Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sat Kartar!

A beautiful albino peacock!

Sun and moon at the North pole!

The nature at its best! Got these via email from my mother-in-law!

Friday, September 29, 2006

India and Indians doing things right!

When I read the following different news, I am excited and encouraged by the steps that India is taking and Indians in general are envisioning towards economic and social growth of all states and not just Punjab. This is really exciting and hope will continue! I just hope that all Chief Ministers will share this common progressive vision of PM Manmohan Singh, especially current and future Punjabi CMs. Please read if you like: (state of states) (relations with Pakistan)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today's sweet Hukamnama! (What do you think of Gurmukhi-English translation of first line?"

[September 28, 2006, Thursday 05:15 AM. IST]
English Translation :
In the flames of egotism, he is burnt to death; he wanders in doubt and the love of duality. The Perfect True Guru saves him, making him His own. This world is burning; through the Sublime Word of the Gurus Shabad, this comes to be seen. Those who are attuned to the Shabad are cooled and soothed; O Nanak, they practice Truth. 1 THIRD MEHL: Service to the True Guru is fruitful and rewarding; blessed and acceptable is such a life. Those who do not forget the True Guru, in life and in death, are truly wise people. Their families are saved, and they are approved by the Lord. The Gurmukhs are approved in death as in life, while the self-willed manmukhs continue the cycle of birth and death. O Nanak, they are not described as dead, who are absorbed in the Word of the Gurus Shabad. 2 PAUREE: Serve the Immaculate Lord God, and meditate on the Lords Name. Join the Society of the Holy Saints, and be absorbed in the Lords Name. O Lord, glorious and great is service to You; I am so foolish  please, commit me to it. I am Your servant and slave; command me, according to Your Will. As Gurmukh, I shall serve You, as Guru has instructed me. 2
Thursday, 14th Assu (Samvat 538 Nanakshahi)

I am not an expert in Gurmukhi or English or Punjabi but the question I have is on how can "Sansari Jeeve" be translated into "he" in English? I thought "sansari jeeve" was "Earthly Creature" without any gender associations and could be male or female or anything other creatures. I see that in some transaltions of Sikh prayers as well, "he" is often used instead of using "one". Please educate why that is and bhul chuk maaf!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Help for Punjabi Women! Call NARIKA - Organization against domestic violence

Here is an organization that ideally should not exist since domestic violence should not exist. But the reality is otherwise. Sadly 40% of all calls made to Narika are from Punjabi Women. I don't know religious backgrounds of households and just hope that all of these 40% callers are not victims of Punjabi Sikhs. If they are, those guys sure are a disgrace to Punjab, India and Sikhism. Anyways, Sikh or non-Sikh, it doesn't matter and should not happen at all. Gladly, 40% of Punjabi women and other 60% have the courage and smarts to call Narika and the strong will to change their lives. Please support them if you can! Here is a weblink:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sikho Sikhi Sikho! Sikh Life and State of Sikh Ethics

I just read the following news and started wondering about ethical ways of so many of Sikhs. I don’t even know if the word “Sikh” is proper to describe such people whose very acts and ways bring disgrace to community and are very controversial. And, my post is not to single out an individual or the Sikh community since very same acts happen within all other communities, religions, races and cultures.

The story I was reading was about Mr. Parkash Singh Badal accepting money from Indian Tobacco Company. I understand that he is a politician representing a political party and not a religious party, but his party also has so much influence on Sikh institutions and Jathedars that it is hard to draw line sometimes. I have also read how Chief Minister Amrinder Singh also is linked to liquor moghuls, corruption in Dubai and whatever else that we may not know. Then come the allegations of rape against Surjit Singh Barnala’s son, controversial land sale of Simranjit Mann’s son, and there are many other Sikh leaders like them that it is hard to tell who is telling the “truth” anymore. Aaah! The word “Truth”. Isn’t Sikhi Jeevan all about seeking “truth” and living a “truthful life”? I wonder if someone has done a research as to how many times the word “Sat”, “Sacha”, “satya”, appears in Guru Granth Sahib. And, yet so many of us fail the Guru in everyday actions of our life. If any of these Sikh leaders are amritdharis, it is even worse, because people like me look up to the Amritdharis as role models who are trying to get there as Sikhs of the Guru. I understand the Gurus are the ultimate role models, leaders, guides etc. and show us the right and truthful path and as Sikhs, we try to follow in their footsteps. But actions of elected leaders whom Sikhs trust with heart and mind affect the whole community.

