Friday, December 18, 2009

World Religions

"There will be no world peace until there is peace among the world's religions." -Hans Kung, Catholic theologian

I took the bus today, and was immediately greeted by a turbaned bus driver. This immediately put me in a good mood, a state of calmness. I wonder why. Just because a person is of my religion, does that make them a "better person"? I'd like to think not. But then why don't non-turbaned people strike the same sense of happiness in my heart? That's not true. Some do. Many people of different faiths can strike happiness in my heart.

I didn't even speak to this driver. I have no idea what kind of a person he is. I just know it takes a lot of courage to wear a turban, to keep your hair in this crazy world.

And I know that I will be thinking a lot more about how my ideal of peace between religions plays out in the way I interact with people of different faiths (and in the current world - the increasing number of atheists).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SikhNet Online Film Festival

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Please check out the latest youth-created videos at the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival: http://www.sikhnet.com/filmfestival/. Some are funny, some sad, some thought-provoking, some touching.... all making me proud to be a Sikh and engage in this dialogue created by films.

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shabd: Satgur ki seva safal hai

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh.

Just wanted to share a beautiful shabad I came across ... translations courtesy of SikhNet.com. Apologies for lack of Gurmukhi font.

Sometimes I wonder what true Gur ka Seva means - serving others in my community? Serving Sikhs? Living according to the Guru Granth Sahib? Doing naam simran? I try my best to do some of everything - volunteer in my local community, educate the Sikh youth, meditate... well something for me to reflect on more. What do you think?

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

*

(644-14)
salok mehlaa 3

satgur kee sayvaa safal hai jay ko karay chit laa-ay.
Service to the True Guru is fruitful and rewarding, if one performs it with his mind focused on it.

man chindi-aa fal paavnaa ha-umai vichahu jaa-ay.
The fruits of the mind's desires are obtained, and egotism departs from within.

banDhan torhai mukat ho-ay sachay rahai samaa-ay.
His bonds are broken, and he is liberated; he remains absorbed in the True Lord.

is jag meh naam alabh hai gurmukh vasai man aa-ay.
It is so difficult to obtain the Naam in this world; it comes to dwell in the mind of the Gurmukh.

naanak jo gur sayveh aapnaa ha-o tin balihaarai jaa-o.
O Nanak, I am a sacrifice to one who serves his True Guru.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The significance of kesh

I'll never forget the day my brother cut his hair. It hurt me so much that I couldn't even look at him in the face for several days.

It's been about five years since the event, and I'm still coming to terms with it. I've always wondered why we are so focused on whether or not people are cleanshaven or not. I always used to tell myself that it's the person inside and their actions that really matters. But the tables were quickly turned when "my own flesh and blood performed the act".

At first, I felt betrayed. Then, I felt angry at him. Why did he do that?

We grew up in a predominantly Caucasian town, where most of the boys in Sikh families we knew had cut their hair. I always knew it was hard for my brother to keep his joora. Kids always made fun of his "girl-like" hair, but he had no Sikh friends to look up to to learn how to deal with this problem.

Soon after, I felt angry at myself. Why hadn't I spent more time with him, showing him the importance of his religion?

Slowly, I worked towards acceptance. Despite his drastically different appearance, my brother was still the same caring person that he always was.

I began to think about all the other Sikh people I knew who cut their hair. I began to realize that despite my surface feeling that I did not judge them for not keeping kesh, I really did. Why? I didn't judge my non-Sikh friends, all of whom obviously were clean-shaven.

And why did it make my blood boil when none of the "Sikhs" in the latest Bollywood hit, Love Aaj Kal, had true, uncut dharis?

Finally, why did the youtube video I posted earlier this week give me such kushi when I watched it?

What are your thoughts on this often-discussed issue?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Guru & I

A beautiful article on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the 21st century - a question many Sikh youth have asked about.

http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?cat=19&id=663

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Do you need any help?

From: http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=11663


I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money.

There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought. He didn't. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke. "That's a very pretty car," he said. He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm. I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car. He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came.

As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?" I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments.I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

"Don't we all ?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all? I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help! Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that. You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves. Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Don't we all?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eh bhi dat, teri datar

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Lately, I have been thinking about the quote from Japji Sahib,

Eh bhi dat, teri datar.
(Loose translation: Even these are your gifts, Waheguru.)

I was in an accident recently and will no longer be able to do some activities that I used to do. This has caused great pain to me, but this is also perhaps a gift from Waheguru, an opportunity to change and become the person She wants me to be. Perhaps it will give me more time to do paat, to do seva, to be still and be amazed by the wonder that surrounds us on this physical earth and share in the spiritual energy of my sangat.

Jo boley, so nihaal!

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Serve others and forget about yourself."

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Lately I have been struggling to figure out what to "do with my life" (I am nearing that age where such a decision "needs to be made"). While being lost in the stress, I came across the quote from Bhai Guruka Singh ji. Things became a lot clearer. I was torn between a career path that others wanted for me, one where I would "get all the glory" but not be satisfied, and a path that would allow me to serve others, with much less recognition, but much more in keeping with what I feel Waheguru has in mind for me... we shall see what happens. If it is right, great. If not, I know Waheguru will help me get where She wants me to be, eventually.


"Serve others and forget about yourself. The universe will take care of you. You do not have to do it yourself. Every little baby bird and every little bug under a rock has its food provided for it. Why not you? Just pay attention to what the moment is asking of you and then do it! Care for others. Serve others, and let yourself be served. Only those who spend their lives serving are truly happy."
- Guruka Singh


Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Sikh Spirit Foundation Launches Contest Seeking Project Ideas

What a proactive thing to do for our community! I encourage you to submit your ideas.



The Sikh Spirit Foundation has invited people from around the world to participate in its first-ever idea contest. The Foundation hopes to collect creative and feasible project ideas that will benefit the Sikh community.

The Foundation intends to reward the selected project idea with an iPod Nano. The first five submissions will also receive a t-shirt of choice from PanjabMall.com.

A committee will review the submitted project ideas and select one to pursue. To turn this winning idea into a reality, The Sikh Spirit Foundation will invite proposals this summer for this project. The Foundation will then select and fund the best proposal among the submissions.
All project ideas should consist of at least two paragraphs that explain the project and its importance for the Sikh community. Submissions should fall within a budget of $25,000 and address critical issues facing the Sikh community.

Project ideas should be sent to ideas@sikhspiritfoundation.org by March 25, 2009.
The grand prize winner will be announced by April 10, 2009. All project ideas will be measured according to feasibility, impact and need.

For further information, visit www.sikhspiritfoundation.org, or contact us at info@sikhspiritfoundation.org

Monday, January 26, 2009

Power of Gurbani

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh,

This heartwarming story was passed on to me by sanjit_h - thank you. It is a lesson to all of us struggling to stay true to our faith.

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

--

A young child went to a Gursikh and stated that no matter how hard he tried to keep Gurbani in his heart, he just could not understand or keep it. He stated that his mind was not a bucket, but a strainer, which let everything pass through and did not contain the meaning of gurbani.

The Gursikh said "Let us try an experiment. Here is a strainer, and here is some water. Now pour a bucket of water through the strainer."

The child did this and said "See, the water was not contained, it just passed through. My mind is just like this".

The Gursikh said. "Do it once more". So the child did, and still the water passed through the strainer. The Gursikh said. "Do it ten times at least". The child did, and at the end of this experiment, he said " See, water still passes through, no matter how many times , and how many buckets we pass through it".

The Gursikh said "Look carefully at the strainer and see if there is any thing different." The child did, and his eyes were filled with tears, and he said, "Yes, i see the difference now. The grimy dirty strainer is now shiny and bright, like never before." The Gursikh said "My son, this is what Gurbani does for you. It slowly cleanses your mind, even if you do not realize it. The more you recite Gurbani, the more your mind will not only become shinier, but become like the bucket itself, which will not only become clean , but hold the meaning of Gurbani in your heart". The child smiled, and felt he had received the best example of the power of Gurbani, ever.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gurbani: Gaviai suniai

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!
The other day, an older woman reminded me of this beautiful quote from Pauri 5 of Japji Sahib. I apologize for not knowing how to put Amrit Lipi fonts on the web. Translation courtesy of Harbans Singh Doabia.


Gaviai suniai man rakhiai bhao.
Sing the praises of God and keep love for Her in the heart.


Dukh parhar sukh ghar lai jae.
Then you will obtain joy in your mind and throw away your pain.



So many of us are hurting right now (consciously or subconsciously). Some of us have looked for and/or tried several different methods for soothing this pain. Perhaps Gurbani tells us of one possible solution...

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Five Challenges

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Pyari sadh sangat jee, I watched this video this morning and was inspired to go through the wonderful meditation exercise Guruka Singh veerjee discusses in this video. Hopefully it will be as challenging for you as it was for me.



Please feel free to share your experiences by commenting, and to pass this video on to others.

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolution

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Dearest sangat, I would like to share something I tried to spread across the web about five years ago, when my relationship with Sikhi was much stronger. I found it the other day, and thought I might share it with you. It's always nice to be inspired by our past selves, and I hope that with Waheguru's hukam, you, too, will be uplifted by the message.

Chardi kala,
mk


Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

It’s hard not to be bitten by the resolution bug each New Year’s Eve. The sense that we can make a fresh start in a fresh new year has many of us pledging to lose weight, exercise more, and quit bad habits in the coming year, but few of us resolve to do anything about our (often unhealthy) relationship with God.

This year, think about giving up just one hour each week for Waheguru. During this time, perhaps you can volunteer, meditate, go to Gurdwara, count your blessings, learn more about Sikhi, pray...be creative! Whether you get it all done in one 60-minute “marathon”, or break the time down into smaller, more manageable sizes, spending just one hour will likely not only increase your happiness but the happiness of those around you.

Too often, we forget about the essence of Sikhism, getting lost in the constant rush of our society. We rarely take the time to think about all that Waheguru has done for us, and even spending ten minutes each day to remember Her can change our perspective.

This New Year’s Eve, I hope that along with your pledges to get fit, read more, and spend less, you choose to devote one hour each week to Waheguru. Spending 52 hours this year is the least you can do for a being that spends about 8766 hours a year on you.

Think about it...
Chardi Kala!