Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Zinda Shaheed" is no different than a "Brave Hero". Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

I am not sure why Jathedar sahib should have to explain what the title Zinda Shaheed" means and why it was given?  Jathedar sahib did what he felt was the right thing to do at the time to save the life of a man who acted against injustices of Punjab and Indian government. This Title had been given before, in the 1920's to Gursikhs and their families who sacrificed their lives for getting control of Gurdwaras from mahants.  The other day I was reading a Punjabi article in the magazine "Indo_US Dialogue" about Sikh struggles in 1920's to get control their Gurdwaras and how SGPC came into being after those sacrifices. So how is this Zinda Shahid different than those?   I  mean how can chief minister who only got elected during Presidents rule with only 9% of the vote.  That is nothing less than a dictatorship and I am not a political pundit or analyst but I wouldn't be surprised if International communty actually considers that kind of voting legal or fair or a democratic mandate.  I am glad finally a Jathedar has made a decision to stand up to corrupt, arrogant, tyrant Indian government and the state backed arrogant Indian media who has always discriminated against Sikhs for the last 60 years and label Sikhs as radicals, separatists, terrorists etc. And, nice thing is that the whole global Sikh community is with all of the five Jathedars this time.  It also shows that Jathedars made a wise, compassionate decision and are able to stand up against injustices.  It is surprising that Hindu dominated Indian courts have never in last 25 plus years charged, jailed or hanged not even one Hindu radicals like Jagdish Tytler,Sajan Kumar, Amitabh Bachan, and many others like them who instigated killing thousands of Sikhs in 1984.

If Indian government was wise, it should listen to the demads and cries of Sikhs along with other communities and Indian media (not just Sikh media) should highlight these injustices.  Silence of majority Hindu community is like the silence of the Muslim community in the West after 9/11.  Bhai Balwant Singh shall not be hanged or it will haunt India for a long time to come.  I think Sikhs have made a decision where they stand, now India has to decide, how important are Sikhs to India.  India needs Sikhs as much as Sikhs need India.  It will never be a one way street and arrogance on any side will not prevail.  Laws and rules of Indian constitution shall be equally applied to all Indians or else there will be no constituion or government of India one day.  United, Sikhs, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and others in India all stand.  If India fails one, the whole India will fall.  Sikhs have to treated like equal partners in Indian fabric.

As long as Sikhs do not feel alienated in their own country, don't feel they lost their respect, dignity, and don't lose faith in the Indian democratic system and political process, Sikh will love and protect the mother India.  But respect, love has to be mutual.

I pray to Waheguru that Bhai Balwant Singh be not hanged and urge India to do the right thing.  He is a hero in the eyes of every Sikh for fighting against tyranny and injustice.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why read, recite, understand and worship the Shabad Guru?

The following verse by Guru Amar Das Ji on page 594 is one of many references in Guru Granth Sahib where Guru Ji emphasize understanding and following the instructions of the Satguru and recite the Lord's Name.  I think Guru Ji is saying that while reciting and meditating or remembering Lord's name, "Waheguru" or "Satnam" or by any other names or mantras that one may wish to chant, keep in mind what it means, why are you reciting it?  A glimpse of Lord's darshan is good but the whole World sees the Lord thru its creation but reciting and contemplating on Lord's name is what is going to give the ultimate mukti or salvation.  It is kind of like enjoying the painting without thinking about the artist who created it.  The entire Guru Granth Sahib emphasizes Naam, 24X7, everyday; (nitnem) for a Gursikh. 

ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ
सलोकु मः ३ ॥
Salok mėhlā 3.
Shalok, Third Mehl:

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ
सतिगुर नो सभु को वेखदा जेता जगतु संसारु ॥
Saṯgur no sabẖ ko vekẖ▫ḏā jeṯā jagaṯ sansār.
All the living beings of the world behold the True Guru.

ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ
डिठै मुकति न होवई जिचरु सबदि न करे वीचारु ॥
Diṯẖai mukaṯ na hova▫ī jicẖar sabaḏ na kare vīcẖār.
One is not liberated by merely seeing Him, unless one contemplates the Word of His Shabad.

ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਚੁਕਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ
हउमै मैलु न चुकई नामि न लगै पिआरु ॥
Ha▫umai mail na cẖuk▫ī nām na lagai pi▫ār.
The filth of ego is not removed, and he does not enshrine love for the Naam.

ਇਕਿ ਆਪੇ ਬਖਸਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਅਨੁ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਤਜਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ
इकि आपे बखसि मिलाइअनु दुबिधा तजि विकार ॥
Ik āpe bakẖas milā▫i▫an ḏubiḏẖā ṯaj vikār.
The Lord forgives some, and unites them with Himself; they forsake their duality and sinful ways.

ਨਾਨਕ ਇਕਿ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਮਰਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਹੇਤਿ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥੧॥
नानक इकि दरसनु देखि मरि मिले सतिगुर हेति पिआरि ॥१॥
Nānak ik ḏarsan ḏekẖ mar mile saṯgur heṯ pi▫ār. ||1||
O Nanak, some behold the Blessed Vision of the True Guru's Darshan, with love and affection; conquering their ego, they meet with the Lord. ||1||

In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji says the following about the Word: 

ਅਸੰਖ ਨਾਵ ਅਸੰਖ ਥਾਵ
असंख नाव असंख थाव ॥
Asaʼnkẖ nāv asaʼnkẖ thāv.
Countless names, countless places.

ਅਗੰਮ ਅਗੰਮ ਅਸੰਖ ਲੋਅ
अगम अगम असंख लोअ ॥
Agamm agamm asaʼnkẖ lo▫a.
Inaccessible, unapproachable, countless celestial realms.

ਅਸੰਖ ਕਹਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਹੋਇ
असंख कहहि सिरि भारु होइ ॥
Asaʼnkẖ kėhahi sir bẖār ho▫e.
Even to call them countless is to carry the weight on your head.

ਅਖਰੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਖਰੀ ਸਾਲਾਹ
अखरी नामु अखरी सालाह ॥
Akẖrī nām akẖrī sālāh.
From the Word, comes the Naam; from the Word, comes Your Praise.

ਅਖਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੀਤ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਹ
अखरी गिआनु गीत गुण गाह ॥
Akẖrī gi▫ān gīṯ guṇ gāh.
From the Word, comes spiritual wisdom, singing the Songs of Your Glory.

ਅਖਰੀ ਲਿਖਣੁ ਬੋਲਣੁ ਬਾਣਿ
अखरी लिखणु बोलणु बाणि ॥
Akẖrī likẖaṇ bolaṇ bāṇ.
From the Word, come the written and spoken words and hymns.

ਅਖਰਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ਵਖਾਣਿ
अखरा सिरि संजोगु वखाणि ॥
Akẖrā sir sanjog vakẖāṇ.
From the Word, comes destiny, written on one's forehead.

ਜਿਨਿ ਏਹਿ ਲਿਖੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਰਿ ਨਾਹਿ
जिनि एहि लिखे तिसु सिरि नाहि ॥
Jin ehi likẖe ṯis sir nāhi.
But the One who wrote these Words of Destiny-no words are written on His Forehead.

ਜਿਵ ਫੁਰਮਾਏ ਤਿਵ ਤਿਵ ਪਾਹਿ
जिव फुरमाए तिव तिव पाहि ॥
Jiv furmā▫e ṯiv ṯiv pāhi.
As He ordains, so do we receive.

ਜੇਤਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਤੇਤਾ ਨਾਉ
जेता कीता तेता नाउ ॥
Jeṯā kīṯā ṯeṯā nā▫o.
The created universe is the manifestation of Your Name.

ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਥਾਉ
विणु नावै नाही को थाउ ॥
viṇ nāvai nāhī ko thā▫o.
Without Your Name, there is no place at all.

ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕਵਣ ਕਹਾ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ
कुदरति कवण कहा वीचारु ॥
Kuḏraṯ kavaṇ kahā vīcẖār.
How can I describe Your Creative Power?

ਵਾਰਿਆ ਜਾਵਾ ਏਕ ਵਾਰ
वारिआ न जावा एक वार ॥
vāri▫ā na jāvā ek vār.
I cannot even once be a sacrifice to You.

ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਾਈ ਭਲੀ ਕਾਰ
जो तुधु भावै साई भली कार ॥
Jo ṯuḏẖ bẖāvai sā▫ī bẖalī kār.
Whatever pleases You is the only good done,

ਤੂ ਸਦਾ ਸਲਾਮਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ॥੧੯॥
तू सदा सलामति निरंकार ॥१९॥
Ŧū saḏā salāmaṯ nirankār. ||19||
You, Eternal and Formless One. ||19||

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amish People of America

For some of you outside the U.S. that may not be familiar with these people. Here is a one page summary of their culture and history. I like checking out other cultures and religions and thought some people may be interested. I found it thru a link at the following blog which has a really interesting links to legal issues facing people with all kinds of religious backgrounds:

If you search the blog further on Sikhs, here are some results on legal cases on Sikhs:

Orthodox Jews, Amish and Sikhs are exempted by Department of Labor regarding wearing of Helmets at various occupations.
Origins of the Old Order Amish
The Amish, called "The Plain People" or Old Order Amish, originated in Switzerland about l525. They came from a division of the Mennonites or Anabaptists (Re-baptizers). They opposed the union of church and state and infant baptism. They baptized people only as adults at about age l8. Adult baptism was a crime in the l6th century. Therefore, the Amish come from an impressive list of martyrs. They were put in sacks and thrown into rivers in Europe. There are no Amish left in Europe; The Amish were saved from extinction by William Penn who granted a haven from religious persecution in America. Since early colonial days the Amish have lived in the United States preserving their distinctive culture, dress, language and religion in peace and prosperity.
A few years ago they were again accused of crimes -- failing to have their children attend school with state certified teachers or failure to send them beyond the eighth grade. Until the United States Supreme Court in the case of Wisconsin vs. Yoder ruled in l972 that it was unconstitutional to force Amish into high school. The decision was based on the Constitutional legal issues of Parental Rights and Religious Freedom. Since the Amish believe in "turning the other cheek" and do not defend themselves, the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom and its attorney William B. Ball of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, defended them in court.
It may seem strange that failing to send children to school past the eighth grade would be a permitted or acceptable practice. But the Amish society is itself a school. They train their young people vocationally -- how to be homemakers and farmers, carpenters, and tradesmen from very early ages. By the time an Amish girl is twelve years old she knows how to cook a meal for a whole crew of Amish workers, and a young man knows farm operations by the time he is a teenager.
The Amish therefore have practically no unemployment, since their society is a vocational school. The Amish operate one-room parochial schools and are taught by teachers with only an eight-grade education. However, the teachers have learned how to be teachers with on the job training by an older and experienced Amish teacher. The Amish pupils have been tested with standardized tests by the U.S. Office of Education, and the pupils usually perform above the norms when compared to public schools pupils in their communities. The students are not therefore educationally deprived. Furthermore, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a non-Amish teacher to teach the values of humility, quietness, and shunning of technological things like automobiles, television, video games, movies and fashions. Some people think the Amish are ignorant because they shun technology, but the Amish are also making profound statements about the environment. They do not use gasoline, electricity, commercial chemicals, CFCs -- all of which pollute the environment.

The Amish live in nineteen states, Canada, and Central America. However, 80 percent of the Amish live in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. The Old Order Amish take their name from an early Swiss Anabaptist, Jacob Amman, who became their strict Bishop and taught them the Amish ethics -- Living non-resistant lives (They do not serve in the military, but only in hospitals or alternate service), with brotherly love, sharing material aid and living close to the soil and following the Bible literally. They cite the Bible which says, "Be ye not conformed to the world" as their chief tenet.
To this day they endure as a distinctive folk group because they have preserved a mentality of separation from the world and the sentiments of persecuted strangers in the land. They wear plain clothing fastened with hooks and eyes, not buttons. Their men wear broad-brimmed black hats, plain-cut trousers and the women and even little girls wear bonnets and ankle length dresses. They generally oppose automobiles, electricity, telephones and higher education beyond eighth grade.
Their congregations number only about 300. They worship in homes and not in church buildings. They do not drive cars or ride in airplanes, but drive horses and buggies. This keeps their communities small and close-knit, and their children do not live all over the world. Family values are important to them. They are slow to change and speak the German language along with English. They drive horses and buggies for transportation. They practice "shunning" for any of their members who break their rules.
Although many people do not understand their simple way of life, the Amish are maintaining a very profound position. They want to be prepared for the world to come rather than for becoming rich or famous in this world. They would rather maintain a close-knit family life than travel all over. The norms and educational goals of our society which stress product centered, high pressure, technological and secular values are antithetical to Amish beliefs. Therefore, they practice old ways, slowness of pace, simplicity, close-knit agrarian living. The 80,000 Old Order Amish oppose higher education because it violates their morals, their religious convictions and takes their children away from the simple ways of the Amish.

Taken from

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Life passing away what have I really done?

Issues at work don't end
Affairs at home don't end
How much money?
How many things?
When will it end?
What wife?
What sons?
What daughter?
What mother?
What relations?
What friends?
Bring only sorrow
Bring only misery
Where is comfort?
Where is peace?
Where is support?
Duty towards who?  What love? For whom?
They keep me attached but want to detach
Need Guru's Blessing
Need Peace
Thru the Shabad
Detachment from all
Life passing away
What have I really done?
Keep me awake, Keep me blessed,
Keep me going, Keep me slave
Thanks for everything
I feel tired
I feel weak
Please give me Name
Just give me Name

मः १ ॥
Mėhlā 1.
First Mehl: 

ਪਹਿਲੈ ਪਿਆਰਿ ਲਗਾ ਥਣ ਦੁਧਿ
पहिलै पिआरि लगा थण दुधि ॥
Pahilai pi▫ār lagā thaṇ ḏuḏẖ.
First, the baby loves mother's milk; 

ਦੂਜੈ ਮਾਇ ਬਾਪ ਕੀ ਸੁਧਿ
दूजै माइ बाप की सुधि ॥
Ḏūjai mā▫e bāp kī suḏẖ.
second, he learns of his mother and father;

ਤੀਜੈ ਭਯਾ ਭਾਭੀ ਬੇਬ
तीजै भया भाभी बेब ॥
Ŧījai bẖa▫yā bẖābẖī beb.
third, his brothers, sisters-in-law and sisters;

ਚਉਥੈ ਪਿਆਰਿ ਉਪੰਨੀ ਖੇਡ
चउथै पिआरि उपंनी खेड ॥
Cẖa▫uthai pi▫ār upannī kẖed.
fourth, the love of play awakens.

ਪੰਜਵੈ ਖਾਣ ਪੀਅਣ ਕੀ ਧਾਤੁ
पंजवै खाण पीअण की धातु ॥
Punjvai kẖāṇ pī▫aṇ kī ḏẖāṯ.
Fifth, he runs after food and drink;

ਛਿਵੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਪੁਛੈ ਜਾਤਿ
छिवै कामु न पुछै जाति ॥
Cẖẖivai kām na pucẖẖai jāṯ.
sixth, in his sexual desire, he does not respect social customs.

ਸਤਵੈ ਸੰਜਿ ਕੀਆ ਘਰ ਵਾਸੁ
सतवै संजि कीआ घर वासु ॥
Saṯvai sanj kī▫ā gẖar vās.
Seventh, he gathers wealth and dwells in his house;

ਅਠਵੈ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਹੋਆ ਤਨ ਨਾਸੁ
अठवै क्रोधु होआ तन नासु ॥
Aṯẖvai kroḏẖ ho▫ā ṯan nās.
eighth, he becomes angry, and his body is consumed.

ਨਾਵੈ ਧਉਲੇ ਉਭੇ ਸਾਹ
नावै धउले उभे साह ॥
Nāvai ḏẖa▫ule ubẖe sāh.
Ninth, he turns grey, and his breathing becomes labored;

ਦਸਵੈ ਦਧਾ ਹੋਆ ਸੁਆਹ
दसवै दधा होआ सुआह ॥
Ḏasvai ḏaḏẖā ho▫ā su▫āh.
tenth, he is cremated, and turns to ashes.

ਗਏ ਸਿਗੀਤ ਪੁਕਾਰੀ ਧਾਹ
गए सिगीत पुकारी धाह ॥
Ga▫e sigīṯ pukārī ḏẖāh.
His companions send him off, crying out and lamenting.

ਉਡਿਆ ਹੰਸੁ ਦਸਾਏ ਰਾਹ
उडिआ हंसु दसाए राह ॥
Udi▫ā hans ḏasā▫e rāh.
The swan of the soul takes flight, and asks which way to go.

