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?


Prabhu Singh said...

Compassion is so high amongst Sikh ideals. I want to see all humans equally and serve all. It is such a distraction to argue about meaningless issues. On the internet there are a bunch of Sikhs who are ready to tell people what's right and wrong for everything. Everything is God, right and wrong comes from the thinking of the individual. Compassion is right. If we feel like it's our need to influence others than we can only do so by being a good example and helping them when they need us.
At our Gurdwara we've had handicapped people in wheelchairs or regular chairs. Most of the time everybody is on the floor, but often times during weddings relatives from other backgrounds who've never sat on the floor in their lives come and are not physically capable of sitting on the floor. It's not like allowing handicapped people in the Gurdwara is going to open the floodgates to chairs being common. There are almost never chairs in the Gurdwara, but occasionally we have handicapped visitors who need them and are accomadated. It's being compassionate and not fanatic. There are always going to be exceptions of some kind in the world, we need to learn to focus on our own spiritual development and giving only service and compassion to others.

Khalsa4ever said...

I agree completely with your comment jee. Thanks!