Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Teaching Sikhi to Dutch Children (Part 1)...

Author: Jaskarn Singh (Holland)

Waheguru Jee Ka Khalsa Waheguru Jee Ki Fateh!
A few weeks ago my cousins called me and asked me if I wanted to do a talk about Sikhi at their school because they were studying the different religions of India and nobody knew about Sikhi. So I accepted the invitation to go to the primary school and share information about Sikhi.
That morning when I was walking towards the school I was getting worried and feeling a little nervous because I don´t have lots of knowledge about Sikhi and have no experience of visiting schools for this purpose. So I decided to do a Chaupai Saahib da paath on my way to school and during my Ardaas I said to Maharaaj: "I am unworthy to talk about Sikhi, please tusee kirpa karo (bless me)."

Most of the children were 10-11 years old. I used the basic ´Sikh Awareness presentation´ for the talk. During the talk we discussed different topics like the Guru, the importance of Kesh and our unique identity, the Dastaar, Gurudwara and Langar, Harmandir Sahib, equality in Sikhi, Sikhs in the World Wars, the Sikh lifestyle and the four cardinal sins (bajjar kurehits).
I was thinking by myself how to explain the importance of Kesh to non-Sikhs and I found the Rehatnama of Bhai Desa Singh to be very useful.
ਜਬ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਸਬ ਸਿ੍ਰਸਿਟ ਉਪਾਈ । ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹਿ ਬਨਾਈ ।
ਤਨ ਇਸ ਕੇ ਸਿਰ ਕੇਸ ਜੁ ਦੀਨੋ । ਸੋ ਇਹ ਤਨ ਸ਼ਿੰਗਾਰਿਹ ਕੀਨੋ ।੭੯|
ਦਾੜ੍ਹਾ ਮੁੱਛ ਸਿਰ ਕੇਸ ਬਨਾਈ । ਹੈ ਇਹ ਦਿ੍ੜ ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਰਜ਼ਾਈ ।
ਮੇਟ ਰਜ਼ਾਇ ਜੁ ਸੀਸ ਮੁੰਡਾਵੈ । ਕਹੁ ਤੇ ਜਗ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਵੈ ।੮੦|
ਪਾਂਖਹੁ ਬਿਨ ਬਿਹੰਗ ਜਿਮ ਹੋਹੀ | ਊਰਬ ਬਿਨਾ ਭੇਡ ਜਿਮ ਕੋਈ |
ਬਸਨ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਾਰੀ ਹੈ ਜੈਸੇ । ਕੇਸਨ ਬਿਨ ਨਰ ਹੋਇ ਤੈਸੇ ।੮੧|
ਕੇਸਨ ਨਰ ਧਾਰੇ ਹੈ ਹਬਹੀ | ਪੂਰਨ ਰੂਪ ਹੋਇ ਹੈ ਤਬ ਹੀ
ਕੇਸ ਏਕ ਪੁਨ ਰਹਤ ਜੁ ਪਾਈਂ | ਤਾਂ ਕੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਕਹੀ ਨਾ ਜਾਈ |੮੨|
"God created the whole universe and also the human body. God bestowed the gift of kesh on the human head to be its adornment. The beard, moustache and kesh are embodiments of the inviolable will of God. Transgressing the Divine Will, how can one reach God with a shorn head? A man without kesh is like a bird without feathers, a sheep without wool, or a woman without clothes. Only if a man keeps his hair intact can he claim to be a complete image of God. By adhering to just one principle of conduct – viz. keeping hair intact – a man achieves indescribable merit."
(Rehatnama Bhai Desa Singh)

WAHEGURU. I was really surprised at the kirpa of Guru Maharaaj. The kids were so happy to hear about Sikhi and showed a lot of love and respect. After a while some kids were even started to say: "I want to become a Sikh too!" I was thinking in my mind: "Dhan Guru Nanak! Dhan Guru Nanak!"

I remember the part where I said that Sikhs are not supposed to have boyfriends and girlfriends and a Sikh ought to see other women as their mothers, sisters and daughters (and vice versa). There was one girl who then reacted and said: ´That´s so stupid!" Then I explained that even if we don´t agree with the views of other people I believe that everyone deserves love and respect. And some kids started to say: "Yeah I agree with that." Then I replied and said: "Let´s just imagine for a moment…..What would we become if this entire class starts seeing each other as brothers and sisters?" The class started saying: "Family" Then I asked: ´´What if everyone in Holland starts treating each other as brothers and sisters…….what would we become?" The kids replied: "Family!" "What if everyone on this planet would start treating each other as brothers and sisters…what will we get from this?" The class responded with enthusiasm: "Family!" and there was one cute little kid with glasses who said: "World Peace!" I was thinking Waheguru...Waheguru!
Then we discussed the Gurdwara and Langar part of the talk and the class almost went crazy when they heard there is a place when you can get food for free! LOL (There was one kid looking around like "What are we waiting for? Let´s Go!") They really liked the Gurudwara and Langar part of the talk so I asked the class: " Would you guys want to come to the Gurudwara and have some langar?" And the class started to shout: "Yeahhh!"
The talk finished with Sikhi being a universal religion and that anyone can become a Sikh. I showed a few pictures of Sikhs with a non Punjabi background. So one person asked me the question: "So you are saying if I stop doing those four things (Four bajjar kurehits) I can become a Sikh?" I said: "Yes." Everyone was really surprised and shocked in a positive way. :)
So we ended the talk with questions and answers. They were really interested in Sikhi and asked a lot of questions. At the end I quickly just showed them my karra and kanga. Some kids looked at the kanga and started to smell it. Seeing this the other kids also started to smell the kanga... Satnaam!
Then the kids were standing around me, observing me closely, and one child started to feel my beard and Dastaar (without permission lol!). I felt like an animal being studied carefully! It was quite a funny scene! After wrapping everything up I made an appointment with the teacher that the class would come to the Gurdwara Sahib after three weeks.


Thank you to Veer jee for sharing his experience.

Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!


Anonymous said...

Satguru Ki Seva Safal Hai


Anonymous said...


inder said...