A blessing can turn into a curse when it’s given to an unwilling party. That is the case with some people that have taken Amrit for reasons other than their personal choice or belief. When a Sikh takes Amrit they are asked over and over to not take Amrit if it was not their choice but they don’t always listen. Who are these people that force others to take Amrit? How do they benefit? Is the final result always bad? Today I want to explore Sikh Schools, families and Gurudwara Sahib Committees and what role they play in getting people to be ‘blessed’ with Amrit.
Schools started by Amritdhari Sikhs are often looked as a blessing by Sikh parents because they do wonders to bring the kids closer to Waheguru. They teach the children Gurbani, Kirtan and Gatka alongside regular studies. The schools also ‘encourage’ kids to take Amrit regardless of the fact whether kids are ready for it or still in the process. Not all schools do this and the thought behind it is a noble one. The closer the youth are to Waheguru the better future Sikhism has and what’s better than Amrit to bring them closer to Waheguru? But often these children are not yet ready to take on the big responsibility that comes with taking Amrit. The schools their job is to teach, to educate and let the students make their own decisions. They just provide the tools and with the right tools the students will make the right choice. If you tell a student that he has to get up at 4 every morning to do Nitnem for rest of his life, that he can’t drink or eat meat and all of these regulations that come with taking Amrit, then he is going to resent doing it. These rehats (practices of Amritdhari Sikh) make lot of sense if you understand the religion and the purpose but these are kids, they don’t understand yet and it becomes a burden, not a boon for them. There are a few children that are ready for the blessings of Amrit at a young age and they should be allowed to take Amrit but once again they should want it. Make it a requirement that the children have to follow the rehats while at school as part of the deal to attend but let them make the choice to commit for life. Our children will be better Sikhs for it.
In the attempts to make someone a better child, better mother, better father we often try to get them to commit to Sikhi by taking Amrit. But does that really make someone a better person? In rare cases this person will quit their bad habits and really start believing in and following the Sikhi path but not always. The person just hides their bad habits better, as not to disappoint their loved ones or they will look the part of Amritdhari Sikh and conintue their bad habits and disgrace all Sikhs. It is not bad to wish for your loved to take Amrit and become one with god, it’s a noble thought. But forcing someone to take Amrit is not the way to go about it. If you can force someone to take Amrit, you must be capable of forcing them to do other things. Get this person to do Sangat of good people, go to a Sikhi Camp or one of the many Sikh Activities going on and let them themselves want to be closer to Waheguru. The day they realize what you have been telling them all along and helped them reach, they will love you for not forcing them but showing them the path. Getting our loved ones to take Amrit is not going to fix anything; we have to awake in them the desire to change and want to take Amrit.
But what happens when the people that are supposed to help us bring about this change, they themselves were forced to take Amrit? If a Gurudwara committee is good, they organize many Sikhi events that help bring about a change in their communities. That is not the case with most committees; they are rich men/women that became committee members because they donated lots of money and then took Amrit so they no one could question their right to be committee members. These men/women don’t take Amrit because they feel it’s the right time for them and they are ready, it is because they want to be on the committee. Sangat needs to start electing people to the committee not based on how much money they donated or if they have taken Amrit but how good of Gursikhs they are. If we don’t leave them with the option of taking Amrit and becoming committee members, they will have to do it for themselves. Amrit shouldn’t come with outside advantages; it should make a person look inwards.
Amrit changes a person inside out, not outside in. Let us stop trying to change the students, the family members and yes, even the committee members. Lead your loved ones to Waheguru and when he is ready he will bless with Amrit. So please do your part and let Waheguru do his.