Friday, December 02, 2016

**ARDAAS FOR A WEDDING PARTY??**…

**ARDAAS FOR A WEDDING PARTY???**
…what would happen if Guru Ji really turned up at a venue to find Sikhs dancing, drinking alcohol, eating meat and listening to vulgar music? | 
ਅਰਦਾਸ ਤਾਂ ਕਰ ਲਈ ਪਰ ਜੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਸੱਚਮੁਚ ਆ ਗਏ ਫਿਰ ਕੀ ਬਣੂ ? | 
26.11.16, Ambala Diwaan | Dhadrianwale | MUST WATCH and READ… 

The Anand Karaj (or ‘Ceremony of Bliss’) is the actual and only matrimonial rite for the Sikhs. However, either out of ignorance in thinking it is wrongly ‘Sabhyachar’ (culture), or simply due to influence in imitating the modern west, many misguided Sikhs are more focussed on the so-called ‘after wedding’ parties. The majority of such parties go against Gurmat by their very nature and activity, and set dangerous examples for youngsters and future generations. 

In India, the guests assemble from morning at the “wedding palace” whilst only a handful of family members go to the Gurdwara Sahib for the Anand Karaj. In other countries, for example Canada/USA, they have the so-called “wedding reception” on either the evening of or the day after the Anand Karaj. In the UK, it is the afternoon party immediately following the Anand Karaj in what they refer to as the “banqueting hall”…and so forth. 

What’s concerning is the trend of the Granthi Singh doing an Ardaas for the family after the Anand Karaj requesting Guru Ji to give their blessings for the remaining activities to follow. “Maharaj Ji the Anand Karaj has taken place, please bless the newly married couple, and now by being present with your Sevaks give your blessings for the completion of the remaining activities” – this is often heard during the Ardaas at the Gurdwara Sahib after the Anand Karaj is complete. These so-called “remaining activities” they often refer to are the anti-Gurmat after-party functions. In fact, there are now said to be many instances where before these so-called wedding parties commence, they actually ask for blessings from the venue stages before the dancing and partying gets going. 

The question that needs to be asked from those who foolishly do such an Ardaas is whether they want Guru Sahib Ji to actually come and dance with them? They ask for Guru Ji to be present with them, but IF Guru Ji were to really be present with them at these parties, what would Guru Ji think? What would our father Guru Gobind Singh Ji think looking at a venue full of Sikhs partaking in anti-Gurmat activities? Are the disgraceful activities of dancing, eating meat, drinking alcohol, watching singers and listening to vulgar music the actions of the Guru’s Sikhs? Are such actions what the great revolutionary Guru Gobind Singh Ji had taught? 

The Guru’s teachings were for the betterment of society – regardless of race, creed or religion. Sikhs were wise, intellectuals and fighters for righteousness, but they were certainly not Bhangra and Gidda dancers nor were they alcoholics. Why are we joking with our Guru? We are we cheating and practising hypocrisy. In effect, why are we doing Pakhand with Ardaas? The anti-Panthic agencies are undoubtedly at play in employing their deep-rooted schemes to damage the nation. However, the agencies are not the ones forcing us to go and book banqueting hall palaces, dancers, singers or DJ’s. This part of our spiritual and social downfall is a result of our own misguided decisions and lack of intellect in accordance to Gurmat – perhaps at least this much is something we as Sikhs need to control ourselves. 

Let’s start bringing awareness to our own and wider families and friends circles. 

ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਜੋ ਦੀਸਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਜਮੁ ਜਾਗਾਤੀ ਲੂਟੈ ||
Karam Dharam Paakhandd Jo Deesehi Tin Jam Jaagaatee Loottai || 
"The religious rites, rituals and hypocrisies which are seen, are plundered by the Messenger of Death, the ultimate tax collector."
(Soohee M:5, 747)

The following clip of Bhai Ranjit Singh Khalsa Dhadrianwale is taken from the 26 November 2016 Diwaan that took place in the city of Ambala (Haryana).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Can a Gursikh use bad language and slang?...

ਤੈਸੇ ਮੁਖ ਮਧ ਬਾਣੀ ਬਸਤ ਨ ਕੋਊ ਲਖੈ, ਬੋਲੀਐ ਬਿਚਾਰ, ਗੁਰਮਤਿ, ਗੁਨ ਗਾਥ ਜੀ ॥630॥
taisse mukh madh baannee basth na ko-oo lakhai
boleeai bichaar, gurmat, gun gaathh jee ||630||
"So long as our thoughts remain within our mind or mouth, they are fine but once our thoughts come out in form of words, they cant be controlled, so speak after thinking, speak according to Gurmat and speak only good qualities (of others)."
(Bhai Gurdas Ji)

Everybody wants to hang up photos or posters of great Gursikhs, listen to songs of their glorious sacrifices, and share their photos on social media, but when it comes to looking carefully at our lifestyles we sometimes fall short. It is easy to tie a Dastaar, wear a large Kirpan or same style cholaa as the great Gursikhs we hold as role models in our hearts, but the greater challenge is earn Sikhi like they have and make Gurmat a part of every single aspect of our life, including the way we speak and the words we choose to say.

Growing up, most people are surrounded by people at school who swear, use bad language and use slang. Even though some may try to avoid speaking such profanity, the words their ears are exposed to sadly stick in one's mind. From a young age I have always found swear words as disgusting, and swearing with Guru's kirpaa was not part of my daily language.

When I was younger and not yet an Amritdhari, I thought it was unthinkable for an Amritdhari to swear or use bad language. Why? Because they love Guru Ji and those that love Guru Ji try to behave in the way Guru Ji showed and expects from us. However, alarmingly I am seeing more and more Amritdharis use very lowly language like "sh*t", "f**k", "p*ss", "tw*t" etc.  It makes you wonder, does this reflect the language and speech of a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh Ji?


Bad language, regardless of the level of rudeness or insult,  is a product of Maya. A lack of patience, poor coping skills, constant complaining, not thinking before speaking, attachments to dialogue in movies or dramas, and copying negative behaviour of friends or people on the streets can make people swear. People can use bad language either in anger (krodh) or ego (hankaar). Gurbani says:
ਸਲੋਕ ਮ: ੩ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍‍ੀ ਓਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥
ਥਾਉ ਕੁਥਾਉ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥
ਦਰਗਹ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਓਥੈ ਹੋਹਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥
ਆਪੇ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਈਅਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਆਪਿ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥

"Salok, Third Nanak: The self-willed manmukhs do not even know how to speak. They are filled with sexual desire, anger and egotism. They do not know the difference between good and bad; they constantly think of corruption. In the Vaheguru's Court, they are called to account, and they are judged to be false. He Himself creates the Universe. He Himself contemplates it. O Nanak, whom should we tell? The True Lord is permeating and pervading all. ||1||"
(Saarang M:3, 1248)

Gurbani clearly states that speaking foul language and negatively, will have an effect on one's mind and body. When we speak, we let out vibrations. According to the words we speak and the tone we speak we let out negative or positive vibrations. It is a fact that those who swear, use bad language or speak negatively let out negative vibrations in the environment surrounding them. The negativity and anger they speak effects the tranquillity and harmony of their mind, which then entails negative effects caused on the physical body as a result of stress and tension.
ਅਸੀ ਬੋਲਵਿਗਾੜ ਵਿਗਾੜਹ ਬੋਲ ||
asee bolvigaarr vigaarreh bol ||
"We are foul-mouthed; we spoil everything with our foul words."
(Siree M:1, 25)

ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਵਣੀ ਬਹੁ ਵਧਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ਰਾਮ ||
koorr bol bikh khaavanee bahu vadhhehi vikaaraa raam ||
"Speaking falsehood, one eats poison, and the evil within increases greatly."
(Vaddhans M:3, 570)

ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਇ ||
ਫਿਕੋ ਫਿਕਾ ਸਦੀਐ ਫਿਕੇ ਫਿਕੀ ਸੋਇ ||
ਫਿਕਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਸਟੀਐ ਮੁਹਿ ਥੁਕਾ ਫਿਕੇ ਪਾਇ ||
ਫਿਕਾ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਪਾਣਾ ਲਹੈ ਸਜਾਇ ||੧||
naanak fikkai boliai than man fikkaa hoe ||
fikko fikkaa sadheeai fikke fikkee soe ||
fikaa dargeh satteeai muhi thhukaa fikke paae ||
fikaa moorakh aakheeai paanaa lehai sajaae ||1|| 
"O Nanak, speaking insipid words, the body and mind become insipid. He is called the most insipid of the insipid; the most insipid of the insipid is his reputation. The insipid person is discarded in the Court of the Lord, and the insipid one's face is spat upon. The insipid one is called a fool; he is beaten with shoes in punishment. ||1||"
(Aasa M:1, 473)
As a Sikh we aim to base our behaviour and actions on the perfect role model behaviour shown by the Gurus. If we take the example of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, his two elder sons were martyred in the battlefield fighting against the Mughal tyranny, and his two younger sons were cold-heartedly bricked alive by the Mughal regime. However, Guru Ji didn't swear or curse Aurangzeb. Guru Gobind Singh Ji didn't get angry or hot-headed. Instead of cursing, swearing and getting angry, Guru Ji wrote the 'Zafarnaama', literally meaning, the 'Letter of Victory'. Guru Ji expressed the truth of the situation in the letter and the horrific crimes that Aurangzeb had committed, however the letter had a tone of triumph, truth, and honour. For this reason, when Aurangzeb heard the letter, he died of shock. 

Our language reflects our mind. If we want to change our foul language and vulgar use of words, then in accordance to Gurbani, we have to connect back to the Guru. When we give the Guru space in ourselves, then those words will come out that are willed by the Guru. Gurbani says:
ਸਚੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਜਾ ਸਚਿ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ ||
sach baanee sach shabad hai jaa sach dhharre piaar ||
"When you love the Truth, your words are true; they reflect the True Word of the Shabad."
(Siree Raag M:3, 33)

Gurbani says that words are so powerful. Words have the power to make or break relationships. The Word (Shabad) can take us to Sachkhand, and words (spoken in ego) can take us to Hell (separated from Vaheguru). By beginning to speak like Guru Ji would speak, will surely build love between us and Guru Ji, and hopefully change our mind to become Guru-centred. Gurbani says:
ਗੰਢੁ ਪਰੀਤੀ ਮਿਠੇ ਬੋਲ||
gandd(h) pareethee mitthe bol ||
"There is a bond between love and words of sweetness."
(Maajh M:1, 143)

ਬਈਅਰਿ ਬੋਲੈ ਮੀਠੁਲੀ ਭਾਈ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਪਿਰ ਭਾਇ ||
be-eear bolai meet(h)ulee bhaaee saach kehai pir bhaae ||
"O brothers! That soul-bride, who talks sweetly and speaks the Truth, becomes pleasing to her Lord-Husband."
(Soratth M:1, 637)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

BBC Documentary: The Selfless Sikh Faith on the Frontline

BBC documentary following Bhai Ravi Singh, a Sikh charity worker who, inspired by his Sikhi principles, puts his life on the line to help people in need. The programme follows Bhai Ravi Singh's journey to northern Iraq, where he provides aid to Yazidi families who have fled their homes to escape the brutality of Islamic State. The film reveals the teachings of selfless service at the heart of his Sikh faith.
 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bhagat Puran Singh Ji on Seva...


"When doing Seva never get fed up, and never get tired."
(Bhagat Puran Singh Ji)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FINAL ASSAULT (Documentary): Save Punjab's Waters...

Final Assault is a controversial and fact-driven documentary about the water crisis in Punjab. Policies have been put in place for the past several decades that inhibit Punjab’s ability to use its’ natural resources for state revenue. Final Assault looks at the bias of the Indian government towards the Punjab state and its’ citizens through accounts from former military officers, historians, and professors. Since India gained independence from Britain in 1947, Punjab has been unsuccessful in getting their deserved freedom. Government planned military operations such as the attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib, named by the military as 'Operation Blue Star', and the Sikh Genocides in 1984 are a few examples of this oppression. Director Sukhdeep Singh aims to educate the public on the ongoing crisis, which if left neglected will result in the final assault for Punjab.
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Smethwick Gurdwara: Lareevaar Saroop Parkaash...

 
Last week, I was invited to Guru Teg Bahadar Sahib Ji Gurdwara Leicester to do a talk on the importance and history of Lareevaar. Lareevaar is Gurbani written in continuous form, with no breaks in between the words. The opposite is Pad-Chhed, which is a modern invention of Sikhs in the early 20th century to break up the words and make it easier to read Gurbani. The Pad-Chhed Saroop is the most common form of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji printed nowadays and most Gurdwaras have Pad-Chhed Saroop parkaash.
 
All forms of written Gurbani are worthy of worship and respect. However the original written form of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was in the distinctive written form of Lareevaar, which was the same method of writing that Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Bhai Mani Singh Ji, Baba Deep Singh Ji and countless Gursikhs up until modern history scribed as per the traditions set by the Gurus. 
 
Sadly, nowadays, to have Darshan (a holy glimpse) of a handwritten Lareevaar Saroop you have to visit Sri Harmandir Sahib or any of the other Takht Sahibs. Most historical Gurdwaras controlled under the SGPC have Lareevaar Saroops. However, over time many Gurdwaras and even religious schools and centres have opted to change from the traditions set by the Gurus and have Pad-Chhed printed Saroops for Parkaash and Akhand Paaths.
 
On a positive note, the biggest Gurdwara in Europe, Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, last week on 13th November, announced that in the main Darbaar Sahib a handwritten Lareevaar Saroop will be Parkaash from now on. This is a great step by the progressive and active Gurdwara Committee in restoring the original traditions of the Gurus and preserving Khalsa heritage. Derby Singh Sabha Gurdwara has been doing Lareevaar Saroop's Parkaash during the weekdays for some years, and for some time Bradford Singh Sabha Gurdwara and Bradford Guru Nanak Gurdwara had Lareevaar Saroop Parkaash in the main Darbaar Sahib.
 
 
Going forward the Gurdwara Sahib sevadaars will be beginning with doing Parkaash and seva of this saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji during the weekdays, whilst building up capability of the Sangat to read Gurbani and then begin Akhand Paaths from the Lareevaar Saroop also. Classes will be provided to the Sangat so that they can also learn how to read Gurbani in this form, and so that we can all play a part in keeping the Maryada and traditions of the Guru alive, without change.
 
 
 
 
Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Guru Nanak...

This post is in celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Gurpurb which falls today.


5 messages from the life of
Guru Nanak...


1. Be committed to social responsibilities and duties
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was married to Mata Sulakhani Ji in 1487. They had two sons - Baba Sri Chand Ji (b. 1491), and Baba Lakhmi Daas Ji (b. 1494). Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught that whilst living a family life and fulfilling social responsibilities and duties, one can achieve spiritual salvation, and also help others to achieve salvation. It is sometimes stated that Guru Nanak Dev Ji abandoned his family on his long journeys around the world. This is not true. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a devoted father and husband and cared and provided for his family. Guru Sahib Ji was married when he was about fifteen years old as was the custom of the times. By the time of the first udaasi (journey) Guru Ji was around 30 years old and his two sons were around 10 years old. So the early years were spent looking after and providing for the family, when the call came from Akaal Purakh (God) to share Sikhi with the world, he placed his family in the care of his parents and extended family. He returned back from the world travels to live with his wife, children and parents in the newly made city founded by the Guru called 'Kartarpur Sahib'. Guru Nanak Dev Ji showed that as GurSikhs we should not shy away from being involved in society and remember that we have a duty to serving the Panth (community), as well as pursuing an individual spiritual life.
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਬਹੈ ਸ ਪਰਵਾਰਿ ||
“In the midst of their family, the Guru-centred one lives a spiritual life.”
(Raamkalee M:1, 941)


2. Share the message of Sikhi with the world
Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent 24 years of his adult-life travelling to share Sikhi with the world. Guru Nanak Dev Ji went on four journeys outside of Punjab, and the last journey was within Punjab. In the first journey (udaasi) Guru Ji travelled from Punjab to the east of the Indian subcontinent (including Bangladesh and Burma). On the second journey, from Punjab to the south of the Indian subcontinent (including Sri Lanka). On the third journey, from Punjab to the north of the Indian subcontinent, going through Tibet, China and Russia. On the fourth journey, Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled from Punjab to the West. On this journey Guru Ji visited Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Arabia, Africa, and Europe. New studies are suggesting that Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled to the new world also.  Today many youth think it is acceptable to sit home and keep the blessings and gifts of Guru Ji to themselves and reluctant to share the glorious praises of Guru's Path with others. Sometimes it is hard to get Amritdhari youth to attend Gurdwara youth camps to share positive sangat with upcoming youth wishing to learn. Knowing Guru Sahib travelled the world to share Gurmat, encourages us that we need to do our bit of sharing Gurmat and going out of our comfort zone.
ਬੋਲਿ ਸੁਧਰਮੀੜਿਆ ਮੋਨਿ ਕਤ ਧਾਰੀ ਰਾਮ ||
"O person of faith, speak up! Why do you remain silent?"
(Bihaagraa M:5, 547)



