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Excerpts from Guru Granth Sahib
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmaherali wrote:
Khalsa Day Parade at Etobicoke’s Sikh Spiritual Centre expected to draw 80,000 participants

Etobicoke’s Sikh Spiritual Centre is set to celebrate the birth of Khalsa on Sunday, May 1 with a parade including 80,000 participants, three bands, four floats, 10 vehicles, and 20 bicycles.


Khalsa Day celebrates the Sikh New Year and the establishment of the Sikh community in 1699.
I cannot edit my post.The link:
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calgary celebrates Canada Day with multicultural events the Canada way


Ryan Rumbolt

Friday, July 01, 2016, 8:38 PM

Prince's Island Park played host to a red-and-white-clad crowd celebrating the multicultural mosaic of Canada on our nation's 149th birthday.

Thousands of Calgarians descended on the park nestled between the Bow River the sky scrapers of downtown to enjoy a day off work and to take in everything, and everyone, Canadian.

Members of the World Sikh Organization of Canada hosted their 'Turban, eh?' event, offering to tie turbans for anyone willing to learn about the cultural and religious meaning of the Sikh head covering.

"It's just a way to celebrate Canada Day the Canada way, which is celebrating the diversity and multiculturalism that exists within our country," said Tejinder Singh Sidhu, vice-president of the Alberta chapter of the World Sikh Organization.

"And being able to have fun, allowing people to get a better understanding of why Sikhs wear a turban.

"Theres a lot of common questions we get; Does it get hot? Does your head get itchy? And the best way to actually answer those questions is to try one your self.

"And the answer, by the way, is 'no' to those questions."

Other events celebrating Canada's multiculturalism included an Aboriginal showcase celebrating First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture, Brazilian capoeira demonstrations and performances by a Chinese string orchestra.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ontario Sikh Relief Fund

Turban, Eh? Calgary

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

60 landmarks you must see before you die

Golden Temple (Amritsar, India)

The holiest place of worship for Sikhs: over 100,000 people visit the shrine daily. The structure is mostly made of marble, plated with real gold. The temple has one of the largest free public canteens in the world— feeding over 30,000 people everyday.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Related thread:

Views on Sikhism
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pariahs to power brokers: Sikhs have become a major political force in Canada
Sikhs long and arduous journey constitutes a great Canadian story.

Of the three historic milestones that Jagmeet Singh represents — the first non-white, first South Asian and first Sikh to become leader of a national party — it is his faith, to which he so visibly and proudly belongs, that is of the utmost symbolic and substantive significance.

A century after facing raw racism on their arrival in British Columbia, Sikhs have emerged a bigger political force than any other visible minority group. Theirs has been a long and arduous journey that, at long last, constitutes a great Canadian story.

In electing Singh as leader, the New Democratic Party atones for the sins of its precursor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which demonized the Sikhs from India — often mislabeled as Hindus — landing on the west coast in the early 1900s. CCF leader J.S. Woodsworth proclaimed that they were “decidedly grotesque” and “sadly out of place in Canada.”

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a City of Firsts, Hoboken Elects a Sikh as Mayor

Hoboken, N.J., is a city of firsts, its proud residents like to say. The first organized baseball game was played there in 1846. The first zipper, historians believe, was invented there, too.

And now the city of some 55,000 people on the Hudson River can boast another first: Councilman Ravi Bhalla on Tuesday became the first Sikh elected mayor in New Jersey, and one of only a few Sikhs to become mayor of an American city.

“I feel exhilarated,” Mr. Bhalla, 44, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I didn’t have any expectations one way or another of victory or defeat, I was prepared for both. And I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to serve Hoboken.”

Mayor-elect Bhalla, a 17-year resident of the city, had won elections in 2009 and 2013 to the City Council and twice served as its president. He was endorsed for mayor by the incumbent, Dawn Zimmer, who announced in June that she would not seek re-election. Mr. Bhalla and Ms. Zimmer are both Democrats, though Hoboken’s mayoral elections are nonpartisan.

But even his deep roots and prior success among the city’s voters did not make Mr. Bhalla immune from racist attacks. On Friday night, doctored campaign fliers appeared on car windows in Hoboken featuring a picture of Mr. Bhalla, who wears the turban that is traditional to his faith. Above his picture was the message: “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!”

The implication was one that is familiar to many Sikhs, who are part of a separate, monotheistic faith that is neither Hinduism nor Islam, but who are often mistaken for being something that they are not. Particularly after Sept. 11, Sikhs have found themselves the target of hate crimes that often appear to be based in a belief that they are Muslim.

Mr. Bhalla said that the public reaction to the fliers was largely a desire to refute the hate they represented. The police are investigating the matter as a bias incident.

“It is not what Hoboken is about, it is not reflective of our community,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate.”

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the occassion of groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Nankana Sahib Punjab Pakistan, submitting this article.

The legacy of Guru Nanak lives on in four historic gurdwaras in Punjab

By Haroon Khalid September 12, 2018.


Standing next to the depleted Ravi river, the renovated Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib with its white dome is a lonely structure.

On any given day, there are only a handful of devotees at the shrine, most of them Muslims, who for generations have revered Guru Nanak.

It is believed that after his death, a disagreement broke out between his Muslim and Hindu devotees. While the Muslims wanted to bury him, the Hindus wanted to cremate him.

They let the matter be for a night, only to discover a pile of flowers where his body had been when they returned the following morning.

Equally distributed among the two sets of devotees, half of the flowers were buried and the other half cremated, thus giving Nanak both a Hindu smadh and a Muslim grave. While the main shrine was built on the smadh, the grave lies in the courtyard outside.

In the pantheon of Sufi saints and the circuit of pilgrimages to Sufi shrines, the Kartarpur gurdwara remained a minor pilgrimage.

Despite Partition, stories of Nanak, of his miracles, and how he transcended the confines of religious boundaries continued to do the rounds.

Others went a step further and declared that Nanak was actually Muslim. As evidence, they pointed to his pilgrimage to Ka’aba and his appreciation of the poet Baba Farid Ganjshakar. Guru Nanak in his poetr has expounded the essence of the Quran.

Legends of Sacha Sauda and Sacha Khand:

Far away from Kartarpur Sahib, deeper within Punjab, is the Sacha Sauda gurdwara , a big, well-maintained complex that commemorates one of the most important events from Nanak’s early life that augured his transition into spirituality.

Here, instead of buying goods worth trading as instructed by his father, a young Nanak bought food for starving ascetics in a jungle.

When his father asked him what he had done with the money, he said he had engaged in a sacha sauda or true trade.

Just behind this complex is another small shrine, ignored by the authorities as the more prominent gurdwara was renovated.

It is believed that at this spot, Guru Nanak met a trader who had bags of sugar laden on his donkeys. Spotting the bags, Bhai Mardana, Nanak’s Muslim companion, asked him to check with the merchant what was in the bags.
Fearful that he would have to give a portion of his goods to what appeared to be two beggars, the merchant lied that it was mud.

