricting ourselves in a confined environment, we have created uncertainty leading to fear in our neighborhood about our faith and purpose. All the Gurus were transparent in their approach towards spirituality and taught universally in common daily spoken language to the wider public. Perhaps, our lack of transparency and communication skills betrays low confidence in our beliefs, which have also led us into a ridicule trap - along with our infighting and washing of linen in public happily portrayed in media. More we are ridiculed, more our children suffer and tend to bend-over-backwards to look like non-Sikhs.

Suggestions

a) Please advertise the basic tenets of Sikh religion openly in as many languages as possible. Share with other non-Sikhs (i) our values of Sewa and Simran; (ii) our concept of one God; and (iii) our concept of conduct of life (Rehat Maryada). We should boldly spread the concept that Sikhism Teaches universal religion – a) “Sarab Dharam mei shresth dharma, har ko naam jap nirmal karm” and b) permits to a spiritual seeker, to continue to be Sain Mian Mir and even a Sikh of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, like holding two passports.

b) We should not be shy of telling that Sikh men and women keep Kirpan to help and serve people in distress. If Muslim men can be circumcised and women can wear Burka, Brahmin men can wear threads and maintain a bodhi, Lord Rama can sport a bow-arrow, Shiva a Trishul, and Krishna a sudarshan chakra then why a Sikh should be ashamed of a defensive instrument like kirpan, which is not a weapon but a deterrent for a rapist and a mischief maker. Also publicize that wearing a Kirpan entails a responsibility to meditate at least two and half hours everyday (A Sikh who is baptized and ordained to sport a Kirpan has to do Simran, Nitname, Rehras and Sohilla everyday). If some Sikh misuses the Kirpan (uses it for any purpose to get political mileage or to spread terror), then before the law courts decide, the Takths should hold that Sikh accountable and, if need be, dispense severe punishment too, for having misused an article of Sikh faith and given the community a bad name. This will endear us to our brothers and sisters, within our faith and those in others. After all every way-led behavior and misuse of Kirpan cannot transform a Sikh into a surma or martyr. The justice dispensed from Takhts should take into account wider interests of the community and not only of the individual and the family. Every Sikh, especially young, should be made aware that misadventures would not lead to picture frames in Sikh Museum at Amritsar.

c) Let us be transparent in our approach to problems in every day life and help the needy, poor and sick in the society. Today, we Sikhs seeped in riches have forgotten to contribute one-tenth of our earnings for the welfare of the society. We have stopped funding shelters, orphanages, widow-homes, hospitals and schools in many parts of our country – please count the Sikh run institutions in Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Northeast states, and other places like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Baghdad, where the Gurus traveled to spread the word of God. The focus should be to encourage more Bhagat Puran Singh ji from amongst us.

d) Ensure that Sikhs are not ridiculed in media – history books, novels, movies, theatre, magazines, papers, etc. This ridicule impacts the young mind in a very profound manner. The administrative Sikh units like SGPC and DSGMC should undertake all steps, permitted by law in a civilized society, to stop the poor portrayal of Sikh Gurus and practices in media. Ridicule of a complete community in a civilized society should not be permitted or tolerated, be it of Parsis, Sikhs, or Hindus.

e) The occasion of Nagar Kirtans on every Gurpurabs should be used to distribute small pamphlets in different languages in different parts of India. Our effort should concentrate on marketing our viewpoint. The material that is distributed in different languages should preferably originate from SGPC, so that there is uniformity of material distributed across the world. When the fear of uncertainty about our beliefs will be dispelled in our society, we will be respected for our individuality. Vand Chakna does not only refer to food, but also to philosophy, beliefs, and spiritual experiences.

f) In the modern times, advertisement and marketing helps to change the perception. We should liberally use media, especially on occasions of Gurpurabs, to spread the word of the Guru. The capsules provided for TV/Radio programs/print material should be brief, focused and in different languages. Time slots can be sponsored on Gurpurabs, if necessary.

g) TV serials, stage theatre, documentary films should be encouraged on the life and times of Kabir Ji, Farid Ji, Baba Budha Ji, Sahibzadas, Banda Singh, Sant Attar Singh Ji, Bhai Vir Singh Ji, Bibi Kaulan Ji, etc.

h) Sikh Art exhibitions should be sponsored and Sikh artists should be encouraged in their activities.

Lack of Education in Divinity

Today, knowledge of Sikh religion and the meanings of textual material of SGGS are not even understood by many adult Sikhs. All those statements of Gurbani like “bani virlo vichar see, je ko gurmuk hoi” or “dhithe mukt na hovai jichar shabad na kare vichar” have been lost in layers of hypocrisy, rituals, superstitions and dogmas that we have been practising in the name of Sikh religion, openly even in Gurdwaras e.g. observing Saturdays (chana parshad) and sangrands, and openly paying reverence/garlanding pictures of Gurus (e.g. Picture of Guru Tegh Bhadur Ji at Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib). This hypocrisy of singing Gurus’ hymns but practising something else has not given us status, enlightenment, acceptability or recognition amongst others that we so desperately desire. We are no different from others for whom the Gurus used words like “anay” or “kanay”. The tragedy is that we were cautioned and still we have fallen in the same trap. How can our children respect us and promise us to follow in our footsteps – they have been taught to question everything, including our hypocrisy. So now let us learn to be individuals with understanding – Sikhs – and save our children and ourselves.

Suggestions

a) Teach Divinity as taught by the Gurus in every Sikh school. Start from “Na koi Hindu na Musalman”. Teach common brotherhood of mankind. Inform the children and the world that the foundation stone of the Golden temple was kept by a Muslim faqir and that SGGS contains hymns of Hindu and Muslim Bhagats and that the Gurus hymns and the Bhagat Hymns were respected by the Guru alike. This reflects the core Sikh philosophy – Na koi beri nahe behgana, sagal sangh hum ko ban aiyee. The same tradition is followed by the Sikhs today. Our Divinity Teachers will then be invited by other schools too, to teach other students. The degradation of moral standards in general should encourage all religo-educational bodies to pool their resources to contain the sad state of affairs.

b) No caste-based Gurudwaras should be encouraged or promoted. This hypocritical behavior leads to ridicule of the basic tenets of Sikh religion which dis-illusion our children.

c) Teach Tolerance and Mutual respect of belief of each other and that the Gurus tolerated the tyranny of many a Mogul and Hindu kings. Teach that we never fight nor believe in violence, we only defend ourselves, as did Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and also Prophet Muhammad.

d) Train Divinity Teachers and reorient them regularly. Accountability should be demanded of each Divinity teacher, for their role is far superior to that of any other teacher in the School. The pay scale of divinity teacher should be the higher than that of other teachers and their selection also should be more rigorous. Divinity Teachers should be of exemplary character, visibly Sikh in appearance and conduct. To illustrate, a Sikh Divinity Teacher, who colors his beard or shapes her eyebrows will do more damage then benefit. The post of Divinity teachers should be treated with utmost respect.

e) An Advisory board of Sikh scholars of repute from across the world should be established by SGPC and DSGMC. The advice of these board members should regularly be solicited on important matters pertaining to divinity. The constitution and tenure of each of the board member should be limited to encourage wider participation.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Energy within us

We say that Akal Purakh is in everyone, everything, all the time. It’s just that we have to look hard enough to see that Vaheguroo is really there.

I've been fascinated by this, because if Vaheguroo exists in everything, then that means that everything in our known universe must have something physical in common. I mean that what the field of physics has been trying to achieve for the past century, a unified theory that explains all phenomena and existence! So what's the common denominator of us, a rock, light, gravity, fusion particles, neutrinos, suns, galaxies, and ladoos?


Energy :)


isrIrwgu mhlw 5 ]
Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl:

mnu qnu Dnu ijin pRiB dIAw riKAw shij svwir ]
This mind, body and wealth were given by God, who naturally adorns us.

srb klw kir QwipAw AMqir joiq Apwr ]
He has blessed us with all our energy, and infused His Infinite Light deep within us.

sdw sdw pRBu ismrIAY AMqir rKu aur Dwir ]1]
Forever and ever, meditate in remembrance on God; keep Him enshrined in your heart. ||1||

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Prahlad's story

There are a few stories in the SGGSjee, but this one is one of my favorites. The story of Prahlad (from ancient hindu times).

This Shabad is by Guru Amar Daas Ji in Raag Bhairao on Pannaa 1154

BYrau mhlw 3 Gru 2
<> siqgur pRswid ]

iqin krqY ieku clqu aupwieAw ] Anhd bwxI sbdu suxwieAw ]
mnmuiK BUly gurmuiK buJwieAw ] kwrxu krqw krdw AwieAw ]1]

gur kw sbdu myrY AMqir iDAwnu ] hau kbhu n Cofau hir kw nwmu ]1] rhwau ]

ipqw pRhlwdu pVx pTwieAw ] lY pwtI pwDy kY AwieAw ]
nwm ibnw nh pVau Acwr ] myrI ptIAw iliK dyhu goibMd murwir ]2]

puqR pRihlwd isau kihAw mwie ] privriq n pVhu rhI smJwie ]
inrBau dwqw hir jIau myrY nwil ] jy hir Cofau qau kuil lwgY gwil ]3]

pRhlwid siB cwtVy ivgwry ] hmwrw kihAw n suxY Awpxy kwrj svwry ]
sB ngrI mih Bgiq idRVweI ] dust sBw kw ikCu n vsweI ]4]

sMfY mrkY kIeI pUkwr ] sBy dYq rhy JK mwir ]
Bgq jnw kI piq rwKY soeI ] kIqy kY kihAY ikAw hoeI ]5]

ikrq sMjogI dYiq rwju clwieAw ] hir n bUJY iqin Awip BulwieAw ]
puqR pRhlwd isau vwdu rcwieAw ] AMDw n bUJY kwlu nyVY AwieAw ]6]

pRhlwdu koTy ivic rwiKAw bwir dIAw qwlw ] inrBau bwlku mUil n freI myrY AMqir gur gopwlw ]
kIqw hovY srIkI krY Anhodw nwau DrwieAw ] jo Duir iliKAw suo Awie phuqw jn isau vwdu rcwieAw ]7]

ipqw pRhlwd isau gurj auTweI ] khW qum@wrw jgdIs gusweI ]
jgjIvnu dwqw AMiq sKweI ] jh dyKw qh rihAw smweI ]8]

QMm@ü aupwiV hir Awpu idKwieAw ] AhMkwrI dYqu mwir pcwieAw ]
Bgqw min Awnµdu vjI vDweI ] Apny syvk kau dy vifAweI ]9]

jMmxu mrxw mohu aupwieAw ] Awvxu jwxw krqY iliK pwieAw ]
pRhlwd kY kwrij hir Awpu idKwieAw ] Bgqw kw bolu AwgY AwieAw ]10]

dyv kulI liKmI kau krih jYkwru ] mwqw nrisMG kw rUpu invwru ]
liKmI Bau krY n swkY jwie ] pRhlwdu jnu crxI lwgw Awie ]11]

siqguir nwmu inDwnu idRVwieAw ] rwju mwlu JUTI sB mwieAw ]
loBI nr rhy lptwie ] hir ky nwm ibnu drgh imlY sjwie ]12]

khY nwnku sBu ko kry krwieAw ] sy prvwxu ijnI hir isau icqu lwieAw ]
Bgqw kw AMgIkwru krdw AwieAw ] krqY Apxw rUpu idKwieAw ]13]1]2]

Bhairao, Third Mehl, Second House:
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

