Monday, May 15, 2006

Whose religious/cultural rights and beliefs?

As I was reading the story below, my thinking takes me to a Sikh point of view on this whole thing and a lot of questions come up as to what is normal and what is not. Which religious practice should I be defending or going along with as a Sikh? Now the question comes, who defines what in a society? Is it the majority of the people that make up the society? How right or wrong are they? Should the people that form the minority be allowed to practice whatever religious belief or custom they may happen to carry no matter how different they are from the belief of the majority society? The examples are enormously mind-boggling and same practice could look very extreme to some and very normal to others depending upon personal belief. What about religious or animal sacrifices, holy baths as in Ganges, idol worship, sorcery, pilgrimages, numerology, healing, palmistry, ghosts, demons, angels, fairies, vegetarianism, eating meat, hunting, marriage ceremonies (Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Christian etc), polygamy, homosexuality, lying, yoga, keeping slaves, racism, casteism, women sati practice, women sex slaves, child labor, sex education etc.? And, how about mythical stories of Ram, Hanuman, Krishan, David, Goliath, Greek gods, Egyptian gods. Indian gods and many other cultures? I mean the list can go on and on forever. Who defines which practice is religious and which is like a cult? How would a group like the one in the news story that has different practices would be viewed in a majority Sikh society or in a Khalsa Raj? Now some of the Sikhs would be up in arms with me even talking about the subjects of polygamy, child abuse or other subjects that are kind of historically not talked about. I guess it is not like alcoholism or drugs or killing of girl child or lying or cheating. I look at it this way, if I these things are not allowed to discuss and talk about now when Sikhs are a minority everywhere, how can be allowed during a Khalsa Raj? Who would define what is right or wrong behavior in a Khalsa Raj? Would there be a death penalty? Some people even think that reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a Khalsa Raj. Even at the local Gurdwara I visit, there are messages pasted to bring back Sikh soverienity lost since 1849. Now I have heard and read that some of the so called “Sikh Maharajas” (it’s an oxymoron) even in our history has had multiple wives such as Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and I think also whoever was the Maharaja of Patiala before Yadvinder Singh (the father of Amrinder Singh, the current chief minister of Punjab) which had like 200-300 wives or something. Is a Sikh that calls himself or herself a maharaja or maharani really following the rehat?

I believe answers to these questions would also range from very simple to very complex depending upon person belief and state of mind.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-na/2006/may/13/051300253.html

On the other hand, why am I even thinking about stupid things like this when Waheguru is taking care of it all. I guess thats what it means when they say someone is wandering in duality.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

It's ok to get strayed in duality...sometimes its the only thing that takes us towards clarity. I understand your frustration a 100% when u talk of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh - his lifestyle, the khalsa raj and the sikh panth. How does all that fall in one line? That's where Gurudwara committees/Sikh experts annoy me. Why are you giving mixed messages to people? We are learners and we are trying to understand all the rules formulated. But when you analyze situations they don't add up right. I don't think we can blame ourselves for that confusion and unrest. At the end of the day, you let your conscience filter what appeals to it most...and hopefully by the grace of God, it takes you to the righteous path :)

10:40 PM, May 16, 2006  
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