“Mud it must be,” Nanak is believed to have replied, and to the trader’s shock, his sugar had transformed into mud.

Realizing his folly, the trader fell at Nanak’s feet and asked his forgiveness, which he was granted and thus the mud turned back to sugar, lending this gurdwara its name – Sacha Khand (true sugar).


Sitting in the shadow of the gurdwara, I met a group of devotees of a saint called Peer Munawar, who is buried in front of the gurdwara.

Squatting on the ground with a sickle in his hands, the mud from the fields still stuck to his forehead, one of the devotees narrated to me and the people around us the story of this gurdwara, of how Nanak had turned mud to sugar.

His narration was not the traditional story but an amalgamation of the miracles performed at Sacha Khand and Sacha Sauda.

“Guru Nanak was a true devotee of God,” he said. “He was a rightly guided soul.” His audience needed no convincing.

Under the sacred berry tree:
But, sometimes, this devotion is subtle.
In Sialkot, I visited the Beri Sahib gurdwara, which commemorates Nanak’s encounter with the Sufi saint Hamza Ghous, who after having been lied to by a devotee was planning to destroy the city.
It is under a berry tree here, which lends the gurdwara its name, that Nanak is said to have convinced Hamza Ghous to abandon his plans of destroying the city.
The berry tree, with a massive trunk, still stood next to the main gurdwara, which had been renovated.

Under the tree was a grave with a red cloth with Quranic verses on it. This was the grave of Peer Beri (or the saint of berries), The devotees around the grave believed it had existed for centuries. The truth, however, was that the grave was constructed some time after Partition. This was one of the most important gurdwaras associated with Nanak in the region. Slowly, as Nanak’s stories disappeared after the departure of the Sikhs, the tree remained central to the religious imagination of the people, and thus the arrival of Peer Beri.

There are several other such stories scattered across the country that continue to hold on to the legacy of Guru Nanak.

At a time when both India and Pakistan are looking to move forward and discussions about the Kartarpur corridor, a long-standing demand of the Sikh community that would allow Indian pilgrims to travel to the shrine without a visa have once again surfaced, the legacy of Nanak becomes more important than ever before. Government of Pakistan is considering to open the border of Kartarpur.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

swamidada wrote:

The legacy of Guru Nanak lives on in four historic gurdwaras in Punjab
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

swamidada wrote:

On any given day, there are only a handful of devotees at the shrine, most of them Muslims, who for generations have revered Guru Nanak.

It is believed that after his death, a disagreement broke out between his Muslim and Hindu devotees. While the Muslims wanted to bury him, the Hindus wanted to cremate him.

They let the matter be for a night, only to discover a pile of flowers where his body had been when they returned the following morning.

Equally distributed among the two sets of devotees, half of the flowers were buried and the other half cremated, thus giving Nanak both a Hindu smadh and a Muslim grave. While the main shrine was built on the smadh, the grave lies in the courtyard outside.
A very similar anecdote relates to the funeral of the great saint Kabir:

The final act of Kabir’s life exemplifies beautifully his non-sectarian teachings: At his death the disciples were fighting if his body should be buried in Muslim fashion, or burned in Hindu fashion. Kabir rose from death, telling them: “Half of my remains shall be buried by the Moslem rites, and let the other half be cremated with a Hindu sacrament.” He then vanished. When the disciples opened the coffin which had contained his body, nothing was found but a dazzling array of gold-colored champak flowers. Half of these were obediently buried by the Moslems, who revere his shrine to this day. The other half was used for Hindu rites.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adopted and Abridged

Sikhism: Sikh, meaning a "disciple", "seeker," or "learner", is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent around the end of the 15th century. It is one of the youngest of the major world religions, and the world's ninth-largest organized religion. It is influenced by Islam and Hinduism. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. In the early 21st century there were nearly 25 million Sikhs worldwide, the great majority of them living in Punjab.

Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru (1469–1539), and the nine Sikh gurus that succeeded him. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus and making the scripture the eternal, religious spiritual guide for Sikhs.

The Sikh scripture opens with Ik Onkar its Mul Mantar and fundamental prayer about One Supreme Being (God). Sikhism emphasizes simran (meditation on the words of the Guru Granth Sahib), that can be expressed musically through kirtan or internally through Nam Japo (repeat God's name) as a means to feel God's presence. It teaches followers to transform the "Five Thieves" (lust, rage, greed, attachment, and ego). Hand in hand, secular life is considered to be intertwined with the spiritual life. Guru Nanak taught that living an "active, creative, and practical life" of "truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity" is above the metaphysical truth, and that the ideal man is one who "establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will". Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, established the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms to be mutually coexistent.

Sikhism evolved in times of religious persecution. Two of the Sikh gurus – Guru Arjan (1563–1605) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675) – were tortured and executed by the Mughal rulers. The persecution of Sikhs triggered the founding of the Khalsa as an order to protect the freedom of conscience and religion, with qualities of a "Sant Sipahi" (saint-soldier). The Khalsa was founded by the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

In Sikhism, the concept of "God" is Waheguru considered Nirankar (shapeless), akal (timeless), and Alakh Niranjan (invisible). The Sikh scripture begins with Ik Onkar (which refers to the "formless one"), and understood in the Sikh tradition as monotheistic unity of God. Sikhism is classified as an Indian religion along with Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, given its geographical origin and its sharing some concepts with them.

Sikh ethics emphasize the congruence between spiritual development and everyday moral conduct. Its founder Guru Nanak summarized this perspective with "Truth is the highest virtue, but higher still is truthful living".

God in Sikhism is known as Ik Onkar, the One Supreme Reality or the all-pervading spirit (which is taken to mean God). This spirit has no gender in Sikhism, though translations may present it as masculine. It is also Akaal Purkh (beyond time and space) and Nirankar (without form). In addition, Nanak wrote that there are many worlds on which it has created life.

Worldly illusion:

Maya, defined as a temporary illusion or "unreality", is one of the core deviations from the pursuit of God and salvation: where worldly attractions which give only illusory temporary satisfaction and pain which distract the process of the devotion of God. However, Nanak emphasised maya as not a reference to the unreality of the world, but of its values. In Sikhism, the influences of ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust, known as the Five Thieves, are believed to be particularly distracting and hurtful. Sikhs believe the world is currently in a state of Kali Yuga (Age of Darkness) because the world is led astray by the love of and attachment to Maya. The fate of people vulnerable to the Five Thieves ('Panj Chor'), is separation from God, and the situation may be remedied only after intensive and relentless devotion.

According to Guru Nanak the supreme purpose of human life is to reconnect with Akal (The Timeless One), however, egotism is the biggest barrier in doing this. Using the Guru's teaching remembrance of nam (the divine Word or the Name of the Lord) leads to the end of egotism. Guru Nanak designated the word 'guru' (meaning teacher) to mean the voice of "the spirit": the source of knowledge and the guide to salvation. As Ik Onkar is universally immanent, guru is indistinguishable from "Akal" and are one and the same. One connects with guru only with accumulation of selfless search of truth. Ultimately the seeker realises that it is the consciousness within the body which is seeker/follower of the Word that is the true guru. The human body is just a means to achieve the reunion with Truth. Once truth starts to shine in a person's heart, the essence of current and past holy books of all religions is understood by the person.


Guru Nanak's teachings are founded not on a final destination of heaven or hell but on a spiritual union with the Akal which results in salvation or Jivanmukti (liberation whilst alive), a concept also found in Hinduism. Guru Gobind Singh makes it clear that human birth is obtained with great fortune, therefore one needs to be able to make the most of this life.

Sikhs believe in reincarnation and karma concepts found in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. However, in Sikhism both karma and liberation "is modified by the concept of God's grace" (nadar, mehar, kirpa, karam etc.). Guru Nanak states "The body takes birth because of karma, but salvation is attained through grace". To get closer to God: Sikhs avoid the evils of Maya, keep the everlasting truth in mind, practice Shabad Kirtan, meditate on Naam, and serve humanity. Sikhs believe that being in the company of the Satsang or Sadh Sangat is one of the key ways to achieve liberation from the cycles of reincarnation.

Singing and music:

Sikhs refer to the hymns of the Gurus as Gurbani (The Guru's word). Shabad Kirtan is the singing of Gurbani. The entire verses of Guru Granth Sahib are written in a form of poetry and rhyme to be recited in thirty one Ragas of the Classical Indian Music as specified. However, the exponents of these are rarely to be found amongst the Sikhs who are conversant with all the Ragas in the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak started the Shabad Kirtan tradition and taught that listening to kirtan is a powerful way to achieve tranquility while meditating; Singing of the glories of the Supreme Timeless One (God) with devotion is the most effective way to come in communion with the Supreme Timeless One. The three morning prayers for Sikhs consist of Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib and Tav-Prasad Savaiye.

Remembrance of the divine name:

A key practice by Sikhs is remembrance of the Divine Name Vaheguru (Naam – the Name of the Lord). This contemplation is done through Nam Japna (repetition of the divine name) or Naam Simran (remembrance of the divine Name through recitation). The verbal repetition of the name of God or a sacred syllable has been an ancient established practice in religious traditions in India, however, Sikhism developed Naam-simran as an important Bhakti practice, Guru Nanak's ideal is the total exposure of one's being to the divine Name and a total conforming to Dharma or the "Divine Order". Nanak described the result of the disciplined application of nam simra? as a "growing towards and into God" through a gradual process of five stages. The last of these is sach kha?? (The Realm of Truth) – the final union of the spirit with God.

( It is interesting to note that there is much resemblance in Khoja Satpunth and Sikhism, may be Baba Guru Nanak or following Gurus had studied or had knowledge of Pir Sadardin and other Pirs teachings )
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article above does not mention the concept of Dasvandh which is Dasond in Ismaili tradition.

What is Dasvandh

SDI imageDasvandh, which literally means “tenth part”, is the tithing practice of contributing a portion of your earnings in the name of your Guru or spiritual source. The principle of Dasvandh is that if you give to the Infinite, Infinity, in turn, will give back to you. It is a spiritual practice through which you build trust in the ability of the Infinite to respond to the flow of love and energy that you give. This energy then expands tenfold and flows back to you in abundance.

Sikhs began bringing offerings during the time of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (1469-1539) the founder of the Sikh Path. Guru Nanak promoted the concept and virtue of Dasvandh in his bani. He said,

ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥
ghaal khaa-ay kichh hathahu day-ay. naanak raahu pachhaaneh say-ay. (1)
One who works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has – O Nanak, he knows the Path. (1)

Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru, started the formal tradition of a free kitchen and serving langar (blessed food) to everyone, as equals regardless of race, class, gender, faith and ethnicity. He called upon his Sikhs to bring a portion of their crops and earnings to share in the community kitchen.

During the time of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, the Sikh community fell upon difficult financial times. Sikh leaders became so concerned that they went to Guru Arjan for a solution. Guru Arjan knew the cosmic principle of Dasvandh would reverse the trend and multiply their prosperity. He instructed his beloved Sikhs that the solution was for every person to donate one-tenth of their time and earnings to the infinite therefore expanding their service and spiritual realm.

The Siri Singh Sahib has promoted the power of tithing, by giving your Dasvandh, as a way to connect with your highest self. He said,

“Give to God what belongs to God. It is called Das-vandh: One-tenth of your time, income, thoughts, projection, communication, belongings and one-tenth of every act. Every act is blessed in which one-tenth belongs to God.” ~ Siri Singh Sahib – Yogi Bhajan
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting information:

Before partition, Sikh wanted an independent Punjab. The movement which later on dubbed as Khalistan started by Dr. Jagit Singh Chohan.
In late 50's there was a statement given by a Punjabi Politician of that time named Master Tara Singh published in main news papers of Pakistan. He said,"I wished we (Punjabis) should have changed our names as Agakhanis did (adopted Muslim names) and have migrated to Pakistan, that's how Punjabis have Lahore birth place of Baba Guru Nanak and Kartarpur where his samadhi is". Why he gave this statement? Because Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah issued Farman before partition that Gupti jamaits of Punjab (east and west Punjab) should adopt Muslim names and east Punjabi Gupti jamaits should move to western Punjab area included in Pakistan. That's how Ismaili Gupti jamaits were saved from massacre.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an interesting anecdote about MSMS's visit to the Golden Temple given in Mumtaz Tajdin's 225 anecdotes at: :

(70) Imam Hasan Ali Shah, Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah and Prince Aly Khan had visited the Golden Temple of the Sikh. It is the holiest Gurwara and pilgrimage site of Shikism located in the city of Amritsar, India. Its original name was Harimandir or Harmandir Saheb built in 1577. Its dome is glided with 750 kg of pure gold. Ranjit Singh rebuilt it in marble and copper in 1809, overlaid the sanctum with gold foil in 1830. This has led to the name, Golden Temple.

Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah visited the Golden Temple in 1932, where he saw a board on the main entrance, wherein was written in the Gurmukhi. The Imam asked the custodian of the temple about the writing. He said, “It is the prediction of our Guru Nank that Har mandir’me a’ainga aur nakalanki avatar kilai’ga (The Lord shall come in the temple and call himself the form of the Nakalanki). The Imam told him, “Now you write down that I, the Lord had come in the temple in the form of the Nakalanki”. The custodian didn’t understand Imam’s meaningful words, while the Imam walked out.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:02 am    Post subject: Sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib - Appreciated! Reply with quote

ShamsB, I have thoroughly appreciated your efforts to provide in this forum the "Sacred Scripture Guru Granth Sahib" of the Sikh faith. I have many Sikh friends and aquaitances who have also shared with me their thoughts about the Sikh faith which also has been greatly influenced by Islamic doctrines and the Ismaili faith from the times of our 48th Imam Mowlana Sultan Mohamed Shah Agakhan. Please continue to provide and share further as you discover more content that is so valid in these unsually trying and uncertain times we all are facing and enduring. But with Mowla's grace, InshAllah this too shall pass. Blessings and my Best wishes Always! icon_smile.gif
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Siri Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib was first compiled by the Fifth Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev, in 1604 in the city of Amritsar. Its second and last version was the handiwork of Guru Gobind Singh, and it was finalized at Damdama Sahib in the year 1705. He added the hymns of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Master, and a couplet of his own to the volume wrought a century earlier. Since then, the authorized version has been transcribed and printed a number of times, and it abides. Its adoration or veneration is an article of faith with the Sikhs. Religious literature is sometimes sectarian and monolithic, if not partisan and polemical. It may admit of few variations and shades. No word but its own may be allowed sanctity and sovereignty. One of the greatest glories of the Guru Granth Sahib is its catholic character. Hardly any other scripture of that stature is completely free from bias, animus and controversy. Indeed, the uniqueness of the Granth in this respect is all the more astonishing when we think of the obscurantism, factionalism and fanaticism of the period in which it was composed. Perhaps it is the only scripture of its kind which contains within its sacred covers the songs, hymns and utterances of a wide variety of saints, sages and bards. For, it is instructive to note that a fairly substantial part of the volume carries the compositions of Hindu bhaktas, Muslim divines, Sufi poets and other God-intoxicated souls. Of course, their hymns and couplets rendered in their own idiom find a ready correspondence in the songs of the Sikh Gurus. Obviously, the idea of Guru Arjan Dev was to affirm the fundamental unity of all religions, and the unitary character of all mystic experience. It was, so to speak, an integral congress of minds and spirits operating on the same spiritual beam. To have thus elevated the songs of the bhaktas and the bhats to the condition of the logos was to salute the power of the word whatever form it might take to reveal the glory of God. For, it may be observed that Guru Granth Sahib comprehends the compositions and utterances of the high-born Brahmins and the proud Kashatriyas as also of the so called lowly Shudras and the unlettered Jats. This was done at a time when the caste system in India had paralysed the conscience of man. The revolutionary egalitarianism which such a step symbolized was, therefore, to become the creed of the Sikhs. Above all, a poetic and mystic collage bespeaks the essential humility of the Sikh mind, for humility has been given pride of place in the table of virtues drawn up by the Gurus. The Guru Granth Sahib, then, is a sui generis scripture in the world.It is indeed, a magnificent compendium of the religious, mystic and metaphysical poetry written or uttered between the 12th Century and the 17th in different parts of India. It is, also, at the same time, a mirror of the sociological, economic and political conditions of those days. The satire on the reactionary and tyrannical rulers, on the obscurantist clergy and sects, on the fake fakirs and their like, is open, uncompromising and telling. In showing the path to spiritual salvation, the Guru Granth does not ignore the secular and creative side of man.

The poetry of the Guru Granth is in itself a subject worthy of the highest consideration. The language principally employed is the language of the saints evolved during the medieval period-a language which, allowing for variations, still enjoyed wide currency in Northern India. Its appeal lay in its directness, energy and resilience. Based upon some of the local dialects, it was leavened with expressions from Sanskrit, Prakrit, Persian and Arabic.

Another outstanding feature of the Guru Granth Sahib is the precision of its prosody. While a great deal of it, cast in traditional verse forms (salokas and pauris), could best be understood in the context of the well-known classical ragas, its hymns and songs make use of popular folk meters such as alahanis, ghoris, chands etc. The integral relationship between music and verse has been maintained with scholarly rectitude and concern. This complete musicalisation of thought in a scientific and studied manner makes for the unusually rigorous, yet supple, discipline of the Granth’s metrics and notations. The entire Bani whose printed version in its current format comes to 1430 pages is divided into 33 sections. While the first section comprises the soulful and inspiring song of the Japji composed by Guru Nanak as also a few selected pauris or couplets, the final section is collection of assorted verses including the shalokas and the swayyas of the bhattas. The remaining 31 sections are named after the well-known classical ragas such as sri, magh, gauri, gujri, devghandhari, dhanassari, bilawal, kedara, malhar, kalyan etc. The division, thus, is strictly based on Indian musicology. Furthermore, each psalm or song is preceded by a number (mohalla) which denotes the name of the composer-Guru from Guru Nanak onwards. It may be noted that the apostolic succession extends from the First to the Tenth Guru, and that the Gurus are often referred to reverentially by their place in the order. What is more, each Guru speaks in the name of the Founder Guru whose spirit permeates his successors. The House of Nanak is indeed a spiritual decagon based upon a complete, inviolate geometry of vision. The major hymns-Japji (Guru Nanak), Anand (Guru Amar Das), Sukhmani (Guru Arjan Dev), Rehras (Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev) are widely recited solo and in congregation by the faithful as morning and evening prayers. Their soothing and ambrosial airs have brought solace and cheer to countless people all over the world.

The Sikh philosophy as embodied in the Guru Granth Sahib is chiefly a philosophy of action, deed and consequence. Though in its essentials, it is completely in tune with the ancient Indian thought regarding the genesis of the world and the ultimate nature of reality, it moves away from queitism, passivity and abstractions. The emphasis is on shared communal experience, and on purposive and idealistic involvement. The extinction of the ego or self is the corner-stone of Sikhism. A person, we learn, finds fulfillment only by immersion in the sea of life. Thus, the path of renunciation, abdication, aloofness, flagellation etc., so typical of Hindu thought, is abjured. It's enjoined on a Sikh to be an insider, viewing with disturst all forms of alienation. Of course, the ideal Sikh is supposed to cultivate the qualities of contemplation, stillness and inwardness in the midst of labor business and engagement. He too regards the world as ultimately Maya or illusion, and the life of man as a tableau of light and shade, but the Nirvana may not be achieved except through an acceptance of the reality of this unreality, and a proper disposition of the allotted role in the phantasmagoria of life. To that extent, the relative concreteness or solidity of the world is to be endorsed as a measure of understanding. So long as man has a role to play, the artifact of the stage or the theater has to be taken for granted. For, it has thus pleased the Creator to bring about the world and people it with multiples of His self. And the whole creation moves according to a predestined plan. Many a time has the grand show on earth been mounted and dismantled. It is not given to creature man to fully comprehend the essence of reality.

As for the concept of the Godhead in the Guru Granth Sahib, it sets upon the trinity of sat chit and anand. God is omnipotent and omniscient. He is the Initiator and the End. He is Self-Creator and Self-Propeller. The soul too in its essence symbolizes this trinity or the God within, though quite often it loses the state of bliss as a result of the ego and the Id. Caught in the meshes of power and pelf, it loses its true moorings, and is tossed about by the whirligig of time. A soul thus abandoned by the Lord, or alienated from Him, keeps spinning through aeons and aeons of suffering. The road to heaven is paved with pity and piety. The idea of the soul as the Lord's consort is repeated in the Guru Granth Sahib with amazing variations. The mystique of the marriage is invoked time and again to emphasize the indissoluble and ineluctable nature of the union. Man is ordained wife, and commanded to live in the Will of the Lord. Any infidelity or transgression is inconveivable. The nuptial and spousal imagery of the hymns is sensuously rich, apposite and striking. It will thus be seen that the Guru Granth Sahib presents a comprehensive Weltans-Chauung or world-view. It offers a perfect set of values and a practical code of conduct. It is, indeed, the complete teacher.

* Adopted from Dr. D.S.Maini's article in Studies in Sikhism and Comparative Religion, Oct, 1987
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dasvandh in Sikhism:

Dasvandh literally means tenth part. and refers the act of donating ten percent of one's harvest, both financial and in the form of time and service such as seva to the Gurdwara and anywhere else. It falls into Guru Nanak Dev's concept of Vand Chhako

The idea of sharing and giving was nourished by the institutions of sangat (holy assembly) and langar (community kitchen) the Guru had established. In the time of Guru Amar Das, Nanak III, a formal structure for channelizing Sikh religious giving was evolved. He set up 22 man/Is or districts in different parts of the country, each placed under the charge of a pious Sikh who, besides preaching Guru Nanak`s word, looked after the sangats within his/her jurisdiction and transmitted the disciple`s offerings to the Guru.

As the digging of the sacred pool, amritsar, and erection in the middle of it of the shrine, Harimandar, began under Guru Ram Das entailing large amounts of expenditure, Sikhs were enjoined to set apart a minimum often per cent (dasvandh) of their income for the common pool, Guru ki Golak (q.v.). Masands, i.e. ministers and tithe collectors, were appointed to collect kar bhet (offerings) and dasvandh from Sikhs in the area they were assigned to, and pass these on to the Guru.

Dasvandh has since become part of the Sikh way of life. The custom bears parallels to Christian tithes requiring members of the church to pay a tenth part of the annual produce of their land or its equivalent in money to support it and the clergy, and to Muslim zakat requiring assignment of 2.5 per cent of one`s annual wealth for the welfare of the destitute and the needy. Classical Indian society had no set procedure for regulating donations or charities, though references are traceable such as those in Parasar Rishi`s writings urging the householder to reserve 1/21 part of his income for Brahmans and 1/31 part for the gods. The Upanisads and the Bhagavadgita commend "true alms" given with a sense of duty in a Fit place and at a fit time to a deserving person from whom one expects nothing in return.

Dasvandh is, however, to be distinguished from dan or charity. It essentially attends to the needs of the community and contributions are made specifically for the maintenance of its religious institutions such as gurdwaras and guru ka langar and projects of social welfare and uplift. The custom of dasvandh was codified in documents called rahitnamas, manuals of Sikh conduct, written during the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh or soon after. For example, Bhai Nand Lal`s Tankhahnama records: "Hear ye, Nand Lal, says Gobind Singh, one who does not give dasvandh and, telling lies, misappropriates it, is not at all to be trusted."

The tradition has been kept alive by chosen Sikhs who to this day scrupulously fulfil the injunction. The institution itself serves as a means for the individual to practice personal piety as well as to participate in the ongoing history of the community, the Guru Panth.
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why New Delhi's Sikh kitchens cook 100,000 meals daily

The Bangla Sahib Gurdwara has remained open through wars and plagues, serving thousands of people food. During India's ongoing coronavirus lockdown about four dozen men have kept the Sikh temple's kitchen open, cooking up to 100,000 meals a day.

At first, the kitchen at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara cooked 40,000 meals each day for the hungry who live on the streets of India's capital city, or who have lost their livelihoods to the coronavirus lockdown.

But the need was greater than that. So workers at the golden-domed temple in central New Delhi made 80,000 meals daily. Then 100,000. Soon, they expect to be making 300,000 – all provided free to the growing ranks of the unfortunate.

For centuries the faithful have flocked to the temple for its healing waters and a free meal at the community kitchen, the symbol of equality found at every Sikh temple complex and open to all visitors.

The Bangla Sahib Gurdwara has remained open through wars and plagues, serving millions of people simple vegetarian food on the cool marble floor of its enormous dining hall. But during India's ongoing lockdown – among the world's most stringent – religious congregations are banned.

Bangla Sahib has kept its kitchen open, with the help of about four dozen men who sleep at the temple's guesthouse. To save time commuting to and from the temple and avoid the risk of infecting loved ones, they haven't seen their families since the lockdown began on March 25.

In colorful turbans and cloth bandanas tied over their noses and mouths, they work in the industrial kitchen in 18-hours shifts.

Head cook Balbir Singh stirs an enormous ladle through a potato and soybean stew, simmering with ghee and coriander in a giant cook pot. A machine that every hour makes 5,000 chapati – thin, unleavened bread – whirs long before the sun rises and after it sets.

Mr. Singh lights the flames at 3 a.m. so that 35,000 lunches are ready for pickup by 9 a.m.

"If we serve at this time, God will give us more. It's a give and take system," Mr. Singh said.

Bangla Sahib is the largest of New Delhi's 10 gurdwaras, whose kitchens together form a vital part of the city's strategy to feed the poor during the pandemic.

The city government approached the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee just after India's nationwide lockdown began in late March, according to the committee president, Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

Bangla Sahib, which usually prepares around half a million meals per week using donated ingredients and equipment, is quickly ramping up to produce six times that many, Mr. Singh Sirsa said.

The government sends trucks to pick up the meals each day and distribute them to a network of shelters and drop-off points, but pays nothing for the food.

Mr. Singh Sirsa struggles to protect his workers and collect donations to keep the enterprise going. "This is the biggest challenge for me in my entire life," he said.

Anticipating many months of hardship ahead, he appears nightly on the Bangla Sahib's own TV channel to appeal for more donations.

A man from Montreal recently pledged $10,000, another from London offered $100,000, he said. The dining hall heaves with sacks of rice, flour, lentils, and cans of oil – six months of supplies, said Jagpreet Singh, a temple clerk.

"We believe in God. He's giving us this power, so we provide," he said.

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This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill gates, Soros, Buffet, Zukerberg, Ambani, Bezos and other billionaires should learn from this Sikh food pantry. Hunger is the main problem.


There should be dust under 6 feet and not dollars.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How to Feed Crowds in a Protest or Pandemic? The Sikhs Know

Their centuries-old faith tradition of nourishing anyone in need has found new energy and purpose in America’s turmoil.

Inside a low, brick-red building in Queens Village, a group of about 30 cooks has made and served more than 145,000 free meals in just 10 weeks. They arrive at 4 a.m. three days a week to methodically assemble vast quantities of basmati rice, dal, beans and vibrantly flavored sabzis for New York City hospital workers, people in poverty and anyone else in search of a hot meal.

