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Dasam Granth Convo Continued….

30 Jul

Sarbjeet was correct in that this session led to more questions than answers! In my view, some of the most important questions that we left with were:

  • How well do we (or atleast I) understand those Banis of Guru Gobind Singh Ji that are not controversial (i.e. Jaap Sahib, Chaupai Sahib, and Svaiyay)?
  • Are their messages any different than the controversial parts?
  • Can I comfortably and confidently recite the most controversial ones in public?

I left the meeting with the embarrassing discovery of how limited my understanding was of the widely accepted Banis of Guru Gobind Singh Ji….And three of those Banis are supposed to be recited everyday!: Jaap Sahib, Svayai, and Bayntee Chaupai (which is part of Rehras Sahib)

This self-realization forced me to take a step back and try to understand the theme of each of these Banis. After CAREFULLY listening to the Banis (ok not on an everyday basis like I am supposed to) and after tapping into my dad’s knowledge of Gurmat, I really came to appreciate these Banis in a new light!

To me, Jaap Sahib, for example, is an expression of awe, love and admiration of the ONE almighty spirit and of HIS (or you can say HER) attributes. It makes me wonder, just how rarely have I said or thought “Vahiguru, you are simply awesome.”?  I know, that sounds corny, but its true! My interactions with Vahiguru mainly consist of me asking for something and on occasion thanking the Giver. But admiring or being amazed by Vahigguru, hardly ever! Guru Sahib’s bani is full of passion where he goes on and on about HIS greatness and feeling humbled by it.

On the flip side, the Guru Sahib focuses on our own minisculness in Svaiyaa and even more, about how the ONLY way to establish a relationship with the powerful ONE Vahiguru is through this love and passion, literally spelling it out for us “Jin Prem Keeo Tin Hee Prab Payio.” Actually, Svaiyaa I think is very relevant to our lives, though on the surface it seems it is no longer applicable to our culture. I mean, why would I care for having tons of elephants and bands, BUT in todays world, our definition of success is still determined by worldly possessions and accomplishments…(ie…money, best job, crazy huge weddings, etc) Or we follow rituals…by not understanding why we believe or doing what we do.

And then, there is Bayntee Chaupee, another bani that is recited everyday. Again, Guru Sahib is being humble, revering the one, but mainly in this Bani, showing how Vahiguru is that BEING from which we can find friendship and protection (not literal necessarily).

So, it appears that each Bani is centered around revering, loving, fearing, and befriending that one Spirit. The language of the Bani was composed with great vigor! I think that it is these aspects that make Guru Gobind Singh’s bani. It is this criteria by which we need to determine which sections of Dasam Granth are authentic. (and of course historical evidence should be considered)

Bhul Chuck Maaf! Feel free to let me know what you think!

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Time for an open discussion

7 Mar

Recently, I received an email regarding an excerpt of a book that is part of the syllabus taught to sixth and seventh grade children during Sikh Sunday School. This section was written by the Sikh Research Institute, a leading think tank that presents research, views, and education to the Sikh community at large. This chapter has attracted some controversy. It covers the historical context in which dohre (Aagiya Payee Akaal Ki) was composed and its significance. Here are the links where you can find the excerpts:

http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&attid=0.2&thid=11fdc88aa99eb203&mt=application%2Fpdf

http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&attid=0.3&thid=11fdc88aa99eb203&mt=application%2Fpdf

We invite you to share your knowledge, articles, and views on this topic. This post is intended to be a platform for open discussion on this issue that has recently emerged. Given the nature of this topic, we humbly request you to submit only NON-judgemental feedback. However, we sincerely welcome differing views and would love to hear from you!!

Next Reading: A Bitter Harvest

16 Feb

We have selected “A Bitter Harvest,” written by the Institute for Food and Development First/Food First, an organization that analyzes “the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.” This paper provides an excellent introduction as to the origins and causes of the current agricultural crisis in Punjab. Some of you may have heard about the rise in farmer suicides in India, which I suspect is a problem in other countries as well. What many people do not know is that this is a SIGNIFICANT problem in Punjab and has been overlooked. We will be looking at how factors such as debt, decreasing crop yields, decrease in prices, and dowry are significant contributors to farmer suicides in Punjab. What’s interesting is that the author of this paper is not a Sikh! The supplemental readings include some news articles that refute these assertions. You can download the paper and the supplemental readings below. A Bitter Harvest is not a long reading, so we encourage all of you to read this paper and even better, come to the meeting! Please feel free to give your feedback via online! Let us know if you have any readings to recommend.

This Month’s Reading:

Supplemental Readings (Optional)

Punjab Agriculture

Farmer Suicides in Punjab (Background Information)

Farmer Suicides and Agriculture in India

Pesticides and It’s Effects

Water Crisis

Female Infanticides