Friday, January 20, 2006

Episode 1 India Travels: Meeting the Atheist (Part 1)

Passages from my diary of my trip to India in June 2003:

During my last year of A-Levels I had planned to go to India after my final exams and ask for the gift of Amrit from the Panj Piyaare. I had planned either to go to Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib or Sri Kesgharh Sahib, basically wherever Guru Sahib destined.

The Turkmenistan flight was booked for Thursday 26th June 2003 to leave from Birmingham to Amritsar. My mum and I were going. I was going for 2 months and my mum was going for four weeks.

The flight was an early morning flight. Once we had done all checking and handed in our luggage, we went towards the aeroplane. Getting on the aeroplane we found our seats and sat down. My mum had a window seat and I was sitting next to her. One seat towards the aisle was left empty. Eventually an Indian man came and sat there.

He looked a bit weird (don't want to sound nasty or anything). Its been a long time, however I think his name was Ashoka (don't know whether that was his surname or first-name). His eyes had a funny look (not funny "ha ha," but funny "Sat Naam, Waheguru"). His eyes just seemed black and drained. He had bags under his eyes as well.

Chalo (O well), despite looking slightly shifty, the bloke seemed friendly and started chatting. Most of the conversation was about him and how he had this business, then he bought an old people's home etc etc. Then he started talking about his son and how he is proud of his son. I remember him mentioning a Christian name like "Paul" or something. I was suprised to hear his kids have Christian names.

Eventually the aeroplane lifted off. The man continued to talk to me. He asked, "Is there any reason you are going to India?" "Yes, with Guru's Kirpa I am going to take Amrit in India." He then said, "Amrit? What is Amrit?" I was curious at either his ignorance of Khande-di-Pahul or that he was being clever. I explained the process of Amrit and how the Panj Piyaare prepare Amrit and give the gift to the candidates. I explained that it was pledging one's life to the Feet of the Guru and a declaring sole allegiance to the Guru Granth Sahib jee and Guru Khalsa Panth. He kept listening.

Out of curiosity I asked him, "What religion are?" Sat Naam. He started giving me a lecture about Radha Soami this, Radha Soami that. (Radha Soamis are a cult who have a self-proclaimed Satguru who uses and distorts Gurbani in preaching his own religion). I was like "Hey, I am not into this Radha Soami stuff." Then he started to talk about (Nakli) Nirankaris (another cult). I said, "What Narak-dharis"? (Nirankaris are referred by Sikhs as "Narak-dharis" (the dwellers of Hell) because in 1978 they insulted Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee by their Guru saying he is going to put his foot on top of Guru Granth Sahib jee and if any Sikh has the guts to stop him, then come and stop him. Futhermore he challenged Guru Gobind Singh jee and said, "If Guru Gobind Singh jee can make the Five Beloved Ones, I will make the "Sat Sitaare" (Seven Stars). Hearing this Sikhs led a peaceful protest, who were then gunned down by the Nirankari followers. No Nirankari was arrested for the murder of 13 Singhs). Then he stopped mentioning the word "Nirankari".

I was confused at what is this man's religion? Is he Radha Soami? Is he Nirankari? Is he half-half? Rab jaane. I asked again, "What is your religion?" He then said, "I am a Buddhist." I was taken aback because I haven't come across any Panjabi Buddhists, well especially people born in Panjab. I said do you believe in the Dalai Lama? He got angry and said, "NO! Those Buddhists who believe in a Supreme Power and Supreme Being (i.e. Waheguru) are not true Budhists. They are misguided people!" He told me the branch of Buddhism he belongs to (I forgot the name) and said that he was an atheist! I said "Waheguru" :)

To be continued...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cant wait for the next part bhai sahib!!!! :)