This isn’t a soup kitchen or a food bank. It’s a gurdwara, the place of worship for Sikhs, members of the fifth-largest organized religion in the world, with about 25 million adherents. Providing for people in need is built into their faith.

An essential part of Sikhism is langar, the practice of preparing and serving a free meal to promote the Sikh tenet of seva, or selfless service. Anyone, Sikh or not, can visit a gurdwara and partake in langar, with the biggest ones — like the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India — serving more than 100,000 people every day.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has halted religious gatherings in most of the country, including langar, gurdwaras like the Sikh Center of New York, in Queens Village, are mobilizing their large-scale cooking resources to meet the skyrocketing need for food aid outside their places of worship.

Some are feeding the protesters marching in outrage over the killings of George Floyd and other black Americans by the police. Last week, a dozen or so volunteers from the Queens center served 500 portions of matar paneer, rice and rajma, a creamy, comforting dish of red beans stewed with tomatoes, and 1,000 bottles of water and cans of soda to demonstrators in Sunnyside. They also offered dessert: kheer, a sweetened rice pudding.

Photos and more...
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The weeping willows of Shabqadar and other marvels at this magnificent fort
Shabqadar fort is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the region's Sikh history and colonial rule.
Omar Mukhtar Khan

After the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, the Sikh rule in Punjab was in doldrums due to palace intrigues and infighting. However, it continued to expand from Amritsar to Peshawar on account of a strong and professional army that it had at its command. One feature of this army was the many European Generals whom Ranjit Singh had acquired after the 1815 battle of Waterloo, following which, these Generals had migrated to Iran and further east. These Generals trained Ranjit Singh's army on modern warfare, especially his 'Fauj i Khaas' brigade, which can be compared to some sort of a special services group. General Jean-Baptiste Ventura was among those European Generals, and for those who do not know, he used to reside in what is now the Chief Secretary's office in Civil Secretariat Lahore.

Peshawar was also under the control of Sikhs, with Italian General Paolo Avitabile (known as Abu Tabela) residing at the site of Gor Khatri. He ruled the city by throwing people off the minarets of Masjid Mahabat Khan as a mark of terror. At that time, communities of various tribes were settled around Peshawar and Sikh forces were stationed some 30 or so kilometres from it at the Shabqadar fort in Mohmand agency. They were also tasked with controlling the tribal factions and communities. One night, in the year 1840, tribesmen from Mohmand attacked the fort and were able to break the huge wooden gates at its main entrance. This was followed by a slaughter of Sikh forces that were stationed at the fort after which the tribesmen withdrew from the battleground.

The 1837 Shabqadar Fort is a witness history spanning almost 200 years — from being ruled by the Sikhs to the British and now Muslims.
Lahore Darbar was infuriated, so a court was established under the leadership of General Maan Singh and General Ventura to fix responsibility for the disastrous breach. The two conducted an investigation for two days and concluded that it was the criminal negligence of the wooden gates that led to the disaster.

The Sikh General assisted by General Ventura decreed a hundred-year imprisonment to the huge willow gates for dereliction of duty. The gates were plank-cuffed with heavy chains to the main observation tower at the fort. The gates' punishment legally ended in 1940 but no one relieved them and they remain chained to this date.

It is rumored that when Bhutto visited the fort in the 1970s, he tried to prevail as prime minister for the release of the condemned gates but to no avail.

Shabqadar is a small town an hour out of Peshawar and on the borders of Mohmand. It is regarded as a region that has always held strategic value when it comes to keeping peace in Peshawar. Along with it come the various tribes who have historically been independent-minded and governments have had to maintain peace through a policy of continuous negotiations with them. And as the Sikhs and later the British ruled the area, they established many forts in the region in order to gain some space to prepare at the time of attacks.

This board received gun shots from a British soldier who was infuriated upon being told after many days of trek in the blistering sun that a post he had to reach was still a few hours away. This story was told to me by a staff member at the Shabqadar fort and is about one of the FC units that was deployed in South Waziristan for counter insurgency back in the colonial days.
Shabqadar fort was one such fort established by the Sikhs in Mohmand in 1837. The fort today works as a training centre for the Frontier Constabulary and is maintained well by the forces deployed there. It is an efficient location from an operational point of view and the FC has also been able to preserve its historic character.

As we entered the fort, the friendly hosts took as to 'Churchill's room', where Winston Churchill spent few days as a war correspondent in 1897 during the great tribal uprising. The room features Churchill's bed and room chairs. There is also an old manual sheet fan. And the walls adorn photographs from the time and some artefacts. Churchill stayed here in 1897.
The fort also boasts a small museum with artefacts from the last two hundred years. These are mainly military equipment, including gazails (ancient rifles), binoculars, mortar guns etc. Such museums and places have the unique capacity to transport you into those bygone eras and make you wonder how tough life must have been at the time for all parties.

Next we found ourselves standing before the good old condemned willow gate under arrest since 1840. The three-metre-high black door leans against the observation tower in the middle of the fort, telling a story of 200 years, of the rule of Sikhs, British and now of Muslims. Nothing much has changed for the condemned gates. The tablet next to the gates reads: "The weeping willows: In the winter of 1840, a Mohmand Lashkar (war party) succeeded in breaking down these gates. The then Sikh Maharaja Sher Singh (Ranjit Singh son) had them court martialed for treason. The French General Jean Ventura headed the proceedings which lasted two days, having found them guilty as charged, the gates were sentenced to 100 years' imprisonment. They are languishing enchained ever since."

The condemned gates tied to the tower. The gates are also known as the weeping willows.
At the time, the tall observation tower was used to monitor the surroundings and perhaps functioned as a great source of information for impending attacks from the tribesmen. The tower adorns many commemorative plaques from colonial times, celebrating fallen comrades, mostly the ones who died from cholera or sunstroke.

We walked from the observation tower to FC's officers' mess. The messes of these historic units are always a treat to explore as they give you a history lesson of the establishment in 10 minutes. The walls of the mess displayed antique guns and other memorabilia but the most fascinating part was the pictures of leaders and celebrities who visited the fort at some point. These include Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, General Ayub Khan, General Zia, and many others.

The visitors book at the fort made for an interesting read, although, I could only see the one kept since 1950s. It showed that Iskandar Mirza visited the fort on October 3, 1957, along with Akhtar Hussain and Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan. Mirza was the country's president at the time, Hussain was governor of then West Pakistan and Khan was West Pakistan's chief minister. However, for me, the most interesting entry was that from famous Parsi journalist and businessman Ardsher Cowasjee and his wife Nancy Cowasjee. They visited the fort on February 6, 1960, some 60 years ago.

Shabqadar fort is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the region's Sikh history and colonial rule. In order to make the most out of its historic value, the government should devise a plan in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to allow a limited number of visitors to be able to explore these gems spread all across our northwestern border. Other similar places include the Balahisar fort, and the Shabqadar, Jamrud, Kharlachi and Alexandra forts, to name a few. The government should also consider opening up other historical places tied to the region's martial history so the public is able to learn more about the stories of our northwestern frontier.

Omar Mukhtar Khan is a development professional with passion for travel and heritage.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?
Simran Jeet Singh, Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow in Religion in International Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow, New York University
The Conversation Fri, April 16, 2021, 7:55 PM

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. AP Photo/Julio Cortez
New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks in 2018. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identity and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When called out on the offensiveness of their comments, one of them stated, “Listen, and if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”

Listeners, activists and Sikhs around the country acted immediately by contacting the station to express their concerns. News outlets quickly picked up the story and the radio hosts were suspended.

Grewal is a practicing Sikh who maintains a turban and beard. Scholars and government officials estimate the Sikh American population to number around 500,000. Nevertheless for many American Sikhs, such experiences are not uncommon. As a scholar of the tradition and a practicing Sikh myself, I have studied the harsh realities of what it means to be a Sikh in America today. I have also experienced racial slurs from a young age.

The bottom line is there is little understanding of who exactly the Sikhs are and what the believe. So here’s a primer.

Founder of Sikhism
To start at the beginning, the founder of the Sikh tradition, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the Punjab region of South Asia, which is currently split between Pakistan and the northwestern area of India. A majority of the global Sikh population still resides in Punjab on the Indian side of the border.

From a young age, Guru Nanak was disillusioned by the social inequities and religious hypocrisies he observed around him. He believed that a single divine force created the entire world and resided within it. In his belief, God was not separate from the world and watching from a distance, but fully present in every aspect of creation.

He therefore asserted that all people are equally divine and deserve to be treated as such.

To promote this vision of divine oneness and social equality, Guru Nanak created institutions and religious practices. He established community centers and places of worship, wrote his own scriptural compositions and institutionalized a system of leadership (gurus) that would carry forward his vision.

The Sikh view thus rejects all social distinctions that produce inequities, including gender, race, religion and caste, the predominant structure for social hierarchy in South Asia.

Serving the world is a natural expression of the Sikh prayer and worship. Sikhs call this prayerful service “seva,” and it is a core part of their practice.

The Sikh identity
In the Sikh tradition, a truly religious person is one who cultivates the spiritual self while also serving the communities around them – or a saint-soldier. The saint-soldier ideal applies to women and men alike.

In this spirit, Sikh women and men maintain five articles of faith, popularly known as the five Ks. These are: kes (long, uncut hair), kara (steel bracelet), kanga (wooden comb), kirpan (small sword) and kachera (soldier-shorts).

Although little historical evidence exists to explain why these particular articles were chosen, the 5 Ks continue provide the community with a collective identity, binding together individuals on the basis of a shared belief and practice. As I understand, Sikhs cherish these articles of faith as gifts from their gurus.

Turbans are an important part of the Sikh identity. Both women and men may wear turbans. Like the articles of faith, Sikhs regard their turbans as gifts given by their beloved gurus, and its meaning is deeply personal. In South Asian culture, wearing a turban typically indicated one’s social status – kings and rulers once wore turbans. The Sikh gurus adopted the turban, in part, to remind Sikhs that all humans are sovereign, royal and ultimately equal.

Sikhs in America
Today, there are approximately 30 million Sikhs worldwide, making Sikhism the world’s fifth-largest major religion.

Sikh Day parade on Madison Avenue, New York. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
After British colonizers in India seized power of Punjab in 1849, where a majority of the Sikh community was based, Sikhs began migrating to various regions controlled by the British Empire, including Southeast Asia, East Africa and the United Kingdom itself. Based on what was available to them, Sikhs played various roles in these communities, including military service, agricultural work and railway construction.

The first Sikh community entered the United States via the West Coast during the 1890s. They began experiencing discrimination immediately upon their arrival. For instance, the first race riot targeting Sikhs took place in Bellingham, Washington, in 1907. Angry mobs of white men rounded up Sikh laborers, beat them up and forced them to leave town.

The discrimination continued over the years. For instance, when my father moved from Punjab to the United States in the 1970s, racial slurs like “Ayatollah” and “raghead” were hurled at him. It was a time when 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken captive in Iran and tension between the two countries was high. These slurs reflected the racist backlash against those who fitted the stereotypes of Iranians. Our family faced a similar racist backlash when the U.S. engaged in the Gulf War during the early 1990s.

The racist attacks spiked again after 9/11, particularly because Americans did not know about the Sikh religion and conflated the unique Sikh appearance with popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like.

In comparison to the past decade, the rates of violence against Sikhs have surged after the election of President Donald Trump. The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the U.S., estimated in 2018 that Americans Sikhs were being targeted in hate crimes about once a week.

As a practicing Sikh, I can affirm that the Sikh commitment to the tenets of their faith, including love, service and justice, keeps them resilient in the face of hate. For these reason, for many Sikh Americans, like Gurbir Grewal, it is rewarding to maintain their unique Sikh identity.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viewpoint: Why Sikhs celebrate kindness

Founded some 500 years ago in what is now India's Punjab region, Sikhism is the world's fifth-largest religion. But what makes its members habitual do-gooders? Author Jasreen Mayal Khanna writes on the tradition of selfless service ingrained in the community.

Think of any scene of disaster and you'll find Sikh volunteers rallying to the site, feeding migrants, helping riot victims, and rebuilding homes after earthquakes.

From the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar to the Paris terror attacks, the farmers' marches in India to the protests in America against George Floyd's killing, people from this 30 million-strong community worldwide have made it a tradition to help complete strangers in their darkest moments.

Through the pandemic, they reached new heights.

In Maharashtra in western India, a gurdwara (the Sikh place of worship) fed two million people in 10 weeks last year. Other gurdwaras in India melted the gold they had collected over the last 50 years to set up hospitals and medical colleges. Sikh NGOs set up "oxygen langars" - langars are the community kitchens in the gurdwaras - providing free oxygen to people as India gasped and reeled through its deadly second wave of coronavirus.

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How did Sikhs become the Good Samaritans of the world? Most religions tell their followers to help others and to do good - but how have the Sikhs gone from talking to doing so effectively?

It goes back to their founder Guru Nanak who preached that selfless service (seva as it is called) and hard work are as important as prayer.

When Sikhs visit the gurdwara, they spend time in front of the holy book, giving thanks and praying, but they spend an equal amount of time helping cook and serve the langars or meals, looking after the devotees' shoes and cleaning the premises.

A volunteer uses an oximeter to check the oxygen level of a woman before providing oxygen support for free, amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a Gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Ghaziabad, India, April 24, 2021

image captionA Sikh volunteer checks a woman patient of Covid-19 in Delhi
Sikh temples thus aren't just places of worship - they are soup kitchens and homeless shelters and community centres, a place to call home if you have none.

By making seva the song of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak instilled service in their DNA. This is why Sikh vegetable vendor, Baljinder Singh, has spent every Friday afternoon for the last 40 years looking after the footwear of the Muslims praying in his local mosque in Punjab. "For me humanity is above any religion," he says.

Studies say redirecting our focus from our own problems to helping others can do wonders for our mental health. Giving is associated with benefits - lower BP, lower mortality rates, better moods and higher markers of happiness.

There's also something powerful and soothing about working by hand. Talk to pashmina yarn spinners or Japanese makeup brush producers, and they liken the painstaking work they do to a type of meditation.

Take 97-year-old Nisharat Kaur Matharu who has been cooking for a homeless shelter in Southall, London, during the pandemic.

Ms Matharu is at the age when she could put her feet up. But she believes as long as your hands and feet work, you should use them to serve others. The work is thus its own balm - a kind of meditation without the hard work of getting your mind to be still.

Then there's the dancing Sikh Hasmeet Singh Chandok who was often mistaken to be Muslim in Nova Scotia where he lives. To spread awareness, he started making bhangra videos which went viral. Instead of becoming bitter, he helped others and found happiness himself.

Harmandir Sahib, Golden Temple, in Amristar, Punjab, India.
image captionSikhism is the world's fifth-largest religion

The secret to being good is that it's actually a natural outcome of other behaviours and attitudes. Sikhs pray daily for two things.

The first is "sarbat da bhalla" or the welfare of all and by doing this, they accept all beings as worthy. This is the root of seva and why gurdwaras are open to all.

The second is eternal positivity - what they call "chardi kala". Sikhs chant these two words in every moment of life, when they visit the gurdwara, at weddings and celebrations and to each other when life deals them a blow.

The motivation for doing seva, thus, is to find purposeful happiness in our life.

Psychologists agree that we need two kinds of happiness to lead full lives.

Hedonistic happiness depends on external factors such as compliments or purchases or travel and eudaimonic - a greek work for happiness or welfare - happiness comes from learning a new skill, spending time with family or doing community service. Sikhs are adept at incorporating both.

media captionOne of the UK's largest Sikh Gurdwaras has reinvented itself as an emergency food operation

Does that mean all Sikhs are joyful and joy giving?

Certainly not. The community has seen excesses, patriarchy, crime - and these problems are as widespread among Sikhs as their virtues are. For instance, drug abuse and drug-related crimes are far higher in Punjab compared to other Indian states according to the The Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey conducted in 2015.

Sikhs are as flawed and as human as the rest of us and I don't want to argue that they are better than the rest of us. They aren't. However, the exhortations of their faith and their conditioning leads to a greater proportion of them doing good work than others.

In Sikhism, doing good turns into a celebration and not a duty. This is its secret. This is why Chandok makes his wonderful videos. Or why the Sikhs at the Indian farmers' protests against the new farm bills fed the police.

On the outside these acts of seva may look like grand selfless gestures but while practising them one experiences tranquillity and meaningful joy. It's a solution as extraordinary as it is simple.

Jasreen Mayal Khanna is the author of Seva: Sikh Secrets on How to Be Good in the Real World

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2021 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This STARTS TODAY- should be interesting👍🏽👌🏽

We invite you to see the TRAILER of the 24 episode docuseries, "ALLEGORY, A Tapestry of Guru Nanak's Travels",

Join us in this humble attempt to understand Guru Nanak, an embodiment of Oneness.

Weekly episodes will be released from 14 October 2021 available here👇🏽
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2021 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man beaten to death for 'sacrilege' attempt at Sikh Golden Temple in India
Sat, December 18, 2021, 8:49 PM
Sikh devotees pay respect at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on December 18, 2021
The Golden Temple is Sikhism's pre-eminent spiritual site
Police in the Indian city of Amritsar say a man suspected of trying to commit a sacrilegious act at Sikhism's holiest shrine has been beaten to death.

The incident took place during a prayer service at the city's Golden Temple on Saturday, according to local media.

The man allegedly barged into the inner sanctum, where Sikhism's holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is kept.

He then tried to touch a ceremonial sword placed next to the book, but was overpowered by guards and worshippers.

The scuffle took place at around 17:45 local time (11:45 GMT), and was captured on camera as evening prayers were being broadcast on television.

It is unclear exactly what happened next. Police said the man was found dead once officers arrived at the scene, and an investigation is under way.

Police officials trying to pacify the Sikh activists gathered outside Teja Singh Samundri Hall Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) head office after sacrilege attempt at Golden Temple, on December 18, 2021 in Amritsar, India
After the incident activists gathered outside the head office of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which runs the holy site
In a tweet, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said he had ordered police to "zero in" on the "underlying motive and real conspirators behind this dastardly act".

The incident comes only days after another man was apprehended for allegedly throwing a small Sikh holy book, the Gutka Sahib, into a man-made pool surrounding the temple.

The desecration of Sikh temples is a highly emotive issue among the Sikh community. It is also a major political issue in Punjab, where legislative elections are being held next year.

Mr Channi and his Congress party have been accused by political opponents of not doing enough to safeguard holy sites in the region.

Balwinder Bhunder, an MP for opposition party Akali Dal, condemned Saturday's incident.

Speaking with local outlet NDTV, he said it was a deliberate attempt "to weaken Punjab which is the sword arm of India".

"Some people have made it a political game over the last five years," he added.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2022 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti 2022:
Updated on Jan 09, 2022 07:42 AM IST
By Krishna Priya Pallavi Delhi

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti 2022: The auspicious occasion of Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is also known as the Prakash Parv of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh and falls every year in December or January. On this day, devotees from all around the world send best wishes to one another and vow to follow the teachings and the path of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

This year Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti falls on January 9, 2022. The day is observed in honour and remembrance of the great warrior, poet, philosopher and spiritual master. According to Drik Panchang, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born on Paush Shukla Saptami. In 2022, Paush Shukla Saptami Tithi begins at 10:42 am on January 8, 2022, and will end on January 9, 2022, at 11:08 pm.

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti History

Guru Gobind Singh Ji, born as Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual leader, warrior, poet and philosopher. He formally became the leader and protector of the Sikhs at the age of nine after his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, was killed by Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam.

Guru Gobind Ji led the Sikh community through his teachings and philosophy and soon gained historical importance. He was responsible for institutionalising the Khalsa, who played a significant role in protecting the Sikhs after his death. Guru Gobind Singh Ji declared Guru Granth Sahib as Sikhism's holy scripture in 1708, before his death

Guru Gobind Singh Ji was a great warrior. He was known for his inclination towards poetry and the philosophies and writings he stood by. He refused to answer the Mughal invaders and fought alongside the Khalsa to protect his people. Under his guidance, his followers adhered to a strict code. His philosophies, writings, and poetry inspire people to this day.

To celebrate Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Sikhs around the world visit Gurudwaras, where prayer meetings take place in honour of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. People participate in processions organised by the Gurudwaras, hold kirtans and also do Seva, a significant part of the Sikh religion, for the community.
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