Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stuck Between Two Worlds




Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh! Before I get started, I would like to note that everything written here are my own views and opinions and does not reflect anybody elses. Thank you. 

As the title states, I am stuck between two worlds. But first of all, hi! For those who are reading my blog for the first time, my name is Jasmine Morris (or as Sikhs know me, Gurpreet Kaur). I am an Amritdhari Sikh from Texas and you can read more about how I came into Sikhi to the right. Ont top of that, you can also discover how I became a Nihang Singhni in one of my previous blog posts down below. 

Now that we have gotten introductions out the way, we can get back to the topic at hand. So what exactly are the "Two Worlds" that I am stuck between? For me, it's the "mainstream" Sikh community and the Sikh Dharma community. As I hope everyone knows by now, not all non-Punjabi Sikhs are affliated or come to Sikhi through Sikh Dharma (or as some people like to refer to it as, 3HO). The same way there are a few Punjabis who are apart of 3HO. But of course people just find it easier to generalize. 😑

There are some things I've found troubling about both communities. I definitely do not agree with some of the things Sikh Dharma teaches and does. The same way I do not agree with everything "traditional" Sikhs teaches and does. But the segregation of the two communities is bad. Ever since becoming a Sikh, some Sikhs friends I know personally (Punjabi and non-Punjabi) have made it a point to purposely avoid those Sikhs in the white clothes and turbans. And on the flip side of things, I've noticed people who are apart of the Sikh Dharma community who do not interact with people outside of their group. There's valid reasons why people from both sides act this way but I won't expand on that. All I will say is this needs to stop!

I am not saying that ya'll cannot disagree with each other. But I am saying that there needs to be a healthy dialogue  (which, by the way, should not take place on social media). And there needs to be a move for integration so that one side can benefit from the other. Because yes, BOTH sides have some things going good for it that the other side needs. 

From my own personal experience, most (let's say, 90%) of the Sikhs apart of my circle here in Texas are immigrant Sikhs or non-Punjabi Sikhs not affliated to 3ho. The rest are Sikh Dharma. And I can say that disagreement and integration is possible. But of course if we are going to throw rocks and stones at each other like we all are not human, we're in trouble. REMEMBER, REMEMBER, REMEMBER that the SAME LIGHT that is in YOU is also in the person on the other side. Therefore, you should talk to them (whether irl or on social media) like God and Guru is present. 

Now so you might be asking why I choose the picture I did. No, it isn't clickbait lol. But the answer is simple. If people with contrasting views such as Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Yogi Bhajan, and Baba Nihal Singh can be in the same room together at the same time without falling out, the Sikh community can as well. 

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Celebrating Guru Nanak's Birthday

As many Sikhs already know, Guru Nanak's Gurpurab is coming up November 23rd. It's one of the biggest holidays on the Sikh calendar (if not the biggest). Here are a few ways you can celebrate

1. Go to the Gurdwara

Yes, this is an obvious one but you should really do it. Gurdwaras do different things for Gurpurabs and they celebrate it on different days. But being around that celebratory atmosphere is amazing.

2. Decorate

What is a celebration without decorations? Light candles, put up posters/photos, or whatever you feel like doing. I know a few Sikh families that turn on their holiday lights for the festivities.

3. Learn about Guru Nanak

It doesn't help to touch up on Sikh history. Take one of your books off the shelf and read that chapter on Guru Nanak. You can also watch documentaries, movies, or short clips about him.

4. Listen to Music

There's plenty of shabads speaking on Baba Nanak. Listen to them. There's also plenty of songs about there about Guru Nanak Dev ji. Listen to them.

Anyways, if you have anything else you would like to add to the list, please comment. Otherwise, Happy Gurpurab!


Friday, November 2, 2018

Phrases and Shabads that Sikh Converts Should Know


Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh! Title pretty much explains it. So let's get straight into it



Gurmantar

The Gurmantar or "Waheguru" is the most common way you will hear Sikhs describe the One. When you break down the word Waheguru, "Wah(e)" is like wow or wondrous and "Guru" means teacher (or someone who brings you from darkness to light). So the most simple translation of this word is "Wow God" while the deepest translation would be "Praise to the One who brings us from Darkness to Light". This is also the most common mantra used to do Simran (which is the remembrance of God).



The Mool Mantar


Next to the Gurmantar, the Mool Mantar is the second most common mantra Sikhs use to remember God. It goes...


Ik Oankar


Sat(i) Naam


Karata Purakh


Nirabhau


Niravair


Akaal Moorat


Ajoonee


Saibhan


Gur Prasad


Jap


Aadh Sach


Jugaadh Sach


Hai Bhee Sach


Nanak hosee bhee Sach


For a good understanding of what the Mool Mantar means, watch this playlist by Bhai Satpal Singh:


Nanak Naam (Mool Mantar Interpretation)


These are some of the characteristics of God laid out by Guru Nanak in the very beginning of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. It is also the first part of Japji Sahib (one of the morning prayers Sikhs are supposed to recite). Now it should be noted that there is a little division between some Sikhs on where exactly the Mool Mantar ends. Some say it goes just to "Gur Prasad", while others say it ends with "Nanak hosee bhee Sach". This is a bunch of silliness and you should come to your own
conclusion. 






Ardas


The Ardas is the formal Sikh prayer that basically opens or closes any Sikh related activity. If there's something you should memorize, it definitely should be the Ardas. I think it is also important to know that the first part of the Ardas was authored by Guru Gobind Singh and is taken out of the DasamGranth. The rest was added later on.


Here's a link to the full Ardas here:


Ardas (In Punjabi and English)


Common Slogans you will hear Sikhs chant from the Ardas are....

"Degh Tegh Fateh!" - "May the Kitchen and Sword be Victorious"

"Nanak Naam Chardi Kala Tere Bhane Sarbat da Balla" - "Nanak, with Naam comes Chardi Kala and with your blessings, peace for everyone."





Anand Sahib

Anand Sahib is a collection of hymns in Sikhism, written in the Ramkali Raag by Guru Amar Das, the third Guru of the Sikhs. Anand means "happiness" or "bliss". This bani concludes the morning prayers of the Sikhs and also concludes all Gurdwara services (with the exceptions of ones that take place late in the afternoon).





"Waheguru ji ka Khalsa. Waheguru ji ki Fateh"

This is the traditional Sikh greeting passed down by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji. It means, "The Khalsa (or Pure Ones) belong to God! Victory belongs to God as well!" This is also called the "GurFateh".




"Bole so Nihaal! Sat Shri Akaal/Akaaluh!"

Though there can be different versions of the jakara, "Bole so Nihaal! Sat Shri Akaal" is the most common battle cry you will hear in the Sikh community today. It means "One will be blessed/fulfilled who proclaims that the Timeless One is the ultimate Truth". This is also said at the end of every Sikh activity.

I also think that it is important to note here that "Sat Shri Akaal" (or as some say, Sat Shri 'Kaal) is the traditional Punjabi greeting. Besides the GurFateh, this is the second most common greeting you will hear Sikhs say.





"Guru Maneyo Granth"



"Guru Maneyo Granth" (Granth Be Thy Guru) refers to the historic statement of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), shortly before his demise, on affirming the sacred scripture Adi Granth as his successor, thus terminating the line of human Gurus. It is often quoted at the end of the Ardas.

It says: "Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koe Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe."

"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns. The pure shall rule, and impure will be no more, Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved."







Raj Karega Khalsa is a common slogan you will hear taken from this proclamation. It means "The Khalsa (Pure Ones) will rule!"


"Jithe Jaye Bahe Mera Satguru"
This shabad comes from Ang 450 in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. This is often recited during Sukhasan (when the Guru is being retired for the day. It says...

"jithai jai bahai meraa satiguroo so thaan suhaavaa raam raaje ||
Wherever my True Guru goes and sits, that place is beautiful, O Lord King.


ਗੁਰਸਿਖੀਂ ਸੋ ਥਾਨੁ ਭਾਲਿਆ ਲੈ ਧੁਰਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਵਾ ॥
gurasikhee(n) so thaan bhaaliaa lai dhur mukh laavaa ||
The Guru's Sikhs seek out that place; they take the dust and apply it to their faces.


ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਕੀ ਘਾਲ ਥਾਇ ਪਈ ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਾ ॥
gurasikhaa kee ghaal thai piee jin har naam dhiaavaa ||
The works of the Guru's Sikhs, who meditate on the Lord's Name, are approved.


ਜਿਨ੍ਹ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਜਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਪੂਜ ਕਰਾਵਾ ॥੨॥
jin(h) naanak satigur poojiaa tin har pooj karaavaa ||2||
Those who worship the True Guru, O Nanak - the Lord causes them to be worshipped in turn. ||2||


ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਹਰਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥
gurasikhaa man har preet hai har naam har teree raam raaje ||
The Guru's Sikh keeps the Love of the Lord, and the Name of the Lord, in his mind. He loves You, O Lord, O Lord King."






I hope this was helpful for those transitioning into Sikhi (or even those who are already apart of the Panth). Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh!