Friday, April 28, 2006

To know Sikh way of life is one thing, but to live is totally another !

I have heard a lot of W.H. McLeod's books on Sikhism and partially read one of them during 80's. He sure seems to create a lot of controversy in his analysis of Sikh history and life of Sikh Gurus. I just want to say one thing to him and all of the readers who may follow him or criticize him. Read Japji Sahib yourself, or any of the banis in the Guru Granth Sahib, and reach your own conclusion. Here is a link:

To think or to know a religion or its history is a one thing, but to live it, feel it, and experience the Sikh values of karma, dharma, peace, truth, love, compassion, courage, discipline and devotion is totally another. Mr. McLeod may know and think Sikhi and may have lived in Punjab, read and researched history and on the life of Sikh Gurus and he even may be a great philosopher or analyst but he sure will never know what it feels like to live a Sikh way of life. To know, anylyze and think Sikhi is one thing, but to live like a Sikh is totally another. He has not lived it or felt it. It is kind of like a fat doctor who knows reasons, studies and effects of being fat but tells his/her patients to run, lose weight, gives advice on good diet and prescribing pills for obesity. I have read parts of Bible and watched many documentaries, lived in America with a wife who grew up Christian, know some Christian history, occasionally listen to Christian talk radios but even all of these things combined do not make me any expert of Christianity. I have tons of questions that logically do not make any sense to me about Christian faith and a church does not give me the same feeling of peace, courage, discipline, fearlessness, happiness and love towards God that I get from a Gurdwara or being with a Sikh.

The cartoon below also says it all:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Should Sikhs be allowed to carry kirpans thru airport security?

This is another one of those questions that was flowing thru my mind during commute this morning. I am not sure what the current TSA (Transportation Security Administration) policy is regarding this, but my thinking on this is that TSA should allow Sikhs to carry kirpans thru airport security. I don't wear a kirpan myself yet, but I think there are actually several good reasons for doing this and the benefits outweigh the restrictions. Traditionally, Sikhs are known all over the world and have historically held high values for defending themselves and other against terror, dying to defend their and other people’s faith and peace, asserting their will and right to live peacefully among various non-Sikh societies. These values of Sikhs for policing, securing and defending for peace, justice, freedom and security of others along with themselves goes along well with this war on terrorism. I would think Sikhs with kirpans would be a nice addition to a U.S. Marshall on an airplane who also shares the same values in serving and defending public. A Sikh with a kirpan would be like having an extra policeman or a U.S. Marshal at a site that needs securing or defending. Only if TSA could understand this? comes to think of it, I may actually write to the TSA chief regarding this, and may be it will click with them that it is not a bad idea after all. It would be a win win situation for both TSA and Sikhs. What is your take on this?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Not much to post!

Well, not been able to blog or have very limited internet access right now. The motherboard just died and probably would have to buy a new computer. There haven't been much to post either. May be its a sign that blogging has to slow down or stop or need to be more active outdoors and put Sikh things learned so far into practice. There is so much to learn in Sikhi that even a single lifetime won't be enough. I guess need to live it more than to think it or know it. Millions of thoughts, ideas, and wishes come and go about Sikhs and Sikhi stuff almost everyday but I can't remember not even one of them at the moment. They all seem so good at the time. Sometimes I wish I could do an instant download for posting later.

Oh yeah!, one of the thoughts was to post something about Sikh parents as to how challenging the job of Sikh parents is to raise kids in a non-Sikh environment, teach them Sikhi and Punjabi. Sometimes I get amazed as to how are some of the parents are able to instill Sikh values in their children keeping in mind the social pressure of TV, media, non-Sikh cultural environment, peer pressures, their own insecurities etc. They sure deserve a lot of credit which is often not given in the media including Sikh media. These are kind of parents that have been bringing Sikhi to where it is today and for keeping it alive and are helping shape Sikhs of the future. I have heard stories of Indian and western Sikh parents teaching Punjabi everyday to their kids in their early childhood. Punjabi teaching was kind of taken for granted in Punjab or may be still is but here in the west it is a challenge to keep interested in Punjabi given the outside pressures. Anyways, I am hoping to continue to blog, but probably at a much slower pace. Who own these blogging posts though?

I just read this on Sikhnet and would like to add the link to the post since it is related to Gurmukhi learning:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sikh faith tested again and again!

As I read the following news and the comments associated with it, several thoughts and questions come to mind:

Please do keep ion mind that I am in no way a judge of wrong or right way to handle situations and these are just thoughts and questions that need discussions:

1) Is soccer or any other game or hobby or a job more important to a Sikh than faith in Waheguru and commitment to faith? If no, then how do we explain carrying or wearing the dagger thru airport security? or removing turbans in France for getting an identification? If yes, then how do we justify committment? Do we really need soccer to stay fit, or can we stay fit other ways as required by our faith as well. The examples are numerous.

2) Does the World leaves really no option for Sikhs to function in a non-Sikh society peacefully and enjoy their life fully? Can we exist peacefully, engage, have fun, and function in the world of non-Sikhs, be it playing a sport like soccer, getting a job in a non-Sikh company, believing media of the non-Sikh world, joining armies of the non-Sikh world or do we need to create our own games, media, jobs, companies, armies, and whatever else we need to sustain and carry Sikhi forward into the century? This is the question I would like to ask the Jathedars of Sikhs as well since they also have a major part to play in building this future. Where do they see Sikhi 100 years from now and what are they doing to ensure a bright future for the sons and daughters of Guru Gobind Singh? Would we always play a second fiddle to the non-Sikh world? If the answer is yes, then we have already kind of failed our Gurus and really don't have much future.

3) Is it pure personal bias since it is hard to believe that a referee in England is not familiar with Sikhs and their faith? I can see may be here in the U.S. since not very many people know who Sikhs are in the U.S.

Tests of faith like above will come again and again as long as there are Sikhs and non-Sikhs and hatered, racism, prejudices, baises etc. exist in the World. The question is how well Sikhs are preparing themselves to ensure a bright future for their kids? Some people think the answer is in just cutting hair, being clean shaven and following things of the non-Sikh World to fit in. I say, once a soul is exposed and has enough love and understanding of Sikhi and Sikhs around them thru Gurdwaras, extended family members, friends etc. it is very hard to stay away and follow the non-Sikh World, especially when most of them still practise Sikhi in one form or another by going to Gurdwaras, thru following family traditions etc.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Khalsas who are way ahead of their time!

Here is one of Sikh bloggers I have linked to from time to time thru his comments on Sikhnet. He is very inspirational when comes to love and dedication to Sikhi. People like him sure can teach people like me who did not know what they were doing at age 23. From one of his earlier posts, it seems like he was a truth seeker from a very early age. Please read if you wish.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Vaisakhi Everyone!

Wish everyone a happy, prosperous and peaceful year ahead!

Wearing of Kesri turbans is even better as long as it is not some sort of political ploy by pro-khalistanis! This realy shows Sikh unification (kind of like green on Saint Patrick's day)!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Punjabi Sikh wedding in England

Well, we just got back from London last night with my daughter and son. I wished wife and the youngest one could have come as well, but it did not work out that way. It was great to see so many old and new faces at the wedding; people I had not seen for over 15 to 25 years and their sons, daughters etc. that I had never met. The guy who got married was a son of my cousin (meri bhua da pota) and was around six years old, when I saw him last in India. The wedding itself was a lot of fun with a people telling a lot of jokes, political discussions, bhangra, games with movie songs, shabads etc. Sadly, my cousin and other women of the house ended up having to do a lot of work as some of us men sit around and try to solve world’s problems. Some of us did help out but not as many as I would have thought. Its funny, during my childhood growing up in Punjab, I used to see more men helping out during weddings such as cutting vegetables, cooking jalebis and laddoos. I remember my taya cutting onins, carrots, gobhi, making jalebis, rolling boondis, karah parshad and helping out in Kitchen in almost every wedding. He could have made a great halwayee. Somehow it seems like it is slowly fading and more and more is left for women to do. But, Punjabi weddings sure are a lot of fun and would love to attend one again. I wish the amount of alcohol could be cut down. But, it was really nice to be on the other side and watch some people acting goofy, and emotional after drinking so much. The Anand Karaj at Gurdwara was nice and granthi did say some really nice things and explained the importance of Anand Karaj and lavan according to Gurmat. I am saying this because I went to a wedding of one of my friends who got married to a causaian girl, the granthi started preaching how wrong it is to marry outside of culture during the Anand Karaj ceremony which in my opinion was the most inappropriate thing to say as part of Guru's blessing. Here there was no such controversy. The shagan afterwards where people bless the couple and place money in couple's lap created a little controversy though since there were different opinions as to whether it was apporpriate to do it in front of the Guru Granth Saheb.

For me, the nice part of my trip was to see my 94 year old aunt (bhua) who is an amazing lady when it comes to being a full of energy, enthusiasm, discipline, hard work, loving and caring. She was the same as I remembered her from my childhood in India, always full of energy and in chardi kala. Here is the part that amazed me the most, inspite of not being able to see so clearly and having a weak eyesight, she starts her day by waking up at 4AM every morning, takes the morning bath, does the Guru parkash and recites Jap Ji Saheb by heart and reads the wak from Guru Granth Sahib. She can climb upstairs without any help or walking stick. Since I don’t have Guru Granth Saheb installed at my house, it was quite an experience to learn from her. Sometimes, I wish I knew Jap Ji Saheb and other banis by heart. I have heard all kinds of negative things about Gurbani recitation without understanding, but I have to say, to hear this 94 year old lady recite entire Jap Ji Saheb by heart was the most beautiful thing I had ever witnessed. It just showed the love and effort somebody has put into being a Gursikh. I so much wish and pray to be like her if I ever get to be that old.

The city of London itself is beautiful, but very expensive. We had bought a three day London Pass that is only available to tourists outside of England. Pass allowed us to explore various things like history, culture, transit system and our hosts took us to see Stonehenge which was a nice drive thru beautiful English countryside. It was also nice to see a big visible Punjabi community and more turbaned Sikhs working in all kinds of jobs from construction sites on highways (or motorways as they are called in England), at airport security, immigration and escort services, malls, restaurants, even doing ice skating and other things. To me, these guys make the true role models for future generations of Khalsa to come. Having just a basic cable here in the U.S. for the last 20 years, I was also shocked to see all these Punjabi channels thru sattelite dish that play non stop bhangra videos, bollywood soap opera, Indian news all day long including gurbani from Darbar Sahib. I have some opinions on some of these bhangra videos but that is a topic for another post. Overall, it was really a fun trip.

Pictures - coming soon!

Also, here is some really good information on Anand Karaj (Sikh wedding) and its real meaning to Sikhs if anyone is interested: