Friday, October 13, 2006

ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸੰਭਾਲੋ - "Sikhi Sambhaalo" (Look After Sikhi)

On Sunday I went to Southall for the Bhog (completion) of the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib (the complete continuous reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee) in memory of the three young Gursikhs, which passed away last month. Giani Nirmaljeet Singh jee from Panjab was doing Kathaa (Gurbaani discourse) that day. The Kathaa was very moving and was delivered in a way that we don't hear often.

The Giani jee was fearless of speaking the truth and spoke from his heart. There are TWO TYPES of PARCHAARIKS (Preachers) - 1) Those that preach but have NOT earned or lived the message of the Guru, and 2) those that preach and have EARNED and LIVE the message of the Guru. You can tell when hearing someone what type of Parchaarik they are. Someone speaking from their heart and soul can be felt.

Giani jee's Kathaa the day was about promotion of Sikhi. Here is a brief summary of some of the things he said:
"When a young child first recognises who his father is - in Panjab people say: "bachaa apNe pitaa di dastaar pachhaaNdaa" (the child recognises his father's turban). O Sikhs! Young children are BETTER than us, that they actually RECOGNISE their father's turban. As Sikhs we have NOT yet recognised who our Father is. Our Father has told us, "O Sikh! Your belong to SRI ANANDPUR SAHIB, your birth place is SRI KESHGARH SAHIB. Your Father is GURU GOBIND SINGH JEE MAHAARAAJ and your mother is MATA SAHIB KAUR JEE."

The Guru has told us WHO WE ARE, however we have not gained enough MATURITY to realise and recognise this. Our Guru is GREAT. Unlike other Gurus, Sri Guru Gobind Singh jee has left his door OPEN for his children to come to him. Even if the ungrateful Sikh decides to wander at other doors, the Guru does not close his door. The Guru says, "If you want, go and try the other doors - however, eventually you will become tired and come back here. However, don't worry if you come back to me, I will still have my door open to you."
ਸਗਲ ਦੁਆਰ ਕਉ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਗਹਯੋ ਤੁਹਾਰੋ ਦੁਆਰ ॥
sagal duaar kau chhaad kai gahyo tuhaaro duaar.
Having abandoned all other doors, I have come to Your door for protection and help.

ਬਾਂਹਿ ਗਹੇ ਕੀ ਲਾਜ ਅਸਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਹਾਰ ॥੮੬੪॥
baa(n)hi gahe kee laaj as gobind daas tuhaar. ||864||
O Vaheguru! I have held Your arm, I am Your servant a devotee.864.
(P. 643, Dasam Granth)

The Guru reminds us of one fact though, which we read daily in Aasa Di Vaar:
ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
bin satgur kinai na paa-i-o, bin satgur kinai na paa-i-aa.
Without the True Guru, no one can obtained Vaheguru; without the True Guru, no one has obtained Vaheguru.
(Ang 466)

Giani jee then went on to explain the value of keeping KESH, donning the body with the 5 Ks and receiving the gift of Khande-Di-Pahul AMRIT (the spiritual-life giving Nectar of the double-edged sword):
"O Sikhs! EVERYDAY we read Ardaas. However, how many of us actually MEAN what we say? Is it all words and no action? We daily say:
ਤੁਧੁ ਆਗੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਸਭੁ ਤੇਰਾ ॥
tuDh aagai ardaas hamaaree jee-o pindd sabh teraa.
I offer my prayer to You; my soul and body are all Yours.
(Ang 383)

We say our BODY and SOUL belong to VAHEGURU. However, we do NOT believe this. We are AGHIRT-GHAN (ungrateful). Realise this body does not belong to us but belongs to Vaheguru, the Master. If you realise this then you will keep Kesh, you will adorn your body with the 5Ks and then take Amrit from Guru...

Near the end of Katha Giani jee's words sent electric shocks through my body! I remember reading a book where an English Philosopher said that the GREATEST SIN the Sikhs have done is concealing their faith and NOT SHARING Sikhi with the world. However, the greater sin is not sharing Sikhi even within our community and families, even our own CHILDREN!

Giani jee in a mood of Bairaag (sadness) and yet boldness said:
"Christians knock on people's doors and distribute literature about their religion. They tell others about Christ and say become Christians. Every Muslim will do his or her best to bring the non-Muslim to Islam as part of their duty to their faith. They distribute literature and any opportunity they have in a conversation they say how great Islam is and that one should become Muslim to enjoy God's happiness.

Guru Nanak Sahib jee says:

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
jan naanak DhooR mangai tis gursikh kee, jo aap japai avreh naam japaavai. ||2||
Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants Naam, and inspires others to chant it. ||2||
(Ang 306)

Guru Nanak Sahib jee says that Sikh which meditates and chants NAAM and inspires others to NAAM JAP - your Guru says that He will apply the DUST of that person's feet to his forehead and pay his respects. O Sikhs! We have FAILED to share our great religion of Naam with our very own children, let alone our neighbours.

Where are the mother's who while giving milk (food) to the baby did Simran of Vaheguru and planted the seeds of Bhagtee (devotional worship). Where are the mother's who sat with their children and helped them to memorise Nitnem and Sukhmani Sahib. Where are the mother's who walked their children to the Gurdwara Sahib and standing in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee say: "O Satguru! With your blessings you have given me this child. Do Kirpaa, have mercy on me, may this child become a Gursikh of Yours - if I have made any shortcomings while bringing up the child then please forgive me, may he remain attached to Your Feet." This was the mother of great Baba Deep Singh jee who was able to fight with head on his hand on the battlefield...

Look after Sikhi! Look after Sikhi! Sikhi is in Your Hands. We have MANY threats against Sikhi in today's world. Let us not do NEGATIVE PARCHAAR (preaching) whereby we end up condemning others and LOOKING DOWN at people. This is NOT the Guru's Way. Let's do POSITIVE PARCHAAR through love and embracing everyone - let us become role models and living examples of Sikhi and share the Guru's Pyaar with others. One needs to become SHASTARDHARI (equiped with weapons) physically, however one also needs to equip themselves with the weapon of VICHAAR. Knowledge of Gurbaani is our weapon against this modern attacks against Sikhi from the fashion world, the media, agencies, organisational and radicals from other religions who are telling us "Your Kesh do not look nice," "Amrit is not good," "Cut your hair and look like this." Recognise who you are Sikhs! The world will tell you to become like this and that however wake up O Sikhs and realise reality...

During the afternoon I was walking near Havelock Road and I bumped into a Baba jee, which I have met in camps and the Gurdwara Sahib. We talked on the side of the road. He spoke in such Bairaag. He told me that he wants the youngsters to equip themselves with GURMAT GYAAN (knowledge of the Guru's Teachings) and spread them to the world. He said Christians go door to door distributing information however we have failed to let anyone know about Sikhi. We have to move on from Panjabis. Panjabis have not understood Sikhi and nor do they wish to. Spread the message further afield and let the English people know about the Path of Naam and Gurmat and share the gems of Guru Nanak Sahib jee's Sikhi.

Baba jee got emotional near the end of the conversation and told me:
"Guru Nanak Sahib jee has traveled and walked thousands and thousands of steps all over the world. However, we are NOT WORTHY of standing on EVEN ONE STEP of Guru Nanak Sahib jee. Yes! We are not even worthy of standing on one step of the Guru. We have miserably failed to understand Gurbaani and share with others. Please let the youngsters know, go out in the world and share Gurmat with the world. Don't be like the older generation. PRINT LITERATURE and DISTRIBUTE door to door, share what Guru Nanak Sahib jee has given us with friends and neighbours. Through this we can benefit the world and do SARBAT DA BHALLA (good for all humanity)..."

May Vaheguru bless all of us with the gift of preserving the honour of BAANI (Divine Words of the Guru) and BAANAA (the Guru's given identity).


SikhSpeak.Com said...

