Friday, September 29, 2006

Student Advice

Fresher's Week is over for the new university students and the reality of leaving home has probably sunk in. From past experience it can be a tough time and challenging. Yesterday my cousin and I were sitting down trying to think of questions which first year students may have and useful advice that would help:

“I have just started university and feeling lonely.”
Leaving home, family and friends and coming to a new environment, where you don’t know anyone is always a big step. However, you are not the only one in this situation. Every first year student is in the same position. Always remember that the Guru is with you. You feel the Guru is with you when you begin to read Gurbaani and do Ardaas.
ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥
gur mayrai sang sadaa hai naalay.
My Guru is always with me, near at hand.

ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਦਾ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
simar simar tis sadaa samHaalay. ||1|| rahaa-o.
Meditating, meditating in remembrance on Him, I cherish Him forever. ||1||Pause||
(Ang 394)

If you can’t read Gurmukhi, then read English translation of Gurbaani, or you can also play an audio of Keertan or Paath. Keertan, Paath and soothing Simran can be downloaded from here.

“I don’t know how to make friends or where to meet people.”
Firstly, don’t worry. Have faith in Vaheguru.
ਜਾ ਤੂ ਮੇਰੈ ਵਲਿ ਹੈ ਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੁਹਛੰਦਾ ॥
jaa too merai val hai taa ki-aa muhchhandaa.
When You are on my side, Lord, what do I need to worry about?
(Ang 1096)

If you see a group of people together, don’t get disheartened and think, you don’t know anyone. They might have known each other from before or met one another in lectures. You will meet people in your lectures, at Sikh Society and through friends. From personal experience it takes time. There are times when you will think you don’t know anyone but come the end of the year you would have found like-minded people.

Whenever you see someone, always smile and be friendly and confident. You will meet many people at university, a lot of them will not be like you or have the same interests as you. However, inevitably you will meet like-minded company who will more than likely be friends for life. Through doing as much Simran as possible one will avoid bad company with Vaheguru's Grace.

“Is it okay to have friends of the opposite gender?”
ਦੇਖਿ ਪਰਾਈਆਂ ਚੰਗੀਆਂ ਮਾਵਾਂ ਭੈਣਾਂ ਧੀਆਂ ਜਾਣੈ ॥
"Men should look at the opposite gender as mothers, sisters and daughters, (women should look at the opposite gender as fathers, brothers and sons)."
(Vaar 29, PauRee 11 - Bhai Gurdaas jee)

Having friends who are girls or boys is fine. However, a Sikh male treats and respects every female as a mother, sister or daughter; and a Sikh female treats and respects every male as a father, brother or son.

The possible benefits of girlfriend and boyfriend relationships is that one "thinks" that he or she has someone who cares for them by their side and that they feel love or compassion. On the other hand, the downside of these relationships is one becomes emotionally attached to the other person which inevitably causes anguish, heartache and misery. For example, how many times do you know someone who has cried over a girlfriend or boyfriend in the past? According to Sikhi the true relationship is between God and the soul.

Intimate relationships at any level are harmful – whether it is physical intimacy or emotional one. Intimacy on any level (physical or emotional) should be restricted to one’s husband or wife, who are one’s committed life partners. If you send texts, emails or chat to someone and you feel embarrassed and ashamed if someone else reads the text, email or heard the conversation, then that tells you that you shouldn’t be doing it.
ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ ॥
he kaamaN narak bisraamaN bahu jonee bhramaavNeh.
O sexual desire! (Taking hold of the person) you lead to hell and make them wander in reincarnation through countless species.

ਚਿਤ ਹਰਣੰ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਲੋਕ ਗੰਮ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੀਲ ਬਿਦਾਰਣਹ ॥
chit harnaN trai lok gam-yaN jap tap seel bidaarNeh.
You cheat the consciousness, and pervade the three worlds (i.e the whole world). You destroy meditation, penance and virtue.
(Ang 1358)

“I am unsure of whether I should go to clubs and bars?”
Whatever you do in life, imagine Guru Gobind Singh Jee is watching you and is with you. If Guru jee saw a CCTV video of you being somewhere, you must ask yourself, would you feel embarrassed or comfortable with that idea? If you would feel comfortable with Guru Gobind Singh jee, knowing where you have been socialising and hanging out then all the best to you and may Vaheguru bless you. However, if you would feel embarrassed, even the slightest, then you must ask yourself, "Why are you at that place and is it worth being there?”
ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰਉ ਕੁਸੰਗ ਕੀ ਕੇਲੇ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਜੁ ਬੇਰਿ ॥
kabeer maaree mar-o kusang kee kele nikatt jo ber.
O Kabeer! Never have company with those broken from Vaheguru. I have been ruined and destroyed by bad company, like the banana plant near the thorn bush.

ਉਹ ਝੂਲੈ ਉਹ ਚੀਰੀਐ ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਹੇਰਿ ॥੮੮॥
ouh jhoolai ouh cheeree-ai saakat sang na her. ||88||
If a thorn bush grows near a banana plant, the thorn bush will wave in the wind, and pierces the banana plant (with it's thorns); Similarly (O Kabeer!) sitting in a negative environment under the affect of corruption and sin your soul will die at the hands of spiritual death. ||88||
(Ang 1369)

“I am feeling low and depressed. What can I do?”
Understandably with the stress, deadlines and pressures of university, we fall in the trap of feeling overworked, lacking energy and generally run down feeling. However, to counteract this feeling everyone needs regular uplifting, peaceful and calming influences. Some people resort to “having a pint or two” but this actually makes depression worse and doesn’t do your body or mind any favours. The guaranteed cure for depression is VAHEGURU SIMRAN (meditating on ‘Vaheguru’). Take some time out and focus your attention and mind on the virtues of Vaheguru, sing, listen and enjoy the peace that remembering Vaheguru brings.

A good starting point and what works for a lot of people is doing Vaheguru Simran or listen to a Simran CD whilst getting ready in the morning, revising/ doing coursework, and just before bedtime. To download Simran audios click here.

Good sangat (company) is very important. Keep the company of uplifted souls through Sikh Society, going to the Gurdwara, and attended Keertan programmes.

“How do I find out where the nearest Gurdwara is?”
You can ask local Sikh Soc, or alternatively find out from the Boss website:

Bhul Chuk Maaf


Anonymous said...

Manvir Ji,

Nice posat and its so true what you wrote in the “Is it okay to have friends of the opposite gender?” sectione.

Take care

mandeep singh (scotland)

Anonymous said...

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh

bhaji I love the keertan you have

jap man gur gopaal prabh soee

I'm sure my Serotonin levels are sky high after listening to that. Perhaps you should make a list of all the soothing keertan tracks you've come across to help counteract the winter blues especially after the recent tragic deaths which has affected everyone.

keep it up!

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh


Anonymous said...

paaji do u have any idea where i can download the shabad:

ghalle aave nanaka sadde uth jaye from???

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh