| Opinion | 16 Feb 2015 | Asia Samachar |
A 17 year old wants to be a Sikh and we start asking (on her behalf) where she should go to learn about Sikhi, where to look for books, ask if Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) runs courses, thank God that the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) Gurmat samelan is around the corner, etc.
But if the same 17 year old wanted to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer, then she probably would research everything herself. She would most probably get all the information about books herself, find out about schools, etc, etc. She may even go looking for other doctors or lawyers to talk to. But not when it comes to finding your way around for Sikhi.
Why the huge difference in our attitudes and approach? Is it because in our minds Sikhi has no value and no priority; no importance? That we can live without it? That others can do it for us? If they do, then fine; if they don’t, too bad?
Why can’t a 17 year old open do an internet search and type “basic Sikhi ” or how to be a Sikh? It’s that easy. If one is interested, that is. That’s what 17 year olds do when they want to learn how to remove chewing gum from their shoes, right? Or are we saying learning how to remove gum is of higher priority than learning the basics of Sikhi?
Still wondering why Sikhi is in the state it is in? The core issue to mull over is about ‘taking responsibility’.
Whenever we want to do or achieve something in life (from learning how to remove chewing gum to becoming a Nobel prize winning nuclear scientist), we take responsibility all the way by finding resources, discovering the path etc. Which is great. But when it comes to Sikhi and Gurbani, we shirk all responsibility and blame others: gurdwaras have failed, MGC does nothing, SNSM not doing its part, granthis are useless, I can’t read Gurbani, no books on Sikhi. The list goes on.
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Yes, there some shortcomings. But aren’t we responsible for our Sikhi journey? What are we doing to improve our gurdwaras, granthis, MGC, SNSM? There are some 10 million books and articles on Sikhi on the net. How come we keep saying we can’t find any?
Even the idea of a SATSANGAT as a role model requires the SATSANGEES to take responsibility. A true SATSANGAT is amongst those who have ‘individually strived’ to become enlightened Sikhs and THEN come together to share in and share out the Guru-derived enlightenment.
ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਕੈਸੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੀਐ॥
Satsangat Kaisee Jaaneeai || Jithhai Eko Naam Vakhaaneeai ||
Which gathering is called a holy congregation? Where the only subject of discourse is ‘virtues’ of One God. (SGGS, page 72)
NAAM VAKHAANEEAI requires taking responsibility. Right? Now, if 20 “passengers” of Sikhi got together and hoped that the getting together in the presence of SGGS ji will somehow work its magic and “enlighten” them or that enlightenment will “rub off” on them simply because they attend a SATSANGAT? Nothing useful can come out of this other than networking.
Hence, the question is not so much what others can or cannot do for my Sikhi advancement, but what I WANT to do. What I NEED to do. What I MUST do.
* On my own first.
* Once I take responsibility for my spiritual journey then I will see others as facilitating, helping and supporting.
A Sikh is a seeker of truth. The seeker cannot live without the Guru. With that in mind, my first responsible step is to approach the Guru for guidance in the manner aptly described in this line from Bhai Gurdas Ji’s Vaars:
ਚਰਨ ਸ਼ਰਨ ਗੁਰ ਏਕ ਪੈਡਾ ਜਾਇ ਚਲ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੋਟ ਪੈਡਾ ਆਗੇ ਹੋਇ ਲੇਤ ਹੈ॥
Charan saran gur ek paiddaa jaae chal satgur kott paiddaa aagae hoe laeth hai ||
“A disciple who walks one step towards his Guru to take his refuge and goes to him with devotion and humility, the Guru advances to receive the devotee by taking a million steps.” (Vaaran Bhai Gurdas)
[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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