3. Be a human rights activist
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was arrested and put into jail for challenging the social injustices and human rights abuses of the ruler of the time, Emperor Babur. When Guru Ji was offered release from prison, after Babur realised he was the Light of God, Guru Ji refused unless all the other prisoners were released. Later, Guru Ji saw a camp where women had been detained by the Mughal soldiers. He asked his companion, Bhai Mardana Ji to play his instrument and Guru Ji roared divine-verses challenging and exposing the government and it's officials. This shocked the soldiers' hearts, and all the women were released. Guru Ji campaigned for equality for women, the poor, and downtrodden. In 2013, the Vatican confirmed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited the Vatican in 1518 and met Pope Leo X. Guru Ji told the Pope that no human has the right to enslave another, as the Catholic Church had justified and supported the slave trade of black of Africans.  As Sikhs we should be on the forefront to defending the human rights of Sikhs and other communities. In order to do this, it is important to highlight and raise awareness of human rights violations and abuses taking place. In order to help others, we must first help ourselves and fix our own home. Punjab and India is known for its human rights violations and atrocities. It is a Sikh's duty to speak out.
ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ||੧|| ਰਹਾਉ ||
“Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter.”
(Aasa M:1, 349)
 
 
 
4. Have a revolutionary spirit
Guru Nanak Dev Ji single handedly challenged the intolerance and institutional discrimination of India's society and traditions. Those who could not sit side by side, play together, or dine side by side, because of caste and class prejudice, were made to sit sit by side and share a common meal, and bathe in a common pool of water (sarovar). Professor Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam of the Department for World Religions and Culture at University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) writes about Guru Nanak Dev Ji being a revolutionary. He states that the concept of Langar (Guru Nanak's Community Kitchen) is a place where  "the distinction between poor and rich is forgotten, because all share the same food at the same place. This was, indeed, a revolution against the non-egalitarian society. A successful revolution without a single drop of blood!” Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a rebel, but a rebel with a cause. The spirit of believing in change and having hope should be part of a Sikh's psyche. A Gursikh is the foot soldier of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who not only believes in the mission of the Guru, but willing to make it a reality and represent the Guru, regardless of the challenges one will face.


5. Be a friend of all
Guru Nanak Dev Ji touched the hearts of the most vulnerable, held the arm of the most of the weak, and stood by those who had no one else. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, went to the cannibal and brought the light of Naam and Gurbani in his dark mind, and made him a saint. He touched the heart of the serial murderer named Sajjan, and made him into the friend. He didn't shun others, but his arm out and told them that he was there to hold on to them if they allowed to give their arm to him. One meaning of the word 'Nanak' is said to be from he words "Na" (doesn't) and "Akk" (fed up). My Guru Nanak is the one who never gets fed up. Our parents may get fed up of us, our siblings may get fed up of us, our friends may get fed up of us, but the one who never shuts his door to us and always has his arms open waiting to embrace us is our one-and-only friend - Guru Nanak! If Guru Nanak Dev Ji gave people chance, a Sikh gives others a chance. A Sikh should always be open to embrace those with the most darkest of lives to offer them the rays of light of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's love and wisdom. We should approachable and open to embrace those with addictions, problems and those who feel they have no one, and provide support and positivity.
ਮੇਰੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਰਖਵਾਰੋ ਮੀਤ || ਦੂਣ ਚਊਣੀ ਦੇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਸੋਭਾ ਨੀਤਾ ਨੀਤ ||੧|| ਰਹਾਉ ||
"My Guru is my Saving Grace, my only best friend. Over and over again, He blesses me with double, even four-fold, greatness. ||1||Pause||"
(Soratth M:5, 618)