By Manjit Kaur (UK) | OPINION | UK |
Today there appear to be many divisions amongst amridhari sikhs and the various jathebabdhis. This is a very worrying and sad situation which I find difficult to understand. I am sure there are others who feel like me.
So the question for me is how can we resolve the differences? And the answer is simple: we have to focus on Guru Granth Sahib ji and not our jathebabdhis. In other words, we must develop our own minds and relationship with the Guru.
Looking back from the age of 5 years old I can remember attending programmes and gursikhs coming to our house and there were no divisions but just pure love.
Because my whole family were gursikhs, during my childhood years, other than at school, I had little opportunity to mix with non-amridharis. It was as if I was living in two different worlds; one at school where I mixed with everybody and one outside where I only mixed with amridharis.
This was a difficult and confusing experience for me. I coped by escaping into my own mind and I would think deeply about why were there so many divisions in society and why are people so judgemental?
On the positive side, because we were surrounded by gursikh families, I was able to make good friendships with other Sikhs and I managed to learn kirtan and paath at quite an early age. Indeed, it was the love for kirtan, meditation and the sangat that led me to decide to partake Amrit at the age of 16 in 1978.
I remember the Amrit ceremony clearly even today. It was a blissful occasion where all I saw was one Amrit, one Bata and most importantly total unity amongst those who had come for the blessing from the Panj Piaray or five beloved ones.
For many years afterward, I experienced so much love from Gursikhs, especially attending rensbaees, which really helped me to develop spiritually but also as a person. However, as time progressed in my 20’s and as I matured I began to see friction amongst the circle of gursikhs that I was a part of. I began to see a different side of the jathebabdhis; of rivalry, control and petty squabbles and I began to think this was not the path for me. So I decided to step back from the jathedbadhi politics and keep my full focus on Guru Granth Sahib ji.
To this day I am still learning so much from Guru Granth Sahib ji and have managed to develop a strong and independent mindset. Most importantly, I feel the freedom from group thinking has enabled me to get so much more closer to my Guru.
Reflecting on my own experience, I feel that the root of the problems facing our panth is that, we bow to the guru we have really put Guru Granth Sahib to one side and put our group/dhara first. Sadly, I have seen Gursikhs from one group ignoring those form others and refusing to do fateh. Even worse, especially on social media I see hooligan behaviour by some ‘Gursikhs’, which quite honestly is disgraceful and makes me feel ashamed to be associated with them. Hate is a destructive emotion, so let’s get rid of this and start to respect each other. Only if we accept waheguru is in each and every one of us, can we move forward!
Manjit Kaur is based in the UK and appears as a co-host at the Akaal Channel. This column was adapted from her Facebook entry
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