Gurfateh Bhaji!

I agree the Kathaa was very good...was listening away quietly!

I also, think we need to do something about education...I don't know about "missionary" style, but something needs to be done!

P.S. That shabad is really nice :)

rsingh said...

Is that pick of Bhai Amolak singh jee... hmmm who is the singh, singhnee and kid?

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

The photo is of Bhai Amolak Singh jee holding his daughter, with his wife next to him.

rsingh said...

Thought so, btw Bhenji does awesome keertan. :D Chardi Kalaa :)

Anonymous said...

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Bhai Sahib, a very moving article, put a lump in my throat and brought a tear to my eye...Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Sahib Ji Mahraaj, Dhan Dhan Vaheguru, Dhan Dhan Vaheguru ke pyarae...

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

gurjeet kaur said...

if you see the full picture, bibi ji is holding a rifle :)

jatlee said...

;') beautiful! its true that children recognise turbans and beards! babies get are always calm round the sikh identity! hmmmm... isit me or have you expercienced this paaji!?

Pritpal Singh said...

What a great article! I wish our elders could understood and practised Sikhi better than we could not have seen such a disasterous day of Paanth today.

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Naturally a baby will feel comfortable to a more natural surrounding and features. A mother's thoughts and actions are important when pregnant. If a mother respects Sikh identity, the child will be inclined to respect Sikh identity.

SikhsRus said...

Thank you for posting the katha! What I agree that we need to show Guru's way to others by practising and living Sikh way that is adopting Guru's way and follow in the footsteps of Guru. Also, we need to stop saying we have 10 Gurus, we have 11 Gurus or 11 Nanaks including Dhan Dhan Guru Granth sahib Ji Maharaj. There are so many journals, media and poeple (including Punjabis from Sikhi background) that refer to our Guru as holy text, Sikh Bible, holy book etc. To me people that show disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib probably would have been disrespectful to Guru Nanak Sahib and other Gurus. I hope we start correcting the non-Sikh media errors. Another one is the Sikh pilgrims. Thanks!

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Good points by "sikhrus" jee

There is ‘ONE’ Guru. The Ten were for explaining the COMPLETENESS. The Ten figures are a complete figure.

Guru Nanak Sahib jee took the form of Ten human bodies. The SHABAD (Divine Infinite Wisdom) is the True Guru, Satguru. And Satguru Nanak Sahib jee is in essence the ‘Shabad’. Guru Nanak Sahib jee and the Ten bodies/ personalities revealed and interpreted the Shabad.

After revealing, explaining and interpreting and practically living the SHABAD GURU, the "Shabad Guru" was recorded and preserved in the "Granth" (Scriptural Body) and human form of the Guru ended.

When we say 10 Nanaks we refer to the "TEN PERSONALITIES". However, as you rightly say we should be clear to illustrate that Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee is the eternal embodiment of the Shabad-Jyot (Divine Light).

Lakh said...


What are your views on striking a balance between sharing knowledge and soliciting for conversion?

For instance, door-to-door distribution of Jehovah's Witness materials combined with pushy sales-like tactics to target potential members can often leave people with a bad taste in their mouths. Certainly my experience with these methods has given me a poor impression of their expression of faith.

Inform and share rather than distribute and solicit.
As you rightly identified, there's a long way to go in our own community (trying to increase the level of Sikhi in being Punjabi) before we consider how to best share with others.

Just out of interest, what are you studying at Kings and are you involved with the LSE Sikh Soc at all?

Anonymous said...

WAHEGUROO... Dhan Dhan Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji!

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Lakh jee,

Best way to share knowledge is by living Sikhi, being open to share your Sikhi and sharing love for others.

Its not about pushing yourselves on others. Its about letting Sikhi shine from you and giving opportunity for others to interact with you on more of human level rather than sales level.

Daas studied and graduated in BA Religious Studies at Kings College London. Now Daas is currently studying MPhil in Sikh Studies at University of Birmingham.

Guru Rakha

Anonymous said...