The Creator has staged His Wondrous Play.
I listen to the Unstruck Sound-current of the Shabad, and the Bani of His Word.
The self-willed manmukhs are deluded and confused, while the Gurmukhs understand.
The Creator creates the Cause that causes. ||1||

Deep within my being, I meditate on the Word of the Guru's Shabad.
I shall never forsake the Name of the Lord. ||1||Pause||

Prahlaad's father sent him to school, to learn to read.
He took his writing tablet and went to the teacher.
He said, ""I shall not read anything except the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
Write the Lord's Name on my tablet.""||2||

Prahlaad's mother said to her son,
"I advise you not to read anything except what you are taught."
He answered, ""The Great Giver, my Fearless Lord God is always with me.
If I were to forsake the Lord, then my family would be disgraced.""||3||

"Prahlaad has corrupted all the other students.
He does not listen to what I say, and he does his own thing.
He instigated devotional worship in the townspeople.""
The gathering of the wicked people could not do anything against him. ||4||

Sanda and Marka, his teachers, made the complaint.
All the demons kept trying in vain.
The Lord protected His humble devotee, and preserved his honor.
What can be done by mere created beings? ||5||

Because of his past karma, the demon ruled over his kingdom.
He did not realize the Lord; the Lord Himself confused him.
He started an argument with his son Prahlaad.
The blind one did not understand that his death was approaching. ||6||

Prahlaad was placed in a cell, and the door was locked.
The fearless child was not afraid at all. He said, ""Within my being, is the Guru, the Lord of the World.""
The created being tried to compete with his Creator, but he assumed this name in vain.
That which was predestined for him has come to pass; he started an argument with the Lord's humble servant. ||7||

The father raised the club to strike down Prahlaad, saying,
"Where is your God, the Lord of the Universe, now?"
He replied, ""The Life of the World, the Great Giver, is my Help and Support in the end.
Wherever I look, I see Him permeating and prevailing.""||8||

Tearing down the pillars, the Lord Himself appeared.
The egotistical demon was killed and destroyed.
The minds of the devotees were filled with bliss, and congratulations poured in.
He blessed His servant with glorious greatness. ||9||

He created birth, death and attachment.
The Creator has ordained coming and going in reincarnation.
For the sake of Prahlaad, the Lord Himself appeared.
The word of the devotee came true. ||10||

The gods proclaimed the victory of Lakshmi, and said,
"O mother, make this form of the Man-lion disappear!"
Lakshmi was afraid, and did not approach.
The humble servant Prahlaad came and fell at the Lord's Feet. ||11||

The True Guru implanted the treasure of the Naam within.
Power, property and all Maya is false.
But still, the greedy people continue clinging to them.
Without the Name of the Lord, the mortals are punished in His Court. ||12||

Says Nanak, everyone acts as the Lord makes them act.
They alone are approved and accepted, who focus their consciousness on the Lord.
He has made His devotees His Own.
The Creator has appeared in His Own Form. ||13||1||2||

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Reaching God

It surprises me how many people out there believe that their faith is the only one that can achieve final unity with God. Like no one reached God till your particular prophet was born?

And there is soo much focus on names. "Only Allah is the true God." "Only the Lord Jesus Christ is God." (and now there are some apparently believing unless you CALL yourself a sikh you can't unite with God. Good grief)

But Gurbani makes it clear that its not a name that will get you to the final destination, but your ACTIONS.

ang 885
Page 885

raamukulee mehulaa 5
Raamkalee, Fifth Mehl:

koee bolai raam raam koee khudhaae
Some call Him, 'Raam, Raam', and some call Him, 'Khudaa-i'.

koee saevai guseeaa koee alaahi
Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allaah'. ||1||

kaarun kurun kureem
He is the Cause of causes, the Generous Lord.

kirupaa dhaar reheem
He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us. ||1||Pause||

koee naavai theerath koee huj jaae
Some bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and some make the pilgrimage to Mecca.|

koee kurai poojaa koee sir nivaae
Some perform devotional worship services, and some bow their heads in prayer. ||2||

koee purrai baedh koee kuthaeb
Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran.

koee outai neel koee supaedh
Some wear blue robes, and some wear white. ||3||

koee kehai thuruk koee kehai hindhoo
Some call themselves Muslim, and some call themselves Hindu.

koee baashai bhisuth koee suragindhoo
Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven. ||4||

kuhu naanuk jin hukum pushaathaa
Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God's Will,

prubh saahib kaa thin bhaedh jaathaa
knows the secrets of his Lord and Master. ||5||9||

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vomit

That's what I feel like doing after listening to this recent spat against a particular individual "A. Singh" thats running around the net (I actually got an email about it too).

Apparently there is a "sikh" (who is involved in running a bunch of well known panthic websites) who may not be living life according to rehat. And so a bunch of blogs, emails, etc. have all popped up showing "evidence" that he is a bad character, etc. etc.

My reply to those running around sending emails and blogs:

prweI bKIlI krih AwpxI prqIiq Kovin sgvw BI Awpu lKwih ]
paraaee bakheelee karehi aapanee paratheeth khovan sagavaa bhee aap lakhaahi ||
They gossip about others, and lose their credit, and expose themselves as well.

Not that this may not be important to you, but don't waste our Sikhi on a personal squabble between yourselves and A. Singh. I really don't care what he is, but sending emails and defamatory blogs just goes to show who you really are. Time to grow up people. Work it out, and leave the sangat out of it.

We've got to learn that personal issues should remain that way, as we are in no way capable of judging others. This can only start a flame-war, which will end badly for everyone involved. I just hope they grow up before it's too late...

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Evil C-word

I hate this word. I despise this word. Hearing this word makes me want to get up and give a thappar to whoever uttered it. But yet we say it all the time. I see huge discussions on Siksangat forums and Waheguroo! Forums and this stupid word keeps coming up. AND PEOPLE DEFEND THEIR USE OF IT!

The word? CASTE.

jwxhu joiq n pUChu jwqI AwgY jwiq n hy ]1] rhwau ]
Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter. ||1||Pause||

Arbitrary segregations among our Panth has caused much harm to all of us. Marriages, friendships, and our own ability to call ourselves Sikh are all questionable if we take on or declare a caste to a Sikh.
No one should be proud of his caste.
He alone is a Brahmin who knows God.
Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool!
So much sin and corruption comes from this pride.
Everyone says that there are four castes, four social classes.
They all emanate from the drop of God’s Seed. The entire universe is made of the same clay.
The Potter has shaped it into all sorts of vessels.
The five elements join together, to make up the form of the human body.
Who can say which is inferior, and which is superior?
Says Nanak, this soul is bound by its actions.
Without meeting the True Guru, it is not liberated. (SGGS 1128)

We have always been taught through the teachings of our Sri Guru Granth, and through a lot of common sense, that the human race is but one: that caste, color, creed, sex, and race are arbitrary rules made by us that have no real meaning now, or in death hereafter.

Finally:

ien ibiD hir imlIAY vr kwmin Dn sohwgu ipAwrI ]
jwiq brn kul shsw cUkw gurmiq sbid bIcwrI ]1]



This is the way to meet your Husband Lord. Blessed is the soul-bride who is loved by her Husband Lord.
Social class and status, race, ancestry and skepticism are eliminated, following the Guru's Teachings and contemplating the Word of the Shabad. ||1||

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sangat - Simran

We just had sangat at my place, and I recorded most of it. This is a sample of Raman bhenji doing Simran. Have a listen!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kirpaan update

Supreme Court overturns ban on Sikh ceremonial dagger

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the kirpaan, far from being a weapon, is an essential article of faith, and is legal in every respect. The Court stated that the Quebec argument that the kirpaan might be dangerous was "disrespectful to believers in the Sikh religion and does not take into account Canadian values based on multiculturalism."

Way to go Gurbaj Singh!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kirpaan Legality

Supreme Court hones ruling on Sikh ceremonial daggers

kirpaan - from word "kirpaa" meaning "mercy". Represents the determination to defend the truth and justice
Although this topic is a little bit off what I would normally write (I'm not too big a fan of watching current events), this is an important ruling about to be made which underlines probably the only significant problem that amritdhari sikhs face in Canada.

I recall that there have been other court cases and human right cases which have all ruled in our favor to allow Sikhs to carry the kirpaan, and so having this ruling makes it very important to ensure that we can maintain this right (and responsibility).

See the case website!
Sign the petition!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sikhi and miracles

I found this post at DiscoverSikhi.com by "Akal Purakh Di Fauj":

The point of Simran is not to achieve Ridh-Sidhi powers, even possessing them. We are taught they are nothing but a distraction - 'a cheap way of fooling people' as Guru tegh Bahadur ji said to the executioners.

Once Guru jee was travelling in a boat across a river and the Sikhs waited on the other side. A yogi decided to show his power and walked across the river. When the Guru arrived on the opposite bank, the yogi claimed that he had much more kamai than the Guru. The boatsman did not want to take any money but the Guru insisted on paying him the full amount - two paisas. The Guru asked the yogi how many years it had taken him to achieve the skill of walking on water. "14 years of in-depth samadhi and simran," replied the yogi. "Well," said the Guru, "now you know that the 14 years of kamai (spiritual earning) has been worth 2 paisas."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Golden Temple Keertan

Kirtan Archive

This is pretty neat. On the SGPC website, they have an archive system with the FULL day keertan inside the Golden Temple, Amritsar. You can pick a day, and listen! Wouldn't that be cool to listen to the live recorded keertan from the Golden Temple on your birthday?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Compassion: lost?


It shocks me how much we have lost our way. When our Gurus tried to show us the way to reach our Vaheguroo, they gave us three simple rules:

  1. Kirth Karo (work hard/honestly)
  2. Vandh Chako (serve others)
  3. Naam Jappo (meditate on Vaheguroo)
Most of us can say we follow the first and the third one easily, but as soon as somebody tries to do something different, suddenly our compassion goes out the window. The classic example is this whole tables + chairs debate in the gurdwaras. A friend of mine was getting married, and his elderly grandfather, who is confined to a wheel chair wanted to attend his marriage. Is this too much to ask? Well for 3 of the 4 gurdwaras here in Edmonton, it was. A wheelchair is a chair, and so no wheelchairs allowed in Guru's darbaar. (Clean shaven? No problem! Handicapped? Sorry!)

Guru Nanak tried so hard to make his message of love and compassion so universal, that for those unable to travel to him, he travelled for miles so that they could get a glimpse of him. And we can't even let those who travel to the Guru under extraordinary circumstances see the Guru because they have had the misfortune of being handicapped. Guru Nanak says it best here:
Excerped from SGGS (Guru Nanak):

jath sath chaaval dhaeiaa kanak kar praapath paathee dhhaan ||
Please bless me with the rice of truth and self-restraint, the wheat of compassion, and the leaf-plate of meditation.

dhoodhh karam sa(n)thokh gheeo kar aisaa maa(n)go dhaan ||3||
Bless me with the milk of good karma, and the clarified butter, the ghee, of compassion. Such are the gifts I beg of You, Lord. ||3||

khimaa dhheeraj kar goo lavaeree sehajae bashharaa kheer peeai ||
Let forgiveness and patience be my milk-cows, and let the calf of my mind intuitively drink in this milk.

sifath saram kaa kaparraa maa(n)go har gun naanak ravath rehai ||4||7||
I beg for the clothes of modesty and the Lord's Praise; Nanak chants the Glorious Praises of the Lord. ||4||7|| (SGGS 1329)
We have to improve ourselves a lot. There is a saying that a society is judged by how it treats its weakest. We don't even allow handicapped people to see our Guru. How would we stand?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Meaning of Vaheguroo

I went to sangat today, lots of Simran and lots of fun! It just reminded me of one of Bhai Gurdaas Jee's Vaars (1) where he expains one meaning of the word "Vaheguroo"

Bhai Gurdaas Jee Vaar 1

siqjug siqgur vwsdyv vwvw ivSnw nwm jpwvY]
duAwpr siqgur hrIikRSn hwhw hir hir nwm iDAwvY]
qRyqy siqgur rwm jI rwrw rwm jpy suK pwvY]
kiljug nwnk gur goibMd ggw goivMd nwm jpwvY]
cwry jwgy chu jugI pMcwiex ivc jwie smwvY]
cwroN ACr iek kr vwihgurU jp mMqR jpwvY]
jhW qy aupijAw iPr qhW smwvY ]


sathijug sathigur vaasadhaev vaavaa vishanaa naam japaavai||
dhuaapar sathigur hareekrishan haahaa har har naam dhhiaavai||
thraethae sathigur raam jee raaraa raam japae sukh paavai||
kalijug naanak gur gobi(n)dh gagaa govi(n)dh naam japaavai||
chaarae jaagae chahu jugee pa(n)chaaein vich jaae samaavai||
chaaro(n) ashhar eik kar vaahiguroo jap ma(n)thr japaavai||
jehaa(n) thae oupajiaa fir thehaa(n) samaavai ||aa||a||

In Satyug, Visnu in the form of Vasudev is said to have incarnated and ‘V’ Of Vahiguru reminds of Visnu.
The true Guru of dvapar is said to be Harikrsna and ‘H’ of Vahiguru reminds of Hari.
In the treta was Ram and ‘R’ of Vahiguru tells that rembering Ram will produce joy and happiness.
In kalijug, Gobind is in the form of Nanak and ‘G’ of Vahiguru gets Govind recited.
The recitations of all the four ages subsume in Panchayan i.e. in the soul of the common man.
When joining four letters Vahiguru is remembered,
The jiv merges again in its origin.



It's another amazing example where its shown that "Ik Onkaar", that God is one, is true. But it also shows that all the "gods" that exist, all the prophets throughout the ages are all one and part of the same primal soul, Paramathma.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sahib Mera Eko Hai

There are some out there who seem to think that Sikhs are Hindus, or some that believe we are Muslims. Sikhism is an interesting faith. We recognize all faiths:

Raamkalee, Fifth Mehl:
Some call Him, 'Raam, Raam', and some call Him, 'Khudaa-i'.
Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allaah'. ||1||
He is the Cause of causes, the Generous Lord.
He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us. ||1||Pause||
Some bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and some make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Some perform devotional worship services, and some bow their heads in prayer. ||2||
Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran.
Some wear blue robes, and some wear white. ||3||
Some call themselves Muslim, and some call themselves Hindu.
Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven. ||4||
Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God's Will,
knows the secrets of his Lord and Master. ||5||9|| (SGGS 885)
...but yet, we are neither:
Bhairao, Fifth Mehl:
I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan.
I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. ||1||
The One Lord, the Lord of the World, is my God Allah.
He adminsters justice to both Hindus and Muslims. ||1||Pause||
I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines.
I serve the One Lord, and not any other. ||2||
I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers.
I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly worship Him there. ||3||
I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim.
My body and breath of life belong to Allah - to Raam - the God of both. ||4||
Says Kabeer, this is what I say: meeting with the Guru, my Spiritual Teacher,
I realize God, my Lord and Master. ||5||3|| (SGGS 1136)
Its the reason why I take pride in being a Sikh, a Khalsa. By protecting the right of others to pray to the one Waheguroo, we separate ourselves from all others: the faiths that force themselves upon others. For not only do we share the same race, we also share the same lord, the same boss, the same father!
saahib maeraa eaeko hai || eaeko hai bhaaee eaeko hai ||1|| (SGGS 350)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The World View in Sikhism

I found this article while looking through "Current thoughts on Sikhism". It is very intelligently written and certainly worth reading. I've also put this article in the Essay/Thoughts area for download as a Word document. If it looks a little long, please at least read the middle section (part II) for I think its incredible.

The World-view in Sikhism
Dr. H.S. Virk

What is the meaning of World-view? It is a set of fundamental beliefs, attitudes, values, etc., which determine or constitute a comprehensive outlook on life and the universe (1). In every religion or spiritual system, the concept of God, or ultimate Reality, determines its World-view and its structure (2). Our thesis on the World-view in Sikhism will be formulated on three basic concepts:

  1. Concept of God/Reality,
  2. Concept of Universe/World,
  3. Concept of Ideal Man/Society.

1. Concept of God/Ultimate Reality in Sikhism:

The Sikh scripture, Adi Guru Granth Sahib, defines the concept of God through His attributes: Eternal Unity, the Om that has assumed the Creation-body; Being of Truth; Creator person; without fear or hatred; Beyond Time and Space; Spiritborn/Unborn; Self-Existent; Transcendental Cosmic-Spirit made manifest by grace of the Guru (3). The concept of God as Creator-Person of the world has far reaching implications in the religious history of India. A positive relation between God and the world is a revolutionary postulate in Sikhism which forms the basis of Sikh Cosmology. God is both Transcendent and Immanent. He is both in the universe and outside it. Sikhism dialectically unites the ideas of God and World. Transcendence shows that God is prior to and distinct from the world. Immanence of God is a symbolic way of expressing God's connection with the world. God himself transforms into creation, that is, changing his nirguna form into sarguna form (4). The formless God manifests Himself in the creation and there in no dichotomy in nirguna and sarguna forms.

Nature of Reality

Metaphysics is a systematic and sustained enquiry into the nature of ultimate reality. It is an attempt to know the reality against mere appearance. Religion relies both on reason and revelation in its attempt to study the nature of reality. To the Indian philosopher, experience is the ultimate test of truth. Since the reality is trans-empirical, it cannot be known through sense experience but through intuitive experience (anubhuti); it is the experience of the highest level, for it transcends both the rational and the sensory aspects of human experience with which we are normally acquainted (6).

Mystics believe in the integral or holistic experience of reality. We need not rest content with the partial truths revealed by astronomy, physics, biology or by history; each true in its own field, non-complete in itself, non-giving the whole picture; nor yet with the truth of mathematics or the truth of language, primarily truths of expression, obeying rules which men themselves have made. Beyond all these, beyond the contradictions of each separate truth, lies concealed, the supreme and final truth (7).

The following hymn of Guru Angad Dev alludes to the transcendental nature of reality (8) : "In this realm, one sees but without the eyes; one listens but without the ears; one walks but without the feet; one works but without the hands; one speaks but without the tongue; thus attaining life in death. O Nanak, one meets God after realisation of the divine law."

According to Upanishads, Brahman or Atman which is the ultimate reality is of the nature of existence (Sat), consciousness (Cit) and bliss (Ananda). It is one only and non-dual. The pluralistic universe is only an illusory appearance of Brahman or Atman due to maya or avidya. There are two views of reality in the Upanishads, the cosmic view and the acosmic view. These two views serve as the bases for theistic and absolutistic schools of thought in Vedanta.

Sikhism fundamentally differs from this standpoint of Vedanta. The world is neither maya nor a perversion. It is a dharamsala, a place for righteous actions. Guru Nanak discards the Vedantic conception of reality in Asa-di-Var and definitely proclaims that this universe is real, not an illusion (9). He says, "Real are thy continents; Real is the universe; Real are these forms and material objects; Thy doings are real, O Lord." Further, the Guru calls the universe as "His Mansion" (10). "This moving universe is the divine mansion of the Being of Truth; And the Lord Truth lives therein".

2. Concept of Universe/World

According to Deussen, there are four different views of creation of universe in the Hindu philosophy:

  1. Matter is eternal and Purusha (Creator) has always been independent of God. God does not create the matter but moulds it into creation as a potter maketh the earthen pots.
  2. Purusha is the cause and creator of matter. But after the creation, God does not interfere in its working and it continues according to its own fundamental laws.
  3. God himself transforms into creation, i.e., changing from nirguna to saguna form.
  4. Creation is a play of maya. It is a mere illusion. Only God is real.
The age of the Universe according to the Hindu World-view is infinite. There are innumerable Brahmas who are employed in the process of creation. Each Brahma has as life time of 100 years. On astronomical time scale, the year is much longer than our solar year. Some of the time units of Hindu Calendar are given below:

1 Maha yuga = S+D+T+K (Four Yugas) = 432 x 10^4 Solar years.

1000 Maha-yugas = Kalp = Day = Night (Of Brahma)

Age of Brahma = 73x432x10^10 Solar years.
Sikh Cosmology challenges the Hindu World-vew as archaic and based on dogma. In Japuji, Guru Nanak sums up his view-point about creation of the universe which he elaborates in a most scientific manner in Raga Maru Solhe. His creation hypothesis is summed up as follows:
"God created the Universe by uttering a Word" (11).

Guru Nanak poses the next question:
"What was the time and the moment,
The day and the month,
When the world was created?" (12)
In the next stanza, he talks of the prevailing view-points:

"Neither the Pundit can predict this date
by looking through the Purana texts,
Nor can the Qazi tell from the Koran,
Neither the Yogi nor any one else knows
the day, week, season and month of creation,
The Creator who creates the world,
He Himself knows the time." (13)
In Maru Solhe, Guru Nanak versifies his thoughts about the 'epoch' before creation which is referred to as 'sunya', a concept at variance with the Sunyata philosophy of Buddhism. The Guru envisages creation out of this 'sunya' Phase (14) :

'The creator was all alone. He created the water, earth and the sky; even the sun and the moon from this Sunya.'
According to Guru Amar Das, (15) the 'sunya' phase lasted for as long as 36 yugas (38.88 x 10^6 solar years) before the creation phase started.

According to the "Big Bang" model of the Universe, the creation started some 20 billion years ago from the "big bang" epoch in the history of the Universe when infinitely denser matter, 'Primeval Atom,' exploded, creating an immense flux of radiation (energy quantas). Within a microsecond, elementary particles were created, which are building blocks of matter. From this primeval nebular medium known as 'gas-cloud', galaxies and solar systems emerged. This creation process is going on till date. Stars are born in galaxies, a million times brighter and heavier than our Sun, grow from 'red giants' to 'white dwarfs' and explode either as 'supernovas' or turning into invisible "black holes." It is predicted that 'black holes' are such demons that can annihilate the solar systems and other celestial bodies. Such is the fate of this universe, yet to be fully explored by cosmologists.

This wonderful drama of creation is elucidatged further by Guru Nanak in his mystic reverie in Maru Solhe, which has assumed the role of touchstone for Sikh cosmology, vis-a-vis its scientific counterpart. Surprisingly, there is a perfect correspondence between the epoch of 'big-bang' and the creation out of sunya phase as enunciated in Guru Granth (16).

"From the True Lord, proceeded the air, and from air became the water. From the water, God created the entire world, and in every heart He infused His light"

The Guru further elucidates (16a) :
"For billions of years, there was nothing but utter darkness. There was neither day nor night, nor moon, nor sun, but the Lord alone sat in profound trance. Neither there was creation, nor air, nor water. There were no continents, nor underworlds, nor seven oceans, nor rivers, nor the flowing of water. There was neither death, nor time. There was no Brahma, nor Vishnu or Shiva.

When He so willed, He created the world and supported the firmament without support. He created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and extended the love of mammon. He founded the continents, solar systems and underworlds, and from the Absolute self, he became manifest."
Guru Arjan Dev describes, in Sukhmani (17), the myriad forms of creation:

"There are millions and millions of galaxies and solar systems in the universe. The phenomenon of creation has occurred so many times. But the one Lord remains for ever and ever."