when comes ordinary people like me, a lot of questions come to mind about ethics. Sometimes I wonder and question myself as to how truthful and righteous am I really living? How do I perform checks and balances on my actions in everyday life? And, where do I draw the line to the point of being ridiculous on some? I mean the possibilities are just endless. Same actions could be considered big or small depending on a point of view. How much of talking rude to kids or arguing with wife, or neighbor or flipping someone off or going over speed limit or speeding thru a red light or browsing thru internet at work or driving past a stranded person on a freeway is truthful living? Then, how about turbaned Sikhs owning and selling liquor, cigarettes, porn magazines and films, gambling in casinos and using that money for langars in Gurdwaras? How about the sevadaars accepting money from a liquor or a cigarette store owner for Akhand Path? How about cheating and lying on documents to immigrate to another country, lying about education credentials, lying to get government benefits, manipulations on tax returns and many others I can’t think off. I am not perfect either and probably guilty myself for some of them as well, unwillingly or unknowingly. But am I being too picky or serious to perform check and balance of my every action in daily life?

And, how about not taking Amrit for a fear of failure or better yet, taking one and then failing to keep commitment because of these checks and balances? Do I need to feel guilty about this that I may not be living a truthful life even if I take amrit? I don't think one should not take Amrit out of fear of not keeping committment but one definitely needs to keep in back of their mind, teh life of checks and balances of what may be ethical, righteous and truthful before and after making this committment. I may get away with cheating someone here, lying on education or whatever other bad actions that I may have done and not even know about but ultimately I have to account for all this in this or after life. I guess all anyone can do is to try with their best heart and right mind to the right things in life and leave the rest to Akal Purukh Waheguru! I guess deep down in heart, everyone of us knows what is wrong or right or truthful or controversial or unethical.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Great Book for Sikh Youth - Leadership by Turban

Here is a book that is very funny, thought provoking, and inspiring for young and old readers. It sure is a keeper! Also check out the turban talk on the website.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kimveer Gill - Another Lost Boy of Neverland!

I was just reading the news below about Indo-Canadian youth that went on a Columbine style shooting rampage in Montreal. I am shocked and start wondering about what kind of environment did he grow up in and what would be going thru a person's mind? The name Kimveer Gill sounds very Punjabi but it is hard to tell these days. I wish someone could have helped him and showed him the light of the Guru to keep him from straying away into something like that and killing innocent people. I wonder how many lost souls like this are there in this World. Why are all these killers so obsessed with Gothic stuff? There was a murder here in Bay Area in Lafayette that had very similar thing and that killer's obsession with all the Gothic stuff, wearing big crosses, trench coats, guns, knives, tough image, druggy image, loner attitude etc. Somehow they seem to lose it somewhere in the late teens. It is just sad sad sad!

Lesson: Please pay attention to your kids as to what they are doing and try to show them Guru's messsage early on. I love the beautiful lines out of Guru Granth Sahib in Japji Sahib:

asaNkh moorakh anDh ghor.
Countless fools, blinded by ignorance.
asaNkh chor haraamkhor.
Countless thieves and embezzlers.
asaNkh amar kar jaahi jor.
Countless impose their will by force.
asaNkh galvadh hati-aa kamaahi.
Countless cut-throats and ruthless killers.
asaNkh paapee paap kar jaahi.
Countless sinners who keep on sinning.
asaNkh koorhi-aar koorhay firaahi.
Countless liars, wandering lost in their lies.
asaNkh malaychh mal bhakh khaahi.
Countless wretches, eating filth as their ration.
asaNkh nindak sir karahi bhaar.
Countless slanderers, carrying the weight of their stupid mistakes on their heads.
naanak neech kahai veechaar.
Nanak describes the state of the lowly.
vaari-aa na jaavaa ayk vaar.
I cannot even once be a sacrifice to You.
jo tuDh bhaavai saa-ee bhalee kaar.
Whatever pleases You is the only good done,
too sadaa salaamat nirankaar. 18
You, Eternal and Formless One. 18

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Talk about a miracle!

This is an interesting story about Thailand Sikh Community and how their Gurdwara miraculously survived during World War II. Also, interesting to note are the 84 steps of stairs, like Bauli Sahib Gurdwara.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Young Sikhs aim for the Skies!

Here is a newstory about a Sikh youngster aiming very high, literally! I wish they had more adult Sikh role models in Navy, Airforce and Army for young kids to look up to and hope there will be a Khalsa Navy, Army and Air Force one day and then at least Sikhs will know what and who they are fighting for and are not merely being used and abused as mercenary soldiers by some powers. Read if you like.

Friday, September 8, 2006

They let their daughters live!

Here is a news story that shows how some villages have zero tolerance for female foeticide. It is funny, how Hindustan Times labels this as a Punjab problem and completely ignores that this trend is more common in Tamilnadu, Gujrat and other states. Also, I wish it would an article on how this problem is due to women not being empowered and not being allowed to have rights and not afforded opportunities in India. I think Punjabi women are fair much better than women in the rest of India. My last trip, I saw hardly any women driving cars, scooters etc. in New Delhi, where Punjab was full of them. Well, nice thing is that Punjabis are acknowledging that the problem exists and are working on a remedy.,000900010001.htm

In Punjab, the battle for survival begins early for girls -in the womb. It is not a war they are known to winning (there are only 784 women to every 1000 men in the state). But Jalahmajra, a village in the state's Nawanshahar district, is willing to let its daughters live.
In some respects, it has achieved the impossible-- registering more female than male births (1100 against 1000 males). The government has responded with a prize of Rs 3 lakh for the village. Sukhwinder Kaur, who recently celebrated the birth of her first granddaughter, said: "We have prayed with folded hands to people to refrain from doing this deed. Whether it is a girl or a boy it does not matter."
So what worked here? A zero-tolerance approach to sex determination tests and a hawk-eyed vigil on pregnant women. "We have also linked it to the birth and death register. Once that is in place, we automatically come to know which particular pregnancy should have ended in a birth at what time. If that is not reflect in the birth register, it means something has gone wrong. We can then catch the culprits," civil surgeon Harcharan Singh said.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

What brings the sweetness, bitterness or poisonous nature in things?

As my wife and I were sitting in the backyard past weekend, busy prepping and painting the house, I decided to take a break and picked some grapes from one of the grape vines in the yard. Man! they were just sweet! I start thinking spirituality asked my wife as to what make a them so sweet? She is like, I don't know. I mean, dirt and water are same everywhere. And, if I were to mix these two ingredients in a separate bowl, I don’t get sweet or bitter or poisonous results then how come these two ingredients make things the way they are. Do I just accept that it is just the nature of things and this is how God made them or Do I look for a scientific explanation as to how chemicals and nutrients mix and change in to these properties? I did take some chemistry in college and may be it will be helpful. And, then on Tuesday morning, I hear about the Alligator Guy, Steve Irwin in Australia dying from sting ray bite. I have learned a little about sea creatures and played in tide pools a little bit with snorkeling once, but I never knew these sting rays could be that deadly. Not only the jagged sharpness but the toxins on top of that. Those barbs have known to pierce thru a wooden plank in a boat. That is some power of a Sting ray! I mean what are the chances of a famous guy getting killed by a sting ray attack given the mathematical odds and history of these attacks. I guess it must be the nature of things and God must have made them the way they are.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

What is lacking in Sikh community?

After recent hate crime against a Sikh and an African American gentlemen, there have been a number of community forums held in the Santa Clara County on intercultural acceptance. I just happen to attend one such Public Forum last Thursday night in the City of Milpitas after work. It saddened me to find out that I was the only Sikh among 40-50 people and I don't even live in the county of Santa Clara. The attendees included Supervisor Pete McHugh, Congressman Mike Honda and other representatives from Police, District Attorney, media etc. I would have thought with such a large community in San Jose area, I would find a lot more Sikh representation (men or women). Anyways, it was a great forum, a lot of issues came up such as how to educate, and bring awareness, role models in Police force especially Sikhs. The Chief of Police of city of Milpitas asked me that if I knew of Sikhs, he would be willing to make exceptions on facial hair and articles of faith to hire them. I was really delighted and encouraged by such commitments. If you are local, please pass the word on to other Sikhs in our community. Hope more Sikhs will voice their opinions at forums like these. There is also an entity called "Santa Clara County Network for a hate free community". Their phone number is (408) 279-0111.

As I read the news story below

and one of my recent experiences above, I am trying to figure out why is there a lack of cohesiveness among Sikhs?

1) Because the community is poor and lacks resources, funding for education and bringing Sikh awareness
2) Because the community lacks will and commitment to help itself
3) Because the community lacks ability to organize itself
4) Because community lacks compassion for itself and others
5) Because community lacks a united vision
6) Waiting for a recognition from majority community

it could be some other reason or combination of the above. I wish I knew and could change.