Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is seeking Truth really simple?

Over the years I have heard and talked about people looking and seeking Truth in everyday life. What I don’t understand is that why is “It” so hard to find? Why are we humans so hung up into the caste system, class distinctions, religious distinctions, racism and materialism? One of the things Guru Nanak said was that Truthful living is even higher than the Truth. Then I ask, why are we even looking for Truth and why don’t I just try to live truthfully to my best and everything else should be taken care for? Other question comes to mind then is what is a truthful living, for Sikhs it is a life of Seva (service to humanity), Simran (meditation on the creator) and honest earning. Since all of this seem so simple, what I don’t understand is that why are we so hung up on things above. Is it because everything in the current system of state economies is tied to money? Money is needed for even basic human needs such as food, medicine, clothing and shelter. Then how much is enough? Would a simple house in countryside with a few animals be enough to lead a simple, peaceful, honest life? It probably would be a poor life. Then what happens if my wife and kids get sick and I don’t have the money to buy them medicine? What kind of education would my kids be getting? Would I be able to afford clothes? Does this mean I need to save more for these things? What about Dasvand? Is buying the best jewelary, gadgets and toys like gamecube or a gocart etc. for my family being too materialist or bringing joy to them is more important? There is no end to all this? Sometimes I question myself as to where can I live on this earth that would simply fulfill the above requirements of Sikh faith. Then questions come, how did people like Jesus, Guru Nanak, and Buddha live? Did they carry money around or people just fed them wherever they went since they had the Divine presence? They must have had the same human needs as anyone else? I wish I knew the answers to these questions, and if the life were real simple, we would have all found the Truth. I guess I will just have to continue to live in the best truthful way as I possibly can, no matter where I am on this Earth.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ambrosial hours at Gurdwara, what a peaceful thing!

Even though, I am working towards getting up early mornings and doing the prayers. It is sometimes a very hard thing to do. For the last few weeks I have tried to get up early and attend Gurudwara in the early morning. There is a Fremont Gurdwara on my way to work. Before starting work, I decided to pay a visit. It was just a beautiful thing. When I got there, around 5:15AM, Japji Sahib recitation was already going. There was one more person besides me, a much younger to my surprise, with a Gutka in his hand, reading Gutka and listening to the Granthi recite Japji Sahib. It was just a peaceful feeling. I attended about an hour or so, went to the langar hall, had chah, jarda and pakoris and I continued my way to work. Everytime I go in the morning, what I am amazed at is the dedication and devotion with which men and women sevadars work in the langar and people that recite morning prayers.

Yesterday, I woke up around 4AM, after bath I decided to head to Gurdwara for early morning Diwan. Again. All I can say is that it was just a beautiful thing in the morning and made my day. Even though I was the only attendee besides sevadars at the kitchen and granthi. I wish there were more people in the mornings. It definitely changes your whole perspective of things, when a morning is started with a sangat. For people that have not done so, please try to find some time if there is a Gurudwara close by and attend in the morning. You will see what I mean! Next Sunday, I will be a Sevadar in the Kitchen in the morning. They start around 6AM.

Who’s to blame for ignorance?

Yesterday, I was waiting for my daughter’s soccer team to finish with their team pictures, when suddenly a lady approached me with a piece of paper in her hand and asked me a question “Are you Abdul?” which probably was one of the soccer coaches for her kids team. I kindly replied no. Then she presented me with another Middle Eastern sounding name on that paper. I said I have no clue, and then I said “are you asking me all this since I wear a turban?” She walked off and I never got an answer back. She wasn’t rude or anything. How can she just assume that out of 400-500 kids and adults, the guy with a turban should be Abdul or some other Muslim sounding Middle Eastern. I wish I could just lecture her on Sikhism or hand her a flyer that could just show the difference between Sikhs and Muslims.

What gets me is that whom should I blame for all this ignorance among people about different religions or cultures of the world? Do I blame the American school system for not teaching or do I blame the western media for not enough coverage or failure of the government for not caring or the people which just don’t care to learn about other cultures? Why is suddenly there an increase in Islamic studies such as papers, media reports, books, documentaries and analysis etc. in schools and other institutions of this country? Did it have to be 9-11 attacks for this sudden increase? I really don’t have the answer. Even after these attacks, I would say that if a survey were done, more than even half of the country would not even know the difference between a Sikh and Muslim. And that almost all of the people that wear turban in America are non-Muslims and are not from Middle East. What I conclude from this is that Sikhs are left to do more on their own to educate public, be in the media, tell and write their own stories, volunteer themselves out there in normal American life to educate people. I look at the condition of African Americans and Native Americans and other minorities and look at people around me at work and in social life, and I ask, does anybody really care about the poverty level, education or other needs of these people. They are pretty much left on their own to educate themselves, find work and survive. This analogy does not mean that Sikhs are a poor minority, but what I am trying to say is that road is not an easy one for Sikhs either. In order for Sikhs to survive and keep thriving in future, they have to create their own media companies, open their own businesses, create jobs for themselves, support each other in time of need and most importantly keep teaching Sikhism and Gurmukhi to their kids in America on their own.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Soccer Anyone or should I say “futbol?

For the last 8 years or so, I have been a volunteer coach with Pleasant Hill Martinez Soccer Association (PHMSA) which is regional part of the bigger American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO). I started with my daughter and now with my youngest son who just turned 8 last week. I can believe how much fun it is coaching. Sometimes it feels like I am having more fun than the kids. There have been seasons where we didn’t lose a single game and there have been others where we did not win a single game, but it is all fun. Some parents think it is all in the coaching, but I think it is all in the team. PHMSA has a real good coach training program here They bring in these players from mostly England to teach soccer in America. Most of them work thru a company called Major League Soccer (MLS) which holds training camps for kids, coaches and refrees. You don’t have to be a soccer player to teach and in fact I am a lousy one myslef. Even in the training video, they show that a lot of great soccer teams have had coaches which never played soccer in their lives. So please get out there and volunteer. One of these days I will post some pictures from the years past and present.

Till next time, Goal! Goal! Goal!

Is Guru Granth Sahib just another ordinary book?

A few years back there was a news story about Guru Granth Sahib being put in a library in England next to all other books. Recently I have been thinking about this and my take on this is that it can not be treated just like another book, because it essentially is the same Divine Light (Ek Jot, Ek Noor) that flew thru Guru Nanak thru Guru Gobind Singh Ji. To call it a just another book is to just say that all the Gurus from Guru Nanak thru Guru Gobind, and other sufi saints and Bhagats whose bani is in the Guru Granth Sahib were just ordinary men. Were Jesus and Mohammad just ordinary men, I probably don’t think so. If I show disrespect to the Guru Granth Sahib, it would show that I probably would have acted the same way if Guru Nanak or Guru Arjan or any of the other Gurus were present. I have seen some of the people take our holy scripture so lightly that respect for the Guru is almost gone. I guess this comes from comparing the Guru Granth Sahib with Bhagwad Gita or Bible which can be just placed in a library like other books. I don’t know about Quran, but from the recent Newsweek story about disrespect for Quran in the U.S. prison, I would think Muslims probably don’t put it in the libraries.

Would love to hear other people’s take on this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Suicide and Sikhism?

A few days ago I read news about a woman committing suicide with her children in front of a train in England. This just makes me sad and heartfelt. What I don’t understand is why men and women that are supposed to be "Sikhs of the Guru" would do such acts? What could be that bad in life? I guess her faith in Akal Purakh Waheguru is lost and they feel no one in this world can help them, husband, parents, brothers, sisiters, neighbors, in-laws, Gurudwara and not even anyone in the the Khalsa community which was known for helping raise orphans left behind by Hindu and Sikhs alike and hindu women sex slaves freed from Mughals attacks on India. Those brave Sikh men and women martyrs come to mind that didn't lose faith, sacrificed everything and fought all the way till end. They didn't give up hope.  Life is beautiful and let us cherish it.  Suicide seems cowardly and I don't think a Sikh of the Guru would do such an act.  He or she would fight till death but not give up Our Gurus did not go on hunger strikes or give up.  They taught us how to live free life.  I know it is easy for me to say and I have not experienced a life of real poverty, but here is my take on it if I ever get into this situation.  If I in debt, so what?  Let it all go!  What is the worst?  They could put me in jail or I would have to live on the streets, so what, I am still breathing.  This doesn't mean get in to huge debt though.  Live within your financial means and don't worry about what people say.  And, yes, tomorrow is another day and things could only go upwards and better from this point on.  Don't give a crap if you family ignores you, don't give a crap if your boss fires you from the job, don't worry if you don't have any money in your pocket.  Satguru is always with you or as a Gursikh will say "Ang sung Waheguru!"  You can always go to Gurdwara, do seva, enjoy langar and feel good about yourself for contributing to humanity.  Guru's langar will satisfy your hunger while you look for a job and place to live.  I also don’t understand why a Gurusikh would also go on hunger strike, since that is almost like committing suicide. Darshan Singh Feruman come to mind who died because of hunger strike in the 1960’s.   Don't get me wrong here, I have the utmost respect for him and others for fighting for justice, having compassion for humanity and causes and having the courgae to do it.  Who am I to judge anyways?  And, when does a Gursikh or Sikh community in general would know that all means have failed and it is now time to pick up the sword to fight against these injustices. Should Bhai Feruman have picked up the sword instead of going on hunger strike?  I don't know but these questions do come to mind.  True gursikh men and women just don’t commit suicides, they fight for justice peacefully and if that is denied they take up arms as a last resort. I wish the woman had someone to talk to that could show her the Guru’s way. I hope we can learn lessons from all this.  A loss of a loved one would be the hardest for anyone! I really don't have anything to say on this except that only listening, reading, reciting Guru's words or advice from a true Gursikh would be able to help cope with the loss.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bay Area Kabaddi Tournaments!!

For those Kabaddi fans out there, Kabaddi tournaments will be held on September 24 at CSU Hayward in the bay area from 9 till evening. Also, relay races for kids. Since I have been playing with my 11 and 8 year olds for the last few years at home on carpet, we are planning to attend the event. It has been almost 30 years since I have played and about 25 years since I saw a Kabaddi game. Some of my coworkers are intertested when I told them what it was and how it is played.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Another Sikh blogger!

I can't believe that I have created my own blog. Well it brings me into the nineties now. Can't wait to tell my wife and kids.