| Opinion | 8 Feb 2015 | Asia Samachar |
By Karam Singh
Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s gift ofKhandey Batte Da Pahul (Amrit) is seen as something so strict, so difficult, that it frightens away many. We often hear that Amrit is broken if you do this or that. You are then told you must ask for forgiveness for this demeanour, appear before the Panj Pyare (Beloved Five) and do atonement.
Let’s look at this real experience of someone who could not sleep for two days after being told that he had sinned and thus had broken his Amrit. What was his sin? He had accidentally swallowed a mosquito and was accused of becoming a non-vegetarian! His atonement, he was told, was to retake Amrit! And until he did so, his Nitnem (daily prayer) was useless!
So a question: Is true Sikhi in name changes, longer turbans, longer beards, wearing kacherras only?
Sikhi has to be earned (kamaunni), in real life. Our Creator is gentle, loving, compassionate and forgiving, not the misguided fanatic “mahakaal” type of a blood-sucking demon described so graphically in certain scripts.
We must not be misled that the ‘Khandey Battey DaPahul’ is so weak. It is as strong as the steel it was forged in. Once chhak (initiated), it remains with you for LIFE. Sad indeed that some preachers dole out silly notions to innocent Sikhs! If we come across anyone who has had a similar experience, we must not hesitate to advise them that Sikhi is simple. We need to just believe in a loving generous Creator and a Guru with the same qualities. And every Sikh’s mission is to inculcate the same qualities in his life. We must have true faith not in 10 different ‘dehs’ (bodies) but in the living eternal Gurbani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Ji.
I was told that some so-called leaders are compelling youth who attend their camps to memorise and recite from non-Gurbani texts by falsely claiming these as divine scriptures. We need to be vigilant and not wait till a whole generation is subtly brainwashed by insincere leaders who pry on emotions and fear. Parents should be alert as to what youth are being exposed to. If you need help to educate them, please reach out. Don’t despair and become complacent like a ‘ki farak penda’ (what difference does it make) and hope all will clear up by itself.
There is a fundamental difference between religion and spirituality. Kids segregate the religion part because it is what they have been conditioned to from young. However, they are more sensitive to the spirituality aspect. They are more kind, more caring to all beings, they don’t see colour or race, they don’t see rules and practices to make them more spiritual. Kids today are very spiritual. And they don’t think about it. They feel about it. Religion forces them to unthink and unfeel.
A friend shared this: “I was discussing with my 14 year old on issues of adult Sikhs who are seen as followers (a.k.a. blind faith). Her view was that adults and young adults are accustomed to a non-thinking spiritual way of life. They use their thinking skills in all other aspects of life (she called it reality) but never in their spiritual life. There is a mental segregation carried out. They totally surrender themselves to corrupted practises and never question.”
Why don’t they question? The Sikhi being practised by our children is exactly the Sikhi we parents practised in our lives. They watched, they learnt and they became us. They saw us pretend, be hypocrites, and not change at all despite our daily or weekly visits to gurdwaras. They saw us organise Akhand Paths for the walls of our gurdwaras, get entertained by our kirtan performers cum entertainers and focus mostly on making and eating tastier langgar. They saw us dressed outwardly as devout Sikhs but tell lies, speak ill of others, gossip in the gurdwara and cheat and lie in life to get ahead. They saw that the Sikhi of a vast majority of us parents was driven by silly rituals, blind faith, illogic and downright stupid practices.
They saw that our Sikhi was basically nonsensical. It was nonsense because they didn’t really understand why their parents took so much trouble to run around helter-skelter for a Sikhi they never intended to practise. Our kids never understood why their parents invested so much in Sikhi while they never actually intended to change themselves even one bit.
They saw that our Sikhi has been one that was totally devoid of Gurbani and its messages. They saw that our Sikhi was one that was driven by ‘bhed chaal’ – sheep led by sheep.
Deep down we knew we were undertaking pretentious spiritual journeys. Deep down our kids, too, know that, only much clearer than us. While everyone else saw the pretentious external Sikhi that we portrayed for the whole world out there to see; our children saw the “real Sikhi” that we practised behind closed doors. Not unlike the pretentious show of “love and respect” that broken parents put up for the whole world to see. But their children see the “real love and respect” that goes on in the ugliest of behaviours behind closed doors. Nothing complicated about all that we did wrong. Not to us, not to our kids.
Making Sikhi simple is another of our pretentious demands – that Sikhi is too complicated, hence why we can’t really practise it. Or that’s why our kids can’t really understand it. Our kids are way smarter than us. Simplicity is not one of the traits of Generation Y. Honesty and forthrightness is. Learning by watching is. Making our Sikhi REAL for us will help. Living our Sikhi by example will certainly help. But before that we will have to learn the real Sikhi for ourselves. WE, yes, WE. NOT our kids. Focusing on our kids’ Sikhi while we parents are doing it all wrong is yet another pretentious belief. Nothing will come out of it.
Try sharing Sikhi principles with 4 to 9 years old. Their innocence and love is what makes them “spiritual.” Sometimes we just can’t get conceptual when sharing Sikhi with them. Sikhi is a way of life. It starts with us by thinking of kindness and love foremost.
At the end of the day each child makes his own choices. Our children may come through us but they do not belong to us, to paraphrase the poet Khalil Gibran. [They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you]. We are merely their guardians and have no ownership over them or their choices, just like in the case of Guru Nanak Sahib ji’s children. Gurbani says “Putree kaoul na paleyo,” they chose to disobey. Hukam gives them that freedom and Guru Nanak never imposed his beliefs upon them.
ਪੁਤ੍ਰੀ ਕਉਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਲਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਪੀਰਹੁ ਕੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮੁਰਟੀਐ ॥
Puthree Koul N Paaliou Kar Peerahu Kannh Muratteeai || – SGGS, p967
The best way to preach Sikhi to the youth or younger ones is to be a good role model. Nothing else will work on a long-term basis. When they decide that Sikhi is for them by looking at the ideals by which their elders live, they will embrace the basic Gurmat principles and Gurbani which by then should already be part of their lives.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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