The Thought, Not the Action

Looking above and Beyond

Monkey see, Monkey do. Waheguru Ji made us humans, gave us brains and taught us how to use them but we choose to be monkeys. Every day hundreds and thousands of people visit Gurudwara Beed Baba Budda Sahib to beg for a son because once upon a time Baba Ji blessed Mata Ganga Ji with a son. They saw that Mata Ji went with langar and got the blessing, now like monkeys we all do the same. We choose to ignore the message Guru Arjun Dev Ji was giving us by sending Mata Ganga Ji to Baba Budda Ji instead of blessing her Himself. Who was Mata Ganga Ji? Why did Guru Arjun Dev Ji tell Mata Ji to take langar for Baba Budda Ji? What blessing did Mata Ji really get from Baba Budda Ji?

Mata Ganga Ji was the wife of Guru Arjun Dev Ji and was no normal lady. It is human nature to change to fit into our surrounding and to take on some of the traits of the people around us. Just like we are change by the sangat we keep, we can’t assume that Mata Ji did not change in Guru Arjun Dev Ji’s sangat. People can be changed in seconds if they get darshan of Guru Ji and Mata Ji lived with Guru Ji. Mata Ganga Ji was a great Sikh and very blessed to be in Sangat of Guru Ji. And the truth is Guru Ji often choose the most blessed people to teach us lost souls, how to be better Sikhs; how to please the Husband Lord, Waheguru Ji.

That is the very reason Guru Ji didn’t bless Mata Ji with a son because Guru Ji wanted Sikhs to learn how to ask for blessings. Guru Ji showed us how to kill the ego within us through Mata Ganga Ji because He knew as long as we were filled with ego, we couldn’t truly be blessed. Guru Ji could have told Mata Ji the first time around to prepare the food by hand and take the food herself; Guru Ji is all knowing He would have known Mata Ji would make this mistake. But Guru Ji didn’t tell Mata because He wanted us to learn to look beyond the comforts we are blessed with and do seva directly from our heart. Guru Ji taught us we should do seva with our own hands but today we buy everything premade, hire people to read Gurbani and call it seva.

When Mata Ji arrived at the first time with langar for Baba Budda Ji, Baba Budda Ji turned away from Mata Ji because she took shortcuts to do the seva. The next day after talking to Guru Arjun Dev Ji, Mata Ganga Ji made the langar with her own hands and walked to go see Baba Budda Ji. This time Baba Budda Ji was happy to see her and ate the langar with lots of love and gratefulness to Mata Ji for bringing him langar. This time Baba Ji was able to eat the langar because there was no ego in it. Mata Ji was cleared of her ego and Waheguru Ji could fill that spot within her with blessings. Waheguru Ji blessed Mata Ji through Baba Budda Ji because Waheguru Ji needed Baba Budda Ji to clear the ego within Mata Ji.

The lesson we should have learned was to remove ego and do seva from our heart to be blessed but instead we learned go to Guru Beed Baba Budda Sahib and be automatically blessed with a son. A true Sikh does not have to go anywhere to get any blessings. All we Sikhs have to do is do seva of Waheguru Ji, kill the ego within us and He will bless us no matter where we are. In simple words, you want to be blessed? Look beyond your money, the shortcuts and do all seva from the ground up. Cook the langar yourself; don’t opt for catering because you have money. Hand sew the Ramala Sahib with love for Guru Granth Sahib Ji; don’t just go buy the most expensive one available. If you have Akand Path Sahib Ji, try to take part in reading Gurbani or the very least spend at least half the time listening.

Don’t be a monkey, look beyond the actions.

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Why Amrit?……. Is it really necessary?

When a youngster in the Sikh community wants to take Amrit, many people step forward to stop them, to talk them out of it. They are told they are to young and the guidelines of Sikhi too hard. Moms are more willing to cut their children’s hair then to support their decision to grow out their hair and be a good Gurusikh. One could say that the families know their children the best and know what they are capable of and might be right in not allowing them to take Amrit. But what gives an outsider authority to teach our children that they shouldn’t take Amrit? In my personal experience I have had opposition from my family for their very real fears and from strangers that just wanted to push their beliefs on me. This article is for those people that believe one should be good person and Amrit is not necessary because it’s just an outer image. There are three stages of life in the Sikhi life style; non-Amritdhari, Amritdhari and God.

All Sikhs start life out as non-Amritdhari because in Sikhism taking Amrit is a personal decision that must be made by each individual. It is not a ritual baptism where it is done for little kids that don’t even know what is going on and don’t get to choose it. It is and it will always be an individual chose made when the time is right. As a non-Amritdhari, a person is not held up to the expectations of a person that follows the tenants of Sikhi. That means they can do good or bad, they will not be judged as Sikhs. At this point generally people that are good at heart well try to do good and when asked they are so good, why don’t they take Amrit and become true to their religion? They will answer it’s not necessary to do anything more then be good to meet god. But is being good, good enough? Does being good kill the five evils; your ego, attachment, lust, anger, greed? Unless those evils in you are conquered you are good but not good enough. It is Amrit that gives you the tools to conquer those evils.

Taking Amrit gives your life the discipline, the tools it takes to kill those 5 evils. Gurbani teaches you what those 5 evils are and how to overcome them. It teaches you how to rise above this world and the pains associated with it. Amrit gives you the mental and physical support need to be the best you can be. Mental with the Gurbani side of Amrit. And Physical through teaching you to wake up at proper times, eating in limitation, and giving your whole life a discipline. If Amrit brings such positive change in a person, then why aren’t all Amritdhari people the best people in the world? Amrit is a tool that Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave us to help us reach Waheguru but we made it into a social status. The Amritdhari people that aren’t positively affected by Amrit are often the people that took Amrit so they could show off. They aren’t even trying to meet Waheguru Ji. A tool is useless, if you just carry it with you but don’t use it.

When you use this wonderful tool Amrit that Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave us for its original and true purpose then we kill the evil within us and become one with God. After all we are all like that single drop of water whose entire purpose is to remerge with the ocean. Once our soul remerges with God, what is the difference between us and God? Nothing!

Without Amrit we are like that raindrop that continues to struggle to meet the ocean but time in and time out is evaporated by the sun and then once again must wait for the rain before it can come on this earth again and try all over again. God is constantly allowing some raindrops that are already emerged into the ocean to evaporated and come back again so they can lead the single lost raindrops to the ocean too. God hasn’t forsaken anyone and is constantly reaching out to us. It is us that hide behind excuses and don’t take the first step. For Sikhs Amrit is the only thing that is going to help us reach our ocean, it is up to us do we want to be misled into believing Amrit is not important.

No, being a good person is not good enough.

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Rise of The Khalsa -A documentary

For the past decade the Sikhs more than ever have been struggling to portray the Khalsa image in the proper light. Ever since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the Sikhs have been looked upon as terrorists by many people that are unaware of the difference between Muslims and Sikhs. Things in some places have gotten so bad that Sikh youth themselves don’t know what it means to be a Sikh. This documentary is a breath of fresh air from the popular trend of animated versions of Sikh history as it follows a group of Sikh warriors and uses them as real life examples of who the Sikhs are. It brings the Sikh history alive in the true sense and in this manner it is more appealing to the teenagers, non-traditional Sikhs and people from non-Sikh backgrounds. This well-made professional documentary’s appeal to multitude of groups is great boon to Sikhi, if properly used. The proper use of the film as educational tool for visitors to the Gurudwara Sahibs, schools teaching religion classes and even for the common Sikh, themself.

It is no secret that the Granthi’s of the Sikh Gurudwaras around the world are in no place to explain Sikhi to visitors. In fact often visitors are left to depend on youth that often don’t know too well themselves. This documentary can either be set up on a TV or a computer for visitors to sit and watch while at the Gurudwara. About 45 minutes long this film covers everything from Gatka, Amrit ceremony, Sikh history, langar, different events at the Gurudwara Sahib and much more. The biggest treat in this film for them is to see Sikhs from non-traditional backgrounds, such as America, German, Ireland and others. They also get to hear about Sikhi from a Russian Sikh and why he found it appealing. This movie truly gives visitors a broad picture of who Sikhs are without lecturing them, it’s of an adventure and everyone’s invited.

Even those that have not yet ventured into the Gurudwara but are learning about religion in their high school or college/university classes are invited on this adventure. For anyone that has taken a religion class or read a world religion book, it is no secret that Sikhi is not explained properly or fully. This is a golden opportunity for Sikhs to provide their local colleges and high schools with an English documentary on Sikhi, so at least we are represented properly. This documentary is available in English and Punjabi on the same disc with Spanish subtitles, in other words it is perfect for American Schools. If sangat supports this film, I am sure we can get available in more langauges for Sikhs around the world. To use for educational purposes for people wanting to learn about Sikhi and even for those that don’t wish. We all have known kids that got bullied at school for being a Sikh, now you can get your teacher to host a movie hour on Sikhi. Provide the snacks and you got the kids interested and educated.

Education is the key to stopping bullying and to inspiring yourself and your children to be better Sikhs. Before I watched this film I thought I knew quite a bit about Sikhi but I learned there is always something new to learn. Often times in living in western countries we forget the solider part of saint-solider and this movie reminds us how smoothly the two go hand in hand. Watching this movie in Punjabi and/or in English fills a Sikh with the same inspiration and pride to become better Sikhs; better people.

I would recommend everyone to watch this documentary to educate yourself and others on Sikhi. Watch it once in Punjabi, so you really understand what is going on. And then in English to better explain it to people that don’t speak Punjabi. Now is the time for education, let support this effort to reach more than our little kids with animated films. This is an effort to broaden the horizons of Sikh media. So please visit http://thesikhmedia.com/ today to learn more about the documentary and how to get it out to more people to watch this beautiful documentary.

source: http://www.sikhsangat.org/2011/03/rise-of-the-khalsa-a-documentary/

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Waheguru, where are you?

The Conscience

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Each one of us have witnessed something which we believed is wrong and kept quiet whilst we asked in our head, “Why is God not doing anything?” “Is God so heartless He can sit back and watch all these evils?” Sorry to disappoint but God’s not heartless nor is He to blame. When He created the world He put a system in place to keep the world from becoming hell. Waheguru Ji gave the humans a conscience, sent His messengers and then created Judgment day.

When there is something wrong going on in front of us, this voice in back of our head immediately alerts us that something is not right. Not only does it alert us that something is wrong but it also alerts us what is right. At that point it is our choice if we want to react to the voice (our conscience) or blame God for letting this happen. It is like seeing someone doing something against Gurmat at the Gurudwara Sahib but not speaking out. In your head you know what’s right and what they are doing is wrong but you don’t speak up. Then you get mad at Waheguru Ji, how He lets such things happen in His home. To blame Him when we had a choice, we could have done the right thing. But still He pities us that we ignored the biggest tool He gave us, our conscience, and sends His messengers to awaken our conscience.

When our conscience fails us, then His messengers come to reawaken our Conscience and to remember the True Lord. All religions on this world are started on the basis of reawaking our conscience to be a better person and reconnecting with the True Lord. The same goes for Sikhism, which begin with Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in a time period when there was much turmoil and people needed to reconnect with God. Guru Nanak Dev Ji and all the Sikh Guru Sahiban that followed taught the people how to live a life that was worth living, following your conscience. Guru Nanak Dev Ji took people like Sajan Thag and gave him salivation by awakening his conscience and connecting him with the True Lord. Some of us are not lucky like Sajan Thag because we refuse to let Guru Granth Sahib Ji awaken our conscience and connect with Waheguru. After ignoring our conscience and His messengers, we wonder why Waheguru Ji still lets the bad stuff happen on this earth.

We keep blaming Him for all the world’s problems and do nothing ourselves but still He does not give up on us. He spends time with each of us, going over the account of our deeds; good and bad. Then if we had listened to our conscience and had kept faith in Him, He lets us rejoin Him. If we spent all our lives hiding from the truth, hiding from Him and blaming Him for when we failed to act up, then based on our karmas He gives us a new life to redo it again. When we are in front of Waheguru, we can’t hide the truth any more. Everything about Waheguru is the truth and there is no falseness of the world that we can behind. And on this judgment day, he prepares us for the next life, so we can finally be with Him forever in the next. Amazing thing about Waheguru Ji, He doesn’t give up on us.

So don’t give up on Him; listen to your conscience, be grateful of His messengers, and most of all be prepared to face the Truth with the True Lord. The day we stop hiding from the truth and blaming Him, we can make this world beautiful again. The key to the truth is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the longer we keep our mind close to the Guru, we will not find the light of the truth. Wake up, stop hiding and ask Guru Granth Sahib Ji to help you rise above this false world. Stop blaming, become the Truth and the world will not seem so bad anymore. In fact the world will seem beautiful and the idea of finding a place at the True Lord’s feet will seem even better.

 

Source: http://www.sikhsangat.org/2011/03/waheguru-where-are-you/

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The World is a Stage

We’re the actors

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This is stage where there is no script, no direction; all the actors must act impromptu. That means unlike scripted actors, we must see what is happening around us and just act out the first thing that comes to our mind. No one is really telling us what is right or wrong, we have to judge for ourselves. For that very reason this birth as a human is priceless and in the life form that can receive salvation. So if there is no script and no direction, what role does the creator play? The creator controls the environment around us, writes the basic events based on our karmas and finally helps us find a way off this stage.

The events that happen around us shape the way we turn out as humans and those events are controlled to an extent by the creator. He controls the weather but lets us control how we react to it. He controls how the animals behave but lets us control our behavior. The plants, the weather, the animals are the world around us shape us to an extent based on how we react to them, what we learn from them. Those are the items that we have no control over; the behavior of animals, where and how plants grow, the weather and this earth is the stage.

So the stage is set, the next step is to give the actors their basic roles. Depending on our past karmas, we are sent to this earth with a list of things we must live through for our karmas to be washed off. If we don’t do any bad deeds again, we can wash our slate clean. If we continue to do bad deeds on this stage, we add to our karmas and more for us to work off later. It is a basic principle, you control your life and how you act and react. God just wipes off your bad deeds when you do well and adds things for us to live through if we do bad deeds. God is just the accounts keeper for us.

Lucky for us the accounts keeper (God) loves us and tries to help us find ways off this stage to be with Him again. He occasionally picks a few actors to whom He explains exactly how this stage works and he then sends them to explain to everyone else. Over time different messengers came and explained God’s play to us. Some of the messengers themselves got lost in the world of humans that forget about God and forgot the true message; they distorted it to get themselves worshiped as God. Other times the humans forgot the message over time. So this time God had the messengers (this time the Sikh Gurus) he sent record His message in the eternal Guru, so His message will never be forgotten. The Sikh’s Guru, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, are direct words of the Creator. Not stories of his messengers written years letter to bases our lives off. Let us allow Guru Granth Sahib Ji to guide us back to the creator and end this birth, rebirth cycle.

Let’s stop waiting around for some miracle by God to magically appear and show us the way. Instead let us make an effort ourselves to go to Guru Granth Sahib Ji and learn how to live our lives in a way that we can reconnect with the creator. Once we understand how this play works and what lines we should say and how we should act, we master life. At that point this hungry, pain, love, hate and etc. are all forgotten. We can rise above and live a good life and die to never be born again. But if we all keep waiting for a miracle, all the bad stuff will keep happening. Because we will not realize that we are the cause of our own misery, not God. Next time you ask yourself why the world is so bad, remind yourself God has given you a way out of this badness, you just don’t follow it.

If you are reading this article, God has just shown you the path. Now you can’t wait around for a miracle anymore and have to make an effort yourself. It might seem the world is against your efforts or at times it gets hard but you got follow through. If you follow through today and become a good Sikh that believes in and follows Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Than you will never suffer from worldly pain again and can rejoin the creator.

 

Source:http://www.sikhsangat.org/2011/02/the-world-is-a-stage/

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Sikh: A Student without a Teacher

Everyone in the world has a right to call themselves a Sikh but the word Sikh holds a special meaning for the followers of Sikhism. The proper definition of Sikh is to be a student and in that sense, no one can claim that someone is a Sikh or not. Anyone that makes an effort to learn anything is a Sikh; from a little child to an elderly person. The only person exempt from being labeled a Sikh is a person with disabilities that cause them hindrance in learning. So why is the term Sikh special for the followers of Sikhism? Why does only a certain group of people use that term to describe themselves? The word Sikh is part of journey for followers of Sikhism that goes from being a Sikh to a Gursikh to a Gurmukh.

In Sikhism a Sikh is someone that feels any type of connection to the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. This person can be clean shaven or keeps their hair, in other words anyone can be a Sikh. As a Sikh we open our minds to listening about Sikhism and reading about Sikhism. The period in which one is called a Sikh is when they are just absorbing knowledge about everything around them. It’s like primary education when we have to learn all subjects in school and can’t just pick one we like. There are some people in this world that never attend school and others that never finish it. Then still there are others that stop education after high school and are forever being satisfied called a Sikh. But there are still others that want to study further.

The people that crave for more still are known as Gursikhs. Becoming a Gursikh is like going to college and picking your major. You have to decide that Guru Granth Sahib Ji is your teacher and Sikhism is your major. With that decided you have to follow all teachings of Sikhism, whether you like them or not. That includes taking amrit, living in the rehat given by your panj pyare, learning Gurbani and understanding it too. Once we become Gursikhs we can’t just do things half-heartedly we really try to do live up to our Guru’s teachings. Live up to them to such an extent that someone can look and say that your face reflects that of your teacher.

When someone can say that about you that is the day one becomes a Gurmukh. Gurmukh is not an easy title to live up to as it requires you to always be true to your Guru’s word no matter word. That means you will be true even if it costs you are live and even while giving your live you will be happy that you are true to your Gurus word. A person that is able to live and die as a Gurmukh ends this vicious cycle of life and death. They can remerge with the creator and forever be at peace. To be a Gurmukh is the dream and hope of every Gursikh.

Each person faces countless births and rebirths before they are given this human body to try and go from being a Sikh to Gursikh to Gurmukh. So it is wrong for us to say that someone is not a Sikh or to say that they don’t have the right to call themselves a Sikh. We are just driving them away from Sikhi and wasting another life. We should instead encourage them to become Sikhs of the eternal Guru, Guru Granth Sahib Ji and begin the walk to becoming Gurmukhs. We should remind others and ourselves when in Gurbani Guru Ji’s talked about Sikhs, they were talking to their students, Gursikhs.

May Guru Granth Sahib Ji teach us all how to be good Gursikhs and help us to be Gurmukhs.

 

http://www.sikhsangat.org/2011/02/sikh-a-student-without-a-teacher/

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Conversion of Sikh Girls—-Who falls prey?

The Sikh community is waking up from a long sleep of neglect of the female child to find that their daughters are being converted out of the faith they were born in. Websites, blogs, Youtube videos are being made daily to wake up our daughters so we can save them. But sometimes we forget that just as much effort needs to be made to wake up our parents and our leaders so our daughters can be raised never to become victims of extremists that try to convert them. How can we blame the girl alone, when her upbringing left her vulnerable? Sikh girls that are raised to be the perfect obedient daughters or to be the daughter with great independence or the ones that never had to see any problems.

Every parents dream is that their daughter is this perfect daughter that is obedient and always listens to her parents. But at what cost? The obedience is taught by force, not by reasoning or friendly explanation. Listening to some of the mothers of the daughters that converted you hear them talk about their daughter never going anywhere without family, being a straight A student and helping in the house; in short being the perfect child. These perfect daughters try to do everything to make their parents happy but somewhere deep down they always feel they don’t get the love in return they deserve. They feel this way either because their brothers are treated better even though they don’t do half the work the girls are required to do or they feel their small mistakes are punished too harshly. In short when someone else offers the girl the love she thinks she deserves, she gets blinded by it and is unable to see past it. And that false sense of love and security makes her lose the real love and security offered by family. But once the mistake is realized it is her family is not always willing to take her back and let things go back to normal. The once perfect obedient daughter is now an outcast, with nowhere to go.

The daughter with too many liberties is just as much of easy target as the obedient daughter for conversion into another faith, mostly Islam. The daughter with the strict parents leaves her faith and family for some love, the daughter with easy going parents leaves her faith for some discipline. These girls are brainwashed into believing that all their lives they have sinned and the only way they can be saved is through Islam. Because that is the only religion that forces girls to complete cover up and be protected from the bad eyes of men. What they aren’t taught is how the women are treated in Islam. But the point is the party girl is made to believe through Islam, she can finally settle down and live a respectable life. Her parents don’t object because they have always given their daughter the freedom to make her choices. For love, for sense of discipline she leaves her family and her religion. Which she could have got in her family but no one tried to teach her about her religion and the meaning of love was completely distorted.

Punjabi parents typically want to solve all the problems for their daughters before they can even know they have a problem. But what they don’t realize is that they are setting their daughters up for a great downfall later in life. Not only will she be unable to face problems in life when her parents can’t be there for her but she is open to being tricked into converting. When her family is not around anyone can come up to her and try to teach her that if she accepts a certain religion she won’t have problems anymore. And if by some odd chance of fate, her problem does go away after trying something of a new fate, she is sold for life. Not only she will convert but she will try to get people around her to convert, to solve their problems also. These kindof converts are the worst because they take down a lot more people with them and then they have nowhere to turn when they realize that religion is not a magic solution to make your problems disappear. Religion can teach us how to cope with problems, not magically make them all disappear, that is up to God.

Most girls that fall into conversion traps grow up without a strong presence of religion in their lives and are raised on culture values. To really help our daughters, sisters we need to bring Sikhism back into their lives and the lives of their parents. The only way for us to really do that is not by hard core scare tactics talking about all the negatives of Islam nor is it to be done by forcing them to listen to hours of Gurbani. It can only be done by the Gurudwara Committees and parents stepping up the game by hosting fun events like trips to amusement parks, camping, hiking and other similar events that are not against principles of Sikhism and mixing in the fun with education. Once someone learns about the basics of Sikhism, they become more open to learning more on their own. And that is another place where we fall behind; the answer we give for everything is listen to Gurbani. Our Gurudwara Sahibs have to take the first step and hold regular discussions on Sikhism so people can ask their questions and learn more. Educate properly in a fun manner on Sikhism, conversion rates will drop. Simple as that.

May Waheguru Ji give us strength to fight the extremist of all faiths and make this world a nicer place to live in.

 

source:http://www.sikhsangat.org/2011/02/conversion-of-sikh-girls-who-falls-prey/

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