The riddle of creation of the Universe will remain an enigma for cosmologists, and there is no final word yet in cosmology. About the present theories and models, we may conclude with a quotation of the Tenth Master from Akal Ustat in the Dasam Granth (18) :

"Everyone explains the creation process according to his intellect, but no one can tell, O Lord, how You first created the Universe."

(c) Concept of Ideal Man/Society

The most important concept in the Sikh World-view is the creation of an Ideal man in the universe, the 'Gurmukh' of Guru Nanak and the 'Khalsa' of Guru Gobind Singh. In the opening stanza of Japuji, Guru Nanak poses the question (19) :

"How can we become Sachiara?
How can we break the bonds of falsehood"?

And then he answers himself in the same stanza (19) :

"By obeying His Will, as ordained by Him."

Guru Nanak makes a radical departure from the earlier Indian religious systems in expounding his concept of Gurmukh, the harbinger of dharamsal on this earth. The Gurmukh promotes the Naam culture of Guru Granth. In Siddha-Goshth, Guru Nanak propounds and promulgates his concept of ideal man, the Gurmukh. When the siddhas ask the Guru to spell out the reasons of his quest (Udasis). The Guru gave an emphatic reply (20), 'I am looking out for a Gurmukh in the World. The Guru has a firm belief that God has created the earth so that man can attain the emancipated state of a Gurmukh. (21)

It is in the background of his spiritual experience and his concept of God, that Guru Nanak lays down the ground rules and methodology of his system. (22) The first corollary of it is that withdrawal, monasticism and asceticism are unacceptable and instead, the householder's life is accepted. He condemns the yogis for "being idlers, and not being ashamed of begging alms at the very door of the householder whose life they spurn." He declares that liberation is possible even while playing and laughing and that the God-centred (Gurmukh) lives truthfully as a householder. In Siddha-Goshth, Guru Nanak gives a beautiful analogy (23) to explain his concept of a householder's life: "The life of a worldly man should be like that of a lotus on the lake, and as of the duck on the river, living in them and still unstained by their waters."

To sum up, in words of Puran Singh, "If the Sikh, as he was born, had ever been afforded opportunities of spiritual isolation from the rest of the world, to develop his powers of self-realisation, and his instincts of art and agriculture and colonisation, his would have been by now, one of the best societies of divinely inspired labourers, of saint-soldiers living by the sweat of their brow" (24) .

"But Brahminism was there to engulf it from within. His political temper, the result of his complete mental liberation and his passionate love of liberty pitched him against the Mughals from the time of its birth. Out of the jaws of death, if the Khalsa has still come out, there is much hope for it yet. All is not yet lost" (25)

References

  1. Nirbhai Singh, Hermeneutics of Sikhism in contemporary Contextuality, J. of Religious Studies, vol. XXIII,no.2, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1993
  2. Kharak Singh, "Sikhism : A Miri-Piri System," Dharam Prachar Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, 1994.
  3. Puran Singh, "Spirit of the Sikh", Part II, Vol. 1, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1980
  4. Sri Guru Granth Sahib p. 290
  5. Ibid, p. 250
  6. "Essays on Hinduism", PunjabiUniversity, Patiala, 1968.
  7. Virk, H.S. "History and Philosophy of Science", Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1988.
  8. Sri Guru Granth Sahib p. 139
  9. Ibid, p. 463
  10. Ibid, p. 463
  11. Ibid, p. 3.
  12. Ibid, p. 4
  13. Ibid, p. 4.
  14. Ibid, p. 1037
  15. Ibid, p. 949.
  16. Ibid, p. 1035.
  17. Ibid, p. 276
  18. Akal Ustat, Dasam Granth
  19. Sri Guru Granth Sahib: p.1.
  20. Ibid. p. 939
  21. Ibid. p. 941
  22. Kharak Singh, "Sikhism : A Miri-Piri System", Dharam Parchar Committee (SGPC), Amritsar (1994)
  23. Sri Guru Granth Sahib: p. 938
  24. Puran Singh, 'Spirit of the Sikh' Part II, Vol. 2, P. 321 Punjabi University, patiala, 1981./
  25. Ibid, p. 322.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Within your hands...

A family friend had just passed away, so my family and I went to take a look at the casket in lieu of his funeral tomorrow. It just got me thinking a bit about Akal Purakh and his role in life and death, in that in many ways, our lives are guided but dependant on the choices that we have made. Our friend was a true Gursikh and even after the illnesses that he had suffered, he still looked in peace.

Gauree Bairaagan, Fourth Mehl:
Just as the mother, having given birth to a son, feeds him and keeps him in her vision - indoors and outdoors, she puts food in his mouth; each and every moment, she caresses him.
In just the same way, the True Guru protects His GurSikhs, who love their Beloved Lord. ||1||
O my Lord, we are just the ignorant children of our Lord God.
Hail, hail, to the Guru, the Guru, the True Guru, the Divine Teacher who has made me wise through the Lord's Teachings. ||1||Pause||
The white flamingo circles through the sky, but she keeps her young ones in her mind; she has left them behind, but she constantly remembers them in her heart.
In just the same way, the True Guru loves His Sikhs. The Lord cherishes His GurSikhs, and keeps them clasped to His Heart. ||2||
Just as the tongue, made of flesh and blood, is protected within the scissors of the thirty-two teeth who thinks that the power lies in the flesh or the scissors? Everything is in the Power of the Lord.
In just the same way, when someone slanders the Saint, the Lord preserves the honor of His servant. ||3||
O Siblings of Destiny, let none think that they have any power. All act as the Lord causes them to act.
Old age, death, fever, poisons and snakes - everything is in the Hands of the Lord. Nothing can touch anyone without the Lord's Order.
Within your conscious mind, O servant Nanak, meditate forever on the Name of the Lord, who shall deliver you in the end. ||4||7||13||51|| (SGGS: 168)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Site update

I've been trying to spend some spare time getting the rest of the site up and running. So far, things are starting to come together in the "Essays / Thoughts" section where in addition to the ebook I mentioned last time, I have also put up two Rehat Maryadas, one from Damdama Taksal, and the other from SGPC (both in English).

I feel that both are good in terms of their explanations: Sikhism is not a religion based on blind faith. Everything that we do serves a purpose, and without knowledge of that purpose, it becomes a ritual. Both of these Rehats have helped me in finding some of these reasons to better understand the true nature of Sikhism. More good reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

God's Debris

Have any of you guys heard of Scott Adams? He's the guy responsible for the Dilbert cartoons like this one:


Anyways, it turns out he's more than meets the eye. Not only is he a vegetarian (and vegan I think), but he has written one of the more amazing books that I've read in a while "God's Debris". It's actually a spiritual book if you can believe it, and it discusses God and possibilities, and I think it fits in with the Sikhi view very nicely. He also emailed it out as an ebook to all of the subscribers to his newsletter, and here it is!

My favorite shabad

I am a big science geek, and so when I saw this shabad for the first time, I instantly fell in love with it. Tell me what you think :)

Maaroo, First Mehl
"For endless eons, there was only utter darkness.
There was no earth or sky; there was only the infinite Command of His Hukam.
There was no day or night, no moon or sun; God sat in primal, profound Samaadhi. ||1||
There were no sources of creation or powers of speech, no air or water.
There was no creation or destruction, no coming or going.
There were no continents, nether regions, seven seas, rivers or flowing water. ||2||
There were no heavenly realms, earth or nether regions of the underworld.
There was no heaven or hell, no death or time.
There was no hell or heaven, no birth or death, no coming or going in reincarnation. ||3||
There was no Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva.
No one was seen, except the One Lord.
There was no female or male, no social class or caste of birth; no one experienced pain or pleasure. ||4||
There were no people of celibacy or charity; no one lived in the forests.
There were no Siddhas or seekers, no one living in peace.
There were no Yogis, no wandering pilgrims, no religious robes; no one called himself the master. ||5||
There was no chanting or meditation, no self-discipline, fasting or worship.
No one spoke or talked in duality.
He created Himself, and rejoiced; He evaluates Himself. ||6||
There was no purification, no self-restraint, no malas of basil seeds.
There were no Gopis, no Krishna, no cows or cowherds.
There were no tantras, no mantras and no hypocrisy; no one played the flute. ||7||
There was no karma, no Dharma, no buzzing fly of Maya.
Social class and birth were not seen with any eyes.
There was no noose of attachment, no death inscribed upon the forehead; no one meditated on anything. ||8||
There was no slander, no seed, no soul and no life.
There was no Gorakh and no Maachhindra.
There was no spiritual wisdom or meditation, no ancestry or creation, no reckoning of accounts. ||9||
There were no castes or social classes, no religious robes, no Brahmin or Kh'shaatriya.
There were no demi-gods or temples, no cows or Gaayatri prayer.
There were no burnt offerings, no ceremonial feasts, no cleansing rituals at sacred shrines of pilgrimage; no one worshipped in adoration. ||10||
There was no Mullah, there was no Qazi.
There was no Shaykh, or pilgrims to Mecca.
There was no king or subjects, and no worldly egotism; no one spoke of himself. ||11||
There was no love or devotion, no Shiva or Shakti - no energy or matter.
There were no friends or companions, no semen or blood.
He Himself is the banker, and He Himself is the merchant. Such is the Pleasure of the Will of the True Lord. ||12||
There were no Vedas, Korans or Bibles, no Simritees or Shaastras.
There was no recitation of the Puraanas, no sunrise or sunset.
The Unfathomable Lord Himself was the speaker and the preacher; the unseen Lord Himself saw everything. ||13||
When He so willed, He created the world.
Without any supporting power, He sustained the universe.
He created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; He fostered enticement and attachment to Maya. ||14||
How rare is that person who listens to the Word of the Guru's Shabad.
He created the creation, and watches over it; the Hukam of His Command is over all.
He formed the planets, solar systems and nether regions, and brought what was hidden to manifestation. ||15||
No one knows His limits.
This understanding comes from the Perfect Guru.
O Nanak, those who are attuned to the Truth are wonderstruck; singing His Glorious Praises, they are filled with wonder. ||16||3||15||" (SGGS 1035)
The formation of the universe, a beautiful thing...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quotes on religion

I've always believed in the close relationship between science and religion, and how Sikhism, like other religions, are open minded. Some quotations on the matter:

Rev. Patricia Templeton

  • "A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all."

Albert Einstein
  • "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom."
  • "What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life."
  • "Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind."

Guru Amar Daas Jee
  • "Acknowledge your origin, and then you shall know your Husband Lord, and so understand death and birth." (SGGS 441)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My first post!

Vaheguroo jee ka Khalsa!
Vaheguroo jee kee Fateh!

Welcome to my little home on the web. I hope that by making this page, I may help to not only clarify Sikhism and what it stands for, but also to help forward my understanding of Sikhism. Of course, feedback, in any form, is appreciated.

I hope that I've made this site relatively simple, nothing complicated and no cool flash banners so that I may focus more on my content than on my style. On the left is an RSS feed that I swiped from Google News that I think is relavent to the site. Actually it kinda saddened me the first time I looked at the news feed... it seems that most Sikh press is related to violence or problems in the panth. Sikhism was never meant to be violent and we have all the systems in place, right within our Guru Granth Sahib, to prevent all this from occurring in the first place. Disagree? Then read into my site to see how.

I've split up my site into 3 sections: About Sikhi which describes some of the basic background of Sikhism for those who may not be so familiar; Essays / Thoughts where I go into detail on my personal thoughts (maybe right, maybe wrong) on what I see inside the panth; and finally Related links that I think are especially cool and have been useful resources in my own search.