ਆਇਆ ਗਇਆ ਮੁਇਆ ਨਾਉ
आइआ गइआ मुइआ नाउ ॥
Ā▫i▫ā ga▫i▫ā mu▫i▫ā nā▫o.
He came and he went, and now, even his name has died.

ਪਿਛੈ ਪਤਲਿ ਸਦਿਹੁ ਕਾਵ
पिछै पतलि सदिहु काव ॥
Picẖẖai paṯal saḏihu kāv.
After he left, food was offered on leaves, and the birds were called to come and eat.

ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਪਿਆਰੁ
नानक मनमुखि अंधु पिआरु ॥
Nānak manmukẖ anḏẖ pi▫ār.
O Nanak, the self-willed manmukhs love the darkness.

ਬਾਝੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਡੁਬਾ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੨॥
बाझु गुरू डुबा संसारु ॥२॥
Bājẖ gurū dubā sansār. ||2||
Without the Guru, the world is drowning. ||2||
Taken from:

मः १ ॥
Mėhlā 1.
First Mehl:

ਦਸ ਬਾਲਤਣਿ ਬੀਸ ਰਵਣਿ ਤੀਸਾ ਕਾ ਸੁੰਦਰੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ
दस बालतणि बीस रवणि तीसा का सुंदरु कहावै ॥
Ḏas bālṯaṇ bīs ravaṇ ṯīsā kā sunḏar kahāvai.
At the age of ten, he is a child; at twenty, a youth, and at thirty, he is called handsome.

ਚਾਲੀਸੀ ਪੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਪਚਾਸੀ ਪਗੁ ਖਿਸੈ ਸਠੀ ਕੇ ਬੋਢੇਪਾ ਆਵੈ
चालीसी पुरु होइ पचासी पगु खिसै सठी के बोढेपा आवै ॥
Cẖālīsī pur ho▫e pacẖāsī pag kẖisai saṯẖī ke bodẖepā āvai.
At forty, he is full of life; at fifty, his foot slips, and at sixty, old age is upon him.

ਸਤਰਿ ਕਾ ਮਤਿਹੀਣੁ ਅਸੀਹਾਂ ਕਾ ਵਿਉਹਾਰੁ ਪਾਵੈ
सतरि का मतिहीणु असीहां का विउहारु न पावै ॥
Saṯar kā maṯihīṇ asīhāʼn kā vi▫uhār na pāvai.
At seventy, he loses his intellect, and at eighty, he cannot perform his duties.

ਨਵੈ ਕਾ ਸਿਹਜਾਸਣੀ ਮੂਲਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਪ ਬਲੁ
नवै का सिहजासणी मूलि न जाणै अप बलु ॥
Navai kā sihjāsṇī mūl na jāṇai ap bal.
At ninety, he lies in his bed, and he cannot understand his weakness.

ਢੰਢੋਲਿਮੁ ਢੂਢਿਮੁ ਡਿਠੁ ਮੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਗੁ ਧੂਏ ਕਾ ਧਵਲਹਰੁ ॥੩॥
ढंढोलिमु ढूढिमु डिठु मै नानक जगु धूए का धवलहरु ॥३॥
Dẖandẖolim dẖūdẖim diṯẖ mai Nānak jag ḏẖū▫e kā ḏẖavalhar. ||3||
After seeking and searching for such a long time, O Nanak, I have seen that the world is just a mansion of smoke. ||3||

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Punjabi Radio anyone? Just a fun filled radio programming.

I had seen the ad for a while in Punjabi newspapers about the Punjabi Radio USA and about buying the radio, but always thought it was kind of like satellite radio for people with loyality to certain events, newscaste, sports, certain radio personalities like Howard Stern but not for general public.  On the other hand, when I listened to Punjabi Radio USA online for the First time, I just fell in love with it, and it was nothing like the American satellite radio.  It has everything that I wanted, politics, religion, music, ads, and other special programs. I love how it involves everybody inlcuding kids. It is just great fun radio!  I just don't know what else to say.  Thank you Punjabi Radio USA!  I feel like I never left Punjab.

To listen on line, click link below: